Prince George's new school Thomas's Battersea has been praised for giving children "the best English education money can buy". The Good Schools Guide – an independent source of information on education – has published its latest report ahead of the term start, describing Thomas's as "a big, busy, slightly chaotic school for cosmopolitan parents". There are "plenty of opportunities for pupils to excel" but "withdrawn types might find it all somewhat overwhelming," it adds.
Four-year-old George is due to start at the £17,604 ($28,278) per year school on Thursday Sept 7. Entry to Thomas's Battersea is competitive and oversubscribed, so much so that the school guide advises parents to register their children at birth. Like most pupils, George will have taken an assessment last November to start in September of this year. The school looks for children who "have a measure of confidence, are responsive, sociable, with a light in their eyes," the report adds.
Thomas's is located in an ex-grammar school building in Wandsworth boasting "modern additions and plenty of playground space". There are science laboratories, computer suites, a new music centre, two art studios, two pottery rooms with their own kiln and a "splendid" Great Hall with "huge productions" put on by each year group. The only drawback was that "they are always musicals – not much use if your child can't sing," said one parent.
Sporty Prince William and Kate will be particularly pleased to hear that the school puts an emphasis on physical activity; sport takes up about 20 per cent of a child's timetable from year three upwards. George, who will start in one of three reception classes, will also be able to play in the "imaginative rooftop playground" while outdoor activities are also held at nearby Battersea Park, Barns Elms and the Wandle Centre.
Academically, the school report says "teaching is deemed pretty good" although a lot of "anxious and ambitious parents" rely on extra coaching in upper years. George will be taking French from reception, while Latin will be compulsory from year five. The report concludes: "Probably most cosmopolitan of all the Thomas's schools, with a wide-ranging mix of international parents and 19 different foreign languages spoken at home. School celebrates and appears to make the most of this range of different cultures."
William and Kate have previously expressed their desire to give their children as normal an upbringing as possible, which will mean doing the school run themselves. But for other pupils, the school has its "own fleet of buses which convey children from Kensington" – a service George may use when he's older.