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St Joseph's Dorking or North Downs, Brockham?

(5 Posts)
Boos75 Mon 29-Dec-14 17:24:24


We moved to a village just outside Dorking/Reigate a couple of months ago and my DD is due to start school in September 2015, so I have to apply for a school by 15 Jan.

I think the above schools are our final two but I can't decide on which would be our preference.

Bit of background: although just outside of the Parish of St Joseph's we are Catholic and have been attending Mass at the church. We did really like the school when we looked round but the downside is it seemed a bit cramped and has little outside space. North Downs is much closer to us and has loads of space but am a bit concerned that the Head who has done so much to improve the school in recent years is about to retire.

I don't have any local friends (yet, hopefully school will bring some!) so any thoughts you have on the schools are most welcome.

Thank you.

QuiteQuietly Tue 30-Dec-14 18:46:10

I used to be local-ish and remember a debacle a few years ago at Brockham where the reception year was based in another North Downs school (to consolidate the reception classes, then the Brockham kids moved back to Brockham school for Y1). Not sure if that is still the case, but worth asking about.

Have you looked on the local talk board?

Boos75 Tue 30-Dec-14 19:54:39

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply QuiteQuietly. Yes, you're right, North Downs is the result of two (or three?) schools merging so Reception and Yrs 1-2 are split and are on different sites until they come together again in YR 3. That doesn't worry me too much but the school did go through a tough time after the merger so am a bit concerned it may happen again when the Head retires this coming year.

Good idea re: posting on Local Talk. Will do.

Happy New Year!

nicenewdusters Tue 30-Dec-14 20:51:40

Hi. You're right that the school did go through a rough time when the long standing Head Teacher (over 20 years at the school) retired a few years ago. What followed was a very unfortunate series of events. The school had just amalgamated and was (still is) on three separate sites, making it harder to attract a Head Teacher. The various new and temporary heads came and went for a number of reasons, some personal/family, others professional.

The current head is a local lady who came out of retirement to step in and give some stability to the school. She has done an excellent job, the school feels very settled, well organised and recently moved up a level in its OFSTED inspection.

They interviewed for the new Head last term. There will of course be some upheaval when she goes, but the school is in a very different place than it was when she took over. As the previous poster said, the main thing you may wish to consider is the move from the sites at Betchworth to Leigh to Brockham. The OFSTED report didn't seem to think this was a problem though.

If you live nearer to Brockham it's worth bearing in mind that lots of the children at North Downs live locally and so socialise and go to clubs together. There's a lovely village community, it's a great way to get to know other parents and there's lots of lift sharing and coming back for tea etc.

Wherever you choose, I hope it works out for you.

(p.s. I'm not the Head Teacher or related to her !!)

Boos75 Thu 01-Jan-15 20:01:07

Thank you so much nicenewdusters. So sorry for the delay in replying. I got caught up with various new year celebrations. Happy new year to you!

It's really very useful to have the latest info on the school and great to hear how friendly it is too. I'd better get on with filling the application in!

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