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:
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.