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We saw evidence of solar system models, astronauts, aeroplanes, castles, and, in year 1, an imaginative life cycle display with very neat handwriting and illustrations, under the friendly eye of one of the few male teachers.  During indoor lunch break in their classrooms, the top year boys we saw looked extremely happy in K'nex heaven, constructing imaginative vehicles and missiles with great enthusiasm. They make use of Holland Park for PE in good weather, with football once a week,  team games and formal matches arranged...

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What the school says...

Hawkesdown House was founded a decade ago and has a single nusery class for 16 boys and a double class entry up to and including Year 3. The whole school follows roughly the same timetable; mornings spent on Mathematics, English and handwriting and the afternoons on more informal, creative work covering the humanities, Science, French, art, music and ICT and sport. The boys are kept engaged with very boy specific topics and every opportunity is taken to expend energy both in the classroom, the large hall space and in Holland Park and Kensington Gardens nearby. The philosophy underpinning the school is that teaching and learning are enabled and maximised by being happy, so everyone works incredibly hard to achieve this. ...Read more

What the parents say...

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Head

Since April 2017, Jenny Mackay, previously deputy head of the junior school of Lady Eleanor Holles. Education degree from Oxford; has taught at Dulwich College, Eaton Square, Jumeirah English Speaking School in Dubai and Clapham and Streatham High in roles including head of English and head of year.

Entrance

There are two main entry points. The first is the nursery (20 places) and the second is reception, which is made up of two classes of 20. There are no open days; instead head gives individual tours with prospective parents lasting about half an hour with a follow-up chat in her office. This is key to see if the aims and ethos of parents are aligned with the school. The boys are asked for an introductory session in the year before they are due. This is purely to see if the boy would be happy in the school and whether it would be the best place for him. A variety of activities for a 20 minute session in the nursery adjacent to the courtyard, with opportunities for outside play. Those hoping to join in year 1 upwards spend an hour in the relevant class and are assessed in literacy and numeracy before being offered a place. The pupils come from a wide spread of local nurseries. There are no bursaries, scholarships or sibling discounts on offer.

Exit

Most to established London prep schools including: St Paul's Juniors, Westminster Under, Sussex House, Wetherby Prep, St Philip’s, Latymer Prep. Others choose to board at a range including Caldicott, The Dragon, Summer Fields and Papplewick.

Our view

The school was founded in 2000 by Mr and Mrs Loveridge and is part of a family group. This includes Devonshire House School and Lyndhurst House, both also in London. It is named after Hawkesdown Hill, in Devon, familiar to the Loveridge family, and where an ancient, gigantic, defence earthwork fortress was built. A colourful painting of Hawkesdown is on view in the entrance hall, a reminder of the qualities the school promotes - tradition, charm, community endeavour - and a source of inspiration.

The school provides a traditional curriculum with emphasis on the basics with literacy and numeracy sessions most mornings. ‘This is necessary as the demands of the next selective preps are still very traditional, including English written composition and comprehension at a sophisticated level.’ Topics and daily routine are deliberately timetabled to cater for boys’ interests and enjoyment. We saw evidence of solar system models, astronauts, aeroplanes, castles, and, in year 1, an imaginative life cycle display with very neat handwriting and illustrations, under the friendly eye of one of the few male teachers. Undoubtedly, once the wireless network is installed and running, the boys will also be able to enjoy more ICT opportunities across the curriculum than existed at the time of a recent inspection - development of ICT a current focus.

One mother commented that having initially intended sending her son to a co-educational school, she now believes he would have suffered seated next to a girl with beautiful penmanship as boys have a definite rhythm of learning. ’They are,’ as another parent acknowledged, ‘wriggly’. That is catered for and understood completely by the staff at HH. French is taught from reception. No dedicated science laboratory, art or design technology rooms. The boys are prepared for serious entrance exams and given plenty of practice. ‘The boys are not pushed too much and they have a good balance of work and play.' In year 1, for example, judo is added to the timetable with chess in year 2 and fencing by year 3. Violin, piano and singing lessons are available from year 1, as well as Mandarin, with plenty of after-school clubs.

