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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:11 pm 
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I have a son in year 4 and am begining to look at schools for him. I want a school that is well balanced in academics and also in nuturing the boys to help them discover their true abilities. I like Habs boys but i think it is way too academic and the pressure might be too much ( not sure, just speculating).

can anyone please advise me on which independent schools to look at , that are well rounded. Merchant taylors is top on my list, any info on them vs HABS VS ST Albans boys or John Lyons.

Confused mom :?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:51 pm 
Aldenham is very good from what I hear. No doubt Zorro will be along to have her tuppence worth! 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:42 am 
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Aldenham is nowhere near in the same league as Habs Boys, Merchant Taylors or St Albans Boys.

eg latest GCSE A and A* results :-

29% - Aldenham (yes 29 % according to their website)
92% - Habs Boys
89% - MTS
88% - St Albans Boys

Aldenham is a good indie school for boys (not many girls there as it's was originally a boy's school), particularly if they like sport - the grounds are great, but it is not very academic. (But just like all schools, the school needs to fit the child's ability and personality - and it definitely will suit many children who are happy and thriving there).

However, if you are considering academic schools like Habs Boys, MTS or St Albans, then Aldenham could perhaps be considered as a back up, if your DS is on the academic side.

Also Aldenham is expensive. Fees range from some £4,000 - to £6,000. This is because they are also a boarding school - and day pupils fees in boarding schools are usually very high (almost as if they are subsidising the boarders in most cases)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:30 am 
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Location: Barnet, Herts
Can't think why you have said that Aldenham is very expensive.
Aldenham- £12,874 per annum
St Alban's -£12,690 per annum
Merchant Taylor's - £14,680 per annum
Habs - £13,497 per annum
Admittedly Aldenham's fees do go up to £15,000 in Y9 but for the first 2 years they are no more expensive than the others as you can see.


Re: exam results 29% achieved A and A* and 87% A*-C.
The headmaster who came from Highgate School is slowly but surely improving the academic results but is determined not to do this at the expense of pastoral care or the rounded education which Aldenham is well known for.
If your child is academically gifted then they can fly but this is not the be all and end all ethos of the school, those that are of average ability are encouraged and do well also.
You say you have discounted Habs due to academic pressure, St Alban's is even more pressured I am told by friends who have sons there.Letters are sent home if grades slip from an A to a B.
With regards to girls, in my son's year there are 60 children, 20 of whom are girls.
Every child is different and it depends how self-motivated they are and how much they have been tutored as to how well they will do at these very academic schools. Remember they need to have some fun as well!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:40 am 
Guestwho the OP asked for schools other than those mentioned and wanted them to be more rounded. Well frankly I don't think some of the schools mentioned, from the boys I have met, are very rounded. Where a school is less selective then the pastoral care tends to be exceptional as they try to bring out their individual talents and not turn them into exam robots. IMO the parents and the school is far more rounded than any mentioned.

Within the London school system I would say Aldenham and one or two other schools are an oasis in the midst of these pressurised exam factories.

As for St Albans, I have heard some pretty awful pastoral stories. I think they see themself incompetiton with HABS and beating them at all cost is all that matters. HABS on the other hand is in competition with no one but it very much does what it likes and a number of my friends with boys there feel dissatisfied and are treated merely as the "fee payer".


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:12 am 
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Location: Barnet, Herts
Tipsy- I couldn't have put it better myself!! :D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:58 am 
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keke, there was a recent discussion about MTS on the forum – sorry, not sure how to link to another thread – to which I contributed having gone there many years ago and so, more pertinently, did several parents whose children are currently there.

I loved the school though it certainly wasn’t an exam factory when I was there – or if it was, it passed me and my friends by :lol:

That said, I had several friends at Aldenham too, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy their time there and we always loved playing sport at Aldenham as the school had such a good ‘feel’ to it, if you know what I mean. The atmosphere was great and the staff and pupils seemed really relaxed and friendly. From what I’ve heard, that is still the case these days.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:01 am 
Didn't notice the MT mention. I think this is the better choice out of St Albans and HABS.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:28 am 
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Zorro - The current fees on Aldenham's website from Year 9 says £17,085. Is this wrong ?

I certainly agree with TIPSY - that MTS would seem a better choice than St Albans and HABS (and Aldenham).


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:41 am 
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zorro’s son is at the school so I suspect she knows how much she is paying :wink:

MTS might be a better academic choice, that isn’t necessarily what the OP is looking for.


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