East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Secondary school recommendations Peckham Rye

Hello all

We live at top end of Nunhead, just off Peckham Rye, near Cheltenham Road. I'm interested to know from Yr 7 parents what schools you put down/what you got as the time is coming to do secondary school applications for my Yr 6 daughter and I feel like I'm all over the shop. Thanks so much.
You will probably get into the new Charter, the catchment went right into Nunhead I believe but not exactly sure how far.
Sydenham Girls too is a great choice.

Good luck
Try Haberdashers, Harris Girls, Sydenham Girls, Kingsdale, Deptford Green.
New Charter will be part of the Common Application Form this year, so the catchment could shrink again, but definitely worth trying.
Does anyone know what the furthest distance was for the new Charter school?
Possibly Prendergast Hilly Fields as well...
Haberdashers, Harris Girls, Sydenham Girls, Kingsdale, Deptford Green, New Charter are non-faith possibilities from here (it's hard to judge distance for new Charter this year due to first year on CAF or for Haberdashers as they have changed their admissions criteria, no 6th form sibling link and no banding).

I think from your previous postings your daughter may be in a faith primary, so Coloma, St Michael's, St Ursula's, Bonus Pastor and La Retraite may also be possibilities for you.

I strongly advise you to visit the schools - your daughter may have a preference!

Some girls in my daughter's class liked Kingsdale - we hated it - cold and drafty... but we are all different.

You really need to review the criteria for each school - some are based on distance - some on points in a test, some on religious criteria (which church etc) - and decide which you are most likely to be successful for. There's no point putting a first choice you are far off target for. And only apply for ones you really want to go to. You don't have to use all your choices available on the form.

If you decide to apply for a school that takes tests, you may want to think about swatting for the papers.
Do remember to check any deadline for scholarship tests at Kingsdale and Haberdashers. They tend to be in September and early October.

We did the rounds of many of the local schools and felt that we would have been happy with most we visited - Deptford Green was very impressive and we also really like St. Thomas (boy). My son got a full music scholarship and half-sports scholarship at Kingsdale - in the end though he much preferred the idea of going to the new Charter school because he liked that it would be so small in the first year and we decided it was the best choice for him too. However, some kids I know really loved Kingsdale and the buzz there. For us, we felt that as our son isn't super enthusiastic about school generally, we wanted him to feel like he had a choice and if we pushed him to go somewhere he didn't want to go we thought it would be an uphill battle.
I have to disagree with Jules and strongly recommend that you use all of your preference slots.

If you don't, and you can't get into the schools you've put down, you are basically telling Southwark they can send your child anywhere in the borough. This happens more than people realise and they end up with a place in an unpopular undersubscribed school miles from where they live.
I second what London Mix said. I knew someone who did that against all advice - she only put three schools on her child's form and was sent to a very undersubscribed school which she had never heard of before which was two bus rides away and where her child would know no one! Child got a waiting list place to a school that they liked in the end which was lucky. You really should use all your choices - you will be automatically put on the waiting list of all the schools you wanted - so if you were to be unlucky and get your 6th choice school, your child will automatically be put on the waiting list for all the other schools - there is huge amount of movement so there is a good chance you would get her a waiting list place. We're actually very lucky to have so many good secondary schools in the area - the new Charter should relieve alot of pressure on the school places at other local schools too.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2016:09:14:13:57:48 by Scruffy Mummy.

maybe I've just been lucky then, but I certainly wouldn't advise putting school you don't want down, just to fill the spaces on the form.

Maybe there's a question for Renata - how many children get places by default - that are not on their list of preferences?
Hi Jules.

You are no worse off using all of your slots than putting down 2-3 schools because the allocation is done by ranked preference so there really is nothing to lose by filling them all in.

However, by not using all your preference slots, you do risk being allocated a place by Southwark, so unless someone is genuinely indifferent between all remaining schools in Southwark, putting down not just your favourite options but all you'd prefer to complete random allocation makes most sense.

Also, you are no worse off putting your favourite school first, even its not your most realistic option which is also worth keeping in mind-- I'm not suggesting you said otherwise but just wanted to say that explicitly.

The above has consistently been Renata's advice both at primary and secondary level on the forum if you search her posts but it would be interesting to know how problematic this has been for parents in recent years. Like Scruffy Mummy says, the opening of the new Charter school is bound to make availability of places a bit easier going forward.
Thanks all - very helpful. Like Kes I'd love to know what the furthest distance was this year for the Charter East Dulwich - personally I don't think I have a hope in hell of getting in as I'm SE15 and am sure we are just too far. Likewise Prendergast Hilly Fields - does anyone have personal experience (or know anyone) who has got into these schools from where I live? I just don't want a 'wasted vote' if there is realistically no chance of getting into either of these schools.

Renata, you're right my daughter is currently at a faith school but is very adamant she does not want to continue down Catholic route for secondary. She has/will try for some Grammar schools (am not expecting her to pass as she's up against a bunch of kids who appear to have been preparing for this moment their whole lives but she likes doing exams so thought we'd give it a go!) and am applying for bursaries (as am single parent, low income) for a couple of privates. Again, unlikely she will get a bursary place but decided to try as she's pretty bright and seems very unphased about doing tests.

