Prince George's new school: 'Chaotic' Thomas's Battersea costs £172,000 and ballet kit is compulsory

Prince George: School life at Thomas's Battersea seems a far cry from what many children experience

Prince George has started school

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Aside from the fact that his mum wasn't with him, Prince George's first day at school has probably been like any other kid's.

Play a bit, make some friends, play some more, listen to the teacher with no interest whatsoever, then go home. It's a routine familiar to billions of children the world over.

But from here on in, George's schooldays will differ markedly from the rest of us. Because his school, which boasts a glittering roll-call of former pupils including Florence Welch and Cara Delevingne, is one of the leafiest education establishments in the country

The little prince arrived at Thomas's Battersea with Prince William today (September 7) resplendent in a navy v-neck jumper, light blue shirt, Bermuda-style shorts, navy ankle socks and black polished shoes. The summer uniform also includes a jacket and a white sun hat is allowed.

Winter-term uniform at the school includes red polo neck jumpers and long red or navy socks. A navy hat and scarf can also be worn. Pupils also have to have a sports and ballet kit for all pupils.

In total and not including extras, the full uniform for George will have cost more than £365, according to the Birmingham Mail, making uniforms for state schools suddenly appear rather cheap by comparison.

But that outlay pales into insignificance when set against the school's fees, which total £17,604 a year for the first couple of years and rise even higher in year 3, according to the Daily Express. If George continues his education at the school until he is 13, the total cost is expected to be £172,116 - for some that's more than their house is worth.

For all that money, you'd imagine the environment would be quiet and studious, with a pervasive air of serenity. But apparently not: Thomas's Battersea has been described by The Good Schools Guide as a "big, busy [and] slightly chaotic school."

Yet the classes are far smaller than the UK average. In each class there are roughly 20 pupils, far fewer than the average UK class size of 27.1. The school's website explains that the most important rule is to be kind and other core values include independence, humility, leadership, confidence and perseverance - all qualities which will serve George well if and when he ascends to the throne.

The school day runs from 8:30am to 4pm, and a busy academic agenda is packed into the day. Pupils are taught the usual core subjects as well as French, music, drama and ballet (hence the need for the kit).

Children also able to take on extra-curricular activities such as running, swimming and karate before the school day, and activities such as fencing, pottery, philosophy, table tennis and community gardening can be done afterwards.

Every two years the school choir goes on tour to Italy, which is far better than the trips we went on when I was at primary school (although Alton Towers was epic). And that's not the best of it: if you play sports at Thomas's Battersea they take you as far afield as Brazil. However they've also the bog-standard geography field trips and visits to art galleries, so it's not all fun, fun, fun.

The catering team at the school focus on healthy meals as well as flavours and presentation - again, a different world from what we at talkRADIO experienced when we were George's age. For lunch there's a soup and bread option, followed by a meat, vegetarian, fish or allergy-free main course and then a dessert. Many of the options are organic and all main meals include vegetables and carbohydrates. There don't seem to be any chips, however, which must be absolutely gutting for the kids.

Like George, the headmaster at the school, Simon O'Malley, is also new. He was previously the headmaster at Wellesley House School in Kent and has also taught in Kenya.