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Secondary education

Central London state and independent options - help me narrow it down

15 replies

HistoryBluffed · 11/02/2024 07:43

My daughter is in year 3 and we live in Pimlico. She is currently at a good state primary where she is doing well.

We had planned to send her to Grey Coat Hospital and would be confident in securing a place due to church attendance etc. I imagine a lot of her friends will go to GC, and there’s a lot to be said for having friends that live locally.

However, we can afford to send her to private school (just about) so I’m considering our options - preferably single sex. Given that she’s currently at a state school she won’t have been “prepped” for a selective independent school. How much tutoring and coaching is normal? I would like to understand how competitive the process is and the kind of level most kids are working at who secure places at these schools.

Also, some of the commute times that are apparently normal in London feel excessive. Which schools would people consider a reasonable journey from Pimlico? FHSS is a short walk but I’m not sure she would fit in with the super rich that seem to send their daughters there. There is a daily coach to the Dulwich schools that stops in Pimlico but the bus stop is 10 mins away and it leaves at 7:15 so it feels like a very long day. City of London Girls looks amazing but it’s a 45 min commute on the tube. Where else should we be considering?

I’ve ruled out the south London grammars because I feel the commute is too much and they seem excessively competitive.

Any advice would be welcome!

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laughinglemons · 11/02/2024 12:21

Have you viewed FHSS? They have a junior school too.

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HistoryBluffed · 11/02/2024 15:22

laughinglemons · 11/02/2024 12:21

Have you viewed FHSS? They have a junior school too.

No, I haven’t. We don’t want to pay for prep/junior school because we’re happy with our primary school and it’s money we would rather not spend. We know a handful of people who send their kids to the junior school as well as someone in the senior school. However, from what I can gauge it’s a very wealthy demographic, even more so than the other London independent schools.

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Soma · 11/02/2024 15:36

Queen's College
Queensgate School for Girls
More House Knightsbridge

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Firenze12 · 11/02/2024 16:02

You have a great state option. Given you say you can just about afford it, I would choose state. You will then have money for all the extra curriculars, trip and any tutoring.should you need it.

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londonmummy1966 · 11/02/2024 17:15

GCH is a great school. Given the district line is in easy reach you could look at G&L and SPGS although hard to get into. CLG isn't a difficult commute though - perhaps she could cycle? Emmanuel (mixed) would be an easy journey - fast train from Victoria to Clapham Junction.

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coloursquare · 11/02/2024 17:37

I would choose GCH over any of the ones mentioned so far, except perhaps SPGS

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HistoryBluffed · 11/02/2024 17:43

coloursquare · 11/02/2024 17:37

I would choose GCH over any of the ones mentioned so far, except perhaps SPGS

What would make you choose GCH over the independent options? My concern with GCH is that state schools are increasingly struggling with teacher recruitment and retention. The independents seem to offer so much more in addition to the academics.

To clarify, when I say we could “just about” afford school fees, I mean we would have to cut back on nice holidays but we won’t exactly be going hungry.

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sharptoothlemonshark · 11/02/2024 17:48

independent schools struggle with teacher recruitment and retention too, particularly the ones that have dropped out of the teacher's pension scheme.

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Soma · 11/02/2024 18:30

GCH have very rigid timetabling. It is nearly impossible for example, to swap between languages. That just wouldn't happen at an independent school, most offer at least three languages and a chance to choose.

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InTheRainOnATrain · 11/02/2024 18:38

FHSS is very popular for girls from Battersea/Clapham/Balham because of the bus routes. It’s a top leaver’s destination from DD’s current prep. I don’t know that I’d categorise anyone as <very wealthy demographic, even more so than the other London independent schools>. Maybe at juniors it’s more of a local crowd, that would fit that description, but I think at seniors it’s a bit more balanced (by London indy standards).

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HistoryBluffed · 11/02/2024 18:55

Soma · 11/02/2024 18:30

GCH have very rigid timetabling. It is nearly impossible for example, to swap between languages. That just wouldn't happen at an independent school, most offer at least three languages and a chance to choose.

I think that’s the case with most state secondaries. I regularly hear of kids, for example, having to choose either history or geography because the timetable can’t accommodate both.

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fudgeandcookie · 29/02/2024 09:52

InTheRainOnATrain · 11/02/2024 18:38

FHSS is very popular for girls from Battersea/Clapham/Balham because of the bus routes. It’s a top leaver’s destination from DD’s current prep. I don’t know that I’d categorise anyone as <very wealthy demographic, even more so than the other London independent schools>. Maybe at juniors it’s more of a local crowd, that would fit that description, but I think at seniors it’s a bit more balanced (by London indy standards).

I’m interested to hear more about this narrative that FHSS has a very wealthy demographic …it’s emerging as top choice for us amongst DD’s offers. Curious if anyone (especially actual parents of senior school girls at FHSS) has a view on this? Is it really different v the other indie schools in SW London in this regard? Everyone has a cohort of uber-wealthy I would think. Would appreciate input as deadline of midday Tuesday is looming..

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anxil · 29/02/2024 10:11

City of London for Girls is a great option for your DD if she is academically inclined, a lot of diversity and I know some girls travel from Victoria and Pimlico by tube.

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PreplexJ · 29/02/2024 10:24

Westminister? I think they are going to be coed.

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AmaryllisChorus · 29/02/2024 10:35

Depending where you are in Pimlico, CLGS doesn't need to be that long a journey. St James' Park to Barbican is only 30 mins on the tube. Victoria to Moorgate is the same. Neither journey requires a change.

It is a brilliant school if your daughter is academic.

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