southfields academy vs richmond park academy

(34 Posts)
chani84 Sat 27-Apr-13 16:41:32

My daughter will be starting secondary school this september 2013. We didnt get a place at any of the schools we listed but have been offered a place at both richmond park academy and southfields academy. We have been to look around both schools and while they were both ok we didnt like them as much as Ashcroft which was our first choice. Was just wondering if any parents had children at these schools or were thinking of sending their children and what your thoughts on the on schools were as we really dont know what the best choice for our daughter is. Thanks x

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 27-Apr-13 20:53:21

I work locally in Education. What exactly was Southfields Academy? Was it Southfields Community College once upon a time?

chani84 Sat 27-Apr-13 21:01:16

Hi, yes it was but think they changed the name last year. I had never even heard of this school before wandsworth council told me they had places there. I know RPA was the old Sheen school and was awful at one time so really not sure whats the best choice to go for?

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 27-Apr-13 21:12:44

I think all you can do is visit both schools and look carefully at their results. I know more about Southfields than Sheen. I also know some local people from both who are now in their 30s and seem fairly grounded. Think you will have to trust your instincts and decide on the one you think your child will be happiest at. Am aware the head of Southfields is well regarded and has made significant improvements working with a disengaged cohort. I cannot comment about the old Sheen school. It might be a case of you getting a feel for where culturally and socially your child is likely to be happier.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 27-Apr-13 21:13:54

Also, can you keep your child on various waiting lists - there is significant movement up to September and then into Y7, 8 and 9.

chani84 Sat 27-Apr-13 21:30:04

Thanks for your comments. We did visit both schools and if im honest i didnt really get a great feel of any of them. I have heard good and bad reviews of RPA but i know nothing about southfields. I do know southfields got marked outstanding by ofsted but i couldnt understand if thats the case then why it still has places free when the likes of Ashcroft and St cecilias are full. We are appealing for a place at Ashcroft but i know the chances of winning are not great so really feel abit confused about which school to chose now.

Mumzy Sat 27-Apr-13 21:54:21

Until last year a colleagues dd went to Southfields and she said whilst the teaching staff did their best the cohort was very disengaged and her dd ended up with a badcrowd. Eventually she moved her dd to st cecilias which her dd found very hard at first as the expectations were so much higher. Sorry know nothing about Richmond.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 27-Apr-13 22:02:10

There will be movement - we moved our dd from a school not far from Southfields with 9 applicants for every place; her place was filled by a child from a school you have mentioned and the movement would have whacked through the system with the vacant place left at Southfields or somewhere similar.

chani84 Sat 27-Apr-13 22:04:40

Hi, this was a worry as when we went to look around the school on a normal working day the kids did seem alittle rough and abit cheeky. My daughter is so shy and quite i worry she will be picked on or get with a bad crowd to fit in. Did your colleague find it easy to get their dd a place at st cecilias?

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 27-Apr-13 22:08:56

The vacancies come up. Keep yourself on the waiting lists. Many many parents decide not to move their children when the time comes; you might get the chance to take advantage of that vacancy but for the time being you are where you are and need to make the best of it. The church schools are harder to get into if you do not meet the worship criteria.

chani84 Sat 27-Apr-13 22:20:17

Well we will keep on the waiting list for ashcroft and st cecilias but not to hopefully as we are 432 on the waiting list at st cecilias and 64D ( not sure what that means) at Ashcroft. So seems like they both have big waiting list sad

Mumzy Sun 28-Apr-13 18:09:21

I think Colleagues dd got in as a place bece vacant for her yr group. She had wanted to move her for years but no spaces. Her dd is finding the pace and expectations at SC difficult to adjust to after SF where you get a certificate for just turning up to class!

