Independent schools in London(30 Posts)
Hi, I am looking into registering my baby girl in some of the following schools and would appreciate any information that will help narrow the list:
- Bute House
- Falkner House
- Kensington Prep
- Thomas' Kensington
- Garden house: I heard it might not be as good as the others academically, is that correct?
What sort of information do you think would help you narrow down the choices?
FWIW, I think you may as well register her with all of them and then decide which to take forward when she's a bit olde. Even then you might still not be sure which will suit her emerging character best, but you'll have a considerably better idea than is possible in babyhood.
How old is she? Where do you live and are you intending to stay here or move at some point? Have you thought of secondary schools and which the preps feed into?
The schools have a 'culture' and there's one on that list that I would send my least favourite dog to.
She's 8 months old, I live in knightsbridge but I'm willing to move elsewhere within central London for school. Please do say more about each school's culture. Which one do you think is so horrible? I was just reading about secondary schools and I'm quite interested in St. Paul's.
It is far, far to early to know if St Paul's Girls is likely to be a suitable school for your DD, but any of the preps you list can prepare their cleverest girls to the academic level required.
Garden House sends a lot of pupils to boarding secondaries, and wouldn't be my choice if you are sure you want a London day school.
AnotherNewt, can you share what kind of personality would fit in each of those schools?
I agree it's too early to tell what secondary school will be suitable for my DD, and yes we want a London day school for her.
Hill House? Queens Gate?
See whicg schools the girls at St Paul's come from.
Originalmavis, thanks for the suggestions. Any chance you might share insights about schools culture and which one you would be reluctant to send your child to?
The best thing is to visit the school and watch the kids, parents, nannies. How do the interact, are they friendly, well behaved, polite?
When you start to spot kids in uniforms in the local shops and transport, you will start to get a feel for the cultures - there are some schools that have (generally) rather nice and friendly kids, and some that are rather, well rude and quite pushy!
Also Google the head, owners, key staff and school for reviews, news, gossip and opinion. Visit more than once, observe and ask lots of questions. Its not all about academics - a happy childhood will learn. Sone schools are just exam factories.
I do not think there is any benefit at all in registering for most of these schools now - check with them to make sure (ie ask what are your registration deadlines, not can I register now - no school says no to a free loan of £150+) but I think you will find that most are assessed entry so will have registration deadlines sometime near the start of the last year of nursery school. You would just be wasting your money to do a scatter gun now. I suspect Bute may be an exception. Only register for the first come first served ones and do those if any immediately. Yes, Garden House is less academic than the others.
What you should also do is register for nursery schools - they get horribly booked up.
I'd add Queens Gate and Kensington Prep to your list. At 8mo you don't yet know how she'll turn out by the time of 4+ assessment. So, you need a broad selection of schools to cover all the bases.
And o disagree with waiting. If you are not likely to move away from this area - registering early doesn't hurt. All schools close their lists eventually, and waiting till last year of nursery can be risky.
Registration fees only go up.
And some schools close their lists when saturated with applicants.
Thank you all for your help! Could you please provide more insight on these schools? I already registered my DD for nursery. As for prep schools, it looks like waiting to register would be risky. Some schools have already closed their lists for 2019 such as Glendower!
Forgot to mention that Francis Holland is also on the list. Any insider perspective on any of these schools is much appreciated.
I'm with Mavis. A couple on your list that My dog (if I had one) would be spared. But which are very sought after by others.
I would register early. Not least it should that you are settled in London and so are more likely to last the duration. But also shows a consistent interest in the school. Most of These schools are selective.
If you then have a choice, start with the child and consider which school is most likely to help them develop. For example confident children may thrive in a bigger busy schools, quieter children may prefer something more nurturing.
For girls preps as well as looking at the children outside school, perhaps go into a nearby cafe on a Friday morning in term time and eavesdrop on the large group of mums who will inevitably be gathered there. Is it a group you would feel happy to be part of? I say this because there are some super competitive mothers out there, and this rubs off on children. We are almost at the end, and this is the aspect of raising children in London I have enjoyed least.
