Unconventional/quirky London school for girls.
October 14, 2021 7:52 AM   Subscribe

A friend is looking for a school for her daughter - she tried the usual independent suspects (Godolphin, Francis Holland, etc) but found them all a bit too... normal for her quirky, dyslexic, independent-minded child. (From previous questions I can see King Alfred's recommended - does anyone know it?) Is there anywhere that she might fit in better? She's thinking about the American School even though she actually American, just because it would have a varied intake - is there anywhere more experimental and fun and quirky that we haven't heard of?
posted by wattle to Education (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Godolphin isn't exactly in London, is boarding an option? How old is the kid? Is money relevant at all?
posted by bashing rocks together at 10:13 AM on October 14, 2021

Best answer: Definitions of the kind of school that might suit someone quirky and dyslexic vary. Places that people sometimes mention for quirky and dyslexic kids in London are Harrodian, Ibstock Place, Portland Place Hampton Court House, Kew House, Maida Vale, possibly Thomas' senior school. Those schools definitely vary in their level of academic selection, how traditional they are and how wealthy the parents are. Commutable depending on where you live, St Christopher's in Letchworth, Reeds Cobham. There are also various arts schools and the American schools, but also a lot of people would probably be recommended boarding schools which are a lot less academically selective than London day schools and between them cater for a wide variety of children. Possibilities might include Bedales, Bryanston or one of the Quaker boarding schools. Really the best source of gossipy information online about these kinds of schools (ie central London day schools and their alternatives) is probably Mumsnet.

The two main challenges with the American school are that the population is more transient, and of course you are more or less locked in to the American system once the daughter gets to 14, which is problematic if you need GCSEs. It does have a different kind of intake from Francis Holland and Godolphin & Latymer.

The only thing I've heard about King Alfred's is that admissions is a bit of a lottery.
posted by plonkee at 11:45 AM on October 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: King Alfred's is really oversubscribed -- and actually, a friend of mine hoping for a laid back school who toured it found it disappointing. But it is quirky and worth a look!

Cavendish is N. London might be an option, if this is primary age? Very sweet girls school, and the only child I know who goes there is dyslexic and loves it.

If the child has special needs though, actually state school is really a great option as the SEN support will often be stronger. For secondary, Parliament Hill is a lovely, inclusive school.
posted by heavenknows at 1:02 PM on October 14, 2021

Response by poster: (Kid is 10, looking for a secondary. Parents are rich, but kid does not want boarding)

Thank you so much for the great suggestions!
posted by wattle at 2:59 PM on October 14, 2021

Best answer: An internet acquaintance teaches at The New School in SE19. It’s a democratic school, which to my understanding means trying to dismantle the authoritarianism inherent in schools which is one of the elements that really causes problems for ‘problem’ pupils (hi). It’s mixed but I would hope the different ethos makes a significant difference.
posted by lokta at 2:31 AM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Another option, which is more common for boys, but might work in this case is switching to a prep and then looking for a senior school at 13+. At that age, the right kind of school might be easier to identify and possible boarding options less daunting (not that they absolutely have to board, but it is definitely a well-trodden path to expand options).

It is absolutely the case that with SEN state schools are more equipped than many private schools, but a potential option I had forgotten about if the dyslexia is the primary issue is Egerton Rothesay School in Hertfordshire. It's commutable from many places in north London and has a mainstream curriculum.
posted by plonkee at 3:31 AM on October 15, 2021

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