Putney High vs LEH

(41 Posts)
Rimskie Sat 18-Feb-12 08:39:59

We are wait listed for both these schools and of course can't get any info as to where we are on the list. We are of course pushing both for the minute but if anyone has any experience of the dreaded waitlist, advice would be most welcome. Or any current parents any useful insights in the difference between the two that would also be most welcome.

Had done all our homework and research re school but now my brain feel a little fried!! Thanks

tess73 Thu 02-Oct-14 12:31:04

thanks all so much, more helpful than you can imagine. the head was quite surprised dd was going for KGS, she said "LEH or Tiffin" but tbh it is a big state primary, she doesn't know dd beyond the stats on her computer and she is not in touch really with the schools - she's only going on where pupils like dd usually go (which she admitted when i questioned her).

my heart is still with KGS. Going through the process and then deciding is probably the best thing to do. then we have til March. the decision/choice may be made very easy for her by either a scholarship or a rejection!! Although i do worry a bit that dd now sees LEH as a bit of a "prize" hmm

Shootingatpigeons Thu 02-Oct-14 11:33:05

Tess I would not say that the difference between LEH and KGS would be between being dragged along at a high level and being taught to be an independent learner. A good education is not like that. At both schools they will be given work that interests, challenges and inspires. There may be a few more who are very bright at LEH but there will be bright ones at KGS too. They both get pupils who get strings of A*s and places at Oxbridge (actually a more comparable number than it ought to be quite frankly given LEHs intake) . They both have pupils who get Bs and Cs as well, a few more than usual at LEH this year, because of the intake and the nature of some of the characters, but usually there would be more at KGS. So someone who was high average at LEH might find themselves being one of the brighter ones at KGS but not by any means the brightest. If you are a B student at LEH then the support has not necessarily been there in terms of finding your future path, emotionally or in terms of securing university places, they did not even let you do January retakes on the premises, there has been an element of denial, but the new Head has definitely already addressed that for some of last years group.

I think KGS is the happier school, the pupils tend to be more relaxed, not so much of the alpha girl behaviour. Much of the competitiveness at LEH comes from pupils not staff. I don't know if that is co ed in general or to do with the Head and staff. However a girls only environment does seem more conducive to being manipulated by attention seekers if you are unlucky enough to get that sort of intake. KGS had the benefit of a very charismatic Head, and the teachers think the new one is in the same mould. Mrs Low never really filled Miss Candy's shoes and actually only had a couple of year groups go through that had not had Miss Candy make them all rock with laughter at assembly every other day. There certainly have been some subjects where the A*s were achieved in spite of the teaching (or not achieved this year) and that does make for the potential for some complacency and indeed arrogance. However as I have highlighted the new Head looks to be addressing that.

My DDs are not sporty or especially musical but they did get involved in lots of activities at LEH, not in the first team but in intra house competitions etc. I can't say they wouldn't have done elsewhere though. There is plenty of extra curricular everywhere. One of my DDs does have a talent which she has pursued outside school to a national level but the number of other talented girls and degree of competitiveness at LEH put her off but that was also a function of the general problems with that year. I was disappointed that no teacher encouraged her, recognition and encouragement was in fact only forthcoming from the Hampton teachers. However if your DD is confidant and has a talent then I think that is a recipe for happiness at LEH and the amazing facilities do come into their own for them.

I can only say go through the admissions process and then you and your DD will have a much better idea whether this is the environment in which your DD will be happy and do well (as many do)

LEHNCed Thu 02-Oct-14 10:57:23

As I have said before beware specific stories, what is an intimidatingly and stressful competitive environment to one DD maybe the challenging and fun one for another.

^^^this^^^ + what jinnybag said

what about if you have an uncompetitive dd but one who doesn't get stressed easily or intimidated? You know your daughter best. I'd say it's not so much about competitiveness (I have one very competitive and one very chilled) but more about a willingness to get stuck in and a hunger to try new things - plus of course a keen attitude to learning. There is of course some competitiveness, the sports for instance would not thrive so much if there wasn't, but there is so much more. Mrs Low used to talk about 'The Other Half' ie all the extracurricular stuff and she was deadly serious! Life at LEH is very much about getting stuck in, and you never know, you daughter may well surprise you with the things she gets into, mine did!

