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schools in camden & barnes ... is it impossible??

(15 Posts)
lhrmum Mon 27-Jul-15 15:59:12

Slightly off topic ... but everything revolves around schools and my son's 11+ options at the moment smile

I have 2 DS - entering year 6 & year 4. We currently rent in NW3. Year 6 DS is very interested in The Harrodian for 2016-17 school year (assuming he gets in) -- and I think it might be just the right fit for him. Year 4 son is thriving at school near Camden so we don't want to move him next year. The schools couldn't be further away from each other! Are there any neighbourhoods that would make it doable for our family?? Any Harrodian families here? Do most families live in Barnes/Richmond? Thank you for your insight.

Needmoresleep Mon 27-Jul-15 16:47:16

Doesn't the Harrodian run a bus from Hammersmith? If not there will be (slightly infrequent) public buses. How about somewhere on the Piccadilly line. Or even on the Metropolitan Line, though this is much slower.

millefiore Mon 27-Jul-15 19:45:17

The Harrodian only offers around 24 places in Year 7 and had 360 applicants - so the odds of anyone getting in are very low (1 in 12).

Many families are very local (ie. Barnes) but not all.

HuftysTrain Mon 27-Jul-15 19:48:30

Wouldn't it be easier to stay very local to one of the schools and commute to the other? At least for the first couple of years and then transfer your younger child to older child's school and move to live nearby.

lhrmum Tue 28-Jul-15 10:19:32

Thank you for the thoughts. (I think this process is making me slightly loopy) Didnt realise Harrodian had a bus - makes it a little more doable. I should have mentioned we have only been in London for 2 years so this is all NEW and I am trying to figure it out. Appreciate the replies.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Tue 28-Jul-15 11:58:16

My understanding is Hammersmith Bridge is going to be closed all of 2016 for repairs, though you can still walk over it, so the bus option might not be doable for a year. I would check that with the Harrodian, though, as this is only hearsay (though reliable hearsay), and see what their contingency plan is - it will mess up a lot of people!

Poisonwoodlife Tue 28-Jul-15 13:35:28

OP millefiore is being slightly misleading. Many of those 360 applicants will have applied to other schools, the sensible ones to 3 or 4, the demented others up to 6 or even more. Very few would apply to less given that any child can have an off day / not gel with a particular selection process. Some of those applicants may be bright and using Harrodian as a back up to even more selective schools which they succeed in getting into. Parents have all sorts of motivations in making the judgement about which school is right for their child but in general the number of parents turning down schools with more formidable academic results like St Paul's in favour of Harrodian will be a lot less than those making the reverse decision, so schools like Harrodian will tend to make more offers than they have places to a greater extent (not sure if 24 was the number of places or the number of offers). Come Feb / March there will be St Paul's v Harrodian and Ibstock v Harrodian threads, you can search on past ones. On top of all that these schools know what sort of child is right for them, and have selection processes designed to find that, it is not all first past the post on straightforward tests of the Year 6 national curriculum (whatever tutors might like you to believe).

By the way with children with a similar age difference who were at far less disparate Prep and Senior Schools, just 3 ish miles from our house in opposite directions, it was a pain. There are times you want to be there for your 11 year old, or they miss the bus, and it is impossible. The older one still moans a decade later.......

lhrmum Tue 28-Jul-15 17:17:33

Poisonwoodlife, thank you so much for the thoughtful response. Intellectually, I know it is crazy to try to manage both schools ... but ... ;)

Appreciate the candor re your experience doing a similar thing. You have almost convinced me it is too crazy. <sigh>

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret, yikes! Wonder how the school is going to address the logistical nightmare.

My DS is bright, funny, awesome in every way ... and he is not a candidate for St Pauls or Westminster or similarly competitive schools. Yes, The Harrodian would be a reach for him to get in. Definitely appreciate the selectiveness (thank you for the further detail, millefiore). I guess I wanted to figure out if we (DH & I) could manage it before getting DS excited about the possibility.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Tue 28-Jul-15 17:42:07

Surely there's a school similarish in ethos to harrodian in N London? It would make teenage social life more awkward if the majority of your friends live in SW London

lhrmum Tue 28-Jul-15 18:18:10

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret, I have heard Mill Hill is similar in feel and type of student ... but frankly MH is almost as far away (by commute time) even though it is viewed as one of the schools for NW London.

