Luxemburg Gardens, London W6 7EA
Profile: Located in Hammersmith and in the past slightly less well known among internationals who focus on preparatory schools in Chelsea or Kensington, this girls’ prep school is very well known among locals for producing senior school exit results that other prep schools can only dream about – about a third of girls at Bute House move on to the St Paul’s Girls’ School year after year. Unfortunately, everybody seems to have found out about this by now, so the open mornings at this school tend to attract ambitious parents from all over London these days, including quite a few prominent Londoners. Bute House Prep girls also frequently feature among Primary Mathematics Challenge medalists. This is all the more astonishing as the school prides itself for its non-competitive ethos. Girls are not ranked as is common in other prep schools, but instead work towards individual targets to meet their personal best. “If you are the type of parent who likes numbers and statistics and wants to know if your daughter is 1st or 10th in Maths, this is not the right school for you”, advises Head Mrs Lowe.
Girls at the school, according to its Mrs Lowe, are hard-working, enthusiastic, happy, willing to make mistakes and team players. Those lucky enough to start in Reception can enjoy a spacious and colourful room with plenty of play areas and toys, gently introducing them to the school environment. A brand new playground that includes a pirate ship has just opened at the school. The school very much believes in the Early Years Foundation Stage and makes sure girls in Reception have enough time to play, socialise and explore. The curriculum is busy and creative. Girls learn French and Spanish from Year 1 all the way up to Year 6. They also learn about space, ancient history, creative writing, and many more exciting topics, all to very high standards, as any visitor will be able to observe.
The long list of extracurriculars include gymnastics, orchestra, electric guitar, martial arts, and many others. All girls are inspired to love sports, not only those naturally good at it. The school is conveniently located next to the famous St Paul’s Girls School and shares their facilities for athletics and swimming. In short, this school is a dream, if you can get a place.
Admissions: This is the hard part, how do you possibly get your daughter into this school? The school does not believe in assessments at the 4+ level and instead runs a ballot for 22 places at Reception entry. Daughters need to be registered by about 2 years before reception entry (so generally before they are 2.5 years old). Siblings of girls currently at the school do get priority at this level, so realistically only about 10 places are given away by lottery. Rumour has it about 400 girls are registered at this stage, so you can calculate the odds of getting in at the 4+ level!
The school’s main intake happens via 7+ exams for a further 40-45 places. The girls are selected via a thorough two day process of 7+ exams, interviews and group exercises to model a normal school day. You can read more about the admissions policy in detail at the 4+ ballot and the 7+ assessment on the Bute House website. The school offers means tested bursaries for girls who gain a 7+ place but whose parents would struggle to afford the fees.
Exit Results: Bute House girls achieve remarkable results every year, as generally 35% are offered places at St Paul’s Girls’ School and about 70% are accepted to Godolphin and Latymer (and yes, I can do math, they just get multiple offers 😉 ). In 2015, the 58 leavers received 16 offers from St Paul’s (2 scholarships), 34 from Godolphin & Latymer (4 scholarships), 5 from the City of London School for Girls (2 scholarships), 5 from the North London Collegiate School (2 scholarships), 17 from Latymer Upper (3 scholarships), to name but a few! 8 girls accepted offers from leading boarding schools, with the highly academic Wycombe Abbey the most popular choice. You can view detailed 11+ exit results per year here.