Of course only you can be the judge of how you think your daughter would thrive with the academic side of things. LEH is academic, the girls are bright, but they are not a whole school full of genii, they are human! If your dd attends a prep I would consider very carefully any advice your head gives you about your daughter's suitability, if she is at a state school, ditto, if you are lucky enough to have a head or teacher who knows/cares. I presume if she has a 10+ offer from KGS her academic side is pretty sound.

And btw LEH most definitely encourages independent learning! - I think 'dragging along' is really all about the fact that pupils are influenced by their peers. If you are amongst keen, active learners, you are much more likely to be/become one yourself. If your peers generally get away with skipping homework, well, then you are more likely to go that way yourself.

Beingfrank Thu 02-Oct-14 09:11:05

Tess, you have just about described my daughter. I wouldn't say she was dragged along, but she was mostly middling at best in the early to middle years. She has just done ASs, got all As and did as well as most and better than many. She sees she is surrounded by some incredibly bright girls, but knows that with hard work she can do just as well. For her, it has been a great school. Of course I can't comment on how well she would have done elsewhere!

Same is true in sporting environment - can't be precise without outing myself but let's just say that hard work and persistence has paid off there too.

jinnybag Wed 01-Oct-14 22:28:25

Would you even consider a school where you envisaged your uncompetitive dd being, as you say, dragged along? It's a competitive school, where every pupil is "one of the bright ones." For the right girl, it's an amazing, positive, hugely enjoyable experience. But it's not an environment where every girl would thrive. The school is extremely adept at offering to girls they believe will thrive there. But the girls (and to an extent) their parents need to be up for the experience too. From your posts here and elsewhere on mn you appear to infer that despite its amazing reputation, you suspect it's not the "right" school for your family. Go with your gut instinct.

tess73 Wed 01-Oct-14 20:15:15

what about if you have an uncompetitive dd but one who doesn't get stressed easily or intimidated? not sure if she needs to be in a school where she would get dragged along at a high level (LEH) or whether she needs to be in a school where she is taught/made to be an independent learner and is (possibly) one of the bright ones...

Shootingatpigeons Wed 01-Oct-14 20:09:51

I would second the comments about the Head of Lower School, and indeed all the Heads of Year. It defies common sense that any school would have managed to recruit only those people who have gone into teaching despite being cold and uncaring hmm. Like any school there are a few weak links (and I gather the new Head has addressed at least one) but plenty of teachers who care and inspire. I even think Mrs Low's heart was in the right place but walking the walk is different to talking the talk.

As I have said before beware specific stories, what is an intimidatingly and stressful competitive environment to one DD maybe the challenging and fun one for another. I have one of each........

tess73 Wed 01-Oct-14 16:23:49

thanks LEHNCed

LEHNCed Wed 01-Oct-14 15:45:01

those of you with girls at LEH, can i ask whether you feel the teachers are accessible? can you email them? or is it very much closed door leave us to it approach? No you don't email the teachers directly, you contact the relevant assistant head for the year group who will facilitate whatever contact is necessary. I didn't like that to begin with, but actually now think that it's for the better. LEH parents are a fairly assertive bunch and I honestly think a little distance is a good thing. I prefer the teachers to teach, not spend all day emailing parents.

also with sport, is it just the best girls in every team or does everyone really get a chance for extra curricular sport? For my very sporty dd, funnily enough it always seemed quite elitist and pressurised, until not so sporty dd came along, who seems to simply enjoy taking part in lots of sports, but not really worry about being in the 'A' team. Maybe the pressure was inside sporty dd's head - she doesn't like coming second much!

On a saturday morning what are most of the LEH girls doing? Everything under the sun! (a bit more after school/lunchtime than Saturdays btw) No such thing as 'most' LEH girls, There is SO much to do, that the best answer I can give is 'they are busy'! Lots of Drama, music, sports, MUN, CCF, DofE, debating, dancing, drama tech, academic and fun clubs. My dds rarely have more than one afternoon per week finishing at 4.

pastorally is in dire need of improvement!! - Not sure,- the school does seem to encourage independence in the girls, but in my experience the 'pastoral care' is there if you need it. The head of lower/middle school who is your first port of call in the first years, is a bit of a superwoman that seems able to tackle problems head on, knows the girls well and is very open to listen to and deal with concerns the girls may have - including concerns with regards to teachers.

jinnybag Wed 01-Oct-14 15:29:49

Have just been googling over my coffee break.. GSG says of Mrs H:
She hums with energy, is quick to smile and laugh and is intent on injecting some fun into school life.

