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Ultimately, the school’s USP is its atmosphere. ‘The academics are amazing, but that’s almost secondary,’ said one parent. ‘What I love about it is that there’s such a strong community feel.’  Something also noted by new arrivals from foreign lands. ‘It was such a welcoming, normal school, in an area not rife with normal schools,’ said one parent landing with three children in tow. In 2014, the school changed its name to Parsons Green Prep, but continues to operate very much on its original family scale with a maximum capacity of 180 and class size never exceeding 20. National Curriculum provides ‘the spine’ of teaching, and many of the…

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What the school says...

We believe that how a child learns is as important as what a child learns. Parsons Green Prep is an independent day school in London offering a contemporary education for 200 boys and girls from 4 to 11 years of age. The beautiful buildings and playgrounds have been carefully designed, over time, to facilitate successful learning, friendships and a strong sense of school community. Our inspiring team of staff delivers positive, well-planned lessons and encourages children to learn, stretch and achieve both academically and pastorally. At PGP, we begin from our youngest classes to systematically and gradually equip our children as they progress through the school with the tools they will need to gain entry into competitive senior schools. ...Read more

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Headmaster

Since 2019, Matthew Faulkner MA (Oxon) (40s). After Eton, Oxford (French and Spanish), and a stint as a family lawyer – ‘it was quite a good training’ – he decided his spare-time activity taking children to France was more interesting than the day job - ‘I found I loved being in shorts with a whistle’ – and made a career volte-face. Started out at Sussex House, followed by a traineeship at Notting Hill Prep, then to Dorset prep Port Regis and on to deputy headship of all-boys boarding prep Summer Fields in Oxford. After four years, however, he decided he wanted to ‘have ideas and make decisions’, and Parsons Green felt the right place to do so. ‘Even though it was a much smaller school than I was used to, I knew as soon as I walked in, this was a school I wanted to lead.’ Despite his relatively brief time at the helm, parents are overwhelmingly positive. ‘He’s slipped into Parsons Green, but brought this cool edge to it,’ said one. ‘He has a really good sense of fun and seems to be able to cope with anything; we’re fortunate to have him,’ said another. Energetic – on our visit he bounded down the stairs – and articulate, he’s considered an excellent communicator. ‘He writes beautifully, and sends short, snappy personal newsletters every week.’ Married – to a potter – with three teenage+ children, his weekends are spent at his family home in Dorset, and spare moments in playing the piano, sport, travelling, creative writing and cooking.

Entrance

Register from birth for one of 36 reception places. Entrance is via pre-entry ‘checks’ (academic report from nursery, plus ‘taster day’). Selective ‘socially’ – so probably not ideal if your child chooses to have a tantrum on the day – but the school looks for a range of personalities and abilities, with preference given to siblings and ‘like-minded’ families. Applicants for occasional vacancies from year 1 and above are admitted through school report and morning activity session.

Exit

School has traditionally seen some leakage in the higher years from those looking for a larger scale and/or more ruthless 11+ preparation, but there’s really no need. Head sees all parents in year 5 to discuss future plans - and pupils, after careful interview and testing preparation, proceed to the full range of local options (St Paul’s Girls’, Godolphin & Latymer, Queen’s Gate, Harrodian, Ibstock Place, St James, etc), some with scholarships. Head now introducing the idea that boarding may be an option.

Our view

Founded as Eridge House in 2001 by Lucinda Waring, who remains the MD, majority shareholder and guiding light, overseeing her vision of an environment where children can thrive without undue pressure. The school is housed in an expansive Victorian villa, now thoroughly renovated, updated and extended to provide all the expected mod cons from new classrooms to a large assembly hall (used for lunch and whole-school productions).

In 2014, the school changed its name to Parsons Green Prep, but continues to operate very much on its original family scale with a maximum capacity of 180 and class size never exceeding 20. National curriculum provides ‘the spine’ of teaching, and many of the teachers – mostly under 30 – have been thoroughly grounded in its requirements. Mr Faulkner, however, has attempted to introduce some creative chaos. ‘The staff have a wonderful can-do attitude, but I try to encourage them to go beyond “learning objectives” and talk about things that are interesting.’ He leads by example, reading fairy tales, Greek myths and a novel (Treasure Island) to years 3, 4 and 5. ‘They appreciate being spoken to like adults and older children are mad about the Odyssey. It teaches them about archetypes of good and evil, critical thinking, philosophy. I want them to have a love of learning, everything else feeds into that.’

