Finding good state secondary schools(14 Posts)
I will be moving with my family to London, from the South, in Jan 2009 as my husband would be taking up his new job there. His workplace would be close to Westminster tube station.
I have two boys ( ages 9 and 10 years respectively). Need some help to target good state secondary schools for their admission. Private schools are not an option as financially prohibitive. Areas with good transport links to Central London would be preferable.
I would be grateful if someone could indicate the key steps in the process and some tentative timeline that I should follow.
You should go onto the ofsted website, put in your new postcode (or a reasonable guess) and it will tell you all the secondary schools in that area.
then you need to look at each school's ofsted report to decide a shortlist. You still need to visit the schools to get a feel for them.
TBH, I think from what others have said about inner city schools, you may have to bite the bullet and pay privately.
I am fairly certain there are some great state schools in London!
What you may also find (certainly this happens at primary level) is that the is a small but constant movement of pupils so places do become available.
As well as following Mumblechum's advice you should also look at the local authorities' websites for each of the schools that you are interested in to get ideas on admissions etc.
Each borough's website should have information about the process of applying for school places. In all London boroughs (as far as I know) there is a common application form to be used for applying for school places, but you need to check the deadline for submitting the form. If you're applying in-year, then you will obviously have a more restricted choice as some schools will be full, but the high mobility in London does mean that places often fall vacant.
There are some good state secondaries in London - if you want to tell us where you might be living, I'm sure someone here will have some suggestions. A friend's children, for example, went to Pimlico School which is quite near where your husband will beworking.
I was also going to suggest Pimlico or Gretycoats.
London Borough of Bexley is zones 4-5 with pretty reasonable train links to central London (Charing X is about 10 mins' walk to Westminster tube).
State schools there are very good, both selective and non-selective.
But if you are image-conscious then Sidcup and Blackfen are not for you as it is hardly a bijou area.
Property is affordable and it's not rough, just rather post-war architecturally uninspiring. Also historically a white lower-middle-class monoculture, although thankfully that is changing. Good proximity to Kent and lots of open space as well.
Bexley Grammar School (mixed) had a fab OFSTED late last year and is absolutely inspirational in its level of community involvement and educational policies. Offers the IB for example. The other local grammars (BETHS for boys and Chislehurst and Sidcup, mixed) are also very good schools and have been for many years.
Are your boys Y4 and Y5 or is the eldest Y6 ? (that would complicate things enormously)
I have just done the round of open days (DD Y4 but SEN so we apply early) and have to day I was amazed at the choice and quality on offer. I was technically there on DD's behalf but scouting for Ds too who is 2 years behind.
The schools all had individual feels - some were more nurturing, some clearly proud of academic achievement - you know what your boys need so you have to look around.
But the application process tho designed to simplify things is quite stressful for those few months.
We are in Shepherd's Bush by the way, and I am only considering state.
Being Roman Catholic did it for the Blair boys. (The Oratory)
You'd need to be a (very) practising C of E and lucky for Greycoats!
Greycoats is a girls' school, so not much use to teh OP!
Depends what you're after, really, you need to narrow it down a bit. There's such a huge variety in London schools: do you want good comprehensive? Academically selective? Mixed or single-sex? Relaxed or formal? Religious or non?
For selective you need to think about SE London -- Bexley, Bromley, Kingston or Sutton.
There are loads of good comprehensives scattered about, but you'd need to move into the right area. Fortismere in Muswell Hill is the prototype of the desirable comprehensive, but you do have to live on the doorstep and it's expensive around there.
Religious schools are generally less fussy about where you live, as long as you meet the criteria.
You really need to start looking around, as you may find that the schools everyone raves about don't do it for you -- we went to see the London Oratory, which is regarded as the Holy Grail for many, but we really loathed the place. Which is a bummer in many ways, as ds would probably get in there, but best to know beforehand. Horses for courses.
Have you tried subscribing to teh Good Schools Guide? Annoying in many ways, but quite good at giving you a flavour of the schools. No substitute for actually visiting, though.
sorry missed the boys bit, talking utter crap as usual.
QE boys in Barnet is The Times top state school but competition is fierce. Mill Hill County High is excellent and if you go a bit further out then Watford Grammar boys school and Parmiters are good and have a wide catchment area.
Have a look in the book entitles "The good Schools guide" or check out their website. I found loads of useful info regarding our local school's to give a heads-up when looking to enrol.
Also a visit to the school would give you a feel of the ethos and facilities on offer. (grin)
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