Hi there, I have a daughter at Channing and have posted about this on a few occasions.
In case you haven't seen this, here is a copy of one post commenting on the comparison with SHHS written a couple of years ago (to save you searching - don't know how to do a link, sorry). I still stand by what I wrote then.
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 (ed: now five) maths sets so I would think that the teaching is fairly targeted for each year. We also like Channing's no-nonsense approach to languages: everyone 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."
And here is what I write another time:
Our daughter is very happy at Channing and we as parents are very happy with the school. It seems like a relatively academic school without quite the sort of pressure you hear about at some other schools. The teachers can be quite strict on things like handing homework in on time etc but here is no sense that they are not interested unless you get A*s in about a dozen subjects - though if you look at the exam tables they do get very good grades. The girls do need to work hard - but the school recognizes that they are all different.
I am very pleased with my daughter's group of friends, who are very nice and supportive to each and courteous to me. There are lots of different types as you would expect but there is definitely room for the quirky, the book-ish, the shy, the budding actresses and musicians, the movie addict, the fashion and make-up fans, the sporty and the future medics. Lots of girls with more than one nationality, too.
As a matter of fact, we looked very closely at Francis Holland, too - we liked the headmistress a lot and we liked what we saw of the school in general, although the building struck as as more cramped than Channing. It would have been an awkward journey for us and that clinched it, though we probably would have gone with Channing even if the locations had been reversed. We do know another girl at FHCG who is very happy there.
Hope this helps, you are welcome to PM if you have specific questions.
Last edited by Sue123 on Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.