City Academy in Hackney(23 Posts)
I was quite impressed when I visited last year (DS is in Yr 7 now). He ended up going somewhere with more specialised support due to his SN, but if he had gone for mainstream I would have considered it. I feel that the overall size would swamp some children but only you can decide whether that would be right for your child.
I felt that it offered quite a regimented and traditional curriculum - something quite businesslike about it, which might not suit everyone. I've heard rumours of a HFA unit opening but not sure if that's going ahead.
I was unimpressed when I visited last year! Too much emphasis on business manners and none on academic ambition. At that point they only offered one language and were very wishy washy about whether they would offer any more.
Friends' children were given detention when they visited for their taster day in the summer. Which rather put them off going back in September. The discipline, imho, is draconian rather than sensible.
Having said that most of the children I know there are happy, although some of the parents are not.
I was impressed with the Maths Department.
Thank you! Any other secondaries you would consider in Hackney?
Detention from a taster day?! Blinkin' ridiculous.
My opinion on a number of the academies in Hackney is that they are little more than boot camps. The mantra. This is fine to some extent but rather starts from the premis that all the students are feral and need to be kept in line at all times.
At the event for 'choosing' schools last year, a friend of mine spoke with one of the SMT of the original academy in Hackney. The SMT's exact words were, 'we are on them from day one, if they wear the wrong colour socks on their first day, they get sent home'.
Draconian is the word...
Interesting to hear your views, Laydee and I do understand your point. I agree that City and Mossbourne are both very heavy on discipline - which I think does work for many children in Hackney.
Stoke Newington is much less so and seemed very arty but not at all keen on taking students with SN. I felt it was very much geared to the cliquey Stokey Mums and it does have a catchment to match.
extraordinaryplum, I do agree with you re stokey. It is our local school and my child was offered a place there this year - didn't accept it but was more impressed than I thought I would be when I visited.
It's interesting that the head at city is the previous head of stokey... suddenly his buzz word is discipline and it is matching socks or detention!
A positive about the Academies is the level of resources they seem to have - but to jump back to the OP, it is somewhat irrelevant as a child can only really access their local school. The notion of choice in Hackney, and pretty much all London boroughs, as we all know, is just an illusion.
My son started at City Academy last Sept and we pulled him out before the first half term. He was utterly miserable, started banging his head against his bedroom wall, crying at the gates and saying sometimes he thought it would be easier to be dead. No bullying, just that relentless business atmosphere, formidable discipline and no sense that the children were valued as people. Seven or eight other kids were crying every morning at the gates and the deputy head said he'd never seen anything like it. He thought it was because there were no older kids to shame them into behaving! Mark Emmerson, the head, was good at Stokey but he did bring in the uniform and lecture local primary school heads about their children's lack of discipline, so his colours were quite clear. He has a vision, his staff are right behind him, but they all seem to have forgotten that they're dealing with individual human beings. Also, they're obsessed with dragging up impoverished kids from local estates and show no interest in the very few middle class pupils they have. My son felt ignored and irrelevant. Mossbourne, though, is utterly amazing...
What is so amazing about Mossbourne? Do you know anybody who goes there?
My friends DS has started at City and he is enjoying it. He did get a detention on his taster day and another on his second day but he seems to have settled down now which is great. He loves it there, not sure what he likes so much but I know he is very happy there.
Mossbourne is too strict for my liking, I know quite a few kids that go there. I didn't send DD there as I know she wouldn't have coped with the constant fear of being told off. She is good, but can be nervous.
Mossbourne have such high expectations of the children. I think that is why they do so well. I don't know what they do that is so amazing, but their results are amazing so they are obviously doing something right!
A friend has her dc in Mossbourne.
Her take on it is that yes, there is discipline but, in the classes, children are encouraged to turn all their energies towards intellectual argument, and intellectual dissent is not only accepted, but welcomed. All part of the very high expectations.
That's her take. I was a bit overwhelmed by the discipline, but that was when I visited, I don't have a child there. So I only really ever had a view from the outside.
