Falkner House is located a very short walk from Gloucester Road tube station in South Kensington, in a lovely old house on Brechin Place. It is a family run school with no external owners or governing body. The headmistress, Mrs Anita Griggs, a former Economics A-Level teacher at St Paul’s Girls’ School, inherited the school from her mother, and given that she has four daughters and several granddaughters, is likely to keep the school in the family for a very long time.
We arrived in the morning and could observe the girls for their school assembly. They are very well behaved and friendly girls that seem to reflect the diversity of the neighbourhood very well. There is only one class of a maximum of 22 girls per year, which seems a bit larger than your average pre-prep school.
As a small, family-run school, parents on a school visit will be able to spend a large part of the visit asking questions to understand the ethos of the school, which is decidedly academic. In our group, many of the questions revolved around assessments and admission to the school, which is very competitive. Mrs. Briggs made no secret of the fact that Falkner House is a very academic school and looks for very clever girls. The school places a strong emphasis on very high standards of language and the ability to think. It was refreshing to see them so openly endorse the “elitist, pushy school” label. I remember my school visit to Glendower Prep School, which I had always thought was “the hothouse”, where they insisted it was not. Not so at Falkner House, which wants to provide a happy and secure environment, but at the same time likes to get the best out of the girls and make sure they are busy and advancing at all times.
I am glad they are so open about their academic approach. It is not for everyone, particularly in the international community I imagine. They do provide a wide range of extracurriculars and almost all girls at the school learn at least one musical instrument, but the focus does seem to lie on the academics. It felt like a very different environment from Hill House School or Knightsbridge School, which seem to place far more emphasis on the arts, sports and other areas of interest beyond academics. But if you have a very clever and focused daughter and are looking for an environment that challenges her academically, Falkner House is certainly the right place for you.
Have you visited Falkner House and gotten the same impression? I am wondering because when I was reading descriptions and reviews online, I had never expected to be that academic and was rather surprised. Not in a bad way, but it was unexpected. Please share your experience by leaving a comment below!