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London independent girls' day schools (secondary) -- any experiences?

(25 Posts)
frogs Thu 28-Apr-05 12:15:07

We're looking at secondary schools for dd1 (Y5) and while we're hoping to find a grammar school that will meet her needs we're also looking at private schools to cover all eventualities. We're north/east/central London, so the obvious schools are: South Hampstead High, City of London Girls', Channing, North London Collegiate... The usual suspects. Dd1 is academic, and would probably be likely to pass an entrance exam, tho' of course a scholarship would be nice.

Does anyone have any reasonably recent info on any of these schools? Or other comments? I remember someone a while ago making negative comments about the secondary level of GDST schools, which includes South Hampstead.

All info gratefully received!

marialuisa Thu 28-Apr-05 12:23:56

Frogs, I meade the negative comments about GDST secondary level, but they were from the perspective of an outsider going into the school to work with the girls.

I have friends teacghing at St Paul's girls and lady Eleanor Holles but i guess they are a bitt too far away from home to be of interest to you?

binkie Thu 28-Apr-05 12:25:40

This should go down as gossip only, but I have had City of London Girls described to me as very conformist and best suiting the "effortless top of the class type".

SIL used to teach at North London Collegiate and I think quite enjoyed the calibre of pupils - and she's not at all someone who prefers conformists!

bundle Thu 28-Apr-05 12:25:51

my boss's daughter goes to the City, about to do her GCSEs, has had a good time there I think, and she's pretty academic (strong on sciences, art but a bit weaker on english). costs a bomb.

frogs Thu 28-Apr-05 13:01:06

It all costs a bomb, bundle. I'm hoping it won't come to that, but feel we should have plan B up our sleeve just in case.

The thought of St Paul's doesn't fill me with joy -- I knew quite a few people who went there and no-one who really enjoyed it. There still seem to be lots of comments of the "You have to be academically brilliant and really social and look like a supermodel" type. I don't really want that kind of ambience, somehow.

Marialuisa, what was it you didn't like about the GDST schools? I have heard rumblings about SHHS being a bit red in tooth and claw. City does seem to get a good press, though I too have heard stories about slightly non-conformist girls being given a hard time by the school. In a couple of cases they left and went to Camden for the 6th form. I've also heard horror stories from a parent of a City girl about all the girls being really promiscuous. Francis Holland, too, apparently. Aaargh.

Will look again at North London Collegiate and Channing (nasty brown uniform, though.)

frogs Thu 28-Apr-05 13:01:09

It all costs a bomb, bundle. I'm hoping it won't come to that, but feel we should have plan B up our sleeve just in case.

The thought of St Paul's doesn't fill me with joy -- I knew quite a few people who went there and no-one who really enjoyed it. There still seem to be lots of comments of the "You have to be academically brilliant and really social and look like a supermodel" type. I don't really want that kind of ambience, somehow.

Marialuisa, what was it you didn't like about the GDST schools? I have heard rumblings about SHHS being a bit red in tooth and claw. City does seem to get a good press, though I too have heard stories about slightly non-conformist girls being given a hard time by the school. In a couple of cases they left and went to Camden for the 6th form. I've also heard horror stories from a parent of a City girl about all the girls being really promiscuous. Francis Holland, too, apparently. Aaargh.

Will look again at North London Collegiate and Channing (nasty brown uniform, though.)

marialuisa Thu 28-Apr-05 13:11:16

TBH I just hated the attitude of the girls at the GDST schools I was in (and I went to a good many of them, across the country on a research project). They came across as arrogant and were perhaps not as intelligent and original as they thought they were, but that's teenagers I guess.

Friend teaching at St Paul's would agree with your views on the type of girl who gets on there, she claims she spent the first 6 months worrying more about her clothes and hair than her lesson plans! She starts a job at Charterhouse in September so I guess she'll have to deal with 13 year old boys staring at her cleavage instead of 13 year old girls giving her make-up tips!

Pamina3 Thu 28-Apr-05 13:18:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Heathcliffscathy Thu 28-Apr-05 13:24:20

i went to a GDST school (same one as pamina ) and i got great results and went to a great university. however i was bullied in the second year, and fell in with the same clique that bullied me in the 6th form and i would say that if you are in any way 'different', the arrogance of the girls, esp those that have come up from the prep school is not a good thing. could have just been my particular year tho. just didn't feel like a sort of 'all in this together, lets look after each other and encourage our girls to flourish as individuals' kind of place tbh.

i would never send our ds to the all boy equivalent. i much prefer the idea of a co-ed (whether grammar, state or private).

Pamina3 Thu 28-Apr-05 13:28:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noddyholder Thu 28-Apr-05 13:31:38

A close friend of mine sends her daughter to Notting Hill not sure about the school reputation etc but friends daughter is very happy there and she is a lovely girl

goldenoldie Thu 28-Apr-05 14:39:14

Not sure if you are considering Highgate too. Trevor Phillips (head of the CRE) sends/t his girls there.

