Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

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Jan123
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Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Jan123 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:39 pm

We are new to the area near these schools and looking to apply for our daughter in 2017. The schools we are considering are Rutherford House and Fircroft School and possibly Ravenstone although that would be the furthest. Can anyone offer their insight on any of these schools beyond the Ofsted reports which I have been reading?

Pud1
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Pud1 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:56 pm

I'm sure others will come on with more info but what I would say is that Rutherford house is a new, free school and so it does not yet have all the year groups that you would find in a primary school. I'm not sure how many years they have at the moment. Fircroft and Ravenstone are both well established schools that both have many strengths. So it depends whether you want to be part of something new and evolving, or a more established school with children up to Year 6.

Jan123
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Jan123 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:31 pm

Thank you for your helpful reply. I think that is a good basis to start the decision process and I will take my time and visit the schools as well.

At this point in time I prefer the look of Fircroft and Ravenstone and as you say they are established primary schools with a long standing heritage. I would be keen to learn more about Rutherford House and how the school is evolving.

I am eager to learn if parents are content with the schools I am considering as our top choice. Like many parents I would like to see my child thrive socially and academically and to have school friends nearby.

Reb
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Reb » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:25 am

I would go with your instinct. You're doing the right thing by visiting all the schools in your area and deciding which best suits your child. I have a daughter in reception at Rutherford. She is learning, she is happy, safe and making good friendships with kids who are all local. We didn't consider Fircroft as we're closer to Balham, so I really don't know anything about that one. We liked Ravenstone (my Dad went there over 60 years ago!), but decided Rutherford suited us all better. You may have different needs/requirements.

Rutherford is quite academically rigorous and quite strict on things like uniform and behaviour. All these things appealed to us, but it's not everyone's cup of tea.

We're lucky. We have great choice in Wandsworth and all the schools have something to offer. I don't think Ofsted tells you that much. Have a wander past at drop off/pick up. Decide what's important to you, and which school best delivers.

If you want anything more specific about Rutherford then feel free to PM me.

Good luck finding your school!

Jan123
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Jan123 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:03 pm

Thank you for your lovely helpful feedback. I will visit the schools when the open days are offered and indeed would love to chat nearer the time. Many thanks!
Are there any thoughts from parents at Fircroft and Ravenstone?

Mum2Monkey
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Mum2Monkey » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:26 am

I'm also a mum of a Rutherford child and agree with the previous poster - academically rigorous and tight on discipline / behaviour. Very active parent groups and the expectation of high parental involvement - be it in terms of helping out, school trips, making sure your child has done homework, holiday projects, baked cakes, got fancy dress costumes, attending assemblies attending evening phonics / maths / science etc workshops.

My child loves the school - really enjoys learning, has some great friends and particularly likes all the after school clubs. I'm happy too - as he is happy and I have made a lovely group of mum friends too.

For me, the only downside is the initial expense o all the uniform.

I don't know much about the other schools - other than Ravenstone currently has some small class sizes in some years which could be a good thing given I understand it has now overcome it's ofsted issues. I don't think you can really go wrong with schools in Balham.

headshrinker
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby headshrinker » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:22 am

Ravenstone parent here. Have 2 kids there (lower & upper school). It is a real community school, very friendly, good mix of kids. It took a real beating in the last few years as a bad Ofsted coincided with Rutherford House opening just around the corner. It was always a lovely, warm school but probably a little disorganised. That has changed as the Executive Head has knocked it into shape and we are now just waiting for Ofsted to revisit (was supposed to happen before October 2015) so confidence can be fully restored for prospective parents.

Reception classes for this year are not full (class size of 24 for my youngest). Such a shame (although not for those of us with kids in these classes!) as they have great teachers (both men, which the kids seem to love) and loads of space/resources. I honestly can't see that they could have a better experience anywhere else.

It has always done well on non-academics (their athletics team seems to win everything and they have separate teachers for music, PE and dance) and there are more after-school clubs than ever before (recent additions include Mandarin, Hip Hop Dance and Science) and the parties and events are always amazing.

Academically, things have improved too. I personally feel my kids are stretched and challenged. The school uses Mathletics (really good online maths programme) which the kids seem to love.

Those schools you mentioned are all good really (I know there is a lot of stress around school choices but there really aren't any bad ones round here) so I would really strongly advise you to visit them all (both on official visits and also fairs/events) and get a feel for them. I have said this before but when you join a school, you join a community so go along, meet the parents, the kids, the teachers and go for the one that you would like to be a part of.

