Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

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Kat15
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Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby Kat15 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:11 pm

It's getting closer to the deadline for listing choices and we are a bit stuck (in a positive way!) between what seem to be two good schools: Ravenstone and Rutherford House. Having visited each school already, I wonder if anyone here might be able to offer some insight on choosing between the two. It seems that Rutherford House has possibly a better reputation at the moment, well-resourced with shrinking catchment area, but is still relatively new and not yet running at full capacity. Our predominant impression of Ravenstone was that of a slightly less well resourced but very caring and happy environment for children. After school care provision is important to us. I am sure there is lots we have not thought of. Thank you in advance!
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Nev123
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby Nev123 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:27 pm

We are going through the same thought process. Leaning towards Rutherford I think for the same reasons but they both seem like really great options. I’d be interested to know parents’ thoughts.

I also wonder what people do about the form. Should you fill out all 6 options? Unless catchments shrink a lot I’m not sure we need to.
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Spinosaurus
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby Spinosaurus » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:24 pm

We went through this last year and our child is at Ravenstone now and we are pleased with it. It was our second choice but when a place came up at our first choice of Henry Cavendish two months into first term we turned it down. Ravenstone is a bit scruffy in parts although that's improving but most important to us is the happy atmosphere and our happy child.
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twomonkeys
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby twomonkeys » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:14 pm

I can't help with direct experience on those particular schools as mine are at another, but I would strongly urge @Nev to fill all 6 spaces on your form. It's unlikely you'll not get your first or second choice, but it is impossible to predict what will happen with demand and catchment areas - better to get a school you have actively chosen, than to be allocated a random school if you have not put enough.
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matilda
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby matilda » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:29 pm

Trinity St Mary's on Balham Park Road is on the same level as Ravenstone and Rutherford, so check them out as well.
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Nev123
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby Nev123 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:35 pm

Yes that’s a fair point. Better to have put something just in case. Catchments do seem to fluctuate a lot.
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marmitelover
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby marmitelover » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:00 pm

I’m a Ravenstone parent and we couldn’t be happier with the school. The headmaster joined about 18 months ago and he’s young, keen and brilliant. Our children (x2!) are both very happy there. It’s inclusive, caring and fun but also a real focus on teaching and getting results for all pupils. I particularly like that the different school years interact - so yr6 pupils are there to keep the reception/Nursery play on track, peer mentors and lunch buddies etc.

After school and breakfast club have been on-site since September 2017 and are popular with the children and good value for parents.

Choosing a school is very personal to your child and it’s great that Balham has choice between good schools. As echoed above, do put all choices in just in case as catchments can move year to year! In my view, Ravenstone is an excellent all round school
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balhamfun
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby balhamfun » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:46 pm

We have a child in reception at Ravenstone and we absolutely love the school. Lots of reasons but the main ones are:

The Head has high aspirations for all the children. This was critical for us, and we love the real sense of excitement about learning generated by the school. He is also really strong on ensuring best practice and evidence-based approaches are brought into teaching on a day to day basis, and on keeping his eye on how this positively impacts results and learning.

Alongside that we love that the school values include happiness, kindness and honesty. The school has a real focus on children's well being and supporting them to become world-ready as well as test-ready.

Mr Croft (The Head) is absolutely amazing, I don't know where he finds the energy from. He has an inspiring leadership style, and seems to be able to both support and challenge his teaching team, and bring out the best in them. This approach seems to filter down to how they work with the children. I love the traditional school building, and resourcing and equipment seems good, although one of Mr Croft's current projects is revamping the main playground area. There is some info on the website (https://www.ravenstoneschool.co.uk/for/ ... velopment/ )

We visited several local schools, all twice, and also considered private. Ravenstone stood out for us as somewhere that our child would be stretched and supported academically but also have the space to grow and develop and be themselves, and think about how to apply their learning and what it would mean for the future.

Rutherford House also seems like a great school though so whatever your choice/outcome we are all pretty lucky to live in an area with such a strong choice of schools!
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NYVANLON
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby NYVANLON » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:19 am

Hello,
I’m another Ravenstone parent here. We started at the school last year having moved from abroad, so same time as Mr Croft, our head teacher started. Like you, went through the process of looking at schools in the area recently, even though my children are in a year 5 and Year 3. I was looking for specific things due to my children’s ages, so maybe not similar to a Reception parent’s eyes. Ravenstone was first on our list of 6.

This being the 3rd country we are living in, we were looking specifically for a well-rounded and diverse school. We couldn’t be happier with our choice and Ravenstone has been able to provide that for us. Aside from having a dynamic and open-minded head teacher who welcomes suggestions and ideas, Ravenstone also provide a rich, well-rounded school day that is not rigid and offers creativity and room to express themselves.

The school has a proper dance teacher and foreign language teacher, as well as offers swimming, music lessons and is very, very successful in sports. Last year, our athletics team made it to the London finals (after winning all of Wandsworth) and my son also competes with the school football team. The swim team is also very active. Last year, Mr Croft implemented a new reading program for the entire school. There is much to choose from the array of after school clubs, as well.

