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messageHarris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Caroline_S 21 April, 2014 21:10

So we have taken the plunge and sent off our acceptance of a place at Harris East Dulwich. We have been really impressed by the staff and their ethos and I'm really excited about being part of this brand new school.

I've noticed a few threads from other schools with information about welcome events, and felt a bit sad that we can't even show our children their school yet! So at the risk of sounding like a one-woman PTA, I wondered whether other parents would be interested in getting together for a picnic with the kids over the summer, so that they can meet each other and therefore see a few familiar faces on the first day? I'd be really happy to arrange something nearer the time, perhaps in Peckham Rye park as I guess that will be fairly central to most of us who are choosing Harris.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by peggoula 21 April, 2014 21:17

Please count us in, us and our daughter would love to come.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Mariamadeit 21 April, 2014 21:29

Yes us too, I think they did mention about doing things like this at the recent meeting.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by LauraHW 22 April, 2014 10:16

That sounds like a lovely idea. We've yet to decide on what we're doing. Apologies for slightly hijacking the thread but we missed the meetings so really don't know anything about what the school will offer. Can anyone share what they have gleaned so far?

Many thanks

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by peggoula 22 April, 2014 10:22

I had an email today from Jamie McFarland reassuring me the school will open and that there will be induction meetings and meetings about what is happening next. I think he may have the minutes of previous meetings so I think best deal would be to email him (). See you at the next meeting!

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Norfolkvillas 22 April, 2014 13:30

We're still in decision-making mode, but if we go for Harris, we will definitely be up for summer meet-ups ahead of term starting!

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by bubblebob 23 April, 2014 12:23

We've now accepted our place and as such would love to come to any summer meet ups.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Caroline_S 23 April, 2014 13:30

Brilliant! I had an email from Jamie McFarland today to say that there wouldn't be a chance for the kids to see the (temporary) school before term begins but that there would be an induction event, but sounded as though this was an evening thing mainly for parents, so I'm glad that people would be keen to have a more informal day-time gathering for the kids.

Laura HW, the powerpoint presentation from a couple of meetings ago is on the Harris Free School East Dulwich website. This meeting was presented by Sir Robin Bosher, who is the director of Harris Primary schools. It was his involvement that really got our interest in the new Harris school. He was Executive Head of Fairlawn and is now leading the primary inspection team for Ofsted. Yet I didn't get the impression he was all about ticking the Ofsted boxes - he seemed to have a really child-centred ethos to primary education and I got the impression that he wanted the children to do well without hothousing them.

Since then, they've appointed a head teacher who was there at the meeting earlier this month. I was really impressed by his enthusiasm and I could imagine the kids really liking him. He said he took the job on the condition that he would be given the budget to recruit well qualified teachers and talked a lot about primary education being really important in laying the foundations for later learning. The staff ratio seems very good too - each class will have a teacher as well an early years practitioner, and in addition there will be one teaching assistant floating between the two.

The whole team seem really committed to shaping the school around the needs of this particular cohort of children and as such seem very open to suggestions about what parents want, for example with wrap-around care. Harris as a federation seem very committed to working in partnership with parents and I personally like the fact that they send home reports every half term and, given that this is a new school and our children will be the only ones there, I get the sense that if I had concerns then they would definitely be listened to.

I initially had some reservations about the children always being the eldest in the school, but I now think that the advantages of this initially small school environment will far outweigh the disadvantages in these very early years.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by embo71 23 April, 2014 13:35

Hi ya,
Just thought I would also put my hat into the ring.
I have just accepted a place for my daughter and think a (or possibly more?) meet up would be a great idea.
Am happy to get involved with organising etc,
I look forward to meeting you all soon,
Cheers,
Em

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Mariamadeit 23 April, 2014 15:29

Caroline I completely agree, I was unsure at first but Robin Bosher really spoke well about his vision for the school and I was also pleased with the new head.

