Girls independent schools in North London(44 Posts)
We are moving back to London from Kent in July 2014 and are looking at senior schools for YR 6 twin girls who are currently in a very good state primary. We will be based in Islington, near Angel. Their interim Sats score at the end of Yr 5 were 5b (English), 4a (Maths) and 5b (English) and 4b (Maths). We have looked at South Hampstead High, City Girls, Channing, Francis Holland, Highgate and Queens College. After following a number of discussions about North London schools I am beginning to worry that I am pitching at too academic a school. Your wise thoughts would be really welcome as well as any suggestions.
Best advice- find a good 11+ tutor, sit for all of them in January (register NOW) as they are consortium schools so it's only 2 exams and decide once they're in. Also look at North Bridge House. Not as academic but very nurturing
The schools you list are indeed competitive but it depends what you are looking for and how academic and pushy an environment you want for your children. My DD goes to a small independent girls school in Hadley Wood, North London (St Martha's senior school) which is non-selective, inclusive of all religions and challenges girls who need academic challenges and nurtures those who are not academic. There are other choices out there.......Good luck
localmum23 Thank you. I was mainly looking at these schools because they are a shortish journey for the girls. I have looked at St Marthas and it looks lovely - just contacted them about an open day.
horsemadmom Thank you. I am now visiting North Bridge House next week.
Most of the schools you are interested in are part of the 2 north london consortia (consortiums?) which have a joint exam, so you can actually apply for a load of schools just by sitting 2 exams. It is worth looking at the list of schools in each consortium and (apart from the registration fee) there is no downside in applying to others on there which are doable distance wise, and they are meant to cover an ability range. On your list for example, i think Queens has a lower pass mark than City and SHHS. Have you considered Forest? There are buses from parts of Islington. It is sort of co-ed, although my understanding is that at senior school level the boys and girls are taught separately until sixth form (but i think do things like drama together). From what (little) I know of St Marthas, my impression is that you might find it a little small for twins to find their own space, although it depends of course on your twins.
Sorry, my post contains an assumption that you would be looking to send your twisn to the same school, which i uess may not be the case.
alpinemeadow I did think about More House but I thought that possibly it's Knightsbridge location might mean that the cohort was a little bit posh - we are more scrimping middle class going without the car etc. I did look at Portland and I wasn't sure - it seemed a little flat.
AbiRoad - They are very different - one is already 158cm - prone to pratfalls, very very noisy and doesn't think of herself as clever - a 10 yr old Miranda - needs a lot of space. The other is altogether slighter, thinks of herself as clever but finds it very hard to make friends. They think they would like different schools - it will depend on what they get offered I guess. I didn't know Forest did buses. How competitive is it?
In your other post you asked about Mill Hill which isn't too hard to get into and is a really lovely school in a gorgeous setting. If you are considering Mill Hill for your boy then I would sit your girls for Belmont, their prep school and they would then move automatically into Mill Hill at 13. Belmont has a decent 11+ intake, mainly from state schools as they also have quite a lot of leavers at 11.
nextyearitsbigschool - I looked at Belmont - my problem is DS - he gets really wound up by his sisters - they are both taller than him and find a lot of things easier to do than him - even though he is older, he feels outnumbered and overwhelmed by them - there is only 18 mths btwn them all. Hence why we are looking at completely different schools for him - which just may not be feasible - so he can be his own person - he's lovely and sweet and needs a nurturing environment with other boys who like ideas/reading etc and don't have to be great at sport.
Sorry, tried to reply the other evening, but kept having problems (it was the penis cup day). I had a quick look on the website and Forest has 2 bus routes form highbury and 1 from upper, street, and it does not look too horrendously early a start. Dont know how competitive it is. Friend has a son in y7 there and thought it was competitive but i think there are more options for girls at that age so may be different. GSCE results would suggest slightly lower requirements than City, SHHS etc
Lots of north London girls go to Queenswwod in Brookmans Park , Hertfordshire . Less competitive to get into.
My friends dd goes to Highgate School and loves it. I have friends that went to St Martha's and speak very fondly of it and will be sending their daughters there.
Um, I must admit that I am not knowledgable about all these schools , but, your dds' SAT scores imply they will leave year six with level 6/5as. Why wouldn't this be good enough to go for top schools?
Sure, have a safety school choice, but I think you should go for it.
Maths scores are indeed a little bit on the low side for some of those schools. City indicates on its website that level 5s at the end of yr 5 is about the sort of level that indicates a girl can get in. If they'd been badly taught but had potential that could be caught up by rapid tuition, or if teachers were just making pessimistic assessments, then that would be one thing, but your description of the existing primary suggests that this would not be the case. The NLCS maths exams will certainly include level 6 concepts. OTOH if their English papers stand out and they sparkle at interview.. It may well be worth a try. They're mostly pretty oversubscribed, so there's less risk that they'll admit a child who won't be able to cope.
I was at South Hampstead and I was very happy there. Sorry have no idea how it works now with SATs scores.
The only thing I would say is look closely at transport if you are thinking of doing the school run - the trip from Islington to any of the Hampstead schools is not too easy to navigate by car, if you are going to do it day in, day out.
I have daughters at both City and South Hampstead. The former has lots of girls from the Islington area, the latter has almost none, with the vast majority living within walking distance of the school (although, this being Hampstead, very few of them actually walk). Another thing to bear in mind is that, at City, very few of the intake in Year 7 come up from the prep, so everyone is starting afresh. The opposite is true at SHHS, with half of the intake having known each other since they were 4. It does make a difference.
I walked to and from school (30 mins each way) when I was at South Hampstead, laughaminute! Admittedly that was <ahem> a few years ago...
Ah, that must have been before they invented the Lexus 4x4 then tumbletumble
To be fair, some do walk, though public transport is still an alien concept to many....
Out of interest, laughaminute, why did you send your daughters to two different (but not dissimilar) schools?
Farewelltoarms - horses for courses I guess.
On the surface they are indeed similar - both are academically selective schools. But, in the nuanced world of London independents, they are quite different. For example, if you are bright enough to be offered a place at CLSG, you will almost certainly get into SHHS, whereas the opposite is not always the case. Also, the vibe is very different at the two schools - economically, geographically and socially. Perhaps I'll leave it there. If anyone is torn between the two schools, feel free to message me.
The girls passed the 11+ in Kent with a reasonable margin - although not superselective - but both have have had very disappointing exams. IMHO all of the entrance exams were significantly harder than the Kent Test. In the end we did Belmont, Highgate, Group 2 for Channing and G&L and Group 1 for SHHS, Francis Holland NW1 and Queen's College. The girls pessimistic assessment is based on each missing 3-4 maths questions and not balancing evenly between the comprehension and essay parts of English. Belmont went badly because both of our new calculators broke during the calculator paper - really. I am genuinely expecting no offers or reserve lists. Both girls felt nervous when they saw how many kids were taking the tests and how quickly a lot of the kids were working. Can anybody suggest what I do next. Doing nothing until mid February feels like the wrong thing to do. I feel that I need to get the ball rolling on non-selective options just in case. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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