Skip to main content

What says..

Art studio - packed with textiles, applique, clay, 3D sculptures and still life - spreads across the eaves. ‘It’s about understanding fundamentals then letting imaginations soar,' says head of department. The school is renowned for music tradition, with peripatetic teachers tutoring 80 per cent of pupils from year 2. Enrichment workshops include year 6 engineering project, Bikeability and ancient Greek day. Pastoral care ‘front and centre,’ say parents. Pupils are happy, relaxed and immaculate in their burgundy uniform. Parents a rich blend of...

Read review »

Do you know this school?

The schools we choose, and what we say about them, are founded on parents’ views. If you know this school, please share your views with us.

Please login to post a comment.

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2006, Robert Yates BA MA PGCE FCCT. Born one of five and state educated locally (first cohort at St Peter’s Solihull, ‘shows my age!’), where he says his young life ‘was sport’ (football, cricket, tennis). Following degree in general studies from Chester College of Higher Education, he worked briefly for a local estate agent but, spotting a snake of burgundy blazers one day, ‘flicked a switch’ and realised he was ‘bored’ in the commercial world. Did PGCE at Crewe and Alsager College, little realising the snaking pupils were Eversfield boys - until 1987, when destiny struck and he gained his first teaching post there.

‘You only get to grips with teaching in the state sector,' opined his old headmaster at a conference a few years later - immediately offering him a job. Took ‘leap of faith’, though admits it was a ‘tough learning curve'. After a stint at St Bernadette’s RC Primary School, Birmingham, he rose to acting head, then head, at St Patrick’s RC Primary School, Chelmsley Wood and now wholeheartedly agrees with his old head, and ‘rarely’ employs teachers without state sector experience. ‘Very settled’ until Eversfield headship advertised – ‘I knew my spiritual home was calling - they’ll have to carry me out in a box!’

Parents and pupils say he is the ‘heart and soul of school', ‘informal’ and that he ‘is Eversfield'. Above all, they’re grateful that he completely reversed the school’s fortunes, steering it from a financially failing’ 13+ boys’ school to flourishing’ co-ed 11+. Campus has been transformed with smart facilities and, while retaining the ‘best of tradition', he has developed a ‘modern, child centred, inclusive approach’. Still teaches religion and philosophy to year 5: ‘I want to know what makes them tick.’ Staff laud his ‘inspiring teaching culture’ and his commitment to CPD, saying he leads by example (currently a PhD in education, Birmingham University).

Home is literally at the school gates, which he points to from his rather bare study (‘It’s the tidiest it’s ever been - in your honour!’). Two children, both educated at Eversfield then Warwick Foundation. Daughter in industry, son professional cricketer for Warwickshire CCC. He still loves sport too, playing league tennis and running (recently The Great North Run), enjoying occasional ‘mud and obstacle’ events (‘You should try them, they’re great fun’).


From 2+ on a first come, first served basis. Reception entry following informal meeting with staff. From year 1, there’s a taster day including assessments in phonics and numeracy, with maths and English tests added from year 3. School understands children may have ‘gaps we can fill’, rarely turning down on attainment. Spaces sometimes available higher up (eg year 6 was ‘a little light’ when we visited); other years have waiting lists (eg reception when we visited). Overall reduction in numbers when Solihull School opened a prep, but ‘back on track'.


At 11+ to over 25 schools - 80 per cent independent, 20 per cent state (half of those to grammars, for which school reports 90 per cent success rate and 50 per cent uptake). Most popular independents are Warwick Foundation, Solihull and Bromsgrove. Local grammars include Stratford Girls, Bishop Vesey’s, King Edward VI and Alcester. State options frequently include Alderbrook, Arden Academy and Tudor Grange. All year 5 parents get ‘candid dialogue’ about realistic options with the head, who ‘monitors’ secondaries’ approaches. In 2023, 20 scholarships.

