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Devonshire House Preparatory School
Devonshire House Preparatory School
Devonshire House Preparatory School
Devonshire House Preparatory School Hampstead, London Visit
Devonshire House Preparatory School
630 pupils, ages 2-13

Devonshire House Preparatory School

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Our view

There’s a lovely relaxed vibe at this academically ambitious north-London prep, which does a fantastic job of packing children off to the pick of London’s most academic independent schools.

Where is Devonshire House Preparatory School?

Bordered by Belsize Park to the south and the sprawling woodlands of Hampstead Heath to the north, this big, busy London prep just off Hampstead High Street attracts a diverse crowd of internationals and expats. Spread across two separate sites a few minutes’ walk apart, space is, of course, at a premium, but they’ve done brilliantly well with it. The nursery and upper school share three handsome Victorian villas; juniors, meanwhile, move across to their own building around the corner for a brief change of scenery.

The school is packed with charm, with wood panelling and scholarship boards in the library, original fireplaces in some of the classrooms and even a pretty walled garden out back with a special nature area for minibeast hunting. There’s a full-size netball court and five-a-side football pitch on site too, plus a newly-renovated ultra-sustainable, all-wooden adventure playground for the early years. 

Headmaster at Devonshire House

Change is in the air, in the best possible way. Devonshire House recently joined the Dukes family of schools, and new head Henry Keighley-Elstub took up the post in September 2022 from his previous role at Pembridge Hall. Warm, affable and hugely energetic about growing and developing the school in the years to come, he’s a historian by background, and started his career at Ludgrove, before stints at Wetherby Prep and Cothill House.

For now, Mr Keighley-Elstub is busy getting to know the school and his pupils, but potential plans for the future include giving girls the opportunity to stay on until the end of Year 8 and introducing more rigorous preparation for 11+ and 13+ exams – while boosting the holistic provision too.  

Admissions at Devonshire House

The most popular entrance point is the nursery, which is always highly oversubscribed. There are plenty of open mornings where parents are offered a tour of the school and an opportunity to meet the head – and it's worth knowing these can be attended virtually too. Prospective pupils pop in for a ‘getting to know you’ session before being offered a place. Reassuringly, there’s no need to register at birth (which certainly helps take the pressure off) – but early registration is still encouraged.

Entrance becomes selective from Reception onwards, with writing, reading and numerical tests for prospective pupils in Year 2 and above. There’s also another intake at 7+, with a more formal round of assessments in maths, English and verbal reasoning. Siblings are given priority.

Academics and senior school destinations

Parents praise Devonshire’s incredibly supportive teachers, who do an excellent job with extremely motivated pupils. There’s an average of 20 pupils per class, with specialist teaching in French, music and P.E from the early years, and all other subjects from Year 4. Maths and English are streamed from Year 2, and all other subjects from Year 6. French is taught from nursery, everyone in Years 4 and 5 learns Mandarin and there are extra clubs for anyone who wants to dip their toe into Spanish or German. In addition, four SEND specialists are on hand to help children with a wide range of different academic abilities including dyslexia and dyspraxia. We were impressed with the large, specialist science, music, art and D&T rooms.

Online learning during the pandemic has massively boosted the school’s IT and technology provision, and there’s been a big push on STEM subjects of late; expect plenty of robotics, VR headsets and heaps of blended learning which sees pupils in Year 7 and 8 tapping away on their own iPad in lessons.

Girls work towards the 11+ before leaving at the end of Year 6, while boys stay on for the final two years and sit the 13+. The school prides itself on its superb prep for both exams; there are early morning maths and English surgeries during the autumn term, and the school will do whatever is necessary to ready a pupil for their senior school exams (it recently laid on Greek lessons for a pupil trying for Westminster). Senior school destinations remain broadly local, and almost everyone goes on to a top London day school; lots to Highgate, St Paul’s, UCS, Francis Holland Regent’s Park, Merchant Taylors’, Mill Hill and North London Collegiate School. Very occasionally, one or two set their sights on boarding, picking the likes of Harrow, Radley, Wellington or Charterhouse. Scholarship success is outstanding, with one pupil offered four different music scholarships last year.

Co-curricular at Devonshire House

Full use is made of what’s on the doorstep – such as running on Hampstead Heath and cricket at Lord’s. The school has just secured a long-term contract for permanent use of the StoneX Stadium (Saracens Rugby Club’s training ground), which plays host to all other sports, including athletics, rounders, rugby and football.

Music is exceptionally strong, led by a ‘hugely driven’ head of music. There are heaps of ensembles for pupils to join, including a drum band, string ensemble and jazz band. The Christmas carol service – which takes place at Hampstead Parish Church – is always a hot ticket on the school calendar. Upper school pupils put on an annual production (Shrek, most recently), while younger years perform their own class plays.

There are plenty of extra clubs and activities as well, from roller skating to debating, yoga, coding and Quidditch – when we visited, pupils were still waxing lyrical about a recent visit from a member of the UK’s national team.

School community at Devonshire House

Form teachers are the first port of call for any pastoral concerns, and there are worry boxes around the school for pupils to bring up any niggles. From September, there’ll be a counsellor from Place2Be on call too for children to pop in and speak to any time they need to. Unusually but admirably, the school also has its own full-time Great Ormond Street nurse, meaning pupils with physical problems needing more structured and specialist care can be accommodated.

A robust house structure fosters competitive community spirit, and children enthusiastically get stuck into regular singing, sporting and quizzing competitions to snap up tremendously coveted house points.  Siblings join the same house as their brothers or sisters.

