private co ed primary schools in Kew and Twickenham

(16 Posts)
jtwins123 Wed 15-Jan-14 20:10:20

I am going to ask the age old question re which schools are best for my children. I have b/g twins who would start nursery class in 2016 and reception class in 2017. I am considering the following The Unicorn school, Kew Collage, Broomfield House and Newland House. Does anyone have any inside knowledge re these schools? I am looking for a small, happy school that isn't too pushy but at the same time still getting good results and children into good senior schools - not st pauls or similar but more Surbiton high types I think. We also live near (2 miles) the blue school in Isleworth so also weighing up that option.confused

twick13 Fri 17-Jan-14 09:44:35

I was under the impression that you needed to register at birth for a reception place at Newland House but there are additional places at 7+ which are based on entrance exam not waiting list. So if you are interested call them now to see if its worth registering or you are too late.
I think it might be easier to get a place at twickenham prep but that is in Hampton.
For the Blue school I think you need to go to church and live close to it. 2miles is quite a long way away. Most of the state primaries in the area are good
Are you in Hounslow or Richmond?
Another school is Radnor House at the moment its from age 7. The was a rumour the wanted to go from age 3 but I don't know if that is just a rumour.

jtwins123 Sat 18-Jan-14 19:53:14

Twick13, thanks for your comments. I know it is difficult to get into Newland and given i will need 2 places i doubt we will get in but you never know, i am going to look around anyway. We are in Isleworth right on the Richmond boarder. Of the schools that we would be offered I would only consider the blue school and even then in comparison to private schools it is lacking. BUT is the extra provided by a private prep school really worth 25-30k pa??? if we had all the money in the world it would be a no brainer but we don't so it is a real dilemma! thanks for the rumour re Radnor House, i will give them a call and see what they say. Ideally i am looking for a small, caring and friendly school where everyone knows everyone, that isn't too academically pushy (ie 1 hour homework every night as opposed to 3!) whilst still bringing out the best in every child and coaching them to pass 11+exams at selective senior schools!

Heathclif Sun 19-Jan-14 10:53:18

Isle worth to Kew would be a pretty awful commute, as sadly would Hampton for Twickenham Prep, the Homebase roundabout is always a snarling point. If not Newlands, you could consider the Kings House /Old Vic combination in Richmond but again I think names need to go down at birth. The problem isn't just the commute, it is also that they can be quite socially isolated if their peers don't live locally, parents won't be quite so willing to organise play dates half an hours drive away. There used to be a private prep in Isleworth but it closed. Is there anything Osterley way? There are the Chiswick Schools, orchard House and Ravenscourt Prep.

IAPs will have a school finder.

twick13 Sun 19-Jan-14 16:20:52

Ashton House in Islewoth ??

jtwins123 Mon 20-Jan-14 09:17:33

That is miles away from us. As i say we are right on the Richmond boarder so more Richmond than Isleworth. I know back roads into Kew so traffic wouldn't be a problem once over Twickenham bridge and even there traffic looks worse than it is - always moving so not so bad. We could also cycle through old dear park to kew in 20 mins which could be nice in spring/summer. Anyway, of the schools listed above would you rate any above the rest or is there anything that i should be wary of etc

Heathclif Mon 20-Jan-14 13:33:15

Jtwins I don't want to sound negative but I have experience of this. I commuted into Richmond with my DDs for five years and believe me parents on Richmond Hill are reluctant to venture down to the Green let alone neighbouring suburbs, for playdates, parents on the St Margaret's Trust Grounds had similar experiences. Kew is similarly parochial. The traffic on the A316 moves slowly but sometimes barely at all and when you have collected your DCs from a sports fixture and it takes from 5 until 6 to get from the pool to the St Margaret's roundabout as it will most nights, let alone when everything snarls up, with tired children past their best and needing food then it will wear you down. Those back roads are well used rat runs and will also wear you down, the constant near misses, and queuing to get through narrow gaps with selfish drivers cutting you up (that's before the selfish parents cut you up to get the space closest to school, though they live 10 mins walk away hmm ) There is no avoiding the queues to get on the Richmond roundabout. Sadly there are few days in winter when you can cycle. Fortunately we moved overseas before I exploded in a fit of road rage one morning but if I had my time again I would want to live within an easy walk of my DDs primary school and would move to achieve that. Frankly even for Newlands you are going to face similar queues to get into Twickenham from every direction and those back ways are even slower than the main road.

If you are nearer St Margaret's, on that border, you may well fall into the catchment of St Stephens, that extends into Hounslow, though now they are on a split site I am not sure how they organise the catchment plus they have increased the number of faith places. However that is a happy school with plenty of parents walking in on the bridge over the A316 and I know plenty of DCs who have gone on from there to the selective schools with a bit of tutoring. There is also a new Free school proposed for St Margaret's riverside that may, at first at least, depending on site, stretch that far as well, or allow the St Stephens catchment to stretch a bit further.

