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City of London Freeman's School, Ashtead(14 Posts)
Does anyone have a child in the junior school at Freeman's? DD is very bright and self-motivated, so has a chance of passing the 7+ entrance exam, but we're looking for a loving and nurturing environment, with teachers passionate about bringing out the very best from the KS2 age group, not only academically but also in art, DT and music. We'd like a school where the children think of themselves as a group travelling through their educational journey together, rather than as individuals being assessed and compared with each other. Finally, we'd love her to feel she has the teachers' backing to think outside the box, take risks and go down blind alleys, instead of worrying that each piece of work has to be "perfect" and conform with what is "expected". Would Freeman's fit the bill?
I don’t know a lot about Freeman’s, but have you looked around Chinthurst? They’re definitely getting the most out of my eldest in just the way you describe.
I wouldnt describe Freemans as a nurturing environment - it is a good school in lots of ways but I wouldnt put it up there for pastoral care. Chinthurst better for that I would agree.
You are asking a lot you know - compromises will be needed -they are only schools at the end of the day.
Visit both schools. Ask questions. Pay attention to your gut feeling about the schools. But honestly I’m thinking you might have to modify some of your expectations.
Thinking outside the box is a good idea but if the school cannot teach it, you should instead. At the end of the day this is a educational institution not anything else. Have you considered homeschooling or not?
Homeschooling is perfect for teaching children things like flexibility and unconventional skills like thinking beyond the obvious.
@Confused2011 we are also considering Freemen's and whilst we don't have a child there, we have plenty of friends who do.
I would agree that it's not at the top of the list for pastoral care, and the sport provision is patchy. They have a reputation for not winning at much sport wise.
Those with girls there seem to be happier with it than those with boys. There's a fair bit of movement around 11 too. A couple of friends have moved their dds to Epsom college because they're really sporty.
It's reasonably academic though, although not if you compare it to the London schools. It depends what you're looking for. We are also considering Aberdour, Downsend and Banstead Prep. It's a real headache!
We are also considering CLFS, Downsend and Aberdour. It is indeed a headache.
Freeman’s is certainly the most academic but have concerns that it’s very traditional. The other schools come across as far more dynamic with greater added value.
Would also be very keen to hear from current parents with regards to these 3 schools, the good, the bad and the ugly......
The pastoral care at Freemen's is poor to non existent, there is a lot of bullying, about which the school does very little. It doesn't do nurturing - the children are encouraged to be independent from day 1. Sport is much better for the boys than the girls - boys get more squad time, play more matches, have better coaching and have much better facilities than the girls. Lots of the children go to outside sports clubs for a lot of the sports and athletics. The school is also very poor at dealing with children with allergies or other medical conditions - procedures are lacking, medication goes missing etc etc. The music is great, lots of bands, orchestra etc. Drama and art also strong. DT excellent.
Thanks for all your replies!
Missdeameanour, when you say "dynamic with greater added value" what do you mean? I'm completely new to KS2 education, so don't really know what "extras" to look out for.
Epwell, do you have DCs at Freemen's yourself? And are your comments about the Junior School, Years 7-8 or the Senior School? I've met the Junior and Senior School headmasters and they both seem very caring, with a genuine passion for children/teenagers, and they seem to go out of their way to look after the staff in a holistic way behind the scenes way above and beyond the other schools we've looked at elsewhere, so it's hard for me to picture them not taking bullying seriously. Is this really the case? Any other parents with experience of this at Freemen's?
Yes, I have direct experience of the school. The headmasters talk the talk but do not walk the walk. (Have met with them both. Several times.) Sending my child there is one of the worst decisions I have ever made and if I had my time again I wouldn't repeat the experience. Final straw was online bullying over half term involving children from the school and discussing events at school - Freemen's refused to do anything about it on the grounds it was "not term time". Presumably this extends to weekends too, and possibly evenings. Many children there aren't bullied and do fine, but if you are then god help you, because nobody else will. Comments are about the junior school. It can be a pretty brutal place and there is a lot of bullying there. If I had my time again I'd go for Downsend.
Ditto Epwell, if I had my time again would not have sent my child there. Bullying rife, not just the children, the parents are just as bad. Trad environment which, to my mind, is out of touch with normal diverse society - just look at the candidates we have in government currently which provide a perfect example. Thankfully moved My child for sixth form and what a breath of fresh air. Downsend btw now offering education all the way to 18 and good choice. But agree with comments above there are other schools in the area which have better things to offer. Don’t be fooled by straight academics. They don’t produce well rounded kids but I suppose we are all different and it depends what you want for your child.
pastoral care not on top of the list,
the sport provision patchy.
very traditional, and other schools in the area are far more dynamic
headmasters talk the talk but not walk the walk
out of touch with normal diverse society
---- All very TRUE!
Since the pandemic began, I know no other private schools offered less on line streaming for the pupils and Freemen's said it was because of "safeguarding", and no hot meals for lunch for more than 2+ months, obviously to comply with the Covid restrictions --- like the other schools do not need to follow the same rules.
And the headmaster's own daughter moved to another school last year.
Another thing Freemen's doesn't do is pick up children with learning conditions such as ASD or ADHD. I know of a number of children whose conditions were not picked up. My own DC was there for several years and nothing was noticed. It took the new school a term. It really is a disgraceful place.
I withdrew my Daughter from Freemens due to issues of bullying at the site and it is very true the Headmaster Roland Martin just gives allot of lip service and little else and i found him very creepy to be honest.
I also found out through another parent on site that the Health and Safety to be shocking as her child who is in the junior school found herself with her friend alone in the new swimming pool and they had free access for over 30 mins and they only got caught out due a video they made.
They also had an exposed electrical cabinet that the children could of got into outside of the new swimming pool it is now covered correctly but was left exposed for months and i took pictures of it. There is a site that an ex employee within the facilities team apparently has posted up shocking pics of health and safety issues as well as 2 recording of Sue Williams the Bursar at Freemens stating in a meeting that if the HSE were to get involved the school would be closed down, and then a conversation were you can clearly hear a manager stating that The Headmaster and Sue Williams wanted this particular member of staff gone due to him bringing up health and safety issues, it does open your eyes to such undertakings within these types of schools.
Hmmmm, they do like to keep the bullying quiet, interesting what other parents have said here, I would like to add if you dare complain they are very quick to muddy the waters and uphold their reputation?!? They only seem to care about the schools rep and results, not the welfare of the children. I feel sorry for the staff.......I suppose we are victims of our own wishes for our children to get the best results possible, but it comes at a price. Parents think they can complain about other children in order to further their own child in some way or another whether it is sports teams or in the classroom and they are listened to as fee payers. One teacher had a child there got caught doing drugs and got away with it whereas the other child didn’t. No fairness. Avoid at all costs in my opinion. Agree about Mr Martin FrancesHerbie!.