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Is there a shortage of school places in Highgate, Archway, Crouch End area?

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nlondondad Sun 21-Apr-13 10:58:18

I was wondering if anyone was experiencing difficulty in getting a place for their child in this area of N. London? Postal codes N19, N8, N6 are relevant?

nlondondad Fri 17-May-13 14:22:38

@jakecat you have three questions unanswered, I will answer them one by one when I feel like it when I have time so here is the first one.

1.How does allocating an extra 15 places at a one form entry school work in practice?

I am told that what Hargrave Park will actually do is teach in two classes, so that is 45 pupils divided up between two classes.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Fri 17-May-13 15:54:43

Jakecat, we are in a Borough near to you and suffer from the similar situation of being too far away from any local community school and very near a lot of VA church schools

What happens is that you get placed in the nearest school which has places. Hopefully in London this wont be very far. It might not be the most fashionable school but other people in your local area are likely to get it too.

Or you catch religion. You need to catch it early though.

nlondondad Sat 18-May-13 10:07:56


2.Surely (ie adding 15 places at Hargrave ) that's an indication that there's also a shortage at the North end of the borough too?

Well it is an indication that there WOULD have been a shortage at the North end if this expansion had not taken place. My comment was that of the 80 places created basically 60 were to the south of the part of Seven Sisters Road that runs between Finsbury Park and Holloway Road, so not relevant to this discussion. Its the five at Tufnell Park, and the knock on effect of that, plus the 15 at Hargrave that make the difference in this area.

Islington reckon that the extra 15 at Hargrave this year is enough to plug the local gap.

Should applications rise again next year then more places would be created.

nlondondad Sun 19-May-13 20:16:29


3" What I am struggling with is how the scenario unfolds when you live outside the catchment area for any school because all the local schools in the area are oversubscribed. Now that Ashmount has moved we are equidistant to about four schools (one of which is religious) and seemingly outside the catchment for all of them'

(You must live really close to me.) Yes that can happen, there can be an area outside the admission areas of al the nearest schools however in the area you live Islington are committed to preventing this from happening by creating more places, basically at Hargrave which could, if required go back up to two form entry. Also its not clear until the autumn what the catchment actually was for each school.

As Islington Council want to use the old Ashmount site for housing, and as there is a local group campaigning to turn the site into a free school, you can be sure that Islington will make special efforts to ensure there is no school place shortage in this area until that matter is determined.

jakecat Mon 20-May-13 13:05:00

Thanks nlondondad - that's a reassuring perspective

nlondondad Wed 22-May-13 14:39:15

A bit of a development: the group who were campaigning to have the site turned into a free school have posted a notice on our local residents web site claiming that they have triumphed and the site will be used for a free school.

In which case based on Islingtons figures the area would have a significant OVER SUPPLY of school places!

The link to the story on the residents' website is here.

Elpis Sun 02-Jun-13 15:17:09

I don't know about Claremont Rd or the Miltons, but we live slightly further north and our daughter (and two other girls in the same road) have all got into our first choice of Highgate primary this September. I would have applied for Ashmount as well, but I don't drive and the move made it too hard to reach by public transport or foot.
Preschool provision in Highgate, though? Now that's a different matter. We take our daughter to Muswell Hill.

nlondondad Mon 03-Jun-13 15:34:34

Here is a post from the Whitehall Park Residents Association web site.

"In this area (Whitehall Park) Islington Admissions have started to offer unfilled places at Hargrave Park School, including the 15 recently created. Offers are, for example, being made to applicants who live in Camden. Meanwhile in Crouch End there are no reports of a shortage of places probably because there are sixty more places than there used to be, with an extra form of entry at Weston Park and at Rokesley Infants. (They were first added at about this time last year) The Rokesley radius of admission has gone up this year to 1.4 miles which therefore covers the whole of Crouch End.

The situation remains fluid.

What is clear however is that both Islington and Haringey admissions maintain that there is no shortage of places in the local area.."

nlondondad Wed 05-Jun-13 18:00:53

This is the latest posting from the Whitehall Park Residents Association Web Site

".... there are, as of 3 June, 71 vacant places across 18 Islington schools.

There are 136 parents who have yet to confirm that they will accept places offered. So the number of vacant places will rise, but by how much and in which schools it is pretty impossible to say. Efforts are being made to finalise this but the process will not be complete until September.

There are 63 parents across the Islington area who have not yet been offered a place, offers will now be going out to them. They will be offered a place at the highest preference possible. if no place is available at a school for which a preference was shown, then they will be offered the nearest school with a vacancy.

