Would you turn down St Pauls boys school for Highgate?

(22 Posts)
midlevel Sun 21-Feb-16 16:21:25

My son has been lucky enough to be offered places at St Paul's 13+ and Highgate 11+ and City. We are in Hampstead so Highgate is definitely much closer for him. He is naturally bright but not super work hard clever and I know he will not put the same hours in as some of the other boys at St Pauls, He is also very sporty.
I was wondering do people turn St Pauls down for Highgate? Do they even turn it down for City?
kind regards

Devilishpyjamas Sun 21-Feb-16 16:26:05

It doesn't matter what other people do. Choose the best school for your son/family.

AnotherNewt Sun 21-Feb-16 16:30:15

Yes, people do turn down 'prestigious' schools because they believe a different one would be a better fit for their DC.

It's a balancing act of academic reputation v wider well-being. But the top sets of all London day schools will turn out pupils with strings of A*/As. Only you can decide in which environment your DS will thrive. Which is a bit of a non-answer, I know. But as the teen years can be difficult enough anyhow, finding the school that you and he feel confident in really does matter.

What are the relative journeys like? Not just distance, but convenience/reliability? Also, which one does your DS 'see' himself in?

AppleSetsSail Sun 21-Feb-16 16:42:58

Having been through all this a couple of years ago (and nearing my second pass at it) I am left with the impression that St. Paul's is the most alpha environment of all of the top London day schools.

I know people who have turned down St. Paul's for Kings, not sure about Highgate or City but whether this is the 'done' thing is probably not the point.

What has your son's head advised?

midlevel Sun 21-Feb-16 17:28:29

Its not really about what is the done thing its more that I don't want him regretting it as you get one chance to go to a school like St Pauls.
Saying that though I think he will be fine at both, but i think Highgate or city would probably be a better fit.
Highgate would be by far the closest and easiest commute.

I don't have any experience about Highgate really ( I'm not from London)
Is it academic for boys ( as well as the girls) or is it just the girls who are the top of the year? Will he be stretched and stimulated as much in Highgate as he would at St Pauls? Or is Highgate too much in a bubble of Highgate? Sorry for the questions!
kind regards

mary21 Sun 21-Feb-16 17:49:02

Hampstead to Barnes must be a horrible journey. Have you route planned it?

midlevel Sun 21-Feb-16 18:05:26

there's a school coach but its far no way round that !

AppleSetsSail Sun 21-Feb-16 18:34:54

I just googled the journey; it will probably be 45-50 min both ways. There's no way I'd consider that unless there was a flexi-board option.

My son's head told me that we shouldn't even consider St. Paul's because it's way too competitive an environment for my son who is smart, but a bit eccentric and not particularly a 'joiner'. Is your son competitive? Again, what does your son's head say?

I truly appreciate your conundrum, I wouldn't turn down a top school in favour of a top-ish one lightly.

VocationalGoat Sun 21-Feb-16 18:39:16

Highgate.
Distance alone would be my deciding factor.
Highgate to Barnes is hell.
I do Chiswick to Barnes every day (school run) and it's difficult... and that's spitting distance.

VocationalGoat Sun 21-Feb-16 18:40:00

Congratulations by the way. I'd be so proud of such a son. He must be exceptionally bright. Well done him!

AppleSetsSail Sun 21-Feb-16 18:41:02

I do Chiswick to Barnes every day (school run) and it's difficult... and that's spitting distance.

Ugh. I imagine you must have to negotiate the Hammersmith bridge?

VocationalGoat Sun 21-Feb-16 18:41:54

Sorry Hampstead I meant...Hampstead to Barnes would be tough on a daily basis. Too much stress on the lad.

VocationalGoat Sun 21-Feb-16 18:49:11

AppleSets it's crazy...we're shouting distance and between Hammersmith Bridge and the other option of going via Mortlake, it's more monumental than it should be. We end up walking.

The thing is OP, one small delay and his morning becomes a nightmare, journey wise. It's a huge consideration.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Sun 21-Feb-16 18:58:56

DS took Kings over St Pauls and so did lots of his friends, but then he knows other boys who took St Pauls over Kings. Most go with the easiest journey.

KingscoteStaff Sun 21-Feb-16 19:16:53

If you did take SPS, where would your DS go for Years 7 and 8?

Oyster2 Sun 21-Feb-16 19:17:34

Absolutely. Highgate is a fantastic school. My two dcs went there and I can recommend it without reservation. If it's local as well then I think it's a no-brained tbh.

midlevel Sun 21-Feb-16 19:51:02

I wonder if St Pauls has a Hampstead pool of boys who go there or if most choose Highgate and/or UCS?
Both Highgate and St Pauls were recommended by the Head as they are academic and sporty like him. obviously one is much much closer but would he be more stimulated and less localized at St Pauls or too pressured??
Who would have thought this would have taken as much as my thought time as the actual exam process!

AppleSetsSail Sun 21-Feb-16 20:45:30

Would you consider moving?

I wouldn't subject my kids to this sort of commute. I'd worry about how they would cope with the GCSEs and A-Levels with this added layer of stress.

That said, my husband took the bus from Knightsbridge to Cobham for a few years and in fact loved the ride, socialised & did school work. Notably, he does not get car sick and can read articles on his phone for hours when we're driving <vomit>. We have had quite a few disagreements about the outside limits of acceptable school commutes over the years.

Needmoresleep Sun 21-Feb-16 22:00:35

Local friends matter.

Is he involved in things like drama or sport? Think about a week's play rehersals and performances all going on till late in the evening. It is much easier to me involved if you are closer. Plus much easier for the parental taxi.

MissGintyMarlow Mon 22-Feb-16 11:25:05

i had a friend who went to St Paul's from north London and hated the commute, wished his parents had sent him somewhere closer. That said, it should very much be based around what feels right for your ds. And I imagine he'd do a commute on the tube, which is long but cuts out a lot of the traffic variables.

midlevel Mon 22-Feb-16 20:19:58

It seems reading on these threads that locality does seem to be an over riding factor in decision making.
I think Highgate is seen as an academic school and a very good school though, so not poles away from St P.
He has done very well and its a shame he does not have any real favourite and has left the choice to us which makes it worse in a way!

4whatthatsworth Mon 22-Feb-16 21:34:59

Midlevel. Hi and well done to your son on his offers! Either school will enable him to get top results. In my dcs class (similar ish school to Highgate) there is a boy who turned down SPS and a girl who turned down SPGS because they wanted co-ed. Neither are in the top maths stream or feel like they are coasting in any subjects. If your DS does not have a strong preference, go with the easier commute. Good luck!

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