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Which catchment more important: primary or secondary?

(22 Posts)
StiffLittleFingers Sun 08-Dec-13 18:56:39

Thanks SidandAndyssextoy! I think you are probably right. I'm not so worried about sticking in Brockley for Secondaries. It's whether we take a punt on getting into a (any) primary from our current location..

SidandAndyssextoy Sun 08-Dec-13 18:25:11

We've just done the rounds of SE London comps and it's my belief that the existing schools out there are better than many think, and are set to continue to improve. I'd guess that by the time a putative DS is off to secondary, people will be fighting over Prendergast Ladywell Fields, Conisborough, Deptford Green and Addey and Stanhope. All schools I'd be happy to send my son to now to be honest, but I'd be astonished if virtually every secondary school in the area didn't continue to push upwards. The pressure on them is, and will be even more, immense. Those are just the ones we looked at too - there are more. I don't think you can make a decision to move to an area just for the secondary school so far in advance, so I'd move (if you're going to) for primary, making sure you're reasonably close to at least one secondary school.

StiffLittleFingers Sun 08-Dec-13 16:55:46

I meant DH! DD is opinionated but not so clear on favourite postcodes yet..

StiffLittleFingers Sun 08-Dec-13 16:54:49

Well, DD has categorically said he won't move to the suburbs, so that's that..,
I quote "I didn't leave Cornwall to live in the suburbs, I came to live in London". Hmm
Luckily he will consider Ladywell, Crofton Park etc. It really does seem that the world and his brother will too though. I just had a driving lesson and drive past so many couples in Barbour jackets clearly on recces on a Sunday!

Thymeout Sun 08-Dec-13 10:46:38

Big question! Too many variables. Sidcup is Bexley which still has the 11+, with all that that implies. There's a recent thread somewhere started by someone, living in Beckenham, who was hoping her dd would get into Prendergast on a music admission. She's much more up to date than me. Try an advanced search.

Penge/Beckenham feels more like London and has the Overground. The previously struggling secondaries are now Harris Academies. Who knows what they'll be like in 10 years? I think one of them has a g&t stream.

Not surprisingly, the schools at the top of the league tables eg Langley Park, tend to have small catchments in expensive areas. Anywhere near Bromley South and fast trains to London - 15 mins - is good for commuting. Ravensbourne, co-ed, is on the up. Outstanding 6th form. Bullers Wood, Bickley/Chislehurst, is good for girls. Hayes - co-ed - has always had a vg reputation, but the area feels v suburban.

We moved from Lewisham many years ago, to get a bigger property, but I worked there until recently. Had the same feelings as you about the suburbs, but I must say I've found Lewisham centre a bit depressing on recent visits. Needs a makeover. You may find you have different priorities as a family than a couple.

But I can see why you're reluctant to leave Brockley and hope you manage to find something.

StiffLittleFingers Sat 07-Dec-13 20:17:18

Yes Brockley really has gone through the roof and not sure we can afford a house within both catchments to be honest, but will see.

I keep hearing that Bromley is good for schools, but as a girl from Sidcup I associate Bromley with being a bored teenager hanging out in the Glades! Ditto I know Sidcup has great schools but it would be weird to return home. I always thought of it as suburban hell. Although it has a Waitrose now and I'm well in my 30s so such things excite me ;)

Are there any parts of Bromley you'd recommend in particular Thymeout?

Thymeout Sat 07-Dec-13 19:44:58

Yes - the Right to Buy scheme seems to have sent prices through the roof in your area, particularly. At least you're on the ladder. I know a first-time buyer who had a mortgage all set up and, in the space of a fortnight, had been totally priced out of the market in Lewisham. She's moving to Anerley now.

Sounds like a good plan and you still have the option of Bromley as Plan B if putative ds doesn't get into Aske's. It'd be an easy commute for dd on the train from Bromley to Ladywell.

Anyway, good luck!

StiffLittleFingers Sat 07-Dec-13 13:31:54

Thanks Thymeout - really helpful. Well, we have put our flat in the market and the aim is to move to a house nearby so we'll still be in Prendergast catchment but also nearer to a primary.

The other concern is we are TTC and what if we have a boy? Aske's Hatcham is kind if near but don't think we're a dead cert for there. Seems very premature to be thinking this but I am a planner!

Also not sure our 2 bed flat could take 2 kids up to secondary age. Well it probably could. It's so hard! I've been looking around everywhere - Ladywell, Hither Green, Sydenham, Beckenham, Brockley still, and there is a housing frenzy.

If we can't find anywhere we like as much as our flat, we will take it off the market and stay put and extend I think.

Thymeout Thu 05-Dec-13 17:53:39

If you're sure you're in the Prendergast catchment, and can imagine living in your flat for the next 10 years, I'd stay put. Secondary is much more of a worry in Lewisham than primary.

If space gets tight, and you have to move to, say Bromley, the schools, both primary and secondary, are much more homogeneous, with less of a gulf between the best and the rest. I'd still be looking at secondary in choosing where to live.

Why not wait till you know the figures for the year before dd starts school? Still time to move out if it seems that she won't get into a school that you can easily reach.

PastSellByDate Thu 05-Dec-13 09:40:57

Hi Stiff:

I've posted a lot about my woes with our primary - affectionately known at home at St. Mediocre.

St. Mediocre is a happy place. My DDs have good friends there and generally go in and out of school with a smile on their faces.

Our dilemma is that St. Mediocre isn't a high aspiration, academic kind of place.

Lots of little chats with me about how vertical addition/ subtraction might result in deeply confusing my children long term and isn't something they would advise 'as professionals'.

No teaching division (inverse multiplication, let alone long division - I guess now terms bus stop method).

