Discover 23 of Surrey’s very best schools
08:00 23 March 2015
Our county is proud to boast some of the very best schools in the country. Here, we ask 23 of them to share three of the things that set them apart
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2015
1 Aberdour School
A co-education day school for children aged from two to 13 years
1) At our latest inspection, we were given the highest possible rating in every category.
2) Our new building will house a STEM Room – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. This will provide our pupils with the problem- solving skills necessary to be creative and innovative thinkers.
3) We have a personal approach to our teaching and pastoral care. Our Personalised Achievement Learning System is an exciting way of providing individual, educational and inspirational care for every pupil at Aberdour.
• 01737 354119 / aberdourschool.co.uk
2 ACS Cobham International School
A co-education day and boarding school for ages two to 18, offering a US-based curriculum and IB Diplomas
1) The school is situated on 128 acres and is home to 1,500 students, as well as 300 faculty and staff from over 70 nationalities.
2) The new Performing Arts Centre has a flagship 509-seat professional theatre. Our sports facilities are similarly impressive with a 25m indoor pool, basketball/volleyball arena, dance studio, fitness suite, all-weather tennis courts, Olympic-sized track, and playing fields for soccer, rugby and baseball. Oh, and there’s a six-hole golf course!
3) We have dedicated outdoor learning spaces, including adventure playgrounds, woodland classroom and nature pond.
• 01932 867251 / acs-schools.com/acs-cobham
3 ACS Egham International School
A co-educational day school for ages three to 18 and the only school in the UK that offers all four IB programmes
1) A 100% pass rate in exams last year meant that 74% of our students got accepted to their first-choice university.
2) With a dedicated IB Diploma Centre, ACS Egham’s students averaged 34.3pts, the equivalent of 479 UCAS points.
3) Students represent 67 nationalities, of which one in six are British.
• 01784 430800 / acs-schools.com/acs-egham
A day and boarding school for 220 boys aged seven to 13
1) Aldro arrived in Shackleford (moving from Eastbourne) in 1940, so we are celebrating 75 years in Shackleford this year.
2) We have our own Bouledrome where the boys play pétanque.
3) Aldro has four rowing boats and every year we have a regatta on the school lake.
• 01483 810266 / aldro.org
5 Box Hill School
A co-educational day, boarding and weekly boarding school for 11 to 18-year-olds
1) Alongside Gordonstoun, Box Hill is one of the founding members of Round Square, a worldwide network of innovative schools that believe in a truly holistic education.
2) We have recently opened a multi-million pound Sixth Form Centre. The state-of-the art building takes its energy from solar panels, has underfloor heating and includes the facility to stream live performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company on a 90” screen.
3) Every February, the whole school community takes part in Box Hill Day to celebrate our founder’s day. Pupils participate in a variety of activities to raise money for charity, including a staff slave auction, car washing and cake baking. In the evening, there is a variety show where the talents of our pupils (and some of our staff!) are showcased. This year, we raised well over £3,000 for selected local and international charities.
• 01372 373382 / boxhillschool.com
6 Cranmore School
An independent preparatory school (co-education from two-and-a-half to seven; boys aged seven to 13)
1) Cranmore was founded in 1968 and has built up a reputation as one of Surrey’s leading prep schools for boys. More recently, it has added an outstanding nursery, Bright Stars at Cranmore, which has prompted the school to become fully co-educational up to age seven.
2) In addition to its magnificent campus, Cranmore is noted for its variety of sports. Rugby and cricket are popular but swimming tennis, rowing and skiing are strong too.
3) Music plays an important part in the life of Cranmore with various choirs and ensembles as well as a full orchestra. Many children study two or three instruments with some achieving Grade 8 Distinction in their exams.
• 01483 280340 / cranmoreprep.co.uk
7 Danes Hill School
A co-educational day school for pupils aged from three to 13
1) We have a 12-acre paddock within our 55-acre campus. Comprising woodland and a beautiful nature pond, it’s a unique outdoor learning environment. The school’s fantastic grounds are also used by pupils at the main school, who enjoy a BBQ on the headmaster’s lawn every Wednesday in the Summer Term.
