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11+ options - SHHS, CLSG, NLCS

(36 Posts)
MajesticWhine Thu 28-Feb-13 07:26:18

We have a difficult decision to make and want to do it soon. Can anyone pitch in with personal experiences? SH is our nearest and the others would involve a tube ride. But our DD favours CLSG over the others. But it will be very hard to turn down NLCS with its record of results and brilliant facilities.

Dustylaw Thu 28-Feb-13 09:32:58

CLSG has got good facilities for a school in the middle of the City but you can't get away from the fact that it is a squash (because number of girls has gone up since designed and built) and outdoor space is v. limited indeed. If your daughter is at all sporty then (other than swimming, fencing) it's just not a good choice.

horsemadmom Thu 28-Feb-13 11:27:41

Got to vote for NLCS (love your user name). They have a coach network that will stop very close to you. My DD loves the journey as she gets a good gossip with her mates before and after school. The facilities are amazing and the teaching is inspirational. More than anything else, they treat the girls like gold. Communication is fantastic. My DD has loved every minute of the last 11 years there. Just spoke to a friend whose DD had to have extra help in-school for her maths before the transfer to senior school. She has just decided to do maths at A Level! The teachers gave her support and confidence and she found a passion for the subject. And she's in set 5 out of 6. This is not some high pressure hothouse where girls are left by the wayside if they struggle.
My DD is excited by so much of what she does at school that she even forgets to be a grumpy, grunting teenager at the dinner table.
BTW- DD2 just got a place yesterday. Putting our money where our mouth is!
PM me if you want more info as have experience of the others on your list.

MajesticWhine Thu 28-Feb-13 11:51:42

Thanks !

phyllisnorthlondon Thu 28-Feb-13 13:56:59

For an academic girl with a broad range of extra interests I would have to vote for SH. The standard of teaching is excellent and the girls are all encouraged to play to their strengths as they progress through the school. My daughter and three nieces are all there - they are all different and are all developing into independent, confident girls. My daughter will sit her A levels at the end of the year and during her years at the school her academic results have remained excellent yet she has developed strong independent views and has become socially confident and delightful. We have been able to compare her development and progress with her friends who went to different schools and have never regretted our decision to send her there. Living close to the school is a bonus especially as they get older and in a years time the new school will be near completion.

18jam Fri 01-Mar-13 10:40:00

was wondering what you decided MajesticWhine? we're still deciding betw SH, NLCS, City and Highgate. SH is also nearest, but my daughter favours both HIghgate and NLCS. I worry about the "academic hothouse" stories and competitiveness that always seem to surround NLCS. (mostly from parents whose kids are NOT there, it must be said!)

MajesticWhine Fri 01-Mar-13 17:45:37

I'm afraid I have ignored the advice of mumsnetters grin. We are going with CLSG. DD is keen and that's very important. I see it as academically very close to NLCS, obviously without the beautiful situation, but lots going for it. And freedom to come and go as she pleases rather than a very long coach journey. We suspect its more socially and culturally diverse than SH and NL. Good luck with your decision. Highgate sounds lovely by all accounts, we didn't look at that.

18jam Fri 01-Mar-13 21:50:30

Im envious that your minds are made up. Why did you not consider Highgate?

MajesticWhine Fri 01-Mar-13 23:03:27

I'm not sure really. Just felt like we had enough choice I guess. I only have daughters and you know what they say, girls do better in single sex schools, so just didn't really think much about mixed.
I know of families who are very happy with Highgate, and NLCS likewise. I would have had no problems at all with NLCS. It's just my daughter prefers the idea of going to City. I think that the "hothouse" thing is only a problem if you're not the type of child to respond well to that. Some children respond well under pressure and enjoy a bit of competition.

yessirnosir Sat 02-Mar-13 11:46:18

I have just found this thread and accused either dh or dd of assuming a mn identity as the op is our exact situation in every way.

Glad to see you have made a decision Majestic, we as yet still haven't. We went to visit CLSG and NLCS again yesterday and we're going back to SHHS on Tuesday morning, so we're taking it right up to the wire. We have ruled out Channing and we got the news that dd didn't make HBS school yesterday. At the moment I think we are at the point where dh likes NLCS, dd likes CLSG and I probably prefer CLSG, but we all see the advantages of SHHS being our local school and about to have an amazing new building, but all the uncertainty about a changing headmistress is a worry.

We just don't know what to do, so anything new to input probably won't help, but would be appreciated. Everyone else at dd's school knows where they're going, I think we have real decision making issues.

QPmummy Sat 02-Mar-13 16:35:37

It's a difficult one! we are still trying to decide between Highgate and SHHS. Have DD2 at SHJS and very happy but have reservations about SH senior school being too pressured for DD1.

Can anyone reassure me about the senior school? Is it a hot house or are these urban myths? Are the girls happy there? How does the school support more reserved girls?

Highgate is daughters No 1 choice but the commute is tricky...

Any feedback on both schools would be great.

yessirnosir Sat 02-Mar-13 16:44:34

Hmm, the whole hot house thing - I've heard it said about every one of the schools we are looking at, so maybe I just have to let it go. We've already decided on a highly selective school whichever we go with, so is one of them really going to be worse than any of the others? Though I don't think Highgate has that rep, as far as I know, so maybe that's the one for you QP if it's a worry?

horsemadmom Sat 02-Mar-13 17:30:33

Best advice, having a DD already in a 'hothouse' school, speak to as many parents as you can with girls at the schools! DD1 at NLCS feels encouraged to do her best but never ever pressured and was advised when she chose her GCSEs to ensure she had time for fun. Do try to speak to someone who has a DD who has been through the school as that can give you an idea of how the tone changes as they go through exams.
Most of all...
Do it SOON! There may besome child who wants a place desperately and you are sitting in her chair!

