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St Joan of Arc (Highbury/Islington)

(22 Posts)
verybookish Tue 24-Jan-17 16:25:14

Hello everyone! I originally put this on a local thread but am copying here for more traffic on suggestion of a more seasoned mumsnetter. We are thinking about moving to the catchment area of St Joan of Arc (Highbury). The school looks great on paper. The performance metrics for higher achieving students are particularly impressive. Do you have experience of this school? How do you think it compares to other (catholic) primary schools in Islington and Hackney (St John the Evangelist or Our Lady and St Joseph)? Where do children usually go onto for secondary? DC is only 1, we would be moving primarily because we need more space but we would like to avoid having to move again for schools in 3 years or so. We tried to arrange a visit of the school, but unfortunately missed the open day in November. Any help from the amazing mumsnet hive mind greatly appreciated.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 24-Jan-17 16:54:45

Have you tried posting in MN local? You may get somea few more responses smile

Parisbanana Tue 24-Jan-17 16:58:33

JiltedJohnsJulie I saw this post in local and knowing how little traffic that particular board seems to get I suggested she posted here too grin
Anyway verybookish at least now you have both bases covered for optimum traffic! Good luck

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 24-Jan-17 17:20:12


verybookish Tue 24-Jan-17 18:14:49

Thank you JiltedJohnsJulie! It seems you and Parisbanana are great minds thinking alike!smile let's hope for some responses! I am finding the whole school thing a bit overwhelming!

Parisbanana Tue 24-Jan-17 19:26:19

I think it's because there are so many schools to choose from! It does seem overwhelming, all that choice and being responsible for making decisions regarding your children's education can feel very big.
A bit of very general advice is take all the factors (Ofsted, other parents' thoughts, a visit to the school, just happening to be passing the school at going home time!) and then go with what you think is the best fit for you and your child. I think you may get a strong gut instinct. I certainly did, even though the school wasn't the shiniest, or seemingly the most desirable. It suited my children and I never regretted or doubted my decision.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 24-Jan-17 19:29:06

Agree with Paris completely smile

Vinorosso74 Wed 25-Jan-17 13:32:28

It wasn't on our radar as we didn't want a religious school but I know someone with a DC there and they were very keen for them to go there, really like the school and I believe their son is getting on well and is happy.
I'm surprised they don't offer the chance to visit at other times though??

Farfallina123 Thu 26-Jan-17 22:00:48

St Joan of Arc has taken my two children happily through primary and out into secondary. Both very different characters, the school nurtured and developed them so kindly.

They had positive cohesive year groups, and strong friendships throughout, supported by the school's ethos. Some of the teachers were outstanding, some OK, but overall there was a good culture of learning, diversity, tolerance and kindness. The school has an extensive racial diversity, albeit pretty much everyone is Catholic: Nigerian, Italian, Spanish, South American, Congolese, Polish, Irish to name but a few.

The teaching is good, but be mindful that private tuition happens a lot in in year 5, especially those children who come from affluent backgrounds and this undoubtedly has a factor on performance tables. Children go to a huge range of secondary schools. Catholic secondary's feature strongly: Oratory, Cardinal Vaughan, La Sainte Union, St Aloyisous, St Ignatious Sacred Heart. Dame Alice Owens, St Michael's and Latymer feature for strongly academic children whose parents are committed to 11 plus preparation. Local schools also feature well, St Mary Magdalene, Stoke Newington and increasing numbers to Highbury Grove. 4-5 children to independent schools: City, Channing, Forest.

I would definitely recommend it based on my children's experience there. Hope this helps.

verybookish Fri 27-Jan-17 09:48:06

Thank you (or should I say grazie mille? ;)) Vinorosso & Farfallina! Incredibly helpful information. It's so important hearing parents' views as it really helps us flesh out the picture the data is describing. (Vinorosso - I was also surprised that they did not offer any alternatives visiting dates...but part of me also gets it. I am sure they get many requests like our and since our DC is still so young I can understand that they don't think there is enough urgency to warrant a specially arranged visit).

llhj Fri 27-Jan-17 10:04:52

You'll certainly get a much more mc demographic there than in St John the Evangelist etc. It's a good school. You could head towards St Peter in Chains in Crouch End if you want even more if that. St Monica's in Southgate too.

MissSlighcarp Fri 27-Jan-17 10:43:38

My children all now at secondary, but I would pick St Joan of Arc over Our Lady & St joseph, because it's a bigger school that is less set in its ways. The head at OLSJ has been there a LONG time, and it's his way or the highway.

