Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

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Battersea Mummy
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Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby Battersea Mummy » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:05 pm

The nearest primary school to our house is John Burns. I took a look around it a few weeks ago at one of their open morning. It seems like a really vibrant school, the head appears very energetic and I liked the fact she seemed to know all the children on a first name basis. It's only a one form entry primary, so relatively small compared to some of the Battersea primary schools.

The OFSTED report that was conducted last year gave the school a good rating, with the behaviour and safety of the children given an outstanding rating. However, why is it that this school seems a little over looked on NVN in terms of discussions about the school? In some ways it seems acceptable to send your child to Wix, but John Burns is not quite held in such popular favour. Is this so, and if so why?

I would also love to hear any feedback on the school from parents whose children go there, if there are any on NVN!
readbooks
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby readbooks » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:29 pm

Hey Battersea Mummy,

I have a couple friends whose kids go to John Burns and they speak very highly of the school. Their kids love it!
I also remember that in the last Telegraph league table, John Burns (and Wix!) were right behind Belleville. So they must have great academic results too.

I might be a cynic, but I think that the answer to your question can be summed up in one word, demographics.
Just compare the % of pupils eligible for Free School Meals at the following schools in 2013: John Burns 51.4%, Wix 30.1%, National average 26.7%, Belleville 12.2%, Honeywell 8.6-11.4%.
If it wasn't for the bilingual stream, Wix wouldn't get much press on NVN either, though it is a great school.
Maybe (and it is just a maybe) the 'average NVN reader' values the demographics of a school more than its other attributes.
TLS
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby TLS » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:52 pm

A lot of happy John Burns parents won't ever look at this site. It is not BTC. Results are good and I've only ever heard good things about the school.
B&BsMum
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby B&BsMum » Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:57 am

John Burns is a brilliant school - we loved it but sadly left it behind when we moved abroad (I occasionally take a sneaky peak at what's happening locally in case we return, saw this post and had to comment.)

The head knows everyone and is enthusiastic and committed. The teachers are great and the children are a credit - their behaviour is outstanding and it was a real shock and disappointment to everyone when the school lost its overall outstanding rating from Ofsted.

I don't know whether it's unfashionable or simply unknown - when my son was still at nursery and other parents would ask me if we lived near any of the "good" schools in the area, their eyes would just glaze over and they'd lose interest as soon as I didn't mention BV or HW.
Erykah
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby Erykah » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:39 am

It's a very popular school on the Shaftesbury estate where we live, which becoming increasingly a middle class family area. It's a really lovely place to live. John Burns seemed a warm and friendly learning environment.We wouldn't have got into the school (although it was 4th on our list) as we are on the edge of the catchment area. But we are very fortunate to have got our son into a fabulous C of E primary so are very happy. We were very pleasantly surprised when we looked around our local state primaries. We also were very impressed by Chesterton. To be honest we were very relieved to have not BV or HW as any of choices as we all know how hard it is to get into those schools now!
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby ckwmum » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:10 am

When you do see John Burns mentioned on this website, it's always in very glowing terms as the parents who send their kids there absolutely love it. If it is the nearest school to you, you're very lucky!

Probably a large part of the reason you don't hear more about it here is this website tends to be quite BTC/Balham/Clapham focused, and with its single-form entry, John Burns's catchment area is tiny now. So unless people live right by it, they won't have a hope of getting in.

I know several parents who live nearby but didn't get a place this year and were very disappointed.

So if it's the closest school to you, consider yourself very lucky!
Battersea Mummy
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby Battersea Mummy » Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:31 pm

That's great that feedback on the school is so positive. I did just wonder about the lack of mentions on this site in case I was missing something good or bad, but everything people has said makes sense regarding this, so thanks.
Battersea girl
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby Battersea girl » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:12 am

I too have found all the comments helpful as it's our local school and I had been wondering the same thing! thank you!
justalocal
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby justalocal » Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:10 pm

Cannot fault JB but almost don't want to say it here. When dd started school lots of my 'middle class friends' told us were making a mistake not going to one of the 'other' schools (the usual suspects). I wonder if it's only the middle classes who would assume to talk that way to a fellow parent about a decision that presumably they are trying to make in their child's best interests. Dd has been so very happy as well as academically motivated throughout her time there. My only negative is that the very people I thought I wished there were more of when she began school are starting to encroach, and I suspect the local kids will miss out on this fabulous school as the Shaftesbury Estate sells off. Next step is secondary, cue the same conversations from the same friends! And no, for info, I don't think we need to go private...
Shaftesburymum
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby Shaftesburymum » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:33 pm

hi,

We live on the Shaftesbury estate and will (hopefully) send our daughter to either John Burns or Shaftesbury Park reception this year. We viewed both schools and liked both. We had the impression that John Burns was more "strict" and that Shaftesbury Park seemed to be a more fun learning environment. Our daughter is very keen on painting, drawing, dancing and music. She responds very well to creative games and learning through imaginative play.

