Eton House the Manor - help please from a Putney Mum!(29 Posts)
I very much appreciate anyone who can help with some first hand advice . I have a place for my DD at Eaton House the Manor School. I am absolutely desperate to get my DD in to one of the best prep schools I can. I live in Putney which does have some good schools but they dont seem to be of the same calibre of Eaton House which has fantastic school leavers results to top senior and boarding schools.
There are three areas that are a bit of a challenge:
1) I live in Putney Heath and have no idea how it will be remotely possible to get my DD to Clapham every day given the horrendous rush hour traffic. Does anyone else travel from Putney and what are your options? I know there is a school bus from Parsons Green, but in real terms I am not sure that travelling all the way to PG is really that much more practical. That said, if the bus went from Putney Bridge, this would be a brilliant start and a game changer! Any knowledge on the route or options from Putney are extremely greatly appreciated!
2) Eton House would like me to confirm my place for DD (2018 intake) in 2 weeks time. However the two other schools I have put her down for (Prospect House, and Ibstock Place) have neither guaranteed her a place yet so this is my one guaranteed option. I am potentially considering as an option Putney High School for Girls, but it doesnt seem to have the etiquette or school leaver focus that prep's do, and this slightly puts me off.
3) In an ideal world (having been at an all girls school myself), I would have preferred if given the option, to have a mixed school, but it seems a large percentage of the best schools are single sex and I am running out of options on this.
Point 1 is really my biggest concern regarding Eton House, and if I could eliminate this issue, it would make the decision a lot easier!
Any advice is very gratefully received! I feel like I am spinning in circles!!!
Personally I would be looking at the easiest and quickest school run and my DC being more likely to have local friends etc. but you seem a lot more hung up on academics than I am.
Having had three DC I truly believe that a bright child will reach their potential anywhere as long as they are happy and also that at primary age so much depends on the class teacher and staff can change Year on Year so when you choose a school it is always going to be a bit of a leap of faith anyway.
Mine have been all been at the same school but two years apart (two form entry) and have yet to have had the same teacher as their form teacher.
And if you are looking at 2018 entry your DC is surely too young to tell if they will be academic/musical/sporty/artistic?
When you are looking for senior schools you will have a far clearer idea of the kind of school that will suit them.
I would be very surprised if both Prospect House and Ibstock were already full for 2018 entry so I would have thought your places at those were guaranteed. Maybe call and speak to the registrars to explain your predicament?
To be honest I think you are completely mad to consider schools in Clapham if you live in Putney. What about playdates, parties etc etc. So much better to be nearer to school.
I don't know anything much about the Eaton House but I had a quick look at the leaver's destinations and they look pretty much the same as every other prep school in SW London and not wildly different from a lot of the state primaries in Putney. More boarding schools but they are generally considered to be easier to get into than a lot of day schools.
Just looked at Eaton House girls leavers results for 2016 and they really aren't as impressive as you seem to think. Boarding schools are less in demand so focus on the day school results. Those aren't unusually good. Lots to schools that aren't nearly as hard to get into as Putney High for instance.
No idea about 'etiquette' point.
Have you spoken to the Hurlingham? The head there is very good.
If v academic I would choose Putney High. The standard will be good and they won't prep for 11+ but a bright DD will only need a little bit of prep on top to do well (I have no idea what you mean it doesn't have the etiquette?) but presumably PH assessments won't happen until much closer to the time. Prospect House is a lovely school and will prep - a smaller environment but very sought after. Great music/arts. Also look at Study Prep - although most will be Wimbledon based it is a much easier journey.
You don't say how old your DD is but I don't see the point of a commute to Clapham with presumably a little one. I'm thinking hard whether it's worth it after 11+! Putney Bridge is an atrocious bottleneck in the morning and I wouldn't put a little one on a bus although I know many do and are fine with it. I think some from your area do travel to Ken Prep and Bute but it seems a long way to me!
Thanks for your responses. I have spoken to both Putney schools and neither can guarantee a place until later on. She is on a waiting list (which she has been for 18 months) but I do know Prospect don't have an earlier nursery placement for her for next autumn which we also applied for and underestimated how long in advance we would have to apply (thinking we were fairly early off the mark).
The one thing I would say to the first post is that London is very different to the rest of the country and places in any decent prep school are highly competitive - either first come first serve (often at birth), or highly academic testing and there are no guarantees for anything unless you have a confirmed place.
Having spent huge amounts of time researching, I understand Eton House has a lot of pupils from
Other areas inc a huge pool from nearby Fulham so play dates are not overly an issue. I would in an ideal world like a local school, but given EH is the only one with a solid offer and already want a confirmed response, it puts me in a bit of a roulette position.
