Is there a shortage of school places in Highgate, Archway, Crouch End area?

(190 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

nlondondad Sun 21-Apr-13 10:58:18

I was wondering if anyone was experiencing difficulty in getting a place for their child in this area of N. London? Postal codes N19, N8, N6 are relevant?

crazynanna Sun 21-Apr-13 11:13:47

I don't have primary age children anymore, nlondondad, but I do live on the borders of the areas you ask of, so will ask my friends and neighbours of their recent experiences, and get back to you

nongnangning Sun 21-Apr-13 11:27:20

All the 'middle class' schools in LB Haringey on the west side of the borough are very oversubscribed.

Just looking quickly at the school admissions letter I received this week -
Campsbourne 222 apps for 60 places
Coleridge 549 for 120
Highgate 270 for 56
with a third to a half of places going to siblings and distance from school no more than 0.7 mile (with 0.3 for Coleridge)

You would have to live within shouting distance of a school to be certain (as far as you could be) of a place - house prices reflect this.

nlondondad Sun 21-Apr-13 15:46:50

For others reading this, I think the figures for apps to places given out by the LEA show the TOTAL number of apps to a school irrespective of what preference they are. In other words there may well be people who have applied for Coleridge and Highgate and they will show up for both schools....

Did you get the place you wanted nongangning?

And thanks for asking around crazynanna.

nongnangning Sun 21-Apr-13 19:19:41

NLondonDad - When I asked the council about this very point they told me the number of apps listed on these charts reflected first preferences only. I asked twice. Perhaps they told me wrong - who can say?

Fact remains - you will only get into the sought after schools on the west side of the borough if you live very close. House prices reflect this.

Yes I did get my first choice.

christinarossetti Sun 21-Apr-13 22:13:38

It's the total number of application, not first preference.

There have frequently been threads on MN from people with no allocated school in Muswell Hill and Crouch End in other years, but not this one as far as I can see?

nlondondad Mon 22-Apr-13 19:23:52

I agree with Christinarossetti, I do think nongnagning that you were misinformed. If Coleridge had 549 first preferences this year that would be a large increase on last year, (from memory) and in fact the admission radius has actually gone up this year - not much about 20 metres - which is quite counter intuitive... as that would normally mean a slight reduction in pressure, tho' of course it does depend where people live.

Like Christina I am struck by the apparent lack of concern regarding people not getting places........

mariellae Mon 22-Apr-13 22:16:30

I wonder if ashmount moving has impacted coleridges last accepted distance. Anyone know what ashmount, coleridges or highgate primary's last accepted distances were this year? We are applying to reception next year and are probably just out of all 3 catchments...I am putting off worrying about exactly where we will be allocated till after the summer.

nlondondad Tue 23-Apr-13 10:28:50

Coleridge's last accepted distance, in this, the first round of offers, is given earlier in this thread. Would be interested to hear the other information. I would not have expected Ashmount's move to have much impact as the school has not moved that far and it was already the case that a lot of people had a choice between the two schools. As they were both full that would suggest that in this particular bit of London parents had a true choice with some choosing one, some the other (Which is good for both schools as they end up with parents who want their children to be at that particular school.) However, it IS now in a different place, and in a very fine new building, in a lovely location in a park, and there may be people who lived closer to Coleridge than Ashmount who went for their closest school, who would now find Ashmount broadly the same distance, or closer.

mariellae Tue 23-Apr-13 21:17:25

Coleridges last years distance was if its gone down to .3 as mentioned up thread doesn't look like the radius has increased or what am I missing ?

nlondondad Tue 23-Apr-13 23:35:39

The figure I had for Coleridge last year was 0.29 miles. Which is why I thought there was, a (very small) increase.

I have just had a look at the Haringey website to check, but the "schools' propectus" document which I would expect to have the figure is not available. My figure comes from the unofficial "findaschool" website so there could be a mistake.

Does anyone else know?

mariellae Wed 24-Apr-13 20:46:18

according to this, Coleridge last offered distance was .3521

nlondondad Wed 24-Apr-13 22:27:46

Yes, that is the definitive document which was not available when I last looked for it. So if the info in this thread is correct and Coleridge is exactly 0.3 this year that would suggest a significant reduction in radius.

Be that as it may we are still not hearing of people without places in the area. Very quiet this year in fact, with no local councillors saying anything or anything on the local bulletin Boards. Interesting to see if there is anything in the Ham and High tomorrow.

nlondondad Thu 25-Apr-13 19:57:18

Nothing in the Ham and High, or the Islington Gazette...

crazynanna Thu 25-Apr-13 20:00:14

There was a bit about an "increase in primary place demand" in the IG.

I gave my friend a call about her dd and granddaughter applying for a local place, but she didn't answer the 'phone. Will report back when I get some feedback smile

mariellae Fri 26-Apr-13 15:57:43

smile thanks all. Have tried calling islington council to see what ashmount's last accepted distance was this has been permanently engaged!

mariellae Fri 26-Apr-13 16:03:16

Aha! School Admissions people in Islington answered phone...Ashmount last accepted distance this year was .356 ...which is a massively smaller distance than last year's .666 (according to this).

I'm screwed.

mariellae Fri 26-Apr-13 16:25:11

Just to update anyone interested, Coleridge last accepted distance for 2013 is .3251 and Highgate Primary is .74

I am now fully unambiguously screwed

nlondondad Sat 27-Apr-13 16:57:26

Before you decide how big your admissions problem is going to be next year you need two additional bits of information.

First of all how many of the places went to siblings in each school. If this year was a "high sibling" year then next year may have less.

Secondly (and this will not be known until the first week of autumn term), how much movement was there on the waiting list.

nlondondad Sat 27-Apr-13 16:58:46

It does remain the case that so far no one on mumsnet has come forward to say they did not get a place this year, which I know is not the same as getting the place you wanted...

sanam2010 Sat 27-Apr-13 20:02:09

Catchments are bound to shrink given that everyone is moving to the area for the schools.

Does anyone happen to know the largest distance accepted for Eden primary by any chance?

nlondondad Sun 28-Apr-13 15:42:35

I imagine smaller than last year, as it was then an unknown quantity recruiting its first class; in fact it had a vacant place at the start of the firs autumn term which got filled by a child whose (grateful) parents lived nearby in Muswell Hill, had not previously heard of the school (were not, for that matter Jewish), and had not been allocated any place......

Funny how things work out sometimes.

nlondondad Mon 29-Apr-13 17:16:37

I would say, by the way, that the reduction in the Ashmount catchment that seems to have taken place is considerable. I can only think that the new building, and the publicity associated with that has had an impact. It may have made more people aware of the school who live in Haringey.

nlondondad Tue 30-Apr-13 23:00:11

Islington admissions say that there are fewer late applications this year so far, so they think a large part of the increase in in time applications was due to people getting their applications in on time. This means that the "real" increase is lower, and the admissions system is working more effectively, without late applications appearing.

TheInvisibleHand Wed 01-May-13 00:23:11

sanam 2010 - I've heard Eden is 0.7km this year. About half the places this year are accounted for by siblings.

sanam2010 Wed 01-May-13 13:32:50

TheInvisibleHand - thx for the info! Just what I expected! And in a couple of years time it will probably be 0.3 like other good schools!

jakecat Thu 02-May-13 19:38:32

Does anyone know at which schools children who live in Whitehall Park area or near the old Ashmount site have got places for this year? The reduction in the Ashmount catchment area is what we'd expected but is still frustrating. Obviously moving the school has changed (and shrunk) it's catchment but I'm sure there was a lot of stuff before the school moved about how it was expected to stay broadly the same.

We'll be doing admissions for September 2014 and the small size of the catchment areas for any schools that are in walking distance (regardless of whether they are popularly thought of to be "good" or not) is depressing.

sammisatt Sat 04-May-13 15:30:29

I'm bumping this jakecat as I'd like to know too as we want to move to Whitehall Park. I know of someone who got their child into Hargrave Park but no luck with Ashmount.

Turniphead1 Sat 04-May-13 16:36:36

I have a sept 13 starter at a west Harringey school and have two older children, and haven't heard any of the nightmare stories that were around two years ago.

We got our first place, but sibling and expected to. Haven't heard of anyone allocated east of the borough schools as so often happens.

nlondondad Tue 07-May-13 12:03:20

Historically people in the Whitehall Park area have sent their children to a number of schools. These have included, (in no particular order) Yerbury, Hargrave Park, Brookfield, Coleridge, and of course, Ashmount. Then there are Church Schools St Michaels, Highgate, St Johns, Upper Holloway, (Both C of E) and St Josephs, Highgate Hill (Roman Catholic) there are also three private prep schools. The difficulty of getting into a particular school can fluctuate very much from year to year. These days Yerbury would be seen as too far away for reception entry as such, as would Brookfield.

This is the third year that Ashmount is over subscribed and so actually has a radius of admission. Before then despite being a "good" school and with excellent feed back from parents whose children attended the school was underscribed, with vacant places. It was when, after many years rather convoluted gestation, the decision to build a new building for the school, and thence move the school there was finally confirmed that the undersubscription stopped. I imagine this is due to a combination of the publicity associated with the new building, combined with the way parents were put off by the old building.

So things can change, and change quite suddenly. So far as Ashmount is concerned it would be useful to know how many places were filled by siblings. I say this partly because that fluctuates in all schools from year to year, partly that families moving into the general area, say during the school year with children for year three and above (this year) have been able to get places for their older child(ren) in Ashmount at once, and of course this has created a sibling entitlement.

In my view what really happens here over the next few years depends on how mobile people are. There are a LOT of young families in Crouch End. But if people do not move, their families will be complete, and in due course there will be lots of teenagers but it would not surprise me if in five years time - say - we are back to a situation were there is an over supply of places.

nlondondad Wed 08-May-13 22:40:50

There is also the point that we have only had the first round of offers issued. After Islington admissions know how many acceptances there are, they will be re offering the places that have been declined and that will alter the picture.

nlondondad Sat 11-May-13 11:25:57

In the meantime it would seem that the answer to the question in the title of this thread "Is there a shortage etc?" is...


or am I wrong?

sammisatt Sat 11-May-13 19:17:29

I'm wondering how it is for people in the Milton park/Claremont road area now Ashmount had moved. I imagine that is now a bit of a black hole.

nlondondad Sun 12-May-13 19:15:22

Yes I suppose that is possible, unless they can still get in to Highgate Primary. Anyway if there are people in that area having problems this year they do not seem to be on Mumsnet..

nlondondad Mon 13-May-13 22:16:28

Islington have announced that having gone through the first round of offers of school places, they reckon they need 80 more places in the whole Borough, mostly in the south of the Borough and so not relevant to this discussion BUT

They are adding 15 places to reception in Hargrave Park School which is local to Archway. So thats 15 extra starting this autumn.

jakecat Tue 14-May-13 12:31:00

Do you know how Islington plans to deal with those 80 children? Is it likely that places will open up for them by September?

How does allocating an extra 15 places at a one form entry school work in practice? Surely that's an indication that there's also a shortage at the North end of the borough too?

Sorry - lots of questions and each year is different anyway but trying to figure out how things might pan out in this area

Farewelltoarms Tue 14-May-13 13:42:09

Where did you hear about the 80s places NLondon? There was a national map of primary school shortages and it seemed as though Islington was one of the better areas in the country. Do you know where in South Islington there are shortages?
A high proportion of parents in South Islington go private but also apply to state schools. I could name half a dozen a year who apply to my dc's school but don't end up going so if that's replicated in other schools, then that would add up to 80 pretty quick...

nlondondad Tue 14-May-13 15:13:36


Yes the 80 places are to start this September.

