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Started Year 5 today....South London Secondary advice needed!

(44 Posts)
BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Tue 06-Sep-11 22:00:51

DD has now started year 5 so I can no longer stick my fingers in my ears and sing "la la la" about secondary school choices - I have to start going to open days, and decide whether we need to tutor, or move, and which of the umpteen local aptitude tests are of interest (a bit too late for a Damascene conversion apparently)

I know the Lambeth and Wandsworth schools list backwards, but I've now done the government website search by distance and half the closest schools are Southwark or Westminster, so I need to know more from the experts.....

Just how small is the Charter catchment?

Is Pimlico Academy any good, and how small is its catchment?

Greycoat's publicity makes it look very religious indeed. If my atheist DD managed to get in on a languages place, would she be made to feel hugely out of place?

And given that DD is definitely academic in inclination, should I cross any school without a sixth form off the list?

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Tue 06-Sep-11 22:28:38

Oh, and DH interrupted me with the news that my supper was ready before I could add....please? TIA

bibbitybobbityhat Tue 06-Sep-11 22:30:11

Charter catchment is miniscule. We live 15/20 mins walk away and are outside it.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Tue 06-Sep-11 22:41:55

That's what I thought bibbity, we'd be more like a 30 minute walk, but I thought I'd ask (and there's always moving sad confused though presumably it would be into a shoebox given the price of local houses).

iwillbegreyby50 Wed 07-Sep-11 11:24:29

could you move to be near Graveney? houses in Furzedown much cheaper than Dulwich and the catchment has expanded quite a bit since the school had to get rid of the test siblings rule (although school has just become an academy so not sure if that will impact on admissions) ... definitely one for dc who are academically inclined

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Wed 07-Sep-11 13:44:21

Really good point iwillbegreyby50, thanks. My Graveney thinking had focussed around trying for The Test - DD is at a level where it's definitely worth trying, but of course the odds are very slim. But the impact of reducing sibling admission should make a noticeable difference to the catchment given that it's a decent sized school, and the way it's been implemented might mean that the catchment is unusually large for the next two years or so because the sibling intake will be smaller than usual IYSWIM.
And as an area it strikes a decent balance between niceness and cost - and DS could still get to existing primary school without too much trouble.

EssW2 Wed 07-Sep-11 13:58:05

We are in the Dunraven catchment - house prices are 'reasonable' in the context of London and we live in a nice enough area smile.

I was wondering about tutoring DC for the Graveney test, but it is extremely competitive because of the sheer numbers who apply. And a teacher at Graveney looked at where we lived and said 'but you are in the catchment for Dunraven - why would you not go there?'. The results this year at Dunraven have been very high, especially as they take in an equal number from each ability band.

None of the Southwark school are now admitting in basic 'community school' criteria, are they? Kingsdale has a good reputation and operates a lottery with no reference to proximity at all. But again demand is high.

Basically you can apply to your closest schools, apply to those that admit on a lottery or competitive selection test irrespective of where you live, or move!

It sounds as if you live in north Lambeth or Southwark?

CrystalChandelier Wed 07-Sep-11 14:39:04

Harris Crystal Palace gets great results, and house prices are still reasonable up here, particularly if you're into slab by Victoriana.

My DS is at Graveney and while it is competitive, don't forget lots of DCs taking the test are also applying to - and will get places at - the Sutton grammars, Tiffin, independent scholarships etc. And the test is VR and NVR, which you can practice for more easily than set maths and English papers.

CrystalChandelier Wed 07-Sep-11 14:39:50

Slab by, not slab by, obvs

CrystalChandelier Wed 07-Sep-11 14:40:42

SLABBY. Darn predictive txt.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Wed 07-Sep-11 14:50:52

Yes, EssW2, very good point, the Tulse Hill area always takes my fancy when I'm down that way, and a quick browse on the internet tells me that we could buy something within 1/4 mile of Dunraven that's a bit larger than our current house for about the same money (less £££££ in stamp duty and moving costs of course, and the trauma of moving which terrifies me after living in this house for 18 years sad). At least we do have choices, so I do appreciate how lucky we are.

Choices are:
Local schools (one has a very bad reputation and appalling results, one has outstanding OFSTED and good GCSE's but a rough reputation and no 6th form)
Not so local school but I think we might get in - this is Evelyn Grace which is a bit of an unknown quantity.
Kingsdale Lottery - nothing to lose by trying....which is of course why local parents can't get in any more.
Graveney test - nothing to lose by trying
Chestnut Grove/Greycoat/Burntwood aptitude tests
Somewhere else I haven't thought about.

I just don't want to spend every day worrying about whether she'll get stabbed outside the school gate!

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Wed 07-Sep-11 14:58:43

OMG, Crystal Palace <hyperventilates at thought of suburban living> It's strange how you get trapped in your own little bubbles in London isn't it?

But thanks for the thoughts about Graveney, Crystal.

