School admissions and church attendance

Church schools are popular and the number of applications for admission often exceeds the number of places available. To allocate places, each school has its own admissions policy which sets out their criteria for admission. These criteria are different at each school but they often include:
  • Special needs and disabilities
  • Siblings already at the school
  • Regular church attendance or membership
  • The distance from the school to the child's home.
From time to time parents ask us to sign a form from their school of choice to confirm that a child attends our church. We always want to do this as fairly as possible and we're aware that with limited places, there is always the potential for disappointment.

We're glad to help but we would ask parents to remember:
  • Each school has its own admissions policy and you should speak to the school if you are unsure about its requirements.
  • It's really important that you send all the information that the school needs in good time. Don't leave things until the last minute. Each school handles the process in a different way and we cannot offer you guidance on how to apply. Again, speak to the school if you're unsure.
  • Please make sure that you fill in the forms carefully. Make sure you complete all sections that are required from parents before you give the forms to us.
  • "Regular attendance" or "membership" are defined in different ways by different schools. Parents are often surprised that the level of attendance which qualifies as "regular" is quite high. For example, some schools state that anything less than 48 times in two years does not count as regular.
  • At St Mary's our Sunday morning children's groups each have an attendance register. If your child attends one of the Sunday groups, then please ensure that they are recorded.
  • We will always be scrupulously honest in confirming church attendance or membership. It's not possible for us to make any statement that we cannot know to be fact.
  • We understand that choosing a school is an important thing to do and it can feel like quite a stressful time. As deadlines approach, it's understandable that feelings run high. A decision from a school not to award a place can be hard to receive. We believe that with great parental support, children can thrive in a wide range of schools and things may not be as difficult as they seem. Many children grow up to be thankful that they didn't get into their first-choice school.
  • The worship, prayer and pastoral support of your church community is a great help. Attending worship simply to qualify for a school place, however well intentioned, is never going to be as good as coming with an open mind, ready to receive and to give to the Christian community. We welcome people who come to church for all sorts of reasons. We also hope that participating in the life of St Mary's will bring real opportunities for encountering God and growing in faith.
As admissions policies change each year, it's not possible for us to maintain an up-to-date list of documents for all local church schools. Please check the websites of the schools themselves (try searching for "admissions" and the name of the school). Further information on admissions is available from Islington.

Half-term Playscheme

Our partners at SMICP are running a half-term playscheme for children aged 6-12, between 29 October and 2 November in our Neighbourhood Centre on Upper Street.

For full information, download the October Half-Term Playscheme Programme and Parents Information Letter.

There is also an extended day service for those parents that can’t pick up at 5pm. For an additional £2.50 per session children will be looked after until 6.30pm. Children will be provided with a light snack but ask parents to provide their children with packed lunches.

Charges for the Autumn Half Term Playscheme will be:

£12  per day                 £55 per week                 £2.50 per session for extended day childcare

Snap the best thing in your neighbourhood

As part of our exciting Soul in the City Neighbourhood Festival, we're running a Photography Competition for children and young people.
  • Can you take a photo to show us "What is the best thing in your neighbourhood?"
  • You can use any camera you like, even a camera phone.
  • There are two categories, up to Year 6 and Years 7 to12.
  • Send your picture to with your name and school year.
  • Deadline for submitting pictures is Friday 25 May 2012.
  • All photos will be exhibited at Soul in The City (5-12 June) at St Mary’s Church, Upper Street.
The two winners will receive a free print of their image on canvas and a free professional photo-shoot for their whole family, courtesy of Jessops, Islington. Jessops will also print off all entries for exhibiting. 

Judges decision final. At no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

Easter holiday playscheme

As usual, the St Mary's Youth Club is operating an Easter Holiday Playscheme.

It runs from 2 to 13 April 2012. To pre-book your place please call  Nick Adams Senior Youth Worker on 07816 073 016.

The activities start from 9 am and run till 5pm. They are for children between 8 and 14 yrs old.

