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Stoke Newington state v. private options

(27 Posts)
sunshinegirl76 Fri 27-Jan-17 09:42:59

Live in Stoke Newington N16 and in a dilemma about secondary options. We have three DDs, the oldest in year 4, so it's becoming a more pertinent issue. Older two DDs doing well at a local state primary and could probably get into private at secondary with a bit of tutoring. DH and I both went to state primaries, then on to private secondaries, and that's probably the option we'd go for if we lived in Hampstead. But what's really putting us off is the commute from Stoke Newington to any of the private schools we'd be most likely to consider - eg Channing, FH. (City of London is another option but I know very pressured/academic etc so may not be the best fit for oldest DD - if she even got in). Anyone have experience of kids doing this kind of commute? We wouldn't be driving them - it would be public transport, at least an hour in each direction and some fairly fiddly changes. On a related note, what do people think about Stoke Newington School?? Seems an obvious option as it's on our doorstep - and free! I really like the idea of the girls being able to walk to school, local friends etc. But there are niggling voices (family members!) who want us to go private - for the usual reasons. I'm not convinced though, mainly because of aforementioned travelling. Any thoughts very welcome - thank you!

Traalaa Fri 27-Jan-17 09:55:34

Genuinely I have no idea why you'd choose private when you have such a good state secondary on your doorstep. I know several kids at SN and they all seem to be happy and thriving. Walking to school and having local friends are a huge plus, as is just being part of your local community and meeting all sorts of kids from all sorts of backgrounds. What better education could your girls have?!

cingolimama Fri 27-Jan-17 10:07:17

My DD commutes to Marylebone (which would work for FH) from Stoke Newington, using two buses. It's completely fine - in fact DD relishes her independence and ability to get around London. She even gave directions to a tourist the other day and was so proud!

I know some kids at SN who are thriving, and others who are really unhappy. Personally, I didn't think it was right for DD for all kinds of reasons. It's well worth the commute to go to a different (better for her) school.

cingolimama Fri 27-Jan-17 10:13:17

TraLaa, I'd have to respectfully disagree with you about "meeting all sorts of kids from all sorts of backgrounds". The Stoke Newington white middle-class bubble is relentless, and even one of the governors complains about the "racial and economic apartheid" at the school.

nicolei Fri 27-Jan-17 10:21:31

What does DD want? Have you tried doing the trip with her to check if she would be comfortable. It is her choice, not the choice of your family!
Year 7 is still ages away for her - so being nervous about the trip itself shold not bother you too much - but pay attention at how she manages unexpected events, how confidently she can deal with changes. Or how close she is to primary school friends who might choose to go to SN. Are you comfortable with those friends? Would that be a good environment for her?
I'm struggling with a similar dilemma btw, but with a Year 8 DD.

Traalaa Fri 27-Jan-17 12:06:30

I agree with nicolei, what your daughter wants is what matters. If all her friends are going there, I'd bet she'll want to go there too.

cingo, do you mean that the different classes/ backgrounds of kids don't mix inside the school? That would indeed be a sorry indictment if true. From my admittedly limited knowledge, it's not wholly true. I genuinely do know kids who go from all sorts of backgrounds, including a couple of girls who are refugees and several kids who live on nearby estates. You are right of course, as there are far more middle class kids at SN than most Hackney schools, but the girl I know best who goes there, has a nice mix of mates. She's middle class, but her friends come from all sorts of backgrounds.

cingolimama Fri 27-Jan-17 12:17:02

Seriously? Wanting to go to a school because her friends are going isn't a good enough reason to choose a school. It may be a factor, but shouldn't be an overriding one. I'm a bit surprised that people let their 10-11 year old children make this decision. I was unequivocal with my DD - that I would consider everything she thought/felt about various schools, but ultimately it would be MY decision. Thank God, though, we agreed!

Yes, tra laa, that's exactly what I meant - there's very little social mixing at the school. I've volunteered there for years, so know it well. It makes me sad to see this.

Traalaa Fri 27-Jan-17 12:22:32

Oh that is sad, cingo. Still though, arguably you still see more of the real world going to a comp and being alongside kids from different backgrounds in some of your classes, in the school in general. Also, I do think there's lots to be said for having friends live v.locally.

