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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:44 pm 
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Just wondered what peole think about this.

I have no experience of academies but if this one were to go ahead it could have implications for other schools in the borough.

I have had a look at the proposals, and to be fair, it all sounds good - too good? The Harris prospectus shows brilliant GCSE figures. Admission would be by banding which would have a knock on effect for all other schools; grammars and comps.

Any thoughts. Would love to hear from parents of children currently at the school.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:36 am 
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Isn't there talk of building an academy in Crayford too? I've no experience of academies either but I'm told that the reason they might be more successful is because of banding and also because they're run by people with better management skills than Bexley LEA! (Although I'm not sure BBA is that successful is it?)

I hope we get some better non-selective schools in Bexley - it's not fair that there's such a huge gap between the selective and non-selective (faith schools aside). I'm surprised that people don't suggest that having poor non-selective schools is the price we pay for having grammar schools, therefore we should scrap the grammars!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:28 pm 
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BM2, that's why there is such a demand for those grammar schools places, there simply is no alternative for the majority of people. We have a couple of good schools in this borough but they have such tiny catchment areas something needs to be done.

I'm all for grammars if the child has the ability and the willingness to work in that enviroment. But some kids are clearly very intelligent and for a variety of reasons don't want a grammar. With the system we have at the moment we are condemning them to failing schools.

The answer is not to scrap the grammar schools it's about raising the standards of the other schools.

The attraction to Westwood at the moment is it's size. A lot of parents are rejecting large schools as their kids would not thrive. I hear a lot of kids with SEN want to go to Westwood - is this why the results are so poor? The only way the school is going to improve in the ratings is to take a mixed intake. Hurstmere have just started it and if other schools don't watch out, the kids that don't make/want the grammars will be attracted to those which offer a banding system.

The Harris prospectus makes good reading and I'm impressed with what I see BUT not all academies are good. And what's in it for Lord Harris?? Sorry, he really might be a genuine guy trying to put something back into the community. The point is I don't know.

I can see this one going ahead, don't know about Crayford yet, and there will be a fight for the places. That in turn should mean less strain on Hurstmere and Blackfen as well as the grammars. The schools to lose out will be Welling and Bexleyheath.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:39 pm 
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Any idea why there's so much opposition (according to the local press) about Westwood becoming an academy? I would have thought they've got nothing to lose but a lot to gain.

And I wonder why there's no talk of turning Bexleyheath into an academy. If ever a school needed help ......

I'm intrigued by how banding works too. At the moment, if you do your homework, you've often got a pretty good idea of your child's chances of getting into a particular school. But with banding, presumably you've no way of knowing how many children within your child's band will apply and therefore whether or not your child might get a place?

I would dearly love to see more good non-selective schools in Bexley. While my eldest is suited to a grammar environment, and I think my youngest would be too, I think my middle child would be more suited to a good comprehensive and if there'd been one around I'd probably have sent him to it rather than a grammar.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:23 pm 
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I think the opposition to this proposed academy is fear of the unknown. I thought the same, but from what I have gathered so far, it looks brilliant.

There also needs to be more options for the kids. Some kids might have the ability but would not suit a grammar. Failing comps are not the answer for 'non-selective' kids either. There needs to be something challenging and rewarding.

Any Westwood parents out there that could give us an insight as to what is happening?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:35 pm 
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I think the main thing is why do we accept that the good schools are the grammars and so we must end up with accepting poor non-selective schools. the academy looks like a chance to have a really school that does not select. I cant see whats wrong with that. We get a new school.

Behaviour at Westwood is not always as good as it should be so a new approach might help with that too.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:49 pm 
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Hi Margaret11,

Are you a parent of a child at Westwood? Would really like to know how the existing parents feel. How do parents of potential pupils feel? Would you consider this Academy option if your child was 'non-selective' or maybe 'selective' but not suited to a grammar environment?

I don't think many Bexley parents accept that 'non-selctive' schools should be poor, I think that it's a case of parents not being able to change anything. The current standards, both academic and behavioral, are not good at many of our comps and maybe this is a chance to put it right.

But this Academy WOULD select. It wouldn't be a pass or fail like with the 11+ but each child being placed within a band. The children would then be competing with other children within the same band for places to the Academy. This might not be ideal but it's the only way to try to balance the intake and therefore imrove results.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:12 pm 
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I thought I'd wake up everyone on the Bexley forum!

Today I have received a lovely glossy prospectus from the new academy. I must say it does look good. It goes on about a 'can-do' approach which is encouraging. The other thing that strikes me is that with this school it doesn't matther about passing or failing the dreaded 11+.

Now for the bad bit - the catchment area has gone down to about 1.75miles for 90% of the intake. 10% of places are available to those living in the areas outside of this. Total number of places for yr7 will be 180 but all will be awarded by seperate lotteries within the 2 zones not distance.

There is no reference to siblings as far as I can see.

Kids who apply are invited to take a NVR test to place them in one of 9 bands ie there are 20 places per band. The idea is take a truly comprehensive mix of children.

It really does look like a good move for Westwood although there will be a lot of disappointed kids and parents when they don't get a place. Up until now this school has been in our catchment area but not any more!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:15 pm 
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hi tracey - i'm still awake - been a quite summer on the bexley part of the forum hasnt it!

Dont really know about Westwood, now Harris Academy isnt it? But have seen they seem to have revamped the uniform there to. Appear to have gone to black skirts instead of those greenish kilt style ones.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:44 pm 
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They have an open morning next week so I'm going to poke my nose in....
Might find out a bit more info on those catchment areas.


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