Told to me by a parent who had sent girls to both schools - City of London is for girls who will go on to become leaders in industry, or science or academia, and Highgate is for the girls who will become the wives of the leaders of industry, science or academia!

kaytee Thu 28-Apr-05 14:43:42

I'd heard T Phillips had sent daughter(s) to NLCS. Maybe not then! I know for sure that girls age 11+ are a new thing for Highgate school, starting 2006 I think. They are alreaddy filtering through the junior school.

Caligula Thu 28-Apr-05 14:48:15

A good friend of mine works at Hampstead School for Girls (?) I think it's called - the one just off Finchley Road.

Phenomenally high standards, her major problem is eating disorders among these very highly motivated girls , but in spite of that she's always said that that's not because of the atmosphere of the school, and she'd have no hesitation in sending a dd of her's there.

Pricey though.

alibubbles Thu 28-Apr-05 18:49:48

The deputy head of my daughter's school will be the head of Channing in September. She is very good, she used to be head of 6th form at my son's independent school. She is a high flier, has 4 boys, head of languages. Has been running St Albans High School for the last year and a bit as the Head has terminal cancer; made a good jonb of it too.

frogs Thu 28-Apr-05 18:57:48

That is good to know, alibubbles, thank you. I'm definitely interested in Channing, particularly because it seems to do really well for the girls without being quite so overtly hothousey. Dd1 is academic, but she can also be quite stroppy and argumentative, and is def. not conformist. Also because she's been in a very mixed inner-city primary she's probably a bit more of a square peg than all the little girlies who've come up through the prep school system. I was hoping a smaller school might give individuals a bit more leeway.

But I will go and look at South Hampstead and NLCS too.

bundle Thu 28-Apr-05 18:59:46

friends of ours had their 3 yr old daughter sit tests (3 in all) for channing

rosepetal Thu 28-Apr-05 19:58:27

Are you sure you want a girls school? If you like co-ed why don't you consider Highgate. I've heard that the head of the junior school is fantastic (they stay in Juniors until end of Year 8) and there'll be a new head of senior school starting in September 2006 I believe. I've heard that's it's got a real sense of renewal about it after being perhaps a bit too traditional and stuck in its ways a few years ago.

Milly1968 Thu 28-Apr-05 21:43:01

Have you considered Habs? It's in the countryside just outside Elstree but they do have lots of buses that bring girls in from all over north London. My 5yr old got a place there last year, and we were very impressed with it - fantastic facilities, great results and a very good mix of girls from different ethnic/cultural backgrounds. However, as my daughter could not go on the coach for another 2 years, and I didn't want to spend 2 hour in the car every day, with great regret we turned the place down.

I seem to remember that the fees are also a lot less than they are elsewhere because the school has various endowments. I think they have quite a few scholarships too.

I really liked Channing junior school, but don't really know much about the senior school. However, I've heard that it's a lot less pressurised/intense than some of the other north London girls' schools. I think if we were going to stay in London, I'd probably send my dd there or Habs (assuming she got in!). However, I actually find the prospect of her going to a north London girls' school quite scary (I've heard a quite a lot about eating disorders in several of the most academic schools) and this is one of the reasons we're moving out of London next year.

Best of luck!

Davros Thu 28-Apr-05 22:03:57

I went to a G(P)DST school as it was in those days (Notting Hill & Ealing High). I hated school but it was a bloody good school. Now I live near South hampstead and woudl LOVE DD to go there who is only 2!!! I have a good friend who takes no prisoners and is a ball breaker when it comes to schools and her 3 DDs went to South Hampstead. I have never heard a bad thing about it, it is supposed to be really good. City, Channing, NL Collegiate also considered very good, never heard a bad word. Do you know that Highgate is now co-ed and UCS is going co-ed?

cas73 Thu 28-Apr-05 22:05:05

What is a GDST school?

Milly1968 Thu 28-Apr-05 22:07:12

Girls' Day School Trust.

cas73 Thu 28-Apr-05 22:11:05

Thanks!

elibelly Wed 04-May-05 10:17:07

I went to Francis Holland (the Baker Street one) and it was and still is less academically pressured (despite being academic) and more accepting of the non-conformist girl. More media parents, less stockbrokers which helped I think (apologies if you're a stockbroker!). They have improved the facilities since then (well I did leave 21 years ago ) worth a look. Otherwise NLCS is fantastic plus great grounds and facilities, lots of encouragement for art drama and music as well as the more traditional academic pursuits. Schools are such a personal thing, just go and look at as many as you can and see which you get good vibes from.

MarsLady Wed 04-May-05 10:20:54

The only experience I have of them is babysitters. I have 2 who go to NLCS and 1 from Channing. They are gorgeous girls who are sitting their A levels. The NLCS girls are really happy at school and the Channing girl says that to enjoy Channing you have to be very clever and she doesn't think that she is.

Probably of no help to you, but I wanted you to know that the "end product" is very nice. I find it helps me if I can see the kind of child/young adult that comes out the other end of a school.

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