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Are there any good boys secondaries in South Norwood area, South London - or moving is inevitable?

(24 Posts)
southnorwoodmum Sun 30-Dec-12 14:54:08

The question is in the topic name. My son goes to a very good local catholic primary school, but I am already starting to worry about secondaries (still few years ahead). He is does not have any particular interests and is average in school. He is on the border for Asperger's syndrom (was assessed, no diagnosis, but quite a few traits). I am aware of the secondaries in the area, but the nearest get very mixed reviews on mumsnet internet, i.e. Harris South Norwood and St Joseph's. We cannot count on Harris Crystal Palace or John Fisher due to distance/lottery admission.

I am trying to work out if moving for secondary is our only option?

Ladymuck Sun 30-Dec-12 15:09:47

If you are church going then Archbishop Tennisons or St Andrews would be possible?

southnorwoodmum Sun 30-Dec-12 15:18:48

Ladymuck, we are Catholic's so think we stand much lesser chance to get into those

Ladymuck Sun 30-Dec-12 15:42:25

Not really. The Roman Catholic Church are full members of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and Archbishop Tennsions holds 40% of its places for non CofE churchgoers. You will increase your chance of getting in by being more involved in your church.

CarlingBlackMabel Sun 30-Dec-12 15:56:40

I have seen Bishop Thomas Grant discussed in favourable terms on MN, it is apprantly doing well and improving and has a fab new head.
Are you in reasonable travelling distance of Kingsdale if you were to get a lottery place?
And don't write off your local schools just because of what someone on MN has said - go and have a good look. You can go to Open Days 2 or 3 years ahead, if you want!

southnorwoodmum Mon 31-Dec-12 09:48:42

Thanks Ladymuck and CarlingBlackMabel, BTG and Kingsdale is very far, I honestly doubt we can get in, and certainly we cannot count on a lottery places. At times it seems that just selling up and moving to a close proximity of a good school (Bromley or Sutton) would be less stressful and possibly better outcome. The problem is the we can only get a very small 2/3 bed house near a good school and it is not guaranteed that the school choice would be the right one.

southnorwoodmum Mon 31-Dec-12 09:50:14

I noticed that Harris South Norwood had over 1200 applicants to 210 places, does it mean it is good? Or it is just a back up for everyone?

springlamb Mon 31-Dec-12 09:56:48

My friend has 3 teenagers. The first was allocated to Harris South Norwood 5 years ago, they were very apprehensive. She has been really pleased and has sent the other two there happily.
St Andrew's has, I believe, quite good help for for SN.
DD is Yr 6 so we are in the allocations period at the moment. However, we are moving so haven't applied for Croydon secondary schools.

southnorwoodmum Mon 31-Dec-12 10:30:06

Springlamb thank you. Seeing some of the local teenagers I would also be apprehensive... but good to know your friend is pleased. Are you moving from Croydon for good secondaries by any chance?

EduCrazy Mon 31-Dec-12 20:10:41

Why are you thinking of moving? Unlike primary, for secondary school, many find it quite reasonable for children to travel for up to an hour to get to a decent one - especially for catholic.

There are children in your area who travel to schools such as, The Oratory and Cardinal Vaughan (both in the top 100 state schools in The Times league table) where distance is not part of the admissions criteria. Cardinal Vaughan is a lottery, but as long as you have weekly mass attendance, your ds was christened before 6 months and at least one parent is a baptised catholic you can at least be considered, which rest assured, is a great start. The Oratory is the same, plus help out with the church in some way.

Where you live, will impact Wimbledon college but the fact that you're a catholic would put you ahead of the rest. There are children who live as far afield as Lewisham with a place there.

Rest assured, kids travel from great distances to get into these schools so your ds certainly wouldn't be on the train by himself - I guarantee you.

ps: None of the great schools can be 'counted on' I'm afraid, as naturally, they're all over subscribed - hence the stress of it all. It just puts you in a great position if you're at least eligible for the first set of pickings.

EduCrazy Mon 31-Dec-12 20:13:17

slight correction - Oratory not a lottery (just realised it formed part of the sentence) - just hopesmile

southnorwoodmum Mon 31-Dec-12 21:05:19

EduCrazy, thanks but my DS wasn't baptized before 6 months, I am not overly religious and got into catholic primary quite by chance. Wimbledon College accepts about 4.5km furthest away, so really really don't see how it is possible for somebody to get in from Lewisham. My neighbour did not get in into John Fisher which is considered good. The other schools are even further. Happy New Year by the way!

springlamb Tue 01-Jan-13 08:08:34

Happy New Year to you down the hill in south Norwood! Feels like I am the only person awake round here, very quiet!
We are not moving specifically for secondary school, although that's a bonus. But lordy it has been stressful, applying from 60 miles away!
Trying to think of schools that DD's friends have looked and been impressed by. Eden Park was mentioned by a couple of mums with boys (one who has slight special needs too). Also, Norwood is up-and-coming (the one that used to be Norwood Girls!!), given another year or so might be worth a look.
My friend's dc go to St Andrew's and they live virtually at the border with Lambeth, so it is worth a look. One of those dc had some problems with bullying at her previous school but St Andrew's has been good at helping her overcome any issues and she is so busy and confident with school activities it's a joy.

