Moving to London and need advice on schooling(12 Posts)
We're moving to London next year and I am clueless about where to start on schooling. We have a girl (8) and a boy (6). Open to either private or state schooling but, from everything I have read, we don't stand a brilliant chance of getting them both into a good state school, given that we need to make an in-year application.
In terms of what we want in a school, DD is very academic and bright. I suspect she'd perform well in any academic assessment and she loves to learn. She needs to be stretched to keep her interest up and she thrives on academic challenge.
DS is bright but not in a traditional, academic way. He is hugely creative but he doesn't have much patience for writing etc. A hugely academic, pushy environment won't suit him (and I doubt he'd pass the exams because he doesn't test well). But at the same time, he will need a school that will work to get the best out of him and expect hight standards (he'll do the minimum he is allowed to get away with) - and one that will allow him to be his creative self.
I suspect this means they are likely to end up at different schools but I'll need them to be close to each other because we will pick a house based on schools. In many ways, I think my daughter will be the easier one to place: there are any number of good academic schools. But I really don't know how to go about finding the right environment for my son. Does anyone have any thoughts on schools to look at? (A further complication is that we live thousands of miles away at the moment so we can't even visit…)
Thanks for any and all suggestions!
Which country are you coming from? London is a very big place. Which areas roughly are thinking of or at least where do you need to commute to for work and what's the max commute time you'd like?
Thanks for the reply. We're coming from South Africa but DH we're both British - just haven't lived there for years (since kids).
I think we need to keep it quite central. We loved in Hampstead last time we were there and we'd be happy to go back that area. But we'd also consider e.g. Battersea. So broadly, no further out than zone 2 and either NW or SW (not sure that narrows it down )
Love Hampstead and it's rammed full of great schools so you can't go wrong. You might consider joining the "Hampstead mums" Facebook group. Everyone is very friendly and can give you lots of ideas on schools. We are further out in London that zone 2 so I'm not much help I'm afraid.
From the way you describe your children - it seems to me that they will indeed need different schools.
If you were in Battersea, (or Kensington/Notting Hill area) - I'd say for your girl I'd try at the more academic girls schools - Kensington Prep, Falkner House, Glendower...
For your boy, the challenge will be that may boys preps would be doing 7/8+ and it'll be a tough to fit into that stream at 6yo.
So - you'lol need a school that goes to 13 - like Thomas' Battersea, or maybe Hill House, or Harrodian (a bit further, but great facilities and not too pushy)
Hamstead schools I don't know at all.
Try the Good Schools Guide.co.uk - for a small fee you can get a short subscription - and access to their own schools reports
It's a bit of a crass question but how well off are you? As that will inform quite a few decisions about where to live / which schools to pick.
These people have a consultancy service but the schools listed tend to be more west London.
Newton Prep in Battersea is great, high entry standards though, so your kids may or may not get in depending on their current curriculum. Easier if they are at a British school already. This article is helpful to get started:
Muswell Hill is great if you want to go down the state route, basically all state primaries are fab and as a result often very full/oversubscribed but, this is London so all populations are transient to some degree. Also for future planning there are also two very well regarded state secondaries or if you might go private for secondary, many of the top North London private secondaries have bus routes that serve MH.
If you want to go private then you need to get them into a less competitive school that is likely to have a vacancy, then if you want to move look for a chance vacancy at 11+
Consider St Margarets in Hampstead (girls only), Northbridge house, Devonshire House, the Village, Heathfielde (all in the Hampstead area) for an initial school that is less likely to be over subscribed.
OP, most state schools have sibling preference i.e. If one child has a place then the other will go to near the top of any waiting list.
You don't say if you belong to any faith - if you do, this may also affect the choices available to you.
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