Choosing secondary for isolated girl

(21 Posts)
Habanera Wed 15-May-13 09:31:33

DD2 several years ahead of peers - prone to low self esteem and depression age 10 and prefers to spend all her time reading fiction/watching tv alone at home. All. School is too easy she is regarded as weird and I think she is switching off.

We could afford to go private and willing to drive also to grammar. DD1 will be cross but doesn't have such bad social challenges, local comp is suiting her mostly. Also 3 years ahead so I can't imagine they will see much of one another. I hate the idea of the comp for DD2 having seen it in action but DD1is settled and v opinionated so battle lost there.

Can anyone recommend school in north London/west herts area?
I think all girls might be better.

daytoday Wed 15-May-13 10:30:25

Hi there,

It sounds as if your lovely daughter will thrive academically wherever she goes. So maybe you want to isolate and look at schools with outstanding reputations for nurturing and pastoral care.

Where you are based, I would suggest you look at St Christophers in Letchworth. They have lots of coaches routes so maybe there is one near you?

It has an utterly outstanding reputation for pastoral care and nurturing children where THEY need to be nurtured.

Carolra Wed 15-May-13 10:39:08

I went to King Alfred’s School in North London... My mum sent me there for all the same reasons you speak about with your DD. I was ahead academically but really struggled with social interaction. At the time, KAS focussed on helping you develop as an individual rather than just academically, although I hear they’ve let league tables influence this a bit recently, but I don’t know for sure. Its co-ed, but I liked that because I found friendships easier with boys than I did with girls at secondary school age (boys are a bit more straightforward!)

They were pretty good at challenging me academically as well, Maths was my really strong subject and my teacher helped me access books that weren't available as part of the usual school curriculum. I did them in my spare time... I was a bit nerdy!!!

I agree with daytoday though, that I'd worry less about your DD academically as she sounds like she's got that covered.

Habanera Wed 15-May-13 12:30:07

I hadn't considered these, in fact I didn't realise they were secondary as well as primary-I like the concept and they are do-able. And sound lovely-I will research!

So far I've managed to sell the general idea to DH that she needs something differnet but we were more (over) focussed on the academics. I guess the thinking was that academic success would be its own reward like it has been for us.

Am I expecting too much for a school to help much with a personality difference and friendship issues as well as providing the academics? Though tbh I think the feeling of being isolated is down to being so obviously different. Boys, well they do seem to take over all the limelight atm! And really most of them are in such a different place for the next few years.....

iseenodust Wed 15-May-13 12:54:50

I would not take the focus off the academics. For want of a better phrase, we wanted a likely pool of geek friends for DS. As someone who was quite bright at school I also found boys easier to get along with (and I was never in any way a tomboy).

Habanera Wed 15-May-13 21:44:55

Hmm anyone able to recommend academic girls school for uncool but nice girl? She is friendly given a a chance.

katrinefonsmark Wed 15-May-13 21:50:37

Go as academic as you can. She's more likely to meet like minded friends and she does need friends.

katrinefonsmark Wed 15-May-13 22:00:07

Lady Eleanor Holles and North London Collegiate are or were in top 50 indep schools.

Would she be in the catchment area to apply for Watford Girls' Grammar? The postcodes that can apply are listed in the admissions details on the school website.

Or in the independent sector, would Haberdashers be suitable? I was very happy there.

Habanera Thu 16-May-13 07:26:58

Hi thanks for these suggestions - no we aren't in catchment for Watford. I was planning to try Henrietta Barnet but it is so oversubscribed with kids who spend years prepping for their exams, then I wonder if she did get in would she just be lost in the crowd. It more to practice doing a test. Will have to look up lady e h
NLCS is worth a try also Habs girls, I wondered if they had enough friendly geeks ! wink what did you like about it Threebee?

Many of the teachers were really inspiring and in top sets we covered challenging (and therefore fun) material.

We were encouraged to question things if we didn't agree with them.

I could get very high marks without anyone taking the piss or calling me a swot.

The careers advice was good and we had a lot of advice and support for university applications.

There were plenty of geeky and quirky girls. The geekiest group were even geekier than me. Two or three went on to become sound engineers.

There were sporting opportunities, but I actively avoided them. Lots of music; I belonged to two choirs and went on to get a choral scholarship at university.

It was expensive, and involved my parents having to work abroad in order to earn enough, but I was a gifted and rather prickly teenager who probably would have been unhappy elsewhere. I was certainly unhappy and bored in my primary school, despite being in the year above my age group.

lljkk Netherlands Thu 16-May-13 13:44:41

Is she truly a geek (I mean that in a nice way, Geek is a huge compliment coming from me).