My friend took her SN child out of Mossbourne because he was being failed terribly there. There is a rather patronising attitude in the school that all Hackney children are feral and any behaviour issues are down to lack of parenting.
This may be true for the majority of their students but it left her in a very difficult position as a middle class parent of a child with behavioural difficulties due to his SN. There is actually an autism resource on the site but they only like to deal with the placid and passive type of autistic child and are unwilling to help the more challenging ones.
From what I've seen, the results are obviously very good but it is at the expense of creativity and personal development.
I spoke yesterday to a woman who has ds at Mossbourne. Apparently he loves it, has lots of friends, gets very creative homework, parents pleased. ~Quite a few middle class kids go there, so a nice mixed intake. The boy was given a detention at the beginning of the year, his mum said that he deserved it though, as he can be a bit direspectful and mouthy.
Results definitely not at the expense of creativity. Their music is fabulous, art great, and as animula's friend says, the children are encouraged to think and argue for themselves. They have a debating society and it's not just full of white middle class kids - watch John Humphries' Unequal Opportunities on bbc iplayer, there's quite a lot on Mossbourne. I know about 15 children there, all of whom seem very happy, but I was also incredibly impressed by the children I met on open day, confident, clever and nice to be with (down to a happy atmosphere). My DD's best friend just started there and says the strictness is quite a shock but it also makes her feel safe. Others say it eases off in year 8. All academic subjects are streamed, so classes not too big and high achievers are pushed without needing to opt out of society and go to a grammar/private school. A 6th form girl, headed for Cambridge, spoke at open day, very impressive and clearly loved her school. Orchestra played jazz, 3 girls sang R&B, and then headmaster talked about his ambition for the pupils. I was moved by the whole experience. It was also hilarious as every middle class parent I've ever met in Hackney was there, mums in full make-up and tight tops, queueing up to talk to the head. Competition to get in is fierce and everyone knows he keeps a few extra places for families he likes (very high achievers). He is also sorting out Haggerston, so that school is bound to get much better very quickly, I think.
It is wonderful news for the area and the kids!
I was at the Mossbourne Open Evening too, definitely more impressed with it than City. But I have heard that Micheal Wilshaw will no longer be able to keep some places aside for high achievers because the Learning Trust will be handling all admissions from this year, waiting lists will not be handed back to the schools to administer. Does anybody know if this is true?
I don't know about this - he hinted to me that if I am persistent enough, he'll give us a place. But don't tell anyone...
Surely saving places for 'people he likes' is illegal?
It certainly wouldn't surprise me if it happens, though. There has definitely been a change in Mossbourne's intake over the years, much fewer poor black boys from the local estates than there used to be.
I think the school discourages a lot of them from applying in the first place (complex admissions) and also does 'selection by exclusion', especially with SEN children. I never thought they'd be doing this but it would make sense and it'd be hard to catch them out as they're not exactly transparent about things.
fingbusymum, where is your DS currently if no longer at City but you are still trying for Mossbourne?
I definitely know that a few places were "saved" in the past as the older brother of DS1's friend had no school offer in the March, failed at all appeals and then got a place during the summer after his parents had several meetings with Michael Wilshaw. They were told by MW that he held a few places back for the right sort of families. Also heard of someone else being offered a place for a bright DC but told to keep it secret because they were bending the rules. But this was about 3 years ago, both the Learning Trust Choice Advisor and a friend who is an employee of the Learning Trust have said that this will no longer be possible.
My daughter goes to city acedemy hackney and misses school when Ill anyway recently my mother was taken ill with kidney failer and she missed some more school due to this and a lot of the time she was not hm and was staying g with family outside hackney, I have now been fined and have explained this and also provided medical evidence for when she was ill but still have refuse to remove the fine. So I booked an appointment with Mr Emerson I was so amazed by his rudeness the way he judged me telling me that some parents don't care about sending kids to school, he is such a nasty man they way he speaks his facial expressions when he speaks and his body language is just pure nasty. He should also know not to compare children he tells me that he has had 5000 girls in his life time of teaching and that my daughter is not any different with her issues. He was also co pairing his family with mine, this head does not have a clue in what his doing and needs to sort out his act ...
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