Do I chance getting a place elsewhere (if I don't get it, I'm screwed), or do I take a place up with a school with a fantastic all round reputation that clearly understands children's needs and is very good a placing them in their best option schools when the time comes? It's a really difficult decision! We have seen some other local schools but these are the ones at the top of our list. I am very carefully thinking about whether the Clapham journey is just too much which is what my gut tells me if there isn't a local bus (which seems to be the case).
My DD is pretty bright for her age and I want a school that suits her. My one reservation about Putney High was that having spoken to the pupils in regards to applying for other schools at senior school, PH really is focused on girls continuing. Yes I can get a tutor to prepare DD at this stage, but the preps have a good relationship and knowledge of all the good schools and where would suit your child. This combined with experience of preparing them for different entrance exams and guiding you in what potential options are, seems a major benefit at this stage. Thanks for your help
Ps I would be interested to hear of any local knowledge on the Study as we haven't looked in to it enough! If it's a viable option, it would be great to hear!
Lovely schools in Putney:
Honestly they are fab. Mine started at one of the church schools. DS flew into Kings; DD one of the High School routes.
Stop stressing. Send her to a local school and have some fun. Let her develop into her and make decisions when she has a bit. People move from Putney; places come up at all sorts of funny times and more often than you think.
Or, move to Clapham!
Unless you can afford to lose a deposit (I'm sure many people have been in this sorry position!) let the place go and hold out for something closer. It will be fine!
A prep does have advantages if you are planning to move at 11 - although I think you are probably overestimating them. Plenty of kids move from state schools at 11 and get into great schools without the cooperation of headteachers. I think you are also underestimating your own ability at that age to select the right school/s for your DD. At PHS with selective entry she would work at a high level anyway and would not need much topping up. Look at The Study too - I think it still has entrance by ballot. Keep phoning/telling Prospect how interested you are in a place. You could walk to these schools presumably, and all parties, playdates etc will be on your doorstep.
I agree with the view upthread - this leavers' list denotes a broad spread of ability. Is the school also tiny? If there were 35 offers at 11+ and with most girls sitting 4/5 schools these days, just how many in the year?
It looks like a solid local prep, but an odd choice for a long journey out of the area. But only you know what you love...!
You will definitely get a place at a nearer school. Half the people on the list will either move out of London before next year or will get a place at a good state primary and go there. Prospect House always seems to have places higher up the school- there is lots of movement between all the schools, private and state.
I have 2 DDs and can walk to school in 5 minutes. Life is still complicated enough with all the after school activities etc- add in a 40 minute plus car journey and it would be intolerable for me and the kids.
You don't really have any idea what will be right for your daughter in the long run so I'd just choose a good, local school.
PHS does entrance exams to senior school in Yr 5 so you know a year earlier if you might need to look elsewhere. Also means you have "one in the pocket" even if you're thinking of moving her - where are you thinking of for senior school? You may find that Putney girls tend to move up to the senior because they're happy there rather than not being capable of moving elsewhere. My DD is at PHS and loves it - we're really happy with how she's progressing.
I live in London and have 2 children in 2 very academically selective schools and so I am confident in advising you to either decline the Eaton House offer or move to Clapham.
There are many pre-preps in Putney which will be perfectly adequate for your child and there is no need to add the onerous 4 times a day trip to Clapham from Putney at such a young age. In terms of spots, I echo the PP who said that places always open up at London pre-preps due to a) the transient nature of the population, and b) the numerous multiple applications people make. I would simply hold out for a good local school and be politely persistent at your favourite one. I have never heard of anyone who did not get their preferred pre-prep, and spots, even at the most desired schools, always seems to become available.
In terms of your daughter being academic, might I politely say that all parents think their children are the bees knees and whilst she might seem to be a future candidate for SPGS at this stage to you, she might change. Any number of lovely pre-preps will be able to support your daughter should she indeed be an academic superstar or merely above average.
In terms of tutors to get into academically selective preps at 7+ or schools at 11+, it will be happening no matter which school you go for - even more so at the schools which say they prepare for those exams!
No offence OP but I am just down the road from you and my children are at one of the schools you mention where their names were definitely not down from anywhere near birth.
Don't discount that your DC might actually be happy, settled and doing well by the time Senior school rolls around so if you went for IPS or PHS then you might not want to move them. I also wouldn't call either school 'not academic'.
Don't be that parent who pushes their child in a direction they are not naturally headed but wait and see who they actually are. For now I would definitely be looking local for ease of play dates, parties and not having to sit in traffic with a tired child.