QPmummy Sat 02-Mar-13 18:17:37

Yes, decisions will be made by Monday...we are lucky having the choice.
I've declined a couple so hopefully a few parents will be happier on Monday morning!
Any feedback on SHHS has been positive so maybe I'm being overly protective. Which school do you think is regarded more highly SH or Highgate?

MajesticWhine Sat 02-Mar-13 19:06:23

I kind of think if they did well enough to be offered a place, then they will be able to cope with the pressure. However, I haven't heard great things about how SH ensure the well being of the girls, and that it's quite a tough environment for settling in, but that is third hand information, so I'm not sure how accurate.

18jam Sat 02-Mar-13 21:34:43

QPmummy are you considering NLCS? We're in your position - DH favours NLCS, I'm undecided but think I may favour Highgate, daughter leaning towards NLCS, but only just. DH thinks Highgate doesn't have reputation for being pressured because they don't expect enough of the girls.
Tomorrow is D-day for us, when the week starts I want this OVER!

QPmummy Sat 02-Mar-13 21:54:00

DH thinks NLCS too far out and friendship base will be crazy so we didn't apply for there.
I have a friend with daughters at Highgate and hear good things, that its academic but not overly pressured and great feedback from pupils about passionate teaching. Highgate came in around 10 for GcSE so think they must push the girls but the also the sport is a big draw for my daughter.
I loved all the Highgate staff and teachers at both open days so think I may win me over from SH.

horsemadmom Sat 02-Mar-13 22:07:11

Come to NLCS! I liked you and DD!!!
I do know it's a tough call. We are really lucky that we had no hesitation in chosing a known quantity. Time for a pro and con list.

18jam Sat 02-Mar-13 22:24:10

horsemadmom, that clinched it. we're coming. smile

yessirnosir Sat 02-Mar-13 22:35:10

Everyone seems able to make a decision but us! I do feel bad that we're sitting on 2 extra places, but I really don't want to make a decision until we've been back to SHHS as well. I have let Channing know, so I'm doing my best.

We have a further issue in that my dd is type 1 diabetic, and that makes me nervous firstly distance from home and secondly about the level of care - it's very hard to judge as they all say the right things, but I know things can be different when they are actually there.

Have you all taken into account what is the most prestigious school? My dh is influenced by this, hence favouring NLCS (which is also what dd's school think would be best), whilst for me it's really not a factor. I'm thinking more of local friends and being manageable for our family - I'll have 3 schools to deal with.

DH has just gone to bed with an 'oh, send her to City then.' We seem to be beyond rational debate, I'm wondering if we're at names in a hat stage.

horsemadmom Sat 02-Mar-13 23:06:56

Yay, 18jam!!!!
Yessirnosir- I've had 3 kids and 3 schools for a decade (this changes in September- happy dance!). It is a pain in the bum! If this helps, look at the school websites for term dates as this will be the biggest contributor to 3schoolitis. The East London schools have different half terms from the North/West London schools.
As for health concerns, I can understand this completely. The nurse at NLCS is retiring this year which is sad as she's seen DD1 through surgery, broken bones and too many bugs to count. Lovely lady. I'm sure they'll replace her with someone wonderful and your DD would not be the only diabetic girl. DD1 has 2 friends with it. I think it helps that the food is very good and there are lots of healthy choices so girls aren't tempted to skip meals and they can go to the front of the queue. Always a salad bar, pasta bar, sandwich platters, jacket potato station in addition to hot options.
As for local friends, Do consider when you look at your tiny 10/11 yr old that in a year or two she will think nothing of going off with her Oyster card on her own. Girls come to these schools from all over London. None of them is 'local' to everyone. Look at what school is the least stressful to get to. DD1 takes school coach for an 8 mile trip that takes 45 mins- easy! DS takes the TFL bus and walks for a 1 1/2 mile trip that takes 45 mins (wait for bus, sit in traffic)- not as easy.

QPmummy Sat 02-Mar-13 23:18:11

Such a personal choice but you'll know you've reached the right decision when you've made a choice and are happy with it the next day!!

yessirnosir Sat 02-Mar-13 23:46:13

Thanks for that info on the nurse Horsemad, that may be why they were a bit evasive when we asked to speak to someone about the health thing. Hadn't actually really thought through different holidays - another thing to worry about.

Given we're not going back to SHHS until Tuesday we may not have the luxury of truly sleeping on a decision. I can see I'll be hand delivering our acceptance on Wednesday morning, in which case I may pick SHHS as it will be easier for me to get to!

My position has always been they're all good schools, she'll do well anywhere because she's clever and a hard worker and a decision is not right or wrong, only a decision. You'll never know if things would have worked out better or worse if you made a different decision, because you don't get to go back and do it differently. So why is this SO HARD?

horsemadmom Sun 03-Mar-13 00:05:06

Her retirement hasn't been announced yet so not surprised they couldn't give you a straight answer. I really wouldn't worry too much. They're very on top of things. DD2 had auto-immune problems that meant that DD1 couldn't be exposed to and bring home certain infections and the school was over the top about enforcing hygene until we had the all-clear.

yessirnosir Sun 03-Mar-13 09:37:17

So, I've actually been dreaming about this now, but new day, new questions.

Anyone know any word on the headmistress situation at SHHS? Either more on why she left, or who might come in? SHHS is feeling like a bit of a punt at the moment compared to the others. Also anyone have any opinion on its sports focus? Is it a sporty school at all?

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