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Every parent we spoke to cited the ‘beautiful buildings’ or ‘stunning grounds’ as one of their top reasons for choosing Edgeborough – that, and the opportunities it offers. ‘We want to create curious, independent people who question and analyse and think outside the box,’ said the deputy head and staff are happy to practise what they preach. Kudos to the bubbly head of science who immersed herself in a wheelie bin of water to determine the density of a human body. To balance with the modern, we witnessed some wholesome, traditional teaching on our tour…

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What the school says...

Edgeborough is an IAPS School, for girls and boys aged 2-13, with day and weekly boarding. Situated in 50 acres of beautiful countryside just outside Farnham, Surrey, the stunning grounds enhance the education that is provided at the school. With an emphasis on a happy, family atmosphere, Edgeborough fosters all round development and a balanced, first class education.

Small class sizes ensure that each child’s progress is recognised and encouraged, with children also being well prepared for the exciting challenges they will face at one of the many excellent day and boarding senior schools available both locally and nationally.

A range of extra-curricular activities and clubs provide the opportunity for teachers to nurture and develop pupils’ self-esteem. The vast outdoor space is ripe for discovering and is a constant source of enjoyment for pupils. The specialist facilities help make learning fun; enriching the academic, social and cultural aspects of school life

The opportunity to meet with prospective parents and offer a personal tour of the school, seeing Edgeborough in full-flow, is welcomed. Appointments are made on an individual basis at your convenience. Of course, termly Open Mornings are another way of seeing the school in action while still getting to meet the Headmaster, staff and pupils.
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What The Good Schools Guide says

Head

Since 2022, Daniel Cox, previously deputy head of Lambrook and before that, director of sport at Churcher’s College, where he completed an MSc in educational leadership and management. First degree and teacher training at University of Chichester. State educated in Surrey at a ‘big school on a rough estate’, he began his teaching career in the state sector. Staff and parents describe him as ‘grounded with an air of humility’ and he says he wants to ensure that ‘a good dollop of normality’ is part and parcel of Edgeborough life.

Along with his hugely supportive wife Lucy and two daughters who attend the school, he has brought a positive vibe to the place. The superlatives tumble off parents’ tongues when he is mentioned: ‘fun’, ‘dedicated’, ‘engaging’, ‘warm’, ‘really makes an effort’. His door is always open and his relatability appears to be a real draw. Not owning a dog was the closest we got to a negative comment.

Pupils are charmed by his jovial personality. From headstands in assembly (‘His face went bright red!’ said one child) to forward rolls on the climbing frame, he dares to join in and knows how to put a smile on their faces. He’s familiar with them all, not just by name. ‘He even knows which football team I support,’ said another.

For all his bonhomie, he is a progressive thinker. Having inherited the school in good health, he is firmly focused on the next chapter. Becoming part of the Charterhouse family has enabled the school to be ‘bolder with our investment’ and ‘intelligent with our thinking’, he says.

He’s also a governor at a state school in West Sussex and when he does get some free time, you’ll find him and his family at his Chichester harbour home or out on the water.

Entrance

Non-selective entry into reception for around 20 pupils each year. Another intake at year 3 to form three classes. Year 7 is the next key entry point, but school will accept applications into other year groups if vacancies occur. Entry by taster day for those joining after reception and previous school reports requested.

Exit

Some pupils leave at 11+ but most head off to a variety of day and boarding senior schools at 13. Charterhouse currently most popular, followed by Lord Wandsworth College. Others to Bryanston, Canford, Cranleigh, Churcher’ss College, Frensham Heights, King Edward’s Witley, Prior’s Field, RGS Guildford, Seaford, Royal School Haslemere, St Catherine’s, St George’s Weybridge, St Nicholas, Wellington and Winchester. In 2024, 21 scholarships.

