Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

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EarlsfieldDad
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Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby EarlsfieldDad » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:19 pm

Are you a parent in Earlsfield and frustrated by the admissions approach for EP this year? I am, and I’m looking for others to support me in having a collective voice to share our frustration with the Council and the School.

I’ve lived in Earlsfield for nearly 10 years, and have always looked forward to my children being able to go the local school, which I regard as a key part of the local community. When I attended the open day I liked the school and was thoroughly impressed by the head teacher, Stephen Trow. The catchment area has always sufficient such that people living in the local community could easily get in, and despite a recent baby boom in the area the council and school have accommodated this by adding an extra class for the last 2 years. This year, for reasons I can not understand, that comes to an end, so the sibling rule means the catchment area for “new entrants” falls to around 300m, a level it has never been at before. I live around 400m away, and have been given a space at a new Jewish primary school in Barnes. The school may be very good (I don’t doubt its standards) but I don’t think it is unreasonable to be immensely unhappy about being asked to attend a faith school that is not my faith and that is 20 mins drive away, when I have a school 4 mins walk away. I can not afford private school so this effectively forces me to move house and try and find a school that could accommodate my son (not an easy task mid cycle). I am not unique, and know of a handful of other parents close to me also allocated to this school in Barnes.

Given the situation I visited Wandsworth council in person on Thursday morning and met a thoroughly helpful person. This gave me some comfort that behind the big mysterious machine of the admissions system there are real people with hearts and minds alert to the issues we as parts see. He advised me that the council were alert to the specific pressures in Earlsfield, and are still in discussions about how to how to create more spaces. Why this couldn’t be resolved over the last few months, I don’t know, but the fact they are still thinking and talking is good. I understand there is a meeting in a couple of weeks between the council and some teachers, including the head of EP Stephen Trow, which sounds like it is a continuation of conversations that have been happening for the past few weeks on the subject of places. I understand the reason why EP have chosen to not bulge this year is not one of space, but funding, and it seems that the school and council have not yet been able to find funding structure they can agree upon to be able to create an extra class. So the fact that wrangling’s over money are at the heart of this makes it even more frustrating - I admire Wandsworth’s goal of keeping running costs and therefore taxes low, but I personally wouldn’t mind paying a little more in tax if it meant the council could invest more in education, and I am guessing many others might feel like this?

I know I will not be unique in being disappointed by the catchment area this year, and there will be a lot of other local parents frustrated by the situation. So my suggestion is this – that we try to have a united voice in asking the council/school to see sense and create more space for a 3rd and final time this year (as a bunch of other schools are creating capacity, including Allfarthing is adding an extra 1FE next year, and a new school being build next year just down from Swaffield, so these will cater for extra capacity next year if its needed preventing the need for continuing bulges at EP).

I am therefore going to be writing this weekend to who I believe are the relevant stakeholders (listed below) to urge them to see sense and create an extra class this year to support their local community and prevent unnecessary stress for a number of families and importantly, children.

If you are affected in a similar way please also do the same as a collective voice here will be more powerful.

Thanks

------------------------------------------
The Council
Councillor Kathy Tracey - Exec Member for Education and Children Services (1)
Paul Robinson - Director of Children Services (2)
Adam Wells - Head of Pupil Services, Wandsworth Council (3)
Chris Moody - Principle Administrative Officer Pupil Services, Wandsworth Council (4)

EP School
Stephen Trow - Headteacher, Earlsfield Primary School (5)
Aleks Leimanis – Chair of Governors, Earlsfield Primary School (5)


(1) - Councillor Kathy Tracey - http://ww3.wandsworth.gov.uk/moderngov/ ... px?UID=901

Home address:
1 Wycombe Place
Wandsworth
London
SW18 2LU

Correspondence address:
The Members' Room
The Town Hall
Wandsworth High Street
London
SW18 2PU

Email: ktracey@wandsworth.gov.uk


(2) Paul Robinson: http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/20031 ... _directors

Paul Robinson
Town Hall
Wandsworth High Street
SW18 2PU
London
Telephone 020 8871 7890

Email: probinson@wandsworth.gov.uk

(3) Can not find profile page, but likely email address is awells@wandsworth.gov.uk
Wandsworth Council, Dept of Education and Social Services
Town Hall Extension
Wandsworth High Street
London SW18 2PU


