Newstead Wood, Orpington(3 Posts)
Our DD joined the sixth form last year and I wanted to share our experience so far, now that she has her AS results in hand and we can judge whether the move was worth it.
Academically, we've had mixed signals to the extent where we sought outside advice and assistance. The Head of Sixth Form left part way through the year and there hasn't appeared to be solid leadership since.
Laissez-faire has been the order of the day; homework and attendance are not enforced consistently which would permit a less disciplined student to slide. We're not impressed with the academic comms from the school and have felt very much on our own.
From her side, she feels there is certainly a wedge between the new intake and existing students which the school has done little to smooth over. From our side, the pastoral aspects in general leave much to be desired and we get the impression they simply do not care.
Luckily dd achieved in her AS and will progress to A2 without a problem, however others were not so fortunate. A handful of her immediate friends did so badly that they have been asked to leave. Strangely, this shocking situation passes without comment much less investigation or responsibility from a school that strives to only take the most able students....
I can't help thinking that had these able students been managed pastorally, they would not have failed their exams. And what about the predictions? These students were not predicted to fail, far from it, right up until they sat these exams. So what happened? It feels as though what matters here though is not finding out what happened and helping the student overcome it, but cutting the student to safeguard their A2 stats.
(Sorry, hadn't finished...)
Continuing on in exam performance, I do feel strongly that any school bears a measure of responsibility for performance but Newstead appears to be denying any connection.
Watching this unfold this week has been sad confirmation to dd that the place she chose for sixth form is trading on the calibre and resilience of the student group, rather than the quality of the school as a supportive accountable teaching institution. Would she choose it again? Undecided.
This is very sad to hear but unfortunately Newstead is well known for having poor pastoral care . Surely after selecting at 11 and culling after Gcse ( All A level students must have an A in the subjects they wish to study ) they should show some commitment to their year 12 students and shoulder some responsibility for their results. As a parent it must be heartbreaking for your child to be told to leave and is horribly disruptive to the students . It is totally misleading for the school to crow about good results when they have selected at every stage in this manner .
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