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Advice on Camden Schools - Torriano and Hampstead Parochial

(21 Posts)
CamdenSchoolDilemma Wed 12-Oct-11 18:30:32

Hi all.

I've been offered places for my children at both Torriano (infants and juniors) and Hampstead Parochial School. Does anyone have any experience or gossip about either of these schools?

In relation to Torriano, I would like a mixture of backgrounds for my children to experience, but am slightly concerned that this school does not have enough middle class influence (sorry that's being honest and I don't want to be too snobby, but I want a mixture of children/intake, not just all one background). I know it has a very good ofsted and pretty good SATs results - although I'm less concerned about these.

One of my concerns about Hampstead is that it is too much like a mini prep school. I also worry that there is too much focus on SATs etc. Also worried that HPS the intake is very scattered, and wonder whether Torriano has a better community feel - with more local children.

Anyway, all advice welcome - I have seen HPS and am visiting Torriano this week but am very undecided about what to do.


I'll post this on the local board too.

hockeyforjockeys Wed 12-Oct-11 18:45:33

I used to work at a nearby school to Torriano, and both j and i schools are well regarded and have a huge amount going on. The school I worked at had a similar intake and it really wasn't an issue for mc kids, they had lots of friends and the parents were welcomed with open arms to support PTA/governors. I don't know HPS that well, but I wouldn't even consider it for my (fictional!) children for precisely the reasons you have said - but I am a raging softie leftie.

At the end of the day it is down to what you value the most, and where you are comfortable with sending your children. I would strongly advise you to visit Torriano and make you judgement from there, hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised!

100lilgreen Wed 12-Oct-11 19:05:56

HPS is a lovely school! Kids there are most defnitely not 'rich' and it most certainly does not give off a prep school atmosphere. It is very community like i assure you!

CamdenSchoolDilemma Wed 12-Oct-11 20:20:57

I do worry at HPS that all the families are scattered across a very large area. In our current school everyone lives within walking distance.

My ideal school is Eleanor Palmer, but we haven't been offered places there, and I know places rarely come up.

admission Wed 12-Oct-11 20:27:38

I've been to Torriano Junior school and it is a fabulous school. Big old building but the atmosphere in it is great and the children are so proud of the school and what they achieve. Staff are wonderful to work with.
Sorry no idea what the infant school is like.

CamdenSchoolDilemma Thu 13-Oct-11 17:00:47

thanks Admission - that sounds really positive.

Any other views?

horsemadmom Thu 13-Oct-11 18:01:45

How did you get offers so far apart? Best advice is think about which senior school you want. If you are headed for A.B., Torriano is fine. If you want to go indie, choose HPS.

CamdenSchoolDilemma Thu 13-Oct-11 18:10:13

we won't be going indie. we are going to aim for Camden School for girls (know catchment is tiny) or Parliament Hill. We got offers because those are the schools with 2 places in different years. I don't think other schools have any spaces in our years at the moment (except that one in Kentish Town near Queen's Crescent whose name I can't remember).

100lilgreen Thu 13-Oct-11 19:40:15

Do you mean Carlton Primary? Or Rhyl Primary?

PollyMorfic Thu 13-Oct-11 19:46:25

All the people I know with kids at Torriano are v. pleased (all quite m/c families). One family took their child out of a prep school mid-term when the place at Torriano came up. IME it's nicer than Eleanor Palmer, bit more mixed and not as precious. smile

PollyParanoia Thu 13-Oct-11 20:00:45

Which is nearer? It's a joy to be v close to primary school.

CamdenSchoolDilemma Fri 14-Oct-11 07:30:03

yes Rhyl has places too I think.

Torriano will be closer, although i think in the long run we'll probably try to live near Tufnell Park tube. We won't be living close to HPS. That is my biggest issue I think - I love living close to the school.

PollyMorfic Fri 14-Oct-11 07:54:07

Oh you don't want to hike to Hampstead from Tufnell Park, that's not fun. Pick a school that's the side of the Heath you want to live on.

CamdenSchoolDilemma Fri 14-Oct-11 11:14:53

have visited Torriano now - thought it was lovely.

just need to persuade DH now.

horsemadmom perhaps I'm being oversensitive, but are you implying with your post that HPS is academically much better than the other schools and therefore ok for prep schools, but if I'm aiming for a state school I'm ok to "settle for" the other schools?

I have experience of state and private schools (I have 2 older children) and really do not feel that the academic standards are much higher at HPS, but I do worry that there is too much focus on academic standards there.

100lilgreen Fri 14-Oct-11 11:41:16

Go for Torriano. You seem put off by HPS, so why send your kid's somewhere that you don't have a natural loving instinct for! IMO, HPS is not more academic, it just has a nice feel about it. I have never visited Torriano before so can't say the same for that , but you can. Forget about HPS and go for Torriano, or Eleanor Palmer because you said you liked that so much

PollyMorfic Fri 14-Oct-11 12:12:49

Yy, agree. in the end the most important thing is that you like the vibe. The destinations of the other dc tells you more about their parents than it does about how your child will do at any given primary school. Do not underestimate the convenience of being local -- it is a long slog across the heath in the rain and cold, and an even worse drive. And you'll be doing it twice daily for years. Plus you want them to have local friends.

If you have girls and are in a position to relocate, you can then move into hte Camden Girls' catchment, and then you'll be sorted for secondary as well. And lots of the Torriano girls will be moving with them, whereas there won't be many from HPS going to Camden.

horsemadmom Fri 14-Oct-11 14:19:49

Hi Camden,
My comment was really about the Torriano head being less supportive of people moving to indie and selective secondaries rather than HPS where it is the norm. Just anecdotal stuff from people who had kids there.

CamdenSchoolDilemma Fri 14-Oct-11 15:02:43

oh right - thanks horsemadmom!

will think on this over the weekend, somebody I spoke to in another local school has given me a more negative view of Torriano.

papillonring Thu 05-Apr-12 20:14:20

Hi CamdenSchoolDilemma

May I know what was eventually your final decision? And can you please share the negative view of Torriano that you have learnt from that person?

margoandjerry Fri 06-Apr-12 20:04:13

my nephew is at Torriano and my sister and BIL are very pleased with it. They are very middle class grin. Too soon to say anything more in depth about it because he is very young but he's happy there and it's going well.

I also think don't underestimate the importance of being near the school.

Leonida Mon 22-Apr-13 10:50:53


I have been offered a place at Hampstead Parochial School, shall I accept it? The last ofsted report (June 2012) mentions turbulence and high staff turnover, does anybody have children or knows children who attend this school? Any advice very welcome!! Thanks, Leonida

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