CLSG v NLCS: which one?(24 Posts)
A newbie here. I'd really welcome advice and views on City Girls and North London Collegiate schools. We've been lucky enough to get offers from both but are finding it hard to decide between the two schools. They both seem excellent but it is hard to judge the school ethos from the outside.
Definitely choose the one with a shorter commute...the girls are busy and you don't them spending too much traveling; tons of activities at both school as well as great teaching. My DD is in one of the schools and I had a similar choice few years ago. In any case, you can't go wrong with either of the school. You and your daughter have good choices!
Congratulations! I can only speak for NLCS as I have 2 Girls there. I think it's a great school academically and activities wise. Both my girls love it there. I am sure your DD will thrive in both schools and so will have to agree with SNax that you go with the school nearest to you. Good luck with your choice.
Firstly well done to your DD! We had to make this same choice three years ago. We chose NLCS. Our main reasons were the lovely grounds, the space and facilities....we are very urban where we are and I am glad our daughter goes out to this leafy beautiful school and comes into town for trips. The girls we had met seemed friendlier and more relaxed and supportive. We felt there were subtle differences in attitude and ethos, the values of each school which led to the girls seeming to have a quiet confidence at NLCS versus a slightly competitive attitude at CLGS. Our daughter was not an alpha female, so we felt she would suit a gentler vibe. There was a change in head going on at CLGS at the time.....we now have a change of head going on at NLCS, but from an insider perspective I feel v. confident in NLCS. We chose the school our heart was with. Go and see both schools again and pick with your heart. Our daughter loves the coach....socialising mostly. We know she is safe getting to and from school, I felt less certain about her going on her own in rush hour on the tube. The distance time wise was about the same. The option to do IB or A levels at NLCS. Since being in NLCS we have felt the pastoral care has been excellent, the teaching and feedback is excellent. CLGS is a clearly a great school too, but go with what aspects of each school you value most.
Please be under no illusion that NLCS girls have a 'guiet confidence' vs a 'slightly competitive attitude'at CLGS. Both types exist at both schools. There is a bigger intake at NLCS hence wider variety of girls. Attending an Offer holders day should help you decide...as Flofox said 'go with your heart' as you can't go wrong in either case.
Many thanks to those that have replied. It is the ethos of each school which is so hard to gauge from the outside. My daughter is not at all an alpha female so would be looking for as wide a choice of girls as possible. Will the NCLS change of head after 20 years be a big upheaval or is there a management team under the head which will provide continuity? I'm in two minds about the coach. Everyone says it is fun but depending on your route, might there be no one from your year on that coach? Are there ever incidences of bullying on the coach ( asked from growing up watching US school bus films!)? How do after school clubs work with the coach timings?
I hadn't realised there was a bigger intake at NLCS.
Is City fun? Do both schools encourage creativity, that academics aren't the be all and end all? What's the pastoral care like? Having had such a busy exam period I'm now keen to have a wider interpretation of education!
Hi, NLCS parent here. The change of Head will go very smoothly . The deputy Head is really enthusiastic about Mrs. Clark (as are the governors I've spoken to). A lot of planning goes into everything that the school does and this is the best paid Headship in the country (according to the Telegraph) so, no shortage of good applicants.
Both of my girls enjoy the social time on the coach- or finish homework or sleep. I haven't heard of any bullying. It's highly improbable that a huge coach would have only one girl from a year.If that did happen, it wouldn't matter as they make friends across years on the coach. There are late coach routes for after school clubs and shuttle buses to Edgware and Canons tubes for those who take public transport or miss the coaches.
I rate the pastoral care very highly at NLCS. After a lot of years there, I have seen them deal very sensitively with some pretty tricky situations. Academics aren't the end all be all by any means. They certainly understand that happy girls do well.
My dd's received offers from both schools and we chose the easiest commute. The schools are similar in academic terms and give the girls a demanding amount of work, particularly from year 9 onwards when the workload becomes tough. CLSG seem to lose some girls to Westminster and other co-ed schools at 6th form, whereas NLCS tend to keep their girls. Dds have friends at both schools and NLCS and CLSG offer the girls good support if it needed.
