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The Archer Academy East Finchley

(103 Posts)
upthegardenpath Thu 23-Jul-15 07:43:53

Thinking of moving in about a year or so, possibly to EF.

I've read the first Ofsted (June 2015) which sounds pretty impressive and I've heard a couple of rave review ps from current parents p, in passing, but it wanted to know what people think of this school, as it's impossible to judge a book by its cover. Views much appreciated!

Have also heard that year 7 from September will be at a new site, in Stanley Rd, so that will become the new address for admissions.

Many thanks.

upthegardenpath Fri 02-Oct-15 11:30:34


RougeEtNoir Fri 09-Oct-15 00:18:40

I don't have any direct experience myself but have heard good things about it so far, anecdotally. I've heard people talking about preferring it over Fortismere (for those who have the choice of both). You'd need to be in certain postcodes though to stand a chance - N2 and I'm not sure what others (it'll be in their admissions criteria on Barnet website).

upthegardenpath Mon 12-Oct-15 12:00:02

Thanks Rouge
Weird that's there is a total radio silence for this school! Even on Local MN.
I wonder why it is preferred over Fortismere...
It's certainly in an area where we could still (just) about afford to buy property, whereas Fortismere is in an uber expensive bit of town.
You're absolutely right about postcodes. They currently only take children from N2, N3, NW11 but even so, it's getting so oversubscribed that families on the edges of those postcodes still didn't get a place this year.

Frosticle Tue 13-Oct-15 14:05:56

upthegardenpath, everyone I know who has a child at Archer speaks extremely highly of the headteacher, Miss Harrison. She's been described to me as "awesome". They're very willing to show people around so, if you're interested, it's probably worth giving them a call and seeing if you can get on a tour. But do it quickly as they're running tours at the moment. The school is definitely a good school, very nurturing and ambitious. The catchment area is getting smaller each year so I would aim for N2 postcode to be on the safe side. I've only heard good things about the school from parents with children there.

upthegardenpath Fri 08-Jan-16 09:43:34

Thanks frosticle - sorry, i only saw your post today hence the delay in replying.
I went to a tour back in November and was quite impressed. The children were so polite and kind...and especially, proud of their school. It was very apparent.
I was wondering why the old head, Mr Quigley, left after only 2 years in office. Miss Harrison seems very genuine to me and highly ambitious for her school, but I do wonder why the change in head after so little time.

Brightnorthernlights Sat 09-Jan-16 21:44:05

Our school received an email from the The Archer Academy last week. The school has changed (or in the process of) it's admissions criteria. The school is introducing a feeder school (I think it's 3) system and with the school being relatively small, after the usual admissions priority and siblings, then feeder schools, it's actually going to be very difficult for local residents, and virtually impossible for those in the 'catchment' postcodes further away, to gain a place.

FanDabbyFloozy Sun 10-Jan-16 17:16:44

I wonder if that will get challenged, as have other schools with the same criteria, JCOSS being one. They're changing their rules as a result.

It seems unfair that a bulge birth year aged 4 could mean that you had to travel to a different school in the Borough or to an independent school, and that single decision stays with you for your whole school education until 18.

It is also a very effective way of "keeping out" newcomers.

Very bad move in my view.

upthegardenpath Mon 11-Jan-16 09:27:31

upthegardenpath Mon 11-Jan-16 09:30:51

Actually, some of there 5 feeder schools (5 places for each Y6 class at every proposed feeder school) are quite far from the Archer and on the borders of the existing priority postcodes. The idea being, as far as I can gauge, to offer at least a few from furthest away, non-faith primaries in the priority postcodes, an assurance of getting their child in.
Public consultation meeting is tonight at 7pm, at the School.

FanDabbyFloozy Mon 11-Jan-16 22:32:56

I'm not sure I buy that tbh. Even before I opened your link I was able to guess three of the schools, whose parents have the resources and knowledge to fight harder than others.

Specifically, what options exist for the children of St Therese's or Akiva, the former of which only have a super-selective school and the latter gets a very complex entrance system at JCOSS. Frankly a postcode lottery is the only fair way and feeder schools are a backwards step.

Brightnorthernlights Fri 15-Jan-16 11:18:31

I have to agree, feeder schools systems certainly seem to me a step backwards. It seems wrong that a parent can acquire a guarantee a secondary school place, based on a decision taken when a child is three and not all parents have much of a say in that decision!

Brightnorthernlights Fri 15-Jan-16 11:28:41

Also, one of these reasons parents were told that Jcoss was stopping its feeder system was that it was becoming very difficult for new families to join the school and that peer groups (from the three feeder schools) which were making up the majority of the intake, were very much established prior to the start of the school year. There has been a lot of opposition to this change in admissions, but Jcoss has held firm.

