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St. Cecilia's Wandsworth? Looking for a secondary school

(19 Posts)
amumof2 Wed 11-May-11 11:05:41

Does anyone know is it a nice school to go to? DS rather sensitive so also wondering how is the pastoral care and how seriously does the school take bullying?    

The Ofsted report is not great, ranking it is as a "Satisfactory" school. But it seems popular and is oversubscribed with a v small catchment area for non-church places. 

gazzalw Wed 11-May-11 21:36:32

Hi, I don't really know much about this school but we went to see DS's Head about secondary schools for him and she said that it's rather Stepford Wife-ish!! I don't think she was being positive - she said it has a strange atmosphere! strange atmosphere......

A2363 Wed 11-May-11 21:49:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gazzalw Thu 12-May-11 09:50:54

Well maybe that's just it - they are seemingly perfect. I guess maybe the Head was implying that it's a sterile environment...

A2363 Thu 12-May-11 21:32:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amumof2 Fri 13-May-11 10:03:58

Thanks gazzalw and A2363 for your replies. They both give me something to think about. A2363 funnily enough I had thought of doing this but DH put me off joking I'd get get arrested hmm even though I was only planning to just walk past the school.

I'm not so put of by the sterile, Stepford comment as how Stepford can a London Comprehensive be and a bit Stepford might actually suit my DS.

I would be really interested to hear from anyone who knows more about the school...

gazzalw Fri 13-May-11 20:11:11

Sorry, didn't mean to sound so negative just going on what our Head said but she doesn't rate Graveney either....
As you said at the end of the day it's what suits your DS that's important.....
We have same conundrum although not in Wandsworth!

Wandlewoman Sat 21-May-11 18:22:09

It's regarded as the best of many bad options for middle class parents who cannot or will not go independent. It's a local tragedy because it has failed to live up to the investment directed at it and it has not been the success anybody hoped for. Many of the children are lovely but another half (and I'm told it operates as a tale of two cities and an underlying unofficial apartheid between middle class and chav) look undisciplined and foul and have been known to vandalise the local area quite badly.

The head is a very odd character and many thought he was a most peculiar appointment in the first place although it seems he has been promoted to super head in charge of two schools but many suspect that was to dilute his influence at St Cecilias. We know of quite a few families who removed their children because of his lack of customer skills and ability to listen and take on board sensible feedback and concerns.

There was a remarkable episode a few years back when six pupils were expelled for setting alight someone's hair and trying to rape someone. Nobody understood why they weren't dealt with sooner but it was suspected the head was too interested in ensuring everyone wore the cheap (but expensive) and vile uniform and insisting children were tutored by unqualified caretakers and refusing to listen to parents' concerns.

We looked at it. We did not apply. Even on the open day we heard children yelling at teachers and teachers yelling in a bad way at children who didn't appear to be doing anything wrong. The staff didn't appear to be striving for excellence and couldn't answer questions about the curriculum. In spite of the massive investment we were shocked to see very few book on the shelves of the library.

Not an honourable achievement either for Wandsworth Borough or for Southwark Diocese. A huge amount of money was invested to produce a bit of a pup.

amumof2 Wed 25-May-11 13:05:23

Wandlewoman thanks for that detailed description of the school. It helps to clarify the conflicting views I had heard of the school.

gazzalw Wed 25-May-11 13:31:48

I am beginning to think that grammar schools aside, one would be hard pressed to find a universally good view of any of the state secondaries in London or am I being overly negative???? AAARGH - it is all mind-boggling

Lisaletta Wed 08-Jun-11 21:46:47

Hi I have just seen this. I am a parent at St Cs so obviously have a bias but I will try and be as honest as I can. St Cs is a comprehensive school so there are differences in the social class/economic position of the kids there. If you want to avoid "chavs" then stick to private/grammar schools. Lots of local kids do go to the school and more would have gone were it not for the school's idiotic church school admission policy.

The HM is a strange character and has zero people skills. He does not have much day to day input into the school and is leaving end of 2012 anyway. Discipline is pretty good at the school and there is a kind and caring atmosphere. All the kids I know at the school are very happy and pastoral care is excellent. You really should have no concerns in this area. There appears be a good espirt de corps even though there are different skin colours/social classes in the school. This really is something the school should celebrate more as it is a great achievement imho.

