19 Brechin Place, London SW7 4QB
Profile: Located in the heart of South Kensington, Falkner House is a small family-run nursery and preparatory school for girls headed by the founder’s daughter, Mrs Anita Griggs, winner of the Tatler School Guide’s “Head of the Year Award” in 2010. It gets glowing parent reviews whereever you look and is a major competitor to Glendower Preparatory School, snatching away South Kensington’s smartest girls.
Falkner House prides itself in being a very academic yet happy place with excellent parent relations and offers a wide range of extracurricular activities and opportunities for personal development. Working parents benefit from an “Early Bird Drop-Off” from 7.45am onwards, as well as afterschool care until 5.30pm, where girls can attend afterschool clubs or simply read books and chat to their friends under teachers’ supervision.
The school is definitely academic and tends to favour children with plenty of innate intelligence. It would be a good fit for a girl of very high IQ, while it is probably not the best place for children who need more time to learn new concepts. The ethos at the school, according to people in the neighbourhood, is very competitive, though this might not only be down to the school but also the type of parent it attracts. Tiger parents tend to love this school, as do those parents of very bright daughters who are worried their child might be bored elsewhere.
You can imagine based on these reviews that Falkner House is a very popular school indeed, and early registration is recommended in order to be invited for the 4+ assessment. The school also runs a small co-educational nursery programme over two years. It has recently been announced that Falkner House will open a boys’ pre-prep from 2.5 – 7+/8+ in the Earl’s Court area in September 2017, which will be a much needed addition to boys’ schools in the area.
Admissions: Parents need to register their daughters by sending in the online registration form with a £75 registration fee. Falkner House is the first school to offer this all online, which makes it much easier! For nursery places, places are allocated first come first served based on how quickly after birth children are signed up (within the first week would help!). For the 4+ assessment, the school takes on about 120 children for the waiting list, so you should register your daughter before her second birthday at the least. In the year prior to entry, parents can visit the school and children will attend an assessment at the school. According to the school,
During the year before entry girls (including girls in the Falkner House Nursery) are called for an assessment. The staff work hard to make sure that this experience is both friendly and personal. We are looking for potential rather than attainment and we balance a wide range of factors before offering places. Our key objective is that your daughter should be successful and happy at Falkner House.
If your daughter is due to attend an assessment at Falkner House, you might find it useful to read the “Reception Information” (pdf file) for parents in advance, which outlines what the school expects of girls entering Reception in terms of intellectual and social skills. The school admits one class of 22 girls each year, chosen from about 120 children who are assessed. Keep in mind that siblings do not enjoy priority in admissions and need to pass the assessment like everyone else, so there is no guarantee that younger sisters will be admitted in the future.
Exit Results: “Falcons” are very successful in gaining admission to the top London Senior schools, with about 25% getting into St. Paul’s and another 25% into Godolphin and Latymer. About 30% move on to top boarding schools such as St. Mary’s Ascot and Wycombe Abbey. But there is a fair share moving on to Francis Holland and Queen’s Gate in recent years as well. The school is very transparent about the excellent results, and you can loot at the most recent 2016 results as well as an overview of senior school placements from 2012 – 2016 here.