2) We are very proud of the fact that 55 scholarships to senior schools were awarded to our pupils last year. Our extra-curricular programme is also second to none, with a superb and varied selection of 41 activities available from architecture to yoga!
3) The longest-serving member of staff currently at Danes Hill is Val Beynon – she has been at the school for 45 years! We also have a number of teachers who were themselves pupils at Danes Hill – at the last count there were over 15. This could be down to sheer love of the school or possibly our fantastic lunches!
• 01372 842509 / daneshillschool.co.uk
8 Epsom College
An independent day and boarding school for ages 13 to 18
1) By the end of the First World War, 154 Old Epsomians had died and 1,000 had served – among them, Brigadier-General Roland Bradford VC, MC, aged 25, who was one of the most outstanding young soldiers of WW1.
2) Epsom College sixth formers were recently awarded Arkwright Scholarships for Design and Technology in recognition of their achievements and future potential. They were selected from hundreds of applicants to receive one of these prestigious awards.
3) A Magic Club is one of the co-curricular carousel activities available for M4 pupils (age 13) to choose from.
• 01372 821234 / epsomcollege.org.uk
9 Gordon’s School
A co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 11 to 18
1) Jake Ball, second row International Rugby Union player representing Wales, is a Gordonian, as is Hannah Russell, the British Paralympic swimmer.
2) We are consistently ranked in the top 30 non-selective state schools in the country for our GCSE results according to the Daily Telegraph, and ranked in the top 5% nationally by ALPS for our A Level results. We are one of only 38 state boarding schools in the UK and accept full and weekly residential boarders from the Surrey area and from as far afield as Africa, Antigua and the Far East.
3) The streets of London are closed off on a Saturday in January each year, near to the anniversary of the death of General Charles Gordon of Khartoum, to allow the school to parade along Whitehall, past the Cenotaph and down to the statue of General Gordon on the Victoria Embankment for a Memorial Service, accompanied by the school’s very own band.
• 01276 858084 / gordons.surrey.sch.uk
10 Halstead Preparatory School
A girls’ day school for ages three to 11 years
1) We offer Little Chicks parent and toddler sessions, nursery from aged nearly three (full-time or part-time) followed by two small classes in each year group to enable girls to learn and develop as individuals. Endless opportunities exist to discover interests and talents within a friendly, caring and enthusiastic community.
2) We have excellent teaching, excellent pastoral care, an excellent curriculum and an excellent range of opportunities for all pupils! Read all about it in our “excellent” ISI Inspection Report available on our website.
3) We provide thorough preparation for 11+ senior school entry to independent (and state) schools based on individual needs and with a long history of success and scholarships.
• 01483 772682 / halstead-school.org.uk
11 Hazelwood School
A co-educational day school for ages six months to 13 years
1) We are celebrating our 125th anniversary this year by launching the Hazelwood Community Fund, which will be the main beneficiary of school fund-raising for the foreseeable future. Organisations within the local community will be able to apply for grants to further their own educational endeavours. It is the school’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to our neighbours for hosting the ‘school on the hill’ for over 100 years.
2) At the beginning of the year, we received the NACE Challenge Award, given to the school in recognition of its gifted and talented provision. We joined an exclusive roll-call of schools who have secured the award – just over 300 in the country.
3) The school is situated on Wolf’s Hill but since its establishment in 1890 there have been no written reports or sightings of wolves in the vicinity. There was once a stag in the boys’ breakfast room that caused quite a stir in the morning porridge. These days, visitors are more likely to see Otto, the school’s black Labrador, lolloping across the 26-acre site. Never was there such a loved school mascot and pampered pooch.
• 01883 712194 / hazelwoodschool.co.uk
12 King Edward’s Witley
An independent school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18
1) King Edward’s Witley is proud to offer the IB Diploma Programme and in 2014 celebrated ten years of the IB, achieved 100% pass rate and was ranked in the Top 10 of all-IB (Sixth Form) schools in the country.
2) For 2015, the school is also offering the new A level course, ensuring pupils have a choice of routes to secure a place at university.
3) As a co-educational boarding and day school for 11 to 18-year-olds, King Edward’s Witley offers first class facilities including a brand new state-of-the art Business and Finance Centre. The school also provides a wide choice of children’s sporting and creative activities, including girls’ football!