The facilities at NLCS are outstanding and there is lots of outdoor space. CLSG has good indoor facilities, but limited outdoor space, due to its location. That said, the school makes good use of its location and the girls are always out and about visiting various institutions as everywhere is close by.
CLSG have plenty of girls on bursaries and is more socially mixed than NLCS. At the end of the day families need to decide the school where they are able on the basis of what they feel is right for their individual child.
I just wanted to clarify my earlier comment re quiet confidence versus slightly competitive alpha female.....this was our perception at the time we applied and the girls we met at the time, who showed us round....NLCS has a variety of girls ( I can only speak now for those we now know at NLCS). They compete and perform at the highest levels, but there is space and room for those who do not....everyone is encouraged to find what they love and a feel a sense of modesty about what they achieve, though it is valued highly. At NLCS there is a balance of personalities in each of the forms....about half coming up from the junior school in each form and about half from outside preps and primary schools. My daughter felt the junior school girls were much more confident at the start....familiarity with the school and each other?....but they quickly mixed. There was a whole load of transition meets so the girls got to meet up before they started and being an only girl from her school they had a special meet for anyone not knowing anyone else when they started. There are so many clubs going on at lunch time that the whole year group eventually knows each other. In Year 9 they mixed the forms again and this seemed like an upheaval to my daughter at the time, but they seemed to keep close friends together, moving everyone with at least one person they were good friends with. Now her new form is even better according to her. On the coach there are four girls from her year group getting off at her stop and more from her form and Year getting off earlier or later in the journey. My daughter chats to girls in other years too, absolutely no bullying on the coach and so far none in the school. Any worries have been dealt with swiftly and appropriately and the school seem very switched on about potential teenage issues. There have been great talks / meetings on e safety and social media and addictions as well as meetings for the parent body introducing each year and the staff involved, the opportunities and outlining the things the girls will face / do.....currently for us it is GCSE choices....we feel very much like we know what is going on. There has been lots of information about the new head and I feel very confident the school has handled the process well and NLCS is not going to change drastically. We were offered substantial bursaries from both schools, slightly higher from CLGS, but we felt on balance NLCS was a better fit for our daughter. There are / were lots of people who are better off than us in either school, but the uniform is a great leveller and we feel our daughter is judged / viewed by her actions, efforts in school and her personality, not her background. I hope this helps.
As for the creativity.....the art is amazing, lots of different media....but I remember we were equally impressed by CLGS too. We judged schools by how they valued art....so much is formulaic ( and there is always the moody teenager self portraiture), but I remember both schools having work with real skill and ability. They have a fantasy fashion show. There are lots of Dramatic activities to get involved with.....the drama department seems to have brought my slightly reserved, shy girl out a bit and she has always had confidence in herself, (but she constantly compared herself to others), but now she feels supported and able to just have a go, whatever the outcome. She had parts in a play last year and the year before, lots of opportunities to be involved. Much is made of being vocal in class, asking questions and being able to speak publicly....my daughter remembers fondly the English lessons on public speaking with Mrs McCabe in Year 7. Her reports still mention she is a bit quiet in class, but I think she naturally likes to reflect and make insightful comments, rather than put herself on the line. We keep working on this one, because I think the school likes he girls to be opinionated and able to assert their own opinion, without waiting for others. There is so much going on in the music department. My daughter has lessons in school which are enjoyable ( she is not playing at a really high standard).
I think the school are very good at giving feedback on all the types of work the girls produce and expectations are high, but not unreasonably so. I think there is possibly a subtle mechanism going on if girls don't do so well in particular subjects. My daughter is not brilliant at modern languages ( she puts all her effort into what she enjoys), so after a parents evening we often feel a sense of needing to spur her on a bit if she hasn't made enough effort. The staff have been great at helping her when she hasn't understood something. The homework is quite reasonable too.
It seems a 'far down the road ' factor but, NLCS offers IB and Pre-U. Much meatier stuff than A Levels. 6th form teaching is done in tutorial style- in case you were wondering about the disparity between the schools in Oxbridge offers.
Just something to think about.
absolutely no bullying on the coach and so far none in the school
Bullying goes on in every school but you may not be aware of it. It's how the school deals with the bullying that is important.
