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Slightly quirky, relatively bright dd in NW6 - which private secondary schools recommended?

(22 Posts)
loveyouradvice Sat 26-Nov-11 16:13:11

Hi all

DD is 9 and at the local primary - confident, funny, quirky, relatively bright (top 7 in class not top 3!) - loves playing the fool, art, drama.....

I want to find somewhere that will stretch and challenge her academically AND allow her to totally become herself, whoever that is..... ideally giving her time for whatever passions emerge, whether it is cookery or history!

Am I asking the earth? What suggestions do you have?


mumstoast Sat 26-Nov-11 19:32:03

i know marlbrough college and Downe house are very academic, where in the uk are you? would she board? i know if we could have we would have sent DD1 and DD2 to a private school from the age of 11.

loveyouradvice Sat 26-Nov-11 19:43:05

I'm in London NW6 so should be lots of choice.... but feeling a bit overwhelmed, and fearing the mega academic may crush her individuality!

mumstoast Sat 26-Nov-11 19:50:35

yes, we are looking at sixth forms for DD1 and have decided not to go for the overly academic ones and one that is smaller and better for her.

fleetundo Sun 27-Nov-11 17:26:09

For a quirky girl, what about King Alfreds in Golders Green. Great for the individual. Another one is Queens College, but that is maybe for the more 'rebellers' rather than quirkys. KA is def a good one to think about

loveyouradvice Sun 27-Nov-11 19:25:36

Interesting.... we too thought King Alfred's would be the answer ... until friends sent their DD and she is now leaving as not being stretched academically although loves the ambiance... I think we're looking for somewhere that does get good results/gives bright kids a challenge BUT ALSO Looks after them in the round..... I really liked QUeens College when I looked round it, but again wondered why they are getting such appalling results.... Head was hugely inspiring and whole ethos felt great

PippiLongBottom Sun 27-Nov-11 19:28:43

We live in Manchester but don't all parents want those things for their DD's? Mine is equally quirky and is number 1 in the class as it happens.

fleetundo Sun 27-Nov-11 19:37:32

A friend of mine has 4 kids. The eldest went to UCS and suited him perfectly. The second , she went to Francis Holland in Sloane Sqaure - far to rigid, she suffered from an eating disorder and weren't too sympathetic and they took her out and sent her to KA - a very diff school from FHS! She did amazingly, is totally recovered, went to Leeds, did a masters in photography in NY. Her 3rd a son is now off to Leeds next year from KA and her fourth, is still there. They have loved it and thought it was amazing. I think, like Queens College, i don't think its the school or what they give the kids, it's more how the kids apprciate it. Take a school like NLCS, the kids do amazingly there. tbh i don't think it is only the school which manages to produce such amazing results .. its the kids who have that ambition and drive in them and that's why the want to go there. Kids who go to Queens normally don't like rules so much, want abit of freedom and generally alot who go there forget quite frankly that their parents are paying a fortune to send them there! If your daughter is ambitious, wants to do well .. then she will do well anywhere. KA is amazing and from your post sounds like it will suit her down to the ground. Maybe your friends child just didn't suit it and wanted somewhere more pressurised where they don't let you just be yourself and get on with it in your own special way. Both Queens and KA are great

loveyouradvice Mon 28-Nov-11 09:36:00

Thanks fleetundo..... alas she isnt that ambitious, which is why we think we need somewhere that will consciously stretch her a bit.... she does tend to cruise academically when she can! Ill take another look at KA as we love their whole attitude.... and yes, did like Queens!

livinginlondon2 Mon 28-Nov-11 11:02:16

"she does tend to cruise academically"

This is often as much about her peer group as well as the school. If her friends are not keen on work, it is likely that she will slide too.

Thinking just North London ....

People love King Alfred's. Don't know anyone that goes there now, so don't have a current view.

Queen's College is very nice; I think the peer group thing is important here as it is a small school, so if you have a sparky class you will do well, but if you don't it is a bit small to allow for finding another group. It does allow for individuality and so on - although they have introduced a uniform now, which maybe sends a message about how they feel about quirkiness (??). A few seem to leave looking for more academic schools.

Francis Holland Clarence Gate - clearly academic and ambitious, and the head very enthusiastic about their very wide extra-curricular provision. It is possibly a bit cramped for the number of girls there, but it certainly (if they do what they say) seem to cram a lot in. Again a few seem to leave in the first couple of years - often for boarding schools.

South Hampstead - as a larger school probably allows for much of what you want, but they are about to embark on years of building works.

Camden School for Girls - perfect if you can get in. Allows for all sorts, very individual and academically demanding.

Queen's Gate (a bit further south) - very happy, positive girls. Very positive parents. Worth a look.