Parents tell us that pupils with SEN are well catered for because ‘the school is small and there is plenty of support’. We saw happy boys with hearing aids and the sparky, young SEN coordinator supports form teachers, ensuring that individual plans are monitored carefully and reviewed. Setting in maths and English is realistic and understood: ‘Kids quickly know where they stand’. A speech and language therapist comes in weekly and boys are offered High 5s sessions before beginning lessons as well as booster groups. TAs work with boys who need extra help. This is not the school for someone with disruptive behavioural problems or physical difficulties because of the school’s layout, but emerging problems are dealt with in a caring way.

Young teachers and teaching assistants, some from abroad, are lively and enthusiastic and support the boys with different languages, an important feature as this school caters for international families, and there has been a recent focus on EAL. Nobody has been on the staff for more than 10 years, but this is hardly surprising as it is a relatively new school.

One drawback, commented on by some parents, is the lack of space for a playgound. During indoor lunch break in their classrooms, the top year boys we saw looked extremely happy in K'nex heaven, constructing imaginative vehicles and missiles with great enthusiasm. Nevertheless, ‘by the time the boys are in their final year they are big and notice the lack of space,’ remarked one parent. They make use of Holland Park for PE in good weather, with football once a week, team games and formal matches arranged, and run around in Kensington Gardens enjoying plenty of controlled rough and tumble. Still, some boys, especially the older sporty ones, might find this frustrating. Judo is extremely popular, as are football, cricket and PE (no swimming). All boys play in fixtures against other schools at some point.

The house system with its homage to royalty, Plantagenet, Windsor and Tudor, has been revitalised to excellent effect. Parents are encouraged to be involved and are welcomed, once a fortnight, to attend Friday assemblies in the packed main hall. Boys are awarded pen licences, house points and many awards for tying of shoe laces and ties, good manners at lunch time and community spirit among others. The skills encouraged are spot on for this age and there’s always a loud cheer for the winning house. The boys are taught to be courteous and polite and they respect the staff who know them so well. The positions of house captain, vice captain and prefects merit special house ties, rather than the normal school tartan ties (which do look a little odd against the blue and white check shirts). The navy blue and red uniform including blazers and caps is popular, and several parents commented, ‘the boys look so cute’.

An important duty for the house prefects is to ring the large bell outside the dining hall for lunch, serve food and clear up. One parent remarked just how great it was that the boys sat in houses for lunch. ‘The younger ones look up to the older boys. My son told me he had learnt all about Lord of the Rings from another boy at lunch.’ This social mixing may account for the ease with which the boys spoke during our visit. One recent newcomer was highly appreciative of the way he had been made to feel welcome and, a sensitive soul, had clearly benefited from another boy's support. Lunch is extremely popular, even more so since the arrival of a new chef who has a great following. Special themed meals, such as for Wimbledon (with strawberries and cream) and Independence Day, are a real hit with even the fussiest boys.

A thorough mix of English and international families with a number of bilingual pupils. Most parents live within walking distance of the school and many work in the financial sector. HH is reassuring to the many new to the English examination system; right from the start, it provides advice, support and the necessary preparation to give parents and pupils a very happy start in a caring, environment without undue pressure.

Special Education Needs

How can we help? This is the first question that is addressed at our school. Hawkesdown House prides itself on being as inclusive as possible and welcomes all boys that the staff feel they can help, while remaining a mainstream school. Each boy is regarded on his own merits and the school will do all it can to meet individual needs. In cases where the school does not have the appropriate expertise, the headmistress always suggests a viable alternative and will facilitate an introduction to that school. Hawkesdown House works closely with many outside agencies and therapists are able to work in school with individual boys in several instances. 09-09

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
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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