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  • St Michael’s CofE Primary School
    North Road
    N6 4BG
  • Head: Mrs Geraldine Gallagher
  • T 020 8340 7441
  • F 020 8340 9452
  • E
  • W
  • A state school for boys and girls aged from 3 to 11.
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Haringey
  • Pupils: 460
  • Religion: Church of England
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Ofsted:
    • Latest Overall effectiveness Good 1
      • Early years provision Good 1
      • Outcomes for children and learners Good 1
      • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment Good 1
      • Effectiveness of leadership and management Good 1
    • 1 Full inspection 6th March 2015
  • Previous Ofsted grade: Outstanding on 26th April 2007
  • Ofsted report: View the Ofsted report

What says..

One of north London's most sought-after primary schools, St Michael's has high academic standards. A dedicated teacher/parent partnership ensures that even the least engaged child will derive something because of the constantly stimulating and original methods of teaching. This year saw a camper van book bus parked in the grounds to encourage pupils to go in and read during break times (a cool spin on the old mobile library). Other stimulating learning tools include a…

Read review »

What the parents say...

St Michaels may once have been the school described in this review, and it has huge potential to be fantastic, but I don't recognise the school as it is described in this review and my son has been there 5 years. intake is probably above average intelligence, although parents of particularly intelligent children still don't feel that theirs are being challenged. The national curriculum is pretty limited at the end of the day, and there are still 30 children in every class however posh their background. I once heard a tutor describe St Michaels as 'a social club where little learning actually goes on.' Harsh perhaps but word has it that few children got their first choice of school in the current year 6 (2012). You also have to bear in mind that tutoring the children to try and get them up to prep school standard can be pretty stressful. The school is heavily labouring at the moment under Haringey's blighted funding issues - forced to pay London salaries but only funded as an outer London school. No matter how much money the parent association raise, they cannot fund teaching staff because that is an ongoing financial commitment. So you have a situation where the school is well-equipped but scantily staffed. That said, the high proportion of non-working mothers means that the school has ample volunteers for reading, particularly in the early years. There are few homework clubs as many parents can pick up from school. Under the new head there appears to be less specialist teaching as mentioned in the report. Sport happens for one period twice a week, plus a few after school opportunities. Probably the school is more geared to girls than to boys, with a strong emphasis on expecting children to sit still for long periods and few teachers demonstrating much understanding of the needs of boys. Entrance is very competitive in the earlier years but after year 2 many of the boys leave for prep school and it can be easier to get a place. One of the new head's innovations is the 'Big Write', where the children must write a story for a whole afternoon once a week. In some ways this has helped children get used to writing more, but it has unfortunately given my child a hatred for writing. What I wish I'd known when I got there; the early years learning is not very enlightened, and the later years learning is thin gruel. Trying to get children to read when they are not ready and should be learning through play is counter-productive. They are expected to sit neatly on a carpet when they are too young to do that and it is unhelpful particularly for boys. (Girls tend to thrive more at the school). The grounds are exceptional for London, but actually not used as much as one might expect so it isn't the huge advantage it might be. A favourite thing for teachers to say is, 'Parents seem to forget that this isn't a prep school'. And that's the truth. Even the head has told said that this is a free prep school, but it isn't and results in 2012 do not bear that out. Everyone tutors - often to an extreme - and the atmosphere can get pretty hysterical. Negatively pushy parents pressurize teachers who respond by being rather disaffected. The school is however extraordinarily well equipped for a state school because of the strong social fund raising scene among the parents (who are mostly pretty affluent). Sometimes I have thought that the fund-raising loses sight of its aims and becomes so demanding that there is little time for actual parenting. I have baked more cakes than I can count, and often been told afterwards that in fact the funds raised were not really needed. There can be a distinct lack of imagination and a lowering of children's horizons. My child has not been inspired in learning and being extremely bright has generally been quite bored. Homework? You'll be lucky! Languages? Not by a native speaker. Sport? Some, but hardly the abundance applied in the GSG review. Learning seems to be scrappy with many children getting quite a shock when they get to 11 plus if they want to go private at that point. It makes me think that ofsted reports are highly unreliable. Many boys leave at 7 to go to prep school if they can, which is pretty tough on those who can't and therefore lose most of their childhood friends. It would be unfair of me to paint too black a picture though. There are some excellent staff who really care and many lovely families who support the school. Children who are struggling are well provided for. The governors have worked hard to address many of the concerns of parents - for example school dinners used to be atrocious and are now pretty good (if expensive at £2.50 per day). At the end of the day I have nothing to compare it with except my own education so perhaps it's amazing compared to what else there is! I do suspect though that the ofsted inspector was overly generous in awarding it a 1 in every category. GSG is right that it can seem a cliquey school. If you are not part of the in crowd and don't have a fairly large amount of surplus cash you may well be put in an awkward position with all the endless demands for donations. The best approach for dealing with this is to be friendly and open and frank about the fact that you can't afford it and most people will be fine about it. To summarise, a wonderful school that has huge potential and needs to raise it's horizons and stop coasting. Also, parents need to stop being hysterical and pushy and work with the staff instead of against them.

Commented on 1st Apr 2012

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Head teacher

Since 2013, Geraldine Gallagher (40s), BEd Liverpool University. Was NQT in a ‘semi-rural’ primary school with a mixed catchment, then went inner city to work in a primary school in Hackney, an experience she called ‘very good although challenging at times.’ She left after a year to teach at St John Evangelist School in Islington where she worked her way up to becoming deputy head. Sixteen years later she was ready to embrace the demands of becoming a head and saw the post advertised for St Michael’s CofE: ‘I grew up in Islington so had heard of the school and it had always had a pretty good reputation, so decided to go for it.’

Focused, ‘I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was 14’, grounded, and knows the score....

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Special Education Needs

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Aspergers Syndrome [archived]
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders [archived]
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Delicate Medical Problems [archived]
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Epilepsy [archived]
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
Not Applicable
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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