Primary schools in Brockley

Education has to be one of the most divisive subjects in local life, as the national furore over school place lotteries is currently demonstrating. It's not only an important topic, it's also highly emotive - the only time from its childhood when Brockley Central remembers its parents rowing with their friends was when somebody suggested they were betraying our future by sending us to the local comprehensive.

So it is with caution that we approach this topic. Information about schools will always be imperfect. Some people believe that that's reason enough not to publish anything more about a school than its address and telephone number. Those people are generally not the parents and children faced with the decision of where to apply.

So we've pulled together a topline synopsis of each of the local primary schools, based on the most recent Ofsted reports available and included a link to the performance table on, which uses DFES figures. Here they are, in no particular order.

Given much of this information is old and only begins to scratch the surface of what schools are actually like, it would be great if local people with direct experience of these schools could leave their comments.

John Stainer [latest report 2008]


John Stainer Primary serves a very mixed community that includes some areas where there are very high levels of deprivation. Just over a quarter of pupils are from White British backgrounds. The next largest groups include pupils from Black Caribbean, Black African and Asian heritages. A high number of pupils speak English as an additional language and, of these, a significant proportion are at a very early stage of using English when they join the school. Many pupils have not attended this school for their entire primary education. A significant number join and leave the school at unexpected times throughout the school year. Over a third of pupils have learning difficulties or disabilities. A high number of vulnerable pupils attend the school. The school has achieved the Healthy School Status, the Clean and Green Gold Award, Sports Mark and is in the fourth cycle of Investors in People. They are currently working to gain the information and communication technology (ICT) mark.

Performance - Grade 2

John Stainer is a flourishing school. Inspectors agree with the words of one parent who said, 'The hard work of the staff, governors, children and parents make it a positive and exciting learning environment.' The headteacher shows outstanding leadership and is driving John Stainer School forward very well. The headteacher took over the school at a time when it was in Special Measures and led it to become a satisfactory school in 2004. In 2006, the school was recognised as the third most improved school in the country. The school now provides a good education, with outstanding features in pupils' personal development and care. The school has a good capacity to improve and leaders are ambitious to make the school outstanding in the future.

Myatt Garden [latest report 2007]


Myatt Garden is a large primary school serving an ethnically and socially diverse community. The percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals is average. The proportion of pupils with difficulties or disabilities is higher than that found nationally. More pupils than usual are learning English as an additional language, a high proportion of whom are at an early stage of acquiring the language.

Performance - Grade 1

This is an outstanding school for which pupils and their parents have very high praise. As one parent said, 'My daughter is very lucky. Every school should be like Myatt Garden as every child deserves the best.' The ethos of the school is very positive and instils a sense of 'can do' in pupils and staff. This is a reflection of the philosophy of the headteacher who, with her deputy, provides outstanding leadership. Senior leaders, staff, governors and parents share the vision for the future of the school.

Parents are overwhelmingly positive about what the school offers. In particular, they appreciate the outstanding care, guidance and support their children receive and the celebration of the school community's cultural diversity. This contributes to pupils' good personal development and well-being. One parent commented, 'The school provides a safe, positive environment which is stimulating, inclusive and inspirational.' The pupils benefit enormously from the support of parents who have helped to develop the outdoor area for the Nursery and have raised funds and drawn up plans to refurbish the main playground.

Gordonbrock [latest report 2005]


Gordonbrock School is above average in size and is growing. More than half of the pupils come from minority ethnic backgrounds with significant numbers from Black Caribbean heritage. A little over a third of pupils speak a language other than English at home, but only a small proportion are in the early stages of learning English. Most pupils join the school with below average standards for their age, chiefly because of limited communication, language and literacy skills. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs is broadly average, but a significant minority have serious difficulties with behaviour. Pupils come from a wide range of backgrounds, but overall the social and economic circumstances of the school are below average.

