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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:32 am 
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Both have open days tomorrow (not very helpful really!) - and are our de facto catchment schools.

Have to pick one to visit & think if it is worth using a CAF preference on - but can't choose between them on paper. They seem to be very similar regarding investment in infrastructure but weak exam results (presumably driven by the partially selectives 'creaming off' the more able kids) and variable local reputation.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:58 am 
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Bumpety bump bump bump.

No one has seen inside either school?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:41 am 
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Last year we were closer to Francis Coombe as we lived closer. Did not like it. Teachers did not engage us when we went into rooms, students were being silly while doing demonstrations in rooms and we thought the head there was a little weak.

Roll onto this year we have moved and are now closer to Westfield. Went to their open evening last Thursday and though on paper they are more or less the same ( though I think Westfield is improving faster) There was a world of difference with the feel of the place. The teachers all engaged us as parents but more importantly our son. They had him doing all kinds of things in each room. The students were approachable and enthusiastic. Unfortunately due to other commitments we could not stay for the heads speech so can not comment on that.

Though do remember that everyone is different and these thoughts are only what we saw in a small amount of time. It really is best to try and get to these schools personally.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:18 pm 
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My sense from website info is that Westfield is the more ambitious and positive institution.

I'm slightly put off by the hullabaloo my next door neighbour put up last year when her DC was given Westfield as a non-ranked allocation - but AFAIK there was no concrete objection beyond a general 'bad influence' fear.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:34 pm 
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Whoops - you're right - Westfield open day was last week. I picked up the date for WEstfield Academy Yeovil :lol: . Good job I checked again!!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:42 pm 
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Ess30 wrote:
Both have open days tomorrow (not very helpful really!) - and are our de facto catchment schools.

Have to pick one to visit & think if it is worth using a CAF preference on - but can't choose between them on paper. They seem to be very similar regarding investment in infrastructure but weak exam results (presumably driven by the partially selectives 'creaming off' the more able kids) and variable local reputation.


Not sure if it's an option but have you looked at Bushey Academy as well?

I will be visiting Westfield next year as my DS will be in the 2016 intake. I chose not to visit this year as the school is being rebuilt. However, something you might want to investigate further is the Grammar Stream: http://www.westfield.herts.sch.uk/westf ... ream4.html


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:54 pm 
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I didn't like Francis Coombe when we visited with DD last year. For her it wasn't ideal as the music department was virtually non existent and they have no provision for GCSE music or any extra curricular orchestra. We didn't visit Westfield Academy.

Have you looked at Reach Free School? We went this year with DS and I really liked it. DS will probably get a place at WBGS but Reach is our back up. The only major downside for us is that it is miles away - and not built yet. For DS, the technology wasn't great - yet. I loved the ethos, however, and I think in 5-10 years time, if they can maintain that ethos it will be a great place to learn.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:06 pm 
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My neighbour warned me off Reach Free school on the grounds that it will soon relocate & become much harder to get to from Watford. Is that correct info?

Bushey Academy.... I'm not sure we'd get in from North Watford.... And I'm not convinced by the behaviour of some of the kids on the train (though that might just be that I see more of them because of the route I travel in to work)..... Everyone (including current pupils) raves about the new facilities, but don't say much about the learning...?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:10 pm 
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It is going to be at Junction 17 of the M25 (Maple Cross/Mill End) I think there will be school buses for children from Watford but I am not sure if they will still be subsidised (currently there is a subsidy).

- They announced the location at the open evening.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:19 pm 
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Not for us I think.

School buses on the M25 give me the heebie jeebies - and it won't exactly give the benefit of local friends etc by the time younger siblings come through.


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