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Expat with question about N London schools/Crouch End

(19 Posts)
TravellingOne Sun 29-May-16 01:55:44

Hello, all:

Looking for advice. We've recently discovered we'll be in London for the next academic year. We have a daughter going into Year 5 and a son into Year 1.

We're looking at Crouch End and surrounding neighborhoods for rental housing, but we also understand that there's a huge demand for the primary schools and that many of them are oversubscribed. That said, we're trying to figure out order: whether it's better to find a decent independent school that still has space and figure out housing from there, or whether to secure housing in a family-friendly neighborhood and see what's workable on schools from that point. Recommendations on best approach would we become.

Also, are there independent primary schools you could recommend that are closely accessible--we won't have a car--in the Crouch End or closely surrounding neighborhoods that you'd recommend contacting re: admissions and space (even if it means waiting list)? I'm following other questions on the state schools and have a query into the Haringey Council about possibilities for local state schools.

Thanks in advance.

Mediumred Sun 29-May-16 21:30:24


Getting a reception child into crouch end schools can be tricky, catchments are v small but people do move away and places open up each year further up the school. I'm sure your y5 child could be offered a place at one of the schools and then your son would be first on the list cos of sibling preference.

Umm, I'm not sure about private schools, there is channing and highgate school (both in highgate) but they would be a bit of a pain to get to without a car and really not sure of the admission procedures.

Good luck and hopefully some other posters might come along soon with some info!

oldestmumaintheworld Sun 29-May-16 21:34:46

Is there a particular reason for Crouch End? It's nice but there is no underground so makes getting around more difficult. Could you consider a different part of North London - Highgate, Finsbury Park, Highbury, Islington?

Vinorosso74 Sun 29-May-16 22:13:43

We're not far from Crouch End. My DD is at a popular Islington primary. Since she started there have been kids leave and new ones join the class. I think this is fairly common in London schools.

Vinorosso74 Sun 29-May-16 22:16:06

Posted too soon! I know of people who have got school places in Muswell Hill primaries (similar area to Crouch End) so it's not impossible but it might not be straight away.

WhattodoSue Mon 30-May-16 08:44:18

If you won't have a car crouch end/muswell hill wouldn't be great choices in my opinion. You'd be much better off somewhere with a tube. You will need to be close to a train station as well as close to a school in muswell hill.

Vickster99 Mon 30-May-16 09:30:11

I dont quite understand the fascination with crouch end either. Given that is has no tube and schools are so over subscribed it always amazes me that so many families decide to move there. yes, its nice and has a lovely Villagey feel but there are plenty of other nice parts in North London too. I'd consider the places oldest mentioned or other parts of Haringey too (e.g. the ladder or the bit south of turnpike lane/west of westbury avenue)

What1984 Mon 30-May-16 14:59:12

In inner London primary schools there is a tendency for more children to leave any particular school than join it. This is due to a pattern of more families with young children relocating outside London (Cheaper, bigger housing?) than the other way around. Thus even a "well regarded" "sought after" primary school with a small radius of admission for reception may well, by year five, have a vacancy.

Regarding Crouch End, there is a useful wikipedia entry, which includes a list of schools.

Why are people so keen on Crouch End? Well it does have a very pleasant vibe, and there are a number of good open places, playgrounds etcetera for children. recently acquired not one but two cinemas... and all the schools are either "good" or "outstanding"

In the past the lack of a tube kept house prices a bit lower, an effect which seems no more, there are a number of quite large houses, which by way of some being sub divided some not provided a range of accomodation and when the prices were lower it was very popular with people who did not have regular office jobs, like actors, artists, authors, and there is still a bit of that vibe around.

I think the after effects of the Mountview Theatre school, which used to be in Crouch End, and the Hornsey College of Art (ditto) have probably died out by now. But that used to be an effect also.

MonsterDeCookie Mon 30-May-16 15:32:41

The waitlists for places at all the CE/MH schools are monstrously long. You very well could be offered two different schools in opposite directions that will take you two bus changes to reach. If you want the CE area you might try Norfolk House school in Muswell Hill. They are most likely to have places for you kids. There are loads more prep schools but on the other side of the Heath. Dwight school in north london will also likely have places and be used to expat kids.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Mon 30-May-16 15:38:02

For children beyond reception age, places come up every year because people move (I speak from experience, moved to Muswell Hill when DC were about to go into Y1 and Y3). Best thing to do is pick a school, move onto its doorstep... and wait.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Mon 30-May-16 15:40:08

If your daughter is going into Y5 you need to think about secondary schools too, assuming you'll be staying that long.

TravellingOne Mon 30-May-16 18:11:25

Thanks for all of your thoughtful responses. We have good friends in Crouch End, and we're looking for access to some of the things you all have mentioned (parks, playgrounds, family friendliness) so that's where we've targeted for now. But we're certainly open to other neighborhoods and possibilities where all the pieces fall in together, so I'm appreciative of the suggestions here and will follow up looking into these other neighborhoods and schools as well.

bluecarpet Mon 30-May-16 19:22:38

The big private schools in the area (Highgate and Channing) will be full and if they have a chance vacancy they will be assessing at least 10 children for it, most of who will have been prepped in some way for the assessment.

Norfolk House is a small local independent school that is much more likely to have places - it goes to 11 and prepares for the 11+ exam. I think people either love NH (small, nurturing, small class sizes) or hate it (pushy towards the 11+, small facilities, very small playground) but it's a reasonable back-up. If you're thinking about private secondary you will also need to tutor for the 11+ - they are held early in year 6 and most people tutor from year 4.

Otherwise you'd be best to pick a school and move on to its doorstep in the hope of a vacancy.

helpbuyingahouse Thu 02-Jun-16 07:36:00

Try King Alfred in Golders Green. Depending on your budget, you can rent a really nice house in Hampstead Garden Suburb, keep your child there and then sit him for the independent selective ones.

I have studied all tutors/course providers for 11+, so I can give you some advice on that. Remember it is tough out there, you really need to understand the UK school system.

Or what about Hampstead, if you can afford it?

I would call Sarum Hall, St Mary's school for your daughter.

North Bridge in Regent's Park might also have places for both of them.

In crouch end you are dependent on state schools and on the London Borough of Haringey (bad, bad council).

bluecarpet Thu 02-Jun-16 10:17:08

King Alfred's is very much a Marmite school - very very liberal with a reputation for not teaching them much. go and have a look at it before basing any housing decisions on that. also has a big waiting list usually.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Thu 02-Jun-16 10:52:24

In crouch end you are dependent on state schools and on the London Borough of Haringey (bad, bad council).

When we moved, Haringey's admissions office couldn't have been more helpful. We found council generally pretty efficient - much more so than Westminster or Barnet IME. And CE/MH schools all good or outstanding.

helpbuyingahouse Thu 02-Jun-16 13:49:55

Sorry I am prejudiced towards Haringey council, they were useless with me. I had dealings with Kensington and Chelsea and Camden and they were fantastic (not only education).

What1984 Thu 02-Jun-16 15:26:20

Actually the Council does not run schools: have not for years.

They do run the admissions system but state schools, that are not Academies or Free Schools, are run by their Board of Governors. And all these Boards of Governors include elected Parent Governors.

So your views of Haringey Council, or indeed experience of Haringey Council is not relevant. Ss I dont live in Haringey myself I cant comment about the Council. But I suspect that it has been in the control of one party for too long. A change in party control from time to time is always a good idea...

TravellingOne Thu 02-Jun-16 17:30:01

Following right along, and so additional thanks to those of you who've pitched in ideas since my last follow up. I'm contacting schools mentioned above and also appreciate the helpful insights offered.

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