Performance - Grade 2

Gordonbrock School provides good education. Standards rise from below average in the nursery to broadly average in Year 6. There has been high staff turnover in recent years, but this has now stabilised, and pupils are making good progress. Long-term achievement is satisfactory in Year 6, and good in other year groups. Teaching and learning are good, with a growing proportion of very good and excellent teaching. Pupils behave very well, enjoy school and work hard.

Leadership and management are good overall, with very good leadership from the headteacher and governors. The school provides good value for money. The school’s main strengths and weaknesses are:

• Teachers foster an interest in learning and promote achievement among all pupils.

• The headteacher and governors provide strong leadership and direction.

• Provision for pupils’ personal development is excellent.

• The school has very good links and relationships with parents, other schools and the community.

• The school makes best use of a difficult site, but accommodation is inadequate.

• The use of assessment to track progress and plan work requires improvement in most subjects. • Some teaching assistants are very effective, but others need more training.

Turnham Primary [last report 2007]


Turnham Primary School is located at the heart of an estate in Lewisham. Over four fifths of pupils are from minority ethnic backgrounds and more than a third speak English as an additional language. Only a small number are beginners in English. The proportion of pupils eligible for a free school meal is well above average reflecting the high level of deprivation in the local area. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities is broadly average but the proportion with statements is below average. Pupils come with a wide range of knowledge and skills when they join the school but their attainment in literacy and numeracy is well below average. The attainment on entry has been declining over recent years. Levels of mobility have increased in recent years and a significant number of pupils join the school at various points throughout Years 3 to 6. After many years of very stable staffing, there has been a higher turnover recently. Most of the teachers joining over the last couple of years are at the start of their teaching careers.

Performance - Grade 2

Turnham Primary School is a good school. It provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for its pupils. There is a good focus on achievement. Consequently, pupils make good progress, including in the Foundation Stage, and achieve well. The good teaching, especially in the Foundation Stage and in Years 1 and 2, makes a good contribution to pupils' learning. However, in a minority of lessons, mainly in Years 3 to 6, issues in the pace of teaching, level of challenge and variety of methods used by teachers means pupils do not always work as effectively as they could. In most lessons, pupils work hard in response to high expectations from teachers. They usually achieve the very challenging performance targets set by the school.

Meadowgate [last report 2006]


Meadowgate is a special school with 83 pupils between the ages of 4 and 11.It caters for pupils with moderate learning difficulties, and autistic spectrum disorder. All pupils have statements of special educational needs. More than one third are from ethnic backgrounds other than white, predominantly black-African heritage. Approximately half of these pupils have English as an additional language, with a smaller proportion at an early stage of language acquisition, and receiving additional support. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is very high at 63 per cent. The school is situated in an area that is disadvantaged socially and economically. The school buildings are well maintained and in very good order, creating a bright and attractive environment. The characteristics of pupils for whom the school caters makes it inappropriate to judge their attainment against age related national expectations or averages.


Meadowgate is an effective school where pupils achieve high standards for their special educational needs by the time they leave. There is a high proportion of good and very good teaching that is having a positive and direct impact on the pupils’ rate of progress. The headteacher provides clear educational direction with a suitable emphasis on standards, and has sustained a very positive ethos since the previous inspection. Pupils are making steady progress towards achieving their personal targets. There are some unsatisfactory elements to the school, including transport arrangements. Pupils arrive after the start of school regularly and some miss significant parts of their education as a result. The school provides satisfactory value for money, and is in a strong position to make further improvements.

Brockley Primary [last report 2004]


Brockley is a large primary school with 258 pupils on roll. They are organised mainly in single age classes from Reception up to Year 6 with one mixed-age class of Year 1 and Year 2 pupils. In addition 32 children attend the Nursery class on a part-time basis. There are slightly more boys than girls on roll. Most pupils are drawn from the immediate locality in Brockley. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is above the national average. Pupils come from a range of cultural backgrounds with the largest groups being White British, Black African and Caribbean. Other pupils come from as far afield as the Indian sub-continent and China. Over one third of pupils come from homes where the mother tongue is not English and 103 are in the early stages of learning English. Eight pupils are from refugee or asylum seeking families. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs is very high. These include specific learning needs and those arising from social, emotional and behavioural or speech and communication difficulties.

