Local knowledge is often a Belgravia estate agent’s ace card when it comes to establishing a bond of trust with property buyers seeking to relocate from other parts of the UK and beyond to this exclusive area of central London.
What is the best school in Belgravia? This is one of the most common enquiries put to members of Best Gapp’s sales team.
Such as question is never easy to answer. But when it comes from an overseas property investors wanting to give their children the best start in life, Best Gapp no hesitation in recommending Eaton Square School (although we admit its Eccleston Square address is actually in Pimlico).
Why? Eaton Square School, a fee-paying, coeducational nursery, pre-preparatory and preparatory school, gives its 500-plus pupils aged between two-and-a-half and 13 a breadth and depth of education that goes beyond academic success in examinations and into every sphere of life.
Under headmaster Sebastian Hepher, who has been in charge of the school since September 2010, pupils have gained entry into very selective senior schools, including St Paul’s in the City of London and Highgate. Others have gone on to complete their education overseas, which reflects the international profile of Eaton Square School.
In fact, the school is particularly popular with parents from outside the UK who are living in central London and about half of the pupils come from homes where English is not the first language.
A UK education is often considered the gold standard by parents from outside the UK and Eaton Square School achieves this by placing an emphasis on the whole child and delivering a well-balanced, all-round education that helps its pupils become well attuned and well in mind and body.
But don’t take our word for it. Eaton Square School has been rated Excellent by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, which reported: “The overall achievement of the pupils is excellent… In accordance with the school’s aims, pupils of all ages demonstrate an enthusiasm for learning and a determination to do their best.
“Across all ages, pupils achieve notably well in both curricular and extra-curricular studies and make good and often rapid progress in relation to their abilities.
“Teaching, which is often excellent and rarely less than good, together with the stimulating, wide-ranging curriculum, contributes significantly to pupils’ high quality achievement and to progress that is good, and often rapid, in relation to their abilities.
“The confident, highly articulate pupils are keen to learn and succeed, and approach their lessons with interest and enthusiasm. Pupils’ behaviour, which is mostly good and often exemplary, contributes to their success. The highly effective pastoral care and valuable academic guidance strongly support pupils’ excellent personal development.
“Across the school, harmonious relationships reflect the friendliness and tolerance of pupils, whose responses to visitors are exceptionally mature and courteous.”
Not to be confused with world-famous Eton School or nearby St Peter’s Eaton Square Primary School – which received a Royal visit from the Duchess of Cornwall at the end of the 2015 school year – the dedicated staff at Eaton Square School encourage all the pupils to develop a purposeful attitude, self-confidence and a respect for others.
This is achieved by placing equal emphasis on intellectual, artistic, aesthetic, physical and musical pursuits and starts at nursery school stage.
Eaton Square School operates four nursery schools – one based in Eccleston Street, Belgravia, and others at Pimlico, Knightsbridge and Twickenham – where a love of learning is instilled from the very first day.
The school says that within the context of carefully planned sessions of play-based learning, its Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum allows children to enjoy learning, make independent choices, develop their individual talents and to make friends and form relationships with those around them.
Each child has a Learning Journey that starts when they enter the nursery school and follows their progress to the end of the Reception year. This includes ballet, music, swimming and karate lessons that parents are encouraged to also attend.
Extra-curricular activities play a significant role in school life at Eaton Square, which makes it popular with working parents. Children from the nursery classes are taken on daily trips on the school’s own bus to both St George’s Square and Battersea Park, while older pupils can take part in afterschool and holiday clubs. The holiday school, for example, runs from 9am until 3.45pm every day during holiday periods, and many after-school clubs during term time run until 5pm each day.
For children already enrolled in one of Eaton Square’s nurseries, admission to Eaton Square School at the age of four is via formal assessment by head of nurseries and the head of pre-prep. Children from external nurseries are invited in for assessment on a Saturday morning in November the year before they join the school.
Entry to Eaton Square School is also open to pupils aged eight-plus and 11-plus who pass exams based on the appropriate key stage of the National Curriculum.
The school’s fees – which start from £1420 for three afternoon sessions per week at a nursery class – are fully inclusive of lunch, swimming and all activities for older children. However, there is an extra charge for ballet lessons, special outings, after-school clubs and individual music tuition.