Experiences of Rutherford House

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Medway
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Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby Medway » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:04 am

I know the term is only a few weeks old, but I was wondering if any new parents have any feedback on Rutherford House? How have your Children settled in? How are the premises coming along? Are you pleased with your choice? How are they getting on as the only 20 (?) kids in the school? I am asking becuase the time is nearly upon us to apply for schools and while my head says go for an established school, I'd be interested in views of those who have gone with the RH option - a new school, which certainly from the outside looks very much like a work in progress...
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sunshineSW17
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby sunshineSW17 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:02 pm

It has taken me a few days to reply your post as I was not sure whether to share the biggest mistake of our lives on this forum, but I have decided to do so that others may learn from our experiences and be better informed when they come to make their own decision.

To start, we went to the open day last year and were told a lot of information which made the school very attractive to us so we chose Rutherford, but the majority of those “facts” have now been found out to be more than deceptive.

Basically the school is teaching on the cheap and this is wholly apparent in every aspect. There is simply no space and there never will be and can you imagine 400+ children being stuck in that poor building in the future. Go on Google Maps and you can clearly see that the playground will be no bigger than the size of the Tescos forecourt. Outside is no better with our child nearly being run over by the entrance to Tescos.

Of the various meetings we have attended since the school opened, there is a clear clique forming of Wandsworth Common parents (of which I am one!) and one of the governors is actively encouraging us to tell our local friends to rent properties close to the school so that they may top the forthcoming admission process.

In hindsight, we visited a number of the other schools in the area last year and it is clear now that each one tops Rutherford House in every way- experienced qualified reception staff, separate play areas for reception children, libraries, the list goes on and on.

So I would suggest that you take the time to visit as many of the local schools before making your decision and do ask the staff at Rutherford for yourself about the qualifications they have, including whether is it appropriate to have staff who were only 2 day a week Kumon assistants before they joined and whether the Headmistress has the required NPQH qualification- you will be shocked!

We are moving our son out after Christmas- the question you have to ask is are there better schools in the area than Rutherford and for us the answer is now an overwhelming yes.
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Medway
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby Medway » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:25 pm

Thank you so much for coming on to post. I am so sorry that this has happened to your Son, where are you moving him to?

I'm not quite sure i understand about the comment about the Wnadsworth Common parents trying to get people to rent near to the school - are they trying to socially engineer the intake or are they worried about lack of applicants which will mean the school will close?

I am very sad to hear about the poor quality of teachers and buildings but I am not surprised. The whole thing sounded too good to be true - what is in it for this company running the free school (other than to squeeze profit from somehwere)? There was too much to achieve in a short space of time as far as the building was concerned (and yes it was obvious it was a totally inappropriate site). Also - for the kids starting - no facilities and no peer groups and no school ethos.

The fact that the catchment area is currently very wide - indicating that there was not a rush to apply - set my alarm bells ringing.

I will still go and see however - thanks for the heads up.

Anyone else - anything positive to say?
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Jibberty
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby Jibberty » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:03 pm

I will calm myself before making my reply... A positive one at that.
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Medway
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby Medway » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:09 pm

Great, will be good to hear 2 sides/ opinions.
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Mumisme
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby Mumisme » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:52 pm

I am stunned by this post. I have only positive things to say about the school and will also take a bit of time to gather my thoughts on how to respond. All I will say for now is that my daughter has never been happier and I have great confidence in the teaching staff. Some of whom actually taught our God-children at their previous school so we have more information on which to base our opinion than just Rutherford house.
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sunshineSW17
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby sunshineSW17 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:16 pm

Please don't be stunned, I am just sharing what happens to be an extremely difficult period within our family, and our decision has not come easily but been firmly based on our experiences over the last 4 weeks, the message from the leadership of the school and what information is now available on their website and newsletters.

At the reception stage, children need a variety of simuli and when other local schools are doing this in a much better way than Rutherford, then the decision to move becomes a common sense one. It is not all about sitting in a classroom and you cannot provide "independent level teaching" with a handful of teachers.

Regarding the school we are moving to, all I can say for now (as the phone has been quite busy this morning after my post from fellow mums wondering who the poster is?!) is that it is very close to Rutherford, they are fortunate to have spaces at present and their senior team has been very supportive towards our situation.

Medway, my message to you and others is that you must visit your local schools and you must ask those difficult questions but most importantly have a thorough look at a school and ask yourself will your child be happy there. Good luck!
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Esille
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby Esille » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:21 pm

Hello

My experience with Rutherford House is very different to the one of sunshinesw17

My opinion as follows, however I have to say that my caveat is that it’s only been 4 weeks!

If you’re looking for a lovely Victorian building and a school, which is steeped in traditions this isn’t it. It’s a brand new school, it’s a free school too. Please remember this. The building itself isn’t finished yet, but when it will be it will be very big – certainly big enough to house the proposed classes. It’s backed by the Bellevue Group, who run 7 prep schools in Wandsworth. I doubt they would have received funding if the plans weren’t watertight, especially something as obvious as space for the proposed amount of students. The other thing to note is the fact that everything is brand NEW. Building, furniture, books, technology etc .Lovely and clean and up-to-date.

The new play ground/play space is being designed for the moment and it’s far superior to a lot of the spaces I saw last year. There will be ball courts, climbing frames and they are planning a smaller garden in which to grow stuff, have camp fires etc. In fact they are really pushing outside play and learning – even in bad weather.

