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