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sw3 private school admissions - pls help!

(47 Posts)
allag Sat 29-Jan-11 21:38:42


i badly need some advice please!! we had two little girls in quick succession and hadn't realized just how competitive private school reception entry can be - didn't do enough research. We applied to three schools, all of which required an assessment or interview, and have now been turned down by two (francis holland and garden house - although the latter say they have put us on waiting list and places may become available). Waiting to hear from another but not too much hope - it is a very small school so i guess the odds are not great. Now it seems we are out of options!!! What would be the best thing to do in this situation - call around all the schools in the area? do we have ANY chance of getting a place at this stage - DD is due to start Reception in September? I would be very grateful for ANY advice. THank you so much

RatherBeOnThePiste Sat 29-Jan-11 21:48:29

I would imagine that most families apply to more than one school so the waiting list place may come through. I knew a girl many years ago who had a lovely time at Garden House.

Could she stay at nursery school rather than move on in September? This way you could look further and at different options. That part of town has a very high turn over of families so places come up frequently.

Have you applied for a state place at all?

onimolap Sat 29-Jan-11 21:53:24

Try Newton Prep (though you may be a bit late for them) - just over Chelsea Bridge. Or Hill House - as it's an international school the it churn rate is high. But it's a marmite uniform!

onimolap Sat 29-Jan-11 22:11:14

I don't know what the K&C deadline for state schools admissions is, but you might also like to see if there's anything doing at Holy Trinity C of E school (just behind Sloane Square). As not many children live close, it's got a big admissions area.

RatherBeOnThePiste Sat 29-Jan-11 22:34:06

Hill House had crossed my mind too! We've known children go through there and seemed to be very happy even in their knickerbockers! They do have a high turn over indeed.

allag Sat 29-Jan-11 23:00:49

Thank you all for replying - so helpful!! I have thought about whether she could stay on at nursery - in fact i would like that - but she will be exactly 4.5 yrs old in September so does that mean she HAS to start Reception?

We haven't considered the state school option - just always intended to go private -but of course for no reason other than not giving the whole thing enough thought as it now transpires. So again any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Will try Hill House (am kicking myself as we went along to see it a while back but never took it any further) AND Newtop Prep. i should have mentioned, we have actually just moved to just across Chelsea Bridge (the Prince of Wales Drive) - so while the chelsea schools are still very near, so are Battersea schools now (and of course the state school eligibility will be different now). i am very sure we are late for Thomas' who were interviewing a while ago (at the time we were still in Chelsea so didn't consider it). I will of course have a look at what options there are this side of the river, both private and state. I am heartened to hear that places can come up at a later stage - DH and I have been feeling incredibly stressed and guilty about allowing this situation to arise.

onimolap Sat 29-Jan-11 23:24:28

There are always families moving in and out of London. Try to stay calm, especially as you could keep her in nursery until a place comes up.

From Prince of Wales Drive, it's only a short bus ride to Clapham Common, so you could try the girls school bit of Eaton House The Manor, and also Parkgate House.

test01 Sun 30-Jan-11 12:42:06

Why don't you try Hampshire school?. Not sure if it's too late for places as the school is having a lot of demand lately. My kids go there and are extremely happy.

allag Sun 30-Jan-11 23:10:03

thank you. will try all the places mentioned.

allag Mon 31-Jan-11 13:24:51

a little bit of relief is that we can still have a place at Hill House - they are sending us an offer. and there is still a chance at the Hampshire. am new to this site so just want to say thank you for the support - i cannot believe the speed of responses and how helpful it has been. immediately stopped us from panicking. Will now keep at it to make sure we end up in the right place for my DD, but at least i now know we have options.

RatherBeOnThePiste Mon 31-Jan-11 14:45:24

Good news Allag - and your DD will look cuuuute in the HH uniform if you make that choice in the end.

sanam2010 Mon 31-Jan-11 15:23:28

Amazing that HH still has spaces, good for you! It looks like a fantastic school.

bambiandthumper Mon 31-Jan-11 15:36:31

My DT's are at Garden House and if you stay on the waitlist i'm sure your DD's will get in, though this might not be for a while.

My sisters children are at HH and if you have spaces there GO FOR IT. Really it is a lovely school and they are having a fab time.

If you want all girls have you tried Glendower or Falkner House? Though both are equal to GH in terms of shortage of spaces you never know what may have an availability. Would you consider Pembridge Hall, though as its up by Notting Hill might be a bit far? Has an excellent reputation though.

Further out there is also Kensington Prep, Redcliffe School, and the Thomas'. I don't have any experience of these but I have heard they are less competitive for places than the ones you have listed.

If you want to know anything else, either ask on here on PM me. I am trying to negotiate the NY system for pre schools. If they don't get into the right pre school they won't get into any decent indie so I'm told. Apparently school admission time is savage.

bambiandthumper Mon 31-Jan-11 15:37:17

Just read that you are in Battersea, have you tried Broomwood Hall?

