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  • Halliford School
    Russell Road
    TW17 9HX
  • Head: Mr James Davies
  • T 01932 223593
  • F 01932 229781
  • E [email protected]
  • W
  • A mainstream independent school for boys aged from 11 to 18 and girls from 16 to18
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Surrey
  • Pupils: 461; sixth formers: 100
  • Religion: Non-denominational
  • Fees: £20,850 pa
  • Open days: Open Mornings in February and October. Visitor Mornings in March, May and November. Sixth Form Open Evenings in May and October. For more information and to book please visit the Admissions section on our website.
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Ofsted report: View the Ofsted report
  • ISI report: View the ISI report

What says..

Staff mantra is, ‘No one gets lost - push top, middle and bottom and celebrate every success.’ Impressive performance hall, where walls are adorned with photos of recent whole-school productions including Spamalot and The Odyssey. All students encouraged to get involved. impressive commitment to football, rugby and cricket and regular fixtures for students of all ages. We didn’t, however, get the impression that...

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What the school says...

Halliford is a warm-hearted School founded on strong family values where we are proud to know and be respectful of every student as an individual. Our theme ‘Come as you are. Go as all you can be’ perfectly encapsulates our mission to encourage and support Hallifordians to flourish and become the best version of themselves that they can possibly be. Our boys join us for their seven-year journey from 11 to 18 and we warmly welcome girls to join our co-educational Sixth Form, which provides our senior students with the opportunities to excel in a more independent environment. Rated by ISI as ‘Excellent in all areas’ in December 2022, Halliford is an incredible community to belong to and spend part of their only childhood.

The world for which our children are being readied has changed. That is undeniable. A preparation for life that is grounded solely in the statistical outcomes of grades and marks is just not enough anymore. Creating young individuals who function like computers, merely recalling information when prompted, holds little meaning in a digital age where vast knowledge often resides in our pockets.

Now, more than ever, our role is to nurture humanity - to cultivate good people. Our aim must be to help our children become the kind of individuals that the future desperately needs and seeks.

We proudly consider ourselves a small school, without any apologies. The advantage of our size is our deep familiarity with one another. We see and know each student beyond the crowd; no one ever gets lost here. Despite our size, we are well-equipped, both on-site and through extensive partnerships worldwide. We have the resources to deliver comprehensive and in-depth subject matter, and we will always strive to make the impossible possible if it benefits our students.

At Halliford, our boys and girls will consistently experience the reassurance that we are here for them, ready to listen and do everything within our power to help them achieve, and achieve they do.

If your family is looking for academic achievement delivered alongside both a breadth of experience and the moral compass the modern world craves, Halliford may well be a place to call home. Ours is a proudly successful school.

The cornerstone of that success - and of the Halliford community - is respect. A mutual respect for the abilities and interests of each other. We are unashamedly proud of our school, with students and staff proud to be a Hallifordian. It is the pride of belonging to something bigger than oneself, a pride that sees the Halliford hoodie still well-worn years later.

Our pursuit of excellence is characterised by academic ambition balanced with academic sensitivity. We inspire Hallifordians within a community founded on exceptional teaching and learning, outstanding pastoral care and first-class sporting, cultural and co-curricular opportunities. To browse a person’s past and read Halliford School should mean something, and it does.

We invite you to come as you are, not as what you think you should be. Halliford is a place of acceptance and diversity; not just in the form of representing our community, but in encouraging the passions, the curiosities, and the interests that drive people. We believe that people make life interesting, and Halliford School is a haven for interesting people.

Some things matter that little bit more to us. It matters that our families trust us with their most precious asset. It matters that our boys feel excitement and belonging when they put on their blazer, and that Hallifordians go on to be the best they can be.

