The Spectator

School portraits: snapshots of four notable schools

  • From Spectator Life

Hurstpierpoint College, West Sussex

Hurstpierpoint College – or ‘Hurst’ – aims to provide an ‘excellent all-round education’ that enables every child to ‘achieve their own personal bests’. The school is located in the West Sussex countryside, is co-educational and for pupils aged four to 18 years. Its 140-acre campus is impressive and, having abandoned full boarding in 2019, it offers flexible and weekly boarding from Year 9, along with a chaperoned weekly train service from Clapham Junction. The college was established in 1849, and claims to have the oldest Shakespeare society in existence and the oldest school magazine in the country. It says increasing numbers of pupils now transfer from south-west London prep schools, encouraged by its modern approach to boarding and the transport links.

Elstree School, Woolhampton

This year has seen Elstree School celebrate its 175th anniversary. Having moved to Woolhampton in West Berkshire at the outbreak of the second world war, the school is nestled in 150 acres of stunning countryside. It educates both boys and girls from the ages of three to 13, and counts James Blunt, Sebastian Faulks and George Monbiot among its alumni. The school says it wants to ‘find out how a child is intelligent rather than how intelligent a child is’, and it believes ‘effort is king’. Pupils are taught by individual subject specialists from Year 5. Happy and confident students go on to leading senior schools: ten scholarships and exhibitions were awarded this year to schools including Winchester, Radley, Downe House, Winchester and Harrow.

Ibstock Place, Roehampton

Ibstock Place is a successful co-educational school that hugs the edge of Richmond Park in Roehampton. It has eight acres of grounds and teaches more than 950 girls and boys between the ages of four and 18.

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