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Good primary schools in Islington/Hackney around Newington Green?

(29 Posts)
lill72 Tue 07-May-13 11:05:48

Hi,
I live around Newington Green and am struggling to find a good primary school that I am in the catchment area for. Any suggestions?

If we didn't get into the chosen school at reception, would we have a better chance in year 1?

Many thanks

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 11:19:22

I cannot help with specific schools but regarding the question about Year 1, the answer would be no.

When you apply for a reception place you are applying with everyone else for 1 of 30 or 1 of 60 places at each school.
But by Year 1 all the schools are full so your only chance of getting a place is if somebody decides to leave an existing Year 1 class and if you are at the top of any waiting list when this happens.

Farewelltoarms Tue 07-May-13 11:51:41

Actually I'd disagree a wee bit with Tiggy. In areas like Newington Green there's a big churn (one that unfortunately might be exacerbated by the welfare cap). My kids' school is over subscribed but children always arrive at odd points (midway through first term of reception, y1) etc because a space has come free because of someone moving and those that might have originally applied don't want to move their children from wherever they originally got offered.
There's this massive running around that goes on for the first few weeks, even whole of first term of reception. Someone decides last minute to go private but doesn't tell the state school, this frees up a place so someone from another school takes it, thereby freeing up a place in that school etc etc.
It's obviously unpredictable and not very helpful but if you can hold your nerve and there are, say two schools with two-form intakes, a lot of places can become available.

lill72 Tue 07-May-13 12:41:59

Thank you for your replies. Tiggytape - thank you for your reply, I guess it may depend on what are you are living.

Farewelltoarms - I had heard there is a bit of turnover, so thank you for your comments - very helpful.

I am so new to this - don't even know what two-forms mean!

Can you by chance name schools you recommend?

smee Tue 07-May-13 12:59:48

Why don't you get in touch with the Learning Trust - they sort school admissions for Hackney. I'd guess your options there are Newington Green or Grasmere - maybe Betty Layward too.

I don't know much about any of them other than Grasmere single class entry and hugely over subscribed - you have to be virtually on the doorstep to get in. Betty Layward's had a dodgy ofsted and I know a fair few parents were worried, though it might have picked up by now.

Learning Trust should be able to tell you which schools you're likely to get into though. Good luck!

lill72 Tue 07-May-13 19:17:51

Thank you smee - I should get in touch with the learning trust. I do have the Islington schools guide, which gives distances for each school and other stats.

Grasmere I would have no hope and don't think Betty L eitehr. Newington Green I have heard bad reports, so not keen at all.

I like some in Islington, but we would have to move. Just wondering what else is around here.

Does anyone have children at St Jude's or De Beaovoir or know anything about them?

catastrophewaitress Tue 07-May-13 21:03:29

Is it worth looking at Highbury Quadrant or the non-oversubscribed Islington primaries off Essex Road? No first hand knowledge but I recall a thread on here saying Rotherfield was on the up. An easy-ish bus trip down from Newington Green.

lill72 Wed 08-May-13 08:31:21

Thank you catastrophewaitress - I had not looked into/don't know these schools at all but I def will - thank you very much. I will try and find the thread now.

lill72 Wed 08-May-13 12:49:50

Just continuing on from Farewelltoarms comment that there is a lot of turnover - does that mean I would possibly stand a chance of getting into somewhere like Thornhill or William Tyndale in year 1 or 2?

Or is that crazy considering my location in Newington Green? Love to hear anyone elses experiences.

catastrophewaitress Wed 08-May-13 19:01:15

Hmm. Never say never but I'd venture a guess that you would start out somewhere between 40-80 on the waiting list right after allocation. Of course that need not mean that many kids would have to move out, as most would no longer contemplate a move after a term or two once DC are settled. However anyone new. moving into the area closer to the school would get ahead of you in the queue, so it's not like the longer you wait the likelier it gets. At my DC's school 3 kids left during Yr R / summer holidays before Yr 1, but there has been no movement since. I would have a back up plan.

catastrophewaitress Wed 08-May-13 21:16:25

This could be useful, I'm sure you could track down the equivalent for Hackney.

http://www.islington.gov.uk/services/schools-learning/5-16/admissions/cut-off-distance-maps/Pages/default.aspx

tethersend Wed 08-May-13 21:27:49

Hackney cut-off distance maps

Camargue Wed 08-May-13 21:37:00

I would say that is crazy as both WT and Thornhill are hugely popular and churn in those schools is, I suspect, minimal, and in any case will be compensated for by other people moving in living closer to the school. Have heard ok things about St Judes. Worth trying to get nearer Grasmere? But start with looking at everywhere you would have got offered a place in this year, based on the distance maps.

Farewelltoarms Thu 09-May-13 14:09:13

Hello OP, my child is in one of those Islington primaries you mention. There are some children from Stoke Newington and other places not near by but I think they a) might have moved there or b) been siblings left over from when the school was undersubscribed. I certainly wouldn't bank on a place that way, although it does poss happen.
However, much as I love the school and am very happy with my dcs' progress, the thing that I perhaps like above all is that it's on our doorstep. This means the older one can walk there unaccompanied, after-school activities a doodle, local friends etc. I really wouldn't trade these benefits for a 'better' school.

