what are the most racially diverse london schools?

(101 Posts)
lhc2 Thu 04-Jul-13 22:14:55


We are currently living in NYC (we are from spain) and we are moving to London next year and i've been looking for schools for my daughters.
One of my dds is black and diversity is very important to me as i don't want her to be the only black girl in her class and judging by the london schools websites i didn't see any black girl at their schools.

I would like to know based on your opinion which london single sex private schools are more racially diverse?

Thank you very much. smile

Needmoresleep Wed 10-Jul-13 14:39:53

A class full of Xenias might be quite interesting smile

Moominsarehippos Wed 10-Jul-13 14:35:43

I let that one slide! Our school has a good mix of allsorts. Some won't set the world alight but how boring would a class of brainiacs be?

burberryqueen Wed 10-Jul-13 14:16:41

In fact I pay to ensure my children are only mixing with children with a high IQ
sometimes Xenia you come out with something that is just laughable.
my daughter is a lovely accepting and non judgemental person with a v high EQ, sad for your children that her score on an IQ test would mean they wouldnt be allowed to talk to her.

Moominsarehippos Wed 10-Jul-13 14:12:05

Ah, I thought it was an anti-brit thing! We are all labels though I suppose. Do you think this was a windy up then?

Copthallresident Wed 10-Jul-13 09:58:35

moomin because they are proud of it not being possible to be labelled.

OP and coki have not returned, perhaps they didn't get the stereotype reinforcing gratification they expected to find?

Moominsarehippos Wed 10-Jul-13 09:01:11

The problem is that racial/country mixes can change quite radically. We are still mainly french but the big groups have gone from - arab-speaking to americans to russian to chinese. The changes reflect where companies and embassies recommend.

If the OP really is looking for black (still not sure if she wants american-afro, african, carribbean, or 'darker skin' types. If she goes to school where we are, she will be the 'American kid' as most of the kids are 'foreign'. It really isn't an issue.

I haven't come across anyone (black Brits or foreigners) who has sought to find a school along race lines - language maybe (our school does CNED so its popular with french families). I love the fact that in class when they do a project which includes a foreign language or food or culture they say 'Mexican, eh? Hey Maria! What do you eat for breakfast in Mexico??'.

AuntieStella Wed 10-Jul-13 07:09:52

"Most of the children are from expat families."

Yes, this is very true of the central London preps - though of course that means all nationalities. OP is seeking one with a specific reputation for attracting children (and staff?) with whom she believes her DD will fit in. This may be harder to establish.

The best bet, OP, is to compile a short list of schools and then visit them. Will you be having a recce visit before your move?

Moominsarehippos Wed 10-Jul-13 06:44:17

That's what I was thinking!

ljny Wed 10-Jul-13 00:16:14

Or you could just send your child to the nearest state school. In inner London....

In inner London, they have a snowflake in hell's chance of getting into the nearest state school.

Moominsarehippos Tue 09-Jul-13 22:11:19

Why would things be thrown?

Copthallresident Tue 09-Jul-13 21:27:14

My experience of a Selective London indie, there are ten 17 year olds giggling in my garden, they have parents from Africa, India, Singapore, China, Italy, only one has two English parents and she has French and Irish grandparents, and is ginger. I think there may be some very un PC jokes going on but they are also planning some amazing gap years. I think if I went out and asked if they were British, things would be thrown at me. I think they are great and the world needs kids like this who understand that they are part of a global community, not a tribe. I just wish that was on the agenda in all schools.

Xenia Tue 09-Jul-13 18:27:31

Ah, minif - keeping children away from poor children.. Well she wants a high achieving fee paying school. London has a lot of very good private schools. Why not pay if you can afford it particularly as said above class matters more than colour in the UK and fee paying schools tend to aid children inr elation to class type of issues. In fact I pay to ensure my children are only mixing with children with a high IQ at school. So that's not to separate them by race or religion or class but by intelligence.

