My feed

to access all these features

Join our Primary Education forum to discuss starting school and helping your child get the most out of it.

Primary education

Primary Schools in Lewes

15 replies

greenteen · 12/09/2009 17:53

I had a look round 2 primary schools for my daughter - Western Road Community & Wallands. She would be moving from a school in Spain & starting in Jan (Year 4). Both seemed very nice, but I would really appreciate any comments on friendliness of schools, (other children & parents) and general vibe of both places

OP posts:
greenteen · 15/09/2009 17:18

Hi again

Or any info about the other primaries? Its possible/probable we won´t get the first choice anyway - isn´t it? The school she is in now is really friendly and she is happy there, but we can´t stay, so would really appreciate a comment or two

OP posts:
Wheelybug · 15/09/2009 17:21

Have heard all the primary schools in Lewes are very good.

I went to senior school there (many moons ago and have friends that went to both but obviously many many moons ago so probably not possible to compare but I didn't want your post to go unanswered)

roquefortlover · 15/09/2009 17:32

Hi greenteen,

Both are good as are the other Lewes primaries - depends what sort of thing you want really. Western Rd is smaller - 1 form entry - Wallands is big - 2 form - so I'd think that your decision might well depend on whether you prefer big or small. Friendliness in spades at all lewes schools I reckon - of teh 2 you mention Wallands is maybe a bit more diverse and Western perhaps more middle class/artsy but these are both caricatures! I'm sure you'll be fine wherever you end up!

sunnydelight · 16/09/2009 06:19

My kids went to Wallands for a bit (we're in Oz now) and I really liked it. Some Lewes parents turn up their noses as yes, it is more diverse than some of the schools in the centre of town but in my opinion that's a good thing. It has gorgeous grounds (as you'll know if you visited) and in the Summer parents and kids tend to hang around while the kids play after school.

Western Road was madly popular and oversubscribed then slid downwards over a couple of years with a poor head but I believe there is a new head now so it may be on the up again. A couple of my friends (one of them a teacher) took their kids out and moved them to Wallands.

Most of the Lewes primary schools are considered very good with the exception of Pells. With a Y4 child you might also want to consider secondaries. My eldest had a bad time at Priory and I personally wouldn't send a dog there but it is generally viewed as a good school. Chailey is fantastic (and a language specialist which might suit your DD coming from Spain) but you need to be living around Nevill to have any chance of being in the catchment. Ringmer had a very poor reputation but is on the up at the moment.

My top tip if you don't get a place where you want would be to look at the surrounding villages, there are lots of lovely little schools that usually aren't full purely due to small populations. Hamsey Community Primary is five minutes up the road from Wallands and is lovely (but very small). Lewes New School is a cheapish alternative primary (part of Human Scale Education) which you might like if you want a real community feel. Good luck.

dabdab · 16/09/2009 13:52

Hello, please excuse the mild hijack, but what do you think about Southover? Also, would you be willing to expand on your opinion on Priory? (We are also thinking of moving to Lewes!)

greenteen · 16/09/2009 18:46

Thank you for all the information and for your views on Priory, sunnydelight. I posted a ? in the secondary ed section about Priory too, but haven´t had any news. I heard that lots of children go to the school from Brighton & it seemed to have good grades & ofsted reports, but perhaps they are misleading? This is what I am worried about for both the Primary & Secondary, as we are not in town and have only bits of information I can find on the web. I hoped to move to a town in the UK where we can stay right through to the end of schooling. My DD does speak fluent Spanish so I will look at Chailey too, as you recommend it.
I am worried that we were wearing rose tinted specs the whole time we were in Lewes and I hope someone will tell me the truth before we make the big leap back!

OP posts:
sunnydelight · 17/09/2009 09:37

I really wouldn't worry too much about primaries in Lewes greenteen, most people who arrive from London (and there are lots!) can't believe their luck with them. It's a fairly affluent area, with deprived pockets, so the majority of the schools are full of children with supportive parents who are interested in their kids' eductation and get involved with the schools.

dabdab - Southover is probably the most consistently sought after school in Lewes. I think you really need to live in the centre of town to get in, and it is a CE school so will have it's own selection criteria. It has a very good academic reputation and anyone I knew who sent their kids there were very happy with it.