(4) Can not find profile page, but likely email address is cmoody@wandsworth.gov.uk

Wandsworth Council, Dept of Education and Social Services
Town Hall Extension
Wandsworth High Street
London SW18 2PU



(5) Earlsfield Primary Contact details
http://www.earlsfield.wandsworth.sch.uk ... etails.php

Earlsfield Primary School
Tranmere Road
Earlsfield
London
SW18 3QQ

email - admin@earlsfield.wandsworth.sch.uk
Tanny79
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby Tanny79 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:42 pm

We are in a similar situation to yourselves (about 400m to the school) and will be writing to all of the suggested contacts that you have provided. Thank you very much for your informative post. I too feel strongly that no thought has been given to the impact of two bulge years on the very local community without extra provision in September 2014. We too have been given a place at the Jewish Primary School and, as open minded as we are, feel it is completely inappropriate for our child.
sezwedz
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby sezwedz » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:17 pm

Very informative post. Attending a school that isn't your faith and a 20 minute drive away just doesn't seem acceptable. I don't live in Earlsfield, but I think this is happening all over Wandsworth. I wish you all the best, I hope you get the outcome you are looking for. I would be very happy to pay more council tax if it meant more school places.
MamaSass
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby MamaSass » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:34 am

Hi EarlsfieldDad

We are in exactly the same situation as you. Thank you for your post and the details of the council members, we have written today.

I have also contacted Sadiq Khan our MP for Earlsfield.

Parliamentary
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 6967
Fax: 020 7219 6477
sadiqkhanmp@parliament.uk

Constituency
273 Balham High Road, London, SW17 7BD
Tel: 020 8682 2897
Fax: 020 8682 3416
sadiqkhanmp@parliament.uk
Tanny79
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby Tanny79 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:57 pm

Thank you and just to let you know that we have sent letters to all of the above.
anaswe
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby anaswe » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:31 pm

Great post.I'm 382m away from EP and also got offered Mosaic Jewish school. At this rate there wont be any Jewish there! As with other replies, I'm not worried about it being Jewish, Jewish schools are often phenomenal and outperform others, its just the sheer lunacy of it all..and how on earth you are meant to get kids to a school each morning that isnt even close to a tube or train station! And next year when it relocates to Roehampton, it will be even further.

I'll write to all of those people tomorrow, thanks so much for putting the addresses up. Fingers crossed.Anything else we need to do, im more than happy.

All keep in touch, i'm obvioulsy interested to see what happens here.

Thanks
gail0810
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby gail0810 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:53 pm

Yes thanks for this. We too got offered Mosaic Jewish Primary School. We are 558 metres from Earlsfield and 350m from Wimbledon Park (our nearest school and where our daughter currently attends nursery) and got neither.

As we are not Jewish, sending our daughter to a school of a different faith is a total non starter for us, not to mention the distance and lack of public transport to get there and back.

I spoke to the council today and criticised their lack of planning and foresight to cope with reception places needed this year. They told me that Earlsfield going back to 60 places this year was due to lack of physical space (the head told us that too when we went on the open day) and admitted that they had hung the 2014 intake in Earlsfield out to dry. The new school on the Athledene site will apparently be open for Sept 2015 - far too late to be of any help to those of us with no realistic school place offer.
papinian
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby papinian » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:09 am

The new school on the Athledene site will apparently be open for Sept 2015 - far too late to be of any help to those of us with no realistic school place offer.
There have been some cases where a new school has opened with both a Reception and a Year One Class. I know that it is not any use to you for this year, but do not dismiss completely the Athledene site as useless for you. From this thread alone there seem to be a meaningful number of parents affected and perhaps sufficient to have Athledene open with both a Year One and a Reception Class. In that case, you will suffer for a year, but at least it will only be for Reception and not for your child's entire time at primary school.

Bulge classes, especially if for more than one consecutive year, penalise parents in subsequent years. After the bulge classes end there are fewer places but a much bigger cohort of younger siblings with priority than would have been the case if there had been no bulge classes in the first place. This is something that Wandsworth Council should have taken into account.

