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(South) Islington primary schools - current state?

(15 Posts)
N1MTB Wed 02-Feb-11 10:37:35

Hello All,

Do any of you have children at state primary schools around Angel?? DS is only 3, so we don't need to apply until the end of the year, but we are trying to work out whether to move (for several reasons) and one very big factor is the standard of the state primaries. Our nearest (non-Catholic) one is Hanover, which I think sounds quite good, but their SAT results looks quite mixed.

St John Evangelist primary is actually closer to us than Hanover, and looks really sweet, but we're not Catholic so I think that's almost certainly out. Besides, Hanover seems to have a slightly better Ofsted report/SAT results.

We're about 3 minutes walk (east-ish) from Angel tube.

If we stay in Islington, we are almost certainly going to send our children to a private secondary school, so I would like them to be able to sit the 11+ entrance exams without them having too much extra tuition. (Don't think that's much fun for them...)

Just FYI, the reason we aren't sending them to private primaries/pre-preps is (a) financial and (b) we both went to state primary schools and would prefer that our children mixed children who weren't exclusively from middle class well off families. (And, actually, we're too late to get DS into the city/Islington pre-prep schools now anyway - even though I think some of them look great!)

(Oh yes, not sure we would get in to William Tyndale or Canonbury because of the catchment area but will find out more if anybody thinks they are better! I realise Canonbury is (or maybe was) in special measures but think it has a new head who is supposed to be great?)

The last thread I could find on this was 2004 but sorry if this has been discussed recently and I've missed it....

Thanks in advance!

PollyParanoia Wed 02-Feb-11 10:50:33

I think John the Evangelist has a better ofsted doesn't it? I thought it was outstanding. I think it's supposed to be a great school but not one of those faith schools that's chock full of middle class types at all, quite the opposite. It might be worth asking them how many kids from non catholic schools get in each year (if at all).
The three non-faith ones that always seemed to be spoken of with the same breath were Canonbury, William Tyndale and Thornhill. Of which Canonbury was the most traditionally oversubscribed. However you're right it's in special measures and before that didn't have great ofsted either. Which means that lots of people who would have applied to Canonbury will now apply to Tyndale. My kids are at Thornhill which always was the poor relation, but now has way the best sats and good with outstanding features ofsted. Consequently the catchment has shrunk but I really think it's still worth visiting as so many people nearby go private plus there's always a lot of churn in an area like Islington. I think it's a fab school which has a very mixed intake with high free school meals, SN and EAL etc yet feels very inclusive and gets great results esp considering that it's not an exclusive school. It has good discipline but is also very into creative learning and has just opened a swanky arts block in what was a disused outbuilding.
I got very het up when I moved here about schools because Thornhill's results were at that time terrible but things change very very quickly (in this case because of new head) and we visited and liked it and decided to put our faith in it though on paper it wasn't great then. Do visit two or three as you may well get a gut feeling.
ps we're thinking private secondary too, and all the kids I know from school who've done the entrance papers have done really well with no more than a year's tutoring.

PollyParanoia Wed 02-Feb-11 10:53:49

Btw when I say a year's tutoring, I mean an hour a week for two or three terms, which isn't so onerous...
Also, don't move! My friend did that to a very very sought after school and hates it. There's no flexibility or creativity and it's all about sats. I've been pleasantly surprised that the kids who are really challenging and stretching my ds academically are not the ones who'd have ever gone to private school.

N1MTB Wed 02-Feb-11 11:27:00

Thank you!! That's really helpful. And it's quite encouraging. I was thinking of joining all my friends (and sister) in Clapham but would really miss Islington...

Both St John's and Hanover have "good" Ofsted's - SAT results a bit better for Hanover though. I was quite alarmed when I was told by a friend at work that his daughter reached level 5 in maths according to the SATS but had failed all her 11+ entrance exams (in St Albans area) as her maths was "so bad".... Poor girl!

Anyway, I'm going to organise a visit to those 3 schools and Hanover. Not sure we'll get into any of them but I'll check out the Good School's Guide maps...!

p.s. Sorry - meant to put this on the primary school forum but mis-posted...

N1MTB Wed 02-Feb-11 11:40:23

Hmmm - only a small chance of getting into Tyndale - probably smaller now Canonbury is having problems. No chance of the other two though. Will visit Hanover and William Tyndale though. Thanks Pollyparanoia!