As of today we can see from postcodes there are six people who live in the area of the old Ashmount site, (broadly defined)who have not had their places offered yet. I do not have information as to which schools they applied for in the first place but they will be offered places either at schools they have shown a preference for or, failing that, at the nearest school with vacancies in due course. It is not impossible that a place or two will come up at Ashmount if they have made an application to that school. Otherwise Hargrave Park may be closer to them and due to the addition of 15 places at Hargrave the catchment area is now at least 0.8 miles, which covers the whole Whitehall Park area.

At this point it would be reasonable to ask if the Ashmount Site Action Group are still lobbying for a reception class to be reopened at the old Ashmount Site for this Autumn, and if so where the 30 children for it would come from as they must have been identified by now."

alleira Thu 13-Jun-13 21:46:05

Sorry to go back to the question of the impact of the move of Ashmount...but I'm also thinking about moving to Archway and worried that I'm about to move into a black hole for a school place. Is there really any chance of living north of the station (Archway) and getting into any school other than Hargrave Park? I just haven't heard many good things about it (happy to be corrected) and would dread moving and finding out that it was the only option.

nlondondad Thu 13-Jun-13 22:52:01

Its difficult to give much helpful advice without more precise info as to where ( and then of course, when) How far for example North of Archway? And how far east or west? is it next year or the year after, is it reception alone?

For example if you are close to Archway station you are moving into possible Yerbury territory, west of Archway there is Hargrave AND Brookfield. As you will see from another thread offers have now started down the Ashmount waiting list; also Hargrave is an improving school, so make sure your info about it is up to date.

sammisatt Wed 19-Jun-13 18:51:27

Alleira: I seem to be moving exactly where you are moving to. I'm also concerned I'm not ina catchment area. Based on last years stats I'd get into HP which I'd be happy about, but I'd only just get in which is a worry. There does definitely seem to be a shortage of places as bulge classes have been created. There must be quite a few families in whitehall park without a place now Ashmount has gone. I know of a few who didn't get their preferences which is a worry. Does anyone have any further info on the free school ending up at the old Ashmount site?

sammisatt Wed 19-Jun-13 18:54:57

I've also heard that the Hargrave Park bulge class only stands this year so the 0.8 catchment area would no longer be valid by the time I need places in 2015.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Wed 19-Jun-13 21:29:40

I think the 0.8 catchment is a red herring. Only people on the waiting list for HP would have got a bulge class place. Who would go on the waiting list of a school that is a bit of a "punt". So only someone with knowledge that there was going to be a bulge class, and nothing to lose, would go on the list. Try not to base too much on the 0.8.

HP seems lovely and has a great ofsted, what bad things am I missing?

nlondondad Wed 19-Jun-13 23:17:24


The additional places were created so that there would NOT be a shortage of places. The intention expressed by Islington is to continue to create places (using spare, physical, capacity in Islington schools that got smaller during the period of falling numbers). Your comment about bulge classes being for a year only is strictly correct, this is because the LEA can, with the agreement of the school, and with money voted by the Schools' forum, create a bulge class in a hurry. For next year they will have to increase the PAN (Planned Admission Number) and a statutory consultation has to be carried out before this more permanent measure can be implemented. Also as Mr Gove has agreed to a Free School in Islington this will create a further 60 places somewhere in the Borough. And this will affect what Islington do.

As you will see from my earlier posting there were, as of 5 June six children in the general area of Whitehall Park who had not been offered places. Since then, to my certain knowledge -- at least one of those has now been offered a place at Ashmount. (I have been in correspondence with them.)

Also there have been extra places created in Crouch End which will have an impact, Whitehall Park was within the Rokesely catchment for the first time in a number of years.

@Green - the issue with Hargrave is liable to be to do with a lag in reputation, a few years ago, they had a period without a Head and then had one who did not stay long. Islington then put in an interim whom I had the pleasure of working with at Ashmount some time before -who is really good at going in and turning schools around, who held the fort until they could make a good appointment. But when a school has had a difficult period this is remembered against it for a long time.

crazynanna Wed 19-Jun-13 23:24:30

Agreed nlondondad I used HP at the time you speak of a few years ago and it was truly dire. We stuck it out due only to DD being in year 5/6 st the time. I still hear people speak of those times now some 5 years later

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Thu 20-Jun-13 11:17:08

thanks nlondondad and crazynana

I think that HP would take another bulge class next year if it was asked and it physically could.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Thu 20-Jun-13 11:44:31

samisatt I have tried to PM you, but something seems to be wrong with the function at the moment. I am really interested to know of any child who will be starting Hargrave Park this year in reception

nlondondad Thu 20-Jun-13 15:08:37


I realise you asked about further info about the proposed Free School on the Ashmount site. Well there is no real further info at present. A successful application was made by a group - a commercial company called Bellevue Place -supported by investors based in Switzerland -we are nothing if not cosmopolitan in Whitehall Park -to open a Free School.

