Advanced search

The John Fisher School, Purley

(82 Posts)
marsbar22 Fri 04-Feb-11 19:59:22

I wondered if any parents had experienced difficulties with the admissions process we found that the John Fisher School does not adhere to it's own admission policy. In the process of applying for a place for our son we discovered that a boy was given a place in Sept 2010 who was not baptised in the first year. By the school's policy this makes the boy a subcategory C when the school governors stated that the school was oversubscribed with subcategory A candidates. The school governors can and do make discretionary decisions based on appeals received from parents at admission rather than at the appeal process. The Governors obviously feel that their opinions matter more than the published criteria which is odd as they changed the admissions policy in an attempt to make it fairer!

confusedperson Wed 05-Dec-12 21:53:02

Thanks Angel. The distance I am talking about is 5 miles. I know that 4.5 miles got in. JF travel policy mentions Bromley and further counties, but it was written in 2007. I am not so worried about late baptism because we had many serious reasons and I should be able to prove it. I am trying to satisfy a wolf and a sheep and move into Langley catchment but possibly have a chance for JF too. My boy has not visited yet. Both schools are different but good. I think I will just ring JF tomorrow and ask instead of agonising on MN!!

Ladymuck Wed 05-Dec-12 22:54:27

They'll possibly be cagey, but they should have the data. If not then you can visit the Sutton Council offices and see the maps that they have used for each year, which should should the initial allocation of places, and then subsequent allocations (eg if people opted for private schools).

penelopewellingtonbowes Thu 06-Dec-12 10:49:14

Yeah I can see where we are all getting a little confused here and I really have not helped matters!!!

Basically, John Fisher was one of England's most selective Catholic schools for 8/9 years in the 1990's/2000's whereby it only accepted boys for music places, a small number of academic places and the vast majority on religious places (your boy had to take a religion test and both parents and boy were interviewed regarding their interests, commitment to the school, ethos, homework etc). You could only apply to John Fisher as your first choice and not any Sutton Grammars. Only 100 or so boys were admitted each year to John Fisher having passed a) an entrance interview b) a religion or aptitude test and c) had written applications and previous school reports reviewed anc check with the head of your prep or primary school. John Fisher was hugely oversubscribed and because of the selection tools, families from 10-20 miles out could and would apply for places at John Fisher.

Now I think the conversation we are having today is about a very different school, less elitist, more inclusive, less academic perhaps?

Everything Ladymuck has said is ringing true with those contacts I still have in Purley and Wallington who are tending to send their boys to Whitgift over John Fisher as they miss the selection policy and see less middle (and sorry about this) posh families with boys at the school.

mummytime Thu 06-Dec-12 11:25:10

Penelope - most of those selection criteria are illegal nowadays, so I would say things have changed a lot. (No interviews, no exams except 11+ for Grammar or banding tests, equal preference system etc. etc.)
The admissions criteria is given in this web page which also includes an example of why they might on the judgement of the governors treat a child baptised after 1 year of age as the equivalent of one baptised before 1 year.

ercroydonmum Thu 06-Dec-12 12:47:58


just seen your posts on another page in regards to JF.

FYI plenty of DS's friends passed the JF interview and tests in 1993, but he didn't. Fact was John Fisher was so selective and oversubscribed that it made Croydon school admissions a headache for everybody, especially parents like me and DS's father who shelled out nearly 30 grand in fees at Laleham Lea to get him into Fisher at that time. Unsuccessfully! [fanger]

You had clever boys who had a chance at getting into one of the Grammars in Sutton, North London or Bromley whos parents were forced to choose between JF and say Wilsons, moreover JF which was a very small school of 600/700 boys until 2000 was taking only a fraction of its boys from Purley and Croydon, many more were coming from Surrey and Sussex prep-schools so parents and boys from outside Croydon were benefiting from a great, selective Catholic education at the expense of Croydonians like us! envy

Would like to add that we can't blame Laleham Lea for our failure to get a place at JF, he ended up at Worth and came back to JF for 6th form and is doing very well for himself. LL is meant to be a great school and alongside Fisher interview prep and mock tests, it prepares boys and girls well for 11+ and Common Entrance.

