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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:46 pm 
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Does anyone out there have any experience of St Katharine's School in Knockholt - we are looking at it for our youngest boy. I can't seem to find any up-to-date information, either from the website or browsing. Seems a nice little school but very tired looking - as if it needs an input of enthusiasm and cash! Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:27 pm 
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Cash can often be in short supply and as such shouldn't affect your views of a school, there can be great schools in dire buildings and iffy ones in great places. However enthusiasm is crucial as that may be the soul of the school.
Did it have a buzz when you visited? were the kids happy and active?

My primary (ahem many decades ago) was in appalling buildings not touched in decades, it was a church school madly raising money to get new buildings, but it had good ethos and culture and was heavily oversubscribed .


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:13 am 
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It gets good results doesn't it and is always oversubscribed. Close to a garden centre with a nice teashop too. I do know some people who moved their children out of it, but that was to do with SEN so maybe a special case.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:09 am 
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I have some experience of St Katharine's - my child attends this school. :)

Positives first: The buildings, facilities and the grounds itself are excellent. Plenty of space, lovely hall, swimming pool, sports field, trim trail - what more can you really ask for at primary level? A new classroom is being planned so that, in future, there will no longer be any mixed age groups in classes. Enthusiastic PTA - and the children are generally pleasant and well-behaved.

That said, I think you've hit the nail on the head with your use of the word "tired". I feel this is a school resting on its laurels. It was highly over-subscribed a few years ago, but this is no longer the case - a number of children are "allocated" this school each year without having named it as a choice on their application form. (In fairness, it has increased its annual intake from 15 to 30, so that may account in part for the change in status from "over-subscribed" to "under-subscribed".)

From what I gather from conversations with other parents, a large proportion of children have tutors from Y3/Y4 onwards to get them through their SATs and the 11+. Maybe this is pretty-much standard for a fairly "middle class" school near Sevenoaks - who knows? I just didn't expect this - I mean, I knew about 11+ tutors, but not "general" tutors.

Overall verdict? :| This is an okay school - sadly, I'm not sure that any of the alternatives to people in this part of Kent are that much better. (How do I know? I've looked into this very closely given my overall disappointment with the education my child is receiving). Of course, some - perhaps many or even most - of the parents there think it is a wonderful school - I'm just giving you my own, personal opinion.

Hopefully, some other people with experience of the school will come along to give you their opinions as well so that you will have a fulller picture to help you decide whether the school is the right place for your child. Hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:08 pm 
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It's quite interesting because you kind of expect primaries in West Kent to get great results. But if you look at the school KS2 performance tables (google school performance tables KS2) it's not very exciting round here. Do a postcode search within a 20 mile radius and there are a few schools that shout out fantastic KS2 results at Level 5 but not many. St Katherine's at Knockholt does fairly well by this measure - not at the top end but comfortably kind of round the middle. Ok this might be to do with tuition.

The other peculiar thing round here is that so many children are tutored - and not just for 11+ it would seem - but no-one will give you the name of a tutor.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:56 pm 
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Tried (unsuccessfully) to google to find proportion of KS2 children in West Kent achieving Level 5. I would much appreciate it if someone could post a link for me.

On the other hand, I did find this table about progress between KS1 and KS2 for 2010, which might be of interest to some people (I know I found it interesting!):

http://www.education.gov.uk/performancetables/primary_10/pdf_10/886.pdf

(It isn't very useful for very small schools, as their data is not included.)

It would seem that only around 70% of pupils at Knockholt school achieve the expected level of progresss between KS1 and KS2. (England average is around 83%).


Last edited by Lucy J on Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:12 pm 
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mystery wrote:
The other peculiar thing round here is that so many children are tutored - and not just for 11+ it would seem - but no-one will give you the name of a tutor.


I did find that when I initially looked for a tutor for DS1.I knew a few parents who had used tutors and at the time raved about them ,but when I asked for names, numbers they seemed to have some kind of memory loss. Just didn't want to share.

Mystery, no luck then ? Don't some primary school teachers tutor ? Obviously not from yours but have you any friends with children at different schools who may be tutored ? Have you looked up the Kent Tutor website ? Not sure what else to do really.....apart from sending DD to Yoyos.( with chocolates and wine ).


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:26 pm 
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Lucy J wrote:
Tried (unsuccessfully) to google to find proportion of KS2 children in West Kent achieving Level 5. I would much appreciate it if someone could post a link for me.

On the other hand, I did find this table about progress between KS1 and KS2 for 2010, which might be of interest to some people (I know I found it interesting!):

http://www.education.gov.uk/performancetables/primary_10/pdf_10/886.pdf

(It isn't very useful for very small schools, as their data is not included.)

It would seem that only around 70% of pupils at Knockholt school achieve the expected level of progresss between KS1 and KS2. (England average is around 83%).


trouble with small numbers (and it sounds like a small school) is that comparing percentages cand be misleading.
If there are 30 in a year (or is it still 15 in year 6?) then 70% would be 21children, whereas to match the national average it would be 24 children... ( or 11 kids vs 13 if still a small class) - really not that great a difference.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:48 pm 
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Don't think you'll find a percentage in West Kent achieving level 5, but if you look at the tables school by school (by putting in a postcode and a radius from that postcode) you can see school by school the percentage achieving level 5. Where it is a small school it's worth looking through several years of data to see how it fluctuates as you can get a poor / overly good impression from one year only.

The schools that always seem to shine (in terms of level 5s) are Lady Boswells, Amherst, and Weald. Of course, who knows the reasons for this -- hopefully it's really the teachers, but tutors, the water, parents, I don't knowwhat might account for a difference ........ but then why are these three always head and shoulders above the rest round here at level 5 - presumably that has to be the school. But there might be downside to this.

Expected progress from KS1 to KS2 is two national curriculum levels - so 2somthing to 4something, or 3something to 5something etc. So a small number of special needs children who do not progress at average pace could be dragging down the result. And it's a tough one if a child does well at KS1 - say if they get 3c, and then go on to get 4a at KS2 they'll bring down the average below average if you see what I mean. This is why some schools don't like to award children 3c at KS1 as it's only scraping level 3, and if they then get 4a at KS2 it looks as though they only made 1 full level of progresss not two ............ this is how it has been explained to me - it might be wrong as there are so many myths and legends about all of this.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:04 pm 
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mystery wrote:
It's quite interesting because you kind of expect primaries in West Kent to get great results. But if you look at the school KS2 performance tables (google school performance tables KS2) it's not very exciting round here.


That suprised me too, when I was considering Bennet, I have a young one starting school next year so I was looking at primary school SATS and was pretty suprised that Maidstone has much more SATS (and 11+) high achieving schools than Tunbridge Wells. Even the so talked about Claremont isnt anything special and the prices around these school nearly made me faint. Its the same for 11+ results, T/W isnt at all great and the premium these school attach is beyond me. I really don't get it. Sevenoaks is a bit diff though, thats where the concentration of high achieving schools seem to be. In the end I thought perhaps the more to do well heeled of t/wells send their offspring to Indies.

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