Hans Place, London SW1X 0EP
Profile: Hill House International Junior School is London’s largest pre-prep and prep school with around 930 students located in five annexes in the Knightsbridge and Chelsea area. The Reception children are located in Flood Street in Chelsea. Hill House is a family-run co-educational school for children aged 4 to 13 years. Prince Charles famously attended the school in the 1950s before moving on to Gordonstoun. The school was originally founded in Switzerland in 1949 and has an annex in Switzerland that pupils use for music as well as mountaineering and skiing trips in summer and winter respectively. The school takes music and the arts very seriously and children do sports every day.
The day is structured differently from most other London pre-preps in that music, arts and games are all part of the school day, there are no additional afterschool clubs, except for Friday afternoons as the school day finishes at noon on Fridays (at 12.30pm in Reception, 1.15pm for the children in Senior School). The student body is roughly 50% British, 50% international. According to current parents, even many of the teachers come from all over the world.
The school is more traditional in its methods than most other London prep schools, with minimal use of ICT and many pen and paper tasks, especially as children move up the school and are prepared for senior school exams via worksheets and practicing verbal and non-verbal reasoning papers. The school charges among the lowest fees of any Central London prep school, which has made it very popular over the last years.
Admissions: Hill House has a large Reception intake of over 100 children per year. Admission is non-selective and is done on a first come first served basis. There is no online Registration form, and parents can come by the school any day of the week between 8.30 and 9am to be shown around the school by a couple of current pupils who are assigned to wait for visitors at these times. Following the tour, you will have the chance to speak to the Headmaster or the Director of Admisssions to enroll your child. As London prep schools go, this is an incredibly straight forward process and it is great to have a place secured to minimise future worries about assessments at your other preferred schools.
Exit Results: Hill House is not only one of the largest prep schools in London but also one of the most successful in placing their pupils at leading day and boarding schools. The full list of senior school placements are listed here, and they show that many Hill House pupils gain places at Eton, Harrow, Wycombe Abbey, St Paul’s School for Girls etc., and many win academic, music and arts scholarships at their senior schools. Some parents in the know say that many Hill House children are tutored outside of school to ensure success in entrance examinations, which may or may not be true, but I have to add that I have heard the same about many nearby high achieving prep schools as well, so who knows if this is specific to Hill House or not.
After registering your child at Hill House or upon request when you visit the school, you can get a more detailed list of senior school placements and scholarships won by the students. In 2011, the Hill House girls alone won 12 scholarships at the 11+ stage. In the 2010 Common Entrance examinations, two Hill House boys won the King’s Scholarship and the Top Entrance Prize at Eton College.