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United Learning and Greenacre

(32 Posts)
Mumpower2017 Wed 04-Jan-17 19:56:14

So shocked my lovely daughters school has been closed today! Number were falling so they joined United Learning to help build up the numbers and secure their future. For the past two years United Learning have done nothing, no changes, no marketing, except to fire some teachers! They brought in the head of another school to help and she did nothing either. Now they have taking over two local private juniors school, closed them and are making a big private prep school on the senior school site and closing the seniors school. Silly thing is that is most of the students are in the senior school. Can't believe a charitable educational company could act like this! Some very unhappy parents in Banstead!

merlottime Wed 04-Jan-17 20:33:36

Oh no! Did you have any inkling? What will you do?

Leeds2 Wed 04-Jan-17 20:38:07

Which junior schools have they taken over?

I hope your DDs are in the junior school at Greenacre, so that their education isn't immediately affected. And good luck to all the senior school girls now looking for places.

merlottime Wed 04-Jan-17 20:42:14

I suppose they might bus the senior girls to Dunottar, but not sure if they have any single sex options within the United group locally.

Leeds2 Wed 04-Jan-17 21:16:52

Seen that the junior schools are Priory and Bramley. I knew that Bramley was short on numbers back in my DD's day (she is now at uni) but thought Priory was thriving.

Sounds very similar to what happened when Croham Hurst and Commonweal Lodge closed, albeit some years ago now, in the same general area.

Mumpower2017 Wed 04-Jan-17 21:17:38

No mine are both in the seniors 😢 One in GCSE year too! Off to look at Dunottar but my girls take awhile to settle with change and one of my girls has a lovely bunch of friends for the first time, as she is so shy it means a lot.

They have closed the Priory and Bramely in Walton on the Hill. None of the parents in either of the three school had any idea or the staff. Lots of people are looking outside of United Learning schools, a lot of people are going to find it hard to trust them now.....

merlottime Wed 04-Jan-17 21:57:55

How frustrating for you, and awful timing. I knew someone who ended up sending her DD to Greenacre when Commonweal Lodge closed, all very stressful. Hopefully though your DDs can move somewhere with friends as that might help with difficult transitions. Not sure how far you want to travel or what your transport options are, but we live in Coulsdon and my daughter goes to Woldingham - could be another option if you don't want to stick with United/Dunottar? I know others locally who go to Old Palace.

Bluebonnie Wed 04-Jan-17 22:49:19

Press announcement says that these changes are take effect from September 2017. Presumably that's what parents have been told too?

Leeds2 Wed 04-Jan-17 23:05:23

If your GCSE DD is in Year 10, I would obviously look for a school where she can carry on the same GCSEs, with the same boards, for Year 11. I suspect this is unlikely to be achievable, following on from the fall out I know happened following Commonweal's closure. I hope she is in Year 11.

As merlot says, Woldingham is a fabulous option. Others typically go to Croydon High or Old Palace.

I would personally avoid United Learning. Absolutely no knowledge of them, but I wouldn't be impressed if I was a senior school Greenacre parent.

ElizaSchuyler Wed 04-Jan-17 23:12:22

A friend of my husband teaches part time in two of the schools.

She only found out yesterday that she has to re-apply for her job.

She wasn't really in a state to discuss it much but she sounds gutted.

Mumpower2017 Thu 05-Jan-17 06:00:09

Year 10 unfortunately! Thanks will look at all the other schools, keen to avoid United Learning if I can! They have treated the staff, parents and students appallingly and trying to communicate with United Learning has been nightmare. From what I am hearing most people are trying to get their children away from their schools after being treated this way.

OpalTree Thu 05-Jan-17 12:12:17

I read about this on one of the local news sites. As your dd is in year 10 you might find that all of her friends move to Dunottar along with her, as there seem to be guaranteed places for year 10 there so that exam studies can continue uninterrupted.

mrsm43s Thu 05-Jan-17 12:20:44

I'm sorry to hear you're in this predicament.

I have a daughter at Dunottar, and I would say don't dismiss it out of hand, just because you're (understandably) upset with United Learning. I've been very pleased with the school, and most importantly I understand that they are guaranteeing to take Greenacre girls, and guaranteeing to continue the GCSE's with the same exam board , even when it means having to set up separate classes for the Greenacre girls in order to accomdate that.

It's not a bad offer under the unfortunate circumstances - remember a few years back when Dunottar was likely to close and RGS's offer was... nothing , tough luck (apart from cherry picking a few A* students!)

I can see it's a blow and a disruption, but do go and look at Dunottar with an open mind. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.

Bluebonnie Thu 05-Jan-17 13:26:45

Obviously it depends where OP lives.

Croydon HS, Woldingham or Old Palace might not be an easy journey, and might not be easy options to secure places at, especially if there are whole classes full of girls between Y7 and Y10 wanting to transfer.

I'd echo mrsm43s post, if Reigate is a possibility have a look at Dunottar.

