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St Paul's Cathedral School

(27 Posts)
katevillage Wed 29-Feb-12 04:48:11

Does anyone have experience of this school? We have a v. bright little boy and have been told it is a good school. However, hubbie and I not completely convinced when we toured...very hard to tell what kind of a school it is, and what kind of secondary schools the children get into. Also headmaster seemed nice, but not dynamic. We are aiming at Westminster (first choice) City (second choice) for secondary. We live locally, and there are just so few decent private prep/primary schools in the City/Islington area!!

ponyprincess Wed 29-Feb-12 12:18:34

I don't have personal experience, but have several friends with children there and they all seem quite happy with it. Have you considered Charterhouse Square School near Barbican, also a good school in the City that gets boys into city boys and westminster.

katevillage Wed 29-Feb-12 22:31:31

Thanks ponyprincess. Have not heard of Charterhouse, will google it now.

Pyrrah Wed 29-Feb-12 23:22:31

Check out The Lyceum as well (Liverpool St Station).

TheMethren Thu 01-Mar-12 03:48:04

OP, I have a child at St Paul's Cathedral School. DS is still in the pre-prep so my experience of the prep section is limited, but so far we are very, very happy with the school. I have seen your other threads and your DS sounds similar to mine (and we have similar ideas on destination secondaries smile). My DS is progressing rapidly in certain areas and has been actively encouraged to progress at his own pace by his teachers (e.g. extension work, materials borrowed from older years). The school has lots of pluses - a lovely atmosphere, fabulous music, lots of drama and art, "proper" sport with fixtures against other preps.

However, having read your other threads, if you are thinking about 11+ at Westminster Under for your son, you should be aware that WUS say they don't like to take boys at 11+ from preps that end at 13. Many of the St Paul's girls leave at the end of Year 6, so the final two years often have fewer than 20 boys per class, which seems like a great opportunity for more individual attention in the run-up to CE. St Paul's sends to many destinations, and preparation for 11+ and 13+ transfer seems to be quite thorough - lots of training in exam technique, lots of opportunities to discuss appropriate destination schools. Iirc they have sent at least 10 boys to Westminster in the last 4 years, and they also send a fair few to City Boys at 11+.

If you are set on WUS 11+ you could try Charterhouse Square School (which ends at 11 and seems to send a one or two boys to WUS most years), although grapevine whispering suggest that lots of tutoring goes on there. You could also try a good state primary, as most of the WUS 11+ intake is from state. If you are prepared to hang on for Westminster 13+ then St Paul's is well worth considering.

Pyrrah Thu 01-Mar-12 15:39:26

I did notice that registrations are closed for 4+ entry in 2013/14/15 for St Paul's Cathedral School....

ponyprincess Thu 01-Mar-12 21:26:41

I think registrations are closed for 4+ for 2012 and 2013 at St Paul's but not beyond.

I have not heard the whispering about masses of tutoring going on at Charterhouse, but have heard they have more homework. They are different from St Pauls as they do not select based on assessment results, they have a lottery system, so they may have a less homogeneous group ability wise

katevillage Mon 05-Mar-12 14:21:32

The Methren, thanks so much. You have really helped me with your insider's view of St Pauls Cath. Much appreciated! Not keen on Charterhouse. Have been looking at Dallington, but they only seem to get boys into West Under at 7/8. I am not sure good state primary is an option in N1 area? We can afford private (just!) so would prefer not to risk it. Check with West Under, who say they have taken a couple of boys at 11 from St Paul's.
Thanks again!

katevillage Mon 05-Mar-12 14:22:02

Sorry, that should have read "I have now checked with West Under"..

PollyMorfic Mon 05-Mar-12 14:31:22

"I am not sure good state primary is an option in N1 area? We can afford private (just!) so would prefer not to risk it. "

There are loads of good state primaries in N1: Thornhill, Hanover, William Tyndale, Canonbury, for starters. And Prior Weston in EC1.

My dd and a couple of friends who had been in her class at an N1 primary school (not one of the ones mentioned) last year went on to get 11A* grades at GCSE. Not sure what more you could ask for, really.


PollyParanoia Mon 05-Mar-12 15:22:24

As I ever I say hear, hear to my near namesake PollyMorfic (sad mutual fan-girl thing going on here). Kid I know from an N1 state school has just got a 100% bursary to Highgate.

TheMethren Mon 05-Mar-12 17:13:44

katevillage, do you mind if I ask why you are so set on 11+ transfer to Westminster Under? Your other threads suggest that your son is already 8 - so you would be looking to send him to one school for a couple of years, then transfer to WUS at 11, then to the Great School 2 years after that? That is a lot of changes. Competition for WUS places is ferocious, no matter how bright your child is, and it might be a safer bet to send him to a prep that ends at 13 so that he has a good few years of educational continuity, particularly if he hasn't been in the UK system until now.

There are not that many private primaries/preps that feed WUS at 11+ as the majority of the intake is from the state system. I wasn't keen on Charterhouse Square either. Dallington is a lovely school by all accounts but probably not the best choice if you're going to fret about how much formal academics your child is doing. The Lyceum ends at 11 and I have heard good things about the school, but their leavers' destinations for boys aren't that impressive. Somewhere like Newton Prep in Battersea sends boys to WUS, but it would be a bit of a hike from N1. Other options include the preps up Hampstead/Highgate way, but most of them end at 13.

