Thomas' kindergarten vs Little St Helen's

(16 Posts)
rsub Thu 03-Nov-11 16:05:56

I'm new to this forum, but have been reading relevant posts with interest.
We currently live in the SW area (Fulham), and schooling for our now 2.5 yr girl has been dominating our minds in the recent past.
We are open to moving house either to the NW London (for schools like NLCS, St Helens, Habs girls, NHEHS) or a bit more SW (for schools like Putney High, Wimbledon High etc.). Considering prep schools like Thomas' or Broomwood Hall but preference is for above schools which go from 4 to 18.
We have registered for Little St. Helens Northwood for Nursery 2012 and will register for other schools for reception 2013. Of course if my girl gets into Little ST Helens for nursery, thats a great option to stay on....but probably may prefer NLCS or Putney high over it..
Now it so happened that she's just been offered a place at Thomas' kindergarten starting Jan 2012.
Key confusion now is whether we should still go ahead with LSH nursery in Sep 2012 (if she gets in of course, which is by no means easy), or continue on at Thomas' till 2013, and aim for all of these schools for reception.
Anyone with experience of these schools? Would it be worth it to get her to do two years at Thomas' kindergarten, or just two terms and move to LSH (again if she gets in!).

OP’s posts: |
fleetundo Thu 03-Nov-11 18:53:34

I would go for LSH if i were you. That would of course mean moving. However it is a fantastic school and produces amazing results. You could always try her later for NLCS or Habs at a later stage in either reception, 7+ or 11+ and move her if she gets in but honestly, to have a place at LSH is worth taking!
If you took Thomas' then you would have to def move her then when she is finished which might be a nusiance and she may end up going to LSH after all and she would have 2 moves then. Go for LSH in MHO

TRL Thu 03-Nov-11 21:10:20

So, your preference is for all-girls going through from 4 -18, is that right?

Your next preference is for a rigorous academic school like NLCS or Putney High?

I'm guessing you've looked round all these schools and the 2 nurseries you've mentioned? Where do you see her being happiest?

Do you only have a daughter, would be my first question?
Do you only want academics, ie no frills - like Putney High Juniors?
Are you really sure you'd want a child in the same environment right through - what happens if as they mature they need either a bigger, bolder place or it becomes obvious they need a smaller, more nurturing school ... and you've moved house for the wrong school?!?

We were in a similar position to you a few years ago except we had children of both sexes. Despite the fact we live within a 5 min walk of Putney High, we rejected that for our daughter - there were too many things we didn't like on looking round and too many things we felt were missing. (We'll look again at the Seniors when she reaches 11+.) I've no idea about LSH or St Helen's except it's not got the academic reputation of NLCS or the GDST schools - this isn't the be-all, of course and you may have just loved it for your daughter, in which case, it's probably right for you.

When we looked round Thomas's, Battersea, we knew we'd found the right school for our family - it's the most wonderful place - you can feel the excited, zingy atmosphere as you walk in - and it suits my very different children equally well. As they get higher up the school the sheer breadth of things going on is stunning - there's something for every type of learner/nature.

Unlike you, we hadn't really given much thought to the whole SW London nursery/prep school admissions craziness so hadn't registered our first for Thomas's in time ... not a chance of assessment for Reception once we caught on. Except a place came up at the Battersea kindergarten, which guarantees an assessment for Reception, so we took it, really because we wanted to aim for that Reception place. The Kindergarten was a lovely experience for all of mine (the next two followed), mainly play and experimentation, lots of creative activities and things to help learn confidence and independence. There are lots of plays, outside games, sponsored scoots, picnics etc through the year and the children start to develop social skills - serving drinks to grown ups, helping on cake stalls etc - too, which mine all enjoyed. The staff there are lovely, proactive and interested in all the little individuals - children and staff have lovely relationships.

Given that you're Fulham-based, have you completely discounted Glendower? Lots of girls then go on to Put/Wimbledon High or Godolphin & latymer, all very easy by public transport from Fulham. Glendower has a great academic rep plus more going on in extra-curricular staff than Put High Juniors has?

Sorry, long post ... am I pleased not to have to start with this all over again?! Basically, there's so much excellent choice available in London, isn't there?

TRL Thu 03-Nov-11 21:20:52

No, no NO - I'm dopey ... I don't mean Glendower , I mean Ken Prep, the GDST prep near Parson' Green. Sorry, been one of those days .....

rsub Fri 04-Nov-11 10:19:38

Thank you very much, fleetundo and TRL, for your prompt responses!

fleetundo, do your girls go to SH / LSH? I am enamoured by the size of the place (20+ acres), with its amazing facilities, but not really clear if these are already accessible by kids from LSH.Do you know if they actually do a lot of extra currics (sport, music, drama) in LSH, or does it wait only until senior school? Do you know if its easier to get in at nursery or reception?

