Arnold House NW8 or The Hall NW8 ?? Opinions please...(29 Posts)
A friend of mine has a son who has been offered a place at The Hall so fabulous BUT she has heard that there is a lot of pressure put upon the boys there and alot of unhappiness.....
So do any of you have sons at either school or do you know parents who have sons there and if so are they happy with the set up??
Would really appreciate your input as friend feels that persuing Arnold House for entry in a year or two is going to be the best thing but has got this offer at The Hall....has to decide by mid June.
Thanks in advance
Bellybee - hi! Thanks for your reply, I just saw your post from May! Did you make a decision re. AH & Hall ? We may be in similar situation later on & curious to know whether you decided to leave NBH.
We're starting NBH in Sept, went to the family intro for those starting with us & teachers were lovely, happy atmosphere & DS loved the huge playground.
tania I'm so sorry I only just saw your post - much too late now I fear for my response to be of any use to you! NBH has been amazing - we have had a fabulous year. Couldn't be more pleased with it. Meanwhile we supposedly hear back in a week from the Hall and AH with rgds to year 1 entry. I'm not sure what on earth we would do if faced with the dilemma of taking him out of one school - where he is happy - to put him in another, because we feel that he would have more of a guarantee of his secondary school of choice, and also because the facilities seem a lot better. We shall see - I will repost next week once I have the results!
My DS2 has just been offered a place at The Hall. I'm in a dilemma as to what to do. He's currently at a lovely school where he is very happy. My DS1 is also at the same school in a higher year.
(DS1 didn't get a place at The Hall, which was right as he's not the sort of boy who would have thrived there)
Has anyone been in a similar situation where the younger sibling got accepted? Did it have an impact on the older boy?
I have heard both positive and negative things about The Hall but want to explore every opportunity for DS2 and make the right decision for him as we'll as the family.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Bellybee - hi. We've just been offered a place at North Bridge H nursery - in the Playgroup. It would be great to hear your thoughts about your experience of NBH so far. Thanks
I have a DS in NBH nursery and DH and I just had our AH interview today which we felt went well (unlike our Hall interview which I am sure we failed dismally!) not sure what I would do if we got an offer there as DS seems so happy at NBH, although we liked AH very much. Are there parents out there who made this switch who can give feedback as to whether they felt this was a good move?
The Hall was the only school that, at the "parent interview", asked (very politely) which schools Hubbie and I had attended. Not sure why our education was considered relevant. They could surely have surmised by talking to us that we were well educated and ambitious for our son... It was just a tad off-putting, but I suppose at least it was up-front! They also asked very directly which secondaries we were aiming for, and were obviously relieved when we gave the "correct" answer (ie, Westminster). I am sure it is an excellent place, that does what it says on the tin. Not quite what we wanted, though. Prefer quirky place of learning, as opposed to high-end factory.
No school is perfect and the downside of the Hall is somewhat the extreme pushiness by some parents who are so competitive that it defies belief but that is some of the parents and does not reflect on the children (there is a comedy aspect to this really). I feel that the teachers are very much aware of that and that in the past years a great deal of effort has gone into pastoral care. My son has really thrived in this atmosphere and I really think it is a great school and there are as many "sensitive "boys in his year as there are tough sporty ones. A real mix I think. Very intellectual atmosphere which is not the same as cramming them with knowledge only. The library is excellent and a great inspiration. The children are so stimulated and the curriculum is superbly taught. As for toughness, I don't think it is worse than any other school which is the same size. It is larger than some other schools so maybe that is why. My son was previously in a single entry school and that was too small for him and too conformist. I find that his quirky personality gets reined but not broken. However, each year is different and I always think, one should go with one's gut feeling
The Hall is an absolutely wonderful school if your son is very bright, uniformly engaged and a fast learner. DS left at the end of year three: dyspraxic and miserable. Year two was so dreadful that we nearly lost him for education for ever. You also need to be free to spend a lot of time doing homework/music etc with them because that is what the other parents do.
We had a slight impression that the "talent" heading for Westminster and st Pauls is spotted very early on and the rest given slightly less attention and encouragement.
Having said all that, if your boy will fall into the top third, it is a wonderful place and he will come out happy and pretty much ready for A levels
I have a question re Arnold House. Is it true that they only take kids whose parents have links with the school? i.e. Children of old boys, siblings etc?
Its been a while since the OP but what did you decide? Just started the whole process for my DS and had our first parents interview with the Hall this week and was decidely unhappy with the meeting.
Any other comments please, I am meeting my friend tomorrow evening.
Backfire, the boys who have been offered a place at AH have to accept or decline by 9th June this year for entry Sept 2009. The Hall wants a decision 12th June so that the shortlisted boys are then looked at. He is happy at NB but AH has more of a guarantee of feeding to the next stage. We'll see.
If he doesn't get offered a place for Sept 2009 I would be happy for him to start Sept 2010 so I am not in a hurry. We are at the hands of AH at the moment. I do realise though that most parents make multiple applications and I wonder if it is true that the schools spk to each other to discuss who will take who?
If AH stalls us ds will continue to thrive at NB until a move elsewhere so we are not desperate (a nice position to be in as for some parents it is v stressful).
Chicpea, basically my friends with sons at the hall say that it's really unusual for a younger sibling not to be offered a place at the school. They have to go to the assessment as normal (in a small group). But there's a phrase in their 4+ literature along the lines of "unless we think it not to be in a boy's best interests" etc etc siblings will be "looked on favourably". But tbh i don't exactly know the criteria which would weed out a younger sibling. He'd have to behave REALLY badly perhaps ? maybe you could post and ask to see if a Hall parent knows the answer.
