Hall School Wimbledon OR Kew Green Prep School - which is better?

(24 Posts)
BardOfBarking Wed 17-Jul-13 22:39:42

I went to look around the junior school, some years ago, and couldn't decide if it was utopia or completely barking mad. Spoke to lots of parents past and present and they appeared split pretty evenly along that divide.

Decided to pass.

KirstyWilks Wed 17-Jul-13 17:29:19

My son has been at the senior school HSW for 2 years now and he loves it. The "naughty boys" comment shocked me as they assess on all round personality not just academic achievements and as a result my son is surrounded by gorgeous well rounded individuals - and this is 13 year old boys we are talking about!

Mrneedy Tue 26-Mar-13 13:58:42

ooh, that was a bit long sorry!

Mrneedy Tue 26-Mar-13 13:58:17

in RL, I never actually met anyone who had heard of the school!

The parents I have met since starting the school are all very happy with it, and some have experienced first hand the negative opinions, and all try to defend and promote the school

Like Schmedz says, it's not going to suit everyone

Firstly you have to buy into the whole "alternative" style which I think is very much down to the headmaster, who actually founded the school. If you don't like him or his ideas, it's not going to work

The outdoorsy physical side of it, some people would be horrified by circuit training before registration

The junior school is out of the way,so transport is a big issue, especially if both parents work, but there is an excellent bus service, managed really well.

Parking- the drop off and pick up times are staggered, I've never had a problem parking. And you can park in the Windmill carpark and walk 10 mins through the Common in the nice weather

The staff are lovely, very accommodating, can't comment on the Senior school, but the junior school staff have been there for a while. I think the high staff turnover comment might be because reception/yr 1staff are SA and Aussie, which somehow related to their commitment? I don't think so, but maybe some think that way

The turnover of the children is higher than normal I think, but it is a very international school, lots of Europeans and Japanese. If that puts anyone off, well, each to their own! I love it.

Class sizes? There are about 30 kids in reception, but they have 2 teachers and 4 assistants, and they are grouped together a lot, so the ratios are good.
And the classes are split further up.

Anyway, I will get off my soapbox now!

Wobblypig Mon 25-Mar-13 23:20:30

Then I am genuinely surprised, outside of Mumsnet I have found it difficult to find a fan of Hsw and we originally liked the school, being mainly put off by commute and drop off. Later we were a bit unsettled by headmaster and later still by the local, possibly I'll informed , opinion

Aristi Mon 25-Mar-13 14:58:50

Wobblypig, yes we are (not sarcastic)

Mrneedy Sun 24-Mar-13 12:38:47

Thanks schmedz,
I think I'm defensive because I don't like the inference that hsw is the option for pupils that can't pass the exams for selective schools, when most parents i know choose it for completely different reasons and that surely it should be obvious that the results for non-selective schools are not going to be as good as a selective school.

Schmedz Sun 24-Mar-13 08:37:33

Apologies for seeming rather defensive myself about elaborating on my particular issues with the management and ethos. I am unable to do so because when I left I signed a confidentiality agreement. I believe this is standard practice. Regardless, these are my own personal opinions and I cannot speak for anyone else.

Why feel defensive over the fact that it is not as academically oriented as the 'hothouse' alternatives? Your use of the word 'hothouse' to describe those schools that achieve high academic results and have a selective intake indicates that you don't even like that sort of school!

There is nothing inherently better or worse about an 'academic' or 'less academic' school...it is only one part of the whole package parents are choosing and by definition a highly academic school is probably unsuited to the majority of students.

You are very lucky to have found a school that is a good fit for your child and with which you are so completely happy. Obviously you are not alone in this so, as I said originally...different strokes for different folks. I don't think any caring parent chooses a school without at least visiting and thinking long and hard about where their child/ren would be happiest. In which case, other people's opinions don't matter a jot, and nor should they! I am the last person to 'judge' other people's choices and I don't care if other people try to judge mine smile

Mrneedy Sat 23-Mar-13 17:21:57

Sorry schmedz, I was just interested in the opinion that you stated. I didn't think it was crossing the line by asking your reasons!

