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Williamwood or Mearns Castle #Dilemma

(17 Posts)
curiousbenjammin193 Thu 15-Sep-16 09:54:20

Hello mums! Pleased to be here I am new so.. I am terrible with introductions 😂

I actually needed some advice and help

I will be moving to East Kilbride by the end of this month... I started research in secondary schools and couldn't take me eyes off of Williamwood High School and Mearns Castle High school.

I need to know

a) Which school is better?

b) Can we do entrance exams in the middle of the session? Or they will give us a specified time if they do for how long?

C) What is the system of entrance exams (generally in Scotland)? can you send me some links for the curriculum

d) My daughter is in Year 8 does that mean she is in S1 or S2?

e) what is the take on religon in these two schools?

Last but not the least: How is East Refrenshire as a place and how are people? What is their opinion on religon?

Please mums understand my situation.. I tried searching but didn't get much details and I am not satisfied with my research please reply ASAP! Don't forget to send me a message if you want to explain more stuff to me

And please let me know the exam system/entrance exam

With due regards

prettybird Thu 15-Sep-16 11:00:56

Already given you info on your thread in Secondary Education, but just to reiterate again: no entrance exams or selection anywhere in state schools in Scotland.

In-year admissions are slightly different (as they depend on places being available) but in Scotland admissions are based on based on catchment ie where you live (choice of non-denominational and denominational - in practice catholic), although you can do placing requests to another school which may or may not be accepted. Unlike in England, catchments are fixed and don't alter according to demands.

curiousbenjammin193 Thu 15-Sep-16 11:31:41

Thank you so much! You are really generous and kind smile is there anything else I need to know? Like what requirements do you need for admission? And how is life in east refrenshire? Is it a good place to settle in?

prettybird Thu 15-Sep-16 11:46:41

East Ren (Giffnock, Newton Mearns, Clarkston) and the South side of Glasgow (Shawlands, Newlands, Pollokshields) are all nice places (although like many places - there are nicer and not-so-nice areas).

Only thing required for admission is an address, so that they know your catchment school. I think some of estate agents will let you put in the post code to see the catchment school.

The East Ren schools that you like the sound of might be at capacity though, so you might not be able to get an In-Year admission. It might be worth contacting them (you should be able to find an email) to find out.

You might have more luck in Glasgow. I've already recommended Shawlands Academy, which is used to getting in-year international students (54 languages spoken by pupils at the school! shock)

thecitydoc Thu 15-Sep-16 11:56:01

If you are going to be living in East Kilbride you have little or no chance of getting a place in either Williamwood or Mearns Castle High Schools - EK is in South Lanarkshire not East Renfrewshire. Both are very popular with residents in the catchment area and are full - no spare places except for reserved places for people moving into the catchment area.

There is a lot of house building in East Renfrewshire and unlike previous years places for children who live outside East Ren will be very rare in the future. If there are a small number of spare places they will go as first priority to those who have siblings already at the school.

If however you are moving to East Ren and you have not yet bought a property you should contact East Ren's education department who will tell you exactly the streets and house numbers that count as catchment for both schools - do NOT rely on estate agents or house sellers for this information.

BeJayKayven Thu 15-Sep-16 12:28:00

Here's the link to East Ren education. There's other links and phone numbers on it for making enquiries.


prettybird Thu 15-Sep-16 13:23:03

Thecitydoc is absolutely right to doublecheck with the Education Dept about exact post code and address. Although the councils have got better at issuing post code lists and catchment area maps (in Glasgow at least, it seemed like it was a closely guarded secret - I only got hold of a map via nefarious means a contact in the Council who called in a favour from someone else),at the margins they can still be wrong.

We didn't even realise we were in the catchment of the primary school we wanted ds to go to until we called it to ask about a placing request! shock

LunaLoveg00d Thu 15-Sep-16 15:48:26

Agree with what others have said - the Scottish system is entirely different to that in England and Wales.

There are no entrance exams to get into state schools.

East Kilbride is NOT in East Renfrewshire, it's in South Lanarkshire which is a different council area. East Ren schools are among the best in Scotland and in huge demand. They will only accept children from outside catchment are if there are spaces. (Unlikely). There is also criteria as to who gets a space if more than one becomes available and being in a different council area puts you further down the list than people who live in East Ren. If you are absolutely sure you want one of these schools, the only guarantee is to buy in catchment. (where houses will cost considerably more than in East Kilbride). You will stand more chance of getting into another South Lanarkshire secondary like Strathaven Academy or Calderglen.

