Skip to main content
Walhampton School

What says..

The big academic news is that Walhampton no longer focuses solely on CE and has introduced the PSB into the curriculum. Children are encouraged to create project work, develop presentations and have tutor assessments. Some parents admit they were a little sceptical initially but tell us they’ve seen the PSB encouraging their children to develop a wider breadth of skills and they are now also convinced that it’s regarded by many senior schools as creating intelligent, responsible pupils. We were impressed too - since the introduction of PSB, lessons involve so much more than...

Read review »

What the school says...

Walhampton lies in beautiful ancient woodland on the edge of the New Forest, near Lymington in Hampshire. A day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 2-13, we strive to let children be children for longer, whilst preparing them for the unknown challenges and opportunities in the world of tomorrow.

Walhampton gives children the space, support and encouragement to explore their passions. We are determined to develop each child into a confident young person. We want our pupils to find their voice and develop the strength of character to be involved in society from the earliest age, understanding that the real impact is felt when those traditional values combine with radicalism. We are education's radical traditionalists.

Alongside academic rigour and excellence, Walhampton strives to create kind pupils. Our values of kindness, curiosity and achievement are central to all that we do, whether on home ground or out in the community. We are a school underpinned by values and driven by relationships. We recognise what parents want for their children, to succeed academically, grow in self-confidence, develop their talents and broaden their horizons. Above all, you want them to be happy and fulfilled. At Walhampton we want the same for each and every one of our children.

Innovative teaching integrates the holistic Pre-Senior Baccalaureate and focuses on the achievement and wellbeing of the 'whole child' to instil the joy of learning. The new PSB framework nurtures curiosity and global thinking fit for 21st century education, developing re right knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to create resilient learners able to take on the challenges of the future.

Our youngest children thrive in our purpose-built pre-prep where they participate in Forest School and riding lessons at our stables, as well as developing the building blocks for a lifelong love of learning. The transition to the prep school is as gentle and welcoming as possible and, as children progress through the prep school, they are increasingly taught by subject specialists as they learn to become independent as we prepare them for their senior school entry process.

Boarding is available from year 3 and we offer a fully flexible boarding package from ad-hoc (to support the lives of busy families) to regular flexi-boarding, weekly or full boarding. We offer an accompanied train service, the 'Walhampton Express', to London for weekly boarders.

We are fortunate to have a remarkable setting, nestled between the New Forest and the Solent, with 100 acres for the children to explore. But we are much better defined by our people. Above all, we pride ourselves on being a close and nurturing community where all are cared for, and all can thrive.
...Read more

Do you know this school?

The schools we choose, and what we say about them, are founded on parents’ views. If you know this school, please share your views with us.

Please login to post a comment.

Sports

Equestrian centre or equestrian team - school has own equestrian centre or an equestrian team.

Sailing

What The Good Schools Guide says

Headmaster

Since 2021, Jonny Timms, previously senior deputy head at Caldicott. English and history degree from Edinburgh and Toronto universities, followed by the Teach First scheme at the Harris Academy in Peckham, moving to Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh two years later, where he taught English and ran a boarding house. He has an MA in educational leadership and is an ISI inspector. Lives on site with his wife, Sophie and their three children, who attend the school.

His vision is that Walhampton should be a place where 'pupils know it is their school’. He wants it to be a place where ‘children are children’ but not at the expense of understanding their place in the wider world. His door is always open and the children universally acknowledge that he implements their ideas. As one pupil said, ‘He’s not one of those people who says he cares about the children, and then goes off and doesn’t really listen.’

His enduring passion is literature and he is never happier than when he is reading or sharing that passion with the children. But he may have discovered a new hobby – ever keen to encourage pupils to step out of their comfort zone, he recently led by example and had his first horse riding lesson. He won’t be competing in the Grand National any time soon, but it showed pupils that you never know until you try.

Entrance

Academically non-selective with entry via a trial day and informal assessment. Children are taken from age 2+ and, having the luxury of space, the school can usually take mid-year entries (although there are some waiting lists to maintain the ratio of children to adults). Year 3 and 7 are popular entry points, when most new joiners come from state schools.

Exit

Vast majority leave after year 8, moving to prestigious schools including Bryanston, Canford, Marlborough, Eton and Winchester. Parents praise the school for its support in finding the right school, a process that begins in year 5. In 2023, 15 scholarships.

Our view

Set in 100 acres and enjoying a strong history dating back to 1948, exquisite buildings and a stunning setting worthy of a Regency novel, Walhampton promises a great deal. The idyllic surroundings are undoubtedly a key feature – well-tended gardens, verdant lawns as far as the eye can see, and plenty of trees that children are actively encouraged to climb. In the distance lies the Isle of Wight, with sailing boats on the Solent dotting the horizon. In pre-prep, all classrooms have direct access to the outdoors to let off steam, make mud pies and be in nature as much as possible. Wellies and waterproofs are a must as all pupils have daily walks around the grounds whatever the weather.

The big academic news is that Walhampton no longer focuses solely on CE and has introduced the PSB into the curriculum. Children are encouraged to create project work, develop presentations and have tutor assessments. Some parents admit they were a little sceptical initially but tell us they’ve seen the PSB encouraging their children to develop a wider breadth of skills and they are now also convinced that it’s regarded by many senior schools as creating intelligent, responsible pupils. We were impressed too - since the introduction of PSB, lessons involve so much more than learning by rote. We watched dances and songs used to teach force, words of poems being used out of context to help students create their own ideas, and geography being viewed from an eco-standpoint.


