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Holland Park Secondary School

(30 Posts)
hillbilly Tue 27-Jan-15 11:57:17

I would be interested in hearing up to date views. I was impressed by the Open evening in September and they have answers all my subsequent questions promptly with in depth answers when I emailed them however they were none specific on GCSE options, saying that it depends on the band the student is in. I'm also interested in a parents' view of the availability of school trips.

deerdeer Tue 27-Jan-15 14:49:08

Trips? - none apart from the tiny minority who win Perfect Tense - same kids year after year in many cases. There was a choir trip to Paris but that was exceptional.

GCSEs choice v v limited even for Band 1. A major failing is the insistence in sitting many early after 1 year courses. No idea if this will change for the new ones. Ask Mr Seed for the current option choices offered across the bands. A level is even worse not possible to do English and Art for example.

hillbilly Tue 27-Jan-15 14:54:59

Re trips this is what they said has and is happening this year:

theatre, ballet, Spain, France, Iceland, Italy, art galleries, museums, Canterbury, Flatford Mill, and many more. Some are subject based, eg: Geography field trips, some are open to all, for example the Choir visit to Paris and the VIVO (reward point system) trips to Barcelona, the Peak District and Bath. The PE department run a ski trip that anyone is welcome to join as well as an international sporting tour for the teams involved.

I will ask Mr Seed about current options.

Thanks.

jeanne16 Tue 27-Jan-15 15:44:50

Ask them about staff turnover. I have heard it is such a hellish place in which to work that teachers leave as soon as they can find other jobs.

deerdeer Tue 27-Jan-15 16:20:31

There may be trips available for certain subjects but definitely not all students. My daughter is an art aptitude student and has not been to a single museum or gallery. She also did Spanish and was not offered a trip. The list is bollocks into opinion the last trip to Iceland was a few years ago for geographers only.

deerdeer Tue 27-Jan-15 16:22:00

I think the majority of students have not been on a single trip.

deerdeer Tue 27-Jan-15 22:05:36

I just discussed your post with my daughter as I could not believe the number of trips the school say they do. She confirms what I thought.

There have certainly never been class trips to the theatre for example and there are no trips abroad or anywhere else for that matter than are freely available, even subject based trips. She has never been on a school theatre trip or even a trip to a gallery despite being Art Aptitude (she was expected to visit them herself however).

She is aware that the school occasionally gets theatre/opera tickets but only a few hand picked students can attend.

The Vivo trips are available to about a dozen children who win the annual prize only and are often the same as the perfect tense winners. There was a trip to Barcelona but it was about 3 years ago for the winners only. A trip to Paris and Italy was also for those children only in certain years. The overwhelming majority of students will not come into this category.

There was a weekend in Berlin that ran for GCSE history students but that seems to have been dropped. Business students went to Disneyland Paris for a weekend. There are no language trips to France or Spain that she has heard of. They definitely did not run to Spain.

She has not heard of a ski trip or a trip to Iceland (though one ran about 3 years ago subsidised by the Trust).

The choir trip to Paris was a weekend only and was definitely not available to all.

Flatford Mill is a revision course for borderline students - again these are selected by the school.

Please do not send your child on the basis they do loads of trips because they do not. Unless of course you are counting on your child being in the top 0.01% of points winners.

Draylon Tue 27-Jan-15 22:31:20

But- school trips, though fun, really shouldn't be the basis on which you choose a secondary school.

I laugh gaily as my DSs get offered Barcelona, France, Germany, skiing, Iceland, New York (state comp) etc and realise I managed, say, a Geography A level on the Brecon Beacons and Lulworth Cove (from Salisbury).

Why the hang up about school trips?

deerdeer Wed 28-Jan-15 06:31:24

They're important to OP and the school are telling porkies.

NickiFury Wed 28-Jan-15 06:39:42

I live quite near there and will admit I don't have first hand knowledge but I have heard nothing good about Holland Park. I have a friend who was forced to remove her ds because the pressure he was under to perform aggravated a pre existing condition intolerably and he was crying every morning and refusing to go in.

I have also been told that there is regularly a police presence outside at the end of the school day in case of problems amongst pupils. How true that is I can't say though.

hillbilly Wed 28-Jan-15 07:04:48

I'm not hung up on trips in the slightest it just seems to be a common theme in threads I have read about this school there does seem to be a lack of openness about the place.

mondaymadness Wed 28-Jan-15 16:10:57

I have the misfortune to live/work nearby that school and the many of the students, in general, are enough to put me off. I am not surprised to hear that retention of teachers is challenging there.

deerdeer Wed 28-Jan-15 17:50:33

mondaymadness what a snobby post. The teachers leave because they are treated like shit by the SLT and forced to work long hours and devote their lives to the school.

NickiFury I am Notting Hill born and bred and the school has had a total dna change in the last few years since my daughter has been there. I know families who sent the elder children to the likes of St Pauls and Godolphin and are sending their younger ones there. It is now highly fashionable among the well to do. I agree with you about the pressure though.

