I would really appreciate some more views on these schools.
We are moving to the area from N London and DD has so far been offered a place at St Cats and Tormead and we are waiting to hear re GHS.
DD didn't really like Tormead after the exam day -but I realize we haven't given it much of a chance and welcome any positive views.
My preference (and DDs) is currently for St Catherines - because of the flexi boarding option in DD's opinion, and for me because it seems to allow girls to participate in a lot more activities than GHS, even if they aren't brilliant at them all.
I have formed the (possibly incorrect) opinion that GHS tends to be VERY academically focused and has less time for other interests. My daughter is strong academically, but wants to do drama and sports etc to gain self-confidence outside academics. Looking on their website, GHS only seems to offer lunchtime clubs in most activities and nothing much after school (except for squad sports, and DD is not a shining star at sports but wants to play them anyway). Lunchtime only activities concern me, as I'd actually like DD to take some healthy downtime at lunch and chat with her friends rather than feeling the need to cram in an extra-curricular every day between lessons - whereas an extracurricular after school would be fine.
On the other hand GHS is obviously an outstanding school, doing most things right, more down to earth than St Cats and closer to town ..... And I've heard some rumblings about issues with stress at St Cats - but surely stress gets the better of a minority at all high achieving schools? I am more interested with how well each school deals with stress on its students. I've also heard St Cats is a lot posher. We are not particularly posh but I've never been put off by that. People are people. Just as long as DD doesn't get teased for not being wealthy.
GHS has regular socials with RGS, a great school. St Cats doesn't seem to be paired with any boys schools (is it just 1 social with Eton?). This may be a concern when DD gets older and wants to meet boys.
So, as you can see I am going round and round in circles! IF DD does get offered a place at GHS, the first choice for many, --- would I be silly to turn it down in favor of St Cats? Or will going to GHS mean that DD won't get to practice and learn something new because they will encourage her to play to her (already over-developed at her current school) strengths.
DD is a bright and a gentle soul who is currently in a very supportive group of friends, none of whom are going to any of these schools. She gets on best with bright, sensitive girls and is not keen on "girly girls" or boy bands or the latest fashions etc. (yet!) I am looking for a school that will give her the chance to meet some like minded girls, learn to get on with different personalities, and where she can also improve in drama and learn some new sports without feeling like she's bad at them before she's even begun. But also, of course, a school that stretches her academically and gets excellent grades.
No school is the whole package I know, and these 3 schools are all extremely good. DD is lucky to have such great schools as an option. I would appreciate more insight into each of the schools cultures so I can find the best fit for us. Thanks!
My DD has friends who are currently at St Cats. I am so pleased we decided to send our DD to another Guildford school. If you want a school that will try to crush your daughter and then turn her into a St Cats girl then this is the one for you, if not then look around.
I was at St Catherines, although I left about 15 years ago. There are a lot of good things about it, and I certainly got a good education, but I'm afraid I wouldn't choose to send any daughter of mine there.
The staff were generally lovely, the facilities are good and it's academic without being a complete hothouse. However, I found that there was a very bitchy culture amongst the girls, with a lot of bullying and anorexia. Although the school talked a good game, there was next to no contact with the opposite sex in reality, which I'm not sure is healthy - there are boys in real life, and you have to learn how to deal with them sometime!
As regards university entrance and careers, looking back I would say that although most of my contemporaries went on to university, careerwise, most of them haven't ended up with particularly great jobs. A few of the most academic girls became doctors, lawyers etc, but most of them didn't end up maximising their earning potential, which is a shame. (I don't mean that to sound mercenary, but I think being able to earn a decent living is a very useful life skill, to help you cope with whatever life decides to throw at you.)
Guilford High is meant to be very academic, and they get great exam results. If I had a bright daughter, I'd probably try and get her in there.