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Ashmount school or independent school?(22 Posts)
Just wondering if anyone has recent experience of Ashmount primary school? We just got offered a reception place there after weeks of not getting into any of our six primary school preferences and in the meantime have gone down the independent school route. We have been offered places at a couple of independent schools we really like but this will obviously be a huge financial commitment for us...we also like the community element of sending him to a local school, however...
With regards to Ashmount, can anyone advise on personal opinion of teaching standards, time spent on activities such as art and drama? Opportunities for clubs/extra curricular activities? Also wondering if each class has a TA? And also how range of abilities is handled esp in numeracy and literacy classes? i.e., setting/streaming/small groups?
We were booked on to an Ashmount tour that was canceled and are reluctant to send our DS to a school we haven't seen/would like more info. The new building/facilities look fab but we're keen to find out more.
Our DS is very bright but not particularly eager to put his hand up (unlike his sister) or take part in large group learning/activities and I am concerned that he will get lost/disengaged in large class. He is currently at an 'outstanding' local state nursery school but with a large class size and often complains of being bored/has appeared disengaged when I have volunteered.
Any feedback would be much appreciated.
If you mean Ashmount primary on Crouch Hill - then it seems to be a very good school with a superb head. I do not have DCs there, but went on a tour as a prospective teacher. High proportion of parents with high-achieving jobs means that there is lots of input to raise the aspirations of all the children.
Why don't you explain that the tour was cancelled and ask the school if they could arrange something for you as you don't want to commit to a school without seeing it. There attitude to the request will tell you a lot about the school as well!
Thanks constantlycooking. I do mean that school. Good to hear you were impressed.
We have explained we'd like to take a look/ask questions before deciding but they have said no twice, hence my attempt to get some more info on mumsnet.
If anyone has first hand experience as parent or has recently toured Ashmount primary please get in touch asap.
damselfish - A real pity that the Ashmount tour you were booked on had to be cancelled. And of course the tours that are normally arranged for people considering putting Ashmount down on the form dont start again until next autumn when people start looking around schools for reception applications to start in 2014..... (and in the last few weeks following SATS there has been lots going on in the school)
However there IS a special "open day" and tour planned on the 10th July between 3.45 and 4.45 which is intended for new reception parents, which at this stage is people who have been offered places, or at least the people the school knows about as its all still in a state of flux, so you would be very welcome to attend.
Does that help?
By the way damselfish, I would introduce one word of caution, if as your original post suggests Ashmount was not one of your original six, then you would want to be clear (in your own mind) as to why that was so. I say this because it is essential that parents have a degree of confidence in whatever school they choose. So you would need to work out what would have to change in your knowledge of Ashmount to cause you to change your mind.
For example, an Independent due to the fees and the level they are set at will always be better resourced than any state school and will usually have smaller classes. (in fact you could make the case that given the funding difference, state schools are extraordinary value for money so far as the state is concerned!)
Hi nlondondad, you seem very knowledgeable...your first message is reassuring and we look forward to seeing the new building and having the chance to ask some questions on the 10th of July. I was advised of this date by the school but got the impression it was more of a welcome day for the children...I did in fact attend a tour some time ago, maybe too prematurely as came alone (without partner) and now feel better prepared re questions I want to ask...also very keen to see new school...Dad is too.
If I gave the impression Ashmount wasn't on our list this isn't the case. It was in fact right up there. We live a stone's throw from the old site so were surprised not to get in first off but I guess the catchment area has moved further east. I have so far heard great things about Ashmount, it's really about getting a better feel for what sort of learning environment is going to best suit our son.
I am still very keen to learn about teaching assistant provisions and how the range of ability is managed in the classroom...as well as extra curricular activities available? Not sure if you can shed any light on that nlondondad or anyone else can?
I don't know much about the school but what I have heard has been positive. I think that the new site is supposed to be great.
What independent schools are the alternatives? Are these local to you or futher afield? I do think that this is a factor, especially at this age. (Out of interest, are these schools that you managed to get places at when you didn't get an offer from state schools initially, or are these ones that you'd already had your child's name down for?)
your last message is in three parts so I will answer with three separate message written when I get around to it...
Well the open day on the 10th will fulfill a number of functions driven by the requirements of the people attending. Obviously it will have a different feel from one of the earlier open days which was aimed at helping people make a school choice as its mainly about people who have been offered and accepted a place, but that doesnt stop individuals in your position from using it to get a better idea of the place, and also you will get to meet some PTA parents who are obviously in a position to discuss their experience. In short, a general snoop around....