Our view

Slap bang in the centre of Solihull, the traditional Victorian redbrick frontage gives no clue to the five-acre campus beyond, where clusters of classrooms, intersected by colourful playgrounds and neatly manicured lawns, lead to large onsite pitches. The only downside (understandable in a town centre school) is drop-off via a residential side road (there’s no school bus system).

Value added a priority: ‘We guide children to discover talents, develop them, then strive beyond.' From reception, 40 pupils are split across two classes, with TAs up until year 3. From year 4, maths split into three groups; ditto for English from year 5. Groups not always based on ability – depends on the academic mix of the year group, says school. Specialist teaching from year 1 in French, Spanish, music, games and PE, and from year 3 in science, Latin and art. Scholarship programme for academic extension from year 3. Lower school pupils expected to do reading, spellings and maths at home, more formal homework kicks in from year 3. Pupils approve of the academic pace. ‘Unfortunately, pressure tends to come at home but we counter this by building confidence and supporting,' says head.

Lower school nestles behind a picket fence with rather small outdoor play area and slightly tired climbing apparatus – (reception also use ‘trim trail’ apparatus and updated middle school play areas). Kindergarten (maximum 16) blends with nursery (maximum 40), with lots of ‘settling in’ opportunities eg parents can ‘stay and play’ for first sessions. Large, slightly haphazard, open-plan room set up for independent learning experiences, creative play and structured activities. Emphasis on fun - we watched a lively group walking closely in a line, arms aloft and wobbling, with one brave adventurer hallooing, ‘Here I come - I’m the crocodile, you’re a shark!’

Active participation welcomed in reception, where walls are generously sprinkled with letters, numbers and phonics. We saw 20 pairs of eyes glued to the teachers’ projection of pencil control. ‘Noooo!’ they all shouted when she got it wrong; ‘Yeees!’ when correct.

No mundane ‘talk and chalk’ in middle and upper school either, with lively, inspiring lessons in every classroom. Struck by a miasma of minty freshness in science lab, we found year 5s stooping over lab sinks brushing avidly before being presented with blue pills to uncover lurking plaque - and blue tongues, to great hilarity. Recently refurbished, futuristic screens rise like swans from individual stations in ICT – undaunted, year 2 pupils logged in adeptly (iPads in every classroom too, including lower school). Years 1 to 6 learn programming, algorithms, animating, editing and blogging. Upper school library with wall-to-wall spines and calming nook (tropical fish tank and seating), also something of a social hub at break times. All undertake the Accelerated Reading Scheme – bank of iPads for self-testing before house credit awarded.

Lots of encouragement to ‘have a go’ in language lessons. ‘Buenos dias!’ greeted the friendly Spanish teacher in an interactive year 3 grammar lesson, motivating more reticent voices with ‘muy bien’. ‘Gratissimum’, heralded the Latin master, beckoning us to join year 5 translation. ‘Praeclarus!’, rejoiced ‘sir’, arms flung to the heavens at confident attempts.

Throughout the bright white corridors, there is a profusion of notice boards, heaving with creative and academic displays eg photos of trips (year 4 to Snowdonia), profiles of anti-bullying prefects (for ease of recognition), snapshots of weekly fixtures and house boards announcing points, leading to airy classrooms chocabloc with recent projects. Forest school was closed during our visit due to inclement weather - our tour guide said ‘it’s for the little ones’ anyway (story circle, exploring opportunities, den building etc). ‘Sometimes we do lessons there – but we prefer to be inside.'

SENCo (part-time) and specialist TA (full-time) focus on training teachers to assist the eight per cent of pupils (significantly lower than national average) currently requiring additional help. Recent move to take learning support into the classroom initially questioned by parents – but they now see the benefit: ‘It’s much better for continuity and less unsettling.' Just two per cent of those requiring help receive one-to-one or group sessions in the light, airy centrally located learning support office. Good comms with parents, including termly meetings (teachers, parents, external agencies). Experience in speech and language (external agency), dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, autism. Recent influx of EAL pupils (local industry) saw ‘immersion with support’.