There is a daily charge of £8 plus the cost of outings to working parents and £2 plus outings for households with no working parents. In the morning sessions we offer computer access, sports, cooking, drama, photography and a chance to join one of our street dance classes. In the afternoons the children will leave the centre at 1 o’clock to take part in the off-site activities listed below with additional charges.

A registration form will need to be submitted on the first day of your child’s attendance. You can download the  Play Scheme Registration form and bring it with you when you come.

If you would like to pay using childcare vouchers please talk to Nick about details.  Our Ofsted registration number is: EY411577

More details.

Changing patterns at our carols services

Something interesting is happening in the pattern of attendance at our carols services. We're seeing many more people coming to worship but also a much higher number of children. This year forty-six children came to the service - one in six of the congregation.

The atmosphere in church last night was really special. With beautiful singing and everyone holding a candle throughout the evening, we experienced the story of God coming among us in the smallness of the newborn Jesus in a profound way. We're so thankful to everyone who came and to those whose hard work made it possible.

Christmas Services at St Mary's

Join us for one or more of the very special Christmas services at St Mary's.

Saturday 10 Dec 11.00-4.00 Christmas Fair with gift stalls, café, carol singing and an opportunity for children to help decorate our Christmas tree.

Sunday 11 Dec 11.00-12.15 Christingle service. A special service for children and families.

Sunday 18 Dec 6.00-7.15 Carols by Candlelight. The Christmas story told through readings and carols, followed by mince pies and mulled wine in the crypt.

Christmas Eve 4.00-4.45 Children's crib service. The Christmas story told for young children and their families.

Christmas Eve 11.00-12.15 Midnight communion. A special late night service of Holy Communion with Christmas readings and carols.

Christmas Day 9.00-9.45 Traditional communion. A quiet reflective start to Christmas Day.

Christmas Day 10.30-11.30 Family Service. Come along with all the family for this special Christmas service with Holy Communion.

Cards for Good Causes are on sale in the church from 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday until 17th December.

Regular Sunday Services at 11am and 6pm.

Tim Broadbent appointed as Youth Minister

We’re delighted to announce that Tim Broadbent has been appointed as part-time Youth Minister. This is a twelve-month appointment initially but we are seeking further funding to secure a longer term.

For the last three years Tim has been Church and Community Youth Worker at Oasis Church, at Waterloo. He has recently completed a Master's Degree in Youth Ministry and Theology at King's College, London. We were especially impressed with Tim's ability to grow youth ministries from small beginnings and his ability to relate to a wide range of people, including volunteers and young people from varied backgrounds.

Tim is a passionate fan of Crystal Palace. In addition to football, he enjoys cycling, films and even DIY. He is married to Hannah, who is a PhD research student and they live in Kennington. He tells us that he enjoys young people because of their humour, originality, faith and general approach to life.

This appointment is a big step for St Mary's and fulfils one of the remaining goals of our current Mission Action Plan. We really look forward to getting to know Tim and Hannah and to seeing our young people's work grow.

Fun, Friendship and Faith on our Soul in the City Summer Camp

Thirteen young people had a wonderful week on our five day Soul in the City Summer Camp at Hoppers in Kent. There were bouldering, canoeing, bowling, a day at the beach and a trip to Hever Castle. On top of all that, we spent time every day in worship and exploring the Christian faith - what it means and how we put it into practice.
Thank you to everyone who kept the young people and the Summer Camp leaders in your prayers. They all returned home safe and well - and are hoping to start a new Youth Club at St Mary's on Sunday evenings called SMS (St Mary's Souls) in September. Watch this space for more news!

Twelve young people aged 10-13 years are going away for five days on our first Soul in the City Summer Camp at Hoppers near Tunbridge. They will be canoeing, climbing, bowling, having fun at the beach and at Hever Castle. They will even be hydroballing - which is a form of 'walking on water'! It will be an opportunity to have fun, make new friends and also to find out more about what it means to follow Jesus. Please pray for the young people and the Summer Camp leaders - Kristin, Ian, Pauline, Dyonne, Chris and Curtis.