The way it works is this. People had to apply earlier in the year for a place, and they could apply for up to six schools in order of their preference. The Pan London admissions system was then run and people were given (on the 17 April) the highest preference for which they were eligible, that is, only one offer.

Islington, like the other boroughs is now awaiting replies to offers, they know that not all the places offered will be taken up. Last year everyone looking for a place in Islington got one, but some people did not find out until later, they did not get an offer on the first round, but they did later, when places turned down on the first round were re offered.

This year Islington can see that the number of applications for places in Islington is up, so what they have done is agreed with a number of schools to increase the number they will take in, and these places will be offered on the second round, together with all the other vacant places caused by people not taking up offers. The process is automatic and requires no action by applicants, it just means that there will be a number of people on wait lists for popular schools who will now get a second round offer, who would not have done before.

nlondondad Tue 14-May-13 15:38:21


The background is that until last year Islington had a problem with falling rolls leading to vacant places in schools. As part of managing this (and they were under a LOT of pressure from the Government to do so) they actually closed some schools, and merged others, but what they did mostly is reduce the intake to various schools. So most three form entry schools went down from three (taking in 90) to two, taking in sixty. And a number of schools went down from two form to one form, and from two form to one and a half form (45)

Last year, for the first time in over a decade the schools filled, with enough places for everyone.

This year they can see from the first round (ie from ACTUAL demand, not forecasts of demand) that about another 80 places are needed, so they have created these by allowing schools all of which were bigger in the past, and so have space to spare, to take some more children - 80 for the whole Borough which is actually less than a three form primary.

These have mostly been created in schools to the South of the Borough, but as I said 15 have been created at Hargrave Park which used to be a two form entry school and is currently just one, which is in the North of the Borough close to Archway. The schools they chose to expand were all good, oversubscribed, had the physical space to expand, and agreed to do it. Actually its not really expansion but reinstatement.

You are right about people applying to Independent schools as well, and I imagine Islington Officers will have crossed fingers hoping they have not created too many places...

Farewelltoarms Tue 14-May-13 16:13:23

Really interesting thanks NLondondad for this explanation. Why do you think there were falling rolls before? Some sort of flight to the suburbs? Certainly in my children's South Islington primary there used to be less than 30 per class, dwindling to merging the two classes into one by y6. Now chocker. People seem less inclined to move out to more spacious areas, plus the secondaries have improved so much there's no longer that desperate lemming like leap to Fortismere etc.
From what you say, only schools with room will be expanding, which is good because they really couldn't fit another class into our pretty-cramped school.

Farewelltoarms Tue 14-May-13 16:13:46

By the way, I've never understood how 45-intakes work...

jakecat Tue 14-May-13 16:34:19

Thanks NLondon. I understand about the application process and how offers are made. What I am struggling with is how the scenario unfolds when you live outside the catchment area for any school because all the local schools in the area are oversubscribed. Now that Ashmount has moved we are equidistant to about four schools (one of which is religious) and seemingly outside the catchment for all of them

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Tue 14-May-13 17:08:01

Interesting and possibly worrying. Does anyone know if the "new" Islington school places will go to the next lot of children on the waiting list, or only if those children live in Islington?

Any idea of what schools will have extra places. I have heard a rumour that tuffnel park is one of them , but that is only a rumour.

nlondondad Tue 14-May-13 20:26:26

Green, can you say what is worrying (then perhaps I can relieve the worry...or perhaps not, as the case may be)I will post up the full list later, but I can say that Tufnell Park are going to take an extra five pupils. The extra places get re offered on the second round with all the other places vacant because they have been declined on the first round. Borough boundaries are irrelevant (not taken into account)

More later after I have eaten... and had some wine

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Wed 15-May-13 13:27:32

I was worried that maybe only Islington families would get the extra places, and we are a camden family.

We have moved up 9 places on the TP list but I am not sure if that was before or after the extra 5 pupils were taken.

I had no idea that Islington had been loosing primary places, only that Camden never seem to have enough.

Thanks nlondondad, and hope you enjoyed your dinner wine

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Wed 15-May-13 14:25:05

Phoned Islington admissions who tell me that the additional places have already been given to children. They also said that children who had been taken off waiting lists before the announcement are now being added back on to them ( at parental request).

nlondondad Wed 15-May-13 16:51:02

Here is the promised detailed figures

1. Ambler 30
2. Grafton 30
3. Hargrave Park 15
4. Tufnell Park 5

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Wed 15-May-13 19:37:30

Thanks nlondondad.

daisymaybe Wed 15-May-13 21:11:13

Where are Grafton going to put them?? They're already operating at full two form entry no?

nlondondad Wed 15-May-13 22:43:41

They are a two form entry at the moment, so they will be going up to three form -at least for this year.

As for how they will manage this, the general point is that they have agreed to do this, so they must be ok with this and know how they are going to do it. It is quite possible that in the past they were a three form entry and reduced in size due to falling rolls. I dont know that for certain but think it likely.

nlondondad Fri 17-May-13 14:22:38

@jakecat you have three questions unanswered, I will answer them one by one when I feel like it when I have time so here is the first one.

1.How does allocating an extra 15 places at a one form entry school work in practice?

I am told that what Hargrave Park will actually do is teach in two classes, so that is 45 pupils divided up between two classes.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Fri 17-May-13 15:54:43

Jakecat, we are in a Borough near to you and suffer from the similar situation of being too far away from any local community school and very near a lot of VA church schools

What happens is that you get placed in the nearest school which has places. Hopefully in London this wont be very far. It might not be the most fashionable school but other people in your local area are likely to get it too.

Or you catch religion. You need to catch it early though.

nlondondad Sat 18-May-13 10:07:56


2.Surely (ie adding 15 places at Hargrave ) that's an indication that there's also a shortage at the North end of the borough too?

Well it is an indication that there WOULD have been a shortage at the North end if this expansion had not taken place. My comment was that of the 80 places created basically 60 were to the south of the part of Seven Sisters Road that runs between Finsbury Park and Holloway Road, so not relevant to this discussion. Its the five at Tufnell Park, and the knock on effect of that, plus the 15 at Hargrave that make the difference in this area.

Islington reckon that the extra 15 at Hargrave this year is enough to plug the local gap.

Should applications rise again next year then more places would be created.

nlondondad Sun 19-May-13 20:16:29


3" What I am struggling with is how the scenario unfolds when you live outside the catchment area for any school because all the local schools in the area are oversubscribed. Now that Ashmount has moved we are equidistant to about four schools (one of which is religious) and seemingly outside the catchment for all of them'

(You must live really close to me.) Yes that can happen, there can be an area outside the admission areas of al the nearest schools however in the area you live Islington are committed to preventing this from happening by creating more places, basically at Hargrave which could, if required go back up to two form entry. Also its not clear until the autumn what the catchment actually was for each school.

As Islington Council want to use the old Ashmount site for housing, and as there is a local group campaigning to turn the site into a free school, you can be sure that Islington will make special efforts to ensure there is no school place shortage in this area until that matter is determined.

jakecat Mon 20-May-13 13:05:00

Thanks nlondondad - that's a reassuring perspective

nlondondad Wed 22-May-13 14:39:15

A bit of a development: the group who were campaigning to have the site turned into a free school have posted a notice on our local residents web site claiming that they have triumphed and the site will be used for a free school.

In which case based on Islingtons figures the area would have a significant OVER SUPPLY of school places!

The link to the story on the residents' website is here.

Elpis Sun 02-Jun-13 15:17:09

I don't know about Claremont Rd or the Miltons, but we live slightly further north and our daughter (and two other girls in the same road) have all got into our first choice of Highgate primary this September. I would have applied for Ashmount as well, but I don't drive and the move made it too hard to reach by public transport or foot.
Preschool provision in Highgate, though? Now that's a different matter. We take our daughter to Muswell Hill.

nlondondad Mon 03-Jun-13 15:34:34

Here is a post from the Whitehall Park Residents Association web site.

"In this area (Whitehall Park) Islington Admissions have started to offer unfilled places at Hargrave Park School, including the 15 recently created. Offers are, for example, being made to applicants who live in Camden. Meanwhile in Crouch End there are no reports of a shortage of places probably because there are sixty more places than there used to be, with an extra form of entry at Weston Park and at Rokesley Infants. (They were first added at about this time last year) The Rokesley radius of admission has gone up this year to 1.4 miles which therefore covers the whole of Crouch End.

The situation remains fluid.

What is clear however is that both Islington and Haringey admissions maintain that there is no shortage of places in the local area.."

nlondondad Wed 05-Jun-13 18:00:53

This is the latest posting from the Whitehall Park Residents Association Web Site

".... there are, as of 3 June, 71 vacant places across 18 Islington schools.

There are 136 parents who have yet to confirm that they will accept places offered. So the number of vacant places will rise, but by how much and in which schools it is pretty impossible to say. Efforts are being made to finalise this but the process will not be complete until September.

There are 63 parents across the Islington area who have not yet been offered a place, offers will now be going out to them. They will be offered a place at the highest preference possible. if no place is available at a school for which a preference was shown, then they will be offered the nearest school with a vacancy.

As of today we can see from postcodes there are six people who live in the area of the old Ashmount site, (broadly defined)who have not had their places offered yet. I do not have information as to which schools they applied for in the first place but they will be offered places either at schools they have shown a preference for or, failing that, at the nearest school with vacancies in due course. It is not impossible that a place or two will come up at Ashmount if they have made an application to that school. Otherwise Hargrave Park may be closer to them and due to the addition of 15 places at Hargrave the catchment area is now at least 0.8 miles, which covers the whole Whitehall Park area.

At this point it would be reasonable to ask if the Ashmount Site Action Group are still lobbying for a reception class to be reopened at the old Ashmount Site for this Autumn, and if so where the 30 children for it would come from as they must have been identified by now."

alleira Thu 13-Jun-13 21:46:05

Sorry to go back to the question of the impact of the move of Ashmount...but I'm also thinking about moving to Archway and worried that I'm about to move into a black hole for a school place. Is there really any chance of living north of the station (Archway) and getting into any school other than Hargrave Park? I just haven't heard many good things about it (happy to be corrected) and would dread moving and finding out that it was the only option.

nlondondad Thu 13-Jun-13 22:52:01

Its difficult to give much helpful advice without more precise info as to where ( and then of course, when) How far for example North of Archway? And how far east or west? is it next year or the year after, is it reception alone?

For example if you are close to Archway station you are moving into possible Yerbury territory, west of Archway there is Hargrave AND Brookfield. As you will see from another thread offers have now started down the Ashmount waiting list; also Hargrave is an improving school, so make sure your info about it is up to date.

sammisatt Wed 19-Jun-13 18:51:27

Alleira: I seem to be moving exactly where you are moving to. I'm also concerned I'm not ina catchment area. Based on last years stats I'd get into HP which I'd be happy about, but I'd only just get in which is a worry. There does definitely seem to be a shortage of places as bulge classes have been created. There must be quite a few families in whitehall park without a place now Ashmount has gone. I know of a few who didn't get their preferences which is a worry. Does anyone have any further info on the free school ending up at the old Ashmount site?

sammisatt Wed 19-Jun-13 18:54:57

I've also heard that the Hargrave Park bulge class only stands this year so the 0.8 catchment area would no longer be valid by the time I need places in 2015.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Wed 19-Jun-13 21:29:40

I think the 0.8 catchment is a red herring. Only people on the waiting list for HP would have got a bulge class place. Who would go on the waiting list of a school that is a bit of a "punt". So only someone with knowledge that there was going to be a bulge class, and nothing to lose, would go on the list. Try not to base too much on the 0.8.