As the law stands, if you after offered a place at a faith school for which you did not express a preference that still counts as a valid offer by the Council. If you reject it then the Council can wash its hands of you. However, you do have the right to have your child opt out of religious education at the faith school. Some of Mosaic's rules, e.g. what you can include in packed lunches, may be trickier. When Mosaic moves to its new site in Roehampton where it is replacing the Council-run nursing home it will be expanding to admit 60 children a year. Given that those putting it down as a preference currently seem to be in the mid-teens, I do wonder where it is going to get 60 children to fill it except by this sort of enforced enrolment to which you have been subject.
AnotherSW18Mummy
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby AnotherSW18Mummy » Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:48 pm

Thanks for all the info everyone.

We are in exactly the same position, being a little over 400m away from EP - we'll be writing to the list provided.

There's a council meeting on 7th May if anyone is able to attend - might be worth trying to raise the issue in person...

Really hope this works out for everyone.
hollyscupcakes
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby hollyscupcakes » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:06 pm

Not at all helpful to anyone else I'm afraid but - gail0810 just thought I would let you know that were in exactly the same positions as you with wpps last year. My daughter went to nursery there but as we are virtually the first/last house in wandsworth so didn't get in in the first intake (but were offered Earlsfield as there were 90 places last year!) We are 332m from wpps and were number 1 on their waiting list and were offered a place in may so hopefully you will get one there as you are a very similar distance. Merton publish their waiting list numbers much later that wandsworth (if you phone them they will tell you the date they release them) so there is some good hope for you :)
I totally understand how you all feel, the lack of planning in Earlsfield (and other places) over the last few years has caused so much distress for parents that just isn't understood by the powers that be at all. Waiting lists do move though so hopefully some of you may be successful. Also a couple of years ago 'Earlsfield parent power' was responsible for creating a third form so you never know.....
Very reasonably priced bespoke cakes and cupcakes made by a local mum in Earlsfield
Www.hollyscupcakessw18.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/HollyscupcakesSW18
EarlsfieldDad
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby EarlsfieldDad » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:38 pm

Thanks to everyone who has posted here. I didn't expected to get this level of response so am both pleased and depressed that the council think its acceptable to treat such a large group of children/families in this way. I agree with the previous post questioning where the demand for this school is going to come from esp when but grows to 60 intake. I think they have seriously underestimated the parental emotion that arises from having a child forced to attend a faith school not of their faith. If you look at the MJPS website you will see that all children who go there are forced to learn Jewish prayers, wear a skull cap, eat kosher food and learn Hebrew. It is crazy that the council can think its acceptable to force young children to be so immersed in these teachings.

Since my original post I sent some letters/emails and have been pleasantly surprised by the response.
- The head of wandsworth council replied within a hour to acknowledge my letter and said he was looking at it
- The head of EP has offered me a meeting in person to discuss the issues
- Sadiq Khan has himself contacted the council on our behalf, asking a bunch of questions and sent me his email today
- I have been contacted by the wandsworth guardian who are writing an article on the issue of primary schools (and seeking input from any parents who wish to contribute)

So at least I feel we now have a voice now, it's a start so thanks to everyone who has helped get this far

Will update as I learn more (probably next week)

EarlsfieldDad
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby ccc » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:28 pm

Hi everyone
I undersatnd your frustrations and I was in this position last year. I live in Wimbledon and my son was placed in a school that did not have a good report that was also a long way from our home. I did not know what I was going to do until I found out about Mosaic Jewish Primary.

I am not religious at all but I though I would go and have a look as I had been recommended it. I am a teacher as well so I can be a little picky and know what I would like in a school and unfortunatley my son could not attend where I currently work.

The outcome: I was very happy and excited after my visit. My son currently attends Mosaic Jewish Primary and is doing extremely well.

They have one teacher with two assistants and the Head also pops in so lots of adult support. Excellent size classrooms, lovely resources and a nurturing , stimualting environment that runs a great learning program.

I also was also worried that it was going to be too 'religious' for us but my son finds it fascinating and it is not too over the top, yes they do uphold the jewish holidays and festivals but they also look at and include other religions of the world as well.

Believe me you will not be disappointed if your child attends Mosaic Jewis Primary it is a lovely supportive school/ environment for your child to spend their first year of school.

