North London (N1) - think I've applied to too many schools(92 Posts)
After DS was born, I applied to a bunch of schools (listed below) on the advice of friends with older children (as we may not get into them all). I am now trying to make sense of the list and come up with some order of preference.
I am also pregnant with DC2. If it is a girl then this may eliminate some of our list (boys only) as getting two kids to different schools at the same time sounds a nightmare.
The list is:
- Devonshire House (NW3) - to start Autumn 2015 (a year earlier than normal intake)
- Arnold House (NW8) - to start Autumn 2017 (a year later than normal intake)
- St Paul's Cathedral (EC4M) - to start Autumn 2016 (normal intake)
- The Children's House (N1) - to start Autumn 2016 (normal intake). We'll only get in here if DS gets into the nursery (which we have applied for). Also, it only goes to 7 so we would have to find another school from 7 to 11 or 13.
- Dallington (EC1V) - to start Spring 2015 (I think this is very early)
- Lyndhurst House (NW3) - to start September 2016 (normal intake)
- The Hall (NW3) - to start September 2017
- Charterhouse Square (EC1M) - to start September 2015. The names are put into a ballot and only the ones drawn get places.
- Hereward House (NW3) - to start Autumn 2016
- The Lyceum (EC2A) - to start September 2016
- Abercorn (NW8 I think but if they stay with the school it moves to NW1 at some point).
- St Anthony's Prep (NW3). This is Catholic but they take some non Catholics.
Oh god. This is an impossible list. I think ideally I'd like DS to start school at the normal intake (September 2016) as he is 5 in September 2016. I think kids go to school for long enough without starting early.
Perhaps one way I can filter this is to work out how long it will take us to get to each school and then eliminate the ones that have an insane journey.
I'm not terribly keen on uniforms. The only ones on this list without a uniform are the Children's House and Dallington.
For secondary schools, I'd like to aim for Highgate / City of London / UCS etc.
We also live right round the corner from William Tyndale (N1) which has no uniform, a normal intake year and is super popular. It may be that we end up going for that one.
If you have any thoughts on any of these schools, I would be really grateful to have them. Thanks!
PS - CruCru - good on you for WT. Save the big decisions until 11.
N1 to NW3 in a car is nuts if you live anywhere near H&I overland to Finchley and Frognal, a 10 min regular reliable easy train ride.
DS turned 3 last week so we haven't yet made a decision. From speaking with people round here, it sounds as though William Tyndale is awesome so we may very well go there.
What did you end up doing? And how did it work out? Is anyone else doing the N1 - NW3 rat run? We are at St Anthony's and absolutely love it, but the rat run is a bit of a deal killer. Friends have given it all up and gone to Bedales in Hampshire where they are happy as larry. We are very happy to car pool if anyone is doing the dreaded journey. Though this morning we cycled it which was slightly long but rather blissful. 9 miles round trip!
Decide which on the list get most children into the secondary schools you want and choose according to that. Issues like transport don't really matter. My daughter got a school coach from age 5 and it did her no harm.
Highgate has quite a large 7plus entry, so might be a possibility to start off in State and think further at 7 - you would have UCS, Highgate and St Pauls Cathedral as options at that stage. You might though need to do a bit of preparation if you go this route, at least for UCS and Highgate, as the syllabus may not have been covered by the January when the entrance tests take place
Highgate have an age 3 entry and it's a bit too far to go while DS is so young. We've now missed the window anyway.
Is there a reason you're not applying to Highgate at this stage?
PS Did not look at William Tyndale as we are not close enough to have a change of getting in but do know families with DCs there who really liked it and have moved on to schools like City.
Have a DD so not familiar with all of the schools but thoughts on those I can comment on:-
Childrens House in my view a good option - pretty local, informal etc. it does have a uniform in the upper school I think, but not a very formal one. Children heading to the likes of Arnold House and the Hall often go to Children's House for nursery and reception. The 7plus can be a pain and I think it is probably fair to say that there are more 7plus options for girls (eg City and South hampstead) than boys but UCS for example has a 7plus intake, and St Pauls takes a lot at 7 and is not too competitive at that age (do not know about 4 plus).
Dallington is I think a love or hate kind of school so definitely visit.
I did not like the Lyceum because of outside space. When we visited they were playing in the gym in their break (no windows etc). I think they do get out a lot but it was still a bit weird to see them using a gym like a playground. Preferred Charterhouse (it does at least have the square across the road where they play) but it has the reputation of being pushy (not sure if true). Also, required them to attend for the nursery year and I preferred DD to be more local for nursery.
If you get your DC into st Andrews or childrens house for nursery, they will really help you with next school choice - they will have views on which school would suit your child. They are quite focussed on this and have good relationships with the heads of the various "next" schools you mention.
Getting back to this a bit Kate! All I know is that NBH/Cognita have done a fabulous job on the building in hampstead, not that it is similar to the Canonbury building which I know as we had our wedding reception there! Cognita have too much invested to let it go bad IMO
I stand by my earlier advice. State primaries do a good job in Islington. William Tyndale seems to get a good word from any parent I have met with kids there.
Our two just got excellent reports and super high levels from their primary school. It proves that the school is very able to stream and split students to get the best out of them. I truly don't believe a prep school would do a better job.