There’s no breakfast club, but from reception up the school day starts early at 8am, with after-school care offered up until 5.30pm. Pupils can also sign up to a holiday club that runs for three weeks over the summer holidays.

Most families are broadly local and live in the likes of Hampstead, Highgate and Finchley. It’s a relatively international and cosmopolitan community, but not a particularly transient one, with the majority choosing to stay in the area throughout their child’s educational journey.

And finally....

A true north-London superstar, this is a thoroughly happy school and a solid choice for anyone living nearby. Some grumble at the price – significantly higher than the other preps in these parts – but we all know you get what you pay for.

Gallery See All

Older boy playing a game with a younger boy both wearing blue shirts and striped ties
Wooden sculpture of a horse set in wild flowers and grass
Boy in blue and white striped shirt playing rugby
Girl in blue shirt painting with red paint on brush
Girls in safety goggles and pale blue shirts
Boy in mid air doing the long jump
Boy with blond hair smiling
External image of Devonshire House with astroturf in front
Girl in blue tracksuit top playing the trumpet
Boy school blazer wearing a VR headset
Boy in blue shirt and striped tie painting with a navy blue apron on
Boy and girl wearing safety goggles doing a science experiment
  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    Pupils at Devonshire House go on to a wide range of Senior Schools, particularly the independent London day schools. The School has an exceptional track record and Devonshire House pupils have achieved some forty scholarships in the last three years. 2019-2021Offers and Scholarships; Channing 28 offers (1 scholarship), Francis Holland 35 (7), Queen’s College 30 (8), Queenswood 17 (1), South Hampstead High School 19 (2), City of London 21 (3), Merchant Taylors' 8 (3), Millfield 1 (1), Mill Hill, Belmont 42 (9), St Paul's School 6 (3), University College School 23 (2), Westminster 6 (1), Past destinations for leavers; Aldenham, Bradfield, Channing, Charterhouse, City of London, Downe House, Eton, Francis Holland, French Lycée, Godolphin & Latymer, Haberdashers' Aske's, Harrow, Haileybury, Highgate, Kensington Park, Kensington Park School, Kingston Grammar, Maida Vale School, Merchant Taylors’, Mill Hill, Millfield, More House, North Bridge House, North London Collegiate School, Portland Place, Portland Place School, Queen’s College, Queen’s Gate School, Queenswood, Radley College, South Hampstead High School, St Helen's, St Margaret’s, St Paul’s School, Stowe, Thomas's, Battersea, Tudor Hall, University College School, Wellington College, Westminster, Wetherby, Winchester, Woldingham, Wycombe Abbey

  • Scholarships for senior schools


    Academic194 Belmont Mill Hill, 4 Queen's College, 3 Francis Holland Schools, 3 Merchant Taylors' School, 2 South Hampstead, Channing, Mill Hill, University College School.

  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 1£7,845
    Year 2£7,845
    Year 3£7,845
    Year 4£7,845
    Year 5£7,845
    Year 6£7,845
    Year 7£7,845
    Year 8 £7,845

  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    Every child is individual and Devonshire House makes sure there is interest and challenge throughout each pupil’s education. The School carefully observes each child and provides Learning Support and assessments of Special Educational Needs.

    Some children constantly need new ideas, activities and further challenges. Others need help, careful direction and support, or programmes of support.

    The class teacher, Head of Year, or specialist staff ensure that every pupil is fully engaged with differentiated work. For those who need more support, staff will be involved to give help and enable progress. There is always discussion with parents and the School keeps carefully in touch, working closely with pupils, parents and teachers, and with the School’s own SEN Department whenever necessary.

  • Transport links

    Public Transport
    Nearest London tube station: Hampstead
    Nearest mainline train station: West Hampstead
    Nearest London Overground station: West Hampstead
    Nearest international airport: Heathrow (19 miles)

  • FAQs

    Is Devonshire House a good school?
    Devonshire House is one of the best preparatory schools in Hampstead and provides exceptional, high-quality education for both boys and girls.

    How old is Devonshire House?
    The school was established in 1989, after being founded by Michael Loveridge. Devonshire House is an independent co-educational primary school that currently has around 640 pupils and is based in four Victorian Houses in Hampstead.

School Updates

  • Devonshire House Prep School Top The Board At National Quiz Competition

    The quiz team from Devonshire House has won the Quiz Club UK General Knowledge Championship, the country’s largest inter-school quiz competition.
    Devonshire House Prep School Top The Board At National Quiz Competition
  • Devonshire House Expert Talks - 'Forest School: how does it work?'

    By Lucy Peacock, Forest School Leader
    Devonshire House Expert Talks - 'Forest School: how does it work?'
  • Devonshire House Expert Talks - 'Expert Skills'

    By Debbie Dixon, Head of Learning Support
    Devonshire House Expert Talks - 'Expert Skills'
  • Devonshire House Expert Talks - 'Play Explained'

    By Morgan Smith, Nursery Lead Teacher
    Devonshire House Expert Talks - 'Play Explained'
  • See Devonshire House in our London Prep Schools Guide

    See Devonshire House in our London Prep Schools Guide
  • WATCH: Devonshire House School New Head

    WATCH: Devonshire House School New Head
  • WATCH: Devonshire House School

    WATCH: Devonshire House School

Devonshire House Preparatory School is
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2 Arkwright Road, Hampstead, London NW3 6AE

020 7435 1916


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