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Chav chants and violence at Whitgift

(36 Posts)
googoogaga1 Thu 25-Oct-18 19:42:09


Until I learned of the recent nastiness from Whitgift parents towards John Fisher School’s team and their parents at a recent home rugby fixture, we had set our hearts on putting DS2 forward for the Whitgift 10+. He was a talented dual-code rugby union and league player for his prep school back in Oz and Whitgift really appealed both on the academic and sporting fronts.

However, the incident with JFS has left a bad taste in our mouths, especially given the press coverage the incident received. DH was a pupil at John Fisher back in the early 90s when the school was ‘selective’ and used to play Whitgift and Dulwich and the like regularly. He says there was never any of this kind of nonsense between parents or the teams. While we had considered JF for DS2 before moving back to the U.K. (coming from Oz), we were advised by friends that the school had changed considerably from back then and how DH may remember it. Both DH and I (public non-selective state school in Queensland) have no problem with DS2 attending a regular type school so long as the academics and sporting culture are strong, yet Whitgift just seems light years ahead on all fronts.

Am I being silly to let an incident like this bother me? I really don’t want to consign DS2 to a school which lords it over his state school contemporaries. Are Whitgift parents arrogant and class conscious? Are John Fisher parents these days regarded as ghastly peasants or ‘chavs’?

OP’s posts: |
DinkyDaisy Fri 26-Oct-18 08:19:42
Looks like the matches are back on this year..
I know nothing about either school but just done a bit of Googling.
Unpleasant behaviour from spectators it seems. The schools seem to want to sort things out according to this article.

Believeitornot Fri 26-Oct-18 08:20:52

I would talk to the school about it. Air yourconcerns and gauge their response

AveEldon Fri 26-Oct-18 09:07:54

The fixture went ahead this year
From the reporting on the incident in 2016 it was spectators from both sides

It was 2 years ago and one rugby match

austenozzy Fri 26-Oct-18 09:17:28

Whitgift is in Croydon, what do you expect? grin But I went to dulwich so might be more than a little biased...

austenozzy Fri 26-Oct-18 09:20:49

Dulwich have won the National schools cup multiple times in recent years, so might be a better bet for a rugby mad kid. Rugby was practically religion when I was there. I played with several future England players while there, although I was more of a cricketer.

Bluebonnie Fri 26-Oct-18 13:20:41

Whitgift have to fill their places to keep the school going, with boys whose parents can afford full fees. At the margin, some boys are borderline acceptable, and perhaps their parents are too.

It would be interesting to know how they could screen the parents at interview. Any suggestions?

BerriesandLeaves Fri 26-Oct-18 14:06:13

Maybe ask them how they'd react if a John Fisher parents spilled their pint?

outpruningthebushes Fri 26-Oct-18 15:52:15


(Now happily retired smile ) I taught at John Fisher and several of the public schools in Croydon and South London between 1985 and 2009. I was on the board of governors at John Fisher for a time during its selection policy.

Your DH could well have been taught by me, and I was quite possibly among the senior members of staff who interviewed him and his parents at the time smile

The education landscape changed considerably in this part of England post-2008, where a culture of supertutoring now prevails. Prior to this John Fisher, Coloma Convent and a few more leading faith schools used to select pupils at 10+ interview, which appealed to parents turned off by the culture of tutoring and pressure created by the presence of the few grammar schools in LB of Sutton, which select in a very narrow and unforgiving manner it could be argued. The selective faith schools also looked for talent in sport, music and the arts, so were attracting all-rounder types and children who otherwise might have ended up at Whitgift or Trinity. At John Fisher we recruited at 10+ intelligent, articulate young men with the use of interviews with the boys and parents, primary and prep school reports, and written applications from the boys. We also conducted a short written exam for Catholicity, which we would then quiz the boys on. The composition of the boys selected was usually around 30:70 (private prep school:state primary). Prep school boys were drawn mainly from Laleham Lea (the traditional feeder to John Fisher located on the same road). State primary school boys came from far and wide - even a few from as far away as Edenbridge & LB of Bromley (West Kent), Inner London Boroughs, Surrey, Sussex. John Fisher sent boys to the best universities, achieved pass rates usually in the region of 75-95% in any given year for boys achieving 5GCSEsA*-C.

Inevitably with the disadvantage the 2008 Code put the leading comprehensives at (the 5 grammar schools in Sutton, Kingston and Bromley now creaming-off the brightest boys) these schools have suffered. Where once John Fisher could compete on the rugby field and in the exam hall with the best independents, this has gone by the wayside somewhat.

Whitgift is a lovely, inspiring school. The overwhelming majority of boys and parents are conscientious, hard-working, committed to the school, its aim and ethos. The loutish chants and handbags at their rugby matches are, I expect, a small minority of a certain type of parent found at most public schools.

googoogaga1 Fri 26-Oct-18 16:49:36

out pruning the bushes,

Accept it's probably a minority of rugger parents behaving in this way but even so.... coming from N-E Australia, the image of the arrogant, rampaging English public school boy really isn't something that we appreciate as a family.

