ISSUE NO. 143
south east london
In this issue: Half term and Halloween fun School Open Days Mothers Mean Business
The Pointer School (Blackheath)
A Prep, Pre-Prep & Nursery School for boys & girls between the ages of 3 and 11 • First Class examination results (100% success in recent 2012 examinations)
• Numerous extra-curricular clubs (36 in total, from fencing to horse riding)
• Organic food
• Large variety of outdoor and PE activities
• Breakfast club and after school care (8am-6pm)
• Three languages taught
• Christian Evangelical in ethos
• Holiday club (Christmas, Easter and Summer)
OFSTED: “OUTSTANDING IN ALL AREAS“ Telephone: 020 8293 1331
See OFSTED reports on our website
Founded by Muriel & Della Pointer in 1951
THERE’S MUCH talk in playgrounds across London as parents ponder their child’s next school, in a “Headlice High has now become an academy - what does it mean?” sort of way. Knowledge is power. We devote five pages of this issue to league tables, open days, what children want out of a teacher and for good measure, practical help for left-handers. Happily half term punctuates the month, providing time off from weighty matters to watch a show, visit an exhibition, sign up to a workshop or don a witch’s hat and scare little children. Or maybe that’s just me... Robina Cowan, editor
IN THIS ISSUE 2-3 Local News and Views A day of free tennis sessions, cool dancing for boys, touch-typing in Sydenham, a new shop and a job offer from Families
4-7 School News Choosing a new school, open days and the chance to win a classroom!
8 Left Out? Practical tips to help left handed children get to grips with writing
9 The Bookseller Crow Justine Crow recommends a feast of books to curl up with, read aloud or learn from
10-11 Half Term and Hallowe’en Keeping your little rascals entertained when school’s out
12 Family Life Help when you need it in a family breakdown, and saving for your child’s future
13 Mothers Mean Business Amberin Fur on family life and The Vale Practice in East Dulwich
14-18 What’s On All the best days out in and around town
19 What’s New Great products, useful services and tips for family skiing
20 The Back Page Local business contacts to make your life easier
Front cover: Girl wears 3⁄4 sleeve blouse from £10 (two pack), Marks & Spencer, 0845 609 0200, www.marksandspencer.com
Next issue out 2 November, copy deadline mid October Families South East PO Box 11591, London SE26 6WB 020 8699 7240 www.familiesse.co.uk email@example.com
LocalNews email your news to firstname.lastname@example.org
ildren h c r o f s ie it iv Act Tennis-4-Kids open day Find out how much fun children have at Tennis-4-Kids by joining in with a FREE open day session on 31 October. The day’s sessions are: ages 2-3 years Tiny Tots 10.30-11am with parents; ages 3-4 Little Aces 11-11.30am, ages 4-5 Junior Champs 11.30am-12.15pm; ages 6-8 Grand Slammers 12.15-1pm, all indoors at St Clements Church Hall in East Dulwich. Term time lessons are also available; for bookings and more information, call Gordon on 07877 391005 or see www.tennis-4-kids.com.
South London Dance Studios ‘Calling all boys with rhythm and style (and a bit of attitude), who want to learn to dance!’ South London Dance Studios have a new range of dance classes suitable for boys, including street classes (for boys 5-7 years, 7-9 years and 10 years plus) for all abilities. In these classes boys learn current commercial dance styles to lively and contemporary music with the emphasis of the classes on having fun. The boys improve their ability to learn new routines quickly and also develop their technique, strength and flexibility. There is plenty going on for all at South London Dance Studios: • 50 students are doing the Ultimate Dance Challenge in aid of Save the Children on Sunday 14 October, aiming to raise at least £5,000. • they have just had the best examination results ever, with almost all students gaining distinction and the highest mark in a ballet examination being 97% by one of the Grade 3 girls • they’ve had two students in National Youth Ballet for the past few years • students are auditioning for West End shows and successfully competing in dance festivals and ISTD award competitions • over 200 children will take part in a big show in June next year at Alleyn’s school • there are new classes for adult beginners For further information or to enrol, email email@example.com or call the studios on 020 7978 8624.
Typing on the move Learning to touch type makes life a whole lot easier for children, not just for school work, but also at home to complete essays or catch up with friends on a laptop. With proper tuition, children learn to touch-type surprisingly quickly, and what’s more, enjoy the whole experience. Since setting up in Greenwich in 2004, YES touch-typing has taught thousands of local children. During the summer, the organisation moved to Sydenham High School, where Saturday and school holiday courses are now attracting new families (yes - they teach adults too). To find out more or enrol, call 020 7515 1707 or 07961 427640, or see www.yes-tuition.co.uk. TOTS ON TUESDAY AT STREATHAM & CLAPHAM JUNIOR SCHOOL
A great place to meet other parents and carers A fun time for babies and toddlers (up to 4 years) ? An opportunity to socialise and share ideas and support ? A stimulating and safe environment ? Stay and play while enjoying a coffee (or tea!) ?
