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London parents, would you choose St Marylebone School or Camden School for Girls?

(11 Posts)
chrchrch Mon 29-Aug-11 22:15:58

A newbie, and needing to make a quick decision, before term starts next week.

DD has a place in one and has to decide whether to switch to the other, for year 7 so it would be a new start at both. We like them both, and are finding it difficult to choose. She has friends in one and DD is at the other, so socially (for her) there is not much between them.

What would you choose? Would be great to know what current parents/ staff at either school think.


chrchrch Tue 30-Aug-11 15:55:19

2000+ students between the two schools, and no parents or staff willing to admit to peeking at the Secondary education posts on MN... Whichever DD chooses, I hope there will be two happy girls next week.

Anyone else still contemplating a change of school just before starting secondary?

bluesgal Tue 30-Aug-11 17:42:40

I went to Camden and think it was a fantastic school (although I did leave in 1983 so not sure how helpful this is, but didnt want to be rude and not post an answer!)

onceagain Wed 31-Aug-11 00:06:22

I think a lot of londoners are still on holiday - judging by the empty buses and lack of traffic - so perhaps you'll get an answer from parents at the schools concerned next week.
Fwiw I would vote for camden, but I'm biased as I know quite a few families whose daughters attend the school.

chrchrch Wed 31-Aug-11 10:32:18

Thanks bluesgal and onceagain. The other helpful thing (with it being so late) is that there are no uniform suppliers to chase with Camden!

Looking ahead, St M takes in 150 against Camden's 110 in year 7. However the St M sixth forms only have 290 against Camden's 450. Both also take boys into sixth form, and most successful schools expand their sixth forms substantially when they go co-educational. The numbers also seem to imply that St M only replace girls who cannot make the sixth form entry requirements or do not leave for a 'better' place. Space is a feeble excuse given they have a new sixth form building. Which makes me wonder, why the lack of ambition for the sixth form? And could it mean the distinctive culture St M's has earned over Mrs P's tenure is not as embedded as Camden's?

I apologize in advance if my musings offend any committed supporters, and would welcome any more well-informed opinions or views.

AgonyBeetle Wed 31-Aug-11 13:18:31

Very very different ethos, surely? The arty liberal Camden vibe, vs the church school thing. I'd have thouht most people would have a gut instinct one way or the other. Maybe Camden for a more socially confident, outgoing, self-motivated and non-conformist child, StM for a child who needed a bit more structure and protecting? Horses for courses.

I know people at both, who are all v. happy. I wouldn't worry about the 6th form just yet, loads of people move schools at that stage anyway, so it all opens up again.

chrchrch Wed 31-Aug-11 18:38:59

It's a hard call for a covertly liberal and almost horizontal CoE family with a largely calm resilience to proselytizing of any variety...

Camden has always appealed because of its facade of 'organic' culture, while having very established practices and structures. Their reputation for savvy and tough girls seems protective in itself. St M copes with tremendous diversity and always seems to harbour suspiciously tolerant tendencies for a 'traditional' school. The initial shock of the savoy cabbage look has faded, DD says she can find suitable options to survive.

We're in the throes of moving closer to St M but that's just a distraction. The pressure of time may mean resorting to the proverbial coin-toss. Unless someone will very kindly tell me we've read either school entirely wrong...

onceagain Wed 31-Aug-11 20:39:05

wow, not sure I understood much of that last post. You sound like a right journo media luvvy to me chrchrch, I think you'll feel well at home with the camden parents wink

lazymumofteenagesons Thu 01-Sep-11 17:54:28

How have you managed to get places at 2 of the top girls comps for the same entry ?
Looked at these for 6th forms for my son. StM had far less choice of subjects and combinations, for example they could not cater for taking history and economics as both subjects occured in the same block. Since these are a common combination it seemed very restrictive.
Can't comment on these schools below 6th form though.

chrchrch Thu 01-Sep-11 19:17:55

Thanks, agony, for reminding me about the ethos, have pointed out to DD that while she may not object to a more traditional environment, she might react differently mentally sometimes. On the other hand there may be fewer distractions there than being in a trendy luvvy school...

onceagain, but I'm a middle-aged middle-of-the-road MNter!... it's a revelation how the savoy cabbage in disguise uniform can grow on one, when examined with enough positive vibes.

lazymum, thanks for the sixth form tip. I have this general feeling that the St M 6th form was less ambitious and maybe even a little more results conscious than Camden's, but can't quite put my finger on why that is. DD has been on waiting list since March, some other girls were offered places in time for induction day, so she's one of the later ones.

bluehorizon Thu 01-Sep-11 20:21:38

I think most of the parents I know have been very happy with St Marylebone. I am assuming that your other daughter is at Camden?
St Marylebone certainly seems to be a very lively school - not sure about the 6th form, but don't they choose schools depending on options offered at that point. TBH, you sound like you would fit in at St Marylebone too and there is great variety there. The lack of space certainly IS an issue as far as I know, new building notwithstanding.

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