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Primary Schools

On 16 Jan 2009 at 7:32am TT wrote:
I know that this topic has been discussed to death in the past but what are people's current thoughts about Lewes Primary Schools as the closing dates for applications is almost upon us? What's good or bad?
On 16 Jan 2009 at 9:20am FA wrote:
My humble opinion on them....apologies if ive left any out.
Pells....improving, very small, Landport
Malling, good, average sized, don't really hear a lot about it
Wallands, Big school, had its problems
St Pancras...Catholic school, small, average
Wsetern rd, Medium sized, ok
Southover....as above
On 16 Jan 2009 at 10:03am Joe Kerr wrote:
www.ofsted.gov.uk will give you a more unbiased view in its inspection reports
On 16 Jan 2009 at 4:30pm Earl of Lewes wrote:
I don't completely trust the Ofsted reports. I would say that there's no simple answer, as each school suits different types of personalities.

Southover is very academically-oriented and has been described as the next best thing to private education. Good for bright kids. However it's a bit poky and the playing fields are shared with Western Road. Also, if your child isn't academically precocious and likes running around, this isn't the right place.

Western Road has lots of artistic/bohemian parents. It's a close-knit school that has suffered from poor leadership in the past and I know of a couple of parents who moved their kids from the school.

Wallands has the best location - lots of open space. Academic standards are pretty good. It is quite 'mixed' (i.e as many chavs as middle class kids). The SENCO (special needs) co-ordinator is pretty useless and there have been complaints about the headteacher, although others say he's improved the school during his tenure (he's leaving in the summer). Good for normal, average children. Most teachers are good.

St Pancras - Catholic, but they don't ram religion down your throat and accept non-Catholics. It seems a happy place with good standards, but the playground area is tiny, sandwiched between two roads.

Pells - poorer academic standards due to the catchment area, but results are going up.

I've heard good and bad things about every school and when I was choosing, ended up feel more confused than ever. Good luck!

On 16 Jan 2009 at 5:43pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I wouldn't go near any of them. They have children in them. Ghastly creatures.
On 17 Jan 2009 at 3:26pm mr happy wrote:
My kids dont go to school in Lewes but when I read the ofsted report for my kids primary school most of it was rubbish. The trouble is that the schools go all out to make an effort when Ofsted are coming (well you would wouldnt you?) My school looked liked it had after school clubs and lots of art, drama and sport when actually they are poor on that part. Its like an exam that they have to pass.
I would say ask lots of parents.
On 19 Jan 2009 at 7:19pm The Darkest Knight wrote:
Always interesting hearing views of primary schools from parents!
Ofsted has a lot of faults, but it simply isn't possible for a school to fool the inspectors by papering over any cracks in the two or three days warning before an inspection. The head, governors and staff must keep an online self-evaluation form up to date, with huge amounts of evidence to back it up. This form is frozen by Ofsted very shortly after the head is told of the forthcoming inspection, and used, along with raise online assessment data, as the basis of the inspection. The inspectors go into school to prove the hypothesis they have formed from the SEF. Schools are primarily assessed from SATs results and how well they are implementing the Every Child Matters agenda.
As far as clubs are concerned, schools are in a difficult position. Teachers don't stop working at 3.15pm. If they do run a club, it is usually free and in their own time, and frequently used as a free child-minding service by parents. When outside agencies run clubs, they have to charge, and these clubs are usually only ever cancelled when not enough children attend them in order to make them financially viable.
So no Ofsted report is ever mostly "rubbish". It's certainly not "like an exam", because the inspection verdict is based on a school's performance over years, not two days. There is a fantastic choice of schools in Lewes and all the surrounding villages. Gossip from peeved parents at the school gates doesn't help anyone choose a school for their children. Visit the schools, talk to the children, then decide.
On 21 Jan 2009 at 2:17pm ham wrote:
Don't agree with you darkest knight - i've seen ofsted and if you can fill in the online forms well you do well rather than what the school is like in whole raft of areas- not convinced they even visited the classrooms when they did Priory. On primary schools I think they are all pretty good and wouldn't panic whichever one you go to. On past experience Southover is the hardest to get in so if you live in that area and are worried put Western Road first and you will get in, but I would just go to the nearest one as the children in all of them are well behaved.

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