Ashmount was on your list
Well , actually, biased as I am, I think that showed good taste!
(Actually we must be close neighbours as I live only two roads away from the old site. So good taste in where you choose to live also...)
Admissions were calculated (measured) from the front door of that building on Hornsey Lane up until the entry in 2012. (Autumn 2012 was the last term children spent in the old building; there were a lot of crossed fingers as to whether the central heating system, very much on its last legs, would last, but it loyally soldiered on...).
Admissions for this year were calculated using the entrance to the school at Crouch Hill. The distance between the two sites is about half the radius of the admissions circle in 2012 but unexpectedly the admissions radius on the first round of offers halved. This meant that if you were living to the west of the old site you were now too far away to get a place at Ashmount which seemed a real pity. However because people have to apply in January for a place in September there is always a lot of movement; people do things like applying from their "too small for growing family -four year old plus baby sibling -'' flat, and then by the time June comes around have succeeded in getting a move to the larger property (with garden perhaps?) in say Barnet, and dont take up the place. So at that point people on the waiting list, who lived that bit too far away, start getting offers. and that, it would seem, in this case, is you.
Hello and thanks for all the messages so far.
Legowidow - I applied for one independent school in Hampstead as 'back-up' last year. We were just offered a place here this week, love the school but a trek from us. The other independent was a more recent application as at this point we hadn't been offered any schools, state or otherwise, also a nice school but only up to year 2.
nlondondad - a snoop around on the 10th sounds like a good plan. Unfortunately I think we may have to decide beforehand hence my ongoing probing for information I would gather on a visit. Interesting re catchment area changes...thanks.
Still keen to hear TAs per class/student? Mixed ability management? Ie. Setting/streaming. Extra curricular? Anyone???
Ps. Having taught in challenging state schools for a number of years I am much swayed by the smaller class sizes in independent sector. This is not to say I don't believe in state education...I do...and I wish, oh how I wish classes sizes were at least a manageable 20 (at most) with a TA in every class both for the kids and the teachers benefit.
Thanks and please answer if you can help with questions noted above.
Yes, there's a TA in every class - and the TAs as a whole brilliant and hugely experienced. Differentiated learning taken very seriously, which seems to be done in a flexible way - so small groups and setting, sometimes across classes as well as within them, depending on the stage/year/particular class. Lots of extra-curricular stuff going on - music, sport, debating etc etc. Lots of using art and drama as ways of exploring topic work. (We've seen some fantastic assembly performances over the years!) DS in year 6 so about to leave, about which I'm really sad - experience of the school has been wholly positive. Hope that's some help, and do see what you think on the 10th...
Thanks very much canvasbag that sounds very encouraging. Are you in education by any chance?
Also, out of interest do you know if any of the children are going on to independent secondary schools?
Don't want to out myself but yes some experience in education. And yes, some children going to independent secondaries and state grammars. Don't often post but did want to say it's been brilliant for us.
Thanks canvasbag, again very encouraging.
Sorry to put you on the spot by the way, sounded like you knew what you were talking about!
No worries! And hope you feel happy with whatever decision you come to.
The Ashmount school fair is on the 30 th June so that is an opportunity for anyone who wants to, to have a bit of a nose round.
And spend money
I have to warn you that this is not a good school The children are great and the teachers (though mostly first or second year - presumably because of costs) are also mostly OK,
The problem is the toxic headmaster. He won't listen ( to anything actually) but certainly not to your concerns. He's been held accountable and forced to apologise to a very longstanding member of staff for bullying, yet routinely refuses to acknowledge bullying when it takes place in the school. I could write a lot more but perhaps not a good idea.
AVOID. TOXIC SCHOOL. AVOID.
the thread is four years old so I think the OP might have made her decision by now.....
But perhaps it will make people Googling Ashmount think twice. Particularly about nlondondad's posts.
I agree. The head is a complete bully (with a massivly oversized ego) who repeatedly oversteps the mark with great ease. Is extremely condescending and rude (if you don’t completely see things his way). I am actually surprised to see that only one poster has commented on this fact (as it is a view shared by a very large number of parents within the school).
School has some good points though (which have been outlined in previous post).
You have been warned!
We visited the school recently having re-located from overseas so wanting to get the decision right! Now swayed from having read the recent comments.., ... glad that I have arranged some other school visits in the next few days. Can I ask those with the negative experiences - has this been at the detriment of the children's learning. Are the kids happy? Just keen to understand the comments a little further if possible. Thanks