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Ideas for bright girl secondary in London

(59 Posts)
MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Tue 11-Mar-14 17:58:50

Having sorted out the lad, my attention turns to the lass. Currently at state primary year 3. Rated year 5/6 for Maths and year 7(!) for English. Somewhat of a perfectionist and sensitive to mistakes/failure. Very social and into performing arts and quite sporty.


MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Tue 11-Mar-14 18:03:33

.... Pressed submit too early there!

I want to start going to open days at schools across North, Central and West London. Open to comps, catholic, grammars and indies. Possibly lean towards co-ed but will looks at girls schools too.

Suggestions of schools to put on my open day list welcome.

One condition. To make a recommendation you must have a daughter at that school. Hope that isn't too strict!



Rabbitcar Tue 11-Mar-14 22:10:34

DD1 goes to Henrietta Barnett School in NW11. Like your DD, she is academic, but also very sporty and musical. She absolutely loves it and does very well there, and is confident and popular. My instinct is that she may not have been as happy at some of the indies, as some girls there can be frighteningly confident and polished (which is great for them, and I admire them, but probably not 'her'). DD2 is starting in September - we will see if it suits her as well. The open days will give you/your DD a good idea of which schools will suit her. We didn't look around till Y5 though.

basildonbond Wed 12-Mar-14 06:31:05

No recommendations from me as we're in a different area of London but just to say that my dd is also somewhat of a perfectionist who's very strong in English. I think it's even harder to be a perfectionist if your natural bent is towards the arts as at least in maths it's possible to get 100% all the time

Dd is going to a co-ed secondary in September as I worried that the v high-powered girls school would exacerbate her perfectionist tendencies

basildonbond Wed 12-Mar-14 06:33:18

Oh and I think y3 is too early to start looking - your dd will change a lot in the next two years as will your school options (eg heads will leave, catchment areas change etc) so I'd leave it for at least another year

Theas18 Wed 12-Mar-14 08:51:28

No school recommendation from me but suggest (from own experience and recent posts on secondary here) that you try to address her perfectionist traits a little just to mould them a bit into " open to risk" and "know I wont be right all he the time and that's OK too" sort of thinking.

I have perfectionist kids, it's not a trait that helps really. I heard on the radio last week that the good thing about bringing computer games into education is that risk is expected then- 50:50 chance of success is taken on by all kids in that format and risk is necessary for learning. My eldest had a miserable time with GCSE art as she was seeking " perfect" and it never was.... School have evolved (6yrs between the girls) and the youngest is still a perfectionist but willing to take risks and sometimes fall and get up again- they have worked hard on resilience in form time etc

Wish I'd have known this when the eldest was 7.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Wed 12-Mar-14 09:20:07

RabbitCar Thanks. That's one to put on my list. Always good to hear experiences.

basildonbond I agree. She will change as will the school. I started in year 4 with my son visiting 14 schools over a 2 year period. I think there are more choices available for girls and so I will have more to see and therefore want to start earlier. The long run in gives me the time to see the ones I like annually until year 5 when I can take her to a short list. Yes, I know, I have to much time on my hands and am taking this far too seriously, but I can't think of any decisions that is more important to me than big decisions for my girl.

Theas18 You are spot on. Aptitude and seeking perfection can be a real barrier to progress, especially if you have self doubt and less than a lot of self confidence. I'd swap 5% of her brilliance for confidence any day!. My son has confidence in spades and I am sure this is why he breezed through 10+. Confidence is like a magic ingredient that turbo charges even the smallest amount of ability. He could be "knocked down and get up again" over and over. Call it resilience or persistence, but I think it stems from ultimate self confidence. Can I buy a bottle of "confidence" somewhere?

DaftMaul Fri 14-Mar-14 09:07:17

'Somewhat of a perfectionist'

Do you think she might get this from you? wink grin

14 schools?! shock

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Fri 14-Mar-14 10:52:53


.... maybe .... blush

I only expend that kind of energy on the most important of things. Most of the time, pretty relaxed .... wink

TacitusMouse Fri 14-Mar-14 20:28:03

If you give a rough area you live in it might help narrow down/recommend some schools

LauraBridges Fri 14-Mar-14 21:19:21

NLCS and Habs (had one at each) - both have graduated now so not current but we still know people there. Great schools, really really lovely.They both had the very best of times there. We were so very lucky. NLCS often been one of top 3 schools in the country of all types for A levels too.

LauraBridges Fri 14-Mar-14 21:19:44

Although if you are in the middle of London St Paul's girls would be the one to choose as more central.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sat 15-Mar-14 09:21:42

How about I do this the other way round. Here's my "initial" list which will get narrowed down to 10-20 for open day visits. Some of these are possibly too far away, but most are within 45mins.

