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The boys enjoy their fixtures, stating that ‘If we lose against the Manor, who are bigger than we are, we beat them at chess’.  The pace is fast and there is an expectation that everyone will join in and accept challenges; excellent preparation for the top academic prep schools they are aiming for. Miss A adds, ‘We are slightly quirky’ and the school is not purpose-built or manicured...

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Headmistress

Since September 2015, Mrs Annabel Abbott (early 40s), known to all as Miss Annabel. BA in history with primary QTS from Bristol University. After two years at Queen’s Gate, she came to Eaton House in January 2000 and has taught throughout the age range. She was deputy head for 11 years with responsibility for top year before becoming headmistress. She attended a London prep herself so she is completely at home with 7+ and 8+ tests and the preparation required, reassuring for those parents less familiar with the stressful process. Jolly, warm and caring, Miss A knows all the pupils. ‘The pupils are my family in term time,’ she remarks and the older boys we spoke to endorsed this, adding that ‘Miss A encourages us to think of our school being like a home; we are in the same house and live with one another’. Parents find her ‘very approachable’ and value the excellent camaraderie and very good staff relationships demonstrated by her and her senior staff, who set the tone from the top.

Miss A enjoys her contact with pupils, teaching weekly philosophy to year 3 and pre-lunchtime sessions of Headlines (current affairs). She takes assemblies, regularly reads to kindergarten and does her share of lunchtime duties as well as providing cover. ‘Since becoming head,’ Miss A remarks, ‘I have really enjoyed having a bird’s eye view of the school, observing the boys’ progress and development during their four years of education at EHB’. Boys comment that she has introduced a number of popular changes, including early bird drop off, Eco Eagles and school councillors. She first met her future, musical husband at the same prep. She is passionate about dogs, especially long-haired dachshunds, as well as art, reading and the theatre.

Entrance

Main entry is at 4+ into kindergarten with, on average, 70 places. Non-selective places are allocated on a first come first served basis, with priority given to siblings, so it is important to put your name down early. £80 for a confirmed place and £50 for a waiting list place. Deposit of over £4,000 18 months before the first child starts, which is credited against the final term's fees, and thereafter a £1,000 deposit taken for each sibling. There is no financial help on offer. Entry further up the school for an occasional place is by assessments based on peer group level. Boys come from a wide range of local nurseries plus Victoria, Pimlico, Fulham and Battersea, with a minority from as far away as the City. The majority of pupils have British or part-British nationality (60 per cent) with the remainder mostly European.

Exit

On average 18 leave in year 2 at 7+ with majority at 8+, mainly to sought after academic London day schools. The school has a very impressive record with places regularly offered at eg Sussex House, Eaton House the Manor, St Paul’s Juniors, Westminster Under, Westminster Cathedral Choir School, King’s College Junior School and Wetherby. In recent years decreasing numbers have gone to boarding school but destinations include Summer Fields, Caldicott, the Dragon and Ludgrove.

Our view

Eaton House Belgravia is part of the Eaton House group of schools. The principal Hilary Harper and her husband took over Eaton House Belgravia in 1978 and developed the school into the group it is today. On retirement in the summer of 2016, she sold the group to Sovereign Capital, though her daughter, chief executive Luchie Cawood, still has a significant stake. Parents and staff we spoke to have not noticed any changes in the running of the school since Sovereign invested and believe it continues to be true to its ethos.

Parents who choose EHB want a traditional pre-prep experience and the school delivers with a 3Rs curriculum, academic rigour and plenty of extras. In particular they value ‘the excellent, nurturing male and female teaching staff who ensure they know their boys and care for them’. Classes are small with only informal sets for maths and English in years 2 and 3, so that the boys gain a full understanding in all maths and English topics. Some parents suggest that ‘this would not be the right school for a slow developer, as the boys work at a fast pace and it becomes demanding in year 2 with plenty of homework.’ This begins gently in kindergarten with spellings, reading and life skills. For those who need support ‘they bring in the cavalry’. Certainly the learning enrichment department is well established and uses imaginative ways to provide extra support, both individually and within class, for those with specific learning differences. This includes both Move Fit, run by physiotherapists for anyone who needs to improve coordination, and occupational therapy, for example handwriting and touch typing. In the kindergarten, Lego groups help develop social skills and the communication between home and school is well-coordinated.

