Independent Primamary school London (Wimbledon or North London) - help needed(10 Posts)
I have a 5+ DS and a 7+ DD. we moved from USA last year. At the time of moving we had come with the understanding that this move is only for a year. We have lived in the Teddington area for a year now and my kids are going to an ofsted rated outstanding school. It is a really good school and we were happy with it.
Our circumstances changed recently and now we can live in London long term. Teddington is a lovely area, however it is a long commute for my husband (to Canary Wharf) and also it is not really a diverse area. Two things which are of primary importance to us when we live here long term. We are now looking at two areas - Wimbledon or Hampstead/Highgate area.
We would want our children to go to Independent schools. However once I started looking at the system to get into good schools in these areas I was completely baffled.
My children were going to Steiner schools in the US and have picked up a lot in one year at their school here in London. However their report card says that they are both average. I know with time and more years to fit in they will do a lot better. My DD got 2Bs and my son in reception is also middle of the class. My DD reads quite well (is currently reading Harry Potter on her own), is extremely articulate and is good with languages. Maths she finds a little more difficult, but that could also because she hasn't found the right teacher. My son who didn't even know his alphabets till last year can read simple three letter/ four letter words and connecting words. He can spell them too, however gets mixed up with his b and d's. I think they have done extremely well and with more time to settle in, might stand a fair chance of getting into really good schools.
Being new to the system, I do not understand what people mean when they say a really bright child. Would my kids stand a fair chance. We haven't pushed them academically till now, but they both want to work and enjoy studying.
Here are my questions
- What kind of schools should we aim for my son. Should it be a school that would get him ready for 7+. He will be going into year 1 this September. Will he stand a good chance of getting into a really good school (HABS, Highgate, UCS, Kings?? etc.). We are happy for him to work hard, but not get miserable in the process.
- A highly selective prep has a place in year 1 and my son's assessment is in first week of September. Should we get him tutored. Most people we spoke to said that it would make sense to get him tutored. Should we really tutor for getting into a prep school?
- What schools can we look for our daughter both in the Wimbledon are and in North London. She would be going in to year 3.
- Where my kids are, do they stand a chance of even clearing the admission test this September for the academically selective preparatory schools?
- A friend suggested Edge Grove and Orley Farm. Are these the kind of schools we should be aiming for right now. What are the other options that we should look at. Will these schools be too far from Highgate/ Hampstead?
As all schools are on a summer break, we have heard back from a few, however we might hear from more after the summer holidays,
I am sorry about such a long post. However we are really confused and school admissions seem such a crazy affair that we have been quite baffled by it till now.
Hampstead: very international lots French and American families . Lovely area great for central London
Some very academic schools the hall etc some not so north bridge house etc . However the majority are oversubscribed .
In terms of commutability do you plan to go via West Hampstead to Canary Wharf ?
Wimbledon : I would say it was not very diverse and not much closer to Canary Wharf than Teddington !
It will also be the 3rd school for your children which I would consider very carefully your son should be ok as friends still very fluid in year 1 but by year 3 it will be more difficult for your daughter to settle again unless you go for a school which has a high turnover of children .
Forgot for your son yes for academically selective schools you will need to work at home with him and or tutor for seven plus they need to be at national curriculum level 3 . Look at the past papers for these schools on their website this will give you an idea of the very high standard expected .
Unfortunately I would say your DS may not have enough academic skills (totally different to ability/ intelligence) to make it into the selective prep for this September. My August born DS (so youngest in year) has just finished Reception and can read fluently (i.e. he could read the first Harry Potter to himself, although he wouldn't necessarily understand it all) and can write a short recount by himself. He achieved this in a determinedly non-selective prep who do not believe in pressure so children in academically selective and pushy schools will certainly be doing more.
Again- not about intelligence- just what the 'expectations' have been on the children.
In your position, if you want independent, I would look for a great non-selective for both an look to 7/11/13+.
Completely agree with CharlesRyder, I would recommend a non selective supportive school for your son with a view to moving him to a selective, if suited at 7/11/13. You may find it is better for him to stay put until 11/13 so he has some continuity. Wimbledon has some really excellent schools that will develop a whole range of abilities. Wimbledon to Canary Wharf is a very straightforward journey and the area is lovely for young children. I teach in Wimbledon and know most of the schools have ex pat students from around the world, contrary to a pp it does have a diverse intake into Wimbledon schools, people travel far because they are so good.
We are in West Hampstead and have lived being here for some 10 years+. No longer do the daily commute but used to and Canary Wharf is very simple on the Jubilee line. No changes & the line normally runs pretty well. Not sure area hugely diverse but lots of (professional) families and we love it here. Plenty of cafes and parks. Hampstead Heath near by & Golders Hill Park. Just one son who is in between your two children. Just completed Y1 at church state school in Hampstead. I would say that we have been working steadily and consistently with him at home for approaching 2 years (started November of Reception). Nothing too crazy (although know some people will say doing any extra is nuts) but just small amount most days to prep for 7+ to Highgate or may be Habs (likely too academic) in January 16. I have never been a crammer. Firstly focusing on maths. Then improving the reading & vocabulary and also spellings. Now focusing on comprehension plus story writing - understand needs to write a page. Little and often is our mantra. The competition for UCS, Habs & Highgate seems very highly. But there are a wide range of schools around here which may be slightly less selective - Mill Hill with it's outstanding grounds which we will likely try for too - or schools which will help with 11+ in Hampstead such as St Anthonys, St Margarets (girls but this may go through to 16), North Bridge (again can stay until 18 I believe), Heathside. So many options where even if they tell you they are full then they all have occasional places as many people move through this area. There is something nuts like over a dozen private schools just on Fitzjohn's Avenue so plenty of options. Best of luck to you & your two children
As others have suggested - your kids need time to catch up with their peers who have been in the UK system for longer.
Realistically, they are not ready for the highly selective preps at the moment - even if by some miracle you got a place - being at the bottom of the class is not great for confidence.
I would look for a non-selective school that prepares for 11/13+. This would give them the best chance to catch up and find their feet. Given his current level, prepping your boy for 7+ would be very challenging for all involved. I think boys' 7/8+ is an absolutely crazy exam in the level of expectation for little children. At least by 11/13 kids have an emotional maturity and an understanding of why they are putting all the hard work into it.
I know nothing about Wimbledon, but in N London you could ring up St. Margaret's in Kidderpore Gardens for your daughter - it is a really nice, small, girls school that is less selective than the others and might well have space for your daughter. They are flexible about numbers in each year, as long as the whole school doesn't go over, and I happen to know that some girls have left from year 1 (moved abroad) so they might have a space.
Your son needs either a non-selective pre-prep such as Golders Hill, Hampstead Hill, Avenue House (but then you face a pretty stressful year or so preparing for the 7+) or try to get him into one of the less selective schools that goes either to 11/13 e.g. Devonshire House, Lyndhurst, or that goes through to 18 like Northbridge House.
Good luck with it all
Wimbledon isn't any more diverse than Teddington and the journey to Canary Wharf isn't much better. I would say you are probably better staying where you are and avoiding disrupting your children's education again. Has your husband tried travelling to Twickenham to catch the train? There's a much quicker service into London from there.
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