Trato Mon 31-Jan-11 20:18:03

I also take my kids to Hapmshire school and would highly recommend it. The atmosphere is fantastic and the kids are highly motivated. Every children I know have moved to excellent secondary schools and the communication between school and parents is amazing. Good luck with all the assessments!!

bambiandthumper Mon 31-Jan-11 20:58:56

Sorry, me again

If your dead set on GH or any other school with a Kindergarten try and get your youngest into that, and then your elder DD will be bumped up the waiting list as a sibling.

allag Mon 31-Jan-11 22:48:59

Thanks all! Bambiandthumper, and everyone else, thanks for so much great advice. I have to say if the NY system is any worse than this, i would be finished. I do find it incredible that considering the amount of money we are willing to pay, it is still such a hurdle to get DCs into schools. We HAVE tried Falkner House but stupidly got the dates mixed up for the assessment date - doh - so am waiting to hear if there are any other openings. Haven't tried Glendower and am very sure it is way too late, but no harm in trying, you are right. Haven't tried anywhere in BAttersea yet - will do though, as still want to consider as many options as I can.
And I HAVE thought about the kindergarten manouvre for DDs for GH, hoping that registering DD2 might help our case with DD1 - I think it's bound to help! It's not that i am dead set on GH, but we have kind of been in love with it even since BCs. But have heard lots of lovely things about Hill House as well - DH actually loved it when he saw it a while backso am very happy we have that at this stage, whether or not this will be the ultimate school of choice. (if we are lucky enough to have any. ).
Going to see the Hampshire on Monday - very exciting. they think they might well have spaces as people do apply to several schools.
The third school we haven't heard back from yet following assessmenthmm is Cameron House - does anyone know much about them? We applied without much info as it really isn't mentioned much anywhere!

Nickmom Tue 01-Feb-11 10:00:42

Have you told GH that they are your 1st choice? I had an interview there years ago and told the head exactly that. We were accepted. My daughter was very happy there and it only get better and better. I would write a letter to the head of the lower school. Say it is your first choice and say why.

Good Luck.

allag Tue 01-Feb-11 10:47:35

thank you Nickmom. i am conscious i wasn't clear enough on that in the interview - i now so regret it!!! I did subsequently write an e-mail telling her that it is our first choice but not sure she would even have received the e-mail directly. I think i will write again - thanks, i think that is great advice.

Nickmom Tue 01-Feb-11 11:30:15

Also, a few calls to the registrar always helps. Find out the day deposits are due and make sure you are in their mind! They really don't want to call ten people on the list who are interested in other school. Good Luck

allag Tue 01-Feb-11 12:25:48

those are great tips, thank you. i also have a fifteen month old daughter - do you think i should get her registered for kindergarten now - before we know the outcome for the older DD - to hopefully boost their interest in us?

Michaelahpurple Tue 01-Feb-11 13:09:37

Hmm. You have, I am afraid, been a bit of a juggins! How on earth did you think places were sorted out - you have missed Chelsea state schools too I think. Where does your DD1 go to nursery school - do they not help with this at all?
Re Cameron House, my boys are there. The school has 20 reception places, of which at least 10 generally go to siblings. This year they had over 250 applicants, although due to people moving etc, I think they had fewer than 200 in for assessment. This is sadly moderately typical for small sW3 schools.
Having said which children do of course end up with multiple places, so there is some clearing, although these places will at first go to those who have been to assessment.
Don't rely on plans to use reception as an entry route - lists for Thomas's, GH etc close at about 1 year old - you might get lucky but this is unlikely to be a golden bullet. Again, places clear - I messed up for my first, putting him down for schools when tiny but leaving nursery schools until about 6 months, not realising the order of priority, and he didn't get a place at any of them on first pass. I finally got a place for the September only in the June.
It is all ridiculous.
Now, the key thing is to (a) don't panic and (b) be madly persistent. When places for sept come up later in this academic year, which they always do because of people moving, schools generally only make the most cursory of efforts to phone down the old waiting list. If you happen to call just after the place comes free, you can pounce. There is a boy in my DS2's reception class who popped in this way. Get your story together (I'd lean on a new to the area angle, rather than just didn't get round to it). Don't be embarrassed to call weekly - just charm the admin lady and keep it jolly.
The bigger schools are definitely most likely to come open, and Hill House is renowned for not turning people away (not an indictment - it is just very large and has a pretty transient client base, and has a fair bit of flexibility in how many it takes in reception because of the way their classrooms are set up), so that is great you have that sorted. If you prove not to feel wild about it, you have a second bite when you do DD2 as a two-fer deal, but for goodness sake get her down for some now! As previous posters said, Newton, Thomas's (Battersea or Clapham, or even Fulham) are worth a go. Spread your net wide, decide quickly if you are interested in the school, and just call round until you get lucky.
Finally, I have never heard of 4 year olds left roaming the streets for lack of a school place, so it will work out, although it is no fun to deal with at the time. Loads of luck

bambiandthumper Tue 01-Feb-11 13:10:22

I would register her now, even if it doesn't bump your DD up immediately they will become 'aware' of you again, and if you want GH then you won't have to worry about this faff a second time round.

Mine are in Kindy there and it is fab.

allag Tue 01-Feb-11 21:47:11

michaelahpurple - even though i am not totally sure what a juggins is, i think i have most definitely been one!! hmm grin Thank you for all this great advice. i had the feeling that the odds for Cameron HOuse were something like you are describing, so even though we did do the assessment and haven't heard yet, i am not counting on that. We have an assessment for Queensgate tomorrow, along with two other "late" candidates. yes, it looks like i will be full time on the phone for some time to come.

allag Thu 03-Feb-11 17:27:16

been been accepted by queensgate - loved the look of it and our nursery headmistress had recommended it to us a while back. Anyone knows much about it?

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