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Private schools SW - please help!

(24 Posts)
Lostaussie Sun 26-Jun-16 13:22:42

Reposting with a better subject title.....

We are looking at relocating as expat from Australia to London and are totally lost with respect to school options. Our preference is for a British school but we are keeping international schools as a backup option. I have 2 dds - 11 and 13. They are above average academically but not top of their class. Our ideal school would have a strong focus on getting the best out of each child academically but also enriching them through extra curricular activities and building a sense of confidence and independence. We are likely to be living south west but can adapt depending on the school location.

I would really be grateful for view on the following schools (I realise none of these are top academic schools - due to timing, we won't have a lot of choice):

- Kew House
- Portland Place
- Claire's Court
- Radnor House
- North Bridge House Senior school

Our international backups are:

- international school of London
- Southbank Westminster
- ACS Hillington

I have read everything about all these schools on MN but I'm finding it hard to compare. Would be very interested in people's recommendations (positive and negative).


GinandJag Sun 26-Jun-16 14:36:20

Claire's Court is in Maidenhead so not London.

Lostaussie Sun 26-Jun-16 14:41:22

Thanks Ginandjag - I realise that. Our relocation consultant seemed to think it would still work with our location requirements.

GinandJag Sun 26-Jun-16 14:54:34

There are lots of schools within the M25 that would fit the bill. Committing a child to a substantial train journey, then a minibus shuttle is not ideal.

How old will your 11 year old be when you make the move? You will know that this is a tricky age as places are determined in the January of Year 6. If she is a bit older and going into Year 8, you might be able to get them into a school without having to compete for a place.

For your 13 year old, she will be approaching GCSE years, so also a sensitive time.

I can understand why Claire's Court was mentioned as they are good at taking students in in sensitive years, but they wouldn't be my first choice. A clever child will be able to catch up quickly in any supportive school.

How do you want them to get to school? Drive them yourself, public transport or school bus?

Lostaussie Mon 27-Jun-16 00:32:17

Thanks GinandJag - that's helpful feedback. The distance was a concern for me as well. For transport, I think we will be relying on either school buses or public transport. Unfortunately our youngest is definitely caught up in the year 7 intake so it's very tricky and limited availability.

mary21 Mon 27-Jun-16 15:26:32

Chiswick to Rad or House would be a pain. Kew House would be convenient. No personal experience but its in an old office building so I think they have had to think laterally about how the run and as a consequence been quite innovative. If you start a thread with the school name in the tile you should get a responded as there is posters with kids at the school. Not keen on here uniform though!
Ibstock and Harrodian often get suggested to returning Expats too. If you struggle to find a school for you 11 year old consider a prep for 2 years such as Newton Prep.

amidawish Mon 27-Jun-16 19:43:12

St Catherine's in Twickenham? (opposite Radnor House) is definitely worth looking at.

Eastpoint Tue 28-Jun-16 07:00:18

There's a bus from Chiswick to Radnor House each day & I think there are few girls attending St Catherine's who also take it.

It's really hard to get into Harrodian, very competitive at 11+ as they only have about 20 places. The pupils from Kew House look smart, friendly & happy.

Lostaussie Tue 28-Jun-16 08:41:33

Thanks everyone for your replies. Our options are very limited at this late stage so the input is really valued. Our system is very different and I'm not enjoying the irony of leaving a top rated school (ours are non selective, you just have to put your name down very early) to relocate!

LIZS Tue 28-Jun-16 08:46:18

Have you tried any of the GDST schools? Putney High for example.

Needmoresleep Tue 28-Jun-16 09:18:09

LIZ, competition for Putney High is sky high. Even if there were an occassional place for September do you not think it would be filled from the wait list? The only GDST perhaps worth trying is Clapham, though their reputation is improving fast.

I think the relocation agents have probably pitched it right, though these are very different schools. I would add St Catherines to the list, and perhaps send an email to Surbiton High (it is a large well established school so caters for the full ability range, plus it is used as a fall back by many at 11+, so if there is movement in the area they may have gaps ) and perhaps Ibstock, asking about the possibility of occassional places. Chiswick is a nice green leafy suburb, and would seem a good choice for a new Londoner. If so I would forget North Bridge House, Claire's Court and Portland and focus on Kew House and Portland (though had you suggested you wanted ito live centrally, Portland Place would be a good option.)

