4 Carlton Drive, Putney SW15 2BZ
Profile: The Merlin School, established in 1986, is a pre-prep school for boys and girls aged four to eight. The school is located in the heart of Putney, in a beautiful Victorian house. According to the school ethos, the school aims to encourage the sense of excitement about learning, so every day is happy and rewarding and it is reflected in the teaching approach.
Class sizes at school are small – with 4 classes of 16-18 pupils in each (the number of classes is reduced to 3 in the year 3). The school aims to have 50/50 boys to girls ratio, however as girls tend to have many more options at 4+, the ratio is closer to 70/30 or even 80/20. Classes are formed based on the child’s aptitude level, so the more academically advanced children are pushed harder and children that might need some more help are given more individual attention. Teachers discuss the progress of each child on a weekly basis and children can move groups depending on their level of progress.
The Merlin is divided into a Lower and Upper school: Reception and Year 1 make up the lower school, Years 2 and 3 constitute the Upper school. School hours are 8.30-3.30 Monday-Thursday and 8.30-12.30 Friday. A variety of after-school clubs is offered on a Monday for the Upper School only. English and Math form the core curriculum and are taught every day. But children also have access to a wide variety of subjects like Science, Music, PE and Games, French, Drama and ICT.
Unusually for a pre-prep school, the school follows a “topic system”. Each term, a new topic is taught in class and many aspects of History, Geography, Art, Design Technology and Religious Education are woven together. For instance, this term in history children looked at Ancient Egypt, in Math they were learning about geometry and pyramids and in Religious Education were discussing which Egyptian god they would like to be. The school is well resourced and in Science children participate in the actual experiments even in the Reception class.
Admissions: The principal point of admission is at 4+ and is non-selective. Parents need to visit the school in person to register their child. Places are allocated based on date of registration, so early registration is recommended. Occasional vacancies arise in higher years, and places are then subject to an informal assessment and interview.
Exit Results: The school prepares pupils for 7+ and 8+ entry to a wide range of exit schools. Bute House, Wimbledon High and Putney High are the most common exit destinations for girls. Popular destinations for boys are Colet Court, King’s College Wimbledon and Shrewsbury. Harrodian is another popular destination school, and some children move on to prep schools such as Thomas’s Battersea or the Falcons. Detailed exit results are included in the admissions brochure handed to parents during their visit. In 2014, 7 boys got went to Colet Court and 4 to King’s College Wimbledon.