Central London prep school advice(10 Posts)
My wife and I are looking at Central London* prep school for our 1 year old son. Thus far we've been quite happy with all our visits in terms of educational provision, but are concerned that a) some schools serve a very transient population and / or b) some schools have a very low proportion of working mothers
Obviously Central London will be much more transient than other places, but are some schools particularly good or bad for a child who is likely to be in London for the long haul?
And are there schools that might be difficult where both parents work full-time? or should this even be a concern?
*Anywhere in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, or Hammersmith & Fulham. We need to be central, but rent, so can be quite flexible within that. So far we have visited, or are visiting, Hill House, Knightsbridge, Abercorn, Arnold House, St. Nicholas Prep, Basset House, Thomas' Fulham, GEMS Hampshire
Thanks in advance!
If you're considering Arnold House then what about The Hall? not too far away and certainly not a transient population.
Unfortunately we missed the boat with the Hall, apparently you need to get a name down before the 1st birthday
Out of the schools you've listed, I've only seen Arnold House (which was very impressive and to my knowledge not at all transient).
What sort of support for having two full time working parents would you like? I know that Devonshire House has before and after school clubs (you pay extra for those). However, it's worth bearing in mind that private schools have longer holidays (around 18 weeks a year).
If you both work, you will probably need a full time nanny to cover holidays and after school.
It's less a question of pre + post school care (as we have accepted we'll need help), it's more a question of culture. Is there a divide between working / non-working mothers and does it have an impact?
Hmm. I can't help much with that as I live in Islington so am too far north east.
Hill house and GEMs are notoriously transient. If this worries you I would avoid them.
I worked for the first 4 years of my children's primary education (cameron house, chelsea ) and I don't think it was a problem with the school. Obviously you need to worthier be able to manage getting off for playa etc or make sure the children understand why you can't be there but on logistics there are swings and roundabouts - when I was working at least I had a nanny to look after them provided I could get away for parents evenings, but once not working the problem with clashing meetings was replaced with childcare challenges to parents evening!
The majority of mothers didn't work, although more, like me, did in the earlier years.
As the children get older, if you are looking at high performing London preps you will have to think about who you hire for childcare as they need quite a lot of support with homework, music practice etc. London is awash with ex banker/lawyer mothers who now spend much of their efforts supporting (pushing?) their children.
Almost impossible to do at this point, but so you have strong views on whether you, all else being equal, want to target 11+ schools )Latymer , Emmanuel , City etc) or 13+ schools (westminster, Pauls etc) and do you desperately want to avoid 8+ - strong views on these points will shape your short list (but I realise what madness it seems to be even trying to think that far ahead)
If Thomas's Fulham is on your list, then add Fulham Prep too. Very down to earth school. It is co-ed, goes to 13, prepares DC for 11+ if they want but won't prepare for 7/8+ (see Michaela's comments above). TF goes to 11 and then you have to transfer to Clapham for years 7-8 unless you leave at the end of year 6. Register for Fulham Prep asap, as it is non selective (whereas Thomas's is selective at 3, so even if registered there is no guarantee of a place).
All schools will have a mixture of working vs non working mums - but as Michaela says most of the non working mums have been career women before. It's never been a problem in my experience. If you both work, just make sure you have excellent, reliable childcare before and after school and in the holidays (I had a fulltime nanny). At the private schools you cite, they are on holiday a lot!
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