• 01428 686700 / kesw.org
13 Kingswood House School
A day school for boys aged three to 13 and girls’ pre-prep from three to seven
1) Former pupil and world-renowned architect Lord Richard Rogers (Pompidou Centre, Leadenhall Building in London etc) opened our new school buildings last September – this included a new Pre-Prep Department, Junior Block and Humanities classrooms.
2) We have 100% success rate at helping our pupils achieve their first choice schools at Common Entrance, backed up by our latest ISI Inspection report, which stated we were “Excellent” in all areas.
3) Our unique Study Centre, specialising in supporting children with learning needs, was opened by former Scottish international rugby union player Kenny Logan in 2009, who is himself dyslexic.
• 01372 723590 / kingswoodhouse.org
14 Longacre School
A co-educational independent preparatory school for boys and girls aged two-and-a-half to 11
1) Longacre School is listed in the Sunday Times Top 100 Prep Schools – we are proud that our academic standards are recognised at a national level.
2) Children are developed and nurtured as individuals from two to 11 years. We offer excellent progress in small classes, bespoke education, pastoral care and committed, caring staff.
3) We have embarked upon a 20-year building strategy of renovation and redevelopment of our facilities. This project will include a multi-purpose Astro sports pitch, a large hall with sports centre, creative arts studio and performance space, a modern dining room and kitchen, additional classrooms and specialist teaching rooms.
• 01483 893225 / longacre.surrey.sch.uk
15 Notre Dame School
An independent girls’ day school for ages two to 18 (and a boys’ prep for ages two to five)
1) Notre Dame is towards the end of the planning process for our new state-of-the-art all-weather hockey/football pitch, netball/tennis courts and running track. We are looking forward to commencing work on this in summer 2015.
2) For the first time in over 20 years, a completely new uniform is being introduced for the whole school for September 2015.
3) Also, from September 2015, current Surrey coach routes will be extended to include Barnes, Fulwell, Mortlake, Putney, Richmond, Sheen, Teddington, Twickenham, Wandsworth and Wimbledon. These routes will offer flexible single or return journeys
• 01932 869990 / notredame.co.uk
16 Prior’s Field School
An independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18
1) Prior’s Field pupils have, for the last five years, built and raced an electric-powered car in the Greenpower national finals at Goodwood in Sussex. Currently, the team is designing an even lighter car and pursuing sponsorship opportunities.
2) For the sixth year running, one of our pupils was a winner in the University of Surrey Best Sixth Form Chemist of the Year award in 2014.
3) Six pupils are competing at national or international levels in modern pentathlon, athletics, skiing, horse riding, synchronised swimming and sailing. A member of our tennis academy ranks in the UK top 100!
• 01483 810551 / priorsfieldschool.com
17 Reigate Grammar School
A co-educational day school for pupils aged 11 to 18 years
1) While most people know that one of our former pupils is David Walliams, they probably don’t know that former Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer, Sunday Times columnist and US political commentator Andrew Sullivan and Fat Boy Slim were all at school together here at Reigate Grammar. Andrew and Keir sat next to each other in class!
2) We take league tables with a pinch of salt even though we were listed as the top co-educational independent day school in Surrey by the Sunday Times’ Parent Power guide. The best advice is to visit a school and look at how happy everyone is, what the sport, music, drama and extra-curricular activities offer and how the general atmosphere is. That will tell you much more than any league table.
3) 45 minutes was the time it took for the recent five-performance run of Abigail’s Party to sell out on our online box office! Our music concerts and drama productions have a huge following and we’re looking forward to the RGS Puppet Theatre debuting their new summer show at the Brighton Fringe festival on Children’s Day, Saturday May 2.
• 01737 222231 / reigategrammar.org
18 Royal Alexandra and Albert School
A co-educational boarding and flexi-boarding school for ages seven to 18
1) You can study horse management here alongside GCSEs and A Levels. Situated in 260 acres, we have stables for 20 horses, indoor and outdoor riding schools and hold competitive showjumping and dressage events.
