Lady Eleanor Holles or Latymer Upper School(23 Posts)
My DD has offers from LEH and LU. We love both schools and the travel is almost the same. We also do not mind co-ed or all girls so it becomes really hard to choose between these schools. I was wondering if anyone has experience in either of these schools and if you could share your opinions?
Thank you for any advice
I'm a current parent at LU and a former parent at LEH. I used to say that LU felt it had more "personality" as a school than LEH. That said, the new head at LEH is likely to have had an impact now - she only arrived for my daughter's final year.
Both schools are great and will give your daughter fabulous opportunities. The biggest difference for me is the location. We are also in the middle but the LEH social life for my daughter was more Hampton/Kingston/Esher based whereas at LU, lots of children live quite centrally so expect friends to live in Chelsea, Kensington etc rather than the more suburban demographic at LEH.
LEH plays lacrosse and netball, LU is hockey and netball. Standard is likely to be higher at LEH as there is a bigger pool of girls to pick from.
If you think your daughter might be interested in rowing, the LU boathouse is on site and there is no extra charge for rowing. LEH charges an additional termly fee and the boathouse is in Lower Sunbury and pretty inaccessible by public transport I think- so expect to drive there a lot!
Lovely choice to have, good luck!
Thank you so much Alwaysfrank for your post, very helpful.
We too are trying to decide mainly between LU, LEH and KGS. Dd also has an offer from Putney High school but we will probably go with one of the above three schools. She really likes KGS but we think that in the long run LU or LEH being bigger schools might be a better fit.
We try not to put much weight on league tables but because we kind of like all schools equally, I looked this time more carefully at the GCSE results and while KGS is improving, LU's 2016 results slided down. I wonder if this is just a regular fluctuation. LEH's results, on the other hand, are consistently strong which is not very surprising as I found the school quite regimental.
We are leaning towards LU for the co-ed factor but I don't like that phones are allowed there, I think it's a huge distraction (imagine how productive we would be without our phones!). Also, I wonder if boys tend to be academically much stronger in co-ed schools and if many girls would be sealed to be in the lower streams because of that.
We would really appreciate any further parents' and alumni's opinions and advice. Thank you!
Di - I have to say, I've never looked around LEH as I have boys. I do have a DS at LU in the Midfle School years. He was offered a place at Hampton too, so similar choice some years ago. I would say the main factors for consideration are -
- do you want your DD to be travelling by coach to and from school for the next 5-7 years. Yes it's safe, but can also be a bit stifling or problematic if you don't like someone on the coach. Hampton boys will be on the LEH coaches too.
LEH is not really near any cafes where pupils can easily hang out after school (especially if they have to get in the coaches). At LU there is a lot of "hanging out" because the have Hsmmersmith and Chiswick in their doorstep. Nearly all travel to and from school independently in tubes / buses. They are a more streetwise, "Londoncentric" bunch as a result.
There are all types at LU, but in general they are all quite confident types. This could be a but overwhelming for a quieter child. I know of two super bright but more "bookish" girls from my DS' prep who were interviewed for LU, but then not offered places, which was a surprise tbh. They both went to LEH and love it.
LEH has slightly higher numbers if A star grades, but tbh the academic differences between these schools are pretty meaningless. They are all more than capable of getting the best out of your child academically. For instance, there are 10 maths sets at LU, but they are pretty much all expected to get at least an A grade. DS knows various girls who turned down places at SPGS because they wanted co-ed and now they are happily average at LU.
LU has a quite urban, fast paced atmosphere. It can be a bit of a "cool school".
LU does not feel academically pressured in years 7 and 8. It seems to step up a bit after this though, but it's still fine. Homework is very manageable and not given out for the sake of it. The curriculum is dynamic and absolutely fantastic. It is an incredibly forward-looking school and always looking to innovate.
I think LEH may be a bit more nurturing possibly?
Anyway, those would be my thoughts. Good luck!
