Independent Pupils: 300 Ages: 4-11
C of E Fees £3128 - 4181
Headteacher: Since Sept 2015 Clemmie Stewart BA(Hons), English Literature and Education (thirties). Educated at Bedales and Winchester University, she has taught in both the Independent and State sectors. Her teaching career started at Farleigh Preparatory followed by several years at Talavera Junior School in Aldershot. In 2014 she joined Surbiton High as director of teaching and learning and was appointed headteacher the following year, after proving herself to be an outstanding English teacher. Go ahead and enthusiastic personality, parents we spoke to feel she is an asset to the school and will continue to steer the girls in all the right directions. She is always smiling, say her charges, which makes us feel happy. Talented all-rounder herself, Miss Stewart was a music scholar at Bedales and a horsewoman with success in the show jumping world. A country girl at heart, she loves travelling and exploring during the holidays, during term time she enjoys running and walking her dogs. She is a fan of many sports including Formula 1 and football, also an avid reader and has a particular interest in how children’s education advances continually. She is committed to developing the school’s excellent ethos and standards.
Entrance: At 4+ girls are invited to attend informal child friendly assessment mornings. Grouped by seasonal birthdays, autumn, spring, summer, this ensures each child is assessed with others of similar age and developmental stage. Several members of staff observe prospective candidates doing simple tasks based on stories and nursery activities. From 7+ and for occasional places girls sit assessment tests in maths and English.
Exit: At 11+ most girls progress through to the senior school, regular scholarships are awarded for music, drama, art, sports and academics. One or two go to local grammars or a boarding school. Odd parent still moans about girls being not prepared for other schools, however majority of parents feel why go through the stress, when you have one of the best senior schools in the area at your fingertips. Occasionally a pupil can be advised in year five that they might fare better in a less selective school.
Remarks: Bubbling with activities; academic, sporting and creative, the school grows from strength to strength. Ms Stewart favours an innovative approach alongside traditional teaching which she feels enables pupils to exceed their targets and make outstanding progress. Lovely bright interlinking reception classes with their own small play area. Early years’ provision was highly praised in recent ISI inspection, parents agree, pupils are given an excellent grounding in language, literacy and mathematics. Form teachers cover all subjects until year two, subject specialists, including maths and English teachers are introduced from year three adding breadth across the curriculum. Inspiring co-curricular links connect subjects effortlessly, a chocolate workshop, leads to a fair trade geography project, African dancing, and story writing. The possibilities are endless, exciting stuff and always something to look forward to, girls tell us.
In addition to stand alone lessons, drama is embedded into class teaching through creative role-play, history in action days, and storytelling, helping to develop a range of communication skills. Imaginative art and DT displayed in classrooms and corridors, pupils are exposed to a variety of media. Older pupils can access senior school facilities and are taught by some of the senior art specialists. Three languages are offered, Spanish from reception, French is added in year two and Mandarin in years four and five. Pupils are continuously monitored, targets are set to check progress and ensure no one slips under the radar. School prides itself on encouraging children to become active learners with a big focus on language skills and decision making.
IT strategy is always advancing with each pupil having an iPad, some lessons have gone digital, girls are definitely tech savvy say parents. Lots of praise from the parents for teaching staff who are good mix of youth and experience and considered an inspirational bunch.
Our guides were eloquent, proud of their school and keen to explain everything from their art and science projects to learning to skip when they were younger. SEN termed as Learning Enrichment provides specific support to individuals with mild SpLDs usually dyspraxia and dyslexia. Pupils are cared for on an individual basis, via one-to-one sessions or enrichment groups. Gifted and talented activities run to extend knowledge and, if appropriate, some girls are offered scholarship training. EAL is arranged as required, the school has quite a few families from Korea and South-Asia.
Music continues to flourish; everyone learns to play a string and a brass instrument, with a good number of pupils having individual tuition on more than one instrument. Dedicated and well-resourced music room, for music theory and pupils get the chance to try their hand at composition. Host of choirs, ensembles and orchestras, also plenty of opportunities for solo performances, girls and boys often join forces in choir trips, musical and dramatic productions.
Good selection of outings, residential trips and visitors are arranged each to boost interests. Around seventy clubs to join, world explorers, newspapers, jewellery making and dance to mention a few, there is also a breakfast and after-school club.
Parent-teacher partnerships are well developed, majority of parents feel the school communicates with them effectively in traditional ways and more recently via social media. Pastoral care has a positive and family feel to it and school is always keen to develop social interaction, mixed age groups sit together for lunch and reception class all have a year six buddy. Everyone is allocated to one of the four houses and encouraged to voice their opinions and ideas through the school council. Parents and pupils are active fundraisers for the school and charities; Mufti day with an ice pop sale, girls tell us is a firm favourite for fund raising.
Sport has come on in leaps and bounds since our last visit; this part of the curriculum is given equal importance as academics. As with many inner-city schools on site space is fairly tight. Known as ‘LOC ‘, ‘learning outside the classroom’ mostly takes place at their 39 acres of sports grounds and woodland, close by in Hinchley Wood. A specially designed physical education program teaches the skills needed for netball, hockey, rounders, tennis and gymnastics. In addition to this they also cover athletics, health related fitness and team building. Netball team is extremely successful, girls start to compete in year three U8s, regularly reaching the finals of the National netball tournament. Boys and girls prep participate in mixed team sports for athletics and netball, netball team recently came fifth in the London youth games, while the athletics squad qualified and came third in Kingston Borough finals. Girls can also join the ski club which uses the local dry ski slopes and competes regularly. Adjacent to the sports ground is a newly acquired woodland area, offering further opportunities for outdoor pursuits and eco-projects, planting vegetables, discovering wildlife and camping trips, the prospects are plentiful.
A single sex school with co-educational opportunities as the boys and girls preparatory schools often link together. A happy, vibrant school for inquisitive and active girls. Unstuffy atmosphere and traditional ethos, that fit comfortably with modern teaching and an innovative outlook. The school is a member of United Learning.