We also heard that there is a new Head teacher at John Burns, who we have not met.

If anyone has any thoughts or advice on either school we would very much appreciate it.

Thanks!
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby ckwmum » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:36 am

Hi,

I have two children at Shaftesbury Park and couldn't be happier with it. My oldest actually went to John Burns briefly, and was also very happy there. We moved schools because of the French bilingual stream at SP, which is just brilliant.

I don't have enough experience to comment on the differences between the schools, and I think both places offer a great, creative learning environment. Both have warm, caring teachers that work hard to make every child feel happy and safe at school. They seem very good at following different children's needs, and giving them the right kind of support to make sure they thrive.

If you have any specific questions, please send me a message. I'm afraid I have no information about the new head as it was the previous head when my oldest was there.

It's such a tough decision looking at where to put your child for school. But you are spolit for choice with either school, and I am sure your daughter will be very happy in whichever you decide upon.
Shaftesburymum
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby Shaftesburymum » Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:04 am

Thanks so much for replying to me. Your comments are very helpful and reassuring.
atbattersea
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby atbattersea » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:21 pm

My son was at John Burns for four years, and generally I found the teachers very good. The old head was a bit of a problem, in that she liked to think she could ignore criticism, citing the "rules" - only problem was that she didn't know what the rules were!

The new head is actually based at another school, but there's some deal in which the old assistant head is in day-to-day control. Generally I found her much easier to deal with than the old head.

The really nice thing about John Burns is that it is a small, one form entry school. The problem with John Burns is that it is a small, one form entry school.

On the plus side, all the kids know all the other kids, and most of the staff know all of the kids too. The down side is that the school has less opportunity to be flexible in the offer it makes to the children by way of their education. An example of this is that, because there is only one form per year, there's very little opportunity to support those more able, or even those less able - there can be no streaming. While they do have some scope for pulling out some groups for extra attention (at both ends of the spectrum) this is not really embedded across the entire curriculum.

Also, where a bigger school might be able to offer a dance, choir or instrument class for those with different musical interests, JB can't really differentiate in that way.

While we were there they also had an attempt at French classes, which didn't go very well - partially because they didn't have a teacher in the school who could take the class, so had to bring in someone from outside.

While this may seem negative, JB is a good school, if you compare its results across the borough you will see that it is up there with the best. We only chose to go elsewhere because my son was not really getting the level of work he needed to challenge him.

One word of warning. JB is a single entry school. In that it is something of a rarity - Chesterton and Shaftesbury Park are two form entry on much smaller sites, St Mary's is currently being redeveloped so that it will be two form entry. Given the level of demand for primary schools in the area I would not be surprised to see pressure to make JB two form entry in the near future, and this will necessitate the disruption of redevelopment and the consequent loss of playground space. So, be aware of this potential outcome.
BatterseaDadOf2
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby BatterseaDadOf2 » Mon Jan 04, 2016 8:32 pm

Hello there. Here is my first post on NappyValleyNet - I have joined specially to reply to this series of posts!

First off I must confess that I am a governor at John Burns school, and feel I should declare this when commenting on JB.

JB has many strengths and as many others have commented above it gets great results, so I won't dwell on that (though academic achievement is of course core to what schools are for). Aside for the academic record of JB, what made it stand out to myself and my wife when we were choosing a place for our eldest son was the fun yet calm and inclusive nature of the school, and the imaginative teaching used to inspire pupils. I feel the wonderful atmosphere for learning at JB is partly why at the beginning of last term JB was awarded level 2 (the highest level) of the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award.

I thought I'd also mention that JB structure some of their lessons (including phonics and maths) so that pupils of similar abilities are taught together in groups, and when a child is exceptional they may even be moved to a group consisting of pupils from the year above.

The outdoor space is really great at JB, and I'm sure this helps my energetic little boy burn off some energy and be more focused in class. We have no plans to expand our entry or convert space from outdoor use, on the contrary we are working to become a Forest School, for which outdoor play is central.

I could say so much more, but will stop here to save pixels. All, please do feel free to contact me via NappyValleyNet for any other information on JB. I would be more than happy to assist.

In reference to the title of the original post - I do think we at JB are not very vocal when singing its praises, so I thought I'd start here ;)
atbattersea
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Re: Why does John Burns school seem a bit 'unfashionable'?

Postby atbattersea » Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:17 am

BatterseaDadOf2 wrote:I thought I'd also mention that JB structure some of their lessons (including phonics and maths) so that pupils of similar abilities are taught together in groups, and when a child is exceptional they may even be moved to a group consisting of pupils from the year above.
While this is true, my experience is that this only goes as far as Reception and Year 1 - there is no scope for children in year 2 or above being educated with children in years above their own. If this has changed then I am happy to hear it - but again, although I think JB is generally a good school, this is one of the areas it suffers in with being a one form entry school.

I say this with knowledge of the school, since my son and some of his classmates were beneficiaries of this system.