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Primary school - lewisham/catford/forest hill

13 replies

MrsL76 · 30/08/2009 19:46


This is the first time I've posted here and I'm hoping for some advice/support about primary schools in Lewisham - specifically Catford/Forest Hill area.

I'm due to apply for primary schools this autumn. All my child's friends will be going to a good local school but it's not my closest school and given how oversubscribed and how good this school is I feel there is little chance my child will get in. I'm not overly keen on my local school - it is improving but I don't know anyone who is sending their child there if they have another option. But I don't want to run the risk of not getting a place in any of my selected schools if I put it too low down on my choices list.

If I put my local school as my first choice, I'm pretty sure I will get in. Can I then still appeal to see if I can get a place in a different school or can I only do that if I don't get given my first choice?

Also, does anyone know how the system works - what weighting does your ranking of schools on your application form have against your distance from the school? So, for example, if the school has 60 places and only 60 people put it as their first choice do all those 60 get in, regardless of where they live? Or do they pool all the applications and work out a catchment area, meaning some people who put a school as 2nd choice would get in over someone further away who put it as first?

Thank you for any replies! Really I just feel bad that my child will be starting school alone while all her friends she has had since being a baby (who we met at a local playgroup) will be starting together, just because we live on the other side of the hill!

OP posts:
beautifulgirls · 30/08/2009 22:31

You need to check with your local authority as to how they use the choice rankings. For us where I am the position of the choice didn't affect your chances of getting a place at all, and simply the authority would see which schools you qualified for out of your list, and if there was more than one then allocate the one highest up on your choices to offer you. From what you say above therefore assuming the same criteria apply where you are, you might like to list two schools you really want but may not get into as your top two, then one you are likely to get into for your third choice so that at least you have some control over where your child goes if you are not lucky enough to get the schools further away. If you only put far away schools there is a chance they will all turn you down under the selection criteria due to distance and then the authority will allocate you a place in any school that has left over slots, which may well be somewhere you are not at all happy with.

Madsometimes · 31/08/2009 12:41

AFAIK in London schools are not informed about choice rankings. If I were you, I would put the preferred school as the first choice and the nearest school as second choice. In this way, in the event of not securing a place at your first choice, your child will still get a school place. Your second choice school is not allowed to reject your application just because you placed them as a low priority. You can then ask to be put on the waiting list for your first choice school.

Parents who stubbornly refuse to consider any school apart from their first choice, and only name one school on their form are the most likely to be allocated a less favoured school very distant from their home. Obviously, it does sometimes happen to parents who have given five choices on their form, but it is much rarer.

MrsL76 · 31/08/2009 13:26

Thanks for these replies. I will call my local authority to check to make sure.

I will definitely put my nearest school as a choice (I'm planning on putting as many choices down as the form allows!), I just didn't really want to put it first choice as then I would have no chance of getting into the other, preferred school.

Both schools are close to me - there is a matter of only a couple of hundred metres in distance, but I know that this makes all the difference between getting in and not getting in. Unfortunately all my child's friends live a bit nearer than we do to this one particular school!

OP posts:
JessicaD · 06/09/2009 19:15

You've got some fantastic schools in that area. You've got an outstanding school either side of Forest Hill (Eliot Bank and Fairlawn) Moving towards Catford Dalmain is also outstanding. You've also got a number of Good schools that way, Stillness for example. I know Lewisham schools really well, particularly that area. Where are you and what is your local school?

MrsL76 · 08/09/2009 12:15

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

KnickersandVests · 08/09/2009 12:22

My best friends little boy went to Stillness and he did extremely well there. Tonnes of after school clubs and (I haven't checked) but believe it gets good ofsted reports.

The junior school gets a few negatives because the head teacher is not to everyones taste. She is quite strict I think.

If you have the time I would go and visit all the schools you are thinking of, just call them up and ask for a tour. That way you can a get a feel for the place and get to look at the layout and the classrooms and see if the kids look happy and engaged or bored and unruly.

Blu · 08/09/2009 12:22

There is a MN-er with children at Kilmorie that LOVES it. But it's generally over-subscribed, isn't it?

School places often become available within the first week of term when people who have accepted places don't turn up...and places can also come up within the first year - many pple on waiting lists choose not to take up late or mid-term places because thier children ahve settled elsewhere, so being low down a waiting list to begin with isn't necessarily a no-hope position.

mumofboy · 08/09/2009 16:09

Stillness is a great school. As the previous poster said the headteacher is not to everyones taste but she runs a tight ship and the school does very well. To be honest it would be my 1st choice out of all the schools you mentioned.

MrsL76 · 08/09/2009 19:45

Thanks for these replies - it's really helpful. I will be visiting all the schools, of course, but it's useful to hear other views too.

OP posts:
MrsL76 · 11/09/2009 16:49


Unfortunately, Eliot Bank and Fairlwawn are too far for me, we wouldn't get in.

My nearest and the one I think my child will go to is Rathfern. I think it's fine and I've heard that the new headteacher is very good, but don't know much about it yet.

Next is Stillness. Think we have a small chance of getting in there but I've heard a few negative things about the junior school.

Finally, Dalmain, though I think we're just out of the catchment for it.

Any views you have on Rathfern, Stillness and Dalmain would be greatly appreciated!

Contact me directly if you prefer,

Many thanks,

OP posts:
Biggles123 · 28/09/2009 13:07

Both my children are at Stillness and there does seem to be divided opinion on the popularity of the Headteacher, but unless you are really planning on getting really matey with other mums at the school, you wouldn't particularly notice any problems. I can sympathise with them to an extent, as most of the parents really liked the previous Head teacher and are still finding it hard to get used to changes the new head has introduced, but she has been in for a few years now and I like to think with 'new' parents coming to the school this nonsense will be resolved within a few years. Personally, I have had no problems with the Headteacher in the two years my eldest has been there and I think the school is good in most respects and very good in others (my own OFSTED report!), especially in the approachability of the teachers, the range of trips they organize and after-school club provision.

MrsL76 · 28/09/2009 19:41

Thank you for this. Since I first posted I have been to see both Rathfern and Stillness, which are the 2 I have most chance of getting into (most likely to Rathfern). I have to say that I really liked both schools and have found myself with the complete opposite problem to what I imagined! I like them both and can't decide which to put down first - they are both good, for very different reasons.

Any other comments about these 2 schools - Rathfern in particular, which really felt like a school 'on the up' to me - would be very helpful.


OP posts:
SEmum · 21/04/2011 22:08

What about this new primary school planning to open up in the area?!/pages/Urban-Green-Primary/217310481616953 Looks great!!

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