Relaxed London private prep or straight through school

(28 Posts)
glorious Sat 20-Oct-18 17:15:40

We are planning to move back to London in time for DD to start y3 (so 7+ entry). She's in y1 right now and meeting expectations but definitely not super academic or anything. She tries really hard and is focused, well behaved and popular (according to the teacher anyway). She loves music and plays the violin.

We could live in most parts of London but would prefer South East or South West. No longer than an hour's commute from Westminster.

It doesn't seem to be easy to find the kind of school I'm looking for! It needs to take a decent number of new pupils at 7+ and preferably go through to 6th form, but I would compromise on a school that ended in y6. It needs to be somewhere relaxed and nurturing rather than somewhere very selective and academic, but I wouldn't want it to be limiting if she did turn out to be academic later (I was a late bloomer myself so I'm aware of the possibility).

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
Zodlebud Sat 20-Oct-18 17:31:00

Pipers Corner in Bucks fits the bill. Lots of lovely places nearby to live and half an hour into Marylebone.

Abbott’s Hill in Hertfordshire also very nurturing and gets great GCSE results - goes to 16. Direct train to Euston from Berkhamsted and Hemel takes 30 mins.

There are some really good preps in Herts too with the children going to a wide range of destination schools on leaving - independent boarding and day, Grammar and normal state. Have a look at Westbrook Hay, Beechwood Park, York House and Godstowe (Bucks). A halfway house would be Heatherton House - all girls prep which is part of the Berkhamsted Schools Group. Girls who go there get priority places at Berkhamsted- so kind of an all through school but keeps your options open at 11.

glorious Sat 20-Oct-18 17:59:09

Thank you! Those look like the right kinds of schools. They are further from London than I'm ideally looking for though. Amersham or Wycombe might be OK at a push but only for the schools actually in those places. I don't drive so can't live anywhere I'd need a car to get to school or the station. I probably should have said that in my first post smile

OP’s posts: |
newmummycwharf1 Sat 20-Oct-18 19:23:49

Belmont in Mill Hill

PenguinStar Sat 20-Oct-18 19:29:31

Claire’s Court in Maidenhead. Diamond school from 4-18. There are fast trains to London (20 mins) and crossrail should be there by 2020.

Bit further The abbey in Reading - again fast trains to London.

RicStar Sat 20-Oct-18 19:30:35

Oakfield or Rosemead both in Dulwich. St Dunstans in Catford. Or Streatham and Clapham girls school - which is in Streatham - if all girls an option.

Attheendofthedayitgetsdark Sat 20-Oct-18 19:37:44

Colfes in Lee (SE12) is an all through school-popular with families in that area and reasonably well regarded


glorious Sat 20-Oct-18 21:12:27

Thank you all, I think some of those might be contenders. I'd come across some of them before but it's hard to tell how competitive they are.

OP’s posts: |
Zodlebud Sat 20-Oct-18 22:57:53

It’s about 15 minutes walk to Amersham Station (Met Line and Chiltern Railway) from Heatherton House. There’s a direct school bus from Amersham to Berkhamsted School too.

Another one to consider would be Royal Masonic in Rickmansworth. All through and practically right next to the tube station.

Zodlebud Sat 20-Oct-18 22:59:42

To add that we moved out of London to commuterville as we couldn’t find a school in the city that felt right and I couldn’t be doing with all that tutoring and competition for places.

Zodlebud Sun 21-Oct-18 08:24:25

Masonic doesn’t have a “normal” 7+ entry though. It’s a highly sought after school with most girls going right through as a place at the secondary school is guaranteed.

Teacakesandcoffee01 Sun 21-Oct-18 08:32:20

If you could drive I would suggest Esher as lots of options but difficult without a car. Surbiton High has a few spaces at 7 but dependent on passing the exam. Look at St Catherine's in Twickenham, not too hard entry wise if you register soon, in the middle of Twickenham & fast trains to London.

tickingthebox Sun 21-Oct-18 08:37:03

I personally would pay the good schools guide fee and get advice advice its not cheap but very very helpful. You will need to narrow down the areas you are looking to live in first...

PeekaPeeka Sun 21-Oct-18 08:50:18

Old Palace could be an option.

Yes, it's Croydon, but there are nice bits to live in, and v easy to get to Westminster for your work.

AnotherNewt Sun 21-Oct-18 08:55:09

I think Streatham and Clapham is a very good call - I'm not sure if it has a formal entry point at 7+, but people are coming and going a lot in the prep years. Very musical head. I think it has a lovely atmosphere. Sport a bit mixed (dominance of gymnastics still continues) up the usual range going on.

