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 Post subject: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 1:48 pm
Posts: 13
Location: The Shires
Hi,

Apologies if this is the wrong place for this post.

We're moving to the solihull area in the very near future and I'd like to get an idea of good primary schools. I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice you have on this subject. We're looking at the FrankHolmes drive - Monkspath road area.

kind regards.


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 Post subject: Re: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8112
Hi good luck with the move .... when I was in school in Solihull (at St Alphege Primary - not even seperate Jun / infant then) - Monkspath was countryside ......

Anyway enough of that! The local schools (nearest in Monkspath) all seem to do well with regards to SATS - similarly the senior school for the area Tudor Grange also does well - what the tables can't tell you is what the place is really like - you have to go and visit and get a feel for it.. only way. There are others nearby Bentley Heath etc - Church related ones eg St Alphege / St James / St Augsutine if you are keen to try there - however the kids then are not going to be at the same school as the local kids. I had that problem a bit - difficult to decide if it is worth it.


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 Post subject: Re: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:41 pm 
Just my opinion but most primary schools in middle class areas do a good enough job so it largely comes down to personal preferences for things like size, facilities available and location.

Assuming private secondary education is not on the cards, I would look at the secondary schools available where you intend to relocate rather than primary schools. Which primary school you attend will not hugely affect your chances of grammar school but where you live will definitely determine your available choices of state secondary school, and ultimately your secondary school will have a bigger impact on your education than your primary school.

Somewhat naively I picked the area I fancied most when we moved to Birmingham. This did not have much effect on my eldest who had already won a KE place before relocation but three years later we were left with a very poor choice for her much less academic younger brother. Had I been clued up, I would have probably done more research into secondary schools (and not moved to Birmingham!).


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 Post subject: Re: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:14 pm 
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Agree with fm - the schools in such areas will all be good enough, just comes down to what you make of the ambience.

I reckon Monkspath puts you in Tudor Grange for senior (but best check!!) - pretty good for a "non selective" getting 91% A*-C...


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 Post subject: Re: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:33 pm 
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Selective by income...both TG and Arden are among the top comps in England as far as academic results are concerned.

I think Monkspath would be TG, that's the uniform I see when I'm driving through there. I'd certainly have noticed if it was Alderbrook (bright purple blazer for the uninitiated - very eye catching, but wouldn't want to wear it myself).

Solihull catchments (TG specifically mentioned) are said by friend going through the process this year to be a bit counter-intuitive - but let's face it, what's the worst school you're going to get from there?

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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... I was going to mention the "selective by income" - difficult to find a bad school there...

Blimey - still got the purple blazer????? They had that in the 60's when it was Harold Cartwright and Harold Malley - the girls used to wear purple and white striped shirts.


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 Post subject: Re: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:49 pm 
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Monkspath is in the catchment for Alderbrook, Hillfield (slightly closer to Solihull centre) is Tudor Grange catchment. Both are good schools but TG has the more academic reputation.

I agree with fm. Don't worry too much about the primaries (they're all good in Solihull) but think about what you would like in your catchment secondary.

Good luck :D


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 Post subject: Re: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2093
Location: Birmingham
You are right -Monkspath is Alderbrook catchment, not Tudor Grange. And I would think of secondaries now, as moving in a few years will be a hassle, not to mention expensive! Tg catchment houses are more expensive, so if you have your heart set on Grammar, you may not want to be paying the extra £30K
I presume you already have seen 'the map' of school catchment areas in Solihull, available to view at Solihull Connect in Solihull library (take a camera with you!). However in recent years, with a relatively low birth rate, Tudor Grange has taken in pupils out of catchment up to about 1 mile away - which does include most of Monkspath, hence the prevalence of Green uniforms there.
Alderbrook (being less popular!) has been able to offer out of catchment around 3.5 miles away, meaning many pupils in some Birmingham suburbs have been able to secure a place there. If your child was born pre-2006 and you live in the top half of Monkspath, you probably do indeed have a good chance of TG. If they were born after that, you really need to position yourself in catchment due to the birth rate rising. The TG catchment also includes outlying villages such as Hockley Heath and Tidbury Green, and these children will have priority over Monkspath children for TG. Arden is also an excellent secondary, and the schools in Knowle/Dorridge are also great. Echoing what fm has said, though, I can say pretty much all Solihull primaries are good - but they do have very different values and ethos. I moved my own children from a miserable Solihull school with very high results to one that was maybe a few points lower in the league tables and it was like moving from darkness to light... my children immediately became happier, grew in confidence, and therefore excelled far more in their new school, even though it didn't have as fancy a uniform or as stuffy an atmosphere. I would ask searching questions about their vision, parental communication, breadth of curriculum etc, rather than focus on academics. And if you are an ethnic minority (I guess not...) I would genuinely say that some Solihull primaries are far more inclusive than others.

I know little of Monkspath, (last Ofsted was satisfactory, high levels of pupil vacancies may tell a story, recent scandal linked to a male teacher can be seen in press) but I would have liked to have seen it this year, as I applied for no.4's reception place and considered it a backup. But despite 4 phone calls and promises to ring me back, I was unable to arrange a visit. Perhaps because I live in Birmingham? Other schools welcomed me to visit with no problems.


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 Post subject: Re: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 1:48 pm
Posts: 13
Location: The Shires
Apologies for not replying sooner - a bout of ill health knocked me for 6.

Thanks to everybody who replied. I appreciate your comments and helpful advice.

kind regards


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 Post subject: Re: Primary School Query
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:29 pm 
We moved from Hall Green to Solihull 3 years ago, went from a state school background to Ruckleigh School. Class size fell from 31 to 12 for year 3. The best move we ever moved. It is a lovely school and very friendly. Class size is very manageable and an excellent balance between study and other stuff.

It is an excellent feeder for Solihull/Warwick Indies as well as excellent preparation for the Grammar route if this appeals to you.


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