If you're set on Catholic schools, do also look at St Josephs in Highgate, which has a much less m/c demographic, but gets results taht are at least as good as the more m/c schools and a lovely inclusive ethos. IT's not massively over-subscribed, so you don't have to live right on the doorstep.

CruCru Fri 27-Jan-17 11:42:27

Some friends of ours send their daughter there. They are very happy with it - however, I don't know what they're planning for secondary yet.

Are you definitely sure that you'll get in? I am not Catholic but I know that their entry requirements (having your child christened - I think before a certain age? - going to church at least x times a month etc) are really strict.

verybookish Fri 27-Jan-17 14:38:48

Thanks for your message CruCru. Yes, we are certain that we would meet all the catholic criteria to get in.

Notcontent Sun 29-Jan-17 22:31:19

Agree with what Farfallina says. It's a nice school and teaching is good, although I don't think it's outstanding. Results are very good because while there is a good mix is children from different back grounds, there is a high proportion from affluent middle class families who do a lot of extra work and tutoring at home. But yes, overall a good choice. Hard to get a place if you are not Catholic.

outputgap Wed 01-Feb-17 00:14:53

I don't have dc there, but went to visit it. The Highbury middle class is mad for it for reasons which elude me. Given how much more mc it is than some schools, shouldn't it be better? I was underwhelmed. What about St Peter and St Paul (liked this one more)?

verybookish Wed 01-Feb-17 11:27:55

thanks outputgap! It is really useful having different perspectives on this. I agree St Peter and St Paul looks great but we would have to move closer to Clerkenwell in order to get in and that is outside of the realm of financial possibility unfortunately (though I love that area).

verybookish Tue 14-Feb-17 19:43:50

Sorry to pick your brain's again ladies, but I was wondering whether those with dc at JoA can give me some insight into how close to the school you need to live to be able to make an assumption that dc would get in? I checked the admissions document online and in the lasts 3 years the admitted children up to and including those living in the 'three parishes'. Since it is a big area I am assuming that some children living in a different corner of the parish for instance would not get in every year? I have been looking for distance of last pupil admitted under last oversubscription criteria but JoA does not seem to publish that data (have emailed to ask though). Any insight would be amazing. Please feel free to pm me if you would find that more comfortable! Thanks again MN hivemind!

verybookish Tue 14-Feb-17 20:36:37

Hello! Sorry to be picking your brains again but I was wondering whether any of you who have DCs at JoA could help me with a question about the importance of distance from the school for admissions. A document I found on the school's website states that for the last 2 years they accepted pupils up to and including the 3rd criterion, I.e. Catholic practising children from within the ' three parishes'. Since the area indicated on the map is quite big I am assuming that not all children applying from within the parish get in. There must be some application of tie break re distance. Many schools publish the distance to school of last pupil admitted under last criterion. JoA does not seem to publish this data. Do you know where I could get hold of this data ( have also written to admissions person to ask)? From your own experience how close to the school do you need to live to more or less guarantee admission? Please feel free to pm me if that would make you more comfortable. Thanks a lot in advance MN hivemind!

verybookish Tue 14-Feb-17 20:40:08

Sorry for duplicate messages! Having trouble with app! Ok, I will stop posting now wink

Farfallina123 Tue 14-Feb-17 21:05:58

Hi Very Bookish

Afraid on this occasion I can't offer any further insight - my kids are now in secondary school, so it was over a decade since we applied with our eldest and then our youngest got in as a sibling. The admissions person at school would be best equipped to tell you about recent admissions practice. Hope it works out for you: it is a lovely school.

sticks1 Tue 12-Sep-17 11:36:26

Hi, i have children at SJA and I'm very happy with it. The children not only do well academically but are also celebrated for achievement in sport and music. The head teacher is fantasic and I've found all the teachers good so far. My children are very different from each other but are really happy and doing well.

My eldest was at St.Joseph's on Highgate Hill before we had to moved. I also loved it there and would disagree with the comment above about St.Joseph's not being as mixed, in fact it's more diverse in regards to ecomomic background.
SJA can be very middle class and i have found some parents snobby but the school is fantastic and the children are happy so that's what matters. Would agree that a lot of tutoring goes on and children go to a wide range of secondary schools.

With regards to admissions, I don't know about distance but the church attendance is crucial.

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