HP seems lovely and has a great ofsted, what bad things am I missing?

nlondondad Wed 19-Jun-13 23:17:24


The additional places were created so that there would NOT be a shortage of places. The intention expressed by Islington is to continue to create places (using spare, physical, capacity in Islington schools that got smaller during the period of falling numbers). Your comment about bulge classes being for a year only is strictly correct, this is because the LEA can, with the agreement of the school, and with money voted by the Schools' forum, create a bulge class in a hurry. For next year they will have to increase the PAN (Planned Admission Number) and a statutory consultation has to be carried out before this more permanent measure can be implemented. Also as Mr Gove has agreed to a Free School in Islington this will create a further 60 places somewhere in the Borough. And this will affect what Islington do.

As you will see from my earlier posting there were, as of 5 June six children in the general area of Whitehall Park who had not been offered places. Since then, to my certain knowledge -- at least one of those has now been offered a place at Ashmount. (I have been in correspondence with them.)

Also there have been extra places created in Crouch End which will have an impact, Whitehall Park was within the Rokesely catchment for the first time in a number of years.

@Green - the issue with Hargrave is liable to be to do with a lag in reputation, a few years ago, they had a period without a Head and then had one who did not stay long. Islington then put in an interim whom I had the pleasure of working with at Ashmount some time before -who is really good at going in and turning schools around, who held the fort until they could make a good appointment. But when a school has had a difficult period this is remembered against it for a long time.

crazynanna Wed 19-Jun-13 23:24:30

Agreed nlondondad I used HP at the time you speak of a few years ago and it was truly dire. We stuck it out due only to DD being in year 5/6 st the time. I still hear people speak of those times now some 5 years later

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Thu 20-Jun-13 11:17:08

thanks nlondondad and crazynana

I think that HP would take another bulge class next year if it was asked and it physically could.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Thu 20-Jun-13 11:44:31

samisatt I have tried to PM you, but something seems to be wrong with the function at the moment. I am really interested to know of any child who will be starting Hargrave Park this year in reception

nlondondad Thu 20-Jun-13 15:08:37


I realise you asked about further info about the proposed Free School on the Ashmount site. Well there is no real further info at present. A successful application was made by a group - a commercial company called Bellevue Place -supported by investors based in Switzerland -we are nothing if not cosmopolitan in Whitehall Park -to open a Free School.

And they said they were applying to open it on the old Ashmount site, on the basis it would seem that they would refurbish the old building. Their website here:-

However when it was announced that they had succeeded in their bid, and most local residents, including me, (and probably Bellevue Place) thought that meant the old site would be used, (although what they could do with the old building baffles me) It turned out to be not that straightforward. The DFE approve your application first, THEN you set about finding a site in partnership with the Education Funding Agency. Islington being obliged to help where they can.

And Islington have offered a site for the Free School, in a different place, down near Highbury and Islington tube. So the question has to be which of the two sites will they get. If you want some idea of the whole history of the thing look at this

sammisatt Thu 20-Jun-13 18:17:34

Thanks for the info nlondon. This all sounds very interesting re the free school. I'm not massively keen on the idea of a free school but it sounds like there's definitely a need for something in the whitehall park area if you say there are 6 kids without a place.

Are there any forecasts for numbers over the next two years? Is it likely to be as squeezed as it has been this year and last year?

nlondondad Thu 20-Jun-13 18:44:00

@sammisatt I think you misunderstand the significance of the small number of people without a place on a particular date.

First of all as of 19 June there are just five children West of the old Ashmount site who had not yet been offered a place. That is not enough children to start a new school, you need a minimum of 30 for that.

But the important bit in what I wrote is the "not yet" Islington has started making offers down the Ashmount waiting list. There has been at least one, there should be, based on past years, several more, up to five or six. Coleridge is twice the size of Ashmount so you would expect at least that number of wait list offers from them. So its quite possible that all these children now have places. And of course Hargrave Park is also a presence. Islington Council who do not want to have a school at the old Ashmount site are very clear that they do not NEED one there, and this years admissions figures would seem to support that.

sammisatt Fri 21-Jun-13 07:23:32

Thanks for the clarification. I was unsure of what constitutes a small number of children without places.

Out of interest, where are you getting these numbers from? Is this just the whitehall park area ? (I'm wondering whether this includes the area to the north of hornsey lane: Claremont etc) any thoughts on what the forecast is for future numbers?

nlondondad Fri 21-Jun-13 12:41:52

yes, for this discussion a small number was five at a particular date, and likely to be less by now.

I got the information from Islington Admissions, but not in terms of individuals, just postcodes (of course!) so I looked at a postcode map and took the general area of the Whitehall Park conservation area which has a legally exactly specified boundary, and the borders areas around it so erring in the direction of overstating rather than understating especially as the numbers are so low. And of course post code area boundaries are odd shapes and not particularly "granular" I could have argued, for example, that there were only three as the other two too far away, but why bother? And anyway you dont know whether someone is in the middle or the edge of a postcode.

As I got the information from Islington I do not have the same information from Haringey, so I cant really say much about north of Hornsey Lane, except north of Clairmont you are moving into the admission area for Highgate Primary, and that this year the south end of Clairmont was in the radius for Rokesely School, as well as just on the boundary for the first wave of offers from Ashmount and Coleridge, so there may be offers form the waiting list.

(I got some individual case information from Mumsnet -the person at the north end of Clairmont who preferred Highgate Primary to Ashmount as they thought Ashmount too far, the person in Whitehall Park to the west of the old site, who missed out on the first round for Ashmount but now offered off waiting list -any more contributions of this sort welcome!)

I will post later about what might happen next year.

sammisatt Fri 21-Jun-13 12:57:11

Very useful information. Please continue to post on this.

Farewelltoarms Fri 21-Jun-13 13:24:25

Nlondondad actually looking at it the free school has been offered a site way south of highbury tube, one down in barnsbury almost next door to my kids' school. My children's school is oversubscribed (not massively), but there are at least two or three undersubscribed primaries.

It's an absolute crazy place to put a primary school. As the council says, islington is one of the better boroughs in terms of places. With families priced out of the area, esp if cap comes in, then I think it's unlikely demand will rise.

It just seems to be a crazy example of how random the location of free schools is when some areas have a far more pressing need.

nlondondad Fri 21-Jun-13 15:20:29


Actually as far as I know Islington take the view that they do not need a Free School at all. Their argument is that they can accommodate a very significant increase in children, should it occur, by expanding existing schools. These schools have the physical space because in the past before a long period of falling school rolls they used to take more children.

However given that Mr Gove has decided that there should be one, islington are proposing the other site, I presume on a "lesser of two evils" principle.

nlondondad Fri 21-Jun-13 17:08:38

Strange this thread seems to have vanished from the general list, so I will add this message to see if that brings it back...

nlondondad Fri 21-Jun-13 17:17:18

Still not appearing on the list...

nlondondad Fri 21-Jun-13 17:51:45

another attempt to get it back...

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 21-Jun-13 17:56:14

It's on active convos!

Board moves very fast so it will disappear off active convos quickly.

Look in primary education and it will probably stay on the first page for a while

nlondondad Fri 21-Jun-13 18:01:33

thank you for this, your post seems to have brought it back when mine would not. Obviously you have the touch....

Farewelltoarms Fri 21-Jun-13 18:51:40

There will absolutely not be enough demand for 56 kids a year, not at the moment since the sort of parents the free school is aiming for would opt for the well established Thornhill or tyndale. On their website they're offering classes of 28 - I think they may well struggle. If they don't get the numbers they won't get the per child funding...
I wonder whether Islington council is deliberately scuppering the free school.

I've always thought the allocation of free schools was illogical, but seeing it close up only makes me feel the barminess even more.

nlondondad Fri 21-Jun-13 18:59:54

Anyway after being interrupted by Mumsnet doing something odd, I wanted to respond farewelltoarms' remark:

"It just seems to be a crazy example of how random the location of free schools is when some areas have a far more pressing need."

It does seem odd to have a situation where local authorities are required by law (still) to manage the supply of places in their area with a requirement, ultimately, to make sure every child has a place (but of course the place offered in such a case may be neither convenient nor desired - which is another story) and yet if they are short of places, while they can expand their own established schools, they cannot open any new ones. The only new schools allowed are Free Schools. Which is why when the Eden Free School opened in North Muswell Hill Haringey council said that while, being labour controlled, they did not agree with Free Schools in principle, they welcomed this one in practice, as they needed the places.

Islington are adamant that they do not need extra places at the old Ashmount site and yet the supporters of the Free School equally forcefully maintain that there is the demand in this area -in fact a serious shortage of places - and that is why I started this thread to see what was the experience on the ground. I must say that what has come up so far is a small number of people without appropriate (broadly defined) places on the first round, but no evidence of the wholesale shortage which people used to report from Crouch End about 8 years ago...

nlondondad Fri 21-Jun-13 19:09:06


"scuppering the Free School"

Are you suggesting Islington Council may not be entirely supportive of this Governments education policy...

What we seem to have here is that I, based on local knowledge, simply cannot see an extra demand for 56 kids a year in the area of the old Ashmount site, which was the site the promoters said they wanted, but, you, with your local knowledge, say there is not demand in your area either. And I agree Thornhill and Tyndale are both sought after schools.

is there a danger of a "market failure" where some children get "lost" to the Free School, which still does not have enough but then Thornhill and Tyndale are short of children?

Farewelltoarms Fri 21-Jun-13 19:27:48

Absolutely nlondon - that's exactly what I fear. Tyndale will be fine as it's further away, but I see a real danger that Thornhill will lose a few pupils to a putative free school (esp if it's offering smaller classes). Thornhill and the free school would then both be running at under capacity. I cannot see how this situation is of any benefit to anyone.

I really loathe the idea of some sort of unseemly land grab of pupils as if the schools were Starbucks set up on the same street. I hate the idea of my children's lovely, warm, inclusive, creative, marvellous school getting into some sort of horrible marketing war with a school that as far as I can see nobody wants (it seems to be driven by an educational company rather than parents). I hate the way schools are being set up in a market place of winners and losers, when the real losers will be children.

According to the Islington Council press release 'The council also believes there is local support for a new school in this area' (i.e. Barnsbury). I'd really like to see the evidence as I know nobody who's been canvassed.

I'd really like to make my opposition known. What do you suggest?

Farewelltoarms Fri 21-Jun-13 19:33:10

Actually Thornhill's probably fine it's Copenhagen, Laycock, Winton and Vittoria that might suffer more. Yes, there's four officially undersubscribed schools within less than a mile radius of the site.

