Lyceum vs St Pauls cathedral vs Charterhouse square school(7 Posts)
I am desperate for some straight up honest feedback
We have a 4 y old DD currently loving lyceum but got a place at st pauls and charterhouse for reception.
We are torn
We want academic schools but something that will also build on talents
All the schools mentioned seemed to rank v highly
We wre v keen she ultimately gets into city london girls
Would appreciate honest feedbk from mums
They are really very different schools with very different ethos. Charterhouse square is definitely more academic than Lyceum and St Paul's (about a year ahead in the curriculum for the 11+). St Paul's is way more 'conservative' and traditional than the other two, but at least as strong academically as Lyceum. My sense is that Lyceum is more balanced all around, but that means it does not excel in any particular category, except perhaps arts and music. It is very hard to get a place in Charterhouse Square (I know parents on the waiting list desperate to get in), whereas everyone I know who wanted St Paul's got in eventually, despite having an assessment. I would personally not move to St Paul's from Lyceum, unless one likes its very traditional ethos. Charterhouse square on the other hand is at the other end of the spectrum, very liberal (no uniform, no 'old-school' discipline methods and mannerisms) and academic, but with less emphasis on arts and music.
As it has been noted many times in these discussions, a lot depends on what you want from a school. I doubt all that matters to a parent is the best possible chances to get into the City of London (or any other sought-after secondary). Every private school seeks to strike a balance between prepping and other educational goals, all of which are important for a child's development. Parents whose kids have already started in a particular prep school typically show a bias in favor of their choice. For you to still be considering moving, even though your child is happy, suggests to me that the balance Lyceum strikes might not be right for you.
We have looked at all 3 schools as well. I’m not sure I would agree that Charterhouse Square is more academic than the other 2. I think all 3 have good teaching and bright children who do well at 11+ (or 13+ for St Paul's). But I think naus is correct that each school has its own ethos, and I would choose the one that fits best with your daughter and what kind of education you want for her.
Our impression (and this may be wrong) is that Charterhouse is very focused on exam prep, even from quite early on, which might leave less time for other types of learning. Perhaps consequently, music and arts are not a very big part of the curriculum, while they are very important at both St Paul's and Lyceum. This may or may not be something you’re looking for as a parent. Our son is not very musical generally, but we still think it’s important that he learn an instrument and read music, so Charterhouse probably isn’t a good choice for us.
The class size at Charterhouse is also very large for a prep school - 26 in a class - whereas St Paul's and Lyceum have maybe 18, fewer probably at Lyceum. And because of the class size, the Charterhouse building also felt very claustrophobic to us. The buildings at St Paul’s and Lyceum (their new building at least) are bigger, with science labs, music practice rooms and their own canteens. They also have their own outdoor play areas, though Charterhouse does have use of Charterhouse Square.
According to the head a few months ago, there were several places available in our son's year at Charterhouse, so I don't know how hard it really is to get a place (that is, if you don't get a place in the lottery for age 3) as people do move out, and I’ve heard some move from Charterhouse to St Paul’s for reception. But it may just depend on the year. We also have found that most who want to go to St Paul’s do eventually get a place at 4+ or 7+, but occasional places do not come up very often. Lyceum is growing as a school, and as far as I know it has places available in every year still (not that that’s relevant to you since your daughter is already there).
One other thing, you might want to ask MNHQ to move this to the primary education forum as it's possible you'll get more opinions there!
Thank you for your responses
Its been a difficult decision and I agree all : schools have their quirks as well as their strong points and seem to produce good leaver destinations regardless.
So will keep you guys posted!
Wondered what you ended up doing@MV77 We are also looking a Charterhouse Sq and Lyceum. Was there anything in particular about Lyceum that made you think about moving? Any info / first hand experience much appreciated! Thanks!
We ended up staying at the Lyceum
The community of parents are wonderful
And general environment and feel of school is very family friendly.
The curriculum could do with a bit more push but I think overall very happy with the school . Hope that helps.
@MV77 Thank you for taking the time to reply! Glad you've found a school that feels right for your DD. I was wondering how you felt that the curriculum needed a bit of a push - did you mean that their topics could be broadened (I think they approach the curriculum through topic-based learning?), or are you thinking about certain subjects that aren't offered at all?
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