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Hackney schools dilemma

20 replies

cockles · 11/09/2007 14:58

Love my street, love my neighbourhood, really worry about the schools. We have 3 decent primaries within easy reach and are out of the catchment area (500m.) of all of them. Don't go to church so can't even try with the local C of E school. The other two nearest schools have bad ofsteds, high staff turnover, poor facilities, etc etc. Am I going to have to do the shit middleclass thing and move/rent a flat in right catchment area? Is there any chance of getting a place at the 'nice' schools if we wait and enter late, eg after 5th birthday?
Am deeply ashamed and depressed by the whole dilemma, of course, so please don't beat me up about it.

OP posts:
bundle · 11/09/2007 15:00

i live in hackney too but my dd's go to an islington (church) school - are the nearest ones really that bad? hope someone with more local knowledge (do name names) will be along in a min

cockles · 11/09/2007 15:08

ok the ones i don't want to go to are princess may and shacklewell
and the ones i fancy are betty layward & william patten


OP posts:
welshmum · 11/09/2007 15:10

which school do your kids go to bundle? (my dd goes to c of e in islington)

cockles....are you of the remotely religious persuasion?

MrsMarvel · 11/09/2007 15:15

I think you need to think of it from your dcs view - what school would suit them best as individuals. Only you can know that. Try not to judge the school too quickly.

In Inner London, I think that the more mixed a school is the more your child will fit in. It also really makes a difference if some friends go there and if it's local. Educationally though, at primary, I wouldn't worry - they're all much of a muchness.

EffiePerine · 11/09/2007 15:18

I heard good things about Homeleigh (I think I mean Homeleigh - Stamford Hill).

cockles · 11/09/2007 15:26

There just seems to be a huge gulf between the few schools in our area which are now deemed 'good'/ok - which all have tiny catchment areas & waiting lists - (and these are 'good' hackney schools, so pretty different from those not in inner city areas with huge levels of refugees) - and those which aren't , that the (few) middleclass parents completely avoid & which consequently have no waiting lists etc. These are not really 'mixed' schools as a result; they are classes in which 70-90% students are one of 2-3 minorities most of whom don't speak english at home.
And no, as stated, am not religious and don't think we could pretend to be.

OP posts:
EffiePerine · 11/09/2007 15:33

Personally, I think local is more imp than academic at this age - you want your DCs to be making friends with local kids, not being transported vast distances. Surely at this age parental support means they are going to succeed despite (relatively) lower standards if that is what the OFSTED reports indicate?

I'd go and see. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Spillage21 · 11/09/2007 15:42

My son went to Sir Thomas Abney in Stamford Hill and we were really happy with it. Holmleigh (up the road) was also good (apparently) but has a tiny catchment area.

But I agree with an earlier thread that for primaries, it's much of a muchness: support at home is as much a factor...

catgirl · 11/09/2007 15:42

also live in Hackney and would second the suggestion of going to see the schools first. Also, I am sure someone told me that c of e schools have to take a certain number of non-church goers - but of course I could have that all wrong . don't live anywhere near those schools so can't comment on them personally.

Blu · 11/09/2007 15:49

Look at the admission criteria for the CoE schools - especially if they are v v close - and your closest schools.
Also - yes, places do become available in 'sought after' schools later in the term / year for various reasons. There was a turnover of 6 places in DS's class between the start of reception and the first weeks of Yr1. (We're not Hackney - but another London area with a real old mix of schools...)

cockles · 11/09/2007 15:50

Of course local is more important, I totally agree! It's the local schools I want to go to - they are literally 10 mins walk away and we are still out of the area. The others, where we will be offered places, are actually further and involve crossing busy roads. And yes I do want to find the right school for my child as an individual, that's the whole point!
Guess I know now why our street has almost no kids over 5.