The school has always been good at instilling the basics with English and maths - taught in small ability groups - enriched by music, French, and art (from reception), but Mr Faulkner is making the most of existing expertise to introduce specialist teaching in history, geography and STEM (in its own dedicated lab with small white coats for all) taught weekly to every class. ‘Science develops teamwork, co-operation, persistence - it’s very much to the fore in terms of skills.’ Excellent teacher-pupil ratio - plus a teaching assistant in each early-years classroom – means plenty of attention for all. ‘It’s small enough for everyone to be well known, so there’s no chance of slipping through the cracks,’ said one mother, and parents also praise teachers’ accessibility. ‘You can always get hold of them by email.’ ‘Sensible’ levels of homework, with a homework session offered at school.

Full-time SENCo assesses every child at the beginning and end of each year, tracking progress and furnishing teachers with tailor-made learning plans. ‘My daughter is learning totally at her level,’ said one mother. ‘She feels happy and super confident.’ School copes comfortably with cognitive issues and moderate autism, with a dedicated SEN room and small-group intervention, and, despite the multitude of stairs, those with physical difficulties can also manage, due to an in-school lift. The most able are given extension work. ‘When I asked for more stretch for my son, he immediately came home with notably harder work,’ said one parent. Those looking towards a French secondary education are also unusually well catered for, with a specialist programme guaranteeing appropriate standards in language, French history, and the French maths curriculum.

This is a small school and if competitive team games are a top priority, it will probably not be your first choice, but sport is, nonetheless, thoughtfully addressed - with one hour of games indoors, and one out. The school’s large surrounding gardens house a mini tennis court and various Astroturfed play areas (with chess tables and an outdoor stage), and netball, football and rugby (with teams and some inter-school competition) played by older children at Hurlingham Park, a ten-minute walk away. Mixed hockey has also recently been introduced – ‘It’s naturally unisex with no baggage,’ says the head. Tennis, too, offered throughout the year, and a coach from Chelsea FC runs three weekly after-school clubs.

New music programme, led by an opera singer, introduces theory and notation from reception, with skills put into practice in orchestra and choir. Many take private lessons. Art a strength – ‘It’s my children’s favourite lesson’ – with its own dedicated space. LAMDA qualifications also popular, and a classroom is soon to be repurposed as a music and drama space.

Good range of clubs – before and after school and in the lunch hour - encompass the academic, creative and just plain fun, with everything from stage fighting and film animation to parlour games, coding and engineering. Chess is major, with a daily morning session for years 3 to 6 - ‘It encourages pupils to develop logical thinking’ – and achievement recognized in bronze, silver and gold awards. Parents benefit from the sibling club and wraparound care. School makes the most of London with regular outings to local landmarks (eg the Thames, Science Museum) and residential trips from year 3.

Pastoral care a clear strength - ‘It’s all about the children’s experience,’ said one parent - and behaviour is immaculate. ‘I’ve never even had to look at the sanctions,’ says the head. ‘Secular humanist’ assemblies held twice a week instil universal morals and aspirations, with certificates for ‘doing great things’, and pupils can get actively involved in fighting the good fight in the school council and eco committee.

Ultimately, however, the school’s USP is its atmosphere. ‘The academics are amazing, but that’s almost secondary,’ said one parent. ‘What I love about it is that there’s such a strong community feel.’ Something also noted by new arrivals from foreign lands. ‘It was such a welcoming, normal school, in an area not rife with normal schools,’ said one parent landing with three children in tow. Home-school communication also considered unusually responsive - ‘You always get an answer straight away; there’s nothing too much to ask,’ said one mother. ‘If you do have an idea, they always take it on board. Parents asked for more mindfulness, for example, and, hey presto, there was a mindfulness guru,’ said another.

Money matters

Ten per cent fee reduction for siblings.

The last word

A happy, nurturing and small school, with a strong head, providing a holistic approach and producing confident all-rounders. Not as pushy as some in the neighbourhood and perhaps not the most sporty, but providing a very solid all-round education.

Special Education Needs

Parsons Green Prep aims to be an inclusive school. At the core of our ethos, we respect and value each child as an individual, with their own unique needs. We have staff experienced in identifying a range of barriers to learning, and skilled in differentiating the curriculum and adapting teaching strategies to meet children's diverse learning needs and styles. We strive to meet all children's needs and use the SEN Code of Practice to shape our policy and practice. We adhere to the SEN and Disability Act 2001 and its amendments to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia Y
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment Y
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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