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Academic life, like everything at Hampton, moves at quite a pace. It’s cool to be clever, and there’s a prevailing spirit of intellectual curiosity. Parents feel that Hampton gets a better balance than some competitors between academics and other activities. The strong focus on the boys’ happiness, alongside ‘really good teaching,’ helps them achieve exceptionally well academically but it is not a narrowly results-driven culture. ‘An unbelievable breadth of clubs’, from beekeeping (delicious Hampton honey!) to board games to...

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What the school says...

Hampton offers an excellent all-round education, encouraging high aspirations, independent thinking and mutual respect in an energetic and happy environment. The curriculum is enriched by an extensive co-curricular programme which forms an essential part of the balanced education which the School provides. Music, Drama and Sport are all strong.

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2013, Kevin Knibbs MA, previously deputy head since 2007 and before that history master, head of lower school and senior master at Bolton School Boys’ Division. Read modern history at Oxford, gaining two football blues in the process. Open and personable ‘with no airs and graces’. Wife teaches chemistry at the school.

Very proud of Hampton, which he describes as a ‘super-charged grammar school’. Its down-to-earth friendliness immediately appealed when he first visited as a football coach when teaching at Bolton – ‘I’d have loved to be a pupil here’, he remarks, and prizes that warmth still. He tells parents that ‘Hampton will find out what their boys are good at and help them excel’, something endorsed enthusiastically by everyone we spoke to: ‘Mr Knibbs really sees the positives in every boy’.

Parents can’t speak highly enough of him – right from the open day, they ‘really trust him to look after our sons’. They cite his kindness and evident interest in recruiting ‘rounded, grounded boys ready to take on the world,’ but also in supporting those who haven’t found their path yet. The highlight of his week is the ‘atmosphere of fellowship’ with students, staff and parents at weekend sports matches - ‘including rugby even though he’s a footballer’, approved one father. Sport is his first love – he chairs the HMC sports committee – but he is equally enthusiastic about the arts, very proud that boys in the first XV rugby team can also be found dancing in the school musical.

Mr Knibbs is also deeply committed to increasing the number of ‘transformative bursaries’ and partnerships offered by the school and sees widening access as an imperative for the wider independent sector to address.


Highly selective. Around eight applicants per place and about half are interviewed. No sibling policy. Around 160 places at 11+, over half of whom join from 70 local state primaries; entry is via school’s own entrance exam plus interview and reference. Approximately 25 boys join from the prep each year, most through an assured place scheme. A further 50 places available at 13+ when boys sit school’s own pre-test at 11. Around 12 boys join in sixth form - boys need at least six grades 8 or 9 at GCSE. At all stages, school is looking for ‘boys who are intellectually curious, kind to others and want to get involved’.


Only around eight per cent leave after GCSEs. Universal praise for the ‘personally tailored’ advice on HE choices. Around 20 boys head for Oxbridge each year in a wide range of subjects, but all agree ‘it’s not an Oxbridge or nothing school’. Vast majority (over 90 per cent) head for Russell Group universities, with around 20 medics a year. Imperial, Queen’s College, St Peter’s College, Sidney Sussex College and Bristol all popular. Maths and engineering also have a strong showing — there’s a steady stream of Arkwright scholars. Usually, a couple each year go on to study music – two music scholarships at Oxbridge in 2023. Increasingly some venture internationally, mainly to US, often on sporting scholarships – recently to McGill, Toronto and San Diego. Boys regularly return for career advice long after they leave.

Latest results

In 2023, 91 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 70 per cent A*/A at A level (90 per cent A*-B). In 2019 (the last pre-pandemic results), 91 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 79 per cent A*/A at A level.

Teaching and learning

Academic life, like everything at Hampton, moves at quite a pace. It’s cool to be clever, and there’s a prevailing spirit of intellectual curiosity. Parents feel that Hampton gets a better balance than some competitors between academics and other activities. The strong focus on the boys’ happiness, alongside ‘really good teaching,’ helps them achieve exceptionally well academically but it is not a narrowly results-driven culture.