Our view

Nestled in a 50-acre woodland estate on the fringes of Farnham, with a grand Victorian house and far-reaching views. Every parent we spoke to cited the ‘beautiful buildings’ or ‘stunning grounds’ as one of their top reasons for choosing Edgeborough – that, and the opportunities it offers. ‘The children are always active and busy’ and ‘encouraged to try everything’, they said. Edgeborough has been part of the Charterhouse family of schools since 2021.

Nursery and pre-prep are ‘where the magic happens’, say parents. Every class we visited was lively and chatty and still buzzing from their delightful nativity performance, which we crept into earlier (although we were disappointed not to see a real donkey on stage this year). Praised by parents for its incredible outdoor woodland learning (OWL) programme. Once a week pupils head into the forest to toast marshmallows, climb trees, build dens and get as dirty as they like. They also enjoy swimming, PE/games, music and French with specialist teachers, as well as cooking, cycling and gardening activities. Embedding the school’s values of adventure, responsibility, kindness (or ARK) begins in circle time and assemblies.

Prep school curriculum follows pre-senior baccalaureate programme of study. ‘We want to create curious, independent people who question and analyse and think outside the box,’ said the deputy head - and staff are happy to practise what they preach. Kudos to the bubbly head of science who immersed herself in a wheelie bin of water to determine the density of a human body. To balance with the modern, we witnessed some wholesome, traditional teaching on our tour – observational drawing (classical music in the background), Latin grammar and a charming woodwork lesson entailing cutting and sanding mini treasure chests.

Unsurprisingly, given the bucolic setting, the outdoors plays a big part in pupils’ learning as they progress up the school. OWL programme morphs into the Edge in years 3 and 4 (think map-reading, orienteering and pond-dipping). Technology woven into the curriculum, with iPads supporting learning from year 6 (bought by parents, managed by school). ARK values reinforced through PHSE programme.

Big emphasis on ‘descriptive praise’, which begins in pre-prep and upholds school’s desire to develop creative and independent thinkers. Pupils motivated by dojo points (school’s reward system) which feed into house competition. ‘Ten dojo points and you get sweets!’

Parents’ general consensus is that ‘pupils do well without being hothoused’. It’s another reason many choose it. Average class size of 14. Future scholars’ programme stretches bright and talented pupils and offers additional educational experiences (mentors, lectures and tailored visits/workshops).

Currently around 15 per cent require SEN support. Testing for SEN as and when required from reception onwards. School can deal with dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD and mild speech and language difficulties. Learning support (known as LEAP) is praised by parents for its practicality and encouraging staff. ‘Touch-typing classes have been a godsend,’ declared one parent. Pupils less keen on one-to-one LEAP sessions but school says it aims to provide as much in-class support as possible.

Parents enthuse about the ‘inclusive’ music programme and ‘dynamic’ head of music. Plenty of opportunities to perform publicly and ‘even those who are musically challenged are encouraged to get up on stage’. Every child learns the violin in year 2. Around 80 per cent take individual instrumental or singing lessons. Drama is a clear favourite, with annual year 5 production (most recently Seussical the Musical) and joint year 7 and 8 production (latest was The Lion King). LAMDA on offer too. High-quality art displayed in the art room and corridor walls. Annual festival celebrates creativity across the arts subjects.

Big on sport. ‘Overshadows everything!’ said one parent. Another loved the fact that his previously un-sporty daughter had progressed from E to A team in a short time. PE/games timetabled four times a week from year 3, and many choose to play more often as part of the enrichment opportunities. Regular success at high level but inclusive approach means everyone has a chance to represent the school. Football, hockey and cricket for all, plus netball for girls and rugby for boys. Lacrosse recently phased out much to the delight of our year 8 guide. School has its own pitches, Astro, climbing wall and outdoor heated pool (still not covered but ‘it’s warm once you’re in’) and pupils now benefit from extensive sports facilities at Charterhouse too.