My concerns centre around academic standards which could be more exacting. I would like to see more homework set and pupils stretched more as there are a lot of bright kids at the school. Maths and science are strong subjects at the school together with geography. English and languages could be improved. I believe the school is getting better but they do need to listen to parents a bit more. The last set of GCSE results were a great improvement on the year before and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the school will build on these. I am not aware that my child has ever been taught by a "caretaker" but I do agree that the library was very poorly stocked a few years ago. This has improved a bit but these days so much schoolwork is done on-line and I think we need to accept that things have moved on from when we were at school (whether we like it or not).

I hope you find this helpful and try and keep an open mind - any state comp will have a bad element but this should not be the deciding factor. The incidents referred to happened several years back and are not accurately described in any event. Since then CCTV has been installed throughout the school and nothing like that has happened since.

amumof2 Mon 13-Jun-11 10:59:44

Lisaletta thanks so much for your inciteful reply. It has been really helpful to have the views from someone who at the school at the moment.

LadyAutumn Wed 15-Jun-11 11:16:45

It's a nice School which has recovered from some teething problems a few years back. Results are excellent and the kids seem happy and generally nice (as nice as groups of teenagers get). The kids are well disciplined and often polite when they are in the area and they even altered the Uniform which is much nicer then it was.

For a state comprehensive I'm surprised there are so few 'bad eggs' there are. The "chavs" are a minimal group these days (unlike a few years ago) and seem far too small in number to genuinely alter the middle class yet multicultural atmosphere the school has. The increasing middle class influence of the School seems more obvious in recent years, I suspect since they started getting above average GCSE results the Southfields parents has paid attention to St. Cecilia’s.

If it's an indication of how the pupils at the School are now, my neighbour has recently written to the school a letter of thanks and a reward because one of the pupils found their (expensive) mobile phone in the street and handed it in to the police.

I've also had it on good authority that the Head, who is leaving, has had much a much diminished influence due to being split between two Schools and the Teachers seem to do a wonderful job without him there. There are also a large number of events for parents to attend the School regularly. Not just musical and drama productions but Quiz nights and new parent BBQs, it’s great for getting that closer look for what the School is and who is there.

Of course it’s not all good but then no school is. I can certainly say that a few of the local private schools seem to be evicting pupils due to drug problems and Graveney (the best other option but it’s selective) have had gun problems close to the school in Tooting which despite being an excellent School raise concerns. Also at Graveney I would consider the suggestion to never let your child attend a party that is unsupervised by adults which appears to be a major problem. I was shocked to hear what goes on but to put it one way there was a Year’s worth of Daily Mail headlines about broken middle class Britain.

Sfields123 Mon 26-Dec-11 13:14:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anotherbusymum14 Thu 20-Aug-15 20:12:04

Is anyone able to add to this now? These comments are four years old now and schools can change a lot during that time. Please if anyone can give me some insight...? We are also wondering about Burntwood (a girls school)? Thanks

BeaufortBelle Thu 20-Aug-15 22:25:07

It wasn't our cup of tea but its GCE/GCSE results have been improving year on year since the new management was put in place. I know some very happy pupils there. My reservations are around rigour and the extent to which a broad range of academic subjects are offered. To the best of my knowledge it is very strong on Humanities and Maths. Not too sure about the excellence of the Science Department which I suspect has improved since 2009 when we looked. Sadly, languages remain exceptionally weak and very limited and this is the principle reason why I wouldn't contemplate it then and wouldn't contemplate it now.

It isn't doing a bad job for a London Comp although the intake is very mixed even for a church school but because of the limited offer of academic subjects it can't really claim to be a comprehensive in the true sense because it isn't offering an all round academic education for the most able.

I know that many families are happy with it but aware of its limitations; I know others who will definitely move before their eldest reaches Y5 because they wouldn't be happy with it.

anotherbusymum14 Sat 22-Aug-15 14:21:52

Thanks for your response @BeaufortBelle.

anotherbusymum14 Sat 22-Aug-15 22:43:43

Also, can anyone give some advice/insight into Burntwood? I have heard people say good and not so great things but I have not heard from anyone whose children actually have been there/go there. It has a beautiful new building now, but how is it working at leadership level, and what are the kids like there (ie: what is their inside culture like: looking after other kids, work ethic?, or great sports? Do the kids respect the teachers? I just want to know a little about what it's like from a student or parent of a student being there point of view. Thank you smile

BeaufortBelle Sat 22-Aug-15 22:49:56

I think you need to start a thread about it. I know nothing about Burntwood. There might be info on Nappy Valley - have you tried there?

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