Straight talk desired: The Academy School Hampstead?(17 Posts)
Any parents with children at The Academy, Pilgrim's Lane, Hampstead?
Recent visit to this 70-pupil school left me with many questions, although some good vibes.
What kind of child thrives in this bijou environment? What do they gain/miss out on?
One of my ex charges went there and seemed to thrive well enough. It suits a quirky child the most however discipline leaves something to be desired. Different schools suit diferent children, all six I know ho went there were overall fairly happy give or take ordinary childhood dramas. They all went to top secondary schools when they left if that's what you;re bothered about though how much they were tutored heavily so ????? about the academics. It depends what you want from your childs education.
I personally dislike the whole first name terms with teachers thing they have going on. Familiarity breeds contempt and having children believe all adults are their friends is not a good thing to get into in my opinion as they never learn appropriate boundaries.
Thank you very much for your comment - it's food for thought.
I think the fact it's so small is good in terms of attention for the children depending on the teacher but at the same time with one of my charges when she had a difficult time with her friends because the class was so small she was totally isolated as there was no one else for her to be friends with.
This is a bit late but I have a child ,now 13, who will graduate(?) from the Academy this summer and take a place at arguably the top academic school in the UK, in September.
Originally when he left prep school it was mentioned a lot but I didn't even consider it as I had heard the facilites were lacking. I'm now a convert and wish he'd gone there from year 1. Now, when I look at a school I know to look beyond the state of the art this or that. So many heads are like estate agents or car salesmen just selling you a product. Yes, the first name thing is a bit off-putting but 'Garth' doesn't get any less respect for that. The policy is not one of lack of discipline. Compared to King Alfred's or one of these schools with a lot of 'stage' kids ( where I hear the kids swear and run riot) the discipline is high and it's not Bohemian or wild child oriented. The head and the other key staff are all ex-public school( westminster) and the kids get places and scholarships, sometimes multiple, at all the top London schools so there is a lot of old fashioned academic work involved. If you forget sports kit you can't play and so on. There is a zero tolerance approach to bullying. Really. At our son's previous school they just paid lip service to that. What looks like lack of discipline is more akin to the benign neglect method of parenting-( not that anyone ever gets hurt). The children are left to their own devices a bit so they have to take responsibility for their own behaviour and school work rather than just obey top down authority. The result is happy, friendly and mature children who achive in a non competitive environment. No prizes or houses or merit system. You compete against yourself and co-operate with your peers.
Downside. Some very priveleged kids, chaufffeur cars etc. But nowhere near as bad as Devonshire House. No canteen so pack lunch every day except Friday when the kids in older classes with a permission slip can order Pizza next door or go to the deli.
V High fees for this age but no extras. School trips etc fully funded.
Not a lot of scope for competitve team sports although more excercise than most schools as they go to the Heath most days.They do have matches against the other schools but on a small scale and the sports teacher is one of the best staff there. Teaches sports in a non competitive way that re - engaged my son completely.
Starts at 8:00 which is either a boon or not.
Some staff have dogs- ditto.
Suits kids who have been bullied or not fitting in to a large school but are academically able- but the majority are regular kids whose parents like the family atmosphere. Good for very clever kids and musical kids also.
Don't exepect a sales pitch, brochure or tour. The children are the number one priority and are the stars. I think the kids have set up their own fb page but there is no website.
Hope this helps.
Are there any updated comments for this school? I'd like to know more from a more recently involved parent of a younger child - say 7-9 year old, if possible?
'I personally dislike the whole first name terms with teachers thing they have going on. Familiarity breeds contempt and having children believe all adults are their friends is not a good thing to get into in my opinion as they never learn appropriate boundaries.'
My son went to a school where first names were used for teachers. He was there for three years and I never observed any problems with discipline or boundaries relating to this quirk. The boys were just as polite there as they were with teachers in previous or subsequent schools.
The first name thing works for some children, others it doesn't.
Totally get the comment about Devonshire House
Stumbled across this as my friend is looking into The Academy school ... and had to sign up to Mumsnet SIMPLY TO SAY ...! My kids are at Devonshire ... I have a lot of great friends there ... and I totally don't get this comment about priviledged kids with chauffeurs?! The majority of us walk to school ... I for one ... one friend walks 4 miles rain or shine! I don't drive a 4 by 4 either! Yes indeed many of us are what you may label 'priviledged' - i would put any child who goes to a fee-paying school in this category. The thing is with Devonshire kids and parents is that they are incredibly aware of how fortunate they are and this is why they behave in such an unpretentious manner and respect those around them and their environment ... if they can walk to school, they do!
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Our family has had a great experience with The Academy, which I think is a remarkable school. Our two older kids went there before moving on to senior school, and our youngest is there still.
Things I like about it:
First and foremost, our kids had a fantastic time there. They made great friendships (sometimes across year groups, as the classes are small) and really enjoyed their time in school. The place is very informal and non-institutional. Some might call it chaotic, but I see it as an environment that allows freedom and spontaneity.
Second, our kids all received an excellent academic education. The school isn't selective and has children with a broad mix of abilities, which it caters to remarkably well. It isn't the sort of academic hot house which aims to send all kids to St Pauls or Westminster regardless of natural ability. Rather, it caters to the aptitude of the children, and allows them to achieve their own full potential. For sure, the children with the capability to do so are given the preparation to go on to the very best secondary schools, as many do every year.
The main asset of the school is the passion of the teachers. It may not have the facilities of a larger institution -- the buildings full of high-tech gadgetry and so on -- but the teachers here have the passion and ability to connect with their students at a personal level, which in my mind is all that really counts.
I'll admit that it's a distinctive, even quirky place, and certainly isn't right for everyone. If you want structure, discipline and respect for authority, best look elsewhere. Likewise if you want someplace that will promise to get your little darling into the top school of your choice regardless of native ability. But if you're looking for a unique environment in which children can be themselves, be happy and flourish academically, then it's worth checking out.
Academy School, Hampstead.
We went to this school for a year and were very dissapointed. Our experience was that it was chaotic and poorly managed. The owners of the school also teach there, so any issues are not dealt with impartially.
Not our experience at all. We have had all our children at this school and currently have one child still there. Its true the owners also teach there but they are as kind and dedicated as all the other teachers. True when dealing with the parents they do not adopt the slick 'estate agent'approach adopted by some of the other prep schools but in our view that is not a bad thing. In some ways the school is like a step back in time and will only suit certain parents (though would probably suit most children!).
We quite liked the chaos at first, but our child was really not happy at the Academy School and mentioned a few things that sounded worrying. It cetainly is a quirky environment!
Anything further on this one- particularly interested to hear from parents of girls?
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