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what are the most racially diverse london schools?

(108 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

LaVitaBellissima Thu 04-Jul-13 22:18:16

Which area of London are you looking to move to? What age group?
The very large majority of London is racially diverse in both state and private schools.

lhc2 Thu 04-Jul-13 22:31:38

- LaVitaBellissima: South Kensington/Chelsea and by the time we move to London they will be 8 and 8.5

lhc2 Thu 04-Jul-13 22:36:15

^ sorry, 8 and 9 years old!

thaliablogs Fri 05-Jul-13 07:35:48

Op sounds like you are looking at private schools?

you are right the private schools in that area are among the least racially diverse in London, because of the catchment area. The uk has a much smaller black middle class than the US proportionally, so you are always going to find fewer black children in private schools. If you want to go private and have your daughter have more of a diverse mix of friends, you would be better off in north London - Devonshire house or north bridge house have more black and Asian families than eg Frances holland, Knightsbridge school, glendower, queens gate, Falkner house etc.. You might look at hill house which has a slightly more eclectic bunch of parents as its an eclectic school, but do visit as some people just don't like it. Of the Knightsbridge schools, prob Knightsbridge would be your best bet, it certainly has plenty of Americans and other nationalities (Russian, for example) and although there are not plenty of black and Asian origin children there are a few. It's also a very warm and caring school so I imagine they would try hard to provide both your children with what they need.

horsemadmom Fri 05-Jul-13 10:41:13

I agree with the above. South Ken and Chelsea are very WASPY. I can recommend North Bridge House (co-ed). Very diverse. DD2 just finishing there. Girls' schools like Sarum Hall are oddly white for the area. St. Christopher's is very diverse. I'm afraid that you'll really need to look more in North London for ethnic mix. It would help to know which school in NYC they are in and I can give you comparisons.

NotFluffy Fri 05-Jul-13 11:13:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notcitrus Fri 05-Jul-13 11:51:45

Or South London - plenty of black and Asian kids round Dulwich College, Alleyns, JAGS, Streatham & Clapham Girls... consider living in Clapham or Dulwich (I'm assuming you have the budget, if you're thinking about living round S Ken/Chelsea)

granita Fri 05-Jul-13 13:28:10

The Dulwich schools are also very WASPY. Though there are slightly more Asian children in these schools, perhaps because of the rote learning culture in this demographic. (The entrance tests require lots of preparation.)
Black children are far fewer. IMO our white middle class is still largely xenophobic. Witness the "white flight" from schools which have become disproportionately ethnic. There are comments on here re:"Too many Chinese." Children at Christ's Hospital, known for its ethnic diversity, are whispered to have "social problems."
Many white parents will still avoid schools where there are brown faces. How do you account for the survival of some private schools which have appalling academic records? They exist, because they are white ghettos, and, sadly, to some, a refuge from people perceived as having undesirable traits. So I would say at many of these schools, black children tarnish the brand, and are discouraged.
I have heard many an anecdote of highly academic black children with stellar extra-curriculars being turned away from some of these schools.
The one or two who get in, will be wheeled out at open days to create the impression of inclusivity.
This polarity occurs in the state sector as well. Only a handful of schools are truly diverse IME.
I am white and my partner is black. Sometimes, white women I am with socially will forget that my child is of mixed heritage and the comments I hear are shockingly bigoted. And upsetting!
If I were the OP I would concentrate on Inner London. Perhaps City of London School for Girls. Some of the Hampstead/north London independents (traditionally a more liberal area.) There are some excellent (state) church schools in Hammersmith and Fulham/Westminster. All hugely oversubscribed though.

Quangle Fri 05-Jul-13 13:31:38

If diversity is important, I'd look at state schools. eg, St Marylebone in Westminster. But more or less all of them will be highly diverse given its London - whereas private schools will be much less so.

Needmoresleep Fri 05-Jul-13 13:55:50

Many of the schools mentioned seem to be secondary schools. If you are looking for Private preps and want to live in South Ken/Chelsea (both lovely areas though well out of the financial reach of most Brits) you might look at prep just south of the river, including Newton Prep.

You will then get a wider economic if not racial, diversity. Plus it can be assumed that parents who choose to live in inner city south London close to Brixton (Stockwell, Clapham, Vauxhall) are reasonably relaxed and open.

I think Thaliablogs is right about the smaller black middle class in London. However there is one and they use private schools. It will depend on the school but I hope I am right in thinking that the black and mixed race children we have known and their parents have not experienced any problems.

North of the river there will be huge diversity in that children at schools lile Glendower and Eaton Sq will come from all pver. Russian, American, Asian, Arab, European etc. Some will be visibly ethnic though only a small proportion of these will be black.

A choice really. Do you want your kids to be part of a rich international and cosmopolitan community reflecting the Chelsea/Souyh Ken population. Or something less international/more British (though still will quite a mix) greater ecomonic diversity, and probably a few more black or mixed race kids.

Either way things will be diverse and your children shoild not feel any more different than their peers.

AuntieStella Fri 05-Jul-13 14:07:46

Most London private schools are very cosmopolitan, as there are so many international companies based there.

Commuting across London can however be a total pain, so do you have any idea whereabouts you will be living?

Are you looking for prep or secondary? And are you sure single-sex only? If you might consider co-ed, then look at the American School and Hill House (an international school).

