Advice on primary schools in SW London? Confused!(24 Posts)
We have moved to London from abroad at the start of this year and I am completely confused by the school system here! Our son is at an independent school in Sth Ken which is more like attending a French school - so we are looking to move him. He's just gone into Form 2. I don't understand the 7/8/11+ issues? We are looking at independent schools and I would like to move him as little as possible and we have tried Harrodian as they take them all the way throug (and it's very close) but have been unimpressed with the admissions team - curt and dismissive at best!
So.. We have a middle range academic boy looking for primary school options near Barnes. Would prefer co-Ed as he had this previously..
If you're set on independent near Barnes, you could try Ibstock Place which has quite a few occasional places in the primary years. There are also schools such as Prospect House in Putney and Orchard House in Chiswick. Tower House is boys only in Sheen but very small. There is also Hurlingham School in Putney Bridge Road and The Roche School towards Wandsworth. Further afield in Kew there are a number of mixed private schools - Unicorn, Broomfield House, Kew College and Kew Green Prep School. I don't know much about any of them but you could try calling them all. Kings House (boys) in Richmond is also very popular around here. Fulham Prep School is not far over the river.
Thanks so much! The main importance for us is finding somewhere that is not rigidly academic but will still help him achieve the best he can.. He definitely needs some extra support and I don't want him to get left behind.
I've heard mixed reviews about Ibstock - some saying it's very academic and others that it's quite alternative. I'm going to see them to get a feel. Another thought was Hall School in Wimbledon - the grounds and facilities look very strong.
Agree with Singersgirl. Also worth a shot at Latymer Prep if you plan to stay on in the Uk as though there will be lots applying if you get a place you should be OK through to 18.
Ravenscourt Park looks nice. I assume they lose some boys to Colet and Latymer at 7/8+ and some girls to Bute which presumably would open up places.
Quite a lot of boys prep schools north of the river but several quite trad and focussed on entrance to the very academic London schools or boarding.
Have you looked at Hampton Court House School? Co-ed, emphasis on French and not that focussed on traditional academic results.
Thanks again.. Schools seem to be very full around the area but we are on a few waitlists. I would prefer not to cross the river as this is a nightmare in the mornings. Has anyone heard anything about The Hall in Wimbledon?
Just in case it widens your options....the state primary schools in Barnes area are all very good
Unfortunately we are a bit too far from Barnes Primary and I have heard very mixed things about Lowther. Will keep doing the commute to South Ken until I can find something suitable! The Roche School sounds interesting, but I am worried about the lack of grounds.. DS has a lot of energy he needs to run off!
I have two girls at Lowther, and love it (so do they). I would visit and decide for myself, but fair enough!
Thanks for the inside info! I am going to visit next week.. How mixed is it in terms of socio background? I drove past the other day and wasn't sure about the area which seems quite different to where we are in Barnes. DS has always attended private education and I wouldn't want it to be difficult for him to assimilate. Hope that makes sense!
I'm glad you're visiting and getting to make your own mind up, good for you!
Big mix, and by that I mean there are a fair few on free school lunch, increasing numbers of middle class/professional families, and one little boy I remember having a gigantic birthday cake delivered from Harrods, big enough for his whole class to eat twice over
So...a big mix. The whole range.
I come from the other end of Barnes daily, nearer the pond, and my dds have had no problems at all - far from it. Lowther is hot on inclusion, whatever the kid's background. I haven't had any problems either, and have so many good friends amongst the mums there now - both from the Estate and not.
Both dds have friends who have gone/are going to independent schools at 7+ and/or 11+, and they may well do too at 11+...depending on state of local schools at that point.
But, do go and see - its not for everyone, I'm sure. It does depend on your priorities for a primary. I looked at two indies, two state primaries, and chose Lowther - but had many raised eyebrows at the time (four years ago)! No regrets, though.
