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Colville, Fox, Thomas Jones Primary Schools in Notting Hill

(12 Posts)
w11dad Tue 19-Mar-19 01:27:18

Currently looking at waiting list for some of the usual private schools in W11.

However, looking at the state primaries above, they all have very good reviews, and rated OFSTED Outstanding.

One concern with state is RBKC reports almost 50% of kids on a free school meal (<16k GBP family income) in the past 6 years for both Colville and Thomas Jones (both OFSTED Outstanding). National average about 26%, Fox only 10% (but apparently very hard to get into).

Haven't visited the state schools yet, but curious if anyone has direct experiences, is there a sense that those two are disadvantaged schools, or are classes too burdened with challenging kids/families (1 in 2 seems an awful lot, and I didn't go to W11 schools).

OP’s posts: |
dolphin50 Tue 19-Mar-19 13:24:43

There will be wealthy people living in notting hill who send their kids to state schools. David camerons children went to st mary abbots primary school in kensington church street followed by kensington aldridge academy. Thomas Jones was spoken of highly by wetherby prep because of the amazing results they get and the emphasis on reading.
At state schools you will be mixing with all types - less in notting hill I would think but maybe not. I have a friend who went to a prep school and was bullied because she was the only one who didn't have her own pony! Going to state school you learn to mix with people from all backgrounds and probably end up less snobby and understanding of others.

PeppaFeb Tue 19-Mar-19 16:13:45

Watching with interest. 50% does seem unusually high?

w11dad Tue 19-Mar-19 21:44:35

Frankly looking at the results for both schools (especially Thomas Jones) one can only be positively impressed. It was something that looked out of place though.

Source, bottom section of these two links:

www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/school/100488/thomas-jones-primary-school?tab=absence-and-pupil-population

www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/school/100481/colville-primary-school?tab=absence-and-pupil-population

Although I literally just found these figures which seem to contradict the ones above:

get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/Establishments/Establishment/Details/100488
(Thomas Jones reports 25% eligible, in line with national avg).

get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/Establishments/Establishment/Details/100481
(Colville Primary reports 22% eligible).

OP’s posts: |
w11dad Tue 19-Mar-19 22:08:12

Any anecdotal experience regarding catchement areas for those 3 school in the subject line?

Barring any SEN or siblings, do people really have to live within 200mt of school or is it an exaggeration?

OP’s posts: |
maya1983 Wed 20-Mar-19 12:55:41

Hi w11dad,

My daughter is currently in year 1 and has been at TJS since reception. Background: we were initially offered a place at St Barnabas and St Philip (5th choice!) and therefore placed on a waiting list for TJS. We live 250m (as the crow flies) and 450m (walking route) to TJS. When school places were announced we were 16 on the waiting list. Between 20-24 kids were at nursery there and about 5-6 have siblings. Intake is 30.

I can't recommend this school enough for anyone lucky to get a place. If you don't at first, stick to the waiting list even if you get a place in year one it's worth it.
The school is extremely well directed and the children are all friendly, helpful, respectful and more importantly, enthusiastic about their learning as well as being part of this school.
Before applying for us it was all about statistics and hear say. Having been there for almost 2 years I can safely say it ticks all the boxes and I'm relieved!

Lastly, I don't want to seem critical of your concern regarding % of kids on free school meals. I am just urging you not to take this criteria too seriously when considering this school at least - I can't comment on how others turned out to be for other parents/children - I just don't think it's that useful... Of course I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't say that I too dreaded it might be an indication of something 'negative'!
Ironically what I have noticed talking with parents of children in different classes at TJS is that well over this statistical 50% take part in at least 2 extra curricular activities (which are anything but cheap!): football, tennis, music lessons, martial arts, performing arts, skateboard, gymnastics, swimming, basketball, climbing, languages and the list goes on...

My point is, there is definitely no sense of disadvantage at Thomas Jones. The school's focus is to provide the most effective level of education for all students - irrespective of background, family income, difficult situations at home, etc. The only way this can be done is to support all children but most of all teach them to support and respect each other and value their education. As a result, the children take pride in themselves and their achievements.
No point denying that high standards are important, taking pride in what you do, the way you present yourself, what you eat and drink, hygiene (!) and so on.

