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Independent Schools NW London / Herts

(96 Posts)
mitbap Wed 04-Oct-06 13:39:32

We're looking for a girls senior school. dd is bright but probably not 'gifted'. Any recommendations?

deegward Wed 04-Oct-06 13:40:48

Royal Masonic, Rickmansworth?

frogs Wed 04-Oct-06 13:48:11

Private: St Albans High School, St Helen's, Queenswood, Haberdashers, Berkhamstead (mixed, I think);
State: Watford Girls Grammar, St Albans Girls', Dame Alice Owens.

You're spoiled for choice in that area, really. Whereabouts are you and how far would you travel?

mitbap Wed 04-Oct-06 13:52:17

We're in Harrow - not in the catchment for Watford Grammar! She's obviously going to have to travel but I'm looking for reasonably near - I don't want to commit her to the sort of commute we do each day into London - and I want to pitch at schools where she has a realistic chance i.e. NLC is maybe a little too competitive!!

RTKangaMummy Wed 04-Oct-06 14:02:29

St Helen's is in northwood

st margarets in bushey

mitbap Wed 04-Oct-06 14:08:26

St Margarets failed on a number of counts in a ISC report last spring (although nothing really to do with the academic side) and they appeared to have had an 'acting' head for some time. Does anyone know anything about this?
We got a really good feel from St Helens on a visit - but they also get incredibly high academic results. Just how bright would a 10 year old need to be to do well enough in their exam?

RTKangaMummy Wed 04-Oct-06 14:08:45


Northwood college

RTKangaMummy Wed 04-Oct-06 14:10:31

One of my friends has a DD at st margarets
and they now have a new head and she is very happy there

St Helens would prob be quite bright really

Northwood college or royal masonic would be better

RTKangaMummy Wed 04-Oct-06 14:11:25

Is she likely to get three 5 for SATs

RTKangaMummy Wed 04-Oct-06 14:14:56

here is northwood college

There are loads of girls schools

problem is as I have a DS I know the boys ones better

Mind you my friend wouldn't really tell me if there was a prob with St Margarets iyswim

mitbap Wed 04-Oct-06 14:18:15

She is more than likely to get 5s in maths and science but english is a bit more dodgy (4c in year 5 test).

anteater Wed 04-Oct-06 14:19:38

Aldenham School (small ps)
Habs is VERY academic
dm and ds went here

anteater Wed 04-Oct-06 14:20:32

And they both enjoyed it!

frogs Wed 04-Oct-06 14:20:39

As a general rule if a child gets into a particular school without being tutored to the max, then she'll probably be fine. People say good things about St Helen's, though I don't know anyone first hand.

Personally I'd avoid the NLC-type scenario, regardless of how bright my child was. I don't go a bundle on that whole pushy vibe.

RTKangaMummy Wed 04-Oct-06 14:22:47

here is another choice

Perhaps you apply for several if you make a shortlist

One of DS friends is at Aldenham mixed school

does it matter to you if mixed or girls only

mitbap Wed 04-Oct-06 14:28:01

We'd prefer a girls school. Peterborough and St Margarets is very local to us and we'll be visiting on Saturday. I'm keen on small (one of the reasons we are thinking of moving from state primary to independent - rather than Harrow LA's huge high schools) but P&STM is very small - and presumably will only have a handful of places.

RTKangaMummy Wed 04-Oct-06 14:29:24

I deffo totally agree with frogs

If they pass the entrance exams without cramming then they will be fine and thrive there

Also look into whether they do separate science or just dual award science if she has a passion for science iyswim

DS is absolutely loving LATIN so if we chose a school that didn't teach it he would be very sad and would really miss out

So if you take your DD interests into the equation that will help

Two 5 and one 4 is good

Also like you say look at the journey and see if there are coaches or trains that make an easy journey

Also look at the spread of the coach routes so you see where her classmates will be coming from ie is it easy for her to meet up with them

alexw Wed 04-Oct-06 14:36:42

I'm a teacher at NLC and it really isn't as pushy as you might think. The advice about getting through the exam without extra coaching is excellent.

singersgirl Wed 04-Oct-06 14:41:29

I do know schools can change a lot in 20 years or so, but when I was at NLCS it wasn't particularly pushy - just full of lots of bright girls. I loved it - it was a brilliant school in a beautiful setting. But then I was there in the direct grant days, when lots of girls came from what my mum would call 'very ordinary families'. Maybe they're all super rich now as well as able.

mitbap Wed 04-Oct-06 14:42:28

In fact my dd is having her first session with a tutor tonight! The very few people we know who have used/are using the independent system seem to think we've left things way too late to be visiting schools and tutoring now for January exams and 2007 entry. Are we getting this wrong?

frogs Wed 04-Oct-06 14:44:56

Anteater, we looked at Henrietta Barnett last year for dd1. It is girls only, though, did you mean your ds went there?

It is very academic -- dd1 did in fact pass the exam, but we had put a slightly gentler school as our first choice. When we looked round in Y5 I really liked the then head (Jacqualine Pain) who has since left to head up St Albans High school. I thought she was fantastic, a really first class head. When we looked round the following year there was a rather different atmosphere, which slightly put me off. And the new head hadn't started yet, so hard to get a feel for which way it would go.

Check out St Albans High if it's in your travelling zone, as I thought JP was really good news and is probably now doing great things there.

RTKangaMummy Wed 04-Oct-06 14:47:55

She prob needs tutoring on how the exams are set out etc. And so what the paper looks like iyswim

Is there anything in the past papers she hasn't covered ie in the maths VR NVR

Have you asked for past papers from the schools?

But cramming for 2 years ++++ is excessive

DS went from state primary to indep where he was in competition for places with those from indep primary schools where they have ben crammed for the exams

His primary did nothing at all even for 11+ for state schools

wanderingstar Wed 04-Oct-06 14:53:06

If she's bright she won't need a lot of tutoring; presumably you're tutoring to level off the playing field in terms of what girls from private preps would be doing ?

Could you do an internet search for past papers, just to see the sort of thing they'll be asked ? You'll know that many of the girls' schools are in a consortium - ie common papers but different pass marks iyswim. Look under City of London Girls for a sample Consortium maths paper. It was there last year when I did a similar search for my ds ! Habs Boys also have sample 11+ papers on their website. NLCS has an open day soon but I don't know if they give out papers (it's in the Consortium, Habs Girls isn't). Even if you're not interested in those schools, the info could be useful.

mitbap Wed 04-Oct-06 14:54:48

We have already introduced her to VR and NVR although not all schools seem to use in their exams. It appears that most girls schools do not release past papers. The North London Consortium released a 'sample' which I have - but the tutorial agency told me that this is much easier than the actual exams used! The tutor who starts tonight says she uses past papers from the boys schools who do release them. Will these be similar?
Also has anyone any advice about the interview stage - I assume both dd and parents will be interviewed. What goes on there?

anteater Wed 04-Oct-06 14:57:25

frogs, meant d sister!
I spent 2 years at Queens comp and 2 years at Aldenham, would not send my children to either!

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