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Habs school for Girls

(399 Posts)
youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 08:46:24


Does anyone have a view on this school - positive or negative?

Considering for my DD (yes, yes, PFB before anyone asks). Have tried asking in Education, but not getting any replies.


fraktion Tue 13-Nov-12 16:37:14

I'm not up for the fight, and neither is my DD. We're quiet. Keep ourselves to ourselves.

I wouldn't send a shy/less confident child to Habs. I am exceptional among the Habs girls I know who is exceptionally grateful for the bits of paper and the hardening I got but it was not a happy time.

I would say this: the current head was deputy when I was there. She told me mother that 'I know DD2 is poorly but DD1 is acting out. You should spend more time with her. Take her shopping or something'. hmm My sister was critically ill, I wasn't attention seeking and anyway my mother and I both hate shopping. I just hope her pastoral skills have improved.

Xenia Tue 13-Nov-12 18:02:19

There was no hardening. In fact I think at all the schools we talked to for 4+ they said they like a mixture of children in the class, some quite and some louder as I'm sure most teachers want. You don't want a class full of noisy ones nor a class of ones who never speak.

PoppyAmex Tue 13-Nov-12 19:04:48

"There was no hardening"

Well, maybe not for your children but it's rude and patronising to dismiss fraktion's experience.

She actually went to that school (unlike you) and that's what she felt.

Xenia Tue 13-Nov-12 19:56:00

Of course. At every school in the land you will get a girl bullied, a girl who hates schools, a teacher no one likes etc. I am just commenting that I know loads and loads of Habs girls and none are like that or hard or whatever. They are just normal girls. I remember the school telling girls to take a break, relax, keep up your hobbies, don't over work.

fraktion Tue 13-Nov-12 22:50:20

Actually I'm not disagreeing with take a break/keep up your hobbies/balance your work xenia but there was a certain amount of 'you are a Habs girl, you can and you will succeed at anything you put your mind to'. Possibly toughening up would be a better way to put it. Failure was never really an option and that carries on even though I left 10 years ago. Now that can be damaging, especially if you don't meet the set goals, and it's hard to break out and do what you want instead of what the school does but the resilience is an important life lesson. It doesn't make it a happy one.

fraktion Tue 13-Nov-12 23:00:59

And by being exceptional Habs girls either love it and recommend it unreservedly or hate it and say its a horrible, bitchy, hot house. I definitely didn't live it but I appreciate the experiences and cety much sporeciate the academic success. It is what it is, a very academic school with an emphasis on excellence. There is an expectation that you will do well. It can be bitch, it's single sex. It can be pressured but 99% of the time it's what you're doing to yourself. What it doesn't do so well is pastoral care and encouraging social skills. To survive you need to a) be so extraordinarily academic everyone else is in see of you, b) be very musical/arty/sporty c) be sociable and pretty and have good parties. It isn't enough to be clever because everyone is and it isn't enough to be average at what you do.

Xenia Wed 14-Nov-12 08:48:08

I agree it is often about what you do to yourself. My daughters' friends, the few who felt pressured, that was from inside the girl. I certainly never felt mine were much pressured at all. In fact I have yet to produce a child to seems to be pressured. They seem to be doing PhDs in being laid back. (Couldn't be bothered to try to Oxbridge because it would mean some extra classes, only a few but far too much effort for them.... laughing as I type, not that of course I know if they would have got in and not that it has mattered they didn't now they have jobs etc)

I want them at schools where it is expected they would do well but also at home it is clear they can do as they choose and if all 5 become contemplative nuns/priests or immans or whatever that is up to them. There are plenty of ways to lead a good life.

I don't think my girls have bad social skills. In fact I felt they learned more on that than I did at school. They are very sporty and we are a very musical family, 2 grade 8s each etc and just seem to have an innate ability to sing well and the girls don't look too bad but I think all successful schools willh ave groups of pupils surely and you can find your own group whether that be nerd genius or borderline aspergers or coolest of the cool. I am not sure Habs/NLCS are any different from other schools on those issues.

dinkybinky Wed 14-Nov-12 09:36:28

Couldn't be bothered to try to Oxbridge because it would mean some extra classes, only a few but far too much effort for them.... laughing as I type, not that of course I know if they would have got in and not that it has mattered they didn't now they have jobs etc)


mirry2 Wed 14-Nov-12 09:43:01

My dd went to Oxford from Habs but didn't do any extra classes or if she did I never heard about them. However I agree with Xenia that she didn't exhibit being under any pressure at Habs and got stunning results.

