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This story in the Ham and High about the expansion of Coleridge School describes how the school doubled in size (yes, doubled). The head teacher is quoted as saying "“We were confident that we could retain the intimate nature of the school and being part of a large school would equip the children for moving at the age of 11 to larger comprehensives."
My children left Coleridge many years ago, and I don't know the parents of any current pupils. Does anyone have a view on whether the expansion has been a success?
I know that Coleridge currently has a 4 form entry at reception level which is 120 children. That would mean the school is the size of my secondary school, which at 11 I found terrifying, so at aged four or five, I can only imagine how daunting it must be. But I guess they adapt.
My daughter's school just has a single form entry of 30 which I think is perfect for a primary school.
I went to Coleridge in the 1970s when it was a 2 form entry school and I loved it so much and all my best school memories are from there. The art we did was amazing, batik, 3d art, ink spraying all sorts. It was heavenly. I then went on to the enormous and daunting Highgate Wood and never did anything inspiring or interesting ever again to be honest and I hated the enormity of it, the uninspiring teaching, bullying and institution like building. I wish I could have gone to a bigger Coleridge!
I went to look at Coleridge, not that we are in the catchment and the excitement and creativity was still there, it just has that X factor which is hard to find - we thought King Alfreds in Hampstead would be similar but it just didnt have the buzz. However to me it felt just too big, too many kids wandering the vast corridors. They have to put on 2 Christmas plays! It's a fantastic school but for me smaller is better, Im hoping they attend a one form entry school around the corner, that doesnt seem to have the same zing or creativity but has a smaller feel. We shall see! Shame there isnt a two form Coleridge nearby!
I was one of the parents that tried to block the expansion of Coleridge. What they have done is to trash a very good school and replace it with an education factory. The Infant's school is probably ok although there is very little space for the kids to play. The fourth form entry will result in the social environment being being lost. The primary school has to rely on parents getting their kids private coaching (even if they go to Highgate Wood).
What was really sad was that the old TUC building was a cheap and easy solution. There were far better options such as the townhall/library complex and that absurd building along Park Road that was opened as a 'polyclinic' and is a complete waste of space (literally and metaphorically. All the polticians (including the Libs dems) jumped on the expedient band wagon to the detriment of the school. RIP Real Coleridge.
My eldest child joined Reception at Coleridge in the 2nd year of the expansion and my 2nd child has just started in Reception. I am very happy with the School and so are my children. As far as I am concerned it has an excellent community atmosphere and a very committed parent body andto be honest anymore community and it would be rather oppressive.Yes it doesn't have large grounds but tell me which schools in Crouch End do. Hilly8 - the arts, drama and music provision at the school is still excellent and the place is a hive of creativity. Yes we have a play at Christmas with 8 performances but so what - each class gets a chance to shine. I have really not noticed any problems with the 4 form intake. The infants and juniors operate pretty much as separate schools so there aren't hundreds of children all over the place all the time. The children mix socially between classes in the year groups and so do the parents. The majority of the school now consists of 4 form intake years and I think we are all used to the no longer new environment.
Without the expansion my children would never have got into the school and even now people in my road can't get in as half the intake is taken up by siblings. I wanted my kids to walk to school with people who lived nearby and to me that was more important the the no of people in their year group. I'm not sure where those parents who opposed the expansion would have liked their near neighbours' children to go to school - two buses away in the further reaches of East Haringey? I heard some ugly comments in my eldest's early days from parents further up the school disgruntled at the expansion which suggested to me that some of the opposition - although I'm sure the minority - was based on the intake becoming more socially "mixed". Ideally there would be more schools with smaller intakes but I think expanding an outstanding school (which remains outstanding) is a far better solution than having to bus kids a long distance or to failing schools.