86/87 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5JX
Profile: Located in the heart of South Kensington, Glendower Prep School used to be considered the top London prep school and had a reputation of an academic hothouse. It was probably one of the few schools that in the past wouldn’t have denied being a hothouse, although they do like to stress that girls of all abilities will thrive at the school, as long as they give their best. At the same time, new Head Sarah Knollys has improved pastoral care and extracurricular opportunities at the school, according to many, so it has become a happier, less pressured school as a result. Unlike other academic girls’ preps like Kensington Prep and Falkner House, Glendower Prep does have a proper sibling policy, which is a great relief for those with younger siblings who can be certain they will gain a place at the school. As a result, the school is more inclusive and friendly than its reputation from the past may suggest. One Reception parent told me: “I don’t know what they give them there but she just can’t wait to go into school each morning!”, which is great feedback!
Most girls attending Glendower live locally and walk to school, although a small number may come in from Kensington or Fulham.
The Independent Schools Inspectorate commends the school on high academic standards as well as excellent pastoral care:
Pupils’ achievements are excellent and they make outstanding progress across all areas of the curriculum, ensuring that they gain places at schools which have high standards of entry. A broad curriculum, supported by a good range of extra- curricular activities, ensures that the school meets its aim to educate girls in a setting where they are encouraged to develop their self-esteem and become confident, independent learners.
Excellent pastoral care, including strong measures to ensure their welfare, health and safety, effectively supports pupils who develop extremely good social skills, moral values and become spiritually and culturally aware.
(ISI Inspection 2011)
Admissions: Glendower doubled their capacity a few years ago and now accept 36 girls into their Reception class rather than 18 accepted each year in the past. This is welcome news for parents hoping for a place at the oversubscribed school. When I went for the school visit with my 4 month old daughter, all the other mums present at the visit hadn’t even delivered yet and were making arrangements before their daughters were born, which gives you an idea of the school’s popularity.
Admission to Glendower Prep School is via 4+ assessment. According to the school,
“prospective pupils are invited to attend in groups of 6 or 7 for about 40 minutes to be observed interacting by three or four adults, during the latter part of January of the year in which they would start. Parents are not expected to be present at these sessions. The skills being sought are mainly social maturity and readiness to learn in a group situation. Cooperation, flexibility, a “can do” approach and facility with the English language are all highly regarded. We are also looking for numeracy skills, letter recognition and a basic ability to follow instructions“.
Given how popular the school is, I was very impressed with the responsiveness of the school registrar, they are happy to show any parent around the school before registering and will promptly reply to email enquiries (many sought after prep schools won’t even answer phone calls from parents unless they have already paid the registration fee, as you might find out for yourself in your school search).
Exit Results: “Glendower girls” are successful in gaining admission to the top London Senior schools, with a high number going to the highly academic boarding schools Wycombe Abbey and Sevenoaks, and traditionally many girls placed at London day schools such as Godolphin and Latymer, City of London School and St Paul’s, although the numbers getting into the most sought after schools seem to have dropped in recent years. . The website currently lists the complete 2015 11+ examination results, and when you visit the school you will receive a printed booklet which includes results for previous years. 3 out of 30 girls got into SPGS in 2015, and 9 girls received offers by the top boarding school Wycombe Abbey. In 2016, there were 32 candidates, 11 of which went on to boarding schools (Benenden, Cheltenham Ladies, Wycombe Abbey), 21 to London Day Schools (2 to St Paul’s Girls’ School, 2 to North London Collegiate School, 4 to Godolphin & Latymer, 4 to Francis Holland SW1, 2 to Francis Holland NW1, 2 to Latymer Upper School.