Primary School nightmare

edited May 2010 in Local discussion
Anyone else trying to get their child into a decent primary school this September? I'd be interested in hearing the experiences of other parents. We live on Upper Tollington Park and we've been allocated Tiverton Primary, deep in Tottenham, for our daughter. What gives? I love this area, but can't stay if that's the best Haringey Council can do. (Hubby is a teacher, so London will be losing a key worker, too!)


  • AliAli
    edited 7:01PM

    Was Stroud Green School full ?

  • edited 7:01PM
    They can't tell me, which is helpful.
  • AliAli
    edited 7:01PM

    Have you tried Islington Pooles Park is quite close and has a great Garden,Chickens etc

  • edited 7:01PM
    Thanks Ali. Yes, we did consider, especially as garden etc is really lovely, but at the time came to the conclusion that not so good Ofsted report combined with the high proportion of children with English as an additional language would hold our daughter back (not a middle class comment btw - my hubby taught in a Tottenham school for ten years where many kids arrived not speaking English and his feeling was that it wasn't a great educational environment for those kids that had a good grasp of the language). Still, probably would have been better than the position we're now in!

    It's just rubbish that we're given the illusion of choice about where our kids are educated, when in fact it's a private system by another name. Those that can afford the £1m+ homes near Coleridge and St Aidan's etc get in, while the rest of us have to send our kids halfway across the borough to a school that has historically struggled to keep hold of its headteachers and staff :-( Doesn't exactly make you feel empowered.
  • AliAli
    edited 7:01PM

    You could and start at Poole Park then move to Stroud Green when the chance comes about which it will.

    It seems difficult to believe you can't get into Stroud Green as you must be not very far away

  • edited 7:01PM

    Yup, can't believe Stroud Green is full - it wasn't on the list of oversubscribed schools. Our son will be going there in September and he is lovely (except when overtired and hungry).

  • edited 7:01PM
    I know - it wasn't on our original list (long story), but given that it wasn't oversubscribed, surely that has to be the closest school that still has places (and proximity is the deciding factor, the Council keeps telling us).

    However, have now heard of a few people that don't even have an offer of a place, while others got one offer via letter and another via online applications service. All sounds shambolic to me.

    If we get a place at SG, dion, I look forward to meeting your lovely son (unless he's tired or hungry, that is!)
  • edited 7:01PM
    Why don't you try Christ The King on Tollington Park. Outstanding Ofsted, the staff are fantastic, discipline is excellent and they take non-Catholics.
  • edited 7:01PM
    Thanks Siolae - will look into it. I didn't think we'd get in, being non-Catholic, but it's v close. Do you have children there?
  • edited 7:01PM

    Why don't you tick No on the form they should have sent you, and then put SG down as your other choice. As it is always undersubscribed, you should get in.

    CTK is in Islington so would prove more problematic, I reckon.

  • edited 7:01PM
    I would, but I don't have another choice. The form I have gives me the option of refusing or rejecting Tiverton and then lists my preferred schools with boxes to tick as to whether I want to be added to waiting list (of course I do!) and whether I want to appeal. There is no option at this stage to add more schools into the mix.

    Calls to Haringey Council just seem to confuse the issue, too. I couldn't get a straight answer as to whether, if I declined the place at Tiverton, that would mean they'd not consider us for nearer schools if a place came up. One minute I was told we wouldn't be considered, the next I was told we would. How are we to understand their crazy system if they don't?
  • edited 7:01PM
    @Vickym. Yes my daughter has been there since nursery. CTK has not been oversubscibed in the past and as it is voluntary aided the fact that it is in Islington is neither here nor there. There are plenty of kids from outside the borough. I work in education - issues of catchment do not apply to voluntary aided schools in the same way as to community schools.
  • edited 7:01PM
    Ah, thanks Siolae. Do they have a separate admissions procedure, then? And why do you think it hasn't been oversubscribed in the past, given the issues with some of the local primary schools (asking out of genuine interest here, not because I don't believe it's a good school)?
  • edited 7:01PM
    It has, as most schools have, a reputation which is ten years out of date when it was a failing school and on special measures. However my daughter is now in Year 3 and the current head Paul Campbell has been there for a few years before she arrived and turned it around. Most recent ofsted is outstanding. I think it is also because many people assume that you have to be Catholic to go there and the middle class Catholics fight to get there kids into St GIlda's or St Joseph's in Highgate. It has been a very working class school in the past but that is also changing.
    My experience of the school has been very positive and my daughter is mostly happy - she's dyslexic so she struggles, but her best friend is mega-bright and is also doing really well and making really good progress. The school has always been willing to help and to make time to see me quickly when I need to see them.
    In terms of applying, I am in the secondary sector, we are currently taking applications from parents who did not get their first choice of secondary school, so I imagine it is probably the same for the primaries. You could give the school a ring and enquire and say Tabitha's mum recommended it!
  • edited 7:01PM

    Regardless of whether you accept the place offered, you should definitely tick the relevant boxes to stay on waiting lists for schools you did choose, as there's a fair bit of movement over the summer, people moving out of London etc.

    Not ideal I know as you want to know, but you may rise up the list pretty quick.

