Which London PrePrep for a science-minded all-rounder?(10 Posts)
Help desperately needed: we're relocating back to London this summer, my son is 5 and craves problem-solving challenges (he spends hours doing lego for 10-16 year olds without help, loves chess & begs me to send him on a 'holiday chess camp') but also enjoys (though is not necessarily the best at) sports (rugby twice a week, football, skiing, tennis & swimming - somewhat influenced by his Australian mother! but he claims to really enjoy it) and art (the scientific side of it - he likes to do drawings in 2d).
What we're looking for (coed or not is not an issue) is a school in London (we'll be in Fulham but happy to commute for the school that best suits him) that will allow him to (i) develop his more innate mathematical/science qualities (this isn't a given - many of the pre-preps simply don't teach science, or don't let 6 year olds start chess club) (ii) whilst giving him an 'all rounded' education (sport, art, music) (iii) in an environment that encourages good manners and respect for others (I note some rather damning comments about how rude boys at some pre-prep schools are). I realise that is asking a lot, but we thought we'd at least start by aiming high
Looking at pre-prep school websites most of them claim to do this, but any insights from mums most welcome as it's hard to know just from a visit. Right now we're looking at Eaton House (which teaches science & chess but I note, with some trepidation, is regularly called a 'sweat shop'), Hill House (doesn't seem to start science in pre-prep), Dulwich College (seems to have it all?), Alleyns (ditto, although mumsnet mums are quite critical about mums of children there), Fulham Prep (no science in pre-prep?) & Thomas's Fulham.
Apologies for the monalogue... thanks.
Have a look at Hawkesdown House near Kensington High Street. Also Cameron House in Chelsea.
Alleyn's chess club is lovely, and the boys I know are sweet, but the science provision is sketchy (as is the Maths in some areas).
Don't forget state primaries, apparently Coldfall in Muswell Hill has a fantastic chess club, they won the London primary chess championship in a final against Brookland Junior School recently.
What I also do is check the list of winners of the primary maths challenge which gives you a good idea of which schools have a high number of very able pupils in maths. Habs boys pops up a lot on that list - not sure if there is a similar competition in science.
I really wouldn't commute from Fulham to Dulwich or Alleyns for a 5yo. There's bound to be many much closer which are perfectly good, whether they have a science specialism or not. Proximity to home means a lot when you're little and Fulham, Hammersmith, K&C et al have plenty of places to choose from.
Agree Dulwich and Alyens (sp) too far away from Fulham. Remember that mad Science clubs, as well as being offered at many schools (our pre-prep, cameron house has had to put in two sessions a week because of demand) is available outside school too. I suppose it might be worth checking how much the pre prep children at schools that go through to 11/13 (eg Thomas's and Fulham prep) use the lab facilities if these are a draw for you - often they don't get into them until prep school age (not that a lab is essential to per prep science ).
Agree that primary maths challenge a good marker, but remember that this isn't sat until year 5/6 so it may just show the school has a selective 8+ entry.
You need to think about heather you want your boy to be easily able to sit 8+ (ie at a school which supports it), or not forced to do it (so one that goes through, so you could always support him to 8+ at home if you subsequently decide to give it a go) This partially requires you to have a view on whether you want him to go to 11+ schools (Latymer , Alleyns etc) or 13+ schools (westminster, St. Paul's etc), as some dovetail to only one, others offer both exits. (I know this seems madness to even talk about at his age)
Given what you say about him, you may well want to the option of having a crack at westminster under and Colet court at 8+
Thanks all: been digesting all your useful advice and applied to, and bisited, quite a few of the schools you mentioned. State schools appear impossible to get in to (I had a terrifying encounter with one who said even people whose windows overlooked the school were unlikely to get in). Amazingly he's just been accepted at our first choice so we're all celebrating thank you all.
We did the trip in a taxi and soon realised it was unrealistic: thanks.
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