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

(190 Posts)

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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?

whitehallparkdad Thu 18-Sep-14 20:17:55

FACT: All schools which would be considered local to Whitehall Park are full /have waiting lists (even where bulge classes have been introduced) - ie Coleridge, Ashmount, Hargrave Park, Duncombe, St Michaels

So this would suggest that without Whitehall Park School there would be a significant shortfall.

TheNewBrown Thu 18-Sep-14 13:41:38


I think you may be getting a little confused.

You started this thread in April 2013 asking if there was a shortage of primary school places in the area. By Oct 2013 it turned out their had been a shortage of about 70 places for the September 2013 intake but that this shortfall had been mopped up by Islington providing 80 additional places in bulge classes.

Skip forward to 2014 and a similar sized shortage existed this year but this time the shortage had been mopped up by another bulge class at Hargrave Park and the building of a new 2 form entry school.

Now that Whitehall Park School has filled the black hole left by Ashmount moving to Crouch Hill there hopefully won't be a shortage (or the need to run universally disliked bulge classes) in the area for at least a few more years.

nlondondad Thu 18-Sep-14 10:02:06


Thank you for a most useful post: the Haringey detailed places report is really interesting, I confess I have not digested it yet.

Does anyone know if Islington have done anything similar yet?

nlondondad Thu 18-Sep-14 09:59:18

@ ThenewBrown

I am afraid that how you can say that there is a current surplus of places in the area in 2014, (on what do you base this by the way? Do you have some figures?) and THEN it seems conclude from this that there is a current shortage of places defeats me. Or am I missing something?

TheNewBrown Tue 16-Sep-14 22:47:43


I think things have moved on since you originally posted this thread. It may have escaped your notice but this year, in the area you describe, Hargrave Park ran another bulge class and a new 2 form entry school was built and all but a handful of these places have been taken.

As such I think a more correct answer than "no" is probably "yes" there was a shortage of about 65 places but thankfully these have been covered by the much needed new school.

scriptbunny Tue 16-Sep-14 22:40:16

Funny. I was just thinking about this thread tonight because a leaflet came through our door (we live in London N8 - so the Haringey side of Crouch End) referring to a public consultation about the proposed expansion of three Haringey schools in the Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Bounds Green areas. You can read all about it on the Haringey website. I know that this is slightly north of the area you are talking about, but only very slightly. The projected figures for the number of Haringey children without primary places in the coming years makes for sobering reading. Maybe Islington is still doing OK but a few streets over the border it looks quite worrying.

nlondondad Tue 16-Sep-14 16:44:54

Interested to see that this thread has been revived. The answer to my original question, repeated in the title of this thread, seems so far as this year 2014 is concerned to be "no" there do not appear to be anycases of people living in this area without places within a reasonable distance. Or is there anyone out there who knows different?

nw5blue Mon 15-Sep-14 10:48:20

Hargrave Park is a brilliant school. Fantastic head teacher and superb staff.

PaperMover Mon 25-Nov-13 19:38:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nlondondad Mon 25-Nov-13 15:27:17

Thefurther point from islington is on places supply throughout the Borough.

"The strategy for September 2014 admissions is to make permanent the (previous bulge class) increases at Ambler and Hargrave Park. This has been confirmed in the primary admission brochure as 'subject to formal confirmation in February 2014'.

We have over 90 vacancies at present in reception and at this point, we are not planning any bulge classes for next year but cannot rule it out."

nlondondad Mon 25-Nov-13 15:11:51

This is what islington had to say about places increases:

"The strategy for September 2014 admissions is to make permanent the (previous bulge class) increases at Ambler and Hargrave Park. This has been confirmed in the primary admission brochure as 'subject to formal confirmation in February 2014'."

My Comment:

So this is actually as strong as it (legally) the decision has been made subject to a purely formal ratification -for example the next meeting of Schools Forum is not until early 2014

Islington say:

Christ the King has also increased its roll and this, too, is confirmed in the brochure.

