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NW London(ish) Independents(16 Posts)
Can anyone give me any insight into Portland place and Northbridge house? My son is at a great high achieving state primary and moving to independent. He has excellent school reports for attitude and behaviour - and is spot-on-average ability wise. He's not an 11+/pre-test type, no tutoring here. I just want a nice friendly happy independent school where he will be pushed, but not a nose to the grindstone type of school. But most schools seem to be either hugely academically selective or special needs - he's not either, just a kind of Joe average nice boy. Any thoughts on PP vs NBH or other options?
My ds is at Northbridge Hampstead, he’s really happy there.
He’s bright (7-8 target grades) and I wouldn’t say he’s pushed particularly hard but he’s enjoying his learning and definitely progressing.
Have a look at Maida Vale too. Heard wonderful things from friends who's kids have started this year!
NBH has very mixed views. Portland place is known to not be very academic, often a backup..
Its tricky.... Im in the same position.....
Both Portland Place and NBH are back up choices. My DD schools that NBH takes anyone with a heart beat and a wallet! Last year - they took children who didnt even sit the 11+!
Have been on a virtual Tour and Maida Vale facilities are amazing - but it only opened this year....feeling nervous about this.
Also as a result of mumsnet advice toured Heathside last week - seriously impressed. Hampstead Village location. DD doing a tour first week in December. Worth a look!
I agree with:
@afewtoomanychoices - NBH mixed reviews and very many poor ones!
@Joy93 - I hear on the Hampstead mums network that Heathside is superb and now goes to Year 11.
One other to look at would be Belmont / Mill Hill perhaps ...??
Interested to hear thoughts on Mount House , Hadleywood , St Christopher’s ( Letchworth) and Aldenham
I would take actual experience of a school over hearsay reviews tbh.
There are some posters with dc at Heathside who seem very keen to promote it whilst slating NBH.
I’ve been following Maida Vale School on Twitter and like what I’ve seen (although no personal insight at all). I suppose they will be taking in anyone to fill numbers but seems like a very down to earth school, which is my first priority for my DS. I’ve also heard great things about Heathside but could be from the promoters on MN.
NBH is basically a state you're paying for. I would suggest looking at Belmont/Mill Hill. They have lots of bus routes and if your son is sporty he will love the grounds. If he isn't, in my opinion this is the 'normal' school if you want the independent experience. Tons of extra curriculars, beautiful grounds and smallish classes. It does have long days though.
We turned down Belmont/Mill Hill for NBH because the academic results are better.
Eg. In 2019, 97% getting 5 good GCSEs compared to 79% at Mill Hill. If it were true NBH accepted any child with a pulse/wallet (which is frankly obnoxious) then it does amazingly well by them.
Although I agree with foxes about the grounds and sporting facilities at Mill Hill, they’re gorgeous. Just not our priority.
Maida Vale was on my son’s list. We did the tour and interview and liked the school very much. It was his fall back and he got into his first choice. But we would have been very happy with Maida Vale for his all-round education.
Maida Vale has a very small intake and again competition is tough because of the area it covers so don’t assume it takes everyone! They state very clearly they are an small independent group of schools and first and foremost educationalists. Maria Gardner the founder is an inspirational teacher and I am a big fan.
Do some research behind who runs the schools you are interested in. Private education is a good business.
It is true Mill Hill isn't the most academic. I looked round it for one of my kids, and absolutely adored the facilities, and she sat for it. We turned it down because she got into another one which preferred, although I would have been happy with it. It depends whether you're looking purely at results. Of course every parent wants their child to do well, but NBH has no facilities, apart from using Regents Park. Def look round Maida Vale
I agree. @cockneygirl private school is an excellent business. I would advise you to do really in-depth research on your possible state options Vs indie you are looking at. It may be better to supplement with tutors etc.
@cockneygirl thanks for the insight on MVS.
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