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primary schools in and around Penge, SE20

(13 Posts)
WildebeestH Thu 07-Nov-13 22:07:08

We're in the midst of school visits in the hope of finding a local primary school for our son that we like and may even get into. I'd be really interested to hear from other parents also looking or who already have children in schools locally.

Alexandra seems to be the safe bet on paper (haven't visited yet) but last year, for the first time, we would have been out of the ever decreasing catchment area. We thought St John's, which I know has had problems, seemed warm, friendly and well-organised. The new head and executive head seem committed to improving it. Then there are the two Harris options - Kent House (was Royston) and Crystal Palace (was Malcolm). I know we're meant to put down six but it seems impossible that we'd get into any of the better but further away ones like Balgowan so I'm not quite sure what else we put down.

WildebeestH Tue 12-Nov-13 08:46:43


allyfe Tue 12-Nov-13 10:33:17

That you are supposed to put down six choices is a bit of a joke because the reality is you are lucky if you are in the catchment area of one good school. I believe that Alexandra had unusually high sibling numbers last year. The year that happened at Balgowan (0.18 high sibling year) the catchment was unusually large the following year (0.3). So, don't assume you won't get Alexandra. There is also the new Harris that is opening in Beckenham, but that would be quite a journey for you. I would suggest you put down the ones you would like, but make sure you put down a realistic but less popular school too (e.g. Churchfields/Royston - although the Harris schools are likely to improve quickly) so that you don't end up being put in a school miles away if you don't get your top choices. I know that happened to quite a few people in the Beckenham area. I haven't visited the Penge schools so I can't offer much real help. Good luck smile

WildebeestH Wed 13-Nov-13 20:25:59

Thanks. It's reassuring to hear that the catchment went up at Balgowan after a particularly small catchment year. I was wondering if it was an ongoing pattern with the better (on paper) schools but it can obviously vary year to year. The catchment last year was 0.27 and we're 0.31 so I guess it's just a case of keeping our fingers crossed. I agree that putting 6 down is a bit of a joke. We'll probably go for Alexandra, two very realistic ones and three less realistic ones.

allyfe Wed 13-Nov-13 20:54:02

The other thing is, that close, if you were really unlucky and didn't get in in the first intake, you could go straight on the waiting list and you'd still have a chance. There is sometimes a bit of movement. Or you may end up going bilingual smile

NynaevesSister Thu 14-Nov-13 06:12:50

Know people with children at Royston. Children are happy there and so far parents are pleased with the improvements.

SteamWisher Fri 15-Nov-13 19:43:07

Nynaeve (love the name - am a fan), can you tell me more about children at Royston? I'm struggling find anyone there! Royston and Alexandra are my closest but still out of catchment for Alexandra... I've seen Alexandra and like it. Saw Royston last year and will again this year.

GoingToBedfordshire Fri 15-Nov-13 20:05:42

I would definitely agree about putting 6 local schools down so as to avoid being given a school miles and miles away. So, something like Alexandra, St Johns, Royston, Malcolm, Churchfields, Stuart Fleming.

You say you're in the middle of the visits, which is great as they are by far the best way of deciding which order to put your choices.

Happy to talk over PM if you want to discuss further.

Allyfe What is your bilingual comment about?

allyfe Fri 15-Nov-13 20:09:31

GoingToBedfordshire I was also exchanging messages with Wildebeest on a thread about Bromley Bilingual School, and it was just because I had just clicked that it was the same person smile

GoingToBedfordshire Fri 15-Nov-13 20:39:51

Ah, geddit!

NynaevesSister Sat 16-Nov-13 11:09:01

A child in reception and another in year 4. The parents were very unhappy with the school previously, especially the academic progress. That said both children have been very happy at the school and enjoy going. It is early days but so far they see Harris as a positive. Proper homework that leads learning, good targets set in class, better communication with parents. I would recommend going to visit Royston again and see what you think of the changes. Harris don't have a good rep at primary level, which would worry me, but the parents seem very motivated and supportive of the change.

WildebeestH Mon 18-Nov-13 15:28:18

Royston felt big to me but I think a lot of that's the building - it's only two form entry which isn't huge these days. It has great potential I think (huge playing fields, hall with a stage, even some chickens) and a friend of mine knows the new head and has a lot of faith that she will turn it around. Personally though I think I prefer St John's (if you're okay with a church school). It seemed much friendlier and more of a community. The reception class was a lot calmer and all the children seemed to be engaged on one activity or another. It also helps that a lot of my neighbours' children went there last year and seem to be reasonably happy.

We finally saw Alexandra last week and I feel a bit deflated after that as I do really like it but struggle to believe that we'll get in. There seems to have been such a baby boom round here and also lots of young families moving into the area.

Mucky72 Thu 13-Feb-14 23:14:14

Thinking of moving to Penge from...hold your breath...Cardiff! Looking for a primary school for DC who are currently in Reception and Yr 2. What are the chances of mid year admissions in any of the decent primary schools. Both kids are going to a very good independent school here at the mo but for personal reasons that's no longer an option when we move to Penge. Hence looking for some good primary school suggestions in Penge. Cheers!

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