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Elmgreen or The Norwood School, what's more important friends or the right curriculum?

(9 Posts)
Jomi273 Tue 05-Mar-13 09:36:13

Am in a big dilemma, we've been offered a place at 2nd choice Elmgreen, but wanted 3rd choice the Norwood school (yes we got them all the wrong way round on our list!). Issue is very performing arts orientated child, who was very excited at the prospect of The Norwood School (been part of their very good transition process for Performing arts bursary kids so been there a few times), now offered a place at Elmgreen where half of her Rosendale class are going. She is now thinking more about the option of being with friends, and getting excited about that rather than about being somewhere with the better curriculum for her (well she is only 10!).
The Norwood School is def on the up, has much higher stats/results than Elmgreen and Kingsdale, but Elmgreen/Kingsdale are the ones that are always there something I need to know about the Norwood School? Why isn't it on the radar yet - it has a £13million new building opening soon with theatre, dance and art studios and seems great? Does anyone have or know kids that are there? We live the same distance from each in West Dulwich. Such a big decision and as a single mum I would really appreciate some input before I put her on the waiting list for Norwood School - she was offered the performing arts bursary there and they are very keen to have her!
Any advice gratefully received! Thanks

aliasPrickleandJones Tue 05-Mar-13 10:53:39

Another option if your dc is perfoming arts orientated is the Brit School in Selhurst. They don't take students until Year 10 (?) so your dc could go to Elmgreen and try for Brit later. Quite a few children from my dc's school (another comp in the area) transferred to Brit.

Funny isn't it about which school is 'in' and which are 'not so in'. I don't know anything about Norwood but know several children that are going from Rosendale to Elmgreen and others who are there already. AFAIK, they are happy with it.

BanoffeeSplitz Tue 05-Mar-13 12:07:52

One thing to remember is that in secondary school it can be really good to have 'home friends' and 'school friends' - if you are going through a rough time with one set (almost inevitable with girls at some point) then it's good if they aren't your only circle of friends.

She may be too young to be using Facebook at the moment, but in Y7 / Y8 it can be used to catch up with old friends.

Blu Tue 05-Mar-13 13:52:12

What is the offer that goes with a Performing Arts Bursary? What would the school provide for her? And how much curriculum time would she actually get doing performing arts at Norwood? Would it be more than at another school?

There are lots of extra-curricular performing arts opportunities in the area, such as at the theatre workshops and youth productions at the South Norwood Theatre, summer schools at the Young Vic, projects and productions at Oval House, music at Raw Material in Brixton, IndepenDance in Brixton.

I can't give you any useful comparitive information about Norwood and Elmgreen, but I know families with chioldren at Elmgreen and they are very happy indeed.

angelusavalon Tue 05-Mar-13 17:13:54

Hi, my child is in Norwood School. The school promote themselves to be a performing art school and, yes, they do have funds to expand in that field but the Norwood School is just like any ordinary secondary schools. I mean the performing arts thingy is just overrated. My child is into the performance and drama but the school is still only half a building and my child currently is not getting any of these extra exciting activities. I think you should accept Elmgreen and children only want to be with their primary school friends anyway. Please don't worry about not getting Norwood School, its not that brilliant and the school is quite strict in discipline because of the type of children landing on their doorstep. Hope this helps ;) .

Blu Tue 05-Mar-13 18:41:48

In the Ofsted ParentView tables 99% of parents at Elmgreen would recommend it to others. here. Norwood parents do not seem to have completed it.

Goggie Thu 07-Mar-13 16:58:52

I have exactly the same dilemma. have been offered a place at elmgreen where my son goes and very happy with it, but daughter has been given a bursary at Norwood so now wondering if this a better option for her. I think Norwood is finding it tough to shake off it's former image, but don't forget they were ranked 5th last year in England for students progress - which only goes to prove the quality of the teaching. My son is doing very well at elmgreen and we really like the school, but think Norwood may suit the needs of my daughter better. The 13 million rebuild has got to add some value to the school. I think this is the first year they have given bursary places. I was told about 5 years ago by a teacher in London that Norwood was the school to watch out for in the future. Saying all this I am still not absolutely sure what to to as we have first hand experience of elmgreen.

Se19mum Mon 11-Mar-13 21:06:06

I wouldn't recommend The Norwood School, I agree the results look good and, having visited, the staff seem very dedicated but it doesn't have a bad reputation for behaviour for nothing. Elm Green was set up by parents who want to be involved in their children's education (which I assume you do from this thread) and it's part if the schools ethos. I know someone who removed their daughter from Norwood because of the behaviour which they felt was preventing her progress. At Elm green she's much happier. Although Elm Green's Ofsted isn't great they're still a new school and seem to have the basics right.

Goggie Mon 18-Mar-13 23:29:07

There's bad behaviour in all schools and Elmgreen is no exception according to my Ds. Elmgreen is a true community school in the sense it's admission criteria is purely catchment - no banding, scholarships, selective pupils, so it is never going to be a school full of angels. saying that it is a great school and we've been more than happy with it.

I think the intake for the Norwood school in the last couple of years since the results have improved is completely different to past years, otherwise how would previously poor performing schools ever change or attract different pupils. Take for example Kingsdale and Harris SN. When we looked at Harris SN for DS 5 years ago it still had old Stanley boys in year 10 &11 and we wouldn't have dreamed of sending him to Kingsdale, now look at them both. If the kids are getting good results now at norwood (as opposed to apparently better behaved kids at Elmgreen ) things have got to be looking good for Norwood. i don't think you need to worry to much about the kids at the top end of the school, it's your immediate peers who are important. Also I think the new state of the art building will have a huge impact on how the school is perceived for the 2014 intake.

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