It is on 14th May, but it clashes with Open Day for Arnold House. So we went on the alternative day, 9th May. When we entered, the room was completely packed, with lots of parents standing around the door. They were very punctual and everyone's speech was timed. They finished all the speeches as 7.20 sharp and we went to tour the school. The teachers were very pleasant and the senior boys were very confident. Although I was not very impressed with the layout of the school. It is too scattered and pupils have to walk outside the premise to go to the lunch hall. Also the classrooms are very cramped which the teachers also agreed. They did try to defend the image of a 'Hot House' as well. Would like to know opinion of other parents as well.
The Hall is a highly academic school which consistently delivers excellent results year in year out. The boys are offered a wide range of activities to keep any boy busy. At this year's pre-test, the hall boys secured 20 offers from westminster alone. But the Hall is not for the faint hearted. The work load ratchets up significantly as you get to middle school and competition amongst boys is fierce in all areas both academic and otherwise. Boys at the Hall seem to thrive at learning in this highly competitive environment which is not for everyone. And more importantly all the boys seem to know where they rank in their peer group, which if you are a star performer is great but if your not, it can be demoralising, even though the bottom set boys still move on to the country's top 10 senior schools.
The Hall is not a "show" school with roomy classroom with leafy playgrounds, its a serious academic institution. So if you were put off by small class rooms and multiple building to manoeuvre around its probably not a place for your son.
I was at a social event recently and got chatting to a Hall parent. They were so boastful and conceited of their DCs abilities and everything that was said about the school made it sound like a hot house from hell. I ran a mile!
strawberry - the pressure is real, but it's really if your son thrives in that environment. Some boys do exceptionally well and indeed exceed all expectations, however not all boys respond well in this type of environment. I think the parents are best placed to know what their son is like and whether this is best environment for him to be happy and do well. Wish you the best in your decision process.
blue- I think you get boastful parents at every school across the country. I don't think its specific to the Hall.
Mum - maybe you're right, but I haven't come across that before (even though I live in London!). Just seemed strange to tell a complete stranger a DCs achievements and to discuss position in sets and the competition between the children. Sounded fairly hideous to me and I felt quite sorry for the DC. However, you are right that some DCs are totally up for that from an early age! It is horses for courses.
Strawberry - go and look at it and follow your gut instinct as you know your DC the best.
Cor a 'serious academic institution', just what every boy of 4 needs... Being irksomely sarky aside, my friend has a son who has just finished there and is really pleased with the school, both pastorally and academically. Really couldn't speak more highly of it. The other parents, though, she found shockingly pushy. Says there's an attitude of it's not so much the winning or the taking part, but the annihilating the opposition that matters.