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The Academy School Hampstead

(12 Posts)
user1479080976 Sun 05-Mar-17 21:20:13

My son is at a very good State School, however, his class is very big, and he is just not fitting in at ll. He is very quirky and theatrical. He loves talking and can talk about anything from Opera, to the tudors, to reviewing restaurants. At school he is like a square trying to fit into a circle. There are 4 boys with ADHD and the rest of the class are very rowdy and wild. They have a reputation of being one of the most difficult classes in the school. My son is very quiet, loves working etc and is a bit eccentric. He hates school, has no friends and we feel he needs to change schools. A few people have mentioned as well that they feel he is in the worng school. We are looking at the academy. There are so many positives for it, but it is different. Anyone have any kids there and can shed some light on it for me? Is the homework crazy? Are the kids happy? Is it a nurturing school? As his confidence at school is very low? He has no academic issues at all.

JamDonutsRule Tue 07-Mar-17 01:14:31

Feel free to PM me, but to summarise:

- Very very nurturing
- very individual approach tailored to each child
- really gets the most from each child academically
- The least institutional school I've ever seen, teachers are treated more like family members than teachers!
- very small & lacks official procedures - hardly any rules. They don't care about standing in line, wearing correct uniform etc
- facilities non existent
- hardly any sports, music, drama, clubs
- kids are allowed to go off site to H high street at lunch time from Y5.

I think for the right child, i.e. One who needs very individual teaching and hates very institutional schools it would be amazing, but for a child who needs clear boundaries I think it could be terrible. I worry slightly from your description that your DS could be one of the latter?

user1479080976 Tue 07-Mar-17 11:21:34

Thanks for the great information, JamDonutsRule, do you have a child at the Academy? It sounds geat for my son, he has no behavioural issues at all, so do not think it would be a problem. I thought they did sports, drama etc during school?

JamDonutsRule Wed 15-Mar-17 00:01:08

Have you been to view the school yet?

They do have sports, drama etc in school, but it's just not on the same scale as at a larger better equipped school.

For example, with music, some Prep schools will have an A orchestra, B orchestra, full range of instruments available, 10 practice rooms, grand pianos for the DC to play on, workshops / seminars run by famous musicians, choir trips in Europe, encourage entry in to competitions..... whereas The Academy don't have enough DC for an orchestra, don't offer the full range of orchestral instruments, no workshops, minimal trips. Their music facilities consist entirely of some instruments on shelves in a room. They don't even have a piano since they can't get it up the stairs. It's probably more like the recorder ensembles you may have had at school if you were there in the 1970's. wink

Ditto Drama - some schools have a proper school play production budget for lighting, sound, props etc. I imagine The Academy would just turn the lights down in the Church a bit.

Do you see what I mean?

I don't mean to sound negative, I really do think it's a fantastic school for the right kind of child.

BizzyBuzz Wed 15-Mar-17 13:07:07

Definitely worth a look! The atmosphere is very nurturing and many of the teachers are outstanding. The school is known for good/excellent 11+ exam results. The facilities themselves are very rundown, but if you can get past that, the school has its charm.

The main concern I heard was that (in the past) the school had a very relaxed admissions policy and it sometimes accepted students that were very disruptive and ill-suited for a mainstream environment. Given the very high school fees, etc this really did the other students/families a great disservice. Having said this, I heard the school's admission policy is more rigorous now.

Frogusha Thu 16-Mar-17 10:52:47

JamDonutsRule, can you share names of such schools or you are just talking in general? Would love to find a school with grand pianos, two orchestras and choral trips to Europe, at prep level for my daughters in North London.

laidbacklondon Thu 16-Mar-17 16:05:01

My children have been at the Academy for several years (one is still there) and I don't really recognise the description put on here above. For a start there IS a grand piano in the main school building! And my son was always allowed to play in break time at school concerts etc.

Both of my kids are musical and very into drama and they have plenty of opportunity to do both. There is an annual school show - Oliver this year - which is a whole school affair. Every single child takes part and it is always an amazingly high standard. One of the Founders is a classically trained pianist who manages to get the children to learn a whole show in 3 weeks - and they thoroughly enjoy it and really work as a team.

There is an annual carol concert where children who want to do solos (instruments or voice) can perform and every class sings a separate carol with mini solos for those who want them in each song.

My daughter loves to sign, dance and act and she feels like she does plenty of music at school - weekly singing sessions with her class for example. She also has the opportunity to write and deliver speeches and recite poetry in English classes.True there is not an orchestra but that does not mean the school is weak on music and drama - I would say it is in fact very strong in that area.

I do not agree that boundaries do not exist or that the discipline is poor - it is in my opinion very strong and there are very clear guidelines which the children understand. I think it is easy to mistake this because the children call the teachers by their first name and because the school does not have formal parents evening, much uniform etc. But the children are very clear about the rules and I can avow that any bullying is stamped out immediately. The head teachers will always respond to calls/emails even out of school hours if there is a problem and deal with issues straight away.

It does not have all of the trappings of a traditional school but what it does have is in my view far more important and extremely hard to find. It is a very nurturing, kind school which builds up a child's confidence, teaches them tolerance of others and teaches them to think. Each child is treated as an individual which enables teachers to help each child achieve to the best of their individual ability.

My son joined after having a terrible time at a much sought after NW3 school - he was too individual to fit in and was utterly miserable. The Academy teachers built up his confidence and within a term he was a completely different child - happy, confident, taking part in all aspects of school life and thriving academically.

And last but not least the teaching is extremely good! Much better than any other private school my kids have been in. The teaching is rigorous so your kids really understand what they learn and can then apply concepts to think for themselves.

Looking at your description of your son I think you should seriously consider the school. Personal experience leads me to know that he will get fantastic teaching that pushes him as much as he is capable, chances to take part is sorts/music/drama and yes even trips - and all whilst his confidence is built up and he learns to get on with and value all sorts of kids with differing levels of ability and talents - all useful lessons for life!

JamDonutsRule Thu 16-Mar-17 17:53:11

JamDonutsRule, can you share names of such schools or you are just talking in general? Would love to find a school with grand pianos, two orchestras and choral trips to Europe, at prep level for my daughters in North London.

To be honest frog I was mostly thinking of Preps further out of London, (my Prep has those and others around do too) so granted it is not a totally fair comparison.

Off the top of my head though, I would assume that Habs would have those sorts of facilities, although I've never physically visited in person. You may also find similar at all through schools if facilities are shared with Senior level (Mill Hill, St Margaret's Bushey????).

Thomas's in Battersea certainly has an orchestra and choir trips and a lot (15??) very nice new practice rooms. Pretty sure it has a grand piano.

If you want a very strong music school you could try St Paul's Cathedral School (they supply choristers for St P) as they do tons of music and kids are encouraged to learn 2 instruments.

JamDonutsRule Thu 16-Mar-17 17:59:08

I do not agree that boundaries do not exist or that the discipline is poor - it is in my opinion very strong and there are very clear guidelines which the children understand.

All I was trying to say is that IMHO it was very different from the traditional Prep schools which have a massive rule book with everything from 'keep off the grass' to suitable attire for the dining room to the bureaucratic procedure for getting an off games slip approved.

(Obviously I could be wrong though) smile

BizzyBuzz Wed 29-Mar-17 15:01:21

New Ofsted Report gives The Academy School, "Outstanding" in every category.

duckedoff Sat 13-May-17 23:38:36


duckedoff Wed 17-May-17 17:31:15

Great to hear, my son is starting at the academy next month. Any advice, tips etc?

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