Tots on Tuesday takes place at 10 am until 12 noon every Tuesday morning during term-time. Streatham & Clapham Junior School Wavertree Rd, Streatham Hill SW2 3SR 020 8674 6912 www.schs.gdst.net
families south east - october 2012
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Ecole Cadet Rousselle L’Ecole Cadet Rousselle in Herne Hill offers classes to young French-speaking children, and a place where French parents can meet other families. In our September magazine we inadvertently listed old contact details: we’re happy to put that right. For up to date information, call 0757 001 0946 or see www.ecolecadetrousselle.co.uk.
wn Ups o r G r o f s w e N Your round? If you know southeast London like the back of your hand, have a car and some free hours once a month, by joining Families’ delivery team you could earn some money. We are looking for a new person to take our magazines to local shops, nurseries, schools and libraries at the beginning of each month. We supply boxed magazines and an address list - you supply a cheery smile and some of your time. For more information, call the editor on 020 8699 7240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Cissy Wears Having children shouldn’t mean you have to compromise on taste, as parents discover when they pop into Cissy Wears. The new shop in Hither Green is aimed at “cool parents and kids that rock”, and specialises in childrenswear for 0-8 year-olds from the likes of Lapin & Me, Beau Loves, Mini Rodini and Popupshop; vintage children’s wear for 0-8 year-olds, and handpicked gifts, cards, decor and toys. Find them at 212a Hither Green Lane, SE12 and www.cissywears.com.
Poised for Life October 8-14 is International Alexander Awareness Week (IAAW). The Alexander Technique does not only help adults with various aches and pains: this year’s theme, ‘Poised for Life’ focuses on children. When children and young people are taught to understand the importance of good posture and free movement, this can help them excel in sport, music and in other areas of their lives; while warding off future aches and pains. For more information about the technique, awareness week events, and to find an Alexander Technique teacher, go to www.stat.org.uk. For appointments in southeast London, call Jill Payne BA MSTAT Dip Phys on 020 8658 0820 or see www.skillforlife.com.
Put the children first The overwhelming majority of Londoners believe that putting children’s interests first or avoiding conflict are the most important factors if going through divorce, according to a new survey from Resolution, the national family law association. Nearly three out of four people (73%) say that putting children’s interests first would be their most or second most important consideration in a divorce, and nearly half (48%) would prioritise making the divorce as conflict-free as possible. Despite this, three-quarters of people (75%) believe that children end up being the main casualties of divorce, and 37% believe that conflict is inevitable in separation and divorce. Despite the increasing availability of non-court alternatives, 42% think that most divorces involve a visit to court. The survey was conducted to mark Family Dispute Resolution Week in September, held to raise awareness of non-confrontational methods of resolving family breakdown, such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration. A new advice guide, Separating Together: Your options for separation and divorce’, is designed to help separating couples understand and explore non-court based methods of resolving issues arising on the breakdown of a relationship. South East Solutions is a practice group bringing together 24 solicitors specialising in family law to develop and encourage collaborative law in south and southeast Greater London. Each member practices law independently and is committed to working with their clients, other solicitors and their clients’ former partners or spouses to resolve issues arising from the break down of relationships. Three local solicitors with collaborative law specialists are Grant Saw in Greenwich 020 8858 6971, Anthony Gold in London Bridge 020 7940 4021 and Bennett Welch in Crystal Palace 020 8670 6141, www.collaborative-lawyers.co.uk. For a copy of Separating Together, go to www.resolution.org.uk/separatingtogether.
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Designs on your money 29 October – 2 November 10:00am – 4:30pm
Banknote Big Draw Learn about banknote security features and design your own secure banknote. Enter our competition, with prizes to be won!
Admission free 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Closed weekends and public holidays. Entrance in Bartholomew Lane, London EC2R 8AH. Tel: 020 7601 5545 www.bankofengland.co.uk/museum october 2012 - families south east
Which School Next? If you’ve lived in the area for any length of time, you’ll already know where your local schools are; the next step is to find out what they are like behind closed doors. • Log onto the government website www.direct.gov.uk and type ‘choosing a school’ into the search box for lists of local schools, exam results, school profiles and application details • Read inspection reports online at www.ofsted.gov.uk (for state schools) and www.isc.co.uk (for independent schools), but be wary of out-of-date reports as things can change very quickly • Another useful resource is www.goodschoolsguide.uk, which has a wealth of information on different school types, school listings, and if you are prepared to make
the investment, offer an advisory service which can be tailored to your child. Having whittled down your choices, ask for a prospectus for all the schools you are interested in, plus their admission criteria and an application form. Read them, and visit the schools. Other parents are useful for a view of local schools. Ask what they think about their child’s school’s strengths and weaknesses, taking with a pinch of salt any extreme comments which might be based on a specific experience and a tad biased. Another interesting exercise is passing the schools at the end of the day. Do the pupils look confident and purposeful, are they chatting in groups but still have the grace to let you pass? Or are they pushing each other around, dropping food wrappers and rubbishing their teachers? Could you see your child coming out of this school?
