Daughters at BHHS, Shoreham College or Lewes Grammar(20 Posts)
I'd love to hear experiences of anyone with a dd at any of these schools in year 7 or 8 now. We are currently thinking of private options as well as Dorothy Stringer and Varndean and it would be really helpful to hear some first hand experiences with kids early on in secondary school.
I would avoid BHHS like the plague, it's a very unhappy school; bitchy, bored demoralised teachers and no ethos. Brighton College is great.
agree re BHHS sadly. Love Shoreham College, great new head starting in Jan, the school is going from strength to strength
I have known literally dozens of girls go to BHHS seniors and have never heard one bad word about it. All seem, or seemed to be pretty happy, well-supported, getting a great education, saying the atmosphere is very friendly. When I looked around I was very impressed at the peaceful atmosphere, the amazing facilities, the way the girls looked engaged. I loved the way the peer support was set up and that it focused on each girl achieving her best academically, but not putting them in direct competition with each other (they don't post up the rankings for all the girls to see). I could go on with things I have either noted myself, or heard from parents. All parents I have spoken with, or who I personally know, agreed that it is a happy school. I had heard 1st hand, from a teacher there, that the old head who was there for few years was not so good with her staff, which I daresay did affect morale, but I believe the new head, Jennifer Smith (since 2012) has made quite a few changes. If I were you, I would read the Good schools Guide report on the front page of their site. It must be recent as it mentions Ms Smith. You can also look at the Independent Schools Report. www isi.net/schools/6281/ Last report though was written in 2011, so a little out of date, as under previous headship. You might get some more balanced reviews!!
I've known many girls at BHHS too, including my two daughters. My elder girl had a pretty horrible time under the old Head; the atmosphere within the school was tense and unhappy with demoralised staff using photo-copied sheets instead of engaging with their pupils. Sport was also marginalised with poor facilities and lack-lustre teaching. I considered sending my younger daughter there under the new Head ( she'd had a lovely time at the Juniors) but opted for Brighton College instead as my girl loves sport.
Many of her peers have gone onto the Seniors and four out of her class of twelve have left at the beginning of Year 9. Reasons: unresolved bullying, boredom and (again) uninspired teaching. If the new Head has made any difference then there seems precious little evidence of it. Seriously, the state options are so much better, don't waste your money.
have you thought about Lancing College Prep School in Hove? I have heard great things about it?
Having looked at lots of different schools including Varndean and Stringer, my daughter started in YR7 at BHHS in September 2014. Apart from the first couple of weeks when she was missing her old friends, she has settled in really well and so far I can only say positive things about the school. The headteacher is a formidable, no-nonsense Scot with a real focus on ensuring the girls fulfill their potential. My daughter has made some lovely friends and enjoys the subjects she is taught (apart from Geography which is apparently 'dull'). Although not overly academic, there's a strong culture of working hard at the school and I've seen a real change in my daughter's attitude towards work and her desire to learn. When thinking about schools we looked at Shoreham College and liked it a lot but felt that it was weighted too heavily in favour of boys. We also looked at Lewes Grammar but felt that the main school building was poky and claustrophobic and the lessons were being taught in a rather old fashioned way - it wasn't dynamic enough for us. We didn't look at Brighton College because it is too academic and pushy. Incidentally, a lot of the girls that can't keep up at BC apparently end up at BHHS and love it there. I can only suggest that you go to as many open days as possible, you'll get a good feel as to which school is right for your child. Best of luck!
Please also consider Roedean. New head Oliver Blond (ex Henrietta Barnett) making big changes, incredible facilities, great girls. My DD is starting in Sept, she was offered places at BHHS and BC but Roedean got our vote! Good luck.
we've moved out of the area but I would have gone for Roedean, hands down.
My daughter is in Yr7 and is really happy at BHHS. She has a really lovely group of friends and her progress has been excellent. The head teacher is inspiring and makes no bones about the fact that the school is not suitable for parents who want their daughters to be educated in an 'ivory towers' environment. My daughter joined BHHS from a great state primary (outside of B&H) and she has flourished in her new surroundings. Her academic work is challenging but not all encompassing and she is with like-minded girls who share her interests outside of school. My advice is to look at each school and imagine your daughter there - will she be able to cope in the most demanding academic environments, does the school reflect your family values, will she settle there or feel out of her depth? I, for one, can not speak highly enough about BHHS for my daughter's first year there.
