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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:49 pm
Posts: 6
Our son started Wilmington Grammar this year having passed his 11 plus with flying colours. He could have gone to Dartford Grammar but we felt Wilmington would suit him better.
I've just read the recent OFSTED report, not good. Overall score is a 3 (satisfactory), not where I'd expect a Grammar school to be. To add insult, my son's preffered choice (Leigh Academy) scores a 1 in it's OFSTED report. This was his first choice school (and much closer to home) but we felt Wilmington would be the better choice, and he was quite happy with that, though he clearly did not want to go to Dartford Grammar.
The main theme behind Wilmington's OFSTED reports seems to be bad teaching methods/lesson planning/engaging the interest of pupils. Some lessons are rated as being excellent, others not so good. Over the previous 2 years the pass rated have dropped slightly, though this year (2010) they have risen again. The report does say that the school is heading in the right direction and seems to have confidence in the new head and the leadership team.
OFSTED questioned parents and summarized as:
Responses to the questionnaire were supportive of the overall effectiveness of the school. A very large majority of parents and carers who responded felt their children were making enough progress in their learning. They took a more positive view of this aspect of the school's work than inspectors did after the team had spent time in lessons. Parents and carers were appreciative of the quality of care provided, and felt that their children enjoyed attending school and felt safe while there.

I have to say, I think it is a great school, and so does anyone else I speak to. My son's primary school head also thought the same, stating that both Wilmington and Dartford were excellent schools and the choice should come down which one would suit my son's personality.
Wilmington did score a 1 in Pupils' attainment, while Leigh scored a 3.
My son is very happy at Wilmington, and on the whole the work seems very engaging (though there does seem to be a huge amount of homework, even compared to his friends at Dartford Grammar). We are very pleased with how easily he has settled into the school and he is already showing real independence, something we didn't expect to see so soon. Tonight we are off to a parents' evening where we will be told what the school expects our son to attain over this school year, based on the year so far.
The report on Wilmington sounds like they've gone to a different school, and parents views don't seem to reflect OFSTED's report in any way.
Which leaves me wondering just how accurate these OFSTED reports are. :(
As for Leigh, is is a very nice school, state of the art and shows what an Academy should be. But there was something about it that didn't 'click' with us, everything seemed a bit stage managed, including the responses from pupils when questioned. I'm sure it's a good learning environment, and it ticks all the right boxes as far as OFSTED are concerned, but the pupils' attainment score was only 3 and this seems a very important factor to me.
It's good to see a non-grammar school do so well, let's just hope it's results live up to OFSTED's expectations.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:54 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:23 pm
Posts: 91
As long you are happy with the school l dont think there is any reason to be concerned. While ofstead reports may be helpful the report only reveals the views of some inspectors on the day.

Most schools work on recommendations given which in most cases improves the school.

Hope this helps.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:25 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:18 pm
Posts: 147
Location: NW Kent
We considered both of these schools for my son (hes Y7 at Gravesend now) infact he was offered Leigh and we appealed to Wilmington (and Gravesend) and won (both). Leigh didn't click with us either but our alternative was Swan Valley so we were glad he got Leigh, before our appeals. I think people look at Leigh and think "wow" because of the building and wall to wall computers. Their pupil attainment, i believe, will always come out lower because they take all ability groups as opposed to a GS who take the top 25%.

We actually weren't jumping up and down about Wilmington either because of a meeting we had with a member of their staff (my DS has special needs) but our neigbours children all went their and many boys from my DS primary school and all parents are pleased and commend the school.

Personally i think parents put too much emphasis on Ofsted reports, but i stress thats a personal opinion, my gut instinct was right for primary school and all the evidence points to another correct gut instinct for secondary.... time will tell. But if your behind your DS as a supportive parent i'm sure he will do his best and hes happy and so will thrive.

To keep an eye on my son at primary school and now at secondary i have been a member of the PTA and now a governor. When i say that i stress I am not the sort of person who goes in to dig/comment/nose/critisice etc etc but it does help you to get a more in depth feel for the school - again another very personal opinion.

Hope you had a good parents evening :D


PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:32 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:19 pm
Posts: 1
I have two son's there and hopefully three soon. It has been a great school. A lovely atmosphere and they are both doing extremely well. We have been particularly impressed that when we have wanted to speak to a member of staff there is always someone there to help. The new Head is definitely raising academic expectations and challenge. My eldest has already got A grades in English & Maths and is really focussed getting ready for his other exams in summer. Do read the report and not just look at the grades as the text is actually very fair and positive. If Ofsted think Wilmington is just as a Satisfactory school compared to the experiences my friends tell me their children have had at some of these new super academies then take it with a pinch of salt.
There are fewer small caring schools like Wilmington left and I for one desperately hope that they do not get driven out or taken over by these new large school superstores that the government and OFSTED seem to support.

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