You might argue that parents don't want these schools so they have a right to opt for a school they do want. But with budgets stretched, it would be a far better use of resources to do all possible to make these attractive (maybe impossible as it's partly a question of the areas they serve, if you see what I mean), than to build a whole new school.

nlondondad Sat 22-Jun-13 10:46:24


Your points are good, although really this thread is morphing, as threads do, into a different one which could be called something like " Should there be a Free School in Islington?" for I suspect there are Mumsnet members who would know more than I who might engage with a thread of this name who may not notice this one. if you were to start such a thread I would be happy to cut and paste some stuff from this one contribute.

nlondondad Sat 22-Jun-13 10:47:20

But, at any rate, pending the new thread I would comment on your remark about a number of schools in the area being undersubscribed in contrast to Thornhill and Tyndale is that, if still true. reflects first the fact that there is a surplus of places in the area, its against that backdrop that parents are exercising choice. (The parental choices less relevant than the oversupply). So when a community school is short of children this does not just mean that people who could send there children there are sending them elsewhere, it means that there are places elsewhere and so a surplus in the overall area.

I say "if still true" because part of Islington's argument is exactly that while the numbers of children in south and mid Islington is growing that does not mean a shortage of capacity as it just means that schools with surplus places will fill (from the bottom).

So Islington may feel that if a Free School with 58 reception places arrives in your area in 2014 the extra places can fill particularly if Islington chooses not to spend money on re instating school places as they might otherwise do...

nlondondad Sun 23-Jun-13 22:28:12

You have caused me to go back and look at the Islington press release and I pick out this bit:-

"Islington Council's executive member for children and families, Cllr Joe Caluori, said:

"The pressure on primary school places in Islington is significantly less than in other London boroughs. In fact we now have more school places available in the borough than parents who need them. If the Government says that we must have a free school in the borough, Dowrey Street would certainly be the best location for it."

Mr. Caluori does not sound that enthusiastic does he?

But as you point out the release also says:

"The council also believes there is local support for a new school in this area."

I suppose you could always email Mr Caluori and ask him on what he bases the belief there is local support......

Farewelltoarms Mon 24-Jun-13 13:28:01

Thanks so much for all your thoughts NLondonDad, I'm going to do exactly that to start off. I agree that they sound very lukewarm about the school. I wonder whether the private company behind the bid will back off when they crunch the numbers and see that there's a real danger they'll be under-subscribed. It doesn't sound like there's any parent enthusiasm expressed on their website.

LegoWidow Tue 25-Jun-13 11:06:29

I'm confused about Rokesly - I thought that the leap up in distance of offers was due to an increase to 3 form entry (as quoted by nlondondad from the Whitehall Park Residents Association further down the thread) but I'm sure that the school said that they've always been 3 form. If that is the case, I don't understand why the distance has leapt up so much (I think from approx. 0.3 to 1.4)

nlondondad Tue 25-Jun-13 23:29:29

Well I am confused also; it would seem that Rokesly has in fact been three form entry since 2010 - at least, so clearly I was wrong. Apologies.

An other reason for a sudden change, in this case increase, in admissions radius could be that last year had a lot of siblings and this year there are very few, but that is just specualation.

Roshbegosh Tue 25-Jun-13 23:32:15

Rokesly has gone down, it is nothing like it was a few years ago.

nlondondad Wed 26-Jun-13 00:57:08

It has been confirmed to me (reliably) that the Education Funding Agency has chosen to requisition the old Ashmount Site from Islington Council, which they have the power to do, without paying any compensation to the Council.
The site is to be transferred without charge to private ownership; the site will be given to Bellevue Education Limited. Bellevue Education Ltd is a commercial (for profit) company, which runs a chain of nine for profit fee paying schools here, and in Switzerland. (ref1) Bellevue made profits last year of £1.5m on a turnover of £3.7m, so its what I believe one would call "a nice little business". (ref2) Although if you want to rush out and buy some shares you cannot at the moment as they are not publically listed. Instead the investors are venture capitalists based in Switzerland using Russian money. Perhaps there will be a flotation at some point in the future. I am sure we will be all poised to add a bit of diversity to our share portfolios.

This decision will have some consequences for Ashmount, and indeed other schools in Islington.

1. First the capital account for Islington schools is now short by 3 million pounds. This was the, rather conservative figure, that Islington had assumed would be available from selling the site, at a special low price, to a housing association. It might well have been more. Consequently all Islington schools will experience a further cut in capital allocations. This is, in accounting terms, a straightforward transfer of capital resources from all the community schools in Islington to Bellevue Education Ltd. Ashmount will be less affected than some of our colleagues in the short run as our building is new. So one would hope that for a few years at least our capital requirements will be low.

2. From 2014 there will be an additional 58 places at reception in this area. All the indications from actual admissions figures this year is that certainly in 2014 there will be a significant surplus of places created in the immediate area. This could have the effect of intensifying competition between schools as there may not be enough school pupils to go around. The Free School website states that it will use the same admissions system and criteria as other islington Schools so the schools likely to notice this are, (In order of distance from the old Ashmount site) Hargrave Park, Highgate Primary, Coleridge School, and furthest away, Ashmount. (Incidentally going by the photographs on the school web site they appear to expect that all their children will be white...ref 3).

However it would be rash to jump to any conclusions about this as the Free School, at least in its first year may have significant difficulties in recruiting pupils. We know from the experience of other Free Schools that where they have been set up in areas where there are surplus school places that, untried as they are, parents are nervous of them. By definition they have no track record of any kind, no parental opinions, Ofsteds, or SATS. In this particular case there is also the issue of the building. We left it because it was terrible. We also left it because we knew that even spending millions of pounds one still ends up with a building which we thought not good enough for our children. We also know there were people in significant numbers who would not send their children to Ashmount because of the building. Our undersubscription only stopped when the move to the new building was fully confirmed. So it does seem to me, that even if they work out a way to clean the windows, that there is an issue here.

On the other hand Bellevue Education may be willing to invest some of their own resources in marketing; were they to choose to do so they could certainly outspend any community school. A reason why they might do so is related to the otherwise puzzling point as to why Bellevue Education are interested in getting involved in running a Free Primary School from which they are not allowed to make a profit. The obvious answer is that the Conservatives believe that state schools should be allowed to be owned and run by profit making companies, on a profit making basis. This is not allowed at present, because the Liberal Democrats do not agree,. However Mr Gove has promised a number of times that should the Conservatives be elected to Government in the next election, fixed for the summer of 2014, when the Free School will have been open for less than a year, the law will be changed to allow Free Schools to be run at a profit. Bellevue Education could well feel that the old Ashmount Site represents a useful speculation.

I would be interested in any comments, or further information, anyone might have.




nlondondad Wed 26-Jun-13 09:43:45

A silly typing error on my part. The general election is scheduled for summer 2015, and NOT 2014, as indeed should be clear from the context.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Wed 26-Jun-13 11:24:03

thanks nlondondad. Digesting this and working out what it could mean for my daughter if we lose our appeal for our favoured school and she ends up going to HP

Crouchendmumoftwo Wed 26-Jun-13 22:53:46

I havent noticed any shortage in places in Crouch End at all. Im in the catchment for Weston Park and there are 2 consecutive bulge years and what I have noticed is that parents who were going to send their kids to Rokesley or Campsbourne sent their kids to WP when they heard about the bulge classes, could that be a reason for the leap in catchment range?

Farewelltoarms Thu 27-Jun-13 11:38:06

nlondondad, I'm gobsmacked. There seems such clear evidence of an agenda here. Really depressing and irreversible.
Just looking at the Islington Free Primary site, there are various messages from locals seeming to confirm that there is a demand for such a school on the site of the old Ashmount.
Assuming these are genuine, what would be your response to those who say that Ashmount moving has left a hole in the community?

nlondondad Fri 28-Jun-13 10:36:47


Your remark about not noticing a shortage of places; that fits in with everything I have heard as well. I have had access to accurate Islington Admission figures, which show no sign of a squeeze on places on the Islington side of Hornsey Lane which a shortage in Crouch End could have been expected to have caused by overspill. Also there has been no coverage in the local press, which there was in previous years, and as you will see from this (now quite long) thread there has been no reporting of a shortage on Mumsnet.

The Islington position as of yesterday was that there are now 60 children in the whole of Islington who have not yet had an offer for one of the places they applied for originally. There are about 90 vacant places in reception in Islington schools so they will all get a place in the end BUt what is happening now is that refusals of offered places at schools are still coming in. When this creates a vacancy it is offered on, sometimes to someone already with a place but with a higher preference for the school on offer. So if they accept that it frees up a places in the school they are now declining. Also anyone who gets an offer like that, and accepts it, vanishes from all the waiting lists they are on.

What Islington admissions are trying to do is get as many people as possible into schools they applied for originally, and at the highest possible preference. Its only when that process slows down which it will not for some weeks that consideration might have to be given to allocating the few remaining to the nearest school which still has a vacancy.

The appeals process is running now also; it seems there are only a small number of these, and of course as numbers start to get small, even a handful of appeal successes will make a difference.

Two of the children without places - yet - live in an area bounded to the West by the Whittington Hospital, to the East by Crouch Hill, to the North by Hornsey Lane and to the south by Fairbridge Road. Its a big area, and I only know they live somewhere within it.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Fri 28-Jun-13 11:39:58

I know there are still a few places in the HP bulge class.

nlondondad Fri 28-Jun-13 15:33:44


Depressing, certainly. And a number of people seem to think that it is no coincidence the Islington is a Labour controlled borough. Whether irreversible I am not so sure, tho' I may be naive.

The two issues that seem the key ones, are first demand - and that is the one everyone is focusing on now. And second what will they do with the old building. You can see why people focus on demand as that is the obvious point to grasp. It is clear the school with its extra 58 places would not have been needed this year. At all. And so even with some growth in demand next year, it is hard to see how they will fill in 2014.

The building thing however is the really weird point. They really do seem to be intending to use the old building. Now if parents in large numbers would not send their children to the old Ashmount, even tho' OFSTED said it was a "good" school, producing a situation where from year 3 upwards the school has significant vacant places, and they did not send their children because of the building (which there is evidence for in the sense that that was a reason parents gave for not sending their children AND as soon as the move was confirmed, bingo! Oversubscription) why will they send their children when it is a Free School in the old building?

Or am I missing something?

nlondondad Fri 28-Jun-13 15:40:32

i suppose in a way I am asking whether Bellevue really know what they have taken on, what "due diligence" have they done, and how much money is the Education Funding agency prepared to spend on the refurb.

Architects who advised the school on a "pro bono" basis say that once the refurb begins, all sorts of problems will appear. There is a LOT of asbestos for example, which at the moment is stable, but once the refurb starts...

However the cynical have suggested that once they get to take over the site, that they will investigate, say the problem much greater than they realised, and say the only thing to do is demolish and rebuild funding by selling part of the large site off...

nlondondad Fri 28-Jun-13 21:28:01


You ask about the school moving leaving a hole in the community.

Well in a way I would hope that the schools absence would be noted and regretted; would not say much about the school if the general attitude was "good riddance"

Also as I live only 5 minutes -one road way - from the old site I am well aware of how marvellous it was when I had children at the school to live so close.

However we cannot all live five minutes from our children's school, and the school has not moved far. By the shortest route its a brisk ten minutes. Down the Parkland Walk, (The disused railway line now a linear park) car free, and very pleasant on a sunny day its between 15 and 20 minutes.

So thats the first part of my response.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Fri 28-Jun-13 22:21:03

So some of the large site could be sold off to a housing developer? I suppose depending on what sort of dwellings are built, would depend on the impact on the Free school and the local schools. Iif lots of one and two bed flats are built, people may have babies there, but are unlikely to stick around for school. If the houses are family size then the families that live in them may send their children to the Free school. Although saying that we live in what's really a one bed flat that's had a second bedroom carved out of it. So maybe lots of two bed flats would produce enough primary age children for the school.

