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Hampstead/North London pre-prep and pre schools -- How late are we?

(26 Posts)
OldMemories Fri 25-Sep-15 01:49:24

We’re new to Hampstead (and London). DS is two and a half and we haven’t applied for schools yet. Any views on how difficult it will be to get into top schools in Hampstead or North London? I’ve researched 5 of them so far and they all recommend registration at birth or by first (second) birthday.
1) Would it make sense to call/email schools and explain why we are applying late?
2) How competitive are admissions at schools like the Hall, Arnold House etc.?
3) Have we also missed open days for his age?
4) Do you know of any high-ranking schools that have a different admissions process?
5) Could it help to work with a consultant? Anyone you recommend, GSG, Gabbitas or other?

I’m looking for a school with great placement results and not overly academical curriculum in the first few years.

Thank you, any insight greatly appreciated!

OldMemories Fri 25-Sep-15 21:59:10

Apologies for so many questions in one post...

Mrbrowncanmoo Sat 26-Sep-15 06:37:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OldMemories Sat 26-Sep-15 23:25:34

Very helpful list of open days. Thank you, Mrbrowncanmoo. Have you (or others) used their consulting services?

Mrbrowncanmoo Sun 27-Sep-15 04:05:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Arghhelp Mon 28-Sep-15 10:31:31

Thank you Mrbrowncanmoo. OldMemories, I own and run the website and I also offer consultation services. You can view the testimonials of those who have used my services on the website. If you would like to attend, I am also conducting a series of group talks about the English school system and an overview of local schools and nurseries etc. Please feel free to PM me or get in touch if you would like to know more. The website address is and my contact details are on the website.

Arghhelp Mon 28-Sep-15 10:34:14

There are still some schools by the way that you can apply to and in general, it is worth writing to the schools you are interested in always, as occasional places do come up and it is worth having your name on the waiting list.

OldMemories Tue 29-Sep-15 01:05:15

Thanks. New questions coming up daily, I’m afraid… Any views on how London top schools and parents of students view international applicants?
In my own education, I was always accepted into competitive programmes, because of my international background. It seems to me that speaking English as a second language could be a huge disadvantage during the pre-prep and prep school admissions process. I’m not trying to start a discussion about what’s right or wrong, it would just be super helpful to know what perspective/view to anticipate. For example, will most schools automatically take the stance that non-native speakers won’t achieve the same results?

WorkingItOutAsIGo Wed 30-Sep-15 23:28:00

Can I give you my perspective as an experienced North London parent at one of your aspirational schools? Firstly, they are very popular and so very competitive, so to make their lives manageable they do shut their lists early and you have probably missed closing dates at the schools viewed as 'top'. You don't need a consultant to tell you that, just a copy of the good schools guide and a telephone. But you may strike lucky if you manage to strike up a rapport with a school you particularly like and they like you so don't give up hope.

But please please relax a little - people get over obsessed with the brand name of schools and that comes across in your OP with your focus on top schools. There are plenty of excellent schools which will give a great education even if they aren't top ranked, and those you may well have a much better chance of getting in at this point. Some of those are mixed, some single sex. And honestly, what drives where your son goes afterwards is primarily his ability and your support. The schools are all excellent and know what they are doing.

WorkingItOutAsIGo Wed 30-Sep-15 23:32:37

On your question re languages - ask the schools. We obviously don't know whether your son can speak English - if not then get onto that - but I can say these schools are very international these days so I can't see it being a major long lasting problem.

WorkingItOutAsIGo Thu 01-Oct-15 00:20:07

Oh and just to back up my reassurance - I am old and have many children so actually have children who have been through the N London prep system, got to what I suspect are your top secondary destinations (Eton, Westminster, St Paul's) and thence to Oxbridge - whilst still having a child in the prep system.

So I have been watching this process for nearly 20 years. And guess what - kids at what you might view as second tier prep schools still get to top rated secondaries, and kids from second tier secondaries still get to Ivy League or Oxbridge. You can breathe and not panic!

