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Secondary schools North London

(32 Posts)
stilllovingmysleep Fri 03-Apr-15 13:07:33

Hi all, we're looking to move from near Golders Green, more to the north e.g. High Barnet, Hadley, Whestone, Friern Barnet. We're thinking ahead though towards secondary schools in the wider North London (Barnet / Haringey) area and it all feels mind-boggling to me.

I would appreciate any suggestions in terms of:
--secondary schools that you would recommend and what they're like (e.g. Compton / Friern Barnet school / East Barnet school / Totteridge academy / Southgate / JCOSS and any others)
--secondary schools that you would AVOID
--and whether you would prioritise, at this stage (my son is year 2) a nice area e.g. High Barnet village rather than a good-school catchment area.

I'm concerned that we may make a choice based on school and not area, and feel miserable in an area we don't necessarily like...and schools do change a lot in 5 years. So what would you do? Selective schools would of course be another option as there are quite a few very good ones in North London (Latymer / Dame Alice Owen / QE Boys) but of course that's a risk as it may not work.

MN164 Fri 03-Apr-15 14:46:01

Dame Alice Owen has a comprehensive intake too, along with the 11+ intake.

See if you might want to live inside the amazingly small catchment area?

stilllovingmysleep Sun 05-Apr-15 08:06:05

Thanks MN164. That's amazingly small catchment indeed confused!

What about East Barnet school & Mill Hill County? I like the look of the area between New Barnet station & Oakleigh road station & wonder what it's like? For the moment, we're focusing our search on East Barnet & High Barnet, so any advice would be great.

LePetitPrince Sun 05-Apr-15 22:16:51

Mill Hill County as a complicated entrance criteria, with a very tight catchment area of about 1 km if memory serves me correctly! East Barnet and the Wren are no better in terms of needing to live on the doorstep. Unfortunately the Borough of Barnet is very badly served for non-selective schools, which surprises many who know its very successful selective schools. But none of these - QE boys, Henrietta Barnett, St Michael's - restrict their admissions to children of the borough so you get no advantage whatsoever by living in borough.

JCOSS is meant to be good, but has no track record given it's so new. But the word on the street is very good.

You mention the Totteridge Academy - I would avoid as it generally doesn't fill the places it offers every year. There was a recent year where they pulled the 6th form offering at very late notice as they didn't get enough applicants with devastating results for those already enrolled.

If you meet the criteria for JCOSS, that's the one I'd go for in Barnet.

Cantdecideondinner Sun 05-Apr-15 22:26:08

I would also go for JCOSS but current admission arrangements mean that after siblings and feeder schools there are very few additional places. There's the new Archer Academy in E Finchley but that's also looking like having an absolutely tiny catchment. If you fit the criteria for JCOSS then JFS admit by lottery and has hundreds coming from Barnet but it's also massively oversubscribed and that's unlikely to change given that despite their drop in ofsted ratings last I heard they are currently sitting on over 20 Oxbridge offers.

stilllovingmysleep Sun 05-Apr-15 22:41:04

Hi all, thanks for this info, it sounds quite worrying though! When you say 'feeder schools' do you mean particularly primaries nearby? Do those children have priority compared to others who just live within catchment? And when you say 'tiny catchments' that too sounds worrying as for secondary I always assumed (perhaps wrongly) that catchments were much larger than for primaries? confused

LePetitPrince Sun 05-Apr-15 23:00:41

In Barnet, the catchment areas for any school you would want are very small indeed. If you look at the Barnet council website, they have an excellent brochure with all the distances per school outlined (except where they are selective and then the council is mute on how many even live in Barnet!).

The situation for JCOSS is that it has Jewish feeder schools that are miles away from the school resulting in kids being transported long distances. However I believe that is probably going to change to be more like JFS.. I am no expert though.

anothermakesthree Mon 06-Apr-15 00:09:50

JCOSS has 3 feeder schools one is in Essex, one in Shenley, Herts and one in Finchley. By the time siblings & feeder allocations are done there are literally a handful of places left. In response to parents with children in other schools, JCOSS has agreed to lower the numbers of feeder places. However, the lower number is always plus siblings. It is going to take several years before the intake of Jcoss becomes more of a mix & not just the children and siblings of its 3 feeder schools. However, the school does reserve 18 places for those children living nearest to the school (mainly East & new Barnet).

Pepperpot99 Tue 07-Apr-15 08:03:23

JCoSS: you will need to be Jewish or else living very close by. If you are in the catchment for JcoSS you will probably also make the catchment for East Barnet school but you will be miles away from MHCS, which has entry intakes for music, dance and exam as well as siblings and local families.

EN5 (parts of it - check the school websites) fall into the allocated catchment net for Latymer and DAO, plus there are no catchment boundaries at all for HBS, St. M's or QEB. That's the selective route.

If you are heading for Compton/Archer/Wren Academy then you will need to be in N12 which is North Finchley or N2 for Archer. Wren is opening a primary school this Sept and all junior school children will get automatic entry at Y7. Its catchment is miniscule - most wannabe parents 'find God' and get in via the Foundation route.

FB is considered rough and has no 6th form, but students get 1st preference for Woodhouse College which is highly regarded.

PM me if you want further info - I have loads wink

stilllovingmysleep Thu 09-Apr-15 07:32:21

many thanks.

