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Fosse bank school in west kent

(21 Posts)
mrsmilesmatheson Sat 16-May-15 15:50:02

Wondered if anyone had any opinions on this school?

I have done a search on mumsnet local but nothing very recent comes up and I hear they have a new head.

We are considering moving ds aged 6 from his current school and we like the sound of fosse bank but opinions seem very varied from past posts on here.

Toughasoldboots Sat 16-May-15 16:19:31

It wasn't a school that appealed to me when I looked round. I went twice for two different children, but then I really did not like the headmistress.
I didn't know about the new head, so maybe things will be different now.
My dd did a trial day there and came out sobbing, the teacher said that she had a lovely day. Dd said she cried all day and was alone in break and lunchtime. That and the headmistress put me off. I thought the grounds were beautiful , but she said that the children weren't allowed to use much of it for 'health and safety' reasons.
I really liked the deputy head who covered when she was on maternity leave.

I have friends with dc there, some love it and another pulled her dd out after about six months.

I think that a consortium of parents bought the school a few years ago when it got into financial trouble.

mrsmilesmatheson Sat 16-May-15 17:53:34

Thanks tough, when did you look round?

mrsmilesmatheson Sat 16-May-15 17:56:44

Ah just seen that you haven't met the old head.

The impression I am getting from the school is that they are relaxed, yet high achieving and that they allow the children a lot of freedom with regards to using outside space. This really appealed to me but if it's not true ...

I'm finding it very strange going from his current state school to looking around private schools where I am basically a prospective "customer".

I also hear they have wraparound care which really appeals. And a high 11plus pass rate which would be important a few years down the line.

mrsmilesmatheson Sat 16-May-15 18:08:09


You haven't met the NEW head!

Toughasoldboots Sat 16-May-15 21:28:33

I last looked round three years ago.
Are you in Tonbridge/Hildenborough?

I would look at Hilden Oaks and the schools at somerhill too. Sevenoaks also has some nice schools, Sevenoaks Prep etc.

Toughasoldboots Sat 16-May-15 21:29:55

It's not regarded as high achieving locally but I am not someone who is bothered by that to be honest.
If you like the new head, it sounds a positive start.

MLKitchen Sun 17-May-15 10:04:05

Hi. I have two at Fosse Bank in yr2 and yr4 (moved from London two years ago). Been there under both heads- the new one is very good (not saying the old one wasn't!) but they needed a change. She is very dynamic and has made a lot of changes. It has changed A LOT since September. It is actually academic - but it is not super selective so those that are bright do very well and are pushed and those that may struggle for whatever reason go at their pace (which is what their parents want). But the bright ones aren't affected- they stream between the years (so my yr 2 goes up to yr 3 for some lessons) and we have noticed a massive increase in our two's performance since moving to the school. It has changed a lot in one year let alone three. It is a small school but that's a positive- everyone is treated as an individual and never gets overlooked. We looked around Somerhill, Hilden Oaks, Beechwood, Hildren Grange and liked Fosse so much more. It depends what you want from a school- they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. I would make your own opinion going round. I have learnt since moving to kent that there are very strong anti and positive comments about every school (some sort of rivalry?!) and really go for what you like. The grounds are used LOADS. They have created a 100 acre wood and go for long walks. They have a gardening club in the summer. Brand new tennis courts. Children swim every week either at Fosse or at the lovely pool at Tonbridge School in the older years. They definitely get a lot of time to use the outside space which was a plus for us. Also consider getting to the schools. The Hilden ones are a nightmare for drop off and pick up (I drive past them at these times to get to Fosse) since they are just on residential roads. Not your top priority for a school but definitely something to bear in mind.

Wrap around care is great- can drop from 8am with teachers in playground and there is a breakfast club before that. They can stay til 6pm after school in clubs or the after school club. They also do easter and summer holiday clubs run by the teachers at the school so kids like that since it is not a new thing. If you commute into london you can leave your car at the school and walk to the station which is useful. They definitely aim towards the 11+ since it is not a school that has a senior department or goes through to 13 and so that is their aim- to get your child to the best level possible for the exams in year 6. Our main reason for moving to this area was to get them into a school that would prepare for the 11+.

