Habs school for Girls

(399 Posts)
youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 08:46:24


Does anyone have a view on this school - positive or negative?

Considering for my DD (yes, yes, PFB before anyone asks). Have tried asking in Education, but not getting any replies.


valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 08:56:21

I had to google to see what it was - never heard it called Habs grin

I used to live in the same road - good luck getting her in - most oversubscribed in the area iirc.

firemansamisnormansdad Thu 08-Nov-12 08:57:51

And good luck with this thread. You will be flamed for putting it in AIBU rather than education even though you got no replies.

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 09:04:00

Hang on - which school the Elstree one? I forgot there are more than one!

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 09:04:14

If you decide on it make sure that you have plenty of options- competition will be intense.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 09:11:02

I'm rather confident she will get in, but yes, I have back ups. This is my favourite though.

Yes, it's the one in Elstree. I did not like Edge Grove.

Between pain and nothing.... I will take pain wink

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 10:12:14

Habs is like Marmite, I think. You either love it or hate it.

Some DC thrive very well there, others are utterly miserable.

It is not for the faint hearted grin.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 11:20:49

My DD... Very ambitious, very academic... but rather shy.

I'm very taken with the school, and I suppose a bit pleased that they will take her... but she is young (3).

mutny Thu 08-Nov-12 11:27:07

What's a habs?

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 11:29:14
valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 11:29:38

Have they said she'll get in? confused

bamboostalks Thu 08-Nov-12 11:30:50

How do you show ambition at 3?

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 11:31:35

She has to complete the assessment, but they have seen her and, yes, I'm confident she will get in.

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 11:34:09

3??? I thought she was YEAR 3!

You might be confident but did the school say she would get in - two very different things altogether.

lighthousekeeping Thu 08-Nov-12 11:35:47

I know people who chose this place over Habs (doesnt everyone call it that?) and their daughters have thrived there.


Feminine Thu 08-Nov-12 11:36:14

grin I have been totally cheered up by this thread.

Comedy gold.

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 11:37:38

I know people who chose this place over Habs (doesnt everyone call it that?)

Er no, if anything it's more likely to be referred to as Askes.

lighthousekeeping Thu 08-Nov-12 11:40:42

maybe it depends where you live? At my hairdressers I hear all about daughters trying to get into Habs and thats all Ive ever heard it called.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 11:42:26

Getting in at aged 4 doesn't necessarily mean that she will stay there. My nephew went to a similar school from nursery to 18yrs but many were weeded out at each stage. Fine if she is the sort to thrive in a highly competitive atmosphere,but are you sure you can tell aged 3 yrs?

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Thu 08-Nov-12 11:43:13

You have a very academic 3 year old??

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 11:43:38

lighthouse probably.

WilsonFrickett Thu 08-Nov-12 11:43:47

How lovely for you to have such an academic 3 yo. Maybe you can share your parenting tips with the rest of us?

WorraLiberty Thu 08-Nov-12 11:44:33


Hilarious grin

Puppypanic Thu 08-Nov-12 11:46:08

Oh champion another brilliant thread to cheer me in my sickbed!

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 11:47:45

A good day to be ill, puppy. grin

mutny Thu 08-Nov-12 11:48:20

I don't get it. I have never heard of this before.

Is it like a private school?

<feeling dim emoticon>

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 11:50:18

Yes here

lighthousekeeping Thu 08-Nov-12 11:50:40

Its an academic private school that costs a fortune. Very competitive.

Tweasels Thu 08-Nov-12 11:50:45

I've literally heard it all now. Please explain how your 3 year old is ambitious. Is it not that you have ambitions for her?

sue52 Thu 08-Nov-12 11:50:55

How can a 3 year old demonstrate ambition? At 3 my DDs showed real flair at colouring in and using scissors but I didn't notice anything in them to call ambitious.

Puppypanic Thu 08-Nov-12 11:52:11

Indeed exotic, I'll not be in any rush to get better if they carry on like this grin!

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 11:52:30

I expect OP has the child's life mapped out - hopefully they will agree!

MordionAgenos Thu 08-Nov-12 11:53:28

valium I have several colleagues who have daughters there and they all call it Habs. Perhaps they are just being contrary for the sake of it?

NellyJob Thu 08-Nov-12 11:54:29

everyone has always called it 'Habs' fwiw - what's the big deal?

mutny Thu 08-Nov-12 11:55:34

I am still confused.

Its a private school. I assume op can afford it. She 'believes' her dd will get in.

What is the OP asking opinions on it for?

Turniphead1 Thu 08-Nov-12 11:56:10

There are however loads of old posts about Habs Girls. Never ever heard it called Askes. Try searching those.

You will always get Xenia eventually as one of her daughters went there - quite some time ago.

I know people whose daughters are there - quite academically stringent. Girls, who in any other (good) school would be deemed as being very good at Maths, told they are struggling. A fair bit of tutoring goes on to keep girls up to par even in the juniors. Same really goes on at NLCS - although I'd prefer latter.

Odd to be confident your DD will get in though. Are you applying to other schools? These schools take so few girls - that even if yours appears bright, good vocabulary etc - there are no guarantees.

This REALLY should be moved to Education though. They won't tolerate this type of maverick rule-breaking at Habs you know. wink

lighthousekeeping Thu 08-Nov-12 11:59:13

My friend said the interview for NLCS was very informal they just watch how the little girl played and socialised. Shes been over the moon with the school.

KellyElly Thu 08-Nov-12 11:59:26

Very ambitious, very academic at 3!? Shit my DD (3) is just worried about Peppa Pig and mucking about with her little mates confused

Turniphead1 Thu 08-Nov-12 12:00:52

I now have a mental vision of this 3 year old doing an Apprentice style video showing her "ambition" using nauseating cliches à la the BBC Show

callofthewild Thu 08-Nov-12 12:01:53

I went to Habs (it has never been refered to as Aske's!!!) from 5. I can't recall much of the selection process other than there being a 'play session' where they observed you. You then were interviewed on your own but I can't shed any light on this as I refused at the time to tell my Mum what they spoke to me about! Girls who were not up to par were weeded out at 11 when it was suggested to their parents that they "looked at other schools for their daughter". Additionally other girls were at various stages held down for a year if they were thought to be struggling.

It is a high pressured environment but one in which in my experience the majority of girls flourished.

I would certainly not be at 3 years old be confident of getting my child in. There is fierce competition for places and this sounds like a route to disappointment for you...

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:07:41

Ahh... Yes, I did post in AIBU.

SImply interested in the views of people who have ever been to Habs (And, yes, it's all I've ever referred to it as) .

DD is my first child, so I suppose I feel a little scared about sending her to school. She doesn't have a firm offer yet but , but she does already hold two firm offers from other selective (but perhaps not quite so) preps.

She ia just that child. The one that speaks - quite fluently -2 languages, plays an instrument, rides a horse. And before you all jump on me, she doesn't get it from me grin

Just looking to make the correct choice for her.

babybarrister Thu 08-Nov-12 12:08:01

as an old HAG myself [Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls - I never forget the fkg apostrophes which were a lesson in themselves!! grin] , it has always been know as HABS - I should know I served a life sentence there from 7 to 18!!

It is v academic and they chuck people out en route - if you "only" got in to a red brick university you may still feel a failure 20 years on - all depends on your child. Not sure it is a place for the shy though .....

FWIW I loved it but many of my friends did not - not convinced NLGS would be much different in ethos to be honest - all of these girls' hothouses much of a muchness I suspect. As for fees, it is NOT very expensive when compared to other private schools and therefore attracts its intake is much more middle middle class and ethnically mixed then many other private schools ...

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 12:08:42

No big deal - except it was referred to as Askes where I lived smile

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 12:09:31

Playing an instrument is meant to be a big advantage.

babybarrister Thu 08-Nov-12 12:10:15

sorry last sentence garbled - English Language never my strong point!

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 12:12:02

HAG grin

NellyJob Thu 08-Nov-12 12:13:00

well it's the first time i ever heard it referred to as 'Askes' - ever - and I am from Elstree and attended another similar nearby school mentioned in this thread...

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:15:59

Nelly - Did you go tto Edge Grove? Can I ask you what you thought of it? I didn't like it, and have heard some rather damning reports of it too...

Valium - it's wrong that I'm a little less take with Habs because my DD would be a HAG... it is true though.

This school business is tough work!

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:16:32

taken... Goodness me!!

NellyJob Thu 08-Nov-12 12:17:09

no youlookalotlikeme i went to NLCS but in the distant past....

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 12:18:06

I didn't live anywhere near the Elstree one - different school, and it was mixed!

NellyJob Thu 08-Nov-12 12:20:20

oooh different school, fair enough, valium...

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 12:20:55

Sorry, OP, but you have made me smile calling a three year old ambitious and academic grin....

But then Habs as a school is ambitious and academic. It makes no bones about it. And for a certain type of girl, it can work very well.

Up sides are a very challenging academic atmosphere and decent sports and music.

Downsides are that it is uber competitve (amongst the girls and parents) and a not very creative atmosphere.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:24:29

She makes me smile too, wordfactory... she really is quite unbelieveable.

She canters now (on her horse) and it actually does scare me witless grin

I just worry that she is too young for such an environment. I have little doubt that they will accept her.

I appreciate I win the PFB-of-the-month award for this thread.

Wow, an academic three year old! Too much pressure too young?

EmmaBemma Thu 08-Nov-12 12:31:29

I went to a Haberdashers' girls school in Monmouth, and it was the most miserable three years of my young life. However these things vary so much between people and lots of other children really seemed to thrive there.

ScrambledSmegs Thu 08-Nov-12 12:36:15

Um - as someone who went there, I would probably not recommend it for shy girls no matter how clever they are. It's put me off private schooling for my own DD, big time.

Hopefully their anti-bullying policy what policy? has moved on since I went there though.

And yes, it's Habs. Never been Askes AFAIK. The lovely septuagenarian 'old girl' I met earlier this year called it Habs, and she was there before it moved to Elstree. I think the Monmouth school called it that to differentiate, maybe?

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 12:37:03

Well OP, you're never going to get a definitive answer, because it's one of those suck it and see things.

When Habs works well, it works well, but it is a place where some girls are miserable. No point pretending otherwise.

I think the most important thing when giving such schools a go is being prepared to make a change if necessary. Too many parents with unhappy DC just keep on keeping on because it's Habs (or insert another competitive school), they just keep adding more tutors and more add-ons. I know one Mum who's daughter is so unhappy she often poos herself, but she will not move her. She just keeps rehearsing her academic achievements. I also know another Dad who when he heard that my DD was having a lovely time at school said 'If she's enjoying herself, she's not working hard enough.'

That said, there are oodles of lovely parents there and oodles of happy girls. But I tink it pays to be aware of the atmosphere rather than pretend otherwise.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:37:16

Emma - I am sorry that you didn't like it.

It was actually opinions like yours I was looking for. My DD - on paper - would thrive in this sort of school, but I worry that overall, she won't. She is shy, She is young (summer baby), we are not 'competitive parents'.

She has two confirmed placements at 'nice' (selective) schools.

I worry I am overthinking this. I am overthinking this, it's just she's my baby girl and she is going to school.

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 12:37:31

scrambled see my post earlier - different school!

ScrambledSmegs Thu 08-Nov-12 12:42:18

Ah, that's what I get for spending ages crafting a carefully worded response - loads of x-posts! Sorry valium.

And what wordfactory said.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 12:43:10

Of course it's called Habs- people are just being silly.

OP - truly don't be too confident- competition is very stiff indeed.

It's a very tough competitive environment. Some thrive, some sink. If your child does go there, be very vigilant, and be prepared to take her out if you think she's not thriving. Which is a very difficult thing to do- it's very hard to accept that a place people are fighting to get into doesn't suit your child. If that happens it's no reflection on you ou your child- it's a reflection on the school.

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 12:47:04

I didn't live anywhere near the Elstree one - different school, and it was mixed

It WAS called Askes where I lived - as it is a different school maybe it is different. smile <-- arsey smile

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:50:18

Valium I tihnk you should request MN have an arsey smile smiley. It would be hilarious.

I would like to say, I very much appreciate the feedback on this thread. It is what I need to know.

lighthousekeeping Thu 08-Nov-12 12:51:16

what are the other two schools she has had offers from?

WilsonFrickett Thu 08-Nov-12 12:52:55

Do you really not think you are competitive parents - you call your DD both academic and ambitious, you fund a musical instrument and horse riding for her (I'm assuming she speaks two languages because your family is multi-lingual and not because you are tutoring her...). It's a genuine question by the way, because if you're not competitive I'm searching for a word to describe my parenting...

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:55:56

St Albans High and Berkhamsted

Well OP here are the top 10 girls' secondary schools in the country from the most recent league tables:

Wycombe Abbey School
The Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls
North London Collegiate School
Guildford High School for Girls
Oxford High School GDST
The Lady Eleanor Holles School
Withington Girls' School
City of London School For Girls
South Hampstead High School GDST
James Allen's Girls' School

My DDs go to the junior school of one of those on the list and to me, one of the BIG selling points is the more-or-less automatic transfer to the senior school in Year 7 (barring any problems or a lack of fit, in which case I would immediately start looking for a school that fit better!) I believe the 11+ and Common Entrance process is very stressful for girls and their families and I am relieved that we won't (hopefully) have to go through it. (As an aside, I also work in an independent London prep school that does not have a senior school, and I see all the exam prep and stress that our Year 6's go through every year).

I am ambitious for my DDs, they are bright and I don't apologise for that. I want them to have any door open to them that they would choose, and to me starting an education at a top school can only help with that - as long as they are happy of course.

I was quite surprised at how "gentle" the junior school actually is. I don't feel there is a lot of pressure, the girls and the parents are absolutely lovely, the teachers are caring and involved, the Headmistress is fantastic.

OP from what you have said, if I were you I would seriously consider sending your DD to the Habs junior school (another one here who has never heard it called Aske's)

Good luck with it - I found this whole schooling / education thing a very stressful part of being a parent.

Sorry for the epic post!

