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Secondary education

SPGS vs HBS vs LEH

16 replies

Sands1234 · 18/02/2024 08:12

Any guidance on how to choose between St Paul’s Girls (SPGS) vs Lady Eleanor Holles (LEH) vs Henrietta Barnet School (HBS). We live near Windsor (west london beyond Heathrow) 

DD got thru SPGS , LEH and waiting for HBS. 

SPGS is expensive and requires a house move ( school fee + higher house cost), , LEH can be managed from our current house (school fee only with their school bus network), HBS will need a house move (higher house costs, but no fees) if we get a seat (we are outside catchment). Financially, SPGS is a big stretch if not impossible… others are obviously better. VAT will worsen this even more for SPGS or LEH. Trying to understand what are things one may gain/loose by picking HBS/LEH vs SPGS.

Any areas in W London from where there are more girls going to SPGS? If one were to relocate towards West london for SPGS, what would be areas where there are other SPGS girls (to tag along and go, or arrange any private coach etc). Looking for places we should consider to move (but still be in west side due to job near Windsor) and balance house costs and commute for work to Windsor.

Thank you

OP posts:
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What would you choose in this situation SPGS, LEH, HBS.

22 votes. Final results.

POLL
HBS - Equally good
14%
LEH - Seems a balance
64%
SPGS any day
23%
HRTea · 18/02/2024 08:26

How on earth would you commute from an area close to Henrietta Barnett to Windsor?

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CJFJ1 · 18/02/2024 08:48

HRTea · 18/02/2024 08:26

How on earth would you commute from an area close to Henrietta Barnett to Windsor?

Apparently, the girl who has been in the news recently for taking 28 A-levels does it - parents drive her from Slough to Henrietta Barnett each day.

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stringseleven · 18/02/2024 08:53

I think if your child gets in to HBS, it might be worth moving as you will save a fortune, otherwise, I wouldn't advise the extra expenditure on SPGS.

With all those schools, a bright child will thrive. Living closer to the school allows the child to spend more time there taking advantage of co-curricular offerings or just spending time with friends.

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Sands1234 · 18/02/2024 08:54

We may need to a mid-way point between HBS and Windsor, exercise some private coaches for DD and WFH for job.

OP posts:
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stringseleven · 18/02/2024 08:57

Lots of families start off thinking a private coach is the way to go, but it becomes very restrictive. Your child has to leave school at the same time as others on the coach. 11-year olds adapt so quickly to public transport and enjoy the independence. Don't rule out the value of a good public transport link to the school.

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redberry12 · 18/02/2024 09:05

Windsor area is fine for LEH, the coach can be quicker than coming from Wimbledon because it doesn't get caught up in the Hampton Court Bridge congestion.
OP, I would go with LEH or HBS if you get a place as 20% vat on St Paul's fees plus a house move is very expensive to gain pretty much the same qualifications at gcse from all the schools. (The LEH gcse results were excellent this year). You can't take A levels into account because of the movement by girls for 6th form.

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PreplexJ · 18/02/2024 12:15

I can give you some idea based on what I know where/how does the girls commute to these schools.

HBS - not many girls actually live in the expensive catchment area that very close to the school. The popular clusters for the girls in West are live in Harrow, Hounslow/Felthem and Watford. For years parents have organised private coaches to the school from these area, email the school to get some more information for this if your DD got the offer in March.

SPGS - for years nearly 40% girls are from 4-5 West London Prep schools, you can assume most of these group live in proper central/West London affluent area. The school also provides with 2 coach route, one from Goldersgreen and the other from Wimbledon, the route pass the mostly expensive area in London. Travelling by coach in central London or across the river could be rough during rush hours. I also know some girls travel from Harrow area by public transport which could be an easy journey. Some travel from quite a distance such as Sutton/Kingston by Train then Overground from Clapham. A handful travel from Houslow area by Piccadilly line. One or two even travel from Berkshire by train follows by underground to the school. There used to be some parents organised their own private coach from Watford area and backup by southern train but not sure if that still in active.

LEH - not very familiar but I agree PP comment on the coach journey from Wimbledon area to the school could take long time due to the traffic of bridge crossing during commute hours.

OP, different people prioritise commute journey and time differently vs other critiera (school rank, cost, environment fit etc). Also, some might prefer private coach, other might like public transport. Think about what is the backup journey route would be when the primary one is not available such as Train strike (happen every few weeks in that part of London) or for after /before school hour club and activities.

Hence it is important for you and your DD find out what is the right balance and acceptable commute for you. Especially when you have to move, and affect your work journey time, and may have siblings school concerns.

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ThePlacesYouGo · 18/02/2024 14:19

@Sands1234 I would be wary of listening to advice from people who don't have children at the schools you mention (especially when they claim to have in depth knowledge of where the vast majority of girls live). I would ask posters doing this if they have daughters at the school and, if not, perhaps take their proclamations with a pinch of salt.

All three schools you cite have vast catchment areas. None of these are "local" schools and all three attract girls from all over London.

