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Advice on North West London Preps please! (Alpha Prep, Holland House, Reddiford, Buckingham College Prep, Radlett Prep, MT Prep).

(8 Posts)
pineapple287 Fri 27-Jan-17 09:59:16

I have recently been considering Prep School for my DS. I would really prefer a small friendly school with strong academic results along with good music and sporting opportunities.

Does anyone have any first hand experience of the schools listed above? I am particularly keen to know more about Alpha prep (closest school to me) and how it might compare to Holland House or Radlett Prep.

Any advice on admission criteria and difficulty would be greatly appreciated.
How hard is it to get into MT prep at 4+ and is there any way to prepare for this? (I've heard it is very tough!).

Thanks in advance for your replies!

RoccoW14 Fri 27-Jan-17 19:29:12

I have no experience with any of those schools, however have just gone through the 4+ process with my daughter for (very) competitive West London school entry.

Honestly, to an extent, I think it's a bit of a lottery. Kids of that age can be so unpredictable. On a good day they can shine and on a not so good day..

There are plenty of good recommendations online for 4+ assessment, however the specific skills / attitude / personality that each school is looking for is a mystery.

In summary:

- read lots of books; ask questions about them
- colouring in
- scissor technique
- writing name
- recognising letters
- drawing with detail (doors, windows, roof on a house; facial features, clothes, shoes on a person etc.)
- jigsaws
- patterns / sequences

I think it's really about exposing your son to as many early years skills as possible, over a long period of time and on a consistent basis, and crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

While some schools might be objective in their assessment criteria (i.e. ticking off the number of the above types of activities a child can do), others might be more subjective and assess the child's attitude, attention span, approach when dealing with a difficult task etc.

Good luck!

pineapple287 Fri 27-Jan-17 20:36:38

Rocco, thank you for taking the time to give me such a detailed response!

I shall definitely try to work through the early years skills with my son. That list was a very helpful summary smile

All the best for your daughter at her new school!

sjrshah Wed 15-Feb-17 19:48:45

Hi. We just have been through the process. We loved alpha prep and thought it was a great school but also applied to quainton hall too. Our daughter got in to both and we decided to go with quainton hall. Quainton hall had better onsite facilities and extra curricular choices

JamDonutsRule Wed 15-Feb-17 21:05:49

Radlett Prep is disliked by many people on MN, probably worth doing a search.

pineapple287 Wed 15-Feb-17 22:28:43

Thanks all!

I've been to see a few schools now so am getting a better idea.

Sjrshah - Alpha Prep seems really lovely - such a caring, supportive school. Can I ask what the assessment was like with your daughter?

The Headmaster at Quainton Hall was fantastic - he was really interested in making sure the child fits with the ethos of the school rather than just 'selling' it to the parents. Facilities are great too - Swimming pool!!! Only downside for me is that it takes boys to 13+ and I think it might be easier for DS to sit 11+?

Jam - Yes, I have seen the negative reviews of Radlett. Didn't bother going to visit it...

Visited Holland House - old fashioned teaching methods in my opinion (children from reception have to sit at desks and face the front, and regular testing starts from reception, increasing to weekly at year 6!). I'm sure it will suit many children of course...

Reddiford in Pinner was lovely too...

Any experiences of Orley farm anyone? Is it worth the higher fees?

sjrshah Thu 16-Feb-17 07:02:28

I asked at quainton hall about 11+ for boys too as I have a son too and they do have boys leaving at 11 as well
At alpha she got asked to find 3 objects in the room, did something with blocks, looked and described some cards
At quainton hall she wrote her name and did some colouring in
We liked orley too but thought alpha and quainton had a few more advantages for us and in the end we only made it to the reserved list so it made our decscision for us

pineapple287 Thu 16-Feb-17 19:05:24

Thanks for that. It's so helpful to hear from someone that has just gone through the process. Well done to your daughter for getting into Alpha and Quainton - they get a lot of kids applying and offer very few spaces as their nursery students take up quite a few places.

Honestly, I think it's mad a 3 year old has to be assessed for a place, but I guess it just shows how competitive North West London is, and how many parents apply for these schools...

Although I personally like Orley for the facilities, I think Alpha and Quainton prep just as well so I'd rather 'save' the extra fees and use it for extra-curricular. I'll start preparing my son a bit (if I can get him to sit down for 5 minutes) and apply for all 3! fingers crossed for Alpha and Quainton!

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