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Help...moving from NYC and in need of advice on junior school search

(11 Posts)
Ermina Thu 17-Jun-10 02:07:10

We are a Belgian couple, moving from NYC to London this August, and we would appreciate any advice on how to approach our search for an independent junior school for our son in the Camden LA area (entry in reception in 2011). Our preference goes to the Hampstead area but we can't seem to get on any waiting list shock. Obviously, competition is fierce and, not having lived in London before or having anticipated this move in time, we did not register our son at birth...

Should we change our area/focus of search? How should we go about this? What are our chances for occasional last-minute spots becoming available?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as our perspectives look quite bleak now... hmm

Thanks to all for sharing your experiences!

mebaasmum Thu 17-Jun-10 14:44:15


How old is your son. If he is 4/5 it might be difficult because that is the main school starting age. if he is older places at schools do come up. It might be worth picking an area with lots of ex pats who will move around alot. A school that comes to mind with lots of ex pat childsren is Hill House Junior school but it is in knightbridge not Camden. For state schools you can get a list from the local education authority. If he is of legal school age they will have to find him a school place somewhere but it might not be the best school. (or you could strike gold). Independant schools its a case of riging around. Maybe picking a school that is not linked to one of the prestiguous senior schools

squeaver Thu 17-Jun-10 14:53:03

Have you tried:

The Royal
Devonshire House
Hall School

Some schools don't take boys before they're 7 so often the boys will go to a small, local school. For example, If you're moving anywhere close to Highgate, you should try the Avenue a really lovely school. In fact, phoning someone like the Avenue would be a good idea because they can give you some other names, maybe closer to Camden.

Hope this helps

Ermina Thu 17-Jun-10 15:57:14

Thank you all for the suggestions so far. It is really encouraging to read that moms care about moms (and their children) and try to help out. A good support network is indeed what we'll need wink.

Our son will turn 4 in October, so he'll enter reception in 2011. We're proceeding with our search along 2 tracks:
nursery to start this September;
junior school to start in September 2011. Even with nurseries, we've not gotten much luck so far.

We're trying to schedule some visits as my husband is in London next week. Is this the right approach? Should we also try just to drop by? The school year is ending, so we're running out of time, but we'll soldier smile smile

Any additional advice more than welcome!

squeaver Thu 17-Jun-10 16:40:33

I really think you need to find a pre-prep where he can stay for three years before going to a prep school.

Pre-preps are great for advising on the right school and (unless they're attached to a bigger school) don't usually have admissions criteria.

Phone up one of the bigger schools like Highgate or UCS and ask which pre-preps their 7+ entries come from. Or the Avenue, like I suggested in my last post.

this might help too although it lists state schools too.

I would think you'd need to schedule a visit in advance rather than just dropping in. You've still got 2 or 3 weeks before term ends.

Where are you going to be living?

MumNWLondon Thu 17-Jun-10 21:08:01

Golders Hill in Golders Green is a mixed nursery and pre-prep, from 2-7. They would prepare him for entry at 7 to UCS/Highgate/etc

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mumtolawyer Thu 17-Jun-10 22:46:03

If you can bear to commute your children to the City (EC2: Moorgate/Liverpool Street/Old Street) try ringing the Lyceum - small prep up to 11. DD is there - she loves it. Academics good, art good, music superb, sports played but not a focus. Or look up their website (which is not great but go see the school).

TinaM Fri 18-Jun-10 19:50:08

I live quite near this area and I have found that there is much more movement this year than in the past so it is worth keeping in touch with your favoured schools.

Have you tried Devonshire House (co ed), Abercorn School (co ed, St Johns Wood so nearby but not Hampstead).

Good luck with your search.

fiveweeksandcounting Sat 19-Jun-10 15:35:22

Was also going to suggest Golders Hill. They lose most of their girls at the end of nursery and a few boys so reception places do come up regularly.

AnnaSergeyevna Sat 26-Jun-10 19:49:54

Try North Bridge House in Primrose Hill

100lilgreen Mon 24-Oct-11 21:25:56

What did you choose?

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