Here are the only incidents we've had.
My DDs are both pretty robust. DD1 was bullied in the junior school but didn't see it as such. School phoned and told me what they had observed and checked that DD1 was ok. Bully and her DPs called in that took care of it. DD1 wasn't sure what the fuss was about as she didn't like the girl anyway and didn't care what she had to say
DD2 had incidents in yr 7 with a group of girls who were less than pleasant. It was just little irritations like blocking her locker and snide comments- basically, too many alphas randomly assigned to the same form. It probably escalated as far as it did because the bully girls couldn't get a rise out of DD2. The form tutors were all over it. It came to a head when DD2's games kit was stolen and their solution was genius. DD2 was allowed to wear whatever she wanted for games. The sparklier the better. It wasn't fair to punish DD2 by making her get new kit or wear cast offs from lost property and the bullies got zero satisfaction. There was an amnesty on the return of the kit declared publicly and it came back within a week. DD2 never had a moment's grief from those girls again and a year later, they were more mature and actually quite nice.
Thank you so much for all your replies. Are you able to share who the new head at NLCS will be or which school she comes from? Would also be interested to hear a bit more about CLSG if anyone has a daughter there. Thank you again. We're aware that we are hugely lucky to have the choice of two such wonderful schools but it is hard to tell from the outside which is the best fit.
Hi - CLSG person here, who also had the same choice. We went for CLSG for the social diversity, a feeling (and it was only a feeling) that it valued education for its own sake, and also a sense that the girls were a bit more relaxed, a bit happier in their own skin. But this is all just feeling and we've certainly had moments pondering whether we made the right choice because NLCS can seem like the 'golden ticket'.
On the sport/after school clubs, my feeling with CLSG is that they have slightly fewer options but what they do, they do extremely well (it's in top 100 sports' schools this year). Their music and dance displays are really wonderful - warm and fun and not over-rehearsed, but sort of brilliant at the same time. Our parent group is lovely - uncompetitive, supportive and sociable. I've been really happy with it. FWIW my daughter is neither shy and retiring or particularly boisterous. Good luck with your choice.
New head of NLCS is Mrs Sarah Clark, currently at The Queen's School, Chester. She's brilliant and NLCS are lucky to have her.
Another very happy CLSG parent here. I agree with Snax, choose the school with the shortest commute. There will be all kinds of girls at both schools, and the girls at both schools will be clever and interested in learning. You can't make a wrong decision.
Spike, Are you at Queen's? NLCS governors and Dep. Head are very excited about her. The consensus seems to be summed up as 'She's soooooo cool!'. PM me me with any more info.
Although if you can share publicly thoughts on new head, that would be great too!
What does "cool" translate to in terms of a secondary school head? I'm not sure it is the attribute I would choose for a Head.
I'm at Queen's and I'm not sure I'd describe Mrs Clark as "cool" 😎, but I would call her visionary, inspiring and the girls are so impressed that she knows every one of them by name. She really cares about each girls individual attainment and actively believes in life long learning. She has just introduced the Queen's Bacc, awful name great concept, which includes EPQ as well as A'levels, enrichment and additional learning opportunities through moocs which are online courses which girls can tailor to their interests and prospective degree course. Her assemblies are considered by the girls as interesting and that she gives of herself in them, rather than the usual opportunity for a snooze. She's definitely not stuffy, which may be where cool comes from. The response at Queen's to Mrs Clark moving to NLCS was firstly delight and pride for Mrs C followed by disappointment. She will be missed, look after her any NLCS parents reading this please. Apologies for the lack of apostrophe back there, but my keyboard is playing up.
Thanks, Spike! Sorry for your loss and now even more excited to welcome Mrs. Clark. We'll take good care of her, I promise. I think you have described the NLCS version of cool. The tech-thing was a big plus for the school leadership as well as the warm and energetic style. Mrs McCabe has been a great role model in so many ways and it was always going to be tough to replace her. She has done so much in 20 years and is going out on a high. I think Mrs. Clark will be pleased with the goodwill she will encounter from the staff and the girls and we parents will welcome her to our family.
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