Hans Place, London SW1X 0EP
Profile: Hill House International Junior School is London’s largest pre-prep and prep school with almost 700 students located in five annexes in the Knightsbridge and Chelsea area. The Reception children are located in Flood Street, Chelsea. Hill House is a family-run co-educational school for children aged 4 to 13 years. Prince Charles famously attended the school in the 1950s before moving on to Gordonstoun. The school was originally founded in Switzerland in 1949 and has an annex in Switzerland that pupils use for music as well as mountaineering and ski trips in summer and winter respectively. The school takes music and the arts very seriously and children do sports every day.
The best way to understand this school is to attend one of their Wednesday morning whole school assemblies. The excitement in the air is reminiscent of Hogwarts, and the singing and music showcased impressive. This weekly event, along with many others, fosters a strong school spirit and helps the children to know each other across year groups (such as the legendary ski trip to Switzerland in Years 5 and 6), despite the school’s size.
The day is structured differently from most other London prep schools in that music, arts and games are all part of the school day, there are no additional after-school clubs, except for Friday afternoons as the school day finishes at noon on Fridays (at 12.30pm in Reception, 1.15pm for the children in Senior School). The student body is roughly 50% British, 50% international. French is taught to a high standard at this school, and only by native speakers, which – believe it or not – is not the case at many other schools.
Update: the school has recently been rated “Good” by Ofsted, with outstanding personal development, behaviour and welfare. The new Ofsted report, along with the Headmaster’s comments, can be accessed here.
Admissions: Hill House has a large Reception intake of over 60 children per year. Admission is non-selective and is done on a first come first served basis. There is no online Registration form, and parents can come by the school any day of the week between 8.30 and 9am to be shown around the school by a couple of current pupils who are assigned to wait for visitors at this time. Following the tour, you will have the chance to speak to the Headmaster or the Director of Admisssions to enrol your child. As London prep schools go, this is an incredibly straight forward process and it is great to have a place secured to minimise future worries about assessments at your other preferred schools. This admissions procedure is particularly impressive given the outstanding senior school placements the school manages to achieve each year.
Exit Results: Hill House is not only one of the largest prep schools in London but also one of the most successful in placing their pupils at leading day and boarding schools. The full list of senior school placements are listed here, and they show that many Hill House pupils gain places at Eton, Harrow, Winchester, St Paul’s School for Girls, Godolphin & Latymer etc., and many win academic, music and arts scholarships at their senior schools. Dulwich College and Francis Holland Sloane Square are also common destination schools, among a wide range of others.