Advice wanted Abbots Hill School (Senior)(13 Posts)
Our elder dd is about to enter year 6 at AH and we are looking at senior school options. Having been at AH for 7 years and still have another 4 to go (younger dd still there), we have not been very impressed by AH at prep level but wondered what people made of it at senior school? Our DS attends a local state school and the quality of education that he receives there is far superior despite having 30 in a class and he is an average studen just like his sisters. Anyway, that makes me wonder whether we should look for state senior schools or does AH actually improve at senior school. Their GCSE results seem no better than STAGS, or other St Albans/ Harpenden senior schools. Any thoughts out there on the merits of private vs state education?
I have no idea what Abbot's Hill is like for secondary. I am bumping this thread as I wonder whether it would be worth sending dd when she is older if we are allocated one of the poorer comprehensives. My reservation would be that it is incredibly small number of pupils. The whole school has less pupils than the average state primary.
My son's secondary school has roughly 1200 pupils the sheer number of pupils makes its possible to have setting, good facilties and a range of people to make friends with. I can see that if one of your daughers was particularly sensitive that they might suit being in a tiny school. However the large comprehensives generally have a room where more delicate/ SEN children can go at lunch time to shelter from the bullies.
Why don't you transfer your younger daughter to your son's state school? Abbots Hill is a lot of money to pay if you aren't happy with the education.
I looked round the school but was rather put off by the fact that there is no provision for girls after the age of 16 which may also be something worth considering. It also felt very small world and I wasn't't sure how well it prepared girls for the wider environment after GCSEs. The girls did seem very happy there though. Also remember that results depend on intake too. There is competition from Habs, St Albans, Berkhamsted and the grammars in Chesham / Aylesbury / Watford in that area so the academic girls may well be going elsewhere. I would personally choose STAGS over Abbott's Hill but live nowhere near the catchment area.
With any school, private or state, if you have any doubts then I'd say it's not right. Your gut reaction is always right and if your kids are happy then they will do well wherever they go.
Thank you for you input really tired and zidlebud. We are on the waiting list for ds's school so will move younger dd if a place becomes available. My experience in the prep school has been that they are unable to tap into potential or spark any enthusiasm, so the girls that are naturally good academically or at sports or music etc then they are selected to be on teams and given rewards but those that are okay at all of these things are overlooked and there is no SEN provision. Also whilst at ds's school the teacher has 5 to 6 different lesson plans to cater for different abilities this is not the case at AH and the staff and student turnover is extremely high. What is it like at STAGS? Also hadn't considered post 16 but that is a thought also.
Once your daughter is in year 3 it might be worth appealing if hasn't got a place. Key stage 2 class sizes are not limited by law in the same way that key stage 1 classes are.
Would you consider sending her to a different school? There are other schools which have a reasonable repruation which have spaces for year 3 and after school care.
Have you considered moving your daughters to a different state school?
We have friends who moved their girls to the royal Masonic school from abbots hill and they haven't looked back. They moved their girls so that their youngest had better dyspraxia provision.
It sounds like you already deep down know the answer but are just trying to rationalise it!!! I haven't visited STAGS but my best friend has two daughters there (well, one is going to start Y7 in September). It's a large school but seems to meet the needs of all girls well. My friend's eldest is "average" and doing well, stretched and supported in subjects as needed. Great extra curricular provisions and has a sort of grammar feel to it. She has a lot of friends and is extremely happy there.
I guess it comes down to whether you want single sex or not. Nothing can beat visiting a school though. I have visited many, have hated some extremely oversubscribed schools with excellent reputations, and loved some which others put down because they have a stronger emphasis on pastoral care (and dare I say having fun).
Do I think you get a better education going private? At a great state school absolutely not. What I am paying for is the smaller class sizes, more attention to each child, greater exposure to extra curricular stuff and for secondary the flexibility to choose single sex if I want. You know what sort of environment is going to suit your children best.
Gosh 3 school runs not sure how I can manage that really tired . Royal Masonic is just too far for us and the high school too academic. Zodlebud one would expect the smaller class size to be a good thing but neither of my dd's have progressed as much as ds has in a class of 30 and as for extra curricular, ds has far more opportunities to perform than both dd's do put together!!! He has tried more sports at school and gets better quality music lessons at lunch/break times so he isn't missing lessons. I have made my mind up re primary school but not senior school we always thought our kids would go to private and private is the best but our experience at AH so far is proving otherwise. Anyone out there at AH seniors willing to comment? Or STAGS?
All the state secondary schools have their open days/ evenings in September. I suggest you visit ones you are interested and see what they are like. I think you might be pleasently surprised.
That's not to say all private schools are equal!!! My girls attend a co-ed prep very close to AH (you can probably guess which one) and it was the only one I felt was right for our family and where I wanted to spend our money. My friend with the Girls at STAGS isn't on MN but I'll see if I can get her to join to send you a PM.
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