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West London state school options

(28 Posts)
MintyIguana Mon 01-Jul-19 09:33:40

Struggling to decide on order of preference when we apply for secondary school for DD this autumn. Realistic options are Chiswick, Christ's in Richmond, Green School for Girls, Twyford - and then Lady Margaret as an outside chance. Many of the Ofsted inspections were years ago. Does anyone have any current or recent experience of any of these? I would say DD is average all round ability, hardworking and somewhat lacking in confidence. She has no preference for all girls or mixed and not overly concerned about going with a cohort of friends. She makes friends quite easily.

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Linneasweet Wed 03-Jul-19 21:39:58

My dd is in The Green school. She's doing good but of course every school have issues with teachers and lack of funding etc. I believe the school changed democratically in the last few years: it's much more local then it used to be. I personally would not send my dd to Chiswick but that's just my personal view, same goes for twyford as incredibly selected 6th form. Lady M is very white middle class kind of school which may be appealing to some but really not my cup of tea. Depending on where you live Elthorne park high school just got outstanding in Ofsted and looks good as well.

Linneasweet Wed 03-Jul-19 21:41:20

It was supposed to say demographically, not democratically!

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 03-Jul-19 21:55:26

I have a son at Chiswick and a friend of mine has two boys, and a girl about to start there and I know a huge number of kids at the school.

Feel free to PM me.

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 03-Jul-19 22:00:44

To add - I know kids who have left Twyford to come to Chiswick, a couple of boys at Twyford and kids at Christ’s. Christ’s seems to have a bit of a bullying problem especially if you are not white and middle class. Twyford very selective by religion but then all your choices are apart from Chiswick. You haven’t mentioned West London Free.

The girl I know who went to the Green School was as completely unsupported through her A levels, given wrong advice for med school application etc but that was a couple of years ago now.

MintyIguana Thu 04-Jul-19 10:10:40

Yes we do tick the boxes for the church schools which gives us additional options though it isn't a deciding factor for us. Chiswick is the only non church school she's likely to get into. WLFS is unlikely and tbh I went on an open day and didn't really feel it. Hadn't heard of Elthorne but just checked and we'd be too far. Brentford school for girls is another option though I struggle to see past the pink!

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MintyIguana Thu 04-Jul-19 10:15:36

Interesting you say Christ's has a bullying problem. I thought it was supposed to be strong on pastoral care and I got good vibes at the open day, but I guess these issues aren't advertised at those events.

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Mary19 Thu 04-Jul-19 10:45:50

Not exactly sure where you are but is another option bolder academy

Toofaroutallmylife Thu 04-Jul-19 11:01:04

DD is at Green School and has loved it (but not sure if she wants to stay there for 6th form). I think she’s thrived in the all girls environment as she was quite quiet at primary.

She has friends at Chiswick and Brentford and they seem happy and settled too.

MintyIguana Thu 04-Jul-19 11:02:19

Ah yes I had heard of that and seen the amazing plans and graphic images but a bit concerned they don't seem to have started building it yet...?

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Mary19 Thu 04-Jul-19 11:11:40

Bolder is being built. I drive past it.opposite Sky. Don’t know much about it just seen the building go up

sloaneBear Thu 04-Jul-19 11:19:29

We had a choice between WLFS, Chiswick and Hammersmith Academy. To be honest I had reservations about all of them after visits and speaking to local parents. I worried a lot.

We chose WLFS and so far we are very pleased with our choice. Our child is really engaged with the lessons, enjoys the knowledge based curriculum and has made great friends. Classes aren’t disrupted by poor behaviour and teachers seem very nice. I can’t really ask for more.

Friends from our child’s primary ended up at Hammersmith Academy, Chiswick, Twyford and private schools. All the kids are fine and thriving no matter where they are because of course happiness and success it’s much more to do with family, parenting and community than school.

What I am trying to say if that I shouldn’t have worried so much. A well supported child should do well anywhere.

