North London secondaries(13 Posts)
So ok this is overthinking it and SO premature (DS is only a few months old!) but just trying to get my head around how it all works with schools in my area. I was wondering what are ppl's thoughts on secondary schools around Tufnell Park / Kentish Town?
I am researching schools and while there are some good (outstanding) primaries around, I find that most of the really good secondaries are girls only. So what happens if you live off
Camden Rd and have a boy?? Move?
(Which we might well do anyway for different reasons by then).
Say you have a boy finishing Yerbury or Tufnell Park primary or Torriano. Where would they go afterwards?
I think quite a few go private from Yerbury. Acland Burghley (mixed) is one I think they go on to and William Ellis (boys).
Our old neighbours had boys who went to Yerbury then Acland Burghley.
There is going to be a new mixed City of London Academy in Archway. That will undoubtedly change the landscape.
And - ah v interesting about new academy, I didn't know that.. will def keep an eye out for any gossip around the new school
It's not entirely new - it is presently Mount Carmel, a Catholic school for girls but it had falling rolls because there wasn't enough of a need in the area (but a big need for boys' places as well as non-faith). The Diocese realised that it was untenable so offered it up to the council who found a sponsor for it.
It's interesting because it shows that the best way to meet increasing demand for schools is to make them as open to as many people as possible, ie co-ed, non-faith, non-selective. And the government seems to be doing quite the opposite...
OP in answer to your question, there are actually some good boys' schools in Islington eg Central which has quite a wide catchment stretching into Camden and St Aloyuis (can't spell, but it's Catholic in Highgate). But, yes, on the whole, girls seem better served and that's why there's very weird demographics in the area - loads of families with three daughters etc.
Yeah Mount Carmel Girls School will be no more and that will open on same site. My DD is Y2 so trying to get a feel for secondaries. I dislike the single sex thing in state schools so no idea what will happen.
How interesting. And thanks, good point Claireb about looking more towards east/heart of Islington.
I had assumed we'd be too far away for those but it seems not.
And I agree. There is def need for more options on all fronts in this area!
Vinorosso I agree. Never thought about sending DS to single sex school - I am not entirely against, but I don't think it would be my first option either... wouldn't rule it out though if there was a good option there
Well, research has shown that co-ed is better for boys, and single sex is better for girls...
We live in this area, and have four dc at secondary or post-secondary age, so I know a bit about it...
I would say that of the primaries you mention, Yerbury is the most likely to have kids going to private or state selective schools. But Y has a micro-catchment these days, so if you live in the catchment for Torriano, you almost certainly won't be in the Yerbury catchment. Ditto Eleanor Palmer, which is the other local primary that people go nuts about. Don't get caught up in the hysteria, the other local primaries are just as good without the fuss.
For people who don't want private or selective secondary, currently popular local schools are Parliament Hill for girls and William Ellis for boys. Acland Burghley has had a difficult few years, but there's every reason to believe they can pull through that - it's historically been a popular school, although like other local schools they are very definitely comprehensives with a mixed intake, and proud of that. All the people I know with dc currently at those three schools are generally pretty happy. Acland Burghley hasn't had a distance cut-off for the past few years because of the uncertainty over change of head, but I presume that will change at some point as the new regime beds in and prospective parents get more confident. AB is mixed, but very boy-heavy because of the number of girls' schools in the area.
The other local school is Holloway, which historically doesn't attract any interest from m/c families, but that doesn't mean it's a bad school, just a bit of an unknown quantity.
People whose dses go to Central Foundation seem to be very happy with it, but I don't know if the intake extends as far as North Islington - Islington council has intake area maps on the website for the past 5 years or so, so you can easily check.
Of the Catholic schools, St Aloysius is not hugely oversubscribed with Catholic applicants, so there may be places for non-Catholics, but you'd need to check that and obviously it might change over time. It does have a very strongly Catholic culture, so might be a slightly odd experience for a child not from that background. They are big on sports and have access to their own playing field, which is a bonus.
The new City Academy is an unknown quantity, but presumably will take the girls from the current Mt Carmel (though I think parents are being offered Bishop Douglass in Finchley if they want to stay in the Catholic system). Historically Mt Carmel hasn't been a particularly sought-after school, and tbh the City Academies formed from other Islington secondaries like Islington Green have in many ways kept some of the characteristics of their predecessor schools in terms of intake and outcomes - I don't think any of them have become hugely sought-after, so I wouldn't be holding my breath for that one. But if you have a very young ds, there's time to see what happens there. In any case, the ethos of the Academy schools is very different to the liberal ethos of the main Tufnell Park schools like Burghley, Ellis and Parli, so which you prefer will depend on whether you like the whole strict uniform/zero tolerance thing or prefer things more relaxed.
But tbh it is very early days to start fretting about secondary schools, just keep a vague eye on what's happening. For example, Camden have only recently started cracking down on address fraud for applications, which has hugely increased the catchment area of ridiculously popular schools like Camden Girls, which will presumably have a knock-on effect on applications and intake areas for other local schools. But local schools are definitely not a disaster area - people who are the most critical are generally the ones looking to justify their decisions to move/go private/tutor for selective, so you need to develop a bit of a bullshit filter for much of what you hear.
Thank you so much Agonybeetle. This is very helpful. And you are absolutely right, isn't it madness to start thinking about secondaries already.
If nothing else, the landscape might be Very different by the time we need one. It's just that in our search for nurseries and primaries there was a lot of 'if you want X secondary then you should go to Y primary' and so on and I got a bit carried away!
I doubt we will go private. Prob can't afford it even if we wanted to - which I don't think we do. A good, open minded mixed secondary is what we are after and there were a few good options mentioned it the thread so plenty of food for thought for me
Interesting about M Carmel. I have a DD in yr 3 of a Holloway RC school. We're not RC but it's our nearest school & we're very happy with it despite the religious aspect. However we don't want either DC to go to a RC secondary school, so this thread is very helpful!!
I am doing an MA in Education at the institute of education and I wish I had done it when I was choosing schools for my children. The general consensus among most of the academic papers I have read on the effect schooling has on children's outcomes is (and I say this as a teacher) minimal. By far and a way the biggest influence is the families social status, cultural capital, economic success. Dylan Williams (British educationalist Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the UCL Institute of Education... don't you know!) states that when you look at 'performance and value-added data based on examination grades, the actual differences made by schools to student performance are often insignificant and usually small.'
To that end look more to where your child will be happiest - will he/she feel part of a thriving community, will they have friends locally, will the school prepare them for a world which is becoming increasingly diverse and less predictable.
If I'd had known this 6 years ago I might have had more confidence in my own parenting and instincts and spared my son a hideous experience at a North London prep school and have realised sooner how lucky I was to have Acland Burghley on my doorstep!
Learn from my mistakes - do all the good stuff I am sure you are doing as a mumsnetter... and rejoice that you live in Camden which has a great number of really good state schools. You children will thrive...
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.