Not bitter honest! wink

misscorkingdaleoftheshire Thu 06-Dec-12 17:40:41


I can't believe what I am reading! Can't you see the hypocrisy in what you are saying?

My husband and I took advantage of Coloma and John Fisher in the 1990's when we could just as easily have sent (at least in my DS's case) my boy to RGS Guildford or any number of Independent schools. The selection policy was very attractive for us as a means to avoid paying huge fees and yet give our kids a good chance of winning a place at a good uni.

I hold my hands up and admit what we did was opportunistic, but I defy anyone on here to say they would not do the same.

So for you to then complain about John Fisher (back then) because you had to spend 60 grand in fees at Worth is the height of hypocrisy. Did you not think that you were denying somebody's kid from getting a good education when you could afford the fees for any number of schools?

And what a surprise that you PWB, Ladymuck and the others won't send your kids to JF now that it no longer operates selection?

The hypocrisy is staggering.

penelopewellingtonbowes Thu 06-Dec-12 17:47:27

If anybody is a hypocrite its you -misscorkingdale- for 'owning up' to all this is some bizarre mea culpa.

Parents who could afford fees for Indies at the time were (OF COURSE!) on the look out for good state schools, run along selective lines as it meant free edcuation for DDs and DSs!

You are living in a fantasy world if you think parents of Fisher boys at the time were not looking for the Indies alongside state alternatives.

I will admit not wanting to send my grandson to Fisher is hypocritical; as my only motivation for not doing so is to do with the loss of exclusivety the school has suffered to its reputation since the end of selection.


Monty27 Thu 06-Dec-12 23:26:38

Good Lord!

confusedperson Fri 07-Dec-12 09:42:50

This thread is getting somehow stinky.. sad

AngelEyes46 Tue 11-Dec-12 18:09:30

To get back to what confused is asking - I am very happy with JF for my boys. I'm sure it is more diverse than in the day of selection but that can only be good. Langley boys - I don't know of anyone that has gone there from year 7 but have only heard through the grapevine very good reports. I think you must go with your gut feeling Confused as to what is the best for your DS.

confusedperson Thu 13-Dec-12 11:48:38

Thanks AngelEyes46. Although I would like a catholic option, I cannot risk to move nearer JF and not to get in because of DS’s >1 year baptism, even though I think we have very credible reasons for the delay. Also Langleys has ASD unit and it may be better equipped to deal with SN if any. And the best property I can afford lies on Croydon/Bromley border, so I guess the choice is pretty clear…

Going non-catholic will not prevent us from going to church though. I am hoping that DS will be able to maintain his friendships from the primary through church and living nearby (i guess we will be just about 0.5m away from JF “catchment” i.e. proximity of boys accepted to JF).

ercroydonmum Thu 13-Dec-12 16:41:38


We agree on John Fisher more than we disagree-we both wanted a Fisher education for our sons. I am just guessing here but you seem to be one of the large (as am I) number of middle-class parents who sent their boys post-prep school to JF.

No right thinking parents having shelled out fees for 3-7 years at Cumnor House, Laleham Lea or elsewhere would have sent their child to any secondary school other than John Fisher (Croydon, Surrey) or The Oratory (Fulham) as it would have been a waste of fees (by sending them to a bog standard comp) or to one of the independents (Whitgift, Trinity or Royal Russell) as a comparative education was received at John Fisher/Oratory.

I don't think you can accuse me of attempting to fee-dodge (if that is what you are implying) having tried to get my son into Fisher in the 90's. Just because some parents can afford prep-school fees, tutoring or coaching/interview prep should not prevent them from applying to schools like John Fisher or other selective schools like the Sutton Grammars now or London Oratory then. Besides how would you enforce that system?confused

If we are being completely honest with ourselves, John Fisher in the 1990's and London Oratory until 2005/06 provided a highly-selective educational environment for well-behaved, middle-class boys to flourish, choristers to received outstanding education in the state sector, music places for the gifted and some ability places. Eloquent parents were vetted to ensure they were of the right stuff for Fisher and everybody was happy. sad

It's just a real shame now that so many boys wont have the chance to be selected for places at John Fisher or London Oratory- or similar schools. Yes there was a large prep-school cohort but many boys came from good state primaries also. [fhappy]

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Thu 13-Dec-12 17:31:56

Good lord - what a load of appalling snobbishness there is on this thread.

ercroydonmum Thu 13-Dec-12 20:30:00

What is the problem DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn?

misscorkingdaleoftheshire Thu 13-Dec-12 20:39:40

I have a problem with some of the comments being attributed to Laleham Lea by some posters- not naming anyone in particular.

