Archway Catholic girls’ school Mount Carmel to close and re-open as mixed non-faith academy

Mount Carmel RC College

Mount Carmel RC College - Credit: Archant

All-girls Catholic secondary school Mount Carmel College in Archway is set to close and re-open as a mixed non-faith academy, it was announced today.

Mount Carmel in Duncombe Road faces threat of closure after a drop in pupil numbers, it was claimed.

The new academy would be run by the City of London Academies Trust (COLAT) on the same site as Mount Carmel – one of four new schools the academy chain plans to open in Islington and Hackney within the next three years.

The new Highgate Hill academy has already been approved by the Department for Education and is set to open on September 1, 2017. Mount Carmel College will close the day before.

The Diocese of Westminster – the parish in which the school is located – has pledged to work closely with the Corporation to offer support to Catholic children as the school transitions from a faith school to a non-religious academy.

In its opening year, the school would initially provide 140 school places, rising to 700 when full.

The curriculum would mirror that in place at the City of London Academy Islington, which is also run by the Corporation.

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The plans are open to public consultation until Friday, July 22.

Catherine McGuinness, chairman of the education board at the City of London Corporation said: “I am delighted to welcome the school and the ongoing students into the City family and look forward to working on the sound foundations Mount Carmel has already laid down.

“The City of London Corporation is committed to providing access to excellent education and learning opportunities for children and young people.

“We recognise that despite the declining numbers of children at Mount Carmel, the school has provided good education for its pupils and we are determined to continue these high standards.

“If the consultation is successful we will continue to work closely with Islington, the diocese and the leadership of the school throughout the period of transition towards providing a high-quality replacement for Mount Carmel on the site from September 2017.”

The Corporation currently runs four academies in Islington, Hackney and Southwark.

Among two others in Hackney, it wants to open a co-educational primary school in the EC1 postcode in September 2017.

Plans have not yet been approved by the Department for Education.

The primary academy would have a two-form entry and initially open with 60 Reception pupils, eventually rising to 420 pupils by 2024.

Based in a brand new building, the school would also have nursery classes and take in pupils with special needs as well as those in mainstream education.

The primary academy would be partnered with the prestigious City of London School for Girls and have a specific focus on mathematics and finance, drawing on links with the City.

Academies have come under fire from teaching unions for hiring unqualified staff but the City of London Primary Academy Islington has pledged to only hire qualified teachers.

Have your say on the Highgate Hill academy proposal at

What are your views? Get in touch if you are in support or oppose the plans to close Mount Carmel and re-open it as an academy by ringing the Education Editor Imogen Blake on 02074330127 or emailing her at