Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School (EGA)(7 Posts)
I would be very interested to hear comments from those who know this school. Visited recently and very impressed by the headteacher and ethos and impressed by the lessons we saw. Can't really understand why this school isn't massively oversubscribed - is it just the case that people haven't yet caught up with the improvement that has been going on?
Isn't this the school that Michelle Obama has visited on her trips to London? If so I would think there's a big kudos attached to it - especially as she seems to have maintained contact with the school!
I think some parents are put off by it being so multi-cultural. To me that would be a good thing but not all parents feel that way. My best friend went to EGA. There was a very high rate of teen pregnancy in the school when she was there, I think this is one of the things they have worked on improving.
We visited it when dd was in Y6 (now Y10) and I was very impressed with it. It was our 2nd choice (1st choice slightly nearer us and mixed sex). It has had a bad reputation for such a long time that it takes ages for these to change sadly. I think a lot of people judge it on the few girls that hang around the Market at lunch and after school and are a bit loud and lairy!
If you look at Highbury Grove school, a few years ago you wouldn't have even considered even looking at it. Now it is the second most applied for secondary in Islington. It has taken hard work by the school to change what people think of it.
Have you looked elsewhere? What are your thoughts?
I have visited this school quite frequently and have contact with quite a few girls through work. I agree with the comment about it being very multicultural - many Muslim parents choose it in an attempt to limit contact with boys. They are often Bangladeshi Muslims - demographically they tend to be quite low-achieving as education isn't highly valued amongst girls (they are pressured to marry young).
It's a specialist language college - there are a lot of girls who speak English as a second language, which does have an impact on the academic results (along with the fact that many girls are on FSM). Many of the girls take GCSEs in their native language, so that tends to boost their results without really being a reflection on how well those languages are taught!
Student turnover is quite high - I know that some of the girls who have gone on to very selective universities actually started their secondary school career/GCSEs at a different (sometimes private) school - so that is something to bear in mind when they talk about getting girls into RG/Oxbridge or very high grades. The academic attainment is still quite low compared to more popular London comprehensives.
There is no sixth form, which might put some parents off . But C&I college is very good and it probably suits the students better, there are better facilities/more choices and the girls are quite streetwise so would prefer the freedom of a sixth form college anyway.
Having said that, it certainly is very good at pastoral care and it's quite liberal in attitude, with strong feminist values. It survived the BSF programme cuts too - I think the building will be completed in about a year.
I know this is a late respone, but I just stumbled across this and thought I'd post. As someone who attended EGA myself (from 2004-2009) I can say it has many good points, but then probably an equal number of not so good points. For example, we where given some really great experiences, eg as part of the school choir we where chosen to perform in front of the queen and the duke of Edinburgh in Westminister Abbey, which is something I will never forget. Also, there where numerous trips abroad, and the school ran two which where pretty great in the fact they where completely free from what I remember, to India for two weeks I think it was and to the island of Reunion (next to the seychells) I think which was also two weeks, I think you had to be part of the debate team or something to go though. Then of course the fact that Michelle Obama came to visit in 2009, I was supposed to be there on stage with the choir but I missed one choir rehersal on the day announced we would have a special guest and I was not permitted to perform with them!
Aside from that, Alexandra Burke also went to EGA, if I'm right I think she started there in 1999 and left 2004.
There was a headteacher change in 2004, which I think helped to change the schools image tremendously, as before this it's repuatation had not been particularly positive at all, and there had been calls to close down the school due to an incendent that occured in chapel market with some of the older students apparently becoming violent to shopkeepers.
I will say, that I saw a lot of bullying go on in years 7 and 8, and it was rather severe, and to my recollection, the teachers didn't really do much about it. I experienced some of it myself, and it wasn't very pleasant. Even when some students did bully others very badly (and I wouldn't use that term lightly) they where not really punished, they where punished alot more for small squabbles with teachers like talking back than they ever where for some of the actually vile bullying that did go on towards some students. When we reached year 9, the bullying went down significantly from what I can remember and in years 10 and 11 there wasn't much of it. Though being an all girls school there where quite a few cat fights.
As for the education, I personally felt, as someone who got 555 in the sats, that the education in year 7 & 8 was not satisfactory, and I would end up finishing pages and pages of textbooks before basically all of the other students and not have anything to do for like 20 minutes because I was finished. I don't think the school was that equipped to take students to that next level, most of the students where slightly below or at the national average, and I feel like they could have done much more for the students who where above average. The teaching got significantly better in year 9, and by year 10/11 the teaching was for the most part excellent and at a very high standard, particularly as we had been broken into seperate sets according to our ability.
Many of the students go on to university, and city and islington 6th form is excellent, many of the top students from all over London have it as their first choice, and being a student at ega, as long as you achieve decent grades, you are guarenteed a place there. A large number of students at C & I's sixth form go on to the top universities in the country, eg Ucl, Oxford, London School of Economics, and they also have firm links with Cambridge university which would make getting a place slightly easier.
All in all, I would say it is a school which has drastically improved, I left over 3 years ago so I can't speak for now, but I would say that me and numerous other students experiences up until year 9 weren't the greatest, and at times pretty dire, and for the most part year 10 & 11 where good, and there where alot of very memorable oppurtunities and moments that I probably don't think would have been available at many other schools.
All in all, I would say there is quite a bit of bullying in the first few years and lessons can be rather rowdy, and sometimes the students don't have that much respect for the teachers in the first few years, I must say looking back some teachers where treated really badly by some of the students in my class, I know one who had been there for 30 years, I think he left because of some of the people in my year group which is really a shame, as I remember him being a good teacher and kind.
During my time there, I think I saw 2 girls who where pregnant, which isn't I guess that large of a number compared to some of the other inner London schools.
In the last three years though, things get better and there are alot of great oppurtunities and experiences that are unique to ega, and the teaching is very good.
Personally, when I have children, if I where to stay in London (which I probably won't) I would chose somewhere like Acland Burghley which seems to have education of a much higher standard from the start, and from what I've heard, has less bullying and cat fights. Or somewhere like Parliment Hill.
Hope I've been helpful!
My daughter has been at ega since September. Although there have been major improvements, the school has a LONG way to go.
Some of the teachers are unbelievably rude to children, the lunch time staff are the same. The girls..... Well that's another story. A lot of them are unfriendly, are bullies and find it funny to call other girls names ,eg your fat, your ugly, what you looking at, why don't you swear, etc etc.
we're hoping to move our daughter ASAP.
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