Trevor-Roberts School visit

I am so grateful to a lovely mum in Hampstead for submitting this school visit report of the Trevor-Roberts School in North London. The school is small and you won’t find much information about it online, so I am really happy to share a family’s inside view of the school here:
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“Earlier this year, my husband and I visited the Trevor Roberts School in Belsize Park. The school is a co-ed independent day schools, for children aged 5-13.

We had done some research into the school prior to the birth of our less than a year old son, talked to several education consultants, and not unlike many prep schools in London we were advised to register our interest with the school within the first month of his birth (and worry about the rest later). We had nothing to lose. Unlike many other schools in London, Trevor Roberts does not require a fee at the time of registration. Instead, they invite interested parents for a tour of the school soon after the birth of their child and then register the first 100. A year prior to entry (and children enter in the year they turn 5), the school invites 50 children for a short and informal assessment. It then selects 18 for admission the following year.

We found the reputation of the school very appealing – a small, family-run, independent, boutique school, producing excellent exit results while nurturing an individualistic and non-competitive ethos. The last point in particular intrigued us – what is their secret?

The tour was very informative and shed light on the school’s recipe for success. The school prides itself in being small – it only has one class of 18 children each year. This way, they say, the teachers can spend a lot of time with each individual child, encouraging and helping them along the way. And children respond in kind – they respect their teachers and look out for each other.

There is no reception class, as the school believes children at the age of 4 should still be playing with toys. Each intake consists of children who turn 5 that year. The ratio of boys versus girls is 50/50, with priority given to siblings. When selecting the children for the first year, the school tries to ensure a spread of ages, with a good mix of children with birthdays all around the year. This eclectic principle of different age groups is smoothed out later on, when year 4 is divided into 2 forms, joined by other children from outside. The classes split again in year 6, with those going for 11+ exams (mostly girls), spending a good deal of time focusing on exam preparation.

The school has impressive exit results. Most girls leave at 11+, mainly for London day schools: South Hampstead, Godolphin and Latymer, Francis Holland. The boys mostly stay on until 13+, and leave for a mix of London schools (St Paul’s, Westminster, City of London, Mill Hill, UCS, Highgate, Merchant Taylor) and boarding schools (Eton, Marlborough College, Wycombe Abbey).

While Trevor-Roberts prides itself in being very individualistic and spontaneous in terms of jumping on opportunities to organize unusual, ad hoc extracurricular activites, the teaching methods are still very traditional. There are specialists teachers throughout (apart from the youngest classes). The non-competitive ethos comes through in the way effort is valued: children are rewarded for making an effort, as much as for achievement. And as far as we could tell, the children were genuinely happy, curious and engaged.

While sport is seen as an important part of the curriculum and extra-curricular activities, there are limited opportunities to pursue sports within the school (children are encouraged to take up classes in the nearby sports facilities). More emphasis is placed on music and art classes. All in all, an impressive school, especially for those who value an independent, small, happy and nurturing environment.”

Exit results: parents who visit the school will be given a detailed list of destination schools. In 2015, out of 15 candidates at 11+, 4 went to South Hampstead High School, 2 to North London Collegiate School, as well as 1 to Highgate and 1 to Latymer Upper. 2 girls moved on to Francis Holland Regent’s Park. At 13+, 17 candidates moves on to City of London 5, St Paul’s, Westminster 2, King’s College Wimbledon 1, UCS 1, Highgate 2 and a range of others (Merchant Taylors, Mill Hill, Haileybury, Uppingham).

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