Mumzy Sun 28-Apr-13 18:10:44

Colleague is catholic so that helped

chani84 Sun 28-Apr-13 21:45:27

Thanks for your reply. It would seem st c and ashcroft are seen as much better schools then southfields even tho all 3 schools are graded outstanding by ofsted. Which i find hard to understand when southfields has places free and doesnt seem that popular. Really not sure where would be best for our daughter if we cant get her in to a school of our choice :/

Kewcumber Sun 28-Apr-13 21:49:26

My DS too young to have looked at either but am quite close to RPA and for the first time a few people from our school have accepted places there. Results last year were very good I understand (as good as CHrists which is very sought after) and aren't class sizes still very small (around 20) which would swing it for me if that is the case (assuming you don't get into the one you wanted)

It certainly doesn't have the reputation recently that Sheen school used to have.

chani84 Sun 28-Apr-13 22:24:09

Hi, thanks for that. Christ was also on our list as well as grey court, ashcroft and st c. So its nice to hear RPA is going along the same lines as christs as we quite liked christ when we looked around it smile

I would chose RPA over Ashcroft any day, to be honest.

chani84 Sun 28-Apr-13 23:11:45

Hi QuintessentialOHara, why do you say that? Trying to keep a open mind on all the schools we have looked at and Ashcroft was our fav but would love to know the views of other parents as we have four daughters but this is our first time dealing with secondary schools.

We looked at Christs, St Celia, RPA and Ashcroft from the local Richmond/Wandsworth secondaries in our vicinity.

We went to Ashcrofts open day with high hopes and no prejudice, heartened by it being rated Outstanding by Ofsted.

Upon leaving my son said "Please dont apply for this school for me"

We did not like what we heard about how some unruly children being segregated and educated separately. I am sure it works well for the children who get to stay behind in regular school, but "juvenile detention" on the premises just did not sit right with me. To me that is the opposite of good pastoral care.

I dont care what the headmaster said in his speech about this, I prefer to listen to the children and what they said about it.

My son has experienced some pretty severe bullying, and he is just getting back on track. He is now in a good, small primary with a great ethos and they have spent time and effort helping him, both with the senco and counselling, to help him move on. But I know he can be "unruly", and joke about when insecure. A school that opts to segregate children and punish all behaviors for whatever reason, rather than help the child get it right, is bottom of the list for us, and we did not apply at all.

We did however rate Christ and St Celia very highly and liked RPA much more than Ashcroft. Being near East Sheen, and having connections in the area, we hear many great things about RPA and how it is improving.

There are many threads in Secondary Education about RPA where local people rate it highly.

Sorry, I kept saying St Celia, I meant St Cecilia of course.

Just a question, did you also see Ashcroft on a normal school day, or just the open day?

Kewcumber Mon 29-Apr-13 11:28:41

OP you might find this thread helpful - its fairly balanced about RPA www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/1579588-RICHMOND-Richmond-Park-Academy

Elibean Mon 29-Apr-13 11:57:21

I don't know anything about Ashcroft, but looked around RPA a couple of weeks ago and FWIW, my feeling was:

It is very much on the 'up'. A year from now, when the building works are complete and with another year under it's belt, I think it will start to really blossom - I had the same feeling about it that I had about dds' primary five years or so ago, which is of something in bud, gathering itself for a big leap of growth.

Yes, there was a mixed bunch of teaching (that I saw) - from mediocre to outstanding. Yes, the buildings are still a little shabby (but I don't care about that, personally, and there is a huge amount of money just starting to be spent on that side of things).

There was huge determination and enthusiasm on the part of the Head and Y7 staff, the kids were well behaved and engaged, and the classes are still small.

I think if my dds do go there, they will be fine. And regardless of whether they do or not, I think it's one to watch smile

Kewcumber Mon 29-Apr-13 12:04:50

I think they key for RPA is can they keep their class sizes small whilst they are encouraging local parents to send their children there. Small class sizes IMO are a huge advantage even with mediocre teaching. And if the intake becomes predominantly local children then again based on local primary schools, provided they can even provide adequate teaching and leadership they should be a decent school.

Its my one to watch too Elibean, I have about 3 years so just about right - would be nice to actually have a proper choice of schools for DS - always providing of course he doesn't suddenly discover some academic or sporting brilliance and then I'll be stressing about whether to send him to a different school!

Elibean Mon 29-Apr-13 15:49:04

Yes, agree Kewcumber.

And I have two years+ for one, and five years+ for the other, to watch - so we'll watch together wink

chani84 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:30:40

Thanks for all your great comments. We had been to see Ashcroft on both a normal working day and a open evening and quite liked what we saw but it was mainly our daughter who loved it there smile really like christ and st c too but we didnt get a place at any of these school. On a positive note i have spent all morning on the phone to southfields and RPA asking afew more question and i found RPA really helpful and also richmond council so we have decided to take the place at RPA smile so fingers crossed we have made the right decision x

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