RICHMOND - Richmond Park Academy(118 Posts)
can any parents let me know about this school. i think it must have been pretty bad in the past just from way HT spoke. its really close to me so am thinking of it for ds. HT said something about 'when we took in the kids that hadnt been to school for a very long time'! something just didnt seem right at open evening tonight. thanks
Science is important to DD as she still has aspirations to become a vet!!! I know that maths and science have always been boy dominant but the split, in the top sets at least, are pretty equal. I know that the sets are based on maths ability over literacy, which worried me when DD had to sit a CAT test when she started - English would definitely be her strongest subject. We are still "early days" but I am confident that she will be able to get where she needs to be! That may be based on my belief of her abilities rather then the school as a whole, but I haven't encountered any issues yet. Secondary is so different to primary, and the contact I have with the school is next to nothing compared with Y6, so homework is the only time I get to see what is happening in lessons (a quick flick through the books!). There are a lot of high achieving boys though, which is very positive in my eyes.
The chance to shine in all areas is there though - drama is an important part of school life. The school production is very popular and Y8's are up there with a chance alongside GCSE students, and sporting achievements are mentioned heavily on the website and fortnightly newsletters - DD not so sporty!!
I think it's important as a parent to believe in the school your children attend, and until I have reason to otherwise, that is what I will continue to do. She comes home happy with a funny story to tell most days, and we are all happy. Good luck with your choices and decisions.
Thank you Onefortheroad, your posts always reassure me by confirming my impressions of the school! Although my next question is part of a much wider debate (and I am sure many other threads!) I wonder if you can share any insights based on your DDs direct experience as to whether you feel RPA girls are as keen/confident on science/maths as they might be at DD's previous all girls school. My DD is a 'tom boy', has many friends who are boys, and has had some difficulties in past with groups of girls which make me reluctant to send her to all girls school. She is very sporty, she also is likelier to go down the maths rather than literacy road. There are persuasive arguments on both sides, I know, but I would be interested to hear your experience...
My DD went to state primary in Putney where 24 out of 30 went private...of the 6 going to state secondary 1 was grammar! It was tough as there was no "group" of friends to move up with. One of the girls started at Ibstock but has already been moved to Surbiton girls as parents weren't happy!
Private was never going to be an option for us and "choice" is limited in my opinion! I am lucky that I have a child who is keen and eager to do well at school, and I believe that that is the key!! Private or state - if they want to do well and learn, they will wherever they are... Hitting level 6 & 7 in most subjects in Y8 would have happened for DD in any school, in my opinion. As someone who works in the private sector at primary level I can honestly say that the provisions for less academic children or children with SEN can be far better in a state school then private.
The social mix is also important, and DD has friends who live in tower blocks and friends who have birthday shopping trips to Harrods and Harvey Nicks (that was an expensive sleepover)!!!!! We are somewhere in between!
I believe that the sooner the local primaries start feeding into RPA, the quicker we have a very amazing school on our doorstep! It's already happening...the primaries are full of like minded parents who just need to have a little faith!
Crawfordsbun, there is also this thread
I was hoping to elicit some feedback on other options too by posting on the main, rather than local, education site.
I also agree with Shenee and Onefortheroad that happiness is key (we met on the local thread mentioned above!)
Lilaray, like Shenee I would also be grateful to hear how you think your DD's education is comparing with friends who may have gone down the independent route....
Like Sheenmount my kids' state primary has a significant proportion of children going independent, which makes me feel that by staying in the state system my child is almost "opting out"! Although it would involve massive financial sacrifice and other fundamental adjustments to send our DCs down the independent route, given the fever pitch panic surrounding independent admissions I wonder if either I am missing something very fundamental indeed or if I just know a well kept secret that RPA actually seems a great alternative...
There are clear ability groups and from what I can tell teaching is very good - Discipline seems good too, kids are respectful of teachers, standing up when one enters the room etc. Like I said before, I can't speak for lower sets, but I believe there is movement between sets if progress is made, and support is given to those that need it.
Thanks, One4TheRd. Just seen your post and read the thread. Sounds interesting. Glad DD is happy, most important. How's the teaching - and class discipline?
There is a lot of recent up to date info on the Richmond local thread! Many happy kids and parents. If you read it it will save people repeating themselves here! I think you will be pleased and reassured - it's all good!
Awaiting news of Richmond Park Academy. Anyone visited the school lately? Hear it's changing - 6th form and all that.
Crawfordsburn - look at the thread RPA v Christ on Richmond local...lots of up to date info there. DD started in oct Y8 and is very happy.
