SPGS vs HBS(14 Posts)
My DD has been offered a Year 7 place at St Paul’s Girls’ School and is awaiting results from Henrietta Barnett. In the event she is offered a place at HBS, I was wondering how those in such a position previously chose between the two schools.
DD is highly curious intellectually and enjoys music very much. At the same time, she is naturally shy and emotionally young (neither are criticisms but simply a description of who she is today). We feel that DD could fit in at both schools.
From a commuting standpoint, HBS is closer to where we live but SPGS is not an impossible journey (we are also open to moving if it proves to be so).
Below are some of the issues we are grappling with:
1. We would like DD to be at a school with a diverse student population from a socio-economic perspective. In this regard, we are somewhat concerned that SPGS’s fee “policy” (increases in recent years that have put it at the high end of London day schools) may be pricing out many families.
2. Does SPGS provide a better education (intellectual stimulation/challenge, catering for individual interests, development of a well-rounded person, etc) compared to HBS that its fees are worth paying? On this, we are genuinely at a loss.
3. We are worried about ultra competitive/ambitious parents who could make life unpleasant inside and outside school. During the past year, we came across a few parents who, frankly, frightened us because they appeared willing to go to any length to give their DCs an edge (here, we would also appreciate any advice on how to deal with such parents).
There is a recent thread on SPGS here which may help a little (several current parents have contributed).
One thing I would say is that at secondary level, you will have much less to do with other children's parents!
You are incredibly fortunate to have an offer from a state school such as HBS. There is no need to pay fees when you have an offer like that.
See my posts towards the close of the SPGS thread. Its recent astronomical fee rises have already priced out the salaried professional middle class. The school now offers an exclusive de luxe education for the super rich and for a smattering of bursary students to keep the Charity Commission quiet.
It is good to hear that social diversity is a priority for you. It clearly isn't for the High Mistress and governors of SPGS. Otherwise they could have made efforts to keep their fee rises modest, as the GDST schools, JAGS and CLSG have managed to do during these difficult years for most of us.
Send her to HBS if she gets a place - you won't have to move, she'll stay in touch with her friends from her junior school who go to other schools and it's free.
We are in almost exactly the same position, except it's Tiffin rather than HB. we are almost certainly declining SPGS though even we don't get into Tiffin because it's expensive. We can afford it now but DH and I have to work for every penny we have and who knows what our financial situation will be in say three years time? What if fees increase again (seems likely)? If socio economic mix is important for you then I'd have thought any state school would be better at that than any private school.
On the other hand I'm sure the facilities and opportunities and even the teaching at SPGS are probably better than any state school. They'd have to be with those fees. I also think there are competitive parents everywhere (probably just as many in grammar schools).
Many thanks for your helpful responses. I have been following the other SPGS thread and have gleaned useful insights from current SPGS parents (and one student).
I think that SPGS is a fabulous school (their thoughtful offer letter comforted us that they got the essence of our DD) but I also have a soft spot for HBS, particularly as I grew up in the state system.
I suppose we need to undertake further due diligence and reflection in the coming days so that we are in a position to make an informed decision when the HBS results come out (and not have any regrets).
My DD has fortunately been offered a place at Henrietta Barnett and we have until tomorrow to make a decision as between SPGS and HBS (SPGS has a deadline of 4 March).
I would be grateful for any further thoughts from those in a similar situation (presently or previously) on how they are approaching/approached the decision making.
(biascutshirt : I hope your DD was offered a place at Tiffin. What have you decided to do?)
Yes she was and we are accepting it. Have declined four private school offers. Not without some apprehension because the commute isn't great and we know little about the pastoral care side. And facilities and possibly teaching are better at SPGS. But we couldn't pass this opportunity, as the financials will have a huge impact on our life choices in future.
We did do a v careful analysis of financials and what we (each of us as a family) wanted to do with our lives and cost implications of all of it. We were aware of the upsides and downsides of both schools and weren't in love with either of them, so it was a bit of a spreadsheet decision rather than a gut feeling decision. That suited us. It may not suit someone else. I hope you come to a decision you feel happy about
Since HB is a shorter journey, produces stunning results, has strong music and drama and is one of the very top performing state schools, schools overall even, in the country it seems to me to be the obvious choice for you and your DD. And I say that as a parent whose Dd1 went very happily to SPGS. We live in SW London so the choice was geographical to some extent, in terms of the schools she applied to, with no HB in the area for us
As parents we want to do "the best" for our children, and if we are in the position of being able to afford private school fees, it is easy to think that that is what we should do. In some areas in London that is (sadly) the right decision to make. But I don't think you need to do that with HB on your doorstep. Yes, SPGS is widely considered the very best school in terms of results at public examinations but I can promise you now that with HB stats your daughter will almost certainly achieve top grades across the board there as well. And be in a more diverse environment. With more local friends, which becomes increasingly important as girls get older.
Just think of the other opportunities you will be able to offer your daughter with the saved school fees. School trips. Extra music lessons. Family holidays to places she's she is learning about. A fund for the top university she will go to.
Your Dd is clearly a very bright girl and I am sure will do well and enjoy her secondary education wherever she goes. She will go out into the world having been educated at a great school, easily recognised as such. Good luck to her
I did my GCSEs at HBS, and my A-levels at SPGS, so I am actually in a unique position to add my thoughts to this thread. For me personally (and this was in the early noughties so cannot rule out that things have changed since then), there is no contest, SPGS is far superior in terms of the quality of teaching, the confidence and sense of freedom the school instils in its students, and the general facilities available.
biascutshirt - Congratulations on the Tiffin place for your DD (and for having made a decision).
MarsdenMarcher and notagenius8 - Thanks so much for sharing your experience.
We will visit HBS tomorrow and then make our decision.
May i know what wasyour choice at the end and how have it been? In a similar situation with scholarship and bursary offered by top independent schools vs top grammar schools...
My dc went to a top grammar school and also had a place for clsg. I opted for the grammar school. I think there are alot of reasons that could influence your decision but on balance I think that it is not worth paying for an independent school if you are paying for educational outcome ie a position at a russell group university. I do think that currently you have a slightly greater chance of an offer at oxbridge if you attend a top ranking private school but would it be worth paying for a place at oxbridge vs Imperial, UCL, Bristol etc.
I would have a look at leavers destinations and choice of degrees.
It also depends whether the culture of the school will suit your child's temperament such as QEBs which is very focused in favour of maths and science and away from humanities and music.
Also consider the journey to and from school.
University is an expensive business so I would save your money for that given the position you are in.
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