Our family are looking to move from Islington to another part of North London in time for my son to start Secondary school. He is in year 5. Has anyone got any advise about which secondary schools are outstanding and good? I am already researching Latymar, Fortismere, Dame Alice Owen, but looking for others that are good as well, but perhaps not quite as difficult to get into. At the moment we are looking at properties in Muswell Hill, East Finchley, Highgate...but again, there must be other "nice enough" areas with good schools...?
Highgate Woods school Crouch End? Got same gsce results as Fortismere with a less posh intake. I think it's a great area too. I think Alexandra park school really rated. That's where I'd go if we were moving out of islington. But we're staying...
All of the schools mentioned above a very good state schools. My son went from a non selective independent school in North London, with no hope of sitting a GCSE let alone pass one to Fortismere. Although we are slightly out of the catchment area we managed to get him a place for the last term of year 9. In less than 2 and a half terms they have turned him around. We meet his teachers for the first time this week and they were all full of praise and encouragement. I can't praise the school enough. I think Fortismere does do slightly better than the other schools, in terms of results but that shouldn't be your deciding factor. Fortismere is excellent for music. On the whole very middle class. No uniform. They introduced Behaviour for Learning (BFL) which works really well. Kids need boundaries. To secure a place at Fortismere you need to be very close to the school and you pay a a premium for that. We live down the hill between Muswell Hill and Crouch End which is North London best kept secret. Guaranteed place at Highgate Wood. Good luck
I love Islington dearly and you will have good reasons to move here but, secondary schools is not one of them. Islington does not have enough secondary schools in the borough. Our local state school is 3-4x oversubscribed. The borough could easily have another comprehensive and a grammar. The number of kids leaving the borough and traveling across London is too high. Add into that huge increases in property prices in the borough and I'm not sure what the attraction is anymore.
We moved from Islington to Muswell Hill to get our bright daughter into Fortismere after reading its outstanding Ofsted report and it was well worth it. She's unbelievably happy and motivated, has made loads of new friends who live close by and is doing really well academically. The children are tested on entry and set in maths, languages and PE in Year 7, and science in Year 8, and moved up and down depending on how well they do in regular tests and in their general behaviour in class, so are therefore highly motivated to do well. She says there will more setting next year for other subjects. The newish head has introduced a strict Behaviour For Learning Policy, so no disruptive behaviour is tolerated. Class sizes are smaller than in most state schools - no more than 25. My daughter is learning Mandarin for GCSE and thinking of doing extra-curricular Latin on offer. It's also very strong on music - she has joined the orchestra and is aiming for Grade 8 violin before she leaves. There's no uniform, but it's not a problem - most children wear smart jeans and tops and take pride in their appearance for school - as is the norm in the rest of Europe and US. My neighbour's daughter, who is sitting her A Levels at Fortismere this year, has just been offered a place at Oxford, and knows of at least a dozen others in the sixth form with Oxbridge offers this year. Most others have offers from Russell Group Universities, including quite a few medical schools. Fortismere catchment is usually around half a mile. House prices can be pretty steep but we found cheaper property to the north of the school. Above all, we are very reassured that she's growing up in a safe, friendly, leafy neighbourhood where all her friends live within walking distance of our home.
You can guarantee yourself a place at (the brilliant) Dame Alice Owen's School in Potters Bar if you can afford to buy a house on the roads that are in the area immediately surrounding the school - they take a certain percentage (25%?) of their pupils based on proximity to the school. The school website has information about allocation of places based on distance and I think there is also a map showing the cut-off area.
On the downside, moving to Potters Bar might be a bit drastic; while it's a very nice area, it's not nearly as happening as Islington and may feel a bit too suburban for you.
Alternatively you or your partner could get a job at the school because I think that since they became an academy they have gone back to the old system of guaranteeing places for the children of members of staff. Then you could stay living in Islington and DC could easily get the train from Highbury and Islington station up to Potters Bar - problem solved.