What's happening at Richmond Park Academy this year? Any new news? Missed the wine and cheese last week so didn't get a look at all the changes I'm hearing about.
Lila. Many thanks for the post - I had a question on a different topic. You mention that your daughters were/are both at Sheen Mount and I've heard anecdotally that a high proportion of each year from SM go private for secondary schooling. With regards to your daughter in year 10, how have you found her experience at RPA (particularly academically) compares with her peers who went down the independent route? (I fully agree with One4theroad that happiness and social wellbeing are key but I was curious on this point).
That's very reassuring, Lila, thanks for posting that
just to add a note about bullying at RPA, This is something that the school is very quick to deal with when it becomes an issue for any child in the school. My daughter who is in year 10 at present has excelled academically at the school since she started. But last term she had a few issues with some of the girls in the school and judging the school on its previous standards I did consider moving her again. I was torn between how well she was doing academically and how unhappy she was socially. I approached the school and am pleased to say that they dealt with the problem swiftly and in a way which had no further repercussions for my daughter. The pastoral support was outstanding during for her during this time and she and I are both very pleased we decided to stay put. This term she is thriving socially as well as still being on track for outstanding GCSE results. My other daughter will be leaving Sheen Mount next year and is heading straight to RPA. Her choice as well as mine.
My daughter suffered verbal bullying and constant bitchiness at the 'outstanding' all girls school she was at. It was the one thing that was concerning her the most when she moved and I can honestly say that she hasn't had a negative feeling yet! I ask her if she feels safe - Yes! I ask her if anyone else is ever left out or teased - No! She has commented on the fact that the older boys love to wrestle each other and play fight, but I told her that that is just the way boys are! Get used to it!
I get the feeling that the able kids are pushed, and I am happy to see she is in the higher groups. I only know this as she is doing Latin which is for the top sets. From what I gather the lower sets are doing more literacy and small group work. I think the school will see the benefits of this in 2-3 years time results wise.
What I care about the most is social well being and overall happiness and she is feeling that 100% more at RPA then she was at her old school. Long may it continue!!!
Quint, I think there's bound to be a certain amount of hype. There usually is, IME, when schools are growing and/or changing - I suppose it's natural to want to combat the outdated reputation (like marketing/re-branding!).
But I don't think the parents I've spoken to are either given to hype or gloss. They are genuinely very happy. I have to say, though, that they tend to be the parents of very bright kids who are being stretched and guided beyond the parent's expectations.
I also think communication between home and school is supposed to be very good, and I trust my sources on that one.
And at the same time, I would bet that there is still plenty of room for improvement on many, many issues!
Possibly - but I think the general trend seems to be in a positive direction. I've no idea about bullying but most of the behaviour I've witnessed upon leaving school has been fine recently. We have an allotment opposite the main gates and from what I have seen the behaviour has a) improved over the last few years and b) now seems to be pretty similar to most other schools (private included).
Do you think there is a case of keeping the hype up and glossing over anything that could be negative?
I am thinking in terms of bullying, behaviour upon leaving school etc.
One4, I've recently been chatting with some friends who have been hearing great things about RPA from ladies they met through their Church group with dds there. One in Y8, in fact! I hope your dd is as happy as theirs clearly are.
One of these mums apparently said that she feels that at the moment, due to their need to promote themselves amongst the local families, the more able children are getting an extra-huge amount of support (targets regularly reviewed, academic support etc). She didn't sound as certain about SEN or lower ability groups, but I hope they get some good attention too.
We're still looking at/preparing for a couple of local indies, but in my heart I'm hoping RPA is still sounding as good next year - and that dd chooses it for herself.
That all sounds good - do let us know how she gets on with things - my daughter is in year 5 and the general news I've heard (both here and through people I know with children at RPA) has been positive.
Just to say that my daughter has had such a wonderful first week! I haven't seen her this happy in a while. RPA were very much expecting her and had a timetable and a buddy waiting for her when she arrived on day one! Academically I can't pass judgement just yet but she has enjoyed all of her lessons so far. I think she is a little bit like a new toy at the moment but I am hoping the friendliness continues!
Well, they are sending Latin homework to us for dd to do over half term and bring in with her on her first day!!!! I just knew I was going to like this school!! hahahahaha (She is not so impressed!) So not what I was expecting!
Hahahaha...Thanks for that loulou63. Am also estate fodder!!! It is a friendly, safe environment that I am looking for most...the parents here seem to tick that box so I'm sure the kids will too!
By no means loulou63 are you letting any side down! You are championing excellence and challenging perceptions of narrow minded stereotyping...well done, and every success to your very bright daughter.
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