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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:28 pm
Posts: 35
We are trying to decide between the High School and Habs Girls offers. Our DD2 is a Latin, Classics and History buff so I would be interested in hearing from parents of the 2 schools and their views on how strong each school is in those particular subjects?
Also does Habs get a higher % into Oxbridge than the High School does anyone know?
My perception is that in the last few years the High School has really come up the league tables and is now academically on par with Habs - but league tables is not the be all and end all.
We live much closer to the High School than to Habs (it will be an extra 20 minutes each way for Habs) and she would be able to have more of a social life.
However Habs' reputation seems to be better than the High School?
Habs also seems more selective than the High School given the relative numbers of applicants to places - but then why does it not have much better results than the High School? Or has it just had a couple of poor performing year groups or has the High School had some particularly "good" years?
Any opinions?
Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:23 pm 
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I'd be cautious about choosing a school on her current interests. As she learns more her interests will probably change - A levels are all changing so historic results are not very helpful in judging between schools.

I'd go with the easier journey - it gets complicated enough as they get older without a longer journey.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:24 am
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A (very happy) Habs parent here, both DDs taking Latin to GCSE & one intending to take to A Level.

Firstly, enormous congrats to your DD on gaining offers from 2 fabulous schools - you really can't go wrong. The quality of Latin teaching at Habs is outstanding - simple as. From Year 10 they have the option to take Ancient Greek too. Regarding your broader question on academics, I see the 2 schools on a par & I wouldn't get caught up in league tables. Oxbridge entrance wise Habs has the edge - hot off the press today, 29 offers for 2016 (last year was 16 and previous years low-20's) - SAHS I believe typically gets around 10. However, as someone who went to Oxford from a school that gave a day's holiday to the whole school, on the rare occasion someone actually got offered (!), I believe on this front, a lot is down to the individual - they can achieve their potential from either place. Not sure of your DDs other interests - Habs is big on participation in music, sport, drama etc. (which is why I love it) & you don't need to be remotely elite/ expert level to be involved, just committed.

Completely agree with Guest55 re. proximity. Again, as the kid that did a ridiculous commute to school every day, I know how painful it gets when balancing increased workload. Don't let your DD be that girl! Whichever you go for, you are in a great position (but please choose quickly to make someone else happy too!).

Congratulations again!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:44 am
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STAHS uses the Cambridge Latin Course to teach Latin. I'm not sure about Habs - does anyone know? This course is half history/half language. It's been taught in many schools for many years. It's appeal is that it 'reaches the masses' in that it maintains the interest of all children, regardless of ability, as it covers lots of historical topics as well as the language itself. It is rather different from some Latin courses of 20 years ago. The CLC can get rather slow and dull for bright children. I would ask the schools to confirm which course they teach.

Either way, if your DD is already keen on Latin, that will continue if the teachers are good and inspire her. Have you met them and asked how they keep their pupils interested in the subject?

There are so many others important matters to consider when trying to decide between schools, especially as far as girls are concerned - what is the extent of mental health issues? (HUGE issue in girls' schools at the moment), what is the mobile phone/access to social media during the school day/social media policy? (this can have a HUGE impact on learning and a girl's development). These are things which you tend not to know about before choosing a school and yet are crucially important. Some indie schools require girls to hand in their phones at reception on arrival, whereas others, including STAHS allow them to be used in lessons (which of course results in abuse of the system). Also, think about whether you prefer a city centre school or not - that makes a difference too!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
I know both schools well and know many girls at each and I would mostly say Habs. St Albans is very dominated by the preps and their music only runs for two terms. Everything stops at Easter. Their sport is very good and they protect the preps. It has a very strong local presence. DG


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:18 pm
Posts: 273
schoolnavigator wrote:
STAHS uses the Cambridge Latin Course to teach Latin. I'm not sure about Habs - does anyone know? This course is half history/half language. It's been taught in many schools for many years. It's appeal is that it 'reaches the masses' in that it maintains the interest of all children, regardless of ability, as it covers lots of historical topics as well as the language itself. It is rather different from some Latin courses of 20 years ago. The CLC can get rather slow and dull for bright children. I would ask the schools to confirm which course they teach.

Either way, if your DD is already keen on Latin, that will continue if the teachers are good and inspire her. Have you met them and asked how they keep their pupils interested in the subject?

There are so many others important matters to consider when trying to decide between schools, especially as far as girls are concerned - what is the extent of mental health issues? (HUGE issue in girls' schools at the moment), what is the mobile phone/access to social media during the school day/social media policy? (this can have a HUGE impact on learning and a girl's development). These are things which you tend not to know about before choosing a school and yet are crucially important. Some indie schools require girls to hand in their phones at reception on arrival, whereas others, including STAHS allow them to be used in lessons (which of course results in abuse of the system). Also, think about whether you prefer a city centre school or not - that makes a difference too!



Habs uses the Cambridge Latin course too. My DD is really enjoying the Latin at Habs and the teacher is very good.
Re mobile phones. The girls have to turn off their phones and keep them in their lockers throughout the school day including breaks and lunch. If they need to make calls they have to go to the school office. The school is very hot on misuse of the Internet and social media and we get regular communications from them when they have spoken to the girls about the issues. They give very good guidance to new parents about their expectations of Internet/social media use by the girls.


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