Re: 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...
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
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