The Daily Telegraph
A ‘kind’ school for Prince
PRINCE GEORGE is to start at a mixedsex London school where the first rule is to “be kind”, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge fulfil their promise to prioritise gentle values over academic excellence in their children.
Prince George, who will join Thomas’s school, Battersea, in September after he turns four, will break with the tradition set by his father and grandfather, and be educated alongside girls from the age of four.
While his father and uncle went to the co-ed Mrs Mynor’s Nursery, they then went on to the all-boys Wetherby School, followed by Ludgrove School and Eton.
Prince George’s new school places a focus on “kindness, courtesy, confidence, humility, and learning to be givers, not takers”, with its headmaster encouraging children not to take a best friend to avoid hurting others’ feelings.
The Duchess of Cambridge has previously spoken of how the “central values” of kindness, respect and honesty are “just as important as excelling at maths or sport”.
IT IS a far cry from the strict schooling endured by male royals of previous generations.
Prince George’s formal education is to begin at a private day school in which the first rule is to “be kind”, and children are discouraged from picking a best friend in case of hurt feelings.
Prince George, aged three, will join Thomas’s in Battersea, south London, in September, as he begins his journey into full-time formal education.
The young Prince will attend the mixed-sex day school, which costs £5,653 per term and has a focus on the arts, sports and the importance of outdoor activities.
A spokesman for Kensington Palace said: “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.”
The decision means that, unlike his father and grandfather, Prince George will join a mixed class for four-yearolds rather than the all-boys environment traditionally favoured by Royal and upper-class families.
The Duke of Cambridge and his brother Prince Harry both attended Wetherby pre-prep before moving to Ludgrove and then Eton.
The Prince of Wales, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex and their father, the Duke of Edinburgh, all attended secondary school at Gordonstoun, which Charles once called “Colditz in kilts” for its tough environment.
Prince George’s mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, attended the private St Andrew’s School in Pangbourne, Berkshire, and then Downe House.
Thomas’s School said it was honoured that its aims and values “reflect those that Their Royal Highnesses would like for Prince George’s education”. Principals of the school, Ben and Tobyn Thomas, informed parents of their new pupil yesterday, pledging that the school would not change as a result of Prince George’s attendance. In a message, they told parents: “The Duke and Duchess ... 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.”
Security and communication strategies have already been closely examined ahead of the announcement, as teachers and parents brace for the increased attention.
The school’s website details how its most important rule is to “be kind”, with a teaching framework based on enjoyment just as much as learning.
It states: “Whilst we are proud of our record of senior school entrance and scholarship successes, we place a greater emphasis on a set of core values which include kindness, courtesy, confidence, humility and learning to be givers, not takers.”
According to Tatler’s guide to schools, Thomas’s boasts a counsellor and special programme to track pupils’ “emotional responses”.
Its facilities include a quiet garden, ballet studio, theatre, pottery room and two libraries. It also has an “active antibullying committee” run by pupils and a policy of “It is right to tell” a teacher if they are unhappy.
Ben Thomas, the headteacher, has previously spoken of how he hoped pupils would have “lots of good friends” rather than one best friend, in a bid to avoid possessive and hurt feelings.
From September, its new headmaster will be Simon O’Malley, who is currently at Wellesley House.
The school’s ethos appears to fit closely with the Duke and Duchess’ views on parenting. The Duchess has previously said: “My parents taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect and honesty, and I realise how central values like these have been to me throughout my life.
“That is why William and I want to teach our little children, George and Charlotte, just how important these things are as they grow up.
“In my view it is just as important as excelling at maths or sport.”