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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:44 am 
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DS was non selective and I'm struggling with the CAF form.

Lots of people have told me to go with my gut feeling, or his, to order the schools. We looked at several schools and didn't particularly like any! None seemed like the right fit for DS but we have to order them today! I have tried to ask him but he says none of them :roll:

He is not sporty, quite academic (although not selectively so but very much a try-er!) We live in Sidcup so have a range close by. He doesn't really have many school friends (he is on the spectrum) so has no issue going somewhere on his own.

I really need help! What do I do?!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:27 am 
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That's a tough situation; hope things are easier by the time he starts. Can you order them on the basis of how easy they are to get to, or GCSE results?

If he was only a mark or two short, you could always put Chis & Sid anyway; you've six choices and a thread below says they offered last year to some local children who were just under the cutoff.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:12 am 
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Thanks Sorrel. No unfortunately he was not close to the 214 mark so grammars aren't an option. We live in Sidcup so closest non selectives are hurstmere and Cleeve park I guess?

A lady that I work with had a son at Chis & Sid who had such an awful time there she ended up moving him to school name removed by moderator, where he is now thriving. He is only in year 8 and she said the first year was a terrible time for the family, I remember how stressed she was and there were constant phone calls from her son and the school, communication was very bad etc.

Because of this I'm not getting much advice from my work pals (I work full time and am a single mum so they are my go-to people!) who are saying I should pick an independent school instead.

I'm worried about picking the best fit choice for my son. We looked at Crown Woods, Hurstmere, Cleeve Park, Kemnal, Bexleyheath Academy, Harris Falconwood and Coopers. I've read reviews online for all, none of which are particularly positive. I have a close teacher friend who has taught at two of the above schools and said avoid at all costs. A school mum taught at another who left the teaching profession because of her experience at another of the above schools. I didn't get 'that feeling' looking at any of them!

I really feel stuck. Can anyone help me in any way??? Please!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:25 am 
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I can't help particularly with comments about the specific schools, but I would advise you to make your own judgement on the schools. I've never really heard of people writing online reviews of schools, so I can only imagine that the only people that would do it would be those that had a bad experience in some way, you won't see the 99% of people that had a good experience. Also, teachers experience can be very different from what the children experience, I would put more stock in just talking to other parents with kids at the schools currently and seeing if they are happy with the school (not the small percentage that have written online reviews). Do you know any parents at your son's school with older children at any of these schools?

If you've visited all the schools, set aside the reviews and 'hearsay'. Decide what your priorities are for the schools you looked at e.g. distance, academic results, extra curricular activities, SEN provision etc etc and then use these to rank the schools if there are no other differentiators. If you cannot differentiate, then I would look at the schools that are closest by/easiest to get to.

I visited Coopers and Crown Woods and really liked both schools. I strongly considered putting both of them above the selective options. I have friends with children at Coopers and they are happy with the school.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:42 am 
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Location: London Borough of Bexley
If your situation I would probably go for the nearest schools that has reasonable results. Harris Falconwood as number 1, then Hurstmere then whatever else is nearest. I'm guessing that nothing will be right so let the fates decide! Good luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:48 am 
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Thank you Phina. Yes I really liked Coopers so did DS, my favourite of which I vistied. I don't know anyone with children there but was a bit put off by the HLTAs taking many of the classes and the incredibly high turnover of staff (not heresay, was told this by the school). Problem is the distance as we are unlikely to be offered it living that far out.

Nearest Cleeve Park and Hurstmere. These are schools that I do have knowledge of and have asked around current students and parents. He is likely to be offered either of these as we are so close. Son didn't like either so this is not at all helpful, nor are the comments from the students/parents!!!

We were taken around Cleeve Park by a boy and girl combo, which was great to get both sides but they told us about the fights, rubbish science department and how much they both hate school :shock: which really put my DS off. They do have a good transition program.

Hurstmere open day was ok. We returned for a tour which was awful, the teachers weren't engaging at all, we saw at least 7 boys stood in the hallways on a timeout system, tiny canteen (not a big deal but wondering how they cope with all the boys getting in an out at break/lunch), we witnessed a very shouty teacher in the corridor really laying into a boy. Plus I hate the idea that the year groups are separated at lunch time (this is school where very close friend was a teacher and said they regularly have boys fighting so segregated the kids a few years back to help with this)
The head talk was interesting as he stated clearly that the results would be worse than from mixed schools didn't reflect a boy's school as girls bring up the results which made sense.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:49 am 
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Apparently there is a new school called Bullers Wood opening for boys. The girls school has been reviewed as outstanding. Perhaps a bit of risky punt but as I understand it you can apply directly, may be worth enquiring about it


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:52 am 
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Thanks Peppermint. Son saw Falconwood on his own as I had to work, the mum who took him for me also took her own son and neither of them were fond of the school so I think this opinion rubbed off on my son (who doesn't really think for himself). Have you seen it? What did you think? I've heard good things but again worried it's out of catchment as it's very popular now


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:57 am 
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The Lamp Post wrote:
Apparently there is a new school called Bullers Wood opening for boys. The girls school has been reviewed as outstanding. Perhaps a bit of risky punt but as I understand it you can apply directly, may be worth enquiring about it


Reckon may not be a bad thing to be in the first year of a new school - though as TLP is has risks to it too. Looks to me like the application is separate to the LEA
http://www.bwsboys.org/wp-content/uploa ... -FINAL.pdf

offers made on 22/2/18 (presuming that have sorted the funding by then)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:02 am 
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Thank you Lamp Post, I had no idea but will look into that.


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