Thank you Alaia, Alwaysfrank and DiHappy for your comments!
We are also leaning towards LU as it would be more suitable for my DD who is coming from a mixed primary. The only thing that worries me is the GCSE results being lower than LEH this year. Maybe some current parents can comment on that? I am not even sure how important it is..maybe we should be looking at the leavers destination and A levels which is amazing (especially in maths and sciences) for LU. Also my DD's maths is a lot more stronger than her English so I was wondering if that is something we have to consider for choosing a school?
Nbk - what were LU's GCSE results this year? Have they fallen? They usually get between 90-95 per cent A-A star. Maybe they had a dodgy year?
There was some circular about A year ago that they were pulling out of the league tables, as some other similar schools have done, because they are so manipulated to be meaningless.
You could call /email the school and ask?
I can definitely confirm that Maths is particularly strong and extended there. They seem to want them to think around problems, not just think in a linear way, if that makes sense. I haven't been able to understand any of DS' maths since early Year 8.
Alaia5 = could you elaborate on the Maths sets at LU? Do they start this in Year 8 ? My understanding had been that they are not set yet when they join in Year 7? How's the Maths in Year 7?
As I remember, they are not set immediately for maths, no. I think it begins in the third term of Year 7 or beginning of Year 8. It's not a big stress at all. There are some highly gifted mathematicians for sure in the top 3 sets (they usually do GCSE early, as do some others, I believe), but apart from that, the students and parents are told there's not much difference between any of them and it is perfectly possible for someone in the the lowest set to get an A star grade at GCSE. The sets are very rough, in other words.
They used to get set for French in Year 8, but now they have switched to Spanish as the main MFA from Year 7 (with Mandarin also compulsory for years 7 and 8) - so they will be set for Spanish in Year 8 now.
Maths is strong at LU. And top sets tend to be quite boy dominated. I assume in part because there are relatively few 11+ boy places in Central/West London for boys and because LUs 11+ maths exam is relatively tough.
It did not bother DD and her friends to be in a minority. They adopted girl power and took no nonsense from the boys. It might bother others.
LEH seems to suit sporty girls but if you want hockey, rowing or club level swimming, LU has an advantage.
SEN support at LU is very good, as is a range of extra curricular.
The leavers destinations last summer for DDs contemporaries were extraordinarily good. She tended to know bright and focused girls, who had often narrowly missed SPGS or Tiffin. Going to LU clearly did them no harm, and indeed they will have emerged as confident co-eds. LU also suited a few who would have found the boundaries at an all girl school, constraining, in part because the school was practiced at coping with boys.
The one quite weird thing was that there seemed to be significantly less homework than given out at comparable girls schools. It suited DD as she was good at listening in class and had lots of others things she wanted to do in the evenings and at weekends. But less good if you need homework to reinforce. It did not seem to affect results.
Co-eds and boys schools do seem to have less homework.
Dept of Ed no longer publishes full GCSE data so there's no longer a way to look at trends such as % A*/A (even overall, let alone by subject or subject group) without fannying around on every school website (which might present data in slightly different ways). The cynic in me says this is to obfuscate any potential bugger's muddle with the transition to numeric grades (which iGCSE will surely adopt, though perhaps not for a few more years until,it has settled down).
I would agree with Needmore that the homework seems to be lesser at LU (I'm comparing to DS' friends at Hampton or Ibstock). They would tend to set a shorter, more extended task, than an hour's worth of the same kind of repetitive Maths question, for instance.
I remember in one talk about the curriculum, a department head said something along the lines of the school being interested in "lighting fires", not "filling buckets", so maybe this explains the general approach?
I have some good friends with dc at LU in all years and dd1 in has good friends there. Their children love the school, the parents think it's extremely academically stretching, in a good way, original, provocative teaching. They think dc get quite a lot of homework, but it's all relative!
I know the school is cracking down a lot on phone use as parents complain about it - dd's friends say the novelty of phone use wears off quickly and it does teach them how to use phones responsibly, not to be on it all the time. Don't know much about LEH at all though, sorry!