When will you hear re AH ? I suppose given it's a short list they will wait until the shuffle for y1 places at other schools inc the Hall has finished which could be as late as this time next year. That would give you lots of time to see how ds gets on. I can see why your dh would have a certain loyalty to AH but otoh there will have been a lot of staff changes and certainly a change of head since his older boys were there.
A difficult call for you then if he gets through the short list! I'm not a stick in the mud person, but then again if in a few months ds is still thriving where he is, there's a lot to be said for "if it ain't broke don't try to fix it". But that's just my opinion.
Backfire, I would be interested to know where you decided to send your ds. Also, we really like NB and both children are doing v well there and love being there. My dd (5) begs me to let her to go the After School Club, I am a little concerned that she doesn't prefer to come home but some of her friends go so she wants to as well. DH's sons from previous marriage now aged 28 and 20 both went to AH (28yo westminster, Uni:Cambs & 20yo Highgate, Uni:Reading) so DH feels this loyalty towards AH. I sat in on the assessment at AH watching DS answering all the comprehension questions wondering to myself why we shd consider taking him out at NB at all when he is obviously doing v well there and happy. Anyway, he is on the short list so he might not even get a place! I didn't understand what you said re: having a sibling at the Hall and not passing the assessment, do you mean they get accepted and don't fit or they get rejected? Please clarify [having a thick moment].
Keep comments coming, am seeing friend on Tuesday night and will print this out.
Thanks for your comments.
Alfalfa, my dd is in Reception at NB, maybe we know each other??!! Agree with your comments re the school.
My ds (also at NB nursery) is on the short list for Arnold House to start Sept 2009 the same year as my friend's son who has the place for Sept 2009 at the Hall. DH and I wondered if we should have applied for the Hall as well as Arnold Hse.
Both my sons were at St. Anthony's. Very caring environment and gets the boys into the 'appropriate' schools for them at 13.
DS1 went all the way thru was there for 8 years. Funnily enough he did not get places at the 2 previously mentioned schools at 4 yrs old, but he is now happily doing extremely well at Westminster.
We had to take DS2 out after yr2 as he is dyslexic/dyspraxic. The school would have kept him all the way through. It was our choice and they were very helpful (even waived the next terms fees which we were contractually obliged to pay).
Also know Trevor Roberts is good for the sensitive types. But after sibling intake there is not much room - 9 boys and 9 girls in each year.
Controlfreaky funnily enough we have a place for ds in recep at NB next year, so we will most likely run with that for now at least. I have also heard v. positive things about Trevor Roberts which is said to be good for qirtky children and has a warm atmosphere. But it starts at y1 not reception, and I think is a single class intake. for social reasons I'd prefer a wider pool of potential friends. Longer term we'll wait and see how ds3 turns out !
Ds2 in particular changed hugely between age 8/9 and 12 (doing CE next week, gulp..); that alone would persuade me to keep open a boy's options for as long as possibe tbh. so I wouldn't be keen on a school that only went up to 11+ for example. I think somewhere like Nb would allow a child to develop without being unduly pushy in the process, and as alfalfa says it seems well equipped to send children to all the best academic schools following a non selective start at reception or nursery. Not that everyone can go there, but it shows a benchmark of attainment/good teaching iyswim. Tbh that matters to us.
BTW controlfreaky where is your ds now, if you feel able to say ? Could his nursery advise you ?
I have a ds in reception at NBH and am v. happy. Also my niece now in y8 at a senior school was there from ? nursery to y6 and loved it. I was impressed by my sis saying that although it's not academically selective, it genuinely gets the best out of each child, sending y6 girls and y8 boys to schools everywhere on the academic spectrum, from Westminster/St P/NLCS to Mill Hill/Francis Holland for example. Some go to boarding schools, but mostly the destinations are London day schools.
Control you'll be talking about Mr Bibby head of the prep at Regents Park who is by all accounts the bee's knees. Mrs Allsopp runs the nursery/junior school and is very good too.
I don't feel there are lots of rules really. ds can be a litttle, erm, spirited, but he's a little boy after all. For the little ones it's really a question of encouraging considerate behaviour to others, etc. They don't take any nonsense, but discipline is firm yet gentle.
backfire, am in same area too.... can i ask where you are considering for sensitive ds? (cos i have one of them too). ta.
chicpea, are you pleased wih northbridge? really like the head there when i met him!
are the other staff as impressive? are there lots of rules?
no personal experience but I am local to the area and have several friends with one or more ds there, including boys who've gone through up to y8 and moved on now.
Would agree with lmot re toughness; looking at my closest friend's children (in y7 and y5)they are emotionally tough no nonsense boys - in the nicest sense; they don't kill insects or thump their friends for fun - and they have thrived there. I have known these boys since they were 2.5y/ newborn age respectively. Both are sporty and physically robust, which seems to be the "type" who will most likely thrive at The Hall.
I know another parent, not quite so well, who has 3 boys and didn't send no.2 there because she and her dh felt he'd have been too "sensitive" to get the most out of it. This in the face of the fact that unless siblings really don't cut the mustard at all at assessment, they are a shoo in at what's generally a very popular school.
Her 3rd ds is now there and happy in I think y2, but middle ds is somewhere more cosy.
As she has no axe to grind, she told me (as did friend no.1) that there is a smallish but significant exodus often around y4 when parents decide either to look for a gentler yet still academic environment, or sometimes a family moves away from London - but then again there's change at all schools. However you should tell your friend that her perception of "toughness" seems to reflect what for my friends is an accurate state of affairs.
i should add that I have been a nosy boots to get all this info because dh and I were considering it seriously for ds3; i went on a tour and there was lots to like, but we decided ds3 would most likely be similar to his older brothers (who are/were elsewhere)ie. not sporty at all and more of the sensitive types (!) So we didn't pursue the application.
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