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Heathside prep school, Hampstead

(35 Posts)
WanderingSwede Mon 19-Jan-15 11:29:36

Hi, I have posted a few times about this school but I'm afraid I am now posting again, I would so like to hear from someone with a child at this school. I went round it in December and thought it seemed happy and cosy however a friend of a friend has a daughter in year 3 who spends each night in tears because there is so much homework and it is so difficult. Apparently the school which I thought was unhothouse-y compared to other schools in the area is now upping the academic side of things. My son would be joining year 2 from a very gentle education in Sweden and I would hate for him to find not only a massive change in his school day (which is no bad thing) but also to find his home time filled with difficult homework at 7 years old. Thank you in advance!

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 19-Jan-15 11:33:32

I do not know about this school but tbh most of those little prep schools in North London will be solely focused on 'academia' as that is why they exist. If I were you I would send my child to a state school where they will receive a far more rounded education, and in addition learn to be accepting of people who are different.

WanderingSwede Mon 19-Jan-15 11:47:45

Hi Sunny, thank you for your reply, the state primaries in the area are fantastic so I would love that (our children are state educated in Sweden so we are not desperate to isolate them!) but for reasons too long winded to explain here we need the longer holidays (not so we can go on luxury holidays...) I really liked this school as was sweet and scruffy and people complained about the academic side not being focused on enough but everything else was lovely and that's what I cared about but it seems they feel (or parents feel) that it should be more academic.

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 19-Jan-15 11:51:35

yes I see what you mean about the holidays.......
What about King Alfred?

WanderingSwede Mon 19-Jan-15 11:56:40

(Husband's work means he will be in Sweden most of the time so we need to be able to be there as much as possible.) King Alfred sounds perfect but I have messed up and put them on the waiting list too late, wanted to go round when I was over for Christmas but ended up not being able to. Read some negative things on here but think sounds more like what my children are used to (but with added things that money buys!). Thank you again.

Greenfizzywater Mon 19-Jan-15 20:03:48

I'm afraid SunnyBaudelaire has it exactly right - N London prep schools are in a race for the 11+ and will all be in to fairly hefty homework by 7.

gepublic Sun 01-Mar-15 14:57:49

DC1 and 2 started at Heathside and absolutely loved it, small school, warm, caring teachers, but by Y2 we were also finding the amount of homework a bit overwhelming, even though it is probably about on par with other N London preps! And for various reasons we left in Y3 (the main one being that we decided we wanted our DC at a school that they could potentially stay at until 18.) Schools are such a personal choice, you really just have to find the one that suits your family!

ag123 Sun 01-Mar-15 16:06:17

Will you definitely be based in Hampstead or could you widen your search a little?

WanderingSwede Mon 02-Mar-15 10:57:10

Hi gepublic and ag123, thank you very much for your messages.
ag123, we will be based in Hampstead and though we could look further afield I really liked the idea of being able to walk to school (one thing being easy for them in this move at least!)
gepublic, wonderful to hear positive things about the school, even if you confirm the homework issue. I agree about finding a school that goes up to 18, I would have loved that, seems so crazy to spend so much lesson time and energy on learning to pass an exam. Quite enough with GCSEs and A-levels. At least they didn't have to do a written exam for Heathside..!

H4dley Mon 02-Mar-15 12:20:14

Hi wanderingswede

My DC go to Dwight which is a bit further north but I think they have buses from Hampstead. Dwight is international and goes from 3 (I think) to 18. Its not a hothouse but is successful.

Wiifitmama Mon 02-Mar-15 12:30:33

Hi. I am not a mum with kids at these schools but I tutor children in Hampstead all at different private schools. My experience is that all the prep schools have a heavy homework load as they are preparing for the 11+. However, the international schools are different. I titir a child at Southbank International school (campus in Hampstead) and it is a much more well rounded experience with significantly less homework. The children are from all over the world too. I believe the holidays are long too. I went to an international school myself (in London) in high school and loved the experience. Just a thought smile

WanderingSwede Mon 02-Mar-15 12:37:38

Thank you very much Wiifitmama, I have now got places at Heathside so I think I will go for it but I will keep this in mind in case we feel the homework is making life a misery. My mother spoke at some event at the American school in North London and then met with parents afterwards and was lyrical about it and the attitudes so I can imagine the same about the one you speak of. Will have to go and google it now!

