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Help! In a dilemma about whether to accept place at Wwest London Free school Primary - new free school

(85 Posts)
Firstgold Sun 21-Apr-13 21:45:15

We're struggling to decide whether to take up a place offered at West London FS Primary for DS this September or whether to scrimp and save and just about afford private school.

Concerns are the obvious ones - brand new school (albeit with close links to the West London Free School secondary); unknown quantity in the young headmistress (who isn't meeting any parents until they accept the offer of a place); teaching staff still in the process of being recruited etc etc. We can't even visit the school as it currently houses the secondary and they don't want visitors; DS would be one of 60 reception children and his year group would always be the top of the school (no one to look up to etc as it is filling up year by year from reception each September).

So it would be a big leap of faith. But it could be brilliant and help us save for private secondary school which we'd ideally like to do.

If we go the private route and see how WLFSP works out, and apply for DD in a couple of years, suspect we wouldn't get a place due to sibling policy and probably ever decreasing catchment area...

MrsLittle Thu 17-Apr-14 21:50:18

This thread is slightly misleading. We visited WLFS and were also told that the head was not meeting individually with prospective parents. The reason stated was that there were three open evenings where parents could meet and chat with the teachers, head, governors and Toby (the god) himself. I was also able to email the head and received a reply within 24 hours. All of the Primary schools I contacted in Hammersmith weren't able to give an individual meeting with the head due to the sheer quantity of parents applying. I can totally understand why they would want to give priority to the existing students in the school. heads are very busy people!
Having said that, I wasn't impressed at the open evening. We were given conflicting information and it was totally unclear how the school would be operating with a shared space with the secondary. I couldn't see how exactly my four year old would be kept separate from the Year 9 students when they were sharing the same building and lunch hall. I was also not impressed with the availability of open space, which is an issue if you are interested in sport. The head and teachers were very vague about how often they would be using the park nearby. We visited after half term and the current reception class had yet to use the park. I was also disturbed by the fact that the children have assigned desks when every other school we visited used carpet time with no desk work. We ended up putting it down as our fall-back and thankfully got our second choice. Only you know what is right, but don't buy into all the "it won't be allowed to fail rhetoric".

BewitchedBefuzzledBewildered Wed 16-Apr-14 22:38:58

I fail to see how the uniform for the WLFSP can cost anywhere near £400

Abra1d Tue 11-Mar-14 10:34:48

OP, did you really have an hour on the phone with the head? And you still feel you haven't been given enough time? Or have I misunderstood.

As for 'holding teachers to account' at the school gates, that may not build great relationships with teachers in any sector.

DalmationDots Tue 11-Mar-14 10:29:44

Oops just seen the school's reply, ignore my comments.

DalmationDots Tue 11-Mar-14 10:23:24

I would raise your concerns with the WLFS, tell them about you feeling in the dark and while you love the concept and feel it could be perfect, you need to meet the head and come and see the building etc.
If they still say no, then leave it and stick with the private.

Is the private likely to have places for Year 1 or is it heavily oversubscribed?

reup Mon 10-Mar-14 21:07:01

A friends child attends the oratory and it cost almost £400 for the uniform, you have to make a special appointment at the outfitters. The trousers have special embroidery on them!

BambooBear13 Sun 09-Mar-14 20:35:44

Emperors new clothes. We will have a fancy uniform and look like a prep school and people will think we are for free ... It's probably a lovely school but I just don't get it: are people so easily fooled?

sassytheFIRST Sun 09-Mar-14 18:31:25

The uniform issue is blatantly to keep the riff raff out.

One of our local private schools is converting from September. It's in the middle of the most ethnically diverse parts of the town, and one of the most deprived areas. They are keeping their uniform (average cost at reception, £300). That'll keep the nasties from applying!

And my taxes are going to fund it. I think this is awful. I hope the whole thing falls on its arse.

BambooBear13 Sun 09-Mar-14 18:25:46

I really don't understand why all these free schools insist on heavily branded uniform? I feel for the poor girls wearing those hideous pinafores. I am thankful that our amazing school has a liberal uniform code and my daughter is allowed to wear practical trousers in the winter !!!

MacMac123 Tue 04-Mar-14 23:43:32

Take the place and feel grateful for it. Of course she can't meet you, anyone local will know there is SO much interest in the school it would be farcical for her to meet parents at this stage, even only the parents who have been offered places. For a start, she's got a school to set up and like the school says, they held their open evenings. Futures years will be different for school tours and meeting the head I'm sure but this is the first year.

I'm sorry but if you got a place you must be aware of the competitor you beat. That's like winning a prize in the lottery then agonising over whether you should have played.

BewitchedBefuzzledBewildered Tue 04-Mar-14 11:44:48

I thought I would reanimate this thread. How are people finding the WLFPS?

ame297 Tue 14-May-13 01:55:34

We have also accepted a place for our son at the WLFSP and will be attending the meeting on Wednesday - so may get to meet some of you then!

We live 0.52 miles south, just off the Fulham Palace Road. Was anyone here offered a place on a second round offer? I am curious to know how many places were offered in the second round!

