Our Review of Cameron Vale School
We regularly review the UK’s leading independent schools, as part of our Education Consultancy service. In this article, we review Cameron Vale School, a co-educational independent prep school for pupils aged 4 to 11. If you are trying to determine whether this school is the right fit for your child, contact one of our education consultants today.
Cameron Vale School is a co-educational boutique preparatory day school for boys and girls from ages 4-11, located in an Edwardian terraced house on a quiet residential street in Chelsea. If you are looking for a small, intimate, and family focused school then Cameron Vale would be a fantastic choice of school. It first opened its doors in 1980, bringing founder Josie Cameron Ashcroft’s dream alive to establish a school that was buzzing with optimism, warmth, drive, and belief into every classroom.
Bridget Saul was appointed Headmistress of Cameron Vale School in 2020. She had previously been Head at Wandsworth Prep School, but was drawn to the warm and nurturing atmosphere at Cameron Vale. Bridget values the prep school years very highly, viewing it as a time where children are free to explore their interests and talents, supported by a strong foundation of pastoral care. Every child is known as an individual and their emerging personalities and strengths are cherished and developed.
During term time it is hard to miss the entrance to Cameron Vale school, masses of brightly coloured scooters hang over the railings outside the school accompanied by clusters of happy children in smart red jerseys. This immediately creates a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere at the school. The classrooms are modest in size but offer a light and airy setting. Class sizes are small (maximum 15 children) and each class teacher is supported by a teaching assistant, with a ratio of 1:7, children receive a high level of support and as a result learning outcomes are positive. The school takes provisions for minor additional needs seriously and it clear to see that children are treated as individuals and the school provides a safe, nurturing environment for children to learn and thrive.
Every year they usually have around 200 families registering for the school, with 70-80 children attending the assessments. They advise registering a child a year before the assessment, stressing that there is no advantage in registering any earlier than this. The school is very receptive to school assessments for international students being organised at their current schools showing a willing to increase diversity within the school. The fees are currently £19,305 a year which puts them in a similar category to surrounding prep schools.
With key school values being ‘co-operation’ and ‘teamwork’ there is a lot of emphasis placed on getting involved in extra-curricular activities such as sports teams, plays and concerts. The central location of the school enables children to experience regular museum and theatre trips, and this is definitely something that will be resumed as we ease out of lockdown. All activities are run by enthusiastic specialist teachers in their field. The space surrounding the school is limited but they are fortunate enough to have access to extensive sports facilities in Battersea Park. There are also plenty of after school clubs on offer such as ballet, dance and drama. Cameron Vale also offer a Forest Schools curriculum designed to promote holistic development of the child through engaging outdoor activities like den building and making mudpies. The younger children seem to really enjoy this.
Life after Cameron Vale looks promising with a very impressive looking leaver’s board. Both parents and children are supported with the transition into secondary school with conversations starting with the Head in Year 5. Homework club and exam preparation sessions are run throughout Year 6 helping to support each individual child for life after Cameron Vale. In the past children have gone onto the following schools: City of London School for Girls, Dulwich College, Eaton Square Upper School, Emanuel, Francis Holland, Holland Park School, Kew House School, King’s College Wimbledon, Latymer Upper, Queen’s Gate, St. James Senior School and Wetherby Senior.
The well-being of children is clearly positioned at the heart of the school ethos. In 2019 the school introduced seven new ‘Learning Friends’ connected to the Cameronian Qualities (CQ). Every week, those children who have demonstrated a particular CQ are given an award in assembly. The children enjoy striving for this award and it helps to reinforce the ethos of the school. The overall atmosphere of the school is charming and positive. It’s clear no child would go unnoticed for long in this environment and the high level of work being produced by these children was clear to see in the beautiful displays in the classrooms.
If you want an award winning boutique school in the heart of Chelsea that will treat your child as an individual and provide them with not only a first-class education but with a healthy respect for others then Cameron Vale should definitely be on your short list.