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Good state secondary schools in London

(47 Posts)
spacemonkey Tue 05-Oct-04 11:18:04

Do they exist?

My son is in year 6 in Islington at a fantastic primary school, but all the local secondary schools look absolutely grim. I need to make a decision about which schools to apply for for next September and I really don't know what to do. The only decent schools around here are RC, for which we do not qualify.

Any recommendations? I'm willing to move again if necessary to another part of London if it means being nearer better secondary schools for him.

soapbox Tue 05-Oct-04 11:20:33

Bromley LEA have a few very good ones, but mainly grammers. I think St Olaves in Orpington is supposed to be the best boys school in the area but it is hideously difficult to get into!

dinosaur Tue 05-Oct-04 11:22:16

Not really a recommendation as it is early days yet, but there is the new City Academy in Hackney - Mossbourne. Just opened this September.

lou33 Tue 05-Oct-04 11:23:13

Used to be some good schools in hammersmith and fulham borough sm.

spacemonkey Tue 05-Oct-04 11:23:26

Ds isn't the most academic of boys, so selective schools aren't really an option. I wonder if anyone has children at any of the Islington schools (Islington Green is my nearest) who can tell me if they're really *that* bad?!

bundle Tue 05-Oct-04 11:23:43

spacemonkey, don't faith schools do have to take a % of non-faith children? a friend of ours has just sent her child (muslim) to a private school and then heard she did get a place in a good CofE school, once she'd paid the (non-returnable)deposit

lou33 Tue 05-Oct-04 11:24:15

Have you been for a mooch around them?

spacemonkey Tue 05-Oct-04 11:28:11

Not yet, no. I need to do that but I can't face it in my current mental state. Even going to the shop for a pint of milk is cause for trauma at the moment. And the problem is the application has to go in by 22 October. I don't know where to start.

Marina Tue 05-Oct-04 11:43:29

OK spacemonkey, soapbox is right that Bromley (and neighbouring Bexley) have good grammar schools, but there is also a super City Technology College in Bromley called Kemnal, which is popular but not academically selective. Our neighbours' boys go there and their mum is thrilled with it (they are teens so they look hacked off all the time, but I am told they like it too )
Am I right in thinking you are renting in the public sector in Hampstead? Kemnal is in a pleasant part of the borough, takes children who live in Bexley and part of Greenwich, and there are lots of housing association/council properties there too. Even the private rented sector is affordable in our non-fashionable but perfectly OK suburb.
CAT me if you want more info, there have been open day ads etc in the local papers lately.

spacemonkey Tue 05-Oct-04 11:45:47

Thanks for that Marina - actually I'm in Islington, and have been told the schools here are notoriously bad! I'll look into the ones you've mentioned though.

Marina Tue 05-Oct-04 11:48:34

Might still be worth a move though Spacemonkey. Sorry you have so little choice on your doorstep.

bundle Tue 05-Oct-04 11:53:38

spaceymonkey, i will watch this space with interest, i have been building up to a Let's Move Out of London talk once dd1 reaches that stage (only starting reception this year). i believe some of the islington schools near us (on the hackney/islington/haringey border) have a real problem with children moving out aged 9 or 10, ready to apply for decent schools out of london.

Davros Tue 05-Oct-04 13:19:35

Obviously you need to get to the bottom of what the school are REALLY like and not hearsay but I don't know how you'd do that. There must be someone on MN in Islington with children in secondary? I know a few people living in Isligton but they've all got children with ASD! I'll ask my cronies in case anyone has any idea.

Uwila Tue 05-Oct-04 13:28:16

I know not everyone like to use these as a guide, but I find them helpful. You can have a look at the league tables here

Beetroot Tue 05-Oct-04 13:29:10

Message withdrawn

Doddle Tue 05-Oct-04 14:38:24

I have a friend whose child has just started at Islington Arts and Media, they are very impressed with it, lots of personal attention lavished on their son. He is really enjoying it too, he came back to visit us, i was his year 6 teacher, last week and he seems really happy. He's a very bright kid and he hadn't got bored yet!!

However i know there is a problem with the head, i can't quite remember the details, and there is an acting head in place at the moment.

Not too much help i'm afraid.

I'm afraid you wouldn't be in the catchment area for the new Mossbourne Academy, but last year's Year 6s are giving us good reports of that on the whole.

Copper Tue 05-Oct-04 14:58:00


have a look here for a shortcut to all the ofsted reports - you may be agreeably surprised.