It might also be worth looking at two other GDST schools in SW London Putney and Wimbledon (possibly just as a point of comparison)

Or further to the SW there's The Harrodian.

There are so many prep schools on London it's hard to suggest one, unless you have some idea which school/s you might want tomaim at if she turns out clever. The suggestion above for prep schools in Dulwich or St Dunstan's seems good, because then you are also near JAGS

pretendingtowork1 Sun 21-Oct-18 08:55:48

Hi glorious,

I didn't want to post this on your thread as it'll start a big bunfight about tutoring and derail things, but thought you could do with a bit more detailed advice. I don't know S London, this is all NW London relevant but I'd imagine it's similar.

So, if your daughter is looking for a 2020 year 3 place, if she were doing the 7+ round here you'd be sitting the 7+ in Jan 2020 and starting to tutor in Jan 2019 at the latest. Even those in pre-preps all tutor (though they deny it). She'll need to be at the standard of Bond books 6/7 or 7/8 for competitive schools.

Where I am there is no such things as a 'relaxed prep school' after about year 2/3. For the 11+, most people start tutoring from some point in year 4, often near the beginning so even those schools that sell themselves on the relaxed/nurturing thing, you'll find that everyone is tutoring and it isn't relaxed at all.

I would suggest that you get yourself a shortlist and if you're considering 7+ for competitive places then you need to either find a tutor now, or start working with her yourself - get the 5/6 Bond books in english, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning and go from there

good luck! if you consider N London and want advice on specific schools I'm happy to help.

pretendingtowork1 Sun 21-Oct-18 08:56:25

ah. I meant to send that as a PM blush

CalamityJane10 Sun 21-Oct-18 08:57:58

Stormont in Potters Bar. Only 15 mins by train to Kings X.

VioletFlamingo Sun 21-Oct-18 18:02:35

Putney HIgh, Wimbledon High, South Hampstead High are all lovely all-throughs. They are academic but because there is no need to sit 11+ (usually - check this with all through schools) there is less pressure in years 5 & 6 compared to other schools.

Other central all through schools:
- Fulham Prep + Senior
- St James' girls (Kensington) but it is especially un-academic
- Ibstock Place Roehampton/Putney area
- Francis Holland Sloane Sq/Regents Park
- Highgate N London (specific 7+ entry point and more academic)
- Queens College Marylebone
- Queens Gate Kensington
- Latymer Prep Hammersmith (more academic)

Onceanexpat1 Sun 21-Oct-18 21:06:03

If you would consider West London then there are a few options for you- you have to sit an entrance exam for all GDST schools like Notting Hill and Ealing or Putney High, Wimbledon High etc. Other all through options
St Augustines- small catholic all girls school in Ealing- nice grounds
St Benedicts- mixed (it was all boys) catholic again in Ealing
The central prep schools mentioned above are good choices too- St James is mixed in primary and girls can continue to all girls secondary in Olympia. Music and art is more of a focus there. Ravenscourt Park prep is more selective but it has a senior school (Kew House).
Good luck moving back! Try and visit as many schools as you can because ultimately it is about finding a place where your daughter will be happy and each school has such a different vibe.

glorious Sun 21-Oct-18 22:31:13

Wow, loads of suggestions there - thank you everyone. I will have a careful look at them all flowers

OP’s posts: |
strawberrybubblegum Tue 23-Oct-18 09:35:22

Surprised at pp saying Putney High and Wimbledon High are lower pressure due to being through schools. They are lovely, excellent schools - but they are also very academic. Wimbledon High makes no secret that girls have to keep up if they want to stay at the school. (don't know about Putney High, but would expect the same).

The more relaxed private option in Wimbledon is the Hall school, which might well be the kind of place you are looking for. Do visit and see it in action (with the students) since it's a bit of a marmite school.

Another possibility in SE London might be Alleyns. It certainly isn't an easy option to get in to - it is very well regarded - but they are more interested in the whole child rather than being strictly super-academic.

strawberrybubblegum Tue 23-Oct-18 09:37:26

Sorry, reading back, my grammar was poor! Obviously, Wimbledon and Putney are SW London.

Alleys is in Dulwich, which is SE London.

Sorry for any confusion.

Yellowsunredroses Tue 23-Oct-18 09:39:35

Also I think Wimbledon high was stopping it’s 7+ entry

strawberrybubblegum Tue 23-Oct-18 10:00:01

Ah, I didn't know that. It does make sense given that it was a tiny intake anyway.

In fact, that's worth noting - different schools structure their intakes differently. It's worth asking how many places are offered at a given intake to get an idea of your chances.

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