My children go to Lowther, like Elibean I chose it over the area's private schools. I really wouldn't worry about the mixed demographic, they have children of EVERY background there, some live in million-plus pound houses, some come from the estate, many in between (though the million-pound bit is growing because word is out the school is good). They all get along fantastically. I can't imagine your son would have problems assimilating, it is a very happy school and I've never known a child not love it there. Please PM me if you'd like to know more
Lowther is a fabulous school - a school with a family atmosphere, great community spirit between the school community itself and residents of North Barnes. Staff that seem to really love and want the best for the kids. It has a really special vibe. The kids get an all round experience that many other schools in London could not hope of providing - there is an allotment growing fruit and veg and the children are welcome to go and explore and help with the gardening - they keep chickens and we all love collecting and taking home the eggs. It has a huge playing field, guinea pigs, big and small playgrounds, space to ride scooters, friendship benches, climbing walls etc. Kids love to stay in the playground for ages once school's out whether just to play or join in after school clubs. People come from all walks of life and mix together really well - I think that is part of what makes it so special. Kids get to integrate with people from all different socio economic racial backgrounds. And they really learn from that. One minute you're celebrating Divali, the next you're celebrating a swedish festival...
Every teacher knows every child's name and the children are in awe of the inspiring head. They will do anything to get the opportunity to go and show off their achievements to him. Hong Kong Fui secret ceremonies are help. There's a LAFTA's (spoof on the BAFTAS) awards night for really random things that's been introduced that rewards not only the academic but those who've really improved or been amazing at cookery etc.
Can you tell I'd recommend it 100% ?!
Wow.. Gosh, for all the London independent schools I have never heard so many glowing reviews! It has really made me think twice about a school I wasn't considering. I will see how I go there next week.. I have heard some questionable things about the estate and it does worry me a little.. I am not used to the idea of estates, we just don't have the same system in Australia.
Also going to see Hurlingham and Orchard House so hopefully will find him a place somewhere..!
In the nicest possible way, OP, you've probably heard those things from people who have never been in to the estate in their lives or visited Lowther, that tends to be the way in Barnes. Believe me, by the standards of London estates this estate is about as harmonious as it gets. Plenty of Aussie parents at Lowther too btw. Good luck, whatever you decide
I'd like to join in the chorus of praise for Lowther Primary. My DS has been there since Reception and has loved it from the first day. He'd go at weekends if he could. The Head, Mark Tuffney, is a hero and the kids worship him with an evangelistic passion that's lovely to see. The school is very well run, there is every conceivable kind of club and activity and they set high academic standards to which the kids just naturally want to aspire. Yes, it's in the middle of an estate, yes, it has a few kids who speak English as a second language or have troubled families and a certain type of Barnes Mum is a bit sniffy about its location and mixed demographic. My advice is go and see it for yourself. It's a wonderful, inspirational place and a lot of private schools could learn a lesson or two from it. My DS still can't quite believe his luck and he's in Y6.
I would wholeheartedly disagree with all the glowing remarks about Lowther. I fell for its initial impression but once my son started going there, it was a different story. The classrooms are filled to the brim and they do not have enough help. Other state primaries in the area have 1,2, sometimes 3 assistants for each class, our Year 2 class just had the one teacher and an occasional helper. She was overwhelmed! My son had guided reading only once from September-December. If you think there's any chance an education at Lowther compares to an independent school in the area, you are seriously mistaken!
Try the Harrodian again. You must have got the admissions person on an off day as they are usually really helpful and polite. It sounds as though it would fit all your criteria, particularly as you are so near! Try again! My son there if you need any more info.
Oh didn't see that this is a really old thread. Wish you could delete them
Missusbond, when did your son move from Lowther? My daughter is in Y1 and has guided reading at least 2 a week. All the children have one to one reading at least once a week with a parent, and once a week with the teacher. Weaker readers are reading 1:1 every single day. I think maybe your information is out of date and therefore unhelpful ;) All I know is my daughter is thriving -- progressing way beyond what I would have expected and very happy and content. Which is all I want for her really. The only thing that I would say is in favour of the Harrodian (know lots of people whose children go there) is the emphasis on sport and the range of after school activities. But of course, you have to pay for them so I have just arranged sports and after school activities for her myself which has the added bonus of her making lots of friends out of school which I hope will be useful for her during the times that school isn't so good for her (which is bound to happen).
Oh, I meant to say as well, there are only 26 children in my daughter's class. With one teacher, one TA, one student teacher and plenty of parent helpers.
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