League tables While unpopular with teachers, league tables are useful for parents, but consult them wisely; they provide a statistical snapshot without any ‘flesh’ or explanation. What they tell you • The percentage of pupils who passed their GCSE and A’levels, and the overall grades • How each school ranks alongside its competitors And what they don’t • The school’s intake, and how much effort has gone into achieving the best grades • The subjects taken A school with a challenging intake may be making magnificent strides through committed teaching, yet on paper would compare poorly to a school whose more able children find exams easier. Schools with impressive GCSE and A’level results may encourage pupils to sit ‘soft’ subjects rather than maths, modern languages or science; and/ or may have a high number of pupils who are tutored out of school. There’s no substitute for visiting a school and asking lots of questions.
The perfect teacher What do today’s schoolchildren think of their teachers? What makes a good teacher? It depends on their age, as Laura Gray found out when she asked three different age groups of children. Knowing what children respond to is helpful to parents when looking around prospective schools. “My search first led me to a five year-old thumb sucker who solemnly informed me the perfect teacher would be: “kind; a good story teller; nice”. Not surprisingly, this child was describing her own schoolteacher. This demonstrates just how important a child’s first teacher is as it is she (usually) who will set the standard by which a child will measure teaching quality for the next few years.
families south east - october 2012
Independent schools One in ten London children is educated in the independent sector, and despite the recession, thousands of parents are still opting to invest in their children’s education. It is certainly worth attending independent school open days to increase your knowledge of what is available locally. These are the schools that typically achieve league-topping results, have the highest expectations of the pupils, have well-funded facilities and offer extensive extra-curricular activities, from sports to music and drama. Large numbers of pupils are on some form of scholarship or means-tested bursary, putting private education within reach of ‘ordinary’ families.
For eleven year-old Emma and her peers, the perfect teacher is: • funny yet not sarcastic • young (mid twenties) • has control over the class • not too strict • enjoys teaching their subject • fun • everyone treated equally
I then asked a group of year 11s. By this age, pupils work more independently and age and gender no longer mattered. The following list was drawn up: • informative • stays on the subject and syllabus without waffle • does not preach
All the students questioned seemed to think being fun and kind were essential but all seemed to agree inadvertently there is not just one recipe for teacher success - probably because the ‘perfect teacher’ will never exist.”
• • • • • •
allows time for argument and debate gives structured lessons so pupils always know where they stand treats students equally offers help at all times fun has high standards which are obtainable organised not patronising
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Schoolwear from Next, 0844 844 8000, www.next.co.uk
It’s the Open Day season - the best time to explore your options in the hunt for your child’s next school. Schools come in all shapes and sizes, and league tables, prospectuses, Ofsted reports and SATs results are enough to make most parents’ heads spin. The good news is that thousands have survived the process before - here’s how to get a head start:
Your childâ€™s future starts here
Independent day school for boys and girls aged 4 â€“11 Townley Road, Dulwich, London SE22 8SU
Co-educational, academic excellence
OPEN DAYS 2012
Thursday 8 November and Tuesday 20 November 1.30pm â€“ 3.00pm The Headmaster will give a short talk, and visitors may look around the school. It is not necessary to book for Open Days. For further details please see our website www.alleyns.org.uk We look forward to welcoming you to Alleynâ€™s Junior School. Please email email@example.com or call 020 8557 1519 to obtain a prospectus or for any other information.
St Dunstanâ€™s College Co-educational Independent day school for 3 -18 year olds
Impressive academic record â€œan excellent standard of pastoral careâ€? ISI 2011 New for 2013 - enhanced sporting provision at new Jubilee Grounds Choice of IB Diploma & A Levels in the Sixth Form â€œSt Dunstanâ€™s is like a family to meâ€? Year 11 pupil Senior School Open Days 2012 Saturday, 13 October, 9.30-11.30 Saturday, 17 November, 9.30-11.30 Sixth Form Open Afternoon 2012 Thursday, 8 November, 2.30-4pm
Charity number: 312747 Stanstead Road, Rd, London, 4TY Stanstead London,SE6 SE6 4TY
t: 020 8516 7200
Greenwich Steiner School Acorns age 0â€“31/2 Kindergarten age 31/2 â€“6 Lower School age 6â€“11 Middle School age 11-14
â€œThe outcomes for children are good...they achieve well and enjoy their learning.â€? School Inspection Service for OFSTED.
Open day dates: Saturday 6th October 2012 Saturday 24th November 2012 10am â€“ 12pm Woodlands, 90 Mycenae Road, Blackheath, London SE3 7SE T: 020 8858 4404 www.greenwichsteinerschool.org.uk w w w. f a m i l i e s s e . c o . u k
Outperforming expectations on a daily basis Senior School Open Days 4UESDAY /CTOBER 7EDNESDAY .OVEMBER