In 2012 I posted
about Highbury Grove School, at which my daughter was a student in year 8. Since then increasing numbers of parents have been putting HG first on their school admission forms, recognizing that there is a school on their doorstep which is performing brilliantly for all its students. Now in year 10, these children are flourishing and the parents who went against the local tide are very proud. Our children are happy, fulfilled, busy, challenged, hard working and successful young adults who love their school. And to cap it all, they are doing extremely well academically. Following behind them are cohorts of children who are having a similar uplifting experience.
The school has a new head, Tom Sherrington
, who has come from an outstanding school in Kent, King Edwards Grammar School. Tom is a local resident. It is clear that his innovative, ambitious and consultative approach will take the school to the next level. TS's plans include developing a sixth form so good that it is a reason for choosing HG in year 7.
The parents who chose HG back in 2011 and in successive years have continued to advocate for the school in the local community, helping to change opinions, assuage doubts and fears and challenge preconceptions. HG is now one of the most oversubscribed schools in Islington because it is achieving great things for all its students. In 2013 the percentage of 5 or more A*-C grade GCSES including English and maths placed the school in the top 100 non-selective state funded schools in England, and in the top 108 for pupil premium students. This is a school that is succeeding with all students regardless of level of attainment on entry - the kind of school we all wanted for our children.
Parents now find themselves part of a much bigger project – to show the government that LA-run local schools are working and in Islington the evidence is that they are working brilliantly. Islington is a borough which has already achieved all the things that the government says it wants for schools – choice, excellence and innovation - in its existing schools.