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Westwood arts college for girls in Upper Norwood

(6 Posts)
princesscasino Mon 16-May-11 14:02:37

Does anyone know what this schools' reputation is like now, as I know it was pretty bad. It's our closest girls school.
I read that the previous headteacher left under a cloud and that there have been cases of serious bullying, plus the exam results aren't great.
I don't know if they have a new permanent head teacher yet.

Does anyone on mumsnet have a daughter who goes there?

alison60 Mon 16-May-11 15:05:55

My daughter was there until about two years ago, when we had to move her, basically because of the problems you have heard about.

There was an increasing sense that the school was losing control, that there was no leadership, teacher turnover was increasing, and the school did not want to communicate with parents. A lot of badly controlled lessons and a general feeling of unsafety. I think the final straw was when my daughter came home and told me that the girls had been freaking out all day because there were rumours flying around the school that an excluded pupil had made their way into the school and attacked a teacher. I rang up the school and was told that nothing had happened, that the girls had maybe made it up because the police were at the school that day, but 'they're often here' (true - ongoing problems with theft, fighting at the bus stop, etc.) A few days later the story was in the Croydon Advertiser: it was all true. When the council later threatened to close the school, I only found out about this from the paper as well. It became clear that the teachers, governors, and headteacher were no longer working together. After this, the head teacher was suddenly fired.

As with any school, there are some great teachers there and of course lots of lovely kids, some of whom get great exam results. However, I cannot believe that the new head has got the problems ironed out yet. I think it is a shame the council did not hand the school over to an academy as they were threatening to do.

I think you should speak to the head to give them a chance to convince you that they have turned the school round. But ask some hard questions and be difficult to convince. Also, visit the school, in particular around the time the girls leave. And to be honest, I would put down Norbury Manor as your first choice.

princesscasino Fri 20-May-11 12:31:47

Thanks Alison that's so useful, from a parent who actually knows the school herself. I also heard that the last Headteacher at Westwood stole money from the school! Shocking. It's a pity because the school itself is in a really nice setting, within walking distance of us, and logically they should be able to run it just as well as Norbury Manor for example, even more so considering that the last headteacher of Norbury Manor was (and maybe still is) on the board of governors at Westwood. It must be down to bad leadership. And then when a reputation starts, people don't want to send their kids there.

Can I ask you if your daughter went to Norbury Manor in the end herself? And if so if she is happy where she is, and it seems well run. I should imagine it's quite difficult moving a child from one school to another, as most good schools tend to have all their places filled pretty quick.

alison60 Tue 24-May-11 09:44:36

Princesscasino, it is a pity, the school has a lovely building and grounds, and with good leadership could be a terrific school. I did wonder whether having the two girls' schools, Westwood and Norbury Manor, so close together was part of the problem. They are bound to compete for pupils and as soon as one gets an edge you get a vicious circle with more of the able girls ending up at one school and the disruptive ones at the other. Croydon schools are nearly all vulnerable to getting high proportions of difficult kids and if the leadership isn't there a school can get out of control quite quickly.

She didn't go to Norbury Manor - as you say, its difficult moving a child after year 7 and almost impossible to get into a popular school. You have to find an undersubscribed school which isn't crap. And by that time she had gone off the idea of an all girls school. We moved her to Haling Manor in South Croydon, which was going very well, until it was taken over by Harris when everything started going badly again. She's really had a lot of bad luck with secondary schools; things can only get better.

SOULMAMA Sat 07-Feb-15 21:20:18

I left in 1995 worst school ever no lifelong friends awful GCSEs results. I hated it. The only good thing is the view surrounding the school. Where I grew up.

notnow2 Thu 12-Feb-15 10:11:55

It's a harris academy now.

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