September 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm #11644
Hi – We are researching a move to Surrey & would appreciate some school’s advice from you! We’ve covered The Hawthorns, Reigate St Marys, Micklefield in the Reigate area & Belmont Prep & Cranmore Prep in the Dorking area however don’t really know where to begin in Guildford / Godalming!
Can you recommend any Outstanding Independant Co-Ed or boys only prep schools in Guildford/Godalming? Are there any others in Reigate/Dorking I really ought to consider? Are Barrows Hill & Lanesborough any good?
Many thanks in advance.September 26, 2014 at 10:16 am #11649
Im afraid i’m not going to reply directly to your question as I don’t know the Godalming area and surrounds that well, but have you considered Caterham which is just by Reigate. Property is slightly cheaper than the areas you are looking but it is right by countryside, has good M25 access and is commutable into London.
There is a good independent school (Caterham School) which ranges from nursery to 18, and has excellent facilities and results year on year. If living in Caterham, it would also be viable to send your child(ren) to Whitgift from year 6 which is in South Croydon, but is again, a very good school.
There is also a small prep school in Caterham called Oakhyrst Grange which again consistently gets children into the surrounding independent schools.
I hope that helps a bit!
CarolSeptember 26, 2014 at 10:41 am #11651
I live in Liphook, and moved here a couple of years ago from nearby Haslemere (and south London before that!). My children attend The Royal School, which is in Hindhead (junior school) and Haslemere (senior school). There are A LOT of independent schools in this area, and you will really have to see them to find out what suits you best.
To give you some info about The Royal – which for obvious reasons I rate, and am an old girl myself! – it is a co-ed independent school, which follows the ‘diamond’ form of teaching. This means that boys and girls are taught together for the first few years, before splitting up and being taught separately (although some classes and socialising is done together), and then coming back together later in senior school (can’t recall off the top of my head which year in SS they come back together – mine are in Daycare and Reception!). I personally think this is an excellent model, and brings the best of both worlds to the children. The environment is wonderful; staff who genuinely care about the children, results that speak for themselves, a wonderful countryside setting….I could go on.
Pupils come from a wide range of areas too – school bus routes go out as far as Godalming, if not further (again, I am not 100% sure how far).
IF you’d like some more insider knowledge on the area as a whole – not just schools – do say, and I’ll be happy to help!September 26, 2014 at 11:16 am #11652
I live just outside Guildford and have 2 boys aged 5 and nearly 7. So, i am also in the process of looking for them at the moment too. We also run a property search agents specialising in helping family to move to Surrey.
From what i understand from living down here, the most highly rated schools are the following: in and around Guildford Lansborough (Boys) & Cranmore (mixed pre prep then boys only). In and around Godalming, Aldro (Boys) and St Hilary’s (Pre prep only as it becomes a girls only Prep School) and Barrow hills (mixed). In and around Farnham; Edgeborough (Mixed) and in and around Haslemere; Amesbury (mixed) & Highfield (boys).
Hope that helps,
Property Potential SurreySeptember 26, 2014 at 1:13 pm #11653
FYI Highfield is mixed and has quite a strong boarding ethos. My two are at The Royal as well and love it.September 29, 2014 at 11:53 am #11725
We went through the same process last year (Dorking, Reigate, Guildford, Haslemere and even looked towards Reading), for our boy who is 9 now. We ended up looking at senior schools instead, then finding a good feeder to that. It can be really helpful looking at Senior Schools as they have a list of feeder schools on their websites.
In addition I learned that it is lovely moving to a more remote village, but perhaps not so if your child ends up travelling 1,5 hour by bus to his senior school of choice. Or will end up boarding, as there is nothing suitable nearby. Of course if your child is currently 5 years old, senior schools are obviously not the place to start.
The senior schools we looked at were based on the Good Schools Guide and included: City of London Freemens in Ashtead (co-ed, day school), Epsom College (co-ed, 50% board), Caterham Grammar (co-ed, academically selective, day school), Frensham Heights (near Farnham, non-traditional/egalitarian, montessori-type approach with focus on drama/arts/music/creativity), Aldro (feeding to) Charterhouse (boys only, mostly boarding at later ages), Cranleigh (with junior and senior school, sports focus, 50% board), RGS Guildford (boys-only, academically selective, day school), King Edwards School in Witley (all round), Churchers College (Petersfield), Lord Wandsworth in Hook (boarding, very good name)
Other schools that have a good name are: Cranmore in Horsley (catholic, sporty), Reeds in Cobham (sports focus) St. Johns in Leatherhead (all round)
Prep schools I looked at were limited to schools that offer places till age 13, as we didn’t want to move our son now and again at 13: Downsend School in Ashtead, Belmont School, Danes Hill in Oxshott and Parkside in Cobham, Felton Fleet in Cobham, Milbourne Lodge in Esher.