I've been to see Sydenham School and loved it, Kingsdale was impressive too. Will definitely be looking at all the others mentioned. Thanks
Lewisham usually publish details on last place by distance, how many applied etc. Check their website, but may have changed since they do not band anymore.

My son is at new charter and he told me some boys come from Herne Hill.....maybe the school will release or have more details when they have their open days.
Remember the issue with new Charter is that last year parents who were offered a place for their child at new Charter were also offered a place from the Southwark Admissions as well. So what happened was that as parents made their choice, many parents did choose the second school and then they went back to the waiting list - I heard someone who was at 112 on the list was offered a place (again, loads of people applied as it was essentially an extra choice, were put on the waiting list automatically but then were happy with their first place school and turned down the waiting list place they were offered which meant that they went fairly high up the list which including children from further away including Herne Hill). So this years stats for the new Charter are bound to be skewed and won't be that applicable for this year. HOWEVER, I do think that an extra 120 school places that new Charter will provide will have a definite impact next year - so if it's a school you want even if you might assume you live too far away, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
I'd agree. Knowing the last distance offered on Charter ED last year will give you absolutely no indication of whether you'd get in this year. Everyone applied as it was alongside the common application, but because it was such an unknown pretty much everyone treated it as a back-up. If they got KD/Charter1/Sydenham/Habs etc then they were unlikely to turn them down for Charter 2. This time people will really have to think about whether they prefer it to the others on offer, but they'll have a bit more to go on. There are likely to be far fewer applicants, but a much smaller last distance offered. To give some indication we were 1.4km away as the crow flies and 90 something on the list. During the summer we had a phone call offering us a place, but turned it down as we'd got our first choice on the common form.
Definitely fill all places on the form - two from daughter's class last year only put two choices down thinking this would force Southwark to give them one of those - it didn't. They both got allocated schools they didn't want which were difficult to get to... Ended up with places they preferred (though not original choices) after fall out from waiting list, but really important to fill all places.
I live in the same area of Nunhead. My children all went to Haberdasher's. It's a bit of a hit or miss though as another child on my road got in on distance but their next door neighbour's daughter didn't. I think it's possibly down to which band your child is in, number of applicatants etc. I've not known any children getting into Prentergast from around this area but know some who live in East Dulwich who have. Prentergast now have three schools but have different 'ratings' so you may want to do a little research. Some gir,s in my road have got into Sydenham girls but their catchment will depend on the popularity on any given year. Deptford Green has now got a very good reputation so worth a visit. I'd advise you visit various schools as not all schools will suit. My eldest three were extremely happy at Haberdasher's and the school was a perfect match for their personalities, abilities etc but my youngest wasn't happy as it didn't match her interests and abilities. We tried to move her to Prentergast but couldn't get a place. It was ok for her and she did relatively well there but think she would have flourished in a different school. Good luck. It's a very stressfult time for parents
Hi Tasha - it seems that Haberdashers (I'm assuming you mean the Hatcham one on Pepys Road) have now done away with banding so it will now be all on distance which given where we live im assuming my daughter's chances of getting a place there are slim - is that right ? Have no idea how far I am nodal distance wise - how do I measure this? Also does it matter what preference you put the schools in in terms of the schools? I.e they won't know how you've ranked them ? And if a school is in a different borough (think habs is lewisham?) it all still goes on the one CAF doesn't it ? Thanks so much
Perhaps the Haberdashers distance measurement will expand a bit for local people, now that they've done away with the absurd 6th Form sibling link.

I've seen that many (if not all?) of the Lewisham schools are no longer using the fair banding method. What are the arguments in favour of this, does anyone know?
I didn't realise they had done away with the banding. Mind you, my youngest has just left the school to go to college so I'm was basing my knowledge from way back! My other three were very happy there and did exceedingly well academically (my 18 year old has also just left to start uni). My older three all stayed on for 6th form. As I posted above, the school just didn't suit my youngest and she couldn't wait to leave! It's a fantastic school but the drawback is they only offer academic subjects. Schools like Sydenham girls offer far more of a verity in terms of subjects at GCSE and A Level. It is well worth exploring schools to see what suits your daughter. Apart from my eldest, my their children were offered places due to their sibling policy.

Distance wise, I can't say. It will depend on how many children who live closer apply. I do know they used to have around 2000 applicants for 208 places but this may have changed as other secondaries have vastly improved and become popular. I know children who have been very happy with Sydenham girls and Prenegast. I'm not sure how they measure distance, as in whether it's as the crow flies or route. Apart from Harris, Haberdasher's is our nearest school as it's literally a 10 mi ute walk. Yes, I did mean Hatchem college.

