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Academically, there’s no shallow end stuff here – topics are in depth, with cross curricular weeks from reception upwards (The Circus, Under the Sea), food-themed special offering chance to make own vegetable character (politicians presumably off limits). Results, given range of ability, extremely impressive. All down to ‘tremendous’ and ‘really dedicated’ teachers, say parents. Pupils are polite and well-behaved – few rules are needed. But these girls aren’t…

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What the school says...

Halstead, a dynamic and unique school for girls who love to learn.

Described as a hidden gem, tucked away in a leafy suburb in Woking sits Halstead Preparatory School for Girls. Girls arrive from the age of two into Nursery and as they progress through the school with just two classes per year, the teachers are able to get to know the girls extremely well and deliver a personalised learning plan based on each girls’ individual needs.

Headmistress Sharon Maher arrived September 2020 from a highly successful girls’ preparatory school in London and explains “I was immediately attracted to Halstead as soon as I walked through the door, the girls were so bubbly, confident, bright and happy and the energy, laughter and buzz in the classroom and throughout the school was contagious”.

The school boasts plenty of space outside and in, with multiple sports courts and green space for netball, hockey, tennis, rounders and athletics, to a hall for indoor sports and regular school productions in music and drama. Further purpose-built suites enable Art, Design and Technology, Food Technology and Science to be taught and all classrooms not only have whiteboards but iPads are in regular use across the school to support the girls’ learning.

As the girls reach Year 5 and start thinking about their senior school, Halstead work very closely, and in partnership with parents to ensure that each girl gains entry to the right senior school for them and its long history of excellent results and scholarships reflect just that. As Mrs Maher explains “whilst we are incredibly and justifiably proud of our academic success, our focus remains on providing a solid foundation where Halstead girls are treated as individuals and are happy, well-rounded, intellectually curious girls with a genuine passion to learn, I could not be more proud to lead such a wonderful girls’ school”.

To book a place on Halstead’s open morning to learn more about the school and to hear more from Mrs Maher visit
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since September 2020, Sharon Maher BSc GTP MBA (40s). A career changer who retrained after 15 years in the City. All the better for it, we think, with a rare sense of worldliness and the bigger picture about her - a welcome change from the bubble of education inhabited by so many heads who went straight from school to… well… more school. ‘I’m a great believer that prep schools need to prepare girls not just for senior school but well beyond that despite the fact that the roles they’ll go into probably don’t even exist yet,’ she says. Completely gets girls’ schools, having attended a local one herself and in her previous role as deputy head at Glendower School in London (before that, she had teaching stints at both Greenfield School, Woking and Danes...

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