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Children missing out on vital school places

PUBLISHED: 14:48 09 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:05 07 September 2010

Charlotte Newton DOZENS of four-year-olds could be missing out on the chance to attend an outstanding Crouch End primary school because of a boundary restriction. Ashmount Primary School has been described as a secret gem by parents with children who at

Charlotte Newton

DOZENS of four-year-olds could be missing out on the chance to attend an outstanding Crouch End primary school because of a boundary restriction.

Ashmount Primary School has been described as a "secret gem" by parents with children who attend it.

But the headteacher Pana McGee is frustrated that many children are missing out because of its geographic position - right on the Haringey borderline but in Islington borough council territory.

Mrs McGee said: "We're a Crouch End school and we received a fantastic Ofsted report recently. The problem is that a lot of people don't know about us because our school falls under Islington and all the literature they receive comes from Haringey Council.

"We are not mentioned on the application form which parents fill in when they choose which school they would like their children to go to; and the Haringey deadline is two months earlier. This may discourage some parents from applying because their child will not find out if they have been offered a place at Ashmount until two months after all the Haringey places have been allocated."

The timing of Mrs McGee's remarks are pertinent - as a second west Haringey primary school undergoes a consultation on whether it should expand to cope with the shortage of primary school places.

Coleridge Primary School in Crouch End Hill this year doubled in size to a four form entry and Rhodes Avenue in Muswell Hill is set to increase its reception year from two to three classes.

Hilary Lyon and her husband live in Mount View Road, Crouch End, but they chose to send their two sons, eight and six, to Ashmount School. Mrs Lyon said: "A lot of parents are not aware that Ashmount is an option. We certainly weren't, but when we found about it we decided to move our boys. It was the best thing we could have done. There's such a chronic shortage of primary school places in Crouch End and parents should know about every option.

"Ashmount strikes the right balance between academic ambition and broader pastoral care. It's a wonderfully balanced school with a real demographic mix. Our boys do football, art club and drama club. There are excellent extra-curricular activities for the children and they're all on site."

Mrs McGee said: "I want parents to know that even within the state sector they have a choice. If you are not happy with the primary school place, come and visit us."

But a spokeswoman for Haringey said: "In our booklet we publish the timetables and contact details for surrounding authorities and tell parents how to apply for primary schools outside the borough."

She added all schools will be part of one application in 2011.


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