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Queen's College

(45 Posts)
Dustylaw Fri 20-May-11 13:31:56

I would be grateful for any comments or information about Queen's College in Harley Street. We went to see it and we were impressed by the feel and ethos and particularly liked the new head. Our daughter is bright but interested in all sorts of things and we would like it to stay that way so primarily want a school which can do all the academics very well but without a relentless exams focus. Thank you.

lambethlil Fri 20-May-11 16:17:00

Hi Dusty

I know several girls there as well as a teacher. It seems excellent- not too 'hot housy', but good results.

I suggest you work back when looking for schools; look at the destinations of the leavers to see if that tallies with where your daughter might go.

I'm pretty sure it has entrants from a wide variety of schools, so if your daughter will not be moving up with friends it would be a good choice.

curtaincall Fri 20-May-11 23:17:50

Destination of leavers: Asma Assad, wife of President Assad of Syria; a Geldof daughter who advertises underwear; Emma Freud - broadcaster extraordinaire ...

I was there years ago and mightily unimpressed but it's probably a different school from my day. We had a completely eccentric head who cared not a jot that at least two of the male teachers were enjoying extra-curricular activities with underage girls. Not quite St Trinian's, but I do remember much bunking off, shoplifting from John Lewis and meeting up with relations of disreputable rock stars. Unfortunately, I was a boring girl guide and didn't participate in the fun and games. I did get an English essay back a term late with an apology from the teacher who'd spilt jam on it. Nothing else to say. My sister loved it even less than I did.

My mum went there too and she learnt to dance the foxtrot with a broom. Not much else. That was in the 50's though.

curtaincall Fri 20-May-11 23:24:38

If that sounded bitter, i left feeling noone had bothered with my education. Having said that, my best friend and others did very well and got into top universities at a time when most didn't. My father complained about my poor reports saying that it was a waste of £360 per term in school fees... oh the expense!

5VO1 Sat 21-May-11 13:42:54

I was there in the 70's just for 6th form. What I learnt there could have been written on an extremely small postage stamp. Did get to UCL from there tho'. I remember parading through the streets dressed in white on Founders Day - dont know if they still do that.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Sat 21-May-11 20:35:58

Have a friend with a daughter there now... Seems a bit of an anachronism - like a school for girls who are not, ahem, academic, bit like one of those Jilly Cooper tales from the 60's - biding time till leave to go Lucie Clayton/finishing school/secretarial college to get a little job for a couple of years, to fill in before marraige and country life/kids...

curtaincall Sat 21-May-11 20:58:33

5VO1 Founders Day! grin now there's a blast from the past. I bet Frederick Dennison Morris would have liked all those girls dressed in white. How virginal!

curtaincall Sat 21-May-11 21:10:15

Found this on a website about our beloved founder Frederick Denison Morris. I suppose he did set up the first ever educational establishment for young women in the UK:

'Aubrey de Vere was quite right when he said that listening to him (Morris) was like eating pea-soup with a fork, and Jowett's answer was no less to the purpose, when I asked him what a sermon which Maurice had just preached at the University was about, and he replied—'Well! all that I could make out was that today was yesterday, and this world the same as the next.'

NimpyWindowmash Sat 21-May-11 21:17:19

I near it's on the up, due to new head. Good art and music and improving all round. What would concern me is that from about year 9 the girls are schlepping around oxford street in their lunch hour.

aliena Sun 22-May-11 00:43:12

I am so glad you posted this since I was going to!

I am thinking of sending my dd here since we are not at all happy with her current school. I was so very impressed with the new head who has come from Westminister. She struck me as formidably bright, sensible , kind and empathetic. Indeed I would go as far as to say that she has impressed me more than other head I have met. The school can only go from strength to strength under her I feel.

I know of three girls who have transferred there from other schools pre GCSE and absolutely thrived there academically and been happy.

What concerns me is the lack of uniform and whether my quiet and shy girl will suit a central London school. It's a difficult decision!

zeolite Sun 22-May-11 08:44:59

Uniform is being introduced. Many things are said, by parents and staff, to have been "tightened up" since Rambo (intended affectionately) arrived, so the ethos is changing (without going into which "package" you prefer for DD).

