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Pencil skills taught one-to-one and phonics and maths in small groups from reception – and what 5 year old wouldn’t want to start penning their first novel in the enchanting indoor ‘writing den’, draped in toile and festooned with fairy lights? Years 1 to 4 mainly class taught (class size max 20) and follow International Primary Curriculum which ‘finds common ground between rigour and enjoyment’ and means subjects, other than English and maths, are taught thematically around topics such as chocolate or fashion (‘brilliant’ say parents)...

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What the school says...

At Eagle House our pupils are Learning for Life. Children are central to all we do. Our school is a way of life for all pupils. We unashamedly offer lots and know that busy children are happy and fulfilled children. We are in the business of teaching children to a high standard, turning them into confident and interested learners but the Eagle House experience offers more than this.

Learning for Life means that children benefit from an all-round education. They can feel confident in the classroom, on the games field, on the stage, in the concert hall, in the community. We want our children to learn and each individual is given the chance to stretch him or herself in every area. We instil a desire for knowledge, a respect for each other and the world around them and the motivation to succeed in all they do.
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All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.



What The Good Schools Guide says


Since September 2023, Ed Venables, previously director of admissions at Wellington College and well known to the Eagle House community as both a parent for the past 13 years and also as husband to Kate, who works at the school. He read classics at Oxford before initially pursuing a career in finance.


Pre-prep: trial day and usually automatic progression to prep. Prep: trial day, copies of reports and a reference from current head. Prep relatively non-selective but pupils ‘expected to be able to cope with the school’s academic course’. New class added in year 5. Year 7 entrants are tested in English, maths and reasoning.


About 60 per cent to Wellington College, making it the top feeder by some way. School assures us that entry requirements are the same as for other preps but ‘good discussions’ take place when considering applicants and assessment day ‘feels like a home match’. Solid numbers to Bradfield, Lord Wandsworth, Eton, Marlborough, Charterhouse, Farnborough Hill, Rugby and King's Canterbury. Eight scholarships in 2022.

Our view

Nestled in woodland between Crowthorne and Sandhurst, school was founded in Hammersmith in 1820 and has been on current site since 1886. Owned by neighbouring Wellington College yet manages to avoid a corporate feel and – for now at least – successfully hangs on to its own identity. Around the main mock-Tudor school house, with its panelled entrance hall (complete with roaring fire on the day of our wintry visit, and setting for school’s ‘legendary’ match teas), sit a number of additions. These vary in architectural style from ultra-modern (the Golden Eagle Centre, housing the drama studio and enviable sports hall, and the design lab with its robots, laser cutters and 3D printers) to tired portakabins (music centre and pool) – although school assures us that the end of these is in sight with plans afoot for a new music centre. Stunning modern library. We loved the maths classroom with writeable-on walls and swanky new science labs with their space-age work stations. A stroll past the pretty memorial garden leading to the quaint chapel with its stained-glass windows (see if you can guess which one was designed by a pupil) reminded us that despite all these whistles and bells we were still at a traditional prep school – albeit one that is not just moving with the times but ahead of them.

Delightful pre-prep department with outdoor spaces mirroring the classrooms within. Child-led teaching in the early years (recent question ‘How do you ride a unicorn?’ answered beautifully with the help of hobby horses): ‘It’s not the same old ideas coming out of the cupboard every year,’ smiled one staff member, ‘it keeps us fresh.’ Amen to that. From nursery, children take turns to prepare snacks for the rest of the class and join school lunch in the (recently refurbished) main dining room. Pencil skills taught one-to-one and phonics and maths in small groups from reception – and what 5-year-old wouldn’t want to start penning their first novel in the enchanting indoor ‘writing den’, draped in toile and festooned with fairy lights? Years 1 to 4 mainly class taught (class size max 20) and follow International Primary Curriculum, which ‘finds common ground between rigour and enjoyment’ and means subjects, other than English and maths, are taught thematically around topics such as chocolate or fashion (‘brilliant,’ say parents). Each topic has a ‘wow’ entry point (think chocolate workshop) and ‘knowledge harvest’ at the start to engage pupils and set the direction of learning. The ‘exit point’ often sees pupils’ work showcased to parents.

School has released itself from the shackles of traditional CE, with years 5 to 8 benefiting from greater breadth under Curriculum 200 – ‘a new, rich, robust, assessment-led curriculum that will furnish senior schools with a valuable portfolio of academic data,’ according to school. All lessons an hour long (‘it can be a bit hard to concentrate that long,’ admitted pupils). First school we’ve ever visited where pupils decreed Latin their ‘most fun’ subject; ‘science experiments in the dark’ a close second.

