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Anyone in SE London? Could I have an idiot's guide to the Prendergast schools, please?

(26 Posts)
EssentialHummus Thu 16-Jun-16 23:10:57

I'm not normally this dim (promise!), but after hours on the web, I'm struggling.

DP and I are looking for a flat/house in SE4/SE13, and schools are my our biggest priority. First prize is something all-through, both genders, so we don't have to go through this twice or more.

I have been researching the local schools, and genuinely can't make head or tail of which of the following schools are for which genders, which are feeder schools for the other/s, what entry/catchment criteria apply, and so on. I helpfully also can't find admissions criteria on any of their six bloody websites.

So - does anyone know anything about any of these - admissions, age range, and so on?

Prendergast School (Same As Prendergast Hilly Fields?)
Prendergast Ladywell School
Prendergast Vale School
Prendergast Sixth Form College
Prendergast Primary (Ladywell)
Prendergast Vale Primary

There is also "the" girls Prendergast Hilly Fields College, which I think is known as Prendergast School and goes through to the 6th form there - presumably the one named above (?).

More general feedback is welcome too, if you know or know of any of these schools.

Many, many thanks in advance brew

EssentialHummus Fri 17-Jun-16 15:40:04

Anyone at all? sad

bibbitybobbityyhat Fri 17-Jun-16 15:52:48

this might be a useful starting point

Prendergast School is the all girls secondary school in Hilly Fields with the great reputation for music.

I shouldn't think any of them have catchment areas but distance will be one of the criteria, probably below looked after children, children with sen and siblings.

tinybellows Fri 17-Jun-16 15:57:41

Prendergast vale has a primary and secondary on site, so 4-18? That's the one behind the lewisham leisure centre. I know some kids at the primary there who are happy. They live within walking distance so not sure about catchments.

All the other prendergasts are a mystery to me

tinybellows Fri 17-Jun-16 15:59:37

Just read op again; both sexes at prendergast vale too

MuddhaOfSuburbia Fri 17-Jun-16 16:04:00

There's Prendergast Hilly Fields College- just girls, 11-16

Ladywell and Vale both co-ed, both primary AND secondary, but I don't know if going to primary automatically entitles you to a place at secondary. At the moment Ladywell is undersubscribed at secondary level, Vale was oversubscribed but after an Ofsted hoo-haa it might not be any more

I am making an educated guess in saying that all the primary schools in the Lewisham/Ladywell area are oversubscribed at the mo (this is what I've heard- don't have kids in primary myself)

newname12 Fri 17-Jun-16 16:10:45

Prendergast hillyfields is the original, outstanding, all girls secondary 11-18.

The others are/were failing schools which have been given the prendergast name/links in an attempt to drag them up the ofsted scale.

It's not working so far.

Prendergast hilly fields and haberdasher askes (mixed) are both outstanding. You want one of those.

Tbf i wouldn't overly worry about them going to different schools, kids tend to get themselves to school.

The grammars in neighbouring boroughs are also accessible. You also have harris crystal palace and east Dulwich as options. Sydenham girls/forest hill boys also good, and deptford green is supposed to be up and coming.

newname12 Fri 17-Jun-16 16:12:38

If it helps vale used to be lewisham vale, ladywell was crofton.

EssentialHummus Sun 19-Jun-16 15:11:50

Thanks everyone. I guess I was hoping to hear that these schools have all improved across the board thanks to Prendergast's interventions, but it sounds like it's much more complicated than that.

MuddhaOfSuburbia Mon 20-Jun-16 06:54:33

Prendergast Vale (secondary) has always been a Prendergast school

It's new and has only just had its first y11

How old are your dcs, OP? I've found, with secondary schools, that things can change A LOT in a very short time, making it difficult to plan ahead with moves and so on

CodewordRochambeau Wed 22-Jun-16 23:58:57

the others are/were failing schools which have been given the prendergast name/links in an attempt to drag them up the ofsted scale.

Not quite true. Prendergast Vale took over the former Lewisham Bridge primary school and now occupies its redeveloped site. The secondary section was brand new in 2011 and the first intake have just done their GCSEs, so they'll have their first results this summer. The first headteacher is leaving at the end of this year so it'll be worth keeping an eye on how the new HT gets on.

Worth saying that it is in a very densely populated area and the catchment for reception is small. I doubt you'd get in to reception from SE4 but a lot of the secondary kids are from around there.

CodewordRochambeau Thu 23-Jun-16 00:07:07

Vale and Ladywell are 4-16, with automatic transfer from Y6 to Y7 if you want it.

Hilly Fields (the 'original' Prendergast) is strictly speaking 11-16, but is also the site of the co-ed sixth form which serves the whole federation. Many at Hilly Fields consider the sixth form to be part of their school specifically, however, and courses are certainly primarily taught by Hilly Fields staff. All y11s at all three Prendergast secondaries have a guaranteed place in the sixth form as long as they get the necessary grades for their chosen course.

EssentialHummus Thu 23-Jun-16 01:13:40

Thanks code. I'm looking to move house specifically to get into a catchment, but I'm concerned about buying there if the catchment school is not great. We are currently in the Brockley conservation area, but outside catchment for anything bar Lucas Vale (which has no secondary school). From what you're saying it sounds like I need to keep an eye out for the first set of GCSE results.

newname12 Thu 23-Jun-16 11:49:12

If you're in conservation area are you not in catchment for Ashmead? That's pretty much next door to Lucas Vale.