Grasping at straws

nlondondad Sun 30-Jun-13 18:41:36

I see what you mean, that a combined demolish of the current building and the building of a new school ANd housing on the site could generate enough residents to fill the school. I dont quite see it myself, as you need to be producing, for a one form entry -half the size of the currently proposed school - 30 children EVERY YEAR. Suppose it depends on average size of families and how long they stay. Islington's plan was to build social housing to reduce over crowding, and part of that was likely to have been sheltered housing suitable for older people to encourage them to move out of family size flats, to let families move in. So no extra children there.

However that is a bit academic as any DFE sponsored demolish and rebuild and sell would be selling the houses that would get the highest price, no idea what that demographic would look like.

nlondondad Mon 01-Jul-13 18:36:51


As this thread has moved on a bit I will quote from your earlier message I have not answered yet, and then give the answer:

You wrote

"Just looking at the Islington Free Primary site, there are various messages from locals seeming to confirm that there is a demand for such a school on the site of the old Ashmount."

My response is to note that there are ten comments displayed, of which two were acknowledgements of comments by the organisers, so that leaves eight messages appearing to be from residents. Of those seven were from people who a. said they did not wish to see the school go and b. did not have any children to send. You can see that support from people with primary School age children matters rather more when assessing demand. That leaves one more message, which is so interesting I will quote in full and respond to it next. After a bit, when I have put the evening meal on. Hmm, now should I open a bottle of red?

Farewelltoarms Mon 01-Jul-13 19:36:56

Thanks nlondon. I didn't find them particularly convincing but am happy to be corrected by someone who does agree with the idea of turning the old Ashmount in the new school.
Generally I think that website is pants. Whatever one thinks of the existing free schools, at least there seems to be some passion and oomph behind them. This is all so meh. 'We'll welcome pupils from all backgrounds' blah blah blah 'happy, nurturing environment'.
What's happened to your Islington Free School thread? I was going to post something specifically on it.

nlondondad Mon 01-Jul-13 20:16:19

I put the Islington Free School Thread in "education"; perhaps that was not a good move...

Should I have put it here, in Primary?

Farewelltoarms Mon 01-Jul-13 20:35:15

No I'm sure education's fine! I misremembered.

nlondondad Tue 02-Jul-13 16:13:54

yes, Farewelltoarms, the "action", such as there is has moved to

Which is therefore the "now" place to go for an argument. But before I stroll over there, to see how they are all getting on, and cause some trouble I would say that this whole thread from the original post seems to amount to saying that this year there was not really a shortage of places. But the thread does seem to have functioned as a useful source of information about admissions in Islington.

Also I promised to come back to your question

""Just looking at the Islington Free Primary site, there are various messages from locals seeming to confirm that there is a demand for such a school on the site of the old Ashmount"

I amswered that, just above, by pointing out all messages save one did not indicate that there was an actual child in search of a place.

That message read in full

"Cressida Road resident
March 14, 2013 at 10:15 am
I telephoned Islington Council yesterday about my daughter’s possible primary school place in the area (Whitehall Park) and was told she would not get in to any of the local schools. I was told she would probably be offered a place at Copenhagen School at the back end of King’s Cross! Not exactly local.

We are therefore left the choice of moving or going private. I am not keen on either.

I find the attitude of the Council extraordinary. We have all had letters from the head of the Education department telling us there is no shortage of places in Islington and yet when you telephone them direct they say there is.

I therefore wholeheartedly endorse your proposal and hope it is set up ready for my daughter to start in September 2014.'

Now this is an odd message for two reasons:-

First of all it is not clear whether she is talking about one daughter or two. Because of course any enquiry about entry in 2014 simply cannot be answered by anyone at this stage, as we are only dealing with admissions for 2013. So either she has two children, a year apart, or she is confused and by 2014 she means 2013.

Secondly so far as this years admissions are concerned it is not true. No one living in N19 has been offered a place at Copenhagen Street. Which is not surprising as to have been offered such a place in March she would have had to have applied for it, and why would she apply for a school so far away? At that stage she would, if she had applied, have been offered Hargrave Park anyway.

So the poster is either seriously confused, or has in fact made it up, or possibly this is a post by a third party relaying a story they have heard. and getting it wrong. or something. Whatever it is it is not evidence of demand.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Tue 02-Jul-13 21:17:36

Hmm. When I ( a Camden resident) rang Islington admissions they very helpfully told me of all the islington schools which had no, or very short, waiting lists. At this point Copenhagen was mentioned as a school I would likely to be offered if I went on the waiting list. Some time later *nl

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Tue 02-Jul-13 21:23:52

after having put myself on the waiting list for HP we did in fact get a place.

So maybe the person who wrote the above was so distraught she wasn't listening properly to what islington admissions were saying? I can't remember when the additional bulge places were given out in islington, but nay e the above message was written before they were announced? She would only have been given HP at this point if she had it down as a preference. It sounds like it wasn't ;)

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Tue 02-Jul-13 21:25:19

Islington have been helpful, that wasn't sarcastic. I think the telephone team deserve a medal

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Tue 02-Jul-13 21:28:41

Ignore all that, I just re read your post nlondondad. Blame the night spent at royal free A&E.... Did you open that wine?

nlondondad Tue 02-Jul-13 23:32:02

regarding the wine. Oh, yes I did. I take it you have got back from the A & E in reasonably good order. My younger brother, who has five children, got to the stage where his A and E greeted him by first name...They were ACTIVE children. All grown up now, in fact he is a grandfather. Very alarming.

Anyway. Possibly I digress.

I am actually really interested in your report of the conversation with admissions because it is very likely that the 'offered a place at Copenhagen" story did represent a distorted version of that advice. especially if it was being re told second hand. So thank you for that. It had been bugging me.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Wed 03-Jul-13 10:02:58

It was a PFB A&E emergency but the hospital were very good about it.

nlondondad Sat 06-Jul-13 17:18:04

it would seem that the life of this thread, for this year anyway, is now drawing peacefully to, well hibernation at any rate.

The latest about admissions this year is that in this area, there is a small surplus of places, so every child has got a school place. Some schools have significant waiting lists made up of people who although they have a place still prefer the school they are waiting for, and some will certainly get their wish. The school I have the waiting list number for, Ashmount has, at, present 58 on the list. Before a supporter of the proposed free school pops up and argues that the means "58 children without a place" it does not. To repeat, its 58 children who have places but would still like a place at a particular school, Ashmount. To suggest they would have been satisfied with a putative 'Free School" instead, somewhat speculative. Also these 58 children will likely be on more than one waiting list.

Further afield an OfSted "outstanding" primary in central Islington was seeking to fill a couple of vacant places only last week. Which just shows that having vacant places does not mean immediately that you are a school people avoid, just not enough children close enough to go around.

The Free School if established will create in the region of 20 per cent more places than children at reception in this area of London, so absolutely certainly no shortage next year either!

The new thread discussing the Free School, is here:

nlondondad Sun 07-Jul-13 21:16:51

here are some figures just in, from Haringey.

They show:-

1. In the area of Highgate, Crouch End, Hornsey, Stroud Green (served by these schools Campsbourne Infants, Coleridge Primary, Highgate Primary, Rokesly Infants, St Aidan's, St Mary's CE Primary, St Michael’s CE Primary N6, St Peter in Chains RC Infants, Stroud Green,Weston Park.) all applicants now have a place and there are three reception places unfilled. So no shortage of places this year, now confirmed.

2. The number of applicants, in each year showed a clear trend of increasing each year from 625 (in 2007) to a peak of 700 in (2011) and has now fallen in two successive years to this years total of 629.

3. During this time the supply of places increased by 90, which is why although there was a place shortage in 2007 on 625 applicants, there is none this year on 629.

nlondondad Fri 12-Jul-13 13:02:46

Results from Islington show that in the relevant area there are five surplus places. The number of admissions appeals in Islington, in general, are significantly down this year.

nlondondad Thu 18-Jul-13 10:37:33

The Islington Schools' Forum met last week and considered school place planning for next year.

Islington takes the view that the number of applicants for Islington Primary Schools, which rose last year, will rise again next year. In order to accommodate these extra numbers Islington plan to re expand schools which contracted during the past period of falling rolls. Over the next few months all schools will be re surveyed to check how many children, under strict government rules which aim to guarantee enough space per child, each school could in fact accommodate, and how much it would cost to re instate the space.

They will be looking at a combination of factors; the particular areas where demand will rise, mainly to the south of the Borough, choosing popular schools to expand, and value for money.

All children will have places in schools that meet the government standards for local authority schools and do this at low cost.

(Oddly, although Islington are required by law to adhere to certain minimum standards for school accommodation, Free Schools are not.)

In the area this thread is about, without the proposed Free School, there would be no shortage, especially as applications in Crouch End, in Haringey, now seem to be on a downward trend for the third year running.

Should the Free School open on the old Ashmount Site, albeit in a building abandoned by Islington as not fit for purpose for use by a Islington Primary School, there will be a surplus of places in the area of about 20 per cent.

nlondondad Wed 31-Jul-13 23:59:51

According to the DFE the proposers of the Free School on the old Ashmount site have evidence of parental demand equal to 120 percent of reception places for Autumn 2014. As the admissions figures show no shortage of places this year in the area, with a handful of surplus places, and numbers of reception applicants in Crouch End have fallen this year for the second consecutive year this seems to mean either lots of surplus places or the school age population in the area is going to go up by 25 per cent.

atlassneezed Thu 01-Aug-13 17:30:38

nlondondad - do you think the drop in demand for places at schools in Haringey and Islington from it's high in 2011 is due to people leaving the area because of benefit changes? Presumably any families affected by the benefit cap (£500 per week) will no longer be able to afford areas like Islington and Haringey (especially if in private rentals) and the cap is apparently mostly affecting families with children. It might explain why demand has fallen?

atlassneezed Thu 01-Aug-13 17:33:10

I wonder if once all the benefit cuts/universal credit has come in there will be all these new schools or schools that opened bulge classes years before without any children to go in them?

nlondondad Thu 01-Aug-13 19:08:00

The drop in numbers, as measured by the total number of first preference applications, was in the Crouch End area. Thus:

The number of applicants in each year showed a clear trend of increasing each year from 625 (in 2007) to a peak of 700 in (2011) and then fell in two successive years to this year’s total of 629.
During this time the supply of places increased by 90, which is why, although there was a place shortage in 2007 on 625 applicants, there is none this year on 629. And these are Haringey figures.

