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(7 Posts)
aeganblue Sun 14-Feb-16 10:50:17

Are there parents out there with direct experience of these schools who might advise me where my DD might best fit? We are thrilled to have offers at both, but both she and I flip flop between them. The academic prowess of LEH is hard to say no to. Travel not an issue -we live mid way between them. She is highly creative and very quick, very academic and excels at subjects she's interested in (English - creative writing, she never stops reading, drama, dance), she goes to the beat of her own drum and I want her to go somewhere where her creativity will be recognised, nurtured and not stifled and most of all where she will be happy. She is very sociable, not a great lover of sport but thrilled if she can participate (at her current school only the best take part on teams). I have an impression of LEH girls as uber sporty, and not necessarily all that eccentric! But it's a big school and surely there are all kinds- I want to ensure that the non sporty slightly off the wall types can be happy there too. I know very little about NHE but thought it had a happy and ambitious energy about it. The head is phenomenal but sadly I hear she is leaving....Any views hugely welcome! Thanks everyone.

whatwouldrondo Sun 14-Feb-16 12:59:10

The issue at LEH is not so much the uber sporty as the uber confidant. There will be absolutely no problem with marching to the beat of her own drum /eccentricity as long as she is confident in her identity. Having a particular flair in an area helps that and it can be creative, music, drama or writing as well as sporty, and it will be nurtured especially if your DD has sharp enough elbows. There are a lot of girls who are good at getting their voices heard (but then there will be that at NHE as well. Where do you and she feel is right? The academic reputation is irrelevant on an individual level, either of these schools can and does enable bright girls to achieve their potential, it is just LEH is able to be more selective and so gets the girls who get better exam results. Would she prefer to be one of the smarter girls in a less selective school or be challenged and stimulated by being surrounded by so many confidant bright girls? So it is about that undefinable equation that will determine her happiness. This is one decision in my life where I wish I had trusted my instincts more.

And there are factors in the equation beyond your control, in recent years there have been a couple of difficult cohorts at LEH but that can happen in any school, especially in West London, no one school has a monopoly on dysfunctional parenting. I know of many girls who were eccentric and unsporty who have thrived there. And the new Head seems to be all that she promises in terms of taking the foot of the academic accelerator a bit in favour of a more holistic education focusing on personal qualities as well. And she teaches every Year 7 girl and knows them by name which must give an advantage with dealing with any issues in a year.

aeganblue Sun 14-Feb-16 17:41:19

Many thanks Whatwouldrondo- I remember reading about the head in the evening standard when she was at Wimbledon. That's great she teaches the year 7s. I really don't have any strong instinct on this one- hopefully visits will make it clear! Anyone else with experience of these two schools?

Owlandapussycat Sun 14-Feb-16 18:00:38

I have a daughter at Leh and I am fairly happy with the school. As I have no other experience with the secondaries, it's hard to compare it. If your daughter plays an orchestra instrument there are a lot of opportunities to perform. Drama department is quite strong and they produce wonderful performances. The roles are given after the audition so if your daughter is confident, expressive,( for certain plays) posses a good voice and a good dancer, she will get a role. However the number of roles are limited so if the girl is a bit shy, she may struggle to get one.
In my opinion provision for art is not bad, but it could be better.
So far I haven't noticed that the girls are hugely competitive but they clearly want to do well.
I hope it may help.

ealingwestmum Mon 15-Feb-16 09:44:14

Based on how you have described your DD, I would send her to LEH. It would definitely be a more academic environment and she doesn't need to be overly sporty, her creative side would thrive more, with better facilities.

Only if she needed that extra pastoral support and a gentler setting would I consider NHEHS over LEH. There are also a lot of management changes due from Sept 16 with Head (as you already know), deputy and lots of the SLT team leaving NHEHS. This may be a good or a bad thing, but unknown until the new team is recruited and their strategic objectives for the school shared.

aeganblue Mon 15-Feb-16 11:09:14

Thank you Ealing West! we met last year when I was doing this with DD1 (I'm chocfinger but had to change name for some reason to log on!!) and I know you have exp. of the school. Really appreciate the feedback. Do you know how recruitment is going for a new head? Existing head is so impressive. Hope your DD has happily settled, my DD1 couldn't be happier.

ealingwestmum Mon 15-Feb-16 12:02:27

It feels good to be a year on aeganblue, but only if you're not having to repeat the process a year later! Good luck on your choice making, but a nice dilemma nevertheless!

I would go to your offers evenings and really probe on the if/how/why they feel the school may move forward in a different direction. You've got the benefit at least with LEH of a year and by all accounts, the Head has settled very well there.

NHEHS did have a good increase of oxbridge intake last year vs previous if that's a metric that's of value to you, and they will want to see this maintained and improved on. The recruitment is ongoing so I am not in a position to say where they are at, but I am sure many parents will be interested and raise this in their Q&A.

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