Jan123
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Jan123 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:46 pm

Thank you Headshrinker for such a detailed and honest response. Ravenstone sounds like a fabulous well rounded school and I can see how the Ofsted report must have put off attracting parents. I am rooting for a better Ofsted report and glad to hear the concerns are being rigorously put right. I am impressed with the sports aspect of the school and the after school classes, particularly Mandarin and hip-hop! :-)

I am not relying solely on Ofsted though and agree that there is so much more to a school than an inspection report. I will explore the schools and visit on the open days and will continue to seek out parents' opinions.

Thanks to the Rutherford House parents and good to hear such a young school is doing well. My reservations have so far been 1. It is very new and 2. I did not like the location and building as much as the other two. But I can see it is a popular choice so have to explore this school too.

I have lovely neighbours with children at Fircroft who have very good things to say about it,

I am just very happy we seem spoilt for choice here! Happy for more parent feedback :-)

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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby marmitelover » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:02 pm

I'm a Raventsone parent (Yr1). My boy loves it there and skips in every morning. he is progressing academically and they've been so good in keeping his interest upped in the topics they tackle and pushing - in my view - in an appropriate way, but also supporting where extra help is needed.

Ofsted were in this week and my view is that the Exec Head team have got everybody to pull their socks up - like the previous poster said, they needed to sort out some of the organisation and I think they have really done that without losing the lovely nature of the school. They also look to balance out the academics with sport and music and clubs so I feel my son is really getting lots out of school.

Couldn't praise it highly enough!

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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby imacowboy » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:46 pm

I would echo Headshrinker's comments - she (he?) neatly sums up why I'm very happy for my son to be starting at Ravenstone in 2017 (I say that with confidence as his sister is currently in Y2, unless the Wandsworth sibling policy changes wildly between now and next year!) The school has taken a real battering in the last couple of years, but has proved its immense resilience thanks to impressive efforts on the part of both the staff and the parents to make it the best it can be.

balhamite
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby balhamite » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:47 pm

Hi

It is such a hard decision, I can totally empathise. All I can add is my experience. My son started Rutherford House in reception in September and we are very pleased with the school. He is so happy there and seems to love going every day. He has made a lovely group of friends and really likes his teachers. It does seem pretty academic (but this is really hard to judge as I have no comparison) but the curriculum is very broad and there is so much to interest them, with engaging topic work, PE, forest school, music, Spanish, ict, school wide art projects, dress up days, lots of outings etc plus obviously lots of free flow time as it is reception. The after school club selection is amazing (lots of sports and dance, cookery, photography, computer coding, music, rollerskating to name just a few) and I have been surprised at how keen my son has been to stay longer at school and partake in the clubs which I think also shows how much he must enjoy it there.

In addition to all this I have made lovely Mum friends and the PTA is very active and welcoming. So all in all a great experience so far. I have friends with kids in reception at Ravenstone (don't know much about Fircroft as it is further away) and they seem equally happy so it is a tough call!

Broken Dad
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Broken Dad » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:35 pm

I have 2 at Ravenstone and I can recommend it. In fact despite my initial reservations I now love it.

My sister and mother are both heads and I asked them to look at the last Ofsted report and interpret it into English for me. I am a lawyer not a teacher. The report was not 'bad' just not outstanding. Interestingly what brought it down were essentially things that most parents would care about to be honest and tended to relate to PC box ticking. That said what I think of as education i.e. science, maths, English has noticeably improved and the new management is fascist (benign) to my delight. Despite being eager to find fault I strongly approve of the school as do most parents.

Some (very few) fled after the last report and I note that of those that I know almost to a parent they now regret this quite strongly. I stuck and to my great relief (it was a big gamble) it proved the best decision. Personally if you want a school with very nice parents (PLU), good discipline and brilliant teaching you cannot go wrong with Ravenstone. It is traditional and is a very good way. Much like a village school but in London.

One man’s view.

headshrinker
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby headshrinker » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:15 pm

http://www.ravenstoneschool.co.uk/about/ofsted

new report out today! Ofsted now good!

Broken Dad
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Broken Dad » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:18 pm

Brilliant! Seems to reflect the views of many parents. The school seems to be motoring now. I would love another Ofsted in a year. I bet that it will be outstanding soon.

Jan123
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Re: Rutherford House or Fircroft or Ravenstone

Postby Jan123 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:56 pm

Great news about Ravenstone School :)

Really appreciated all your feedback. Still not decided though :?


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