Bute House 4+ ballot and non-competitive ethos

(32 Posts)
sanam2010 Fri 09-Nov-12 06:49:55

Hi, Bute House looks fantastic but it looks impossible to win the 4+ ballot, isn't it? Does anyone have an idea of the odds? They take 20 girls but I assume around 10 places left for the actual ballot, and then how many girls do you think are registered for it? 200? I am just guessing, if any one has more information please share.

Also, I love their philosophy and the headmistress's views on education - it's so different from the other academic prep schools. I just wonder can it really be true? How do they get results so much better than the other top girls' prep schools while following a "non-competitive ethos"?

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milkshake3 Fri 09-Nov-12 09:28:09

Hi Sanam. I can't comment on your chances of getting in through the ballot but I can add some thoughts to your second paragraph! I have friends with DDs at BH. They love it. BUT don't be fooled that it is some cosy, non competitive school. At 7+ they have another intake that is entry by exam. Look at their destination schools. Do you really think parents who send their DDs to those schools are non competitive, or that the children can afford not to be?. There is a lot of tutoring, just as there is at any London day school. It is the nature of the beast I'm afraid - lots of children looking to get into the top schools. They also "feed" into certain schools whereas some other preps have a "less feeder" approach and send their girls and boys to a broad range of schools (sorry for bad english!). I know they don't have "exams" but really it is semantics - the girls are tested...is there really much difference?

Hope that helps. If you want your DD to get a good education and be well positioned for one of their destination feeder schools, go for it, but it will be just as "competitive" an atmosphere as all the other schools by virtue of the school gate!

mrsshackleton Fri 09-Nov-12 11:02:15

I think there's something like 400 girls registered for the ballot- having said that not all would accept the offered place and I know several little girls who did get in that way, though not mine, which I was (mildly) annoyed about at the time but in hindsight relieved as it would have been too pressurised an environment for dd1. I'd agree with milkshake, it's as competitive as any other top London prep - Bute parents are pretty full-on. Which is fine if your child can cope, mine would have struggled but I wasn't to know that when she was 4.

sanam2010 Tue 13-Nov-12 21:14:19

Thanks a lot. Wow 400 registered for the ballot sounds incredible! I am going for it anyway since it automatically counts as a 7+ registration so I assume there's no harm.

Very interesting comments on the competitive side. They made me think of a possible explanation how Bute House can get better than the other top girls' preps like Glendower, Falkner House or Kensington Prep. I wonder if it's bc they have a large intake at 7+ whereas the others do their main intake via 4+ assessments. I think perhaps selecting most at 7+ they will be able to pick out the most academic girls who are likely to ace the 11+ exam - I would think this is much harder at the 4+ level. Because even if there is tutoring etc at Bute, I can't think of why it would be so much better than the other top prep schools. What do you think? Maybe if they are just extremely selective at the 7+ level, all the girls will be very smart and driven and the school won't have to do much else to get excellent results?

For those with daughters there or who know parents with girls at BH, are they happy there? What have you heard? I don't know any parents so would appreciate insights! Thanks.

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monkey42 Tue 13-Nov-12 21:20:19

I don't know bute house but do know the new head, who was the head at my 2DS' school until the summer when she went to Bute house. I thought she was fabulous & has a wonderful background in literacy and also is a really strong personality. Why don't you go and have a look for yourself and meet the head?

That said, as a mum of 2 DS I can't imagine that a selective london girl's prep is anything other than mega competitive!

milkshake3 Tue 13-Nov-12 21:31:30

Hi Sanam, I think your theory about 7+ assessment is right. My friend with a DD who has just left said the intake at 7+ basically guaranteed them the stellar results. These DDs have to pass an exam, so I would guess that some have been tutored for the 7+ - a lot of extra stuff goes on outside school all over the place!! Just read the threads on people asking for tutors for their 3 yr olds....!!

My friend liked BH but found it quite formal and she definitely commented on the pressure the girls are under at 11+ time. I have come across the girls at sports events and they certainly take no prisoners...and Glendower girls are v competitive too. Ken Prep doesn't have such a sporty reputation.

Are you applying for all of the schools you mention? Do you have a back up?
Good luck with it all.

sanam2010 Wed 14-Nov-12 06:56:11

Milkshake - almost all of them :-). Didn't get a good vibe from FH as they seemed completely focused on test results / academics so I didn't register. i have yet to have a look at Kensington Prep and will decide then. I loved Glendower, i didn't actually meet the new head but loved the girls when I visited, they seemed incredibly sweet, fun and competent, so it looked like a great place. I am looking at some co-ed schools as well and DD has a place at Hill House already (non-selective) which I like a lot, esp bc of their focus on arts, music and sports. I love Cameron House School in Chelsea as well although it's hard to get into and a bit expensive, but the Head is great and they are very focused on the individuality of the child. So it's no drama for us if none of the girls' preps work.

