If you are looking to send a child to one of the top Prep Schools in Surrey that strikes a balance between academic and extracurricular activities, you may want to consider Danes Hill School in Oxshott.
Located in 55 acres of landscaped ground in the village of Oxshott, Surrey, Danes Hill teaches children between the ages of 3 and 13, and is widely recognised as one of the nation’s leading co-educational preparatory day schools in the country. The school provides boys and girls with a broad and balanced curriculum through Bevendean and the Lower, Middle and Upper School.
The Upper School is made up of three year groups – Years 6, 7 and 8 – and the curriculum helps sow the seeds for graduate success.
The school has a strong academic reputation, but it also focuses on developing well-rounded students. As learners become seniors and progress into Year 7 and 8, they are expected to become more independent and take on responsibility as a prefect, or by acting as a mentor to younger students.
Parents may be heartened to hear that the school acts as a springboard to reputable secondary schools. Danes Hill students go on to study at top independent schools such as Eton College, Brighton College, Westminster, Wellington College, KCS Wimbledon and Epsom College.
The school prides itself on preparing Year 7 and 8 pupils for the Common Entrance (CE) examinations, used by over 200 of the top senior schools in the country, arming them with a strong body of knowledge in the assessed subjects, as well as skills such as critical thinking, fluency with language and an appreciation of literature, to name just a few.
As a testament of the school’s strong academic standards and well-rounded extracurricular activities, many Upper School students have won a wide range of scholarships. In 2017, 52 scholarships were awarded, including the Queen’s Scholarship to Westminster and the Major Scholarship to KCS. Meanwhile, in 2018, 57 scholarships were awarded and 84 percent of CE papers were marked A*, A or B.
The Upper School also runs a tutor system that sees tutors meet with their tutor group daily. James Harvey, Head of the Upper School said these tutors play an important role in each child’s academic and social development, providing invaluable personal and hands-on guidance.
As every student is unique; individual success is also harnessed here. Danes Hill gives senior pupils life lessons in revision, organisation and interview skills, ensuring they feel confident when it comes to exams and secondary school applications.
The Danes Hill Extra Curricular Activities (ECA) programme acts as a beneficial extension of the traditional academic pursuit, encouraging students to explore their strengths and develop new skills in their area of interest. Students can choose from a variety of clubs and activities, including the school choir, debating, riding, swimming, gymnastics, girls’ football, golf, skiing, sewing, tennis, art, LAMDA lessons, and more.
Students represent the school in regular sporting events, playing against other prep schools on the local circuit as well as being entered for county, regional and national events. The school regularly reaches the latter stages of similar tournaments under the guidance of their coaches.
Senior students benefit from the school’s residential trips which aim to increase their knowledge of the world. For example, Danes Hill runs a science trip to Tenerife, Spain, where the touring party examine the island’s volcanoes. Following the completion of their exams, Year 8 students enjoy a camping experience at the on-site Paddock and a trip to Italy. Cultural day trips to Rome, Paris and Amsterdam are regular features in a very broad excursion programme.
Danes Hill’s house system introduces the fun of lively competition, both in and out of the classroom, throughout the academic year. This develops a bond among pupils of all ages, while participation and achievements are also recognised and celebrated.
In speaking about the school, Rowena Cole, Head at St John’s School, said: “We often talk about a child’s school days as a journey and as such there are different destinations along the way. For children attending a 13+ school such as Danes Hill, the journey is geared towards a final destination of Year 8 and it is in this year that many tangible benefits will be felt.”
“These include the opportunity to lead the school that they have been a part of for a number of years and the sense of responsibility which comes from being in the top year of any school; there is no doubt that pupils’ skills and maturity develop during these important prep school years. All of this means that pupils who join us from Danes Hill and other 13+ schools do so with an appetite to learn and a confidence to move on to senior school life with ease.”
Meanwhile, Julian Thomas, Master at Wellington College, extolled the values of children staying in prep schools for an additional two years.
“It is clear to everyone at Wellington College that the boys and girls who have joined us from Danes Hill in recent years have absolutely loved their time at prep school, so it seems a no brainer for parents to keep their children in prep school for Years 7 and 8,” he said.
True to its motto, ‘strong and sagacious’, the Danes Hill School’s emphasis on nurturing talent sets children up for life. It really is an unmissable learning experience.
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