Athelstan House School(16 Posts)
Both my children attended Athelstan, and it has proved to be a great start for them both. My daughter left last year and at her assesment days for prep schools the feedback I got was very positive, what impressed the teachers was her general knowledge outside of the school curriculum. This is what I feel the school does best and what sets them apart from other schools, the quality of teaching is of the highest standard. The classes are small (10-14 children). Every child is given a role and a chance to shine (even the quietist). My son is still at Athelstan and loves it, every day he has a story to tell me, his knowledge sometimes astounds me!
Quite agree its a fantastic small school that really brings out the best in all types of children. My eldest went to Athelstan then onto LEH junior and is now in the senior. My other 2 are presently at Athelstan. Both will be leaving this year and both of them (as well as I) will greatly miss the school and the wonderful head, deputy head and teachers.
Does anyone have experience of commuting to London with kids at Athelstan House? We are looking to move to the area and have our children join Athestan. But I can't figure out the commute into London, the only option seems to be a slow train from Hampton Station (45 minutes into London Waterloo).
I commute from Hampton to Carary Wharf - its by slow train from Hampton but you can go via Twickenham peak time and change to pick up a fast train from Twickenham to waterloo which cuts the time down a bit.
Thanks so much for your feedback! How long does it take you to get into waterloo would you say? We were thinking of perhaps dropping off at the school, driving from either Athelston or Newland House to Twickenham station. Would that make sense do you think? Would it be crazy busy in the morning?
Thanks again for any inside info!
We live less than 10 minutes walk from Athelstan so it was all pretty easy. changing at Twickenham meant you can get to Waterloo in around 30 odd minutes rather than 40ish. Driving to Twickenham would be pretty busy. My middle DD just started at St Catherine's Twickenham so I know the route well. Also parking at Twickenham can be impossible although the Waitrose always seems to have spaces and that is right by the station. Personally if you are going to commute I would say live close to the school and the station (and luckily Athelstan is close to Hampton station)
I also commute from Hampton into the city. I agree with richmond44, quickest route is via Twickenham, which saves time but I have to stand all the way. Sometimes, for the sake of an extra 10 mins, I stay on the slower train and sit down all the way. I would avoid crossing the Squires junction by car in the morning school run at all costs. There are more trains from Teddington if you can get there easily (cycle?) , but difficult to park near the station after about 6.30am.
Great little school, my son is very happy at Athelstan. A very good location as it is 3/4 minutes walk to Hampton station, so convenient if you have to commute. They offer a very good breakfast club from 8am (which only cost £1 per day) and a free after school club, which is both fun and relaxed. It is a great feeling at collection time knowing that you have nothing to worry about and that your child is in good, caring hands.
It's a fantastic school, the Head teacher and all the staff are amazing. If you wanted to chose a school where you know your child is going to be given the best start to their school life I personally believe you can't beat Athelstan House School. I know practically every other parent with children in the school will join me in this sentiment.
The facilities are great given it's small school. They also do swimming every week from Reception, they have a great specialist PE teacher and do lots of extracurricular activities.
With it being a small school the children get such attentive teaching that they are able to flourish as individuals.
When assessing where to next to send our eldest child we told Heads of the schools that our children were currently in Athelstan. Without fail they ALL said that they love getting children from Althelston because they are such grounded kids.
We (and more importantly our children) absolutely love it!!
I feel the glowing reviews gives you a completely wrong picture of Athelstan. It is nothing like any of the above posts.Please keep an open eye. I must say I’m totally disappointed with the school. I will write a detailed review later.
But just a warning to all the future parents , please don’t go by the reviews , the school is not for active, assertive, bright children. I would strongly recommend you to visit Jack and Jill or Newland House before you make a decision.
mom14 - I find your comment " the school is not for active, assertive, bright children" flawed and offensive. 3 out of the 3 girls at AHS who chose to sit LEH 7+ exam this year were not only offered places but received a glowing review from the head. Numerous other offers were received by the year 2 class including Guildford High, The Mall, Newland House, Rowan Prep, Denmead and St Catherines amongst other selective schools in the area. 2 scholarships were awarded to a class of 14.
So if your measure of 'bright' and 'assertive' refers to academic performance, you may want to reconsider your statement.
I will also add that none of the children were tutored and achieved these results on their own steam and the foundation AHS provided them.
Both my girls have been at AHS since nursery. They are both confident and happy people with a love of school and the learning environment.
I am happy to be contacted privately by prospective parents to answer any questions you may have about the school.
I totally agree with TedTalker. My daughter has been at Athelstan since nursery and absolutely loves going to school. She has flourished both socially and academically and has far exceeded our expectations in the 7+ assessments, without the need for tutoring! The statement from Mom14 about Athelstan not being a school for active, assertive and bright children is fundamentally incorrect, as the amazing results achieved by Yr2 prove. More importantly, my daughter has had an amazing start to her school life and I would absolutely recommend this wonderful school.