FanDabbyFloozy Fri 15-Jan-16 22:11:58

Brightnorthernlights - agree wholeheartedly with you. Archer was set up to give parents in the lower section of Barnet a non-selective education option. It now seems they're moving to a liberal agenda where they want to exclude any religious backgrounds at all. If that wasn't true, they would stick to their original entrance criteria or pick the 6 closest schools, regardless of religion.
I think parents in Akiva (Jewish) and St Therese's (Catholic, esp girls) must be very disappointed.

FanDabbyFloozy Fri 15-Jan-16 22:13:27

We're actually not in catchment anyhow but feel the injustice as I am in another "black hole".

HLCLeslie Fri 29-Jan-16 19:23:49

Sorry FanDabbyFloozy but what you have written is not true. The Archer welcomes children of all religions. It is just not going to give preferred places to children at local faith schools which by definition have selective entry which already gives those children a higher chance of obtaining places at local faith secondary schools. When the Archer was being set up the support came overwhelmingly from families (particularly those with girls) across N2, N3 and NW11 whose children were at local community schools (rather than faith or selective or private) who had very limited options precisely because they were disadvantaged getting into other schools. So I don't agree with your comments at all in particular in relation to St Theresa's. Families at this school have the option of the Catholic schools in Finchley (which people like me are excluded from) and also the local Catholic school, Bishop Douglass. This school is under-subscribed and is not a popular school in this area. If these parents want a Catholic education why don't they choose this school and improve it and make it into a school of choice? The new head appears to be working hard to do this and the local Catholic parents should support him instead of trying to pinch school places from others who have less options. I understand that all parents want the best choice for their own children but the people who have posted on this thread should not move into other areas and thereby steal previous places from others but should instead stay where they are and form their own campaign groups and either set up schools themselves or persuade existing schools to expand. The lack of school places is a community problem not an individual one to be solved by moving into an area and taking someone else's school place away from them.

FanDabbyFloozy Sat 30-Jan-16 00:08:16

Your argument that parents who supported the school from the start is flawed because many of those included the parents of faith that you seem to suggest should go elsewhere, even if they live closer than others who will get in. I suspect they were hoodwinked by the claim that all faiths were welcome and none. As for your suggestion that they go off to set up their "own schools", I despair!

If you have a Catholic girl and live in E Finchley, I think you'd be right to be upset at moves to exclude that child. Remember that the boys can go to Finchley Catholic School (only 5 miles away!) while the girls have to fight to be one of the few kids who get into St M by selection.

Finally what about those children who were forced into the private sector for some reason at primary level - late arrival into the UK, no school offered to them in their locality ? Your attitude seems to say "tough luck" and I think that is as disappointing as the parents who move into the area just for secondary.

HLCLeslie Sat 30-Jan-16 10:26:02

I am not saying "tough luck". Those children who live close enough to the school, whatever primary they attend and of whatever faith, are likely to get a place. At the moment the current estimate for proximity places is 1 mile which compares well against Fortismere where the catchment area has traditionally been much tighter (less than half a mile in some years). The problem of school places is not going to be solved by 1 school alone. Catholic parents do have a school right on their doorsteps to which they can send their daughters - Bishop Douglass - it's just that they don't consider it good enough. Why don't those parents support that school and try and improve it for everyone? The volunteers who set up the Archer Academy have dedicated all their spare time (some having to give up their jobs to find this time) to try and help solve the problem of lack of places and they have done a wonderful job creating an outstanding school which is now very popular and over-subscribed. What contributes to the lack of places is the high number of faith, single sex, and selective schools in Barnet which take large numbers of children from outside Barnet thereby creating a shortage of places for children in Barnet. The answer is more schools of the type parents are asking for and parents should be more pro-active in lobbying. And yes, why not more parents taking on the establishment and setting up high-quality schools themselves? The issue is far more complex that you are describing and is very much linked to the availability of land and funding from central government. I agree that primary school places are in short supply but in Barnet effort was made by all the community primaries to expand and try and find ways to take more children - many schools went 3-form entry or took bulge classes. I understand that two of the primary schools which refused to expand and try and help with the problem was Akiva (Jewish school) and the Catholic schools. From my experience living here it is the faith schools, single sex and selective
schools which are most resistant to change and don't seem to think it their role to try and help the community find ways of providing more school places.

peteneras Sat 30-Jan-16 11:50:26

“The Archer Academy was created under the free schools initiative to address a lack of non-denominational, non-selective and co-educational secondary schooling within N2, N3 and NW11.”

