George Abbot Headmaster executive head to Kings/George abbot(10 Posts)
I only have until this friday to make a decision on a secondary school!
I am stuck on deciding between George Abbot or St Peters in Guildford. My child is under achieving. I have been advised to go with George abbot as it has a good reputation for catering for this but...not garanteed a place in the special needs class as there are only 11 spaces and 300 intake a year. Also I have read the school has linked up with Kings college (which does not have such a good reputation) and the Head has taken on the role of executive Headteacher for both schools last May! Does anyone know what future plans this means for the George Abbot?
As for St Peters I know its a good school as my eldest went there a year ago, but their under achievers class (speedway) is for one year only (George abbot is for all the years and the child gets filtered into their peers classes when the school feel they are able to join them) although the senco at St Peters has said to me that a child may have a teachers assistent to help them for maths/english lessons (depending on the childs disability)
Now wondering if I should make a quick appointment to go and see the senco at Howard of Effingham? I know it's difficult to get in there but come top of priority...long story.
Sorry if I sound all mumbled jumbled and for spelling mistakes etc...not had a good nights sleep in a while
The SENCO at George Abbot is wonderful. I choose against St Peter's because my eldest needed help for his needs in mainstream not to be drawn off into a special class (he is bright but dyslexic).
Mr Maloney has only just moved to Deputy headship, nothing has changed at GA, but he already seems to have had an effect at Kings (read the Ofsted report, the inspection came after about 1 term of the change).
The plan is for King's to be turned around in the next two years, then the partnership may well be dissolved, but might not. Howard of Effingham is also a federated school, but in its case the two schools are further apart.
Have you met the GA SENCO (not director of SEN)? If so you could compare her with the Howard's one, who is good but I know which I prefer.
All the Guildford area schools (and the college) work quite closely at 14-19.
Executive Headship, at the schools I've heard of that do this, doesn't mean a merge or that the Head will leave. It is more about sharing talent and experience and often seems to be an outstanding school and staff supporting a lower graded school.
It does mean thought that the Executive Head might not be as hands on and may appoint a Deputy or a Head of School or a number of people below them that take over day-to-day duties a bit more.
Whichever school you pick though, there is no guarantee that the any one member of staff will still be there in September or next year - Heads and SenCos do move on at all schools (not saying they will at any of these - just that you should pick the school on a wider range of factors and if there's a staff member you like a lot just hope that they're staying). Do you know anyone with children at any of the schools who can give you an insider's view?
Re exec headship this is as other 2 posters have said GA are adopting essentially same model as Howard with an exec head across 2 linked schools and the addition of a head of school below this who was previous deputy, so good continuity. It means you have professional development opportunities for staff within and outside of the school so overall a good thing for both schools.
I am not a GA parent but have friends with a DC who has been in the class you are looking at it has worked extremely well for them. DC now more confident, doing several mainstream lessons and some in the smaller class where more help is needed. You need to know if your primary school is recommending this for your DC if they are I believe that is what makes all the difference.
The very highly regarded SENCO from St Peters has just started at Guildford County. Not sure how that leaves the provision at St Peters.
Thank you all for your replies and putting my mind at rest regarding the head of GA. Sorry I haven't got back sooner but have been ill ...feeling much better now. Yes mummytime, I have met the senco from GA (and was impressed!) and the senco from St peters, but have just read Dededum's reply and wonder if I should go with GA...after deciding to go with St Peters because its smaller and has a warm caring feel?! My child prefers GA. I was told that both schools are very good with those needing help for either special needs or those just needing TA's to help in class. The Howard is totaly crossed off our list as it is a bit far for traveling. Hmmm...now thinking should I go with what my child prefers? her reasons are, she likes GA's uniform, impressed with the art rooms and the sprung floor dance hall!
If she likes GA uniform then you should go for it, GA is very strict with Uniform! So having her like it is half the battle.
GA is big, but impressively good at pastoral. Year 7 kept separate, one of the heads of each year is a HLTA, so actually around to answer the phone much more of the time, they also tend to work with students in their year.
The things I really like were: library opening hours, not being forced outside at lunch/breaks, the art displayed, and that GA is so linear and a less confusing site.
But St Peter's is a good school, and lots of people would like the chance to go there, some teacher's at GA send their kids to St Peter's, and vice versa I believe.
Both schools have very good reputations. I understand your concerns; I had a total meltdown when choosing secondary schools, as it seemed so important. In this case, the decision is difficult because they are both very good schools. You should remember that the home background has more of an impact than the school.
You will have already made the decision, and it will be the right one!
Thank you everyone for your replies!
Mummytime can i ask what sort of things did GA put in place for your son? Did he get a TA to help in some lessons? I was first hoping that my daughter would get into the small group class but after speaking with my childs SENCO realised that she's not likely to get in it, but on a good note I think she would do better with extra help in a main stream class as her needs are border line or just below.
My DS started off getting some withdrawal for some special help. He didn't need much TA support. We had termly reviews of the IEP with my son there, and he had a lot of input on what help he wanted. One very useful thing, which I think St Peter's also do is having a tag or tags on the homework diary for different support needed (which includes young carers). The best thing is if you can think of something which might help they will normally let you try it; so my son used ear plugs for a while.
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