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West London Free Secondary... we're probably going to leave...

(31 Posts)
DaintyDish Mon 19-Jan-15 18:57:14

Anyone else want to share their experiences, good and bad, to try and talk us out of moving DD? The bullying is a huge issue. The teachers are a mess. The changes are non-stop. Some kids love it, others can't stand it. DD used to be so happy there but this year has just been a total wash out. New head, new teachers (who cannot control the classroom and are, by all accounts, boring her to tears). She was so applied and excited last year. But she can't concentrate in class on account of all the jokers. She gets hassled all the time. She cries every day. :-(

Words o' widsom, anyone?

OddBoots Mon 19-Jan-15 19:02:22

What are your alternatives? I'd go and look at what is around locally and make your decision based on that.

If it is as bad as it sounds and in wake of Durham Free School's closure today I think I'd look to get her out sooner rather than later in case it does get closed and you're then competing with the other students to find a new place.

AuntieStella Mon 19-Jan-15 19:04:19

Which year group is she?

Have you started the search for place you prefer?

DaintyDish Mon 19-Jan-15 19:25:45

Thanks dear parents. She is in year 8. Yes, we've looked and there is one school we've kept way, way, way on the back burner, never thinking we'd even be looking at it again. It's so disappointing. And the closure of Durham Free School hasn't been an influencing factor in the least. However, Free Schools are more vulnerable to closure for sure. The West London Free School has always struck me as a cut above all of the other ones. It had a clear vision which has gone so blurry. And the bad behaviour has just taken a grip on the school. These bad eggs are allowed to dominate because the teachers don't know how to keep control of the classroom. Look, this is going to happen at ANY school. There are always issues, wherever we send our kids. But given the issues around bullying, I can't see how this will improve. The school is lazy with regards to discipline... lazy in a way it used not to be. Too many changes... too many heads... the vision and focus of the school has been lost.

MillyMollyMama Mon 19-Jan-15 20:38:49

No. It is not going to happen at any school. It happens at schools where teachers are unqualified, badly supervised and where the behaviour policy is not properly understood or implemented. Mostly it stems from a poor senior leadership team who are choosing the wrong staff, are ineffective in monitoring and improving classroom management techniques and probably are in denial. The vast majority of schools are not like this because they are properly run, unlike this one!

Giraffe44 Mon 19-Jan-15 21:03:44

I would be really interested to hear from any other parents at WLFS as its in our potential list for DD1 as its our nearest school. It doesnt sound good so far!

DaintyDish Mon 19-Jan-15 21:15:50

WLFS parents are notoriously quiet. You get people who will debate the whole Free School concept, but it's not easy getting info about the school... even for the likes of me and we've been there knocking on two years.

chilephilly Mon 19-Jan-15 21:27:20

Of course it's a mess. It's being run by people who do not know how to teach or how to run a school. How could it not be a mess?

TalkinPeace Mon 19-Jan-15 21:39:47

titchy Mon 19-Jan-15 22:08:37

Not sure that having two teaching vacancies means anything talkin!

TalkinPeace Mon 19-Jan-15 22:15:00

Look at the job descriptions.
No mention of a teaching qualification.

TeaAndALemonTart Mon 19-Jan-15 22:24:19

The job description asks for outstanding teaching record and outcomes. I would rather have that than an NQT, even if the first candidate isn't qualified.

chilephilly Tue 20-Jan-15 05:45:46

Depends on who gives the Outstanding judgement. Remember free schools are not inspected with the rigour that LA schools are. Not to mention the fact that it's nigh on impossible to be judged Outstanding by OFSTED without some knowledge of pedagogy, which you would get through teacher training.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Tue 20-Jan-15 10:06:02

OP, have you discussed these very serious concerns with staff/the head/governors? And discovered if they have a plan of action?

SignoraLiviaBurlando Tue 20-Jan-15 11:06:12

Yes - whom have you discussed this with at the school? You may well find that you find a Y8 place for your DD elswhere and the problems travel with her...

theintrepidfox Sun 25-Jan-15 22:02:13

OP: if your DD cries every day, take her out as soon as you can, even if she misses some school time! And don't let anyone tell you it's her fault or the problem will follow her, that's defeatist. I was bullied at school and cried until my mum finally agreed to send me to another school where I was very happy. Bullying is serious and if the school can't deal with it effectively, vote with your feet! We live near WLFS and also considered it (past tense) but heard similar stories and changed our mind.

PrintScreen Mon 26-Jan-15 22:11:05

Is there a known issue with bullying? Is the new Head no good?

Such a shame. We live locally and had only heard from happy parents so far.

Giraffe44 Tue 27-Jan-15 19:08:43

Intrepidfox which school out of interest did you go for? We live locally too and also have heard some worrying things about the free school and wondering what good options there are...

superram Tue 27-Jan-15 19:11:06

It depends on an alternative. Which school would you move her to? Not many outstanding London schools have places.

Teabaglady Tue 27-Jan-15 23:18:02

It seems odd that the OP is asking us to try and talk her out of moving her child from WLFS - it's not us you should be talking to but to the school. You should be raising these issues with the form tutor, HOY, Headteacher and Governors. That's certainly partly what we have done regarding problems at my child's school. What do other parents think? Certainly from what I have heard, WLFS has had issues but it also has very vocal parents who have raised issues and the school has then taken some action to try and deal with problems. Maybe it is easier for a newer school to make changes if one approach is not working and more difficult in more established schools where approaches are more set in stone.
I would have thought that if you can raise the issues with the school with a group of other Year 8parents, you might have more influence. If you are not happy with their responses then move - not so easy however to do in that area whether going state or private.

Alsoflamingo Wed 28-Jan-15 11:08:10

OP I am really sorry to hear that. I agree with other posters that bullying shouldn't be a given and naturally happens anywhere. Or, if it does, I think the key is how the school deals with it. I was considering WLFS for my DD too, but have changed my mind recently for various reasons. One thing I was particularly horrified by was seeing Toby Young's article in favour of Page 3 the other day (in The Spectator). Anyway, just wanted to offer sympathy. I would definitely be looking at alternative schools in your shoes.

LikeMumUsedToMake Sat 31-Jan-15 08:33:08

Have WLFS now got a Y11? We hear rumours of people leaving. Are the older year groups smaller due to this or do they take people in part way through the school?

MothershipG Sat 31-Jan-15 08:45:25

The oldest year group is currently Yr10.

I know when they started they were very hot on discipline, it's a shame if they've let it get so bad.

I applied for WLFS for my DD who is also in Yr8 but we didn't get a place, she goes to EPHS and is doing very well there, although both my DC do complain about the annoyance of low level disruption, they are both quite happy there.

What are your alternative schools, OP?

Icimoi Sat 31-Jan-15 16:55:36

I wouldn't touch WLFS with a bargepole. I know a number of very dissatisfied parents. The fact that it's had so many staff changes indicates that there is something very wrong with it, and there is a concern that many of the staff seem to be seriously inexperienced and just not up to scratch.

PeaStalks Sat 31-Jan-15 17:30:02

Interesting to look at that website and the teaching staff. Lots of highly qualified people but not all qualified teachers. What stands out to me is they are all so young. Lack of experienced teachers to mentor newer ones. Discipline is often a problem with NQTs.

Bullying and disruption do not happen at any school. Only where they are allowed. But they all learn Latin so it must be good hmm.

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