Girls' independent secondaries, London(20 Posts)
I wondered whether anyone had any advice about girls’ independent secondaries in London. My daughter is in Y4 at present at a mixed independent school. She is keen to go to a girls’ school for secondary. She is very outgoing, bright and engaged and does well academically. However, she doesn’t respond well to huge amounts of pressure and tends to withdraw when she feels out of her depth, so I’m keen to find somewhere supportive and nurturing rather than a hot house, while still giving her the scope to do well and be stretched. Moon on a stick?
My son is at school in central London and my husband and I both work centrally. We live in North London at the moment but would consider moving (in fact, I'd quite like to move), so anywhere in London could potentially be a goer.
I’d welcome any advice. If we stay in North London, Channing might be suitable, I think. Like the idea of NLC very much but not sure whether it would be too pressurised, ditto City. I know v little about girls’ schools in other bits of London so would welcome any advice.
Had you thought about relocating to Dulwich (if you have an exceptionally healthy budget) with access to central London, and also James Allen Girls' School. If you want a selective girls school that isn't quite so high pressured but still gets results then Bromley High might be a contenter. Most who attend the junior school live in Bickley or Bromley, or like me in Petts Wood - but for secondary they come further afield. I love the good balance between leafy and access to London but appreciate it isn't for all. Some can be sniffy about GDST schools of which Bromley High is one, but it is a good school without the same pressures of some schools. Saying that DD is unlikely to be staying on as for us fees are a a struggle and we will most likely go down the grammar route (which she passed) which is another option in our area.
'Sniffy about GDST schools'! I have never heard the like and have to wonder where on earth that came from? I live in Putney and Putney High and Wimbledon High are both massively sort after all girls private schools that get very impressive results. The benefit of the GDST schools is the slightly lower fees. My daughter went to Putney High and did very well as did all her friends.
Having a daughter at a GDST you get lots of 'why didn't you try for...' comments and having seen other comments here on Mumsnet it is clear some don't consider them top league and therefore 'sniffy' - it doesn't mean they are bad. I am a huge fan, but just going on experience.
Ok, trying to get back on track for the OP, any suggestions from others?
Queen's College in Harley Street could be just what you are looking for.
St Catherine's in Twickenham would be worth a look. Good rep for pastoral care, solid results without the pressure to get all A's. Our friends daughter came out with all A* so clever girls do well as well. My DD is there and very happy.
South Hampstead high school. Very nice local school, nurturing and not pressurised and has just been rebuilt. What's not to like? Hear similar good things about Channing and Queens College. If you don't want too pressurised don't look at NLC
In Ealing you have Notting Hill and Ealing GDST that is considered academic and St Augustine's Priory that has a broader intake and less selective, and I know girls in both schools that obtained 10 A* each at GCSEs last year.
Also you have Queensgate, More House and Francis Holland if you want schools that are centrally based and have a broader intake .
As you don't mind moving, I think the best plan would be to visit a selection of schools, with a different degree of selectivity, and apply to those you like, including aspirational, most likely and dead certain to get in and take your final decision once you get the offers in the post. I think that for my DD as we are in west London we will probably go for Notting Hill, St Augustine's, city and Latymer upper.
I suggest you start by looking at your DS's school, the routes to it from all directions and the time of travel that you think is OK for him. So is there a school bus? What bus/tube/overground/train routes are there and how crowded are they? Does he ever have to lug around a cello or fencing kit?
Then you can see the areas where you might be able to move to, look at the girls schools reachable from there and start making a plan for a location where you have an aspirational, realistic and fallback within reach.
I thing South London might work for you. If you looked at the areas near Clapham/Wandsworth Common and Clapham Junction, you would then have within reach JAGS, Putney High, Wimbledon High, maybe Streatham and Clapham High, Sydenham High (those 4 all GDST), Francis Holland Sloane Square, St James, Queen's Gate, or train out to Old Palace (Croydon) or to Woldingham. If you add coed, then there's Alleyns, Ibstock and Emanuel.
Sorry for the delay coming back to this. Thanks so much for these suggestions- quite a few I hadn't thought of. I will get researching!
You might look at Queenswood in Potters Bar. Weekly boarding available and the atmosphere you want.
Francis Holland Regents Park/NW1 (just by Baker Street tube) is warm and supportive with excellent teaching. Ca 75-80% A+ at GCSE, so academic but not only for superhumans... DD loves it.
If your DD is very clever I would be tempted to try for Godolphin & Latymer in Hammersmith and also see how your DD likes the "feel". This school is even more academic, so in this case - given your desire to limit the pressure - it would probably only be suitable if she is very academic and would be above average in this cohort.
If you are in North London I personally would go for South Hampstead High School any day since: 1). Now that the new building is complete I think you will see it rocketing up the league tables as girls will no longer leave in the sixth form to avoid the building works (this has already started this year when its A level results -75.5% A*/A- overtook the likes of Godolphin & Latymer etc). 2) It has excellent sporting facilities within walking distance, 3) The new head is fabulous - more dynamic and impressive than any of the (numerous!) heads of private London girls schools I've met recently 4) the GDST fees tend to be more reasonable 5) the pupils and parents are more down to earth than those at some schools I could mention.
In case I sounded like an advert for SHHS I should have added that DD will not be going there as she doesn't want to travel that far from us but I personally thought SHHS was the best of the (nine!) schools I visited.
If location hadn't been factor and if we hadn't already been plugged into a SW London boys school I'd say JAGS, JAGS, JAGS.
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