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Knightsbridge School - just for rich kids or a serious prep?

(32 Posts)
Hamptons99 Mon 18-Jan-16 15:25:24

I loved everything about Knightsbridge School when I did the tour but hear mixed views about the school. Mostly that it attracts wealthy Knightsbridge/Chelsea families only and therefore learning and academic results may not necessarily be a huge priority there. I looked at their leaving destinations on the school website and it was very mediocre compared to other schools but to be fair Knightsbridge is a relatively new school and I wonder if results are now improving.

If you had a choice between Queens Gate prep (all girls) and Knightsbridge School which do you mums all think is better? We are waiting to see how we get on with other 4+ assessments.

Hamptons99 Tue 19-Jan-16 10:19:49

Bumping this as I would really appreciate some info. Any Knightsbridge School parents in this forum who could help? Thanks!

cherokeee Tue 19-Jan-16 12:44:32

Have only observed the school (ie know parents with children there). Happy school. Several boys leave each year at 7+ or 8+ which perhaps is not reflected in leavers' destinations. Queens Gare probably more rigorous and also benefits from slightly more diverse (in context of centeal London) student body.

nowirehangers Tue 19-Jan-16 13:41:03

"in context of central London" saying it all grin. You are not going to find a private school in Kensington/Knightsbridge/Chelsea that isn't full of children of wealthy parents. If you loved the school, I would go for it, rather than fretting about minuscule perceived differences

Needmoresleep Tue 19-Jan-16 15:30:10

Many wealthy Knightbridge/Chelsea families are wealthy because they went to world class Universities and work in top City jobs. This group are often very ambitious for their children and will want their children to make the next step to a seriously academic secondary. The days of children of posh Brits dominating pupil rolls in central London schools is long over.

Then again London has its share of international trustafarians etc.

The trick is to work out what the main catchment of a school is and whether you share values with other parents. The girls preps seen as best able to get a girl into a very academic secondary are Glendower and Falkner House. Kensington Prep is well regarded and, usefully, seen as less pushy. But there are plenty of others. Hill House always had a reputation of producing happy children, FH was quite rich, GH good at boarding schools and so on. Visit and try to work out what feels right for your child. You might also hang out on a Friday morning in the cafe nearest each of these schools and decide whether this is a group you feel comfortable with.

Hamptons99 Wed 20-Jan-16 12:36:49

Thank you all. Needmoresleep that's quite insightful! Knightsbridge School just felt "nicer" when I did the tour but slightly worried if it's too full of rich kids and if academic results is the number one priority. Is Queens Gate better academically? If so I would choose that over the plush ambience at Knightsbridge. Such a big decision and not having any friends at these schools very difficult to know what to do!

Sometimes wish we only had one school offer to make things easier.

Needmoresleep Wed 20-Jan-16 14:28:07

At 4+ I am not sure how much "academics" matters. Its more about a child starting to enjoy education, by feeling safe, engaged and so on and developing good study habits, social skills and resilance.

There are big differences between the two schools and I would think a bit about the next stage. From its website Knightsbridge seems to offer the full range of destination schools, though you might ask for specific numbers. One child only to SPGS in three years might suggest they are not always getting the right child into the right school. I think though it is equally as good that other children go to schools that are right for them. Not all will thrive in very academic environments.

Queens Gate is a good school, but small, all girls and nurturing. Girls who go there often do very well, but it depends on the child.

I would think carefully about your child. If they are more boisterous and would thrive in a co-ed environment, then Knightsbridge. If not Queens Gate. I would also factor in that Knightsbridge will prepare for 11+ and 13+. As Queensgate has a senior school they may not prepare as well for 11+. You should ask them about this. There is sme anecdotal evidence that it is easier to get into a co-ed secondary from a co-ed prep, but since there are a lot more girl's secondaries this may not be an issue.

And do try to get a feel for fellow parents. As Knightsbridge is fairly new I would not expect them to be picking up many of the trad posh. Ditto Ken Prep, Falkner House, Glendower and Bute will be the target schools for the super ambitious. But I don't know enough to answer your origional question. There are plenty of more relaxed parents who take education seriously but will be looking for schools that feel right for their small children, and Knightbridge may be one of them. But equally it may be the go-to school for the scions of London socialites. I assume you could ask the school about other parents and what they do. When we were at this stage we were very reassured by a Head (of a prep just south of the river) who claimed they had a number of parents who were pretty stretched but had prioritised their children's education.

nowirehangers Wed 20-Jan-16 14:48:06

they had a number of parents who were pretty stretched but had prioritised their children's education.

As I said, I seriously doubt there'll be many of the above at either school you mention, people in that category don't live in these school's catchment areas any more. If you seriously are looking for a social mix you need to send your child to a state primary, which in most cases will be more than adequate for her needs in terms of teaching her the basics and providing a caring environment.

You are best placed instinctively to know which school has the right environment for your child. The very brightest children from any of these schools (state included) will win places at the "best" secondaries. Lots of non-selective schools "only" send one girl every 3 years or so to SPGS, as it's so hard to get into, I wouldn't use that as a benchmark of academic excellence.

Needmoresleep Wed 20-Jan-16 15:13:30

We must know different people....

