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Eaton House Belgravia, Abercorn and the Hall

(17 Posts)
cleung Thu 08-May-14 13:17:48

Really appreciate someone can provide some opinions on this.
We are in a process relocating to London from Hong Kong, and we are originally from US. We are considering two schools at this moment. One is EHB , and the other one is Abercorn. My 4 year old son is very academic ahead, both literacy and maths. I hope to put him in a place he is happy and have football and music afternoon club activities. His current teacher also indicates strong and tough academic school shall fit him. However, we will live in St. John wood area. Commute to SW will be problem or we may considering moving to Chelsea or Pilmico if schools in those areas fit my son better. Really appreciate comments on these two school. I really do not know much about London school and very stress out as I would like to try my best to find a school not hinder his existing strengths.

meditrina Thu 08-May-14 13:27:26

Do you have or coukd you get an educational consultant as part of your relocation package.

There are lots of very good preps in London, and you really do need to think about what the school run will be like.

IIRC, Eaton House Belgravia does not have much in the way of on site sports facilities and boys are bussed to Battersea Park. But as there are any number of children's football clubs in London, it's not something he would need to do at school.

cleung Fri 09-May-14 15:28:49

Meditrina. Thank you very much for your info. Is EHB an academic hothouse ? I will have a school tour next week for Abercorn. I hope this coming tour will help me make up decision. I understand there are a lot of pre-prep. Unfortunately, I call many and it seems that all are full. A bit discourage.

meditrina Fri 09-May-14 15:46:56

When are you hoping your son will enter?

Many lists will be full for September, but there is an enormous amount of churn as families are relocating in and out of London all the time.

I don't know if EHB is particularly hot-housey, but that group of school has a reputation for being very traditional.

cleung Fri 09-May-14 17:58:17

Unfortunately, sep 2014. smile. Sign. We did secure a place for him at EHB. But, my gut still feels not too right and I am a bit worried about the commute as mentioned earlier. Maybe I am also concerned the school is very traditional as you said and not sure if he is ok.. They will have a new boy party end of June, and we will see how he feels. Also, this is a chance for me to meet his future classmates' parents! Hopefully, he is happy there and then everyone will be released.

We will keep trying another school (Arnold house and hall school ) close to home to avoid moving.

cleung Fri 09-May-14 18:00:21

Meditrina, would you please explain a bit more about VERY traditional school there in London means ? We are from NYC . Thanks again.

meditrina Fri 09-May-14 21:17:24

It means that it does exactly what it says on the tin. They are a prep school and they prepare boys for public school (I think most leavers go to,HMC schools). They are competent all round, but not particularly known for art, drama of music. They go in for competitive sport quite early. And (I think, but ready to be corrected) the academic work is pretty formal from very early (eg proper homework from year one).

And the under 8s have shorts as year-round uniform.

josuk Fri 09-May-14 22:42:23

We have friends in EHB, so from what I have seen the school is right for an academic boy. It would be a "strong and tough" as you say in your post. Unfortunately, it is a central London school, so there are no grounds to speak of. But boys do get to do sport and have to be bussed to parks, etc. So are the kids from all other central London schools btw. The school's main focus it to prepare boys for highly competitive exams in Y2 or Y3 to apply for the top upper schools. So, no, I don't think it is a hot house for the sake of it - it just does what it's meant to do.

Also, another element of "traditional" is strong discipline and manners. I think you'll find it in a lot of private schools in the UK.

Given your timing, I'd go for the best school that is available to you at this point. And I'd register for the occasional places in the St. John Wood area schools. North London has a number of great schools - try the Good Schools Guide it may give you more ideas.

The Hall is an excellent school - have friends there too. Unfortunately, I don't know if there is much mobility there and how often places open up.

Good luck!

cleung Sun 11-May-14 10:51:19

Josuk, many thanks for your information. I feel much better after hearing from you on EHB. i did look for strong discipline, academic and good manner. We did ring the Hall up, we are not sure if we could still have luck at this stage for year 1 2015 entry. We are waiting for their reply.

I will further look into good school guide to identify 1-2 more school and register him for occasional places.

Thanks again.

JaneParker Sun 11-May-14 11:28:04

You might want to find a school which feeds into Colet court (St Paul's juniors - one of most academic in London) at 7+ though or into Westminster Under School (junior bit of Westminster) the other great London school. Some preps don't like or let boys sit for those entrances and only want boys to leave at 13+. If you want to get a boy into St Paul's or Westminster it is easier at 7 or 8+ not at 13+.