On the Islington side of the border near Crouch End, numbers rose a little, but places increased (by 20). I do not have detailed figures (yet)

Your comment about the benefit cap is a good one, I think the answer is no one really knows. In Islington a number of schools were identified as being possible cases where families might have to move away. and of course they would be big families, but the schools in the area of Islington I am talking about were not one of these, so possibly not an effect so far. But there is often a lag about these things.

nlondondad Sat 03-Aug-13 11:34:14

There is a relevant thread about Free Schools on "Am I being unreasonable" I have made some contributions there relating to the proposal to set up a Free Primary School in Islington, to use the old Ashmount site, which would serve the area we are discussing here (and which does not seem to have a shortage of places)

nlondondad Wed 07-Aug-13 09:31:52

Islington Council figures indicate that there is no one in the area who does not have a school place available. Is there anyone on here whose experience differs?

nlondondad Fri 27-Sep-13 19:15:26

I have just come back from a late summer holiday, and schools are well started. So at this stge the admissions season for autumn 2013 ought to be over. So I am reviving this thread to ask How was it? Did anyone hear of people without 1.Any place at the start? or 2. Only a place or places they found unacceptable due to distance?

scriptbunny Sat 28-Sep-13 19:10:39


I am new to this thread but I thought this link might be relevant. I heard about the proposed expansion of this school from a parent and here it the explanation on the school's newsletter. It seems to suggest that there has indeed been a shortage of places in this area this year:

Watching this subject with interest, because we'll be applying for a school place in the area in a couple of years.


nlondondad Mon 30-Sep-13 10:29:07

Thanks for this script bunny. I note that the school is to the far north of Crouch End really between Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace so, in true London fashion, it is outside my area of local knowledge.

I see it is also a church school which is an extra complication. The website explains they have a waiting list of 24, all of which will now be offered places for this year as they are adding the class immediately. It would be interesting to know how many of that 24 have been offered places elsewhere already, (and if so where they were - how far away for example) but will now transfer as their parents want a Church (Of England?) rather than a secular school.

scriptbunny Tue 01-Oct-13 22:55:32

All good points, nld.

It makes me think that this education thing is worse than talking to a gas company. Trying to get a clear picture of what is actually going on seems nigh on impossible. Still watching with interest though...

nlondondad Wed 02-Oct-13 22:21:31

I now have the most up to date (and now pretty stable as the term well started) admissions figures from Islington. There are no children in the Archway area without a school place. There are five vacant reception class places at Hargrave Park. There are a further 22 vacant reception places in the North of the Borough. (There are 53 vacant places in the South of the Borough). All late applicants in Islington also have places except the last three recently received, who have not yet been allocated a place, but they are not in the Archway area anyway.

IsabellaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 04-Oct-13 10:03:24

You might want to use our Local site for Haringey, which has talk boards used by local people to discuss local issues, as well as hundreds of listings including schools.

whitehallparkdad Fri 18-Oct-13 20:45:26

Just picking up on this thread. I was wondering if there were any stats for children who did not get a reception place at a primary school close by (ie local) so have relunctantly gone private?

Do they drop out of the figures that are being provided about there being no shortage of school places.

nlondondad Sat 19-Oct-13 15:48:03

I presume there must be some parents, although not many, whose order of preference for schools could have been 1 or 2, or perhaps 3 local school state schools, followed by a fee paying independent. So at the end of the admissions season if they had not got a place at one of their state options, then they would go private. One does, very occasionally, hear of a parent who says they will accept a place at x school, but if they dont get it go private. (The inverse of that is the parent, who while saying they are opposed to private schools in principle says they had no alternative because they were not offered an acceptable school.)

However in the admission stats generated by the state school admission system what shows up are people who apply to at least one state school and are not offered a place. They would then continue to show as "unallocated" unless they contacted admissions and asked to be taken off the list because they had made their own arrangements - but they would have no incentive to bother doing this as the sensible thing to do is stay on the waiting lists for their favoured schools in case of a late offer -which they would have the option of declining.

This year, in the general area of Whitehall Park, rather broadly defined there were seven children who in the first admissions round showed up as:-

1. Having only applied to Ashmount and Coleridge in order of their preference

2. Not having a place.

Some of these will have been offered places off the waiting list for at least one of the two schools. They would also have the possibility of being offered a place at Hargrave Park.

So I suppose your question becomes "Were there any children in the Whitehall Park area who, in the event turned down all the places they were offered?"

I will ask, but I reckon the answer must be less than seven.

nlondondad Sat 19-Oct-13 23:16:56


I understand your point but the area is also in Islington -the boundary between Islington and haringey runs though the area, down the middle of Hornsey Lane.

whitehallparkdad Mon 21-Oct-13 15:49:37

Do you have any figures for those who are based on the other side of hornsey lane - ie done stanhope road, claremount (sp), miltons way who may have done this? Moving the school seems to have created a bit of a black hole really.

whitehallparkdad Mon 21-Oct-13 15:59:08

Apologies that "down" stanhope etc.

nlondondad Tue 22-Oct-13 23:37:48

No I dont have the detailed figures for Haringey - I dont have the same working relationship with the officers there (I am on the Schools' Forum in Islington, and you get to know people) but I would point out that when you get to the Miltons your school of choice would usually be Highgate Primary and of course the C of E school, St Michaels Highgate. If anyone can supply more detailed local information from there would be great to have it.

I dont agree that a black hole has been created, in the sense that its an area without neighbouring school places, they would have had Highgate Primary.

When Ashmount was in its old building we never got children from there.

whitehallparkdad Wed 23-Oct-13 14:16:30

I think that there is a difference between being offered a place and being offered a place at a local school. By that I mean Ashmount or Coleridge. Parents may not want to travel much further than that.

I don't think I would be accepting a place in kings cross living in Whitehall park.

whitehallparkdad Wed 23-Oct-13 14:20:59

See your point about re Highgate. It seems a long way off. St micheals has quite strict criteria so don't think it counts. I am aware of people who live in the village itself who have not been offered a place there despite being regular churchgoers - though that was for the nursery.

nlondondad Wed 23-Oct-13 15:39:57

We were talking about the Miltons which is to the north of the Whitehall Park area and so their nearest school may well be Highgate primary.And certainly in the past children from there did not go to Ashmount.

But if you live in the Whitehall Park area to the west of the old Ashmount site Hargrave Park is the same distance as Ashmount School now is.

(By the shortest walking route -I checked that yesterday)

jakecat Wed 23-Oct-13 19:13:31

I'm a bit surprised that there were no children from the Miltons or along Stanhope Rd at the old Ashmount. When I toured the new Ashmount & some one queried whether the new location meant that there were more children from Islington or from Harringey the answer was that there had always been lots of Harringey children as the old site was on the border (which is Hornsey Lane). If those children didn't come from the Miltons or the area just North of Hornsey Lane where were they from? Which Borough the children come from isn't of course the point but if there have always been Harringey children the likelihood must be that they were from that area & that they are now squeezed on school places too. Highgate Primary can't have picked up all of them surely as it hasn't added extra spaces.

nlondondad Wed 23-Oct-13 20:32:46

Actually (and oddly) a significant number of Haringey children came from further away. For a number of years Ashmount was undersubscribed at reception, in fact this year is the third year of oversubscription. (Parents were put off by the building. The undersubscription stopped when the move to the new building was confirmed, albeit on a more optimistic timetable then turned out to be the case...)

Consequently for people who moved in during the school year Ashmount was often a good option, especially as more than one sibling could be fitted in, in different years if need be. We had a number of American families posted here for a year or two, in corporate lets in Highgate, the first family got on so well they referred the others on. We were by know means the nearest school, but we could accomodate all the children in different years.

My comment about the Miltons remains true that in terms of ordinary admissions they seemed to prefer Highgate primary but I am thinking about the ones in the direction of Shepherds Hill.

So far as the immediate north side of Hornsey Lane is concerned they were within range of Hargrave Park this year.

nlondondad Wed 23-Oct-13 20:42:12

By the way no evidence from this thread that Crouch End is squeesed for places. Actually the number of unique applications in Crouch End has fallen each year for the last three years.

jakecat Wed 23-Oct-13 20:58:25

I am not trying to be pedantic but I am not sure that is right. The map at page 10 of this document is helpful.

It suggests that there was a significant area North of Hornsey Lane that was not in the Hargrave Park catchment area (or in Highgate Primary's).

These figures do not reflect the additional 15 places added at Hargrave Park but the Islington Admissions brochure for September 2014 makes clear that the decision about whether there will be 45 places or 30 at Hargrave Park in September 2014 won't be made until February. Not much comfort for people who have to apply by 15th January.

nlondondad Thu 24-Oct-13 00:13:02


The map is wrong. Hargrave Park added 15 additional places during the admissions process, and, in the event, did not fill five of them. Consequently this year Hargrave Park did not have a catchment area as such as there was no cut off point.

The reason no decision will be made regarding whether to add an extra 15 until after applications are in is that Islington need to see if they are needed. If they are they will be created. In fact up to 30 places could be added. If the places are needed, they will be there.

nlondondad Thu 24-Oct-13 00:23:19

I also need to warn you he document you are quoting is hopelessly unreliable, written by someone who on his own admission did not have access to accurate data, (he complains that Islington refused to co operate with him so he had to fill in gaps with speculation) who did not understand the difference between a PAN, net capacity or how bulge classes work, or indeed the resourcing cycle of local authorities. Its a very complicated area.

It was on the basis of that document that ASAG stated on 2nd May 2013

“Reception classes in September 2013
It seems that there are likely to be more than enough children to fill a class if Ashmount School were to reopen as a free school this year, and probably enough for 2 classes. At present we understand that if enough parents express firm interest in a 2013 class, PLACE, one of the bidders to open a free school on the site in 2014, may be able to provide one.”

This is a claim of a shortage of up to sixty places....

And followed this up on 22 July 2013

“...there is already, this September, a shortage of places in the reception year in this school area.”

In fact the actual position on 2/10/13 was there were no children in the Whitehall Park area without a school place. There were five vacant reception class places at Hargrave Park. There were a further 22 vacant reception places in the North of the Borough (there were 53 vacant places in the South of the Borough). All late applicants in Islington also had places at that date except the last three recently received, who have not yet been allocated a place, but they were not in the Whitehall park area anyway.

So his predictions for this year were very wrong.

Given that all the Hargrave Park places did not fill this year you can see why Islington are cautious about creating places until they see what is actually happening. Especially as there is a downward trend in applications in Crouch End and both Coleridge and Ashmount had large numbers of siblings.

If the downward trend continued, and there were less siblings then the Coleridge and Ashmount catchments could well expand significantly. These things are subject to fluctuation. we cannot know for sure until the exact figures are in. What we do know is that Islington has significant net capacity in its schools and can therefore raise the PANs of these schools if required.

TheNewBrown Thu 24-Oct-13 08:59:11


Thanks for posting that link. It is very helpful to see visually the cut-off distances all in one place and shows very clearly the lack of choices open to parents in the area around the old Ashmount site. The fact the Islington was forced to create bulge classes locally also demonstrates the lack of spaces.
To those posters (especially those with significant undeclared conflicts of interest) who continually refute Islington and Haringey's published figures and claim that their 'secret' figures show that the parents in this area are all happy and have plenty of choices of schools should provide those figures stating their sources. Until they do that, I for one, will assume they are at best misinformed and at worst disingenuous.

nlondondad Sat 26-Oct-13 00:11:49


What an odd post...

Passing over the bizarre innuendo that there are mumsnet posters "with significant undeclared conflicts of interest" ("or is there something you need to tell us about yourself?)You also seem to say that there are posters on this thread making claims based on "secret figures" and that it has been claimed "that the parents in this area are all happy and have plenty of choices of schools". Well I have read through the whole thread again and dont find any such claims.

I started this thread to answer the question as to whether there was a shortage of places in a particular bit of London, THIS YEAR. And the admissions season being over for this year the answer appears to be broadly "no" so far as the people posting here is concerned, and there has been no local press coverage either.

nlondondad Sat 26-Oct-13 00:16:33

But the report TheNewBrown is so keen on predicted a shortage of between 30 and sixty places in the Whitehall Park area, which has not happened, as all children who did not get into Ashmount or Coleridge had the option of Hargrave Park. (A recently OfSteded "good" school, expanded by 15 places which still has some vacancies.)

nlondondad Sat 26-Oct-13 00:25:25


I now have an answer to your earlier query about people choosing a private school because (in their opinion) a suitable state school not available.