The year your daughter will go into depends on when she was born. If she was born between March 2003 and February 2004 she will be in S2. If born between March 2004 and February 2005 she will be in S1.

Most state schools in Scotland are non-denominational. Parents will not be asked to prove any religious affiliation when registering (unless applying for a Catholic school which neither of these two are). At secondary kids will do 50 minutes a week (ish) of RE but this is looking at all world religions, philosophy and ethics. There will be religious assemblies and celebrating Christmas. There will be no compulsory trips to church and prayers in the dining hall.

prettybird Mon 19-Sep-16 08:56:06

Just popping back on to say that placing requests into the later years may be possible into the East Ren schools.

Just come across someone at the weekend who moved here from another part of the UK, living in Glasgow not close to the boundary and was able to get their child into St Ninians (East Renfrewshire) in S4/S5.

So it is worth ringing the school/Education Dept/school to ask.

curiousbenjammin193 Mon 19-Sep-16 16:43:06

OMG thanks for the information so I tried searching homes around Williamwood no luck how will I convince them to take admission is it gonna be like once I reach then I can discuss with them or I can call them now thank you guys once again

LunaLoveg00d Mon 19-Sep-16 17:00:59

You won't convince them. If you phone and ask them if there is a place and they say that there are no places, that's it. Nothing else you can do.

By all means call the school and local authority now, no harm in asking. You may get very lucky, but don't hold your breath.

thecitydoc Wed 21-Sep-16 10:46:11

You can put in a placing request to the Council at any time from any location. They have to deal with it within 8 weeks. My understanding is that both schools are full - they may have one or two reserved places for families moving into the area but these are only available for catchment pupils. Once you have moved into Willaimwood/Mearns Castle catchment areas then the council has to educate your child within an East Ren school, but they are not obliged to give you a place in catchment school if the school if full - ie no reserved places left. I would call the education department - they are very helpful but if no places they can't fit you in without employing more teachers which they wont do unless there is a big surge in people moving into the area. It will shortly be the case I suspect that if you don't live in East Ren then you will not get your child educated in an East Ren school.

BizzyLizzieBeth Wed 21-Sep-16 13:05:49

As the other ladies have stated, unless you live within East Renfrewshire, then it will be difficult to get into one of their schools. We were lucky enough 3 years ago to have a placement request accepted from Glasgow to an East Ren school, however it is now becoming much more difficult.
Furthermore, the council is currently undertaking public consultations to further tighten the admission rules, which will impact even those who live within the local authority area, and I believe will make future placement requests virtually impossible.

howabout Thu 22-Sep-16 11:18:58

If you take a look at the performance statistics on parentzone Scotland the top 20% of pupils at Calderglen, in East Kilbride, do just as well as the top 20% at Mearns. If you have an academically inclined DC and this is the selection criteria then in your position I would move to Calderglen catchment. It is likely to be a much less pressured competitive environment. It is also a great place to live and bring up children and house prices are considerably lower than Mearns or Williamwood catchment.

howabout Thu 22-Sep-16 11:51:13

Just had a look at the other thread and seen all the sniffy remarks about East Kilbride versus East Renfrewshire and South Side of Glasgow. grin I am local and have friends and family in all 3 places. East Kilbride is much less conjested and more relaxed and surrounded by countryside. The only downside is that it is more prone to occasional snow in winter. If you are working there it makes much more sense to also live there. As you are from overseas you may also find it easier to settle there. As a New Town the population has more diverse roots. There is no denying the surfeit of roundabouts but the locals tend to refer to their home town as Polo Mint City with pride.

prettybird Thu 22-Sep-16 18:34:22

I know lots of people who live in - and love - East Kilbride smile I also know kids who've successfully gone to school in East Kilbride and on to Uni shockwink

There a lot of snobbery about East Renfrewshire. I'm not suggesting that the schools referred to aren't good - but there are schools within Glasgow that also get good results. smile

I only don't comment on the EK schools per se because I don't have direct experience of them! wink

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Tue 27-Sep-16 21:58:10

I had a relative from East Kilbride at Williamwood and they felt a bit ostracised for not being local and never got to know any peers where they actually lived. They ended up leaving and moving to local school. Why would you put your kid through that? Just use the local school.

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