Francis Bacon, St Albans(17 Posts)
Just looking back and wondering... I left FB in the 70s. Have been in touch with a school friend who still lives in St Albans & who said she would never have sent any of her children there today. Wonder if anyone else knows how the school is these days. Am an exile in Scotland now...
It's not one of the best in St Albans. In fact it's the least subscribed.
They are planning to 'rebrand' it and turn it into an all-through school, taking children from 5 to 18 next year due to a shortage of primary places in St Albans. We're all going to watch and see.
I wouldn't be happy with my children being there at the moment either.
It's v poor - I used to get the bus with the kids from there regularly. Poorly behaved and motivated - it's definitely one parents avoid now.
It has a bad press following being in special measures a few years ago. Unfortunately, it seems to take years for a school to shake of an old reputation. My DD goes there and I have to say the staff have been absolutely wonderful. She had major bullying issues which were not dealt with at another school in St A (one of the over subscribed ones) and she became quite ill with the stress and we had no choice but to pull her out. Several ppl suggested Francis Bacon and we went along for a visit quite honestly not expecting much, but I really liked it. The thing is, on what basis do people judge it, in my opinion basically on what they have heard, rather than evidence. I have never seen any bad behaviour in or around the school and during my DDs first months, I was in and out of there at all times of the school day. Because it is small, the staff actually know the kids, which is unusual at secondary level. So I would say, it depends what you mean by "it's not one of the best in St Albans" - it may not have the highest exam results but that to a large extent is due to the fact that so many parents vote with their feet and probably a lot of the children who would bring their results up, go elsewhere.
it's in a good areas where the 'cream' are taken out and sent to 'better' schools.
st albans is hardly downtown LA. it's a nice area. i know kids who went to this school and are normal fantastic adults.
I went to school in St A in the 90's and shared a bus with a lot of FB kids - they were not the best advert for their school and teachers were frequently at the bus stops trying to police behaviour. That said, that was a long time ago and I do know people who went there and have got on really well. Places can take ages for their reputation to change.
As SEA said, St A is a pretty good area, so even the "worst" is not going to be that bad.
My DD also goes to Francis Bacon and loves it !
I on the other hand am unsure...the jury is still out with me.
One thing that worries me is that the Headteacher is practically invisible. When I go there, the Deputy seems to be the one running the show.
The latest news is that Sir John Lawes which is an outstanding school in Harpenden is going to "parent" the new Francis Bacon next year.
So I am going to see how that goes after next year and hope that it encourages other parents to send their children.
Also, I want to see how my DD gets on academically.
If I still feel the same..I will move closer to the better schools and hope to transfer. I also have younger ones to think of too.
We moved purely because the school was in special measures, we didn't see any sign of real improvement and were not prepared to send our children there, they are not experiments. I didn't mind moving, it's worth it, but there are a lot of people who can't and it makes me incredibly cross that a school that underperforms so badly exists at all, and that people decide they have to move to avoid getting it. I know a number of people with children there and they are not happy for lots of reasons (academically, and also because, due to such incredibly low pupil numbers, a range of extra curricular activities cannot be offered, and kids are missing out.) It's not fair at all that children who end up going there are shortchanged. I genuinely look forward to hearing in a few years time that things are on the up, it would just have been too late for us. Can only wish the school and Sir John Lawes, which is going to 'parent' it luck. Have also heard John Lawes parents are not happy.....
Moscow ...my DD has not been shortchanged ...she is doing so much better than she was at her old school, because staff have time for her and her confidence is growing because of this. For the 1st time since she started at secondary, she is happy to go to school because she feels secure. If as undoubtedly happens, there is an attitude of people refusing to send their kids there because it's "not good enough", it is bound to pull the results down because there is not a balanced cohort. I don't believe for 1 minute, the new partnership is going to make any difference at all to pupils at SJLs, they have already been in partnership with what is now Bushey Academny for 3 years.
Gottogetthe kids ...yes I do agree the HT is not very visible, but not sure she is going to be around long term.
I know a fair few who went to FB in the 80s and 90s and it was a tough school. There was definitely a time when you would see a lot of FB pupils hanging around the local area (especially when the new Spar opened a few minutes away) looking bored which probably wasn't the best advert for the school, but I haven't seen that for a while so I was assuming it's on the up.
In fact I live very close to Verulam - which generally has a good reputation - and have seen quite a bit of antisocial behaviour round our way from its pupils, so maybe best not to generalise?
It's not fair to compare a school from the past because schools can and do change - didn't Sandringham used to have a bad reputation and now it is one of the better ones. I can think of a couple of other primary schools which no-one wanted to send their children to and now they are considered outstanding. They change - and the same could happen to Francis Bacon.
My DD is still polite, well behaved, smart and funny - and she has settled really well there and most of her friends are normal too. She enjoys going to school and tells me often it is a good school and has positive things to say about it. She says even the older kids are nice to her...and she knows their names too. It does have a nurturing feel to it...the teachers seem to genuinely care.
It is early days but the next year or so will be more telling.
On the whole, I feel that the future is looking better for Francis Bacon with Sir John Lawes parenting - I knew changes were to happen..and I think it has created a more optomistic outlook for it.
pawsnclaws - yes I agree with you about Verulum..I drive up Clarence Road everyday and I'm not impressed with their behaviour - most have no road sense either.
My neighbour has taught for years at St. Dominic's in Harpenden. Years ago they were so under-subscribed they had children coming from all over Bedfordshire to attend. Now you need to live in the immediate vicinity to get in!
My old school was rated the worst comp in Herts for many years. It recently featured in the top 1000 survey the FT did. Schools can and do change.
I agree that schools can and do change and, as I said in my above post, I genuinely hope that FB does change, it deserves it, I am sure the staff deserve it, the children definitely do and it would be good for the community all round to have a better balance of schools. TBH, I would like to see a much more level playing field, where all of the schools in St Albans are places we'd all be very happy to send our children to, and none are wildly more 'outstanding' than another. That's how it should be. But for me, not knowing whether FB WOULD change was the issue. For us, not moving would have meant our children would almost definitely have gone there and I wasn't happy. We weighed it up, I've been to the school a few times, we decided we needed something from a secondary school it wasn't offering. Hopefully, within a few years, it will be a school that everyone is happy with from all angles, but we're not having any more children!
It's not fair to compare a school from the past because schools can and do change - didn't Sandringham used to have a bad reputation and now it is one of the better ones
Yes it was called Marshalswick and it was truly dreadful, really awful. Although great fun if you were bone idle and chose not to work. Nowadays it would be in special measures.
Schools can and do change.
I left FB in 1977. It wasn't bad then. I was in the first of the comprehensive years. Good memories
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