Unfortunately, we and DS2 are not up for tutoring/supertutoring to pass the 11+, just seems like a weird and antiquated way to treat 11 y/o children.

But that leaves us caught between the private schools and the grammars... we don't want DS2 to go to school where there are none of the most able boys.

OP’s posts: |
AveEldon Fri 26-Oct-18 17:45:44

Have you seen the school for yourself?

MrsPatmore Sat 27-Oct-18 05:47:02

Plenty of other independent schools to choose from but don't dismiss Whitgift until you've seen it.

TheBlessedCheesemaker Sat 27-Oct-18 06:36:08

Have attended a number of rugby events at Whitgift (including this year) and have never seen loutish behaviour from spectators, so imagine it was a one-off. In 30 years of attending rugby matches from kids touch to internationals (pretty much one a week at least during every season), I’ve only seen poor crowd behaviour 3 times (once at a county final, once at a school match and once st an international), and all instances involved advanced refreshment levels.
The Whitgift teams themselves are as disciplined and respectful as you would expect any excellently coached squads to be. Whitgift are currently ‘the school to beat’ on the rugby circuit (Dulwich not so much any more, although historically they have been up there with sedburgh as one of the best rugby schools in the country). My DCs have always had a great (and bruising) time playing against them. No idea of John Fisher but imagine it was a one-off for them, too.

Bekabeech Sat 27-Oct-18 12:12:38

There are places other than Croydon. In fact the nearby county of Surrey has no state grammar schools, so it's Comprehensives have children of all abilities.
Doing away with "interview" and selection could be seen as a good thing if you think Catholic schools should cater for all Catholics and not just those from "nice middle class" backgrounds. And as for being used by Preps as a nice not as selective destination...
Lots of Catholic schools whilst taking all Catholics are doing very well in league tables etc. (The religious ethos and close ties to church seem to help.)

BunnyCake Sat 27-Oct-18 12:25:56

Agree there are a lot of bright kids in Surrey comps. A friend has dc at Weydon in Farnham which has 61% high attainers

questionsneverstop Sat 27-Oct-18 19:34:19

Outpruningthebushes, apologies I read your comment twice and I cant stop wondering whether you are just saying that JF deserves to be called chavs just because the school is not selective anymore....
Please correct me if I am wrong.

91Waterproof Sun 28-Oct-18 10:00:09

Bunny - could you share a link to where to find that prior attainment information - I've searched the DfE website but can't seem to get myself to that exact information regarding the different bands of student. Thank you.

BunnyCake Sun 28-Oct-18 10:09:02

Enter the school name
Click secondary
Enter 2017
Scroll down to prior attainment

MrsBertBibby Sun 28-Oct-18 10:14:40

You could take a look at Riddlesdown Collegiate. A friend's son did very well there, academically and at rugby. Non selective (bar a very small percentage who take a test).

HappyHippyChick Sun 28-Oct-18 10:21:26

I’m a JF parent and I am not a chav. Neither are any of the other parents that I know.

outpruningthebushes Sun 28-Oct-18 10:41:50

Questionsneverstop, I will PM you. No offence intended.

googoogaga1 Sun 28-Oct-18 11:06:54

DH said John Fisher used to ask parents about their occupations and incomes at the interview. His parents had to make a financial contribution each year to the school. I assume this is no longer legal like the interviews themselves?

If a public school (state) in Australia operated its admissions the way JF did until recently there would have been bloody uproar. I'm surprised how much of a minefield English schools admissions are. It's surprising as I assume the tax payers in England fund state schools? How can some state schools be allowed to select based on how much money the parents earn? Have I got that muddled?

Still not sure about Whitgift. We can afford full fees but would like private where the parents are down to earth like me and DH...

OP’s posts: |
questionsneverstop Sun 28-Oct-18 11:18:36

Exactly my point. Despite being able to afford them, I won't send my kids to those schools. Not all of them, but some are very snobbish (as you can read in this thread)so I would really recommend you to visit them and get a feeling of who you want your kids to deal with.

And by the way, if rugby is one of your interests, the John Fisher School recently won the national rugby award and received the honour of being named 2017 Rugby School of the Year.

HappyHippyChick Sun 28-Oct-18 11:20:22

There are no interviews for JF. There are no questionnaires about parents incomes or occupations hmm.

It’s a long time since your husband was at school and things change rapidly in school admissions to make entry as fair as possible. Although I think the English school admissions system (I don’t anything about the rest of the UK) still leaves a lot to be desired.

JF is a Catholic school and as such there is a form to be completed to show that you regularly attend mass and that your son has been baptised, along with the Local authority application.

questionsneverstop Sun 28-Oct-18 11:21:14

You can also read the last ofsted report.

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