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Lucton School Herefordshire(25 Posts)
We are looking at some options for our DS and wondered if anyone has personal experience of Lucton School. The other would be Hereford Cathedral but a little bit further from our house. Any comments would be very welcome. Our DS will be entering in 2020 in year 9. Thank you
We live about 30 min from Luton and have chums who have children at the school and a friend has taught there. The impression I have from them both is its a very friendly small school. Not very academic. Lots of sport and ponies and good with dyslexia etc.
We don't know anyone at HCS but have looked at it for our own kids and really liked it. More academic than lucton. They do run buses and you could also catch the train esp if year 9. We are considering it for our son when he is yr 9.
What does your current school suggest? Have you visited them both?
Thank you. We have are visiting HCS in a few weeks time on their open day and waiting for Lucton to get back to us but they are on holidays at the moment. I can see from what we have read so far the differences between Lucton and HCS when it comes to academic results. Our son is able and can do well if nurtured as he doesn’t respond well to pressure. I am concerned about the distance thought as Lucton is only 45min away with a bus near us as HCS is 1 hour away with a bus 1/2 hour from us and early start. It is such a tough decision.
MrPickles73, Would your friends who have personal experience of Lucton be willing to chat to us? and possibly the teacher friend too? Thank you
There is also Bedstone which is small and friendly but not particularly academic. Where is he at school now? We really liked HCS the headmaster is lovely and it seemed not too showy or pushy but does a bit of everything; sport, art, music etc. We haven't been to luck on but it sounds more nurturing and sporty and less academic. HCS he would need to sit an exam.to get in. I would visit them both and if you're still not sure ask.if he can do a taster day. They both have year 8s so he could meet his potential peers. We would be 1 hr from HCS and DC1 currently travels over an hour each way to school...
Best to avoid Lucton. It looks lovely on the surface but there are some serious issues. The 2018 inspection highlighted some areas of concern but even this has not captured the extent of the failings. We experienced many staff and safeguarding issues; our son was seriously assaulted and they covered it up by calling him (and us) liars - it was truly horrible. The fact that the headmistress is married to the bursar brings a huge bias to any proceedings. There was a lovely deputy head but he mysteriously left and the current standard of teachers (some of which are not qualified in their subject) is reflected in the grades. Good luck with your choice.
Avoid Lucton! read the 2018 inspection review which highlights safeguarding issues (in my opinion does not go far enough in condemning the shortfalls) and go for a school with a more professional outlook. Lucton is a classic case of "do not judge a book by its cover" it's heavy on the PR but once the children are in the mask quickly comes off. There are much better schools even if it means an extra distance or even boarding. Good luck with your search.
As a parent with two children at Lucton school, I can say hand on my heart that it is an absolutely fantastic school with an excellent reputation. The March 2019 compliance ISI inspection will tell you more. Results are good considering Lucton is a mixed ability, non-selective school. The teachers are brilliant, some of them inspiring (as mentioned in the report). For sport and music it is especially fantastic. I couldn't recommend it enough.
In addition, the head teacher is brilliant and is passionate about her school. She genuinely cares for every pupil and from our personal experience every child's unique talents are nurtured and encouraged in so many different ways. The extra curricular activities offered will look fantastic on a CV, such as the CCF (combined cadet force)and Duke of Edinburgh awards. The class sizes are small so the teaching style is able to be adapted easily to suit the individual needs of the children. The school has a fantastic equestrian centre, swimming pool and sports hall and so many different events take place there (along with visiting schools) such as the aquathlons, triathlons, cross-country and lots more. If you arrange to see the school it will be plainly obvious how lovely it is and how fulfilled the children are there; just have a chat to them
I would not send another child to Lucton School if my life depended on it! My happy, carefree, exceedingly clever daughter spent two years there. It’s badly run, unorganised, no discipline what so ever and they let things happen there that would never go in checked anywhere else.
If you value your child’s education and sanity, don’t do it!
To the original poster, I'd be extremely skeptical of people who actively go out of their way to go on a social site to purposely damage a school's reputation. Of course, as with ALL schools, there will be a small percentage who are not 100% happy. The two people who have posted above have taken their children out of the school. Of course they are going to try their best to put others off as it makes them feel better about themselves about their decision. Unfortunately, making things up that aren't true (for the majority of the children there - I'm not saying they are lying!) is going to have a negative impact on your decision and other people that come to this page. This really isn't fair. I have three children who are at Lucton school and are all in differing age groups. I am extremely happy with the school and it is providing a superb all round education to my children. Two of my children were at a state school before moving here and they were desperately unhappy. As a teacher (in state schools!) I know that most of the emphasis in the primary sector is given to English and Maths as the SATS have turned them into exam factories. Since moving to Lucton they are so much more confident and most importantly they are happy, carefree and making excellent steps in their development both socially and academically. I imagine you have already found a school, OP, but I just thought I would let you know my personal experience of the school as the other two comments are extremely negative. Good luck XX
I forgot to mention that another great way to find out more about a school is to go to their website and look at their weekly newsletter. Every school has them. This is Lucton's most recent one but all of them can be viewed on the website under 'Lucton News' x
Felicity29 I wonder if you would care to revise your opinion in light of the recent Oftsed and press reports which confirm the experiences. Since then it appears many more have come forward. I myself would be extremely sceptical of any parent who thinks it is OK for another child to be attacked in school, just because their children may be happy. Mine were happy too, but there is nothing like an abusive headmistress in full battle mode to change an opinion. You may like to keep your head in the sand, and that is perfectly fine if it works well for you. But the post asked for experiences, and it is not "going out of one's way" to post an honest opinion. Please think a little before deriding other people's opinions. I would have preferred to make a choice knowing the full facts.