To truly understand the distinctive culture and ethos of our School, we warmly invite you to visit us. I very much look forward to personally welcoming you to see for yourself if it is the right school for your child’s future education.
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2017, James Davies BMus (University of Sheffield) LGSM FASc ACertCM PGCE. Keen musician with deep-rooted passion for pastoral care. Warm and welcoming, a Mancunian who discovered love of teaching when doing work experience in an underprivileged area of Sheffield, working with ‘35 non-English-speaking students and a broken piano’. First teaching post was as assistant director of music at Ashville College, later becoming day housemaster, thence to Scarborough College as director of music and senior housemaster, later deputy head and latterly to the King’s School Tynemouth as deputy head. From there to headmaster at St Bees Cumbria, which closed in 2016. Prior to joining Halliford, worked as an educational consultant and inspector.
Upon joining Halliford, he discovered ‘a school with a heart that needed to be loved’ and was determined to recreate the boarding school warmth and strong sense of community he was so familiar with from his childhood and early career. ‘It’s been a real journey and I’m extremely proud of how far we’ve come.’
Parents say he has achieved his aim: ‘He gets to know every single boy as an individual, knows what makes them tick and takes a genuine interest.’ ‘He even turns up on the touchline at Saturday matches and chats with us.’ A parent keen to ‘replicate the magic of a small and nurturing prep school’ chose Halliford over four others visited because ‘Mr Davies was the only head that delivered a speech without notes and from the heart’. That ‘clinched the deal’.
We met him on duty at the school gates, greeting each student by first name, enquiring after results of school cricket match and wishing others good luck in their art exam that morning. His warm persona is evident with students and staff alike. As his PA served us with tea his response was, ‘Cheers, chuck’.
Loves being on and around the water. Served as lifeboat crew with RNLI, and intends to volunteer with them after retirement. Professional organist. Would have followed in Olympic footsteps of his father and sister were it not for a serious injury. Still adjusting to the faster pace of suburban life – enjoys family time in the peace and tranquillity of Wales.


A gentle approach to academic selection. Sixty places up for grabs in year 7, about half entering from local preps, the rest from state primaries with no dominant feeders. Another 12 join in year 9. Around five applicants for every place. All applicants are interviewed by head prior to taking an entrance exam in English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning: a unique approach which goes down well with parents. They are kept on their toes too as school says it ‘ranks parental commitment as highly as academic success when considering applications’. Around 50 join at sixth form, when applicants need five grade 5s at GCSEs (including English and maths), a school report and an interview with head and head of sixth form.


All students invited to remain for sixth form with 20 per cent leaving after GCSEs, usually for one of the many local sixth form colleges. Uni destinations spread across the nation – favourites include Bath, Durham, Loughborough, Nottingham. Two to Oxbridge in 2022. Popular courses include economics, engineering, psychology, politics and physics. Degree apprenticeships attract some students – recently to Schroders, Unilever, Arbuthnot Laitham (investment bank).

Latest results

In 2022, 34 per cent 9-7 at GCSE (97 per cent 9-4); 31 per cent A*/A at A level (60 per cent A*-B). In 2019 (the last pre-pandemic results), 41 per cent 9-7 at GCSE (95 per cent 9-4); 15.2 per cent A*/A at A level (46 per cent A*-B).

