North London prep schools(12 Posts)
We are planning a move from New York to London either in September 2019 or 2020 which will likely be a permanent move. DD is now almost 5 so will be entering either Year 2 or 3. Since the US education system is a lot more play based and progressive in the early years, we are concerned about her being academically behind her peers in the UK. We would much rather she attend a British school rather than an international school. We would be grateful if you could recommend prep schools (preferably in North London) that are used to accommodating children from overseas who can 'catch up' with their peers within a year or so? We would love a school with small class sizes and a nurturing environment.
Thank you so much in advance!
Try St. Margaret's in Kidderpore Avenue, lovely small school, quite a lot of movement in and out. Goes to 16.
Do you have only the one child or does your daughter have a younger sibling? Do you feel strongly about whether your daughter goes to a single sex or a co-ed school? Quite a few prep schools in north London are single sex.
I would expect nearly all the prep schools to be able to accommodate a child moving from overseas. Depending on the area, quite a few families will be international.
Finally, do you have an area in mind? North London is massive - is there a particular area that you will need to commute to?
You might find a copy of the Good Schools Guide for North London helpful. A couple of other websites that you may like are here and here.
5 yo is Year 1 in England.
The highest number of private schools are in Hampstead(NW3).
Large very selective schools(up to 18) like Highgate School, South Hampstead School for girls, Channing have entry points at 4; 7;11. 7 yo and 11 yo must pass exams and they are EXTREMELY competitive.
The smaller schools in Hampstead with potential places:
1) Hampstead Hill School (2,5-7yo ) coed. very good prep school, small classes 15-16. Agressively prepares for 7+exams. Very academic. Start Year 2 a term earlier (in spring before year 2). best school to get into larger school like Highgate, South Hampstead, City etc.
2) Devonshire House (girls until 11yo). coed. prep for 11+. small classes. There are children from the US.
3) The Academy (until 13yo). coed. prep for 11+ very small school in a tiny old cottage which is part of a church. No prospectus-marketing stuff etc. Very small classes but looks like great results. I guess children in a small class get lots of attention. Easy to join.
4) Heathside (although there is a senior school, many leave at 11). coed.
5) North Bridge House (although there is a senior school many leave at 11/13). coed. non selective but academic.
6) St. Margarets (4-16) girls school. Small school, small classes, academic.
There are a couple of catholic schools like St.Mary, St. Anthony etc. which might be relevant if that's what you are looking for.
Lyonsdown in Barnet is a lovely school.
Avoid St John's in Enfield.
Thank you so much everyone for all of this great advice. I have been spending time studying up on prep schools and through schools in London for DD and getting the lay of the land. She has a younger sister so we are looking for all girls or co-ed. She is quite introverted (but is academic) so would love it if anyone had any specific insider recommendations about schools that have small class sizes and would suit and be supportive of her?
When we move form New York, we are looking at North London mainly but also open to Notting Hill, Holland Park and South Kensington.
If we could do it again, we would live in the South rather than the North. North London is a lot more competitive. I would wait to see where your children are admitted, and then decide on living arrangements based on that.
Compared to the top schools in NYC, schools in London are actually quite affordable, about one third less. But they are a lot more competitive, with exams for all entry points. You will need to start practising now for a Y3 entry.
St. Margarets(Hampstead) is a small school for girls with small classes(12-16pupils). GCSI results are quite good. Very personal approach. Only one class per year.
People tend to start with where the chldren will end up eg if you will be back in NY in a year or two then you want a school which will keep the children up to date wit the US system.
If instead you will stay here have a think about the kind of family you are and how academic the children are. Do you want them to compete for places for some of the top prep schools in the UK and then on at 11 or 13+ to the most academically selective? If so look out for those. If you just want somewhere not very academic and esay going and the next school they go on to doesnm't matter then that's a different kind of school. I am biased but I like North London Collegiate where one of my daughters went but it's not that easy to get into. She was there age 7 to 18 and was quieter than her older sister then but that was not an issue at the school. Most schools need a mixture of noisy and quiet children. I wuold certainly try for about 6 schools to be on the safe side from easy to get into to tough and just see where she passes for.
Southbank International at Hampstead or Kensington.
You may want to try londonprepare.com they lady there has a wealth of experience with placing international students.
I'd agree with endofthelinefinally (above) Lyonsdown is a lovely school, and I they occasionally have spaces. They've also just gone single sex, so that fits with what you wanted, I think.
Do let us know how you get on!
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