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The one-school ethos really benefits sport, with swimming all year in the senior school pool, regular use of the sports hall and year 9 pupils coming over to help with lessons, sports day and clubs. Plenty of fixtures in netball - on a good week, fielding four teams (although, as a small school, they admit they have to work hard to ensure all teams get same amount of fixture time). Drama on curriculum, focusing on building confidence – everything from drama games through to character development. Music for all, including whole class ukulele lessons in year 6. Pupils rave about the...

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What the school says...

Walthamstow Hall Junior School provides a broad and rich education to foster enquiring minds, independence, confidence and respect for others.

We aim to enable each girl to achieve her potential and are proud of our academic standards, caring ethos, wide range of opportunities and first-class facilities. High expectations in every sense enable exceptional results be achieved in all areas. There is both hard work and lots of fun in a positive environment which is happy and relaxed with a real sense of purpose.

From Reception upwards pupils benefit from being in optimum sized classes. This guarantees individual attention throughout with obvious benefits including a seamless and highly effective preparation for Senior School Entrance Exams with out the need for last minute cramming.
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Other features

All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since June 2023, Louise Chamberlain, previously vice principal at CATS, Cambridge, for a year. Before that, head of biology, assistant head of welfare and deputy head of pastoral care for 14 years at Worth School. Degree in applied microbiological sciences from Nottingham, PGCE from Newcastle.

Very much invested in the one-school ethos so while based in the senior school, she also spends plenty of time at the junior school – including for coffee mornings, leading assemblies and events etc. ‘She just pops in and makes an effort to get to know everyone,’ confirm pupils, who describe her as having ‘a nice smile’ and being ‘really interested in everything’. Parents feel she has ‘got the tone bang on’ around next steps, presenting all options in a balanced way ‘to find what’s right for your child.’

When not curled up with a book, or spending quality time with family, she enjoys visiting museums and cathedrals. She recently completed an undergraduate diploma in death and the ancient world ‘just for interest’ – it has, she says, given her a ‘renewed understanding of facing assignment deadlines’.


Non-selective. From age 2 into recently refurbished nursery, but reception and year 3 most popular entry points, Admissions through taster sessions and informal chat with parents. but places at any time if spaces. Nursery and pre-school became co-ed in 2023 but it remains all girls from reception onwards.


About 70 per cent move up to the senior school. All girls take the same entrance ISEB Common Pre-Test in maths, English, VR and NVR as external applicants, with preparation starting in year 5. Others mostly to local grammars, or indies, eg Sevenoaks or Caterham. Some further afield, eg Cheltenham Ladies’ College. Six scholarships in 2023.

Our view

Once on the same site as the senior school, the juniors packed up and moved to bigger premises five minutes’ away back in 1992. And while still very part of a ‘one school ethos’, parents say the junior school – a charming Edwardian house with modern additions - celebrates its own identity too. We found the whole place instantly welcoming and homely - a coffee magicked its way into our hands and children went out of their way to greet us. ‘Love the sparkle,’ said one about our attire.

Most of the action in the newly refurbed early years block takes place in the Big Busy Room (there’s also the Little Teaching Room for more formal learning). Here, playful learning involves eg waking up apron puppets to help with reading, paired work using pointers and storytelling through drama. Reading is a focus too, with tinies having great fun working with phonics during our visit. The department has its own head, whom parents describe as ‘inspirational’, supported by five staff. Gone is the older traditional uniform, with children now wearing comfy red hoodies, leggings or tracksuit bottoms and trainers. Very sensible too, given how much physical development is prioritised – supported by an outside space comprising play ship, climbing wall, nursery garden, muddy kitchen, forest nursery (a mini-me version of the onsite forest school - also visited weekly) and flat area for bikes (Cycle Me Tots once a week). ‘Healthy physical development helps writing,’ a teacher told us as we admired the children’s exercise books. It is clearly prized by parents too: ‘We don’t compare but most are fully cursive by year 1.’

From year 2, classrooms – located back in the main school - are bright, cheery and spacious. Classes are small, with a max of 15 in each (plus a few creatures, such as stick insects, for company!). Children literally work their way up the building - by year 6, they are taught on the top floor, where Keith the duck is a mascot. In a year 2 class on shape poems (written in the shape of the subject), pupils were having a great time – ‘You can see the mosquito flying over the page eeeeee!’ squealed one enthusiastic learner – while in a year 4 lesson, where pupils were writing letters to Mr Tumnus, we noticed how they’d really got to grips with the plot and showed deep empathy for the characters in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. ‘Lessons are so fun,’ gush the pupils – although they admit they’re less keen on maths and feel there could be less homework overall. Staff are a ‘breath of fresh air’, say parents - with a healthy gender balance and all ages injecting ‘fun’ ‘irreverence’ and ‘risk taking’. But they’d like more of a STEM focus. School says the science lab is being adapted with smaller benches and points out there are two specialist science teachers. Pupils learn coding throughout, as well as touch typing. Reading remains a priority, with the two libraries recently refurbed with story themed wallpaper – ‘It’s like being in a story!’ said a pupil.