We ended up choosing Danes Hill School as it feeds into Epsom College as well as RGS in Guildford, which were our favourite schools for our son. However, it really depends what you are looking for and what your children are like, as always. Here’s my, very personal, keyword-guide:
Lanesborough has a very good name, and is a main feeder to RGS Guildford. It is traditional with a lots of homework/ high academic standards focus. RGS Guildford is fantastic, but not easy to get in as they have high academic standards and many try. If you are in Guildford/Godalming there are not so many other options for boys (according to some mums in Guildford).
Other options around Guilford
– If you are okay with boarding and traditions Aldro/Charterhouse is fantastic.
– If you have a sporty child Cranleigh has a very good name. Personally we found the academic side a bit under-emphasized with a brochure with about 50 children all answering the question ‘what’s the best thing at Cranleigh?’ with a sports-related answer. Also a key staff member said ‘we cram in the academics before 2pm, as what they all really want is sports’. But everyone who sends their child there loves it, especially because of the sports.
– King Edwards School in Witley is very warm and nurturing, and seems to especially suit children that don’t suit any of the other schools (shy, nerdy, or less-confident). Lots of positive talk from parents whose children were bullied at other schools.
So, as you can see, not a huge amount of options near Guildford.
I am happy to give you a short key to any other school, based on my experiences when visiting.
Prep schools I looked at, short guide:
Belmont School – co-ed, amazing country location, very good teaching and nurturing, however small classes in my sons age-group (with perhaps to little options for friends, and very remote, you end up just having friends at school and no playdates), perhaps also not super-academic and your child might get bored if not stretched.
Danes Hill in Oxshott – co-ed, academic but not only, traditional but with an open and nurturing atmosphere, huge school with as a result many after-school activities and many more specialist teachers, more of a science-focus than on most prep-schools. Lots of international children, but still at least over half English.
Parkside in Cobham, boys only, friendly atmosphere but still traditional, lots of international children (russian, asian, but still at least over half English), has the name it is slightly less academic than nearby Danes Hill.
Felton Fleet in Cobham, more of a boarding school atmosphere (even though many children do not board), most children end up moving on to boarding schools afterwards. Academically good.
Milbourne Lodge in Esher, small, traditional school, with as a result a personal, nurturing atmosphere with lots of attention for each individual. Strong focus an academics, results and lots of homework. Based in a private house.
I hope that helps. Feel free to ask a short personal impression on other schools too. Good luck with the selection process.September 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm #11806
Amazing responses everyone, thank you all so much! I really appreciate it. It feels like such a massive decision & I love our current school so want to make sure we all love the next one as much. We are spending half term looking at the area & I have open mornings & visits schools at many of these schools over the next couple of weeks. No doubt this will throw up more specific questions & if it’s ok I may well be back in touch. Thanks again.October 4, 2014 at 9:19 pm #12133
We have seen two schools that we really like. One is The Hawthorns in Bletchingley & the other is Cranmore, West Horsley. I definitely got the impression Cranmore is uber sporty as well as academic. Does anyone have a view how The Hawthorns compares both academically & sports wise? The last ISI reports dates to 2011 so am keen to get some more up to date views please. Also, any recommendations for villages nearby both with community/amenities & access to London woud be useful too. Thanks in advance.October 22, 2014 at 8:27 pm #12493
Hi, we have narrowed our school choices down to Cranmore (East Horsley) & Barrow Hills school (Whitley nr Godalming). Does anyone have any views? Is Barrow Hills academic enough? Does Cranmore focus on more than just the academics?
Informed views very welcome!
Where would you live? We need villages with shops/community etc.
ThanksMay 13, 2021 at 2:36 pm #21342
From what i understand from living down here, the most highly rated schools are the following: in and around Guildford Lansborough (Boys) & Cranmore (mixed pre prep then boys only). In and around Godalming, Aldro (Boys) and St Hilary’s (Pre prep only as it becomes a girls only Prep School) and Barrow hills (mixed).
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