Girls at The Merlin School(12 Posts)
Any experience of sending DDs to The Merlin School? We love the school, but there are so few girls. Even though DD is very confident and completely holds her own when playing with boys, she has a very strong sense of her identity as a girl (pink princess dresses, even when climbing trees!) and we're starting to wonder how she will feel being in a school with so few other girls.
Also we've been wondering if, apart from our DD, the other girls will mostly be those who've failed the Putney High and Kensington Prep assessments, so might not be as curious and enthusiastic as she is, limiting how much she will gain from her school friendships, which will presumably mainly be with the other girls rather than the very sparky boys we know at the school.
Any reassurance gratefully received!
Are you trying for Ken Prep, etc? You are right - the kind of girl you are describing would have Ken Prep, Putney, or some Kensington schools (Falkner, Glendower) as choices with higher priority on their list.
Merlin is a nice school by all accounts, but it is a prep geared for boy's exam schedule. What is your plan at 7/8+?
Yes, MM, we do have other applications in the pot, but we're very keen for DD to spend at least part of her education in a co-ed school. We hope this will help her really understand boys and help her work with and lead men in her future career.
Merlin also seems less academically pushy than KP or PH, despite getting amazing outcomes at 7+, which would suit DD much better for the first few years, even though she's very bright.
In this part of London our choices for 7-11 are pretty much limited to single sex schools. I'm not convinced the co-ed schools in this area sufficiently prioritise girls and their specific requirements, particularly the need for positive leadership role models. In Years 7 & 8 the co-ed prep schools I've seen only have a few girls, and they're also usually the slightly less academic ones who didn't get their first or second choice of London day school at 11+ and are hoping for co-ed boarding at 13+. This means there are very few senior girls in the schools who are visible to girls in the rest of the school as "leaders", eg house captains, leader of the school orchestra or chair of the debating club. This is not very encouraging for the younger girls. It also means most of the girls who would have had a chance to experience these roles aged 11 in their final year at an all-girls' prep school won't have the opportunity at all in a co-ed school, because they'll already have left the school before Year 8!
By the way, if anyone reading this thread has a daughter who didn't get through the 4+ assessments at KP or PH please don't be offended by my original post - part of our reason for choosing a non-selective school like Merlin is our fear that DD may not pass the assessments! The main thing is that, whatever her own ability, we want her to have the benefit of being in the company of at least a few other bright and imaginative girls, rather than all the top girls having been "creamed off" into other schools.
Have you looked at Prospect House, which is just round the corner from Merlin? It's very equally co-ed. Only goes to y6, but girls go on either to London day schools or boarding at 11, which seems to be a fairly common entry point for girls - really the only profile it doesn't cover is boys wanting to do CE.
Your reasoning is all very worthy but the 7+ is tough going for little ones and it's a pre prep, geared to the boys' system. This is why many girls go elsewhere - there are very few places at 7+ unless you are looking for preps like Bute or then LEH further afield. It is much better to get them in at reception and not have to prep a little one for a long exam with few places at the end of it. I totally agree that if coed is very important to you you should look at Prospect House which is a lovely school, presumably local, and will prepare your DD for 11+.
Also quite frankly being in a coed school to year 2 will not help her understand and lead men - they are little children. Think about that further down the line e.g. KCS mixed sixth form and, obviously, university.
If your DD is very bright she will have no problem getting into PH or KP at 4+.
I think you're overthinking it a bit. There are tons of bright sparky girls who never sit the 4+ assessments for PHS, Ken Prep etc (or turn down places) for many reasons and there are plenty of girls there who leave before senior school for one reason or another. The state schools in the area are very good so many parents will actively choose them and then choose single sex independent at 11. The girl's I know who are at Merlin or went there do tend to be the less girly girls but often prep school choices are about logistics so it may be because their brother goes there. There is also Hurlingham school and the Roche as well as Prospect House if you are set on Private Co-Ed.
I'd also add Fulham Prep to your mix, if co-ed is something you are after. At least, you won't be boxed-into a 7+ system. Schools that are geared to 7/8+ do just that - all of their education is built such that kids are exam-ready in Y2/3. Compared to Ken Prep, et al - it is a lot more pressure, and a lot sooner, believe me. 7+ preps hVe regular tests/drills from Y1, they just have to. In girls preps this only starts in Y5 - so at least the kids are a bit older.
In my observation, boys and girls do not mix much in primary. Mostly they do not play together. To learn to "understand and lead" men - secondary is a lot more important, in my opinion.
It's definitely not less pressure than KP or any other selective school. Even though it is non-selective, it is obviously a self-selection of those families going for 7+/8+. Some of the girls will be siblings of older brothers as mentioned above, some are those explicitly going for Bute or Latymer Prep 7+. I would also look at the Roche School or the Hurlingham School instead, they are also co-ed, as academically rigorous but giving you the option of staying till 11+.
Thanks everyone for your advice. There seem to be more co-ed schools out there than I realised! Back to the drawingboard then...
I was going to say Hurlingham too. Or All Saints, St Marys, Bishop Gilpin, St Michaels. All excellent co-ed schools which act as a foundation to get many dc into: St Paul's, KCS, The High Schools, etc. Money worth saving for later. Mine flew in.
Anyone here with boys at Merlin - do you know where they tend to go if they don't get into the usual choices at 7/8+? Also is Yr 3 much smaller than Yr 2 because of the successful 7+ leavers? DS is down to go but he's sill little so we have time. He's also down for Hurlingham and Prospect House but the imbalance of girls over boys in the top years at PHS puts me off as does the lack of opportunity / support if we did want him to try for the 7/8+. It's a tough call for boys. DS2 due soon and hopefully he'd follow but obviously we've a while to go before we know what he'll be like! Thanks.
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