Now, I’m not familiar with the qualifications you mentioned but the head ,Gina, is from Kew prep school and the deputy head Kelly is from Thomas’s in Kensington. These are very good schools and I doubt they have inferior qualifications and I feel certain when they hired their staff they would have done thorough background checks. Because Rutherford House is a free school how they spend their budgets is more autonomous and this results in slightly better pay for the teachers. A major advantage for me.

In terms of what they offer, again I haven’t been let down. My son does after school French and Karate and there’s plenty other stuff on offer. Specialist teachers for Spanish and sports (unusual for state schools). He gets lots of homework, the plans for ICT provision is superior to other schools (even private ones); eportfolio, wifi throughout, interactive whiteboards etc. There is no library but they are aware of that and I believe there’s weekly trips to the library. Not to say that there won’t be one in the future. Communication with the parents are good. Friday emails to all stating homework, news etc.

Now, you mention cliques. I assume that these cliques don’t impact your son and his happiness? In any case, it would be naïve to assume that cliques don’t exist in other schools. In fact I know they do, just as well as they do in workplaces, NCT groups, secondary schools etc. It’s human nature. I personally haven’t seen any of these cliques, in fact I feel a real camaraderie amongst the parents. We all want the school to succeed and all want our kids to be happy. Shame the school days are so long otherwise I feel there would be more playdates happening.

The most important thing is that your son is happy and if changing school is what it takes you must do that. I can only say that my son is very happy, have made a few friends and it’s a supportive, progressive environment.

Medway, I would be happy to tell you more on the phone. Just pm me
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Jibberty
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby Jibberty » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:11 pm

Well I've calmed down a bit now...

I am also pretty stunned that you feel like this. To be honest Esille has said pretty much everything I can say in response to the negative post from sunshine.

My daughter simply could not be happier. She bounces in each morning barely pausing to say goodbye and comes out every day without fail full of smiles and chatting about her day.

She is my youngest child and, having had two children go all the way through school <totally outs self to Rutherford parents>, with a third now in sixth form, I have pretty good idea on what to expect from a school with regard to excellence - the bar being set pretty high at primary level as they went to Honeywell.

My daughter's teacher, along with the other staff have been absolutely wonderful, enthusiastic and caring. DD has already learnt so much, as is apparent by her proudly practising her Spanish and French and already picking out words as we walk past signs and shops, sounding new words out and doing her little sums.

The playground will be open next week for the children and it is at least twice the size of the 'Tesco forecourt'. They are doing a huge amount of outside learning, heading off to the common at least twice a week - rain or shine (they don't dissolve) and as mentioned, we will be building a garden area where the children will be growing and cooking with fruit, veg and herbs etc which will be from seed to plate. They have fortnightly library visits (much like other local primaries), but of course as the school grows they will have their own library of books.

Building work . Well we knew damn well that there would be work continuing until early next year. It is not and has not impacted on the children and staff and, when it's complete, we will have a state of the art, fantastically equipped school for our children.

I do find it odd and rather sad that if these issues were causing such distress that nothing whatsoever was raised with the school. I would frankly be staggered if any of the parents except sunshinesw17 had anything other than hugely positive comments to make about Rutherford House. Certainly, over the past four weeks, I have spoken to a huge number and all have given extremely positive feedback. Maybe it's just not the place for your child, maybe your expectations are unrealistic.
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bunnymummy
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby bunnymummy » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:43 pm

My husband and I have felt very sad at reading the posts about our child's school.

We all knew what was happening with the school and how it would take time to develop!! Our child's teacher is simply wonderful as are the assistant staff and specialist teachers.

It can't be easy working with this age group, but the teachers all look happy, friendly and I believe are perfectly capable of teaching and are highly qualified. Maybe you do not have all the correct information on staff and support staff?

Our child enjoys the clubs and always returns home smiling and chatting about the day.

They enjoy their trip to the playpark and the common. We are excited to see how the schools develops and progresses.

Surely if you had concerns, these should have been taken up with the school and not just posted on here?

We shall continue to send our child to this wonderful school.
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bunnymummy
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby bunnymummy » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:45 pm

P.s why wait till December to remove your child if you feel the school isn't good enough?
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Medway
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby Medway » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:06 pm

How many children are there currently in the school?
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bunnymummy
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby bunnymummy » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:21 pm

There are about 27 per class (two classes) with an LSA and teacher, plus an extra LSA to help. In state schools they sometimes don't even have an LSA.
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toadstool
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby toadstool » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:15 pm

Hi Medway

I am also really surprised by the negative comments about Rutherford house school. My son has just started and we are thrilled with the school to date.

We looked round 12 primary schools last year and despite the current lack of facilities I am really happy with our choice. The teaching is fabulous and is as good as anything I saw last year - and don't forget the school only opened its doors 4 weeks ago. Yes it is still a work in progress, but when finished, the building and open space will be amazing....can't wait!

We felt that the smaller nurturing environment would compensate for the lack of older role models. And to be honest the newness of the facility coupled with keenness of staff to make the school a success could only be a positive thing.

I've no idea how true this is, but have heard comments about Rutherford House being better than Honeywell or Belleville. My advice would be to see as many schools as you can. Then stand around the school gates at 3.20pm and see for yourself.

Good luck.
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Sugar'nSpice
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Re: Experiences of Rutherford House

Postby Sugar'nSpice » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:03 am

We are thrilled with Rutherford which has exceeded our expectations in everyway. I will give a run down in the next day or so.
I have a child who has just completed seven years at Belleville and I can honestly say so far there is no comparison.
However each family/child is different and when it comes to choosing a school I think one needs to listen to that inner voice.
sunshine17 would you mind telling us if your son is the 1st or maybe even an only child?
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