I thought long and hard about choosing this school and I honestly can't see anything negative at all, and I feel very defensive when people throw around phrases like non academic

Fwiw, I think it's changed massively over the last couple of years, so I would imagine it's not quite the same as 10 years ago

There are more boys than girls, they are trying to balance that

Schmedz Sat 23-Mar-13 15:19:41

I am sure it suits lots of people and lots of families. It didn't suit me or mine. And I am sure it has changed in the last decade since I was involved with it. I am not going to go into details of the management issues I had because this is an inappropriate forum to do so and frankly none of your business!

The 'school for naughty boys' comment came from a number of Wimbledon parents who have this opinion of it, for whatever reason, and not because of academic results. Also referring to senior school not junior school. The coed mix has always seemed to be more heavily weighted to boys so perhaps that is why.

Different strokes for different folks...it is good that there is a less academic, non selective coed in Wimbledon for senior school to give people that option if that is what they want. Most other indies in the area are selective and single sex.

I personally know a number of staff in both the schools who I think are lovely people and good teachers so I have no issue with the quality of staff.

Mrneedy Sat 23-Mar-13 10:37:36

Who exactly refers to it as "school for naughty boys"?
That's ridiculous
HSW is non-selective, it doesn't weed out the lesser abled pupils, stands to reason the results aren't going to be as good as the hot house schools

What do you see about the ethos is not to your taste schmedz? And the management?

HSW is a great school, produces very happy well rounded children
Yes it's a little different, but ime it's a fantastic school

Aristi Fri 22-Mar-13 12:07:22

I have a 12 year old daughter at HSW in her first year, she loves it, we love it and have yet to be dissapointed with anything really. American stepdad, does your son really have problems with a sum such as 3 x 4? If he passed GCSE maths with a good grade ( I assume he did as he is doing A level)then the school has done its job and maybe its the GCSE course that it at fault? Re the school overall, I think it is difficult to get an "Outstanding" in Ofstead without doing something right. It also got an extemely high approval and satisfaction rating from Parents filling out the Ofstead questionnaire (me included).

Schmedz Tue 12-Mar-13 18:36:40

HSW definitely a very 'alternative' school and certainly does not have a good reputation in regard to academic achievement. The senior school has been referred to as a 'school for naughty boys'! Like any school there are some who like it and some who feel the opposite. If your friends applied they obviously liked it well enough. Imagine there will be more local friendships if they choose KGPS which is important for that interminable list of play dates...
HSW junior school has really pleasant grounds and there are some great staff but the management style and overall ethos is ...well... Not to my taste. I don't know KGPS except that a friends son attends and is very happy there.
Different strokes for different folks... If they make a decision that doesn't work out, they can always change schools in the future!

CezzaPutney Mon 11-Mar-13 21:39:24

Thank you for these really useful insights.

AmericanStepDad Sun 03-Mar-13 10:23:49

My stepson went to the Hall School in Wimbledon up to last year (2011/12), and is now doing his A Levels at a private school in Fulham. He has been having a very difficult time in his course work, so I decided to tutor him myself in maths.

To my dismay, I've discovered that the Hall School has done a very poor job at preparing him for A levels maths. Although his maths scores were quite good at HSW, today he does not have the foundation skills and basic understanding needed to do course work at his grade level.

I've been working with him every day, and as we do problems together, the issues that come up over and over again are that he struggles with basic arithmetic such as multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction. Moreover, he is confused about very simple operations in algebra -- skills that he should completely master at his grade level.

As I've dug deeper into the cause of his difficulties I discovered what I would consider to be two basic flaws in the Hall School's approach to maths. First, they have their students use calculators. My stepson has been so handicapped by his calculator that he struggles with problems as simple as multiplying 3x4. At A levels, students are not allowed to use calculators, but the course work, which includes solving quadratics, simultaneous equations, problems of differentation, and integration, all require that students master the basics.