Seriously its not unknown for people to chose schools near their work. Lambeth, say, have very few prep schools, and some quite poor primaries, so there will always be people chosing to buy a cheaper home but then pay for educaton.

nowirehangers Wed 20-Jan-16 18:14:24

Of course, it's not unknown but imvho London has changed so rapidly in the past few years - with the double whammy of unaffordable housing and inflated school fees that I would be hugely surprised if there are many children with stretched parents at the schools being discussed here. There certainly aren't many at my dcs' preps (and they're not in k&c). But I would be delighted to be proved wrong

nowirehangers Wed 20-Jan-16 18:16:14

By the way, you can be rich and delightful, none of this is to cast aspersions on "rich kids" and their parents. it's merely an observation

Biw Wed 20-Jan-16 21:16:41

OP, I agree with much of what has been said. On balance Queens Gate is probably more "academic" if you mean that in the context of which senior schools the kids end up at after the 11+.but.... I actually think a clever kid will do just as well at either school so I wouldn't fret too much at the age of 4! Choose the school that feels right, where you think you and your child would fit in well and have a happy school life.

For more insider info you could also try Knightsbridge Village which is a network full of the kind of Knightsbridge/Chelsea/Fulham mums who send their kids to these schools.

Wilding Wed 20-Jan-16 21:28:19

I tutored a couple of children at Knightsbridge last year and know the school very well. They aren't academic in the way that some other prep schools are but are in no way a touchy-feely school that place no importance on results. I think part of the reason their leaving results aren't as good as some other places is that it's a very international school and a fair number of the pupils have been moved into an English curriculum from schools elsewhere. It definitely isn't a school where you'll find lots of old school posh English families - there are loads of American parents, also Spanish speakers, Russians etc which I suppose is an accurate reflection of the area these days. There is a strong school community and a lot of socialising opportunities with other parents if that's your sort of thing!

MovingSouth Fri 22-Jan-16 23:16:43

A friend of mine has all three of hers at Knightsbridge and is v happy with it. As others have said, v international, happy, creative, nice place to be. Her eldest also got into Frances HOlland but she chose Knightsbridge because the 'fit' for their family seemed better. It has worked out for them.

Hamptons99 Tue 26-Jan-16 22:17:00

Thank you for all your input. Wilding, very interesting and MovingSouth the endorsement is good to hear!

startafamilyinlondon Fri 29-Jan-16 14:39:10

My neighbour is a teacher at Garden House Boys and says she would love to get a post at Knightsbridge. The head seems to attract top talent and makes being a teacher very fun. They are told to put a strong emphasis on the emotional development of the child. Not a pushy school but the last few classes that they have accepted have been very strong academically vs the first years. But still a school that if a child needs extra help in a subject they will not make the child feel less than the other kids. High achievers are encouraged to accept challenges rather than told they are the best in the class. The teachers are closely supervised by the heads of each department making a seamless lesson plan from age 4 to 13 so lots of space for teacher learning which interests my neighbour.
Queens gate is another school with the great advantage of not needing to change schools until uni! Another school that is growing and will surely soon not be the safety school for those wanting the top girl schools.
Do you want a co ed or girls school?

startafamilyinlondon Fri 29-Jan-16 14:43:46

And on the rich end- most people in the Knightsbridge area rent as City jobs are not paying as much. However they put schools as a priority. In Garden House there are many very rich families but the other half is made up of people who are high earners in UK standards but probably anything but in the Knightsbridge area. My neighbour gets grand gifts but also gets a mug from another child.

LondonChillaxer Mon 01-Feb-16 09:07:57

I am somewhat confused by this thread. Which independent school in the Chelsea area does not attract 'wealthy Knightsbridge/ Chelsea families'!!?? It goes with the area so surely you would be aware of this and you probably fit the profile yourself though I know residents in this borough are the first to moan about how tough life is. The socio-economic profile of the student body across the independent schools in the Chelsea area is reasonably uniform. I always enjoy how Chelsea families try to present themselves as not earning a lot but enduring sacrifices to ensure children go to good school.
With Garden House fees in excess of £20K starting from reception year, I am sorry that is not normal and to suggest that these people are 'high earners...but probably anything but in the Knightsbridge area' is disingenuous at best, and offensive to the 99.9% of the rest of the country that does not earn anything close to these levels - and yes, education for their children is a priority for them too!

MissGintyMarlow Mon 01-Feb-16 09:40:46

Agree with LondonChillaxer and find it kind of hilarious that there are always these OMG, will my child fit in with these other rich children posts on here. If you live in Knightsbridge Ieven if you are "just" renting) and can afford these fees you are of this demographic, so you will fit in just fine. There are lovely rich people and horrible rich people, as in any other class in society.

LondonChillaxer Mon 01-Feb-16 10:24:32

Well said, MissGintyMarlow!

HPFA Mon 01-Feb-16 18:51:21

London Chillaxer - great post. The idea that renting in Knightsbridge means you are poor has me gobsmacked, quite honestly.

ladyofthepalace Tue 02-Feb-16 10:15:41

Anyone who has schooled in these areas knows that there are successful professionals living in these areas and then there are the international super rich. There is a distinction and that's what OP is getting at and what startafamily has said too. Because you may earn six figures, afford private school fees and live in K&C doesn't mean you are on a par with the super rich with yachts, several homes and an army of staff. It's hardly "offensive" to anyone else to be enquiring whether this causes a divide. It's a valid concern like anything else about choosing a school for your child.

Hamptons99 Wed 10-Feb-16 17:57:35

Thanks for all the comments! We accepted another school instead - a big hitter all girls prep. Was originally waitlisted but eventually offered a place. Knightsbridge School also seems like a great school though.

Hamptons99 Wed 10-Feb-16 18:15:25

And ladyofthepalace that's exactly the issues I was getting at. Thank you for explaining it more articulately than I managed!

Coffeeismycupoftea Wed 10-Feb-16 18:16:47

Out of interest, what are the qualifications of the head of Knightsbridge? ASFAIK, he doesn't even have a degree.

So wouldn't be allowed to be a teacher let alone a head in a state school...

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