OP posts:
fuzzywuzzy · 11/09/2007 15:50

I went to holmleigh as a child, it was a fantastic school, and the classes were tiny and the teachers were pretty much a constant, some still teach there. But the catchement area is tiny, and there's a looong waiting list from what I remember of my sister telling me (she used to work there)

becks5109 · 11/09/2007 17:15

Cockles we too live in Hackney right on the border of Islington and have the same dilema as you! We too don't have many neighbours with children - one opposite us is 5 but he goes to a Steiner school which just wouldn't be for us. We have debated it back and forth for so long that I'm sick of even thinking about it. We will probably be offered Newington Green or De Beauvoir school and don't want either. Would love Canonbury but not a hope in hell of getting in there. I think we are going to put 3 schools on the form that are nearish and hope for the best even though we prob won't get any of them. We are hoping to keep our DD on waiting list and move her when possible. Where abouts are you in Hackney? I have only looked at Canonbury and St Jude's so far. Annoyingly we are also Catholics but DD is baptised CofE and the church we go to has no schools affiliated to it so not help at all.

MrsMarvel · 11/09/2007 17:18

What sort of school will suit your child? What's your nearest school like? Remember SATs results mean Jack. All children learn the same in the classroom, it's how they learn it that counts. Results depend on the intake and do not reflect the potential your child may reach. If the teachers are good and the school attracts enough good staff it should be OK.

frogs · 11/09/2007 17:29

Cockles/Becks -- there are no 'catchment areas' as such in Hackney, or Islington come to that, so you can never be sure whether you will/won't get a place in a particular school, unless you live on the doorstep. Sure, the decisions are based on distance of the child's home from the school by whatever method they choose (Islington use nearest safe walking route, Camden use as the crow flies, not sure about Hackney), but the cutoff distance will vary each year according to the number of siblings and the number of applications. The distance given on the website or in the brochure for the previous year's admissions is only the cut-off for the first admissions round, ie. will not include people who were offered places after the first set of allocations. There is a lot of pupil movement in Hackney, and places come up all the time, particularly in 2-form entry schools, but even in the small ones and the very popular ones.

FWIW we were offered places for dd1 (albeit after the start of term) in Hanover, William Tyndale and Canonbury, and we lived right on the Islington/Hackney border, ie. not particularly near any of those schools, tho' we stayed with the Hackney option in the end. Even the Catholic schools get gaps as you go further up the school, though you would probably only get a Reception/Y1 place if you fulfilled the admissions criteria.

If you want to tell us which schools/road you are talking about, people might be able to post encouraging stories about friends who got into XYZ school from ABC road, or who went to EFG school with a bad reputation and actually thought it was fantastic. There are loads of MNers who have or have had kids in Hackney schools, so lots of chances to pick other people's brains.


Dinosaur · 11/09/2007 17:31

I am in Hackney but don't know much about princess may or shacklewell.

Have you tried speaking to parents of children already at those schools? You might be pleasantly surprised. This provided great rassurance to me when we were thinking about schools (the DSs go to Millfields).

Definitely worth going on waiting lists, a friend's dd got into Jubilee after not very long on the waiting list at all, and it's quite sought after I think.

bundle · 11/09/2007 17:31

welshmum, it's st joan of arc

frogs · 11/09/2007 17:41

I know quite a lot of people with dc at Shacklewell, and they seem to be happy. Seems to be a well-run setup. They also have an after-school club run in conjunction with the fabulous Bath House children's centre on Shacklewell Lane -- they pick up from three local schools (Colvestone, Shacklewell and OLSJ) and keep the children productively occupied until 6pm with loads of wacky creative activities. Really fab setup, attracts slightly boho locals with younger dc at the nursery and older dc at Shacklewell. Worth checking out. Also Colvestone, if you're in that direction, despite the recent debacles.

bundle · 11/09/2007 17:46

have friend who teaches at Jubilee, it's supposed to be very nice

doddle · 11/09/2007 19:50

Shacklewell is definitely worth a look. It is very well led.

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