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Re: High View

by FraggleRocks » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:26 pm

High View's PTA have responded to this thread here: http://www.nappyvalleynet.com/mums/view ... 040#p54040

Re: High View

by ellesmum » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:56 pm

We have got a place at one of our preferred schools, so she starts there next week and we are so, so happy about it :)

Our experience at HV still left us with concerns, which was why we took the decision to move DD.

In HV's favour, the new reception teachers appear to be very nice - kind and caring. Hopefully they will do great things this year! My daughter liked her teacher, and liked the school, too, but it just wasn't for us.

As I said before, we really could have done with a settling in period before the summer holidays, which would have given us & our daughter a chance to iron out any little problems before starting properly in September. We felt like we had gone in totally blind, and knowing how much effort other schools in the area had put into making sure children and parents alike had the opportunity to meet their teachers, ask questions, get used to their environment, meet their classmates, etc, it seems a bit bewildering that we did not get this opportunity. Even more so now that we are set to experience the process in fast forward next week because the new school appears to be trying to make the change as gentle as possible for our daughter.
The communication at HV was frustrating - messages weren't passed on, and things that I would have expected to be told about didn't get relayed back. For example, we mistakenly put a carton of juice in our daughter's lunch bag because we didn't know it wasn't allowed and I would have expected to have had a note in her lunchbox or a quick message from the TA/teacher to let us know she wasn't allowed it but we didn't have anything. Thankfully DD remembered to tell me the next morning or I would have done the same again!
Despite the "No dogs" sign at the gate, I saw parents with Staffies bizarrely wrapped in blankets and carried as though they were babies in the playground, and DD claims that in the space of 3 days she was deliberately hit by a boy twice.
The real problem for us, though, was that we never felt entirely welcome at the school, which would have made it difficult to work together with the school to support our daughter in her learning. To be honest, it almost felt as though it was an alien concept to the school that a parent would WANT to be involved, which was quite saddening. Even before we were offered a place at the other the school, the contrast in attitude between HV and our new school was considerable. We have been made to feel so welcome at the new school, and I can't praise the staff enough for their helpfulness and understanding.
I really, really hope things do improve at HV, because this area does need a really good school. By all accounts, the teaching is good, as are the results, but for the school to be let down by something as simple as a smile and a hello, or passing on messages, is quite ridiculous. I don't think we were ever going to feel comfortable with the school after the shouting incident, but feeling welcome and included would have helped.
I hope some of this can be seen as constructive criticism, and that HV seize upon some of the points and look for ways to improve in certain areas. My intention is not to put the whole place down, there are positives there, but there is still work to be done, too, and I wish them luck in that.

Re: High View

by falconmum » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:06 pm

Ellesmum, it would good to have your feedback.

We fall within the catchment area for High View but are planning to shift before the whole school enrollment kicks off to another area . (dont know where though)

Re: High View

by FraggleRocks » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:50 pm

Hi Ellesmum. Just wondering how things are going and how your daughter is finding the school. I saw you posted on another thread that you were still hoping for a place to come up at your preferred school. What have the first couple of weeks been like?

Re: High View

by ellesmum » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:48 pm

Thank you - you too! I never thought this whole school lark would be so stressful...especially when she hasn't even started her school "career" yet! I dread to think what sort of state I'll be in when she gets to the point where she's having exams, or, and it gives me the shudders just thinking about it, we have to negotiate the applications for secondary schools! :shock: Nightmare!

I'm glad that High View seem to have made some changes that I had been concerned about, such as the website, and hopefully next year they will try to make the process for new starters a bit easier, too, by having an open day, and a proper induction, even if it's just an hour or two, prior to the summer holidays, for children starting school next September. As well as our experience when we viewed the school, I was also a little perturbed that during the Parent's Information Evening, the main focus appeared to be on reiterating the importance of making sure our children attend school on a regular basis, which we found a little patronising, given that we were amongst the parents who had bothered to turn up to the evening in the first place, when there were certainly not 60 parents (or sets of parents) there! I would have preferred to have spent less time being lectured & having more time in the actual classroom my daughter was supposed to be in, with her actual teacher, getting to know each other a little bit, asking questions & allowing our daughter to become accustomed to the surroundings. Instead, it felt a bit like we were being rushed out the door!

Part of the work being done to improve the school needs to include some very good PR work - if they give the impression that the school is the bees knees, then people will start believing it!

Re: High View

by FraggleRocks » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:49 pm

My instincts and impressions on visiting the school weren't negative (although I am further off sending my children to the school as we are 2013 intake). The children I met were well rounded, articulate, bright and enjoyed school. I thought the head seemed friendly, and ambitious for the school. I haven't met other teachers so can't comment on that and there's definitely food for thought above.

I would say the views on this thread are pretty mixed actually. As many positive as negative impressions. And apart from ellesmums incredibly helpful comments, other negative views have not been in any way specific and therefore really hard to take as useful information.

Good luck with whatever you decide ellesmum.

Re: High View

by ellesmum » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:57 pm

We're still not sure what we're going to do come September. We're into single figures on the waiting list for one of our preferred schools, and the consensus seems to be that we would probably be offered a place at this school within the first few weeks of term if not before, so I think we're probably going to hold out and cross our fingers that this advice rings true, rather than start her at HV and move her within the first few weeks.

