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Good State Secondary Schools Woking

(72 Posts)
TheFurryMenace Sat 16-Apr-16 14:16:06

We are moving to Woking from central London, our DD7 is currently in Year 2. But looking ahead, I want to make sure we move to an area that is in the catchment for both good primary and secondary schools. I have looked onto the St John the Baptist admissions, and it lists some feeder schools, but isnt where you live more important than if you went to the feeder primaries or have I got this wrong? Where I live in London, it goes on proximity to the secondary?

We are catholic, not currently at a catholic school, but our daughter is baptised catholic.

Any advice on schools and where to look to buy would be really, really appreciated!


OP’s posts: |
titchy Sat 16-Apr-16 14:34:54

Different schools have different criteria. Most use distance, some use feeder schools and some use religion. So check the criteria SJB use on their website and plan accordingly. Bear in mind a school can change its admissions criteria.

Stillunexpected Sat 16-Apr-16 15:54:43

You need to read the admissions criteria for each school in which you are interested. For SJB, where your child attends primary is more important than where you live. If you look at SJB's admissions policy, after the usual first two categories, Category 3 is baptised Catholic children at a feeder school with a sibling at SJB, Category 4 is baptised Catholic children not in a feeder school with a sibling at SJB, Category 5 baptised Catholic children in a feeder school and category 6 baptised Catholic children in the Woking deanery who are not a t a feeder school. As the furthest away feeder school is in Camberley, you could live there, attend St Augustine's and get into SJB above a Catholic student living on the doorstep who is not in a feeder school.

I have two children there and many of their friends come from Farnborough or Camberley which is quite a hike to school. If you are really looking ahead, speak to the school about how far down the admissions categories they normally get, I suspect not very far. At least two of their feeder primaries have increased their PAN in recent years and the first of those increased classes must be about to hit SJB now. If nothing changed, it was likely they wouldn't even admit everyone in category 5. However, the school is currently expanding and adding two extra forms, not entirely sure when that will take effect as we are on our way out.

Also bear in mind that most Catholic primary and secondary schools require evidence of faith and with the pressure on school places, the surrounding parishes are becoming increasingly particular about signing the forms so you will need to be turning up at mass on a regular basis.

If you really want a Catholic secondary, other good options locally are the Salesians in Chertsey (bit of a mini-SJB with the Head there coming from SJB) or St Peter's in Merrow.

Stillunexpected Sat 16-Apr-16 15:55:15

forgot to say, Catholic school admissions will often be quite different to other state schools.

Wafture Sat 16-Apr-16 17:32:58

SJB officially has 180 places in year 7 - so that's 5 x 30. (but they usually take about 190/195)
There are 4 feeder catholic schools (listed in order of distance from SJB)
St Dunstans (Woking centre, near the station) - 3 form entry (i.e 90 pupils but it used to be 60)
St Hugh of Lincoln (Woking - Knaphill/ St Johns borders) 1 form entry (30 pupils)
The Marist (West Byfleet) - 2 form entry (60 pupils)
St Augustine's (Frimley) - 2 form entry (60 pupils)
(hope that info is up to date)

To get into these (oversubscribed) catholic feeder schools, you need to be a catholic - better still a practising catholic as it puts you higher up the eligibility criteria.

Every year, the feeder schools will have 240 students leaving Y6, with about 95% looking for one of 180 places at SJB. A small handful opt to send their children to another secondary (e.g. one of the private schools) but the vast majority have SJB as their first choice.

After a few places places have been awarded to children in care and SEN, the next categories all relate to attendance at the feeder primary schools.

St Dunstans and the Marist both increased their number of pupils recently. These children haven't fed through to SJB yet, but they will in about four years time. That's why SJB has a building program to extend the school in the application process right now and a plan to increase the number of pupils it takes.

All this is a long way of saying that you need to aim to put your DD into one of the feeder primaries if you want a place at SJB later. You'll have to join a waiting list but as long as she's there by September of Y6, then you'll be ok.

Otherwise Woking High is getting really good too and if you are willing to live on the doorstep of Gordon's in West End, then you could also get a place there (Gordon's results are just as good as SJB's results).

Wafture Sat 16-Apr-16 17:57:53

I've just googled to see what SJB's new intake will be.
Its an extra 15 in 2017 and then an extra 60 per year from 2018 onwards.
According to the SJB website, a very small number of places are allocated each year to catholic children who aren't in the feeder schools and don't have an older brother or sister already at SJB.
So, maybe you should look for a place to live as close to SJB's gates as you can?

cece Sat 16-Apr-16 18:01:39

SJB is always very full and tricky to get into (I speak as anon-Catholic).

Woking High School is fantastic in my opinion. I would also recommend Fullbrook from personal experience and my friends who have children at BDB all think it's marvellous.

SmallBee Sat 16-Apr-16 18:04:29

We are near West end and second the Gordons thing, but it has a very small catchment area so you are pretty much stuck in West End. The primary there, Holy Trinity, is considered very good.

Wafture Sat 16-Apr-16 18:06:30

What's the future of Bishop David Brown if the redevelopment of Sheerwater goes ahead? Won't it be in the sandwiched into a space with a massive building site on one side, a business park on the second and the canal on the third?

No one has mentioned the new academy, Hoe Valley School. I don't know anyone who has sent the child there, but its another option.