By the way everyone, There are at least THREE different Haberdashers schools dotted around the southeast - possibly more - no wonder they all have different local nick-names

St A and Berkhamsted also good schools. St A has the advantage of being part of the GDST too.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:59:48

Wilson - she is academic (she taught herself the second language - it is not one either myself or my DH speak) and ambitious (she is sure she wishes to be a vet). The 'musical instrument is a piano that lives in the garage... the horse.. OK, I'll give you the horse.. We pay for lessons grin

But, largely, this is her choosing.

Ha emmabemma I had a miserable 4 years at monmouth girls too - I wonder if we were there together!

It turned out I was very smart after all when I changed school!

mutny Thu 08-Nov-12 13:04:26

She taught herself a second language that no one she knows speaks.

Ok I am hiding this thread. Its getting ridiculous. If you want her to go apply and go through the interviews. End of.

ziggyf Thu 08-Nov-12 13:04:51

She taught herself a second language?! At 3?! hmm

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 13:08:18

YES!!! What is so surprising??? I did say she was academic!

FWIW, it was spanish. She picked it up from Dora, and we did facilitate it with DVDs and CDs, but neither DH or I (or any of her family) speak spanish, yet she can happily switch from spanish to English without problem.

If she is speaking spanish, and doesn't know a particular word, she'll just switch back to English for that word.

As I said, she is that child and she doesn't get it from me.

rainonmyparade Thu 08-Nov-12 13:10:06

An awful lot of 3 year olds want to be vets OP. They are not all ambitious. The second language thing is not riduculous. How do you know how well she speaks it. Is she just a Dora fan?

rainonmyparade Thu 08-Nov-12 13:10:57

just ridiculous

rainonmyparade Thu 08-Nov-12 13:12:04

x post

Djembe Thu 08-Nov-12 13:12:07

grin she canters at 3 and taught herself a second language?!?!

OP that just sounds bonkers, although you sound level headed in your posts I think you/she needs to chill out and enjoy her childhood a bit!

Why argue with the Op about how 'ambitious' her daughter is? It may be a daft word to use in association with a 3 year old but it doesn't sound as though the Op is pushing these choices on her or lying about her abilities. Not sure what the hmm face is for, at 3 I was playing grade 6 pieces on the piano. I'm not a genius but my family thought I was; I'm just very musical. The Ops daughter clearly has an aptitutde for languages.

Djembe Thu 08-Nov-12 13:13:31

Ah I see, cross post. Good old Dora!

hopes my son is 'that child' when he gets to 3 as it sounds ace

bog standard local primary will have to keep up with him

Djembe Thu 08-Nov-12 13:14:25


I'm a pro pianist and am vehr impressed. Are you pro now?

Sushiqueen Thu 08-Nov-12 13:14:47

I'm not the only MN then that went to the Monmouth version ( I had to do the entire senior school there though). Just about survived it !!

Showing my age - it was Askes when I was at school so we knew which Habs school people were on about.

ATaleOfTwoCities Thu 08-Nov-12 13:16:06

The problem with the assessment at 4+ may be her shyness. Habs and nlcs do look for confident girls.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 13:16:17

My dd wanted to be a palaeontologist when she was 3. Just sayin'.

Bathsheba Thu 08-Nov-12 13:17:42

I'm looking at my nearly 3 year old, sitting having her lunch, watching Alphablocks whilst I scream "DD3, where is your AMBITION"...

I can't be the only one, surely...

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 08-Nov-12 13:18:04

lol, I have NO IDEA whether my 2yo is ambitious and neither I suspect does he

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 13:19:26

Look, I appreciate that this is AIBU, so I'm largely responsible for any ensuing bunfight... however...

I am not looking for comment on my 3YO. She is, I grant you, not your average 3YO.

I'm looking for comment on whether a particular school would be suitable for her, given that - while she patently has a very many talents, she is still young and is shy and is used to a more 1-2-1 environment.

Clytaemnestra Thu 08-Nov-12 13:20:04

So, if she's three, and a summer baby, she is 3 and 4 or 5 months?

If you don't speak spanish, how on earth do you know she's speaking spanish and not just some happy nonsense with a spanish accent interspersed with an occasional "Hola". If that's the criterea then I can speak

She's too young to play the piano, her hand span isn't wide enough and I doubt she can touch the pedals. Again, is what you're trying to say that she hits he keys with her fists and elbows happily? Then great. Start her on Suzuki for violin if you're desperate to get her to learn an instrument at three. But she can't "play the piano" in any meaningful sense. Which is fine. Because she's three.

BarnYardCow Thu 08-Nov-12 13:20:53

I smell horse poo.

JakeBullet Thu 08-Nov-12 13:23:08

No and nor should you be getting this much comment OP. Your Dd sounds lovely and bright too.

I reall don't know enough about th school to comment but my advice as parent of a nine year old is to visit any schools you think might be good for her and get a feel for them yourself. Hopefully a parent or two will be on here to give advice about their experience of the school.

KellyElly Thu 08-Nov-12 13:23:22

she taught herself the second language if you are for real and she really did that at three she is EXCEPTIONALLY gifted and I wouldn't be asking any of us on here about potential schools for her. I would be seeking advice on schools for gifted children. I am going to now google if a three year old has ever taught themselves a language because she may be the most gifted child in the world!!!

givemeaclue Thu 08-Nov-12 13:24:33

Wanting to be a vet and learning Spanish on Dora seem pretty average to me? Am I missing something?

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 08-Nov-12 13:24:47

oooh, ooh, my DS wanted to work at NASA when he was 4 - I never realised that made him ambitious! <preen>

Melpomene Thu 08-Nov-12 13:25:06

If she has managed to teach herself to speak Spanish 'quite fluently' then maybe she'll be able to teach herself everything else and won't even need to go to school

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 08-Nov-12 13:26:21

In all seriousness, OP, two close friends of mine went to HAbs in Elstree. They both loved it - both are very confident bossy mares and academic.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 13:27:56

No, She is 3.3YO.

I'm really not getting into an argument about it.

But, I speak enough spanish to know that she isn't making it up and I can hear well enough to know she's not just bashing keys on a piano, though I will grant you, she's not great at putting the two hands together.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 08-Nov-12 13:28:25

Who does she speak to then on the basis that neither the OP or her DH speaks Spanish?

Bonsoir Thu 08-Nov-12 13:29:33

I know nothing about Habs girls and almost nothing about Habs boys. But the one thing I do know about Habs boys is that they aren't as fantastically clever and brilliant and exciting as all that. My DSSs' school does a French exchange with Habs boys and does exchanges with some other schools in England, Canada, Spain and Germany. The Habs exchange has the reputation of being the dull one with the boring boys!

rainonmyparade Thu 08-Nov-12 13:30:06

OK OP, do you or do you not speak Spanish because I'm getting a bit confused here.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 13:32:18

I can speak spanish. I did not speak spanish to DD. I have taken her lead and I do sing and talk to her in Spanish now, but it was utterly her lead.

givemeaclue Thu 08-Nov-12 13:32:49

Op is in no way A competitive parent <guffaw>

rainonmyparade Thu 08-Nov-12 13:34:09

Did she teach you Spanish?

<now I'm impressed emotion>

GreatAuntMaud Thu 08-Nov-12 13:34:09

I thought Dora as soon as I saw the "taught herself the second language" bullshit comment. So she can count to ten in Spanish, great, she knows a second language.

It's nice that you are full of confidence about your DD. I'm sure she's bright and she'll do very well with an involved and interested mum (dad?). I have heard mixed reviews about Habs (and yes I've only ever heard it called that), so best to go and see the school and speak to some current parents and children about it.

KellyElly Thu 08-Nov-12 13:34:24

Wanting to be a vet and learning Spanish on Dora seem pretty average to me? The vet bit maybe but the op said she speaks it fairly fluently. A self taught (Dora or not) fluent Spanish speaker at three isn't fairly normal - if true it's exceptional.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 13:34:37

I don't think that you should underestimate the opposition, especially since many get a tutor these days for 3 yr old tests! Shyness is going to be a handicap.

Djembe - No, I can't read music! grin

My parents used to take in students, one of whom was studying music. She played the piano and the flute. We had a piano in our dining room, and she used to sit there and play to me after dinner. I started copying her; I can play most things by ear. I was also turning over the pages at the same places she was, so it looked as though I was following the notes. When my hand span wasn't big enough for what I wanted to do I would install a sister at either end of the piano and shout at them when to push the notes. My parents got incredibly excited and decided I was the new Mozart, something they insisted on for a good few years. However, I have dyscalculia, cannot read music to save my life, and I was never going to pass many grades because of that. I stopped at grade 5.

(sorry for hijack op)

So, it doesn't sound (to me) massively unlikely that a three year old could be capable of learning Spanish on their own. However, I am a very very average 28 year old so I don't think it necessarily means that she is a genius...

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 13:36:28

Your post actually sums up so much Givemeaclue - you will rip the piss out of me and I don't know how to respond. A few others will be along in a minute and I'll get run off the thread.

And that is what I mean about competitive parenting. I'm not up for the fight, and neither is my DD. We're quiet. Keep ourselves to ourselves.

I asked for advice, fair enough I asked in AIBU so I will take the kicking.

I am not that 'mum' at school who gets everything right. DD is bright, but she is not bossy and neither am I.

KellyElly Thu 08-Nov-12 13:37:01

There is nothing on google about a three year old teaching themselves a second language to a fluent level. Either you are exaggerating how well she speaks Spanish/and or have had a hand in it or your child is a genius.

ATaleOfTwoCities Thu 08-Nov-12 13:37:32

Shyness for sure will be a problem. I know many bright girls who have gone through the process. The confident ones get in the shy ones don't. Search threads here on nlcs and habs it comes up every time.

Clytaemnestra Thu 08-Nov-12 13:38:11

I think your problem is that you're painting a picture of a tiny genius who plays moonlight sonata while cantering on a wild stallion and conversing with adults in spanish like a native.

If you'd said she's very bright, she seems to pick languages up well, is confident enough to be lead round on a rope on a shetland pony and can pick out a tune one fingered on the piano, then it would probably be more accurate. And you'd sound a bit less mad.

Be very careful with the Spanish, if you're loading her up with DVDs and Rosetta Stone for babies kind of stuff. If you haven't got a fluent (pref native speaker) talking with her regularly then she's missing a huge chunk of the way we learn languages, no one is correcting her mistakes - so you might end up doing more harm than good.

babybarrister Thu 08-Nov-12 13:39:30

Habs boys were always known to be nobs and were very rude about Habs girls!

Maybe Habs Elstree is known by other Habs in Monmouthshire and Newport as Aske's but it is referred to by themselves as Habs ..... skills as family mediator being utilised

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 08-Nov-12 13:39:37

Hi all,

We are going to move this thread over education now, as it is not an AIBU thread.

jammietart Thu 08-Nov-12 13:41:12

She must have watched a shed load of Dora which in itself is an achievement!

KellyElly Thu 08-Nov-12 13:42:25

you're painting a picture of a tiny genius who plays moonlight sonata while cantering on a wild stallion and conversing with adults in spanish like a native. that's exactly what I'm picturing grin

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 13:43:19

Just to say, Op- and this is not meant to be an attack of any sort, but a comment based on my own knowledge base, I would be very wary of a riding teacher that was happy for a 3 year old to canter. Many people believe that 3 is the youngest anyone should start to learn to ride because that is when the ligaments in the pelvis are firm enough to be sure you're not doing any damage. And unless she is incredibly tall for her age, I doubt if her legs are long enough to have proper control of even the smallest pony. Even the ploddiest of ponies gets increasingly unpredictable the faster they go, and a fall at a canter is by definition likely to be worse than one at a walk. So I would put q stop to the cantering until she's older. And I practically never say that about physical things!

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 13:44:06

This was never about her intelligence, but about schools.

It would seem her natural shyness - she would struggle to speak confidently in public and certainly part of the group - will count her out of being in that environment anyway. and I want her - more than anything - to be happy.

I'll still have a little genius who can play the piano, ride a horse, ski (I haven't mentioned that, have I?) and speak - perhaps badly, but enough to be understood - a second language. But I'll have a happy one.

Berkhamsted would seem the strongest option.

ReallyTired Thu 08-Nov-12 13:44:16

I think that parents having confidence in their children is wonderful, even if its funny at times.

My daughter went to gymnastics with a lovely little girl from Berkhamstead Prep school. I got the impression that academically they were not ahead of dd's state school nursery. The children I have met have all been impecibably well manered and charming.

St Albans girls has a very good repruation, but it is not automatic for a girl to be given a place in the secondary school. Royal Masonic, St Helens, Abbots Hill are all good schools and the same area.

I think you have to consider the logistics of how your daughter is going to get to school and back. If she has a long a journery then she will have less time for horse riding, playing a musical instrument, -watching- -Dora- learning spanish. It may well be better to choose a school on proximity and then try for habs at the age eleven.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 13:44:29

Three year olds do pick up language easily. A friend of mine lived in Germany at that age and used to translate for her parents-however they moved back to the UK after a couple of years and she had lost it all by 11yrs. Early achievements don't necessarily last.

DaveMccave Thu 08-Nov-12 13:51:42

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 13:52:24

If you don't speak Spanish how do you know your dd is actually speaking Spanish rather than just making up words?

As for a 3 yr old riding a horse all I can say is she must be exceptionally tall for her age. Ds (who is very tall for his age) rode a horse by accident in his riding lesson when he was 6 (the riding school had confused him with a 13 yr old boy with the same first name). For some reason the instructor didn't switch him to a pony and ds had to canter around an indoor school on a 15.2 horse where his feet didn't come below the saddle. He started riding at 4 so had been riding for 2.5 years when this happened and even then he struggled to stay in the saddle (managed it fortunately).

She sounds exceptional and I'm truly amazed that she has taught you to speak Spanish too. Incredible. In fact so incredible I am nearly crying with laughter happiness.

GreatAuntMaud Thu 08-Nov-12 13:53:02

The one that speaks - quite fluently -2 languages,

and speak - perhaps badly, but enough to be understood - a second language.

Is it the same child you're talking about?