By proposing now to introduce ‘feeder schools’ is by definition in breach of its own mission statement when it says The Archer Academy was created as a non-selective school amongst other things. Choosing from feeder schools only as it is now proposing to do is a form of selection in anybody’s language. Clearly, to me this is illegal and it won’t surprise me to see a legal challenge in due course.

”I think parents in Akiva (Jewish) and St Therese's (Catholic, esp girls) must be very disappointed.”

To be barred from anything is of course disappointing even when one doesn’t need it. Catholic girls from St Theresa’s can go to Bishop Douglass’ if all else fail. Catholic boys can similarly do likewise or go to Finchley Catholic High . . . or can they?

Don’t be fooled . . . Catholic schools, some of them at least - Finchley Catholic High included - are the biggest hypocrites on God’s earth! FCH rejected my DS in spite of the fact that the local parish priest (E Finchley) personally recommended him; talk about attending church on a regular basis . . .

Although St Michaels’s is another so-called ‘option’ for girls, really that’s not an option at all for very many families because it is super-selective with many girls coming from far and wide - e.g. I know of some coming from Peckham, Kilburn, etc.

upthegardenpath Sun 31-Jan-16 21:55:11

Choosing from feeder schools only as it is now proposing to do is a form of selection in anybody’s language.

But it isn't proposing to choose from feeder schools only.

The proposal is to offer every feeder school (of which there are currently five proposed) 5 places for every Y6 class they have in their school.

The Archer currently takes 150 children per year:
You then minus the feeder school allocated places (I repeat, only 5 places per Y6 class in that school, would be guaranteed, under the proposal) and get the total remaining spaces for that year, which would be offered to ALL children, regardless of faith, but based entirely on distance from school and having an address within the 3 original priority postcodes.

Incidentally, 'non-denominational' implies that children are accepted irrespective of whether they have a faith or not, rather than children being accepted ONLY if they have a particular faith.
That is what I call non-selective.

Brightnorthernlights Sun 31-Jan-16 22:11:10

Yes, you are correct it is 5 places per year 6 class, however, 3 of these schools are 3 form entry and so the total is a rather significant 55.

You are also missing out another rather large category - siblings.

So let's look at it another way and this is one of the reasons JCoss changed their feeder school status. The 55 places are on top of sibling places so eventually you will have a system where a massive proportion of children will come from the feeder school as it would be 55 'new' children from the feeder school, plus any siblings at the feeder schools. This is confirmed in their own admission info. As Jcoss found, this leaves few places for the 'community'.

HLCLeslie Mon 01-Feb-16 06:19:11

The situation with JCOSS is completely different to that of the Archer Academy. The proposed feeder schools are all very local to the area (not across the whole of Barnet) and the sibling places and feeder school places would be going to families who live in the area and close to the school by definition i.e. you can't get into the proposed primaries unless you live locally. If you take Fortismere as an example, people move from Crouch End, Islington and many other areas and rent flats almost next door to the school in the months leading up to secondary school applications to secure places. They then move back out when the places have been given but still get sibling places for their other children, taking places from children living closer to the school. The Archer proposal should discourage people doing this and ensuring that children who actually live in the relevant postcodes (N2, N3 and NW11) and attend local schools do get places and yes this includes siblings who are also local children. The feeder school system is used in Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire.

Brightnorthernlights Mon 01-Feb-16 15:12:10

But the Archer proposal doesn't though, does it? It says nothing about 'catchment siblings' ie a system bought in stop the scenario you described above, where siblings are only considered if the family remains close to the school. In fact there is absolutely nothing to stop a family renting next door to the AA to gain one of very few 'distance' places. I don't consider squires lane, where the Tudor school (one of the feeders) s located to be 'very close' to the Archer academy at all. The problem encountered at Jcoss was that after several years, it became apparent that the feeder schools + siblings (of which eventually, most were from the feeder schools) numbers, we're leaving only a handful of places left for new families.

Brightnorthernlights Mon 01-Feb-16 15:14:33

And Yavneh college in Hertfordshire announced last week that it was ending its feeder school system, as it feels it is fundamentally flawed. Instead it is introducing a 'postcode catchment, system.

HLCLeslie Mon 01-Feb-16 16:19:55

Yavneh College is another Jewish school! The situation with faith schools is different. And in response, Tudor School is on the borders of N2/N3 and takes children from the N2 postcode. Just because it is not located in the more affluent side of East Finchley does not mean that the children who go there are not part of the East Finchley community.

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