Specialist teaching in all subjects from year 3, when setting in English and maths also kicks in. French taught from nursery (with the help of a French teddy and songs), with Spanish and German added from year 3. The year 6 French play is popular – recently The Three Little Pigs and Puss in Boots. ‘It’s always so funny and brings it to life,’ a pupil giggled.

SEN provision comes in for praise. Even if child is an avid reader, parents say they take time to notice dyslexic traits, communicate well with parents and encourage diagnosis. The 23 per cent on the SEN register (well above national average) are mainly supported for dyslexia but also dyspraxia, autism, hearing impairments and SEMH by the full-time SENDCo (who teaches the lower set English) in the classroom and visiting external speech and language specialists (additional charge). Full-time TA supports in reception to year 2 (including fine motor skill intervention in year 1 and 2), part-time TA in year 3, but none from year 4. EHCPs rare, none when we visited.

The one-school ethos really benefits sport, with swimming all year in the senior school pool, regular use of the sports hall and year 9 pupils coming over to help with lessons, sports day and clubs. Plenty of fixtures in netball - on a good week, fielding four teams (although, as a small school, they admit they have to work hard to ensure all teams get same amount of fixture time). Cricket and tennis in the summer. Football popular – watch this space for their first fixtures. Weekly cross country big too. Pupils also use nearby Holly Bush hockey facility.

Drama on curriculum, focusing on building confidence – everything from drama games through to character development. All the usual performance opportunities, ranging from nativity and class assemblies for younger pupils to a year 6 musical. Trinity drama a popular extra.

Music for all, including whole class ukulele lessons in year 6. Pupils rave about the choirs: Gaudete for older more experienced singers and the lower school choirs include all children. Orchestra, cello group, music theory and music tech also on offer. A whopping three-quarters learn an instrument in one of the three practice rooms in the new music block.

‘I love it up here, you can smell the paint,’ cooed our guide as we climbed the stairs to the large and bright art studio, with its own ceramic room including upgraded new kiln. ‘Art makes children powerful’ is written on the wall. Specialist teacher told us she keeps ‘topics simple and activities diverse’ eg researching certain artists for colour creations and use of light. We admired the portraits made from words, so too ‘drawing with rubbers’ (creating tone by taking away rather than adding), helping pupils understand the ’idea that perfection in art doesn’t exist.’ Textiles also on curriculum - recently sewing hand puppets and making bunting.

A calendar-busting amount of quality extracurricular means most children attend three or four clubs a week, some more. One parent even wondered whether there was too much, but the modus operandi is clear: variety and choice are crucial to inclusivity and diversity. More niche offerings include microscopy club, Lego STEM club, taekwondo, dance fusion – and our favourite, Wally Watch (aka horticulture club), where we rolled up our sleeves to help the pupils harvest radishes ready for their inaugural Wonky Veg sale. Simply delightful. Chess extremely popular.

Pastoral care and wellbeing is a focus: Mindfulness Monday, Wellbeing Wednesday and Friendly Friday all focal points for pupils to take time out to talk with staff and/or receive support from each other. Pupils collect awards for being kind which are displayed on the Wally Wellbeing ship display. Some pupils told us they have struggled with friendship issues, but there is a strong buddy system. Whole-school movie nights encourage mixing between year groups – the last one seeing older pupils braiding younger ones’ hair by the end. Awareness of others deemed important too - we stumbled upon elving: pupils giving their time at break to fill Christmas crackers to deliver to residential homes with messages from the pupils.

Pupils speak with refreshing candour – they are clearly comfortable in their own skin. Indeed, the school council box sees some action and pupils feel it makes a difference: ‘We asked for more playground equipment, and voila we’re getting it.’ Food, served in the bright and celebratory dining hall (tables decorated daily, eg on our visit for Diwali), is superb – we enjoyed roast pork with all the trimmings.

Parents well-informed and keen to talk ‘all things Wally’ – mostly professionals, some having moved from London and others returning home to roost with their families. Most double-income and earnestly wanting the best fit education for their children but keen to shun the competitive vibe at competitor schools. The excellent wraparound care (from 7.15am, including a cooked breakfast, to 6.15pm, including homework club for the older children and tea) a deal maker for many.

The last word

A traditional and fun prep with a modern edge and emphasis on extracurricular, where girls learn through experience not worksheets or pressure. A great place for a rich grounding and springboard to confident futures (either at the senior school or elsewhere).

Special Education Needs

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
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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