I've adopted the use of flashcards with him to ensure that he masters the single digit multiplication tables, but what an embarrassing observation about the educational approach adopted by HSW.

Second, I can see that my stepson's head has been filled with a host of "rules" about maths, without a clear founding of the concepts those rules embody. I've reviewed his notebooks from HSW, and in my discussions with him, it seems that the school just encouraged him to memorise rules -- not understand maths. Is it any wonder that he's confused now? He has no intellectual skills to think about maths... to organise knowledge, and digest new thoughts.

My regret today is that I did not involve myself earlier with his school work. Unfortunately, I was blind-sided by the grade reports that were coming home. I wish we had never sent him to HSW, and I feel that we've wasted tens of thousands of pounds trying to ensure his education, but have been cheated by a very weak school passing itself off as a quality institution.

Petershadow Tue 13-Nov-12 23:16:53

Yes, my son goes there

Wobblypig Tue 13-Nov-12 23:11:02

Peter shadow are we talking about the same school? Genuine not sarcastic

Petershadow Tue 13-Nov-12 17:39:24

HSW not very well thought of???
Large class sizes?
High staff turnover?

Ime- HSW is a fantastic school
No issues with class size and the teachers have been there for years
I haven't heard any discipline problems, that may be anecdotal. Children are generally beautifully behaved with excellent manners that they teach at the school

london2000 Tue 13-Nov-12 13:13:30

My kids have been at HSW since reception and are very happy there. It does have a reputation of being alternative to other independent schools in Wimbledon. I'm not sure if this is true; many other independent schools in Wimbledon are quite academic, so in comparison to these HSW may be considered less so. In our experience it is a well rounded non selective school that does a great job in catering to the individual needs of its pupils. It has a lovely feel and as always with schools, it is probably best to go and have a look.

Wobblypig Fri 28-Sep-12 22:44:22

HSW is generally not very well thought of in Wimbledon - it is a little alternative . Generally there are thought to be concerns with large class sizes ; high turn over of staff and pupils and issues re: discpline procedures. However it has a lvoely feel and the kids look very happy there.

shellch Fri 28-Sep-12 16:17:41

Hi washedup, my son is starting at Kew Green next year and I had only heard good things about it until I saw this post. Please can you elaborate on why you took your DC out? I understand all schools have thier pros and cons and I want to make sure I have a balanced picture. Would really appreciate your thoughts.

CezzaPutney Tue 24-Jul-12 12:44:56

Thankyou washedup, really valuable advice.

washedup Mon 23-Jul-12 20:28:22

KGPS was set up as an overspill to RPPS (which they also own) so a lot of the children are children who, traditionally didn't get a place at the very oversubscribed RPPS. So a large number of children come from Chiswick & Grove Park, some even from Ealing, Hammersmith & Sheps Bush. They also take children from Barnes, Richmond and I did know one family from St Margarets. I've never come across a family there from as far away as Teddington though, so can't imagine there would be lots of local classmates, if any. Teddington has so many of it's own preps to fill. I took my DC out, we left because it wasn't the right school for us, but I am in touch with many parents who are happy (in varying degrees.) Watch out for the fees, they really do shoot up. I hear there's a big rise again for the coming academic yr.
I hear good things about the Hall, which I understand is a much softer, nurturing school than KG, so would not necessarily peg them against each other.

CezzaPutney Mon 23-Jul-12 13:12:09

Some friends have a place at Hall School Wimbledon, but live in Teddington. Its not so crazy as the HSW is on the fathers way to work. They have been offered a place at Kew Green Prep - which would you go for?
Would there be more local children at KGPS for them? I know there are mixed opinions about KGPS - so any advice on what its like in Reception would be great (for KGPS or HSW)

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