Tell me if this is a crazy idea but how do people feel about tying a ribbon or something on their bag/scooter or whatever so that if we see another family/child in the park or wherever, with the same we introduce ourselves, with only 60 of us, we might have to ask a lot of families before we find any other Harris families otherwise.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by poppy 24 April, 2014 14:11

Count me in too! My son will be at Harris but it's a long way from his nursery so I doubt he will moving on with any of his friends. Really looking forward to getting to know other families. i think (hope!) there will be a lovely community feeling given that our kids will be the only ones there. Little pioneers!

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Norfolkvillas 26 April, 2014 20:57

Hello again, I'm thrilled to be adding my name to the list of those who have accepted places at the new Harris Primary! At the risk of sounding like a crazy-lady, we've turned down our place at our nearest, well-regarded, apparently-soon-to-be-rated-outstanding-by-Ofsted community school, because we've been so, so impressed by what Harris is offering. I spent over an hour quizzing the new head yesterday (poor bloke) and came away feeling even more positive. I really can't believe how lucky we are to have this opportunity.

I am definitely up for summer picnics to intro the kids, and I also thought it might be nice to organise a parents get-together one evening - as Mariamadeit suggests, it would be good to be able to start recognising each other before term starts? If you're interested, PM me with your email address and I'll send an email round to find a date that suits all.

When trying to make my decision, I wrote down a list of pros and cons for Harris and for my other option - I thought if others are trying to make a similar decision, I'd post my Harris pros and cons here - obviously, these are my own personal take on what I've found out, but just in case it's helpful...

PROS

More teachers per class than LEA school - 2.5 vs 2

Including head, 6 full time teaching staff for 60 pupils in the first year - 1:10 ratio!

Hiring only experienced and fully qualified teaching staff was one of the conditions on which the head accepted the job

Much more parent feedback than LEA - two or three parents evenings a year, plus progress reports every half term, plus regular drop in sessions

Specialist subject teaching in years 5 and 6

In the longer term, pathways like Harris Westminster collaboration, and the Harris Experience and Experience Advanced sound like an amazing motivator, for kids and staff alike

Passionate and ambitious head who sees EY education as an absolute priority

The head has a focus on, and a previous specialism in, behaviour - zero-tolerance to bullying, well-versed in encouraging kindness and respect

Head thinks teachers should eat with kids at lunchtime, and intends to be in the playground himself at breaktime

Robin Bosher has set up the structure and appointed a primary leadership team who seem dead set on continuing his legacy

Layers of experienced management (Fiona Kelly) above the head to support and crosscheck

Specialist primary education advisors on hand eg Siobhan Adams

Federation takes care of the boring stuff allowing head to focus on teaching and children, plus has access to economies of scale, freeing up budget for teaching / enrichment etc

Federation seems well-placed to attract the best teachers with lots of progression opportunities

Exciting opportunities from the collegiate structure - eg language provision across several schools

Federation-wide events eg Sports Day (this year poss to happen at Olympic stadium) and Battle of the Brains

Motivated-sounding parents on the forum have accepted places and head very open to PTA collaboration

New school under scrutiny - it will not be allowed to fail

Will be in purpose-built building to latest standards - no small class rooms or echoey high ceilings

A low-stress settling in as it will be such an intimate context, with half days in the first week

Headteachers and teachers comments on mumsnet say that the first intake of a new school is an unmissable opportunity


CONS

Unproven school, taking all of the above on trust

Have only met head and management, won't get to meet teachers til June

Much wider catchment this year than LEA so school chums not quite as immediately local

Sir Robin Bosher gone to Ofsted

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Mariamadeit 27 April, 2014 09:25

This is great Norfolk villas... Will pm you in a min.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by queenB 27 April, 2014 17:06

Hi All
We've gone for it and sent our acceptance too for our daughter. Would love to meet some of you over the next few months. Like the idea of a ribbon etc! I'm on maternity leave this year so always around the park etc. looking forward to meeting you all xx

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by theratprincess 27 April, 2014 23:00

Just completed our form. We're in too. Met the head on Friday and was impressed. Look forward to meeting you all soon - happy to attend any variety of meet up.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by hannah.alton 29 April, 2014 11:44

Hello

We've come late to the Harris free school but have just accepted a place for our son and would love to be included in any meet ups over the summer. Norfolkvillas, thanks for that list also, it was really helpful!

