Fircroft Primary School

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J-Dad
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Fircroft Primary School

Postby J-Dad » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:14 pm

Dear All

We've just moved to Tooting Bec (which we highly recommend in case anyone is thinking about it) and we wanted to get some current views and opinions on Fircroft School. We've heard really positive things and the Ofsted report is encouraging but your input would be really helpful.

Thanks

PS - I have posted this request previously but I think I put it in the wrong place! Sorry about that.
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mungomuffit
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby mungomuffit » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:50 pm

Friends of mine got a place at Fircroft this year but Ravenstone was their first choice. They've started at Fircroft but intend to move to Ravenstone when a place comes up, however long it takes. They say Fircroft is ok, but quite a few years off where Ravenstone is now. Apart from that, I don't know anything about Fircroft... sorry.
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J-Dad
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby J-Dad » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:00 pm

Thanks, that's helpful. I didn't know Ravenstone was so highly regarded.
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SW17mum
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby SW17mum » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:20 pm

Ravenstone is very good but the catchment area is pretty small these days. You are unlikely to get in living in Tooting Bec. We did but that was more luck than location and it was 7 years ago. Friends who have sent their kids to Fircroft seem to be happy with it and the Head is really good. Fircroft's catchment area is also getting smaller and smaller which says a lot for the school's popularity. You could do a lot worse.
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theothertimmy
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby theothertimmy » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:34 am

Both my children are at Fircroft and have been since nursery. They are very happy there and are doing well. The staff are excellent and there is a very active PTA. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the school.
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Mum36
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby Mum36 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:22 pm

My child has recently started at Fircroft and we are absolutely delighted with the school. The catchment area is tight, so we were felt very lucky to get a place there. The staff are excellent - very caring, experienced and extremely on-the-ball. They refer to the pupils as the 'Fircroft Family' which is a great way to sum up the friendly, welcoming vibe of the school.
The staff are very hot on phonics in particular and hold excellent talks for the parents on how to help with teaching phonics at home. The PTA is great too - full of motivated mums who really want the best for their children.
If you're able to get a place at Fircroft, then you're extremely lucky!
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Medway
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby Medway » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:20 am

I've said it before and I'll say it again - if at all possible try and avoid the hearsay around schools, particularly the state primaries. Schools get good reputations because they do their job well and are constantly improving - but also because as the area around them 'professionalises', the intake changes dramatically. This is a generalisation but a TRUE one - professional parents take more time to help their kids at home and get involved with school life. They also talk more and the 'reputation' grows. Ravenstone is a prime example in the last 10 yrs changing beyond all recognition, Fircroft (I know the school well) is going through a similar tranformation now as Tooting Bec 'comes up' (you said it yourself OP - you are pleasantly surprised and you are not in Balham!). I guess what I am saying is go visit and trust your instincts. It is also v v unlikely u will get into Ravenstone - I believe the catchment stops well before Huron road now.
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J-Dad
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby J-Dad » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:56 pm

ok thanks guys. that's all really helpful
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Mrs Contractor Mum
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby Mrs Contractor Mum » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:46 am

Back in the days of the dinosaurs, I went to Fircroft Primary School and it was a happy, community school. I was planning on having a nosy around again tonight at the Christmas shopping event.
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papinian
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby papinian » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:44 am

We have just moved to Tooting Bec.

We looked at the info on schools online before we moved and comments online etc. We are halfway between Ravenstone and Fircroft and we don't understand why Ravenstone seems to be regarded as the better of the two. The KS1 and KS2 results for Fircroft for 2011 are a bit better than for Ravenstone, although they seem about the same for previous years. The schools have the same number of pupils. The latest Ofsted report on Fircroft is from last summer and gives it a Good rating. There isn't a full Ofsted report on Ravenstone since 2008 and that gave it a Good rating with a couple of items Outstanding. (The Ofsted reports seem to get briefer and briefer each year so it is difficult to compare.)

My wife's theory is that the perception that Ravenstone is better than Fircroft is driven by the fact that (according to the statistics) 73% of the children at Ravenstone have English as a first language compared with 57% at Fircroft and that there are fewer visible minority children at Ravenstone. She says that talk of "better pastoral care" at Ravenstone is code for it being less "ethnic" and more middle class.