If you are not going to be posted in London for many years then I would not worry about that at all however.

EdithWeston Sun 11-May-14 13:34:30

One additional school you might want to have a look at is Hill House (in Chelsea). It's an international school, so is good at dealing with pupils arriving from different systems, but is also a pretty traditional prep school (with a very solid list of leavers' destinations).

And as many of its families are expats, there are always pupils arriving and leaving, so is quite a good bet for occasional places. They do prefer UK based pupils to stay until the traditional 11+ and 13+ departure points, but can deal with any parental preference. It's quite a big school too, so lots of places.

cleung Mon 12-May-14 01:19:43

JaneParker and EdithWeston, appeciate your valuable information. We do have intention to settle in London at least until my son 11+. Sign... i do want my son be able to get in either Colet or Westminster under ( both are very compebtitive schools ) if he can and enjoys. That is part of my reason i like EHB at bit more except the location given we are now living in the north. Hope the new boy party will ease some of my stress, and my boy enjoys there. My son seems like co-Ed more!!!!!!

I have put my son's name on the waiting list for hill house in Jan before we moved to London. But, no luck so far.

It seems like we may need to seriously consider moving to the south if no luck from the North.

JaneParker Mon 12-May-14 07:02:27

In that case a school which feeds into those and prepares boys for entrance for those might be good although we had a girl at Kensington prep (girls only) and she went to North London Collegiate, our first choice, (we are more outer London than you will be) at 7+ even though her school did not prepare children to leave at 7+. We just did some times tables et at home and she had about 6 sessions with a tutor to prepare her for exams and she was fine.

cleung Mon 12-May-14 14:09:50

JaneParker, may I know how your girl commute to school? My son enjoys taking school bus as he makes friends there. Unfortunately, EHB does not have school bus route to our place. Thanks in advance.

JaneParker Mon 12-May-14 18:27:46

We have five children and have had various travel arrangements over the years. Our older three children including the one at NLCS took school coaches. We used to drive them to the school coach in the morning. Then as we both work full time our daily nanny would collect them after - they have younger siblings who needed a nanny at home all day. (The younger two are now at school and the older one at NLCS has left now - she's over 18).

Currently I drive the youngest two to school most mornings and their older brother collects them. But we are in outer London which is very different from inner.

Needmoresleep Tue 13-May-14 12:14:05

CLeung, if you are not sure how long you will be staying and have a child who prefers co-ed I would plump for a 13+ prep, ie Newton Prep, Thomas', or Fulham Prep. Or Hill House mentioned above. I would also try Garden House, Weatherby, Eaton Square etc. There is quite a lot of population movement in Central London. If you say you are looking for a place till 13 they are more likely to be interested, should an occasional place come up.

There appears to be a view amongst a section of the London ex-pat community that a place at Colet Court/WUS is the be-all and end-all. True Westminster and SPS are fantastic schools, but for the right boy. What can be a fantastic and challenging environment for one, becomes a stress inducing hot-house for another. The education arms race is such that a lot of 6 year old boys are being prepped very heavily, and this can then continue for the 11+ pre-test, and then onto 13+ Common Entrance. Enough to turn a bright but not outstanding boy off education for life. Really not worth it unless you want to stay in the English system for the duration.

The schools I have mentioned are large schools, so lots of scope to set and stream. A good cohort will stay through to 13, and will expect to receive a good consistent education, rather than the stop/start of being prepped for 7+ and 8+. All of these schools regularly send pupils to the big name secondaries, but also to a range of other good schools, giving you time to find out what sort of child you have first. Some children perform much better if they are towards the top of their cohort, and will thrive better at say, Latymer Upper, Alleyns, Highgate or Hampton, than if they are in the bottom third at SPS or Westminster.

Your son is already having to change country and education system. Do you then really want him to be working flat out for external exams so he can change schools again, and then find that you are moving country. If you are still around at 11, he can do the pre-tests, and if you then move country to somewhere where the international school is not well regarded, you have the option of keeping him in the British system via boarding.

Before deciding on a school it is worth looking at TfL's journey planner. Its time not distance that matter. You dont want to have to drive, so a school on a direct tube line or bus route should be preferred.

cleung Fri 16-May-14 02:40:09

All, appreciate your comments and sharing.

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