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Norwood School vs Kingsdale

(22 Posts)
Nunsmet22 Tue 03-Mar-20 10:15:32

So... National Offer Day has passed.
We didn't get our first choice Kingsdale (we live 5 min away) but ended up with Norwood School. DS was very keen on Kingsdale as he was hoping he could go with his friends from primary. Said friends didn't get in or will go for independent options now. DH is very keen to get us on the Kingsdale waiting list but I wonder if Norwood isn't the better fit for DS anyway. He's quirky, sensitive, bright and dyslexic and has gotten one of the drama bursary places at Norwood.
I would love to hear from parents of Norwood and/or Kingsdale children about their experience with those schools and what they think we should do. Try to move heaven and earth to get into Kingsdale or happily settle with Norwood??? Grateful for any thoughts and advice, thanks!

OP’s posts: |
EkaterinVorkosigan Tue 03-Mar-20 12:14:44

My friend has kids at Norwood and mine will be going there in Sept. Friend's kids love it, especially science.
It was their first choice and also mine after looking at it and another school during a normal school day.

What I liked was the new building with excellent facilities, but mostly the attitude - kids and staff talked to each other like human beings. The admin staff weren't hiding behind glass. Lots of classes had open doors and happily let us stand just inside and observe their lessons. Other school wouldn't let us inside any classes while lessons were going on and seemed scared of the kids.
I also liked the way they let Y7s run the open day and let families wander around where they wanted. Showed great confidence.

Child liked the fact that the library opens at 8am, there's various areas to go at breaktime including ones where ball games aren't allowed, the breakout areas outside classrooms, and the excellent theatre. Also liked the uniform.

EkaterinVorkosigan Tue 03-Mar-20 12:51:39

SENCO at Norwood also had great attitude.
I don't know about Kingsdale as it's too far from us, but there's rumours they only get great results because of their intake.

Nunsmet22 Tue 03-Mar-20 13:18:06

Thanks, that's very good to hear. Just received our place on the Kingsdale waiting list which isn't encouraging at all...

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Pinkdelight3 Tue 03-Mar-20 13:22:47

We chose Norwood over Kingsdale as it felt warmer and more personalised while still being strong on the academics, whereas Kingsdale is much bigger and felt like more of a swarm when we visited. Haven't regretted it one bit. My DC1 is bright and more maths/science than arty type, but he still benefits from the creative approach there and it's helped with his confidence no end, whereas I feel like he'd have been lost in the crowds at Kingsdale and wouldn't have thrived in that more competitive vibe. I've found Norwood to be great at communicating and giving the kids lots of opportunities. When the time comes, we'll be sending DC2 there, who is dyslexic and will be better served by their holistic approach. That said, I have friends who sent their DC to Kingsdale and are very happy with their choice too, so I don't think either is a bad choice. It just depends what suits your DC.

BrownAjah Tue 03-Mar-20 13:24:25

Kingsdale appears to be a disaster for the locals this year. We're up in Palace and most people haven't got in - haven't heard of anyone who has yet. I know lots of people with kids there and they are all very happy. No experience myself but we're going indy and released our Norwood place. Kingsdale wait list is a shocker too!

Pinkdelight3 Tue 03-Mar-20 13:25:19

The Kingsdale list moves a lot btw. I know a couple of kids who got places late in the summer holiday. One took it, one turned it down and stuck with Norwood. So worth taking Norwood place, staying on Kingsdale list and seeing what happens. Wouldn't worry about friendship groups. I thought it was so important but they all change in the first term anyway and Norwood is a friendly inclusive kind of place.

BrownAjah Tue 03-Mar-20 13:25:58

Meant to say kids happy at Norwood!

Nunsmet22 Tue 03-Mar-20 16:56:42

I know only of a few kids who have gotten into Kingsdale this time round - from West Norwood, Herne Hill, East Dulwich. Wasn't even first choice for one of them!

OP’s posts: |
Pinkdelight3 Tue 03-Mar-20 17:11:12

Their intake comes from far and wide so living five minutes away means little sadly. But good that you've got Norwood as an option. It does sound like a good fit for your DS and those bursaries are brilliant.

bookmum08 Tue 03-Mar-20 17:49:00

Mine is at Norwood. Our experience is slightly different to most as she has struggled with the transition from primary to secondary (just been diagnosed with being on the ASD spectrum) but the support she has been getting is excellent.
The school in general seems very friendly. Staff I have met are all really nice. I like the fact they don't have regular homework at first (just termly projects). I like that sixth formers don't have to wear uniform or that stupid 'business wear'. I personally am anti school uniform in general but Norwood's isn't complicated and the kids are allowed to put things like badges on their blazers which means they can have a bit of individual personality.
It's a nice, small, modern school.