And they said they were applying to open it on the old Ashmount site, on the basis it would seem that they would refurbish the old building. Their website here:-

However when it was announced that they had succeeded in their bid, and most local residents, including me, (and probably Bellevue Place) thought that meant the old site would be used, (although what they could do with the old building baffles me) It turned out to be not that straightforward. The DFE approve your application first, THEN you set about finding a site in partnership with the Education Funding Agency. Islington being obliged to help where they can.

And Islington have offered a site for the Free School, in a different place, down near Highbury and Islington tube. So the question has to be which of the two sites will they get. If you want some idea of the whole history of the thing look at this

sammisatt Thu 20-Jun-13 18:17:34

Thanks for the info nlondon. This all sounds very interesting re the free school. I'm not massively keen on the idea of a free school but it sounds like there's definitely a need for something in the whitehall park area if you say there are 6 kids without a place.

Are there any forecasts for numbers over the next two years? Is it likely to be as squeezed as it has been this year and last year?

nlondondad Thu 20-Jun-13 18:44:00

@sammisatt I think you misunderstand the significance of the small number of people without a place on a particular date.

First of all as of 19 June there are just five children West of the old Ashmount site who had not yet been offered a place. That is not enough children to start a new school, you need a minimum of 30 for that.

But the important bit in what I wrote is the "not yet" Islington has started making offers down the Ashmount waiting list. There has been at least one, there should be, based on past years, several more, up to five or six. Coleridge is twice the size of Ashmount so you would expect at least that number of wait list offers from them. So its quite possible that all these children now have places. And of course Hargrave Park is also a presence. Islington Council who do not want to have a school at the old Ashmount site are very clear that they do not NEED one there, and this years admissions figures would seem to support that.

sammisatt Fri 21-Jun-13 07:23:32

Thanks for the clarification. I was unsure of what constitutes a small number of children without places.

Out of interest, where are you getting these numbers from? Is this just the whitehall park area ? (I'm wondering whether this includes the area to the north of hornsey lane: Claremont etc) any thoughts on what the forecast is for future numbers?

nlondondad Fri 21-Jun-13 12:41:52

yes, for this discussion a small number was five at a particular date, and likely to be less by now.

I got the information from Islington Admissions, but not in terms of individuals, just postcodes (of course!) so I looked at a postcode map and took the general area of the Whitehall Park conservation area which has a legally exactly specified boundary, and the borders areas around it so erring in the direction of overstating rather than understating especially as the numbers are so low. And of course post code area boundaries are odd shapes and not particularly "granular" I could have argued, for example, that there were only three as the other two too far away, but why bother? And anyway you dont know whether someone is in the middle or the edge of a postcode.

As I got the information from Islington I do not have the same information from Haringey, so I cant really say much about north of Hornsey Lane, except north of Clairmont you are moving into the admission area for Highgate Primary, and that this year the south end of Clairmont was in the radius for Rokesely School, as well as just on the boundary for the first wave of offers from Ashmount and Coleridge, so there may be offers form the waiting list.

(I got some individual case information from Mumsnet -the person at the north end of Clairmont who preferred Highgate Primary to Ashmount as they thought Ashmount too far, the person in Whitehall Park to the west of the old site, who missed out on the first round for Ashmount but now offered off waiting list -any more contributions of this sort welcome!)

I will post later about what might happen next year.

sammisatt Fri 21-Jun-13 12:57:11

Very useful information. Please continue to post on this.

Farewelltoarms Fri 21-Jun-13 13:24:25

Nlondondad actually looking at it the free school has been offered a site way south of highbury tube, one down in barnsbury almost next door to my kids' school. My children's school is oversubscribed (not massively), but there are at least two or three undersubscribed primaries.

It's an absolute crazy place to put a primary school. As the council says, islington is one of the better boroughs in terms of places. With families priced out of the area, esp if cap comes in, then I think it's unlikely demand will rise.

It just seems to be a crazy example of how random the location of free schools is when some areas have a far more pressing need.

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