WanderingSwede Mon 02-Mar-15 12:39:50

H4dley, thank you for your message. I will google Dwight now. As I said to someone else we have just heard that we have got places at Heathside so I think we will go for that. It is very good to have other schools to think of though if we find it doesn't work out. Thank you again.

sleepwhenidie Mon 02-Mar-15 12:44:20

wandering I have friends with DC's at Heathside and they are, on the whole, fairly happy. It's probably worth considering The Academy School too, not as relaxed academically as King Alfred's, gets kids into a full range of secondaries, not just the academic ones, ie they cater to the child, not to results for their own sake (like most hothouse N London preps). They also don't have lots of homework (at least not until y5) and have crazy long holidays due to starting lessons at 8am smile.

sleepwhenidie Mon 02-Mar-15 12:45:05

You'll need v deep pockets for ASL!

sleepwhenidie Mon 02-Mar-15 12:46:10

Oh, the Academy School is on Rosslyn Hill btw, slap bang in the middle of Hampstead.

WanderingSwede Mon 02-Mar-15 13:10:06

Thank you so much sleepwhenidie, crazy long holidays smile. Homework starting properly at Yr 5 makes a lot of sense, that's about how it is in Sweden too. I have heard lots of good things about the Academy but in the end decided not to apply because there was a suggestion the classes were too small. It will be tricky for my two to come into a class as it is so I thought slightly bigger would be better. As I said to some others who posted though it is good to know some other good schools if things don't work out at Heathside (we have places now).

Do you mean the American school when you say ASL? Hadn't checked out the fees. Will have to snoop now! I suppose a lot of children there have their fees paid for by their parents' work if posted from overseas so they can charge (even) more than other private schools.

sleepwhenidie Mon 02-Mar-15 14:04:06

Understand on the class size, they tend to be approx 14 at The Academy, but I know someone who's child is at Heathside in a class of 4 shock - iirc think she is older child though, whose peers have left. May be worth confirming numbers at Heathside if you haven't already smile.

Yes and yes to ASL, fees £20-£24k pa and I'm sure mostly paid by overseas employers.

WanderingSwede Mon 02-Mar-15 14:57:20

Sleepwhenidle - 4 children?!! Only goes up to 11 so that's bad. Understand if 13 as some leave at 11. Oh dear. Don't think I dare check though as we are accepting the places ��. Fees for ASL are pretty shocking, more like a boarding school!

sleepwhenidie Mon 02-Mar-15 15:01:18

I think the child is 11+ yes, so don't panic!

EllieNW3 Thu 16-Apr-15 20:32:00

Hejssan smile,

Sorry I only saw your thread now. I am a Heathside mum and a fellow Scandinavian (the non-Swedish or similar language speaking kind). You have probably made your decision by now but please do let me know if I can be of any help. I know a Swedish mum there too whose all children are either at Heathside or have moved on from Heathside (to a top secondary).

Yes, homework is quite a lot. My daughter is in year 2 so I would be able to tell you in quite a detail what you could expect from that year. We love the school and have had such a pleasant experince :-)

Good luck with your move regardless. I know it can be stressful. We came back in summer 2013 after having had lived abroad for five years.

WanderingSwede Fri 17-Apr-15 09:54:22

Hej EllieNW3! Thank you for writing. Our move is fixed and the children are starting at Heathside in September so it was perfect to hear a lovely positive comment here! Our son will be starting Year 2 (he'll be one of the older ones as he turns 7 this summer but the school were happy for him to move down a year which I'm very happy about) and our daughter into Reception. It would be wonderful to hear some more about Yr2 please! x

EllieNW3 Wed 06-May-15 14:58:05

I will PM you smile

WanderingSwede Wed 06-May-15 16:27:17

Oh wonderful, thank you!

KamillaJ Thu 03-Sep-15 09:48:23

So great to read all your messages.

We are based in Sydney and coming to London end of this year, to start school in the January term (January 2016). We are relocating as my husband has been offered a job in London. We want to be based in Hampstead as I lived close by when I studied at UCL in my early 20s and love the area, and my husband will have an easy commute to London Bridge.

It's hard picking schools from so far away without having visited! I like the sound of Heathside's relaxed progressive teaching approach and am happy for it to be academic within reason. I will have a lot more time to help the kids with homework etc. and be involved in the school as a result of our move - I have my own business based in Sydney, and while I will be writing while living in London, I wont be hands on managing my business like I am now. I am looking for a warm community + reasonably academic (for at least one of my kids) but not intimidating for the kids.

I've got twin boys who would go into year 3, and a little girl going into year 1. It looks like Heathside may have places which is great, as I was hoping to have all at the same school.

Any chance I can email/PM you re the school EllieNW3? It would be such a great help so I can get a better sense of the school.


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