Mossbourne Community Academy
City of London Girls
Dame Alice Owen’s
North London Collegiate
Tiffin Girls, Kington
Kingston Grammar
St Michael’s Catholic Grammar Finchley
Our Lady's Convent Roman Catholic High School
Palmers Green High
Latymer Edmonton
Francis Holland Regents Park
Henrietta Barnet
King Alfred School
UCL Academy
South Hampstead
Parliament Hill
Camden School for Girls
Mill Hill
Alleyn's School
The Harrodian
Putney High
Wimbledon High
Grey Coat Hospital
Francis Holland Sloane Square
More House
Saint Thomas More Language College
Lady Margaret
Fulham Cross Girls' School and Language College
Queens Gate
Lady Eleanor Holles
Notting Hill and Ealing High
St James Senior
Portland Place
Queen’s College
The St Marylebone CofE School
St Benedicts RC
St Augustine's Priory
Godolphin & Latymer
St Paul’s Girls
Sacred Heart
Latymer Upper

basildonbond Sat 15-Mar-14 09:38:21

Sorry but that list is just ridiculous!

You cannot possibly be thinking of sending a child to Alleyn's if you live close enough to Mossbourne for example

There's no way your dd could possibly meet the entrance criteria for such a disparate range of state schools and the private schools you've listed have staggeringly different academic requirements

It would be a complete waste of time to visit up to 20 schools - what on earth could you be hoping to achieve?

Blu Sat 15-Mar-14 10:02:47

Have you been reading that ridiculous Tatler list?

ImAThrillseekerHoney Sat 15-Mar-14 10:09:17

You definitely need to do a proper journey time analysis and strike out all the ones that don't fit otherwise you'll drive yourself mad. Unless you live in Trafalgar Square all those schools can't be manageable. And even if they are technically manageable it doesn't mean it's a good idea - there's a lot to be said to having a critical mass of pupils living locally to you.

WorkingItOutAsIGo Sat 15-Mar-14 18:22:18

Ok. First off, girls go to senior school at 11 not 13 like boys, so their tolerance for long journeys to school is much less. So you need to narrow your distance range if you want your daughter to have the energy to make the most of her time there and extra curricular opportunities in particular.

Second, because of this, girls generally travel less far to their schools so for friendships you want to be closer to the school. Only exceptionally good schools will have girls traveling long distances and most on your list are not exceptional.

Third if you are sending your DS to one of the country's top boarding schools, from a feminist perspective I seriously hope you will make the same investment in your DD. If he deserves private school so does she.

Then I don't think you had any boarding schools on your list - why not?

So if your DD is this bright you should be looking at a small selection of schools only and will be wasting your time with others. So SPGS, CLSG, G&L, HBS on the day school front. For coed day Highgate. And boarding - if your DS is going to Harrow you should look at Wycombe Abbey at least.

And yes to the advice to work on her resilience and tolerance of failure...but as a perfectionist myself I found a girls school where I could excel a very comfortable environment. A mixed school would have been too stressful.

Mintyy Sat 15-Mar-14 18:29:48

Where does your boy go? Presumably you aren't going to move him when your daughter starts school? Its very unclear. If you are looking at state schools then you will have a miniscule "choice" based on where you live.

MrsSquirrel Sat 15-Mar-14 18:51:44

Minty is right, for the comps on your list, you would need to live near them. When I was looking for my dd, you needed to live within half a mile of Camden Girls or Fortismere and within a mile of Parliament Hill. You can't possibly live in Muswell Hill and Archway and Kentish Town simultaneously.

TacitusMouse Sat 15-Mar-14 19:05:23

I totally agree with what's said above - you can't live somewhere where getting to Kingston Grammar and NLCS is even feasible so maybe work out some travel times first or say your location and we can help with what is possible to get to?

Stripeyhenry Sat 15-Mar-14 19:10:58

Tiffin have added a catchment area that you have to live in to be in with a chance of getting a place, so unless you live in the right area your dd has no chance.
Also you have named both Catholic and C of E schools - both of which require years of church attendance and involvement. It's unlikely that you'll be able to apply to both types of school. You should probably already be attending the correct church to be in with a chance.

Stripeyhenry Sat 15-Mar-14 23:15:47

And I do have 2 children at a school on your list but am not convinced you live close enough for it to be worth your dd travelling to it, despite it being a fantastic school

LauraBridges Sun 16-Mar-14 08:31:55

I don't agree with the comments about travel. My girls at Habs and NLCS took school coaches from age 5 and 7 respectively. The schools put children who live near each other in the same class. It works very well.

The list in my view i order of prefernce should be

St Paul's
North London C

I don't know South London as well but then:

Lady E H

if you really can stomach a state school then Henrietta B.

That would be my list of 4 from your list.

Your first question though is how bright is the girl. Most girls will not get into those academic schools. May be a in 5 who try get in may be fewer than that. So first assess is this a girl who will pass those exams.

WorkingItOutAsIGo Sun 16-Mar-14 09:29:19

Gosh yes NLCS I knew I had missed somewhere off my list!

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sun 16-Mar-14 12:11:08

We live north, but the lad will be at St Paul's when she starts so could either stay north and include state, grammar and Catholic options or move west and include west catchment area schools.

The list is by my own admission silly, but we can be flexible and my objective is to find a school right for her - not necessarily the "best" school by reputation.

I intend to put considerably more effort and consideration into this than I did for my son who was pretty easy to sort out.

The list was also meant to tease out parents with daughters at any of these school to get their first hand experience.

Ultimately I will, of course, visit the short list and talk to as many parents as possible. I value the input on this forum too.

Thanks for any specific experience given and in advance for any that follows.

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