Hampton Court House School

(25 Posts)
putneylife Sat 14-Jun-14 09:27:51

I'm looking for more up to date experiences of this school as I'm considering it for my son in Y9 after he leaves Prep School. It's quite a leap from the structure of a Prep School to the unstructured and slightly alternative approach that HCH adopts. The sport seems to be lacking, but otherwise I'm getting a good impression - the school seems to nurture the child and with small class sizes and a very improved recent Ofsted report, it seems like a school on the up. Like Harrodian or Radnor House were in their infancy. I'd welcome thoughts/experiences!

Peach007 Sun 15-Jun-14 10:45:25

Hi I am also considering for my DD for Year 4 in September. Any views would be most welcome. Thanks

LikeMumUsedToMake Mon 16-Jun-14 12:33:08

Was it this school that recently announced a radical change of school hours - to reflect teenage desires to sleep in till mid morning?

cakeisalwaystheanswer Mon 16-Jun-14 13:31:11

Yes it was this school, though the cynic in me says the lunchtime start and very late finish for a new 6th form probably has more to do with limited space than anything else.
HSH is not mainstream, it's offering something different and if that's what will suit your DCs go for it. Just don't go and expect a mini LEH/Hampton and then moan because that isn't what you get. I know a few parents who have moved children from HCH because it wasn't what they expected/wanted although the things they complain about are probably the reasons other parents have chosen it. Never was the phrase "horses for courses" so apt.

Peach007 Wed 18-Jun-14 08:56:49

I must admit I loved the general feel of the school. My daughter is going to have a trial day soon so will be able to decide thereafter. Are there any existing parents out there whose DC's go to the school? So few people have heard of the school so first hand experience would be most welcome.

FMNF Wed 18-Jun-14 21:40:51

I would also be grateful to receive any feedback on this school as we are just completing the enrolment process for our son and our daughter. We visited the school and it looked lovely but I am not used to choosing a school based on a visit. At the moment the children go to their local school so we had all the local knowledge before enrolling them. We really need them to maintain their level of French for a future move back to France so any views on the standard of French teaching in the lower years would be really helpful.

yummymum35 Tue 02-Dec-14 15:16:45

Hello all! I was initially looking at a few good schools around the West London area for my DD and saw quite a variety, some were the typical pushy independents whereas others were a more relaxed. Initially I had some reservations but reading experiences from other people I decided to arrange a private tour of the school via the website and I was glad I did because the teachers and the school in general really impressed me. I looked in on some lessons and saw that children genuinely enjoy what they are studying they seemed to have an enthusiasm that I had not seen in other schools. My DD had a trial day which she really enjoyed and she started this September, so far so good, classes are small enough for children to receive the attention they need and teachers are really very good at addressing the needs of the child (unlike her previous school), ballet is part of the curriculum and the arts (music, theatre, dance and the like are very much encouraged) she has made some really nice friends of both genders. My DD has benefited so much from the past couple of months at the school. I was worried about the bilingual aspects but to my surprise she coped very well and the language has not been an issue at all for her despite only having some very basic French before. I hope that helps!

Poisonwoodlife Tue 02-Dec-14 15:47:45

It's infancy predated Radnor by a few years, and it was actually founded by refugees from Harrodian's infancy, and that school has adapted it's approach to be more conventionally academic. Radnor was never anything but aiming to be conventionally academic, just with an aim to develop a USP through emphasis on strong pastoral care and better communication with parents. So I think comparing HCH with those two schools is not comparing like with like at all.

It already has some history, and part of that history has been that pupils tended to end up there after other schools had not worked for them for some reason, either socially or academically. Some were difficult characters. A tutor I knew had a high proportion of business amongst those who then dropped out of HCH as well. However some pupils have also gone on to good sixth forms and universities, albeit accepting it was a unique environment with some unique characters hmm.

However if you buy into the ethos, current parents are happy, then I have no reason to suppose it doesn't do what it says on the tin.

yummymum35 Tue 02-Dec-14 16:10:19

Fair points Poisonwoodlife though I can definitely say that standards are very high at HCH now, no difficult children in my DD’s class. It’s always wise to do a lot of research before making that commitment thankfully I did as I was also considering another independent with a good past history only to find that now things have changed considerably which I experienced by actually visiting the school, speaking to parents and by reading the forum smile

amidaiwish Tue 02-Dec-14 17:32:43

From what I hear the infants isn't great - worth asking to see any teaching qualifications as there 'a been a few issues in recent years though I believe this has been resolved. But the juniors is fantastic.

girlpower27 Wed 10-Dec-14 16:57:05

My DS started in nursery, some initial problems separating from me in the mornings though after around a month this was quickly overcome with the help of the nursery teacher who is very caring. This year he is in reception and again very happy his teacher gives him all the attention he needs and really makes me feel confident to have him participating in concerts and lots of creative activities. Have looked into qualifications and apart from lots of experience teachers are indeed qualified.