MusieB Tue 09-Jul-13 18:25:07

My DD is at Eaton Square School on the Pimlico/Belgravia border (co-ed pre-prep and prep). It is incredibly diverse in terms of nationalities and there have been times when she has been the only child in her class with 2 white English parents. Most of the children are from expat families. A large number are Spanish and there are lots of French and American children, plenty from other European countries and also a reasonable contingent of children of Asian (both Indian and Far Eastern) and Arab extraction. There are few children of African/Afro-Carribean origin but there are/have been some. I would say the school, the children and (generally) the parents are completely "colour-blind". The headmaster is white but his wife is a (stunning) black lady and their younger children are at the school which I guess helps to reinforce this ethos. We have been very pleased with it and our DD loves it there.

I would hazard a guess that the girls only preps in the area are significantly less racially diverse.

granita Tue 09-Jul-13 15:48:24

The Lambeth schools I refer to are state schools.

granita Tue 09-Jul-13 15:43:26

In Inner London it is true that the largest non-white ethnic minority groups are black African and black Caribbean.
These numbers are in no way represented in the private schools. There might be exceptions. But on the whole, the number of black children in academic private schools is tiny.
The OP is pointedly asking about the numbers of black children. She does not want her daughter to be the only black child in the class. She is not asking about diversity in general.
Someone mentioned the bursary system as a way of broadening access.
When most schools are giving just one or two, 100 per cent bursaries per year, the idea that this will even things up is just ludicrous!
I know my experience is anecdotal, but when I've toured the private schools, or gone to performances by friends' children, I've not seen many black children. Are they hiding them in the cupboards?
When ringing up the schools the OP should ask if the children of different races mix after school. Do they visit each other's houses? Do they go on shopping trips together? Sleepovers?
Southwark (containing lots of selective independents) has the highest black African population in inner London. (Some one mentioned up thread that I'd not considered Dulwich state schools. This is because the OP asked about private schools.) Croydon the largest black Caribbean population. Lambeth has the biggest total black population. In Lambeth you might find schools which are predominantly black. (These are largely avoided by the white middle classes. Behaviour and poor academic scores are given as reasons.)

Minifingers Tue 09-Jul-13 13:41:48

Or you could just send your child to the nearest state school. If it's in inner London it will be incredibly ethnically diverse.

It depends whether keeping your dc away from poor children is important to you.

Moominsarehippos Tue 09-Jul-13 13:09:04

I agree there! The school usually reflects the local make-up. Where the op is looking, she will have well to do expats around her (I'd say mostly french and americans with a smattering of the rest of the world). She probably won't meet an actually born and bred 'Brit'.

Colour is the least of her worries - I'd look more closely at the 'culture' of the school. Some schools around here seem to have the most awfully behaved children! I mix with them because of school and clubs and the way they speak to/treat their nannies is just dreadful. Horrible snobbishness - then you meet the parents (rude, arrogant, me me me me me, loud, showy)! I'm sure the OP is lovely though!

If you want happy kids, look at St Nicholas next to Hyde Park - not a hard hitter academically (it's strength is in sliding kids back into whatever academic system they have come from) and you won't meet many british kids there. They focus on the kids being happy and confident.

Thomas' (up the road) has a good academic record and a fair boy/girl ratio.

Hill House, I have found american parents think it's too strict. I have found their Admin 'lacking'. It has 'snob value', but probably not as much as it did have when my relies were boys there (Prince Charles went there).

Newtons (over the river, one train stop from Victoria) is relatively new but large and funky.

It depends what you want from the school. If its mainly a colour balance, then you are missing out on an opportunity for your girls to go to some great schools.

My son (mixed heritage), his best mates - Italian, Tunisian, Indian and French all looked extremely similar when they were in nursery/reception (there was a joke that we'd end up taking home the wrong kids). They really all looked the same in their uniforms (especially when caked in mud).

If you live very central, and you will get a very mixed lot of kids.

If you are going to be here long term, you will need to start looking at which secondary you'd like them to go to and consider the 'feeders'.

