BTG Bishop Thomas Grant(17 Posts)
Hi (name changed to protect the innocent ) so my boy is going to BTG in September and am seeking reassurance - some of the other parents I know from Mass turn their noses up at it. I thought it was fine when I looked round and even though it wasn't my first choice I was ok about getting it. Would love to hear from anyone with kids there - can you reassure me or should I be worried? thank you
People with kids there that I know have not complained. In fact one woman whose daughter goes there and has a son at John Fisher told me she preferred BTG. It was more serious about the students' education, she felt.
Thank you Barkisiswilling. Any BTG parents out there?
If you do a search on BTG or Bishop Thomas Grant you will find lots of threads and parents - as far as I can see all v happy since the new Head turned it around.
Blu - I have searched and read all the threads but most of it secondhand "kids who were at my DCs primary go there" etc I would reaaly like to hear something recent from parents. I have sent a message to one of the only two posters who identified themselves as BTG parents. You say "as far as I can see all v happy since the new Head turned it around" - where are you looking at it from? (if you know what I mean)
PS I tend not to think of Mr Desa being new - he has been there since 2001
If you look at it from the POV that bad news makes front page news more frequently than good news does, you should probably feel relieved that people are not posting disturbing tales of woe about the school.
I personally know at least 5 parents, and they are all positive about the school.
Why do you seek reassurance? Where are your son's peers going (just being nosy)?
barkisiswilling - the sensible side of my brain agrees with all you say in the first para and your question points to the source of my anxiety I think - his peers are going to oratory, cardinal vaughan, grammar and private schools. there are other kids in his primary going to btg but not his friends so not parents I know also i don't know anyone else with kids at btg
Hi Miriam, my son goes to BTG. We might go to the same church as I have had exactly the same experience in terms of reaction from other parents. If your son doesn't get into the Oratory or Cardinal Vaughan, and instead gets BTG, it is seen as a sort of failure.
I was very unsure, as I couldn't put my finger on it, why people turn their noses up. BTG's results are good, I personally very much like that it is a mixed catholic school, rather than a single sex one, it's a local school (at least very much more local than the Oratory and Cardinal Vaughan), so all great - so why aren't all the parents fighting to get their kids into this school?
This might be highly controversial, but for me it has to do with class. In fact, being a foreigner and having been able to always circumnavigate the class system and exist on the vague "foreign class level", doing the whole secondary school application has been the first time that I have been forced into some class context.
In my experience, working class parents from our previous primary school are all very happy to get a place at BTG for their children, but for most middle class parents it is not seen as the desired choice of school.
With my son now being in the third term of BTG (Year 7), my experience is thoroughly positive.
He had problems with a couple of other boys, but it was very swiftly dealt with.
For the last few months he has been quite anxious (without being able to pinpoint what it is that makes him anxious) and I went to see his head of year who was brilliant. In preparation to meeting me, she had requested feedback from all his teachers, she was very re-assuring, she advised me, she immediately put procedures into place (my son now sees the pastoral officer every day before school to do breathing exercises with her) and all this is slowly paying off, and my son has gained in self confidence.
He's made some lovely new friends, very well behaved boys, with a real spark.
In terms of academic work, my son is actually in a fairly low stream, but does get a good amount of homework (of course he complains it's too much), I'm pleased that he does two languages and having met most of his teachers at the parent evening I was very impressed.
(Several of my son's friends are in the grammar stream, where they do Latin as one of their language choices.)
To be honest, I wasn't too sure about Mr Desa when I saw him at the open evening, but since then I have changed my mind somewhat about him (I actually don't have much to do with him, and my son adores him!). Main point though, Mr Desa deeply cares about the school and the pupils.
Sorry for this detailed description, but, Miriam, I think I was in exactly the same position as you, last year. I was very worried, because I thought everybody else knew something that I had overlooked or somehow missed. And based on this unknown quantity they had dismissed BTG.
While of course, the Oratory and Cardinal Vaughan are great schools, in my opinion a lot of the negativity towards BTG is pure class snobbery.
I hope this has re-assured you - in my opinion, it's a great school.
My son in year 5 so looking at options now, oratory doesnt sound his cup of tea and I don't think we'd get in.. I've never understood the sniffiness about BTG so thanks viktoria for your post. In dilemma as in Charter catchment though.. any advice?
It's an absolutely lovely school and my son is incredibly happier there. It is quite a traditional school with regards to high expectations concerning both work and behaviour but at the same time is a very caring school and my son has never had any problems. It also gets very good results and I think the Head is excellent. I could not recommend it enough and we will certainly be sending our youngest there too.
I was online searching for something random and came across your post and felt I had to comment. I am a parent of a child at BTG. My daughter started in year 7 and is anxiously awaiting her GCSE results from BTG. She applied to do her A levels at BTG and has been given provisional admission at BTG pending her results. I think that says a lot of how I feel about the School.
Mr Desa and the deputy head teacher Ms Murray are both ex pupils of the school so are very passionate. They are both very strict which I think is a good thing for kids. Mr Desa knows all the kids in his school by name and is often seen chatting with the kids. Academically the school has a good ofsed report and can compete with any of the best out there. Problems are dealt with promptly. My daughter had a problem in school a year ago and I emailed Mr Desa and her head of year to complain and not only was the problem dealt with, I got a personal phone call from Mr Desa and the deputy head who apologised and assured me.
My daughter has never been unhappy here. Has made lots of friends. Bullying is almost none existence. The school is particular about how the kids are dressed. They are not allowed to go into shops on their way back from school in uniforms. BTG's closing time is about 20 mins after all the others schools in the area. This is done to limit the fights neighbouring schools usually get into. So by the time the kids are out of school there are mostly the only ones at the bus stops. I have been on the buses with BTG kids coming back from school and the noise level from them was bearing audible. They are disciplined and well behaved. I couldn't have put my daughter in a better school.
Go for it and be positive. Every school has its problems. What might be a problem for one parent might not be for another. As long as the school has good academic results, a good leader and a friendly atmosphere, you can't go wrong. If you ever have any problems go to the school and address it. There are always there to listen..
Oh sorry, one more thing. Best way to know if kids are happy in a school stop them on the road and ask them how they like their school. I did that when I was searching for a good primary school for my kid and it worked for me. I stopped a couple of kids from the school and the smile and joy on their faces talking about their school made my mind up. Of course I had already done the academic research first.
My son is in year 10 of BTG and has been happy from the first day. He has always been challenged by the work and encouraged to do his best by teachers who are full of enthusiasm. There is a strict culture that a good work ethic is to be praised and not ridiculed by the other children and he is expected to achieve A/ A* in all his subjects. More importantly he has always felt safe and confident that if there were an issue it would be dealt with swiftly. Mr Desa does indeed know all the children by name but also what their talents are. I have seen children from our local primary school who weren't academic grow into confident, talented young adults. Mr Desa should be proud of his school, children and staff.
Sorry for lifting the old thread. For any BTG parents that may be lurking here - how old were your children when baptised? I have a child baptised at 18 months, I am just wondering if we stand a chance for this increasingly popular school.
They have changed the criteria. It is up to 3 years now for baptism so distance plays a bigger part than previously.
Thanks idiuntno57. i just found out that myself! I wonder what that new distance would be..... so far it was about 3-4 miles radius I think (based on Good schools guide). Living at 3.2 miles distance myself, I do wonder where we will stand with our chance. I do love this school but I do think our proximity will be risky when the time comes.
As my husband says "God will make it happen if he wants to.." and there is always complaining to the Bishop........
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