Great comments on LU! It seems such a vibrant and academic school.
I wonder if there are in LEH parents who can share their experiences as well? Thank you
Thank you so much everyone for your comprehensive inputs.
Alaia, you made such a valuable point about the journey. For us it would be half an hour on a coach to LEH or half an hour journey to LU (walk plus 10-15 min tube ride) which, as you said, is so much easier and allows more flexibility.
Dd is also strong in math which is why, based on everything said here, LU might be a better fit.
I found LU atmosphere quite relaxed and teachers may be less strict (especially compared to LEH) which is great to some extent. But I was wondering how do the teachers reinforce timeliness, discipline and being organised, especially when it comes to homework?
I have a very quirky DD at LEH - I worried when she went there that the school might try to homogenise her but it really hasn't been the case. The teachers do expect good behaviour and can be quite strict for the entry years but it eases off as they so up the school (she's in LVI)
Her year's GCSE's were v good indeed but they have the reputation for being particularity academic even by LEH's standards which might be why theirs were better than LU?
In fairness Maths is also very strong at LEH with 5 sets from the first year onwards and masses of extra help for those in the bottom set (I speak from experience!) Maths and Further Maths are the 2 most popular A levels (followed by the 3 sciences)
All that said we haven't looked at LU as LEH is fairly local to us - its a lovely choice to have and I'm sure your DD will be happy wherever she goes
Di - In answer to your question, I would say that LU is not a particularly "sheltering" school. It has a busy, campus feel. I was quite struck at how the students are spoken to as if they were adults pretty much from day one. Self-confidence and independence seem to be what they are trying to foster there. Perhaps the discipline could feel a bit more "hands off" for these reasons - e.g. they are expected to monitor their own phone use as this is a fact of life that they need to learn eventually.
That said, they will get detention if late more than 3 times in a term (I think)! and / or for late homework on more than one occasion, They are encoraged to "debate" and think independently across the board though (it would seem to me anyway)!
It can seem like a bit of steep learning curve in Year 7, but they do grow into it in the main.
Also there is an online system at LU which all the students have access to on their phones /iPads. They can contact all the teachers directly via this system (and vice versa). They also receive automatic alerts for homework due the next day or overdue. Everything is online so no excuses for having lost a homework task. They see and discuss their reports before parents receive them.
LU are getting tougher about phone use. Phones are now supposed to be off during lessons and activities. They can be on during morning break and lunch time but students are not allowed to use phones while walking in corridors and crossing public areas. My DS has so much going no in his life I do appreciate being able to send him a reminder for this or that which he can then check at lunch time. As said above, students are expected to be very independent and self-reliant. They are expected to make full use of email and school firefly to receive and submit homework. But they are very much allowed to be their individual selves and follow their passions, and as a result there are lots of bookish kids, sporty ones, musical ones, drama queens or maths geeks. In terms of homework, DS has quite a lot and that's had a big impact in our life. Different sets get different amounts and it also depends on the teacher (or so he says). I do know that other schools like Hampton and St Paul's give even more and I am thanking my lucky stars that we didn't choose those (as my name indicates!).
Choose with your heart. I would not obsess about GCSEs results going down a decimal here or there one year to the other. Not only it will have a zero impact on your child's future, but it's actually a healthy sign. When a school has stronger or weaker years than others, it means kids don't get whipped and coached into the same shape for the sake of numbers. A continuous upward trend in a school would freak me out. They are humans, not machines...
I have a DD at both LEH and LU, so a friend suggested I post here. I agree with most of the comments made above about the schools so will try not to repeat too much..
