In just 15 years, this co-ed day in central London has proven to be a happy, dynamic school offering an enriched education from Nursery to GCSE.
It is a relative newcomer to the UK independent school scene; the school was founded in 2006 by former Lord Mayor of the city of London William Russell and Magoo Giles to address a shortage of Pre-Prep and Prep places in central London. In just 15 years it has earned a reputation for being a happy (and growing) school that offers a challenging but very broad Prep and Senior school education.
In 2018, KS joined Dukes Education, a partnership that has opened the door to the opening of its Senior school this September – a decision that hopes to meet the demand from parents for an all-through school. It would seem that once your child is part of the KS family, you won’t want them to leave. KS introduced a Year 9 class in 2021, Year 10 in 2022, and Year 11 will open in 2023.
Historically, students have left KS in Year 7 or Year 9 with offers from some leading senior independent schools, including Latymer Upper School, Queen’s Gate, Francis Holland and Wetherby Senior School. Parents now have the option to keep their child at KS until the end of their GCSEs in Year 11.
Both students and teachers follow a well-established KS Code (with messages such as ‘I will try to do something creative everyday’ and ‘I will remember to walk fast and not to run’); the school is very clear about what is required of students as lifelong learners. The school also sends out a strong message that it encourages ambition and celebrates achievement; the highest accolade is the Knight of Knightsbridge Award so far awarded to 20 exceptional students.
Knightsbridge is clearly a friendly, welcoming school that talks about teaching students within “an ecosystem of happiness". It has strong community links across London (supporting others at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and supporting its own students with mental health charity Place2Be). There’s also a great community spirit, strengthened by a very active Parents’ Association; parents also come together in their own running, basketball, football, netball, cricket, and yoga teams. KS also offers an extended school day from 8am to 6pm, ideal for working parents.
Teaching follows the National Curriculum for England through to GCSEs; students must continue with their sixth form education at schools elsewhere.
The school prepares students for taking the 11+ and 13+ with timetabled lessons in reasoning, critical thinking and interview practice. While students can now stay at KS for Years 9-11, some may continue to move on to a range of leading London day and boarding schools.
Years 7-9 are well-prepared for making their GCSE and A Level choices later on thanks to the school’s Enrichment programme, which introduces them to ‘new’ subjects such as design technology, journalism, film studies and computing.
Senior students follow a broad, balanced curriculum including English language and literature, mathematics, science, French, and a second modern foreign language of choice, Latin, history, geography, DigiTech, art, performing arts, PE & games, and philosophy religion and ethics.
The school also offers a non-prescriptive curriculum that gives students some degree of freedom. Students have time in the timetable to explore a passion project; senior students choose to explore new interests such as woodwork, food technology, and physical computing in a weekly Enrichment Hour.
There’s also an annual Entrepreneur Week when students pitch product ideas to a Dragon Den’s style panel; there have been some innovative ideas such as eco-friendly, reusable air fresheners, a student ID card that unlocks free merchandise and discounts at local shops within the Kensington and Chelsea borough, and customisable, vegan friendly shoes.
KS has a very inclusive music programme, believing that every student needs their ‘moment’ to “shine in productions and showcases, however big or small”.
Music lessons are hugely popular (students are very fortunate to have 15 peripatetic music teachers on-site), and members of the school’s ensembles and drama groups perform, not just in the school’s theatre, but in some enviable locations like St Paul’s Knightsbridge and Harrod’s Tea Room.
Sport is as much about winning medals as it is teaching students about competitive spirit and sportsmanship; in the Senior school it is focused on developing a heathy attitude to fitness and we love the fact that a morning fitness session and yoga class are built into their weekly timetable.
There are traditional sports, including football, rugby, cricket, netball, hockey, athletics, and rounders, and access to more specialist after-school clubs such fencing, horse riding, and rock climbing.
The school is strong in netball and hockey, and it has some incredible sporting talent; Casey competes for the Welsh national youth team in fencing, Sam is a goalkeeper for Crystal Palace, and Anastasia represents Team Great Britain at youth level gymnastics.
There are over 70 activities offered as part of the after-school and weekend programme. Experts visit the school during the annual Key Skills Week, to host workshops on zoology, money management, and self-defence and much more. And the school takes full advantage of its London location to enrich learning through regular museum and theatre visits.
KS is a non-selective school, and all applicants attend an informal half hour assessment and interview with Mr Giles (Founder & Principal).
Annual fees range from £22,251 to £24,942. KS offers 100% bursaries to four applicants coming into Year 7 ever year.
Good for: This London day school has plenty to offer those looking for a leading all-rounder school that focuses strongly on responsibility, independent learning and achievement. KS has a strong feeling of community, and your child will be encouraged to take an active role in community service and entrepreneurship alongside their academic studies. It has a strong track record of sending students onto leading senior independent schools in London at 11+ and 13+, and its longer school day will suit working parents.
Not for: There's no sixth form here, so it will not suit parents looking for an all-through school up to 18 years old, and there is no boarding option. With around 500 students, it may feel too small for some students. Its city centre location offers all the benefits of London living but, as you would expect, means it also lacks large outdoor spaces or greenery.
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