Will LEH be better than SPGS?(17 Posts)
DD1 is currently at SPGS and absolutely hates it. She finds the workload allright but does not like the pressured atmosphere. We'll be moving her for sixth form but there's not much we can do now as she is doing her GCSEs. DD2 is in year 6 and just as academic as her sister was at that age so I suspect she would get into SPGS. However, they're very similar girls and I don't want to make the same mistake again.
I've been looking at other good girls' schools around us and I was thinking of LEH - we went to the open day last week and DD loved it but I'm worried that it will be a very similar school to SPGS. Very clever, high achieving girls (international rowers and a published author were just a few of the students who we met! ) attend both and it seems to be just like St Pauls but with more extra-curricular focus.
Do you think that we should put her forward for the exam - or look at less-academic girls' schools, maybe St Cats? For those with experience at both schools, is the atmosphere at LEH anymore chilled than SPGS?
Have you considered co-eds. The presence of boys tends to dilute the pressure girls can put upon themselves. LU and KGS are good options for reasonably academic kids.
It's a different kind of school from SPGS. I'm sorry your daughter hasn't had a happy experience there. I do think that it won't be the same as SPGS if that helps at all. I have some experience of both schools and think that the 'fit' for LEH is very different from that at SPGS. I don't think the pressure will be less, however. I think it may just be expressed in a different way. TBH if your daughter is unhappy with pressure, you may be best off looking at good state options such as Waldegrave and Grey Court.
I understand your worries and would advise you to look at NLCS, similar academically but more relaxed I think.
My advice would echo Needmoresleep's - I would consider an academic co-ed school. The presence of boys does create a different atmosphere and dilutes the sometimes stifling atmosphere created by being in an environment with extremely competitive, very bright girls - I went to a school like this so remember what it is like.
Or G&L which has a reputation for being a kinder school, though equally academic, plus the option of IB in sixth form. You would not be the first to select G&L over SPGS, or switch. Girls we knew who were SPGS WL, so of roughly the same standard, who went to G&L did very well indeed, and benefited both from being in a more nurturing environment and being towards the top of a good year group, rather than towards the bottom of somewhere very academically focused.
DD knew three in her year group were unhappy at SPGS. Two switched to co-ed, one early and one for sixth form, with great outcomes, both social and academic, for both. One struggled on, but at a cost. Many are very happy, which perhaps makes it harder for those who are not.
Both NCLS and LEH are known for being academically focused, though not in the same way as SPGS. There are "safer" options, without picking a significantly less academic school. Fit is important, and a bright child who does not feel stretched might not fit well in somewhere significantly less selective. And indeed may be better off in a good comprehensive. If you look at any league table, schools like LU, KGS and G&L do very well indeed. There is no reason why a bright girl would not maximise her potential in any of them.
Or WHS or PHS. Again both great, and normally happy, schools. And cheaper!
If you're at SPGS, and are considering LEH and St Cats, I'm assuming SW London. So NLCS might be the wrong fit, based on journey.
I think you need to look round several schools and I would suggest WHS, PHS and JAGS.
FWIW, I think schools only feel 'pressured' when they aren't quite right for your DC (and that's a much wider question than academic pace). I've seen a lot of my DC's cohort go through various schools, and it's about the ethos not the pace. Clever DC will get their string of starry grades from the top sets of 'less' academic schools.
In general, I think teens are happier when they have friends, so when contemplating a move for sixth form then look at how many joiners a school has at that point.
And do think about co-ed. A few girls move from SPGS to Westminster every year. And from my guess at your location, look at KCS Wimbledon too.
Worth at look at CLSG too? Commutable from most of London.. I know of a few girls who turned down St Pauls offers to go there instead and from what they say, does not sound pressurised environment.
I am amused that NLCS would be viewed as bring more nurturing and less competitive than any school! In North London it is seem as the most alpha of girls schools.
Channing is said to be nurturing though still gets top grades .
Ah here we go again!
Do you have children at NLCS?... we do and we indeed find the school to be nurturing as well as of very high teaching quality.
No I don't, but a child I know very well was "encouraged" to leave as she wasn't strong enough academically. It didn't seem that nurturing during that period.
Amazing school for the right child - the school says as much at open days - and that child will achieve the best results possible.
I have a DS at KCS 6th form and would never send DD there for a whole number of reasons. Not least of which is that I have told all my DCs I'm never paying for 6th form again.
I do agree with previous posters who think a co-ed may suit your older DD better but you should look at proper co-ed 6th forms. KCS is a boys school with a small intake of girls for 6th form but is still very boy heavy about 150:50.
Geographically doubtful but, I second 12Helen34. NLCS is very supportive (I'm a parent too)- new Head of Pastoral is amazing. They do get ex-SPGS girls from time to time. Most seem to come on the Kensington coach. It does make for a very long day, though. A girl did a taster week in my DD2's year from SPGS. She, according to DD, was unhappy with the social culture (DD2 said 'fake people'- make of that what you will). Decided the journey was too long in the end.
If your DD is unhappy with the atmosphere but is capable of the academics, G&L might be a great alternative. LEH is also lovely.
It might be a good idea to define where the pressure is. Is it social? No uniform making things competitive in the appearance stakes? Is it the academic 'humble brag"? I can't bother to revise but look, I got 100%! Is it the general miasma of if you don't get all A*s, you are worthless?From teachers? Peers?
It's worth really examining what the issue is before contemplating a move. I've known far too many girls who were sure that the grass would be greener at another school and then changed their minds after starting (and plunking down a term's fees). Also, girls get nicer as they get older and much more secure in themselves. There is an argument for moving at 6th form.
OP I totally agree that their mental health is far more important than anything else. I have DC at LU and I would say, there is very little academic pressure there. There may well be other social pressures due to it being co-ed, but nobody loses any sleep over dropping a few percent in a test. They are told that as long as they are generally keeping up, that's good enough. For instance, there are 10 maths sets, but they are told it doesn't matter and the whole year group got an A* at GCSE anyway. There are girls there who turned down SPGS, but they are not the ones who stand out academically tbh (the highest achievers academically are often there on free bursaries). Being a good singer, debater or whatever has more "cache" there than simply a string of A* grades.
I second looking at the co-ed schools
From my experience they feel less pressured than the girls schools
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