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A world inside its own four walls, Twyford feels little in a big way: unified, welcoming and secure. Since 2020, there have been ‘fantastic changes’ here according to parents. Teachers ‘genuinely care about progression for everyone’. Optional Saturday school from year 4 onwards (compulsory from year 6) with Saturday activities programme (SAPs) and fixtures in the afternoon. Make no mistake though, as one parent clarified, Success is about ‘getting rounded children prepared for secondary school’. ‘Well-rounded isn’t some kind of euphemism for not clever here.’ Kids work hard and academics remain...

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What the school says...

It’s all here. Twyford. The Complete Education.

Our role here at Twyford is to give each child the most complete education - academic, cultural, emotional, physical – so that they, each and every one, can have the best start at living their best life, for themselves and for others. It is as simple as that.

Situated on the edge of the South Downs, in the heart of the village of Twyford and only 2 miles from the centre of historic Winchester, we benefit from fantastic train and road links to London and beyond. Our beautiful Queen Anne house is set in 24 acres of extensive and attractive grounds with the Pre-Prep School housed in a Victorian building within its own area. Although Twyford is steeped in history dating back to 1809, our outlook is refreshingly modern.

Our Nursery welcomes boys and girls from the age of 2 who enjoy a seamless transition into Reception class. Pre-Prep boasts an enviable playground full of wonderful equipment and space. The Forest School canopy is nestled within the Pre-Prep woods and whilst toasting marshmallows, building dens and singing songs you catch glimpses of the Prep School, pitches and older children playing.

The Prep School classrooms, sports and music centres have evolved around the Queen Anne building at its centre. The Sports Hall boasts a full-size indoor court, cricket nets, heated indoor 20m swimming pool and also houses our stage and tiered seating for School performances. The Music School is home to 8 individual teaching and practice rooms and a hall for recitals. The Art and DT block have great bespoke spaces for creative minds.

Boarding is an integral part of Twyford Life. Our boarding house, Orchard Close, is a substantial property adjacent to the main School which was purchased last year. The site is 2.36 acres with 15,600 square feet set within beautifully established gardens. Orchard Close is a modern, bright and comfortable home from home with 16 en-suite rooms, sleeping between three and eight Year 4 to Year 8 boarders. It offers a friendly, family atmosphere with an art room, boarders ktichen, games room, music practice room and lots of activities.

Sport is well serviced within the 24 acres with many grass pitches overlooked by a splendid oak beamed pavilion. An all-weather Astro is used year-round for hockey, tennis and breaktimes and the netball courts.
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2020, Andrew Harvey. Originally from Dorset, he studied theology at Derby then went straight into education as a gappy at Perrott Hill School, returning there to teach after his PGCE. ‘Loving the outdoors,’ he then went to Sandhurst and was three years in the field army before teaching again at Chafyn Grove School, Salisbury. He moved to become assistant head of pastoral at Sherfield, deputy head at Lambrook School, then was eight years head at The Paragon. He tells us he arrived at Twyford ‘Ready for a fresh challenge.’
When we meet him, he’s wearing colourful socks and tie, carefully ‘toned-down’, he says, for our visit. He makes the coffee himself and puts the mugs on an illustrated history of the school, which he’s apparently using as a coaster. He clearly excels at putting others at ease but becomes noticeably more serious when the conversation turns to business. The ethos here? ‘Relaxed rigour’ he says, mirroring that perfectly. The children tell us, ‘He’s a jolly man,’ but we’d say, not one to be underestimated; there’s absolutely nothing laid back about him when he’s talking shop.
As head, he says, his biggest challenge is the ‘management of people’. He describes his staff as ‘committed, enthusiastic and driven’ and says he recruits ‘team players with a sense of humour’. There was ‘a big churn when I first arrived’, he tells us, in which some staff were moved on. ‘I have high expectations.’
‘Andrew has come in and shaken the school up,’ say staff. His concerns are about ‘real world readiness’ and keeping academics broader.

Parents tell us, ‘He wants a rounded school and seems inclusive.’ They praised his presence at drop-off where ‘he makes the effort to speak to the children’. ‘He comes straight back to your emails and doesn’t waste time if there are concerns’. ‘I’ve never felt he didn’t have the time.’ At events, ‘Mr Harvey could just pop in, but he always stays.’

Pupils have a similar sense of his engagement. ‘He turns up to every assembly’, teaches history to year 5 and is an academic tutor. One girl told us, ‘He likes rewarding kindness with sweets.’

He has two daughters and lives on site with his wife, Anna.