SW16 Tue 03-Mar-20 17:51:21

Just received our place on the Kingsdale waiting list which isn't encouraging at all
I thought places that allocate by Lottery are supposed to do a new draw for each place? So how can they hold a numbered waiting list? Any opinion, @PRH47bridge ?

I know only of a few kids who have gotten into Kingsdale this time round - from West Norwood, Herne Hill, East Dulwich. Wasn't even first choice for one of them!

In those areas they may have put Charter (s) and Dunraven first, which have tiny catchments, or far flung faith schools, or super-selectives ...there are schools harder to get into than Kingsdale.

Nunsmet22 Tue 03-Mar-20 18:29:43

Thanks, that's all very interesting and enlightening!! Feeling quite lucky we've got Norwood now!

Our waiting list place for Kingsdale is well over 350. I thought handing out numbers means they don't do a new draw with every place that comes up - or does it??

OP’s posts: |
Mummadeeze Tue 03-Mar-20 18:36:59

Norwood was our first choice but we have been given our second (Dunraven). We are on the waiting list for Norwood. I was really impressed with Norwood when we looked round and have only heard good things. The drama scholarships are really sought after too so well done him! I would go for it if I were in your position.

Sweetpea84 Tue 03-Mar-20 19:02:31

My daughter is in year 10 at the Norwood and we’re very happy with the school. My daughter enjoys it and we’ve never had any problems. It seems to be the school of choice at the moment as Dunraven is starting to get a bad rep for bullying and various other things.

prh47bridge Tue 03-Mar-20 19:16:59

@SW16 - My opinion is that this is a clear breach of the Admissions Code. Their policy suggests they have a fresh draw whenever someone is added to the list. However, the Code is clear that there must be a draw whenever a child is to be offered a place from the waiting list. They shouldn't be able to give you a number.

It is, of course, possible they do carry out a fresh draw when a place becomes available but they've got fed up with explaining to parents that they can't tell them where they are on the waiting list so give them a number that doesn't really mean anything. But this is Kingsdale so my guess would be that they are in breach of the Code.

BrownAjah Tue 03-Mar-20 19:38:00

There are actually 2 Kingsdale waiting lists - one regular/academic and one scholarship. We were told position on both.

@prh47bridge You sound as though you've come up against them before? Is their admissions process especially problematic? I can't make head nor tail of it myself!

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 03-Mar-20 19:43:01

But this is Kingsdale so my guess would be that they are in breach of the Code.

I know it shouldn’t but that’s just made me laugh.

Isn’t Kingsdale the school other than Queen Ethelburga’s that have ‘issues’ with people posting less than flattering posts about them on MN?

SW16 Tue 03-Mar-20 20:19:12

So it would be in the interests of someone given a low number on the waiting list to complain to the Schools Adjudicator office.

prh47bridge Tue 03-Mar-20 22:09:02

Isn’t Kingsdale the school other than Queen Ethelburga’s that have ‘issues’ with people posting less than flattering posts about them on MN

Yes.

You sound as though you've come up against them before? Is their admissions process especially problematic? I can't make head nor tail of it myself!

As RafaIsTheKingOfClay suggests, there have been multiple threads about them on Mumsnet and they have frequently got MN to remove anything negative about them on the basis of possible libel. Their have been several discussions about their admission arrangements which many parents find opaque. I understand them but I'm used to reading this kind of thing. I fully understand why many parents find them difficult. Kingsdale have certainly sailed close to the wind before and have had at least one Adjudicator decision requiring them to change their admission arrangements.

In all honesty, I suspect many schools that use random allocation don't comply with the Admissions Code on this point. After all, if no-one has joined the waiting list it is a bit of a pain getting independent people to come and witness you drawing one name out of the hat.

So it would be in the interests of someone given a low number on the waiting list to complain to the Schools Adjudicator office

If the Adjudicator decides that Kingsdale are wrong they will tell them to change their admission arrangements, but any change may not come in until next year. They may be allowed to stick with whatever they are doing this year. It certainly won't do any harm to complain but it may not help. And you may find the Adjudicator tries to refer you to the ESFA rather than dealing with it themselves.

SW16 Tue 03-Mar-20 22:57:19

The main spate of deletions demanded by a school in SE London followed long speculation about this issue; m.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/19/gcse-exam-malpractice-kingsdale-foundation-school_n_3621858.html

ASE1 Wed 30-Sep-20 15:37:19

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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