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Islington primary schools -- Ambler, Gillespie, St. John's, etc.

(5 Posts)
heavenknows2007 Thu 09-Jun-16 16:30:57

Hi! We're considering moving to Islington, near Blackstock road and very close to Ambler, which would be our primary school for our DS's reception class. Does anyone have any info on it?

We would prefer Gillespie, but the flat is .1 mile away, which apparently is too far! Do you think we might get in another year after reception?

In theory, we would love St. John's Highbury Vale, as we do attend another (non-Anglican) Christian church and would qualify under that admissions policy -- but I imagine that we'd be unable to get even into that school given that there is preference for kids from Anglican churches and siblings and it is very small.

Any thoughts on schools in general in this area is appreciated. Can't even bear to think of secondary either . . .

Terentia Thu 09-Jun-16 20:57:47

I've heard Ambler is on the way up, but don't know anyone with a child there. Gillespie is one form so the odds aren't great.

Other community schools in the area aren't the popular ones. This is the most helpful website I've found for primary admissions—plug your prospective address in:

user1467811360 Wed 06-Jul-16 14:39:08

Hi, my kids go to Ambler. It wasn't our first choice when we joined about 2 years ago but it's a wonderful school with lovely parents and a great, caring ethos for the kids.

The only thing it doesn't have that perhaps Gillespie and St John's and Joan of Arc have is that air of confidence - but it has so much going for it. It's on the up - it's changing all the time (going from one to two form) and one of the good things about that is that you have the opportunity to influence what happens - the headteacher is really open to positive suggestions and ideas (not really educational ones - more extra-curricular things). She's great and pushing the school from one to two-form entry.

I would also say that in terms of education, most of the primary schools round here are pretty much the same (that's based on personal experience - the kids have been to more than one) - and that how much you help your own child (to read etc.) makes a huge difference to their outcomes.

I think when people choose schools (my kids are a little older than yours) they're as much choosing them on the basis of who they'd like their kids to hang around with and the kind of parents they'd like to meet as they are on their kids' results. With this in mind, if you haven't been already, go and look at the schools and also go and hang out there at the end of school (not like a stalker, obvs) and see what the parents / kids look like. You'll get a feel for them - I don't think you can judge your decision on results alone.

I have friends who have kids at Drayton Park, Gillespie, St John's and St Joan of Arc and all their children are happy and thriving and have ended up at great secondary schools. I don't think you could go wrong with a local school but because I'm biased I'd say pick Ambler.

heavenknows2007 Thu 07-Jul-16 12:11:09

Oh, that's so kind -- thank you so much for the message! That's incredibly reassuring because Ambler is the most likely option for us. Thanks again!

T0ady Mon 25-Jul-16 23:37:27

I'm an Ambler parent too and I love it. It has a lovely vibe and ethos. The head is very impressive and ambitious and has a very clear vision for the direction she wants to take the school. There's a very active parent group that organises social and fundraising events and there seems to be a lot going on socially.
Gillespie is very impressive too, with a lovely inspiring head. They have the amazing science lab there and music seems very strong.
I have friends wih kids at Drayton Park who are happy, but I understand it received a disappointing Ofsted recently and some parents are moving their children elsewhere.
In terms of whether your kids would get in at Gillespie in future years, I believe 4 places have come up at the end of Reception this year, but again you would still need to live very close by. Once my kids had settled in a school though I'm not sure I would move them. Definitely pop along to the playground at pick-up/collection time to chat to some of the parents there - we're a very friendly and welcoming bunch.
Secondary wise, Stoke Newington school has a very good reputation but you would need to live closer to Green Lanes to be in catchment. I wouldn't send my kids to Highbury Grove (unless things change a lot in the next few years).

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