Toofaroutallmylife Thu 04-Jul-19 11:20:53

The first year 7 intake started at Bolder September 2018. They’re in temporary accommodation at the moment. Haven’t heard any feedback on it but it was a popular alternative to Chiswick at DS’s primary last year

CarolDanvers Thu 04-Jul-19 11:22:52

Have you considered Fulham Cross or is that too far out for you? Dd is doing very well there and the teaching staff are on the whole committed and supportive. Dd was dreading starting secondary but comes smiling every day. There transition programme from primary to secondary is excellent.

CarolDanvers Thu 04-Jul-19 11:24:04

Their not there obvs smile

youngestisapsycho Thu 04-Jul-19 11:28:56

I have DD who did yrs 7-11 at Chiswick and a DD still there in YR8. It is a great school... always had a bad name though, even when I was there 30 years ago! New headmistress is amazing and has made major improvements since she joined. She welcomes anyone to come along and have a tour during a working school day.

JoJoSM2 Thu 04-Jul-19 14:53:27

Lady Margaret and Twyford look amazing, Green has an average intake but great teaching, Christ's able intake and average teaching, Chiswick is as average as it gets.

mimbleandlittlemy Thu 04-Jul-19 16:04:44

As youngest says, the new Chiswick head has determined ideas for the school and she turned a school in Reading round from Special Measures to Outstanding, I believe, so wants to do that again.

MintyIguana Thu 04-Jul-19 17:03:55

So if it's a great school then why the bad name? That's what I don't understand...

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mimbleandlittlemy Thu 04-Jul-19 21:23:39

Schools can be “amazing” when they manipulate an intake by getting them to pray to get in in an area with very expensive housing. I haven’t looked for a while but there was a point when jolly old Twyford had 16% free school meals and Chiswick is way above that - up in the 30%s at that point. It is a genuine comprehensive school so kids go in with top SATS and bottom ones. They have kids from really troubled backgrounds that would never muster themselves for church attendance and doing the flowers and singing in the choir. They also have lots of parents who believe in the school and want it to do well and believe that it can and will. My ds came out with 11 very high achieving GCSEs last year and is doing really well at A level with sights on a top 4 university. They get kids in to Oxbridge every year and med and vet school.

But - there have been a couple of unfortunate choices of head recently - NOT the new one. There has been trouble recruiting science staff (now sorted) and there was a point about 10/15 years ago when the behaviour dragged it down. That isn’t allowed now. Absolute zero tolerance.

If I were you I’d look on the website and see when the Arts Festival is next week and go along. Amazing evening every year. Or go round on one of the new day tours the new head will arrange. She wants to show this school off.

Have a look see.

Waterlemon Thu 04-Jul-19 21:37:40

Bolder was the idea of a group of Hounslow Primary school head teachers in response to local parents wishes for a school that was non-religious, mixed and non-selective.

MintyIguana Fri 05-Jul-19 13:13:38

Some very helpful advice here, thank you. I think perhaps where I am now is wondering whether she would be better at a co-Ed or girls school. If we decide co Ed we might as well send her to Chiswick as those of you with kids there are speaking highly of it. My reservation is that she's fairly quiet and lacking in confidence and I see her retreat around groups of boys, although she gets on well with many of them in a 1 to 1 situation and her best friend (at another school) is a boy. Wondering how a big school like Chiswick gets the best out of the quiet, 'average' kids. I will certainly visit and can ask these questions...

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JoJoSM2 Fri 05-Jul-19 16:08:53


It's not just faith schools.

Have you seen the catchment area squares for Waldegrave Girls?
Or the Dame Alice Owen's admissions criteria? They fudge those so much that maybe 10% of their intake is local children...

Having said that, places like Lady Margaret or Twyford have high attainment and high progress scores. Not many genuine comps come close.

mimbleandlittlemy Fri 05-Jul-19 16:15:45

They are reducing the PAN by the way so won't be as big in Y7 as it has been the last couple of years. I think they are very good with quiet, average kids. Two girls who would be exactly that description have gone on to be Head Girl in the last couple of years and I think neither would have believed that might be possible when they were shy and quiet Y7s. One of them is now training to be a teacher herself.

MintyIguana Fri 05-Jul-19 20:32:49

What does that mean? Excuse my ignorance...I thought they were expanding and having more forms per year, or is that incorrect?

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