Best primary school in SW11 (surrounding area)

(35 Posts)
abbyfromoz Sun 24-Mar-13 15:12:26

DD is 2 and we need to start looking at primary schools. So far we have our eye on St Thomas' Battersea (very close to us). We are open to private or state- religious or non. Anyone with experience want to give me your personal opinions?

AmandaPayneNeedsANap Mon 13-May-13 14:39:00

I'm not SW London, but I'm ex-London and I clicked on here to say what others already have. You may not have much choice in schools if you are using state schools. You need to find out what your LA's admission criteria are and what their effective catchment area is. Then work out which schools you might have a realistic chance of getting into most years, including accounting for any faith criteria, etc. A change to straight line routes is actually probably a good thing. The catchment will shrink, but probably so will your distance, and it is much easier to do some rough calculations on your own distances yourself using this basis.

The general school stuff isn't that different. Both countries run their school years to the long summer break, it's just that summer is a different point in the year. And the schooling years aren't that different. If I tabulate ours:

Nursery/pre-school (age 3-4) - optional
Reception (age 4-5) - technically optional until the term after your child turns 5, though few people opt out
Year 1-6 (age 5-11) - compulsory
Year 7-11 (age 11-16)- compulsory
Year 12-13 (age 16-18) - optional

Reception to year 6 will be in one school (or, alternatively, reception to year 2 in an infant school, then years 3-6 in a junior school) so reception seems more like 'school proper', but in fact it is much more like a continuation of nursery/pre-school. Very similar these days to the idea of kindergarten in many countries. The only real difference is that mandatory schooling starts one year earlier and stops one year later.

As an April birthday, your daughter (like mine) will actually be one of the younger ones in the year. the oldest children are those born Sept-Christmas. DD1 starts in September and she is so ready for school.

bluescissors Mon 13-May-13 19:03:39

The parents I know who send their DCs to Thomas's are generally bankers or lawyers. They are extremely wealthy and describe the school as "monied". The foundation does a lot of good work in Nepal and in outreach to local schools. From what I understand children who do well there are extroverts, bold, want to go first types. It's a busy school with lots going on, which is fine if your DC is up for it. For what it is worth, these parents also have their DCs tutored out of school. Good luck with your decision.

Lizzzar Wed 15-May-13 14:23:31

The comment above by Amanda Payne is helpful but I'd like to add that
although I'm not sure of the situation in Australia ( perhaps could check on Wikipedia) it is not in fact compulsory to send your children to school between 5 and 16 in the UK. You must provide them with an education, but home education is completely legal. The majority of people do of course send their children to school , but I thought I'd add this comment because I am personally a definite supporter of the right to home educate in unusual circumstances. I think there is a website called Education Otherwise that would provide more information for anyone interested.

AmandaPayneNeedsANap Wed 15-May-13 16:17:29

Yes, sorry, my previous post wasn't clear enough about the option of home schooling. It's right for a fairly small minority of people, but for those people it tends to be very right, IYSWIM.

gobstoppers Tue 28-May-13 00:02:24

Anyone has any experience with Thomas's Clapham or Newton Prep school? I can't really choose between these 2 schools.

Academically more or less the same, so I have to take into account other factors, which are very important too.
I like Newton Prep better (much more down to earth parents and teachers compared toThomas's Clapham, great facilities, etc.), but I just can't bear the location itself (on Battersea Road) Does anyone know where the Newton Prep families live...I am afraid quite far away as the school's location is very industrial, polluted.

As for Thomas's Clapham I agree with bluescissors' comments. Very snobbish feeling, and what I heard from other parents lots of extra tutoring (sometimes even hidden from other fellow parents). The only positive side compered to Newton Prep is the location.

DOes anyone have any other experience with these?

dinosaurinmybelly Tue 28-May-13 15:24:02

I think you've made your decision gobstoppers. It doesn't sound like you have a good feeling about Thomas's, and so I wouldn't send your child there just because it is in a better location. I too have heard that Thomas's parents are snobby, but I visited many schools, and found the parent reps I met at Thomas's to be very lovely indeed. I wonder is it an urban myth perpetuated by people who just want to knock it for their own personal reasons. Many also complained about the previous head, but the head changed last year. I've met the new head and was very impressed.

I know several families in Clapham who go to Newton Prep and so the commute is manageable. I visited Newton Prep and was also impressed by the facilities, but a bit concerned at the staff turnover (not just the head). I'm going with Thomas's myself (I felt they really distinguish themselves from other local schools with their broad curriculum and their "have a go" attitude to music, drama and sport") but I do think it is down to personal choice, and if you preferred Newton you should go for that. The commute will get easier as the kids get older, and Battersea Park isn't too far away.

KingscoteStaff Tue 28-May-13 22:08:25

I've got the Newton Prep Parents' Directory in front of me!

Children come from NW5 down to SW16 and TW1 across to E14.

It's a fantastic school, by the way. Inspiring teaching + learning and sparky kids.

gobstoppers Wed 29-May-13 14:06:31

Wow! Thanks KingscoteStaff, these are quite mixed locations..would be a bit tricky with the playdates!!

dinosaurinmybelly: Thank you for your comments, I agree with you, it is down to personal preferences to choose the right school...but as for me, sometimes it is enough to see some little thing that you don't like in a school and that could overpower your feelings towards that school and can be misleading.

So I am just about to understand what was the motivation of the different parents to prefer Thomas's Clapham to Newton prep and vice versa (bearing in mind that these schools are relatively close, so some parents might have faced with the same decision as me). There might be things that I missed, although I have tried to gather as many information as I could to ease this decision.

KingscoteStaff Wed 29-May-13 20:08:14

Well, we looked at both (admittedly 9 years ago...).

The difference we saw was in the Year 6 children who showed us round. We felt that the Thomases children were charming but a bit Stepford and a bit bland. The Newton children were all very strong personalities, clearly passionate about their school and their teachers. We walked out thinking 'I want DS to be like that in 9 years time!'

And he is!

wandymum Fri 31-May-13 20:46:45

Micro and Audrey101 - the admission distances this year's intake are here http://www.madeformums.com/local/wandsworth/discuss/24061.html

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