WilsonFrickett Thu 08-Nov-12 13:54:20

OP, and I say this with love. She's not academic in any given sense of the word. She learned some Spanish off the TV, her spanish-speaking mother encouraged it. That's brilliant, well done her, but all that means is she's able to speak some Spanish. It doesn't mean she's academic, or we wouldn't get bi and even tri-lingual children who aren't academic. And we do.

She plays the piano - again, brilliant, but that just means she has a good ear and the ability to focus and concentrate. Again, all good things that point well for her future but it doesn't make her academic.

As for ambitious - she wants to be a vet - my DS wants to be an astronaut, after he's been a doctor for 10 years, he's just not sure if that should come before or after his professional footballing career.

I believe you when you say you aren't competitive, but you are coming across as more than a little bit PFB. She's good at some stuff, brilliant. Leave it at that. Don't project her future doctorate. Because you'll be the one that ends up disappointed.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 13:55:09

Op- could you confirm that you read my post about riding for very little children? I'm worried about your dd now.

WilsonFrickett Thu 08-Nov-12 13:57:15

She is, I grant you, not your average 3YO

I think she sounds exactly like your average 3yo. Apart from the horseriding.

winnybella Thu 08-Nov-12 13:58:20

YY WilsonFrickett, my DD is 3.5 and trilingual and I don't see any signs of a genius in her. Bright, yes, but nothing to suggest exceptional ability. So picking up a bit of a second language at this age is nothing amazing, I'm afraid.

zillyzilly Thu 08-Nov-12 13:59:43

My dc were riding at three. Not cantering, though. Trotting very, very fast.

NellyJob Thu 08-Nov-12 14:04:20

oh leave OP alone, she just wants the best for her bright little girl.
My son was very bright at that age, i wish i could have sent him somewhere more pushy, - now he just hangs around the house smoking, occasionally attending a tutorial centre.

tilder Thu 08-Nov-12 14:05:49

Am glad seeker mentioned the cantering. I was a little concerned about the safety of it. Having taught young children to ride (read to sit and not fall off which is generally the limit physically at that age in walk and sitting trot although some do rising trot) was a little surprised to read that. Some children could go along with it depending on the pony but its not a great idea.

Not my business to comment on your daughter but if you are sure she will get an offer and already has offers from elsewhere I would look at how it will work on a daily basis and what the chances are she will stay the duration eg look at drop out rate.

What is your gut feeling?

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:06:42

Well this is very curious.

DC should not be cantering at 2/3 yars old. That is not an achievemnet is is simply the sign of a really crap riding school.

Ditto 2/3 year olds cannot play the piano. They don't have the span.

As for teaching themselves spanish at 2/3...

Anways up, Habs is absolutley not for the quiet and shy. And Berko aint remotely academic. So hey ho...

zillyzilly Thu 08-Nov-12 14:09:16

How has two years old suddenly come into it? Nobody's talking about two-year-olds, are they?

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:11:54

Well she's 3.3...so unless she has garnered her skills recently she must have started at two no?

zillyzilly Thu 08-Nov-12 14:13:41

Well, that's a bit of a leap of imagination, isn't it? To what end?

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 08-Nov-12 14:16:30

I am smiling here and trying to imagine DS2 who is 2.9 doing any of those things. He can't speak English properly yet! Although he does excell at Cheeky Git and can climb up the kitchen cupboards at 9.30 pm to get a handful of biscuits when he is SUPPOSED TO BE IN BED. Maybe that points to a career as a mountaineer or cat burgular grin

SkiBumMum Thu 08-Nov-12 14:16:36

I've no idea about Habs, but I do know that STAHS is doing its assessment days in January following applications in November (I have the piece of paper in front of me with the dates on). OP, has your daughter been given a place early? That would not appear fair!

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 08-Nov-12 14:17:56

This thread has really cheered me up.

Am going to have serious words with my own 3 year old DD after nursery today.

And honestly - I was told that my pony mad DD shouldn't bother with proper lessons until 5 or 6 really am surprised that any stables would teach a 3 year old and especially let her canter!

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:21:05

Funny worry not.

My four year old boy started school unable to tie his shoelaces and had ambitions to be a tractor grin.

He recently began secondary school (a fair bit more selective than HABs wink ) on a scholarship.

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 08-Nov-12 14:21:50

My 3 year old wants to be a dog hmm

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:25:35

Then I predict a rather sparkling academic career mrscampbell

Turniphead1 Thu 08-Nov-12 14:27:58

I think debating the nuances of the OP's DD's listed achievements has kind of been done to death.

But I do agree with what Seeker says about the cantering. That might be helpful - the rest of the comments not about the school (though very amusing) are really just designed to ridicule.

You say she is "shy" - but almost like the inverse of what you consider to be her talents now - you really can't know if she is going to be "shy" longterm.

You mentioned she is shy because she wouldn't be comfortable speaking in public - well that majority of 3 year olds wouldn't. To be honest, I don't think Habs would offer her a place if she were cripplingly shy - or shy beyond the norm of their general intake. Most selective schools try and take a mixture of personalities. No teacher wants an entire class full of loud, brash kids - nor the meek and mild.

It comes down to - are you up for the whole very academic thing - quite a lot of homework earlier than most kids will have it, and exposure to competitive parenting?

Were it me - I'd probably go for it. Bottomline - if you feel its the wrong school for DD at any time you can (and should move her). But to move her FROM Berkhamstead to Habs would be a lot more difficult.

Good luck and the rest of you "Hags" - ha do you see what Ive done there - be nice!!!

tilder Thu 08-Nov-12 14:28:19

Agree 3 is young for proper lessons. The legs on a lot of children at that age wouldn't reach below the saddle flaps and are so light they are just a passenger really. They can still enjoy it on a lead rein at sedate pace.

EyeoftheStorm Thu 08-Nov-12 14:32:01

My good friend has a daughter at HABS. They didn't tutor and are not pushy. They just thought they'd give it a go. At almost 4 when she went to the assessment I would have described her as earnest, curious, focused and quite robust. She got in and they are happy there and so is she.

But my friend said perhaps for the children who were tutored or prepared that that is ongoing. It sounds quite pressurised to me and you would have to be confident that your child had the resilience for that competitive environment.

ReallyTired Thu 08-Nov-12 14:32:59

I think you are being a little mean to the OP. I suppose she did set herself up for a ribbing by posting on AIBU, but even so.

Three year olds all have wonderful dreams. It would be depressing if they didn't. DD wants to help a little boy in her class with fragile X by finding a cure. If people didn't have dreams then the human race would still be in caves and we would not have invented the wheel.

What does the OP want in a school? I think the OP has to consider where she thinks her daughter would be happiest for the next seven or so years. Worry about senior school later.

Berkhamsted is coed for prep school so it would give a different experience to an all girls school. Does the OP want single sex or coed? How far is the OP prepared to travel each day. If you use a bus to get your child to school then you have less contact with the teachers.

KellyElly Thu 08-Nov-12 14:37:04

My three year old asked if she could have an Obama toy after watching coverage of the elections - maybe she's gifted and looking towards a career in politics ;)

PoppyAmex Thu 08-Nov-12 14:44:26

She's 3 years old and picked up a few words in Spanish from a cartoon. She does NOT speak two languages nor is she ambitious. She's 3!!

sue52 Thu 08-Nov-12 14:47:31

Completely agree about with Seeker about a 3 year old cantering. Is this your own pony or at a riding school. I can't believe anywhere reputable would allow or encourage this.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 14:53:08

Thanks for your amazing assessment of MY daughter. Mind if I disagree?

I really can't be bothered to argue.

So here:

1. Spanish: She can count and do basic maths up to 20. She can sing nursery rhymes and all general greetings including happy birthday / Christmas etc., She can ask for food / say her name / ask basic questions.

2. Piano: She can do all well known nursery rhymes. She is beginning to put The Entertainer together with two hands. This is the only thing I can play with two hands. She has never had lessons.

3. Riding: She adores it. She has been riding since 2.5YO. 1-2 a week. The riding school are brilliant. They are fully insured for children 2YO + and SN children.

The only thing I worry about is she is (late) August and she is shy and a little socially awkward, as am I. I appreciate I've been laughed out of it on this thread (thankyou!) but I do worry how we would cope in a competitive environment. I'm not up for this sort of fight everyday.

Is Berkhamsted not academic? That is not what I'd understood. ANd they are only co-oed in prep,,, not later on.

zillyzilly Thu 08-Nov-12 14:57:39

Be nice if the thread could be supportive of the OP and her daughter now that she's answered all the questions.

winnybella Thu 08-Nov-12 14:58:37

But you said that she's pretty fluent in Spanish confused

mirry2 Thu 08-Nov-12 15:01:51

As a Habs parent I can tell you that for even bright children, entry into the school is not a given and the op maybe heading for a fall. At her assessment her dd may have an off day, may be unwell or may not stand out from all the others. Also for those who thing that entry to the senior school is automatc - it certainly is not, and all the girls from the junior school have to sit the same entrance exam and pass it as the girls entering at aged 11.

I never heard of any 3/4/5 year olds ever being tutored for Habs and I don't know how they could be as none of us knows what went on during the selection process.

Finally any parent who talks up her dd would get short shrift from the other parents and I have never heard my dd measure herself against the other girls in terms of academic acheivement. I don't believe that is encouraged at all although they are expected to constantly strive to improve their own performance.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 15:02:56

For a 3YO, she can hold her own.

She could be asked what her name is, how old she is, what she would like for dinner in spanish and answer, fluently, the answers in spanish.

You could show her colours, and she will tell you them in Spanish... same with foods, animals and family members.

IMHO, that's pretty fluent.

I'm not sure you'd expect much more from a 3.3YO in their native language.

mirry2 Thu 08-Nov-12 15:03:42

OP - Lots of the 4/5 year old entry Habs girls we know had August birthdays.

PoppyAmex Thu 08-Nov-12 15:05:06

Well OP, you said no one in your family speaks Spanish and she taught herself, so maybe she's not actually answering in Spanish. Food for thought grin

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 15:05:42

Thankyou Mirry - Believe me, I would NEVER mention this in RL or to DD. EVER. Thankyou though.

Bonsoir Thu 08-Nov-12 15:06:30

A three year old in a language-rich environment will have an active vocabulary of some 1,200 words.

winnybella Thu 08-Nov-12 15:07:23

Er, actually as I said up thread, my DD is 3.5 and trilingual so I do have an idea what small children are capable of in terms of learning second and third languages.

And again, all I'm saying is that it is usually fairly easy for a child to learn new language provided they hear it/have it spoken to them on regular basis.

This is not to say that your DD isn't bright, fgs, just that to think that because she has a basic knowledge of Spanish (and I'm sorry but what you mention is at beginners level) she is very gifted is erroneous, imo and ime.

ReallyTired Thu 08-Nov-12 15:07:52

youlookalotlikeme I think your daughter sounds lovely. I have never met her.

Berkhamsted gets excellent results and its silly to say its not academic. How much pressure do you want your daughter to be under? When you choose a school you are choosing an entire lifestyle for the next seven years or more.

I have never had experience of an assessment at three years old. I imagine that social skills are more important than anything else. A coed school might be a kinder enviroment to hone social skills. (Please don't think I am suggesting that your daughter's social skills are weak, its just that she is the youngest in the year)
Single sex schools are not kind and gentle places. If a child is happy then the academics usually follow. It is bollox to describe Berkhamsted as not being academic.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 15:08:02

Are you just trying to be argumentative? I did explain that I do speak Spanish.... it's just not something we speak at home, which is what I meant... Spanish is not a language we speak at home.

FWIW, We also speak french, german and russian... DD hasn't amazingly decided to speak those languages too. Her introduction to Spanish was Dora. We facilitated, I agree, but she has never been tutored.

3b1g Thu 08-Nov-12 15:08:37

I was at Haberdashers' Aske's Girls' School (have I got the apostrophes in the correct places) from 1984 to 1991. I was very happy there. The only thing I would say against it is that some girls who were in the bottom sets ended up losing confidence in their ability. I wonder whether some of them would have achieved higher grades in their GCSEs if they had been in the top stream of a non-selective school. For children who were in the top set at Habs, it was the perfect place and many thrived in the competitive environment.

PoppyAmex Thu 08-Nov-12 15:09:03

Well Bonsoir that puts my mind at ease.

As a parent in a bilingual household I was under the impression I had to put a fair bit of work in to promote the "minority language", but if I can find Dora in my native language I'm set grin

hatsybatsy Thu 08-Nov-12 15:10:02

OP - it's great that your little daughter enjoys so many different things. But nothing that you've mentioned really backs up your confidence that she will be offered a place at Habs.

Everyone who puts their kids in for any kind of academic assessment (at any age) thinks that their kid has a chance of passing. But while being ambitious and academic can be important (certainly for some 11+ exams), being confident and sociable are probably more important skills at the earlier stages you are talking about.

I have no personal experience of Habs but IMO your daughter doesn't sound a likely candidate for admission at 3 or 4.

Unless she can overcome the shyness, they won't get to know her or her (many) talents when they meet her?

winnybella Thu 08-Nov-12 15:10:31

Exactly, Poppy grin If only it were so easy!

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 15:11:47

Sorry, Winny - my comment was to poppy. I totally take your comments on board.

I am more than happy to accept that she is my PFB child. I accept I'm probably over thinking this whole thing, but I so want her to have a happy time at school. She is (regardless of the comments here) such an amazing little girl. I just want her to be happy and fulfilled.

Turniphead1 Thu 08-Nov-12 15:15:13

OP - has she been to a nursery of anything like that? Would this be her first time in an edicational setting away from you?
(presume we are talking about Sept 13 intake?)

winnybella Thu 08-Nov-12 15:16:30

You said that she can focus for a fair bit of time, right? I would think that's an asset at this age from school's point of view.

I guess what people are saying is that she might be exeptionally talented or might be just bright, but the best thiing would be to not focus too much on one school (or be very confident she would get into it). If, as you say, she's got offers to two other good schools, then, really, that's great already.

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 15:38:35

reallytired Berko isn't considered an academic school. It's certainly not very selective.

I'm not saying there aren't bright DC there, but it is mixed.

It is though nothing like Habs.

It is coed.
Very urban.
Far less focussed on academics.
Much sportier.
Much more expensive.
The parents are generally much richer.