Thanks!

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Mariamadeit 29 April, 2014 14:39

Ok I have tied a WHITE ribbon on the strap of my bag, if you spot us, do say hello!

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by jangle 30 April, 2014 20:12

Hello fellow Harris Parents - yep we're in too, and I'm v.excited (funny what floats your boat nowadays hey?!)

Anyway, it'd be great to get to know folks over the next few months before term starts....definitely up for evening drinks soon and park/picnic/kid thing whenever.

Norfolkvillas, I'll pm you email address now x

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by poppy 01 May, 2014 22:25

I'd love to come to a parents' meet-up. Norfolkvillas, I'll pm you my email address.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2014:05:01:22:27:04 by poppy.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Norfolkvillas 02 May, 2014 09:54

Hi poppy, yes please do PM me your details, as I'm going to send an email round in the next day or so to try and organise a first parents' meet-up. I know the official induction event is going to be sometime in June, so I was thinking it would be nice to arrange to meet ahead of that, so we'll know some names and faces when it comes around.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Mariamadeit 02 May, 2014 13:57

Yes good idea, will look forward to it!

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by cathk11 02 May, 2014 22:07

Hi all we are in too after being offered a very unsuitable place by LB Southwark.
Please include me in a meet up - am also excited now that my son gets to shape a new school!

Catherine

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Caroline_S 16 May, 2014 22:28

Thanks for organising our first meet up, Norfolkvillas - really looking forward to meeting everyone on 27th!

This lovely weather has made me think it might be good to get the ball rolling with a kids' picnic / meet-up. I'll send an email round to those of us already in touch but if anyone else would like to be included, please PM me your email address.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Alexa2009 20 May, 2014 19:55

Hi, my daughter was accepted in the school today, so we are very exited. Please do e- mail me when and where the parent meeting will be ,because I will make my best to attend. Unfortunately we will be away for the School meeting on 10June, so I would like to take part of the future discussions. Thanks!

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by JosieP 22 May, 2014 10:49

hello everyone. we just got my daughter's acceptance through the post too and we're equally excited. If you wouldn't mind, please add us in for all summer hijinks. we'd love to meet up x

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by hannah.alton 22 May, 2014 11:00

We're sadly going to miss the parents meeting on 19th too Alexa2009, but we'd love to join in meet ups over the summer!

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Norfolkvillas 22 May, 2014 17:01

Hi hannah.alton I sent you a PM a while back about meet ups, but perhaps you didn't see it. I'll send you another now, but if for any reason it doesn't come through, please do PM me with your email address and I'll add you to the distribution list we have up and running for organising meet ups through the summer.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by gemmamala 04 June, 2014 13:24

Hi another one to add to the list please. Are you all going to the open eve on 10 June?

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Norfolkvillas 04 June, 2014 14:33

Hi gemmamala, welcome to the gang! There'll be lots of us going on the 10th and we're also organising some summer picnics for the kids to meet. We pop updates on our Facebook page, so feel free to like it if you're on Facebook: [www.facebook.com]

I'll PM you now to ask if you'd like to join the email list for updates, meet-ups and organising things like which parents would like an after-school club provision etc.

messageRe: Harris East Dulwich Reception 2014
Posted by Bisou 11 June, 2014 13:53

Hi,
I would love to hear from any parents who have sent their child to the new primary Academy and their thoughts on the school.
We are looking to 2015 and seem to have little chance of the local school we want and so are thinking of this school as I like the sound of it.
Thank you

Beez

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