No specific requirements at any age. Comprehensive intake, no entry tests, just a taster day. Parents describe application as being easy and feeling welcomed.
Nursery, where most start, from age 2. Waiting lists exist for nursery, years 1 and 2, but spaces open up in year 3.


Vast majority stay for years 7 and 8. Popular onward destinations are Winchester College, Bradfield, Canford, Marlborough, Wellington, Radley, Lord Wandsworth College, Godolphin, St. Swithuns, and King Edward VI, Southampton but the school feeds into over 20 providers.

Scholarships (usually between five and ten a year) have included academic, art, sports, music and DT. Separate Winchester entrance set and an good relationship with that school, nine went in 2022, three in 2023.

Our view

With roots dating back to the mid-eighteenth century, Twyford has occupied its present 25-acre location since 1809 and parents unanimously express their love for the site. Queen Anne House (circa 1750) provides a beautiful facade, while modern classrooms accommodate much of the teaching. A world inside its own four walls, it feels little in a big way: unified, welcoming and secure.

We started our visit in the nursery houses, where Leo the rabbit, some ducks and a couple of chickens make things magical. ‘Language underpins education,’ staff say, ‘and children communicate more outdoors.’ They promote free flow indoor/outdoor play. Weekly forest school continues throughout pre-prep. Their specialist music, drama, sports, ballet and yoga teachers make use of main school facilities.

In pre-prep, two reception classes maintain ‘self-selecting activities’ and establish a ‘purposeful but fun’ atmosphere. There are three classes with around 18 children in year 1. Parents praised early setting for phonics and spellings, as ‘really helping children feel successful’. Their child friendly kitchen allows staff to build cooking into every teaching unit and it’s unusual to find a dedicated pre-prep library. We popped in on year 2 having snacks at their desks, where they chatted to us enthusiastically about local history.

Everyone moves up to the prep school, where years 3 to 6 have their own classroom with pastoral lead. Class size is 14 to 18, but potentially smaller for lower maths, which is set from year 4. English, humanities and sciences set in year 6, but it’s fluid; behind the scenes, progress mapping ensures timely movement and interventions get the best out of everybody. ‘No child left behind’ is the mantra. Optional Saturday school from year 4 onwards (compulsory from year 6) with Saturday activities programme (SAPs) and fixtures in the afternoon.

Since 2020, there have been ‘fantastic changes’ here according to parents. ‘Little niggles’ have been ‘ironed out’. A ‘pushy’ approach that saw ‘golden children’ thrive but didn’t always get the best from all pupils, has been replaced with teachers who ‘genuinely care about progression for everyone’. One parent credited Mr Harvey’s moving on long term teachers ‘who might have been a bit stuck in their ways’ and bringing in a ‘younger, more dynamic teaching group’. There’s ‘something different’ in the teachers here, parents say, ‘They’re strict but fun. There’s a lot of respect.’ Success is about ‘getting rounded children prepared for secondary school’. Academic study (previously until 6pm) stops earlier now, leaving more time for co-curricular interests and common entrance has reduced to core subjects in favour of the broader pre-senior baccalaureate (PSB) assessments. Make no mistake though, as one parent clarified, ‘Well-rounded isn’t some kind of euphemism for not clever here.’ Kids work hard and academics remain paramount.

Year 8 pupils showed us around excellent facilities, including cricket pitches, sports hall, indoor swimming pool and the historic library. Their favourites were the electronic cricket scoreboard, a climbing wall and the ‘chalk mounds’ play area. Spacious DT and art rooms displayed skilful work and food tech will be introduced from September 2024.

At least half the lessons we saw were collaborative. We loved the central table for Lego robotics in ICT. In year 7 science, an ‘energy circus’ moved children between stations to conduct experiments. Year 4 were enjoying mock excavations as part of Egyptian day. Sand, smiles and shouts of absolute glee - hopefully nobody wanted those brushes back.

Small SEN department led by an experienced SENCO and qualified dyslexia assessor. Parents feel she’s ‘really on it’ and children who ‘hadn’t been helped nearly so much’ previously are making great progress. Early interventions in speech and language, motor skills and emotional literacy amongst other needs. Individual learning plans for everyone on the SEND register. When we visited, one pupil with an EHCP.

Targeted English, maths (individual or in small groups) and ELSA support was apparent across all year groups. Up to two hours weekly support included in fees. Departmental experience with Dyslexia, ASD, ADHD and hearing impairment. Three trained ELSA and links with Hampshire Educational Psychologists for consultations. According to the SENCO, school is appropriate for children ‘for whom we can make reasonable adjustments.’ No bespoke interventions or elevated level of one-on-one. Classrooms not always accessible for physical disabilities.