Chalk and cheese.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 15:43:45

Wordfactory - I very much appreciate your views.

What you say about Berkhamsted rather worries me. My DD is more academic than sporty. And we are not rich.


wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 15:47:23

Well look, not every family will be rich...but it is a wealthy place and the fees are at the top end for day schools.

Many sixth formers have cars shock...

It is very much a school for cool kidz. Far more so than Habs which is for the geeks...

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 15:48:36

And not every girl will be sporty. They have thriving music and drama depts.

But, sport is big news there.

babybarrister Thu 08-Nov-12 15:48:44

I agree - much richer parents at Berkhamstead than Habs and much less of an ethnic mix as well. Not academically selective. Many children who do not get into selective schools go there ime

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 15:51:13

I'll be brutally frank. I wouldn't pay that money for Berko.

I think it doesn't have enough USP. It is oversubscribed because it is slap bang in the middle of one of the wealthiest towns in the UK.

Now don't get me wrong, I know loads of happy thriving kids there, but for me they are not getting value for money. I want a lot more for that sort of dosh...[greedy emoticon]

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 15:52:09

Yes, little ethnic mix at Berko.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 15:53:23

Oh. I know 3 sixth formers at Berkhamsted.

They all have cars.

Penny... dropping....

Oh. bugger.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 15:55:35

Word - (And others)

While I have time... where would you go?

I think you have a fair assessment of DD, me, our location?

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 15:55:43

Look it aint a scene from Dickens at Habs.

Year 8 will bring Bahmitzvah time. Parties at Cafe De Paris for 40k anyone?

But as a whole the parents are wealthier at Berko. More City IYSWIM.

But to be honset, if you go private, them's the breaks.

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 15:57:27

I'd give Habs or STAHs a pop.

But with the proviso that you will remove your DD if she's not thriving and also be prepared to be chucked out at year 6.

Ughfootballseason Thu 08-Nov-12 16:00:00

Oh dear OP you've been ripped to shreds here somewhat!

My DD is three too and I'm about to put her in for an assessment to a selective girls' school. I've decided not to apply to a selective on the to ten list upthread as I'm worried she'd be too pushed and the environment too competitive.

It does sound like your daughter is bright but only you can decide whether that will be nurtured best in a competitive, fast-paced environment or a more relaxed one. If you have any doubts, listen to them.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 16:00:25

But, of course, I'll never need to worry about that... given the genius I've spawned grin

Seriously... advice accepted. smile

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 16:02:13

Well it's just worth thinking about because both Habs and STAHs cull at year 6.

And STAHS again after GCSE.

That said, Berko had a cull after AS level the year before last which I thought was shit because where can those students relaistically go half way through their A levels.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 16:10:13

Word - if you had a little girl like my DD (And I think I've bigged her up quite a bit) ... where would you consider sending her?

You know the area, generally, we are looking at.

She is such a darling. I so want to get it right.

I already know how PFB I sound

lisad123 Thu 08-Nov-12 16:14:58

The OP has really got a shooting here!
Some children are bright, some are gifted and some are even better. If a parents sees that and helps their gifts along, why is that so awful??
My dd1 is bright and gifted, we encourage her abilities in art and maths, not via tutors but just with equipment and interest. We have also chosen a non selective prep school for her.

As for OP I drive past Habs now and then but know very little about it. I can't say I'm very impressed from their website and its very clear it's very focused on results and the best only, and that's from website. Personally I have heard loads of good stuff about St Albans.

mirry2 Thu 08-Nov-12 16:30:03

OP if you think your dd stands a chance and you think it is the right school for her, apply to Habs, NLCS and St Albans. However be prepared for a disappointment because the odds are long. I beleive they are looking for confident girls (but not necessarily assertive) and we were told they were looking for girls who would be able to be part of a very large school at an early age and be able to cope with a fairly long daily journey.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 16:39:58

OP- it doesn't matter how insured the riding school is, they are putting your child at risk. Both because her pelvis is stil very loose still and because she is not tall enough to properly control a cantering pony, however talented a rider she is.

If you ignore everything else on this thread, do not ignore this. Your child is actually in danger. And any riding school that tells you different is just after your money.

sittinginthesun Thu 08-Nov-12 16:55:54

No experience of Habs, but know several grown up men who went to Berko. Not particularly balanced/happy/mature individuals. Of course, it's probably changed since then...

Puppypanic Thu 08-Nov-12 17:26:22

No one picked up on the skiing yet???

sue52 Thu 08-Nov-12 17:28:41

I'm still getting over the cantering Puppypanic.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 17:39:52

Skiing's fine. My ds skied at 3. Lots of swiss children do.

The riding bit is positively irresponsible.

PoppyAmex Thu 08-Nov-12 17:47:35

I'm not being argumentative at all OP.

I think it's very cute that your daughter speaks a few words of Spanish she picked up from Dora, but that doesn't mean "she speaks two languages".

As I said, I grew up in a bilingual family and am a parent in a bilingual home myself, so your statement just sounds silly to me.

Since you're open to opinions, I also think that you should listen to what other posters are telling you about your daughter's riding school, as it's a SAFETY issue, which IMHO is much more important.

Farewelltoarms Thu 08-Nov-12 17:49:00

Out of interest how many do they cull at Habs between 4 and 11 - I suppose specifically how many fail when they take the school's own exam to the senior school? Because if their selection procedures at 3/4 are reliable and good at picking these bright, ambitious tiny people, then the only thing between them and success at 11 is 7 years at Habs. And if they then fail, then surely it's the school that's failed in its teaching?
It always seems to me that either entry at such a young age should be a lottery or it should be the whole way through. Either they have faith in the ability to select at that age or they don't. I suspect that most of the time they weed out any obvious special needs or behavioural difficulties and then just take the ones with Oxbridge educated parents, a successful Dad and an involved mother. Probably as good a predictor as any...

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 17:57:32

With all due respects...this was not (and isn't) about my DD's lifestyle, but about her proposed education.

She will continue to speak spanish and she will continue to ski and she will continue to play the piano and she will continue to horse ride.

Given that 90%+ of you think I'm making the whole thing up, I really don't see what it matters to you.

She adores horse riding. It's her greatest pleasure. She's good at it. She canters for less than 10 minutes a week. . i am not about to change her lifestyle because of this thread.

I'ts amazing that I've had far more comments about what she does and doesn't do than about the actual schools I am considering for her.

Puppypanic Thu 08-Nov-12 17:58:01

sue52 grin!

As a rider and a skier (don't speak Dora Spanish though) I am very impressed that the OP's dd can do both, play the piano passably and speak a second language - fluently or otherwise - seems to be some confusion over that point.. all at 3 years old....fantastic..

I agree, insane to be cantering at 3 yrs old. It's usually all lead rein stuff and a little bit of trot at that age.

Puppypanic Thu 08-Nov-12 17:59:30

Because it is far more incredible interesting I suspect than the actual schools.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 18:06:01

I can't understand why you are refusing to listen to people who actually know. You are putting your child at risk. And it is irresponsible for you, now you know that, to continue to do it.

mirry2 Thu 08-Nov-12 18:07:48

farewell they culled 1 from my dd's class at llyrs and I know of one who left between 4-11 because she was struggling. A few others left for other reasons. It was a 2 class intake so don't know what happened in the other class but I expect it was about the same. A few joined the school at 7, I suppose to take up the spaces made available by those who left.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 18:08:01

And I gave you a moderately informed opinion on Habs as well.

My opinion on riding is significantly more than "moderately informed". If you ignore it, and that of others on this thread, you are a fool.

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 08-Nov-12 18:10:20

OP, I'm guessing you're not a million miles away from me judging by the schools you're considering. Quite a few of the kids from private primaries in my town who don't pass the 11+ go on to Berkhamsted if their parents don't want them to go to the state non-grammers. Read into that what you will. Likewise with Pipers Corner.

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 18:16:53

I'm afriad OP, you can't dictate what people will or won't comment on.

And frankly, I agree that cantering for a 3 year old is the sign of a dreadful riding school. It doesn't matter if they're insured. You should not allow it.

An had that information come uop in any thread I'd have pointed it out becuase it is dangerous and irresponsible. Sorry and all that.

dinkybinky Thu 08-Nov-12 18:24:24

At 3,4 and 7 intake there is only one thing these schools look for.......parents professions !!!

mirry2 Thu 08-Nov-12 18:29:27

dinky - that's a very cynical and unjustified remark . I don't remember that being on the application form for Habs hmm

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 19:13:05

Because if their selection procedures at 3/4 are reliable and good at picking these bright, ambitious tiny people, then the only thing between them and success at 11 is 7 years at Habs. And if they then fail, then surely it's the school that's failed in its teaching?

That's what you would think. I think that if they hand pick them when tiny then they should get them up to the right level. It doesn't seem to work that way. My nephew went to a school in the nursery at 3 yrs, they asked some to leave at pre prep,more at prep and more for the senior school. They want the best and that way they get them. It is nothing like the 11+ where once you are in, you are in. There is nothing to say that someone admitted at 4 yrs will be wanted at 8 years and later.

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 19:21:51

Oh come on. The parents' professions are always on forms for private school. And yep, I suspect it is one of the measures a school uses to try to select.

Obviously it's a blunt instrument, but still...

ReallyTired Thu 08-Nov-12 19:39:40

Given how selective Habs supposely is. I am surprised that their results aren't better. I have been looking at the results of various schools on the BBC website.
Only 88% of girls at Habs achieved the English Bac. (Ie. GCSE in maths, english, science, french and a humanity)


I am surprised at such a low figure.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 19:40:11

I hope the OP is watching Tonight on ITV at the moment - all about extra tuition for tots. Doing Kumon maths at the age of 3. Sounds perfect for the OP.

sue52 Thu 08-Nov-12 19:40:30

Don't know or care very much about your choice of school but I do think you are endangering your daughter by allowing her to canter. My DDs did this at ages 6/7 on their own fireproof pony under strict supervision, I certainly would not have allowed them to do it on an unknown animal at a place that cares more for profit than saftey.

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 19:44:31

Really I suspect that is because many chose music over history or geography.

Habs girls have to sit Eng/Maths/science/MFL...but they are not forced to sit history or geography. Many take another MFL, Latin and music/art.

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 19:49:15

As for schools having good selection processes...I think they're fairly honsest that it's not perfetc at 3yrs. I mean how can it be?

They look at the DC for an outgoing nature, an ability to concentrate and teachability. They also look to the parents' education/careers.

But the reality is that the pace is fast. In secondary it is blistering. Lessons are very 'chalk and talk'. Homework is heavy. Even girls with a high intellect may not suit that environment.

And though it may be unpalatable to cull, I think it would do a girl no favours to stay if they're not suited. And some parents simply will not take a hint...

3b1g Thu 08-Nov-12 19:49:33

I agree, I didn't do history or geography GCSE. If anyone asks for my English Bacc now that I'm a doddering old wreck, I'll count the Latin as a humanity.

Farewelltoarms Thu 08-Nov-12 19:54:20

I presume the classes are about 20 so in mirry's experience it was 10% out as far as she knows but the numbers are so small I expect it varies enormously each year.
I do feel that if these schools were hospitals they'd be ones that only took the very healthiest. And if one of their patients subsequently got ill, they'd then refuse to treat them further. And then they'd crow about how much lower their mortality rates are than those crappy hospitals down the road who take in all those sick losers.
OP your child potentially gifted academically but possibly struggling with social stuff by your own admission. Why not concentrate your efforts on the latter and put her in your nearest state primary so she can make local friends. My nephew is a proper genius child and the psychologist told my sil, well you need to forget about academics, flashcards etc and make sure you have playdates and he plays football. 20 years after a full state education he's on a whopper scholarship at MIT and is brilliantly social adept given the (discredited) diagnosis of asd he had at 4.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 19:59:53

Just checked with my dd who is training to be a riding teacher. Her response- "Move riding schools"

Ouluckyduck Thu 08-Nov-12 20:04:44

I think Farewelltoarms has just given you the best bit of advice you're likely to receive re what school to choose.

Clytaemnestra Thu 08-Nov-12 20:16:10

"She could be asked what her name is, how old she is, what she would like for dinner in spanish and answer, fluently, the answers in spanish.

You could show her colours, and she will tell you them in Spanish... same with foods, animals and family members.

IMHO, that's pretty fluent.

I'm not sure you'd expect much more from a 3.3YO in their native language."

I really would! My DD is 3.1 and she can do all of the above, but a huge amount more as well. She can articulate feelings, use a wide variety of adjectives hold conversations, express her opinions, give me a run down on what she's done during the day, tell me about the stories in her favourite books and films (you could probably put her on mastermind about Tangled and she'd win a prize).

She can also say "Ni hao" which is in the lingo show, but I don't describe her as fluent in chinese

If your DD isn't articulating all the above and more in her native language, and you don't expect her to, then you haven't got a hope of getting into Habs, because that is the sort of thing they will be looking for. Not horses and skiing. Most little ones who are given the opportunity to ride and ski learn how to do so. I take my DD swimming every week and have done since she was 6 months old. She's a good swimmer now. It certainly doesn't make her any cleverer than a child whose never been in a pool though. And no more likely to get into a selective school. Equally, I know lots of bilingual children. On average they're no brighter than anyone other child.

Its not that I don't believe that YOU think your daughter is a genius, but honestly, even with all of your qualifications and explanations about how special she is, you're not describing anything that puts her IQ above a normal, lovely, active 3 year old. And (most) people aren't having a go at you for the hell of it, they're trying to give you a little reality check because you might put all your eggs in one basket and then be horribly disappointed.

Clytaemnestra Thu 08-Nov-12 20:21:00

anyone = any. And a load of other typos. You wouldn't guess I actually did go to a highly selective girls school would you? smile

Farewelltoarms Thu 08-Nov-12 20:35:25

Why thank you luckyduck. I'm so proud of my nephew he's gorgeous. But I'm equally proud of my sil, on being given the news that his IQ was off the scale, for asking the question 'ok, so what do I do with this information?, instead of rushing into turn him into a human calculator. The Ed psych was right - the academics did look after themselves but with the help of brilliant parenting, he's happy, well adjusted and has lots of (admittedly geeky) friends.

wotachoice Thu 08-Nov-12 21:33:53

OP, reading your lost really upsets me because it doesn't seem like your dd is a dead cert for habs and you will not accept this. Do you have any idea how many children sit for these places and how many parents think that they have budding geniuses on their hands?

