state secondaries islington your views(13 Posts)
Hi All Again!
I have stopped prepping my 10 year old for 11+ entrance as he is not mature enough or academically able enough to get into any of the schools near us.I have also done school visits for several schools further afield which are supposed to be 'easier' to get in to and have eliminated them all as I don't want him to travel for school. I am therefore narrowing my list to north bridge house for private or state. Can anyone give me some first hand up to date info on the current standards of the islington state schools please?
Whereabouts are you?
Highbury Grove (yes, the Ofsted, but it has a good track record in recent years)
St Mary Mags
Central Foundation perhaps the first choice for boys
Acland Burghley if you're the Camden side of Islington
I'd take any of those vs paying for NBH, tbh.
Was that 11+ state or private? My ds is/was v immature and didn't do well on the grammar school ones but did well on the privates for the usual North London suspects (City etc) - partly because the competition is so much less fierce, but also because he was four months older which made more of a difference to him because he's so young than it did to others, I think.
Re. Islington secondaries, whereabouts are you? Generally they are pretty good and have massively improved. Central Boys gets excellent results and has extra funding through having sold off some land; Mary Mags is positioning itself as the semiselective, middle class choice; Highbury Grove isn't in a good place at the moment due to its poor ofsted but the children I know seem to do very well from there; Mount Carmel is about to go mixed.
How does the semi selective thing work at Mary Mags? Thanks!
Mary Mags offers an aptitude test for Y7 and Y9 entry, with 18 places available at each stage for the best performers regardless of other considerations such as distance from home to school.
As their website says: "The test is age sensitive and is designed to identify those students with the skills to perform well in English and in language acquisition".
Thanks everyone for your advice, I am in canonbury so central and Highbury grove are close to me. However my situation is complicated by living abroad and not returning until summer next year due to job issues. That means I will put in a late application and have to go on a wait list for the better schools. This year I would have got a place in Arts and Media School, Islington, City of London Academy, and Holloway School. Any views on those? I'm guessing the movement on the waiting lists is non existent in year 7! NBH may be a better option??!!
Effzeh, what are your reservations about NBH? Anyone else have views on NBH?
Lotsofsighing,he was prepping for private, but only in the last 3 months but I think our local-ish schools CoLB, UCS or Highgate are still highly competitive as far as I can gather. I doubt he would even come close!
You may be wrong about movement on the waiting lists being non-existent in year 7. My dd goes to another nearby school and she certainly had children leaving and joining during Y7. People move around a lot in London. It's only once they start their GCSE courses that they tend to stay put.
I don't have specific reservations about NBH as such, just not convinced that it offers anything that the good Islington secondaries don't.
Having said that, the schools you cite as likely to be offered are not ones that are generally considered sought-after, or that traditionally have a significant m/c intake. That doesn't of course mean that they are bad schools, but you would need to have a close look to assess whether you think they could work for your child in terms of meeting his social and academic needs.
Remember that you are not bound by borough boundaries, so worth looking at schools in surrounding boroughs. Acland Burghley is a Camden school but very close to the Islington border - it's had a rocky few years, but has traditionally been a good school that is popular with local parents, so maybe worth a look. Alternatives might be Haggerston, Hackney New School (or whatever it's called), Petchey Academy and Mossbourne Victoria Park, all of which are in Hackney.
And yes, there's loads of movement from the start of Y7 onwards as people relocate, and lots of those places are not filled, even in popular schools as people don't want to move once their dc are settled. So def worth going on the waiting list for all the schools you like the look of.
Yes, William Ellis also considered good, but it's further over into Camden, and Canonbury might be outside the intake area for WE.
Burghley is slightly nearer and was under-subscribed for the last couple of admissions rounds because of the hoo-hah over the Ofsted and the head leaving. So someone from Canonbury would have been able to get in, no idea if that would apply to this year's admissions round as well, but Camden LA should be have that info.
Yes, the state selective schools available to you if you live in Islington are incredibly difficult to get into. As others have said, Mary Magdelene is considered to be a good choice but catchment area is shrinking, so you would probably not get a place unless you get one of the "aptitude" places. Highbury Grove is in a bad place at the moment and I would certainly avoid Holloway!
If private is an option, I don't think NBH is such a bad choice. Forest may be another option - it's supposed to be slightly easier to get into.
Forest had over 700 applicants for maybe 70 places this year. Very much doubt it's easier to get into then NBH.
I know DC commuting to NBH from NE London because they cannot get into Forest. Forest is definitely a step below the big London Day School names, but it's not a school one can just walk into. St Edmunds in Hertfordshire is getting a lot of traffic from families who wanted Forest but can't compete academically.
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