TRL, Really appreciate your long post... We are not in a different boat from where you were.... really only woke up to the private schooling fact in the last 3 months...already too late for the non selective ones, so casting the net for a few selective schools and hoping some of our preferred ones work out. do your kids go to Thomas' now? Battersea or Clapham.
We had just made the cutoff for Battersea reception main list (not for Clapham), and the emergency waitlist for the kindergarten. Surprisingly, a place opened up in kindergarten which they offered to us. We're now considering if we can change to Thomas' Clapham (again because its bigger, more facilities, close to playing fields etc.). Do you know of any wraparound nurseries / childminders close to the Battersea Kindergarten?
And you mentioned Putney High being very academic and no frills - I am pretty keen on her getting a good sport experience as well....hmmm.

We are pretty certain we'll move out of Fulham into a bigger place (hence not really considering Kensington Prep), question is still whether its NW (lovely houses, bigger schools with more facilities, more bang for the buck) or SW (still a bit chaotic).

Thanks once again for your inputs. I'll keep you updated.


OP’s posts: |
fleetundo Fri 04-Nov-11 14:23:40

My girls dont go but alot of my friends kids do. I think they do use all the playing fields and they make good use of the space. It's just IMO, i love the idea of my kids being in a lot of space surrounded by greenery with space they can run arund in. Thomas's is certainly a fatastic school it just doesn't have all the facilites which LSH do. I looked aorund LSH and adored it but it's just abit far for me. When my friend who lives nearer announced her dd would be going, must admit was abit jealous!

TRL Fri 04-Nov-11 16:51:16

In answer to your questions:

my mob go to Thomas's Battersea - looked round Fulham and Clapham too both of which are bigger and take an extra class in every year and seemed very professional but only Battersea had that zingy atmosphere which we knew would be a great fit with our family. Clapham thrashes Battersea in most inter-Thomas's sports (although Battersea's netball's looking v good this season!) and the Claphamites are definitely competitive. Battersea's strengths are its class and subject teachers, ballet, fast-developing music, drama productions and extra classes, art, trips programme and superlative headmaster. Many sports are offered offsite and within school there's continual use of the playground and gym for sports lessons.

If you take the kindy place, you can transfer to Clapham for Reception assessment if you want. Rough guesstimate - about 80% of kindy get places at one the main schools - they're looking for confidence and can do approach rather than any previous learning.

Re: wraparound care, Lower kindy is just 3 mornings/week and after the child's third birthday, they can stay for afternoon clubs (no clubs Friday). Upper kindy is 5 mornings and up to 4 afternoon clubs. Often one of the kindy teachers is happy to earn a bit extra by taking your child for the afternoon back to your house and caring for them/going to library, park etc. In Upper kindy there seems to be an endless round of playdates which covers that time! If you were interested, you should ring Sophie, the Head, and ask her to ask round her staff - they're all fab.

We live in Putney to get a big house/garden - it's a 15/20 min journey depending on traffic.

Ovb, there are lots of parents happy with the cheaper fees/less frills education at Put High and plenty of short purple people doing the rounds of ballet, swimming, karate, music after school in Putney.

Ask any questions you have that I can help with ....


rsub Tue 08-Nov-11 17:14:01

Thats fantastic again fleetundo and TRL!
Thanks very much for your responses.....! Will update you soon...!!

OP’s posts: |
rsub Wed 16-Nov-11 12:06:12

So we have registered her for Thomas's Battersea kindergarten starting January. Its just 3 mornings a week, and she can continue her current day care / nursery during the rest of the time. We will let her be assessed by LSH in the January assessments and see where that leads to. If it works out, we will strongly consider the move.
Thanks once again for your inputs on this!

OP’s posts: |
rsub Tue 07-Feb-12 16:26:24

Hi both...quick update since you both took some time to reply earlier... DD has started at Thomas' kindergarten and loves it.. she's very happy there.
However, she also has cleared the assessment in St Helens for 3+ and has been offered a place! So we're going to take that. It will mean a big change in life moving to Harrow etc. but both of us think it will be so much better. Best part of St Helens is that there's no more assessment or anything to worry about...!
thanks once again for your inputs!

OP’s posts: |
patienceneeded Tue 07-Feb-12 20:58:05

Congrats to your daughter. Im sure she will love LSH, it's a wonderful school. My DD is flourishing and loving every second.

BerylOfLaughs Wed 08-Feb-12 06:55:42

Congrats! My dd is also starting at LSH in sept ( yr 2) and we're very happy with it.

TRL Wed 08-Feb-12 11:43:52

Congrats to your DD - sounds like the LSH package and move to NW will really suit your family which is such an important thing.

rsub Thu 09-Feb-12 19:46:06

Thank you.... yes, really looking forward.

patience, which year is your daughter in? any tips and tricks for a parent who's sending the only kid to Helen's for the first time? smile

OP’s posts: |
SherryM Sat 02-Feb-19 23:29:45

Hi All - apologies for the random message but how early should one apply for a place at Thomas' Kindergarten. Our DS is 10 weeks old and I am stressing we left it too late. Thanks!

Skimmedmilk1 Sun 03-Feb-19 09:18:58

@SherryM not trying to be unpleasant but spamming lots of threads to ask how to apply and if you've missed deadlines at various places isn't going to help you

Ring the schools and ask them!

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