Profile: Sarum Hall School is a preparatory school for girls in the heart of Belsize Park in Hampstead, north-west London. Approximately 170 girls aged 3 to 11 attend the school. It is known for excellent pastoral care and personal development along with rigorous preparation for 11+ exams and scholarships. Academic standards are high and girls are streamed based on achievement in the core subjects. Teaching is fairly traditional, and there is heavy emphasis on 11+ test preparation in the higher years. However, this is certainly a school that prides itself on the extra-curricular opportunities provided to girls. Drama and music are particularly strong.
The school is non-selective and gives priority to siblings, daughters of Old Girls and children who live locally. Also due to its small size (one form entry throughout), it has a family feel and is often described as a home away from home. Another notable feature are its excellent modern facilities, by no means common among London prep schools! The school moved to a brand new purpose built school on 15 Eton Avenue in 1995. It is conveniently located very close to Hereward House and The Hall School, which many brothers attend.
The school has charitable status and has kept its fees relatively low compared to other local prep schools. There is a small fund for means-tested bursaries in the higher year groups. Further details are available from the Bursar.
The school has been praised for its academic standards and its nurturing atmosphere by the Independent Schools Inspectorate:
The personal development of the pupils is given the utmost importance, enabling the girls to develop into rounded and confident citizens.
Standards are excellent, and pupils make good progress in relation to their ability…All girls are able to go on to a senior school of their choice, including highly academic schools where places are in great demand.
Pupils are successful in individual music examinations, in science awards, national general knowledge contests, and the Primary Mathematics Challenge, where in 2009 five girls reached the national finals. The English Speaking Board examinations were taken for the first time in 2009, when all pupils in Year 4 achieved distinction or merit plus.
(ISI Inspection June 2010)
Sarum Hall’s main intake of pupils is into the Nursery class in the September after their third birthday. It is recommended that you register your daughter at least two years prior to entry. After registration, parents are invited to visit the school and have a personal meeting with the Headmistress. These meetings occur between October and March, two years before entry, and include a tour of the school during the school day. After this visit, prospective parents are asked to write confirming their continued interest in a place for their daughter. Girls entering the school at the age of three are not assessed. From Year 1, girls are tested in mathematics and English. Reports from previous schools are requested. Places are offered fifteen months before entry. Priority is given to siblings, daughters of Old Girls and governors.
Exit Results: Sarum Hall girls leave at 11+ exam and are prepared intensively for it. They have recently received an average of about 3 offers per pupil. Popular destination schools are North London Collegiate School, City of London School, Highgate, South Hampstead High and Channing, as well as boarding schools (Cheltenham Ladies, Downe House, Wycombe Abbey), plus a wider number of other North London schools. You can see the full list here.