Glendower Prep School

86/87 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5JX

Profile: Located in the heart of South Kensington, Glendower Prep School used to have a reputation of an academic hothouse, although things changes when Sarah Knollys took over on a mission to improve pastoral care and extracurricular opportunities at the school. She has just announced a surprise move to Notting Hill Prep for September 2019, however, so we shall see in which direction the new Head Mrs Nina Kingsmill Moore will take this school. Coming from countryside school Lambrook Prep, it is likely that she will continue on the same path.

Unlike other academic girls’ preps like Kensington Prep and Falkner House, Glendower Prep does have a sibling policy, which is a great relief for those with younger siblings who can be certain they will gain a place at the school (there was talk of changing this in recent years, however). 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! In fact, it is likely that the school will open a nursery class in the future, having acquired a neighbouring building, although we are awaiting an official announcement on this.

Most girls attending Glendower live locally and walk to school, although a small number may come in from Kensington or Fulham. In recent years, it has a attracted a few celebrity children who moved over from Pembridge Hall School. Apart from that, most parents are professionals though, think lawyers and bankers rather than pop stars and footballers (with a few notable exceptions!).

Space is rather limited (albeit not unusual for schools in this postcode), but the girls are sparky, sporty and confident, so you will find loyal fans as well as those who would rather send their child to a school with more spacious facilities. Parents are overwhelmingly positive and proud to send their daughters to this school, even if many hire additional tutors in higher years to ensure 11+ success, just to make sure (because they can).

Despite the lack of space onsite, the school is serious about sports, particular swimming, where girls routinely win medals and trophies in national competitions.

Admissions: Glendower accepts 36 girls into their Reception class. 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. That said, Falkner House nearby is equally popular, so it is worth trying your luck. Also, the school is likely to open a nursery class in the future, although it is not yet known if they will move to non-selective 3+ entry (unlikely in my opinion) or simply add a separate nursery whose children will still have to undergo 4+ assessments.

Admission to Glendower Prep School is currently 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).

11+ 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. Latymer Upper has also become a very popular destination. Of the 32 11+ leavers in 2021, 5 moved on to St Paul’s Girls’ School, 5 to G&L, 4 to Latymer Upper, 4 to Wycombe Abbey, 4 to Francis Holland SW1.

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