Teaching and learning

Staff mantra is, ‘No one gets lost - push top, middle and bottom and celebrate every success.’ Doesn’t exactly slip off the tongue, but effective in practice. One parent told us they’d chosen Halliford because they focus on ‘where you start and where you end up’. ‘Our son is making good academic progress because he feels comfortable,’ commented another. Six high-achievers identified from year 8, with progress carefully monitored to ensure sufficient challenge, along with extra academic discussions, lectures and trips.
Tailored learning helped by Halliford’s smaller size than other local independents. Class sizes between 16 and 22 in years 7-9, dropping to average of 16 in years 10 and 11, and 12 or fewer in sixth form. Setting in maths and MFL from year 8 and sciences in year 9. Study skills course in year 9. Latin from year 7 along with French and either Spanish or German – at least one must be taken at GCSE.
Students get excited by learning here. We spotted some high-spirited year 7s donning lab coats and goggles setting up Bunsen burners ready for a science experiment. Meanwhile, a year 8 English class were passionately discussing the features of gothic horror in Dracula. In a younger English class, annotated examples of essays were displayed on the wall for comparison – ‘We’ve already started learning analytical writing,’ one student beamed. Philosophy is popular – we were impressed by a floor-to-ceiling tree of knowledge adorned with students’ questions written on the leaves: ‘Are we just a brain in a jar?’, ‘Does fate exist?’ Collaboration is a focus – it even has its own Collaboration Week, which will see year 8 complete a cross-curricular sustainable housing project, bringing together their geography, IT and science skills. ‘Meaningful learning rather than just being receptive of information.’
Most take ten GCSEs, including a compulsory language. Good support around GCSE choices: ‘All our teachers know us well enough to be able to sit down and advise us about options,’ said a student. History and design technology are popular; art gets the best results.
At A level, 26 subjects – mainly traditional, but some less so, eg music technology – with a flexible timetabling approach to ensure bespoke selection. Most leave with three (occasionally four) A levels and around 90 per cent leave with an EPQ. Head meets with every student to assist with writing personal statements, and there are visiting speakers as part of an enrichment programme.
While sixth form has been mixed since 2007, girls are still overwhelmingly outnumbered, something the school is working on. Still, the girls say they feel respected and heard, recently asking the head if they could do an assembly on International Women’s Day – to which he agreed without hesitation and offered to help with planning. Sixth form centre must help entice them in – includes bright common room, private conference room, individual pods and tables and Vibe café with coffee machine, toaster and even ice-cream machine. The space is shared with teachers, which ‘changes the dynamic between us, we’re treated like adults,’ said our sixth form guide. Head of sixth form located here too: ‘We can always pop in if we need to talk about anything.’
The library – known as the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), and housed within the new Woodward building – is a popular place to study and open from 8.00 until 17.30. Year 7s have a dedicated lesson here each week, and several told us they spend their breaks or lunchtimes here to do their homework. Newly installed Accelerated Reader scheme has brought a buzz around reading, ensuring students read books at the right level for them individually through a test and quiz programme. Reading mentor programme gets older students reading with younger peers.
Parents say teachers ‘nudge students to go beyond and to achieve more – but not a hothouse approach’. ‘Have you visited science yet?’ a year 11 asked us. ‘Our science teacher is inspirational! I started off thinking I’d take biology and now I want to study physics.’

Learning support and SEN

SENDCo (a trained assessor), plus assistant SENDCo and two learning support assistants (all full-time), support the 14 per cent of students on the SEND register, including three students with EHCPs at the time of our visit. Teachers are expected to plan lessons to meet diverse needs, using termly reviews and student profiles. Lunchtime interventions provided in the LRC – includes touch typing and spelling and catch-up sessions; one-to-one support can also be provided at an extra cost. A parent of a child with dyslexia told us they chose Halliford because ‘every step of the process, from first point of contact, felt genuine’. Good links with pastoral department, and students with anxiety are supported by the SEN team if required – head’s view is that, ‘if you get pastoral care right the results will follow’.

