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Best secondary schools in London 2017 (girls and co-ed)

(58 Posts)
Toriali Mon 19-Jun-17 11:32:26

Our daughter is in year 4 and we're starting to look at secondary schools in London. I know we still have to pass the 11+...I've heard it's been really hard this year...

Which ones are your favourites?
Which ones do your children go to?

- Anywhere in London is ok
- Co-ed and all girls schools both fine
- Private is ok

So far, we have: CLSG, Latymer Grammar school, Alleyns

I'd really appreciate any recommendations.

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Lotsofsighing Mon 19-Jun-17 11:49:39

'Best' in what way?

Best results? Pastoral? For sport? Less tangible things like the kids living locally? Good teaching? Celebration of different skills and talents?

DD in y5 and are none the wiser and can't think where she might thrive. I think we've ruled out CLSG because I think it's too academic for her - were she to get in she'd be one of the less able and I don't think that's a good thing (for her, anyway).

Latymer is v v v hard to get into? Elder child waltzed into the selective privates, but was nowhere near getting into Latymer.

Lotsofsighing Mon 19-Jun-17 11:50:21

Sorry too many 'thinks' and question marks in that post, reflecting our utter cluelessness about the subject.

nocampinghere Mon 19-Jun-17 12:14:32

sorry you really have to narrow down your criteria if you want any suggestions!

Toriali Mon 19-Jun-17 14:31:50


Criteria are: academic excellence, good facilities and good teaching.

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ridinghighinapril Mon 19-Jun-17 14:33:37

If you are considering co-ed or single sex and you have Alleyn's on your list then I would also include JAGS as they are right next to each other

HunkyDory69 Mon 19-Jun-17 14:37:45

I'll add Lady Eleanor Holmes LEH on the academic & sporting excellence & great facilities/grounds for London. Teaching is as good as you can get at any school. Which is to say that it is broadly good, pockets of poor. Very fast paced. Great music of a traditional/classical type.

Mary21 Mon 19-Jun-17 15:35:44

There are lots of good schools but different schools suit different children and different families. Some kids needs smaller schools, higher levels of pastoral care, specialist facilities. Others thrive in large academic schools with lots going on. Start going out looking at a few to start to get a feel for what would suit your dd. Also bear in mind admission to some London schools is very competitive.

PatriciaHolm Mon 19-Jun-17 15:50:21

What you also need to bear in mind is, for those three schools for a start, the "11+" is not just one exam - she would have to sit 3 different tests for those schools, for example. So keep in mind how many tests you would be happy for her to sit for.

ChocolateWombat Mon 19-Jun-17 17:12:10

And do you want fee paying or are you interested in state Grammars too?

Toriali Mon 19-Jun-17 21:00:05

Thanks! Will add JAGS and LEH to my list and am definitely interested in state grammars, those would be fantastic! But chance of getting in - like for example CLSG - is probably less than a percent...?

Absolutely will have to see what's best for our family and obviously DD, and know it's going to be very hard to get even into one of these schools we mentioned here...

Yes, and DD will likely sit more than three exams...but she might as well try...I think the actual exam sitting she can cope with as she's a calm person. The studying is far tougher I think. But if we notice she can't manage more than three school applications then we won't push her.

I'd like her to have a shot at getting into a "top" school. If it doesn't work out then she'll go down a different route, which will be just fine too. There's no agenda or secret preference apart from wanting her to have a go. What she makes of it is up to her.

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AnotherNewt Mon 19-Jun-17 21:19:22

All the central(ish) London private schools and grammars meet your basic spec. The 'output' grades are really a reflection on how selective the school was when that cohort joined. All of them produce strings of starry grades for clever girls.

What sort of ethos do you value most?

What co-curricular stuff would you want?

And, lets face it, how important are bragging rights on the name of the school?

Which facilities matter most? For example state of the art labs and tech, or rolling playing fields? Theatre or boathouse?

Pickerel Mon 19-Jun-17 21:37:03

I went to South Hampstead (on a scholarship) and had a good experience there.

Toriali Mon 19-Jun-17 22:21:36

Thanks Newt. Glad to hear my basic specs are met. Going to have think about the other points you raised.

Thanks Pickerel for mentioning South Hampstead!