A close friend's DD had a happy, successful, and not especially wild time there, left just before R took over. Peer pressure is notorious at that age, but home ethos will dominate, despite our rarely discussing that factor on MN.

Speaking of wonderful Heads. have you looked at Francis Holland SW1?

5VO1 Sun 22-May-11 10:32:15

With my pedantic hat on it was actually F D Maurice, not Morris. Proximity of Oxford Street was def. a temptation even in my day. I went from Oxford High which was uber academic to Queen's which wasnt then. Would rather have gone to Queen's Gate if I was changing at all as that was even more 'nice young ladies having a rather charming time' and didnt pretend otherwise.

curtaincall Sun 22-May-11 12:08:18

Have lost touch with Mrs Fierz (was she your head 5VO1 ?) probably on her umpteenth maths and physics degree aged 90 something. It was great for the scientists in my day as they always put money into new science rooms, but the art department had exactly the same yogurt pots full of powder paint that my mother had had!

It sounds like a totally new school now and should be judged as such. Agree with zeolike that home ethos is most important, though my sister (who hated it) strangely sent her daughter there. My niece wanted to work and was distracted by girls who were overly interested in fashion and boys so left for a more academic boarding school. This was about 10 years ago.

5VO1 Sun 22-May-11 12:55:18

Yes - it was Mrs Fierz. I weekly boarded there as well - maybe you can't board there anymore either. It does sound very different now I must say. I didnt send any of my 4 daughters there tho'. I think it was just convenient for my father who was a widower then and my brother was at school in London too - (tho he was soon expelled!)

oldqueen Sun 22-May-11 13:38:47

oooo, this thread is bringing back old memories! I went to Queens in the 80s. Mrs Fierz, Mr Andrade and that dodgy chemistry teacher - its all coming back to me now smile
We weren't pushed in those days but it had a nice atmosphere. And the best teacher in the world Ms de Swiet - who went to on be the head of Henrietta Barnet School iirc

5VO1 Sun 22-May-11 15:55:13

Oh well I'll be an even older Queen than you are oldqueen as I was there in the 70s and Im struggling to remember any teachers. There was Miss Blumenthal for Comparative Literature who was no doubt ultra nice but had a strong German accent and a speech impediment so I probably picked up about 2 words over the year, there was a nervous looking Mr Hutchison for Greek lit in trans, there was a history teacher who was furious with one girl wearing a military jacket 'making a mockery of real soldiers' - it might have had faux medals on it now I come to think of it - a French teacher who was some sort of relation to Albert Camus and a very intense English teacher who tried one lesson of not talking to us at all which confused us mightily.

zeolite Sun 22-May-11 16:27:05

I can't resist saying who could possibly object to this ethos? And I thought it was only my school (which is now so like the new Queen's, but still takes boarders) that was this crazy...

curtaincall Sun 22-May-11 16:36:04

Yes SVO1 ! You painted an accurate picture of the school back in the 70's. Miss Blumenthal taught my mother too. Mr Hutchinson seemed quite ancient in his chalky black gown until I met him at a reunion and he was younger than my DH! The history teacher was a Holocaust denying Marxist who's idea of beauty was an English motorway. (Fair enough). There were lessons where we'd sit around the desk of someone playing the guitar, others playing cards and ignoring the lesson for several minutes after the teacher had entered the room. Various pupils were 'involved' with male teachers. My sister walked into a guitar lesson once to find a teacher snogging a sixth former. I'm amazed at the cover ups of what must have been ALOT of dubious, not to say illegal, goings on between teachers and pupils.

The worst part was having to walk half a mile to the playing fields in Regent's park in January sub zero temperatures wearing short games skirts and blue knees ushered along by a quite sadistic games teacher (but that was probably a common experience). The memories are coming back thick and fast ...

curtaincall Sun 22-May-11 20:01:49

Please imagine ironic emoticom in first set of brackets of my previous post. Obviously.

