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Options when money is no object and child is clever but not super clever

(31 Posts)
Notcontent Sat 15-Oct-16 22:35:10

I should say at the outset that I am not speaking about myself - I am by no means wealthy! But I am looking at options for independent schools for my dd and beginning to think we have no chance at getting a place because where we are (North London) is super competitive. Dd is clever but not super clever - quite talented in English and does well in maths, but she is not a maths wizz.

So that got me thinking - around where we are looking there must be lots of parents who are wealthy, high profile London types who may have children who are not as clever as some of their friends - where do they send their children? Oh, I know they no doubt have tutors, etc but in this highly competitive game that's not enough...

BoffinMum Sat 15-Oct-16 22:44:40

TBH I now send my to local state schools after seeing some shockingly bad teaching and management in DD's various private schools.

Corialanusburt Sat 15-Oct-16 22:48:29

My sister went to The Mount School in Mill Hill. Not sure if that's particularly selective?

BossWitch Sat 15-Oct-16 22:48:42

Do they send them further out of London? To board? Boarders pull in a lot of money so I imagine that there'd be a fair few boarding schools who are happy to have slightly lower academic standards. Just guessing though.

whinetasting Sat 15-Oct-16 22:49:05

We're in a similar position (you're describing my daughter!)- there's no "safe options" in London any more as competition is mad. We're lucky to have a few good state options as well though.
This is a helpful thread. Ignore the off putting title.


Notcontent Sat 15-Oct-16 23:17:03

BossWitch - yes, I think you may be right about boarding schools...

Whinetasting - thanks, I will have a look at that thread! Just feeling a bit frustrated (as you probably are).

bojorojo Sun 16-Oct-16 06:01:48

Lots of girls from North London weekly board at Queenswood School in Potters Bar. Exactly fits what you want I think!

BoffinMum Sun 16-Oct-16 06:57:03

Hockerill is only half sn hour from Liverpool Street, is comprehensive and does both day and boarding. (State)

ReadTheWholeFred Sun 16-Oct-16 07:47:12

We are west London not North but there are plenty of private schools for those who aren't exceedingly academic. Around us there is the Harrodian, Kew House, St James' and Ibstock Place.

SAHDthatsall Sun 16-Oct-16 08:35:29

Yes boarding is the answer for the people I have known in that position. There are boarding schools for the not clever at all like one friend's son. Alternatively be a name and negotiate to pay towards the new (e.g.) sports hall like one person I know!

GetAHaircutCarl Sun 16-Oct-16 09:05:11

There are lots of schools that are selective but not absurdly so. Most private schools in fact.

FanDabbyFloozy Sun 16-Oct-16 09:11:29

Where in North London - central like Islington or outer London, e.g. Stanmore?

The rule of thumb is to try one stretch, one comfortable, one "in the bag" option but given the numbers involved, you may need more.

Stretch schools which are not crazy competitive:
Habs, Highgate, Channing, SHHS, St Helen's

Comfortable schools:
Mill Hill, Queenswood, St Margaret's, Northwood College

Easier schools for entry:
Aldenham, St Martha's, King Alfred's, Dwight, Northbridge

Remember that one child can only take one place, so although they get a range of offers, the waiting list move fast.

Good luck.

Roseformeplease Sun 16-Oct-16 09:17:47

Not sure how much it has changed but Royal Masonic in Rickmansworth used to have a broad range of pupils.

FanDabbyFloozy Sun 16-Oct-16 09:19:23

Of course, easier to get into doesn't equal worse outcomes. These are all fine schools, as far as I can tell.

Luckystar1 Sun 16-Oct-16 09:21:29

Good luck trying to get into Hockerill (as a pp suggested), I live in the town it's in...

The houses in the 2 street immediately adjacent (very average houses in not the best part of town) go for an absolute fortune as that's basically the extent of the catchment area.

Most pupils are admitted on aptitude for languages.

Bobochic Sun 16-Oct-16 09:28:25

The private sector is chock a block full of schools that aren't super selective, academically, BT provide great educational facilities to the children of the well-off.

Pythonesque Sun 16-Oct-16 09:30:34

We went and had a look at St Edwards in Oxford (local to us) and there seemed to be quite a few London-based families.

In your position where money may indeed be an object, consider looking at some of the older boarding schools that have deeper pockets for bursary funds. If your daughter is a good fit at one it might be a sensible option.

[doi 2 children, 1 boarding, 1 currently day, boarding wasn't initially at all in our plans]

vghifcqueen Sun 16-Oct-16 20:20:32

Royal Masonic, St Margaret's bushey, St Margaret's Hampstead, Northwood College, Aldenham, Immanuel College, Northbridge House, st Benedicts or (whispers) a really good state comprehensive such as Fortismere, Archer Academy, JFS if appropriate, Lady Margaret, Greycoat again if appropriate. I don't know anyone who has done the boarding thing, they've gone state instead and committed the cardinal MN sin of having children in both sectors.

Notcontent Sun 16-Oct-16 21:52:58

Thanks for everyone's comments. We are in islington, so many of the schools mentioned are just too far away and boarding is completely out of the question. Unfortunately there are also no good state schools available to us - there is one which is ok but going on last year's catchment area, we will not get a place.

It's all a bit crazy. The sad thing is that I know dd would thrive at an academic school - but it's just a matter of getting a place...

PettsWoodParadise Sun 16-Oct-16 22:06:00

The GDST schools are highly regarded. They are often eclipsed by the super top schools but are still very good and quite often suit the type of girl as you describe as your DD. you may already have checked out ones near you, but just in case you haven't I add it to the mix.

Notcontent Sun 16-Oct-16 22:40:47

Thanks Petts. We only have one GDST school anywhere near us - south Hampstead high school - and it's now pretty difficult to get a place there. I think it's to do with the changing demographics of inner North London.

W8woman Sun 16-Oct-16 23:18:11

Queen's College Harley Street

Francis Holland Regent's Park

Don't forget you can supplement with tutoring at schools that are not especially academic.

Being top of the class in a "happy" school is probably better for building confidence and motivation than being middling at St Paul's.

FanDabbyFloozy Mon 17-Oct-16 06:46:21

In that case I'd look at Highgate, Channing, North bridge, SHHS, Queen's etc. All within easy commute of Islington.

GregorSamsa Mon 17-Oct-16 08:35:09

Some parts of Islington are also within reach of Camden state schools - Parliament Hill has quite a large intake area, and the Camden Girls' catchment stretches most of the way to Archway now that Camden LEA have cracked down on people playing the system by means of creative address management. Both those schools do well for girls who are bright and motivated, but wouldn't be suited to a more overwhelmingly competitive environment in a super-selective school.

ClaireBlunderwood Mon 17-Oct-16 10:41:25

Where in Islington are you? All the state secondaries are pretty good now and you can always do the aptitude test for Mary Mags if that's the one that appeals to you.

I really don't think your child has to be super clever to get into the majority of privates in North London, especially a girl (for boys, it's harder, IMO, since there's far less range). Don't be put off by the numbers applying, they can only go to one school each. Certainly I've never known girls not get places at Queens, FH etc.

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