Eaton House Belgravia v Newton Prep v other schools near Battersea/Chelsea

(22 Posts)
DaisyFranceLynch Mon 22-Aug-16 13:29:50

Does anyone have any recent experience with Eaton House Belgravia? Our son has a guaranteed reception place there for September 2019 but I can't find much information about it, and I want to make sure we're making the right choice.

We live by Battersea Park/Chelsea Bridge so were also considering Newton Prep, Thomas's Battersea (although I think we may have missed the registration deadline - since it was selective I didn't realise you still had to register children as soon as possible after birth), and possibly some of the other Clapham and Battersea schools. We liked the sound of Newton, and it is very close, but have since been warned off by a couple of people based on pastoral provision and leavers' destinations/results.

Our son is pretty laid-back and I'm worried he is the sort of child who might be "lost" in a noisy, busy school - good-tempered, calm, curious, sociable, but not very assertive, and a little quiet and reserved in new situations. Our other priorities are: good academics (but not to the exclusion of all else, particularly since I've no idea how academic he will turn out to be - he seems to be doing well developmentally but not sure how much of an indicator that is at this point), excellent pastoral care, and a relatively down-to-earth and diverse parent body.

ApocalypseSlough Mon 22-Aug-16 13:35:28

You just won't get down to earth diverse at any of those schools I'm afraid. What you're looking for is excellent- you realise that academics is less important very young and you value pastoral care.
Have you looked at the local state schools? You'll get more balanced intake and holistic care.

Loraline Mon 22-Aug-16 13:39:04

Don't have experience but several of the children in ds preschool are going to Newton Prep so it certainly seems popular (ds is in preschool in Chelsea but close to the bridge so a lot of children from Battersea there). We're looking at state schools in Victoria, Chelsea, Westminster, Pimlico for 2017 intake.

DaisyFranceLynch Mon 22-Aug-16 15:35:18

Thanks both very much.

@apocalypse, that's what I was afraid of! I don't want a hothouse, since I'm not sure that's the best environment even for very bright children, or somewhere too socially exclusive (although that might be an unrealistic expectation for private schools in London).

If we were in catchment for one of the popular state primaries that would be my preferred option, but we're in a bit of a dead zone. Of the two closest to us, we're out of catchment for one and the other one is undersubscribed and doesn't seem to have great results.

@loraline - thanks very much for feedback on Newton. I am going to go and have a look at it. Have you found any inspiring state schools in the areas you're looking in? I think in Battersea we are probably too far away to get in anywhere over the river - we can't even get into somewhere 500 metres away from us!

Loraline Mon 22-Aug-16 16:03:38

I'm really only starting to look now but our biggest problem is that ds isn't baptised and most of the schools around here are faith schools.

We like St Peters Eaton Sq which is a bit of a long shot and Millbank Academy.

DaisyFranceLynch Mon 22-Aug-16 16:28:04

Thanks Loraline. St Peter's Eaton Square sounds lovely and it looks as if distance might not matter so much if you attend the church (we are Anglican anyway, but currently go to a different CofE church which doesn't have an attached school).

Millbank Academy also sounds great. One of former colleagues has a child who attends and he was singing its praises when I saw him the other week.

Loraline Mon 22-Aug-16 19:00:11

We're close to St Peter's but not religious.

That's nice to hear about Millbank. I gather they're great with pastoral care and student support. One of the local midwives send her kids there and so did Gordon brown when he was in Whitehall, although that was before it was an academy.

DaisyFranceLynch Tue 23-Aug-16 10:26:33

Loraline - have spoken to my friend and it's actually Pimlico, not Millbank, that his daughter goes to. I got mixed up because they share a management team. blush He thinks Millbank would have a similar approach though.

He's really happy with it - he was looking for a non-denominational school with children from a wide range of backgrounds, and says the facilities are good as well.

mumonahottinroof Tue 23-Aug-16 16:00:49

grin You won't get a diverse bunch of parents at a private school in Belgravia as you well know. There are some nice parents at Newton, obviously many are super-rich too, again, not diverse.