My Comment

This matters because it is a Church School on the southern edge of the area, and some people will go there for religious reasons who would otherwise have gone to a community school, so it increases capacity.

nlondondad Mon 25-Nov-13 15:04:19

Further to my last post - the one just above PaperMover's last -I got back to Islington for some further clarification and I got it, there are really two parts to it.

I will do them as two seperate posts following.

PaperMover Sun 24-Nov-13 20:16:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nlondondad Sun 24-Nov-13 17:11:16

I have gone back and checked the email I got from Islington in response to my query regarding extra places NEXT year and the relevant bit is this

"We are planning to permanently restore places permanently at Ambler and Hargrave Park (this year's are bulge classes)"

So its true the final decision has not been made. As Islington have said they will only increase places with the agreement of the school, that will mean that a proposal to increase Hargrave Park for next year will need the consent of Hargrave's Governors. An example of why Governors matter. In practice Governors will be strongly persuaded by the opinion of the Head, and the Head will not recommend an increase without being certain that she can put the correct arrangements in place. Which will include negotiations regarding the amount of money Islington put in.

And also my understanding regarding a final decision is that it will not be made until after there is some ide as to what applications actually look like. As there are eight vacancies this year if there were six children fewer next year, then an increase would not be needed. (Camden have just revised down their forecast for next year in that bit of Camden nearest Hargrave Park.)

PaperMover Sun 24-Nov-13 17:02:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jakecat Sun 24-Nov-13 15:58:03

Paper - I liked it. Not my first choice for a number of reasons. Head teacher had fought to make sure that there were 2 reception classes of equal size this year when they added the bulge places which I liked. But it sounded to me as if the mechanics of the extra numbers as they go up through the school had yet to be worked out. Certainly no suggestion that the extra 15 places are a permanent feature just because they happened this year, as has been suggested earlier in this thread.

nlondondad Sat 23-Nov-13 23:37:10

So for example, where I live, a stones throw from the old Ashmount site, the six closest schools are: Coleridge, Ashmount, Hargrave park, Duncombe, Highgate Primary and probably Rokesely (ignoring church schools) This year you would have been certain to get a place at Hargrave Park or Highgate Primary as they did not have a cut off distance, in Hargrave Park's case after the extra places were created. You might have got either Ashmount of Coleridge on waiting list. So expressing an order of preference would have been worth doing.

But next year could be quite different; for example if the trend of falling applications in Crouch End continues for a fourth year...

nlondondad Sat 23-Nov-13 23:27:05


Bit of a chicken and egg here methinks. The usual advice is to apply for six schools near you (of course) in order of your preference, so really your friend should be applying for the six schools nearest them, but in order of THEIR preference. (Church schools a complication of course if they make up some of the choices). The thing is that Admission radii can vary so much from year to year that it really doesnt help to second guess them. this year Ashmounts radius halved but Rokesely's radius shot right up, and so for the first time in years parts of the Whitehall Park area were within it.

The Head of Hargrave Park is quite right to say that final decisions will not be made on place planning for 2014 until after the deadline for admissions. That is because Islington want to use actual application numbers as part of the planning process instead of relying on forecasts. So they will respond to demand.

I suppose there is also the point that if the new Free School does get the old Ashmount site this is an increase of 20 percent in the number of school places in the area, so that would cause a lot of instability and its very difficult to predict how that would affect admissions radii. Especially as, in the first year the Free School is not part of the council admissions system, so some people could end up holding two offers. So in that case people would really just have to rank the six closest schools....

PaperMover Sat 23-Nov-13 22:12:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jakecat Sat 23-Nov-13 21:54:45

Greeneggsandnaiceham - the Islington primary admissions brochure says that there will be 45 places at Hargrave Park but this is subject to confirmation in February 2014 (so after the admissions deadline on 15th January). The head teacher of HP said she did not know whether they would be 30 or 45 admissions when I looked round recently. Hope that helps

Greeneggsandnaiceham Sat 23-Nov-13 19:24:06

Nlondondad, do you know if Islington has made a decision on the additional places at Hargrave and tufnell park schools? I have neighbours interested in HP but it would probably only be worth them putting it down as one of their six if the extra places were confirmed.

meditrina Sat 23-Nov-13 18:38:05

Yes, I can read.

