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What says..

Main building is Tudor, lots of oak panelling, flagged floors, and even rumours of a ghost. Newer buildings for science, art and sport have been added, and the grounds are mature and delightful; 'this is a place for a sunlit childhood'. Sport is for all – the head is very pro everyone playing competitively and everyone has the opportunity to play in a match. Swimming and tennis for all throughout the year, plus athletics in the summer, and cross-country in the Michaelmas and Lent terms: not a place for couch potatoes...

 

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What the parents say...

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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.

What The Good Schools Guide says

Head of The Abbey and Queen's House

Since September 2017, Nicola Mitchell, previously deputy head at Orley Farm. Has also taught at Edge Grove where she was, variously, head of geography, head of girls' games and director of studies. Three children, who have all joined The Abbey or Woodbridge School; she is keen on horse riding, swimming and skiing.

Entrance

About half of year 3 is made up from pupils progressing up from the pre-prep department, Queen’s House, at 7; others join via test and interview from other local schools. Selective, but with scope for quite a range of ability; ‘we are looking for those who can explore all that’s on offer’. Places occasionally available in higher forms - always worth asking.

Exit

Vast majority (85 per cent) make the seamless transfer to Woodbridge, the senior school. A few go to state schools in the area, or to board elsewhere. The parents of the occasional pupil that might struggle in the senior school will have been given advance warning, and advised to move elsewhere at 11. This is handled sensitively and is rare.

Our view

This is a super school with many strengths and the widest and most varied curriculum possible. Main building is Tudor, lots of oak panelling, flagged floors, and even rumours of a ghost. Newer buildings for science, art and sport have been added, and the grounds are mature and delightful; 'this is a place for a sunlit childhood'. Pupils about the school are courteous, open doors and smile, but are intent on their own ploys and enjoyment. Small class sizes, around 20, gradually moving from class to subject based learning. Specialist teachers from the senior school teach science, languages and art to the higher forms. The Abbey language scheme gives all pupils a taste of four modern languages, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, French, in consecutive years. Pupils at Queen's House pre-prep learn Spanish from 5.

The musical life of the school is outstanding. Free music lessons are available for pupils in year 3 for stringed instruments, with tuition in small groups, and as a result, a large number continue to play. The Abbey has four choirs, two string orchestras, and a variety of ensemble groups. Regular concerts and performances. Drama and dance also strong. Ballet and tap are taught throughout the school with the emphasis on fun and a chance to perform. The summer play, performed in the Seckford Theatre, is a highlight for the town as well as the school.

Sport is for all – everyone has the opportunity to play in a match. Main sports for boys are soccer, rugby, hockey and cricket; for girls, netball, hockey and rounders. Swimming and tennis for all throughout the year, plus athletics in the summer, and cross-country in the Michaelmas and Lent terms: not a place for couch potatoes.

Full-time SEN teacher gives support throughout the school. There is setting for maths from year 3 and for English in year 6. Communication with parents is taken very seriously. As well as the usual parents’ consultations, staff are available on a day-to-day basis via telephone or email. This care of the children is at the heart of such a happy school.

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