The latest and now definitive figures are that in the WhitehallPark area, broadly defined, there were seven children who applied only for Ashmount and Coleridge and on the first admissions round got neither.

One was subsequently offered a place off the waiting list for one of Ashmount or Coleridge.(and accepted)

Three were offered places at Hargrave Park which they accepted.

The remaining three, not having had either of their preferred schools, went private.

I do not have figures for the Haringey side, say the Miltons area.

TheNewBrown Sun 27-Oct-13 22:10:44

My comment about undeclared conflicts of interest is probably best explained with an analogy. Imagine someone was posting on a thread about a newly released version of Coca Cola, asking for people's opinion and engaging heavily in the following discussion. If it turned out that the poster in question turned out to be the marketing director for Pepsi it would put a different spin on the whole conversation.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying the marketing director for Pepsi shouldn't be able to discuss the new Coca Cola, but to do so without declaring their particular interest upfront makes it seems like they have an ulterior motive for the whole thing.

nlondondad Mon 28-Oct-13 11:26:21


Difficult to know how to further respond to what feels like some kind of allegation of improper behaviour against other posters on this thread who happen to disagree with you.

Everyone posts on Mumsnet using a pseudonym which may be more or less (usually less) informative and its very much up to the poster how much personal information they disclose, by say, having a profile. I note you have no profile yourself, for example.

TheNewBrown Fri 01-Nov-13 23:07:10

@ nlondondad

I don't think that's it. I work in an industry that strives to maintain the highest standards of openness and transparency and this probably means I have naively high expectations of people's honesty.

I am a parent currently negotiating the primary application process trying to make the most informed decision for my child. I have been frustrated by people obfuscating the data and speaking from positions of authority but with hidden agendas

It appears that my child is only likely to be offered a place at whichever school Islington deigns to place a bulge class. Even if you believe it is acceptable that parents don't have any say in what school their children go to you must be able to see why I disagree that there is no shortage of places.

nlondondad Tue 05-Nov-13 23:57:19


You write:

"I don't think that's it. I work in an industry that strives to maintain the highest standards of openness and transparency and this probably means I have naively high expectations of people's honesty."

I respond:

I have to say this comes across as a trifle sanctimonious. I am sure other contributors to Mumsnet would feel that their occupations involve "openess and transparency" It feels as if you are making a claim to moral superiority not known to us lesser mortals.... I have no doubt that most people are doing the best they can. As, no doubt, you are.

You write:

"I am a parent currently negotiating the primary application process trying to make the most informed decision for my child."

I respond:

And its a killer. Its a horrible shock for most parents hitting it for the first time. What most people want is for their local school to provide a good education. What they get is a confusing mish mash of messages and the right to express a preference. There is no right of parental choice, and actually most parents do not have one.

You write:

"I have been frustrated by people obfuscating the data and speaking from positions of authority but with hidden agendas"

I respond:

You need to give examples of what you mean, mere assertion is neither evidence or argument.

You write:

"It appears that my child is only likely to be offered a place at whichever school Islington deigns to place a bulge class."

I respond

No deign about it. Islington has a legal duty to manage school places. After many years of falling numbers, which led to the reduction of class sizes, islington now has a growing number, although much less than elesewhere. Islington is managing this by re expanding schools in response to demand. However schools will be re expanded if they are at least of "good" standard AND the school ask to be allowed to expand. So only good, and willing, schools to expand. Schools people ought to be willing to send their children to.

In this general area the number of places at Tufnell Park School was increased by five, driven by demand from Camden. Hargrave Park was increased by fifteen, of which five places remain vacant. So a current surplus of five places in the Whitehall Park Area this year. There is space at Hargrave Park to add up to another 15 places on top next year should that be required.

You write:

"Even if you believe it is acceptable that parents don't have any say in what school their children go to"

I respond:

Please do not put words into my mouth. The current system does not provide parental choice, and the key reason why it does not is that the government does not fund vacant places. Only if vacant places were funded could there be a true choice of schools. Governments of both types have declined to provide the finance needed to allow parental choice.

You write

"you must be able to see why I disagree that there is no shortage of places."

I respond

It seems that what you really mean is that although there is a place for your child, it is not at a school you would have chosen. But at a school which is "good" and local. This, with respect, is not a shortage of places.
There are people elsewhere in London who know what a shortage of places looks like.

Next year you are most likely to be offered a place at Hargrave park, because Islington have said that they will create the required places to meet extra demand, should it arise. However both Coleridge and Ashmount had larger than usual numbers of siblings this year, and the trend in Crouch End is that the number of applicants has fallen for the last three years so there could well be an expansion of the admission areas.

You might even get a choice.

nlondondad Sun 10-Nov-13 14:58:05

I now have some further more up to date information. (As of the school census in October which counts actual children in school.)

In the Islington bit of the area this thread covers there are currently eight vacant reception places, that is a surplus of eight places. Regarding Camden, which is less relevant, it is confirmed that Camden primary schools in the NE of that borough were not oversubscribed and there are primary schools with spare reception places as at Oct 2013 school census.

I would welcome any input that anyone might have regarding the position in Crouch End.

meditrina Sun 10-Nov-13 15:11:29

Is that eight vacancies including the additional 80 bulge class places (ie shortage of 72) or has it been counted some other way?

nlondondad Sun 10-Nov-13 17:32:12

@meditrina I am not sure what your point is. Islington schools were expanded this year by 80 places to meet an increase in demand. It is simple arithmetic. There were more applications than last year, but there are more places than last year.So there are some surplus places. The bit I have the information on is the Whitehall Park area where there are now 8 vacancies.

I think you are being misled by the term "bulge class" which has a precise, technical meaning for council admissions officers. However in this case unusually what is happening is that schools that had larger" PANs" (A PAN is a Planned Admission Number) in the past are being re expanded. So the increase in places is permanent, and will apply next year as well.

Of course if the schools had not expanded there would have been a shortage of places, but they did expand, so there is not.

meditrina Sun 10-Nov-13 17:39:47

I know what a bulge class is.

It appears from affected school websites and admissions information that the schools hosting them last year have not had a permanent increase to PAN. Or the LEA is publishing inaccurate information - which would be a matter for the Ombudsman.

The point is that Islington was short of 72 places last admissions round, and has plugged that by creating bulge classes. That is not a sustainable position.

nlondondad Sun 10-Nov-13 18:46:07


You appear very definite, but I strongly suspect you are misunderstanding something about the way LEA place planning works. But I dont feel able to be as sure about the position as you appear to be as it involves matters outside my area of expertise. When people start talking about "referrals to the ombudsman" I feel in immediate need of advice from someone who knows what they are talking about. So I shall refer your comments to some one in that position and get back to you.

nlondondad Sun 10-Nov-13 18:48:07

..but in the meantime, until I get some advice, or someone from Mumsnet chips in, have a look at an older posting on this thread which may throw some light, it was dated:

Thu 18-Jul-13 10:37:33

scriptbunny Sun 10-Nov-13 19:08:27

Hi nlondondad,

I for one am not actually sure I know what bulge class is - beyond the obvious (i.e. a school taking more pupils than last year). I don't have the contacts, time or skill to gather information about the Crouch End/Haringey end of the question, which is where my interest lies. But I have been told that three Haringey schools created bulge classes this year, which they are not planning to continue. The image I'm left with is of schools designed for a certain number of children stretching their resources to accommodate more. I guess it might theoretically be possible for certain schools to expand and contract with demand without any fall-off in quality, which is the picture I think you paint in Islington, but from a 'man on the street' perspective it doesn't feel like a very good idea and flashes me back to portakabin classes in the 1970s in Scotland...

Anything you can tell me about the legal/educational status of a bulge class that I don't know would be useful.


meditrina Sun 10-Nov-13 20:05:33

Referral to the Ombudsman would be necessary if a school and/or LEA persists in publishing the wrong PAN. This is a breach of the requirement to publish accurate information to prospective parents to help them decide which schools to list on their application form. Knowing the size of intake is clearly relevant, especially in schools where there has been a sharp increase.

Now, I do not know that the published PANs at the schools which had the bulge classes last admissions round are wrong. It is you whomis saying this - ie that there has been a permanent increase to the size of the school. So if you are right, the published information is wrong, and worse is wrong during the applications window.

A bulge class is an extra class that is added to one year group when there is need and functions like any other class. It is however for that year only: a permanent increase in PAN (ie expansion of the school) is one that applies to all future years.

Islington added what it called bulge classes (which normally means one off extra classes) providing an extra 80 places, 72 of which are full.

nlondondad Sun 10-Nov-13 22:37:25


The practical point is that there are a number of Islington schools which used to be be bigger in the past, and so they have the physical space to expand if required.

nlondondad Sat 23-Nov-13 11:01:27


As I promised I referred this query to an Islington Officer and this was his response.

"There is still confusion.

The correspondent has mistakenly compared the 80 additional bulge class places with the 8 vacancies in the north and concludes that Islington is 72 places short. This is not the case, we still have 91 vacancies across the borough.

There is a difference between bulge and permanent expansion. We are planning to permanently restore places at Ambler and Hargrave Park (this year's are bulge classes). We still anticipate using bulge classes as these do not create permanent additional places in KS2. The LA has to consider both pressure in reception class and overall capacity and bulge classes are a sensible way forward for us at this stage. We know we will need permanent places in south of borough but in other areas, we do not. We also need to take care to monitor the impact of welfare reform/house prices/parental choice at KS2 etc. on school aged population and plan accordingly."

I hope this clarifies the situation. The point to note is that an increase in PAN applies all the way through the school. In this part of London, over the primary school years more families move out of the area, (typically to get cheaper/larger/more family suitable accomodation) than move in. So most schools, even if oversubscribed at reception will have vacancies by year 6.

As the government penalises a Local Authority for having surplus places they want to use repeating bulge classes at reception for the time being until they see what mobility is like further up. So they get more places for parents without increasing the PAN.

meditrina Sat 23-Nov-13 12:10:12

Thanks. That's what I thought was more likely to be the case. I know the difference been bulge and permanent expansion (and it was not me who posted at there had been the latter - but I did think that assertion was one worth clearing up, as it sounded wrong).

It means the earlier posts about there being a 'permanent increase' were simply wrong. And of course that Islington has a shortfall of 72 places this year, covered by bulge classes. Those schools have not had a permanent expansion to PAN, and a shortfall of places is again anticipated for the current entry round and once again the EA expects to rely on bulge classes.

A new school (or schools) with at least 3 form entry is clearly urgently required in this area. Especially as every single demographic indicator shows increase, not stabilisation, in numbers.

nlondondad Sat 23-Nov-13 17:46:35


With respect please read my post with the quote from an Islington Officer, again and more carefully. For if you had really read it you would have noticed the statement:

"We are planning to permanently restore places at Ambler and Hargrave Park (this year's are bulge classes)."

And so you would have known not to say that "earlier posts about there being a permanent increase" were simply wrong. As you would have understood what "permanently restore places" means.

But then I really do not understand how you conclude from the fact that there has been an increase in the number of reception age children in Islington, mostly in the south of Islington, which the LA has met by increasing the number of places in existing schools to such effect that there is a small SURPLUS of places to mean there is a shortage of places. Had tha capacity of the schools not been expanded there would have been a shortage, true, but as they WERE expanded there was not.