It’s a long day, with collection as late as 7.30pm from year 5 upwards, but no Saturday school. Some feel the day is too long but it’s attractive for families with two working parents. Extracurricular activities aplenty – ballet, chess, judo, coding. Dance academy a popular option. Plenty of well-organised trips, with residentials from year 3 upwards (Isle of Wight, France and Wales, as well as camping in school grounds). Sports tour and choir tour every other year.

Food is spoken of highly by pupils – ‘the breakfast pancakes are to die for’ – and everything cooked on site. Honey-glazed roast gammon and peach sponge were on the menu alongside an impressive seafood and salad bar. We sat with a delightful group of pupils who chatted away whilst scooping out the flesh of their moules marinière. Pupils dine alongside teachers at long wooden tables in the old school dining room. Hugely popular dining-in days (parents and grandparents join children for lunch) once a month.

Pastoral care gets high acclaim. ‘We chose it because it’s so nurturing,’ said one parent. ‘The family feel netted us,’ said another. The happy, carefree atmosphere caught our attention too. Pupils are clear on who they can go to with problems. Trained anti-bullying ambassadors from years 3 to 7 wrote a section of the school’s anti-bullying policy. Pupils praise the gappies, who live within the school grounds and are like ‘cool big brothers and sisters’. Pupil voice is important; pupil committees include school council, learning council, food committee and eco committee. School changed uniform policy when girls lobbied to wear trousers. ‘The fewer things that are different for boys and girls, the better,’ says the head.

Communication between school and home is ‘excellent, very responsive’. Parents said the tiniest query is sorted the same day with most emails replied to within 24 hours. ‘If there is a problem, they’re on it,’ commented one parent. ‘Weekly newsletter is brilliant’ and parents grateful for streamlining of emails into one weekly mailing.

The head says the school attracts ‘down to earth’ families typical of local Surrey demographic. Large number of post-pandemic London relocations. Parents actively involved – dining-in days, Friday service and match teas. ‘Great community feel.’ Lots of social activity outside school too. Biggest bugbear is the ‘drive-by’ drop-off situation which will hopefully be resolved by new car park.

Boarders

No Saturday school – boarding is Monday to Friday only. Boarding from year 4 although majority start from year 5. Currently around 60 regular boarders of which almost all are flexi boarders. Entrance to the original house, Frensham Place, which boasts an open fire and plush sofas, offers a warmer welcome than the boarding quarters above – or maybe the sparseness (tidiness?) was for our benefit. It doesn’t bother pupils though. Everyone we spoke to either boarded (usually just once a week) or wanted to. One pupil specifically requested to board the night of her birthday. ‘It’s like a series of sleepovers,’ said another. Around six beds in each, with great views mostly. No ensuites but nice, clean communal bathrooms. Homely kitchen where boarders can make tea and toast. No mobile phones policy is ‘a parent’s dream’. Pupils stay in touch with home via landline.

The last word

The head tells pupils to ‘aim for the stars, keep your feet on the ground’ – a fitting mantra for an inclusive, unpretentious school that produces well-rounded, thoughtful, interested young people – in idyllic surroundings to boot. Parents say that ‘any child would find something to enjoy’, although ‘it helps if you like sport’.

Special Education Needs

At Edgeborough around 10 per cent of pupils have been identified with a specific difficulty, which ranges from dyslexia, dyscalculia, processing difficulties, ADD, a hearing or a visual impairment, or mild speech and language difficulties. The LEAP (Learning Acceleration Programme) Zone consists of five teachers who have additional teaching qualifications in specific learning difficulties and who work one-to-one with pupils. They may also support the class/ subject teacher in the classroom and take individual groups of children for targeted work. In addition the school has at least one teaching assistant supporting the teacher in the classroom from reception to year 5, depending upon where the need is greatest, who also offer small group interventions such as support in literacy and mathematics, guided reading sessions and handwriting activities. There are currently a handful of children who have English as an additional language and they are supported within the class setting.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Aspergers
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
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 Y
VI - Visual Impairment

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