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Choosing a prep school(13 Posts)
Our daughter has recently completed her 4+ assessments and has received offers from Garden House and Glendower. She seems able and loves puzzles and drawing, but it's difficult to tell at this age whether she will be academic. She's very social but also has a sensitive side. She hasn't experienced any issues at nursery but I question whether she will thrive in an academic environment or suit a less pressured school (the risk though is that she might not be stimulated). Does anyone have direct experience at these schools?
Academically pushy schools are a waste of time. Any idiot can learn and apply intellectual rules. The point of education is to create well rounded and curious individuals. When you send children to schools focussed on academic attainment their critical thinking skills and broader experience are often neglected. Always choose the schools that focus of pushing every child to reach their potential rather than schools that push children to achieve (rather arbitrary) grades.
As you say 4 is very young to be able to predict anything which highlights how ridiculous these tests are?
Which school has an ethos which you like? Was there one she enjoyed more?
I preferred the ethos and learning environment at GH. The rooms were spacious and bright, which seemed more inviting, and the kindness code is beneficial. Most schools say they value kindness, but I got the impression that GH took pastoral care and kindness very seriously.
She enjoyed all the assessments and always came out smiling. She has repeatedly said that she liked the GP assessment the most, but I wonder if it's because they asked her to do things that she can't do, so perhaps she was more curious and learned something new. I can't be totally sure, but that's my guess based on what she has told us.
GP is more academic and she may end up with a wider choice of schools at 11+ if she goes there. GH is a nicer space and prob a bit less pressured. It really depends what you want from a school. If you are ambitious about future schools then it is actually less stressful for to be in a school that prepares them fully for this.
Apart from Glendover being more academic than GH, I would suggest talking to parents with children at each school to understand the ethos of the school, typical parent population etc. failing this, standing near the school gates in the afternoon one school day and observing also helps. For e.g., I found GH parents too wealthy and the ethnic mix not balanced enough for our personal criteria. Yours may be different!
Glendower is definitely more academic but Garden House has a reputation of being nurturing. Both have their fair share of Uber wealthy families. You could maybe ask the schools if they can put you in touch with parents eg PTA members you can have a chat with?
Also try the Knightsbridge Village www.knightsbridge-village.com community site. All the Kensington and Chelsea mums are on there and you can webchat for up to date info on both schools from mums who actually have kids at there.
Congrats on getting these offers! I think with kids of this age you need to follow your gut as you can't yet really determine how academic they will be. Personally I love GH because it felt it had the best balance between being very nurturing and still challenge the children to become the best of their selves (in) whatever that may be / try new things and as such become. And as you say GH is so much brighter and more spacious - only KP can really compete with that.
@lovelychocs is www.knightsbridge-village.com really worth it? I tried to join once but process was so cumbersome and you have to pay too. And haven't really met people that joined and I know a few people in Kensington. Are you connected by any chance?
I’m on Knightsbridge village and find the info very helpful. This is a community for lifestyle and schools in Kensington area and people also discuss ken prep even though it’s in Fulham. However, you won’t get much info on other schools outside this west London area if that makes sense.
I know a parent who chose between the two and decided on Glendower. She said if felt more "sparky" than GH, and that even if her daughter didn't turn out to be a swotty genius she'd still be appreciated and well educated there. This was two years ago and her daughter is doing well there. I've also heard good things about the new Head.
Hi Rockylady I joined the Knightsbridge community almost a year ago for a specific reason when my daughter was going through the 4+ for preps in the area and I found it very helpful. I’m only really interested in school admissionschat and not the other stuff that come up on the website so may not necessarily renew the subscription until my baby son is going through same process in 3 years time.
It’s all online and there’s no face to face coffee mornings etc but that suits me fine.
I agree getting on the site is cumbersome with all the to and fro checks and emails.
What did you decide in the end?
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