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Private schools W/SW London - Help!!!

(9 Posts)
BarbieV7 Sun 13-Nov-16 20:21:30

Ladies I need some help from all you been there done that mommies! My dd is almost 7 months old and I am stressing out about schools. Ideally I would love to send her to a local state school, we live in W12, but the only one we are likely to get into is really not very good at all. We are within John Betts catchment area but as much as I would love to send her there, it is unlikely we will get in as we are just in the edges of the catchment.

We have come to the conclusion that we will most likely have to send her to a private school. We should be fine paying school fees but we certainly have a budget and will have to factor this into our yearly savings.

I had read and had been given advice when I was pregnant to head over to my top school choices as soon as my little girl was born, however I had a pretty traumatic labour and needed over 2 months to recover and the last thing on my mind was schools, something I am starting to regret.

My question is, are we too late to apply to our top choices? My DH works in South Kensington and I am in Notting hill, both of these areas have some of the top schools and would be quite easy for us the add the school journey to our routine. The schools I have looked into are: falkner house, garden house school, pembridge hall, Ravenscourt prep, orchard house, Chepstow house, Kensington prep, Eaton square, glendower...

Am I dreaming and it will be highly unlikely to get her into any of these or is there still a chance? If there is any chance then I am happy to apply but wouldn't want to spend over £1000 in application fees if there is no chance she will get a spot.
Please please help! Are there any other schools you can recommend? I realise there is a lot of histeria surrounding this subject but as a non Londoner who never encountered such pressure in choosing schools growing up I'm freaking out lol.

Thanks in advance xxx

graphicam Mon 14-Nov-16 21:13:51

The only way to find out is to call the registrars at the schools, but I would have thought it's easy to get a place at at least some of them. Especially now because of Brexit etc. Mine was at Orchard House School and there was always quite a lot of movement because of the large number of expats. I would have thought this is true in all the private schools in this area. At the very least you should be able to get onto a waiting list, start at state school if necessary, then move if a place becomes available and you still want to.

Orchard House is cosy, non-selective and non-academic. It doesn't stand out in anything in particular, and certainly doesn't have a lot of academic ambition - some of the teaching is very lazy compared to the state school mine went to until Y3, which can be quite frustrating. The list of secondary school destination isn't amazing either. It's also really small - only 20-40 children per year, and usually mostly girls - which can get claustrophobic in the older age group. I know a fair few parents who have moved their children out of it in frustration to Latymer Prep or Ravenscourt Prep. Latymer has the advantage of being linked to the Upper school.

good luck. Hope you don't get sucked too much into the hysteria. I am convinced much of the hype is created and maintained by the schools themselves. The main benefit for us over state school has been that the other kids and parents are like-minded, the kids get to do nice things, and there is more of an atmosphere among the kids of respecting achievements (academic or otherwise).

OlennasWimple Mon 14-Nov-16 21:20:06

Spend some time looking at their websites - they will all say what the process / deadline for registration is, but I very much doubt that you are too late for all of those options

BarbieV7 Mon 14-Nov-16 23:29:30

Thank you so much! I feel more relaxed now and actually spent the whole day or as much as my 7 month old allowed of it, calling and researching. It seems for the schools which run assessments we are not at any disadvantage yet, phew.

I didn't know when I wrote this post that many of the schools don't run on a first come first serve basis.

Graphicam, thanks for taking the time to write all of that, it has been very useful as I was hoping orchard house would be amazing as it's just a ten minute walk smile and you're right, I think a lot of it must be hype... I'm generally relatively laid back but the advice from a few moms I know is that I've missed the boat and my daughter is now likely to end up selling crack or at the very least a pothead grin

Someone has also recommended bute house but I understand they run a ballot system which is highly unlikely that she would get picked.

I had initially hoped to send her to a nice state school till she was a bit older but I do agree that it seems more likely she will have the fun and loving experience I hope for her at a private school of choice.

Feeling slightly less horrible about it all, now I suppose I should worry about which nursery!

Littletabbycats Mon 14-Nov-16 23:34:26

Are you definitely staying out and determined not to move?

Littletabbycats Mon 14-Nov-16 23:34:40

Put not out!

BarbieV7 Tue 15-Nov-16 00:10:50

Littletabby- no, we were actually just discussing this. We just bought our place a year ago but will most likely move in the next 2-3 years. Initially we thought we'd stay in the area but now are considering a move. DH cycles to work in South Kensington and I know that keeps him sane so ideally we'd like to move somewhere max a 25-30 minute cycle away from there.

What were you thinking?

Thanks!

mumonahottinroof Tue 15-Nov-16 10:44:20

State schools are not grim, unloving places, my dc (now at private school) had a hugely fun and loving time at theirs - go and have a look at some before you judge. London state schools are EXTREMELY good now.

I also have lots of friends with dc at Orchard House who have loved it, so I wouldn't go on one person's opinion, it may be just right for you. Remember, it is non-selective, so that means their "exit" list may not be so stellar as a selective school, the children clearly thrive there, though.

You will definitely get into most places on your list at this stage (assessments notwithstanding), so don't worry at all.

BarbieV7 Tue 15-Nov-16 10:56:33

Hi mumonahottinroof! I agree! I have visited John betts and absolutely loved it but as mentioned probably zero chance of her getting in and also visited the one she is likely to get into and it is very, very grim... I would say the name but would hate to hurt anyone's feelings if their child goes there. I think graphicam mention eyed her kids went to a greater state school till y3 as well so I think we all agree smile

You're right, and I will surely be checking orchard house out as well as the others. I'm still going to try to get her into a good state but will hopefully have some other options in case that doesn't go well.

Thanks for the advice!

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