That was a great post to read Lola22, so thank you for that. My daughter is starting BHHS in September and we have a Taster Day next week...we can't wait! She is also doing very well at a good state primary school and I believe this transition will suit her down to the ground. I went to have a look at Roedean too; I am sure it is a great school, but I had reservations about there being so many boarders and overseas students, when my daughter would be a day girl. I don't doubt it would be broadening, interesting and useful to have friends from far flung places, but they still outweigh the day girls, so you have very different lifestyles there, with boarders out of the UK during the holidays, or tied up at school at the weekends. I have since become friends with someone who taught at Roedean until last year, who has expressed the same concerns. I know this ratio of day vs boarders is changing and is something the new Head, Oliver Blond, is addressing, so many scholarships are being offered to local Sussex girls. It is also not as academic a school as BHHS (confirmed again by my teacher friend), but this is something that Mr. Blond plans to change; he was previously head of Henrietta Barnett, one of the country's top performing girls' grammar schools. I feel good about my girl going to a small, local, day school, where she has a good chance of making friends for life, with girls from her locality.
I'm sure your daughter will be really happy at BHHS, preciousbeing. My daughter has a better social life than me - and this was something I was very keen for her to develop during her secondary school life. BHHS really reminds me of the all-girls grammar school I attended (and loved) quite a few years ago now! Wishing you all the very best for September!
BHHS is not the school it once was, my DD was there for a short period of time and is now at Brighton College.
The Head is very defensive if you as much as criticise anything and once you give notice to leave it is known amongst all parents your DD becomes a second class citizen and no longer given the time of day. My sisters daughter is in her last year of GCSE's and approx 70% of her class are going elsewhere but they will not give notice until the very last minute for this very reason.
The junior school is great, which is all down to the superb Head, but it's a totally different case in the senior school.
I also know someone that works there and they have said moral is at an all time low as there is no leadership within the school due to having a very week SLT and they are struggling to retain their pupils.
I would not recommend this school at all, avoid like the plague!!
It's such a shame as this school used to be superb
Totally agree. My now 20 yr old Dd1 is still recovering from the bullying she received at BHHS, and that mainly from the teachers. Friends tell me that nothing has changed under the newish Head, in fact it's worse.
I can't recognise some of this chat about BHHS, I have worked there recently and can say that morale is excellent among staff, it's the happiest staffroom I have ever known and it was a pleasure to be there. There are some fabulous characters there and very caring, attentive support for every girl. I can't speak as a parent but I wanted to set the record straight about staff- the new head is great and the staff are wonderful! There is a fresh, modern feel to the approach to girls education which reflects the town it is in and the teachers mostly all live in Brighton, which means they are open minded and strong characters. The school has very little behaviour problems and a lower incidence of anxiety/ stress than I have found elsewhere amongst today's teenagers, which would be one of the main selling points for me.
I totally disagree with the previous comment, staff morale is horrendous, my sister in law works there and she has been so unhappy since the new head has been in situ and whilst the old head was intimidating and unpredictable the new one is worse to the point that most of the staff long for Mrs Duggleby to return.
There has also been issues with the Heads PA who everyone believes runs the school and her appalling behaviour, bullying staff and unbelievably showing obscenities but the Head has done nothing about it.
Teachers are demoralised due to the Head and her weak flailing senior management team who are totally out of their depth. Dimishing pupil numbers are evidence of this.
This is not a healthy environment to educate your daughters in, any other school would be an improvement on BHHS.
They long for Ms Duggelby to return? Wow. That says it all!
Another one here to add support to BHSS. My daughter has just left the sixth form having spent 10 years there (including some years at the junior school). She has had a fantastic time!
She's loved every moment of it, had all sorts of opportunities there and has come out with three good A levels and is about to go to a top university for her chosen subject.
The teaching staff are all very committed and approachable, and well liked by pupils. The relationships between the teachers and the girls are really positive and there is much mutual respect in evidence. Expectations are generally high academically, but the girls seem to achieve their potential without feeling too pressured. They also place value on the arts and other non academic subjects, and girls get a well rounded education. As an all girls school, they are encouraged to become strong independent women and challenge the boundaries that often stop females going for male dominated studies/ professions etc etc.
My daughter and her friends were well motivated to learn, as are the majority of the girls there. It's not necessary to be hugely academic, but an openness and willingness to learn is a must, I would say, to be happy in this school.There's an implicit expectation that the girls behave well at all times, which they seem to do, so there's no particular issues with classroom discipline etc.
I guess bullying arises in every school at times, but i can honestly say that my daughter didn't experience any, nor was she aware of anyone else being bullied. She's always enjoyed the fact that the older girls were so supportive of the younger girls, and has looked up to, and been looked up to, as she progressed through the school. The school do promote this ethos and there are various formal and informal strategies in place.
I see that Sasspuss has commented on every post that mentions BHSS. She obviously feels extremely negative about the school. Please don't judge it on one person's view. Go and have a look at it and see it in action. It's awesome!
Sasspuss is not the only one to feel this way, look at the numbers of pupils for September 18... I think there is 48 pupils.
This in itself speaks volumes about the school.
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