I too have concerns over it being a new school, however I am confident that it will succeed and I'm very much looking forward to getting involved.

sanam2010 Mon 13-May-13 07:43:33

Firstgold, what did you decide?

muminlondon Sat 27-Apr-13 16:02:45

No results, no Ofsted yet. I read that it had 31% of children on FSM. That's apparently the Hammersmith and Fulham average - but would include faith schools such as the Oratory, Lady Margaret, Sacred Heart which take children from other boroughs (the nearest comprehensives are 70% FSM).

Elibean Sat 27-Apr-13 15:16:59

Neither would I. We chose a local primary for (amongst other things) wonderful inclusion, as opposed to a local indie for it's crappy attitude to any SEN.

Am curious to know what proof TY's pudding has, does anyone know?

infamouspoo Sat 27-Apr-13 15:02:08

I guess the proof is in the pudding. Does the WLFS offer a full education for disabled children and full inclusion? I wouldnt want my kids at a school where this doesnt happen.

muminlondon Sat 27-Apr-13 14:08:00


That's not context, that's post-publication self-justification because so many people were offended by his remarks. Not even a proper apology to those he offended directly. The original article is here:

adeucalione Sat 27-Apr-13 13:40:04

He does attempt to explain it muminlondon :

Some people have misunderstood this paragraph. I'm using "inclusive" in the broad sense to mean a dumbed down, one-size-fits-all curriculum, rather than the narrow sense of providing equal access to mainstream education for people with disabilities. I've absolutely nothing against inclusion in that sense. Rather, what I'm against is the way in which opponents of education reform often invoke the low intelligence of some (non-SEN) children as a reason not to introduce more intellectual rigour into a national curriculum that's meant to be fully inclusive. That's the context in which I use the word "troglodyte". It's supposed to conjure up the fictional, cave-dwelling creatures from the movie One Million Years BC – someone whom it's plainly ridiculous to try and tailor the national curriculum for. It's not supposed to be a synonym for a child with SEN. Indeed, a moment's reflection should make this clear. After all, I'm trying to point up the absurdity of Harman's position and if I had intended "troglodyte" to mean "children with SEN" then Harman's position would seem sympathetic rather than absurd

igves Sat 27-Apr-13 13:39:27


We have just accepted a place at the WLFSP for our child. I too am finding it hard to step into the unknown. Our other child is at an established local primary which we really like. We applied to WLFSP because we wanted to have the option of the WLFS secondary for our eldest and the sibling rule was very attractive.

My thoughts are that we will try the WLFSP and see how it goes. If we do not like it we will transfer to one of the other local primaries - mid year transfers tend to be easier than reception entry. For example at the primary school our other child is at there have been vacancies in Y1 and Y2. WLFSP will probably be great but its not like you are stuck there forever if it does not suit you.

I hope that is helpful. PM me if you want to speak further.

Also, to Iris who was asking about catchment distances this year, we are quite a distance away so I think it might be a larger catchment than 0.62 miles but I have not measured quite how far we are.

muminlondon Sat 27-Apr-13 13:13:54

shock infamouspoo

I'd never heard that before. So I had to google it.

'Inclusive. It’s one of those ghastly, politically correct words that have survived the demise of New Labour. Schools have got to be “inclusive” these days. That means wheelchair ramps, the complete works of Alice Walker in the school library (though no Mark Twain) and a Special Educational Needs Department that can cope with everything from Dyslexia to Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.'

I am actually really shocked by that.

yorkshirebound Sat 27-Apr-13 08:25:12

We got a place at west London free school but sadly are moving and won't be able to take it up. Hope that someone here on the wait list will get it!

mummytime Fri 26-Apr-13 19:15:13

Lborolass if you are in England then the same allocation system applies. Schools cannot discriminate by where on your appilication form you put a school, they draw up a list ranking all applicants by their selection criteria, then the top people who are not eligible for a place at any of the applicant's higher placed schools are offered a place.

The Uniform does sound over priced, and surely they must allow trousers for girls, if only with skirts as well? Or it would be discrimination on religious grounds. Admittedly my DCs infant school got around this by saying girls were allowed to wear the same trousers as boys.

infamouspoo Fri 26-Apr-13 19:11:58

Isnt Toby Young the idiot who called ramps for disabled children in schools 'ghastly political correctedness'. I'd avoid anything he was involved in like the plague.

lborolass Fri 26-Apr-13 18:53:39

I don't live in London and realise that the school allocation system might be different to my local one but I don't understand how the OP got into the school. They had nearly 400 applications and she didn't put it as first choice - how would that work? Don't they allocate to first choice children first?

If the uniform costs quoted here are correct I do think they are high - my childrens uniforms wore very well and lasted for more than one child and each item cost under £10.

Fulhamup Fri 26-Apr-13 18:43:35

Firstgold, do you know how lucky you are? I don't have a single offer for a primary place for my DS and I'm not alone in Hammersmith and Fulham. I was one of the 396 parents who applied to the WLFS Primary having been to the open day. Miss de Silva makes completely reasonable points and has the courage to go public unlike the rest of us who can hide behind anonymity.

And other thing, complaining about the cost of a decent uniform - seriously? Uniform is worn day after day after day.

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