Pyrrah Fri 05-Jul-13 17:41:00

You will also need to consider whether you are looking for a selective school or one where you just pay fees and your child can go.

Places like City of London Girls have fiercely competitive entrance exams, and you would need to check that your DD's have covered the syllabus required to sit the test.

horsemadmom Fri 05-Jul-13 17:56:53

City of London School for Girls was the whitest school any of my kids have ever attended.Avoid.

Blu Fri 05-Jul-13 18:02:19

Granita - which S London state schools in the areas which border the private schools you mention would you describe as WASPY? All the ones I know of, including those which are subjet to intense competition to get in, are completely diverse!

imademarion Fri 05-Jul-13 18:10:09

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 was at three schools was I was the only girl in the school of either my ethnic or religious group.

I cannot imagine my parents thinking, never mind saying, such a thing. I believe that If you go to a country, you accept the ethnic make-up of where you end up and you teach you children that skin colour is utterly irrelevant.

Decency of character and friendliness is NOT dependent on skin colour.

If your post was re-written with the word 'white' or 'clever'' for example, this site would implode.

You are, in my opinion, making skin colour way too big a deal and as long as this kind of discrimination is modelled to our kids, we will never properly be a colour blind society.

Xenia Fri 05-Jul-13 18:18:16

Not that close but one of the best in London for junior and senior if you are bright enough to go into and very racially mixed with coach services from London is North London Collegiate.
It is worth travelling to go there.

TeaAddict235 Fri 05-Jul-13 18:21:36

Hi there OP. I am of caribbean decent, born in the UK, Privately educated, have a PhD in engineering, speak 2 foreign languages fluently (German, french) and can safely tell you that private schools south of the river are fine.

The Black middle classes in Europe are not that small, we just carefully select the friends that we keep (!).

Try Blackheath High, St. Dunstan's College, JAGS, Alleyns, Dulwich College, Sydenham Girls,

and many of these schools have Old Girls associations or Old Boys associations, which many professionals like myself attend to offer professional advice to sensible young people. There are many professional associations for people of black heritage to network, without the nonsense that many of the others here have mentioned.

Hope that that helps xx

lhc2 Fri 05-Jul-13 20:45:21

Thank you so much for all the answers.

I'm not 100% sure we'll live in south kensington/chelsea but it's high likely as it's close to our new job... but maybe i should starting looking at new areas and schools.
We are quite used to competitive schools, nyc private schools can be very hard to get in

AuntieStella: Prep. I prefer single sex but i can change my mind.

imademarion: I don't think i'm making a big deal out of it and it's not really about decency of character or friendlines. She's used to go to school with kids of different backgrounds and colors and I think it's healthy to have that around my kids and i'm willing to keep that lifestyle but if that is not possible we'll have to adjust.

nokissymum Fri 05-Jul-13 21:44:42

OP please look at this prep school, it starts from age 3-13yrs, its very diverse and nurturing. Its in Watford, not too difficult to get into London from there.

imademarion Fri 05-Jul-13 22:26:45

diversity is very important to me as i don't want her to be the only black girl in her class

Sounds like a pretty big deal to me, sorry if I've misunderstood.

I'm just surprised that so many people seem to think it perfectly ok to judge a school's suitability by the skin colour of its pupils.

Anyway, I hope you find a school of appropriate ethnic mix; moving schools can be an ordeal.

Blu Fri 05-Jul-13 23:50:54

"you accept the ethnic make-up of where you end up and you teach you children that skin colour is utterly irrelevant."

The ethnic make-up of London is diverse...and so if you find that a London school does not reflect that diversity then it may very well be that skin colour is far from irrelevant in that setting!

I wouldn't want DS to be the only boy amongst girls in his school.

Actually, DS is the only child of his ethnicity in his class (or he was at primaty - probably isn't now), but as the class reflects a very wide ranging diversity, there are many kids who are 'the only one'.

QuintessentialOldDear Fri 05-Jul-13 23:56:47

Ethnically diverse (as in not too many white people), single sex (as in no boys) and private (as in no poor people) - Not asking much are you?

Good luck with that.

Dustylaw Sat 06-Jul-13 00:37:56

Well really do go and have a look at some of the state primaries around Knightsbridge/Chelsea. You might be lucky and get places and your girls will get a mixed experience (in a positive sense).

thaliablogs Sat 06-Jul-13 01:41:35

Teaddict not sure which bits of above you were particularly objecting to, but the black middle class being smaller in the uk than in the us is a fact. 2001 census showed 1% of uk population identifies themselves as black Caribbean, while 0.8% identified as black African. On the other hand, in the USA 12.6% of the population identifies as black or African American. 38.4 % of the black American population is middle class if classified by income. Given the us population is approx 310 million, whole the uk is around 60m, it is demonstrably true the us has a much larger black middle class before you even start to discuss the development of wealth in the black uk population and therefore the different proportional representation of 'middle class.''

Sorry op, rather off topic. Hope you find school you need. Fwiw, one good friend (white) has a mixed race daughter who loves her state school in clapham, one other good friend (black) has her mixed race daughters in one of the aforementioned north London prep schools and is similarly happy that they fit in, although she says she has occasionally been taken for the nanny at the school gates as there are not many parents of colour.

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