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Need advice... best prep school in Chiswick(23 Posts)
I am new to the UK schooling system. Can local parents please advise pros and cons to these local schools and rank them in order of local reputation to help me make a decision:
Orchard House School
Chiswick and Bedford Park Prep (CBPP)
Heathfield House School
We have 2 boys and are trying to decide where to accept a place (assuming we are offered places at all), because they give priority to siblings, it is critical we get this right... CBPP only goes up to age 7 for boys, and then I understand they must sit an exam to get into an 11+ school. Am I better off trying to get my boys into a school which runs from ages 4-11? I've heard arguments both ways... thank you!!
I am really interested in this also, we have been offered places in CBPP and Heathfield and I have no idea which is better. I think the ranking seems to be Orchard House, CBPP and then Heathfield, I don't know anything about Harrodian. I would be really keen to hear other parents views who are already in the system
Hello! Have you looked at The Falcons for boys? Goes up to 13, the ore prep is in chiswick and the prep is in Richmond with buses form all over chiswick and Hammersmith. Our son was accepted at CBPP which we loved and have accepted for our daughter, but I didn’t want him forced into sitting the 7+ so went with the Falcons instead. Good luck!
Your list is missing Falcons and Ravenscourt Park Prep.
There is no set hierarchy, different parents have different preferences. And it depends if you have a boy or a girl.
Boys in CBPP do leave after year 2, they sit the 7+ and then move to another school. If your boy is academic that's a good option, if not it's not necessarily a bad option as CBPP boys tend to have no problem finding their next school. But the 7+ creates a lot of stress, is that what you want?
Orchard House and Ravenscourt Park seem to have a similar offering: co-ed until 11, good results. They look like nice schools where children who can do well, do do well. They are not hot-houses at all.
Harrodian goes until 18 which makes the whole 11+ situation much smoother (very valuable) but my understanding is that Harrodian is not viewed as a very academic school.
Falcon's boys (goes until 13, CE) has been rumored to be looking to open a senior school , that would boost their standing (which is absolutely fine) further.
One last, but crucial point. You are not wedded to the school that you pick. It is very easy to change schools after a few years once you know your child and the specifications of each school. There is a lot of movement in schools in each year, and places come up all the time. The choice you will make will not tie your kids until they are 11.
@sotiredtoday, that’s really helpful info re children moving schools each year, makes the prospect of choosing a school less daunting. I have a boy and a girl so would ideally like them in the same school, do you know anything about Heathfield? We won’t know if we got into orchard house for a while, have paid a deposit in CBPP and have been offered a place in Heathfield which I know nothing about. Ideally don’t want to pay deposits in all 3 and then decide to move house!
Hi @LindsayB1. I have been in the same position two years back and we got a space in Orchard House School. There was a lot of messages saying that it is a girls school and boys leave to Falcons, which created some uncertainties. But two years along we are very happy. My son who is a very active and curious thrives - also academically. There are a few families in our year that have only boys and put them all to Orchard House. I can partially only compare to Falcons as we have friends who go there and I don't regret my choice of school though Falcons is equally a good school. You have to make your mind as well about single sex schools. Another thing to keep in mind is the distance. It turns out to be life saving and if you have the convenience to walk to school it is something worth considering.
Regarding 7+ I am hearing now that it is very stressful for the children, but personally have not a first hand experience.
Did you look at any state schools? I have heard that the state schools are really good in Chiswick? I am moving to Chiswick in November and need to look at schools also, I have no idea if state or private is best. My son will start school September 2019.
Falcons prep school. 3 heads in 3 years, teacher turnover appears to be huge. I have two boys who have been through the school and wouldn’t recommend at all if you are academically minded. Many of the teachers are not subject specialists, eg Maths is taught by a linguist (top set) who is now head of maths....., the history teacher teaches maths etc, in my view they have been way behind the curve on 11+ /13+ pre tests by not really preparing and trying to retain to 13 when the system has changed. Most parents therefore externally tutor (often with the school’s own teachers.....which I find abhorrent given the fees). On the plus side the pastoral is great. But he prepared to externally tutor
Thank you for your feedback Boysarefab, were your boys able to get into their school of choice afterwards? Did you have to heavily tutor? My son has been offered a place but we're still debating the pros and cons.
