Which prep school?(8 Posts)
Hello! I am looking for a bit of advice. We are moving to London from california this summer and we have decided to look for prep schools for our children who are 9 and 11. We want to send them to a co-educational school so they can both be at the same place. We also wanted to send them to a prep school to buy us a little bit of time for our 11-year to adapt before he has to go off to a secondary school where he'd be among the youngest children. We want a caring and nurturing environment but we also have to make sure that it's academically rigorous because if we go back to the US, the highschool they would be attending is competitive.
We have applied to GEMs, Devonshire house, Knightsbridge, Newton Prep and North Bridge. We really liked Devonshire house- noting I can explain- just a warm feeling I got.
Since we are from the U.S. we have no idea about the reputation of these schools any advice/comments/perspectives would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!!!
What year will your son be going into? I don't know any of the schools you mention but one of the main things I would want to know is what schools they feed on to for secondary.
Prep schools sit Common Entrance for secondary and some of these schools will have pre-tests and then make conditional offers. Depending on your son's year these pre-tests may have already happened. You need to check the prep school can get you a late entry - these are offered to those coming from overseas.
When are their birthdays and what h child is which? If the elder is a girl it is v tricky. There are co-ed preps (ie schools which go up to year 8, for children who turn 13 between sept and August of that school year, but most girls leave in year 6 as that is the normal switch time for London day schools. The minority of girls who stay on are headed towards boarding schools, generally former boys's ones although the girls' ones have had to get more flexible about taking new girls then too. You should ask the schools themselves where she would go thereafter. And if she is the littler one she will be in year 4 if she doesn't have a birthday before end of August, which will be fine, but if about to be 10 she will be straight into 11+ next year so you need to be choosing get next school asap.
In some ways it may get be easier to be at a school that goes through, like Hartodian, but it isn't the most academic option.
Ah. Just re read- your boy is the elder. The thing to watch out for there is the range of options for London day schools at 13. Boys in London are tricky as some are 11 and some 13 (ie that age in September ) and there is little scope to a lot in at funny times. I am assuming you boy will be 11 still in August so would now be in year 6, which means he has missed westminster, st paul's and Kings Wimbledon who are the most academic central and west London schools. (I am not v good at North London schools - I think he still has time for high gate). That leaves dulwich and the new wetherby school and small intakes/ occasional places at alleyns/ Latymer /Emmanuel etc. I am assuming that you wouldn't be considering boarding which is where a lot of the 13+ boys who don't get into the three mentioned above go.
The American schools really should be n your c aide ration list I suspect especially if you think youngish only be here for a few years.
Another prep to talk to might be Fulham Prep. Did you have any of the Thomas's schools in your list?
Newton Prep is sound, and is well known by the Dulwich and other South London schools, but also does well in terms of places at the very competitive Central London Schools. (For whatever reason there are lots more private secondary places for boys in South London). Years 7 & 8 are relatively small so lots of attention and a chance to settle. Not as hot housy as some of the others, but this can be as plus or a minus depending on what you want.
It will depend in part on where you plan to live. You really want to be able to make any journey by public transport. Look at TfLs journey planner. Its not distance but time and the number of changes - ideally no more than two.
It also has more space than the others, and Battersea Park nearby.
Newton Prep is superb. Very near to the site for the new American Embassy, which will probably mean an increase in American kids (which might or might not be what you want!)
Newton is very good at secondary transfer and will give you lots of advice, particularly as you will be a bit late applying for your DS.
Hello, cannot speak about Devonshire House but just another one popping up to say that Newton Prep is (IMHO) a great school. Ds was there and went on to a very selective school and the teachers prepared him fantastically for the exam. Do PM if you would like more information.
However as e.g. Needmore has said , Hampstead is very different in London than Wandsworth / Chelsea. You need to work out where you want to live.
But just agreeing with Kingscote and Needmore that for us , Newton Prep was a really good school. The facilities for a central London prep are pretty much second to none. They certainly had some fantastic teachers when DS was there.
(No connection with the school other than DS1 went there).
Had you considered the American School in London? (St John's Wood). I think because you want co-ed it may be very challenging to find places at this point...? ASL is used to people coming and going. Also as they follow the American Curriculum and have high standards, you'd have no problem if you did relocate back.
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