MordionAgenos Wed 14-Nov-12 09:58:22

I didn't do any extra classes to go to Cambridge and that was in the days of the entrance exam. grin

The people I know with daughters at Habs and the people I know who went to Habs all think it's a great school though. I'm sure it is. Some people will find pressure anywhere and that;s obviously a shame but it seems that most of the people there thrive in that environment.

Xenia Wed 14-Nov-12 11:04:12

I certainly did not make that up. I remember being at a parents' evening when it was discussed. I suppose I might have muddled it with NLCS. I expect it was just some kind of preparation for Oxbridge.

I think the fact most girls thrive shows the schools are choosing the right girls so on the whole it all works.

smallbluestar Thu 15-Nov-12 18:59:08

This thread has worried me! My dd will be sitting the Habs 4+ in January and she can neither speak Spanish nor ride a horse. But you know, I can't ride a horse or speak Spanish either - and I spent 11 happy years at the school. Not sure how I managed, on reflection...

Xenia Thu 15-Nov-12 20:46:58

My recollection of when my daughter got in at 4+ was they went on about how little you needed to know. I remember asking early on if she should be a different morning nursery school than Montessori and they said no that was fine. Just be relaxed about it.

Dancergirl Fri 16-Nov-12 00:06:41

Very, very pressurised environment.

A friend whose dds go there told me that a Maths teacher told her class that if they all get at least an A for GCSE, she'll take them out for a pizza or something. Says it all really....what about the poor girl who gets a B?

mirry2 Fri 16-Nov-12 00:36:05

Dancergirl - I can't imagine any teacher at Habs dong that. The vast majority get A and A* so the teacher wuld have to take about 28 girls out. i wonder if it's a different Haberdashers that you are tlking about?

mirry2 Fri 16-Nov-12 00:36:31

sorry- doing, not dong!

Dancergirl Fri 16-Nov-12 00:43:07

Nope, the v same Elstree one. She meant she'd take the whole class out if they ALL got As. No pressure then.

That's my point, anything less than an A is seen as a failure.

Xenia Fri 16-Nov-12 07:53:26

Sounds a bit weird although what is wrong with saying you get a pizza if you all get an A? My daughter was in the bottom of 5 sets of maths at Habs and got an A. I wouldi magine most get As and I also expect these girls are not so short of pizzas that that is some kind of massive unusual treat....

Turniphead1 Sat 17-Nov-12 11:22:56

I imagine that whilst going for pizza would not be a treat - but going out with a teacher, full stop would be considered desirable.
Not sure what's wrong with incentivising the girls in that way - given that most of them would be pretty motivated in any case.

mirry2 Sat 17-Nov-12 11:40:08

While it sounds a nice idea I wonder how this would work, as by the time the GCSE results come out the girls will be in 6th form, in different sets studying different subjects with different teachers. Also, roughly 95% of the girls get As at GCSE, how would the one or two girls in the class feel if the pizza outing didn't take place because they didn't meet the grade?

Dancergirl Sat 17-Nov-12 11:49:49

Exactly, mirry' I imagine they wouldn't feel v good about themselves. There are better ways to motivate.

mirry2 Sat 17-Nov-12 12:06:29

Yes dancergirl but my point is that I doubt it would happen that a teacher at #habs would do that. They are expected to get As across the board so rewards don't apply. It more likely that their teacher offered to pay for pizzas for her class to be delivered to the school after the exams as a reward for working hard. I know that this has happened in the past.

Dancergirl Sat 17-Nov-12 12:27:11

You may 'doubt' it but I have heard this directly from a parent of a girl in this class. The exact details of the reward are not relevant but it's the whole focus on getting an A that I object to. This is the bottom maths set and according to my friend some of those girls would be happy with a B. For them to hear, however subtly, that a B isn't good enough is not on.

mirry2 Sat 17-Nov-12 12:37:13

Dancergirl, have you been to Habs or do you have a dd at Habs? In that environment it is perfectly reasonable for the pupils to be striving for an A with the expectation that they will probably get it. The name 'bottom maths set' is a bit of a misnomer.

babybarrister Sat 17-Nov-12 14:26:42

Also do you know what in fact happened afterwards? I would have thought it v unlikely any teacher would actually have intended to take 31 screechy 16 year old girls out frankly whether they all get into Oxbridgegrin - I went there fwiw albeit a good while ago now ....

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