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What says..

All is brought together by the school community’s positive, can-do attitude, and the house system which sees children of all ages working together on different projects. In the final year pupils work towards the leaver’s qualification the Hornsby House Certificate. This involves achievements including taking on leadership roles, displaying resilience during the year 6 trip to a Scottish activity centre, taking part in a charity event and speaking confidently in public: an ideal finale to the junior school years...

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What the school says...

Hornsby House is a co-educational independent day school for 4-11 year olds between Balham and Wandsworth Common. There are three classes in each year group and entry at Reception is non-selective. The school is warm, nurturing and inclusive, yet there is real academic rigour, driven by the talented and committed teaching staff. Pupils also enjoy an extensive and creative co-curricular programme, with over fifty clubs on offer during the week, and the school has recently been awarded Artsmark Gold.

The Independent Schools Inspectorate judged Hornsby House pupils overall achievement as excellent and found that pupils achieve high academic standards within a wide and creative curriculum. Pupils personal development was described as excellent and a strength of the school.

Most pupils go on to London day schools at age 11 and achieve an impressive number of scholarships. An open morning is held each term and prospective parents are welcome to attend this or to arrange an individual visit. Hornsby House is a charitable trust and is a member of IAPS (The Independent Association of Prep Schools).
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2012, Edward Rees BA (40s). Previously deputy head at Dulwich College Junior School, also an ISI inspector for the past 10 years. He grew up in Hampshire and became a keen cricketer while attending Charterhouse, playing in the past for the MCC. Today he lives in south-east London and is married with a son and a daughter. Parents say he is a sociable and hands-on head, always willing to talk, and quick to respond to issues or concerns they may have. The school was founded in 1988 by educational psychologist Bevé Hornsby, best known for her pioneering work in the field of dyslexia.


At 4+ into reception. Non-selective, places are offered on a first-come first-served basis from a waiting list, in order of the age of the child at the date of registration. Priority is given to siblings. Thereafter occasional places; prospective pupils sit assessment tests in English, maths and reasoning. Not as many places as there used to be at 8 as the majority of boys and girls stay though to 11+. Always worth applying for as it is not overwhelmed with applications.


At 11+ pupils move mostly to London day schools; around half of the girls to JAGS or Streatham & Clapham High whilst half of the boys go to Whitgift. Others to eg Alleyn’s, Emanuel, Trinity, King’s College Wimbledon, Dulwich College, Epsom College. A few to boarding schools eg Benenden.

‘Our numbers shot up during Covid’, reports headmaster – ‘Word got out about our pandemic response’. One parent confirmed, ‘They really listened to what worked and what didn’t work, adapting and changing quickly’. Teachers highlight engagement with parents as key to success. Children loved ‘30 minutes of madness’ scavenger hunts - retrieving household objects, morning ‘wake up dance’ or sports master who competed challenges alongside pupils on Teams. Fridays became either ‘wear your pyjamas’ or ‘mad hairstyles’ day. One parent reflected, ‘They were quick to offer a reduction in fees – a nice gesture with so many families struggling’.

Head considers faith as ‘a framework and belief system around which to live. It gives us an anchor.’ Children work in groups to lead collective worship, nominate causes to support, organise fundraising. Religious statues dotted around this catholic school prompt a ‘pause for reflection’. Pupils are encouraged to celebrate difference and embrace other cultures and overall school has an ‘inclusive family feel,’ say parents.

Children told us there is a bit of teasing and mild bullying but that teachers tell them to stop or talk to friends and teachers. Pupils value the worry box, where they can post concerns, confident that having done so, ‘a teacher will sort it out’. Head girl and boy, deputies and team captains in year 6 are supported by stewards who are in charge of a range of services throughout the school, giving everyone a change to ‘experience leadership and responsibility’. Houses intriguingly named after the planets mainly compete for sporting accolades.

Diminutive basement dining room again demonstrated the need for military precision, timing bodies in and out. Friendly and helpful kitchen staff serve tempting dishes, given a thumbs up by pupils we met, though some bring packed lunch. One delighted that they were allowed seconds, causing consternation amongst friends who had not realised. ‘What even pudding?’ said one. ‘No, not pudding’ she mourned. Popular tuck shop.

Families mainly local, a mix of professions, often both working. PA more for fundraising than socials, though WhatsApp parent groups keep connectivity. Pupils are endearing and confident, smiling and waving throughout our visit. When asked what they like about Crackley Hall, they told us ‘sports’, ‘people,’, ‘just everything’. Parents like the fact that children are totally free to ‘be themselves, not conform’, ‘friendly’ and don’t ‘worry about getting things wrong’.

