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Secondary education

NLCS VS HIGHGATE SCHOOL

8 replies

dshastry80 · 11/02/2024 21:10

Hi parents,

Very thrilled that DD has been offered a place in both NLCS and Highgate school for secondary school. She worked really hard and I couldn't be more proud of her. She loves reading, is quietly confident around other children, loves art-painting and creative writing, singing and is very interested in sciences. We are unable to decide between the two schools and would love to hear from parents whose children are in either of the schools and might have similar interests/personalities. DD will be moving from a state primary school.

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PreplexJ · 11/02/2024 21:14

Coed or girls, commute time, commute method (coach or public transport), IB options vs A Level will be the consideration points.

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afewtoomanychoices · 11/02/2024 22:21

Also to consider size, Highgate is very large and lots of walking to dining hall on other site near junior etc. NLCS also has a lot of girls but it might feel slightly more compact. I’ve had 1 girl in NLCS and 1 daughter who was at Highgate for only a year. She left for particular reasons specific for her (she came from a tiny girls prep, was overwhelmed etc and wanted girls only) and I still think Highgate a fantastic school. She didn’t get into NLCS however I would have taken it if she did … definitely add in time travel etc and whether your daughter wants girls only or co Ed
Both fantastic options so well done to her!

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Tiredmumofthreekids · 11/02/2024 23:14

I'd say commute factor is the most important one otherwise both are great schools (from the academic perspective/quality of teaching/pastoral care, etc.. Both schools take children with different personalities on board. STEM department in Highgate is great and girls's uptake of STEM is high. Similar to NLCS.

Co-ed or single-sex is a very personal decision but i'd pick Highgate just for co-ed factor providing commute is the same (otherwise id chose whichever is closer ). Highgate is super selective and it is (often) a first choice for boys given its co-ed so the school get to choose the best. so boys (generally) are pleasant and focused on academics, so not the trouble-makers/bully type. Also I know some girls who transition form girls-only schools to Highgate at various points of entry, and they seem to be happy.Both are large schools so pros and cons but i only see it as a bonus for older kids (senior school) as your DC will have a very large pool of friends to choose from.

Social mix is good at both with a large intake from state/generous bursary scheme in place.

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highgatemom · 28/02/2024 23:04

Avoid NLCS - we had 2 daughters there and turned down Highgate for it but regret it in hindsight. Very poor social mix at NLCS, no state/bursary scheme, entrenched social cliques along ethnic groups and a terrible school-imposed class system when it comes to extra-curricular stuff - kids who are not top of their game get treated like second class citizens, there are no B teams or C teams for sports and if you are not good enough for the A team you just languish. Ditto for music. Our DD was offered a music scholarship at Highgate but at NLCS she was not considered good enough next to Wigmore Hall calibre musicians. The top drama roles always went to the same girl who happened to be acting in West End plays! The unfortunate result of this class system is children stop applying themselves and hold back because they think they are not good enough. The ethos at NLCS is all about success and achievement, not enjoyment or doing things for fun. It is a dog-eat-dog world, if your daughter does not have sharp elbows she will suffer. The school sucks the joy out of everything because teachers are under so much pressure to get the grades for league tables. Psychological problems, eating disorders, self-harm rampant but school turned a blind eye when our kids were there. When our DD and her friends wanted to set up a Mental Health society they were told no. When one of the girls very sadly took her life in her first year at uni there was no memorial, no remembrance service for her in her former school. Mental health problems were hushed up. When a Samaritan friend visited the school for a talk she said she could feel the pressure in the air and had to de-congest in her car afterwards. Also there is no exposure to boys which is a shame. We were told at Open Days how NLCS did so much with Harrow boys, for example, but there was none of that in reality. Schools like NLCS get good results because they pick the creme de la creme of intake but one must question their real added value when compared with non-selective schools (like Camden School for Girls, for example) that do get the good results.

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PreplexJ · 29/02/2024 08:54

"When our DD and her friends wanted to set up a Mental Health society they were told no."

What was the reason NLCS gave? It seems bizarre the school not to support setting up this kind of initiative from students.

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EmeraldSakara · 29/02/2024 09:13

highgatemom · 28/02/2024 23:04

Avoid NLCS - we had 2 daughters there and turned down Highgate for it but regret it in hindsight. Very poor social mix at NLCS, no state/bursary scheme, entrenched social cliques along ethnic groups and a terrible school-imposed class system when it comes to extra-curricular stuff - kids who are not top of their game get treated like second class citizens, there are no B teams or C teams for sports and if you are not good enough for the A team you just languish. Ditto for music. Our DD was offered a music scholarship at Highgate but at NLCS she was not considered good enough next to Wigmore Hall calibre musicians. The top drama roles always went to the same girl who happened to be acting in West End plays! The unfortunate result of this class system is children stop applying themselves and hold back because they think they are not good enough. The ethos at NLCS is all about success and achievement, not enjoyment or doing things for fun. It is a dog-eat-dog world, if your daughter does not have sharp elbows she will suffer. The school sucks the joy out of everything because teachers are under so much pressure to get the grades for league tables. Psychological problems, eating disorders, self-harm rampant but school turned a blind eye when our kids were there. When our DD and her friends wanted to set up a Mental Health society they were told no. When one of the girls very sadly took her life in her first year at uni there was no memorial, no remembrance service for her in her former school. Mental health problems were hushed up. When a Samaritan friend visited the school for a talk she said she could feel the pressure in the air and had to de-congest in her car afterwards. Also there is no exposure to boys which is a shame. We were told at Open Days how NLCS did so much with Harrow boys, for example, but there was none of that in reality. Schools like NLCS get good results because they pick the creme de la creme of intake but one must question their real added value when compared with non-selective schools (like Camden School for Girls, for example) that do get the good results.

@highgatemom when were your kids there? I have to say, I think a lot of the info in your post is outdated.
Our DD will be starting at NLCS in September (year 7). 10% of students at NLCS attend on bursaries. There are B and C teams for sports, and what you said about the social mix is simply untrue- a wide range of ethnicities and income brackets (evidenced by the bursaries alone)- far more than some of the other N London girls schools. So maybe it's a while since your daughters were there- genuine question?
NLCS is an academic school and I can see its ethos won't suit everyone. I'd love to hear from other current NLCS parents re their views.

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NCforNLCS · 29/02/2024 09:23

We have children at Highgate and looked at NLCS. For us the main factors were-

  • DD keen to go to a coed school.
  • Travel time (20 mins walk v a long coach trip to NLCS). It's easy to underestimate how much time travel takes especially if they are doing sport at the weekend or after school activities which don't work with the coaches. (Of course you may live near NLCS)


Both schools are strong academically and have great facilities. I really loved NLCS and was disappointed when DD preferred Highgate but actually it's worked out fine. I'm also conscious that NLCS have been through some difficult changes recently so glad to have avoided that.
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dshastry80 · 29/02/2024 12:10

Thanks for all your inputs. DD attended the open days for both schools and chose NLCS, she starts in September this year as well. Not worried about some of the comments here. Would be good to hear from other NLCS parents

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