Lastly, I found the PTA to be very active and welcoming. There are a ton of events and many chances to meet new people and take an active part in helping make the school and our children a success as a parent. As mentioned, our head teacher is very supportive of the parent-teacher partnership at the school. It was very important to us that the school had an “open door policy” in this regard. When we first moved here, we found more closed doors than open when it came to that.

I love most that my kids have the diversity of options to try things and see what they are interested in. Couldn’t recommend it enough!
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mumtobusyboy
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby mumtobusyboy » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:15 am

I would also suggest considering Trinity St Mary's school. My son is so happy there, now in year 1 and doing brilliantly. The school is 9th in the league tables for Wandsworth. And unlike most other local schools there is just one form per year and small classes. I would give the school a ring to book a personal tour. 0208 673 4166 Good luck! (and I agree do put down 6 choices as year to year catchments change as does availability of places based on number of siblings).
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Pemberley
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby Pemberley » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:04 am

Hello,

We are Rutherford House (RHS) parents with a son in Y2 and another in a local independent so we see both sides of the fence so to speak. We are really pleased we went with RHS and would certainly have sent the elder one also, if it had been there.

We like how responsive the teachers are, for example I sent some emails to the teachers last night and got three replies back within a couple of hours of sending it. All the staff are so willing to go the extra mile, open to ideas and supportive. There is great buzz of creativity and energy about the place. There is a fair amount of discipline in place regarding uniform and such so do expect to get hauled over if you don’t have the right colour coat etc. However, the academic rigour is on par with the independent school and they are looking into how they may support parents who are looking at the independent sector for next schools.

Parents are kept so well informed about the children’s learning and have a strong voice within the school community. We so buy in to the open, nurturing and accepting environment of the school.

Our son literally ‘breezes’ into school each morning and we are so pleased. I do agree with other posters that we are spoilt somewhat in our area for schools.
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LastMumStanding
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby LastMumStanding » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:36 am

Rutherford is getting increasingly crowded - what was a great space a few years back is now struggling as more kids join each year and the current pupils grow bigger and take up more space! Some disappointingly unimaginative and slow responses to children with additional needs detected after joining the school.
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headshrinker
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby headshrinker » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:01 pm

Don't they have another 2 years to add at Rutherford? Is that going to be a problem or are they just used to having extra space so it feels odd as it fills up? Always felt that the building/playground were not ideal but never heard parents complaining about it before. Have noticed how strange it seems to have big kids in RH uniforms. They were always so little.
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Mummyinarush
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Re: Ravenstone vs Rutherford House primaries

Postby Mummyinarush » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:29 pm

I know everyone will have made their school choices now, but wanted to add my thoughts in case you find yourselves wondering which one to take up when the allocations come out!

We have experience of both Trinity St Mary and Ravenstone, we also looked round and seriously considered private school options plus Rutherford House, Henry Cavendish and Telferscott. We were fortunate enough to be in catchment for all of them at the time we made our applications.

We were impressed by both Ravenstone and Rutherford House, but for very different reasons. Both are highly focused on supporting children to achieve their full potential and both have dedicated Head Teachers who are committed to building outstanding schools.

In the end we chose Ravenstone because of their emphasis on building a life long love of learning, the importance they place on developing the whole child and the sense of being part of a wider local community. It has turned out to be absolutely the right choice.

At Ravenstone the children are stretched academically, or offered additional support as required. In our child’s class there are children achieving two or more years ahead of the national average being taught alongside those with special educational needs, and both groups are thriving.

The atmosphere is welcoming and positive - the children run into school in the morning and don’t want to leave in the evening (even on a Friday night I struggle to get mine out of the playground to go home!). The Friends of Ravenstone help to nurture this sense of community - and raise lots of money for the school in the process! Older children receive training to become mentors to younger children and take on leadership roles in school activities ranging from captaining a sports team to setting up a social enterprise.

Communication is excellent - there is a weekly all school newsletter, online information, class specific updates and the ability to email teachers at any time about specific concerns (and get a response within a couple of hours). It is possible to meet one to one with the inspirational Head Teacher, Mr Croft, at just 24 hours notice if you have something urgent to discuss.

The whole staff is receptive to feedback - both positive and negative - and responds to it very quickly, so it feels like an exciting, dynamic environment that is constantly making incremental improvements (Mr Croft is a passionate sportsman who references Dave Brailsfords marginal gains approach, so that gets my vote!).

There are specialist teachers for dance, sport, languages and music, so the quality of provision in these areas is excellent (the early years Christmas show was phenomenal and Ravenstone just swept the board in the Wandsworth Inter School Athletics Competition).

On the academic side Ravenstone teachers are leading the way in areas like Maths Mastery, with teachers from other schools across London visiting to observe lessons and receive training to emulate the Ravenstone approach. Children are not set reams of homework, but they are encouraged to do carefully thought through tasks at home that will deepen their learning and ensure solid foundations for secondary school and beyond. This approach feels proportionate and pragmatic.

So whilst it might look like everyone is having fun in a relaxed, non uniform, environment, they are definitely being taught at the highest level. The children benefit from a supportive environment where they can be creative and individual, but where they are also stretched and challenged to be their best selves.

No school is perfect, but this one is pretty darn close and striving everyday to get closer. We couldn’t ask for more.
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