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  • Royal High Prep School Bath
    Cranwell House
    Weston Park East
    BA1 2UZ
  • Head: Mrs Claire Lilley
  • T 01225 422931
  • E [email protected]
  • W
  • A mainstream independent school for girls aged from 3 to 11 with a linked senior school
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Bath and North East Somerset
  • Pupils: 121
  • Religion: Non-denominational
  • Fees: £10,554 - £11,121 pa
  • Open days: Private visits encouraged at any time, by appointment.
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Linked schools: Royal High School Bath

What says..

Big emphasis on science, discovery and the great outdoors – hardly surprising in such a stunning location. Girls grow vegetables, watch badgers, deer and foxes in the garden (cameras have been set up to observe the animals) and played a major role in the construction of an impressive Celtic round house in the grounds. Pupils chose the site, marked out the circle and helped to create the wattle walls...

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What the school says...

The Prep School is a happy and bright community where our girls can flourish and grow. We understand the importance of 'getting it right' and from those very early days of Nursery right through to Year 6 when your daughter is getting ready for the challenges of Senior School. Our school is fully committed to providing your daughter with the very best opportunities. Set in stunning grounds close to Bath city centre with well-equipped facilities we provide a wealth of learning experiences which include weekly French in Nursery-Year 3, Spanish in Year 4, German in Year 5 and Mandarin in Year 6, Ballet, Music, Drama and Sport all taught by specialist teachers. Visitors often comment on the warmth, fun and sense of purpose that permeates our school. We believe that happy children love to learn and our supportive pastoral care, along with close home/school links, ensures that all the girls are nurtured as we guide them through the first years of their education. 10% discount off full boarding fees for service families. ...Read more

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International Baccalaureate: diploma - the diploma is the familiar A-level equivalent.

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.

What The Good Schools Guide says

Head of Prep School

Since September 2019, Claire Lilley. Previously head of Sidcot Junior School. Educated at Tunbridge Wells Grammar and Homerton College, Cambridge, where she did a BEd in music. She worked at Sidcot as a year 5 teacher and after a foray down a different career path realised that teaching was what she truly wanted to do, feeling she ‘had come home’ when she returned to Sidcot in 2009. A rapid ascent through the hierarchy culminated in her appointment as head in 2012.

Tall and blonde, with an infectious laugh – ‘you can always hear Ms Lilley,’ said one boy – she is described by pupils as friendly, cheery and ‘really in control but does not have to shout to get her point across.’ Has a young daughter.


Prospective pupils are invited to a taster day, where their English and maths skills are assessed, followed by a chat with the head.


Virtually all progress to the senior school – via the transfer exam in year 6.

Our view

The prep is housed in a beautiful Grade II listed building, Cranwell House, set in 11 acres of landscaped grounds on the north side of Bath, one and a half miles from the city centre. Once the Mayor of Bath’s house and later an art school, it boasts a wealth of period features and has been converted into a junior school with great sensitivity and flair. The Royal High Prep's girls moved to the site in 2014.

The school is rightfully proud of its creative curriculum (it was shortlisted for the TES’s Creative School of the Year award in 2017). Introduced six years ago and known as the Cranwell Curriculum, it draws on the Reggio Emilia approach to education, where children are encouraged to use words, movement, art, building, sculpture, drama and music to express themselves, discover new things and communicate what they know and understand. Girls have discrete maths and English lessons every day but other subjects are taught thematically. Themes are ‘fluid and adaptable’ and change every year (recent examples include The Victorians, WWII and Historical Heroes). School claims that taking a creative approach like this enables girls to develop independent thinking and fosters an understanding of the world, citizenship and collective responsibility. It clearly works – junior girls transferring to the senior school are regularly awarded scholarships. When we visited, we watched a spirited year 2 class discussing (with animated actions) the British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. ‘The academic standards we achieve and the levels of attainment are amazing,’ says school. ‘It’s wonderful to see the girls’ enjoyment and love of learning.’

Classes are small – nine in reception. Maximum is 24 so 31- strong year 6 group is split into two. Teachers incorporate the five Rs (not three) into lessons – relationships, resilient, reflective, resourceful and risk-taking. Resilience is a major theme and like other GDST schools girls at the Royal High Prep learn to take risks and persevere. They learn from their mistakes and realise it’s important not to fear failure. In 2016 ISI inspectors commented: ‘Pupils in years 1 to 6 gain self-esteem through the opportunities that they are provided to recognise their own and one another’s strengths. They are not afraid to admit mistakes, due to the encouragement and praise they receive when using initiative and the resilience they display when things go wrong, embracing fully the junior school initiative: “Dare to fail. Bounce back.”’

Big emphasis on science, discovery and the great outdoors – hardly surprising in such a stunning location. Girls grow vegetables, watch badgers, deer and foxes in the garden (cameras have been set up to observe the animals) and played a major role in the construction of an impressive Celtic round house in the grounds. Pupils chose the site, marked out the circle and helped to create the wattle walls. An eagle-eyed teacher spotted a local thatcher getting rid of some thatch and asked if the school could have it instead.

Lessons end at 3.30pm but mindful of parents’ busy working lives, the school runs a breakfast club between 7.30 and 8am every day and after-school care till 6pm. Girls do their homework first and then take part in a host of activities. Like the Senior School, the junior school is ultra-keen on music. Around 80 per cent of prep girls have instrument or singing lessons. Girls learn modern languages from an early age – French taught by subject specialists from nursery, Spanish in years 3 and 4, Mandarin in year 5 and Latin in year 6. They also have strong links with other schools – with The Crane Academy in Kenya and Howell’s School, Llandaff, another GDST school (Year 1 and 2 pupils have pen pals from corresponding year groups at Howell’s). Lots of sport, including inter-school fixtures, festivals and tournaments and a whole-school sports day held at the University of Bath.

Hope Hall is used for assemblies, PE, drama and music productions and lunch. The school places huge emphasis on extracurricular pursuits. Year 3 to 6 girls have a weekly ‘inspire’ session, choosing activities like coding, animation, upcycling and navigation, where they learn to use maps and compasses. Pupils are encouraged to articulate their ideas and views confidently – with lots of opportunities to take part in the school council. Every Year 6 is a prefect. They apply for their jobs and learn to take responsibility, helping with library duties, younger classes and even the head’s office. Pupils also belong to one of four houses – Charlcombe, Grosvenor, Lansdown and Northfields. Keen to earn house points, they represent their houses in events throughout the school year.

The school is small, family-orientated and friendly. Most pupils come from Bath, many living within walking distance of school. For those with daughters at the senior school, there’s a shuttle minibus that runs from Lansdown Road to the prep school in the mornings and back in the afternoons.

The last word

A lovely, nurturing school in an exceptional location. Girls learn to have a go at all manner of academic and extracurricular pursuits and achieve fine results.

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