The school is comprised of two large, linked cream town houses on several levels. The basement houses the kitchen, dining rooms, staff room, some individual music lesson rooms and a well-used science lab where boys enthusiastically carry out experiments and make discoveries. On the ground floor there is a well-stocked, light library and classrooms. Miss A would love there to be a dedicated art room and, in an ideal world, some parents would like there to be more space. Boys enjoy their art and we saw some house competition inventive illustrations for selected poems, as well as arresting year 1 wild west T shirts for a forthcoming fashion show. We spotted an attractive watercolour crab on our tour and evidence of interesting artwork in topic lessons throughout the school. Music takes place in the hall and is timetabled for all. Boys perform in fortnightly music assemblies and termly concerts and take part in competitions and charity events. Parents say that the head of music nurtures and encourages all ages to take up an instrument - drums, piano, singing, trumpet, guitar and violin all taught - with those who are fearful of performing offered strategies to gain self-confidence. The school has a dedicated ICT room, touch typing and coding are encouraged in the curriculum and classrooms have touch interactive boards, but no iPads at this stage.

There is no outdoor space and the fairly small hall/gymnasium is tightly packed when the whole school assembles. By necessity the days are very structured. The school council suggestion of Five a Day interruptions of five minute physical activities by desks is popular and beneficial. Boys are bussed to Hyde or Battersea Park every day to let off steam and play sports. Miss A ensures boys are not taken out of sports and bemoans the time spent sitting in traffic. Swimming takes place at the Queen Mother's sports centre. Parents comment approvingly of the sport and ‘the diverse clubs on offer including optional weekend activities, so there is lots to do’. A number of football clubs operate outside school hours. The boys enjoy their fixtures, stating that ‘If we lose against the Manor, who are bigger than we are, we beat them at chess’.

Boys care about their food, and now this is freshly prepared on the premises, but some parents still believe there is further scope for improvement. The house system underpins all areas of the school and is very effective. It supports a culture of positive reinforcement regarding behaviour and respect, whilst enabling the boys to interact and enjoy the healthy competition on which they thrive. There is real engagement and an understanding of responsibility, ‘Boys don’t want to let their house down and captains write prayers for assembly’. Good manners are encouraged and one special feature we observed was the practice of one boy in every class shaking our hand, making eye contact and welcoming us to the class. The boys learn to make presentations and recite poetry confidently in public.

The majority of pupils live within walking distance, with some international families and many parents working in the City as lawyers or bankers. Miss A remarks, ‘We don’t mind taking a round boy in a square hole’ and parents agree that the school happily accommodates boys ‘with different personalities and backgrounds, providing a really good real experience’. Miss A advises, ‘EHB is probably not the right school for you if you want your son in bubble wrap’ and parents agree that the boys ‘are not coddled and must be able to cope with academic rigours’. All boys wear uniform shorts and long socks whatever the weather. The pace is fast and there is an expectation that everyone will join in and accept challenges; excellent preparation for the top academic prep schools they are aiming for. Miss A adds, ‘We are slightly quirky’ and the school is not purpose-built or manicured but full of energetic, interesting boys. Boys and staff muck in and this works a treat, as the boys are clearly happy. Miss A and her staff are always on hand to advise parents about a suitable choice of prep schools where their engaging personalities and good manners will be an asset.

Special Education Needs

LE (Learning Enrichment) is provided to a small number of pupils who require it in warm and inviting rooms. The team are experienced and will always do their best to ensure that any pupils on their list are well supported. 10-09

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Aspergers
Aspergers Syndrome [archived]
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders [archived]
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Delicate Medical Problems [archived]
Dyscalculia
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia
Dyspraxia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Epilepsy [archived]
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
Not Applicable
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
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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