3 children getting into LEH does not reflect anything on the school, it is just because they were bright, I definitely agree that. In Jack and Jill 21 children wrote LEH exams and 18 got it, that is the school I would recommend to anyone. My child has gone to both the schools and I feel that Jack and Jill was far better than Athelstan in every way. Everyone are entitled to their own opinion. Sorry if my earlier post was in anyway offensive.
Mom14 I have just come across your thread and suspect you are one of the families who left Athelstan early and would have undergone the same struggle as other families who chose to leave.
I am beginning to feel like the parents aggression toward families that are not happy with the school is based in their own fear of not being seen to be on the right side of the fence.
Bottom line is that at this school you simply cannot express an opinion different to the status quo because both the parent and the child will pay dearly for it.
The responses from all these parents is reflective of the ethos of this school. You are ok as long as you don't ever disagree.
I'm pretty certain that if this was written about any other school, and I'm sure parents have done this in the past, neither the school nor the parents at the school would even give it a seconds thought.
Its great that most of the children have places. However I am almost certain that when these children go onto these bigger main stream schools they and their parents will suddenly realise what myself and other parents are trying to say.
You honestly do not realise until you see your child struggle. I genuinely hope that they don't but from what I have seen of other children that have left, even the brightest most able ones take a long time to adjust. They lose their friends and go from a really small environment to often a highly competitive faster paced busy one.
It's just a fact that adjusting from a small environment to a much bigger social one is very tough. I feel like putting your child and yourself through this change alongside the clear stress of multiple exam sittings for the 7+ exam all at the tender age of 6 is an unnecessary stress.
And it is stressful. I challenge any of these parents to come on here and say that that process was stress free.
All the parents at schools that run through to 11 will not have given the 7+ exam a second thought.
again judge for yourself. I had no idea about the whole 7 +process until I was faced with it. I also didn't at all consider how the loss of friends would impact on the child leaving.
We all want what is best for our children and I would hope for others.
That is my only intent here. I wish someone like me had put this information into the public forum when I made my choices it would have saved me a lot of strain.
Athelstan has lots of merits. It is not however as perfect as these parents are making it out to be, nothing ever is. The wierd utopian picture is unrealistic.
Interestingly all these parents express very different opinions in reality. But I totally understand the mad blogging. It scores you plenty of browny points.
Good luck with that.
Hello Adviceforfree and Mom14
Do you think the academic standard of Athelstan House is behind that of the other schools at pre-prep level? Obviously Newland House, Twickenham Prep and Denmead all go through to 11 and I have heard that they step up the pace a lot in year 3 AFTER pre-prep but in your experience are those schools better than Athelstan at the age 4 - 7 level?
Also, some have said Athelstan House is better as Jack & Jill is a hot house?
And finally, won't those children and parents who avoided the 7+ exam end up experiencing the stress of multiple entry exams and losing friends at age 11 instead?
Would love to get your 'opinions'!!!
Hi Paula 31
If your child is in a school that goes right to 11 then you don't have to sit the 7 + exam. All parents of children looking to go into the independent sector for senior education need to sit the 11 plus exam irrespective of what school they come from. So by attending a school that only goes up to 7 you have no choice but to sit both sets of exams. It makes no sense to do that unless there is a specific reason to. For example if you cannot get a place or if you feel your child would not cope and needs a bit more support with a small environment. I just simply didn't understand the system and was told that all schools are different and you need to go to a foundation school first so that you can pick which school to go to next. I personally now know that's not true at all and certainly doesn't justify putting your child through the 7 + as well as your child losing all their friends.
Therefore it makes sense not to put your child through the 7 + as well when they could just go in at nursery and remain there until 11.
I didn't realise this until it was too late.
What you will find is that schools where children automatically go through to 11 know very clearly what standards that have to reach and they prepare them academically and also socially to cope with that change. The children at foundation schools are prepared to reach year the end of year two. The rest is up to you. Again this is just my opinion. Every Child and family is different.
In terms of my personal experience I am not looking to mud sling. I had some very poor encounters with the leads at this school that opened my eyes quite shockingly to the fact that ultimately all these schools are businesses and they will do pretty much anything to reach that bottom line. This has been the experience of other families that have left also but I can't speak for them.
Therefore in retrospect I wish I had looked at this more like a business decision too and realised that it makes no sense to pay such high fees and have your child potentially sit a very stressful exam and lose all their friends. With no real advantage.
Ask yourself what kind of environment would suit your child. Also find out how many children will be in your prospective class.
Assess if you are happy with what is a fairly patriarchal set up. As long as you do as you are told everything will remain rosy.
There are lots of advantages to this school that all these parents outline but there are definite disadvantages.
you have to weigh those up.
I hope that gives you a balanced view. I wish you all the best with your children.
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