From balancing extracurricular activities with academic excellence to finding the right preparatory school for your child, there are many things to consider when preparing your child for a place at one of the top London day schools. Absolutely Education has teamed up with Eaton House Belgravia, an all-boys’ Pre-Prep and Prep school for boys aged 4-11 (with a co-educational Nursery) to provide insight into the main points to consider when preparing your child for their next steps.

Look for schools with legacy

When aiming to get your child into the best London day schools, one of the most important things you can do for them is to send them to a preparatory school that has a legacy of sending children to the senior schools you’re interested in. By researching alumni destinations, you’ll immediately see whether the school is equipped to help your child prepare for their place at a prestigious establishment. 

One school group which has an outstanding reputation for preparing children to get into all of the top schools is the Eaton House Group of Schools, of which Eaton House Belgravia is a part. For over 120 years, Eaton House Schools has had a legacy of providing a world-class education, with alumni going on to attend excellent senior schools and their junior departments.

Its reputation shows that Eaton House Schools has an unrivalled understanding of what the country’s top schools are looking for in prospective pupils and will prepare children for a real chance at getting into them. For example, over the last ten years, from 2010-2019, some 60% of boys at Eaton House Belgravia gained places at Westminster Under School, St Paul’s Juniors, Westminster Cathedral Choir School, King’s College Junior School, Sussex House, Dulwich College Junior School, Ludgrove, Haberdasher’s Aske’s School, Dragon School and Summer Fields, amongst other fine schools. These are impressive statistics from a non-selective entry at 4+.

Academic excellence

Academic excellence is one of the key attributes which the top London day schools look for in prospective students. If you aim to get your child into one of these schools, then it is essential that they are exposed to a wide and varied curriculum from a young age. Eaton House Belgravia pupils learn composition, comprehension, English, French, grammar, computing, reading, mathematics, music, non-verbal reasoning, science, spelling, phonics, PSHEE, RS, and verbal reasoning, with many co-curricular extras and extension activities. 

Through this diverse and varied curriculum, students are able to gain all the skills they need to go on to apply to the Prep and junior departments of top academic senior schools. In the run-up to exams reports are given to parents every two weeks to update them of their child’s progress, which helps to keep students, teachers and parents working together closely to achieve each pupil’s individual goals.

Consider non-selective schools at 4+

It’s worth considering placing your child in a non-selective school at age 4+. Differentiated learning allows fast learners to be given access to extended classwork and homework and those who need more time and help to receive it. Each child is supported in a caring atmosphere where wellbeing is paramount. This process allows children to establish good foundations, learning at a pace that is right for them, and to enter exams at 7+, 8+ or 11+ depending  upon when they are ready.

Eaton House Belgravia is a strong believer that the boys blossom academically at different rates and that is why the school remains non-selective, allowing parents maximum flexibility when it comes to examination entrance. This system has worked well for their pupils and many of them have gone on to be well-known individuals who have made a real difference to society – Eaton House Belgravia alumni include adventurer Bear Grylls, actor Eddie Redmayne and author Philip Pullman, together with former prime minister Harold Macmillan who was one of the founding members of the school. 

The importance of pastoral care

Being in a high-achieving environment and pursuing a place at a top London day school can be a huge challenge for any pupil entering the system. Eaton House Belgravia understands this, which is why pastoral care and pupil wellbeing is at the root of everything that they do. Their main goal is to maintain and develop pupils’ happiness, as happy children love learning and tend to get better results.

The school does this in several different ways. A buddy system helps to integrate the newest children from the first day, while the house system provides an extra layer of support and guidance within their peer group. Each form tutor has the duty of being the first port of contact for the students’ emotional development and, in the run up to exams, bi-weekly reports of pupil’s social and emotional wellbeing are personally reviewed by the headmaster, meaning that parents can take part in genuinely informed dialogue with the school about their son’s progress and wellbeing.

As well as this, pupils are encouraged to develop their moral integrity through a code of good conduct, and there is a focus on being kind to others and making a difference in the world, supported by the school’s acknowledgement of causes such as World Mental Health Day. Through an emphasis on pastoral care and the importance of being a caring and considerate individual, students develop the qualities of character that many top London senior schools look for in their pupils at Prep entry or junior level. These include intelligence, of course, and the ability to pass their challenging exams, together with confidence, self-worth and an ability to be a future asset to the school.

Develop your child’s talents and interests

Top London day schools get hundreds of applications from pupils with excellent grades, so how can you ensure your child stands out from the crowd? It is essential to help your child develop what makes them unique as a person. What schools really want to see are well-rounded individuals who not only excel academically but have also developed curiosity, individual skills and special talents. In order to best prepare your child for this, it is important that they are exposed to a wide variety of extra-curricular activities from an early age, and encouraged to continue the ones they want to pursue. 

Eaton House Belgravia School offers all students a unique and varied list of extra and co-curricular activities. These include languages, coding, sports, music lessons and mindfulness. Through your child’s development of their natural talents, they will stand out from the crowd and increase their chances of securing their place at one of London’s top schools.

To read more about how Eaton House Belgravia School can help your child get into the Prep and Junior departments of the top London day schools, click here.