Habs is hardcore, be under no illusions, they want the best and they take no prisoners, it is absolutely survival of the fittest. Personally there are about a million schools I would have sent my children to at 4 before I sent them there. IMO the time to go there is at 11, if your dd is not only extraordinarily bright but thick skinned and mentally strong.

I think you would be better off looking at one of the proprietor managed little prep schools in converted houses which offer little in the way of enrichment but are academically rigorous.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 22:21:48

I don't know anything about riding but I would have thought it highly irresponsible to allow a 3 year old to canter.

I agree with wotachoice. The competition is so fierce that no one can possibly sit back confident of a place-especially if you have a shy child. I wouldn't put a small child through it-why not wait until older and see if they are suitable for such a hot house atmosphere? They might be the type of child to thrive in in -but you can't possibly know at such a young age.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 22:29:51

Exotic- there is no way that q three year old would be tall or strong enough to be cantering on a pony. Ashe might be sitting on a pony while it cantered, but that is a completely different, and very dangerous, thing.

OP nobody is suggesting that your dd shouldn't ride. But there are some things you have to be a particular physical size to do safely. And cantering a horse is one of the, it doesn't matter how talented, or bright she is, her legs are just not long nough yet for this. PLEASE stop this before she gets hurt. Or gets a fright that puts her off.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 22:32:32

As far as I can see it leaves the pony in control-whatever it decides to do- no one can stop it!

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 08-Nov-12 22:32:53

this thread has really given me food for thought. I am so proud of my DC. Neither of them spoke/speak Spanish at age 3, neither of the can yet ride a horse or ski never mind play the Entertainer on the piano.

What they are though is lovely normal children. DS1 has just been given his yellow belt in karate and is starting to really enjoy reading. In fact he read in bed for over an hour tonight and protested that he wanted to carry on reading after lights out 'because it's fun Mummy'. He is 6 coming up to 7. He goes to the local state school has loads of friends who live quite near.

When he was 3 I thought he needed to be the best at everything and top of the class at school. In fact he isn't, he is very average but is developing at his own rate and thoroughly enjoying life.

I am very heartened to hear the tales on here of children who were allowed to be children yet still do very well in later life.

OP it is very disingenuous of you to protest that everyone is focusing on what your child can or can't do when all you wanted was to talk about schools. What you really wanted to do was boast about your child to anyone who would listen otherwise you would have left your post in Education and it would have been answered in good time. You got just what you deserved IMO

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 22:44:06

I expect OP was just a bit naive and hasn't realised people's strong views on education! I am against selection at 11yrs and therefore I am very much against it when they are little more than babies!
A lot of very young DCs appear to be very bright if they spend a lot of time with adults. It is far too early to tell what they will be like at 8yrs, 12yrs, 14yrs etc. Education isn't a race, and if it was slow and steady often win-old Aesop was very wise!

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 08-Nov-12 22:49:09

very true Exotic but amazing at a reception mother dinner I attended last year when they almost all said 'but reception is THE most important school year for our children'. I was the lone voice saying 'but it's not, it's just the start. They have years and years ahead of them'

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 22:57:08

Unfortunately they realise it later! It is important but for learning to mix with others, take turns, listen to instructions, do things for yourself.
They get so caught up on reading bands and whether their DC is on a higher band than their friend! They do it in their own time and at 14yrs no one knows, or cares, if you were fluent at 3yrs or 8yrs.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 22:58:04

Parents are at their very worse in reception and infants-they get more laid back as time goes by.

Puppypanic Thu 08-Nov-12 23:02:00

It is definitely a long game this education lark.

OP seems to have buggered orf though hmm?

Please listen re the riding if nothing else.... I have two horses and have spent my life around them as many others on here have, heed the advice of those who know more than you do about that particular subject at least.

km17621762 Thu 08-Nov-12 23:22:30

The Spanish thing reminds me of ds who claims he speaks about 5 languages because he can say about three phrases in each one grin.
And he wants to be a train driver (previously a bin man) when he grows up so obviously struck off for ambition.

Seriously though, OP you've had a lot of grief on here. Whatever will be will be with the assessment. Go with it as you sound like you'd really regret not trying. How your dd reacts to the assessment itself and how you feel after that and seeing how the school handles the day will all help you decide.

You haven't really got much to lose by trying the assessment as long as you keep it all low key and don't start stressing her out about it!

wordfactory Fri 09-Nov-12 09:46:25

Education, just like parenting is a long game wink...though it's easy to be convinced that each and every small issue matters in those early years no?

I do think that some parents with their first get very caught up in achiement. So caught up in it, that they allow/push their DC to do things which alhtough look am..ay..zing in the sort term are actually detrimental in the long term.

From pushing them to become the fist 'free reader' in the class. Why? Anyone with a modicum of intellect and google can discover that meticulous comprehension and enjoyment are the key issues.

To undertaking sports too early. Wow look at the tiny kid go! Yes check out their ankles in five years!

I think I was very lucky to have twins so I never experienced that PFB stage and never made all those silly mistakes.

Lougle Fri 09-Nov-12 09:50:32

"The School has limited facilities for the disabled"

That part of a sentence alone, would stop me enrolling my child there. 'The disabled'...who would that be then??

Xenia Fri 09-Nov-12 10:00:06

Clayta, is right about all that.
My daughter went to Habs and had a wonderful time there. They were not interested in what the parents did as far as I could see. They looked at the child. They wisely kept the parents away.

She was one of only 2 girls in her class with 4 English born grandparents which I thikn shows they look at the pure intelligence of the girl not who you are or where you are from. It is a school of very bright girls. We never felt pressure. Some girls in all schools pressure themselves and some parents in some families put pressure on their children but the school was always going on about sport and music which is what my child liked. It is a lovely school.

People's whose daughters are not bright enough to get in often criticise these kinds of schools wrongly. Our other one went to North London Collegiate which is also very good too. They both are.

Habs girls was 30th this year for A levels of all schools in the country state and private boarding and day, and the boys 20th - obviousyl it just depends on the year group but they are often in the top 20.


What a lot of these schools are very good at is sorting the wheat from the chaff. They used to select at 7 but found they were as good at it at 5. You can often tell - you're on a train an listening to some bright little thing chatting away - some children are simply brighter than others.

My daughter is a finished product in a sense now and she and her friends in their mid 20s are doing pretty well , still have a lot of the hobbies they had a school, happy, good lives. I think the school did very well for them in all kinds of ways and they were very lucky to go there.

These schools are not looking for coaching at 3 or 4 at all. They look at things you cannot teach. Obviously they don't want a child who goes round thumping all the others and if a child is too shy to speak it is going to be hard to work out what they are like and there is clearly some luck in it too but so so so very few of those who started with my daughter were not still there in A level year. They get the assessment right. Some children leave because they move away but I was pleased with their ability to select the right child.

ReallyTired Fri 09-Nov-12 10:16:35


Reception is the most important year. Its why its called the foundation stage. The foundations for later learning are laid in that year. Ie. knowledge of phonics, making friends, learning the rules of the classroom.

The OP is lucky in having lots of good private (and state!) schools to choose from. I think its important that she thinks what her daughter and her family need out of a school. (Ie. wrap around care, extra curricular activites and general happiness)

The fact that a three year old canters shows no fear. Whether this is a good or a bad thing I don't know. My three year old would be far too much of a scardy cat.

seeker Fri 09-Nov-12 12:27:09

"The fact that a three year old canters shows no fear."

It might or might not show this. What it does show is that the child is being taught by an irresponsible, dangerous incompetent, and that the child's mother is too pig headed to take advice from people who know what they are talking about.

Xenia Fri 09-Nov-12 12:30:08

Well the issue of what characteristics are needed was one Ian Hislop explored in his 3 part series recently on the Stiff upper Lip. For some jobs we still need girls who have grit and staying power and strength and bravery and fitness and health. In other jobs we don't. I often thought my Habs one does as well at work because of those qualities as her school and university exam grades. You need both for many jobs and indeed to cope with life itself which is why feeling secure and loved is so important to children and why so many have been hurt in care as we see in the current scandals.

wordfactory Fri 09-Nov-12 12:40:25

I think the girls that thrive at Habs, and by which I mean enjoy it and take their opportunities, as opposed to getting 11A*S and a dose of self loathing, are the resilient types.

The types who have an inner confidence and good amount of grit. They're often not the top students actually.

Oh and I'm not remotely suprised that a DD of xenia thrived there grin

seeker Fri 09-Nov-12 12:41:09

I wouldn't know, Xenia. I am, as you know, the mother of one of the world's natural hairdressers.

But I do know about horses.

wordfactory Fri 09-Nov-12 12:42:52

Well seeker I've seen a pic of your DD and her hair is rather stunning grin.

wordfactory Fri 09-Nov-12 12:46:12

I actually think this is one area where DD's school ought to do better.

It is incredibly creative and supportive etc but sometimes I htink the girls are a little over-nurtured. Not given enough opportunity to build up grit.

Fortunately, I took the precaution of giving birth to Lady Macbeth.

seeker Fri 09-Nov-12 12:53:49

It's in the genes, word factory. When she gets her high paid job, which is of course her only goal in life, she can employ ds as her personal hair consultant. If he manages to get the BTec, of course.........grin

wordfactory Fri 09-Nov-12 12:58:21

Could be worse seeker check out the prices of this place hair

MordionAgenos Fri 09-Nov-12 12:58:34

Most of the highly paid city women I know (including myself) have appalling hair.

The ones with the great hair are the dilettantes who don't spend enough time working. grin

Of course my showbizzy arty friends all have fabulous hair. To go with the fabulous everything else!

exoticfruits Fri 09-Nov-12 13:48:33

They looked at the child. They wisely kept the parents away.

Very wise! I certainly wouldn't look at what the parent did and I would want to see the child without the parent.

Reception is the most important year. Its why its called the foundation stage. The foundations for later learning are laid in that year. Ie. knowledge of phonics, making friends, learning the rules of the classroom

You can however do that at home and you have not lost anything by starting formal education later, as shown on the continent. It is most useful for sharing, making friends, waiting your turn etc. -which band of reading book you are on really isn't important.

Xenia Fri 09-Nov-12 14:17:31

I remember asking Habs before she started - 2 years before if her Montessori nursery was okay and the teacher I spoke to said that was fine; they didn't expect them to be learning anything formal. In fact that daughter was the latest to read - 6+ when her younger sibling could read loads of books at 3+.

Yes, not overly fussing about your hair is an indicator of excellence in the UK.

SchoolFool Fri 09-Nov-12 14:18:55

Wordfactory - Fortunately, I took the precaution of giving birth to Lady Macbeth.


PoppyAmex Fri 09-Nov-12 14:26:43

They looked at the child. They wisely kept the parents away.

In some cases it's more:
"They had a look at the parents and wisely kept the child away" grin

seeker Fri 09-Nov-12 15:12:07

Lady Macbeth? hmm

I appear to have given birth to Lady Bracknell and Teasy Weasy Raymond!

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 06:52:38

I know two girls who were made to leave Habs, one at 11 and the other at 16 they both ended up at Oxbridge.......

mindingalongtime Sat 10-Nov-12 07:12:49

youlooklikeme Interesting that you have a place at St Albas High school already and the assessments for Sept 2013 don't take place until Jan 2013 , one of the reasons reception class ever go back until around 14th Jan is their classrooms are being used for the assessments.

Likewise for Habs, I have girls doing the assessments in January for both schools, he come you have a place already?

I also have a chid in reception at Habs, her birthday is 31st August, she doesn't ride, speak Spanish or play the piano, infact she hasn't even learned to read in her first term as it is all about play, I fear your daughter may well be understimulated and get bored!

Xenia Sat 10-Nov-12 07:13:11

That was not our experience. They all seemed to go right through in my daughter's year. One or two left because they moved. They tend to pick them so well at 5 they manage fine. A lovely school.

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 07:24:50

I didn’t get that feeling when I visited the school Xenia. The pastoral care seemed nonexistent, the children looked shell shocked and I got the feeling that the only thing the school cares about is exam results. (I visited the boys school so maybe the girls school is different)

Xenia Sat 10-Nov-12 07:44:37

It is nothing like that and my daughter was there from age 4 - 18 and had a really lovely time. We obviously know the boys' school too as it is on the site next door and they share coaches. The school stops anyone working too hard, goes on and on about taking breaks and keeping up your sports during GCSE years and there are few schools in the country with such a range of children who do so very many hobbies to such a high standard. It is really lovely with loads of pastoral care. My oldest had a bit of trouble spelling in the juniors (she is slightly dyslexic but quite clever) and in the juniors the then head gave her individual help - it was really nice the way they pulled every stop for her to do well and all her friends have done well, two are doing the same job as she is in the City earning qutie a bit in their mid 20s and really nice too 3 of them are now engaged including mine. I couldn't have wished for a better school. Go Habs.

Of course most children are not bright enough to get in so you get a lot who can't slagging it off but that's just people for you,.

Also if you don't like it go elsewhere. There is probably nowhere int he country with such a choice of good schools with obviously a pecking order down to those schools which take just about anyone regardless of IQ.

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 08:16:04

In my experience if a child is exceptionally bright they will do well wherever they go. My eldest went to a non selective school sat her GCSEs at 14, A levels at 16 she is now at Oxford. There does seem to be a high level of arrogant parents around at these schools which is more off putting than anything else.

ReallyTired Sat 10-Nov-12 09:41:50

"I know two girls who were made to leave Habs, one at 11 and the other at 16 they both ended up at Oxbridge....... "

There may well have been other reasons other than academic that a school might want a child to leave. I doult the parents would tell you that they were asked to take their child away because of poor behaviour.

Life is what you make of it. It is possible to get to Oxbridge from a really rough school. Being a sucess in life is down to grit and determination rather than what school you go to.