If very academic and individual, St Paul's Girls' is good. However, this doesn't sound like what you are looking for.

Also always remember that for many children their personal interests are supplemented outside school - the theatrical go to drama classes, the sporty to football clubs and so on. Few schools can provide everything - however, what you do want is the school to appreciate what it is that she is interested in, and more importantly, for her to find like-minded (or just appreciative) friends.

fleetundo Mon 28-Nov-11 18:25:34

From what you have said, South Hampstead, Francis Holland don't seem the right sort of school. The girls are all very sterotyped from my own kids views which i have to agree with. If any girls don't fit into the 'normal' category where they like blackberries, uggs, shopping. they are not 'normal' and are classified as a 'loser'. Of course this is totally wrong and awful! That is why schools especially KA provides a place for those sort of kids who like to flair abit of individuality excel. Have another look

loveyouradvice Wed 30-Nov-11 17:00:50

Fleetundo.... heavens! That is terrifying... yes, wll look again at KA.... Im keen for her to enjoy her youth rather than uggs, blackberries et al!

Definitely not a St Paul's girl.... wondering if Habs Girls might work, as really liked the fact the girls we met were very down to earth and even a bit scruffy wearing their own clothes int eh sixth form... and that its lots of space outsideLondon .... but bit worried that it might focus too much on achievement and excellence rather than participation and fun

fleetundo Wed 30-Nov-11 18:28:39

Yes i must agree that if you think she is bright enough to get into Habs, that is a wonderful school. Yes, they do work there and they won't tolerate girls who aren't interested in doing well but why go to habs if you don't have that mindset. They do give the girls an incredible education. It's not too focused on achievement because anyone there to begin with wants to achieve so they don't actually pressure you. It has lovely grounds, great extra curriculars, and just a great school! If your dd would get into Habs, then i think go for it. But do look again at KA.

loveyouradvice Thu 01-Dec-11 20:16:17

Thanks.... we'll go for both and just trust that the whole process will help us sort it out... I believe she could get into Habs, but wouldnt be one of its stars, and am a bit worried that she would feel inadequate with so many over-achievers!!! Im hoping that by the time we get to decision time it'll be clearer which school will suit her - and that they'll also want her!!

Maybetimeforachange Thu 01-Dec-11 23:42:46

I haven't heard anything good about King Alfreds and have been told that they have a fairly high turnover of children at the end of yr6. This is all secondhand information so may well not be accurate. I also have a bright quirky daughter and wouldn't send her to Habs. Infact I have no idea where would suit her but was highly impressed with Belmont, prep to Mill Hill, and Mill Hill school is very much on the up.

livinginlondon2 Fri 02-Dec-11 23:44:56

What about St Christopher's. Lots of day pupils commute out there, and we know people who's children are very happy there, and parents who are very pleased with it.

ratherbeinnorfolk Thu 08-Dec-11 12:13:27

My dd1 was at St Christopher in Letchworth, left last summer with A*, A, B, B at A2 and has gone to a top 10 uni. It's a great school if your child is motivated - but they don't push them. Some subjects taught better than others, english, history, sciences, maths, drama and art all good, modern languages and geography not so good.

My dd2 is at North London Collegiate, went there from a state primary. I would say if you're good enough to get in you won't struggle. It's full on but not as highly pressured as people think. If your dd is good at maths it's a big advantage as there's no setting until Year 9. There's lots of room for eccentrics at NLCS - with a year group of over 100 everyone finds soul mates. If you live on the Jubilee line you've got the choice of tube or school coach to get there. We never considered it until we went to an open day out of curiosity - it was completely different to our perception - do go and have a look. Despite the academic nature of the school our dd wants to go to art school, and do theatre design thanks to the opportunities she's had at NLCS.

Vonbone Sat 24-Mar-12 21:37:41

Was st Christopher's a good school for all children, I have 5 and looking for a good all round school that will bring out the best in my children, we are 20 miles away from the school but would travel, I like what I read but I'm unsure if my children would be challenged enough and bum around if they are easily lead.

yesbutnobut Sat 24-Mar-12 23:12:56

Have you considered Highgate, OP? Why don't you go and have a look round at some of these schools - sometimes you're surprised at what you see. Good luck

Cortina Sun 25-Mar-12 11:19:08

Channing might be one to consider if you are not too far away? Also St Albans Girls.

Dustylaw Sun 25-Mar-12 16:08:48

We really liked Queen's College. The newish head from Westminster is both likeable and impressive - I think with her in charge Queen's will hit the right balance of free thinking and rigour. Not a place to which puts a girl in a straitjacket. I thought it was interesting that one of their girls who went to Cambridge did a gap year in foundation art beforehand.

crisismagnet2 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:35:41

Any views on the differences between St Christophers and King Alfreds?

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