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 Post subject: HBS v NLCS
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Any views?

DD did not warm to NLCS at all; she loved HBS and was jumping with joy when she received their offer letter. The girls at HBS were very warm and, as also suggested by Mark Thyme, they really were normal and more likely to come from normal backgrounds. We also noticed a collaborative feel to girls' relationships - a sisterhood. At HBS, they make friends; at NLCS, they make contacts.

A number of HBS girls had turned down NLCS, including NLCS scholarships.

We felt that this 'exam factory' tag is an urban myth: many of the brightest girls around, in a super-selective .... they are bound to be academic, love learning and be motivated, just like NLCS.

Roundedness? HBS girls are challenged in many different ways, do lots of extracurricular activities and MUSIC is the school's specialism. HBS will have an additional dimension with the new Music/Drama and Art/D&T blocks from 2011.

What they are still developing, I sense, is that edge of confidence and Oxbridge coaching. This may come down to money and staff resource, I fear. State school staff are incredibly busy and budgets are always tight. But the HBS drive to bring in Oxbridge trainee and newly qualified teachers will help. The changing of the guard in the staff room will also bring a freshness and youthful professional vitality... What HBS does as a smallish state school on a small site is quite astonishing.

In any case, DD wanted only HBS.

What are other people's feelings?

PFH


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:54 pm 
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I liked HBS and really liked the girls I saw there, as did my wife and daughter. Much more than NLCS. In a straight choice between the schools, we'd have had no difficulty making up our minds. As it was, though, we found it impossible to turn down St Paul's.

There were a couple of things that held us back. The major one was a feeling that HBS just couldn't offer all that St Paul's could. And that, unfortunately, includes cachet.

The minor one was the heavy overrepresentation of Asian, mostly Indian, girls. We've been told that cliquishness based on race is a significant issue. Though the school is said to have been trying to broaden its intake, the plain fact is that these girls work very hard to get their places and deserve them and shouldn't be penalized by a policy designed to change the mix of intake on racial or cultural grounds. But it also makes life harder for the 20% or so of girls who aren't Asian. Or so I understand the situation to be.

By the way, around 10 girls from my daughter's school were offered places at NLCS, the majority with scholarships. Only two or three are taking up the places. About half are going to St. Paul's while a couple of others are going to HBS. NLCS somehow just misses, though I can't quite figure out exactly how.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:18 am 
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Hi
We have also chosen HBS over SPGS and NLC. Personally, I feel SPGS to be the best of the three and it was always assumed that DD would follow her brothers and father by going to St Pauls. Quite early on we realised that she was going through the process to please and also she (for reasons best known to herself), liked HBS - I think the proximity gives her comfort.
Being a sensitive child we thought perhaps Channing or SHHS may be "midway". We are very familiar with HBS and many of its pupils and they are very charming,hard working,bright girls. DD was adamant to the point of tantrums that this was the school for her.
We also know many Paulinas who are also fabulous young ladies, but I do think that it is a school where shrinking violets may flounder - I could be wrong. Of the boys many friends, I only know of one sister who has gone to SPGS (usually G & L or Cheltenham with one at Channing and two at SHHS)
We visited HBS last week and for me it suddenly clicked that I could see DD there - the first time I thought this! I feel very relieved that the decision has been made, as DD worries me more than the boys. I hope she will be happy and I think she will. There are many good schools, but not all are good for every child.
I am sure your girls will be happy whether at HBS or SPGS, they are both great schools. Oddly for us, we also felt NLCS to have something missing - can't quite put my finger on it. As for SPGS being £15k better, that's more of a quandary ( qualitative and personal I think). Good luck to your girls.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:18 am 
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Hi
We have also chosen HBS over SPGS and NLC. Personally, I feel SPGS to be the best of the three and it was always assumed that DD would follow her brothers and father by going to St Pauls. Quite early on we realised that she was going through the process to please and also she (for reasons best known to herself), liked HBS - I think the proximity gives her comfort.
Being a sensitive child we thought perhaps Channing or SHHS may be "midway". We are very familiar with HBS and many of its pupils and they are very charming,hard working,bright girls. DD was adamant to the point of tantrums that this was the school for her.
We also know many Paulinas who are also fabulous young ladies, but I do think that it is a school where shrinking violets may flounder - I could be wrong. Of the boys many friends, I only know of one sister who has gone to SPGS (usually G & L or Cheltenham with one at Channing and two at SHHS)
We visited HBS last week and for me it suddenly clicked that I could see DD there - the first time I thought this! I feel very relieved that the decision has been made, as DD worries me more than the boys. I hope she will be happy and I think she will. There are many good schools, but not all are good for every child.
I am sure your girls will be happy whether at HBS or SPGS, they are both great schools. Oddly for us, we also felt NLCS to have something missing - can't quite put my finger on it. As for SPGS being £15k better, that's more of a quandary ( qualitative and personal I think). Good luck to your girls.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:17 am 
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We've just been through precisely this choice and have opted for HBS (and we stand to lose the £2k2 deposit). Where does the 80% figure come from? I bet it's very very wrong.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:37 am 
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BarnetDad, I thought you'd once mentioned 80%. Or maybe it was 70%. Whatever it is, it's a very, very high proportion. Walking around the school I did a quick anecdotal survey of the classrooms I saw. In all cases, there were fewer than 10 (out of 20 to 30) girls who were not Asian and usually less than six or seven. The only reason I did so, by the way, was because I was so surprised at the mix, or lack thereof.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:09 am 
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Hi Barnetdad
Would tend to agree with Mark on this one as both a resident and prospective parent. During our visit I didn't actually do a head count, but the number of Asians is quite astonishing (and disquieting to an extent) and I think somewhere in the region that Mark mentions. Diversity in itself is educational and the lack of it (which also to a lesser extent refers to SPGS) in a city like London is a shortcoming. However, as a meritocracy, it should be based on just that, with no regard to race,religion or creed. If the top 93 ranked girls proved to be all Asian, then so be it as they have earned and deserve their place. I should add, that many people disregard the school simply for this reason. Again, a matter of choice for those who applied and those fortunate enough to have been made offers. It does bother me a tad which makes me cross with myself!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:06 pm 
My son went to a school in London where there were less than 2 white boys in the class and some were not white UK. All the kids were lovely and he had very nice friends and I am still very good friends with the mothers - 2 Asian ladies being my very closest friends. However I think a balance is right and normal. I even know some Asian friends who felt some schools were too Asian and they felt it did not reflect society. In the same way some schools are too white, especially prep schools outside of London but thankfully overseas students offer a mix although in some schools it does feel like a token gesture.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:13 pm 
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The daughter of some Asian friends had a place at HBS for this coming year but also elected to go to SPGS for fear she'd be sucked into an Indian-only culture. They also thought SPGS would be less exam obsessed.

On the other hand, SPGS's lack of diversity is also unsetling. As far as I could see, there was maybe just one Afro-Caribbean girl at the school, though a fair number of south Asians.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:19 pm 
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Places becoming free at HBS then! HBS is in a good area. NLCS has a coach system and lovely grounds. Looked at SP website and the prospectus didn't impress me. Does it have grounds/facilities?! These are after all some of the inducements to accept a fee-paying place in lieu of a selective state school. There is a sense of herd security in choosing or not choosing the same school as others so people should consider that and make their own judgements. All these schools have great results, so well done to all.


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