Laleham Lea prepared our boys well for Fisher's religion test, exam places, interview and the music department was particularly strong for music and scholarship.

Laleham Lea (alongside prepping boys for entrance to John Fisher) also prepared boys well for Common Entrance and 11+ at other schools.

AngelEyes46 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:19:55

My dcs attend now so I can't comment much on what happened in the 90's although my dn went to JF late 90s and my brother in the 80s. My concern with some of the posts is that JF is (and was) a RC school and such should be about faith rather than selecting based on tests/interview etc. The comment:
"John Fisher in the 1990's and London Oratory until 2005/06 provided a highly-selective educational environment for well-behaved, middle-class boys to flourish" doesn't seem to support this but instead supports families that are in a position to 'play' the system. It would be interesting to know if these boys/families still attend mass and contribute to the catholic ethos now they have left JF!

confusedperson Thu 13-Dec-12 21:28:35

Ah very good question AngelEyes46

confusedperson Thu 13-Dec-12 21:30:04

AngelEyes46 is JF very, very sporty nowadays? My DS is not that good at group games (nor he is good at music) and that is another of my worries (although I have almost decided against JF for other reasons).

AngelEyes46 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:48:49

It's very rugby orientated - particularly in year 7. My boys are in year 9 now and one of them doesn't play rugby at all but does football, swimming and badminton. The other still does the rugby but due to the emphasis on the game is not allowed to play the other sports. Year 7 & 8 - it's rugby all the way though. I didn't like it in year 7 as it was all about - what team are you in? a, b,c,d,e etc. What I do like about JF is the pastoral care is very good and there is this inclusive feel due to the catholic/christian ethos.

ercroydonmum Tue 18-Dec-12 19:35:18

I would be really interested to learn the thoughts of any John Fisher parents who voted for the school to become selective in Summer of 1991, and their feelings about the end of the selection policy in 1999/2000.

Did anyone on here vote 'Yes' for selection?

surreydadcoolest Mon 14-Jan-13 14:04:09

I was in one of the first 100 boys accepted during the selection policy and let me tell you it was tough to get in. 2 interviews, religion exam, school reports and written statements.

You were going up against prep schoolers from across the road and boys from Kent and Sussex and all over London.

cazzieob Tue 15-Jan-13 21:42:01

Does anyone know the furthest distance a pupil was accepted to the school?

surreydadcoolest Wed 16-Jan-13 10:15:09

Like I said during the selection policy I was going to school with boys from Edenbridge, Bromley, Sevenoaks (All in Kent) Caterham, Lingfield, Dorking (Surrey) and the boys coming from furthest away would have been those from Crawley in East Sussex (A long way but good train connections into Purley).

These days (as the school cannot test, interview etc and cream-off some of the boys that went to the London Grammars and Surrey Indies) I expect the majority of boys come from Croydon and surrounding boroughs.

I think the days of boys travelling 1-2 hours to get into highly selective Catholic schools are not that attractive to parents any more. I think the only school of this type is possibly the Oratory in West London which selects boys and parents with interviews, just like John Fisher used to.

AngelEyes46 Thu 17-Jan-13 22:56:10

I'm not sure if the Oratory is allowed to select via interview but their admission policy is so strict they only get the most 'catholic' boys. My boys probably wouldn't have got in as there is a paragraph on marriage and I didn't marry in a RC church due to my DH being married before. I like the idea that my boys are only a mile away from their school and that all their friends are local.

surreydadcoolest Sat 19-Jan-13 11:23:25

I have to be honest AngelEyes, there were very few boys from around Peaks Hill, Purley etc during the selection policy- most were coming from far and wide. You have to remember that the school had a reputation for selectivity, high standards, sports, music etc and it would only accept first choice applicants. So it was attractive for parents who saw it as an independent school in all but name (apart from small donations asked of parents each year).

Mind you results are still pretty good, and the school still gets the odd boy into Oxbridge, Durham and UCL each year.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now