Improving schools generally have lots of energy and dedicated teachers

ScummyMummy Tue 05-Oct-04 16:40:38

Will your son's primary offer any advice? Has he made any friends yet and if so does where they're going make any difference? I agree with Copper about taking a look and hopefully being pleasantly surprised. What sort of school are you looking for? I'm a mixed comp fan myself so would be worried in Islington too (from report/hearsay) but it is always worth looking. A bit further from you- Acland Burghley is supposed to be ok, I think (Camden borough). Is Pimlico school, in central London, too far? The kids downstairs go there and seem happy and polite; I'll probably send mine there if we're still in this area.

I went to Elliott in Putney, which was fine but nowhere near you.

I hope you feel better soon, btw. Sounds like things are not fun for you, atm.

frogs Tue 05-Oct-04 16:47:02

sm, I"m doing this too, tho' my dd1 is in Year 5 -- we're in Islington too, as you know, and I've looked at a few schools already. If you want to meet up for coffee and obsess, or obsess via email or phone, let me know.

nikkim Tue 05-Oct-04 19:43:35

the best state school I know of in London is Haberdasher Askes Hatcham College in New Cross, or at least it was good when I lived there about four years ago. It is voluntary aided ( run by by the Haberdasher Aske fund which also run the private schools of the same name) and they interview but they select pupils of all ability but must be willing to learn : ie they don't accept naughties!!

A bit of a gamble to move into the area thogh as the other school in the area are dire as you have a choice of Southwark, Greenwich or Lewisham) Having said that the secondary school in Rotherhithe ( the name escpapes me! will look and get back to you) was named as one of the most improved schools in the counrty a few years ago. Although Jade Goody went there - not quite sure if that is a reccomendation or not

Just remembered it is called Bacon's College but as I said it is about four years since I livd in South East London so others may have more up to date knowledge.

spacemonkey Tue 05-Oct-04 22:50:32

Gosh, thanks for all the advice everyone. I suppose it's a bit of a silly question - what does "good" actually mean after all? My impression is that many of the middle class kids at ds' primary school will go on to independent secondary education, but obviously not all, so I'll have to pluck up the courage to chat to some other year 6 parents and also visit the local secondary schools to get a feel for them. Ds isn't particularly academic, but neither is he dim - he loves sport most of all. His primary school is very arty and he's enjoying that too. My definition of a "good" secondary school is one that is well managed and not too violent/gang warfare-y

Yes frogs I'd be interested to hear your views on this - I'll be sorting out visits within the next few weeks and will definitely contact you with some info if that's OK!

I'm going through a bout of pretty bad depression at the moment which is making me extremely anti-social and frankly the whole business of sorting this out is giving me the heebie jeebies but it has to be done.

frogs Wed 06-Oct-04 09:45:35

Hi again, sm, I hope you feel better soon.

I don't know any Year 6 parents at Tyndale, but there's a cohort of middle-class Year 5 parents who are in no position to pay school fees, and who have been muttering very seriously about getting together and all sending their kids to Islington Green. Perhaps you could get ds to canvas his friends on which schools they're planning to go for. Or ask for a meeting with the headteacher of Tyndale?

The new head at Islington Green is apparently v. good, and they very much separate off the Year 7 intake from the older kids. Apparently there a system whereby Year 7 have to do all their homework in a supervised session at school, which can't be bad. The school is oversubscribed, despite what people say about it, but if you live where I think you do, then you should be safely within the catchment area.

The other option for boys is Central Foundation by Old Street Roundabout, which seems to have the best exam results of any boys' or mixed school in the borough, but I don't know anyone else there.

I know it must be hard for you with depression, but a lot of the open days are happening at the moment, so I wouldn't leave it too long, bearing in mind the forms need to be in by 22nd October. Alternatively, the headteachers might be prepared to see you separately and show you round.

If you phone cea@islington, or whatever they call themselves, they do produce a brochure explaining the process pretty clearly, and including little summaries (very gilded, though!) of all the schools. It also has interesting statistics like how may applications there were, and how far away successful applicants lived from the school.

hth -- CAT me if you want to talk.

spacemonkey Wed 06-Oct-04 09:48:45

Islington Green is literally over the road from me, so it's certainly the nearest! I will CAT you frogs and thanks again for your advice

Copper Wed 06-Oct-04 16:41:00


we went round local comp on the open evening yesterday (not in Islington) and it was really interesting to hear these parents being absolutely surprised at how good it was - not a surprise to me as I have 2 there already. But there is so much talking down of state schools in London that many people never even bother to look ... Best of luck

frogs Wed 06-Oct-04 20:39:06

sm -- have sent you a CAT. I haven't looked at Islington Green yet, but would quite like to. Will try and phone up tomorrow to find out when they have tours, and will let you know. Maybe we could meet up for the tour, if you want to.

Take care

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