The arts and extracurricular

The airy, spacious art studio was abuzz on our visit, and despite students prepping for their imminent exam they were keen to show off their creations (awesome sculptures combining tradition with starkly contrasting modern metal and resin). DT projects equally impressive – year 7 students had designed and made their own guitars, with older boys assisting junior peers. ‘Look at this one here – it’s been painted to look like a sunset,’ grinned our guide.
Impressive performance hall, where walls are adorned with photos of recent whole-school productions including Spamalot and The Odyssey. All students encouraged to get involved in drama in some shape or form. ‘Even if you don’t like acting, you can help backstage or learn to do the lighting or sound,’ said a student.
Over in the modern recital hall, the jazz band were rehearsing for the upcoming coronation concert. Smaller practice rooms available for the 25 per cent of students who have private lessons. Music features heavily in the school culture, with regular lunchtime concerts and performances by individual students, ensembles, bands and orchestras (plus inter-house song contests, battle of the bands etc). The head, a self-confessed lover of all things musical, says he is ‘a happy bunny’ when playing the piano and will often accompany bands, choirs and individuals in recitals and exams.
Uptake in the arts an impressive 65 per cent at GCSE and 45 per cent at A level.
There is something for everyone in 80+ clubs that take place during break, lunch and after school. ‘If you can’t find one you want, you can propose it and it’ll get created,’ said a student – recent additions include Formula 1 club and War Hammer. We visited Dungeons and Dragons club in full flow, the teacher simply there to observe. ‘There’s a looming presence behind you. What are you going to do?’ a student at the front asked his peers. In science club, students were making light sabres from plastic plumbing pipes – staff with sleeves rolled up helping out. In Lego club, a handful of year 7s had recreated the school logo and told us, ‘Next week we’re making the king’s coronation crown.’
An abundance of trips of offer for travel bugs, with Hallifordians recently returning from skiing in Canada, a football tour in Germany and a drama trip to New York. Iceland up next.


Sport high on the agenda. ‘Halliford is a real gem, it seems to understand boys that are bright and sporty,’ a parent told us. Great facilities include climbing wall, fitness suite (open from 7.30am), use of the local cricket grounds and boating and kayaking on the Thames (on their doorstep). Students say, ‘Teachers always go above and beyond – they even arranged for a professional cricket player to coach us twice a week!’ Three Hallifordians competed in the Tokyo Olympics, and alumni regularly return to give aspirational talks or coach students. Strong links with Walton Vandals rugby club and Shepperton cricket club. Pretty impressive commitment to football, rugby and cricket and regular fixtures for students of all ages. We didn’t, however, get the impression that you’d feel like an outsider if you weren’t sporty: sport doesn’t define a Hallifordian.
Sixth form girls assured us they don’t get left behind: ‘When we first joined, the school arranged for us to have personal training and self-defence lessons.’ Not yet enough of them to arrange team sports, but they told us ‘we could always join in with the boys if we wanted to’.

Ethos and heritage

Founded in 1921, moved to current site overlooking the river in leafy Shepperton in 1929. The juxtaposition of the original, characterful house and stable block alongside more recently added buildings gives an elegant yet unpretentious feel – impressive, yet homely. Once inside, a warm welcome and strong sense of community await. Bracken, the school dog, is considered the ‘secret weapon’ in helping to put any newbies at ease. One parent commented that, when touring, ‘Everyone looked happy and relaxed, we got a cosy feel and we knew it was right for our son.’
School buildings named after influential people in Halliford’s history – former headmasters, bursars, governors etc. Most recent is the bright and airy Woodward Building, opened on their centenary, boasting views across the school fields and beyond – although our guide reckoned ‘it could do with some blinds as sometimes the sun glares on the screens’. An attractive central courtyard, quiet and peaceful in the mornings, comes alive at break and lunchtime as boys of all ages mix readily to have a kickabout. Meanwhile, on the basketball court a Halliford tradition, known as ‘rusty pole’, was described by one young student as ‘a game the sixth formers play – I don’t really understand the rules, but sometimes the teachers join in too!’
The school’s six values, displayed around the school, were picked by the students: respectful, warm hearted, intellectually curious, resilient, team players, creative. Links with Shepperton Rotary Club.
Food, provided by school chef and his team, is wholesome, very tasty and well presented. We were given a choice of inviting hot and cold options at lunch on our visit and particularly enjoyed eating in the marquee (complete with chandelier).