Haughty??

papalazaru Wed 01-Oct-14 15:29:03

I keep coming back to this thread hoping that there will be some really positive opinions about LEH. I understand it's hard to judge given the recent change of head but I just can't get past the thought that a school as outstanding as LEH should at least have a vocal group of current parents sticking up for it.
And yes - what is the silent boycott thread?? Intrigued now.

tess73 Wed 01-Oct-14 14:01:55

actually i heard something similar from someone yesterday... There were no open days in LEH last term/two terms. The outgoing head just said no! I don't think it's unusual, a shame and not very professional but pretty hard to sell a school you're leaving i suppose.

what silent boycott thread?

SonorousBip Wed 01-Oct-14 13:13:57

Hmm. I went to an open morning at WHS in the summer term just passed, so when Ms Hanbury had handed in her notice. Have to say I was hugely unimpressed with her approach - she was disengaged almost to the point of indifference. Speech was short and perfunctory, did not take questions, literally in and out with no engagement or warmth. Must have been having a bad day. LEH is on the edge of what is do'able for us transport wise, but we decided not to pursue on the basis of that (have a feeling this might be better suited on the current "silent boycott" thread, lol).

tess73 Wed 01-Oct-14 11:28:19

those of you with girls at LEH, can i ask whether you feel the teachers are accessible? can you email them? or is it very much closed door leave us to it approach?

also with sport, is it just the best girls in every team or does everyone really get a chance for extra curricular sport? On a saturday morning what are most of the LEH girls doing?

Beingfrank Wed 01-Oct-14 07:55:39

My LEH daughter (year 13 now) is impressed with Mrs Hanbury. She has already made a significant and positive change to the approach to predicting A level grades, which had been a big bone of contention for some.

ohtobeanonymous Tue 30-Sep-14 22:25:27

New head at LEH is the outgoing head from WHS. She made a huge and positive impact on that school and am sure she can only improve LEH, which pastorally is in dire need of improvement!!

LEHNCed Tue 30-Sep-14 15:01:58

Just popping in here to second jinnybag!

I have two - very happy - dds at LEH and must say my impression of the new head is very positive. She seems warm and approachable and also seems to possess plenty of common sense. The general impression I get from other parents is also positive.

jinnybag Tue 30-Sep-14 14:43:45

way too early to tell tess73 - she's only just arrived. But early signs are that she's fired up, warm and inspiring. She's made her presence known in both senior and junior.

tess73 Mon 29-Sep-14 23:54:51

How do you think the school will change under her jinnybag?

jinnybag Mon 29-Sep-14 23:45:04

Haughty new one? She's only been there three weeks. As a parent I've found her warm and engaging. Definitely not haughty. Are you parent too tboyd?

jeanne16 Sun 28-Sep-14 08:27:19

My daughter attended PHS from age 7. She was very happy there, had lots of lovely friends and did extremely well. Since we live in Putney, I could never understand why anyone would make their children sit on school coaches in traffic jams for up to 2 hours per day to get to supposedly slightly better schools. They have 40 years ahead of them of ghastly commutes to work so why spoil their early years in this way!

Shootingatpigeons Sat 27-Sep-14 23:36:36

Have just heard some very encouraging stories about new Head of LEH from Day 1, came in and has already made some very proactive steps to improve things, and help and support girls, even those not still there (the arrogance did stretch to not having a proper strategy for when those girls didn't get the A*s) The last Head was far from self obsessed, but certainly wasn't charismatic and a natural leader of either staff or girls, or able to connect with them, but she was a good businesswoman, concerned with brand management and development and made her mark in that direction. This one looks like redressing the balance. I hope she does, the school has a lot going for it if someone can pick up all the strings and pull them in the right direction......

tess73 Sat 27-Sep-14 17:23:26

I'm off to see LEH this week, to give it a final chance with new head before we dismiss it (dd has 10+ offer from KGS).

papalazaru Sat 27-Sep-14 16:27:21

Tboyd that was the impression I got of LEH when I attended their open morning last term. After listening to the recitals and headmistress talk about the school for almost 2 hours we had very little time to actually see the facilities and talk to the girls taking us round. I left with the impression of a school resting on its reputation (which is obviously very good) and therefore not having to try very hard.
I did want to give it another go with the new headmistress but your post has left me wondering whether I should bother..... Anecdotally I haven't heard anything positive said about LEH at all! Unfortunately your post has only reinforced that!

Realhousewifeofealing Sat 27-Sep-14 14:46:49

ouch !! ....care to elaborate?

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