As Prince George get’s ready to start school at Thomas’s Prep in Battersea, Mama takes a look at others that may well have been on Kate and Will’s list.
Words: Eleanor Doughty
In leafy Belsize Park stands The Hall, where it is recommended that you have your son’s name down from birth. The young chaps play rugby, football and cricket, and study Classics before whooshing off to all the best schools. It’s not just Eton, Westminster and St Paul’s for these boys, but academic schools all over town, and the rest of the country too. Pupils at The Hall live ‘distinctive lives’, says headmaster Chris Godwin, which sounds right up our street.
Where is it? Hampstead, NW3
Who is it for? Boys, day only, 4-13
Who is in charge? Headmaster Chris Godwin
How much does it cost? Reception and year one, £5,980 per term; Year two and above, £6,162 per term
Garden House School
You might think you don’t know Garden House, but you might well. You’ve probably seen the tiny girls bouncing along the King’s Road wearing their velvet-collared coats and thought, where does THOSE lovely children go to school? Garden House, a very sweet prep school around the corner from Sloane Square, where the boys and girls are taught separately but spend break times and extra-curricular times together. Principal Jillian Oddy offers everything from dawn chorus to robotics to her charges, and they all skip off to smart London day schools and boarding schools further afield.
Where is it? Chelsea, SW3
Who is it for? Boys and girls, 3-11
Who is in charge? Julia Adlard (headmistress of lower girls), Charlotte Faber (headmistress of upper girls) and Christian Warland (boys headmaster)
How much does it cost? Kindergarten, £4,500 per term; preparatory, £7,000 per term; junior school, £7,150 per term; upper school, £7,200 per term
Falkner House gives you two for one: there’s a boys’ school AND girls’ school, a mile from each other. At the boys’ outpost in Earls Court, it’s co-ed two to four, and boys only four to 11, and it’s a real family affair. Headmistress Eleanor Dixon is the daughter of Anita Griggs, headmistress of the girls’ school, so there’s plenty of integration and a real feeling of togetherness. The boys have a bewildering 19 subjects to study, including Mandarin in Year Six, and History of Art throughout, which is a really jammy bonus too rarely offered. We approve.
Where is it? Earls Court, SW5
Who is it for? Boys, days only, 4-11
Who is in charge? Headmistress Eleanor Dixon
How much does it cost? £6,480 per term
Eaton Square School
Don’t turn up on Eaton Square looking for Eaton Square School, because it isn’t there – it’s round the corner, on Eccleston Square. And very nice it is too. At Eaton Square it’s all go: the boys and girls study French, Latin and Mandarin, and go on ski trips in their spare time. A new senior school opens this term at 106 Piccadilly, which will educate the luckiest children from 11 to 18, meaning that there’s no change in the direct debit EVER.
Where is it? 79 Eccleston Square, Belgravia
Who is it for? Boys and girls, day only
Who is in charge? Headmaster Sebastian Hepher
How much does it cost? Reception – year two, £6,875 per term; year three to year eight, £7,090 per term
Sussex House School
Sussex House is a school for the public school set: it boasts that 70 per cent of its leavers go off to Eton, St Paul’s, Winchester and Westminster, which is pretty outstanding. This considerable percentage of high achievers is surely down to the opportunities the children are afforded: there’s a lot of drama (theatre, that is) going on, sometimes with as many as eight productions a year; serious sporting japes, including fencing, and music coming out of your ears. It’s also where Daniel Radcliffe went to prep school, so they must be on to something.
Where is it? Cadogan Square, SW1X
Who is it for? Boys, day only, 8-13
Who is in charge? Headmaster Nicholas Kaye
How much does it cost? £6,200 per term
St Paul’s Juniors
Formally known as Colet Court, the school has now merged with its big brother and has become St Paul’s Juniors. And it’s still as brilliant as ever, with a creaking waiting list, so get in there for prep school to avoid the race for the few places they offer for big school at 11. The academics are outstanding, plus there’s tennis, cricket, rugby, football, swimming, water polo AND gymnastics, so there will be nothing your son can’t do.
Where is it? Barnes, SW13
Who is it for? Boys from 7, day only (boarding at senior school)
Who is in charge? High Master Professor Mark Bailey
How much does it cost? £6,476 per term
Bassett House School
“Every child can learn to fly”. So says Bassett House, a charming little co-ed school in North Kensington, founded with just six pupils in 1947. It’s got two sisters schools – Orchard House in Chiswick, and Prospect House in Putney, so there’s a house wherever you are ready and waiting. They believe that different children learn in different ways, so there’s a bit of Montessori looped in alongside regular methods of teaching to spice things up a bit. Evidently it works: girls go off to big schools including Tudor Hall, Woldingham and Queen’s Gate, and there are coding clubs, yoga and a barbershop group on offer alongside your traditional prep school subjects.
Where is it? North Kensington, W10
Who is it for? Boys and girls, day only, 3-11
Who is in charge? Headmistress Philippa Cawthorne
How much does it cost? Nursery, £2,895 per term; reception, form one and form two, £5,790 per term; forms three to six, £6,040 per term
Wetherby Pre-Prep School
Ah, Notting Hill. Home to one heck of a carnival, a certain Richard Curtis film set, oh, and Wetherby pre-prep, the smartest in the land. This is an ultra-hip and brilliant outpost in the middle of W2, where even the littlest boys get involved with the big school events. They’ve got French teachers and music teachers even at Nursery level – that’s how good it is – and the boys trickle off to Wetherby prep in Westminster, before they pack off to Wellington, Harrow and Westminster, if not to their own Wetherby senior school in Marylebone. A Wetherby boy is one for life.
Where? Pembridge Square, W2
Who is it for? Boys, day only, 2-8
Who is in charge? Headmaster Mark Snell
How much does it cost? Little Wetherby, £3,280 per term; rest of school, £6,865 per term
Ravenscourt Park Preparatory School
If you’re looking for a solid local school, Ravenscourt Park ticks the box. The boys and girls stay local too, toddling off to Latymer, Francis Holland and Goldolphin & Latymer after Ravenscourt has finished with them. And by finished, we mean “make wonderful beyond belief”, because there’s a huge amount to do: judo, lacrosse, ski trips, rugby… you name it, Ravenscourt offers it. Plus, there’s an actual park nearby (there’s a clue in the name) which means there’s plenty of room to run around – rare in London and not to be sniffed at.
Where is it? Chiswick, W6
Who is it for? Boys and girls, day only, 4-11
Who is in charge? Headmaster Carl Howes
How much does it cost? £5,625 per term
Eaton House Belgravia
There are quite a few Eaton House schools across London, so bear with us. There’s Eaton House The Manor pre-prep, for boys; Eaton House The Manor prep, also for boys; Eaton House The Manor girls’ prep school, plus Eaton House The Manor Nursery, all on Clapham Common, AND Eaton House The Vale School, a co-ed nursery and prep school in Kensington.
But this one is Eaton House Belgravia pre-prep on Eaton Gate, a gem of a school for boys of four to eight, and it’s jolly lovely. It’s non-selective and chess is on the curriculum, alongside reasoning, history, geography, library studies and music. Plus, obviously, games – a full complement of swimming, hockey and tennis for the bigger boys. There’s a prep school opening in Belgravia this term, so no need to move schools until it’s time for seniors.
Where: Eaton Gate, SW1W
Who is it for? Boys, day only, 4-8
Who is in charge? Headmistress Annabel Abbott
How much does it cost? £5,130 per term