As the Pollys say, there are some good state primaries in N1. I won't go into the reasons why DS isn't at one, but it just depends what you feel would suit your child best. You could try one of the schools PollyMorfic lists and supplement with tutoring - but then you might find you need to tutor at a prep anyway as 2 years isn't much time for your DS to get up to speed for WUS 11+ entry.

PollyParanoia Mon 05-Mar-12 17:20:59

And Westminster under clearly says on its website that for 11+ they are mainly looking for state school applicants. Or privates that end at 11. Neither of which is st Pauls. If you really are set on west at 11, wh I gather is pretty challenging, then I'd say the smallest 'risk' would be state...

PollyParanoia Mon 05-Mar-12 17:22:02

Cross post with methren except she says it all so much better!

katevillage Mon 05-Mar-12 18:39:22

Thanks Polly, thanks Themethren. You've given me a lot to be getting on with. We've been abroad for a few years, so am a bit out of touch. Do you know name of state school where your friend's daughter scored those high GSCEs?
Much appreciated.

PollyMorfic Mon 05-Mar-12 21:03:02

I don't want to name individual schools, cos it's potentially too identifying. But my dd and her two friends ended up going to three different state secondary schools in North London, all reasonably good schools but none the kind of school that people pay/move house/sell their grandmother to get into. To be honest, most reasonably good schools should have at least a handful of dc achieving 10 or so A/A*s, a full house of straight A*s is not nec run of the mill even in top private schools, but most mainstream schools will have one or two achieving at that level. You really don't have to pay £12k a year for your children to achieve the grades they are capable of.

AS people were saying on another similar thread somewhere, the thing to look at with schools, both primary and secondary, is what kind of results the top 10% or top 20% of pupils are getting. As long as the very top end are achieving the kinds of grades you would like your child to get, then the fact that there are a proportion, even a majority, of children getting much lower grades is not really that relevant. You just need to have confidence in your child's ability to work to their potential given reasonably good teaching and a supportive home background.

As a mindset, it takes a lot of the stress out of school choice/secondary transfer. smile

katevillage Mon 05-Mar-12 21:56:04

OK, thanks again.
Just finished reading ISI report for Westminster Under School. It is incredible... (makes me want to weep).

PollyMorfic Mon 05-Mar-12 22:53:44

Well, if you know that's what you want, then you can focus on getting your child there. But do bear in mind that, however shiny the facilities and the inspection report, not all dc who go there will turn into Oxbridge-bound geniuses, and plenty of dc who go to far less stellar schools will do just as well.

That's all, really. smile

katevillage Tue 06-Mar-12 01:43:52

Thanks PollyMurfic. You are quite right. I take your point, and it sure is useful to get some perspective. smile wish I could do yellow smiley, but can't figure out how! (I obviously didn't go to west undie..)

katevillage Tue 06-Mar-12 01:44:30

oops - it worked shock!

Mominatrix Tue 06-Mar-12 06:29:56

Hello katevillage. Another thing to keep in mind is that a school you might be enamoured with might not be held in the same esteem by your DS. Knowing my DS1, I initially thought that WUS/Westminster would be the ideal environment for him, as did his teachers. However, DS visited the school twice, and both times he came back far from enthusiastic about the prospect of going there, and when faced with the choice of which schools he wanted to apply to, he put WUS last.

Interestingly, the two schools he chose to apply to are academically at the same level as WUS, have top senior schools attached (but also located on the same campus), but both have acres of playing fields and outside playing space - something missing at WUS.

Good luck! My advice, if you really wanted 11+ entry is to choose a good state school and supplement with a good tutor with a proven track record. Otherwise, I'd switch my target to 13+/CE and try and find a spot at schools such as The Hall school (near Swiss Cottage) and Arnold House school (St. John's Wood) which have excellent records at 13+ entry.

I know Newton Prep was mentioned above, but their record is actually not fantastic in exit schools - good, but only a small handful go onto Westminster/St. Pauls/Kings.

katevillage Wed 07-Mar-12 02:16:17

Thanks Mominatrix. V.useful advice. I know the Hall, and he did get in there at 4+ but then we went abroad. Just cannot see getting there from our neighbourhood every morning... Will take a look at N1 state schools, though hardly know where to start! Does anyone know of a UK state schools website, with parent reviews?

katevillage Wed 07-Mar-12 02:22:55

It's OK. I think I have enough advice now to be going forward. Will follow gut instinct as well as logistics, siblings and other practicalities - as well as listen to DS's views (up to a point of course)! Thanks for reminding me about that Mominatrix. V.glad I posted on Mumsnet smile

londonborn86 Sat 27-Jul-13 20:31:27

Do you guys no anything about Arnold House please? Thank you.

CruCru Sun 28-Jul-13 19:44:24


I started a thread a while ago called North London N1 and had some very helpful comments on a whole bunch of schools. I'll dig out the link (am on phone).

One thing to think about is just how far you are prepared to travel for.

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