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 Post subject: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:37 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:29 am
Posts: 16
Hi all,

Just wondered if anyone can give a bit more detailed, objective insight into Newstead Wood. Do you have a child there already? Lower and upper years? As well as known academic record, I'm interested in finding out a bit more about Dance, Music, Drama and Technology in particular. We had a look at Townley recently and they have alot of great facilities however it's quite far from where we live. I'd appreciate any insight into GCSE option availability and also keen to know whether there are any activities relating to Entrepreneurship? I remember seeing something about a 'Dragons Den' club in their literature. We had asked if there are any more tours/open days available but they have confirmed that that is not possible so after seeing other grammars this month we have more questions that we didn't manage to have answered when we went to look at Newstead last year and also thinking some things may have changed.

@PettswoodFiona - I notice you are very active in the forum and have lots of insight so anything you can shed light on too would be really helpful but I would love to hear from as many parents as possible. I know every child is different so I'm really looking for an objective view about the areas I mentioned above.

Thanks so much


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
Posts: 1536
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Hi, my DD is in Y10 at Newstead (do look at my profile for my tons of other posts on the subject!).

Dance is a Twilight course (paid for, along with other twilight courses of Latin, Mandarin and Japanese) - DD doesn't do Dance so hopefully someone will come along with other insight.
Music is well established and they have loads of amazing groups from Yukele, small groups, choirs, strings, orchestra, gospel and LOTS more
Drama - they have Drama GCSE and put on productions, you can get as much involved as you want to. Many of the girls also attend nearby BYMT and do musical theatre if that is their thing
Technology - they have a good range of technology courses, DD is doing Engineering, this is a Level 2 cambridge certificate which is the equivalent of a GCSE and the teaching is excellent. IT teaching is patchy but I think that is not unusual in schools. They have upgraded a fair bit of the equipment. Other options include textiles, design etc.

In Y10 they have an elective once a week, DD is doing a Flin's Fitness this term, fencing another term and volunteering for the third term (If I remember correctly), there are lots of options to choose from, most are free, some paid for.

they do tons of other things throughout the year groups, including Sports leadership programmes, school trips, coding, public speaking, debating, Young Journalists etc etc. A friend who has a child at private school is jealous!

They have a mini-MBA programme that they run over the whole of the school, you do a different level depending on your year group. - it is paid for, I extract below the programme outline:

Stage 1 – Realising Potential Business Course
During the two-day long course, the students will be creating their own startup businesses. They will be taught how to be successful in project management, and how to develop realistic business concepts in order to solve some of the most pressing social or environmental issues at the moment. The course encourages entrepreneurial skills, such as creativity, strategic thinking, initiative-taking. It is also a unique opportunity for our students to engage with professional entrepreneurs, learn more about the possibilities of the industry, and gain confidence in pursuing their own ideas in the future.
Stage 2 – Unleashing Potential Business Course
During this two-day course, student will be learning about funding methods. Unleashing Potential is an exciting two-day business course for students in Year 9 and 10 where they are introduced to the world of investment, crowdfunding and entrepreneurship. Students will be analysing real businesses on crowdfunding websites, researching every part of them and over two-days will be making a decision as a team on whether or not they would invest in that business.
Stage 3 – Reaching Potential Business Course
During the two-day course, students will be working on real life business challenge. They will be asked to develop a group project addressing a real-life business problem of a multi-national firm. The course develops students’ abilities in public speaking, project management, initiative-taking, while working in a business environment. It is also a unique opportunity for our students to gain professional insights of the industry, meet established entrepreneurs and think further about the potential career venues.


Downsides of the school: toilets, IT teaching although they have made inroads to improve this so it is probably better now than when DD was doing it, crowded building, lunchtime catering, communication from Governors.


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:29 am
Posts: 16
@PettswoodFiona - Thanks for your comprehensive response! So helpful. Loving the sound of the business course! Stage 1 of the mini MBA course - is that for years 7&8? Do you know if they still run the 'Dragons Den' club?

When you mention the downsides - what's is the downside of the toilets and catering ? Poor food and toilets not working? You mention that communication from Governors is not great - what is the communication from the school itself like -eg on your child's progress and what activities are happening etc?

What school trips has your daughter been on?

Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
Posts: 1536
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Toilets - the drains got badly blocked a couple of years ago once but they did fix it, they joke about it now and call it the 'great stink'. They are not the most modern and could do with a major revamp. It is a telltale sign that the school spends far more than most on experienced teachers.

Dragons den - don't know. There used to be a list of all the clubs on the website but I can't seem to find it now. The clubs are run by a combination of the teachers and sixth formers so if run by the latter it depends on their interests too. They have a board at school and verbal 'parish notices' to announce various things to the girls - not being there I don't know everything that goes on, just get snippets.