Totallyoutoforder Tue 06-Oct-15 13:20:41

OP you are not late, schools are doing open days right now, during first term. You can visit, ask questions and register your interest, they will contact you when the time comes.
For DC1, I called on the second week of June 1 school to request vacancies for the following Sept. It might have been luck but there were vacancies and in the same week, DC1 had assessment while we visited the school with the headmaster, we had an offer 2 days later and within 1 week, DC1 had a place confirmed for Reception 3 months later. Lots of parents put a deposit down in a school that might have not been their first choice then when the first choice actually turn up, they lose their deposit but a vacancy comes up.
For DC2, I had no choice but registered my interest at the age of 2, a year ago. 1 school has offered a place already. There will be an assessment for the second school in Jan 2016 for a start in Sept. This school is doing parents tour atm.
Good luck. It is difficult to find the right school. But at the end, choose the one which seems right for your child, it is not always the most academic one though.
Re English is our second language here, we speak a totally different idiom at home, DCs use only English at school/nursery. It is not an issue at all. DC1 has a few classmates in the same situation. If young enough, you will find that your children will speak better than you soon. ????

OldMemories Tue 06-Oct-15 23:41:47

Thank you, WorkingItOut and Totallyout -- exactly what I needed to hear!

MNCamdenEd Wed 07-Oct-15 12:25:44

You could also try our MN Local site for Camden, which has a talk board where you can ask locals for advice & recommendations, plus thousands of listings including a What's On guide and local schools, where Mumsnetters can add their reviews

sl280 Wed 04-Nov-15 13:09:26

Hi all - my DD is also due to enter prep school in Sept 2017 and fear that I have also missed all the deadlines.

Which 'top' schools require registration at birth or by 1st year which I have missed? I did some research and was unable to find any which I missed?

It seems schools like Habs is selective and not by first come first served?

angelpuffs Wed 04-Nov-15 20:45:01

Most of the top academic schools aren't interested in registration by birth as they want to select pupils on academic ability. It's not much use to them being obliged to take a pupil who has been registered from birth but isn't up to their standards academically. As long as you register within their registration period- usually May- Nov of the year before entry- you're not too late. The only one that I'm aware you'll have missed is SHHS, which requires registration in a 2 week period in the September 2 years prior to your daughters entry- so this sept just passed.

brokenmouse Thu 05-Nov-15 20:28:20

Not necessarily the case for boys schools. The Hall, Trevor Roberts and Hereward house for example all require registration by age 1. You'll need to ring the individual school.

BYOSnowman Thu 07-Jan-16 13:47:11

Hereward are still accepting for 2018 entry onwards.

Trevor Roberts is co ed and have a funny system but worth calling. It's definitely not by age 1 though

writingonthewall Tue 12-Jan-16 20:08:05

When I rang Trevor Roberts, my son was 5 months old. The woman sucked air in through her teeth and said "ooooh, you're a bit late, I'll take your details but if you haven't heard by the time he is two then you'll have to assume you called too late". He's now 3 and I never heard back from them.

Lovkesh Wed 02-Mar-16 14:57:24

Hello All,

Please could you suggest which one is the better Academic School- The Phoenix Hampstead or St. Anthony's? I have seen Phoenix and class room sizes are too small. The kids have to travel 20 minutes to go to their other school playground. The only plus point is the school is affiliated to UCL and it is easy to get admission in Junior school so it is a means to an end.
St. Anthony's is excellent Academic school, nice location. let me know your thoughts.

Best regards,

HiraAli Thu 14-Apr-16 18:20:40

Hello all. We will be moving in June 2016 and I have applied so several schools in Hampstead but so far most schools seems to be full or not responding. My son is 5 years old and will be going in Year 1. Any reviews on St Christian, Heathsidr Preparatory and most of all Hereward House as these schools might be having spaces.
Nervous mom

bluecarpet Mon 18-Apr-16 22:03:03

The only plus point is the school is affiliated to UCL and it is easy to get admission in Junior school so it is a means to an end

the most recent 7+, half the boys didn't get into UCS. It caused a huge outcry. not sure if it was a one-off or a change in their admissions policy but don't assume automatic transfer.

mommyhii Tue 19-Apr-16 04:52:15

Thank you blue carpet. Apologies for my lack of awareness but which if these is affiliated with UCL?

bluecarpet Tue 19-Apr-16 06:23:53

UCL is a university. No pre-prep is affiliated with it!

UCS is a school. It used to start at 7, a few years ago they bought the Phoenix which became the de facto pre-prep for UCS and transfer was always thought to be automatic, until this year's 7+. I don't know if they have officially changed their policy but a lot of the parents are unhappy.

mommyhii Tue 19-Apr-16 06:51:23

Oh okay got it thank you smile

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