I'm very tempted to go and spend a couple of afternoons moseying around unfamiliar bits of South London now - we could take the DCs out to play in unusual playgrounds and walk around spying in estate agents windows - even if we decide to stay put it's always worth checking out your options.

The real cost of course would be an extra 45 minutes spent commuting every day for me and DH. Over the course of a year that could start to get us down. But nothing comes for free.

EssW2 Wed 07-Sep-11 15:03:24

Lots of good roads round Dunraven - try Hitherfield and Stockfield roads, the so-called ABCD (Amesbury - Downton) roads in Streatham Hill and others nearby (very pleasant especially Cricklade, Downton, Wavertree, Normanshurst and Nuthurst), Romeyn and Rosedene, the roads off Palace rd such as Kingsmead. great transport routes if you manage to get within walking distance of both Streatham Hill and Tulse Hill stations.

The Dunraven kids come past our house, most very polite and well mannered, and I have never seen one stab anyone...

CrystalChandelier Wed 07-Sep-11 15:28:52

<ahem> Crystal Palace is zone 3, not zone 6. And it's got its own tube station now, you know.

Bue Wed 07-Sep-11 15:55:30

DH did one of his PGCE placements at Grey Coat - it is very multicultural and while I do believe it is fairly religious in nature, I know DH taught Muslim girls there, and I'm sure girls of different religions and none, too. DH is agnostic and incredibly anti-organised religion and he didn't seem to find the place too overbearing.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Wed 07-Sep-11 16:00:52

Thanks Bue - if we're not going to move then Greycoat would be pretty much my dream school for DD if the religion won't be a problem. You're right of course, now I think about it, since they have a certain % of girls on the basis of distance then most of those won't be C of E attendees.

bigTillyMint Wed 07-Sep-11 18:06:04

Charter catchment is small, but as places shuffle round, obviously more chance of getting in from further away. DD and a friend of hers got offered places after shakedowns.

Kingsdale does offer lottery places, but the waiting list this summer was into the hundreds. Less if they had been offered a scholarship.

Greycoats offers places to very committed christians - points system, unless you live within the very small catchment area or get a language place (test involved)

I know of a few children who are at Pimlico in various years. All seem very happy, but the school has become much more popular, so I'm not sure how easy it is to get in.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Wed 07-Sep-11 18:27:32

Thanks Tilly. Greycoats is only a possibility with the language test but I don't see why she wouldn't be able to manage it - definitely worth a try.
Charter and Pimlico are definitely among our nearest schools according to the - but we're over a mile from each so I probably should rule them out as realistic possibilities from this address.

Oh, and Crystal - I didn't really mean to diss the lovely Crystal Palace - I'm sure it's very urban indeed grin but DH pointed out that it would be a disastrous commute for the DCs to go back to their current primary - if we're going to move it needs to be somewhere from where we can drop DS off in North Lambeth on our way to work for the next 3 years - he's a bit vulnerable and we can't reasonably move him from a school setting that works.

We could do that from Tulse Hill or Tooting at a push (though it wouldn't be a lot of fun, which is a reason not to move), but I can't see it working from much further afield.

bigTillyMint Wed 07-Sep-11 21:11:46

Dh reckons we are just over a mile from Charter and DD got offered a place there in the Summer Term, so don't rule it out.

And remember, put them in order of YOUR preference - then you stand the best chance of getting one that you want!

DS1, and as of yesterday, DS2 are at Dunraven. I think it's a fantastic school and I never ever thought I'd say that, when I was at Secondary school Dunraven was the absolute pits. Just goes to show you need to judge things as they are and not on old grudges - haven't quite got to that point with Kingsdale, but that's more because I have a friend who lives in one of the adjacent roads and by all accounts the children's behaviour when they come out of school is fairly appalling.

Crystal Palace is lovely (I walk up there pretty often) but it's a bit of a push to describe the East London link as a Tube station... grin Very good London connections too (the 3 goes from the Parade to vaguely North Lambeth if that helps!)

bigTillyMint Wed 07-Sep-11 21:33:12

I think it;s the behaviour of SOME of the chidlren MrsDimitriwink

levantine Wed 07-Sep-11 21:38:46

bigTillyMint where would your dd have gone had you not got the Charter place? I hope you don't mind me asking, but it seems a bit of a black hole around that part of SE London apart from Charter and Kingsdale

bigTillyMint Wed 07-Sep-11 21:42:33

She didn't go to Charter - She went to Kingsdalegrin

We decided we wanted a local mixed comp and couldn't decide which of the two to put first. DH put Charter as it is walkable, but Kingsdale was her first choice, and was the offer she got first so we were happy to stick with it.

She can't wait to start back tomorrow, so that must be a good sign!

levantine Wed 07-Sep-11 21:59:24

Ah! That's great.

gingeroots Wed 07-Sep-11 22:56:58

bigtillymint - as you have a DC at Kingsdale can I ask what info has been given to parents about the alleged exam" malpractice " ( if that's what it was called ! ) and the outcome of the investigations ?

But do tell me to go away if you'd rather not .

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