With regards Priory, I have just spent 10 minutes detailing the reasons why I think it's crap but have deleted them as it makes me instantly recognisable to anyone who knows the story. As there was no criminal conviction of the staff member involved it's also potentially libellous so I won't go there! What I will say is that the head is, in my opinion, a manager rather than an educationalist and I am not the only person who has removed a child from there because of the school's unwillingness to deal with issues (a friend removed her child as recently as last term). I would also think vey hard about sending your child there if they need any level of learning support. The trouble is that the Brighton secondary school placement farce (ongoing now for many years) has inflated the reputation of Priory in the area. Brighton parents are so desperate not to be offered places for their kids at Falmer (major failing Brighton secondary just down the road from Lewes) they try to get Priory instead so to put it in perspective the reason there are large numbers of children travelling from Brighton is not because it's such a wonderful school, just that it's so much better than the alternative. If you are moving to the area I would seriously consider looking at Chailey and Ringmer and making sure you are in the catchment area for whichever one you prefer as they are both on the - totally opposite - outskirts of town (though if you wanted Southover pimary dabdab to get a place there you wouldn't be able to also be in the Chailey catchment). Good luck

greenteen · 17/09/2009 18:38

Thanks again sunnydelight! I suspect you are right about the Brighton Farce. What amazes me is when we looked round Wallands at the end of the summer term all but 2 of the the year 6 kids were moving on to the Priory.
Your friend who took their children out of Western Road - was that recently or before the new head? I like the sound of New School, but as its fee paying it will probably be off our shortlist.

OP posts:
jennifersofia · 17/09/2009 21:09

Thank you sunnydelight, extremely helpful! I will consider very carefully.
Maybe I will see you in Lewes, greenteen...

jennifersofia · 17/09/2009 21:09

Oh dear, I am also dabdab - sorry to be so confusing!

greenteen · 17/09/2009 22:25

Hi jennifersofia/dabdab
You may well do - when are you thinking of moving?
We have to give notice at the current school by end of Sept, thereby committing ourselves to a December road trip, but not too sure about driving over the Pyrenees then !!! Its very hard to organise going back to the UK (schools, jobs somewhere decent to live etc) compared to leaving.
I am very grateful for all the mumsnet info though.

OP posts:
jennifersofia · 17/09/2009 22:46

Our estimated moving date is July of 2010, which (according to the LEA admissions gentleman) is when 'all you people move'. We aren't yet totally set on Lewes though, but it is def. on the short list.
It does sound a massive deal moving from the Pyrenees - hope all goes well!

roquefortlover · 19/09/2009 19:01

Just popped back to say that

(i) Lewes is a lovely place to live and you are v unlikely to regret moving here!

(ii) re. Southover - we rate it highly too, others are right re catchment but the admissions criteria are in fact same as all other Lewes schools, as set by County Council - it doesn't have its own. Apparently there are 2 kinds of CE state school and Southover is the sort where you don't have to prove your worshipfulness to get in! HTH


greenteen · 09/12/2009 21:29

As an update, we are about to move to Lewes (in 2 weeks) and I spoke to the school admissions today. The likelihood of getting any of the schools I had hoped for - Western Rd, Wallands or Southover - seems very unlikely. I also heard about Pells being given a "Special Measure" Ofsted report and am worried (because I have no idea what this really means) that this school will be the only one with a place. Have parents moved their DD/S because of this report? Also if I am offered a place here for DD am I obliged to take it or can I refuse. Please advise

OP posts:
jennifersofia · 27/03/2010 10:45

Hello greenteen - just wondering how it worked out with schools for you? We are still thinking of moving to Lewes (in summer). Did you manage to get into any of the schools that you wanted? We haven't applied yet as we are still not 100% sure. We were told by Wallands head that they thought it wouldn't be too difficult to get in (this was a year ago though).
Hope everything has worked out for you..

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.