St Albans : St Columbas / Aboyne / City School?(11 Posts)
Our son is due to start primary school in September 2017. Our closest school is Aboyne (but most places seem to go to siblings) and so we are also considering City, but it is so new. Thinking of St Columba's as a "back up". We'd be interested in views / experience of these schools and how they compare.
Aboyne is over-subcribed, but a good school, from what I've heard. City School I don't know much about. I had a friend who's DD went there and she was happy with it back in Reception, but we've since lost touch.
Both my DSs are at St Columba's and we really like it. Class sizes are small, the pastoral side is very good, there is a good focus on the 3 Rs, and my DC, who are very different, are both doing well.
I would strongly advise you to visit the schools, look around and talk to the teachers and the pupils. We were totally unsure until we did that, but afterwards there was no question in our minds which school was right.
Thanks for your reply Juneau2. We have been to see all three schools but still finding it tricky! While you can get a pretty good feel for independent schools as they really open their doors, allow the children to come along, the state schools only give you a quick tour and time to ask a few questions.
If we pay private fees (which would be a stretch for us) we are trying to get the balance between a good all round school that looks after the pastoral side, challenges bright children, but doesn't hot house, and importantly has good facilities and non academic opportunities in sport, art, music etc.
Well I can vouch for all of the things on your list at St Columba's. The only thing that I haven't heard consistently good things about are the private music lessons (but that was just from one mum relating to one independent music teacher - not a member of school staff). As for music classes, choirs, orchestras, musical ensembles, etc, they're excellent. Ditto on pastoral stuff, nurturing each DC, whether bright and needing extra, or struggling and needing additional support, art, ICT, etc. They're not an especially pushy school, but there are some individual parents that choose to hot house their DC outside school, as you find in most places these days.
Alban City is amazing. Great Head, great teachers, the facilities are new and are only going to get better. Also, I think I heard they just won primary school of the year for Herts last evening...but I may have misunderstood. I'm sure it will come out soon.
Just a note on 'stretching yourself'. Lots of parents do this and work all hours to pay for private education. Their DC, consequently, end up in before and after school club every single day, which is hard on little ones. Once they get to 7+ its not so bad, but I personally wouldn't work all the hours there are to send my DC to private school unless the state options are awful. And they're not awful here in St Albans, generally they're pretty good. And if you want a bit 'more' than the state schools offer you can pay for it with all the money you've saved from not going private.
Thanks for the feedback on City, Davidson96. When we looked around we both liked it but Aboyne has such an "established" reputation whereas City feels a bit like leaping into the unknown.
Juneau2, Really agree re after school clubs - we are going to try to avoid them - the stretch for us would be paying for school fees on top of a nanny three days a week. We both work part time at present and will continue to do so once DC is in school as we have a younger daughter - we try to minimise time in childcare as far as possible and have the same philosophy about after school care. Although you can pay for the extras and tuition, you still have big class sizes...
Aboyne Lodge is a lovely warm little school which is good ,my niece studied @Aboyne Lodge and made a very good progress . Heard City school is good for autistic children,though people around somewhat has mixed :-I feeling about the new school.
St.Columbus is definitely a very good school though we refused seat as our son was offered one @ Aldenhams
You can browse many links in hertfordshire local talks to know more local.mumsnet.com/Talk/local_hertfordshire
And you can scroll and keep looking for school reviews in and around in many links that is displayed.
There are many kids who have moved to Top state selective schools and selective independent schools like Habs , St Albans Girls etc from Aboyne Lodge. The new free school is too multicultural and good for autistic children .Heard the school is more of an inclusive school. Columbus college in my opinion is a nice school if your kids are more into sports. Not sure whether its good for very bright kids.
Thanks everyone for responses!
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