Obviously with state schools you will not face the uncertainty of waiting lists that fill up for certain places even before the babies in some school years have all been born shock, although there is always movement at the last minute depending on people who move etc. and even Unicorn have been known to tout places down the waiting list at the last minute. FWIW I think Unicorn is the only school that would fit your requirement for a school that isn't too pushy. Parents who do have their sights set on the St Paul's etc. are very demanding of these Prep Schools and even if you and the school are trying to keep things happy and relaxed they and their DCs will have another dynamic. Broomfield and Old Vicarage / Kings House are particularly affected by that, and Old Vicarage actually stream them in Year 5 and 6, very young.

Heathclif Mon 20-Jan-14 13:39:01

Head at Newlands also good at resisting those pressures, which in any case are less intense once you get away from Richmond and Kew.

jtwins123 Mon 20-Jan-14 20:17:16

Very interesting, a lot to think about. I have booked to have a look at all of them and will go from there. I think I am an in between parent..... I am more demanding than the average state school parent (and i think i would drive the teachers mad) but not as pushy as a st pauls 'wanabe parent'! in fact even if my children turn out clever enough to get into St Pauls i wouldn't send them there as from personal experience i don't think it is a very nice environment for children to grow up in, if that bright they will do just as well at the likes of Putney high etc.

London1975 Mon 20-Jan-14 22:00:06


My sister and I were very happy at Broomfield and my daughter will be starting there in 2015. It's a lovely school, smaller, more down to earth and less snobby than some of the others. We both went onto Godolphin & Latymer but they also have a good track record with the likes of putney high, surbiton high etc. My brother was at Kings House and he did very well there too. I come from a family with a similar ethos to you - my parents wanted good prep schools for us but not where we'd be overwhelmed by the hot-house environment. Both Broomfield House & Kings House served us well in that respect.

Good luck with whatever decision you make x

LProsser Thu 23-Jan-14 09:16:07

I think until you have experienced local state schools around here you probably won't realise how pushy some of the parents can be! Although not that many of the children go private I have never heard of any failing to get into Surbiton High, Kingston Grammar, Hampton etc. if that's where their parents want them to go although I have heard of one who failed to get into LEH. Those aiming at the most selective secondary schools including Tiffin do pay for some extra tutoring but otherwise it just seems to be a shoe-in. Usually they have been children who are not in the top sets but are averagely bright whose parents fear that they will be "lost" in a comprehensive. The commonest reason for leaving my daughter's state primary is failing to progress fast enough due to dyslexia and other learning difficulties and then they are sent to Newland, Twickenham Prep. etc. Most of the people I know are on the Twickenham not the Richmond side of the borough so I don't know so much about how you get into St Pauls, Godolphin & Latimer, Putney High etc. But you certainly don't have to send your children to a prep school and face a horrendous commute and difficulty with friendships just because you want them to go to a private secondary school.

sybilwibble Thu 23-Jan-14 11:55:55

Have u considered kew green prep? We left because we felt it was too laid back for us and our dcs weren't progressing (I am one of "those" mums!) but it has great sport, drama,arts etc and I've stayed in touch with a great bunch of parents who just love the school and are very happy with it. They also have their new senior school and about 30-40% now go on there at 11.

London1975 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:27:12

Interesting sybilwibble about kew green prep. Went to see it and was impressed but thought the Headmaster was pretty laid back and I didn't get the sense of a very broad curriculum. Where did you move your Dcs to if you don't mind me asking?

sybilwibble Sun 02-Feb-14 11:45:59

will pm you as don't want to out myself.
But KGPS is a marmite school - a number do leave early and others love it. Although I really didn't like it for MY children, I can see that the dc of my friends absolutely love it and have thrived there, which is why I would always urge people to still consider it, even though I chose to leave. The hardest thing for me is that we all have to chose schools when our children have not even yet learned to hold a pencil or add up 2+2. We made the wrong choice and corrected it.

princesspino Wed 26-Feb-14 18:43:44

I have my 2 registered for newland house. It's a complete myth that you have to register them at birth and in fact I didn't register ds who starts in Seotember 2014 until last year. The headmaster was lovely and for us it was the nicest feel of the v limited co-ed choices around us in Twickenham. The headmaster made a point of saying that although he likes class sizes of 18-20 he will always add a couple on if he feels it's warranted I.e when parents move into the area. Y be amazed how many did register early and them dropped out due to changes of circumstances etc

Blah16 Sat 16-Jul-16 06:13:20

So I'm joining the conversation two years later but I'm interested Jtwins123 on your decision. I'm living in St Margarets and most probably sending mine to Kew Green Prep, starting 2017. However I haven't ruled out state yet.

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