Luxemburg Gardens, London W6 7EA
Profile: Located in Hammersmith, this girls’ prep school is well known 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, despite the school’s championing of its “non-competitive ethos”. Head Sian Bradshaw (previously Head of Ewell Castle Prep School) was appointed in September 2021.
Girls at the school, 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. 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 St Paul’s Girls School and shares their facilities for athletics and swimming.
Admissions: 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, although this number can change from year to year. As a guideline, around 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 is via 7+ exam for a further 40-45 places. The girls are selected via a thorough 7+ exam, 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 actively discourages tutoring, although this obviously does not stop some parents from preparing their daughters for the 7+ exam. The setting of the assessment day is less formal than what a child would experience at Latymer Prep or City of London School Prep, for example, and as a result the school tries to take into account a wider range of factors and personality attributes. That said, a child would need to be doing well in their current school and be performing at the higher end of their class to have a realistic chance of admission.
Exit Results: Bute House girls achieve impressive results every year, as you would expect from a school that can hand pick the top 40 girls chosen in a rigorous 7+ assessment that includes Maths, English and reasoning tests (20 girls join via sibling policy / ballot in Reception, which is why some mistakenly assume this is a non-selective school). In most years, around 25% of the class are offered places at St Paul’s Girls’ School and about 70% are accepted to Godolphin and Latymer (and yes, we can do math, they just get multiple offers).
In 2019, the school changed its 11+ results reporting methodology, publishing a 2017-2019 summary only. The aim is is to discourage parents from focusing narrowly on 11+ results, hoping they will choose the school for its ethos and rich curriculum instead. 2020 results were shared with current parents but not the general public.