Xenia Sat 10-Nov-12 09:41:57

Not at Habs. No arrogance. It is a meritocracy with girls of all kinds of religions, backgrounds, interests and family circumstances.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 10-Nov-12 09:55:31

This thread has really cheered me up! I thought some of the parents at my daughters all girls prep are bonkers, they are clearly nothing on the op!

Xenia, just out of interest, why did your two DDs (or two of your DDs, not sure if you have more than 2) go to different schools e.g. NLCS and Habs? My two DDs are at an academically selective school that people could (and do) make the same sorts of comments about. I am pretty sure it is the right school for both of them, and that they will both transfer to the senior school, but how did you/your family decide it was the right thing to do to have two sisters at different schools? Are Habs and NLCS quite different? I always thought they were pretty similar, but realise now I don't know an awful lot about them.

wordfactory Sat 10-Nov-12 16:03:11

xenia you probably didn't notice wink, but trust me there is a cull in every year. And of course people may have given other reasons in public.

There is a cull at 11 and again after GCSE. But ditto for STAHS. An dindeed most state schools cull before A level.

Xenia Sat 10-Nov-12 17:00:52

Herats, I am laughing now but it was a bit silly. Child 2 didn't get in at 4 to Habs but got into NLCS. They are almost identical in so many ways, A level results, types of schools, hobbies, everything. They both had a go at the other's school at 11 and didn't get in then either. In fact they haven't minded at all and both schools had a coach from the same place to the schools every day but it would have been simpler had they gone to the same school. The girls say it meant neither was in the shadow of the other. The NLCS pupils were a bit more North London based, Hampstead and some of the Habs friends were more country, out in Herts but other than that not really much in it at all. Both were lovely schools. NLCS gets slightly better exam results but not enough to really make too much difference. NLCS does the IB and A levels - you choose. Habs I think does A levels.

Cull suggests a huge lot of people are removed like badgers infected with TB. If someone got in because of tutoring and has turned out to be as thick as a plank and is unhappy or if they hvae decided to do no work and nothing is working then I would imagine their parents would not want them there, nor the school nor the child but I genuinely did not see much of that at all, just basically the whole cohort at 18 going off to good universities and now doing pretty well int heir 20s. They choose well. The girls are bright so you don't really need to cull. If you choose badly or let in all comers as there are not enough girls per place then yes you might want to cull later I suppose.

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 17:17:49

If a school can’t get the best out of a hand selected child it doesn’t say much for the teaching standards. I have also heard that there are a good number of children that are not allowed to take the GCSEs they want instead the school insist they do the ones they deem better.

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 17:20:37

well I went to NLCS and there was supposed to be a 'cull' at 11 but nobody was asked to leave, had us all going for a while tho'.

Xenia Sat 10-Nov-12 17:27:31

The people that know and went to or our child went to the schools are saying this talk of culls is rubbish so they are the ones to listen to. I don't remember culling at NLCS either. My daughter did mention seeing someone who had been in her class this week at a gym who I think had left but I can't remember why now. May be she had been having problems but it is pretty rare. The schools commit to the pupils and most of the pupils do very well.

Most chidlren cannot get into these schools which is not surprisnig as they are like the old grammar school IQ level of 120+ and average IQ is 100 and plenty are under that.

There are the right schools for all kinds of children but for a fairly bright girl most do get a lot out of Habs and NLCS. Obviously in all schools you get some children not happy of course. They would have to be robots emerging from a cult if they uniformly said school was brilliant.

mirry2 Sat 10-Nov-12 17:27:38

Wordfactory how do you know so much about so-called culls at Hab?. I do know that only one girl in my dd's class left at 11. She had more or less the same set of classmates from 5 to 18. In that respect my experience of Habs is the same as Xenia's.

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 17:29:38

I did see a couple of mothers from NLCS on a TV show "Jewish mother of the year" one Mother made her DD wear her uniform for the entire duration of the show. The Mother (Emma) stood on a table and screeched at the top of her voice for the children at the party to shut up and then proceed to throw, that’s right THROW the going home gifts at the children.

lighthousekeeping Sat 10-Nov-12 17:33:36

who was the other one who's daughter went there? I thought the rest of them were pretty religious and Emma was the more liberal one. Was it someone that went out at the beginning. What are the fees 25 grand? and she had three daughters!!

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 17:37:09

I do not see what one batty attention seeking mother has to do with it really.....there are obviously a lot of Jewish girls at both of those schools, given the demographic and the ethos of the schools...what are you trying to say?

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 17:38:14

and I am quite sure the fees are not '25 grand'

mirry2 Sat 10-Nov-12 17:39:17

Oh has this thread degenerated into a 'lets all have a go at NLCS' bunfight?

Lighthouse the fees certainly are not £25 grand. This is a highly selective DAY school.

I hate the inverted snobbery displayed in dinkybinky and lighthousekeepers last posts.

Thanks Xenia. The day I found out DD2 got into the school was one of the happiest of my life to be honest. I am not sure I could have quite coped with two school diaries, two sets of Harvest Festivals, Christmas Fairs, etc etc and they are only still in prep school grin

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 17:41:12

The one who had a bad lisp not sure of her name.

Xenia you keep mentioning that most children cant get in to Habs or NLCS and you are correct, but there are a lot of parents who want a more nurturing and rounded education for their children. My DD has an IQ of 145 she is exceptionally bright as are my 3 boys but Habs is not the right school for us as a family, so please don’t assume that we are getting a lesser education just because our school is not 30th in the FT league tables.

lighthousekeeping Sat 10-Nov-12 17:44:17

snobbery? you must be blinking joking. I dont care where anyone sends their child to school!! Jewish Mother of the year was my guilty pleasure and, that is all.

mirry2 Sat 10-Nov-12 17:49:42

We sent our dd to Habs because we thought it was a lovely school and it suited our dd perfectly. She has had a shining academic career and would have done just as well in any school, private or state, because she is naturally very bright, has always worked very hard and is hghly motivated to do well. Like most Habs girls she is also very modest about her achievements as she was surrounded by peers who were just as bright as herself.

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 17:50:01

I hate the inverted snobbery displayed in dinkybinky and lighthousekeepers last posts.

Snobbery??? I mentioned one of the Mothers from NLCS was on the TV, how is that being a snob?

mirry2 Sat 10-Nov-12 17:51:20

Dinky you are being disingenuous.

ReallyTired Sat 10-Nov-12 17:54:55

"If a school can’t get the best out of a hand selected child it doesn’t say much for the teaching standards."

You can take a horse to water, but not make it drink.

If a child chooses not to work then no amount of good teaching, cohersion, money is going to make that child achieve. If a child wont put in the work then frankly there is little point in them being in such an enviromnent. I doult that the children are "thick" and prehaps the problem is laziness.

There are a small number of children in the roughest of state schools who achieve as well as those in the best private schools. Personally I feel relieved that grit and determination makes a greater difference in life than private education.

However that is another thread.

lighthousekeeping Sat 10-Nov-12 17:58:01

dinky we must keep our love of trash tv on the telly threads grin

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 18:13:17

It was rather trashy wasnt it smile

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 18:15:17

full of trashy Jewesses just like NLCS dinky? I see.

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 18:24:28

Why are you getting defensive….. you’re not Emma are you?

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 18:28:33

why do you think?
and no I am not emma whoever she is.

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 18:31:43

I actually meant their behaviour was trashy as was the show but NOT the religion, you said that!

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 18:34:06

disingenuous........yes..a good term for dinky.

Xenia Sat 10-Nov-12 19:21:02

Well a lot of us who are Habs and NLCS parents think those schools are also nuturing and terribly well rounded - bright girls tend to be good at everything, sport, music etc so even the non work stuff is higher standard at academic schools. Anyway if you have found a school you like that's brilliant. It's not a competition.

Also the fact some parents may differ from each other or go on TV shows I don't think really reflects on a school. Those parents had me and a vast variety of other different mothers and fathers. I have not watched the Jewish mothers threads although by its title it sounds a bit sexist. The best Jewish mothers we hope are leading surgeons and top QCs as indeed many Jewish women are.

Vanessa Feltz was a Habs parent and the Borat creator went to Habs boys. These schools have a huge mix of interesting parents and children. However they are also nurturing and rounded. I do not accept you need a school for children with mixed IQs in order to find a school which is rounded and nurturing. State grammars may be exam factories but schools like Eton and NLCS and their like are massively rounded. They provide education of the whole person. My daughters got as much out of the non academic work side (much more actually) than the school work. I think one was best at all sports in her school in her year (and of course I might have preferred she was top of maths of something laughing as I type...)but that roundedness is great. You want them to find that one thing they can be good at even if it that is being bored or stamp collecting or whatever life long enthusiasms they find. These schools enable that. Long may they last.

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 21:42:50

Well a lot of us who are Habs and NLCS parents think those schools are also nuturing and terribly well rounded

You said that your DD left Habs years ago, Xenia. It’s very odd how you give advice/opinion on a school that your child doesn’t even attend.

MordionAgenos Sat 10-Nov-12 22:34:21

Not all state grammars are exam factories. It may well be that none of them are.

mirry2 Sat 10-Nov-12 22:54:58

Dinky you clearly have some negative thoughts about NLCS and Habs.
What are your main objections to the schools? Which local state schools do youprefer and why?

dinkybinky Sat 10-Nov-12 23:12:09

I dont have negative thoughts at all, I have just heard quite a lot about both schools because I grew up in the area. None of what I have heard has been that great so I was quite surprised to see such a defencive stance taken by parents who have not had children in the school for years.

I cant comment on state schools , Ive got one at Oxford and the others are in a lovely prep school.

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 23:27:31

I dont have negative thoughts at all, I have just heard quite a lot about both schools because I grew up in the area. None of what I have heard has been that great
you just contradicted yourself in two sentences btw - what's wrong did somebody fail the exams?

Xenia Sun 11-Nov-12 09:33:24

It wasn't that long ago. I never write about schools where I still have a child. If they were still there I would not write about the schools. She was there from 4 - 18 and it will not have changed much since then. They go back sometimes and we know lots of people who still go there. I am not yet 80 with a child at school 40 years ago quite....

Most parents at the schools and the girls love them. If some locals who don't go there hear the schools aren't very good feel free to avoid the schools.

The fees are about £10k a year Habs and £12k NLCS I think from memory.

I would certainly encourage parents to apply to both schools.

I have very often heard parents who had chidlren too thick to get in diss these schools to be honest. They talk about exam factories and the like and it's just that little Johnny or Joan who the parent thinks is marvellous has a low IQ.

dinkybinky Sun 11-Nov-12 10:53:58

Goralka..what's wrong did somebody fail the exams?

Xenia..I have very often heard parents who had chidlren too thick to get in diss these schools to be honest. They talk about exam factories and the like and it's just that little Johnny or Joan who the parent thinks is marvellous has a low IQ.

Words fail me at the level of arrogance; do you not see how your comments can put prospective parents off the school? You assume just because someone does not like the school that their child is not intelligent enough or must have failed the test.

goralka Sun 11-Nov-12 10:59:58

po' dinky

Just out of interest Xenia, what do you think of the Cambridge Independnat schools?

Xenia Sun 11-Nov-12 11:20:49

I often get selectively quoted. I have said if people are happy with other schools that is great and chidlren do well in a variety of schools but it is certanily the case that parents of children who dont' haev a hope of getting into academic schools then go around say they are exam factories when that is not the case. Of course parents will pick other schools for all kinds of reasons - they may want a religious one or home education or summer hill (no compulsory lessons) or boarding or even choose a sink comp for political reasons or state grammar for financial reasons. I love it that we have that choice and variety. This thread was only about Habs. I don't have views on schools in all areas of the UK.

mirry2 Sun 11-Nov-12 11:42:02

So dinky, if you've sent your children to private schools in or around north London, you aren't against private education, just Habs and NLCS.
Which private schools did you choose that gave your children a more rounded education?

dinkybinky Sun 11-Nov-12 16:33:25

My only experience of Habs is when I was looking for DD she wanted a school that could meet all her requirements she wanted to do 5 A levels and at the time Habs (not sure if it’s the same now) would only allow students to take 3 A levels so we ruled the school out. The second experience is of the boy’s school we had a look round and it didn't suit us. We still have a couple of years to decide where all the boys go but we like St Albans or MTs because they seem be nurturing as well as academic. I am not willing to share their current school on a forum.

Yellowtip Sun 11-Nov-12 18:18:58

My experience exactly matches that of Xenia(though not specifically in relation to Habs). All too often thwarted parents get quite vicious about good schools being 'exam factories'. It's that phrase that one hears over and over again when in fact the schools in question happen to get good results but do a whole lot more besides - masses more - and produce droves of perfectly rounded students by Y13 who just happen to have solid portfolios of GCSE and A Level grades but a whole lot more besides. One rarely hears the complaint from parents within these schools.

Yellowtip Sun 11-Nov-12 18:24:38

dinky did your DD really know she wanted to do 5 A Levels at the age of 10 or 11 shock? Or did you look at the school for sixth form only? Is she mathsy or did she do five arts subjects? (in which case shock again)?

Xenia Sun 11-Nov-12 18:34:30

I think you can do four to A2 if you want to (may be more?) but my own view is that better to keep time for hobbies and your social life and minimise numbers sat and I feel the same about GCSE although it does depend on the individual child.

seeker Sun 11-Nov-12 18:38:05

"I often get selectively quoted."

No you don't. You get quoted. And then when you get called on colossal arrogance and sledgehammer offensiveness you either deny intent or ignore the challenge.

Which is a shame, because there is lots of useful and thought provoking stuff in your posts. If you could only do it without feeling the need to administer a good kicking to those in a less fortunate position than you......

seeker Sun 11-Nov-12 18:38:45

Oh, and 5 A levels is insane.

Xenia Sun 11-Nov-12 18:41:03

"less fortunate" are you implying those who earn nothing are less fortunate though. That's a value judgment in itself. Perhaps the most fortunate are those with no money or kept by a husband or who simply are happy or with their baby 24.7.

seeker Sun 11-Nov-12 18:45:05

See? Absolutely no self awareness/self analysis at all!

dinkybinky Sun 11-Nov-12 19:01:23

Oh, and 5 A levels is insane.

