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Looking for Non-Selective Prep quite near London for HFA / Aspergers DC.

(70 Posts)
UrgentSchoolHelp Tue 22-Mar-16 22:49:04

DC has failed to get in to any of the minimally selective London Preps we went for, the feedback being that they're concerned about the SEN aspect (High Functioning Autism), which we were surprised by as DC really isn't that bad!

Can anyone suggest some Non-Selective Preps* (either Day or flexi boarding, Co-Ed or Boys) either in London or within about 40 miles of London? Importantly Im looking for a small Prep which can offer a lot of hand-holding and which won't be put off by the SEN. we would be prepared to move house for the right Prep but need a good train to London.

* By which I mean genuinely non selective, not just non selective yet mysteriously 50% leave for Eton or Harrow!!

(Please can we try to avoid the state vs private and boarding is evil debates for once!?)


ElementaryMyDear Wed 23-Mar-16 10:34:27

Is Riverston in SE London any use?

orangepudding Wed 23-Mar-16 11:59:49 It's 5-18 but may be worth looking at.

Zodlebud Wed 23-Mar-16 13:07:20

I second Egerton Rothersay. My friend's son with HFA started last September after being home schooled for a few years and is flying.

They assess the children over three days before determining whether it is the right school. They turned my friend's son away at Reception as his behaviour was too disruptive but were happy to keep the door open and reassess over time. Luckily he now "fits" right in, in that he is working to a mainstream curriculum and gets all the additional support he needs to meet his goals. I have never met such a clever kid in all my life and this school has succeeded where many, many others have failed.

There are also several non selective preps in the area - Westbrook Hay, York House, Chesham Prep although the majority of children at these schools will progress to selective secondary schools, both independent and grammar.

kippersyllabub Wed 23-Mar-16 18:11:33

Depending on your son's learning needs, Bruern Abbey may be a very good option further down the line. I know HFA comes in all shapes and sizes so it also may not be a good fit, but it's worth considering

UrgentSchoolHelp Wed 23-Mar-16 18:20:52

Thanks everyone! I'll check out Riverston & Egerton Rothersay. Bruern Abbey would be my first choice, but it is very expensive, very sought after and very far away. Otherwise perfect though!!

UrgentSchoolHelp Wed 23-Mar-16 18:29:16

Hm, I think Riverston and Egerton both offer more SEN help than we need but not enough on the academics.

Maybe I'll just have to fork out for Bruern Abbey!

mary21 Wed 23-Mar-16 18:36:12

What about St Chris's in Letchworth

mary21 Wed 23-Mar-16 18:44:29

Or More House Frensham
I think its from year 4

UrgentSchoolHelp Wed 23-Mar-16 18:49:07

Mary21 St Chris'* is a strong contender, thanks. Excellent bus service to London too.

I'll look at More House, thanks.

UrgentSchoolHelp Wed 23-Mar-16 18:53:27

Zodlebud York House is selective unfortunately. I think Chesham Prep is too. I've been considering Westbrook Hey.

bialystockandbloom Wed 23-Mar-16 19:02:40

Don't know where in London you want but definitely look at Finton House in Wandsworth (battersea really) which is independent prep but very very inclusive of SN especially ASD. We would've definitely put ds (he has hf ASD) there but it's just a bit too far from us. It's from 4-11.

If pre-prep look at ducks (dulwich college infants) - ds offered a place there at 4yo. The headmistress at the time was amazing and totally welcoming of ASD (her own son has AS), but she's now left so don't know what new one is like. But Finton House might suit more.

sh77 Wed 23-Mar-16 19:57:43

The Academy School in Hampstead (I think it is owned by the proprietors of Trevor Roberts School) is worth looking at. It has a reputation for accepting kids who don't fit into other schools. It doesn't assess but your child would spend some time in the class. It's my back up option if ds's school doesn't work for him (Aspergers too) out by year 2.

blossbloss Wed 23-Mar-16 20:09:17

Yes - St Josephs in the Park in Hertford. Meets all the requirements but possibly a bit too far for you, although you wouldn't be the first family to commute or move house for it. Wonderful little school that fully supports my two children with complex SEN, including various forms of Autism. Totally 110% committed to full inclusion, all about the child, offers excellent pastoral care and is totally non selective. I can't sing its praises highly enough.

I am sorry you have had such a rough introduction to education. Not all schools are like the ones you have encountered. Xxx

Zodlebud Wed 23-Mar-16 23:51:38

I have sent you a PM

Threeunderthree33 Thu 24-Mar-16 07:10:05

Abingdon House, Marylebone? Prep school for children with SEN.

UrgentSchoolHelp Thu 24-Mar-16 22:20:15

BialyStockandBloom Finton House looks great, except it only goes to 11 and I'm not 100% sure DS will achieve highly enough to end up in the London Day system for Senior, therefore having a Prep to 13 for the boarding options would work better.....

Plus DS is immature so changing at 13 would suit him more, as well as giving a statistically higher chance of a getting a place, so I'm told!

I think I'll put Finton House on the backup list in case 13+ Preps don't work out.

MsGee Thu 24-Mar-16 22:27:35

I would not suggest St Chris for HFA. We looked round with our HFA DD recently and they were open about their disinterest in kids with HFA and lack of support for them.

UrgentSchoolHelp Thu 24-Mar-16 22:32:28

SH77 I actually looked around The Academy several years ago. There were many things I loved about it, and I don't doubt that with the amount of individual attention DS would achieve as highly as he would be capable of doing anywhere.

Unfortunately, the social side worries me. It's very small and insular and lacks the institutional routine that HFA kids often love and (in a nice way) it's just a rather odd place! It doesn't even feel much like a school to me, more like a massive extended family.

I worry DS would feel a bit too lost without the enforced routine and requirements a larger school would have. Plus I think adjusting at 13+ to a much larger Senior school would be problematic when all of a sudden there was a lot of routine, discipline and requirements, eg. Walk to 5 minutes to X place at second bell, blazers compulsory for Y type of event, plus all of the systems for doing things which must be learned at larger schools but which The Academy doesn't have.

The Academy is absolutely a backup option for me if things don't work out elsewhere.

UrgentSchoolHelp Thu 24-Mar-16 22:34:43

MsGee Oh no, so sad to hear that about St Chris! Would you mind PMing me to give me more detail on what they said? I thought it looked great and was thinking of touring the school sad

UrgentSchoolHelp Thu 24-Mar-16 22:37:06

BlossBloss WOW! That sounds like an incredible school! I think my answer is, yes, it's a bit too far, however if I decided it was necessary to move that far out for the perfect school then I'd absolutely go and see it.

sunnydayinmay Thu 24-Mar-16 22:38:33

Not York House, but I know a variety of children at Westbrook Hey and it is definitely not selective.

UrgentSchoolHelp Thu 24-Mar-16 22:46:17

I think as with most 'Special Schools' they are more SEN than we require and not enough Academics.

Btw, if you do have 3 kids under 3 then I'm in awe, you must be a supermum!

UrgentSchoolHelp Thu 24-Mar-16 22:47:17

Thanks for the tip on Westbrook Hey. Got any other tips on schools in that area?

ElgartheCat Thu 24-Mar-16 22:49:15

Perhaps look at Aldwickbury in Harpenden?

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