Just on the letting them choose, well yes you're right it's one to be carefully managed! Still though it's mighty hard if all of their friends are going somewhere and you push them elsewhere. Rebellion can hit and that can make them hate a school before they've even started going there.

cingolimama Fri 27-Jan-17 12:46:06

Yes, Tra, I think "careful management" is key. Perhaps our experience is unusual, but DD goes to a school where initially she knew no one. It's been great for her social confidence. She still sees a few good friends from primary, but has a bunch of new ones. Interestingly, for DD part of the appeal lay in having a "clean slate".

Traalaa Fri 27-Jan-17 13:34:28

Glad to hear it worked out, Cingo. We thought our DS was going to be with nobody he knew, but 3 boys from his primary ended up at the same place. After the first couple of weeks DS found new friends and now barely mentions the others. That seems to be mostly the way it goes. It's so lovely when they flourish, but it must be v.tough if they don't.

ancientandmodern Fri 27-Jan-17 13:47:31

Have you considered Forest, which is out by Snaresbrook but has (or had when my DD attended) a bus service that included N16? It's not as pushy, probably, as City but results are fine and strong on music and drama

Pogglebon76 Sat 28-Jan-17 07:11:08

Stoke newington has a big chaotic school. The results are very poor considering the high middle class intake. This is because of liberal rules and teachers teaching to the middle. If a string of mediocre results is what you are looking for your child will do fine at sns. If you are looking for a more academic experience I would definitely look elsewhere. To my mind you only get one shot at education and entrusting my child's secondary years to a school which is content to cruise without pushing the middle / top end is wrong.

cingolimama Sat 28-Jan-17 15:30:40

Unfortunately, I agree with Poggle. There is an infuriating laissez-faire attitude among middle class Stokey parents. "Well, as long as they're happy".

Pogglebon76 Sat 28-Jan-17 16:52:03

That attitude isn't just the parents - how and why are schools with a far higher proportion of disadvantaged pupils doing so much better? The teaching at SNS is definitely not stretching the most able and on top of that the behaviour is poor in class due to liberal behaviour policies which may suit the left wing massive but do nothing for attainment

100greenbottles Sat 28-Jan-17 19:48:13

SN are stressing new behaviour regime so it will be interesting to see if it improves. What about Clapton girls or are you too far away? I wouldn't worry about a commute of under 45-50 minutes, but I would worry a bit about lack of local friends. I am a bit amazed that you can afford three lots of fees tbh. N16 is certainly changing!

christinarossetti Sat 28-Jan-17 22:53:01

SN is not so liberal that they don't kick children who don't do well in their AS levels out to complete their 'A' levels elsewhere, so as not to lower the schools overall results.

Happened to a friend of mine's DD last year. Preceded by 6 years of pretty shit teaching there.

It does depend on the child - her sister is doing well there, but it was really upsetting to be asked to leave after 6 years in a school.

Farfallina123 Sat 28-Jan-17 23:15:19

Progress measures across low, medium and high attainers are well above the national average, according to the department for education school performance tables .

There does seem to be an issue about diverse progress among boys and girls - girls have very high progress scores, boys very average. So, it comes down to the fact that the school will probably suit some children very well, other children less well.

Every set of parents will make their own decision, based on whether they feel the school's ethos fits with their own and whether they feel their child will thrive in the specific setting

christinarossetti Sun 29-Jan-17 09:03:29

Progress measures are above national average, not well above. Should be higher given all the external tutoring that goes on.

Pogglebon76 Sun 29-Jan-17 09:26:32

There is no escaping the fact that it is a very average school that should do much better. 5 mins in the place and you'll realise exactly why it isn't doing better

Notcontent Sun 29-Jan-17 22:11:46

One thing to consider is that the private options are increasingly competitive. There is now a huge contingent of Islington and Hackney borough parents trying to get places for their children at Hampstead, Highgate and Marylebone schools - this wasn't the case even 5 years ago. So you need to take that into consideration. It's not enough to be on the top table at a state primary and have a bit of tutoring.

WhyOhWine Sun 29-Jan-17 22:19:28

I second taking a look at forest. There are several bus routes from stokey and the east/north sides of Islington.

Davros Sun 29-Jan-17 23:49:20

Some kids travel from SN to DD's school, Nbh senior, in Hampstead. They take the overground to Hampstead Heath station. NBH also has the senior school at Canonbury but only from year 9

dinkystinky Mon 30-Jan-17 10:09:01

Davros - North Bridge House Canonbury has started taking year 7 students from this year.

2014newme Mon 30-Jan-17 10:13:41

I have family at SN
Absolutely loves it. School have been amazing. Can't fault it.

Davros Mon 30-Jan-17 16:02:04

dinkystinky, I think I knew that but forgot blush

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