portocarero I'm not sure what report you have read or press reports you have seen but from what we (fully) researched and from what we have seen thus far, we are absolutely delighted with the school. Our children are at the Prep School though so I cannot speak for the middle or senior school; if there are negative experiences from parents who have children in that part of the school then I certainly have not heard them (yet!). We are merely commenting on our own personal experience and what we have heard from other parents in the prep school; nothing negative at all. I'm not sure if you have heard but the head teacher has now left. Not sure if this is a positive or a negative for the school at the moment! However all I know is that any issues the school had have been fully dealt with and explained - see the interim report.
Indiedog99 thank you for your reply. Very pleased that you have a positive experience and I agree the needs of the younger children are different from further up the school. It's not correct, though, to assume that the issues of the school have been dealt with. There was an emergency Ofsted visit this year in response to (yet another) serious allegation. The inspection concluded that the children were too afraid to speak out. After that, the head has apparently left- I have no idea what the official reason given for leaving is. But given that the owner of the school is her husband - the bursar Paul Thorne who sometimes uses the name Kevin Thorne (and let's not even get started on compliance with Charity rules) then either there is a lot more to come out in the wash, so to speak, or the resignation of the head is just a token, with no real change. Time will tell. Since the recent newspaper article there have been more people coming forward so I guess that time will really be the deciding factor here. Since you say you are a State school teacher you may become more interested in the academic backgrounds of your children's teachers because although there is no requirement in private schools to have qualifications in their subjects, that should be the expectation, especially when the head has stated as such. There is no need to assume that parents that take their children out need to somehow validate their decision - we have never looked back and our children are all doing very well, so thankfully there was a happy ending in this case.
Thank you for your reply. I have read the allegations about bullying and that is not good at all if children are 'too scared' to speak out. Again, from our personal experience, our children have never seen this in play at the prep school and are very happy there. Whether at state or private school, there are always bullying issues so it does not worry me; especially as I have seen no evidence myself. . To be completely honest, I am glad the issue has been aired as it means it will be closely monitored in future. Since I've read what you have said, maybe a fresh start for the school with a new head will be a good thing. Only time will tell!
Regarding your comment about the teachers - when looking at the recent information booklet, it is clear that all the teachers are very well qualified with degrees, PGCE's and some with Masters. Again, from what I have seen (certainly in comparison with the many state schools I have taught in) the teaching in the Prep School is of a very high standard in all subjects. Our children are clearly being stretched and challenged in all areas and the amount of sport and swimming they do just does not compare to other schools. The same for Music. Both our children are musical and sporty so it's the perfect school for them. As far as prep schools go, it cannot be beaten if you are after a country school. If the school has failed in the past with things and they have come to light then it is a good thing. We will definitely give the school a chance to prove itself in the future especially with a new head teacher as a new head could turn the school around. In regards to Mr Thorne's name (Paul/Kevin?), this seems very odd and I have never heard this about him and it seems an odd thing to bring up on here when we are supposed to be discussing a school. What relevance does this have and where is your evidence that he calls himself Kevin? I'm curious to know. Mrs Thorne was about to retire however due to the coronavirus pandemic she decided to take early retirement in order to help to save the school if it struggles financially. Both herself and her husband (I imagine) were the highest paid staff. Absolutely nothing to do with the issues you have aired on here. We are sad to see her go as she has been fantastic and has been absolutely lovely to us from day one. We are excited to see how Lucton progresses into the future from here. Things can only get better and along with alot of parents, we are remaining optimistic.
Interesting to hear the official reason given for retirement. Why would a new head be "cheaper" than the current head? What did you not hear about the Bursar, that he was her husband or that according to Charity rules it should not be possible for two family members to have financial control? And why would I need to present "evidence" you are free to do your own due dilligence. The point is that a private school is also a business and if the profit element takes over the school element then there need to be some checks and balances. Especially since the private school sector lacks some of the regulation of the state schools. I do not dispute that many of the teachers are qualified but the point is whether they are qualified in the subject they were teaching - that is not an issue at prep but it certainly is at GCSE and beyond. Possibly not an issue if your children are talented in other areas and I quite agree - if one is looking for the quintessential country school with lots of sport and nice cream teas then on the surface this school ticks the boxes and good luck to your children. But at this point I would definitely be asking questions about the future of the school, as it would not at all surprise me to hear that it will close one of these days...
Direct from the most recent Ofsted report: ...'the school met all the requirements of the independent school standards for the welfare, health and safety of pupils, with one exception.'. The ONE 'exception' relates to the boarding facility:
'Inspectors found the health needs of boarders were not being consistently met as there had been delays in medical information and consent from parents'.
