Local schools - your views
By LiseS | Sunday, August 29, 2010, 15:09
Parents of children going into either primary or secondary school this year will have faced some tough choices in the past few months. Newspapers have reported increased numbers of children travelling large distances - up to five miles in each direction - to get to school, with many London children attending schools outside their home borough.
Make learning count - let us know your opinions on local schools
The Finsbury Park area sits in a difficult location on the border of three boroughs - Hackney, Haringey and Islington - making school decisions tricky, and the situation isn't helped by different levels of funding between boroughs complicating the issue yet further.
However, there's plenty of good news for parents sending their children to local schools - all three boroughs have reported improvements in school attainment and GCSE pass rates over the past few years. There's a good number of primary schools to choose from in the area, serving all local boroughs.
In Islington, Ambler Primary School on Blackstock Road is a friendly community school and children's centre attended by a children of number of our readers. The school is praised by Ofsted for its support of pupils' personal development and well-being, and standards in literacy and numeracy are improving.
Islington borough church schools in the area include Christ The King RC Primary on Tollington Park, a co-educational Catholic primary rated "good" by Ofsted earlier this year. Pupils enjoy a range of extra-curricular activities such as choir, dance and drama at the school in addition to their curriculum learning.
Hackney's Parkwood Primary School on Queens' Drive is also a popular local choice, with a nursery that accepts children from the age of 3. Parents have called the school "friendly and approachable", and the school was rated "outstanding" by Ofsted in 2008. Parkwood's integrated Early Years department was particularly praised.
North of the Park, South Harringay Primary School serves Haringey borough, The Infant and Nursery School was rated "outstanding" in 2008, and the Junior School was rated "good" in the previous year, following a change of school leadership in 2004. The staff of the rapidly improving school have been called a "a fine example of the refusal to accept second best for their pupils."
For secondary schools, there are relatively few choices within the immediate Finsbury Park area. Islington Arts and Media School (IAMS) is "a good and rapidly improving school with some outstanding features" commended for its "inspirational" leadership. The schools has an arts specialism, meaning visual and performing arts are well-represented in the curriculum.
IAMS is currently rolling out a programme of building works under the Building Schools for the Future scheme, which has been protected in Islington. The school is proud of its GCSE results, which have been improving at a rate faster than the borough average, and pass grades at A* - C leapt up by 29% between 2008 and 2009.
A new head teacher will be joining the school, which describes itself as creating "an atmosphere of
respect and trust where every child can feel safe and secure," from this September. We look forward to finding out how the new leadership and school buildings impact on the future development of IAMS.
Out of school learning
Finsbury Park also offers learning opportunities outside of school curriculum time. Specialist OOSH learning centre Elizabeth House offers after-school and holiday clubs, classes in dance, sports and martial arts and an art club. Hackney's Life Long Learning Centre on Green Lanes offers adult and family learning, including adult literacy and numeracy and specialit vocational training courses. For more information on the adult learning programme see this brochure.
Have you any stories or feedback on local schools you'd like to share? Let us know below!