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How do you know where to go?!

(9 Posts)
SayHitIsntSo Sat 01-Jan-11 20:33:14

Hi all
Please don't make fun of me for asking a question that may seem daft to some of you- we have only been living in the UK for 2 years now, and everything is still a bit confusing to us .

DS is 25 months old, and apparently it's time we start thinking about his education...We live in Hendon (Barnet, London).

We are non-practicing Jews, so unfortunately won't get accepted to any of the Jewish schools (we don't keep Kosher or go to synagogue, and apparently just being Jewish isn't enough). on the other hand- we're not Christians either, so all C of E schools are irrelevant to us.

What to do?

We want to move closer to a proper school, but the only one we found that is even proper and is non religious in the borough is Brooklands- and it is so over-subscribed, that I'm reluctant to even try to go through the whole shebang of finding a place, buying/renting, moving to the area and then to be rejected.

I have gone over and over and over Ofsted and can't find my hands and legs in there...

We live in Hendon now, and willing to move anywhere within the borough/to Camden borough. we don't know anyone with children here, so have no one to ask blush

Any insights?
Many thanks, and a happy 2011!

janpa Sat 01-Jan-11 21:31:32

There are lots of very good schools in Barnet. By the time DS starts school so many things can change within a school, that I would just keep abreast of what is going on in your local schools, not necessarily through Ofsted reports, but by popping in to school fetes, for example & just getting a feel of the school. Also, ask around. Get into conversations with mums with school-age children at the doctors, library etc. Good luck!

DilysPrice Sat 01-Jan-11 21:37:36

Not all CofE schools will reject you, you have to read the small print. Our local authorities (Lambeth & Wandsworth) produce a very helpful listing of all the schools in the borough with a full set of entry rules, so that might be a good place to start - try your LA's website or your local library.

I second the advice to talk to mums with older children at toddler groups.

IndigoBell Sun 02-Jan-11 11:03:22

The LEA have to find you a place. So you never need to move to get a place at school.

I just had a brief look at the league tables and it looks like there's lots of very good schools in Barnet.

Please don't panic. And don't just judge a school by it's ofsted report.

prh47bridge Sun 02-Jan-11 12:26:22

If your son is now 25 months old you will be applying for a primary school place in 2 years time and he will start in September 2013, shortly before his 5th birthday. A lot can happen in that time. You may even find that new schools open in the area.

You currently have 3 community schools in Hendon - Bell Lane, Parkfield and Sunnyfields. Whilst none of these was rated outstanding by their most recent Ofsted inspection you should take a look at them before writing them off.

I wouldn't give up on the Catholic or CofE schools either. Unless you have strong objections to your child attending a CofE or Catholic school they are not irrelevant to you. Take a look. Most such schools have little or no more specifically Christian content than community schools.

Whilst faiths schools give priority to children of the relevant faith, they are not allowed to exclude children who are from a different or no faith. Whether or not you would get in to one of them depends on how many children apply and which admission categories they fall into. So you may be able to get into one of the Jewish (or CofE or Catholic) schools regardless. You also have plenty of time to attend the appropriate synagogue or church to increase your chances of admission to a faith school.

SayHitIsntSo Mon 03-Jan-11 16:59:56

Thanks everyone for your wise comments, and for reassuring me. It's so hard feeling this way, not knowing which neighborhood is a nice one and which isn't, and every parent I met here in playgroups keep stressing all of the points I stated earlier (i.e.- just go to this and that school, only look at ofsted etc)- it's good to get the other side of the coin.

horsemadmom Mon 03-Jan-11 17:35:02

Akiva will take you (Finchley). You might not be comfortable at a CofE or Catholic because you could easily find that your child is the only Jewish kid in the school. We opted for private after finding that there were no Jewish children at our local school which is non-faith. It may be the same situation at your locals as well. We didn't want our kid to be the token.

pecanpie Tue 11-Jan-11 07:18:24

Jewish schools will take you, but Hendon Jewish schools are difficult because they are so over-subscribed, quite religious in terms of the kids who attend and only have 1 class entry. If you do want your child to have some Jewish education, there are quite a few alternatives:-

Rosh Pinah - in Edgware, highly oversubscribed but have opened an extra class of 30 places in the school year above your DS and I guess it's possible they would do it again.

Mill Hill - a new school is being set up, with reception class starting in Sept 2011 - this will open up at least 30 places. Not sure how you find out about this - perhaps Barnet council or the United Synagogue.

There are other schools too which are a bit further afield but not sure what the situation is with places.

You should be aware though that although these are state schools, you do need to pay for the Jewish element of the education and as such there is a 'voluntary' contribution each term to cover all of that.

sanam2010 Tue 11-Jan-11 09:42:46

wish you good luck!! this whole thing with religious state schools in the UK is such a desaster. I am atheist (not baptised) and my hubbie non-practicing muslim, in our borough there is an outstanding Catholic and an outstanding CofE school, both so heavily oversubscribed there's no point applying. Then there is one average and three dismal community primary schools and many expensive excellent private schools. We will probably go for the average community primary school, what can you do...

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