Anyway I've gone on long enough but I am truly pleased that we are in a school that shares our values.
The teachers say it all the time, the school wouldn't do as well as it does if parents didn't share the same high standards as the school's and to me, this is what takes this school to the next level.

Wishing you all the best smile

www.mylondon.news/news/35-london-schools-been-rated-15992782

www.mylondon.news/news/west-london-news/world-class-west-london-school-15969536

maya1983 Wed 20-Mar-19 13:43:01

Having to live 200m from the school... not an exaggeration unfortunately! I guess this only goes for the really top state schools though and ones that are very heavily oversubscribed. As I said we initially got our 5th choice which is 1.5 miles away!

w11dad Wed 20-Mar-19 14:53:25

Thank you maya1983. That seems to match my expectations of the parents' community, it is reassuring. Glad you ended up in TSJ after all.

How does one navigate waiting lists on state schools/how did you know your position on the list?

Is there an official website with catchment areas for the schools above? Couldn't find much, and GSG data is 4-5 years old.

OP’s posts: |
w11dad Wed 20-Mar-19 14:59:38

Also, any other non-religious state schools you would recommend looking at in the area between Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill Gate/Holland Park stations besides those 3?

OP’s posts: |
w11dad Wed 20-Mar-19 15:54:08

Apologies for multiple posting - looking at the nursery admission policy [1] it says being at the nursery doesn't guarantee a spot at reception. What has been your experience? Curious as you said 20-24 were at nursery.

[1] www.thomasjonesschool.org/uploads/5/7/8/4/5784329/nursery_admissions_policy_and_handbook_2019-20.pdf

OP’s posts: |
maya1983 Thu 21-Mar-19 14:09:30

I'm honestly not sure how it works - personally I didn't even know there was a nursery! I can only deduce that reception places are much more sought after than nursery places, hence the catchment criteria that comes into play for admission into reception must make it more difficult to keep existing kids if they live further than new applicants (even if it's a few steps!). Excluding usual exceptions like siblings etc.
At TJ, it's clear from the school run that kids do live close by (more than you'd think within the line of sight!).

I have found this page with 2018 admissions for some schools in the area:
www.rbkc.gov.uk/children-and-education/schools/join-school/cut-distance-maps

Remember also that schools are very different size-wise. I think Colville is the biggest with a capacity of c.ca 480 pupils, Fox I think just under 400 and Thomas Jones has approx. 210. This is reception to year 6. We didn't apply to Colville however so I can't say if we would have been awarded a place.

I forgot to mention that also Bevington and Barlby may be of non-religious denomination...

With regards to waiting lists, I called RBKC (the telephone number that they include in the 1st admissions letter) and asked them what number we were on the waiting list for TJ. 2nd round of letters went out - waiting list number went down and then third round I think we were offered a place - by that time it was the end of May, maybe beginning of June.

Everyone's journey is different but it's definitely stressful, I'm sure about that! smile

samosamo Sat 20-Apr-19 00:28:40

Free schools meals - Yes, lots. If that's markedly reduced in recent years, I'd say it is more likely the criterion for FSM or a related factor like policies around the unemployed that's shifted not how much money people have. I can only imagine most families have gotten poorer in recent years. I'd say most live in social housing too. Also lots of ESOL at this school. Most children, I believe. Largely Muslim. Think Grenfell tower. That's pretty much the make up of Thomas Jones.

I don't know enough about the school, but I doubt there is any more or less domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse, drug misuse or criminal tendencies among Thomas Jones families than Fox or Wetherby or within Buckingham Palace.

I'm really interested about what kind of concern free school meals might raise for you? If it is that parents are quite poor in relative poverty terms, that they are from families who have immigrated to the UK within the last 50 years, and even within 20, quite working class or many with at least one parent who stays at home (through choice or otherwise), and those who suffer racism + sexism + classism + other prejudice and this has impacted their income, then that's probably right.

I know the school encourage children to read newspapers, notably the Guardian, so I think it's probably more left than right wing.

All really depends whether you want that for your child.

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