For the information of everyone there are community police attached to all London schools. The kids at HP are a lot better behaved that say at Burlington Danes or Phoenix for example.

hillbilly Wed 28-Jan-15 23:25:18

Thanks deerdeer for your in depth replies. It is our local school along with KAA. Anyway we will re visit them all in Sept.

heidiwine Thu 29-Jan-15 07:34:16

I used to work at Holland Park school. Other posters are right about the trips. The school are not being honest with you about trips or GCSE options. Doesn't surprise me in the least. It is a very pressured environment that doesn't encourage independence or individuality.

blueemerald Thu 29-Jan-15 07:41:32

I am a recently qualified teacher and Holland Park was one of a 2-3 of names we were, essentially, advised to avoid. Hellish atmosphere, all to do with the staff/SLT though not students. They were advertising for the same posts throughout my PGCE and NQT.

Lynharvey Mon 02-Feb-15 10:09:37

DD may go to Holland Park in September in which case she will probably be in the top band. I am not bothered by the school trips but more about the strict regime /staff turnover/ GCSE options etc. We know a couple of children who have started at HP since the new building opened and they seem to be enjoying it but my question is if money were no object (not the case for us unfortunately) would you send your DD to HP or to one of the local Hammersmith girls or coed private schools?

hillbilly Mon 02-Feb-15 14:16:53

Lynharvey - if your question was for me, then I doubt we would send our children to private schools even if we had the funds (which we do not), especially since we have a relatively good choice of state schools around us. I don't think any of them are bad schools. I think we are lucky to (hopefully) be in the catchment for HP. I am not sure what band DD would go into but I imagine 2 though possibly 1.

Can you shed any light on the GSCE options?

Lynharvey Mon 02-Feb-15 18:39:29

hillbilly I understand for example that at HP you can only do GCSE Science (ie a combined paper) and cannot do individual GCSEs in chemistry, physics and biology which I think would be the norm at private schools and some state schools.This makes it harder to do A levels in these subjects and individual GCSEs are better regarded by universities.During the open day the Head also seemed to admit that HP had difficulty recruiting science teachers which I thought a bit alarming as DD likes science.

Lynharvey Fri 06-Feb-15 13:46:04

I should have added that despite my previous post HP does seem to be doing well academically.Below is a comparison table showing the 2014 A level results of some West London schools from statistics compiled by the Telegraph. Allowing for the very selective intakes of some schools (such as SPGS) it doesn’t seem obvious that the private schools are actually any better than HP or Cardinal Vaughan . Anyone have any views on this?

1.Average point score per full time equivalent academic student 2.Average point score per academic entry 3.% of students achieving at least AAB with two facilitating subjects

The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial RC School
917.425340%
Holland Park School
917.5244.939%
Queen's Gate School
880.8255.534%
St Paul's Girls' School
1066.9281.388%
The Godolphin and Latymer School
1115.326460%
Latymer Upper School
1027.4269.368%
St James Senior Girls School
859.725741%

Lynharvey Fri 06-Feb-15 13:53:14

Sorry the table doesn't seem to have come out correctly so I'll try again!

a)Average A level point score per full time equivalent academic student b)Average point score per academic entry c)% of students achieving at least AAB with two facilitating subjects

The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial RC School
a)917.4 b) 253c) 40%
Holland Park School
a)917.5b) 244.9c) 39%
Queen's Gate School
a)880.8b)255.5c) 34%
St Paul's Girls' School
a)1066.9b)281.3c)88%
The Godolphin and Latymer School
a)1115.3b)264c)60%
Latymer Upper School
a)1027.4b)269.3c)68%
St James Senior Girls School
a)859.7b)257c)41%

hillbilly Fri 06-Feb-15 14:30:02

Thanks lynharvey - I don't thing the double/triple science issue would necessarily impact DD as she has more of an art bias. It may however be important further down the line for DS. I'm more bothered by the fact that I have not been able to get the info from them about this year's GCSE options, however I will contact them again and direct the question to Mr Seed as advised upthread.

Thanks for the stats too.

uncannyballet Mon 09-Feb-15 10:07:37

The open evening is impressive, but the school doesn't deliver, unless you are one of the tiny group of children who are selected from the beginning as "winners", and get the trips, the prizes, the attention, everything. The vast majority of the children, not so much.

There's no school community, no pastoral care, hardly any trips.

It's brutal. There's a culture of "seek to find something to punish" rather than "seek to find something to praise", and this is from the leadership team, not the staff. (I think the staff are as frightened of the leadership team as the children are.)

Unless you are a "somebody" whose child can expect to be nurtured, and be one of the golden group, stay away if you possibly can.

Lynharvey Mon 09-Feb-15 10:49:58

I'm finding it hard to form a view on HP since while the facilities and exam results are good and people I know with children there -admittedly in the top band- tell me that the children enjoy it, some posters have suggested that the regime is very harsh and the place should be avoided if possible. I suppose what I am trying to find out from current HP parents is whether a) they are generally happy with the school or b) whether with the benefit of hindsight they would have sent their children elsewhere if there was a reasonable state (eg Greycoats, St Marylebone School for Girls etc)or affordable private alternative?

Lynharvey Mon 09-Feb-15 11:03:01

uncannyballet- can I take it you are a current parent who falls into the b) category?

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