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Undeniably robust, this is a school where boys are challenged and stretched. Produces polished, sparky, eloquent boys.The academic rigour is successfully tempered with myriad extracurricular activities. Parents are ‘aspirational,’ as one put it. ‘Boys are challenged to the right level. They’re never bored,’ added another. Head leads termly themes such as...

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What the school says...

Rokeby is an Independent Preparatory School for boys from Reception to Year 8. We offer the best of education in the widest sense, preparing boys not only for a variety of independent senior schools but also for their future lives.

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2007, Jason Peck BHEd NPQH. Joined the school in 1996 as science teacher, progressing to deputy head in 2004. ‘I like it here.’ Own sons also went through the school, so he knows it as a parent too. First hand experience of adoption and dyslexia, so understands the looked-after and SEN journey.

Tall, quietly spoken, dry sense of humour. His office nestles in a ground floor corner of the main building, ‘where he works hard running the school,’ according to a pupil. Dimmed by the slats of the Venetian blinds, it is a sombre, serious place, unsuited to an open-door policy. Keen on developing skills – in staff and boys alike. Has undertaken IAPS coaching course, established a staff experience committee and is unrolling a programme of individual plans for individual boys, a system built on test and exam results from reception. ‘I am a planner.’ Has to be as he teaches five lessons a week teaching science, and meets individually with all year 5 parents. ‘They trust the school and the process.’ One commented she has ‘nothing but respect’ for him, another that they ‘don’t really see him much.’ Not the fluffy, cuddly type but the measured, effective and revered version. Respected by staff. ‘He wants staff who are happy,’ said one.


Registration for 4+ entry encouraged soon after birth. Non-selective, by ballot 18 months before entry. Siblings prioritised, as long as they are a good fit for the school. First 44 names drawn offered places. Two waiting lists (one for those born September to February, another for those born March to August) - 20 on there when we visited, with 80 registered for following year. Places available at 7+ with tests in maths and English, VR and NVR, together with group music or drama activity. Occasional places at 11+, with assessments in maths, English, recent school report and reference. All prospective boys and parents must have visited school. Scattering arrive in other years, and very few mid-year.


Most to reasonably local schools – 2023 destinations included Hampton School, Wellington College, St Paul’s School, Reed’s School and King’s College School. Some to local grammar schools. Impressive number of awards (20 odd a year) in array of disciplines including DT, art, sport and music. Head known to have made personal phone calls to senior schools on behalf of boys to secure ongoing bursaries. In 2023, 12 scholarships.

Our view

The school occupies a spacious house in a leafy private estate, just off Kingston Hill. Flanked by two other schools, drop off and collection can be interesting but fleet of school coaches and buses alleviate problem to some extent. A few arrive on foot but many come from further afield, notably Wimbledon, where the school was founded 150 years ago, and Putney.

Boys have generous amounts of space, inside and out. Cheerful lower school situated in purpose-built block in the extensive grounds, justly known as ‘the tree house.’ With a wraparound walkway, superb views, open beams and direct access to the gardens and pitches, it has earned its name. Equally cheerful is the lower school head, a warm and maternal leader, plainly passionate about her job. Manages to fit in some PSHE teaching. ‘How else would I know the boys?’ she asks logically. Many parents continue close communication with her when their sons have moved to upper school.

Two parallel reception classes of 22 remain unshuffled until end of year 2, after which classes are jumbled every 2 years. Sensibly, beautifully and functionally designed building offers open spaces, discreet areas, vast classrooms and a performing arts hall, also used by older boys. TA in every lower school class. Reward system starts boys off on sunshine motif every morning, from where they can reach the dizzy heights of pot of gold or sink to thundercloud. Both involve a visit to lower school head, no doubt with differing atmosphere. Parents say it is effective. ‘They really celebrate good behaviour,’ one told us. ‘My son responds so well to it and every day starts afresh.’ Politeness certainly prevails. Boys repeatedly stood aside to give us priority, greeted us graciously and spoke with civility. No significant behavioural problems and no boys with behavioural issues requiring one-to-one support. No concerns regarding bullying, we heard. ‘The pastoral provision is very good. There are high levels of discipline which I feel works.’ Infrequent lunchtime detentions sort most miscreants out.

Alongside reward system is a regulating system whereby boys simply move their names to different coloured sheets, depending their emotion. Green: happy, red: steer clear. Staff feel this has been immensely beneficial in channelling moods and behaviour, especially among the older, ‘hormonal’ boys.

Upper school notably more earnest, progression marked by evolving uniform, but compassion and civility live on. Head resolutely refutes that old aphorism, ‘boys will be boys,’ justifies poor or unkind behaviour. One boy declared that his friends were his favourite thing about the school as ‘they’re always so kind to me.’ A parent echoed this: ‘It’s as though every member of staff has been handpicked for kindness.’ Celebration assembly every half-term to laud thoughtfulness. Peer mediator system embeds it. A mother recounted that her son had been congratulated at a cross country by a boy four years older. Head leads termly themes such as empathy and perseverance to underpin school motto: smart, skilful, kind.

Unquestionably a school for the academically able - or highly tutored, some parents felt, (‘I don’t go there,’ says head). As such, parents are ‘aspirational,’ as one put it. ‘Boys are challenged to the right level. They’re never bored,’ added another. But boys ‘may not always develop as predicted or hoped for,’ one parent warned. Regarding senior schools, head’s message to ‘find the right home’ is ‘reinforced, reinforced and reinforced.’ We felt that some more exigent parents needed reminding that the best academic outcome is not synonymous with the best academic school.