Art studio - packed with textiles, applique, clay, 3D sculptures and still life - spreads across the eaves. ‘It’s about understanding fundamentals then letting imaginations soar,' says head of department. At odds with neighbouring DT studio – rather desolate – where no displays, equipment or projects on the go. Art and DT alternate with food tech from years 1 to 6 where pupils benefit from individual work stations and opportunity to take culinary creations home.

Drama didn’t rate much of a mention from lower school parents – lower school unite for traditional nativity, middle school for Easter performance, Shakespeare in a Week for year 5. However full blown (often musical) year 6 production heralded as ‘secondary standard’ and ‘breathtakingly good’. Majority do LAMDA (at additional cost).

Skirting round the immaculate ‘headmaster’s lawn’ we were welcomed to the ‘Senior Singers’ lunchtime group. Lengthy warm up (stretching, lip trills and rolling scales) led by charismatic head of music, before harvest voices began to blend and soar. The school is renowned for music tradition, with peripatetic teachers tutoring 80 per cent of pupils from year 2. ‘Little Fingers’ introduces piano to tots, plus lower school violin projects (lucky teachers offered gratis introductory instruction). Five choirs, string orchestra, guitar ensemble and ‘Beat It’ drum group.

Sport moving towards more co-ed teaching. ‘Everyone competes for the school at some point,’ said a pupil. 'But we play to win,' added head of sport. A and B teams fielded (rugby becomes one ‘competitive’ squad after rigours of contact introduced). Spacious sports hall, with indoor cricket nets, multitasks as assembly room and theatre with lighting rig, sound system, stage and seating for 220. Swimming for all in the 20m pool – individuals and teams regularly reach IAPS national finals. Outside, there are rugby and football pitches, cricket square, Astro courts – outstanding for a standalone prep. Pupils describe themselves as ‘average’ but point out there’s ‘lots of local competition’ (mainly Warwick Foundation, Solihull, Bablake). Annual highlight is whole school sports day relay.

Enrichment workshops include year 6 engineering project, Bikeability and ancient Greek day. Trips to museums, theatres, geographical and historical sites. Hotly anticipated residentials from year 4. Tons of clubs, morning, noon and night: ‘Fizz Pop Science’, fencing, chess, sports etc. Two house system (Saxons and Angles), provoking fierce competition for pluses (and, woe betide, minuses) across all aspects of school life.

Pastoral care ‘front and centre,’ say parents. Peer mentoring by way of anti-bullying ambassadors and buddies, and school says any unkindness is ‘swiftly’ dealt with. ‘No sniff’ of bullying, report parents. Wellbeing Wednesdays offer chance to ‘unburden’ to the pastoral lead, and notes can be popped in the ‘worry box’. PSHE covers safety, phones, friendship and more. Active school council from year 2: ‘Fencing club was our idea,’ a member reported.

Praise for school chef, who compiles menus to suit all tastes and appetites. Wednesday roast and Friday fish and chips top popularity charts. Dining hall gently murmurs, children polite and chatty, excusing themselves to clear own plates – and to our delight, ours.

Pupils are happy, relaxed and immaculate in their burgundy uniform, accented by house colour (shirts for girls, ties for boys). Outside, boys still doff caps (girls excused due to practicality of boater elastic). They immediately stand and chorus ‘Good morning,’ with beaming smiles, in every classroom.

Parents a rich blend of nationalities and professions. Community choir, committees – social and fundraising – all on offer. ‘It’s active if you want or you can opt out, no pressure,’ a parent told us, while WhatsApp groups ease connections, ‘especially for new parents'. Many point to the ‘non-judge-y atmosphere’ - ‘it’s ‘just really friendly’.

Money matters

Means-tested bursary support, up to 100 per cent, for low-income families.

The last word

A warm hearted, bustling prep that combines the very best of tradition with a modern, inclusive approach – resulting in happy, well-mannered pupils who pull together enthusiastically, yet are fostered as individuals.

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
☑ Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

Buy Now

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.