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Non-selective at 2+ for entry into nursery – it’s first come first served and increasingly over-booked, almost reaching London frenzy levels. On the bright summer’s day we visited, there was more going on outside than in – testament to the school’s commitment to outdoor learning. Once a very traditional prep school, parents say teaching now involves debate, excitement around learning and plenty of cross-curricular (Tudors in history means Tudors in art). That said, academic focus seen as quite intense by ...

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What the school says...

Reigate St Mary’s is a coeducational day school for pupils aged 2 to 11. It is a junior school of Reigate Grammar School (RGS), the top coeducational day school in Surrey, and typically 75 to 80 percent of children transfer to RGS each year. The school's fundamental belief is that children need to be happy and healthy to learn.
The school has been shortlisted for Independent Prep School of the Year 2020 in recognition of their all round excellence and holistic approach to education. Their outstanding integration of technology into the learning of even their youngest children and their award winning robotics team sets them apart.
Academic excellence is achieved through a relentless focus on wellbeing which builds self-esteem, confidence and a sense of belonging. A truly holistic and individual approach enables personalised support both in and out of the classroom. No one is invisible or slips under the radar.
A growth mind-set celebrates hard work and effort not innate talent. In focusing on the journey and in embracing mistakes and failure as part of improving, children build the resilience and risk taking required to succeed.
A rich, broad and stimulating curriculum is delivered by staff recruited for their desire to see children flourish and overcome hurdles. This, alongside excellent staff ratios, ensures that real growth happens.
An emphasis on lifelong learning through a Philosophy for Children programme, develops critical and abstract thinking. Children learn to question, evaluate, decide and articulate. In listening to others, and building on their ideas, academic standards are lifted for everyone and children develop those important soft skills such as communication and teamwork turning them in to learners of the future.
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Other features

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.

Choir school - substantial scholarships and bursaries usually available for choristers.

What The Good Schools Guide says

Head

Since 2005, Marcus Culverwell (40s). Previously deputy head (joined school in 2003). Before that, head of science, then director of studies, then deputy head at Lancing College Junior. A local boy, he was educated first at Caterham, then Archbishop Tenison’s sixth form after squeeze on family finances. Sporty, science-y and spiritual. ‘Very Christian,’ said a parent.

Teenage years dominated by dreams of joining Mission Aviation Fellowship – dashed when failed final stage of commercial pilot training. Studied aeronautical engineering at Hertford followed by MA at Brunel. With dearth of jobs in industry, teaching was originally intended as stopgap career but rapidly became something far more.

Personable and unassuming, he’s a hit with the kids, especially when he brings out his guitar on playground duties and sings...

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