Pastoral care, inclusivity and discipline

Head was ‘bullied rotten at school’ and is not about to let anything like that happen here, with pastoral care a key priority. Parents say this has a knock-on effect – one telling us how her son has ‘improved academically because he’s comfortable and happy’. Students say staff ‘listen’ and the head’s office is open every Friday for a chat (whether good or bad) over a bacon sandwich. Form tutors remain with their flock from year 8 through to year 11. Only year 7 tutors stay put to ensure the transition process is consistent year on year. ‘It’s exceeded my expectations – secondary can become less nurturing than primary but that’s not my experience with Halliford.’ A counsellor visits once a week, and there’s a school chaplain (rector of Shepperton). Weekly PSHE covers all the usual mental health issues, and a pastoral committee meets weekly to discuss student wellbeing.
Students join from a vast array of schools, so they usually arrive knowing nobody. ‘Not a problem,’ say students, thanks to strong focus on transition including summer holiday events. ‘By induction day, I’d already made loads of new friends.’ A parent whose son joined mid-way through year 8 told how her son received a welcoming postcard from the other boys in his tutor group before he started, which ‘made his day’. ‘It’s easy to find your people at Halliford,’ said a pupil, ‘it’s open and inviting, even if your interests are obscure.’
Visible recognition of achievement and progress in all aspects of school life everywhere you look. Framed Old Hallifordians’ sports attire decorates hallways in celebration of past successes. Whole-school celebration assemblies every Friday, where students give presentations on recent activities (DofE and Youth Speaks during our visit) and achievement certificates (called Benes) are awarded across the board for exceptional work.
Light-touch approach to discipline – starts with a ‘work point’ (eg for failing to hand in homework). ‘Apparently if you get to five you get an after-school detention!’ we were told by a horrified year 7. Exclusions are rare, but not out of the question should a student decide not to reform behaviour in line with high expectations.
We spotted an LGBTQ club advertised on a noticeboard, and students told us they – let alone school – don’t tolerate disrespect to any minority groups.

Pupils and parents

Students we met were polite, respectful, relaxed and confident – and you see that too in lessons, corridors and outside during break and lunch. It’s modelled well by the staff – with mutual respect throughout.
Students come from a wide range of areas, mainly Hampton Court, Oxshott, St Margaret’s and Kew, with a fleet of school buses bringing them in, while others travel in by train or bus. Shuttle service provided from some local stations: Walton, Weybridge, Wimbledon and Staines.
You won’t find the car park full of the snazziest cars (well, a few, perhaps) as family profiles are a wide mix, including some that have taken on second jobs in order to pay for an education at Halliford. Ethnic diversity mirrors the local area, with a good and increasing range of different cultures and faiths.
Halliford parents are typically very supportive of school events. Always a great turn out at fixtures, with an active PTA who meet socially on a regular basis.

Money matters

Fees on par with others in the area. Scholarships for academic, artistic, dramatic, musical and sporting excellence – worth 10 per cent off fees. STEM scholarship available in sixth form – worth 10 per cent off fees. Means-tested bursaries available – no standard template, can be up to 100 per cent of fees (reviewed annually), same admission criteria apply. Ten per cent of pupils were on a bursary at the time of our visit.

The last word

Halliford is about so much more than just academic strength, celebrating every student’s success and taking pride in the fact that there’s no Halliford ‘type’. ‘We don’t want to change their character – we want to see the same characters leaving with new skills and values woven in.’ For families seeking grandeur and a status symbol educational setting, it may not be your first choice. For those that are after a small school with a big heart and great outcomes, it should absolutely be on your shortlist.

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

Halliford accepts pupils with special needs or disabilities according to the same criteria as other pupils, provided their admission is compatible with provision of efficient education for the children for whom they will be educated and with an efficient use of resources. Although not having a specialist unit or department, Halliford provides support for its wide range of pupils within a main stream setting. In practice this means that they must be capable of following the academic curriculum the school provides. Special assistance, other than that provided by individual classroom teachers, is not available. 09-09

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
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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