In the first instance, I'd would go to the offer holder days for both SPGS and LEH and pick your favourite indie school. And then wait to hear re HBS on March 1st.

Having just been through the 11+ process too, we found it was impossible to hypothesise meaningfully as to what we might do until we had all the offers on the table. And then, actually, it was all pretty simple. Good luck!

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PreplexJ · 18/02/2024 14:26

Why one would assume the people who claim they have children in these schools would have better knowledge? There are full of posters with its own agenda or purpose in MN. Some of whom, certain try to advocate certainly theme or agenda repeatly for certain school.

The OP, obviously, can and should verify any information by checking with any other source she have in real life. Or can just infer based on certain common sense on the data already available.

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ncsurrey22 · 18/02/2024 16:42

property prices in the area around HBS are lower than around LEH/SPGS, so it seems like a no brainer that HBS would be the most manageable option, unless you can handle the LEH commute from Windsor in which case you could avoid a house move altogheter. The LEH bus from Windsor leaves at 7.25am which sounds manageable. Ask yourself if avoiding a house move is worth £25k+ per year (probably even more once you add the coach fees). If you are going to move anyway, I don't see any reason not to pick HBS (unless you are wealthy enough that £25-30k per year is a negligible amount for you).

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Sands1234 · 18/02/2024 20:51

PreplexJ · 18/02/2024 12:15

I can give you some idea based on what I know where/how does the girls commute to these schools.

HBS - not many girls actually live in the expensive catchment area that very close to the school. The popular clusters for the girls in West are live in Harrow, Hounslow/Felthem and Watford. For years parents have organised private coaches to the school from these area, email the school to get some more information for this if your DD got the offer in March.

SPGS - for years nearly 40% girls are from 4-5 West London Prep schools, you can assume most of these group live in proper central/West London affluent area. The school also provides with 2 coach route, one from Goldersgreen and the other from Wimbledon, the route pass the mostly expensive area in London. Travelling by coach in central London or across the river could be rough during rush hours. I also know some girls travel from Harrow area by public transport which could be an easy journey. Some travel from quite a distance such as Sutton/Kingston by Train then Overground from Clapham. A handful travel from Houslow area by Piccadilly line. One or two even travel from Berkshire by train follows by underground to the school. There used to be some parents organised their own private coach from Watford area and backup by southern train but not sure if that still in active.

LEH - not very familiar but I agree PP comment on the coach journey from Wimbledon area to the school could take long time due to the traffic of bridge crossing during commute hours.

OP, different people prioritise commute journey and time differently vs other critiera (school rank, cost, environment fit etc). Also, some might prefer private coach, other might like public transport. Think about what is the backup journey route would be when the primary one is not available such as Train strike (happen every few weeks in that part of London) or for after /before school hour club and activities.

Hence it is important for you and your DD find out what is the right balance and acceptable commute for you. Especially when you have to move, and affect your work journey time, and may have siblings school concerns.

@PreplexJ Thank you very much for the detailed response.

OP posts:
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monkeyoven · 28/02/2024 19:22

Depends on what’s important to you. A bright girl will do well at any of these schools. You need to think about quality of life rather than prestige. I wouldn’t move for the sake of a school. I would think about where your daughter would thrive. A happy child will do better than a stressed one. And a successful person needs balance. Take this into account on journeys/moves.
Going to a state school would help with uni applications all else being equal.

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PreplexJ · 28/02/2024 19:48

"Going to a state school would help with uni applications all else being equal."

While this generalized statement maybe true. For university applications, HBS being a high performing grammar school, its applicants won’t get favorable treatment compared to high performing private applicants as far as I understand. All else being equal.

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Sands1234 · 28/02/2024 23:24

PreplexJ · 28/02/2024 19:48

"Going to a state school would help with uni applications all else being equal."

While this generalized statement maybe true. For university applications, HBS being a high performing grammar school, its applicants won’t get favorable treatment compared to high performing private applicants as far as I understand. All else being equal.

@PreplexJ - Does this mean one would not have any disadvantage going to SPGS (vs HBS) in Uni admission?

OP posts:
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monkeyoven · 28/02/2024 23:52

It means, if you get straight A as a state school it’s easier to get into a good university than with straight A from a private school. But of course grammar schools provide a unique learning environment that is different to a comprehensive. You can just look at the schools leaver data to see what the prospects are.
I guess there are so many variables here you need to work out what’s right for your child. Gut feel and distance are both important.

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PreplexJ · 29/02/2024 08:46

Sands1234 · 28/02/2024 23:24

@PreplexJ - Does this mean one would not have any disadvantage going to SPGS (vs HBS) in Uni admission?

To put it this way, there is a lot of data that suggests top universities are broadening their intake of students from state schools, and because of this, students from private schools are having less representation. However, there is no data to suggest, at a general level, that universities are taking in more grammar students proportionally as a result. Many parents choose grammar schools using this as one of the pros, but there is no evidence to back this so far.

Admission reform aims to widen participation by giving a fair chance to applicants from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups. Applicants from highly selective grammar schools in London do not have a good representation on any of these groups.

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