southnorwoodmum Tue 01-Jan-13 10:05:10

Happy New Year to you too, springlamb. It is nice to see sunshine for a change! You hit my spot by mentioning slight special needs and my fear of bullying, that's what I am looking in a school in the first place. I will have a look at those you mentioned.

springlamb Tue 01-Jan-13 12:02:19

Good, look at a many as you can, you can put 6 on the form.
Just occurred to me, if your son is at a very good Catholic primary in S.Norwood, I probably work right next door. I work in the education field and we recently moved into empty premises in a cul de sac right next door to the entrance of a certain Catholic primary school.

EduCrazy Wed 02-Jan-13 02:13:39

Was told about the Lewisham thing by the admission secretary last year - but criteria's and boundaries for distance, for example, change all the time.

Someone I knew bought a property to be in the catchment area for langley boys; only problem is, that year the catchment area shrank, making them no longer eligible.

southnorwoodmum Thu 03-Jan-13 10:16:12

Springlamb, the one that we go to has a cul-de-sac and the school in the same name.

EduCrazy, I heard Langley is a very good school but I think we are defo too far, and I don't think we can afford that area anyway! What did your friend do in the end?

AngelEyes46 Thu 03-Jan-13 13:52:53

Springlamb - I also work in education - for the LA - I wonder if we know each other. Southnorwoodmum - would you not think about St Joseph's or John Fisher - the baptism criteria is under a year for full points for both schools and you wd def be in the distance criteria for St Jo's and probably JF!

southnorwoodmum Thu 03-Jan-13 14:42:31

Angel, there is another thread on MN so negative about St Joseph's (bullying issues if I remember correctly) that it put me off totally. My neighbor did not get into John Fisher, it is too far.

EduCrazy Fri 04-Jan-13 00:17:04


I'm no longer in touch with her, but heard through the grapevine that although she was marginally out by 0.05 mile (or something like that), they still got a place. When I last spoke to her though, she was in a constant panic/sleepless nights etc., due to the change. Her elder son had attended there also; not sure if that helped, but know for sure that they weren't able to benefit from sibling policy either.

I'm struggling to pinpoint where you are exactly to recommend the best ones locally as I went through this just recently. I really don't envy you - it's a nightmare I know.

I'd agree on the St. Joseph's issue as in recent years I too have not heard good things about it.

From where I think you are, the best ones (in terms of results and caliber of children - sorry to sound snooty) are:

John Fisher
Harris Crystal Palace
Kingsdale (despite negative press, I don't feel they were doing anything different to what all the other schools were doing)
Archbishop Tennison
Wimbledon College

I don't know St Andrew's so can't comment on that one.

The list above, from my extensive research and I feel, general consensus, would be deemed your best choices. But once you've come up with your own list, I guess only then, you can decide what to do - move, have your ds travel, or otherwise.

You also mentioned you're a few years away, which means, there's also a chance that one that's not doing so well now may change dramatically in the future. For example, Thomas Moore's results suddenly shot up by something like 25% this year.

Another option you have not mentioned, is to possibly tutor you ds for a bursary place (assuming that paying full fee would be out of the question) for Trinity and Whitgift. They have tons of really generous bursaries where parents with earning of up to £75K can get help with fees. Just a thought, unless you're totally against private, of course.

southnorwoodmum Fri 04-Jan-13 12:26:38

Thank you so much EduCrazy. I will PM you.

AngelEyes46 Sun 06-Jan-13 10:30:07

I looked at St Andrew's for my dd and loved the feel of it. My friends ds's go there and are very happy. I asked the question about it being a CoE school and my dd being RC and we were eligible. It doesn't work the other way round though, i.e. CoE to a RC school!

Also, remember that JF's distance will change year by year. I'm not sure how this year compares with previous years in number of pupil transferring to secondary schools.

littlecrystal Mon 08-Apr-13 23:10:30

Hi we seem to be quite local to OP and I was wondering what are viable options for non-faith secondary schools (mixes or boys). I have an option to move and thinking perhaps Langley Park but I quite like the quirkiness of South Norwood and given acceptable options for schools would happily stay in the area. Our requirements: strong in traditional subjects, caring, good behavioural standards.


sony767 Thu 11-Apr-13 13:24:39

I wouldn't count St. Joseph's out. My son started in September and we are pleased so far. Like I said in a previous thread, I am not local, so don't know the type of kids that go to th local Norwood, Croydon schools. I recommend visiting St Joseph's and have a look for yourself rather than going by opinions that were posted a while back.. Thy have a strong discipline policy, are strong in Maths, and have excellent sports facilities. My son is happy, he has progressed immensely, especially in Maths from where he was at the end of year 6 SATS. Bullying happens even in the best of schools. I personally kept an open mind when I considered schools for my son and chose the one I felt happy with.

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