Hi we also have a similar dilemma with schools, we are moving to area later this year, my son is one and half, and have no idea on primary schools! Our nearest state school is Belmont, but looking at offer results based on distance this for this year, may not get in. Southfield also may be too far. So we seem to be in the no-mans land in between both schools. Orchard and CBPP seem great, but expensive. Heathfield although also independent is about half the price, just wondering if anyone has heard much about this school and if it has a good reputation?
I visited Heathfield few months ago. It’s definitely worth a look. The headmistress knows her thing and is very helpful. I really liked her. The school itself (the building) can seem a bit odd and dark but they do have an outside court and the park is across the street, so that’s great. I would say go and visit it. Good luck!
Thanks for your reply, we’ll give it visit. Out of interest where did you end up sending yours to?
We ended up choosing Falcons Prep in Richmond. They’re also opening a new Reception class in 2020. My son really liked it (he went for a taster day) and I just hope they do implant the changes the new headmistress said they would (academically speaking). I met with her twice and it seems they already started. And they lowered their fees which is always a plus. You’re looking for a coed school though right? Did you check Ravenscourt?
I see this is an older thread, but I am exactly in the same boat - new to the UK schooling system and arriving in Chiswick next month. Our oldest son is due to start Reception in September this year.
Orchard House and Ravenscourt Park Prep are completely full. We could get a place at Heathfield House - but I haven't been able to find anything on that school.... Would be really interested in hearing some opinions?
Heathfield seems to be up and coming and also looking at exam results they are doing quite well. If you like it, I would go with your instincts. You can also try any of the Kew schools which a lot of people from Chiswick go to.
Thank you so much for your reply, Rockylady. The few things I have read about Heathfield House have been positive indeed.
Kew College is full as well, unfortunately. I haven't tried Kew Green Prep... I read somewhere that it wasn't very 'academic' (whatever that means)... ?! But also, their fees are significantly higher than those of Heathfield House (as are those of all the other private schools). I do wonder why Heathfield House is so much cheaper... . Not complaining of course, but wondering if there's a catch...
Then you have Unicorn and Broomfield House also, both good options. I agree Kew Green Prep is overpriced versus all of the ones mentioned in Kew and Chiswick, not only HH. KGP's sister school is Ravenscourt Park, closer to London and able to afford higher fees, the owners would not lower the fees at KGP I guess even if off market. Perhaps a parent there can come in and point to the extras?
I live on the borders of Bedford park and both my children go to St James Prep in Olympia. They absolutely love it there, it’s a really happy school which genuinely seems to focus on educating the whole child. The journey is not too bad, about the same as going to Kew. I have friends with children who have gone to Heathfield House. They were also really happy with their choice. I found the building a little cramped but everyone is different. Call all the schools and visit as many as possible, you’ll get a feel for what is right for you.
Thank you for the comments. I heard that the Heathfield House building is a bit gloomy... what‘s making it so hard is that we‘re not actually able to visit any school in person as we’re still in South Africa...
I hadn’t heard of St James Prep before, but will look into it.
RPPS and Orchard would have probably been my 1st choices, but fees are high-ish and they’re full anyway.
We also were told there’s still places available at Roche school - a bit far for me, but still worth considering. Does anybody have feedback on that school?
Lastly, we were also offered a place at the German school in Richmond (I am German and my son currently attends the German school in Joburg, so it wouldn’t be completely unthinkable). The setting is beautiful but I heard mixed reviews and definitely want to avoid a German ghetto. Any non-Germans send their kids there?
Sending your child to Roche would be insane, it's a hellish journey from Chiswick and all his friends/class social life would be very far away. I don't personally know Heathfield but friends with dc there are happy. I wouldn't worry too much about a cramped building, children see these things very differently to adults, to them it will seem huge.
Thank you ForeverbyJudyBlume, that's actually really helpful to know as on the map it doesn't look like the school is THAT far away!
the Roche is a good school but it would be a hell of a journey to get to Wandsworth every day and back, I agree!
Why do people refer to Kew Green Prep ( as “not very academic”. Have analysed the results (excel spreadsheets have been involved haha!) and if you analyse the results for KGPS/ RPPS/ Orchard House - at least for girls school destinations they are all very close. Looked at the last four years - though of course in 5/6 years when it’ll count for us who knows if they will still perform the same but i guess you can only go on historic info !
Has anyone got any views on high teacher turnover or specialist teachers not teaching those subjects in any of those schools?
Think those all may be good points to beat in mind too
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