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Islington Primary Schools - any advice?

(13 Posts)
spacemonkey Mon 28-Jun-04 15:47:45

Am ringing round Islington Primary Schools to find out about admissions for my ds who will start year 6 in September.

Canonbury (waiting for call back)
William Tyndale (place available, visit to be arranged)
Hanover (going on waiting list)
Thornhill (place available, visit to be arranged)

My nearest primary school will be Rotherfield but it looks GRIM!

I know it's a long shot but any advice?

maomao Mon 28-Jun-04 15:50:25

<softest of whispers> New End Primary, New End Primary, New End Primary

(I'm trying to hynotise you, and then will convince you to come here instead....)

spacemonkey Mon 28-Jun-04 15:51:23

maomao

frogs Mon 28-Jun-04 19:19:03

Are you plugged into an Isliington gossip network, Spacemonkey? If you are, I may be telling you things you know already, but here goes.

The ones you mention are all popular schools with a middle class contingent. I know people with children at all except Thornhill. Tyndale have had some disruption with headteacher turnover, they have a pretty mixed intake and the usual complaints about inner-city primary schools, but not catastrophically so. They do lots of arty stuff and music lessons too, apparently.

Hanover had a big hiatus a couple of years ago when the headteacher was sacked for fiddling the sats. Rumour has it she was also fiddling the intake in favour of middle-class kids -- certainly I know kids from quite far afield who have got in. My dd1 has been offered waiting list places there a couple of times, although we're well out of their area. Don't know how the new headteacher has bedded down, but there doesn't seem to have been an exodus.

Canonbury is BIG, but seems to be very successful and again lots of cheerful bouncy kids. I see lots of Canonbury parents at swimming, and there are the usual grumbles, but again no exodus.

I also know people with kids at Rotherfield -- in fact come to think of it, I know one of the governors. They certainly have at least their fair share of problem families, and perhaps less of the arty middle-class journalist/designer contingent than the others, but those people who've stuck with it have been perfectly happy.

If you want more specifics, let me know and I can try to find out.

spacemonkey Tue 29-Jun-04 20:29:13

wow thank you for all that info frogs - really helpful!

Rotherfield would certainly be the most convenient - it is less than a minute's walk away from the house. I will ring them and make an appointment to visit the school before the end of term. There doesn't seem to be an ofsted report for Rotherfield (well, not that I've found anyway), so I was assuming the worst, and it did look a bit grim when I went past it last weekend (not as grim as Islington Green sec school looked though).

Thanks again frogs

frogs Tue 29-Jun-04 22:18:02

Glad it was useful, spacemonkey!

I know what you mean about Rotherfield, it does look a bit forbidding, but it's considered the best of the three schools in your immediate area. Ecclesbourne and Charles Lamb are the others, but they're merging and moving sites, so lots of upheavals there in the next few years.

The reason there isn't an Ofsted report for Rotherfield is because it merged from separate Infants and Junior school into a single Primary school a few years ago, which makes Ofsted consider it a new school, I think. I know a boy and a girl who will be in next year's Year 6, and they both seem fairly normal.

Good luck with your move -- and look forward to seeing you at meetups!

spacemonkey Tue 29-Jun-04 23:40:40

lol @ "fairly normal"!

ds will be happy as long as there are boys to play footy with

I would like to get him into a football summer school type thing during the summer hols - hopefully he will make some new mates by bonding over a football

Posey Wed 30-Jun-04 00:03:08

I can fill in Frogs' gap as my dd is at Thornhill.
We've done 4 years there, nursery through to y2 and she will start y3 in September.

What can I say?
New head started after Easter so early days but so far I like what I see. The previous head I feel rested on the good reputation of the school and consequently I think standards slipped.
Since the new head arrived, there has already been a lot of input into discipline (which was a bit lax in the older kids).
There's a new student council starting, an active PTA, enthusiastic teachers (a good mix of men and women and across the age range)

The mix of kids is good. Not a real typical inner city school, but by no means overrun with posh kids.

There is an after school club, talk of introducing a breakfast club too. Extra-curricular activities I'm not too sure about as they don't tend to offer them in infants.

If there's anything else I can tell you, just ask!

spacemonkey Wed 30-Jun-04 13:29:13

We're going to look round Tyndale and meet the headteacher on 8th July - headteacher was lovely on the phone

spacemonkey Sun 18-Jul-04 01:33:36

Just a quick update - we actually went to visit William Tyndale school today and ds was delighted with it. The atmosphere was great in there, headteacher extremely friendly and helpful. She took us to meet ds' class and 2 of the kids volunteered to give us a tour of the school (without a teacher - gave me a chance to interrogate the children about the school). Then dd and I left ds at the school to go to assembly with "his new friends" (as the head put it). When we picked him up later he asked me if he could start at his new school straight away.

As was pointed out below, it is a very artsy school - it has a dedicated art block, lots of artwork on display, lots of drama productions and plenty of musical activities. The lovely lad who was showing us around confessed that the school isn't that hot on sports (although they have people from arsenal giving training sessions once a week to the year sixes).

It's a large victorian school building, and the playgrounds surrounding it have been done really well - it actually felt quite leafy and it was hard to believe we were sandwiched between canonbury road and upper street because it seemed so quiet (in terms of traffic noise). They have great outdoor play facilities (ds' current school is just bare playground with the odd battered shrub dotted about) - cool climbing frames and a separate nursery play area (which looked fab). There is also a garden where the kids grow things (protected by terrifying scarecrow effigy) and an outdoor classroom complete with chickens!

No school uniform and the kids call staff by their first names - very *islington*

I feel that the last obstacle has been overcome now - ds was negative about moving at first, and I feel he has been putting a brave face on it for my sake over the last few weeks, but now he's excited and happy.

Thank you all so much for your advice - it really, really helps to get some insider knowledge

DelGirl Sun 18-Jul-04 20:50:04

That sounds great SM. One less thing to worry about now!

frogs Sun 18-Jul-04 21:55:18

Oh spacemonkey, I'm so pleased for you -- Tyndale seems a lovely school, lots of bright and bouncy kids doing fun stuff, and I hear only good things about the new head.

If you need a recommendation for a GP, the surgery just round the corner from Rotherfield school is ours and they're very good.

spacemonkey Wed 14-Jul-04 15:52:33

thanks frogs, yes, my exchange partner is registered at that surgery and she told me it's fantastic (much better than the one on essex road), so i'll certainly be registering with them

she has such a good relationship with her doctor, he says he will visit her in colchester when she has moved!

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