Your comment about an extra 90 places being needed in North Islington is simply bizarre, and at best betrays a complete lack of knowledge or appreciation of how thise things work in a London Borough. But anyway I assure you that had there been 90 children in this area without places we would have heard!

As for "demographic indicators" I think you must have the area mistaken. Can you say what these are and what your source is?

nlondondad Sat 23-Nov-13 18:32:34

i realise that when I started this thread in April 2013 I should have included the year in the title, as this years admissions season is now over.

When I started the thread I was interested to find out what the position on the ground seemed to be, at least so far as it was being experienced by users of Mumsnet. well we know what the answer to the question is now. In the area of "Highgate, Archway, Crouch End " There was no place shortage this year. This does not mean that everyone got the place they wanted, but no one was put in the position of having to travel out of the area. In the Whitehall Park area (which lies between Highgate, Crouch End and Archway, is quite small and is in Islington), everyone who applied to a state school was offered a place, and there are still surplus places at Hargrave Park school for anyone who moves in.

Three people in the Whitehall Park area were made offers of state schools which they declined in favour of going private, so statistically not significant. I suppose they were using the state school places as back up in case their (selective) private options do not come through.

We must await and see what next year will bring. If the proposed Whitehall Park School does actually go ahead then the 8 place surplus this year would become a 64 place surplus next year UNLESS there is a very large -25 per cent or so - increase in children. However although the proposers of the school -Bellevue Place Ltd - are marketing it, their use of the old Ashmount school building is not yet confirmed, which does make me wonder whether the Education Funding Agency who would have to pay for the refurbishment of the old building are having concerns, or even second thoughts.

So there it rests. For the next few months.

meditrina Sat 23-Nov-13 18:38:05

Yes, I can read.

They have not yet added to places permanently.

I do know the difference between bulge and permanent.

It was the earlier poster who claimed that there was already a permanent increase who was wrong.

There is only a 'surplus' of places because they have counted the 80 bulge class places. Of the places that are currently permanently established, there was a shortfall of 72. The figure of 90 is my rough estimate based on the current shortfall of permanent places. Of course, if the places are indeed provided by permanent expansion of existing schools, then there would be no need. However that has not yet been done and may not prove achievable. The predictions for the acute level of London primary place shortfall between now and 2016 (and not dropping back thereafter) has led most councils to be encouraging new schools. If Islington is sure that their figures for primary demand will buck the pan-London trend, then seeking only to cover the level of 2013 demand is less imprudent than it would be elsewhere in the capital.

The demographic indicators are those published by the Local Government Association speaking for all councils, and those on the official London Councils' website. Of course, those official statements (which Islington backed at the time) could all be wrong. In which case, I expect that Islington officials will cease or at least soft-pedal their role the pan-London campaign for more schools.

Greeneggsandnaiceham Sat 23-Nov-13 19:24:06

Nlondondad, do you know if Islington has made a decision on the additional places at Hargrave and tufnell park schools? I have neighbours interested in HP but it would probably only be worth them putting it down as one of their six if the extra places were confirmed.

jakecat Sat 23-Nov-13 21:54:45

Greeneggsandnaiceham - the Islington primary admissions brochure says that there will be 45 places at Hargrave Park but this is subject to confirmation in February 2014 (so after the admissions deadline on 15th January). The head teacher of HP said she did not know whether they would be 30 or 45 admissions when I looked round recently. Hope that helps

PaperMover Sat 23-Nov-13 22:12:31

Thanks. jake, makes it very difficult to make an informed decision! What did you think of the school?

nlondondad Sat 23-Nov-13 23:27:05


Bit of a chicken and egg here methinks. The usual advice is to apply for six schools near you (of course) in order of your preference, so really your friend should be applying for the six schools nearest them, but in order of THEIR preference. (Church schools a complication of course if they make up some of the choices). The thing is that Admission radii can vary so much from year to year that it really doesnt help to second guess them. this year Ashmounts radius halved but Rokesely's radius shot right up, and so for the first time in years parts of the Whitehall Park area were within it.

The Head of Hargrave Park is quite right to say that final decisions will not be made on place planning for 2014 until after the deadline for admissions. That is because Islington want to use actual application numbers as part of the planning process instead of relying on forecasts. So they will respond to demand.

I suppose there is also the point that if the new Free School does get the old Ashmount site this is an increase of 20 percent in the number of school places in the area, so that would cause a lot of instability and its very difficult to predict how that would affect admissions radii. Especially as, in the first year the Free School is not part of the council admissions system, so some people could end up holding two offers. So in that case people would really just have to rank the six closest schools....

nlondondad Sat 23-Nov-13 23:37:10

So for example, where I live, a stones throw from the old Ashmount site, the six closest schools are: Coleridge, Ashmount, Hargrave park, Duncombe, Highgate Primary and probably Rokesely (ignoring church schools) This year you would have been certain to get a place at Hargrave Park or Highgate Primary as they did not have a cut off distance, in Hargrave Park's case after the extra places were created. You might have got either Ashmount of Coleridge on waiting list. So expressing an order of preference would have been worth doing.

But next year could be quite different; for example if the trend of falling applications in Crouch End continues for a fourth year...

jakecat Sun 24-Nov-13 15:58:03

Paper - I liked it. Not my first choice for a number of reasons. Head teacher had fought to make sure that there were 2 reception classes of equal size this year when they added the bulge places which I liked. But it sounded to me as if the mechanics of the extra numbers as they go up through the school had yet to be worked out. Certainly no suggestion that the extra 15 places are a permanent feature just because they happened this year, as has been suggested earlier in this thread.

PaperMover Sun 24-Nov-13 17:02:36

Yes * Jakecat*, we were offered a bulge class place this year but ended up with our nearest school on the end. I liked HP but was concerned about the lack of planning for those children as they moved up the school.

nlondon my neighbours know its v unlikley they will get a place at any of their preferred nearest 6 schools, or 8 schools when you add in the VA schools.

nlondondad Sun 24-Nov-13 17:11:16

I have gone back and checked the email I got from Islington in response to my query regarding extra places NEXT year and the relevant bit is this

"We are planning to permanently restore places permanently at Ambler and Hargrave Park (this year's are bulge classes)"

So its true the final decision has not been made. As Islington have said they will only increase places with the agreement of the school, that will mean that a proposal to increase Hargrave Park for next year will need the consent of Hargrave's Governors. An example of why Governors matter. In practice Governors will be strongly persuaded by the opinion of the Head, and the Head will not recommend an increase without being certain that she can put the correct arrangements in place. Which will include negotiations regarding the amount of money Islington put in.

And also my understanding regarding a final decision is that it will not be made until after there is some ide as to what applications actually look like. As there are eight vacancies this year if there were six children fewer next year, then an increase would not be needed. (Camden have just revised down their forecast for next year in that bit of Camden nearest Hargrave Park.)

PaperMover Sun 24-Nov-13 20:16:29

Interesting , thanks nlondondad, we just got lucky this year!

nlondondad Mon 25-Nov-13 15:04:19

Further to my last post - the one just above PaperMover's last -I got back to Islington for some further clarification and I got it, there are really two parts to it.

I will do them as two seperate posts following.

nlondondad Mon 25-Nov-13 15:11:51

This is what islington had to say about places increases:

"The strategy for September 2014 admissions is to make permanent the (previous bulge class) increases at Ambler and Hargrave Park. This has been confirmed in the primary admission brochure as 'subject to formal confirmation in February 2014'."

My Comment:

So this is actually as strong as it (legally) the decision has been made subject to a purely formal ratification -for example the next meeting of Schools Forum is not until early 2014

Islington say:

Christ the King has also increased its roll and this, too, is confirmed in the brochure.

My Comment

This matters because it is a Church School on the southern edge of the area, and some people will go there for religious reasons who would otherwise have gone to a community school, so it increases capacity.

nlondondad Mon 25-Nov-13 15:27:17

Thefurther point from islington is on places supply throughout the Borough.

"The strategy for September 2014 admissions is to make permanent the (previous bulge class) increases at Ambler and Hargrave Park. This has been confirmed in the primary admission brochure as 'subject to formal confirmation in February 2014'.

We have over 90 vacancies at present in reception and at this point, we are not planning any bulge classes for next year but cannot rule it out."

PaperMover Mon 25-Nov-13 19:38:12

Ok, will point my neighbours to this thread ! HP has gone from being an unknown school in my neighbourhood to one often talked about. I think a lot of people will be sad not to have extra spaces at TP though.

nw5blue Mon 15-Sep-14 10:48:20

Hargrave Park is a brilliant school. Fantastic head teacher and superb staff.

nlondondad Tue 16-Sep-14 16:44:54

Interested to see that this thread has been revived. The answer to my original question, repeated in the title of this thread, seems so far as this year 2014 is concerned to be "no" there do not appear to be anycases of people living in this area without places within a reasonable distance. Or is there anyone out there who knows different?

scriptbunny Tue 16-Sep-14 22:40:16

Funny. I was just thinking about this thread tonight because a leaflet came through our door (we live in London N8 - so the Haringey side of Crouch End) referring to a public consultation about the proposed expansion of three Haringey schools in the Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Bounds Green areas. You can read all about it on the Haringey website. I know that this is slightly north of the area you are talking about, but only very slightly. The projected figures for the number of Haringey children without primary places in the coming years makes for sobering reading. Maybe Islington is still doing OK but a few streets over the border it looks quite worrying.

TheNewBrown Tue 16-Sep-14 22:47:43


I think things have moved on since you originally posted this thread. It may have escaped your notice but this year, in the area you describe, Hargrave Park ran another bulge class and a new 2 form entry school was built and all but a handful of these places have been taken.

As such I think a more correct answer than "no" is probably "yes" there was a shortage of about 65 places but thankfully these have been covered by the much needed new school.

nlondondad Thu 18-Sep-14 09:59:18

@ ThenewBrown

I am afraid that how you can say that there is a current surplus of places in the area in 2014, (on what do you base this by the way? Do you have some figures?) and THEN it seems conclude from this that there is a current shortage of places defeats me. Or am I missing something?

nlondondad Thu 18-Sep-14 10:02:06


Thank you for a most useful post: the Haringey detailed places report is really interesting, I confess I have not digested it yet.

Does anyone know if Islington have done anything similar yet?

TheNewBrown Thu 18-Sep-14 13:41:38


I think you may be getting a little confused.

You started this thread in April 2013 asking if there was a shortage of primary school places in the area. By Oct 2013 it turned out their had been a shortage of about 70 places for the September 2013 intake but that this shortfall had been mopped up by Islington providing 80 additional places in bulge classes.

Skip forward to 2014 and a similar sized shortage existed this year but this time the shortage had been mopped up by another bulge class at Hargrave Park and the building of a new 2 form entry school.

Now that Whitehall Park School has filled the black hole left by Ashmount moving to Crouch Hill there hopefully won't be a shortage (or the need to run universally disliked bulge classes) in the area for at least a few more years.

whitehallparkdad Thu 18-Sep-14 20:17:55

FACT: All schools which would be considered local to Whitehall Park are full /have waiting lists (even where bulge classes have been introduced) - ie Coleridge, Ashmount, Hargrave Park, Duncombe, St Michaels

So this would suggest that without Whitehall Park School there would be a significant shortfall.

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