N1MTB Wed 02-Feb-11 13:09:32

Apologies - St John Evangelist has outstanding ofsted - weirdly, "attainment" mark only 3 though.

PollyParanoia Wed 02-Feb-11 16:08:41

Have been thinking about you. Altho I've been waxing on about thornhill, there's a lot to be said for being at your most local. If Hanover is half way decent, I'd just go for there.

N1MTB Wed 02-Feb-11 17:48:43

Ah, thanks! Yup, I can see the logic. Am going to look at it as soon as I can.

Have to say though, Clapham is v tempting - more house for the same money, v good primary schools between the commons and family/friends nearby. BUT longer journey to work (so less time with children), we'd lose our amazing nanny who we've had since DS was 6 months old (have an 18 month old daughter too now who would miss her) and Northcote Road isn't as nice as Upper St. Not an easy decision but I'm well aware that they are both good options so I shouldn't be complaining..!

PollyParanoia Thu 03-Feb-11 14:23:42

But do check whether you'd get into vg primary schools between the commons - friend moved to Wimbledon from North London for this reason and is now moving again (having lost money on the house) because it turns out they're in a school blackspot ie very close but not close enough to lots of schools.
Personally I think all this 'good' school stuff is a bit overrated.
Oh and here's a really good article about the benefits of living nearer to your work, really swayed me as dh walks to his at the moment and couldn't from anywhere else. am_sanghera/article5919525.ece

N1MTB Thu 03-Feb-11 15:41:09

Ha - that's spot on Polly! V good. Feel bad for your friend though - that sounds nasty.

I've checked already - had email from Wandsworth council telling me how close we have to be to Honeywell and Belleville to have got a "first round offer" last year. (Within 406 and 488m respectively, for Sept 2010 starters...) I realise I have to check where they measure from too if we do decide to go for that. Plus house prices there are automatically inflated and you could almost pay for private fees with the differential.

Thank you for your thoughts - really useful...

Sonflower Sat 05-Feb-11 11:04:31

My DS went to Laycock Primary- very near to Highbury Corner. I'm always surprised when no one ever mentions it in connection with Tyndale/Canonbury/Thornhil etc as it's close to all three.

Ds went there for 7 years (Nursey until he left at the end of year 6). It's a fantastic school, with a Head who has been there forever, it seems, who treats the children with love and respect, not just as SATs Fodder.

My son left year 6 with all 5s in his SATs, without any extra tutoring at all. He mixed with children from a wide range of backgounds, including those with disabilities as the school has a deaf unit attached to it.
I don't know what the the OFSTED or current SATs results are- though 3 years ago when my ds was there I think it was pretty good on both scores.

My experience of the school was that it was caring, inclusive and offered a very broad curriculum to the children-not just teaching to the test-and has a very stable staff who once there rarely want to leave. Always a good sign in my opinion.

Why not check it out N1MTB?

pinchingpennies Sun 06-Feb-11 16:06:00

A friend recently moved their children from Hanover - she said she felt it was too SATs-focused and competitive, and also the no-uniform policy had led to bullying. Many of the Year 5s leave to prep school to prepare them properly for private secondaries.

N1MTB Mon 07-Feb-11 10:05:53

Thank you Sonflower... I suspect we won't be near enough to Laycock as we aren't near enough to the other three (or wouldn't have been last year). But it might be massively undersubscribed so I'll have a look! It does sound really nice and the sort of thing I'm looking for. (We're 3 mins walk from Angel tube - eastish, near the canal.)

Not sure what to think of pinchingpennies thoughts on Hanover! Obviously, the main thing is the bullying, which sounds really nasty so that puts me off - completely actually. I'll still have a look, as it is our local primary, but I think I'm going to campaign for a move...

PollyParanoia Mon 07-Feb-11 11:22:06

Only move if you want to for other reasons, though. I really don't think it's worth moving for primary unless you have absolutely no choices and the alternatives are amazing. It would be too awful to move for primary and then find you didn't get in to where you wanted or you didn't like it or your kids were in a class with a group they couldn't get on with. Anyone's experience of a school are so personal so you do need to judge for yourself.
Though have to say I think having a uniform is a great thing in eliminating a lot of the vast differences in kids' backgrounds.

MrMom Wed 01-May-13 14:52:18

N1MTB, what did you do eventually? Also, trying to resurrect this tread for more recent update on Hanover

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