Pumpkin89 Wed 17-Dec-14 22:48:58

My DD attends lower yrs. The standard of teaching is pretty poor a lot of parents are pretty unhappy with the school. They do not listen to concerns their business model seem to consist of promising the sky by an accentric sales woman but once they get your money they do not care any more. Very high turnover of kids due to unhappy parents. Regarding qualification I have questioned this in the past and apparently staff recruitment is at the schools discretion - even the head of lower yrs have no qualification in teaching - check their website and read between the lines. all and all the school is pretty scabby - no investment into anything other than their website and beautiful garden. This is not an academic school - if you want your kids to have a good time and no pressure to work hard then this is the right place for that

Mutteroo Tue 23-Dec-14 00:49:13

Pumpkin89, may I ask why you are keeping your child at this school if its so bad? As you're paying a large amount of money, shouldn't you be getting the school that suits your child best? Not criticising, just wondering?

Pumpkin89 Fri 26-Dec-14 16:07:34

well she started there this term and only recently become obvious that this school is nothing what their glorious marketing material leads parents to believe they are about - I will move her from next september

DaddyC00L Tue 30-Dec-14 17:49:47

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Pumpkin89 Sun 04-Jan-15 12:30:30

sounds like a marketing person has been employed by the school to write the previous post - links inserted to advertise the upcoming six form?? these forums were set up for informal friendly discussions not for aggressive marketing

with regards to this school if people after an alternative and very relaxed environment for their kids to hang out in this schools is the right place.

Pushy parents who want result and good grades that will get their children into a university of their choice should certainly look elsewhere.

amidaiwish Mon 05-Jan-15 16:27:17

My friends whose dcs go there love it because they don't get homework, (juniors) all done in after school club. I can see the appeal! But it certainly is the opposite of an academic hothouse. It is a unique school, loved by many who want a more creative laid back school, a good alternative to the local academic independents.

yummymum35 Thu 15-Jan-15 13:31:34

Pumpkin clearly you are not happy there, probably best to take your child out if its not right for you. As for publicity for the new sixth form I really don't think they need anymore! I've seen the head being interviewed on bbc world news, the Sunday Times and pretty much every other broadsheet.

Miggsie Thu 15-Jan-15 13:58:49

OK my child is at HCH.
We all love it - I find the parents have more issues than the children with the approach.

It isn't standard, I still reel about some things HCH does BUT I actually think our "mainstream" education has it wrong and HCH probably has it right.

BTW anyone who thinks it isn't academic has it wrong - the upper years do work far more interesting and varied than standard schools, kids take exams when they are ready, not when it is age appropriate. The school has the highest pass rate in the country for Mandarin for example.

We chose the school as we wanted our child to have a happy school experience. Our child is very bright and turned down 2 offers from super selectives as they were "boring" - she thought their exams too easy but HCH was fun and different. They teach appropriate to the abilities of the class.

In how many schools do the teachers and children hug each other? At one concert the younger kids happily sat round their teacher hugging her legs, she didn't mind at all. Very friendly atmosphere.

The lower school is very French - in approach, temperament and teaching, that's something that takes getting used to.

I don't mind the teachers not being teacher qualified, IMO that qualification is rubbish and doesn't really tell you if the person is a good teacher from the kid's point of view.

Dominic the history teacher for example is utterly inspiring and so knowledgeable: any child taught by him is very fortunate. Wish I'd been taught history by him.

The school is also so friendly - kids welcome new kids happily, all the kids play together. DD has never had any bullying problems for being clever (or any bullying at all) which she got at her last school for instance.

yummymum35 Thu 15-Jan-15 14:37:19

You hit the nail on the head Miggsie, really special atmosphere I often see the head speaking to children with the utmost interest and respect something I had never seen in other schools where teachers treat children without the respect they deserve. You're right about HCH they do things in a way which makes you think "wow, really?" hence the poster above saying its not for everyone.

Another mother I've grown close to whose DS is in my DD's class has another child in year 6, very bright girl previously at another local selective independent but just "not that interested" now she comes home showing her work and wanting to delve into the subject further, that really convinced me to look beyond the minor niggles and focus on the more important things.

Tmch Sun 15-Feb-15 09:46:44

from the all above sounds like too much hugging not enough teaching - but then I guess the hugging is the perfect reflection on the environment

this school is an excellent place for children who do not fit the mainstream system for social, behavioural or academic reasons or just arrived in the country and don`t speak any English.
The school provides an environment where they happy and make them feel special - hence they art and not academic and sport focused. Good mix of children with all sort of different background and no pressure to do anything they dont want to or capable of. It is certainly not a result driven academic school

Gozogozo Sun 15-Feb-15 11:45:49

This is a very interesting school. It seems to have some outstanding teachers & some average to awful, & have quite a high teacher turnover. The structure of proprietor who is quite - unpredictable - plus very stern headmaster who still is open to new ideas eg sixth form school hours is possibly challenging for parents. I want to like it because I perceive it as a school seeking to keep alive a love of learning for its own sake, but I dont know enough about it to be 100%.