There are loads of excellent primaries in SE4- John Stainer, Stillness, Turnham Road, Beecroft Gardens, Gordonbrock, Myatt Gardens, as well as the two above, and the catholic schools.

It's fairly rare for primaries to have automatic transfer to secondary, Having checked the Lewisham admissions I'm fairly sure it's only Vale that has automatic right. Tbh I wouldn't want to be living that close to Lewisham and the school isn't great, there are far better options.

Monson primary on Telegraph Hill now has automatic transfer to Haberdasher Askes, but correspondingly the house prices there have gone mental since they introduced their distance admissions policy.

Personally I think you'd be better keeping your options open and looking for an excellent primary now. Monson and Vale don't have great reputations and you're gambling a lot putting your child in a poorer primary school in the hope that Vale gets better, and they receive a good enough education.

Also bear in mind that if your child does well at primary then the Bromley and Bexley grammar schools are also worth considering.

I also live conservation area and we would have got into hillyfields, askes, sydenham/forest hill, deptford green, Harris Dulwich that I know of (based on people living close to me). Possibly also Harris CP. SO there are options.

Plus your child will be at primary for 7 years, a lot changes in that time and what is good/bad now may not be when it comes to apply...

NynaevesSister Thu 23-Jun-16 12:36:11

We live some distance from Forest Hill but still got in. It's an excellent school as is Sydenham Girls.

NynaevesSister Thu 23-Jun-16 12:41:43

I found the school performance comparison tool quite useful. Also all schools must by law have their admissions criteria on their website.

NynaevesSister Thu 23-Jun-16 12:45:45

So for the multiple postings. The admissions criteria for Prendergast Vale is on the website. It's here

CodewordRochambeau Thu 23-Jun-16 13:59:12

There is definitely automatic transfer from the new Prendergast Ladywell primary to the Prendergast Ladywell secondary. I checked when I posted last night.

CodewordRochambeau Thu 23-Jun-16 14:07:33

Also worth reading the most recent Vale ofsted. It was critical of the secondary but there was a lot of praise for the primary. I suspect that the primary might have got a 2 if it were inspected as a separate institution but of course they are not.

I agree with new, however, that you would have to be right in the centre of Lewisham to get in.

MuddhaOfSuburbia Thu 23-Jun-16 15:54:16

re the Vale ofsted- their first one was consistently good

the latest was done with no notice, two days before they broke up for Christmas

Show me a school that would do well under those circumstances- I can't think of one

MuddhaOfSuburbia Thu 23-Jun-16 15:57:18

if I were you OP I'd be thinking of Aske's

I know Brockley kids who've got in- you might be in with a shout?

otherwise- would a move to Telegraph Hill ish be feasible?

CodewordRochambeau Thu 23-Jun-16 16:06:47

Re: Deptford Green - I don't know how old your DC are but approach with caution. There was a vocal tranche of MC parents in east Dulwich who were loudly sending their kids there a few years ago, by who swiftly went very quiet when it went into special measures in Jan 2013. It took well over a year to get out of SM and is still RI. Plenty of time for it to improve if you're only just considering primary now, of course.

EssentialHummus Thu 23-Jun-16 18:03:47

Thanks all. It's incredibly helpful to hear from people who are a few years ahead and have a better sense of the local landscape.

new - we're well outside the catchment for Ashmead unfortunately. The last few years, we've been on the outer border of the John Stainer catchment, but I'm worried that that will change by next year as there's a raft of new flats going up nearer the school. So it looks like Lucas Vale is what we'll get if we stay where we are.

My fixation on secondary schools / schools with automatic transfer is because (please correct me if I'm wrong) I understand that the primary schools around here are all good enough, but at secondary level there's a shortage and a quality issue. I don't want to focus on moving us into catchment for a super primary, only to then have to uproot us 7 years down the line.

Muddha - thank you. I'll have a read through that Ofsted report.

It seems like Aske's is the pick of the bunch round here. We can move nearer that way, though I like that bit of SE4/SE14 less (in terms of amenities, house prices, transport). I love my bit of Brockley, and I hoped one of the Prendergast schools would be a feasible alternative which allowed us to stay nearby. But it sounds like it's not as clear-cut as that.

Thanks again code

MuddhaOfSuburbia Thu 23-Jun-16 18:16:47

Hummus how old are your dcs? Boys, girls, both?

(sorry if you've mentioned upthread but my laptop is inCREDibly sloooooow)

re primary: have you looked at Myatt Garden? it's super doop smile

I've been thinking about this and I reckon it's really difficult to plan ahead in this manner

the landscape shifts and changes so much and there are so many variables

eg a school can have a really tight, tiny catchment area where you have to live on the doorstep BUT a few years later could have a catchment of a mile or so- and vice versa

a school can be shit- and four or so years later be one people are banging the doors down to get into- and vice versa

factor in a boom in same age dcs, bulge classes, no bulge classes

schools out of the area that improve that everyone wants to go ot

the list is endless, really


CodewordRochambeau Thu 23-Jun-16 18:21:37

Would you consider Hither Green for Brindishe Green? Opens up Conisborough and Trinity at secondary. Alternatively you might get into John Ball in Blackheath from some parts of Lee.

Keep an eye on bulge classes. They are playing havoc with the admissions distances due to the knock-on effects of future siblings.

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