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Radnor House making a bid for Frigate girls school Dunottar

(12 Posts)
mumster30 Sat 15-Feb-14 12:18:49

Hi Radnor House parents. What can you tell me about Radnor House and its ethos? What's the leadership team like? Dunottar is non selective, small and very supportive. Fantastic value add. What's it like at Radnor House? How do you feel about them expanding? Do the team have capacity? Any feedback or reassurance would be appreciated.

mumster30 Sat 15-Feb-14 12:22:17

Hi. Any mums got kids at schools run by United Learning? They have put in a bid to run our small school, non selective, currently girls only. What's you experience of UL? They seem to have a very nice approach. Appeals to me a lot, but is that what its really like? All input from UL mums appreciated.

mumster30 Sat 15-Feb-14 12:34:13

Oops! Obviously I meant Reigate!

cakeisalwaystheanswer Sat 15-Feb-14 12:37:16

You can't go wrong really.
UL is the old United Church Schools Trust. They run lots of girls schools including Surbiton and Guildford High. They are obviously looking to increase their school portfiolio. Every school is different, from what I can see all UL do is collect the fees!
Radnor House is a smallish school started a few years ago in Twickenham on the old St James's site. It has become sought after already, has built up a brilliant reputation in very little time. Parents full of praise for quality of teaching and pastoral care.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 15-Feb-14 12:39:26

Hi I don't have children at Radnor but I am local and have watched it's progress with interest. It was established by Venture capitalists www.albion-ventures.co.uk/about/index.htmwith the aim of exploiting the market in this area and they have a significant presence on the governing body but they have a strategy of empowering the professionals whilst supporting with strategic advice and finance. It's reputation for being academic whilst supportive with good pastoral care has grown, and it is becoming more selective as it has attracted more applicants. It also seeks to differentiate itself through close links to parents as well, there is even a cafe on site. I have heard only positive things. Interesting they are expanding in the name of Radnor House. I think the venture capitalists did have interests in other schools but they were entirely separate to Radnor.

United Learning have a couple of good schools around here, Surbiton High and Rowan's, plenty of happy parents.

Bo72 Sat 15-Feb-14 13:12:50

Interesting, sounds like both groups have some very positive points. I just go a bit cold when I hear the words "venture capitalists" when connected to education? Or is that just me?

Shootingatpigeons Sat 15-Feb-14 13:41:17

Bo72 I don't think companies in the financial sector have the best of reputations at the moment, they have taken the place of estate agents in terms of vilification. But stereotypes are always dangerous and from what I gather these are quite nice venture capitalists wink grin. At the end of the day it is in their interests to please the customers of the school, the parents, and if they bring with them the money to invest in realising the vision of the professionals to do just that, as they have at Radnor, it isn't necessarily a bad thing? They paid St James's £7m for the site and must have spent £m more on improving it, so that is quite a commitment, it isn't a case of buying an ailing school on the cheap, and then selling it as building land if they can't make it pay as some unscrupulous players, who are supposedly "international education companies" in the education market do.

Since they have decided to buy Dunottar under the Radnor House brand they clearly have the same intention there, since they will not want to damage a brand they have been so successful in building?

TwickenhaMummy Sat 15-Feb-14 13:45:09

Well, this is news!! I'm keen on Radnor for 6 form in sept - I'm hoping that this new project won't distract from that. David Paton and his team are really impressive, I'd hate to see their great work diluted.
Feels a bit left field to me.
Has anyone else heard about this and how it will work?

LIZS Sat 15-Feb-14 15:06:40

I'm not sure they have decided anything yet, it appears to be one of several proposals being put to the board of trustees when they review the possibility of and alternatives to closure and may be the same financial investors involved rather than under Radnor House itself. There is an infrastructure already in existence at Dunottar whereas I believe Radnor House was essentially a new school.

TwickenhaMummy Sat 15-Feb-14 15:22:31

I just looked at the schools website and it has this note on the home page:
Further to my letter to parents of yesterday, I confirm that an emergency meeting of the governors is being arranged to take place over the weekend to consider the current situation, including the proposals from United Learning and another supplier which have been received, and the best way to proceed from this point. I will report the outcome of that meeting immediately afterwards. I very much hope that parents will continue their support for Dunottar by delaying any final decisions about their daughters’ education until after half term. 14/02/14

So it is coming to a head... Are you a parent at Dunnotar, Liz? If so, what's your view?

LIZS Sat 15-Feb-14 15:28:03

It seems that they have finally recognised that time is of the essence fi any plan is to be given a fighting chance. I'm just an interested bystander with friends who have or had daughters there. There is an evolving thread going on www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/1673543-Dunottar-Reigate-Grammar-Merger-or-what which will demonstrate the strength of parental support and local views if you are interested in the background.

mumster30 Sat 15-Feb-14 16:36:28

Thanks cake is always the answer. Very reassuring. After what Dunottar parents, pupils and staff have been through I suppose it is natural to be sceptical. Sounds as though the Board have two excellent options in front of them and closure can be avoided. Great news for Reigate parents who will have an alternative RGS if they want one.

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