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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:55 am
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Hi

Can current parents at STAHS give us some more details on the school. Things that you like most about the school and also dont. Is it easy to make friends if you dont come from the Prep school, would the teacher treat all the same. What about its pastoral care?

Thank you in advance


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:28 pm
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I have a DD currently taking GCSE at Stahs having joined in Y7 from a local state school. About half the year came up from the prep, but by Y8 it all equalled out and many of those old friendships were replaced with the new.. The school do a lot in Y7 to integrate everyone including a residential trip away.
In terms of pastoral care the House system provides a lot of support with a Housemistress and an assistant as well as the chaplain there to lend an ear. We have found the teachers to be down to earth and warm. Our daughter hasn't really had a lot of problems with friendships but I heard that there has been a year where they re-mixed the year group into different houses to split up several personalities who were in conflict and that was the only way the situation could be resolved.. But I think the school has only had to go to such lengths only once ever.
For what my DD calles her "16s" (creative subjects such as music, DT, art etc) she is split into a different a class of 16 drawn from 2 different Houses, so she has made lots of friends in that House too!
We like Stahs so much we are turning down an offer from Habs where she has been at the prep. Sorry that was a very long answer.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:51 pm 
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Forgot to say that I never really think my DD was treated any differently to the Wheathampsted girls.. You can certainly tell who is who though as the Wheathampstead girls have lapels heavily laden with achievement pins! It is worth remembering that you can wear any pins you like if you feel left out during Y7.. Well you certainly could back then anyway!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:43 pm 
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Thank you for the reply.
How much does the girl get involve with the boy school. Are the girls normally local to st albans or a lot use the coach.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:28 pm
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Very little involvement with the boys school apart from some shared coach routes. They are on opposite ends of the high street and don't do any activities together.
Due to its city centre location you get a lot more girls from the local area than at Habs (around 50% I would say). Also you get girls from further east (so Potters Bar, Enfield) and North (Luton etc) whereas Habs has a much larger contingent from North London (although Stahs also has a Mill Hill coach route there are just not as many).
Hope that helps!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:18 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:44 am
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Hi Bibi_a
Things to like - good mixing of classes so when there is conflict there is space to escape. There are some great teachers who do a brilliant job of inspiring the girls, and the chaplain is a lovely lady and a great listener when the girls want to talk.
Things not to like - there are a few teachers who really rile the parents, unfortunately. PE/Games lessons take place each week but sadly participation in teams is reserved for the very best. Sports day/inter house when it arises (v rarely) are organised by the girls themselves, so they select their fellow team members/friends. The enthusiastic/moderately able girl misses out. The best music opportunities are reserved for the scholars. Hot topic at the moment due to pressure of social media- the mobile phone policy is very lax- phones in lessons mean you can be sitting next to a girl playing candy crush or doing online shopping.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:01 pm 
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I visited the school last Thursday and had a tour by a sixth form student so could grill her! I also know several parents with children in the school, so have some feedback.
Academics obviously good - I get the impression that the head is trying to improve these further. Girls seemed happy and teachers supportive so not an overly hot house feel. However, Oxbridge offers up to 12.5% this year- 19 applied, 10 places out of 80. I asked the 6th former what percentage of girls had extra tuition around GCSEs and A-levels and she said around 20 per cent, although she said some of this was internal- an hour one-to-one at school with internal teacher. She said there was no extra charge for this. Clearly this would be a fantastic way of improving chances at university entry level and i think unlikely to be available in state sector. She also said they had help with their personal statements and interview practice etc.

Very good science facilities- they have just invested in building 3 new labs and I wonder if this will improve the triple science entries as there is more space for individual classes. I agree that half the class doing double science at an academic school is odd. Despite this, 20-30 per cent do biology, maths, physics and chemistry at A-level and the results are excellent- better than at academic state sixth forms such as DAO, particularly in biology where nearly 80 per cent got A* last year, compared to less than 10% at DAO.

Lots of extra-curricular activiites. Head says there is a new director of PE coming in from outside school and aim is to make sport more inclusive and set up healthy habits amongst all children for life. Re music- I think Head of music just retired, so there will be changes there too. Sports fields are a 10 minute walk away which is a bit of a pain I imagine, but apparently if girls have lunch time clubs there, they get lunch sent over for them to eat there.

Overall, it's not perfect but I thought had a really nice feel to it and does seem to be on the incline.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:52 pm
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I went to an open day int he autumn. I wasn't very impressed with the few girls we met but it's possible we just had a poor tour guide and asked questions of the wrong girls. We asked a sixth former what her Latin school motto meant -- it was written on the wall of one of the school buildings (the sports block I think) -- she hadn't a clue. I asked if she'd only arrived in sixth form, but no, she'd arrived via the prep school at Wheathampstead House. We laughed a bit at home about the headmistress praising the girls' intellectual curiosity.

Very few girls take Latin or classical civilisation to GCSE. Far fewer than at Queenswood.

Sir John Lawes (state comp in Harpenden) had a good haul of Oxbridge offers this year:

http://www.sjl.herts.sch.uk/about-the-s ... e-year.php


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