I'm sure that HV will improve, but my concern is that it's still in a bit of a transition period. I would love to say that I will send my daughter there and throw myself into being an active parent who strives to make the school better, but, as someone who works full-time as well as being a full-time mum, I know I simply won't have time to devote myself fully to that, too. I don't intend to do nothing, by any means, and will do as much as I can, but as a mum who is already burning the candle at both ends, I can't sacrifice quality time with my own child in order to help to improve things for everyone else's. Perhaps in a year or two, when the school has had the help of a group of dedicated parents and a great set of teachers brought in to shake up the school, I'll kick myself for not sticking with High View, but, for now, my gut feeling is saying that it's not right for us.

Maybe next year, HV should be the school which takes on the third reception class? When we were shown around the school, they pointed out that there were spare classrooms that weren't in use, so perhaps if they had a three form intake, it would help to change the dynamic? This school has capacity, and the facilities aren't being used to their full potential - instead, other schools are being expected to add temporary classrooms for extra classes. The school also need some money thrown at it, to bring the playground facilities in particular up to the same standards as some of the other schools in the borough. It has potential, but I think it will be next year's intake that could benefit fully from any changes made.

Re: High View

by abbysmummy » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:34 am

MGMidget, That may or may not be the case at this school but it would appear that the instincts and impressions of those who have visited the school has been negative.

I suspect this will be interesting to watch. It would be nice to hear from staff at the school or those who have left. Although one can imagine that will not happen.

I, for one, was none too impressed and I am glad that my Godchild did not have to go there in the end.

Re: High View

by MGMidget » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:15 pm

I recall John Grove of Belleville saying during an open day visit that a lot of staff left when he first arrived. His job was to shake up the school. This in part meant some staff changes. So when a new head arrives with an intention to change a school I guess some staff departures are to be expected. Just something to bear in mind...

Re: High View

by abbysmummy » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:55 am

I would say that if you felt uneasy about this school from the beginning then you should honor this feeling. It is a big red flag for you and you should continue to pursue other options for your child. If you have to then have this school as your temporary option.

It is all well and good parents from the school saying their child is happy and well educated but they do not see what goes on behind the scenes. As professionals the teachers and head will show you the side of them that suits them (positive and smiles). As parents, you have to trust your feelings. Nobody from the school will tell you the truth but I was not impressed and I think that the staff appear unhappy. There was not a warm feeling that you expect from a primary school and when you read the comments from 2010, from people who have taught there, they say that school is warm and that staff are friendly.
By all means see how it goes but if you were not happy at first then you should explore other options.

Re: High View

by MGMidget » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:34 pm

Ellesmum, can I suggest you try a separate post asking if any parents with children starting at Highview in reception in September would like to meet up? You may find you can get a group together and that will ease the transition for your daughter.

Re: High View

by cynic » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:23 am

Just a technical point...

I am pretty sure that FraggleRocks is correct that teachers & staff may not feel able/be permitted to comment on this site. They are frst and foremost employees of WBC. I am unaware if there is a specific policy regarding social media at WBC, but as most companies and employers would have such a policy it would seem unusual if not- perhaps we can ask WBC to comment on that?

And again Fragglerock is correct to point out Governors are not employees so can happily comment.

PS It is great to see actual parents of children at HV commenting positively in response to unsubstantiated gossip about "bad reputations"

Re: High View

by FraggleRocks » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:53 pm

Ellesmum - that does sound a bit rubbish I am sorry. I would also be very unhappy about that. I sincerely hope they get their act together on communication and similar issues.

PLEASE High View. Respond to this thread, one way or another!

(p.s. I still have a suspicion that WW council won't let it's staff comment on these boards - I am yet to be proved wrong. A governor isn't staff though so a governor could comment as they have done about Wix!).

Re: High View

by FraggleRocks » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:48 pm

Hi Annabel - sorry that was me and thank you for the lengthy reply. I wasn't really that suspicious :D it just seemed rather odd! I'm sure the way you calculate the figures is fine - although it's probably not obvious enough that it is 'most read, this week' so maybe that should change. Thanks.

Re: High View

by ellesmum » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:37 pm

Thanks for keeping us posted ellesmum. I really hope your daughter is getting excited about starting school and has had a chance to spend some time at HV.
Thanks. Unfortunately, the school hasn't arranged any settling in opportunities before the summer holidays though :( Bit concerned about it, tbh, because the letter we received seems to suggest that I'm supposed to take her in September and leave her in a place where she knows nobody and has only visited for a few minutes! It is only when I phoned to express these concerns that I was told that they are staggering the start dates and that I can stay with her "for a bit", although whether this is until she is comfortable or they tell me to leave, I am not sure. I'll be honest, I am not happy that there seems to be so little effort being put in to a gentle introduction to the school, when I know from friend's experiences, both locally and nationally, that other parents with children starting in September have had many more opportunities to settle their children already. One friend's child has already had 3 visits to her school, and another has been sent home with a book of photographs for her child to look at, showing the school, the classroom, the toys, etc, and other friends with children going to schools in Wandsworth have had at least one visit to the school for an induction morning or afternoon. As a result, they have had the opportunity to arrange playdates or meet ups over the summer holidays, so that their children go into the school already knowing their classmates.
I'll be honest, I'm checking our waiting list positions at least once a week, and have not bought any school specific uniform because I still don't know if she'll be going there. If she had had the opportunity to prepare a bit before the summer holidays, perhaps it would be easier, but at the moment, I still feel we are in limbo. Whether she goes to High View or a different school, it makes no difference now - she will still start not knowing her surroundings, classmates or teacher wherever she goes :(
As for this thread being the most read, if it is being read by High View parents, or potential parents, I would still appreciate more input. There is still so little information about what the school is like now, in particular how the reception classes are, and I would really appreciate hearing how children get on in the Early Years section of the school.

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