The announcement of the opening of the boys’ pre-prep (the first intake will be in Septmber 2017) prompted a long overdue visit to Falkner House School. The school was established in the 1950s (by the current head’s mother) and has remained in the family. It operates out of two townhouses just off the Gloucester Road and educates girls from age 4-11 (the boys’ school will cater for ages 4-8).
Headmistress Anita Griggs is a seriously charming and no-nonsense skipper. My initial - and indeed, lasting – impression of Mrs Griggs was emphatic: a superlative role model for young girls (and young boys for that matter). Her daughter (one of two that work at the school), Eleanor Dixon, will take the reins of the boys’ pre-prep next year. It is rarer than you might think to meet heads that are so unmistakably passionate about education (and each and every child at their school) - Mrs Griggs remembered a friend of mine who left nearly 15 years ago. And I doubt they’ll forget Mrs Griggs in a hurry.
Two delightful year 6 ladies took me on a private tour. Their manners, charm and confidence were mightily impressive. And clever clogs no doubt – they had recently taken their 11+ and were heading off to St Pauls Girls’ and St Mary’s Ascot respectively. Well done them. Separately (and completely genuinely), they both declared that they’d miss Falkner House desperately. I would feel similarly!
The teaching and curriculum is clearly serving the girls very well – every classroom I popped my head in to was filled with calm and engaged pupils. There is a big emphasis on reading (as there should be) and their iPad and technology programme is about as pioneering as they come. Sport and the arts are equally strong. Girls are supremely successful in gaining places at some of London’s (and the country’s) best schools nevertheless, Mrs Griggs clearly takes a lot of care in ensuring that the next school is the right one for that particular child.
Falkner House is an academically selective school (looking for “potential rather than attainment”) for entrance to reception at aged 4 – but you still need to register ASAP after birth. Entrance to the nursery aged 3 doesn’t guarantee you a place in reception, but it does guarantee you an assessment.
I am already overexcited about seeing the boys’ school up and running. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more certain about anything than I am about the future success of Falkner House and its boys and girls.
While I may be in danger of becoming sycophantic, this is quite obviously a thriving school – happy, confident students and rigorous academics don’t always go hand in hand, but gosh they’ve got it right at Falkner House. And the girls told me that lunch was DELICIOUS too!