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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.


valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 12:18:06

I didn't live anywhere near the Elstree one - different school, and it was mixed!

NellyJob Thu 08-Nov-12 12:20:20

oooh different school, fair enough, valium...

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 12:20:55

Sorry, OP, but you have made me smile calling a three year old ambitious and academic grin....

But then Habs as a school is ambitious and academic. It makes no bones about it. And for a certain type of girl, it can work very well.

Up sides are a very challenging academic atmosphere and decent sports and music.

Downsides are that it is uber competitve (amongst the girls and parents) and a not very creative atmosphere.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:24:29

She makes me smile too, wordfactory... she really is quite unbelieveable.

She canters now (on her horse) and it actually does scare me witless grin

I just worry that she is too young for such an environment. I have little doubt that they will accept her.

I appreciate I win the PFB-of-the-month award for this thread.

wewereherefirst Thu 08-Nov-12 12:29:00

Wow, an academic three year old! Too much pressure too young?

EmmaBemma Thu 08-Nov-12 12:31:29

I went to a Haberdashers' girls school in Monmouth, and it was the most miserable three years of my young life. However these things vary so much between people and lots of other children really seemed to thrive there.

ScrambledSmegs Thu 08-Nov-12 12:36:15

Um - as someone who went there, I would probably not recommend it for shy girls no matter how clever they are. It's put me off private schooling for my own DD, big time.

Hopefully their anti-bullying policy what policy? has moved on since I went there though.

And yes, it's Habs. Never been Askes AFAIK. The lovely septuagenarian 'old girl' I met earlier this year called it Habs, and she was there before it moved to Elstree. I think the Monmouth school called it that to differentiate, maybe?

wordfactory Thu 08-Nov-12 12:37:03

Well OP, you're never going to get a definitive answer, because it's one of those suck it and see things.

When Habs works well, it works well, but it is a place where some girls are miserable. No point pretending otherwise.

I think the most important thing when giving such schools a go is being prepared to make a change if necessary. Too many parents with unhappy DC just keep on keeping on because it's Habs (or insert another competitive school), they just keep adding more tutors and more add-ons. I know one Mum who's daughter is so unhappy she often poos herself, but she will not move her. She just keeps rehearsing her academic achievements. I also know another Dad who when he heard that my DD was having a lovely time at school said 'If she's enjoying herself, she's not working hard enough.'

That said, there are oodles of lovely parents there and oodles of happy girls. But I tink it pays to be aware of the atmosphere rather than pretend otherwise.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:37:16

Emma - I am sorry that you didn't like it.

It was actually opinions like yours I was looking for. My DD - on paper - would thrive in this sort of school, but I worry that overall, she won't. She is shy, She is young (summer baby), we are not 'competitive parents'.

She has two confirmed placements at 'nice' (selective) schools.

I worry I am overthinking this. I am overthinking this, it's just she's my baby girl and she is going to school.

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 12:37:31

scrambled see my post earlier - different school!

ScrambledSmegs Thu 08-Nov-12 12:42:18

Ah, that's what I get for spending ages crafting a carefully worded response - loads of x-posts! Sorry valium.

And what wordfactory said.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 12:43:10

Of course it's called Habs- people are just being silly.

OP - truly don't be too confident- competition is very stiff indeed.

It's a very tough competitive environment. Some thrive, some sink. If your child does go there, be very vigilant, and be prepared to take her out if you think she's not thriving. Which is a very difficult thing to do- it's very hard to accept that a place people are fighting to get into doesn't suit your child. If that happens it's no reflection on you ou your child- it's a reflection on the school.

valiumredhead Thu 08-Nov-12 12:47:04

I didn't live anywhere near the Elstree one - different school, and it was mixed

It WAS called Askes where I lived - as it is a different school maybe it is different. smile <-- arsey smile

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:50:18

Valium I tihnk you should request MN have an arsey smile smiley. It would be hilarious.

I would like to say, I very much appreciate the feedback on this thread. It is what I need to know.

lighthousekeeping Thu 08-Nov-12 12:51:16

what are the other two schools she has had offers from?

WilsonFrickett Thu 08-Nov-12 12:52:55

Do you really not think you are competitive parents - you call your DD both academic and ambitious, you fund a musical instrument and horse riding for her (I'm assuming she speaks two languages because your family is multi-lingual and not because you are tutoring her...). It's a genuine question by the way, because if you're not competitive I'm searching for a word to describe my parenting...

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:55:56

St Albans High and Berkhamsted

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Thu 08-Nov-12 12:56:26

Well OP here are the top 10 girls' secondary schools in the country from the most recent league tables:

Wycombe Abbey School
The Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls
North London Collegiate School
Guildford High School for Girls
Oxford High School GDST
The Lady Eleanor Holles School
Withington Girls' School
City of London School For Girls
South Hampstead High School GDST
James Allen's Girls' School

My DDs go to the junior school of one of those on the list and to me, one of the BIG selling points is the more-or-less automatic transfer to the senior school in Year 7 (barring any problems or a lack of fit, in which case I would immediately start looking for a school that fit better!) I believe the 11+ and Common Entrance process is very stressful for girls and their families and I am relieved that we won't (hopefully) have to go through it. (As an aside, I also work in an independent London prep school that does not have a senior school, and I see all the exam prep and stress that our Year 6's go through every year).

I am ambitious for my DDs, they are bright and I don't apologise for that. I want them to have any door open to them that they would choose, and to me starting an education at a top school can only help with that - as long as they are happy of course.

I was quite surprised at how "gentle" the junior school actually is. I don't feel there is a lot of pressure, the girls and the parents are absolutely lovely, the teachers are caring and involved, the Headmistress is fantastic.

OP from what you have said, if I were you I would seriously consider sending your DD to the Habs junior school (another one here who has never heard it called Aske's)

Good luck with it - I found this whole schooling / education thing a very stressful part of being a parent.

Sorry for the epic post!

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Thu 08-Nov-12 12:57:49

By the way everyone, There are at least THREE different Haberdashers schools dotted around the southeast - possibly more - no wonder they all have different local nick-names

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Thu 08-Nov-12 12:58:48

St A and Berkhamsted also good schools. St A has the advantage of being part of the GDST too.

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 12:59:48

Wilson - she is academic (she taught herself the second language - it is not one either myself or my DH speak) and ambitious (she is sure she wishes to be a vet). The 'musical instrument is a piano that lives in the garage... the horse.. OK, I'll give you the horse.. We pay for lessons grin

But, largely, this is her choosing.

poocatcherchampion Thu 08-Nov-12 13:04:06

Ha emmabemma I had a miserable 4 years at monmouth girls too - I wonder if we were there together!

It turned out I was very smart after all when I changed school!

mutny Thu 08-Nov-12 13:04:26

She taught herself a second language that no one she knows speaks.

Ok I am hiding this thread. Its getting ridiculous. If you want her to go apply and go through the interviews. End of.

ziggyf Thu 08-Nov-12 13:04:51

She taught herself a second language?! At 3?! hmm

youlookalotlikeme Thu 08-Nov-12 13:08:18

YES!!! What is so surprising??? I did say she was academic!

FWIW, it was spanish. She picked it up from Dora, and we did facilitate it with DVDs and CDs, but neither DH or I (or any of her family) speak spanish, yet she can happily switch from spanish to English without problem.

If she is speaking spanish, and doesn't know a particular word, she'll just switch back to English for that word.

As I said, she is that child and she doesn't get it from me.

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