Needmoresleep Wed 29-Jul-15 10:44:08

lhrmum, London is not about distance but about journey time.

I would recommend selecting some postcodes of where you might live and putting them into TfLs journey planner along with school post codes. (It depends what tube line the other school is on but I might start with Hammersmith/Piccadilly line or perhaps Earls Court or North Westminster on the Metropolitan line, or perhaps Vauxhall/Waterloo (Victoria/Northern line north and train to Barnes Bridge).

There are some odd routes out there. I did similar for my DD before going to open days and was surprised at which schools were the most accessible.

Then play around:

1. Are there alternatives should train or tube be out. For example there is an express coach from Victoria to Hammersmith.

2. Frequency. See what happens if you leave 10 minutes earlier or later. DD found that though her journey time was slightly longer frequency for bus and tube was every three minutes. Some of her peers really struggled if they missed the bus.

3. No more than two type of transport. Bus/tube or train. Any more and the chances of something going wrong rise.

4. Comfort/safety. Going against rush hour means you get a seat. DD did huge amounts of homework on the tube (or says she did - it certainly did not come home.) So a longer single journey can be better than multiple changes. Will others be making the same journey. DD only had one but a lovely girl, and this helped though she was envious of the big gang travelling in the opposite direction. Also the route felt safe. An alternative school would have meant changing buses at the Elephant or in Brixton, which may have been fine but which would have felt more scarey.

5. Extra Curricular. If you have a longish journey think before taking up the tuba, becoming a hockey goalkeeper, or taking art GCSE. Bags were our downfall. I think in Yr 11 DD had a five bag day, and I used to have
to pick her up from the tube station. Also budding thespians can have endless rehersals and need picking up late.

In short its far nicer to be near a school You can have local friends, an extra hour to the day etc. However journey times of up to about 45 minutes are manageable as long as they are reliable, comfortable and safe. The Harrodian is a school that works very well for some children and if you feel it is right for your child then it is worth a go. All schools are competitive so it can be a case of applying for those you like/can manage and then seeing what you get.

Hopefully though it would only be for a couple of years, and your second child will end up somewhere close to your first. (And lots of choices in West London, including a couple of new secondaries which sound promising.)


Lookingforwardtoholiday Wed 29-Jul-15 13:37:03

Mill hill is so not the same journey time and without traffic it's a 15 minute drive max and in rush hour you are going against the traffic. You would never get from NW3 to Harrodian in 15 minutes, not even in the middle of the night. Look at Aldenham too, they probably have a coach from NW3.

Needmoresleep Wed 29-Jul-15 13:44:07

Lookingforward, he will be secondary age! You do not drive. Certainly not during school run time. As well as being more social, public transport is usually faster.

Lookingforwardtoholiday Wed 29-Jul-15 13:53:54

Actually plenty of parents a) do drive to Mill Hill and b) the journey even on public transport is relatively straightforward plus, again there is probably a coach. There's a lot to be said for having your child on the sane side if London. An easy drive out of rush hour means that it's easier to pick up and drop off for matches, you can easily collect an ill child or drop them off after an orthodontist appt when they break their brace for the 10th time, you can pick up if they are sick, watch a sports match and get back for another school run. In fact, I gave just looked at the mill hill website and there is a school bus from NW3.

Needmoresleep Wed 29-Jul-15 14:36:17

Mill Hill must be different. For most London Secondary children, replying on your parents to drive you is seen as pretty inept. Schools always used to have to prepare transport plans for the Local Authority. The aim was to have as few secondary aged children being driven on congested streets as possible. If you live some distance from the school it is not unusual for the school to ask at interview how you would get there. Its to a child's advantage if this has been thought through as they will appear a more credible candidate. (And to suggest moving once the second gets to secondary age would be even better.)

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