She sounds a lot like me at that age only low self-esteem made me into a massive underachiever. So my top tips are:

1) don't send her same school as anyone she knows, give her a fresh start

2) send her to a school that embraces diversity and even lauds creativity as well as achievement; this may not be overall high achieving but that doesn't matter. She has it in her to be high achieving in a supportive environment, just give her a place where her quirkiness won't be a social barrier.

it's good to hear that HABS etc. are so good at social diversity. I would have guessed they were highly narrow socially (similar socio-economic status and life experiences and expectations for parents and similar social outlook for pupils). Good to hear it's not so.

When I went there the pupils came from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds, but that was a long time ago!

Habanera Thu 16-May-13 17:49:44

She's not a sciences geek, DD1 fills that role, but she is very keen on stories and writings s thinks of little else. Seems v good at spelling grammar and could do well at languages except the rubbish primary teaching is putting her off, endless repetition of things she's known for years. Probably will like history drama etc. music not PE! Films and illustrations too.
It's hard, I know DH will want her to go to the most academic but her interests I think are also a match for something less hard-line. The school DD1 is in seems a very poor fit. PE good, languages not very, English not set, maths s et but she hates maths.

lljkk Netherlands Thu 16-May-13 17:57:14

yup sounds more & more like me all the time! smile

Habanera Thu 16-May-13 22:33:16

Well I approve of geeks I am one and married into a whole family of them! In fact DD2 is a little different from the rest of family in not being into facts and documentaries- I think that's why we worry about her - the career possibilities are more competitive (arts) from our POV and we can't help as much being scientists.

It's kind of a double whammy between kids at school watching her read a loaned book in 20 minutes they have been enjoying for hours, and At home dd1 and I saying come watch this gruesome medical thing or Richard Feynman investigating the Challenger disaster, or a dramatic nature doc she patiently explains it not her thing! Doesn't like sad endings. She does like dr who, merl in, happy/funny nature docs where nothing dies or goes extinct. And comedy.

horsemadmom Thu 30-May-13 21:38:07

Do look at NLCS/Habs etc. Both my DDs are geeks in different ways. NLCS is a complete celebration of all things swotty. Nobody thinks it odd if they spend break reading under a tree.

Habanera Fri 31-May-13 23:06:12

We are going to look at NLCS Habs Hbs stags stahs parmiters and maybe channing and SHHS! Though only a few of those don't involve a fair bit of transport issues. If only I could trust the local comp, it's walking distance.

Primrose123 Tue 11-Jun-13 15:13:39

Hi Habanera, just wanted to let you know my DD sounds like yours.

In primary school, she found the work easy and was way ahead academically. She had a few friends, they were nice quiet girls, but was bullied very badly by some of the others. I think this was because she was bright, and a bit of an introvert. (She is a huge bookworm, and would rather read than do anything else!)

The bullying got so bad that she started to suffer from IBS. She was tested for all sorts in the hospital, but we were told that there was nothing wrong and that the only explanation was that she was suffering from stress. The only thing that she was unhappy about was school. sad

We are not in London, we are in rural south Wales. We made the decision to send her to a local private school. The academic results there are excellent, but most importantly, it is small, everyone knows everyone else, and the pastoral care is excellent. She has had friendship ups and downs like everyone else but on the whole, she loves it there. She has gone in today for her last GSCE.

I said to her the other day, that I wished I had moved her to a different primary school. She told me that she was glad she had stayed in her school even with the bullying, because that was the reason she went to her secondary school, and in her words, "I love my school, and wouldn't want to go anywhere else." That was wonderful to hear from a little girl who used to cry herself to sleep at night because she was so scared to go to school the next day!

Hopefully you will find a school that suits your DD the way we have. My DD is now very happy. She is still an introvert, just like me and DH! She has lots of friends though, and is very friendly with a group of 'geeky' boys! If you find a suitable school, I am sure she will make friends and blossom. Good luck!

Habanera Wed 03-Jul-13 14:07:53

Thanks for encouragement, hope your DD enjoys sixth form. We've visited two Indy schools well she only came to one, she loved it. One more next week then a couple more in the autumn. Tried a mock exam, found it very easy and fun. I bought a couple of workbooks from WH smith for her to practice first but she finished them and asked for more! Looking a lot happier, her primary school isn't too bad most if the time and she makes the most of I.e. special activities, and she is keen to practice for the exams-I feel she shouldn't but on the other hand most kids are heavily tutored so why should she risk missing out, if she's willing.

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