Times tables to x10 (x11 and x12 really aren't necessary - and I'm quoting a teacher).

I'ts the kind of school that prints off target books for Y5 maths off the web but leaves off half the points of the original (just type in Y5 maths targets on google and these booklets appear - they clearly chose the first one). [I found what they left out very informative and we focused on doing that at home].

But in the scheme of things I can help with any gaps at this stage, fairly easily. There are all sorts of free resources on-line, many schools sign up to things like Education City so your kid can do more if they/ you want, and you can join the library, get in workbooks, join an on-line tutorial, DIY tutor or get in a private tutor at primary - all to great effect. Asking questions or for ideas here on MN is also brilliant.

My view is you can live with a mediocre primary and just do more at home. But it's rather more difficult to teach physics or chemistry to GCSE or A Level from home.


StiffLittleFingers Wed 04-Dec-13 22:24:47

It's stupid isn't it? And arbitrary. I hope they just build more schools for future generations or just expand what they have.

ShoeWhore Wed 04-Dec-13 22:06:10

Fingers crossed that one of your nearer schools gets a crap reputation for no real reason then grin

StiffLittleFingers Wed 04-Dec-13 20:13:38

Thanks everyone you've been most helpful. DD is almost 2 so guess we'd be applying in just under 2 years' time? My concern is not getting stuck at a primary which is not good or outstanding, it's not having a place nearby at all, with a bus journey to a poor school at the other side of the borough! This happened to my friend in Catford.

The school, Lucas Vale, which may take us now may end up making its catchment much smaller in 2 years if it gets turned around by the super head! It's really not very near us either sad

TeenAndTween Wed 04-Dec-13 11:21:56

I think a good secondary is much more important than a good primary.

At primary, it is possible to supplement at home if you need to. The only 2 important subjects at primary are Maths and English. Furthermore your child will have less homework than at secondary so there is more time available to supplement if you need to. The main one to aim for is level 4 English as writing affects so many subjects in Secondary. Maths (though it pains me to say it) is less critical for Secondary.

If you have a poor secondary then you are left with the dilemma of which subjects to assist with. As 8-10 of them will continue to GCSE, you actually need good inspired teaching in everything. It is much harder at secondary to keep abreast of all the subjects a pupil is doing and to assist if needed.

A good secondary can take a child who is lacking in confidence in Maths or English and bring them on.

SidandAndyssextoy Tue 03-Dec-13 23:48:36

My understanding is that Prendergast takes on distance, so if you're close enough, ability shouldn't be an issue. I think definitely worth hanging in there for such a great school. The best signifier for doing well at primary is supportive engaged parents, so you're off to a good start. Even if your daughter doesn't get in to one of the schools you like, stick her on waiting lists. Brockley still has a fairly high turnover of kids from what I know, so if you can cope with a year at a less desirable school, you may find she can move in year 1. Also confederations can make a big difference - Gordonbrock has benefited hugely from being taken under the wing of Eliot Bank for example.

ShoeWhore Tue 03-Dec-13 23:15:04

When do you need to apply? I would definitely go and visit - if there is a super head on board the school may very well change rapidly and could be a great place to be.

StiffLittleFingers Tue 03-Dec-13 23:11:26

Deptford not adept ford!

StiffLittleFingers Tue 03-Dec-13 23:10:39

Thanks ShoeWhore. I rang the admissions team today and they were really helpful, but spelled out how far we were from each of the catchments. One left me with the ominous words "well that's food for thought"
I have a feeling Lucas Vale may take the kids who don't get in elsewhere as the catchment was huge. Their results are at the bottom of Lewisham's league table but I have a feeling that a super head from adept ford may have taken over recently. As people tell me, primaries can change a lot. DD is not quite two yet! But the fact remains we aren't near ANY of them..

The secondary is solid and has an emphasis on music which is great, as DH is very musical.

ShoeWhore Tue 03-Dec-13 23:04:20

It's really hard isn't it?

We're looking at moving and are prioritising secondary over primary but dc1 will have only 1 year left at primary v (hopefully!) 7 years at secondary.

Have you tried ringing the admissions team at your local authority? They might be able to tell you what school you would have been allocated in the last year or two if it's not obvious from the published admissions data?

The difficulty for you now is that you presumably don't have access to a crystal ball grin - a lot can and will change between now and when your dc goes to secondary. I guess you could look for a secondary with a very good solid reputation over the long term?

StiffLittleFingers Tue 03-Dec-13 22:41:18

Funnily enough, my friend just suggested that. Seems like a faff, but maybe worth it I guess..

Goldchilled7up Tue 03-Dec-13 22:32:27

How about if you rent out your flat, and move to a rented property in catchment for a good primary in the area? In time for secondary applications you can move back.

StiffLittleFingers Tue 03-Dec-13 21:50:47

Hi all,
Am currently getting my knickers in a twist because, as suspected, our flat is not in the catchment areas for any of our local primaries in Brockley (apart from Lucas Vale which is bizarrely further away, which I've not heard of, anyone know it?)

My dilemma is that we are very near to Prendergast Hilly Fields secondary school so would probably qualify if DD is bright enough. Do we hang on to our flat, take a deep breath for the primary years and sit tight for Prendergast? My nightmare would be that DD has to go to a poor primary school miles away, especially as we don't drive. Can't afford private primary education.

As we live in the conservation area of Brockley Our flat is apparently 'in demand' (according to slightly aggressive estate agents) so I am tempted to just sell up and move to the burbs. But even then, where can both good primary and secondary schools be guaranteed?

We really love living in Brockley so would rather stay
our flat is a large 2 bed but we may end up needing to move eventually if we have another DC.
Apologies for the length of this, just really shocked by how small the primary catchments actually are round here!

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