Mumpower2017 Thu 05-Jan-17 13:52:13

Thanks have spent the morning chatting to Dunottar and some Dunottar parents and they have been very helpful! Sounds wonderful and my DD seems keen to go. Off to look next week and will try to get past the United Learning thing!!
Anyone know about Ewell Castle? Thought it might be worth a look. Worried there are not many girls there though.....

OpalTree Thu 05-Jan-17 15:07:11

Good that you are feeling more positive about the move. At least you know that with the Greenacre girls filling up any spare places at Dunottar then the same thing is highly unlikely to happen at Dunottar while your dd is still there.

Leeds2 Thu 05-Jan-17 18:55:50

Given that your DD is in Year 10, Mumpower, I would almost certainly move her to Duntottar for at least Year 11 given that she would be able to continue her existing subjects with the same exam boards. It would be very hard to find that anywhere else. You could then move her for Sixth Form if she wanted to move, or hadn't really settled.
If you wanted to avoid United Learning, you could put your youngest in a different school if that would work practically.
The only girls I have known at Ewell Castle both went just for Sixth Form, and both really enjoyed it although I think the numbers of girls there were sparse!

Blankscreen Sat 07-Jan-17 19:52:14

I went to croham Hurst, greenacre and commonweal amd they've all closed😞

My sister was at Dunnottar and loved it she did really well and is now in her second year at uni. As a Reigate parent Dunnottar is becoming more and more popular so I wouldn't rule it out despite feeling agrieved with United learning.

I think that sadly it's a sign of the times that so many smaller private schools are closing.

Morethan123 Sun 08-Jan-17 17:48:18

I am also a Greenacre parent and DH and I are so upset! It took me a long while to find the perfect school and I am less than impressed by the way we have been treated. United Learning had many meetings with the parent body as to how the situation with falling numbers could be tackled and they did nothing except cut down some trees and bushes so the school could be better seen from the road, causing anger from the local residents in the process! Their feedback from all these discussions and their update on how their plans for improving the visibility of the school in the surrounding area and media, has been to announce the closure of the senior school and reopening as a coed prep school in Sept 2017. Disgraceful! This is why many parents are wary of putting their children's welfare/education in their hands again.

Mumpower2017 Sun 08-Jan-17 18:24:43

Yes, totally agree, United Learning have done nothing for Greenacre, which makes me very concerned about sending my girls to Dunottar. In the meeting last week, they refused to answer any questions so no one is any wiser on why their so called efforts to help the school have failed. A lot of parents I know in the local area are refusing to send them children to this new prep school and a lot the juniors are leaving.

Also for my younger daughter, lots of her friends are leaving her year group for non United Learning schools this week, so her education is going to be affected by this for the next two terms. She is also only guaranteed a spot at a United Learning school, they have been very careful as to not commit in writing, which school for the yr 6-9. As Subriton is nowhere near me and they are making her do any entrance exam to get in, I can't really send her there. So am I now in the position of just hoping the will have enough spots for all of them at Dunottar! I am being told verbally they will but am finding anything they say very hard to believe! Nightmare! The way they are treating us and our girls is awful.

Flappingandflying Mon 09-Jan-17 18:23:56

Hi. OP. I have sent you a PM. Is your younger daughter in Juniors or Year 7 or 8?

Mumpower2017 Mon 09-Jan-17 20:38:18

Hi! Thanks just sent you a message.

Jamkancat Tue 10-Jan-17 09:07:32

My two sons go to Ewell Castle. My eldest joined in Year 9 and was so happy right from the outset that we chose it for our younger son who has just started in Year 7. There are 8 girls currently in Year 7 and 5 in Year 10 so the number of girls is increasing. I can't recommend the school highly enough. It seems to offer an all round education and the extra curricular activities are fantastic in my opinion. The head is very proactive and has introduced lots of improvements in the last two years, most notably a brand new music building which is opening shortly. The girls have hockey coaching from an England coach, there is a girls choir and trampolining has just been introduced. I'm now thinking of selecting the school for my daughter.

Local2017 Wed 18-Jan-17 12:36:16

United have treated all parents at Greenacre so badly - absolutely shocking. I would never trust them again and would look at preps in Epsom - Downsend or the preps in Purley, at least those schools have more than a five year guarantee!

Banstead1 Wed 25-Jan-17 15:58:34

I am a Greenacre parent my daughters have been with the school since Reception. I would caution any parent trusting United Learning - here are some facts to consider:

1. They appointed the new Headmistress for this new Super Junior school in November but told Greenacre parents at a recent parents meeting that they only made the decision to close the school in December!
2. The appointed Headmistress has never been in that post (as a Head) before - so much for appointing a winning leader to drive a new school
3. There are two parts to UL, one supports Academy's - it has a huge Pension deficit to support, hardly any reserves and relies almost solely on HM Govt grants. The other part that owns Greenacre is only kept afloat by a series of bank loans and fees that in themselves are declining as the numbers fall
4. At least one current Governor on the Greenacre school pulled his daughter out well before United Learning took over - says a lot
5. As many have said above UL have done nothing since they took over, but we suspect they never were going to - its an asset strip pure & simple
6. Many local parents of the three schools effected are not happy and rightly do not trust UL - I would say they are 100% right not to.

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