In praise of my local Islington primary school

Islingtonparent's picture
The best decision we've made as a family is to send our children to our local primary school, Thornhill, in Islington. I'm continually surprised by how much better it is in every way to the rural faith primary I attended many years ago. The teaching is dynamic and creative and my eldest has flourished both socially and academically without in any way being pushed to beyond his natural inclinations. I am sure that my two younger ones, who've only recently started, will do as well as he has. The teachers and head seem genuinely passionate about helping all children reach their potential. It is exciting for me, born and bred in the sticks, to have such an easy way to become involved in my community.
I can see the back of the school and hear the sound of the children in the playground as I write. It seems odd to use the word 'decision' to describe sending your children to the excellent - and free - school on your doorstep, but it felt like a huge choice at the time. We are the only people in our street to have opted for this, with others choosing to travel large distances to schools with poorer resources and to pay for this pleasure. I am used to seeing a look of surprise when I give my answer to that frequently asked question 'where do your children go to school?'. I'm grateful to the LSN for all their hard work and for this opportunity to praise Thornhill.
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Nigel Ford's picture
Mon, 14/11/2011 - 13:06

With parents like you, I'm sure the school will continue to flourish.

Try and get involved with extra curricular activities if time permits. School/Parental partnerships help produce good outcomes.

Fiona Millar's picture
Mon, 14/11/2011 - 15:02

Thanks for writing this Christina - I have heard fantastic things about Thornhill and it is not surprising your children are flourishing there.

Islingtonparent's picture
Mon, 14/11/2011 - 13:13

Thanks Nigel, I do try to do as much as time allows - school trips, a bit of reading, PTA etc. I find it interesting and rewarding, as well as reassuring.

Rosemary Mann's picture
Thu, 17/11/2011 - 20:51

I have been a parent of a child in reception for little over half a term, and even with my little experience I think finding a better experience for any child would be a tall order. True, it is one of the better 'excellent' schools but then most primaries in my part of Labour controlled London are; there are some who have failed but which have now been turned around through executive headship. I can't believe how good the organisation at our school is or how much consideration goes into planning each day and into widening the childs experiences. The staff are totally committed 200%.
I totally fail to understand the move, essentially by middle class parents, towards a 'different' type of education for their children. I have read the bumpf about academies and it seems to be already what many state primaries are offering already. The main driver into free schools definitely seems to be about the intake not being up to scratch, which is a real pity however understandable that parents simply want the best for their child and for the school to have high expectations. However it is not acceptable for such schools to try and change the intake for what is essentially social snobbery. These people may not be aware that in certain 'deprived' inner city areas state primaries have excelled in recent years so that they are now oversubscribed. I am a governor at a school with a mixed intake including that from a large housing estate where it is now the most oversubscribed school in the borough due to its management style, its ethos, and staff committment. I really do think that academies will wake up fairly soon and find themselves out in the cold without a lifeline but at the moment it is so wrong for the carrot of better funding to be waved at schools to jump ship just to support political dogma. Almost criminal, in fact, to waste money in this way. We all want a sterling education for our children; theres nothing wrong in that , but this educational gerrymandering needs to stop.

Clara Klat's picture
Sat, 03/12/2011 - 23:48

Christina's experience is very similar to my own. My son has almost completed his first term in reception at our local school- Addison Primary in Hammersmith which has just received a good and improved Ofsted report.
Choosing Addison felt like a huge decision. But now we've learned to ignore those raised eyebrows, we know it's been the right decision and I feel proud telling people all about the school. Our son is making good progress in literacy and numeracy and socially he seems really confident - he loves school. The quality of the facilities and teaching, the good ethos and the strong leadership can only mean that the school will continue to improve. By volunteering one morning a week in class I experience first hand the amazing teaching that goes on - inventive and fun lessons. Sometimes I do feel concern at the evident challenges that teaching 30 children with differing abilities brings up - the inability of some to sit still and concentrate or a child not familiar with books. But this is counterbalanced by the brightest children - some with English as a second language - with exceptional literacy and numeracy levels for their age, who behave perfectly all day.

Along with the eagerness of another parent or two.. and our great headmaster (and if there's anyone reading this who wants to- please contact me..) I want to try to raise money for the school and help Addison achieve what it deserves- a more balanced intake of local children. For now I just smile and think if only those fearful local parents realised what they are missing out on: a great primary school right on their doorstep.

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