Parents I have met have been very very happy with it. But I don't know any enough to ask what their expectations of their children's futures were before they started. I have a dc who is bright & really loves to learn more about everything in depth & this is their time to do it! & it is clear that dc is very academic. I know that dc could do well anywhere but could they fulfil their potential at this school? Any opinions would be really helpful.

Tmch Sun 15-Feb-15 18:19:12

if your DC is academic then prob be best placed in an academic school - unless for some reason does not fit the mainstream system. You need to ask yourself what is your ultimate end goal - not all parents see their children following the path of higher education

Pumpkin89 Mon 02-Mar-15 21:02:56

Tmch if what you are saying is true then I just don`t get why they bill themselves as something else whilst they selling their service! If they were upfront and honest to start with then perhaps wouldn`t be any unhappy parents who feel misslead and deceived in what they bought into! To sell the idea of superior education is simply not on when they clearly do not provide that in any shape or form! Academically the school is totally underperforming! The headmaster is full of hot air - he uses out of date sales techniques whilst trying to convince peeps how marvellous their establishment is during open days.
peeps who considering this school should take the time and look at a decent number of other schools just to compare and the difference soon becomes obvious.

Tinkleb22 Sat 02-May-15 14:30:31

I am also very disappointed with HCH - started with with high hopes but the school has proved to be a complete disappointment. In my experience the standard is very low, below expectation in many different ways.

Their limited teaching is disorganised, lacks in structure and below standard compared to state or any other independents. English is specifically an issue. Their website with ref early years has a dedicated section detailing out that 3 different reading books that used to teach and read individually 3 times a week with their form teacher. I can confirm this does not happen at reception, the children read with an unmotivated support staff member, who holds no teaching qualification, once or twice a week, on a good week, from a single set of untaxing books. The form teacher seem to have no responsibility over reading at all. The kids are well behind of their peers outside of this school.

I raised a list of concerns with the headmaster, but it was a complete waste of time. He was in denial of any issues and his instant reaction was defence, which makes communication impossible. He seemed offended by the idea that anyone can be unhappy with their teaching practises or their school. During my meeting with him he was rude, dismissive, tried to be intimidating and spoke to me in a condescending tone. His mannerism has no reflection on the supposed ethos of the school. Leadership is just an other issue at this school.

During my meeting with him I have specifically raised low quality teaching practices, unprofessional support staff issues and the lack of replacement qualified teaching staff in the absence of the form teacher.

I explained that my DC was taught to read at home, and a 4 yr old should be going home to play and not to be taught the basic that should be learnt at school. He insisted that is how it should be - I am somewhat puzzled as to whom in their right mind would want to pay a school 4K a term and have to invest their own time sourcing materials and teaching their kids at home other than 10 mins reading a day.

Additionally, if the form teacher is absent there is no replacement teacher provisioned in the junior school - the kids are looked after by support staff who do not have qualification to teach. Again, I am unable to comprehend how this can be deemed acceptable in a fee paying school.

The lower years is certainly not a priority for the school - the attention and funding to offer value is just not there. The whole department is just unprofessionally run and does not resemble the idea that it was sold to me on the first place.

French and art is their unique selling point however the delivery of that is questionable. My DC is unable to respond to when asked simple questions, name or age in French despite spending 2 term at HCH - she speaks 2 other languages and English and a very communicative child so I do not think speaking French would be a challenge, if she was taught it.

With regards to art my DC came home on a weekly basis with cotton wool or pasta glued onto paper plate, well below their maturity level and have not seen anything substantial art work for their age. The children also have to have quite time- whereby they have to lie on the floor with the light off during the day - my DC and other kids used to hate this - they energetic 4 and 5 yr old they should be inspired and engaged and not put to bed - a practise that is unheard of at any other school!

I moved my DC to the local state school a month ago, after 2 terms at HCH - which I must admit had never considered before, we made a decision to private educate, but talking to people on my road I was inclined to give it a go for now. I have to say I am completely blow away by what the state has to offer in terms of facilities, professionalism, support and the quality of teaching. The children are very happy there, and able to communicate very well. They all fully engaged and tapped to their full potential in English and Maths and just to give a comparison the art topics at the moment is Mr &Mrs Andrews. I was sceptical at first as I thought this is way to advanced, but my DC is inspired by it and talks about in a concise way, and brought home her own take on it. The staff is devoted and dedicated they have their heart in their job. The reading support provisioned is outstanding - my DC is helped in a great deal to catch up with the class in English and Maths. The system is way superior to HCH.

All and all I am struggling to find anything positive to say about HCH or see any value in their service provision. I bought into the idea of innovative education but in practice I experienced quite the opposite.

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