Wafture Sat 16-Apr-16 18:07:52

The problem with Holy Trinity is that its a Church of England school. Do non-CofE children get in-year places ? I can't imagine that the turnover is very high...

Wafture Sat 16-Apr-16 18:18:46

And to complete the picture, there's Winston Churchill secondary. I know people with children there who are very positive about it.

Also, WC is the one that the (Guardian?) journalist wrote the book a few years ago about his experiences of moving from London to try to get his children into because it was so good.

I always thought it didn't rank that highly, but I must have got a false impression.

cece Sat 16-Apr-16 18:26:55

BDB is currently being expanded and I believe it is going to benefit with all of the new sports facilities. Isn't there a swimming pool being built there too?

cece Sat 16-Apr-16 18:27:46

So to sum up all the secondary options in Woking are good. smile

Wafture Sat 16-Apr-16 18:38:53

Here's the story:

He's a Mirror investigative journalist but I saw the story in the Guardian, hence my confusion.

I get the impression that he really disapproves of faith schools, mainly because he doesn't qualify for them (he has no problem manoeuvring to get his children into a good school at the expense of the children who would otherwise go there, so i don't think his dislike is on ethical grounds).

GinandJag Sat 16-Apr-16 19:27:58

I really wouldn't rate any of the Woking schools.

donadumaurier Sat 16-Apr-16 19:48:07

My parents sent me private for secondary (living in Woking) to avoid the Woking secondaries, this was in 2006. Sorry, probably not what you wanted to hear! I would aim for Guildford if possible, or more over towards Chertsey but not Staines. Or Windsor/Berkshire direction. Just anywhere but Woking for secondary, sorry.

donadumaurier Sat 16-Apr-16 19:49:40

To add on Gordons, you can't just live in West End, most of the houses in West End are not in catchment and places for local children are limited due to the boarding element. Based on recent years I would say less than half of West End housing is close enough to Gordons to get in.

TheFurryMenace Sat 16-Apr-16 21:52:16

Thanks to everyone for the very usefu advice. I think it's a pretty slim chance that we'd get into a primary feeder for st John the Baptist, but it's good to hear most people saying positive things about other secondary options. Blimey, I should have moved before she was even born to get the best chance of getting her in! Seriously though, thanks, it will help me plan and be realistic about options.

OP’s posts: |
donadumaurier Sat 16-Apr-16 22:24:17

Would I be right in thinking you're moving to Woking to continue to commute up to London? I really would have a serious look at catchment areas. The problem with Woking is there aren't enough decent schools and the catchment areas can be... interesting. If you're moving for the commuting distances I would really be looking at other areas.

cece Sun 17-Apr-16 00:52:16

But Chertsey kids mostly go to Jubilee???!

cece Sun 17-Apr-16 00:54:36

We must have a different view of the secondaries here in Woking because I have always thought how lucky we are to have such a wide range of decent secondary (and primary) schools!

GinandJag Sun 17-Apr-16 04:01:37

My DDs are at school in Chertsey and it's not Jubilee. Most of their friends are from Woking.

TheFurryMenace Sun 17-Apr-16 07:24:42

Yes we are going to commute up to London, we have looked at other areas but they are not so good for travel to where we need to be for work, and we have some support in Woking as my husband is from there. Elsewhere outside London we'd have no one. Our friends in Woking kids have all left school, but I seem to remember that they didn't really rate the secondaries at the time, but I know things change on that front. Thinking about it, none of their kids went on to HE and all have gone into jobs such as shop assistant, care worker, etc, even though I think they did ok at school.

OP’s posts: |
Wafture Sun 17-Apr-16 07:31:18

FWIW I think if you arrived in Woking soon, you'd have an excellent chance of a place in a feeder school for SJB. This would be particularly true if you arrived in the next few months when your Dd could apply for a place at the start of year 3 because that's when the infant class size restrictions law ends and so the schools start offering a 31st or even 32nd place.

Look on each of the schools websites to see the criteria. Without checking myself, I'd guess it is going to be:
1. Children in care
2. SEN
3. Catholic children from the parish with a brother or sister in the school
4. Catholic children from the parish without a sibling in the school
5. Catholic children from further away
6. Other Christians
7. Everyone else

Then in each category the tie breaker will be distance from the school gates (as measured on the Surrey LEA website).

(You can tell I made a similar move!)

So, if you really want to optimise your chances, you'd start house hunting, start going to your local church (and be sure to catch the priests eye), call the school offices and ask about how many children are on the waiting list for categories 1-3 above (you'll slot into category 4) and then go for it. Places come up from time to time so even if your Dd doesn't get into a feeder school in year 3, she'll do it by y6 and in the meantime, there are many other excellent local primaries.

If you do move and try the catholic route, you might also consider your Dd making her first communion. Most children do it in May / June of year 3 with registration for the courses this summer. It would be an excellent way for your Dd to meet her future classmates and for you to get to know other parents from the church.

Wafture Sun 17-Apr-16 07:41:34

I suspect things have changed a lot in a generation. Schools can go up or down just with a few staff changes. So, in a whole generation things can change completely.
SJB was not somewhere that people wanted to go back then, but now it is.
Working High came a poor second a few years ago but it's changing so fast that soon it's results will be every bit as good as sjb.

I don't know about Bishop David brown, but Ofsted will tell you and GCSEs and A level results will tell you (look on dept of education website for performance tables)
Ditto Winston Churchill.

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