And also don't forget that at this stage when it is impossible to test a toddler's academics the school is highly likely to select on whether you are the type of parent they would like at their school and a parent they can communicate well with. My sister is a registrar at a top Surrey prep school and confirms this regularly.
That is not meant to be offensive as you clearly just want the best for your DD but genuine advice that maybe it is worth keeping a bit quieter about your aspirations for her and what demands you will be making of the school to ensure that she gets there.
@Avebury I don't tend to agree with what you say in terms of academic selection at a young age, not in the London area anyway. Of course I can't speak for your sister's school but in the schools I've encountered that select at nursery age, they aren't interested to speak to the parents at all. I am not arguing in favour of 3+ or 4+ and I don't know how they do it, but the schools that do it clearly think it works for them. There are threads and threads about these sort of schools - the North London ones sound particularly gruelling! The only caveat is that it can help to have a sibling there already - but I know many who've been disappointed.
I know some do select but parents who have already been annoying or arrogant about their child's abilities whilst registering will also have been flagged up and if it comes down to two equally bright (or more to the point - well behaved and willing to learn) children but one has parents who could be more high maintenance over the years then it is a no brainer as to who to offer the place to.
DF taught in a London Senior School for many years that also applied this criteria.
Believe it or not there are parents that will try and sue if the child they perceive as being super bright doesn't then get results or offers from the right schools/universities that reflect that and admissions tutors become adept at spotting parents with that potential early on!
I believe Eton House is one of the few schools that will give you back your deposit if they can fill the space (which they can) so you should go ahead and reserve your spot if that gives you some reassurance.
I do think you are MAD to consider such a long commute for a 4 year old however.
Ibstock should definitely have space, their 2016 entry was not even full this year, not sure why.
Makes sense @Avebury - and who could blame the school for that?!
I seem to remember you posted about this before and were basing your search on prep schools listed on the websites of Marlborough and Wellington as having sent girls there?
The problem with this is that you are overestimating how hard boarding schools are to get into these days. Even entrance to Eton, Winchester, Wycombe school entrance is now much less competitive than entrance to the top rank of London day schools so the real test of a prep's metal is not it's boarding results but it's day school results.
That's why those of us with kids further up the circus that is London schooling, aren't seeing EH's results in the same light you are.
Judging schools by how many kids they send to Marlborough / Wellington doesn't really tell you much about the school at all other than the families it attracts.
Which means you are approaching the choice from the wrong direction. Look for a school where your DD will be happy, where she will be exposed to a wide range of opportunities, where she will have good teachers....and you won't go wrong.
If OP wants her Dd to go to Marlborough or Wellington she needs to pick a 13+ school not an 11+ school. Agree day schools harder to get into than boarding schools.
Lots of people in your position would stump up the deposit and then take a Putney school if one comes up later. It does mean losing the deposit but only you would know whether this is an issue financially.
Putney High School assesses for the 4+ and comes up with some pretty random selections, so there is no guarantee of a place there. You could look at Lion House or Merlin that stops at 7+ and 8+ as they are another option.
Choose a school with an easy commute. Living close means easier play dates and parties. Long trips can be exhausting for little ones.
Find somewhere local, at least for the infant stage. You have no idea what sort of child she will be, so look for a setting that feels right for her now.
At this stage, and indeed at every stage, it is about keeping doors open, not forcing a child through a particular door. There are lots of chances to review. If when she is rising 8 you are still thinking of boarding, then consider a switch to somewhere like Newton (conveniently on a direct train line from Putney) Thomas' or Fulham Prep. They will lose boys at this stage to the Colets and WUS' so will have places, and co-eds will have a lot more practice at Common Entrance than a girls-only school.
In the meantime let her explore interests. No commute means ballet, swimming or tennis classes after school, play dates, reading together, or simply a chance to sit in the garden on a sunny evening. More fun for her, and more fun for you.
And at infant stage a good local state primary will be fine. DD left school last summer, and through the wonders of Facebook, is able to see where her reception cohort have ended up. They change a lot, so the child who could colour in nicely, always presented beautiful project work (we reckoned it was all the nanny's work), and was intensively tutored from age so won most of the prizes, struggled in sixth form and is doing something vocational. The girl who wowed them all at 11+ , with Heads of sought after secondaries phoning the day after the 11+ to extol the virtues of their school, is at a good, but not particularly sought after University. Others will then emerge around GCSE with a clear talent or interest. So don't look too far ahead. Simply focus on what is right for your child now.
(And the real car-crashes, and there have been a few, often seem to be those children whose mothers were over-engaged early on.)
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