Inviting ‘extra learning’ classroom is the hub for two full-time SEN staff who work with pupils with mild to moderate SpLD, in a combination of one-to-one and group work. Six hours a week spent in pre-prep supporting eg development of fine motor and social skills. One full-time EAL teacher.

Compulsory Saturday school now on alternate weeks, comprising two academic lessons followed by Golden Eagle activities which focus on either service in the community or teamwork and leadership; head ‘very proud’ of service ethos – an excellent example of school’s ‘joined-up thinking with Wellington’. We asked pupils of which of the holy prep school trinity – drama, music and sport – they were most proud. Drama was the hands-down winner: ‘amazing’ they chorused; ‘it’s the really cool thing to do here.’ Inspirational head of drama ‘really pushes us,’ they told us. Parents say he doesn’t mince his words and ‘gives them a really hard time’ when drawing the very best performance out of his cast members (the maestro himself told us ‘we’re not really trying to do a school show – it’s got to be better than that – it’s more about youth theatre’). Such pursuit of excellence draws auditionees in droves, with 150 pupils across the school signing up to audition for a recent production of Joseph – 55 of them gunning for main parts. Up to three productions in rehearsal at any one time, plus an annual trip to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe. LAMDA taught by Wellington’s drama coach. Music also shines and is on curriculum to year 8. Ninety pupils are part of senior choir, and with a thrilling repertoire including rock, pop, gospel and world music – as well as international tours, most recently to Holland – we’re not surprised. Some 85 per cent of cohort take peripatetic music lessons and showcase their talents at local care homes as part of the Golden Eagle programme as well as informal lunchtime concerts and larger termly performances.

Sport every day. Boys play half a term each of football and rugby (some said they would prefer a greater focus on one or the other), followed by hockey after Christmas and cricket in the summer term. For girls it’s netball, hockey and now cricket rather than rounders as main summer sport (cue delighted cheers). School all for mixed-gender teams and predicts there will be female players in the first cricket team within two years. Watch this space. Some matches played on Wellington’s pitches and everyone participates. Is it important to win? we asked. Surprisingly, the reply was ‘not really – we just like to enjoy it’. Some parents grumbled that the sporting ethos could be more competitive but school takes pride in its inclusive ethos and concurs that enjoyment is the number one factor. Despite this, trophy cabinets are far from empty and ‘school hits nationals most years in one sport or another’. Specialist sports teaching from reception and timetable has now been rejigged to ensure that top coaches, including a pro London Irish rugby coach, train all pupils, not just the elite. Biennial sports tours – netball and cricket to Antigua, hockey to Holland and football in the UK. Thirty sports on co-curricular list, from fencing or karate to laser clay pigeon shooting and roller-skating. Huge extracurricular programme takes place at lunchtimes and after school with around 60 activities on offer every week and pupils in year 6 and below expected to participate in one a day. If it all gets a bit much, those seeking quiet time can retreat to the library for ‘colour, chat and chill’ time during the lunch break. Pupils love the activities fair that takes place at the beginning of every term.

Learning for Life programme (PSHE) covers all matters pastoral, including SRE, wellbeing, mindfulness, feelings and emotions. ‘We make it relevant the whole time,’ says school. ‘Pupils know that people here have their backs.’ Pupils who had experienced significant family events told us openly and with staggering maturity how supportive school had been in helping them through difficulties. Many schools say they’re like a family but Eagle House palpably feels like one; a recent year 7 joiner told us he’d 'never felt more welcome anywhere’.


Flexible boarding model can accommodate up to 70 pupils from year 3 from two to five nights a week in lovely spacious dorms. Girls’ dorms, of course, are adorned with personal effects and boys’ rather bare; gender stereotypes are hard at work with pink and blue everything respectively. Gorgeous newly renovated common room with cushy sofas makes a cosy hub for evening down time and boarding parents are ‘brilliant’, say parents, who love the weekly boarding newsletters that keep them informed of their children’s activities.

The last word

Whether your sights are set on increasing the odds of a place at Wellington several years hence or you’re keeping your options wide open, your child can’t fail to enjoy his or her journey through this progressive, kind and buzzy school, described by one parent as ‘a beating heart that just doesn’t stop’. Sounds like win win to us.

Special Education Needs

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia Y
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
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 Y
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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