Excellent language options with French, German or Spanish in year 7 and Russian or Mandarin added in year 9, along with Latin which is compulsory in years 7 and 8 and Greek for the top Latinists. Teaching is inventive and engaging – we were captivated by an animated A level Spanish class looking at four different translations of Harry Potter including Basque. Many language teachers are native speakers ‘so they can discuss the culture too’, approved our guides. ICT is well-integrated into classroom teaching and homework – all boys have laptops — and increasing numbers take GCSE computer science each year. At A level, all start with four subjects and majority drop one at the end of lower sixth; scientists love keeping up art or a language for a little longer alongside their ‘university subjects’ – ‘having that creative outlet is really important’, observed one. School also offers its own version of EPQ in lower sixth.

Excellent dynamic of mutual respect between teachers and students: ‘they are all passionate about their subjects’, boys enthuse. Intellectual exploration is celebrated in every corridor – we loved a display about English teachers’ current reading. Staff are very responsive and proactive about helping anyone who needs an extra boost; one parent quipped that ‘we often think they know our sons even better than we do’. Parents feel teachers really understand how boys learn, with plenty of quizzes, practicals and interactive projects such as designing a town in geography and creating a volcano in chemistry.

Healthy level of staff turnover, about 10 per cent a year; head welcomes new staff from other high-quality schools — says it brings a ‘breath of fresh air that helps avoid progressive myopia’ – and is also proud that the aspirational culture extends to staff, many of whom gain promotions. School has worked hard to improve the gender balance within the teaching staff so that boys observe ‘visible leadership by talented female colleagues’: it’s now about 50/50.

Learning support and SEN

Very experienced and well-regarded SEN team supports boys with a range of needs including ADHD, sensory processing and autism. Around 380 pupils currently access varying levels of SEN support, plus around 16 with EAL Both one-to-one and small group interventions with lunchtime drop-in sessions popular, especially as exams loom. We could happily have spent all day in the gorgeous sensory ‘chill room’ with its comfy sofas, coloured lighting and aromatherapy diffuser - designed with pupil input. It is used for one-to-one work but also available for boys who just need some time out.

Parents praise the ‘proactive approach to diagnosis’ and liaison with external specialists. Baseline screening in years 7 and 9; teachers can also refer a pupil at any point, be it for handwriting support or specialist diagnosis. ‘Big focus on normalising SEND’, approve parents, which includes weaving topics into PSHE and using sensory checklists to inform adjustments to whole school environment. All teachers trained in dyslexia-friendly strategies, including in languages. Active neurodiversity society provides peer support and organises an annual neurodiversity celebration week.

The arts and extracurricular

‘An unbelievable breadth of clubs’, from beekeeping (delicious Hampton honey!) to board games to architectural Lego, means that everyone can find something to join, however obscure their interest. Many clubs were initiated by boys and ‘if something isn’t offered, we just have to ask’. Most happen during long lunch break to accommodate school bus timetable. Thriving chess scene, with a giant chess set in one quad and boards aplenty in sixth form common room: five teams regularly represent the school. Budding journalists can apply to the young reporter scheme, contribute to student-run Lion Print magazine and Sports Chronicle and see considerable success in national creative writing competitions. At the KS3 writers’ club, boys were bursting with inventive 10-word stories. Future politicians enjoy the mock parliament convened by sixth formers. Genocide80Twenty encapsulates the Hampton spirit - an awe-inspiring student-led research group, it works with experts, survivors and other schools to raise awareness of genocides worldwide.

Giving back is baked into the school’s DNA. Hampton shines in its focus on outreach and partnership. It’s a founding partner of Feltham College (the pioneering sixth form of Reach Academy) and has active links with several other local schools. Boys are expected to play their part too - charity fundraising (including for a school-sponsored orangutan) and volunteering opportunities abound, including helping year 1s with phonics in local primary schools and supporting a free Saturday morning extension programme, Lion Learning.

Well-structured enrichment programme gives the chance to try less mainstream sports, first aid, Italian and history of art. Sixth formers enjoy weekly sessions on UCAS prep, cookery, oracy and other life skills with neighbouring girls’ school LEH, collaboration with which is an important part of Hampton life. Heaps of inspiring external speakers. Trips abound, with geographers off to Tenerife and Russianists to Latvia, and joint volunteering adventures to Borneo and Namibia with LEH. Adventure society, open to all years, offers a heady mix of kayaking, mountain-biking, orienteering and sea-cliff climbing. Parents commended how well the school kept the extracurricular offer alive during lockdown, with a series of online celebrity interviews conducted by sixth formers and a ‘Cookalong with Hampton’.

