Falkner House Pre Prep

(21 Posts)
ntvirus Sat 24-Sep-16 13:19:12

Dear Ladies

I am new to mumsnet and would really appreciate your advice on Falkner House school and nursery.

Falkner is opening a new nursery/ school near Earl's Court and my daughter has just been accepted for a place at the nursery. I know it is a top ( and very expensive!!!!) pre prep school in London but the nursery only offers 4 hours sessions so i will need another childcare arrangement after the sessions since i am in full time job.

I want to put her to nursery only if it will increase her chances of getting through their school. Could any one share any experience with the school or nursery.


OP’s posts: |
MMmomDD Sat 24-Sep-16 18:21:28

Well - the prep school at Earls Court is for boys. Nursery is mixed.

I had two comments:
- All good private nursery schools in this area are only 4hours/day. Just how it is. By good - I mean the ones that help kids pass assessments to good private schools in the area.

- No - being at the nursery doesn't really help with getting to the main girls school. Br doesn't hurt your chances. All kids go through assessments. Year after year only a few from the nursery get in, just like only a few from those arriving at the assssments.

Finally - if you are hoping for a place at a private school in this area - you need to get onto more assessment lists - from more schools. Competition around here is tough.


ntvirus Sat 24-Sep-16 18:46:17

Thanks for replying to my post... This is worrying that my daughter will not be any better prepared even after being in there own nursery. Private nurseries ( not attached to any schools) offer full day care and many of these have outstanding rating from Ofsted. How do these stack with the likes of Falkner and Redcliff?

We also have offer from Redcliff although Falkner probably is a bit more desirable.

OP’s posts: |
BlasianFashionista Sat 24-Sep-16 18:53:34

Hello ntvirus

A good friend of mine has a daughter at Falkner House school (she was also offered a place at Glendower) she is striving and loves it there, no complaints what so ever, I am yet to hear anything bad about Falkner House.

I wish they would have agreed to open a boys school sooner as my two are at GHS and I would have loved them to go Falkner House.

Good Luck!!

MMmomDD Thu 29-Sep-16 13:10:18

ntvirus - it's not about "better prepared".
Falkner House school is a highly competitive school - getting into it requires a right mix of the kid being academically inclined, and the family being of the kind Mrs Griggs wants to have in her school.
So - as I said, it is NOT about preparation.
Falkner House nursery kids do well in assessments in other competitive schools in the area - they are confident and well prepared.
Radcliffe - is a gentler nursery, and kids can stay on in the school. BUT - it doesn't have an academic reputation. Just an ok, gentle school.
All depends on what you want.

The nurseries you seem to be comparing these two with - the ones with full day and wrap around care -
arw a whole other ball games. Those are day-care places. Very few of the kids from those nurseries would end up at Fakner, Glendower and the likes.

Sorry to sound harsh. But it is a tough and competitive world around here. If your kid is bright and, potentially, academically inclined, AND you want her to end up at one of the "academic" schools in the area - take Falkner House offer and get a nanny/childminder for the other hours. It is the best way, at least around here.

ntvirus Fri 30-Sep-16 08:09:49

Hi MM, thanks for replying. You make an interesting point re kind of family mrs griggs like. What kind of family does she want to be associated with school would you know? I think this will help me decide.
Btw did you or your daughter go to FH?

OP’s posts: |
hheelloo Thu 12-Jan-17 00:09:16

Very late comment that might still be useful. My daughter went to Falkner House nursery and subsequently went on to a great school in the area for reception.
Falkner nursery prepares very well for assessments and all girls get an offer to the very good schools in the area. But it is not a happy place. It is a very strict nursery with a nursery head who imposes a tough discipline on the little ones. When my daughter moved on to reception in another very demanding academic school she felt relieved and happy with the more relaxed atmosphere.
As for getting a place in the upper school, coming from the nursery does not give any advantage except your daughter will be judged over a long period of time. And the parents too. It is a sort of extended courtship to the headmistress that can be weird at times... As some might have commented, it takes a special kind of people to get along with Mrs Griggs. But it is not easy to define what kind.
Coming from the nursery though will almost guarantee that your daughter gets on the wait list. They tend not to give a straight no after one or two years at the school. And it is balanced skilfully so that a large majority gets a very comforting letter that their daughter is at the very top of the wait list, a small number get a plain wait list and very few no wait list at all. Reality is that the wait list for the girls coming from the nursery means almost zero chance to get an offer.
I know I sound a little negative but that is really trying to be as objective as possible from my experience.


ntvirus Thu 12-Jan-17 06:38:45

Thanks for your message. I can't say for sure but I did feel it could be something like that. Hence we decided against sending out little one to Falkner nursery. It is a great school for sure but not for everyone!

OP’s posts: |
Westbournemum Thu 12-Jan-17 12:21:55

I would agree 100% with hhello. My daughter was at Falkner nursery and it is a pretty joyless place with a headmistress who is harsh for children that age. My daughter was there a few years ago and went on to another academic pre-prep in the area and was waitlisted for entry to the main school. We honestly couldn't be happier now (what a breath of fresh air!). Going to Falkner nursery doesn't increase your chances of gaining a place at the main school and can be a joyless experience for many (not least of which the parents as Mrs Griggs plays the politics game, which is painful to watch).

andersonsmom Fri 13-Jan-17 15:24:47

Would have to totally agree with WM and hello. I sent my son there as it was really convenient so I watched a bit from the outside. We found the school very old fashioned. The teachers were very strict, a bit too much and yes.....it was always a bit ridiculous when Ms Griggs was around. There is a LOT of parents trying to win her favour.