Save your research and stress for the 11+ grammar schools and private schools.
PS - How on earth North Bridge House Canonbury plans to be open in September, six weeks from now, is a mystery to me. The place is a proper strip out building site! I can imagine short cuts and the like will be taken. This doesn't inspire confidence for health and safety of 300 students packed into a too small site or for the protection of 500 year old national heritage inside the building. Tudor wood panelled rooms with a chemistry lab .... I can see than going badly wrong.
Hi Davros - I looked at applying for both NBH and King Alfred. They look like great schools but by that point I had serious application fatigue and just plain couldn't do any more. Same for Trevor Roberts (plus that is a bit too far for us).
Roslet - I am coming more round to your way of thinking. Part of it is that I keep meeting people who either have their kids at WT and are super happy or who really want their kids to go there. One friend was walking around it to see where she could rent to be sure of a place (she is planning on moving anyway).
I really liked the Lyceum but thought it a real pity that the head has now retired as I really liked him. Having said that, we will be invited to meet the new head in the Autumn. Your child would be going at the same time as DS. I think part of what put DH off is that the classes all share the same space.
I am surprised that no-one has mentioned North Bridge House or King Alfred, just to confuse things! My DD has been at NBH since nursery and has just finished year 6. Although they are prepped for other choices, she is going to NBH senior in Hampstead which is an absolute god send to us, no tests for NBH kids, they can automatically have a place. Someone said up thread that if your DC is bright enough then state school will work for them just as well as private, but I don't think it's the same if that's the reverse. DD is dyslexic and the small classes in private have worked very well for her. NBH has just opened another senior in N1 which she will be able to transfer to for 6th form if she chooses. I agree that the journey from N1 to NW3 would need careful consideration but I'm not sure it's always too bad. I drove DS from NW3 to muswell hill for some years, supposed to be the worst school run in London, and I could do it in 15 mins. There are also lots if school buses once they are old enough. Also hear in mind that there seems to be a shift away from 13+ for boys. Although boys at NBH do not officially leave until 13, about a third of 2014's boys are leaving at 11, but we're not supposed to mention it! It seems to be common knowledge that Highgste is switching to mostly year 7 entrance, possibly a development since they went co-ed
William Tyndale is a fantastic school, I can't think why you wouldn't choose it! The time you save by not having to travel you can spend on reading homework and hobbies / clubs. Great to have options if he doesn't get in, but I would choose to send my children there without hesitation if I lived round the corner.
Thanks so much for all these updates - I just found the thread now. So helpful of you to take the time to put it all up here!
Just started a thread myself on the Lyceum as we have a place for ours in there - she's 2.5 yrs now so will start at the nursery in Sept 15. Its just been taken over by an investment group so not sure at all if that means good things or bad things for the school (or perhaps nothing at all!)
We are closer to Old St so I don't think we are in the catchment of the state schools you mention but I'm now starting to wonder if it really is worth the whopping �4600 a term at the Lyceum. Me and DH both went to state school so would love to send her to one but just don't have any on our door. Lyceum is our closest school at all actually. But I obviously wouldn't mind a little commute if it was for a brilliant state school that would have the same outcomes for her at I understand the Lyceum would have.
Ho hum.....all luxury problems I know as noone is starving but mildly stressful nonetheless as it is the family's finances I am stewarding and we could only just afford to have two there at present so my mind is racing back to the orginal 'is it all worth it' arguement! Especially if it really is the case that they are no more likely to get in to the good independent secondary schools than state primary kids. I had thought there was a 'first user advantage' of being in the private system from early on as we would defo want her to go to a private secondary (if only as there are real shortages in getting in to the good local state ones) but if this isnt' the case it seems a false investment. Any thoughts?!
Update: The names were put into a ballot for Charterhouse Square yesterday and DS's wasn't picked. He is 20th on the waiting list. Hey ho.
Hi Playfortoday and Stalectite - thanks for your comments, it is very helpful. I spoke with the headmistress who said that it was like that when she came in four years ago but she has made lots of changes. The youngest children were playing with lego and some slightly older children were making cubes out of straws. Quite a lot of the children had gone out to play sport (they were walking in a crocodile). The headmistress did say that they focussed on English and Maths but also spent time on other subjects.
I had a look at the after school clubs and they included things like chess and jewellery making.
Btw I didn't look round one school state or private where the kids weren't polite articulate and confident (and most so at the state as it happens).
My reaction too... Gosh
I hated it. Kids nc levels taped to wall...homework was endless bond books... Deeply unimaginative test geared teaching... Even infants silently scratching away at worksheets... My impression was the parents who sent their kids there wanted them to get into selective secondaries even though a number had not got into selective primaries.
I fled the place.
And no outside space.
Gosh when we looked at Charterhouse I came out almost in tears I hated it so much. Would sooner have home schooled and that's saying something. Funny how different people's impressions can be.
Update: we went to see Charterhouse Square and loved it. I really liked what the head had to say about children needing to be confident to learn and to take risks. The school itself is bright and airy and is much bigger than it looks from the outside. It sounds as though they do quite a lot of outdoor activities.
A couple of kids showed us round and they were articulate and confident. We are in the ballot on 1 July and have about a 1 in 4 chance of getting DS's name picked out of the hat.
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