I know, but she wanted to do them and she did extremely well. They were all academic subjects, Yellowtip.

"I often get selectively quoted." laughing hysterically grin

MordionAgenos Sun 11-Nov-12 19:09:19

@yellow exactly. Although of course Xenia herself used the term 'exam factory' not that long ago in the thread to refer to state grammar schools. With, one assumes, the same motivation.

exoticfruits Sun 11-Nov-12 19:18:53

I can't see the point in 5 A'levels-they could spend the time on other things.

Yellowtip Sun 11-Nov-12 19:29:33

Artsy is obviously just as likely to be academic as mathsy/ sciency dinky. And I can see she did well. I'm just wondering if Further Maths was amongst her options? It would make it more normal. Presumably you're not counting General Studies or the EPQ? (because presumably it wasn't invented).

Five full A Levels is at least one too many as far as I'm concerned. But did she really know she wanted to do five when she was in Y6? And she therefore presumably knew which ones? I'm interested, especially since the outcome was good.

MordionAgenos Sun 11-Nov-12 19:32:44

DD1 wants to do 5. I don't think she will, though.

exoticfruits Sun 11-Nov-12 19:41:39

There are so many other things she could learn without an exam at the end of it.

Yellowtip Sun 11-Nov-12 19:44:24

Blimey Mordion. And the EPQ? And all her music? And GS and CT? And the journey? And with the exams all going linear?

She's welcome to talk to mine if you want her dissuaded smile

MordionAgenos Sun 11-Nov-12 20:04:00

@yellow exactly. But ...and the is a but....music only takes 2 years. She wants to do performance studies A level at the theatre group she goes to (you might know it). She'd be going to the classes anyway, she would die rather than give that up, the singing element would be so synergistic with other stuff, it might be useful for the EPQ, and it would be very useful for her future career in all sorts of ways. And they get amazing results - they only let a few kids do the course and they have all got As or A*s so far. And while her first and second study instruments will only get more full on, she's going to be winding down the other two a bit once she's in the 6th form. If she was doing a less effort intensive 4th subject than geog then I'd be less concerned. But she is (timetable allowing) so I am. If geog falls through timetable wise then her fourth choice at school is drama so that will change everything.

Xenia Sun 11-Nov-12 20:18:35

If they are very keen on something it's best to encourage it. Mine seemed to take almost a PhD in the the subject "the very barest minimum to get us to where I want to go" and I'm not saying that's good.

3 academic A2s with good grades are a good start. You do get some children doing more.

What is an EPQ?

babybarrister Sun 11-Nov-12 21:29:20

I left Habs girls a good while ago though now have friends with kids there and who are happy with it. Obviously I cannot comment on how it may have changed but I can say in terms to dinky that habs boys whilst next door has always been a totally, totally different school with no common ethosgringrin

Yellowtip Sun 11-Nov-12 22:18:47

Extended Project Xenia. A long essay, not quite a dissertation. Best if it's cross curricular. In points terms worth an AS. But good for independent learning, university interviews etc.

My DC seem to think Habs girls are good. Fun, nice, very clever and accomplished etc. The eldest five babysit for a Habs Boys teacher (a very seasoned one). He's great. Fabulous really. What's the deal with Habs Boys according to you babybarrister? I know what this particular teacher says about the ethos/ results/ parent body but I'm assuming you think Habs Boys falls short in comparison to Habs Girls? How?

seeker Sun 11-Nov-12 22:37:09

The people we know doing 5 a levels literally have no life at all. No time to be in plays, or be prefects or do all the other stuff that being in the 6th form means.

And they are risking spreading thselves so thin that they don't do as well as they should- so they lose out all round.

Yellowtip Sun 11-Nov-12 22:48:56

Hmm not sure about that as a universal truth seeker, since I know friends of my DC who have managed five and a life. But Further Maths is usually the fifth, and life is squeezed. At the end of the day I doubt that fifth makes any difference to university offers and that the university offers would have come flooding in to those particular students whatever.

seeker Mon 12-Nov-12 07:10:48

I didn't say it was a universal truth. I said that among the people I know here in the real world it is the case. The exceptions being a maths whizz and a girl who is bilingual doing an additional a level in her first language.

mummyru Mon 12-Nov-12 13:36:00

Could anybody tell me if knowing few languages is actually a good thing when applying to HABs or NLCS? My daughter is a trilingual child and I am worried that her English won't be as fluent as others. I am not English myself so can't give her a good level of English.


mirry2 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:42:29

mummyru are you talking about a 4 year entry or an 11 year entry? Personally I wouldn't think it would have a negative impact at 4 but it wouldn't be an advantage either.
At 11 it would depend on the level of fluency but I would think it might be seen as an advantage. Some children at the school are fluent in other languages eg Japanese, chinese, hebrew, gujerati (sp!)

mummyru Mon 12-Nov-12 13:56:20

mirry2, I consider a 4 year entry. I just wonder if they take it into account. I would really want her to try an academic school. She is only little (21 month old), but very strong willed and just loves numbers. At about 12 months she could indentify big number (e.g. 231, 187 etc). Now she could do some equation - add, subtraction, multiply, devide in her head (up to 100). But its only in my native language. Reading is also in my language.

mirry2 Mon 12-Nov-12 14:02:48

Phone the school secretary and ask. They're used to these sort of questions.
You could also just enter her for the assessment. Check when the closing date is. I thik they may charge a fee for the assessment so check that and as long as you can afford it I would just go for it. The worst that can happen is that she is turned down.

highschoolmum Mon 12-Nov-12 14:05:36

OP hasn't been back to tell us how her daughter has a place when the assessments haven't taken place yet confused

mummyru Mon 12-Nov-12 14:43:23

Thanks. just was wondering if somebody had similar experience. I was even considering to get an English tutor to get a decent level of English.

Xenia Mon 12-Nov-12 22:03:24

My daughter with 4 English grandparents often seemed just about the only child at Habs who wasn't billingual actually. I would say most children are at classes on Saturday of their mother tongue and that was very varied from Hebrew to Polish to all the others. So I would say it was normal to have another language. I would imagine that if the child at 4+ doesn't speak though or cannot understand English that is when there might be a problem.

I don't think you need to read at Habs at 4. My oldest who was a later reader at 6 and did very well got in and her younger sister who went to NLCS didn't and at nearly 4 could read every book they brought to her in the reading scheme on the interview day so they clearly weren't looking for early readers that day.

sanam2010 Tue 13-Nov-12 06:55:07

Mummyru, NLCS asks about other languages the child speaks on the application form and asks parents if they want this to be taken into account at the 4+ assessment so they definitely take it into account - but you should still make sure he can speak English, otherwise it will be very hard for them to assess

I don't think an English tutor will help much at all at that age, children mostly learn from other children so i would highly recommend sending her to nursery where she will pick it up quickly.

My DD (just over 2) is trilingual, neither me nor DH speaks English with her but bc she's been in nursery full-time since she was 6 months old, she's picked up a lot of English and even speaks with a cute London accent which is very funny for us. And it definitely isn't from the nursery staff who are mostly Eastern European, so it must be from the other children! She says "more please darling" when she asks me for food which we find hilarious.

A tutor can never teach a child at that age what they could just pick up while playing with other children. Even three or four mornings a week in a nursery will give your daughter a perfect chance to have a good level of English by the time she's 4.

mummyru Tue 13-Nov-12 12:44:12

sanam2010, my DD will be 3,5 y.o. when she goes to nursery. So she will have 4 month nursery experience before the assessment. Obviously I go to music and art classes everyday with her. She can understand and say some odd words in English. My DH is also English but works alot abroad . My concern is that she won't have the same advanced level of English by the time she is 4. She also does another language (Chinese) with a tutor. She has started from September and by now can understand the teacher, point at things, numbers, some Chinese characters.
Im curious how can you manage 3 languages with your daughter ? You say she goes to English nursery full time from a very young age. I speak and do alot with my daughter in my native language (Russian). After the day my throat hurts I speak so much lol. Still I am worried that she will switch to English when she goes to nursery and wont speak Russian properly. The same thing with Chinese (second language). She does 2 hours every day (6 days) with a tutor otherwise it won't be a good level of Chinese. So I dont know how to compromise and will the school understand this.

I am not worried about other things because I do activities all day long with her. Spend all my evenings preparing materials though sad

Xenia Tue 13-Nov-12 15:00:53

As the testing is in English (as far as I am aware) it is sensible to make sure they can speak English reasonably well.
Some of it is down to luck. Our second one who didn't get into Habs but went to NLCS at 7 we always thought in part did not get in as triplet girls got three places although who knows what the reason was and she did pretty well at NLCS anyway which is arguably marginally better (for A levels anyway).

seeker Tue 13-Nov-12 15:11:17

<wonders whether it's worth starting rumour that Habs requires Latin in its 4year old assessment. Outs self as Latin tutor>

sanam2010 Tue 13-Nov-12 15:25:24

Mummyru, why don't you just start her in nursery earlier? 4 months is indeed a short time to be picking up English. Music classes etc. aren't really the same I think in terms of learning.

How do we manage three languages? Well I don't know really how well she'll speak all of them, I assume English will be dominant, but as long as you meet up with fellow natives from your country and do some holidays with grandparents etc. I think it's fine. As long as she can speak the others fluently (even if her writing is not fluent) I don't mind as her schooling will be in English. And there's a lot of time later, you could always do Russian school etc. later when she's 7 or something like that. Languages come naturally to children as long as they're exposed to them, I think one summer away will fix anything. I don't worry about it bc I know many multilingual children, children who moved continents and they were always fine and picked languages up quickly. My nephews moved to West Africa at 3 and 5, neither of them were native French speakers but they went to French nursery and then French school and they are both top of their class at 6 and 8, just took them a year or so to settle in. I know many such cases. If your daughter is bright (and from what you are saying she certainly sounds like it!) i really don't think you need to worry, as long as she mixes a lot with other kids she'll pick everything up in no time.

I also registered my DD at a couple of schools that do first come first served just in case the assessments don't go well, which I think can easily happen at such a young age, so she has a place at Hill House Intl School just in case, but NLCS sounds fantastic so we'll try that when the time comes...

Xenia Tue 13-Nov-12 16:23:26

My recollection, although entry may have changed, was that they genuinely were not looking for crammed learning but just can this child interact (it is hard to assess those who sit in a corner sobbing, those who don't say a word and those who go round thumping everyone for example), do they respond to questions, perhaps can they recognise their name from a pile of names or the first letter of their name, can they work in a group with others, do they seem on the ball, a bright spark, interested in things etc etc.

mirry2 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:33:19

#We never knew what exactly happened in the assessments. I think there were 2 stages - at the first visit all the girls were taken off for a playgroup assessment while the parents were left in the staff common room. Girls who were shorllisted at this stage, returned on a separate day when each was taken off for a one-to-one with an admission teacher. Trying to prise out of a 3/4 year old what went on in either session was almost impossible.
All I know is that the room was set up like a nursery school/reception class, with a book corner and a home corner.At this stage the parents had individual meetings with one of the senior teachers where we talked about fairly inconsequential matter.

I suppose at the very least, any girls giong through this selection process would need to be confident enough to leave their parents and go off with an unknown teacher.

fraktion Tue 13-Nov-12 16:37:14

I'm not up for the fight, and neither is my DD. We're quiet. Keep ourselves to ourselves.

I wouldn't send a shy/less confident child to Habs. I am exceptional among the Habs girls I know who is exceptionally grateful for the bits of paper and the hardening I got but it was not a happy time.

I would say this: the current head was deputy when I was there. She told me mother that 'I know DD2 is poorly but DD1 is acting out. You should spend more time with her. Take her shopping or something'. hmm My sister was critically ill, I wasn't attention seeking and anyway my mother and I both hate shopping. I just hope her pastoral skills have improved.

Xenia Tue 13-Nov-12 18:02:19

There was no hardening. In fact I think at all the schools we talked to for 4+ they said they like a mixture of children in the class, some quite and some louder as I'm sure most teachers want. You don't want a class full of noisy ones nor a class of ones who never speak.

PoppyAmex Tue 13-Nov-12 19:04:48

"There was no hardening"

Well, maybe not for your children but it's rude and patronising to dismiss fraktion's experience.

She actually went to that school (unlike you) and that's what she felt.

Xenia Tue 13-Nov-12 19:56:00

Of course. At every school in the land you will get a girl bullied, a girl who hates schools, a teacher no one likes etc. I am just commenting that I know loads and loads of Habs girls and none are like that or hard or whatever. They are just normal girls. I remember the school telling girls to take a break, relax, keep up your hobbies, don't over work.

fraktion Tue 13-Nov-12 22:50:20

Actually I'm not disagreeing with take a break/keep up your hobbies/balance your work xenia but there was a certain amount of 'you are a Habs girl, you can and you will succeed at anything you put your mind to'. Possibly toughening up would be a better way to put it. Failure was never really an option and that carries on even though I left 10 years ago. Now that can be damaging, especially if you don't meet the set goals, and it's hard to break out and do what you want instead of what the school does but the resilience is an important life lesson. It doesn't make it a happy one.

fraktion Tue 13-Nov-12 23:00:59

And by being exceptional Habs girls either love it and recommend it unreservedly or hate it and say its a horrible, bitchy, hot house. I definitely didn't live it but I appreciate the experiences and cety much sporeciate the academic success. It is what it is, a very academic school with an emphasis on excellence. There is an expectation that you will do well. It can be bitch, it's single sex. It can be pressured but 99% of the time it's what you're doing to yourself. What it doesn't do so well is pastoral care and encouraging social skills. To survive you need to a) be so extraordinarily academic everyone else is in see of you, b) be very musical/arty/sporty c) be sociable and pretty and have good parties. It isn't enough to be clever because everyone is and it isn't enough to be average at what you do.