Our view

Over the last decade, Hornsby House has earned itself a good local reputation for offering a lively all-round education to pupils of varying abilities. All subjects are taught to mixed ability classes, with setting in mathematics for older age groups. Modern foreign languages are taught via a range of exciting topics and projects, French for reception to year 4, then Spanish for years 5 and 6. Parents feel teachers provide plenty of back-up work when needed plus extension activities for the more able pupils. Full-time SENCo with part-time specialists can offer support to children with milder specific learning difficulties, either individually or through small group work. There is an additional charge for one-to-one specialist teaching. The buildings are wheelchair accessible and staff are always willing to work with speech and occupational therapists as necessary. The school prides itself on developing potential in sports and the arts as well as academics, alongside helping parents to choose the right secondary school for their child. Proof is in the pudding: around a third of pupils are offered awards for music, art, sport or academics each year.

Whole-hearted teaching team with bags of energy; good mix of male and female, predominantly youngish, although there are some long servers. High staff ratio: two deputies, subject specialists, and all year groups have assistant teachers; reception classes have two each. A number of gappers add bounce to the sports and arts staff team as well as working as playground and classroom assistants. Many of these popular jobs go to past pupils; the gap year mentor remembers most of them from when they were in reception themselves.

Fairly compact site, cleverly designed by architects: it boasts lovely, light modern classrooms which sit side by side with the original Edwardian buildings. Whiteboards have disappeared in favour of the latest interactive technologies, all looked after by full-time technicians. Computing is very much on the curriculum. Minecraft, a newish club, helps with coding skills; pupils also use visual programming software. Art, drama, music and science have their own specialist rooms and teachers. Abundant arts and crafts on offer; Hornsby has been rewarded for all its hard work in art, DT and drama with Artsmark Gold. Pupils commemorated the 25th anniversary of the school by designing and constructing a fabulous mosaic in conjunction with artist in residence Tamara Froud. Drama teacher supported by an assistant puts on a variety of productions throughout the year across the age groups so everyone gets a chance to perform. Much looked forward to annually are the major year 4 and 6 productions.

Music provision has developed in leaps and bounds since our last visit: two open choirs, chamber choir by audition and a small orchestra. Music room packed with instruments, mouth organs to African drums; pupils also benefit from workshops run by visiting musicians. Everyone learns the recorder and ukulele in class and individual tuition is available on some 11 other instruments. Considering the facilities and staff enthusiasm, some parents feel the orchestra is not particularly well supported.

Despite a lack of on-site space, sport is one of the jewels in Hornsby’s crown; pupils use all the local facilities and are taken on sports tours. Main sports football, hockey, rugby and netball; all have successful teams, some impressive winning streaks and are always striving to improve. Cricket for all in the summer, proving very popular with the girls: definitely a few old girls who say they wish it had been on the agenda in their day. Anyone with physical difficulties or injuries can join in at their own level with the help of one of the stalwart sport assistants. Large underground kitchens and dining hall, which doubles up as extra space for gymnastics and dance. Parents and children like the open kitchens and serving hatch; children can see food cooking and what they’re eating. 'Absolutely yum,' said two little ones.

All is brought together by the school community’s positive, can-do attitude, and the house system which sees children of all ages working together on different projects. There is also a good choice of lunchtime and after-school clubs. Year 3 upwards get the opportunity to go on residential trips around the UK and France. Most families live locally; many are part of the strong parents' association, with some going on to become school governors. Parents we spoke to all commented on the friendliness of the children and the pleasant character of the school. In the final year pupils work towards the leaver’s qualification the Hornsby House Certificate. This involves achievements including taking on leadership roles, displaying resilience during the year 6 trip to a Scottish activity centre, taking part in a charity event and speaking confidently in public: an ideal finale to the junior school years.

Money matters

At 8+, the school offers a few means-tested bursaries.

The last word

Offers an engaging education within a fun, upbeat environment. A wide and carefully planned curriculum both in and outside the classroom runs through this inclusive school, enabling children to develop at their own pace.

Special Education Needs

Hornsby House is sympathetic to children requiring learning support. Written tasks in class are differentiated to enable all children to work at an appropriate level. Maths setting occurs from Year 3 onwards. Each class from Reception to Year 4 has their own Teaching Assistant. Extra English and Maths lessons are available on site with qualified SpLD teachers. We have a relationship with a Speech and Language therapist who comes in to help children in school. Individual Education Plans are written termly. We also have wheelchair access.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
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
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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