I will definitely visit Bute House next year and would love to meet the Head - she sounds fabulous. Although I see some of these tutoring on mumsnet, I guess i still have to meet the full force of competitive london parents when school starts, it's very interesting!! Although I have met one mum who ls daughter is 5 months younger than mine and she keeps freaking out about how they'll be in the same school year when DD is so far ahead and how her daughter will ever compete, I was incredulous, as this was when they were about 1 and of course mine was walking and the other one only crawling. Let's see!

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mrsshackleton Wed 14-Nov-12 09:33:58

All the girls i know at Bute seem happy there, parents have commented to me that it's the most overprivileged, entitled environment there is. Given its location and reputation that's not surprisng. You are on the list for assessment at 7+ if you register for 4+, but you will have to pay another fee, which I found very cheeky. I think you're quite right that at 7, it's much easier to spot the ones who can ace the 11+. Friends whose daughters entered at reception have said the girls who get in at 7+ are terrifyingly clever.

sanam2010 Mon 30-Sep-13 23:16:53

Bumping this - just to ask if anybody knows what date parents can expect to hear about the outcome of the ballot? Was it in oct or nov?

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sanam2010 Tue 08-Oct-13 16:58:23

Just answering my own question - looks like ballot happening this week and parents should be notified by early November. Anyone else hoping to get lucky?

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cariad73 Sun 20-Oct-13 18:23:07

Just got our letter on Saturday!

sanam2010 Mon 21-Oct-13 19:34:49

Aargh, I am away for half-term, can't wait! Did you get lucky?

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cariad73 Mon 21-Oct-13 22:02:36

YES....I couldn't believe it! I was shaking and had to read it like 4 times.

Seriously I still can't believe she got in on the lottery. What are the chances?!?!

cariad73 Mon 21-Oct-13 22:04:29

ok well I know the chances, but still you get the point


sanam2010 Mon 21-Oct-13 22:06:35

Cariad, woooowww! Congratulations! You must be thrilled!! Are you def taking up the place? I am somehow stupidly hoping for good news but I know it's very unlikely! Will let you know tomorrow (or maybe only the lucky ones got the letter so far?)

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cariad73 Mon 21-Oct-13 22:32:50

Yeah pretty sure we are taking it. My husband is 100% sure and I am 95% sure. ;)

I just have some slighty iffy feelings about single sex education, but when I go back for another tour and meeting with the head I will be won over again.

We are still waiting to hear about Ravenscourt Prep though, where she does have a lot of friends going (although most a year above as she is a September baby). We decided against going into Chelsea and Kensington schools because we didn't want the school run to be painful and we live in Brackenbury.

But yeah I would be lying if I said I thought we would say no to Bute. A September daughter at the Bute 4+ lottery.....no pressure then eh?

Tina2705 Tue 22-Oct-13 10:23:32

We got our letter on Saturday as well!!!

sanam2010 Tue 22-Oct-13 10:57:41

Tina, did you also get an offer? I wonder if the lucky ones got their letters first? I will find out when I am back in London tonight!

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Tina2705 Tue 22-Oct-13 11:38:02

Yes we got an offer as well!!

Tina2705 Tue 22-Oct-13 11:38:56

Hope it will go well for you Sanam!!

cariad73 Tue 22-Oct-13 12:14:59

Tina are you accepting or still deciding?

Also hey pretty good odds so far....two acceptance letters out of 18 (supposedly).

Tina2705 Tue 22-Oct-13 12:38:26

Im still thinking about it. But im pretty sure we will take it. Im going to see the school next month. I just hope we will fit there!!!

cariad73 Tue 22-Oct-13 12:55:19

Agree! We don't holiday at our own private villa in the Bahamas so if that's the norm we could be in trouble.

Also, I will be dropping DD off in my Audi not a chauffeur driven limo.

(I have seen this at Godolphin & Latymer which is behind my house)


Tina2705 Tue 22-Oct-13 13:40:22

Your post make me feel better. Now i cant wait to see The School!!!

sanam2010 Tue 22-Oct-13 17:50:31

no luck here unfortunately, not even waiting list so all eyes on the 7+ now ;-). It's okay, I decided that whatever happens it will probably be for the best. Although I am a bit jealous ;-). Enjoy! I'm sure your daughters will love it!

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