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Noitsnotteatimeyet Mon 19-Jun-17 22:29:06

Where do you live? It doesn't matter how good a school is if your child has a long and/or difficult daily commute as they're going to be tired and miserable and unable to make the most of all the extra-curricular stuff. Where we live, some of the schools on your list are relatively easy to get to but others would be a nightmare

castleontheground Mon 19-Jun-17 22:31:31

When I see posts like this it reminds me how education policy makers in London talk about 'choice'. We have a comp down the road and nothing else for miles. Everyone from our town and the surrounding villages go there so it's great for community cohesion. But it comes unstuck when May talks about schools becoming grammars etc (though I think that's stopped now).

OrlandaFuriosa Mon 19-Jun-17 22:35:20

St Paul's? NLC? The private others I know have been mentioned.

If you want good state grammar, Newstead Woods but you do have to live in the catchment. If you want pretty good state grammars, look at the Bexley grammars. If you want good state secondaries you've got a lot if choice both single sex ( eg Langley Park in Bromley) and co-ed.

What's she good at, where do her inclinations lie?

AnotherNewt Tue 20-Jun-17 06:29:22

Yes, I think there is no such thing as s single 'best', or even 'good' when it comes to schools.

Journey to school is important - both in terms of how much time it adds to the day, but also what the journey is like (when carrying backpack, sports grip and a clarinet)

There's little point in listing all the schools that admit girls in N London if you live in the SW. And only once you can describe what features and ethos you - and for secondary age, your DD - would like to see in a school can people give advice/experiences rather than just telling you what's out there.

FlumePlume Tue 20-Jun-17 12:38:32

OP I started a very similar thread last year (specifically about schools accessible to SW London), which you might find useful - SW London schools thread.

Toriali Wed 21-Jun-17 00:26:04

Location: anywhere in London is ok

Our daughter is academic but not pushy, she's good at maths, English, science, computer programming, she likes music and drama and is very creative, good at creative writing, and has a talent for art.

We're looking for someplace academic and quite traditional, where she can debate, play sports, good science and tech (STEM), or a place that'll bring out her (creative) writing.

Something not too hot housey (CLGS may be off the list...) and definitely not too arty or specialising in drama...

And thanks FlumePlume!

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QGMum Wed 21-Jun-17 08:10:37

OP have you subscribed to the Good Schools Guide?

I found it very helpful when drawing up a shortlist for my dd. Lots of information about each school. You can then ask for feedback on those specific schools on here.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Wed 21-Jun-17 10:00:53

So would you be moving depending on where your daughter ends up going to school? Personally, if you're happy where you currently live, I'd look at schools that she could reach easily now. The difference between one very good school and another very good school is pretty minimal tbh

Lotsofsighing Wed 21-Jun-17 10:37:45

I agree with Noitsnot, there's really no reason to move for a school. In fact, geography is a really useful discriminating factor. I find open days so gruesome that I was glad that there were so few schools within a reasonable commute for my son (and feel weary that there are more girls' options for my daughter).

All the schools mentioned (and a whole lot of others) will have generally good teaching (with some rubbish teachers inevitably); will push (possibly too hard); will have sports, creative writing etc.

I think you may be making life too complicated for yourself, especially since by that list, your daughter seems to be good at everything so will thrive anywhere.

CruCru Wed 21-Jun-17 11:13:43


My children are too small for us to be thinking about senior schools yet. However, people round here seem to be very keen on:

City of London
Francis Holland
More House
Queen's College
South Hampstead
St Paul's

Some of these are more academic than others.

Toriali Wed 21-Jun-17 11:21:38

me: anywhere in London
everyone: no, you need to give us a location!
me: anywhere in London is ok, is a personality profile of my DD
everyone: no way, are you going to move for a school? You really should select based on location, that makes it easier, it's not worth it

What I was after:
I'd like to know about all ("the best") schools first. Trust me, really, it can be anywhere in London. You don't know our situation, where we currently live, what we want to do / can me. Anywhere in London is OK!

All I wanted was to hear your experiences of YOUR "top" London school, regardless of location.

Let's leave this. Although I truly appreciate all your answers, I feel like I'm pulling teeth here grin The atmosphere in this section of mumsnet is rather tense I have to say.

Thank you QGMum, have subscribed.

thanks all

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