What I would say is that their pastoral Cardenas vastly improved over the years and is now quite impressive. They used to very much keep parents out and communication was appalling. However, they've been brilliant with my youngest daughter who really struggles academically. She has a lot of help in her GCSE year and came out with pretty good results in the end. Also they provided her with a lot of emotional support during a difficult family time.
Haberdashers now have a primary school in their federation - so those children automatically move into the Habs Secondary School. [www.haaf.org.uk] That does reduce the general places further at the secondary school.
They now have two primary schools on site!
Just to let you all know I had a nightmare with my choices on March 1st this year I only put 3 choices on my Southwark list and than Charter ED as it was a separate application. I didn't get New Charter and gave up as I was 139 on the waiting list and than got none of my 3 choices, Southwark gave me Harris Peckham academy on Peckham High street, it was a very stressful time. I would advise everyone to go to all the open days and really think about what you put down cause if you just fill up the list to make the 6 choices you could get the one that you really didn't want. Many of my sons school friends did get one of their 3 choices but everyone can't so there is about a 10% chance you won't get anything you wanted. Luckily it all worked out OK for us, because a lot of parents who got New Charter and one of their choices on Southwark application declined New Charter maybe because of the temporary site and having to get the mini buses to Camberwell. So we got offered a place about 2 months after offer day. My son started last Monday and loves it, the mini bus service is fantastic, the teachers and heads are great,and when it does move to its permanent site at Dulwich hospital it will be another great school to have in ED. Also just to let you know the catchment is quite small, the pupils are all from Dog kennel hill, Goose green, St John & st Clements, Bessener grange and Goodrich.
The schools don't know the order you put them in so put them in order of your true preference.

Good luck!

emc Wrote:

Hi Tasha - it seems that Haberdashers (I'm
assuming you mean the Hatcham one on Pepys Road)
have now done away with banding so it will now be
all on distance which given where we live im
assuming my daughter's chances of getting a place
there are slim - is that right ? Have no idea how
far I am nodal distance wise - how do I measure
this? Also does it matter what preference you put
the schools in in terms of the schools? I.e they
won't know how you've ranked them ? And if a
school is in a different borough (think habs is
lewisham?) it all still goes on the one CAF
doesn't it ? Thanks so much
"There's no point putting a first choice you are far off target for. And only apply for ones you really want to go to. You don't have to use all your choices available on the form."

Jools: sorry, this is terrible, terrible advice.

It is really important that anyone starting out on schools admission studies the schools Admission Code and understands it. there are many myths flying around, like this advice from Jools. The Schools Admissions Code is law and it applies to all LAs in England.

1. Your list is a list of 'preferences'. They don't HAVE to give you a school on your list. You will only be offered a place where you fulfil the entry criteria.
2. List all your schools in your genuine order of preference. Every school will assess your application against their published entry criteria, and will tell the LA whether or not they can offer you a place. They do not prioritise applicants who have put them first, the schools do not know where on the list the applicant has placed them.
3. the LA looks at all the offers that the schools on your list has made, and pass on to you the offer from the school that is highest on your list of preferences. if you do not get a place in your highest school, you automatically get put on the waiting list for all schools higher up the list that the one you have been offered.
4. if none of the schools you have applied to can offer you a place you will be offered a place at any school, which has space after all the other allocations have been made. That is why it is important to continue listing preferences until you have one that you are certain you will get - because of a sibling rule or you live right on the doorstep, for example, even if you don't rate it much. Because if you don't list that, you might get offered something even less attractive, and further away.
I agree totally with what Carbonara says. I would like to add, it is OK to put a long shot 1st/2nd on your list and it won't reduce your chance to get the highly likely schools you put lower down. It's not a good idea however to put down 6 schools that are all long shots! Look at the last place distances from schools to see where you would have gained a place in 2016 to give you a rough idea of where your child may be offered a place. Remember that these figures are from offer day and do not include waiting list movement.
Any statisticians out there? If 150 kids are split into 9 bands according to "the national distribution of ability", how many are in each of the bands?

While it's probably not our first choice, as Harris Girls only give 1/3 of each band to kids from within 1km, I'm starting to wonder if even that is a reliable option for us.
TBH I think it is hard to be strategic and game the system. The admissions criteria can feel baffline - lotteries, fair banding, proximity etc etc. I've got 2 who've recently gone through this and I would definitely agree with the advice offered. Go and see several schools. It's quite likely you'll be very pleasantly reassured - local secondary schools are really good. Try and compile a list of ones you like and your daughter likes. There'll be different reasons for each - some very close that you can get to easily and quickly, some with fabulous music provision (like Kingsdale), some single sex / mixed. It's worth visiting some of the less popular ones too, I think. Reading the forum, you often hear enthusiastic reports from parents visiting the less "popular" schools. Go for any of the tests and scholarship days (the Kingsdale sports one is very good fun and if you get the music one at any level it just gives your child access to the provision once they're there.)

List them in genuine order of preference knowing that you will remain on the waiting lists for the ones higher up the list to any choice you get lower down.

Good luck!
tasha1 - Habs have 2 primaries in their "federation". 1 is a mile or so away in New Cross, and kids get into the secondary automatically, which uses up to 60 places. The second one is on site, but only has kids up to year 3 at the moment (as it only opened 3 years ago) so they won't start in secondary for a few years.

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