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There is a compact, urban feel, more akin to a London school than a leafy suburban prep. But boy, does it use every inch of its grounds, with pupils in waterproof onesies climbing trees and scanning the woodland for acorns, pinecones and suchlike in the ‘outdoor classroom’ when we visited, while den building areas for older girls are in full use up to the parameter fences most break times. St Hilda’s punches well above its weight when it comes to academics, ably competing with its neighbouring hothouses. ‘The girls have such fun that they don’t even know they are learning half the time,’ said one parent. Certainly not a yawn or glazed look in sight when we visited, although ...

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2015, Sarah Jane Styles, previously head of Francis Holland (Sloane Square) Junior School. BA, QTS in theology and MA in philosophy of education. Has also been director of studies at Wheathampstead House (now St Albans High School Prep).

Seen by pupils as ‘fun,’ ‘creative’ and ‘excitable,’ she certainly has vivacity and sparkle. ‘She has a very clear vision of the direction she wants the school to go in,’ add parents, who describe her as ‘focused,’ ‘dynamic’ and ‘straight talking.’ ‘She’s not your cuddly, nurturing head who all the kids go running up to hug, but nor is she at the other end of the scale of being all businesslike and authoratitive – I’d say she’s somewhere in between,’ said one. Does guided reading with younger pupils and teaches mindfulness and...

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