Islington primaries(16 Posts)
I was wondering if anyone could give any opinions? I am looking specifically at Drayton Park and Canonbury, but interested in opinions about other local schools too. Both seem to have had some difficulty in the past, but I am wondering what they are like now. I can find virtually nothing out there about Drayton Park.. the school doesn't even have a website!
Re Drayton Park
Brand new website, been offline for a revamp and just back on.
One and a half form intake community school which makes for small Reception classes (22/23) after which the children are taught in mixed year classes (YR 1/2; YR 3/4; YR 5/6). Known well locally for having a boat in the playground which the DC love to play on - boat away for a refurb at the moment. SATS vary a bit from year to year partly due to the smallish intake. Has a nursery class as well. PM me if you want to chat to some current parents.
I only know one or two people with DC at Canonbury but they seem happy. Gillespie also popular locally but one form intake makes for tiny catchment area. Haven't looked in great detail at the faith schools, St John's is CoE, St Joan of Arc is RC, and Mary Magdalene CoE. First two in particular seem to get consistently good achievement over the years, whether that is due to intake or quality of teaching I have no idea.
Thank you for the information, that is very interesting. Are there any other schools in Islington you would recommend? I was thinking about Gillespie but the catchment area is tiny. We are not religious so faith schools aren't an option.
Depending on where you are - further up from Gillespie Grafton seems to be a popular choice. South of Highbury Corner you could be looking at William Tyndale - popular and oversubscribed so you'd need to live fairly close. Thorn hill in Barnsbury is another popular one (didn't click with me but many like it). Islington council publish catchment area maps so you could shortlist 3-4 schools where you have a realistic chance (ie if you're even remotely in with a chance for Gillespie you won't make Tyndale and vice versa).
Thank you catastrophe.
Bumping to see if there is anyone else from Islington around
I am, but in South Islington. Just to say that there is much movement in Islington so if you're not happy with wherever you get into at reception, keep on the waiting lists of your preferred choice. My dcs at one of the schools mentioned above and some twins joined beginning of y1 having spent the year in another school but wanting a place at ours. By half term it was as if they'd always been there and they didn't seem to have any problem making the move.
Drayton Park is a funny one as I always think it looks lovely, but for some reason it doesn't seem to be spoken of in same breath as Canonbury, WT etc. There are some children at our school who live much nearer to it but didn't opt for it. Reasons sounded slightly snobby to me and Catastrophe's description sounds great.
And always remember equal preference when you apply - don't make the mistake of putting one you like less at the top just to be certain of a place. Put the one you like best at top (whether you're likely to get in or not) but make sure you've a safe option as one of your choices.
Farewell do you mind me asking the reasons you have heard for parents avoiding Drayton park?
Also would you mind pming me the name your dcs attend? (as you are obviously very happy with it).
Hi OP, I picked up a marvellous free book at a stay and play - it's called Talk about Islington Primary Schools. It includes details of all the state primaries in Islington with a blurb about them, how to get in, whether they have uniform, Ofsted results etc. why don't you ring the Council and see if you can get a copy?
Hello Red, the reasons seemed to be the usual sort of middle class angst about there being too many rough types. The school my kids go to has almost half 40% free school meals (and one set of parents opted for it over DP) so I don't know quite what they mean as I'm sure DP is comparable. I can't be more specific as I didn't enquire further as that sort of talk makes me a bit queasy. I do see the appeal of places like Yerbury, but at the same time I do think that if you live in a community then a school that reflects the make-up of that community should be good enough for your children. V. famous author sends his children to DP if that sways you!
And I'm only talking of three sets of families so really not a very reflective bunch.
My kids at T in Barnsbury, which another poster doesn't like so it's all quite subjective. Worth having a visit. I angsted a lot, then visited and it all seemed so simple once I had done that. The school a child goes to only accounts for a 10% variance in educational outcome (rest gender, ethnicity, affluence, education of parents etc) so the difference between your child attending one good primary school vs another good primary school is negligible.
Rotherfield is improving fast and has lots going on. Friends very happy with it, also Tyndale.
That's great to hear about Rotherfield - probably our closest. Anyone got thoughts on Hanover too? Thanks.
Farewell thank you. That comment surprises me a bit as dp has low fsm compared to schools in other areas we were thinking of moving to (Haringey and Hackney), though I guess its still high compared to the national average. T is too far from where I will be living for any realistic chance of getting a place, but good to know about it.
Late to this but FWIW, I have a DC at William Tyndale, another joining nursery class (hopefully) in September. It seems pretty good, though I don't really have anything to compare it with - though sounds like maybe you're not in the catchment area. Friends with kids at Canonbury are also happy with it, minus a few minor quibbles (which, to be fair, I think every parent has).
Would second puppy08's comment re Rotherfield, which has great v committed teachers and has shot up the league table recently (despite not, traditionally, having had a great rep).
Have heard good things about Hanover too.
Laycock tends to be at the bottom of the league but I know someone (herself a teacher) who has been really happy with it.
Thornhill v popular and oversubscribed.
St Mary's - traditionally not v highly regarded (not quite sure why) but said to to be on the up
No knowledge of Drayton Park at all I'm afraid
New North - has great facilities but again for some reason doesn't seem to be terribly highly regarded. N.B. this is all hearsay based on people I know round here and their friends. I only have personal experience of WT and Canonbury (DD1 went to nursery class there), and beyond that have only looked around Thornhill and Rotherfield.
Bitzer thank you, and no not too late at all! I have heard good things about William Tyndale too (from a local estate agent!) but we won't be living anywhere within catchment. Good to hear your opinion though
OP, if DP and Canonbury are your nearest do visit both and I reckon you will get a feel for the one you prefer. They are both good schools, fairly representative of their local communities, with what sounds like involved committed parents, and from what I know, governors. If you're still in two minds after that go for the one with the easiest school run.
Yes agree with Catastrophe - when I said above worth having a visit, I meant to the nearest primaries near you not to school my kids are at in particular. I always think you're default starting point should be to go to the closest school, unless there are strong reasons to do otherwise. You will probably get a strong gut reaction to one or other. Generally (and contradicting what some would had you believe about Islington education), the primary schools are all pretty good. There was a table recently about the proportion of primaries marked good or outstanding and Islington had the sixth highest proportion in the country. (Camden first in fact, a reflection of success of London schools particularly in economically and ethnically diverse areas).
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