Classrooms inspiringly and thematically named - La Bruyère, Kandinsky etc. One empty one was plunged in darkness when we popped in as ‘the eco monitor had switched the light off’ on his way out, leaving TA in obscurity. English lesson was an active and lively reading session with the librarian who has co-written books with the boys, a source of justified pride. Science is deemed ‘serious,’ with two labs, supported by lab technician. Year 8 boys spoke with feeling about merit of post exam curriculum and valedictory programme, which introduces first aid amongst other useful topics. They also noticed a different relationship with the teachers who were ‘not telling you how to behave but helping you to work things out.’ They felt well-prepared for the next stage.

SEN provision divides opinion. Some parents told us the school was unreceptive to specialist recommendations. ‘They just took no notice.’ ‘I asked again and again what they were doing.’ One parent fumed that her son’s condition had gone ‘completely undetected for years.’ None of those we spoke to had removed their sons, however. Others rated the ‘very helpful’ support and the ‘great job’ they had done, guiding the boy to senior school with ‘realistic expectations.’ ‘They truly understood him.’ Head concedes ‘there have been issues,’ but ‘there is only so much a school like this can do.’ We noted the prospectus makes no mention of SEN support. Around 25 per cent receive SEN support, with needs including autism, dyslexia, colour blindness and dyspraxia. Large number of bilingual children but EAL ‘not a significant issue.’ One full-time SENCo supported by two part-time, together with a visiting OT and speech and language therapist.

The integrated ELSA provision is much acclaimed. One parent spoke emotionally about how it had helped her son during the pandemic when a member of the family was gravely ill. Another, recently arrived from abroad, commented that school contacted her as soon as her son felt unsettled. HIIT and yoga classes, together with termly gathering, go long way to cater for staff wellbeing too. Much developed recently.

Music and drama ‘cannot be faulted,’ according to parents. ‘I love the singing,’ declared one small boy, proudly fingering the choir badge on his lapel. Boys belong to either junior, intermediate or senior choir, and more melodic ones to chamber choir. Over two thirds play an instrument. When we visited, we saw years 5 and 6 vigorously rehearsing Alice in Wonderland, while years 7 and 8 were preparing for Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Immense, vibrant and busy art room where all forms of media are explored. Aproned boys were basking in a mix of paints, dyes, dips and crayons when we looked in. Resultant dazzling displays adorn school walls. Annual arts week is treasured. Brew of eclectic activities ranging from calligraphy to wicker work. Latter produced huge model of a horse which now graces motivating and superbly equipped DT room. Boys and staff alike relish this unifying event.

Sports largely catered for on-site for younger ones supplemented by weekly - and from year 3, twice weekly - trips to 10-acre sports ground a few minutes’ bus drive away. Beautiful huge photo of this decorates dedicated dining room, where appealing and varied hot and cold food is served. Felt very civilised. Sports ground also hosts first residential trip, an overnight camping adventure. Exciting foreign, geography, classics and sports trips higher up. No swimming after year 4, missed by some. Sports - football, rugby and cricket - fairly mainstream.

Broad range of clubs from gardening, technology and chess to debating, history, coding, classics and graphic design. Early lunch ticket system ensures those doing lunchtime clubs do not miss out or suffer from indigestion. Lots of outdoor play at lunchtime in one of capacious areas on climbing frames and with skipping ropes. Different ages have different designated areas. Helps avoid injury, but one boy felt ‘it should be more equal.’ Space is plentiful and well used.

Mixed age grouping very popular with boys. ‘I know a boy in year 8,’ beamed a squeaky year 2 boy, ‘I sit next to him on the bus.’ Far from a daily drudge, the bus journeys, ferrying a high percentage of the boys are a highlight of the day. Drivers referred to as ’kind’ and ‘funny.’ ‘It’s so relaxing, after a long day,’ mused one boy. Days can, indeed, be long as school offers much welcomed breakfast club, starting at 7.30am (from reception) and late club, finishing at 6pm. ‘Very useful for parents,’ endorsed one.

For geographical reasons, parents not perhaps as immersed as in many schools we visit, but most feel ‘involved and welcome.’ They feel school is ‘very receptive to suggestions.’ Boys felt similarly. One told us of his initiative to create a living wall on a south-facing wall: ‘We felt strongly supported.’ Active school council. Leadership opportunities include a new form captain each term. Parent body more diverse than might be expected. School good at deploying parents’ interests. Recent multicultural day, organised by parents, testifies to this.

Money matters

Fees in keeping with comparable schools. Bursaries are available to boys in year 3 and above -typically, about three to five boys on these. Bursar encounters predictable difficulties for prep schools in securing guaranteed ongoing funding. Consequent and keen desire to develop outreach and connections with local schools.

The last word

Undeniably robust, this is a school where boys are challenged and stretched. The academic rigour is successfully tempered with myriad extracurricular activities. Site, surroundings and structure seductive to growing boys. More formal than some schools of its type, it produces polished, sparky, eloquent boys – an authentic product of its motto. ‘I am so pleased my second child was a boy,’ raved one enthusiastic parent.

Special Education Needs

We offer learning support to boys with difficulties accessing the curriculum, dyslexic boys, dyspraxic boys and boys with difficulties in Maths and English as well as study skills help. At present a learning support teacher takes 19 boys from Years 3 to 8 in the Senior School. There is to be an additional part time LS teacher from January. The Junior School also offers learning support, with its own LS teacher.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
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
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

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