    When we applied (eldest now in Year 3) we didn't have SG on our list but she was offered there, so we accepted and stayed on the list at St Aidan's (our nearest). She did a year at SG and then got a place just after term started and she had gone into Year 1 so we moved her.

    Granted Tottenham isn't a great school run if you have to start there, but it may not be for long.

    The other thing to consider is to go out of Borough and try a few schools the other side of Blackstock Road as they don't come under Harringey, and still has to be better than going to Tottenham.

    Also worth looking at Ashmount, I know a few who moved there, seem to be doing really well, and there's plans for a new site too.

    It is a complete lottery and the choice seems to be something to fill up the form only...

    Good luck
  • edited 7:01PM September, the lists are handed back to the school to manage, so Harringey will be out of the equation.
  • edited 7:01PM
    Thank you Siolae and copycara. I will definitely be in contact with CTK. We have applied to Ashmount - the new site is actually where my two currently go to nursery and we really liked the feel of the place when we visited - but we are some distance away from the current site and so I have pretty much discounted it in my head as I think we won't get in. We find out tomorrow.

    Good to hear that CTK supports children with learning difficulties - my hubby is dyslexic so there is a chance one of my two will be. It's also heartening to hear of people who have managed to get in to good schools through the waiting list. St Aidan's is our first choice (in part because of their ability to help kids that may struggle with parts of their education).

    And yup, I understood that the schools took over the waiting lists, come Sept, but when I rang St Aidan's yesterday, they told me Haringey was taking over the whole system. It's hard to know what to do when you're told so many different things, but it is really helpful to have recommendations from parents who have been through the system. In the meantime, I have my fingers crossed for tomorrow.
  • edited 7:01PM
    Copycara, quick question - which road do you live on?

    We also applied to Parkwood, just over the other side of FP in Hackney. We didn't get a place there, either.
  • edited 7:01PM
    We live on the very corner of Stapleton Hall & Victoria Road.

    I've always found it odd though, that even before we moved our eldest to St Aidan's, I always saw parents coming from much further away to take their kids to St Aidan's.

    Fundamentally, I think the whole system is screwed. Good luck with Ashmount and whatever you accept, stay on the lists for the ones you want just in case, because in the first couple of years, it's not a big drama to move them. And whichever school the first goes to, the second gets guaranteed entry - hence our moving the first.
  • edited 7:01PM
    I agree about the system being screwed. You are told you have a choice, but it's all an illusion.

    Yes, we really want to get our first into a good school so we don't have all this hassle with no 2!
  • edited 7:01PM
    Didn't even get a place at Ashmount.
  • edited 7:01PM
    Just make sure you get on the waiting lists. The great white flight kicks in when kids approach secondary school and those families will have younger siblings in infants that will go with them.

    If you're on Tollington Park, think you need to be realistic about St Aidans though.
  • edited 7:01PM
    Also - have you tried Montem?
  • edited 7:01PM
    Any thoughts about St Mark's?
  • edited 7:01PM

    Stroud Green? Just round the corner

  • edited 7:01PM
    sounds a bloody nightmare. I have all this coming up in just over a years time.

    my mum heard two women talking about it in virgin active in crouch yesterday. how this woman's kid had been put down for a tottenham school and not a crouch end one and she was livid.

    so i wonder if that was either you or you are not the only one. sounds a complete joke.

    good luck, i hope you work something out. Im very interested to see how it goes.

  • edited 7:01PM

    @vickiM, just wondering which schools you did put down on the Harringey application? Were they local or some distance away? Isn't it all down to proximity to the school??

    Fingers crossed for you finding a primary place closer to home.

  • edited 7:01PM
    Unfortunately @Beek proximity to the school is actually the third criteria for them offering places, I think it goes:

    1. Special needs
    2. Siblings
    3. Rest of the general public

    I know when my youngest started St Aidan's (as a sibling) this year, there were 2 places given to special needs (a third upon appeal) and 11 siblings I believe, leaving only 16 places for the wider community, and the furthest child away that was offered a place was something like 0.014 miles from the school, which is pretty much opposite.

    There is definitely, and has been for some years, a shortage of places in Haringey. This may be partially eased when the new Ashmount site opens, but probably not.

    The other major annoyance is that once places are all offered and parents have accepted to stay on the waiting list - list implying something you can move up - will be bumped down if at any point, a parent who lives closer than them and just decides they want to be on that list even if they hadn't before, or someone who moves into the area - asks to be put on it - they will be pushed above you.

    When our eldest started at Stroud Green, we were told she was 3rd on the list for St Aidan's - I rang a month later to be told she was 5th.

    The system needs to be overhauled, clearly.
  • edited 7:01PM
    Thanks for all your comments. @dion - no place at Stroud Green, apparently.

    No, we got none of our six choices (applied in Islington and Hackney, too).

    @katiejane, we're on Upper Tollington Park, so closer than straight TP, but still not within the 0.18 of a mile we needed to be in.

    It all makes me wonder, though. If we take St Aidan's as an example, there were 15 places awarded to siblings, none to children with special needs and 15 to others. Can there really be 15 children of reception age that live within 0.18 of a mile of the school? Or are there people renting addresses on the doorstep?

    Anyway, we've turned down Tiverton and are waiting for further news......and in the meantime we're exploring our options of moving out of London altogether. Nice village, close to family and, importantly, a village school that actually takes children from the village.
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