It depends if you want co-ed or single sex etc, do you want your son to board or go to day school later? I believe - though may be wrong - EH prepares more for common entrance. He is what - 2? _ so I really wouldn't worry about him not being assertive, that will come!

newmummycwharf1 Tue 23-Aug-16 19:12:41

Our son is also registered at EH for 2019. It stops at 8 as you know - and has great 7+ and 8+ results. My biggest issue is the need to start off stron academically- as they have exams to take so soon. Leaning more towards schools that go to 13 now - to be honest

DaisyFranceLynch Tue 23-Aug-16 19:15:43

Thanks @mum. I'm open minded on single sex vs co-ed, and would probably go for day school at 11+/ 13+ though DH doesn't want to rule out boarding (he went to boarding school and, although he knows it has changed a lot since his day, I think there's still a part of him that wants the same thing for DS).

I know you're right about Belgravia! We signed up for the comfort of a guaranteed place, and because it is close to home and work. But now starting to think more about the social mix.

DaisyFranceLynch Tue 23-Aug-16 19:23:26

And yes, he's only 16 months so perhaps the wilfulness and assertiveness will come...

DaisyFranceLynch Tue 23-Aug-16 19:28:27

@newmummy - yes the early focus on exams concerns me too. DH seems more relaxed about that bit but I like the idea of early years being more about play, sport, art, music than exams and homework.

Loraline Wed 24-Aug-16 07:33:34

Thanks for the updated. You're right Pimlico and Millbank are the same Academy group so I'd imagine the ethos is similar

jellycat1 Fri 26-Aug-16 10:08:21

I was going to to register DS for Eaton House but have friends who took boys out and sent them to Newton for the very reason that the parents were all of an ilk. Lots of mega wealthy Russians I believe. I think the Clapham one is much better for more 'normal' families, though they'll still be wealthy obviously. Have you thought about Thomas's?

jellycat1 Fri 26-Aug-16 10:10:15

Sorry you mentions Thomas's.

AnotherNewt Fri 26-Aug-16 10:19:10

Check whether the people who warned you off Newton Prep are talking about the school under its former or current head. There have been a lot of changes in the last 3 years.

DaisyFranceLynch Fri 26-Aug-16 16:13:15

Thanks both.

@jellycat - I'd read in various places that Thomas's suited very confident children who liked to be first in things - do you think it could suit someone more low-key?

@AnotherNewt - of the two sources, one is very out of date (in that he was basing it on things he had heard about the school at least ten years ago). The other had more up-to-date knowledge, I think - they were mostly focused on destination schools, and how many children got scholarships to top public schools. I've looked at the websites but not all schools present the information in the same way, and it's hard to compare without knowing class sizes, the children's abilities, how much external tutoring they got etc.

I'm going to look round Newton next month and will also look at some of the other suggestions (including state primaries). It sounds as if EH The Manor has places for 2019, although Thomas's wasn't giving anything away and said I'd need to send in a cheque before finding out...

jellycat1 Fri 26-Aug-16 18:04:21

Yes I think so. Another friend has her boy in Thomas's Fulham and he's definitely not an alpha male type. Probably best to start a thread specifically on Thomas's to get max traffic from actual parents though. Do you think your DS is looking like being more low key or are you just covering all bases?

DaisyFranceLynch Fri 26-Aug-16 20:13:13

He's usually described by other people as calm/gentle/ easygoing. And he doesn't seem to mind being bossed around by other children, having toys grabbed off him etc - if another child wants his toy he usually just hands it over and goes to find something else. He's lovely but definitely not an alpha toddler!

I'll start a new Thomas's thread, thanks jellycat

Needmoresleep Sun 28-Aug-16 20:39:29

I am surprised that you are concerned about Newton's destination schools. Newton's ability to find the right school for the right child has always seemed fine to me.

Prep schools are often ranked on how many they get into key schools. Often SPGS for girls and WUS and Collet for boys. Newton, slightly away from the feverish parenting of Central/West London, does send kids to a wider range of schools. But having reached the end of the process I am convinced that there is no great benefit in getting a child into a very academic secondary if they don't really belong there. What Newton has been good at is encouraging children to engage and enjoy education. Something that has stood my DC in good stead through secondary and beyond. I hear very good things about the current Head, from people who a in a position to make sound judgements.

AnotherNewt Sun 28-Aug-16 20:43:17

Newton Prep has produced both Kings and Queens Scholars in recent years. I really wouldn't worry about the academically able there.

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