I hope that none of you connected with either school will take offence. We are just trying to understand the reasons behind people's preferences.

When it opens, our nearest non-faith primary will be Rutherford House School (aka Balham Free School). For what it's worth, its website has a picture of six children, with only one being a visible minority (and that child is at the back of the six of them), which my wife says must have been intentional.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how that opening next September, and taking in 56 children a year, will affect the other schools in the area? When we were researching we found the following Wandsworth Council document online with projections for school places surpluses/deficits for the different wards:
ww3.wandsworth.gov.uk/committ/documents/s25012/Appendicies%203%20and%204.pdf
We noted that, according to the projections (although we don't place too much faith in those) it doesn't seem that there will be much of a shortage of places in the area around Rutherford House School. However, we thought that wasn't really recognising that 90 of the places in Bedford and Nightingale wards are for faith schools. So maybe there will be enough demand to fill the extra 56 places.
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Medway
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby Medway » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:17 pm

Papinian thanks for your excellent post. You highlighted very clearly and bravely what I too see as the situation as I posted above. Fircroft actually does better than Ravenstone AND Bellville in terms of the key stage tests and the school is absolutely 's*it hot at monitoring the progress of every child every term so problems are spotted and dealt with early. One of the Head's mantras is that children are at school to learn and if they don't progress as they should (and it is not picked up) then the school is failing them. So much of school panic, paranoia and mania comes from sweeping statements and gossipy parents talking about schools they know NOTHING about - it maddens me. Your post highlights the FACT that Fircroft is a GOOD school and children do as well as those at Ravenstone academically. Now I know its about more than academics and 'feel' and 'pastoral care' and 'extra curricular' are all really important, but at the end of the day I believe its the learning that matters. Around here parents can also provide their kids with plenty of sport and other things in their own time
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Medway
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby Medway » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:22 pm

Sorry not to address your question - I have no idea actually what the impact will be on demand...WC have been working very hard (and belatedly) to deal with the baby boom and have been putting in extra streams at many schools including Beatrix Potter and Hillbrook. If the new free school is any good then I expect it will impact on Ravenstone's waiting list, Fircroft may see a drop off and maybe the independents...

Personally I would not want my kids to be in the early feeder years as the school builds a full roll - I would rather stick to tried and tested but thats just me. I wonder what the mission of the free school is, why and who is it being set up (I don't see any parents as part of the steering group) - anyone know?
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mrs_pavlova
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby mrs_pavlova » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:54 pm

Thanks everyone, so interesting to read all this, as we are very close to Fircroft. It sounds like a fantastic school.

I too am interested in Rutherford House, so I'll start a new thread for that to see if anyone has any info....
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Medway
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby Medway » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:45 pm

Mungo - I just wanted to say too, that while i appreciate you wanted to share your friend's situation I dont think your post is terribly fair. You are simply reporting that your friends say Fircroft is 'far off' where Ravenstone is and that they intend to move their kids 'however long it takes'...perhaps your friend could post - i would be really interested (truly) in her views as I am interested in the Rstone/ Fircroft debate
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tooting
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Re: Fircroft Primary School

Postby tooting » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:41 pm

There was a previous thread about Fircroft (pg. 7) in which a poster made some negative remarks which i commented on as being quite offensive.You are right, people make assumptions on a school without having first hand knowledge of a school. my child is at Fircroft and I can say that I am happy with it. The diverse makeup of the school is one plus, children from different backgrounds and cultures learning and thriving in a supportive environment. The results are good and teachers are able to pick up those children who are struggling and offer them extra support. it is a close knit community and when a former pupil sadly passed away over the summer, there was a big showing of parents, students and teachers at the funeral. The head teacher even spoke and you could tell she was clearly upset at this child's passing. The school even organised a memorial service at the school and planted a tree in his honour.
Since my first child was there in '06 to now, I have noticed a big shift in the demographics of the new parents, more middle class, white, professional, ie. the 'type' one would find at Ravenstone.
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