Any parents out there who can suggest the best primary schools in SE1 - I'm looking at Ofsted reports and going a bit mad with graphs and percentiles...I just want my kid to be happy and get the best local education...
Ask lots of people, but then go and see as many as you can. Each school will have a different atmosphere, and, a bit like looking for a home, you start to work out what you like and are looking for.
There is a tendency for Lambeth residents to look for Southwark Schools rather than the reverse.
Also worth remembering that though reception places are hard to find, families tend to move out of London, and so junior places are easier to get. So if the school you choose because the infants is good, proves less ambitious at junior stage, it is not so hard to swap.
A lot of kids, certainly at the Waterloo end of the area, go north of the river. If you are a church goer, St Peters Eaton Sq, Burdett Coutts, and St Matthews (CofE), and St Vincent de Paul and Westminster Cathedral (Catholic) are all sought after. These are in Westminster, but there are also a couple of Covent Garden (Camden) Primaries that people also choose.
Sarah is right - go see as many schools as you can and don't get to bogged down by Ofsted reports/league tables, whilst they might provide a starting point they certainly do not give the whole picture. Whilst some might send their kids north of the river Im not sure this is strictly necessary. St.judes (Cof E) , Friars, cathedral school (Cof E) boutchers (Cof E) and St.josephs (Rc )are all excellent schools witgood reputations. When my kids started school I would not have considered Charles Dickens(my youngest is year 5) but this too is now a fabulous school with excellent league table results, where as the school my child is at and was heavily over subscribed when I applied , but has just failed its ofsted (for reasons in some cases justified in other not so). It is none the less a very caring school and there is a limit to what an inspector can really know about a school in just a 3 day visit its sats results are the best yet and I will continue to support the school because i think the ethos of school is right for my child despite it current problems .
Sarah is also right in that there are often places available in even those that are heavily over subscribed schools at nursery level. So if you are not happy with your first choice you can change further down the line.
So my advise is ask around (if you don't know any one with school children yet why not ask parents as they come or go to a school you may be interested in) and visit as many as possible I think gut instinct on a visit (are you made to feel welcome?) is often an excellent indicator of whether a school is right for your child.
I have just been through all this-my little one is in reception and it is all a bit of a lottery as you have to just put your childs name down for as many schools as you can and hope they get accepted. This is difficult for the schools as well as they do not know when they make offers which children will actually be taking them up and with some school starting reception classes in September and some in January you have to decide whether you risk losing a september place in the hope you will get a January one.
A lot will depend on where you live in the area and which schools are local as the more popular ones will be over subscribed and the closer you are the more chance you have of getting in.
It is also true that the Ofsted results vary from year to year and do not reflect the true position. You should visit as many schools as you can and talk to as many parents as you can to get a better feel of the school.
Also be aware that there are some big shake ups of Southwark schools being proposed with a possible merger of Snowsfield and Tower Bridge and the closure of Galleywell road may lead to increases in the size of other schools-there was a report in the Southwark News last week which may be worth looking at to gauge the future of the schools you may be interested in.
Charles Dickens is not too far, you could walk it I think through the back doubles, the ofsted reports are not always a good indicattor...Boucher school is also very well thought of.. Jan the old rickety drunk one!
memo to self...must stop posting educational advice whilst under the influence of ....tea and whisky..........
you are lucky that there are some good school in the area where you are-you did not say you were looking for church schools so have assumed not-near to you are both Friars and Charlotte Sharman which are very popular with parents and get good reports and you should be in their catchment areas dependent on exactly where you live. Church wise you have St Judes Cof E and St Georges RC or at the Borough the Cathedral school. The Cathedral school and Charles Dickens are popular and there are less schools in that area and resultingly they have a fairly tight catchment area so you may be too far from the Borough to get in. As I said before put your childs name down for all of them - you will have to just to get into 1!