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Please help - north London prep schools: Norfolk House or St Christophers?

(18 Posts)
LexingtonBear Wed 06-Feb-13 19:59:47

Hi. I'd be hugely grateful for thoughts or experiences of either of these schools (Muswell Hill and Hampstead). We live very near Muswell Hill, really liked NH and the very gentle atmosphere and thought that was definitely where DD would go - and lots of her friends from pre-school will be there. But to my surprise she has been offered St Christopher's - which I completely loved when we went round. It seems like such an amazing place to turn down! Really, really can't decide - have obviously done lists of pros and cons for each, and certainly the journey to St Chris doesn't fill me with joy. Any thoughts or suggestions or comments about either school would be very much appreciated. Thank you so much!

Topofthehillbilly Wed 06-Feb-13 20:45:45

hmmm, well, were it not for the distance, id say St Christophers. Norfolk House is popular locally, although I think thats more for lack of alternatives (unless you consider Highgate or Channing). I know it doesnt have a great deal of outside space, and what I have heard hasnt been terribly positive. But you liked it and the view you form is important. How would you get to school otherwise? Is there someone you could lift share with?

LexingtonBear Wed 06-Feb-13 20:52:16

Thanks so much. Not sure about lift share but will investigate if we do go for St Chris. Interested that what you've heard about Norfolk House isn't hugely positive - anything specific you've heard? Thanks very much for your reply

Topofthehillbilly Wed 06-Feb-13 21:49:42

Old fashioned, cramped premises, lack of outdoor space.

emanuela Thu 07-Feb-13 21:13:19

Hi, St Christopher, no doubt about that. The commute is a pain (603 bus or 134/43 and then c11) but really the two schools are not comparable in terms of academics, facilities etc,

Go for st Christopher,you will not regret it.v

LexingtonBear Sat 09-Feb-13 21:11:01

Thanks, Emanuela - do you have a daughter at st Christopher's? Sounds like you're really positive about it, anyway - so that's great.

belledejour Sat 09-Feb-13 23:04:22

I must admit that I haven't heard of Norfolk House but my two girls went to St Christophers and it is a wonderful and exception school that also happens to have excellent academic results. It is entirely child-centric rather than focusing on parents, and the girls are all extremely confident and happy.

emanuela Mon 11-Feb-13 21:04:43

My daughter doesn't go there, but I know a few girls, they are lovely and the school prepares them very, very well. The commute is worth it, in my view.

Cococo Wed 13-Feb-13 08:44:11

Hi LexingtonBear, what did you decide? I don't have a child at either school but live in the area and know people with girls on the St Christopher's Waiting list who are desperate for a place. On their website they give numbers of how many girls get into each school at 11+ and results are amazing (25 into South Hampstead in 2012 out of only around 30 girls in the year!) lots of scholarships etc. I haven't heard of the other school but would be worth comparing 11+ results

LexingtonBear Wed 13-Feb-13 16:14:07

Thanks to everyone who replied - really helpful. Cococo - we've gone with St Christopher's, as it seemed silly not to, given the results and reputation etc. But I do know of two places which will be coming up at St C's as two friends of mine have turned down places for their girls there today - so I hope your friends' kids get places! Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Wallina Thu 14-Feb-13 13:01:24

LexingtonBear, what year will your daughter start at St Christopher's? We have just accepted a place beginning September 2014, and are delighted. Our journey won't be great either, but we'll find a way of making it fun!

LexingtonBear Thu 14-Feb-13 13:52:19

Hi Wallina - that's great! My daughter is starting Sept 2013 but touch wood they will come up with a place for my second daughter in Sept 2014. They're saying that she would normally start in year one in 2015 because of her birth date, but I am hopeful we can get a place for reception next year. Fingers crossed! I am very excited about the school - we've loved it every time we went round. How long do you reckon your journey will take? I can drive there in 15 mins without traffic, but in rush hour...hmm..!

Golshine Sat 16-Mar-13 10:14:51

Hi LexingtonBear, I'd be happy to talk to you about St Christopher's as I've just pulled my DD out of the school. There are many good points of the school, my older DD just sat 11+ and did very well, but it's my belief that in the next couple of years the two year 6 teachers responsible for getting the girls into good senior schools (both teachers are very good at this) will be retiring, which isn't good news for any new intakes. My main reason for removing my DD is the head. The teachers she had have all be lovely and very supportive but the head is a nasty piece of work. There is no discipline in the school and the way she talks to the children is revolting. In every assembly she singles children out and humiliates them for reasons such as wearing their fleece! In the last three years my DD has had a new teacher every year, many teachers only remain for 1 or 2 years, which is a shame because they are often very good. I don't wish to rant as there are many good aspects of this school but I felt uncomfortable allowing my DD to stay in that environment, especially when the year 6 teachers are likely to be gone before she reaches 11+

LexingtonBear Thu 28-Mar-13 15:07:13

Thanks, Golshine - sorry, only just seen your post. Grateful for your honesty - slightly concerned, though, having accepted the place at St Christopher's! I guess we'll see what happens. Bit anxious about your comment on discipline - is there bullying or anything, or is it that the teachers don't enforce good behaviour in your opinion? Where did you send your daughter instead, out of interest? Thanks again!

clb Thu 28-Mar-13 17:59:25

LexingtonBear, I've had two girls at St Christopher's and they and I really couldn't have been happier. Do PM me if you'd like to know more.

Melissamary1 Tue 07-Jul-15 20:56:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Melissamary1 Thu 09-Jul-15 07:40:45

The Head at Norfolk House isn't exactly Mary Poppins either. I've heard her yell at both staff and students and the turnover of teachers is high. Never a good sign.

Lipsia Sat 05-Dec-15 10:02:33

We got offered a place for our DD at Norfolk House starting Sep 2016
We are really not sure about it, the space seems very small, but I do like small class sizes .. Considering King Alfred school as well which I LOVE, but the journey from crouch end is quite long at rush hour ... any thoughts ? Very confused at the moment ....

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