There is a fun day/open day on Sunday 7th June with lots of events/races going on for the kids that would be a nice way to see the school and meet some of the parents.

If you have any specific questions please do PM me and I will be happy to chat.

Toughasoldboots Sun 17-May-15 11:40:12

Oh and Mrsmiles, all the private schools locally have wraparound care, so that shouldn't be a factor in your decision. A lot of the state schools do too.

Have a look at a few and see which one you feel most comfortable with. Also, I would be wary of any that can immediately take your Dd, most have waiting lists, although of course you do get people moving out of the area.

mrsmilesmatheson Sun 17-May-15 11:53:03

Thank you both for such detailed replies. We are going to go and look around a few and see how we feel after that.

His current state school is very low achieving and provides no wrap around care, it's a nightmare for a working mum.

We also have one more state school to look at but that would be to go on a waiting list. I'm keen to get his place sorted within the next month or so so that I can stop worrying about it!

Toughasoldboots Sun 17-May-15 12:22:09

Mrsmiles, you can pm me if you want.
I have had a few children in a mixture of state and private schools in the area. One is very bright and in a superselective, one is very average and one is bright with SN.

I have experience of SG school if that is the state school you are considering.

mrsmilesmatheson Sun 17-May-15 18:51:50

Thanks tough, it's not SG though as we aren't from the immediate area. I only wish we were in catchment of there! I can commute from hildenborough amongst other places which is why fosse bank is one possibility.

Will be ringing round tomorrow to set up appointments and go from there.

mrsmilesmatheson Sun 17-May-15 18:52:26

Thanks tough, it's not SG though as we aren't from the immediate area. I only wish we were in catchment of there! I can commute from hildenborough amongst other places which is why fosse bank is one possibility.

Will be ringing round tomorrow to set up appointments and go from there.

Justgetthruthegoddamday Tue 19-May-15 21:23:20

Never understood the reputation that Fosse Bank isn't academic. It isn't selective but if your child is bright it will get the best out of them. I'm confident that my two little geniuses will join their peers from the other local indies at their selective secondaries wink (But they'll have had a lovely time getting there) I hope your visit goes well.

Pr1mr0se Fri 11-Dec-15 17:24:08

Any more comments on what this school is like from parents who have children currently there please as I'd be interested to see any other perspectives. Before anyone comments as such, I don't have any children there but it's one we are considering and we will be going along and doing the whole meet and great thing.

Justgetthruthegoddamday Fri 11-Dec-15 22:35:31

We still think it's great. What are you looking for? Have been to visit other schools in the area?

Pr1mr0se Wed 20-Jan-16 11:53:03

Just been to look around school and I can now be more focused on questions so if anyone currently or recently has experience of this school please feel free to comment on your experience / views. So my questions are they seem to be set up for SENs kids (special needs) but are they any good for kids who are able / bright (e.g. able= don't have any special needs). I'm a bit worried about the teaching technique (seem wedded to a wierd book /process which I've never heard of and don't know the name of to be honest). Basically if you have experience of this school, did it work out for you?

Pr1mr0se Wed 20-Jan-16 11:57:33

Oh and to answer Justgetthruthegoddamday's question, yes we have looked at other schools in the area. Fosse Bank seems to be the least aspirational of all the prep schools we've seen in the area (least academic/ pushy) which can be a good thing but I am worried that this means they don't get the results come 11plus day as they aren't accountable to anyone as there's no prep school group behind them as they are run by governors (apart from the parent you'd hope!).

Justgetthruthegoddamday Wed 20-Jan-16 20:30:36

Do you mean Read Write Inc - the phonics programme the use?

Pr1mr0se Thu 21-Jan-16 12:24:39

Yes that's the one.

Justgetthruthegoddamday Thu 21-Jan-16 21:08:06

RWI is used by many schools. I know Hilden Grange uses it too. It gave my son sound phonics knowledge and helped him become the good reader he is now. (Y1)

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