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 Post subject: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:04 pm
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Hi! a priviledged choice i know, but i'm struggling to make it. Anyone got any useful experience of either or both for a first timer?


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 Post subject: Re: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:32 pm
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Trying to make the same decision! Going to see both again this week with as open a mind as possible. But... current thinking is that SHHS will offer more inspirational teaching, a more vibrant intellectual atmosphere, and will be more challenging for daughter. Channing offers a less pressurised, calmer and perhaps less privileged environment with smaller class groups and very high quality and supportive teaching. Both get excellent results, though SHHS probably has a narrower spread of abilities, with more high-fliers than Channing.

Easier for us to get to Channing than SHHS, and probably more local friends with Channing.

Also concerned about SHHS's rebuilding plans - will the girls be learning in portacabins for 2 years? And noticed that SHHS have increased fees hugely for next year - over 8% higher than this year.

We're hoping it will become obvious after the visits.


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 Post subject: Re: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:10 pm 
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Thank you Highwater, were both schools happy to have you visiting for a second time? I wasn't brave enough to ask that question! SHHS fees are currently less aren't they? do you think they are just bringing them into line with other girls schools? I am concerned too about the building works but i'm hoping their position in the league tables matters to them so they ensure the girls education doesn't suffer! Is your visit a 'walk round' or can your daughter sit in the lessons? Sorry to be so demanding! SHHS is slightly closer to us, so for travelling/social reasons seems a slightly bigger pull.


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 Post subject: Re: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:32 pm
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All the independents have open days for offer holders this week. Ring SHHS tomorrow morning and I'm sure they will be delighted to show you round again, giving you a chance to speak to teachers, current pupils etc. Same with Channing. Both may be limited in the time slots they can offer you but, if you are undecided, it must be worth having a look just to see what your gut reaction is now that you have an offer. I don't know whether your daughter can actually sit in on a lesson, though come to think of it, Channing did say something about them being able to see a lesson in action, depending on what time the visit was.

SHHS have always been a bit cheaper than most other London schools, but their class sizes are slightly larger I believe (24 as against 21 or 22?). Next year they seem to be bringing their fees in line with all the other schools - don't know why, whether it's anything to do with the rebuilding plans, but I will ask.

I agree, they are unlikely to want to disrupt the girls' education, and I understand they have been sending lots of letters to current parents, reassuring them about the plans, but, again, I think I will ask this week. Assuming I get to talk to someone who can actually give me any information of course.

I'll try to put up any information I get on here.


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 Post subject: Re: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:55 pm
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Location: London
Hi there, I don't know very much about SHHS but my daughter is currently in Year 8 at Channing. She is very happy there.

The school has a very friendly feel to it: girls seem very supportive of each other and I have been very impressed by how nice, articulate and polite her friends are when they have been to our house. That is hugely important to me as I believe that peers have a very strong influence on girls. I am not saying that the girls at SHHS are not just as nice, just reporting what I see. Nice parents, too. (Most girls at Channing live in Highgate, Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Hamstead Garden Suburb, Golders Green, Hendon and Finchley, with a smattering in places like Primrose Hill and Islington.)

I can't comment on how academic the school is relative to SHHS - I would say that it is (a little?) less academic than CLSG and NLCS and a bit more than FHCG and a lot more than Queen's. The girls are set in Maths from not long after the beginning of Year 7 - in my daughter's year, there are four forms and four maths sets so I would think that the teaching is fairly targeted for each year. We also like Channing's nonsense approach to languages: every does French and Latin from Year 7 and chooses one of either Spanish or German in Year 8. No faffing around with a term of taster lessons in Mandarin and Russian, which I think are a complete waste of time.

The teachers seem pleasant and approachable. We love Mrs. Elliott's weekly letter to parents, which is always interesting and informative and often very funny, and which gives parents a real sense of what is going on in the school - much more difficult to find out that sort of thing when you no longer go in every day as in primary school.

Additional note from my daughter:
"It's a good school. The girls have different and similar tastes, but everyone gets along. There will probably be a direct bus, train or tube route straight from your house. You get quite a bit of homework but they don't overload you, and they give you time to hand your work in.
The school is quite sporty just pointing that out."

Feel to PM me if you would like further, specific information on anything.


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 Post subject: Re: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:04 pm
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Thank you girls! I'm definitely going to try to revisit the schools this week. Its quite tricky as the girls grow so much during this whole process and i'm sure my daughter will be quite different by september when they start!


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 Post subject: Re: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:50 pm 
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Thanks so much for that Sue123. I have only heard positive things about Channing, and we really liked Mrs Elliott when we met her at the interview. It's so great having a choice, but so difficult. Clearly, whichever school we pick, she will get a fantastic education. The difficulty is working out in which environment she will be happier.

Toss a coin perhaps?

One question - is there setting in anything other than Maths?


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 Post subject: Re: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:58 pm 
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Location: London
That should have been "no-nonsense" of course. Ahem. :oops:

re setting: in year 7, it is only maths for which there are sets but, in year 8, there are sets for all three sciences, French, art and PE, as well as maths.


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 Post subject: Re: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:04 am 
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Hi highwater and parkway

Our younger dd is at SHHS midway through senior school - and we couldn't be more delighted. Would agree with the comment that a lot of the teaching is really superb - our elder one is at CLSG and I think it compares very favourably in most subjects, with significantly less pressure. There is strong focus on literature and writing and the music is exceptional whilst also very inclusive. It is scruffier than the other schools (which I don't mind and nor does dd) but what we really value is that it treats the girls as individuals.

The pastoral care in our experience has been extremely good - has certainly understood and encouraged our dd better than we could have hoped - and the school seems to accomodate all types - the studious and the merry socialisers, who manage to co-exist happily! We are waiting to see when the pressure heats up - assume it must to get the very creditable results though they are also a product of thought provoking teaching. (There were 22 oxbridge offers this year I think but more importantly last year every girl got her first choice of uni (that's from offers of course but even so is very positive).

Channing is a good school too and our closest - we know girls there too and some are very happy. It is, I think, a bit more protective - we felt coming from a big noisy primary that there was a danger you'd out grow it quite soon and that has been the case for one or two people we know. It's less diverse - or certainly was - than SHHS though again with Highgate now taking girls I suspect the demographic is changing a bit.

The building work at SHHS is a concern - though as it's a GDST school they have a team who are used to managing such schemes and I'm slightly reassured about disruption. Personally I'm sad to see some of the old buildings go but architect parents there are impressed by this second batch of plans and at least you'd reap the benefit of the building work! As for fees - I imagine these are rising alongside all the GDST ones - I think they are planned centrally. On the whole GDST organisation is impressive but any fee hike is of course unfortunate! What is true is that on the whole the school trips are more reasonable (though there are a lot on offer) - they fly easyjet rather than BA (CLSG) which is a help!

Have to dash but happy to pass on more info - do pm me.


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 Post subject: Re: SHHS vs Channing ???
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:55 pm
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Location: London
Hi there, Parkway and Highwater - just out of curiousity: which school did you decide on in the end? And, if I may be even more nosy, which arguments finally swayed in favour of one over the other?

Whatever you decided on, I hope that your daughters will be very happy at their new schools!


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