Daffodil99 Wed 03-May-17 18:16:57

I agree . Mrs G likes to draw people in to a latter day Enid Blyton fantasy, but soon drops them if it seems that they may question her. As Westbournemum observes, it is painful to watch (unless you have a keen sense of humour, because it does have its comic elements). It is success of a kind because the school gets good results.The point to remember is that the children she and her rather insistent daughter pick out would do well anywhere on the whole, whereas for any that falter, there is a chance they will become academic roadkill where with a different approach they could still have flourished.

I have had less exposure to Glendower but have the sense it is more yielding and careful in its approach. Ditto KP and Garden House . It is such a personal choice.

user1490307837 Mon 08-May-17 15:23:04

Mmmm.... from what I hear from current parents with girls in the lower school at Glendower it has become increasingly political under the leadership of the new(ish) Head. Parents painfully sucking up to teachers is the order of the day. The Head apparently loves attention from her high profile/wealthy parents which makes it rather difficult for the rest of the parents body. I am looking into prep schools for my daughter and it seems despite the very high fees and good academic results (for some of the schools anyway) many have some serious issues with Heads and teachers not behaving entirely in a professional manner.

Daffodil99 Mon 08-May-17 18:03:07

It is interesting if Glendower is suffering from the same problem. That is a shame. I got frustrated when Glendower kept misspelling my name (in a variety of ways). Perhaps it had just not been in the Daily Mail enough. These schools get great children from ambitious families, so the challenge is in creating a balanced environment, not in what results they achieve. It must be nice for these headmistresses to feel adored by people who in any other circumstance would trample them underfoot, but not a great message to send to the girls - especially when it seems to be underlined by a sense that those who are out of favour do not much matter. Confidence can be so fragile - often the most so for the gifted.

user1490307837 Mon 08-May-17 18:41:21

Daffodil99 that's exactly the issue. Some of these Heads are flattered by the attention their position of power brings which undermines professionalism. Parents are also to blame - sucking up in exchange for favours for their children? The real issue is that there aren't enough places at the top prep schools to go round so once you get in I suppose the competitive behaviour continues. I like to think not all schools are like that. I haven't heard any Ken Prep parents complain but it's very hard to get into. We shall try. Garden House is apparently not great either - I really wanted to like that school but had to rule it out due to stories about the super rich behaving badly and lame academics. Glendower I hear used to be very "old school" and straight up but in recent years it has changed.

Which schools should well off families but with hardworking parents with no time for school gate politics consider? Doesn't appear to be any left in RBKC/Fulham!

Lamplightlady Tue 09-May-17 11:40:41

Our personal experience (SW-London schools and elsewhere) is that families 'positioning' themselves happens everywhere and not just with Heads. It can be an innocent civic minded parent who wants to help with the violin group because they have a passion for music or quite often in SW London, an explicit push to 'brand' the kid sporty/academic/musical etc. Its human nature. Flattery works. Politics works. Money talks. If you are the parent that paints the scenery or runs the fundraising, then its going to be harder for your kid not to get the part in the play or a good reco. Clearly, when parents are fancy and impressive or in 'St-Pauls-or-die' mode, it can take on another dimension of tigerishness. Is it unprofessional? Shockingly so sometimes. But no different to what goes in in the typical office.

Daffodil99 Tue 09-May-17 12:15:28

How sad if we cannot do any better for our children than the notion that money "talks" and that insincere praise "works". If the suggestion at these schools is that human nature cannot aspire to something better than that, then the chance of their raising human beings of real substance and integrity would seem lamentably small. I think we should all expect a little more.

Westbournemum Tue 09-May-17 12:45:13

Daffodil - I wholeheartedly agree.

And I do believe that the whole 'courtship with the head' is worse in some SW London schools than others. At Falkner, it is Mrs Griggs's school (not owned and run by a governing body but by her and her daughters) and she most definitely rules the roost. I have had experience of several SW London preps over the years including Falkner and I've never seen pandering to the head as much I've seen there. Much of it is personality driven - some heads clearly don't have the inclination to engage with prospective / current parents in that way, whilst others clearly do. As noted below, it can be both painful and amusing to watch!

user1490307837 Sun 14-May-17 12:23:48

I think Falkner is a little unusual in that the Head also owns the school therefore has unlimited powers. Fall out with her and you're done! This is one of the reasons I have been put off the school despite it being exceptionally good. I was looking to Glendower to provide a similar level of academic excellence with less of the politics Falkner is perceived to have and was very disappointed after speaking to parents there who said due to there being so many high profile families Glendower has also become painfully political. Years ago they had a "no nonsense" Head who was aloof and kept the parents at bay but the current Head actively courts them which encourages sucking up and unreasonable behaviour.

Are there any prep schools left in RBKC where the unavoidable high % of very wealthy parents doesn't affect objectivity of the Head and staff? Where a hardworking child will be nurtured and rewarded with no consideration given to who his/her parents are? I feel disillusioned.

TurquoiseFlamingo Sun 14-May-17 13:52:56

@user Not RBKC but I've heard Bute is a bit less of a 'family run' feel school due to its governance and slightly more mixed/not entirely high profile parents (but still some). Very friendly, down to earth head who is good at managing parents. Genuinely want all girls to do well, whoever their parents are. Its ethos is non-competitive and friendly which filters out some of the tiger mums (some - not all!).

mauzac Thu 10-May-18 12:14:05

But to get into Bute House is very difficult any suggestions? So very few places available. Not until 7+ assessment as 4+ is by ballot only.

Westbournemum Thu 10-May-18 12:54:01

I think it is incorrect to say Bute filters out tiger mums because of its ‘non competitive ethos’. On the contrary, it is THE destination for the West London mums who are ‘St Paul’s at all costs!’.

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