Art is ‘really fantastic,’ say parents. Many corridors feel like art galleries, with beautifully-displayed, top quality work including a tantalising display of colourful ceramic cakes. Design and engineering too boasts three multi-media workshops, enabling a wide range of imaginative projects from coding to textiles to welding.

Music is ‘incredible’, with extensive performance opportunities in-house and at national festivals — about 50 events a year, including joint concerts with LEH and masterclasses from the likes of the Carducci Quartet. Around a third of boys learn at least one instrument, many to a very high standard, with subsidised lessons on more unusual instruments. Plenty of ensembles mean there’s something for everyone, including several student-led rock bands and a ‘laid-back choir’. Choral groups are especially impressive - an outstanding student-led chamber choir rehearsal left us speechless and the much-lauded Voices of Lions choir performs nationally including an annual trip to the Edinburgh Fringe. Our guides enthused about the recent ‘Unsilenced’ celebration of female composers.

Drama also ‘really excellent’, with students taking the lead on all backstage and tech aspects of shows in the superb Hammond theatre. We had a tantalising glimpse of an exuberant Joseph (jointly with Waldegrave school) being performed to an audience from local state primaries, complete with interval ice creams to create an authentic theatrical experience. Good range of shows including recent joint productions with LEH (a ‘legendary’ Legally Blonde) and Hampton High (The 39 Steps).


With sports fields stretching as far as the eye can see, an enormous ‘3G’ artificial pitch (packed with boys at lunchtime) and a superb boathouse on the Thames, it’s no surprise that sport features highly among reasons to choose Hampton. Very high standards and great success in national competitions; parents say ‘there is real depth and breadth’ nonetheless, with social leagues and individual sports such as golf, squash, sailing and windsurfing. One parent enthused about the coaching regime: ‘My sons went in as average sportsmen and came out as athletes’. Another noted the spirit of camaraderie that prevails, with alumni returning to support the last match of the year. A lot of boys manage to combine sport and music or drama, but often the commitment required from top-quality sports players means it’s one or the other.

Ethos and heritage

The school was set up over 450 years ago thanks to a bequest of property and land by local brewer and businessman, Robert Hammond. Formerly a grammar school but went independent in 1975. Somewhat austere 1930s LCC signature frontage with attractive gardens and courtyards connecting a maze of modern blocks behind. In a humorous nod to the expansive footprint, one courtyard even boasts a full-size model Tardis. One parent observed that ‘there’s something about the school that is reflected in the not-flashy buildings - it’s not about the facilities but what goes on inside them’. We’d concur – although the breathtaking sixth form collaborative study/workspace would put many a university to shame. Environmental concerns are high on the agenda, with solar panels, low carbon days and active sustainability group aiming for the EcoSchools green flag award.

Unashamedly academic and aspirational, it’s nonetheless a very inclusive and caring school, providing as many all-round opportunities as possible. Head characterises the ethos as ‘aspiring to your personal best while supporting those around you with kindness’. Staff and pupils wholeheartedly endorse this and see their education as a team effort: ‘it’s not a keeping up with the Joneses culture’, approved one parent. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the school’s ethos, not just a tick-box exercise: its Fitzwygram charitable foundation (named after an early benefactor) is working hard to fund more free places for able boys from the most economically deprived local areas, attracting strong parental backing – ‘we want a school that reflects real life diversity’.

Pastoral care, inclusivity and discipline

It’s a big and busy school, but no-one feels lost (colour-coded stairwells are a boon for new joiners). Parents praise the school’s thoughtful approach to integrating newcomers at both 11+ and 13+. Form groups take into account interests, geography, pre-existing friendships etc, recognising ‘how important your peers are’. Any occasional ‘argy-bargy’ is quickly stamped out in year 7 – ‘this is a school that makes it absolutely clear how to behave’, say parents. High expectations of self-discipline; words like integrity, respect and kindness featured prominently when we asked boys about school values.

