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north london girls independent schools

(11 Posts)
SpeedData Mon 24-Feb-14 13:52:38

After a lot of thought I have decided that I'm not confident enough in our local state school to send my dd there. Which is a shame because I would ideally like her to go to school with local friends and mix with a proper range of people.

So my next-best hope is that she will get into a grammar school, so that although her friends won't necessarily be local, they won't all be rich.

But I need some backup plans too. So I think we should apply for private schools. But I am very worried by the pressure and unhappiness that seems to prevail in the london girls' schools. Obviously I've seen the recent news coverage about the 'epidemic' of anorexia, too.

My dd is very academically able but is a quirky child whose confidence is easily knocked. Are there any girls' private schools in north London which are creative and stimulating and academically ambitious without being pressured? I think she will get good grades wherever she goes TBH, so I am more worried about her having extra-curricular opportunities and being inspired. And having friends and being happy.

And I am also worried about the idea of the private school 'bubble' which can engender arrogance and thoughtlessness I think.

Please, Mumsnet are there any schools that might be what I'm looking for?

mary21 Mon 24-Feb-14 16:09:34

Don't know where in north London you are?
What about queenswood, or St Martha's. I was going suggest the Mount but I see its merged with mill hill so no longer girls only. Or St Margaret's bushey?

snakeface Mon 24-Feb-14 17:04:13

What about Northwood College? Very nurturing.

SpeedData Mon 24-Feb-14 19:58:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tuhlulah Mon 24-Feb-14 22:16:53

You might try Northbridge House in Hampstead.

laughaminute99 Mon 24-Feb-14 22:54:04

You seem to have a lot of negative pre-conceptions about independent schools. I would suggest you make appointments to visit Channing, Highgate, CLSG, and Habs to get an idea of what an academically selective independent school is really like, rather than relying on gossip or salacious media reports. If you then feel they will all be too academically pressured, have a look at Mill Hill, and Northbridge House. As you live in Muswell Hill, you'll probably find most of the children at the north London independent schools are no more unhappy, arrogant, thoughtless or anorexic than the children who go to Fortismere. And most won't be any wealthier once they've paid the school fees wink

WorkingItOutAsIGo Mon 24-Feb-14 23:19:55

Seriously, do you think every parent who sends their child to private school in London is willingly subjecting them to 'pressure and unhappiness'? Are we all cruel and heartless and care nothing for our daughters' happiness?

Of course not! We send our daughters there because they are happy, challenged, love lessons, have lovely friends, have thrilling and enjoyable extra curricular activities and all in all enjoy their educations.

My DD is at a very selective girls' school and I read those articles this week with such a sinking heart. Of course I know there is some truth there for some girls' experience; but it's not what I recognise. And actually, I wonder if there isn't a hint of misogyny in such reporting - "look girls can't cope with academic pressure and success" is a worrying undertone.

Go look and see as a pp suggested and let reality not urban myth or newspaper inches be your guide.

slowcomputer Tue 25-Feb-14 14:23:43

St Margaret's in Hampstead is a really lovely, small, nurturing school. But only goes to 16 so you have to move for sixth form - they are very switched on about getting girls into their choice of sixth form.

SpeedData Tue 25-Feb-14 14:52:32

I'm really encouraged to hear such positive experiences. I will do as you suggest and go & see for myself.

But I'm not basing my concerns purely on media and gossip. I went to a v high-achieving school and I was surrounded by people in therapy and with eating disorders. It was regarded as normal.

slowcomputer, that looks like an extraordinary school. I wonder, with such a tiny intake, what happens to a child who is a little eccentric - is there a danger that they might not find soulmates?

laughaminute99 Tue 25-Feb-14 15:09:51

One other thing SpeedDate - you say that your first choice would be a grammar. In north London that would HBS or Latymer. Both of them are academically the equal of the very top private schools. The pressure to achieve will be just as intense. If you are comparing like for like, the independent equivalents would be NLCS, St Pauls, Habs and CLSG, rather than St Margarets or Mill Hill or even Channing/Highgate. I know plenty of girls who were offered places at the top performing indie schools who didn't even get past the first round of tests at HBS.

Perhaps it would be better to think about whether you want academically selective or not, then decide on which sector - state or private - and which schools within those sectors to apply to. But if your preference in the state sector is a grammar school, then you probably should be thinking about NLCS etc in the independent sector rather than North Bridge etc.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Tue 25-Feb-14 21:50:42

Dame Alice Owen's is worth a look. 65 academic places but also local intake so not everyone is a brainbox. If you take into account there 211 sized year only "selected" 65 11+ students, their results are very good indeed compared to any others listed here

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