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Primary schools in Hackney

(15 Posts)
mumtojohn Thu 09-Sep-10 15:27:48

Right then.

Apologies if this is covered in another recent thread, but I couldn't find anything when I searched...

We live in Hackney, are not religious, and have a DS who is 21 months. Alot of my friends with similarly aged kids have started going to church (for the first time in their lives) in a bid to get their kids into good, local Catholic schools. Apart from the fact that I find it all a bit cynical and hypocritical, we don't live especially near any Catholic/CofE schools and so I don't want to start fronting up every Sunday morning at a church not especially near home, when we are already out of the immediate catchment area and therefore could easily miss out on a school place (after spending the next few years regularly and cynically chucking money in the collection tin and dragging our sorry arses to church every Sunday).

Ofsted says the local Hackney non-faith schools are all a bit 'challenged' (lots of learning difficulties, huge proportion of kids in early stages of learning English etc). So I am considering shelling out for private school.

But before I start investigating that, does anyone have any good recommendations for state non-faith primaries in Hackney?

I know that Ofsted isn't the be all and end all and recommendations from good mums is much more valuable.

It may be too early for me to start worrying but suddenly, everyone else seems to be thinking about it.

Any thoughts welcome.

SydneyB Thu 09-Sep-10 15:30:50

The only thing you need to worry about is making sure you are close enough to the schools! The 'catchments' have narrowed and narrowed as most schools are so over-subscribed. I can think of at least 4/5 very good primary schools near me in Hackney. Go to the learning trust website where you'll find all the info and start looking around. It's not all doom and gloom!

Rosebud05 Thu 09-Sep-10 15:32:21

It depends whereabouts in Hackney you live. Like most cities, catchment areas are often very small. Where do the people around you who don't do the church thing send their kids to school? Many Hackney schools are up and coming and will probably have improved even more by the time you ds starts.
Good luck.

mumtojohn Thu 09-Sep-10 15:33:41

Thanks SydneyB. I thought it couldn't be all that bad.
Whereabouts do you live in Hackney and what are the good schools near you? We are on Cricketfield Road, next to Hackney Downs.

SydneyB Thu 09-Sep-10 15:37:35

We're in Stokey but not far from the Downs. Benthal is outstanding, Shacklewell good and I think you're not far from either of them. Colvestone? Really, it's not all bad. I'd recommend looking at this year's distances, working out which you're likely to get into and going to have a look around. And by the time your DS comes to it there'll probably have been even more improvement. If it helps to know this the only local Catholic school I can think of is not a good one.

mumtojohn Thu 09-Sep-10 15:50:54

Thanks SydneyB for those recommendations. I will start there.
Just went on the Learning Trust site and downloaded the relevant brochure. Found it all a bit complex so it helps to have some schools to start looking at.

I must say that I would rather avoid the private school route. I don't really want the pressure of shelling out for school year in, year out for the next however-many years (esp with #2 on the way!). Plus they're not even neccesarily better, I'm sure.

Littlefish Thu 09-Sep-10 21:34:35

Lauriston is supposed to be good.

animula Thu 09-Sep-10 23:03:46

Agree with Littlefish, Lauriston is lovely; creative, innovative, and detailed.

(Nice to see you, Littlefish, hope you're well. I remember you from education threads ages ago.)

smee Fri 10-Sep-10 09:37:32

You're way too far away from Lauriston! People worry if they're more than a couple of hundred metres from that one.

Thought it worth lobbing in about your concerns over lots of English as a second language as I think that can be a real plus. Children learn fast and in general the parents are incredibly pushy about education and motivated for their kids. In my son's class there were a fair few who had barely any English in reception and now in Yr2 you can't tell which. Also schools get more funding/ staff to reflect their intake, so often in such schools the pupil/ child ratio is low. Depends very much on the school and whether they embrace diversity, but if it's handled well it can bring real positives to a school.

Also similarly with Learning Difficulties. If the school has a strong policy and the children are supported it can work brilliantly.

SydneyB's right though. Hackney schools are pretty good these days and you've got a bit of time yet.

mumtojohn Fri 10-Sep-10 09:58:16

Thanks Smee. I will look into Lauriston too, no harm in doing that.
I also looked into Benthal and called them and they said well worth getting onto list as I live fairly close.
One other question if anyone has time: when you calculate the distance (I used the site reco'd on the learning trust website) should you use the 'as the crow flies' distance or 'distance by land transport'?

SydneyB Fri 10-Sep-10 13:24:30

It's crow flies - direct line from school gate. If you go to the learning trust website and download their brochure they tell which online programme you can use to calculate it. You don't need to worry about getting on lists unless you're trying to get a nursery place - there's no such things as waiting lists for state primaries, it goes on distance after children in care, sibling. I loved Benthal when I looked round it and we'd be going to it if we weren't moving out of the area (nothing to do with schools!).

mumtojohn Fri 10-Sep-10 15:22:58

Oh OK, great. That is less stressful. So I will just apply at the right time and not worry about lists.
Yeah, I was told by Benthal that being at the nursery makes no difference as to whether you'll get in the school, which I was surprised but pleased about.
Thanks for your help - you can tell I have been thinking in the land of private schools, thinking about waiting lists etc!
I have found about 10 that have good Ofsted reports (and we aren't far from or are within the average distance for those that were offered a place last year based on distance) so I will visit those and take it from there when the time comes.
Thanks again.

Littlefish Sat 11-Sep-10 18:32:06

<waves to Animula> Where have you been? I haven't seen you on here for ages!

Mingus78 Sun 17-Apr-11 21:01:55

Hello everyone, I've just signed up to mumsnet, but have been following the discussions re Hackney Primary Schools for quite some time. I currently live in Richmond, Surrey, and am making the very surprising to some move away from the suburbs to Hackney. I love the area so much, the vibrancy, the culture etc etc and am looking to move to either Stokie, London Fields or Victoria Park.
I find the Learning Trust quite hard to get information out of, so would greatly appreciate any comments from you. Do you think I'm mad? Best schools (I'm thinking Grasmere, London Fields, Lauriston, Gayhurst), please correct me if I'm wrong. Please tell me everything on William Patten, because I've always thought the school seemed very creative, but have seen the last Ofsted Report was just satisfactory. Same with Betty Layward and Grazebrook.
Oh, my daughter is in reception, so I'd be moving her hopefully at the start of Year 1.
I would greatly appreciate any thoughts/comments you have, negative or positive.
Many many thanks

Ursulka Mon 15-Oct-12 11:41:41

I am a parent in the E9 and E8 area and my own humble experience of school choice is this - you will only get into a good school if you live within two blocks of it. People who have figured this out (and there are quite a few) move within two blocks of a good school and so often these properties are in high price and high demand (Lauriston, Queensbridge, Patten). Having moved there I believe you may be required to stay in the area as schools are getting wise to short-term strategic renters (Lauriston).

Private schools have waiting lists, it is unlikely that you will be able to just choose to go one of these as a last resort if you don't get into a state Reception class you want. Typically childrens' names are put on the school list just after they are born (Lyceum, Gatehouse).

Transferiing a child at Year 1 will be still more difficult. Most schools accept siblings, then SEN, then people living nearest to front door of school. Even if a place becomes available in Year 1 or Year 2 etc. - and some years no one leaves - are you likely to get it? You may wish to phone the Learning Trust first and ask them what schools you have ANY chance of getting into and then read Ofsted reports and move accordingly?

I will be very happy to be proven wrong in any of this! :-)

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