Pastoral care is ‘second to none’: parents give it an A*. The ‘incredibly impressive and highly responsive’ pastoral team garners effusive praise for moving fast to provide ‘seamless and flexible’ support for any boy going through a rough patch or floundering. Counselling ‘is not seen as being for wimps’: ‘even quite macho boys’ are happy to visit the ‘very good counsellors’ – helpfully, one is also a rugby coach. Parents also value school’s proactive approach to developing mental resilience and emotional intelligence - it’s constantly researching new wellbeing tools and approaches, informed by an annual pupil survey. Mindfulness has been on the curriculum since 2012, not perhaps the first thing one might expect of a highly sporty environment. All year 10s do a 10-week mindfulness course and six-week wellbeing/resilience course which pupils say really help with their focus in sport and music as well as exam stress.

It’s an effective approach: although Hamptonians are always on the go, there’s a very positive buzz. Unusually, no houses – but lots of inter-form competitions and plenty of co-curricular opportunities for boys to get involved with other years. The popular mentoring programme sees older boys (identified by burgundy ties) helping out with younger classes at form time, offering a listening ear and giving practical tips. ‘I love it’, avowed one mentor who valued the different perspectives this affords. Sharing experiences is integral to the pastoral strategy: sixth form members of the diversity and inclusion group deliver PSHE sessions to younger years on topics such as self-esteem and inclusive language. Sixth formers also lead a joint PSHE working group with LEH.

Social responsibility, digital well-being and personal adaptability are threaded through the PSHE programme, with plenty of ‘real life challenges’ shared by alumni. Boys are encouraged to show emotions and be empathetic; no stigma in talking about mental health and ‘teachers are very sensitive about any topics coming up in PSHE which might be triggering’. Parents praise the way the school ‘really understands what boys need to succeed’ and is ‘very mindful that boys mature at different times and ages’, always ‘one step ahead’. ‘They go above and beyond in PSHE’, note parents; ‘our boys are thoroughly primed and prepped for the outside world’, approved one. Great support for parents too both individually and through excellent programme of pastoral talks.

Pupils and parents

Thoroughly decent, intellectually sparky yet grounded boys who are great company. 'The boys model our values. They are big-hearted and generous-spirited. They show that nice guys can be winners too’, approves the head. Some of the politest boys you could hope to meet, but definitely not ‘stuffed shirts’ - we loved their ready humour and zest for life. Parents say sixth formers were the best advert for the school at open days, ‘respectful and easy in their own skin’, and younger boys definitely aspire to be like them. We were struck by the supportive respect with which older boys treat younger ones. ‘Boys are genuinely pleased when their friends do well’, staff remark.

Parents too are a bright, friendly and down-to-earth lot, largely two working professionals, who value the school’s ethos and often make a deliberate choice of Hampton over less diverse schools. Many were state educated and had assumed their kids would follow suit but were ‘blown away by Hampton’ and love ‘the lack of pretentiousness’. The ‘absolutely phenomenal bus service’ run jointly with LEH has significantly increased the catchment in all directions, from Weybridge to Wimbledon, though plenty live locally. All very engaged, attending matches along with grandparents and friends, arranging social/fundraising events and singing in the joint choir with LEH. School sees parents as ‘an incredible resource’, working in many interesting fields and ‘generous with their time and advice’.

Money matters

Ninety-five boys (about seven per cent) are on completely free places, including trips and uniforms. School’s aspiration is to increase this to 10n per cent by 2028, all at 11+. Academic, all-rounder, art, choral, performing arts, music and sport scholarships carry a fee remission of between five and 15 per cent. Top-up bursaries also offered and some ad hoc discretionary support available for financial hardship.

The last word

One of the most genuinely inclusive, diverse independent schools in the London area, producing boys who are very conscious of their privileged education and make the very best of it - making a positive contribution to society is seen as an intrinsic part of that. It’s a fast-paced school and ‘your child has to be ready to run’, but we’d echo the head’s view that it’s ‘a values-led and not target-driven community’. ‘I wouldn’t have wanted any other school’, divulged one very satisfied customer. An ‘open and energetic’ school that is constantly striving to do even better. One parent summed it up perfectly: ‘Friendly, down-to-earth and ambitious: I’d recommend it to anyone’.

Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

Please contact Hampton School for details of SEN provision. 10-09

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

Who came from where

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