A very competitive, but principled, sporting school, ‘Sporty kids would love it here,’ pupils say. Parents told us their ‘not so sporty’ kids love it too. Girls’ football is refreshingly popular. At break and lunch, court cricket (a fast-paced bowling and batting game) is traditional, but we witnessed boys and girls playing hand ball together over ping pong tables.

Quality and enthusiasm around music is rightfully praised - ‘loads of opportunities’ and ‘stand out teachers’, parents say. Junior and senior choirs (‘a bit formal’ according to one parent) are popular and 60 percent of prep pupils have additional music lessons. We caught a lunchtime concert showcasing year 4 soloists, for which parents packed into the recital hall and supportive classmates bopped in their seats.

A lack of drama performance opportunities is ‘the only thing people whinge about’, we heard. Not every year group does a show, so for those not opting for drama or musical theatre clubs, ‘there’s not much to push them into experiencing the spotlight’. However, the annual year 6 and 7 play runs for two nights at the end of the spring term and involves every child in these year groups whether they are acting, doing lighting and sound or making props, costumes and scenery. No theatre, but a permanent stage in ‘upper school’ hosts smaller performances and drama lessons, while larger shows utilize a bigger, temporary stage in the sports hall. Full tech capacity and willing pupil technicians. Other opportunities include an annual public speaking competition, set and costume design clubs, Shakespeare club and LAMDA.

Huge initial offering of clubs, which run if they get the numbers. Ethos is ‘when children hook onto something, it can open up everything’. Our favourite hooks were scuba diving, vexillology (study of flags), cosmetic chemistry, engineering, and CrossFit.

One parent told us they moved from a rival school for the better pastoral support here. ‘There’s less stigma, as they make [The Hub and The Nook] available to everybody.’ These break-out spaces are popular with kids and loved by parents who said it was one way in which ‘Mr Harvey gives the impression of being really pro a wide range of children.’ As well as hosting downtime at break and lunch, with games and reading spots, The Nook runs ‘small groups’ with selected pupils, building skills like self-esteem or communication. The Hub is quieter, with fewer, (normally younger) children. Staff led activities respond to need. Nice to know that identified children can have a guaranteed place in The Hub.

Parents are mostly Hampshire based with many working in London: barristers, doctors, consultants, surveyors, footballers, landowners, business owners, entrepreneurs… ‘There’s no social hierarchy,’ we’re told, but yes – the cars are big. Parent support group as well as parents’ association. Termly coffee mornings, events and plenty of socialising at Wednesday matches.


Noteworthy investment in boarding, which has moved from the upper floors of Queen Anne’s house into Orchard Close, a former care home directly adjacent to the school. Acquired in 2021, then completely refurbished and opened in 2022, Orchard Close has all the bells and whistles, including lifts and a professional kitchen. For now, boarders still eat in the school canteen but absolutely no one’s complaining about that. The food here is unanimously praised. There’s even a school recipe book to help parents replicate the lunch menu for nagging children.
Day and flexi-boarding available from year 4. Currently no full-boarding option. Parents say ‘there’s no pressure to board’ but around half do, averaging two nights a week. Some board weekly.

Ratio is about two-thirds boys, with single-sex dorms on separate floors. Cusack House for the boys and Thornton for the girls. No policy yet for trans pupils. Children are offered the chance to say who they’d like to share with.

Capacity for everyone to have their own bed, even those boarding once a week. Between three and eight to a room and, the most incredible bonus, every bedroom comes with an ensuite bathroom.

House parents, a residential matron, assistant house mistress and two or three gappies live on site. Teaching staff also have weekly duties in boarding to get involved in evening activities. One parent told us her son ‘absolutely loves it’ and would board more if she’d let him.

Not many international pupils, those who do come require host families for the weekends.

We’d say, potential outweighs uptake here, so bags of room for growth. Watch this space?

Money matters

Transformational bursaries (110 per cent of fees, needs assessed) for one pupil per year group. Wickham Foundation bursaries for disadvantaged pupils joining for year 7 and 8, with talent in academics, sport, music, art or drama. Independently assessed bursary programme for disadvantaged or vulnerable students who want to weekly board. Other means tested bursaries are available up to 100 per cent of fees.

The last word

This school earns its local reputation as first choice for an academic education with excellent pastoral support and discipline. With indisputable strengths in music and sports, parents love the way it develops their children’s sense of who they want to be. At Twyford, everyone is welcomed, encouraged to try everything, persuaded to find something they love and helped to meet their full potential.

Special Education Needs

Learning Support is led by a full time Head of Department. Learning support is offered to all pupils who would benefit e.g. from a short course on "how to revise", to those assessed with dyslexia.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
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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