They have not yet added to places permanently.

I do know the difference between bulge and permanent.

It was the earlier poster who claimed that there was already a permanent increase who was wrong.

There is only a 'surplus' of places because they have counted the 80 bulge class places. Of the places that are currently permanently established, there was a shortfall of 72. The figure of 90 is my rough estimate based on the current shortfall of permanent places. Of course, if the places are indeed provided by permanent expansion of existing schools, then there would be no need. However that has not yet been done and may not prove achievable. The predictions for the acute level of London primary place shortfall between now and 2016 (and not dropping back thereafter) has led most councils to be encouraging new schools. If Islington is sure that their figures for primary demand will buck the pan-London trend, then seeking only to cover the level of 2013 demand is less imprudent than it would be elsewhere in the capital.

The demographic indicators are those published by the Local Government Association speaking for all councils, and those on the official London Councils' website. Of course, those official statements (which Islington backed at the time) could all be wrong. In which case, I expect that Islington officials will cease or at least soft-pedal their role the pan-London campaign for more schools.

nlondondad Sat 23-Nov-13 18:32:34

i realise that when I started this thread in April 2013 I should have included the year in the title, as this years admissions season is now over.

When I started the thread I was interested to find out what the position on the ground seemed to be, at least so far as it was being experienced by users of Mumsnet. well we know what the answer to the question is now. In the area of "Highgate, Archway, Crouch End " There was no place shortage this year. This does not mean that everyone got the place they wanted, but no one was put in the position of having to travel out of the area. In the Whitehall Park area (which lies between Highgate, Crouch End and Archway, is quite small and is in Islington), everyone who applied to a state school was offered a place, and there are still surplus places at Hargrave Park school for anyone who moves in.

Three people in the Whitehall Park area were made offers of state schools which they declined in favour of going private, so statistically not significant. I suppose they were using the state school places as back up in case their (selective) private options do not come through.

We must await and see what next year will bring. If the proposed Whitehall Park School does actually go ahead then the 8 place surplus this year would become a 64 place surplus next year UNLESS there is a very large -25 per cent or so - increase in children. However although the proposers of the school -Bellevue Place Ltd - are marketing it, their use of the old Ashmount school building is not yet confirmed, which does make me wonder whether the Education Funding Agency who would have to pay for the refurbishment of the old building are having concerns, or even second thoughts.

So there it rests. For the next few months.

nlondondad Sat 23-Nov-13 17:46:35


With respect please read my post with the quote from an Islington Officer, again and more carefully. For if you had really read it you would have noticed the statement:

"We are planning to permanently restore places at Ambler and Hargrave Park (this year's are bulge classes)."

And so you would have known not to say that "earlier posts about there being a permanent increase" were simply wrong. As you would have understood what "permanently restore places" means.

But then I really do not understand how you conclude from the fact that there has been an increase in the number of reception age children in Islington, mostly in the south of Islington, which the LA has met by increasing the number of places in existing schools to such effect that there is a small SURPLUS of places to mean there is a shortage of places. Had tha capacity of the schools not been expanded there would have been a shortage, true, but as they WERE expanded there was not.

Your comment about an extra 90 places being needed in North Islington is simply bizarre, and at best betrays a complete lack of knowledge or appreciation of how thise things work in a London Borough. But anyway I assure you that had there been 90 children in this area without places we would have heard!

As for "demographic indicators" I think you must have the area mistaken. Can you say what these are and what your source is?

meditrina Sat 23-Nov-13 12:10:12

Thanks. That's what I thought was more likely to be the case. I know the difference been bulge and permanent expansion (and it was not me who posted at there had been the latter - but I did think that assertion was one worth clearing up, as it sounded wrong).

It means the earlier posts about there being a 'permanent increase' were simply wrong. And of course that Islington has a shortfall of 72 places this year, covered by bulge classes. Those schools have not had a permanent expansion to PAN, and a shortfall of places is again anticipated for the current entry round and once again the EA expects to rely on bulge classes.

A new school (or schools) with at least 3 form entry is clearly urgently required in this area. Especially as every single demographic indicator shows increase, not stabilisation, in numbers.

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