When Prince George nervously grasped his father Prince William‘s hand while approaching his first day of school earlier this month, perhaps he didn’t know he was about to get “the best English education money can buy.”
Thomas’s Battersea, Prince George’s first school, looks for confident, social and bright children, according to the United Kingdom’s The Good Schools Guide. Some parents try to secure a spot for their children at the competitive, private institution as soon as their kids are born. George, who is four years old, began his education at Thomas’s Battersea in London last week, where he is one of 560 boys and girls ages four through 13.
“Cosmopolitan parents” typically bring their children here, the Guide says. Admission fees for children ages four to seven is £5,868 (around $7,859) per term, and £6,628, (around $8,877), for children ages seven through 13. (The school offers a lower fee for each second, third or fourth child in the family that also attends.) There are two terms in an academic year, as well as a summer term.
The “big, busy, slightly chaotic school” follows through on the idea that it provides the best education money can buy in England, says The Good Schools Guide. But more timid children “might find it all somewhat overwhelming,” it adds.
Thomas’s Battersea follows the country’s national curriculum, but that’s only a “starting point,” according to the school’s website. It’s separated into Lower School (ages four to seven), Middle School (ages seven to 10) and Upper School (ages 10 to 13). The youngest students, like Prince George, start out focusing on areas like personal, social and emotional development, communication and language, literacy, mathematics, art and design, physical development and “understanding the world.”
But the school’s academics are bolstered with an impressive offering of specialty classes, including ballet, drama, modern foreign languages, music and art. The school also has an Outdoor Learning program, which includes trips and welcomes visiting speakers. Some of the school’s clubs include fencing, pottery, LEGO, karate, running and music technology, among others.
While it is a Christian school, Thomas’s Battersea accepts children of any faith. It also has a “wide ranging mix of parents and 19 different foreign languages spoken at home,” according to The Good School Guide. The “school celebrates and appears to make the most of this range of different cultures,” the guide said.
The school’s most important rule is to “Be Kind,” says Simon O’Malley, the headmaster. “Our ethos, aims and values actively support the upholding of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs,” according to school literature.
But as the place of study for the third in line to the throne, Thomas’s Battersea School has already seen difficulties. A woman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attempted burglary near the school after she entered its property. London’s Metropolitan Police is working with the school to examine its security protocols now that it’s hosting Prince George.
Prince George is attending a different pre-school than his father, who went to Wetherby Pre-Prep in London at the age of 4. Princes William and Prince Harry (who joined William when he was old enough) also wore uniforms to their private London pre-school like George. However, while similar to Thomas’s Bettersea in several ways, Wetherby was only open to boys.
Thomas’s Battersea school officials did not respond to a request for an interview from Money.