Please message me more personal questions if you have any.
All I can ask is before being so negative about the school and posting it on these forums please do pop in to have a visit and then make an informed decision.
giovannahdz
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby giovannahdz » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:52 pm

Hello, I have been reading your posts and I remember one year ago I was in the same position, I have lived in Putney for 14 years, I am Catholic, I go to church and I applied for some faith schools and some non religious but I didn't get any as I live in Manor Fields and I was not close enough to the schools I wanted, As all of you I want the best for my son.
I was given a school I didn't like it but I went and it was true it was not what I was expected for my child until I met a neighbour who told me about MJPS I thought how come we will go to a Jewish School????? it is not my faith and I was worried about the idea of lot's of Jewish kids and 2 or 3 non Jewish, anyway my neighbour spoke so good about this Jewish School that I called and I went. As all of you I have been in lot's of Open Days of outstanding schools, I met some head teachers and I went as well to some open days in private schools around Putney even If I knew we couldn't afford a Private School but I visited a lot around. Well. As soon as I arrive to MJPS I felt like in a Private School then I met the Head teacher who was not only a lovely woman but an educated, well presented person with excellent manners. She showed us the school, everything was new and clean and just lovely. Just to clear some points, there are more non Jewish kids than Jewish, yes they use the cap but only on Fridays for the celebration, my son speaks Spanish and English and I know they are teaching Hebrew which he is happy feeling he is learning another language and I think to learn more languages is great. He is 5 years old, he knows exactly that he is a Christian boy that goes to a Jewish School, his teacher is the most lovely teacher, he love her and he loves his classmates and school. During this time they have done lot's of visits including a Church, a Buddhism temple, we celebrate Easter with hunting Eggs at school, they know the Story about Easter. I mean what can I say just visit the school and you will understand what I mean. You can ask any mum at school and we all feel very lucky, I am telling you this is like a private school without paying and I think all of you who have been given this school are the lucky ones, later there will be no places and everyone will be wanted to have their children there. Hope to see you at MJPS at least give it a visit. Hope this makes you feel much better. :-)
New to Earlsfield
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby New to Earlsfield » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:55 pm

Thank you Earlsfield Dad for all the information and sharing your experience. We are in a similar position. Although we live on Tranmere Rd and our daughter has attended Earlsfield nursery for the last year we have not been an offered a place. It is hugely disappointing. Apparently we are 382 metres away based on how the crow flies. It is interesting that despite the fact the school is 5 mins walking distance and a straight line from our house families who live further walking distance away are offered spaces based on this measurement. I'm not sure where the logic is! I will have to drive my daughter to a school in Tooting whilst everyone passes my door doing the school run. I will also be writing to contacts you have listed.
rachelko24
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Re: Calling Earlsfield frustrated parents...

Postby rachelko24 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:19 pm

I completely empathize with this thread. Last year at this time myself and a group of Southfields parents were in the same position! We were at a primary school nursery we loved and weren't offered reception spots as it was oversubscribed and could only give 2 new reception places due to the sibling policy. We had countless meetings with our local MP and council, only to be sort of given lip service about the current budget, explained that the schools offered should be given a go, and hold on to our places on waiting lists. The only options we had were take the spots offered at another local school (that at the time was in the lowest key stage 1 quintile for reading and maths), move, private school (couldn't afford), or Mosaic (which meant, for our family, getting a car and taking a chance on a new school that was a faith we didn't follow). Needless to say it was a stressful summer. But in the end, after weighing out all of our options, Mosaic was our choice, and I feel pretty lucky that we did. My son is absolutely flourishing there with his reading, writing, maths...all aspects of reception standards have been exceeded in my opinion.

As far as the religious elements, we had worries about that but it has proven to be more of a historic lesson that my son chats with us like they are interesting stories he hears, and we keep the discussion going at home about what we believe, and what different religions also believe. The school actually does the same so it really hasn't been an issue. Pack lunches are no big deal (no nuts, no meat). At the new school location there will be a hot kitchen at which time they have said they want to offer kosher hot meal options.

There has also been talk of the school setting up a bus or other transport system for the new location in Roehampton. Something I know many of the parents are interested in.

Anyone is welcome to message me if they have specific questions. I certainly recommend going to meet the head teacher and have a tour of the school at it's current spot in Wimbledon yourself. Also, the group of us Mosaic mums often have coffee mornings, sometimes at It's a Kids Thing so let me know if anyone would like to come along and chat with us personally about our experience this first year.