5VO1 Sun 22-May-11 20:08:54

Cripes - quite a hotbed of sexual shananigans then although we didnt seem so traumatised by it in those days. Because I joined in the 6th form I dont think I did games at all - maybe it was an option I didnt take - I would def. have remembered a sadistic games teacher. If you are looking at totally barking teachers let me present Wycombe Abbey in the 60's - my eldest sister's school! I seem to remember sitting an 'S' level in English at Queen's - a qualification I've never heard of since - can't think what that was all about. Mrs Fierz was crazy for that Bible reading which she expounded in ringing tones which is something like 'When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child ...blah di blah 'but when I became a MAN I put away childish things' which always got me thinking thoughtfully...has she in fact changed sex? At this rate I'm going to have weird Queen's themed dreams tonight!

curtaincall Sun 22-May-11 20:44:15

'...and now abideth faith, hope, charity; these three. And the greatest of these is charity.' Corinthians 13. Ah yes I remember it well. In fact I remember being impressed with her interpretation of Charity as being another word for 'love' as indeed it was at the time of King James. I did giggle at your image of her though. Do you remember Father Rat? The same hymn every morning. I was there from the age of 11 and we had two versions of it - they jazzed it up when I was about 13. Just sang it to my ds yesterday : Father Rat thy feet we pray, all the knowledge thou dost give ... etc etc . Someone had a father who had been captured during the Vietnam War and had been missing for a very, very long time. Will never forget Mrs Fierz announcing one morning that he had been released. Time in the Assembly Hall seemed to stand still.

I know someone who boarded there up in the tiny annexe up several hundred stairs. Was it fun?

curtaincall Sun 22-May-11 20:46:47

Was that Monsieur Parsi who was related to Albert Camus?

5VO1 Sun 22-May-11 21:44:38

Yes it was!! He had a favourite in our class called Claudia, and he always called her 'My little Claudine' - hadnt read any Colette at the time so that went over my head too. My mother was at St Felix in Suffolk and always thought it was 'Gladly the Cross-eyed Bear' instead of Gladly the Cross I'd bear - anyway - I meander too long in the past - Im sure Queen's is now totally spiffing and just what the OP is looking for!

Dustylaw Tue 24-May-11 00:50:59

Thanks for all the comments - they made me laugh and remember some of my own teachers and all the stuff that went on in a 'respectable' girls' school that would now be scandalous.

Regarding current Queen's College, the destinations of the leavers seem pretty good ie if you had a bunch of girls from medium bright to very bright, would these destinations mean that those girls had done well, as well as at anywhere else or possibly even better? As for being able to troll round London at lunchtime (eventually) I was pretty reassured when my daughter told me that her only stipulation would be that if I expected her to pick up things from John Lewis then she would expect to be able to get a taxi home ie she strikes me as more sensible than I was as a girl. And when it's dark and she is heading for the tube, I would rather it was on those busy streets than on more deserted streets. As for the head, yes, we did think that any school that had her would be balanced and sensible and quite kind too. I suppose for us the thing is that we would like a school that thinks our daughter is more than just the accumulation of her expected A level grades and Queen's College seemed to have that genuine interest in what the girls were really like or could turn out to be.

evjanderson67 Wed 13-Jul-11 11:10:34

HI there,

I went to Queens College very briefly (I was at a boarding school before that and my parents couldn't afford to keep me there so moved me when I was 14 - not a good time as I had already started my O level course at that school). This was 1982 and I have to say at that time it was a pretty poor school. The teaching in a lot of the subjects was pretty abysmal and the results were dismal for a private school. If you got 5 O levels you were doing pretty well. A lot of very intelligent girls were leaving with 1, 2 or 3 O levels. The school had an ethos which I didn't get - it was non-competitive and supposedly treated girls like individuals. Well, maybe because I arrived late but i was pretty much ignored by 80% of the teachers and I flunked big time. There were no facilities at that time and the building was dusty and cold and out of a bygone time. However I have read recent reports of it and it now sounds excellent so something must have happened in the last 30 or so years. I think back in those days private schools could get away with a lot more than they do now. There are more inspections now and due to the internet, more word of mouth reports (like this!).

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