Xenia Wed 14-Nov-12 08:48:08

I agree it is often about what you do to yourself. My daughters' friends, the few who felt pressured, that was from inside the girl. I certainly never felt mine were much pressured at all. In fact I have yet to produce a child to seems to be pressured. They seem to be doing PhDs in being laid back. (Couldn't be bothered to try to Oxbridge because it would mean some extra classes, only a few but far too much effort for them.... laughing as I type, not that of course I know if they would have got in and not that it has mattered they didn't now they have jobs etc)

I want them at schools where it is expected they would do well but also at home it is clear they can do as they choose and if all 5 become contemplative nuns/priests or immans or whatever that is up to them. There are plenty of ways to lead a good life.

I don't think my girls have bad social skills. In fact I felt they learned more on that than I did at school. They are very sporty and we are a very musical family, 2 grade 8s each etc and just seem to have an innate ability to sing well and the girls don't look too bad but I think all successful schools willh ave groups of pupils surely and you can find your own group whether that be nerd genius or borderline aspergers or coolest of the cool. I am not sure Habs/NLCS are any different from other schools on those issues.

dinkybinky Wed 14-Nov-12 09:36:28

Couldn't be bothered to try to Oxbridge because it would mean some extra classes, only a few but far too much effort for them.... laughing as I type, not that of course I know if they would have got in and not that it has mattered they didn't now they have jobs etc)


mirry2 Wed 14-Nov-12 09:43:01

My dd went to Oxford from Habs but didn't do any extra classes or if she did I never heard about them. However I agree with Xenia that she didn't exhibit being under any pressure at Habs and got stunning results.

MordionAgenos Wed 14-Nov-12 09:58:22

I didn't do any extra classes to go to Cambridge and that was in the days of the entrance exam. grin

The people I know with daughters at Habs and the people I know who went to Habs all think it's a great school though. I'm sure it is. Some people will find pressure anywhere and that;s obviously a shame but it seems that most of the people there thrive in that environment.

Xenia Wed 14-Nov-12 11:04:12

I certainly did not make that up. I remember being at a parents' evening when it was discussed. I suppose I might have muddled it with NLCS. I expect it was just some kind of preparation for Oxbridge.

I think the fact most girls thrive shows the schools are choosing the right girls so on the whole it all works.

smallbluestar Thu 15-Nov-12 18:59:08

This thread has worried me! My dd will be sitting the Habs 4+ in January and she can neither speak Spanish nor ride a horse. But you know, I can't ride a horse or speak Spanish either - and I spent 11 happy years at the school. Not sure how I managed, on reflection...

Xenia Thu 15-Nov-12 20:46:58

My recollection of when my daughter got in at 4+ was they went on about how little you needed to know. I remember asking early on if she should be a different morning nursery school than Montessori and they said no that was fine. Just be relaxed about it.

Dancergirl Fri 16-Nov-12 00:06:41

Very, very pressurised environment.

A friend whose dds go there told me that a Maths teacher told her class that if they all get at least an A for GCSE, she'll take them out for a pizza or something. Says it all really....what about the poor girl who gets a B?

mirry2 Fri 16-Nov-12 00:36:05

Dancergirl - I can't imagine any teacher at Habs dong that. The vast majority get A and A* so the teacher wuld have to take about 28 girls out. i wonder if it's a different Haberdashers that you are tlking about?

mirry2 Fri 16-Nov-12 00:36:31

sorry- doing, not dong!

Dancergirl Fri 16-Nov-12 00:43:07

Nope, the v same Elstree one. She meant she'd take the whole class out if they ALL got As. No pressure then.

That's my point, anything less than an A is seen as a failure.

Xenia Fri 16-Nov-12 07:53:26

Sounds a bit weird although what is wrong with saying you get a pizza if you all get an A? My daughter was in the bottom of 5 sets of maths at Habs and got an A. I wouldi magine most get As and I also expect these girls are not so short of pizzas that that is some kind of massive unusual treat....

Turniphead1 Sat 17-Nov-12 11:22:56

I imagine that whilst going for pizza would not be a treat - but going out with a teacher, full stop would be considered desirable.
Not sure what's wrong with incentivising the girls in that way - given that most of them would be pretty motivated in any case.

mirry2 Sat 17-Nov-12 11:40:08

While it sounds a nice idea I wonder how this would work, as by the time the GCSE results come out the girls will be in 6th form, in different sets studying different subjects with different teachers. Also, roughly 95% of the girls get As at GCSE, how would the one or two girls in the class feel if the pizza outing didn't take place because they didn't meet the grade?

Dancergirl Sat 17-Nov-12 11:49:49

Exactly, mirry' I imagine they wouldn't feel v good about themselves. There are better ways to motivate.

mirry2 Sat 17-Nov-12 12:06:29

Yes dancergirl but my point is that I doubt it would happen that a teacher at #habs would do that. They are expected to get As across the board so rewards don't apply. It more likely that their teacher offered to pay for pizzas for her class to be delivered to the school after the exams as a reward for working hard. I know that this has happened in the past.

Dancergirl Sat 17-Nov-12 12:27:11

You may 'doubt' it but I have heard this directly from a parent of a girl in this class. The exact details of the reward are not relevant but it's the whole focus on getting an A that I object to. This is the bottom maths set and according to my friend some of those girls would be happy with a B. For them to hear, however subtly, that a B isn't good enough is not on.

mirry2 Sat 17-Nov-12 12:37:13

Dancergirl, have you been to Habs or do you have a dd at Habs? In that environment it is perfectly reasonable for the pupils to be striving for an A with the expectation that they will probably get it. The name 'bottom maths set' is a bit of a misnomer.

babybarrister Sat 17-Nov-12 14:26:42

Also do you know what in fact happened afterwards? I would have thought it v unlikely any teacher would actually have intended to take 31 screechy 16 year old girls out frankly whether they all get into Oxbridgegrin - I went there fwiw albeit a good while ago now ....

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 14:36:11

There's no problem. Those of us who want our daughters to do well, earn a lot and get As will be happy with schools like NLCS and Habs and those like mirry2 who think schools should aim at Cs and go for the lowest common denominator can pick comprehensives with low exam scores and we are all happy.

I don't think the pizza anecdotes matters much but I do think the point about high expectations of clever girls is very valid and something that can be lacking in some schools.

Also if you take any group of girls in a selective top 20 school in the state or private sector as said above it is not that surprising if they should aim for and get mostly or all As. I have sat at tables with men showing off about whether their child got the 11 A* at GCSE thing (not that my children did and not that I think showing off about results is a nice way to be). Their sons were at St Paul's and Habs boys.

MordionAgenos Sat 17-Nov-12 15:11:36

Actually, those who feel they have to pay for places at Habs and NLCS in order for their daughters to get As and earn a lot can carry on doing so and good luck to them. Maybe their kids really do need that extra push to do ok. Those of us who can send our children (girls and boys) to equally good schools with equally good outcomes for free will carry on doing that. I'm sure the people spending all their money on school fees only to get the same or slightly less good outcomes won't feel too dejected primarily because apparently they lack the wit to see that there is a better way. I on the other hand would feel pretty silly if I was always banging on about how great private education is and then I met individuals with better educational and professional outcomes to me who had gone to state schools.

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 15:14:51

The 8% getting the 50% good places etc seem to think spending the money is worthwhile. Interesting that private schooling has been very resilient even in the recession. I suspect those of us who choose to pay are not lacking in understanding of the benefits. There are a whole load of soft benefits too which flow on a daily basis too which of course some people find in the state system but is harder to find - more likely to get lakes and fields in the private sector, more likely to be good parents' choirs and may be parents with whom you have things in common. None of it matters - parents in both sectors are happy therefore all is well and as in most things choice is good to see.

CecilyP Sat 17-Nov-12 16:05:33

But it isn't 8% getting 50% of the good places. According to the link you kindly provided yesterday, it s 50% at Oxbridge and at another small number of handpicked higher education providers, some of which themselves are very small. There are plenty of other good places where the proportions are nothing like that.

mirry2 Sat 17-Nov-12 16:25:17

Well Mordian I really couldn't care less about the school choices other people make and whether their dd achieved better or equivalent results for free. I know Habs was the right school for my dd and I was very happy that I was able to pay the fees. I didn't send her to the school for her to get as; rather it was that I liked the whole ethos of female empowerment.
Of course an able child will achieve excellent results and a professional career, if that's what they want, whether educated in the state or private school sector.

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 16:54:49

I think if you added in good universities like Durham and Bristol that 50% is pretty constant. Anyway those who think the 8% are not hugely advantaged can use the comprehensive system - I am not proposing that if you can afford a private school place you be forced to buy one to save tax payers money although that is certainly something the state might consider.

APMF Sat 17-Nov-12 17:26:43

A friend of mine had his DD privately educated. She took her GCSEs this summer and came away with two As. The rest was Bs and Cs. His sister sent her kid to St Olaves and ended up with better grades for free.

The usual suspects will probably go 'case proven' but what they miss is that the state schools where he lives are nowhere as good as St Olaves. His DD isn't very academic so if she had gone to the local state school she would probably have got mostly Bs and Cs.

My friend gets it that his money only got him a set of ok grades that is lower than his state educated niece. But he is happy that his not very academic DD got a slate of ok grades.

To listen to the usual suspects talk, you would think that the private schools were running a big con and only they are clever enough to see pass this con [rolls eyes] smile

dinkybinky Sat 17-Nov-12 17:46:38

How do you think the teaching standards compare at super selective`s V not so selective private schools?

slipshodsibyl Sat 17-Nov-12 18:16:49

It is' free', not 'for free'. What is going on in these state and private super-selectives!

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 18:20:40

Yes, I cringed too. We never say "for free" in our house as it is a superfluous preposition. However as Mord is in the state school camp and I'm polite I didn't say so.

The other one that jumped out from the post was "If I was" rather than "If I were". We love our subjunctives in this house and I hope Habs does.

Another one - with better educational outcomes to me. I think it is always "better than"...

You get what you pay for I suppose.

slipshodsibyl Sat 17-Nov-12 18:25:43

Well it seems to me all the contributors are getting stuff (or not) for free, regardless of sector.

LaVolcan Sat 17-Nov-12 19:02:38

'I was always banging on'

Pardon me, isn't this the past continuous here, because the action is interrupted (when individuals educated in a state school come along)?

If you want a subjunctive you could replace 'then I met individuals' with 'then I were to meet' which would go with the 'I would feel pretty silly'.

happymumof2kids Sat 17-Nov-12 19:16:21

A school that is highly selective would of course achieve the superior results, so even if school/teachers/education are mediocre, pupils will still do well as they have already been pre selected at entry.

MordionAgenos Sat 17-Nov-12 19:19:11

@Xenia people who went to Cambridge say 'for free'. so now you know grin

MordionAgenos Sat 17-Nov-12 19:27:19

Incidentaly, since Xenia often makes the most ridiculous grammatical and spelling mistakes in her posts - quite likely because she is posting in a rush and doesn't bother to proof her posts (and probably, like me, is accustomed to having staff proof her writing anyway) I find her comments a little bit pot kettle. Especially since I have never (till now) commented on her many mistakes.

However notwithstanding the future possibilities for nitpicking that I am now entitled to exploit, that will teach me to post on MN from my phone when I'm supposed to be sorting out network permissions though (I messed them up too.) blush

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 19:29:08

I didn't raise those things. They did genuinely make me cringe and I did not mention them because it just spoils threads but as it was about good educations and someone else raised it I just added my comments. I am sure I make lots of typos.

Perhaps we could all on the thread make it our mission this week to work on ensuring the nation as a whole never says this is for free and always says "this if free"

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 19:29:33

is... laughing as I type.
Our second lesson of the day is I were you never if I was...
forgotten the other one now.

LaVolcan Sat 17-Nov-12 19:37:05

Second lesson:that the subjunctive be taught correctly?

dinkybinky Sun 18-Nov-12 08:49:50

A school that is highly selective would of course achieve the superior results, so even if school/teachers/education are mediocre, pupils will still do well as they have already been pre selected at entry.

So that would suggest that intelligent children at state or non selective schools will also do well because its down to the child to do well not the institution.

mirry2 Sun 18-Nov-12 11:50:39

Dinkybinky I think it stands to reason that schools with children who have been selected on academic merit or potential are likely to get better results overall than schools that don't select.

However we chose Habs at 5 because of the stimulating environment and ethos rather than the academic results at 18. Our dd had spent a reception year at a local school so it was very easy to compare the sort of primary education she was getting at our local school with the one she would get at Habs.

CecilyP Sun 18-Nov-12 17:43:09

I think if you added in good universities like Durham and Bristol that 50% is pretty constant. Anyway those who think the 8% are not hugely advantaged can use the comprehensive system - I am not proposing that if you can afford a private school place you be forced to buy one to save tax payers money although that is certainly something the state might consider.

No Xenia, your link had the 10 universities and other HE providers which took the lowest percentage of state school pupils. Amongst them were both Durham and Bristol at about 60%, and bottom of the ten was Imperial College at 63%. Each extra university to be added, from number 11 onwards, would take the average percentage of state school pupils higher.

Xenia Sun 18-Nov-12 18:58:11

Someone posted this table on another thread showing which universities people go to which is very good or at least I would say that as NLCS is best in the country, Habs girls about 5th and my son's school in the top 10 I think.


dinkybinky Sun 18-Nov-12 19:13:06

Xenia, what makes NLCS or Habs better than other schools, apart from selection at entry? Is the work they do at an advanced level are the teachers outstanding, what is it?

Xenia Sun 18-Nov-12 19:25:36

It's very interesting because it's not as if they are the only good schools in the same area. St Paul's is there too and a good few schools a level down so there is huge competition for the brightest girls and the less well paid parents will also be considering some of the best state schools in the country like Henrietta Barnet and yet still Habs./NLCS are there in the top 5 of all schools in the country getting the most girls into the best universities.

Obviously the main reason selective schools do well is that they select. I suspect they are fairly good at selecting and some schools are not so good. They also are lucky enough to draw from a huge mix of potential pupils from all kinds of races and backgrounds and immigrants always work very very hard. You don't get that benefit in schools in some other parts of the country.

We had a few threads comparing which types of univesrities teachers went to in different types of schools and it did seem private schools had teachers who had been to the best universities more than some state schools although that isn't always what makes a good teacher of course. I certainly felt all my children have been well taught.

I think the guidance on where to apply is wise at some schools. I suspect my daughter wul not be in the job she now is had she read a different su