2) Lots of people think this is an independent school but, in fact, it is one of a small number of state boarding schools in England. This means the state pays for the education and parents only have to pay the cost of boarding.
3) The recently opened Sixth Form has grown from 0 to 160 in three years and last year 61% of A Levels were graded A*-B. Sixth Form boarders live in our stately home or en suite study bedrooms in boarding house annexes.
• 01737 649000 / raa-school.co.uk
19 Royal School
A co-educational day and boarding school for pupils from six weeks to 18 years
1) Founded in 1840, The Royal School is 175 years old this year. In recent years, the school has continued to develop with an International department in 2003 and our Daycare department in 2007. In 2011, we became the only DIAMOND SCHOOL in Surrey, teaching boys and girls separately with educational visits, off-site activities and clubs for all.
2) We are a top 100 UK school for our A Level results and top in Surrey for our GCSE results (total average point score per pupil). This is a great achievement for our inclusive intake.
3) And finally, did you know that our Daycare department (zero to two years) is open for more than 2,600 hours per year and that the Junior School children and staff eat 180 eggs, 133 bananas, 50 kilos of potatoes, 102 pints of milk and 150 apples every week!
• 01428 605805 / royal-school.org
20 St Edmund’s School
A co-educational day school, which has a unique flexi-boarding provision on offer, for children from two to 16 years
1) The original School House, Blencathra, was once home to the great playwright George Bernard Shaw.
2) St Edmund’s has one of the oldest laid out nine-hole golf courses. Perfect for pupils to get in the swing of things.
3) King Abdullah II of Jordan (the current ruler) attended Prep School at St Edmund’s.
• 01428 604808 / saintedmunds.co.uk
21 St George’s College
A co-educational day school for ages 11 to 18
1) St George’s College is an academically selective, 11 to 18, co-educational, Catholic day school with excellent GCSE and A Level results.
2) Set in 100 acres of beautiful parkland, the catchment area includes Woking, Windsor, Twickenham, Kingston, Ascot and Guildford.
3) With particular specialities in Drama, Music and Sport, the school is particularly attractive to those looking for an academic yet holistic education, within a strongly Christian ethos.
• 01932 839300 / stgeorgesweybridge.com
22 Sutton High School GDST
A girls’ day school for ages three to 18
1) We have royalty in our history. The school buildings were opened by Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria, in 1887. She arrived on the train amid great confusion as the local dignitaries had not been informed that a princess would be arriving.
2) Our school library was opened by Lawrence Binyon who wrote the poem For the Fallen, which always gets used nationally on Remembrance Day.
3) Year 10 student, Seung Hye Park, won the Capital FM Mad about Mozart competition and travelled to Vienna to meet Lang Lang and enjoy a private recital of his Mozart repertoire.
• 0208 642 0594 / suttonhigh.gdst.net
23 Warlingham Park School
A co-educational day school for pupils aged from two to 11
1) Founded in 1986 on the principle of exploring the practical application of Design Technology to enhance the learning experience of primary-aged children, Warlingham Park School is proud to have recently won the Business in Education ICT Facility Award (July 2014). Its ICT provision is the envy of many primary schools with an ICT Suite that houses powerful all-in-one fully networked computers. High-speed WIFI is available throughout the school.
2) Nurturing self-confidence and a community spirit are the building blocks of the school’s educational ethos. The school boasts a Platinum Award-winning Sing-up Choir (of which every child in the Junior School is a member), which sings annually with the Young Voices Choir at the O2 arena in London. The choir helps raise money for local and national charities, such as Marie Curie, Children in Need and Red Nose Day, and performs in the local community, shopping centres and residential homes.
3) The school owns generous playing fields and open space, which is surrounded by fields and woodland. It hosts an annual District Cross Country Event to which 15 schools from the south-east attend and compete. This year, WPS celebrated a winner in the girls’ individual event. The school is involved in a large number of sporting fixtures for rugby, football and netball and its size allows most children the opportunity to play for the school team. The WPS Holiday Club (which operates during the holiday period at a separate cost) encourages pupils to develop their sporting prowess further and affords them the opportunity to explore the woodland and their surroundings.
• 01883 626844 / warlinghamparkschool.com