Thanks for your thoughts.
To answer a few enquiries in no particular order.
How do I know she's above average? Feedback from school and our entirely biased observations as informed parents. (She's not my eldest so we've been through this schools application thing before with older children. (At a different academically selective independent.) We didn't tutor the other two either. One of them got in on a scholarship and the other just got in (they both went to the same school which is v similar to SAHSfG in terms of aptitude at intake.). Interestingly, the child that got a scholarship went on to be less academically impressive (but still absolutely fine: RG uni and on course for a first) than the child who did not get a scholarship (Oxbridge offer, insurance LSE). So that in itself tells you all you need to know about the value of entrance tests.
It's interesting that people don't think independent day schools have a duty to serve the community. If you remove all the St Albans and Harpenden (and environs) girls from St Albans High School for Girls, the school will be unrecognisable. And perhaps turn into something people are unwilling to travel from London for? It's the Groucho Marx paradox.
I don't want to put my daughter through stress as I'm sure she'll be fine wherever she goes to school. But I was just trying to make sense of what's going on at St Albans High School. Wondering if the general consensus on the street was an accurate picture? And wondering about the alternatives.
I wouldn't consider sending her to any of those other schools in the consortium. They are too far away. I'd really like for her to be able to walk to school. All these girls and boys being bussed around North London and the home counties. It's a special kind of mad isn't it?
We had a conversation about it late last night and I think we are leaning towards the local comp. Which is excellent and we liked it very much. But we feel compelled to opt for an indy out of fairness as her, as her older siblings received paid-for educations. But perhaps that doesn't matter.
It's quite tiring being a parent isn't it?