The British prep school where half the lessons are taught in Chinese: Kensington Wade is a first for UK education.

English Chinese

To an outsider, Kensington Wade School is not unlike other London preps. Early years pupils play gleefully with wooden blocks in the sun on the rooftop playground, scaling bridges and designing state-of-the-art buildings similar to that of their school. The girls wear Liberty print-style dresses and the boys, a traditional shirt and sweater. Ofsted has rated the school outstanding in all areas.

Yet open the doors and you begin to understand why Sir Anthony Seldon, former headmaster of Wellington College, has called it ‘the most exciting school in the country.’ Though the concept is becoming common in America, very few schools in Europe offer a comparable education, which combines a traditional English prep school curriculum with immersion in Mandarin Chinese.

Look closely and you’ll find half the classrooms plastered in Chinese art and literature. Pupils spend half of the school day here, learning in Chinese, and half their day learning in English. In practice this means that they know the map of the UK as well as one of China and produce plays from both cultures, all while learning to speak, read and write fluently in both languages.

Most pupils join the school in nursery or reception with no Chinese knowledge. By year one, they are able to happily chat in Chinese. This is solely down to the school’s dedication to its immersive language programme; parents are not required to continue the practice at home.

Taking the best aspects of a Chinese education, such as the Asian-style mastery approach to mathematics based on the premise that all can succeed, Kensington Wade supercharges a traditional British schooling.

Moving to a new site in Kensington Olympia in 2023, Kensington Wade pupils will be a force to be reckoned with when competing for senior school places. As Patrick Derham, headmaster of Westminster School, has commented, ‘top schools will do anything to get their hands on pupils who have had an education like this.’ Not only will pupils take the next step in their stride, their bilingual minds and global education will give them a leg up in their careers too.


Kensington Wade Bilingual Prep School with English & Chinese

Location: Hammersmith, West London

School Type: Independent Co-ed Prep School

Age: 3 to 11 years

For more information visit or email [email protected]


Webradio for Education | Wimbledon to the World