Go to navigation
It is currently Sat May 15, 2021 10:29 am

All times are UTC [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:49 pm
Posts: 3
Hello, we're live in St Albans and are starting to think about independent secondaries for our son, and then our daughter, both currently in our local state primary. We live in a catchment black hole so couldn't get in any of the decent state secondaries in StA, don't want to move and in any event have a preference for private (hubby and I both went to state primaries/middle schools and then independent secondaries).
St Albans School is our Plan A , but I'm wondering where else people tend to apply and what we should do about a Plan B or C if our son doesn't get in and/or we decide St Albans isn't the right school for him. I think we're interested in Habs and MTS but appreciate they are both super-selective too, so what other options are there? Any views on Aldenham or Sherrardswood? I like that they're both co-ed (which would be my preference in an ideal world) but we would still want somewhere reasonably academic, just less hot-house than maybe St Albans School or Habs.
Our son is definitely bright - top 1-2 in his class, very good at maths, loves reading and history. However, he's not at all musical (takes after me!) and also isn't particularly sporty either - he likes swimming and riding his bike, but I don't see him getting into school sports/competitive sports, at least not the mainstream ones. Am hoping this doesn't massively count against him in terms of applying to some of these schools.

I think Berkhamsted is a bit too far but I wouldn't rule it out. Haileybury looks beautiful but is also quite far and I don't think for us - we're not mega wealthy and would prefer somewhere with kids from a similar background (we're both working parents, and don't have ski lodges in Verbier or a collection of vintage Porsches etc).

We'd really need something with a minibus service from St A.

Any recommendations or insights would be very much appreciated - thank you!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:16 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:38 am
Posts: 69
Boys tend to go St Columbus if they don't get into St Albans School. Or you could go to prep and try again for ST Albans School / Habs at 13. Most teens find Sherrardswood too small.

We live in St Albans and we have one son at QE Boys (state super selective grammar, there's a coach from St Albans) and another about to start at Verulam where you can get in from most of St Albans. They have a new head starting there who looks very impressive.

Also worth considering Parmiter's (partially selective, in catchment for some AL postcodes) - there's a coach service there too.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:19 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:49 pm
Posts: 3
Thank you! I've heard good things about St C's but for me a Catholic school would be a last resort - am not keen on religious schools generally (come from a strongly atheist family) and rightly or wrongly I get the impression that Catholic schools tend to be more strongly religious.

Interesting about QE Boys, I didn't realise they took children from St A. If it's anything like Parmiters then it's super super selective in terms of those places they offer based on academic/exam performance and I'm not convinced by son is at that level. I think he has a fair shot at the likes of St Albans School but want to make sure we have irons in a few different fires. Thanks again!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:42 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:01 pm
Posts: 10328
Location: Herts
QE boys is non catchment, so any Y6 boy can apply for one of the 192 places, but he will have to score very highly in the exam.

St Albans Boys has a very straight forward exam and it is in competition with HABS, MT and City.

As has been stated back ups are St Cs and Aldenham which will offer some of the private school aspects that you are seeking but they are not academically strong.

There is also St Edmunds in Ware which is also Catholic.

If you start some weekly preparation now your ds will have a very good chance of a place. DG


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:16 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:22 pm
Posts: 7
We live in St Albans and my DS started in Y7 at Berkhamsted in September and is absolutely loving it. I was slightly worried about the distance and journey each day but it honestly hasn't been a problem at all. He gets the school bus from the end of the road and there's a late bus too for the days when he does after school clubs. It's amazing how quickly you get into the routine! We were slightly different in that Berkhamsted was our first choice (and our son's strong preference) rather than a back up plan but couldn't be happier with our choice. Whilst it would be much easier if he went to a school in town that he could walk to, we looked at St Albans School and it just didn't feel like the right place for him. Can't put my finger on why, just didn't feel like him. We also discounted St Columba's because of the religious aspects but that's a very personal thing and I know friends whose kids are there and absolutely love it. Very happy to talk more about Berkhamsted if you've got other questions. Good luck with your choice!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:49 pm
Posts: 3
Thanks Sampford75, that's really interesting to hear. I've been past Berkhamsted school and it looks really lovely. My husband is more anti-commute than I am (we both had to endure long commutes to secondary schools ourselves but for him it's more about having good friends in your neighbourhood rather than them all living miles away). I'll keep it on the list for now!
Interestingly I've started to talk myself into St Columba's despite my reservations about the religious aspect. I stumbled across a league table of A level results (I know there is so much more to a school than results but anyway) which suggested that the likes of Aldenham did significantly worse than many of the state secondaries in St Albans. I then realised it was from 2014 so things may have changed a lot but it did make me realise that academic performance of a school is quite important and I may swallow the religious objections if it meant a better performing school (as long as other boxes ticked of course).
Thanks again.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Privacy Policy | Refund Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright © 2004 – 2021