There is a wide range of attainment when children enter the Nursery, but it is generally well below average. The movement of pupils joining or leaving the school, other than at the normal times, is very high. The school has received two achievement awards and is involved in a number of initiatives including one focused on creative arts and a Behaviour Improvement Programme that entitles the school to receive additional funding to implement projects to improve pupils’ behaviour. The school is undersubscribed and governors, having considered the school’s context very carefully, have requested that the school size be reduced to one form of entry from September 2005.

Performance - Grade 3

Brockley Primary is a satisfactory school. Given the challenges it faces, it is now providing a satisfactory standard of education for all pupils. The school’s results in national tests for pupils in Year 6 have improved and are in line with those in schools with children from similar backgrounds but well below when compared to those in all schools nationally. The very good leadership of the headteacher has created a satisfactory learning environment in which there is a strong commitment to raising standards and decisive action to bring about the required changes. The quality of teaching and learning are improving. The school now provides satisfactory value for money. The school’s main strengths and weaknesses are:

· the headteacher has a clear vision for the future development of the school and is well supported by the deputy headteacher and governing body;

· provision for children in the Nursery and the Reception class is good;

· standards are well below average in Year 2 and Year 6 but achievement is satisfactory. This is as a result of the improved quality of teaching and learning, which is satisfactory overall;

· pupils with English as an additional language generally achieve appropriately. However, the progress made by pupils who have acquired some fluency is limited due to insufficient support;

· assessment procedures are not used effectively to check how well pupils are doing;

· the school provides a caring, safe environment and a good range of after-school activities;

· pupils’ behaviour is good;

· poor attendance and lateness for school in the morning has an adverse effect on learning.

St Mary Magdalen's Catholic Primary School [last report 2003]


The school is a little smaller than the average sized primary school with 200 pupils on roll by the summer term. The school is popular with parents and is over-subscribed. Pupils come from a wide range of backgrounds, although the area served by the school is relatively disadvantaged with a mixture of local housing estates and some privately owned housing. The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is broadly average. Pupils come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds: 40 per cent Black African, mostly Nigerian, 17 per cent Black Caribbean; 17 per cent mixed heritage and 16 per cent White British or Irish. The proportion of pupils with English as an additional language is very high, currently 37 per cent of the school population with only two pupils at an early stage of English language acquisition. The proportion of pupils identified as having special educational needs (30 per cent) is above the national average. Four pupils have a statement of special education need. The attainment of many pupils on entry to the school is below that typically found nationally. There are some limitations imposed by the site and buildings but a new building programme just started promises better facilities in the future.

Performance - Grade 2

This is a good school with some very good features. It offers pupils a good quality education. Pupils achieve well because of good teaching and their personal development flourishes because of the positive and supportive ethos underpinned by Catholic values and beliefs. The key to its success lies in the high quality leadership of the headteacher and good teamwork between staff and governors. The school gives good value for money. The school’s main strengths and weaknesses are:

· Pupils achieve well in lessons because of the good quality teaching.

· Standards are above average in English and information and communication technology (ICT).

· The school values all pupils equally and its procedures to ensure their care and welfare are very good.

· The school provides good support for those pupils with special educational needs or have English as an additional language.

· The school very effectively fosters and promotes pupils’ very good behaviour and relationships and good attitudes to learning.

· The curriculum provides a good range of opportunities which contribute well to pupils’ learning and achievement.

· The headteacher provides very good leadership and is well supported by staff and governors. · The school has very good links with parents.

· The school does not do enough to raise the achievement of higher attaining pupils in science. · The accommodation is unsatisfactory and limits some aspects of pupils’ learning.

· Measures to evaluate how well the school is doing and the success of its actions are not robust enough.

· Further work is needed on its assessment procedures.

[Edit: apparently, the DFES, like the Premier League, considers league performance data as a commercial asset, rather than a matter of public record, so we have had to remove them. However, you can find them at by clicking here.]