Education is a long process. If possible try to avoid seeing it as a race. Go to the right prep, and SPGS and Ivy follow naturally. Some manage it but there have also been some awful casualties. All the schools you mention can get the right child to the right place. Find the school that suits your daughter. Then at 11+ do the same. Children develop at different rates and have a range of talents. SPGS will be the right school for some. Fairley House for others. What is important is that kids emerge with resilience and emotional intelligence, their talents nurtured and their self esteem intact.
I also agree about adding Ken Prep to the list. Perhaps Newton Prep if you can get there. Both produce happy confident children.
What do you mean by Central London? Zone 1? If so, Ken Prep is in zone 2 as is Bute House ! Bute is a lottery at 4 and selective intake at 7, so register and cross your fingers. 1/3rd of its pupils go to St Pauls - look at their Moving On list - it makes impressive reading. Make sure you have registered for some "first come first served" schools as a lot of the all girls prep schools are selective at 3. At least you then know you have got a place somewhere. Nearer the time think about whether you want a school that goes through to 18 - eg. Queensgate or Francis Holland, or whether you want to go through the 11+ process. You will form a view when you visit and it all becomes real.
You are the only person who can judge if the school is right for your DD - she may turn out to be shy, girly, boisterous, introvert, extrovert....you just don't know at 8months when you are still at the nappy changing stage. Register, and then stop worrying and enjoy your baby and see how she develops over the nursery years - once you visit you will get a feel for the "type" of family/child the school "selects" at 3 and you will start to get a preference in your head. Your nursery school should be able to guide you too.
Mavis. For your dog?
Easy for walks in Battersea Park!
I don't think it is about Zone 1 or 2. More about public transport links or car journeys. Traffic in Chelsea at Prep School chucking out time is awful. A good bus or tube route makes it easier for an au pair/nanny plus a better option for you. Play arouond with TfLs journey planner using car, walking and public transport options and with morning and afternoon timings. Newton is a one stop train journey from Victoria.
Looking back I think it suited DC to be comfortably in the middle and in the top third respectively in their secondary schools, even though both DD and I were at the receiving end of some odd comments which suggested that to some parents/children status is very dependent being at a very academic school and that DDs school was not rated. One problem with selective London schools is that you lack reference points. All these schools are good in a National context. It can be far more encouraging to be top set at one school than bottom set at say, SPGS. Some non-British educational systems emphasise class placement. Given many central London children are aiming for tertiary education overseas this can lead to a veritable arms race, not just to get your child into the right school (one which has a good track record with US college applications etc) but to then to remain at the top of the class. Our experience was that both DC did fine, but only really started to shine in their later school years, when some of the heavily prepped kids started to fade/rebel.
Newton will be chokka with Americans when the embassy moves.
"Newton will be chokka with Americans when the embassy moves."
I wouldn't be too sure about that. I thought the US govt subsidised the ASL so diplomats had priority access. Not all parents will want to take their DC out of the American system.
Also, it's not good for a school to have too much churn (NP is pretty international already, leavers and joiners all the time) and a strong core of local pupils you can be reasonabky sure a stayers is pretty necessary.
It's all the new non-Embassy residents of the new and expensive looking flats in the old power station and various developments along Nine Elms that will provide their new pupils.
I hear the embassy bods have been around for a nosey. Some Americans do seem to like the whole prep school environment. Our old school had a lot of embasy kids from all over the world - they got fees in their package so just chose where they liked the look of. Not lunches though. Some didn't get school lunches paid for and there was no end of complaining about having to pay the £200 odd a term. One mum popped her kids on the (paid for) school bus for the 5 min journey (less than half a mile) as a protest against having to for lunch!
It's pretty stable pupil-wise which is quite a rarity for a central prep school.
NP has previously showed itself unable to meet the admin demands of diplomats (simple things, like advance copies of bills so official funds could be applied for in time for the actual payment deadline). Diplomatic admin officers talk to each other, and the school was on no 'recommended' lists.
NP's repeated breaches of the DPA can't have helped either.
Perhaps that'll change if they really want to chase the dollar, and they'll finally bring their admin up to scratch.
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