Prince George is set to start at Thomas’s School in Battersea in September, Kensington Palace has announced. The young Prince, who was born in July 2013, will be four-years-old when the term commences.
Thomas’s Battersea is a private day school, for both boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 14. It costs £6,110 a term, and focuses on the arts, sports and outdoor activities in addition to academics. Thomas’s also has schools in Kensington, Clapham and Fulham.
Kensington Palace issued a statement saying: “Their Royal Highnesses are delighted to have found a school where they are confident George will have a happy and successful start to his education.”
Thomas’s Schools are a family run establishment that was set up by Joanna and David Thomas in 1971. The present Principals, Ben and Tobyn Thomas, are the sons of the founders, and carry forward their parents’ dream of a “happy, dynamic and vibrant” primary school. Thomas’s focuses on value education as well as academic results, and a number of their pupils go on to public schools like Eton (Prince William’s alma mater) and Marlborough after they graduate. The school currently has 540 pupils, and former students include model Cara Delevingne and singer Florence Welch.
The most important rule at Thomas’s is to “be kind”, and with the aim to ensure “enjoyment, learning and achievement” for all its pupils. Thomas’s is a big proponent of values such as courtesy, humility and confidence, and hopes that its students learn to “be givers, not takers.” This must have particularly appealed to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who have often expressed their desire for their children to have an all-round learning experience.
The school also places a great deal of emphasis on the emotional and mental well-being of students. The teachers encourage children to have lots of good friends rather than one best friend in order to prevent exclusion and hurt feelings. Additionally, according to Tatler‘s school guide, Thomas’s Battersea has a counsellor and a programmer to track pupils’ “emotional responses”. Prince George’s parents are both supporters of mental health programmes, and would surely approve of the school’s efforts.
It is expected that security around the school will be tightened and communication strategies will be put into place ahead of the Prince’s first day. Parents and teachers have already begun to prepare themselves for the increased attention. In fact, there has already been such an interest in George’s new school that the Thomas’s website was affected due to a very high volume of traffic, forcing them to run a limited website temporarily.
After news of Prince George’s attendance broke out, the principals of the school issued a message to parents saying that nothing would change because of the royal pupil.
“The Duke and Duchess have made it clear that they do not wish Prince George’s attendance at Thomas’s to change its aims, values or ethos in any way,” the message read. “They would like, as far as is possible, for him to enjoy the same education that all of our pupils receive and for them to join the school community as all of our new parents do.”
“This is clearly a significant moment for their family and most certainly for Thomas’s. Like so many parents, the Duke and Duchess have put a great deal of thought into the choice of their eldest child’s first “big school”. We are honoured that the aims and values of Thomas’s reflect those that Their Royal Highnesses would like for Prince George’s education. We are deeply conscious of the trust that they, like all Thomas’s parents, are placing in us and we hope very much to live up to their expectations.”
Prince George previously attended the Westacre Montessori school near the Cambridge’s home in Norfolk. His graduation to a big school, along with the fact that Princess Charlotte will begin nursery school this year, is part of the reason that the family will be moving back to London this fall.
Prince George is the first person in his family to attend Thomas’s Battersea. His father, Prince William, and his uncle, Prince Harry, both attended Wetherby School in Notting Hill. It was expected that George would follow in their footsteps, but the Duke and Duchess probably chose the co-ed Thomas’s (Wetherby is a boys school) so that their daughter Charlotte could join her brother there in a few years.
Photographers were present on both William and Harry’s first days of school, but considering the Cambridge’s insistence on privacy for their children, it is unknown whether they will be present for Prince George’s first day as well.