Good state schools in Camden and Islington(11 Posts)
I am currently looking to apply for a primary school place for my 3yr old in either Camden or Islington (moving to the area in the summer). I want to find a good state school for my child that I can be sure is a happy and safe environment with friendly and approachable teachers. Does anyone have any suggestions?
There are loads of good schools in Islington and Camden. Unless you are hell-bent on one of the schools that people get obsessed about and which have micro-catchments as a result (eleanor palmer, Yerbury, Tyndale, off the top of my head, though I'm sure there are others) you should be fine pretty much anywhere. Many of the schools that are not in the fashionable few are actually fantastic places, all the better for not attracting the slightly crazed minority.
I don't think there are primary school black holes in Islington the way there are in Crouch End for eg (though happy to be corrected). There was a known black hole in Belsize Park a couple of years ago, but I think that might have been fixed? I'm not really up to speed on that side of the Heath.
"Many of the schools that are not in the fashionable few are actually fantastic places, all the better for not attracting the slightly crazed minority. "
Quite right Agony!
In fact Heads will tell you that becoming seen as a "trophy" school is often a pain. In fact ironically, some of these schools then get complained about by parents with unrealistic expectations.
I am not aware of any "black holes" in Islington. Over all Islington still has a surplus of reception places.
Also what do you mean by good. There are different types. We chose one that had a really liberal ethos, others have uniforms and hands held behind the back at all times. What does good mean?
I'm not up on Camden Schools but in Islington: William Tyndale, Grafton, Yerbury, Canonbury are all well regarded and highly sort after. There are quite a few good church schools too. There are some others which are good schools and there cut offs have shrunk but less fashionable/popular for eg. Pakeman.
My DD is at an Islington primary and it is fab!
Islington always has spaces at the less popular schools but it doesn't mean they're bad schools. One thing there are some parts of Islington where the nearest schools are church schools so if you're not wanting one of them you may be out the cut off for the non church schools you like (if that makes sense). This happened to people I know but their children got places at other schools.
Thanks for the responses everyone they are very helpful, I shall definitely being doing some research! I guess by good I mean I want a school where the schools main priority is the children and the communication and involvement for parents is good. I am a qualified teacher so I sort of know what I consider to be good and what isn't so desirable from a teaching point of view. Obviously the children's progress is important but from a teaching point of view schools have become very focused on levels and data rather than actual classroom experience.
You may want to have a look here for the schools which will be in your area (if you know exactly where you're moving to - it's not clear):
Islington options not yet mentioned but which locals I know are very happy with are Hanover, St John Highbury Vale (C of E), St Mary Magdalene (C of E, academy status), St Joan of Arc (RC).
But the key starting point will be which schools are realistic based on your proposed address and other admissions criteria. For most of the schools you can see the distance for the last pupil admitted on the site I have linked above (not St MM though, which I think is due to academy status).
I think all Islington primaries are fine, pretty sure they are all at least Ofsted good. I don't know about Camden.
from a teaching point of view schools have become very focused on levels and data rather than actual classroom experience
It seems to me that the schools where they can afford to let it all hang out, not do homework and generally have a less regimented (and sometimes no-uniform) approach are predominantly the very MC ones with not many children on free school meals/arriving with low achievement levels/ESL etc. If that is what you are looking for then move next door to Yerbury, Eleanor Palmer, St John's Highbury etc - Ofsted has already rated these schools outstanding and most likely won't come bothering them too often.
Schools where they are very concerned with levels, data etc are generally the ones where they really need to measure children's attainment and check that all children are making progress, including those who started at a low level. So I think it's a bit unfair to criticise them for doing that! FYI my DC is at a lovely Islington school. Not one of the well-heeled ones and the MC children are very much in a minority - but they thrive there and achieve well academically, and are learning to get on with all kinds of other children, not just those from similar backgrounds.
I guess by good I mean I want a school where the schools main priority is the children and the communication and involvement for parents is good.
I think all schools that are even half way good would say that their main priority is the children! As for parental involvement, in my experience that is very much a MC thing. It can be ruthless though - woe betide you at Yerbury if your cupcakes aren't up to scratch! And if the parental involvement isn't great where your DC end up - you can always get involved yourself. A school that doesn't have an active PTA will be super grateful for your help in setting one up.
Good luck, wherever you end up.
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