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‘Don’t turn your back on state schools’ message

Education initiative urges Islington parents to have a rethink over what a ‘good school’ looks like

23 October, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Madeleine Holt: ‘A lot of parents were very anxious about local schools’

AMBITIOUS parents who may be considering sending their children to private school have been urged to stick with state education.

And an initiative which helps people feel reassured when selecting a school, known as Meet The Parents, has now secured further funding to carry on its work.

It was set up by Madeleine Holt, who has three children at Acland Burghley in Tufnell Park, and where she has been parent governor for the past six years.

They were at Yerbury Primary School when it started in 2012.

She said: “A lot of parents were very anxious about local schools. There was a perception that schools weren’t competitive and children would fall through the cracks.

“A way to surmount those issues is to talk about them honestly.”

Meet the Parents holds gatherings in primary schools in Islington and Hackney and has just been given two more years of grant funding in Camden.

The aim, said Ms Holt, is to have an open discussion about what a “good school” looks like.

She aid she became aware of parents choosing to go to private and grammar schools outside of the borough and wanted to reassure ­parents of the choice of schools available on their doorstep.

She said: “Parents who have economic choice are the ones who are most anxious. Our events can help decode the situation and win over parents who are ambitious for their kids and get parents looking around schools they wouldn’t have looked at before.”

Ms Holt chose to send her children to Acland Burghley at a time when Ofsted stated the school “Requires improvement”.

The school has since been rated “Good” by Ofsted in 2016 and 2018 but Ms Holt believes what defines a good school is wider than the inspectors’ standards.

She said: “Life isn’t lived in ability sets. The more school resembles society, the more ­children will benefit.

“Reasons to send kids to state schools are less to do with exam results but also to do with things that are immeasurable. Ofsted doesn’t dig into how inclusive schools are. It doesn’t look into how many additional needs kids it should be taking in based on the local community, for instance.”

For more information go on Meet The Parents, log on to:


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