Good Schools Recommendation + Advice/Opinions (Y12-13)(9 Posts)
My daughter is thinking of studying abroad in UK (we're from Hong Kong). I quite liked the idea because I wish she could be learn to be more independent. We have a list of schools:
Stephen Perse Sixth Form College
North London Collegiate School
King's College School
Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls
My daughter is academically strong, predicted straight 10A* in her IGCSEs (might be 11 if she also chose to do a subject she self studied). She is a very motivated child, but puts great pressure on herself (but some of the pressure also comes from other classmates' and teachers' great expectations on her). She is quite shy, and lacks confidence when making impromptu presentations (that's why she is afraid of debating. But if it's not impromptu, she is good at making impressive presentations). She is also a bit sensitive. She loves literature, art, maths, sciences and humanities, but does not show great interests in sports.
Which schools do you think is suitable for her? Or does anyone have any experiences with these few schools? As I've said, she is academically strong, but shy, a bit sensible and easily anxious. I do not hope she would feel more pressurised, of course.
And is co-ed or girls school better? My daughter went to a girls school in primary and transferred to co-ed in secondary. I think her performances are quite similar.
One more thing is: A-levels or IB? (She like the IB curriculum, as she finds it challenging or covers a wide range of subjects. But would the IB be more pressurising than the A-levels?)
(we do recognise that some of the schools are day schools. We are able to find a home-stay family.) You may also recommend schools that is not in the list.
Sorry for the long post, and I greatly appreciate the help!
You probably need to decide between IB and A levels first as few teach both. Is it for 2017 entry as if so recruitment is already well underway. Ask about numbers of 6th form full boarders as places like Brighton can empty out at weekends as majority are weekly boarders. What is the weekend activity programme available. Personally i think she'd find it hard to attend a day school and make friends. You do tend to find overseas students gravitate to each other and she may feel quite isolated. Some like Sevenoaks have Saturday school. Woldingham might be another all girls option, or Roedean.
The girls day school Godolphin and Latymer does IB well (west London).
Where will she be living because some of those are day schools with no boarding facilities?
We are able to find an available host family for all of those day schools.
HKMOMhere you seem to have picked your list on the basis of which schools are the most academic / selective. There is nothing wrong with that but you have to decide what you want your DD to gain from the experience, just high academic standards or also the best chance of broadening her horizons. and friendships plus gaining social confidence. If the latter a boarding school (without too much of a HK clique) would be preferable.
Also how hard is she having to work to achieve the GCSE A* standard? If it is several hours a night at GCSE level then she will feel the need to work even harder ar A level and is likely to spend most of her time shut in her room at the host family's house, especially if she is trying to keep up with the brightest such as at schools like NLCLS or others on your list. That for me is a recipe for stress and anxiety, especially far away from home without strong friendships.
I think the IB would have advantages for your DD if she likes the broad curriculum, yes it is is hard work but suits the well motivated and because pupils spend a lot of time together and have to do other non academic activities there appears to be more opportunity for making and bonding with new friends plus gaining confidence and thinking skills outside the straight subject curriculum. From your list I would consider Sevenoaks and possibly add Headington school and Cheltenham Ladies College as other experienced IB schools. Both the latter two do have a quite a few HK pupils but usually less in the IB cohort. Headington would be more nurturing I think than the others.
Although CLC is the only full boarding school, I think Sevenoaks and Headington will have enough full boarding pupils in the sixth form for it not to be lonely at weekends. Disclaimer, this is all from secondhand experience. As is often said on these type of threads, investing time in visits of the schools is very valuable.
I didn't think Brighton College was as academic as say North London Collegiate so do pick carefully.
I had a daughter at each of North LC and Haberdashers and I prefer all girls schools (those daughters are London lawyers now and they are both really good schools) which both get girls joining into the sixth form.
Try a range of schools as competition is very fierce for those at the top. I don't know what the day schools' policies are on host families. I know my sons at a different school have two boys in their sixth form from China who live with host families or a cousin who lives near the school so it certainly can work out okay.
I prefer A levels to IB. I loved doing fewer subjects. North LC gives a choice of IB or A levels (my daughter did A levels).
If she might live to be in London then North London (and Haberdashers - not far from London) are good but also consider St Paul's girls school which is similar and very academic too with a very good reputation.
Do consider the big differences between a boarding school and a day school by the way as it will be a key issue for her.
You may not want a fiercely academic school though as this really ramps up the pressure and IB does too. If you would like a slightly more relaxed environment and not quite so pushy then Quernswood School at Brookmans Park in Hertfordshire may suit. Plenty going on and your DD will not be out of place. Mostly weekly boarding with some weekends in school may give a more balanced school/home life.
Sport is pretty big there but not necessarily competitive at 6th form. Personal fitness is encouraged. There will be other new girls from China starting.
If you want very academic, consider Wycombe Abbey.
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