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30 August 2017

Not Just For Princes: Good Schools Near Battersea

Everyone has heard that Prince George is going to school at Thomas’s Battersea, just over a mile from the Power Station on the other side of Battersea Park. It’s pleasing to think that the British royal family are beginning the future king’s education here in our local neighbourhood.

Anyone living at or near Battersea Power Station and wishing to give their children the best start in life has plenty of other options, however. For younger children, Newton Preparatory School is literally just across the street from the Power Station and has a good reputation for getting its pupils into high-ranking public schools, often on scholarships*. Alternatively, for boys only, there’s Eaton House The Manor on Clapham Common, about as far away as Prince George, with a similar reputation for getting its alumni into top public schools.

For older children, the Power Station is handy for several of the most prestigious schools in Britain. Westminster School is just over a mile away and St Paul’s, these days located at Barnes on the Thames, is just four miles to the west. Dulwich College and James Allen’s Girls School to the south and the City of London Schools (separate for boys and girls) to the northeast are similarly easy to reach at around half an hour’s travel time for all of them.

For those willing to go a little further afield, or to consider boarding, Harrow and Charterhouse are both around an hour’s drive from the Power Station: and so is Eton. Eton is probably the most famous real school in the world, though not of course quite so well known as Hogwarts. Prince George’s father and his uncle both attended Eton, though the previous generations of royals went to the famously remote and severe Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland. Prince Charles famously described Gordonstoun as “Colditz in kilts”, and this may have accounted for his sending his own sons to Eton instead.

It’s not always simple to get a child into these schools, as they are all selective. The right preparatory school, however, will increase the chances of getting into the right public school later: just as in its turn the right public school generally means a better chance of entering Oxford or Cambridge when the time comes for university. (Not always, however. Prince William went to university in Scotland after Eton, and Prince Harry went straight into the Army.)

In any case, it's clear that residents in the area of Battersea Power Station have access to educational options fit for a future king: which isn't that surprising, really. Prince George's parents live at Kensington Palace, which is actually not quite as centrally located as Battersea Power Station.

*”Public school” is used here in the English sense to mean a school paid for by fees charged to pupils’ parents, rather than one run by the government. Generally the term “public school” would also indicate that the school is unusually old, prestigious or famous among fee-paying schools. Most such schools are run as charities, with the tax advantages this brings, and this is justified by their admitting a proportion of pupils on free or assisted scholarships.

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