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Pls help! Hampstead prep schools

(7 Posts)
WanderingSwede Sun 14-Dec-14 11:49:18

Hi everyone, I have posted before but about different schools and now need a little more specific help... we are hoping to move back to London in September and the only school I really like in the area (from reading about it) is Heathside. I am looking for co-ed (I have a 6yo boy and 3yo girl) and I am looking for a relaxed, happy, stimulating environment. After the relaxed Swedish system I am worried about my son suddenly facing a pressured school day which will leave him under confident as he is bound to be behind at first though both are fluent in English) and heaps of homework. I really liked Heathside when I went round but then heard from a parent that homework is heavy and from another that the school has decided to focus very strongly on the academic side. This is not what was portrayed to me when I was shown round but I do believe parents.

Does anyone have children at Heathside and can help answer some questions?

Also my son likes kicking a football around but mainly he and his friends play imaginary games, build dens etc during their breaks. At Heathside the boys were all playing football in the playground and apparently do so when they go to the Heath too. Are English boys mainly about football and being boys? (Meaning how they're expected to behave not that all are the same... hard to phrase what I mean). In Sweden there is a lot of focus on the individual, it's a gentle place and though my son's best friend is a boy he is very close to girls too.

Sorry if this seems muddled and rambling, am writing on my iPhone with two children hopping around...

Thank you in advance!

WanderingSwede Sun 14-Dec-14 15:08:17

Sorry, bumping myself...

Greenfizzywater Mon 15-Dec-14 16:45:00

Any hampstead prep school will have an eye on the 11+ from the start so will be quite academic quite early on, it's what most of the parents want. Have you considered King Alfred's? Much more alternative outlook, co-ed, no uniform and goes to 18.

Tiggermum14 Tue 16-Dec-14 11:52:23

We live right by Heathside and have a number of neighbours who send their kids there - including a Finnish family and also a family who just moved in from India (so kids had no experience of UK schools). In the younger years at least Heathside seems to be nurturing and good at integrating newcomers without too much pressure. I agree with greenfizzy that all Hampstead preps focus on the 11+ but Heathside seems to ramp the preparation up more gently than some of the others. So as your kids are young, you should be fine!
Re playing footie v imaginary games I would say that there will be a range at Heathside - it doesn't seem an exclusively footie school and when I see them playing on the Heath there is all sorts going on!
HTH and good luck!

WanderingSwede Wed 17-Dec-14 11:34:24

Hi Greenfizzy, thank you for your reply, I haven't looked round King Alfred's (and now arrived a little too late with end of term) and will try and look round in Jan. Thought it looked great from website but then heard a lot that the children run wild/are arrogant etc. I know that can't/shouldn't rely on what a few people say but it did put me off a bit. Also we have a little place very near Heathside where we would at least start off and so feels a bit of a trek to KA for prep school (if we are able to choose).

WanderingSwede Wed 17-Dec-14 11:35:18

Sorry Greenfizzy, sent too early. Anyway, thank you again and will try and visit KA.

WanderingSwede Wed 17-Dec-14 11:44:02

Thank you so much Tiggermum. Good to know from what you've heard not too pressured in early years. Wanted son to do 11+ rather than 13 as assumed less stressful exams? (I did 11+ and don't remember it as too awful). Perhaps I'm wrong. Everything seems stressy with school in London!
Really nice to hear lots more than football going on in the Heath. Pity I arrived just at the end of term otherwise I could have lingered on the Heath...
Had SiL over last night and she has friends whose daughter is Yr 2 at Heathside and they say 30min homework each evening and that the daughter seems baffled by what's set each evening as if nothing to do with what she learnt each day... Seems so tough to have extra work like that at the end of a long day when you're only 7.
Well thank you again, and if you hear anything more from your friends it would be fab if you got in touch.

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