The school's reaction was quick and has been dealt with (fully).
“Leaders have followed this up with those parents, and boarding staff have made alternative health care arrangements to minimise risk to those children affected,” they said.
“Leaders are currently exploring ways of ensuring that these systems are more effective before the beginning of the next term.”
Again to reiterate, the school met all of the standards and the exception has been dealt with. To parents and prospective parents, the school has done all that it could.
In regards to bullying, the school cannot sit back now that a handful of pupils ( let's be exact here; 7 out of a school of roughly 350 pupils - pretty amazing really! ) have raised concerns. That is (if my maths doesn't fail me - 2%). 2% made reference to not feeling they can speak up about bullying. It is great that the survey allows children to say how they feel and I am confident the school will now monitor this closely as they do with everything. Every single school has bullies; no school is perfect! I'm not sure where your children are, but if they manage to get through their whole school life without being bullied or witnessing bullying take place then I'll eat my own head! The headship role is now being shared between two current members of staff (to save money and it also allows the school time to find an exceptional head teacher) to take up the reins. Lucton has got absolutely everything going for it and more - watch this space! I am honestly awfully sorry you had negative experiences there however the majority of parents are very happy (and their children). I do not bury my head in the sand; that comment is actually very offensive. I have looked in detail at the Ofsted report and from what I have seen (and know as being in the teaching profession) the teaching in the prep school is of an exceptionally high standard in all subjects. Anyway, one is out of here . Hopefully you find another hobby soon that doesn't involve slating a fantastic school .
P.s..Your comment about teachers not being qualified in their subject is irrelevant and does not mean they are a rubbish teacher/results are bad because of this! A teacher with a teaching degree is qualified to teach and even if they are teaching a subject that is not their degree subject then that does not matter. So a professional musician or artist who has a degree in English cannot teach art or music? I'm an English teacher yet I also teach GCSE History (some marks are even given away to correct punctuation, spelling and grammar) and my students have never achieved below a 6 in GCSE History? The GCSE results and A level results in 2019 were great for a NON-SELECTIVE school. 83% A to C. 30% of pupils achieved A* or A grades. Sorry just had to send a final comment on what you said as completely disagree with you there and is a very short sighted view.
Indiedog99 your last post makes me shudder with relief that my children are not exposed to this type of mentality (either from Lucton or in the school where you work). I do not expect that bullying is absent but when there are serious issues I do expect them to be dealt with. I don't know which report you have access to but the one which is public states that the school does not meet its regulatory requirements. I don't intend to engage further with you on this topic as I don't appreciate the level that you seem determined to deteriorate to but as said I wish you and your children well at your school of choice.
Actually, the latest report (March 2019- see ISI report available on the website and online for public view) states the school meets ALL standards (Page 7 clause 2.1 under 'Key Findings). Your statement is absolutely incorrect and as false information breaches community standards on here, I am reporting your post. You have also offended me by completely fabricating and twisting what I have said regarding bullying. I merely said that every school has bullies. It is a fact. Thank goodness you will not engage further and thank goodness you have taken your child out of the school. I've just read an earlier post about your child supposedly being assaulted. Incredible that there is no complaint/report/evidence this happened. Funny how the school are liars when they obviously found no evidence it happened. I can see how twisting things obviously comes naturally to you; just seen it first hand in your previous post. Thank goodness the school doesn't need to engage with parents like you anymore. Good luck to you!
I have 3 boys at HCS. They are all very different and have been really happy there. I would definitely recommend it. A lot of children travel long distances to get there and they have a lot of school buses, lots come in by train as well. I don't know if that is an option for you. Your DS can do a taster day before you make a decision at HCS which might help. I would have thought Lucton would do the same if you ask.
I have 3 children who are pupils at Lucton. I have experience of the prep and middle school only. I just wanted to give me own honest opinion on my findings with the school.
I think the Prep school is fantastic. My younger children are really happy and they come home beaming every day. They love Lucton and would be devastated if I ever took them out. My eldest on the other hand is in the middle school and is desperately unhappy. Bullying is a massive issue. I’ve consistently had tears when I’ve suggested talking to parents and teachers about the issues and have heard the phrase “snitches get stitches” far too much for my liking.
I have raised issues multiple times and I still don’t really know what has been done to tackle them. I know of multiple parents who are having issues with bullying type issues in the middle school and no one seems happy with the response from the school so far. This is before and after the change in heads.
Aside from that, I don’t rate the schools admin at all. I think it’s sloppy, unprofessional and lacks attention to detail. I’ve recently had the half term grade card for my eldest and it had the wrong name printed halfway through the head teachers comments. I mean, we’re paying for a particular standard and I feel it falls below that standard in quite a few areas. My husband wants to take our children out and move them to HCS. We have friends who send their children to HCS and they are horrified to hear some of the stories about Lucton. I wouldn’t move my youngest children, they would be completely heartbroken, but I’m in two minds about our eldest.
I would give the prep school 5 stars. It really is amazing.
That’s just my own opinion and is no way endorsed or influenced by anyone else. Thanks x
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