TfLs journey planner is your friend. If you decide on Radnor you might be better off living in Key/Rickmond or even Twickenham itself (again nice suburbs though further out). You mgiht also ask the schools about possible school buses. Up to 40 minutes commute each way is considered reasonable.

Do not worry too much. If you stay in London it is not unusual to switch for the final two years.

amidawish Tue 28-Jun-16 16:22:06

Are you definitely moving to Chiswick? I can't see that in your OP.
If so St Catherine's, surbiton etc are too far i think.
Richmond would give you greater school options and similar house prices to Chiswick, on both tube (slow) but fast rail to Waterloo.

lhrmum Tue 28-Jun-16 18:04:35

Best of luck in the move! Once you get school sorted, you will love London. I think if you are planning to live in SW, NBH Sr School is a tough option. There is not a school coach that runs from SW and the public transport from Richmond, Mortlake or even Chiswick would be an hour or more. Friends at NBH would be NW based so might make play dates/after school visits challenging.

lhrmum Tue 28-Jun-16 18:10:21

Sorry - didnt mean to be negative in that post! smile If you choose NW, I think you could snag 2 spaces for your dd's at NBH Sr School even at this late date. The Head is fairly new but we really liked her when we considered it this year for 11+ - and Hampstead is a great place to live with easy access to Central London on Northern line.

Peanutbutterrules Tue 28-Jun-16 20:25:56

Also suggesting St Catherine's. Good pastoral care, small classes so good for settling in and finding feet. Don't worry about it being Catholic - they take 1/3 Catholic, 1/3 C of E, 1/3 other faiths.

CountessDracula Mon 04-Jul-16 13:52:04

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

CountessDracula Mon 04-Jul-16 13:52:48

Oh and don't rule out the more academic schools if you think they might suit, people are always moving and places come up unexpectedly

Pythonesque Thu 07-Jul-16 06:35:56

Has your current school got any connections of any sort that they could also make enquiries or representations through? (sadly more likely for boys' schools to have that knowledge though!)

NiceViper Thu 07-Jul-16 07:10:06

Off the point and tongue in cheek, but (possibly) helpful to OP in her move...

The title is inaccurate and potentially misleading.

None of those schools are in the SW!

All are in London, which is in the SE of England.

HostaFireandIce Thu 07-Jul-16 12:31:00

Yes, I assumed she meant in the South West too and clicked as I know Devon's schools reasonably well. I'm now guessing she means SW postcode.

user1467927533 Fri 08-Jul-16 09:07:54

Having been through the entrance procedure for an 11 year girl in South West London this year I know the schools are really full including St Catherine's Twickenham and Radnor House. Surbiton High has gone for 7 form entry for this September due to the higher than expected acceptance rate. If you can move a bit further out I would consider Notre Dame in Cobham otherwise ACS Hillingdon is a great school but teaches IB and sticks to American semesters. Kew House is a good choice too. This current Year 6 is a bulge year and the demand for private school places has overwhelmed the private sector for Year 7 entry in South West London/Surrey this September. If you move to the Esher area you could consider a mixed Prep School that goes to age 13 that will have spaces for girls at 11 like Felton Fleet in Cobham.

Eastpoint Fri 08-Jul-16 09:08:05

In her second sentence of her opening post she states that they are moving from Australia to London...

Needmoresleep Fri 08-Jul-16 10:04:30

User..... you are right. However things do shift through the year. And someone giving up a place at, say, SPGS will start a cascade. Most people are settled in their choices so it is possible for a place to be available in a previously oversubscribed school. At minimum an email costs nothing.

CountessDracula Fri 08-Jul-16 12:18:06

I'm not sure why my message was deleted! I wasn't advertising just suggesting another way to go
So in case you didn't see it I posted a link to someone who will help you if you are moving in to the UK, they have links to lots of different schools in SW London and can find out if any places are available or due to become available. I'm sure there are plenty of people that do this, so just google for one if you are interested.

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