What do people think about moving to the area around East Barnet 'village' e.g. East barnet road or whereabouts? It seems to me, just by looking at the map, that there are 4 decent schools within a logical distance (JCOSS / East Barnet school / Mill Hill County / and Southgate further away). I can't imagine our son wouldn't have a decent state option in that area (compared to, say, High Barnet which seems to not have good state secondary options). Am I wrong or over-optimistic?

Pepperpot: I've sent you a PM. Many thanks in advance!

stilllovingmysleep Thu 09-Apr-15 07:36:46

Another quick question:

is Mill Hill County a selective school? It seems to imply on the Barnet council website that (apart from music auditions) they have verbal reasoning & maths tests?

Also: Ashmole academy (further away from East Barnet) seems another decent option, with music exams too. Our DC is very into music so that would be another option, no?

Cantdecideondinner Thu 09-Apr-15 13:58:32

Mill hill county is part selective and I think the competition is tough. Their catchment is tiny though, I think it's less than a mile. My brother lives just over a mile away and didn't get in

ShaynePunim Thu 09-Apr-15 15:48:38

JCoSS: great school, caters for all abilities (and I really emphasize that, from the super bright to the late developers). Great pastoral care, great school cohesion and spirit.

Loads of opportunities too for arts, performing arts, sports...

A lovely school.

PM me if you want to know more!

JustADadHere Thu 09-Apr-15 16:53:35

If you go a little more west, you could think about St Albans, which has a host of secondaries. All of them bar one are decent to outstanding.

entirelyidentifiable Fri 10-Apr-15 09:38:15

Did you get my PM op?

stilllovingmysleep Fri 10-Apr-15 15:22:44

Hi entirelyidentifiable, I just saw it now actually! many thanks, just responded.

worrymum324 Wed 15-Apr-15 02:33:54

Any one has any information regarding North London Grammar school (formerly Wisdom school) or Mill Hill International School (formerly the Mount School)? MHIS seems terribly expensive. Is it good? Any real chance of transferring later from MHIS to Mill Hill school? Thanks!

Moominmammacat Wed 15-Apr-15 20:16:37

Never heard of it sorry ... and I live in the area!

upthegardenpath Fri 08-Jan-16 09:39:11

Re: Archer Academy - they have only every taken children from the three priority postcodes from which the founding parents of the school came - namely, N2, N3 and NW11.

This last year's admissions saw some applicants just inside some of these postcodes, disappointed, and this just outside also.

Due to the increasing popularity of schools like these, it is likely that N2 will remain the main postcode feeding into the school, as well as the bit closest to the school in NW11, whereas N3, which has comparatively a very small bit of its area close enough to the school, may be gradually left out altogether.

Brightnorthernlights Sun 10-Jan-16 18:34:00

I don't think the admissions info regarding the Archer Academy, above, is correct. The AA is currently changing its admissions criteria to a feeder school system. One of the feeder schools is in NW11. Potentially, this could mean families will come from a wide areas. After admissions priority children, siblings & feeder school children, as it's such a small school there will be v few places available for 'catchment' children.

upthegardenpath Mon 11-Jan-16 09:35:00

You're right bright - I wrote the above post before I had found out about the latest admissions consultation, the Archer is proposing a change in its admission policy to try and continue offering at least some places to a few children in furthest away primaries in their priority postcodes (who currently would struggle to have any chance of entry, under today's admissions, because of the whopping oversubscription occurring).
800 children applied for 150 places last year....yikes.

Have a read here:

Thankgoditsover Mon 11-Jan-16 10:07:55

Yes but that's all applications to Archer Academy and in Barnet you can put down up to six schools. That could be 800 children who have put it 6th, have scored high enough for QEB, are moving abroad, planning to go private etc etc.

I know you know this already, but it just really annoys me when new schools (I'm looking at you West London Free School) boast about being massively oversubscribed, 7 pupils per space blah blah blah, when it's a bit disingenuous to say the least as well as creating unnecessary anxiety.

upthegardenpath Thu 14-Jan-16 12:22:51

Not sure they were boasting in this case but yes, I take your point that it was taking into account every application, including those who didn't put Archer down as their first choice.

grogsygreen Thu 14-Jan-16 13:58:08

I can recommend the Wren- it's C of E but takes all religions. My son is in yr 8 and I feel it to be a safe, nurturing school despite being fairly strict. They have changed their admissions criteria this year so more community places available. So look at their catchment area around N12- also Finchley Catholic for boys but obviously have to be Catholic.
Friern Barnet has a rough reputation - Compton also but tarted itself up recently and gets good results.
Archer is also great but again you need to live very near and East Finchley is pricey.
East Barnet is much cheaper than anywhere with a N postcode and you should be in catchment for East Barnet School (reputable in science/maths ) and Jcoss ( I think its whole/mainly Jewish)
Avoid High Barnet and Woodside Park unless you want to go private as you are in a black hole of good secondary's and will end up in the Totteridge Academy.....

FanDabbyFloozy Thu 14-Jan-16 21:26:41

Agree on the black hole that is Woodside Park and Totteridge, but a lot of High Barnet can get QE Girls and East Barnet. No wonder the private schools do a roaring trade there.

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