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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:37 am
Posts: 17
Offers to both schools are due out end of this week (nail-biting wait! ), in the meantime, I'd love to hear personal experience/opinions/thoughts from parents with children in either or both schools.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:20 am
Posts: 21
Also waiting to hear from St Albans. Only heard good things about the school.

Was wondering how many scholarships they give and what the chance of getting one is. Presumably a number of scholarship offers will be turned down in favour of Habs, DAO, QE etc. Do they re-allocate these?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:39 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:54 pm
Posts: 86
Any current St Albans or Habs parents with personal experiences of the school?
Would I be crazy to give up Habs for St Albans?
Habs seems the most academic, but I preferred the vibe and boys at St Albans. Are all St Albans boys allowed out for lunch around the town? Any info/advice would much be appreciated x


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:59 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:34 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Herts
There's plenty of very bright boys at St Albans. My son's in the 5th form and has always been very happy at the school. He's very bright (got a scholarship at 11+) and has had lots of opportunities to enter maths competitions and take part in other extension activities. He is not at all sporty, which I'd thought might have been an issue, but really isn't - if you're not into sports there's lots of other things to get involved in. My son sings in the choir (we aren't religious in the slightest, but he loves singing in the Abbey twice a week), has taken part in a Robot Wars type competition and enjoys CCF.
Boys only go into town for lunch from the 5th form onwards - no room for them to eat in the canteen.
It's a compact site so there's not a lot of open space, but that doesn't seem to be an issue. For us has been a great match with the advantage of being very local. I know nothing about Habs as we didn't consider it - why go to school on a bus when you could walk? For us the alternative was Parmiters but we definitely made the right choice for our boy.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:54 pm
Posts: 86
THank you for sharing your ds personal experience lotsakids. I have been on two tours to St Albans, and really have been impressed, I was just slightly apprehensive it wasn't 'academic' enough (from parents at my sons school). It's very encouraging to know your ds has participated in maths competitions and seems academically stretched. All the best x


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:24 am
Posts: 39
I have a DS in the school and a DD in the 6th Form. Just to echo, there are plenty of very bright boys in SA and we've been extremely impressed with the quality of teaching and extra-curricular activities on offer. Agreed, the space is compact but it doesn't seem to be an issue - Wed afternoon they're all shipped up to Woollams Sports Centre/ pitches for game. Sport is very strong at SA and we've been impressed with music and drama offerings too. Another key for us is that the school is very much part of the St Albans community, through Partnership exchanges with local schools and community work. This gives a breadth for overall personal development as they get older. Lighter on Oxbridge offers than Habs, but the overall spread of universities AND, equally importantly, courses, is very impressive at SA. They also help line up work experience in the 6th form - Habs girls certainly don't do this, not sure about the boys school.

My DD came from Habs girls - where she'd been very happy but wanted co-ed and a change after being in the same school for 12 yrs. With her straight A*s at GCSEs, academic awards and subject prizes from Habs, I can hand on heart say that she remains more than stretched academically at SA and challenged by any number of very bright boys who've come up through the main school. No sense at all of SA being a lesser academic school. And yes, she's made a great set of friends and all the ones we've met are lovely. We love the place!

I do think it comes down to proximity and feel - SA seems a more local Herts school (although pupils come from North London/ Pinner etc too), whereas both Habs schools are heavily North London/ Pinner/ Harrow etc, but happen to be located in Herts. This will inevitably give a different vibe to the school - neither right/ wrong - only you will know where your son will thrive most happily.

In my long-winded way, I hope I've conveyed that there'll be reasons for choosing one over the other, but academic standing (or dreaded league tables) should not be one of them.

Good luck - and well done to DS for getting 2 such great offers!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:54 pm
Posts: 86
Baggies4ever- thank you a
Million times over for sharing. I've also shown my ds- and the positive feedback is really swaying us. I feel assured SA is academic, more fool me for listening to playground gossip.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 8815
Location: Herts
There are always people with perceptions of schools, many of whom have never even been there.

Both St Albans private schools are very local. The boy's Head said this year that 50% of their boys lived in St Albans and I think that for the girls it is probably at least one third.

We are local and know many boys at both schools. There is also boys each year who move to the DAO sixth form who I hear all about!

Of the boys I know holding offers this year half did not even apply to Habs or MT or City as they wanted a really local school.

But of those who applied for both, I don't know anyone who got to interview at St Albans and didn't get a place but I do know those who interviewed at Habs and do not have an offer.

There are those who got both and those who got just St Albans and are disappointed. There is no question that Habs is perceived to be a more academic school.

However it is all a personal choice and each family should choose the school that suits them.

Last year a family I knew well got both Habs and St Albans and were much closer to St Albans. Mum wanted St Albans but father and son wanted Habs and they pervailed. Their ds is very happy and proud of his school but I know plenty of St Alban's boys who feel the same about their school.

They are both great choices.

Personally I prefer a bigger school because I think it offers more opportunities. But I know that some find the Head of Habs arrogant and don't like the big focus on academic.

You know your ds best and hopefully you will get a chance to visit both schools again next week before you have to make your choice.

There are lurkers and members on the forum who would give a great deal to have just one of these wonderful choices. I know you worked hard for these prizes so take the time you need to make your decision. It is a big one to make.

Perhaps meet with some families that have chosen Habs and those who have chosen St Albans before making your final decision. DG


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:54 pm
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Invaluable advice DG. Although unfortunately I only know of parents with dd at Habs and St Albans high school. This is why parents like myself really do rely to a degree on opinions here. The negative opinions I received from Habs were from parents who's dc did not get past the exam stage, hence why I sought advice here.

We are now almost 90% decided and Will not be holding on to both offers for too Long at all.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:30 am
Posts: 2
Hi, my first time posting but I felt compelled to write a response to reassure you? My youngest son goes to a school that feeds into both schools. Over the last two years really bright boys have turned down habs in favour of St. Albans because they felt it was the right school for their child. I think you should go with your gut instinct. My son is now in year 3 at St. Albans and I have to say it was the perfect decision for him. He has thrived at the school, socially and academically. This year we have just received an offer for my youngest and we are delighted. I know of two really clever boys who will be turning down habs this year because St. Albans feels right for their child. Your son will be stretched academically at both schools so go with the school that felt right when you visited.


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