Mini-MBA the stage one is open to years 7&8. Stage 2 - Y9&10, Stage 3 - Y11-13.

Trips - Harry Potter Studios (Y7), Birmingham (Cadbury World, Living Museum etc) residential, Downe Residential Trip (Y8), Tillingbourne River geography trip, Ypres day trip, Eden Project residential (Y9), British Film Institute Chinese celebration and China Town (for Mandarin). - there are probably others I can't remember especially day trips and I don't have time to go through all my emails. There are other ones DD didn't go on such as netball tournament to Malta, DT trip to Silicon Valley, Skiing trip to Canada.

Communication from school is good (it has vastly improved actually). You get a basic report each term and a very detailed one at the end of the school year. The headteacher weekly newsletter (see website) is also informative and we get loads of letters about opportunities like the MBA, speaking competitions, maths challenges, careers advice, school trips, yoga club, mental health, wellbeing, head lice (I joke not!) etc. The individual teachers are good at responding directly via email if you have a concern which I think goes above and beyond.

The school is a very positive community, they are proud of each other and all their uniqueness. It finds ways to be flexible to support individual interests outside the school. Recently they had alumni come in and talk about careers and there was such a variety of careers and the one thing in common that my daughter said was they were doing what they wanted and they were not all turning into the same person which is what she wanted to avoid.


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:02 pm
Posts: 40
PettswoodFiona wrote:
Toilets - the drains got badly blocked a couple of years ago once but they did fix it, they joke about it now and call it the 'great stink'. They are not the most modern and could do with a major revamp. It is a telltale sign that the school spends far more than most on experienced teachers.

Dragons den - don't know. There used to be a list of all the clubs on the website but I can't seem to find it now. The clubs are run by a combination of the teachers and sixth formers so if run by the latter it depends on their interests too. They have a board at school and verbal 'parish notices' to announce various things to the girls - not being there I don't know everything that goes on, just get snippets.

Mini-MBA the stage one is open to years 7&8. Stage 2 - Y9&10, Stage 3 - Y11-13.

Trips - Harry Potter Studios (Y7), Birmingham (Cadbury World, Living Museum etc) residential, Downe Residential Trip (Y8), Tillingbourne River geography trip, Ypres day trip, Eden Project residential (Y9), British Film Institute Chinese celebration and China Town (for Mandarin). - there are probably others I can't remember especially day trips and I don't have time to go through all my emails. There are other ones DD didn't go on such as netball tournament to Malta, DT trip to Silicon Valley, Skiing trip to Canada.

Communication from school is good (it has vastly improved actually). You get a basic report each term and a very detailed one at the end of the school year. The headteacher weekly newsletter (see website) is also informative and we get loads of letters about opportunities like the MBA, speaking competitions, maths challenges, careers advice, school trips, yoga club, mental health, wellbeing, head lice (I joke not!) etc. The individual teachers are good at responding directly via email if you have a concern which I think goes above and beyond.

The school is a very positive community, they are proud of each other and all their uniqueness. It finds ways to be flexible to support individual interests outside the school. Recently they had alumni come in and talk about careers and there was such a variety of careers and the one thing in common that my daughter said was they were doing what they wanted and they were not all turning into the same person which is what she wanted to avoid.


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:02 pm
Posts: 40
Oops I wanted to respond to @pettswoodFiona's post and I ended up pasting it lol. Sorry
My comment is that o noticed that you said your daughter did not attend the international trips. I thought it was mandatory in grammar schools to attend these trips. I'd been thinking how I would be funding them. Any advice would be appreciated


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
Posts: 1536
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
The foreign ones are not always the educational ones, skiing only has x number of places for example, it is not educational. The DT trip is way expensive and DD didn't want to go so she didn't. She will probably go on the German trip later this year but it is advisory, not compulsory and the school will invite those who don't have the funds to let them know and they have access funds to support those in need. They had two day trips around the centenary of the end of the second world war, DD went on the day trip to Ypres but not the one to the Somme, some went to both.


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 10239
Location: Essex
My memory is that schools are (/ were?) obliged to offer trips to the WW1 battlefields, but I don't think any other foreign trips are mandatory and certainly can't think how a school could make it compulsory for pupils to go?

Why would they be mandatory specifically at grammar schools, as opposed to any other type of school?

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 Post subject: Re: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:29 am
Posts: 16
Thank you for all the additional info. The one trip you mentioned that really appeals to my daughter is the DT Trip to Silicone Valley - sounds awesome!

Thanks again x


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead Wood Tour
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:02 pm
Posts: 40
Thank you foe info regarding the school trips.


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