Talkinpeace Tue 09-Jul-13 11:43:06

As I said way up thread,
racism is much less of an issue than is class in the UK.
nouveau is much worse than dark skin wink

Copthallresident Tue 09-Jul-13 11:42:19

Just to reinforce my point at my DDs interviews for 4 of the most selective West London Girls' Schools, including SPGS and Godolphin and Latymer, aside from SPGS (who DD thought were very cold and arrogant and not interested in her as a person at all), the interviewers made it very clear to DD that they very much valued her experience overseas, and discussed those experiences in detail. Indeed at the school she ended up at the Head made a point of telling me the same. DD ended up picking that school because she had felt valued and because she had enjoyed the interview mainly given over to a rollicking argument about whether the US was right to stop North Korea having nuclear weapons.

I would recommend OP actually rings around and goes and visits those schools her DD has a chance of a place at. She and her DD will soon pick up which schools feel right, my DD just knew which school was right for her, and it is much more than just whether you will fit in if you are from another culture. Just don't get the wrong impression from the Godolphin bursar if it is the same one as showed us around, and was well past her sell by date, and came out with some horrific stereotypes straight out of the raj, it was actually so bad it was funny, but I know a lot of people would not have seen the joke.

Glad to see Redbourne in the mix, we know the Head and she was responsible for first inspiring and nurturing my DDs love of Science. I am quite sure she would make a point of inclusivity.

basildonbond Tue 09-Jul-13 11:28:09

which Thomas's??? when we went round the Clapham one every single classroom looked like it was populated by the Midwich cuckoos - I could always spot ds1 in the playground of his nearby primary as his mop of bright blonde hair instantly stood out - at Thomas's you're falling over blonde blue-eyed children - the head couldn't even answer a question about the ethnic makeup of the school posed by one racially mixed couple, eventually hazarding the guess that they had quite a few French and some Russian speakers there

mrsshackleton Tue 09-Jul-13 09:48:58

Agree, colour is a red herring. At my dd's v prestigious prep school I worked out 20 per cent of her class have two British parents (of any colour). The rest are all of mixed heritage. That is London.

Notsurewhattodonext Tue 09-Jul-13 09:47:44

In my DC's class in a London prep there are black, Jewish, polish, Russian, Lebanese, Hindu, Sikh and Greek children with white Christian English children being in the minority. There are no racial issues whatsoever and this mix is replicated throughout the school which is totally representative of the local area.

09870987 Tue 09-Jul-13 09:33:25

Thomas's ethnically diverse??? Really? That made me laugh! Hill House is by far the most ethnically diverse prep in the area.

Xenia Tue 09-Jul-13 09:19:21

yes, but none of those schools get as good exam results (except St Paul's) as NLCS and NLCS has a school coach from South Ken. It might be worth the girl sitting for NLCS, St paul's and those in the slightly lower tier and just seeing where she is able to get in.

Mominatrix Tue 09-Jul-13 08:13:20

I did not answer this thread originally as I only have DSs, but have been watching it was slight amusement. Those who say that there is no racial diversity in London schools obviously have not been in many of them. I have direct knowledge of a variety of private schools, pre-prep, prep and senior throughout West London, including the most desirable and can say that they are extremely racially diverse. In the small pre-prep DS went to, white English made up less than half of the class - if even that. The majority of the class was made of of "slashes" - Canadian/Kiwi, Canadian/American, Korean-American/French, Philipino American/Welsh, Black African/English, Black american/Kiwi, etc. This is reflected in the majority of school I am familiar with - even the private French bilingual school my other son attends.

DS1 attends a very desirable prep-school with seamless entry into one of the very top senior schools in the country and a trip to that campus would allow one to see the population at both prep and senior schools. A virtual United Nations. Actually, what is striking is that ethnicity is so varied that no boy really stands out as different. Even those who on surface are "white" will, with further probing, prove to me more than just bland vanilla and either have a ethnically varied background and/or international backgrounds.

I disagree with Xenia's push for NLCS - yes, it is ethnically diverse, but so is a wide variety of equally excellent schools much closer geographically to the OP (Clty Girls, SPGS, Godolphin and Latymer, Latymer upper come to mind quickly). Another school to add to you list locally for the prep school years would be Thomas' which I know to be very ethnically mixed.

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