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans Fri 10-May-13 08:33:47

I don't know what Highbury Quadrant's like at the moment but I think Newington Green's supposed to have improved since the new head started a couple of years ago.

lill72 Fri 10-May-13 09:40:57

Catastrophewaitress - very helpful information which I will use in my decision. I thought this might be the case, but you just never know. thank you.

Farewelltoarms - you are very right about a school being on the doorstep and how lovely that is for children all living close. I guess as we are possibly thinking of moving to be closer to the schools I mention, although we love the area we are in at moment possibly more, these are all things to think about.

Carmague - yes I should apply for Grasmere. Slightly terrified when I heard of someone that called up and asked for a tour. They almost laughed at them down the phone, and they didn't even know where the caller lived.

Empress - have just heard of Newington Green that they spend a disproportionate amount of time teaching the children that cannot speak english and the others get put to the wayside a bit. Love to hear differently.

smee Fri 10-May-13 10:06:40

Lill72, I don't know anything about Newington Green, but my son's at another Hackney primary not too far away with a high proportion of kids who start not speaking English. It's genuinely a huge plus to his school and really isn't an issue. I certainly don't feel as though my son's ever been held back or got less attention because of it.

Lots of his friends don't speak English at home, but their English is fluent in the playground - even if they didn't speak a word of English in reception you really can't tell now as kids pick it all up so quickly. Hackney schools are used to diversity and from all I've seen handle it incredibly well. tbh, I always get a bit hmm when people say it's holding their kids back. Isn't that code for 'there's not enough white middle class kids there'?

Honestly am not having a go at you at all, just saying I think whoever told you that might be being a bit Daily Fail.. grin

Farewelltoarms Fri 10-May-13 10:49:04

I would second Smee. I have honestly never noticed those without native English-speaking parents being in any way more difficult to teach or reach than the rest of them. Possibly this might be a problem with a child arriving in year 5 or 6, but I do think that EAL kids are the least of a school's problems (top, IME would be bullying middle-class children whose parents are articulate and ever-so slightly deluded about their little darlings).

lill72 Fri 10-May-13 12:25:03

Smee and Farewelltoarms - do appreciate your comments and take them totally on board. I guess the diversity of schools and how it all works is very new to me. I grew up in Australia where we just don't have this same diversity. So I have never been exposed to it at school. hence just going on heresay. London schools are so different for me, so I am just trying to get my head around it all.

So it is great to have your thoughts and opinions, thanks.

mrsshackleton Fri 10-May-13 13:13:47

I just posted on another thread about EAL. I always laugh when people say they can't say their pfb to a school because of high EAL percentage.
I have one kid in a state primary, another in private prep (in London) and I'd say proportions of EAL kids in both are identical, only in prep the children are called "Bilingual" and this gives the school an international flavour. The percentages will only go up as, increasingly, rich foreigners are the only people who can afford London fees.

Guitargirl Fri 10-May-13 13:25:25

OP - may I offer some advice and suggest that you are very realistic with your choice of schools or you think about moving.

I know three families who live around Newington Green and who have applied for reception places starting in September. Two were totally unrealistic in their choices, had Grasmere down as 1st choice, BL as second, Grazebrook when they live way out of the stated catchment from last year and previous years. They have not been offered any of their choices and were sent letters with details of the schools that do have places, none of which they want to consider. One of them is now going private, the other has chosen to HE while they sit it out on a waiting list. The third family who also put unrealistic choices for 1,2,3 included Newington Green as their fourth choice and that is what they have been offered.

The catchment areas for the schools in that area are TINY. Please be realistic otherwise you risk being offered nothing or a school miles away.

lill72 Fri 10-May-13 14:18:29

mrsshackleton - as mentioned, I am new to London so hope you may appreciate where I am coming from, as I have no reference. Fully get your comments and the other posters... very reassuring to know.

Guitargirl - I am talking about this a couple of years before I need to apply, in case we need to move. So guess that is being realistic! Again, as I am not from here, I am trying to get a handle on the situation. Have never encountered catchment areas etc before so again all new. Thank you for that information - still not sure of the answer right now but it gives me lots to consider!

lill72 Fri 10-May-13 14:23:24

Would I be right in thinking there are certain schools in favour as they are more 'middle class', yet not necessarily better than not so favourable schools? Or are Grasmere, Grazebrook, BL actually thought of as better?

smee Fri 10-May-13 16:32:39

Yes those you list are the more middle class ones and are seen as best by a lot of people. From what I've heard they're all nice schools - Grazebrook's definitely a good place to be atm, not sure about Grasmere, but BL's been a bit dodgy of late. tbh most of the primaries in Hackney are pretty good. Go visit a few and see what you think. Or go to the Summer Fairs - most have them and you can mooch around and get a feel for the schools while you're there.

Farewell couldn't agree with you more about the middle class kids. grin

mrsshackleton Fri 10-May-13 17:06:23

Don't worry lill, not casting any judgement on you smile, it was a generalised comment.

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