Both schools attain similar academic results year on year, and I would not read too much into any isolated year differences. If LEH had a 'strong' GCSE year group this year, LUs was reputedly less so. A couple of subjects did not perform as strongly at LU last year but I believe this is being addressed. IMO, LU has a more widespread academic intake on entry. Teaching at both schools ranges from inspirational to more mundane, but LUs maybe reflects the CoEd element and seems slightly less prescriptive overall. They do however provide slightly different GCSEs and A Levels/sixth form programmes, so check there is nothing eg language wise, you particularly like/require. The new LU 6th form programme looks terrific.
In terms of homework, LEH sets more subjects per night with a lot of revision for their frequent tests. LUs seems well considered on most occasions and there is less of it. Homework needs to be completed on time and there are penalties for not doing so.
On maths sets - LEH sets slightly earlier than LU, but by GCSE they are taught in sets/bands. In LU, the top band (maybe three classes) sits the GCSE early, and the middle (3 classes) and lower (1 or 2) in the summer. Both schools move pupils between sets to get the right fit for them. Most students in both schools will get A*s or As.
In science - LUs expects most students (girls and boys equally) to sit triple science at GCSE, whereas at LEH they are given more of a choice to sit the double award.
There are plenty of clubs at both schools, and pupils are encouraged to try new things out at both schools. It's a good opportunity to meet like minded people and extend friendships.
Phones - both schools have strict usage policies which the kids do their best to get around. They are usually one step ahead of the school.
Transport - we are half way between the two, and transport is easy for both. LEH has a late bus covering many areas, but the A316 is busy at many times. Many clubs/matches/rehearsals for music and plays etc are after school so even with lift shares you will probably need to negotiate the traffic at some stage. Dds in LEH are put in classes with geographically close children where possible so if you are lucky, their best friends are nearby. The tube/bus has been very reliable for LU and DD became independent very quickly at getting herself around west London to friends and venues.
Self motivation is important to get the best out of both schools, but I feel LEH was more nurturing in the earlier years. My LUs DD initially thought the boys were 'annoying and disruptive' (her words - and some of the girls were as bad), but now older, values them as friends and has a fabulously mixed social group.
LU is more cosmopolitan, reflecting it's more urban setting, location and intake. DDs friendship group is like a mini United Nations. There is diversity at LEH but less so. LEH DD loves the open spaces, well manicured grounds and relatively fresh air.
Sports - teams/clubs for all abilities in the early years, but easier for an enthusiastic sporty person to get into the top teams at LU due to less competition. LEH provides more traditionally 'girl sport' - gym, trampolining etc, more timetabled sport, and in my view, better coaching in most areas. LU has however recruited specialist coaches eg netball, addressing some of the issues. Girls at LU often play sport onsite or at Chiswick. Both schools have fabulous new sports facilities and no major building work/ disruption planned in the future for either school.
Both schools have great theatres and are strong in music/drama/the arts. IMO, LEH provides more opportunities to get involved and at all levels.
Both DDs love their schools and would not swap, whilst acknowledging the strengths of each other's school. Transition for LEH DD was easier, (LU were very helpful in trying to resolve the issues once raised), but this probably reflected their personalities. One chose by listing the positives and negatives for each school (not many negatives), and as the academic results are so similar, just went with the one she felt most at home. It's a nice dilemma to have, and at the end of the day, if your DD feels she has made a mistake it's usually possible to transfer between the two schools.
Unihippo1 : Thank you for extremely helpful comments! I have sent a pm to you.
"DD loves the open spaces, well manicured grounds and relatively fresh air"
This. My DD thought JAGS was "too green" and City "too concrete". She liked WHS and its easy access to the town centre, plus the scope for out of school sport nearby. LU is in the same street as Primark and TKMaxx, and on half days it is only a short hop to Westfield. She was clearly a more urban child than Unihippo's! One drawback for her though, was that quite a few of her friends tended to meet up in Richmond, not least because for some reason she was placed in the "Richmond class" when they grouped Yr7 slightly by geography. Though better than SPGS where they live all over.
Unihippo's post is great. Our experience was also of some initial Yr 7 issues, which the school dealt with promptly. The Yr 9 reshuffle was done with great skill.
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