In all year groups, the lessons we observed were inclusive and engaging, including students creating their own Darwin exhibition and taking part in a ‘whodunnit?’ mystery where the solution could only be discovered by working out what the characters knew about the different sciences (and rather than give up when they realised it was more complicated than they thought, pupils remained enthusiastic right to the end). Although some pupils find lessons ‘a bit hard’, all said they feel well supported by the teachers to achieve their best.


Children are taught all academic subjects by their form teachers until year 5, then specialists in each subject take over, with children moving to different classrooms – good preparation for senior school. Setting only in maths and English from year 5. Spanish now on curriculum from year 7 along with French, from year 3.

Sixteen per cent of pupils are on the SEN register – mainly with dyslexia, autism and ADHD – with both group learning sessions and one-to-ones available (can cost extra, depending on the level of support) for those that need it. Parents tell us programmes are designed specifically for their child’s individual needs; one said he had seen more positive results in the few months spent at Walhampton than in a whole year at his son’s previous school, and that his son ‘couldn’t be happier’. The department gives pupils real belief in themselves, according to parents we spoke to, and both the head boy and girl have accessed learning support.

Art and DT enjoy great facilities with plenty of light and, possessing both an 1859 printing press as well as 3D printers, advances in the printing process are covered admirably. Drama is on curriculum from the off, with LAMDA available as an extra from year 5. Annual plays begin in pre-prep with the usual nativity, while recent productions for older pupils have included Pride and Prejudice and Guys and Dolls. The summer arts festival is a highlight, incorporating promenade pieces – pupils were even rowed out to an island in one of the ponds as part of one performance (less fun for the teacher doing the rowing perhaps!).

Music is overseen by an enthusiastic director of music. The choir is highly valued and performs regularly in chapel services, as well as doing extremely well in competitions. The intention is to build up ensemble groups through the introduction of junior strings and a junior band in addition to the school orchestra, and to invite students from Canford and Bryanston to the school to play so that pupils can see where all that practice can lead. The current ensemble groups are very popular – one happy parent whose son had wanted to give up his instrument told us he ‘changed his mind since he’s now in a band’. In the music block there are pianos and other instruments for children to borrow, with around 47 per cent having private music lessons.

With such marvellous grounds and facilities, it’s no wonder that sport is a vital part of Walhampton. Rugby, football, hockey and cricket for the boys; hockey, football, netball and cricket for the girls – with matches for all every Wednesday. The school also offers pathways for specific sports whereby pupils can devote more time to a favourite pursuit or hone their skills if particularly promising or gifted. Excellent equestrian facilities must get a mention, enabling pupils to stable their own ponies alongside those provided by the school. Being a British Horse Society riding school, the training and care are first class and the school offers dressage, show jumping and gymkhanas. And because the school nestles in the New Forest, there’s plenty of space for hacking off-site. Sailing is taken seriously, with two large ponds on-site (Portmore Pond for sailing, Sandwalk Pond for fishing), and the children enjoying great success as competitive sailors at the IAPS Regatta. School says Walhampton Sailing Academy has never been so busy.

Masses of clubs – kayaking, chess, water polo, Latin, cookery and beekeeping (the honey is delicious) to name a few. Included in fees except where expertise is brought in, eg tennis and golf.

Pupils say food is ‘great’ and that there’s ‘lots of it’, which there certainly was on our visit when lunch comprised a huge variety of sausages, salad, veg and exotic fruit – definitely enough to satisfy the pickiest of eaters. Catering staff clearly go to great lengths to ensure food is healthy, wholesome and tasty, and both teachers and the eco committee encourage pupils to join the ‘empty plate club’ by not leaving anything uneaten.

An active PA organises the usual fun events and fundraising. Parents regularly attend services in the chapel and give talks on their own career paths. The school is eager for plenty of parental contribution, they told us.

Pupils we met were confident, polite, active and animated – keen to regale us with details of their recent successes at the STEAM fair and their sailing triumphs. Kindness permeates the school and, on bullying, the children explained that ‘sometimes people are mean’ but it was always dealt with appropriately by staff. Hence, pupils are encouraged to have five people they know they can go to (one for each finger – easy to remember for younger ones). And if they had a magic wand to wave? Same as children everywhere – less homework and more time for tea.

Boarders

Around 10 per cent of pupils board, with facilities located in the main house. The girls have great bunk beds with plenty of storage, and children are encouraged to bring their own bed linen, pictures etc. But the boys get the better views across the Solent. Flexi-boarding popular with pupils and parents alike, for the occasional night or longer. One parent, whose child slept over for one night a week, said his daughter felt 'it's like The holy grail’ to be a boarder and, given the chance, would board full time.

Quite quiet at weekends, with just 17 full-time boarders. But there are plenty of activities, including the very popular film nights (with popcorn), plus there is ‘Glade-iators’ where pupils attempt to get back from the bottom of the Glade in the dark and ring the school bell before their teachers manage to catch them. The school recently hosted an exchange school from China, and it is hoped that Walhampton pupils will be able to enjoy a reciprocal arrangement in the near future.

Boarders say the atmosphere is calm and the facilities comfortable – and that they ‘really enjoy it’. Phones allowed for 30 minutes in the evening, then locked away overnight.

The last word

Not the kind of school parents choose for academic achievements alone, but also for the nurturing, happy environment in an idyllic setting. Children ‘flourish like little flowers’, reckoned one parent. Wellies essential.

Special Education Needs

Walhampton has a Learning Support unit with three specialist teachers as well as an additional member of staff to support EAL. Children are supported on a one to one basis or in small groups where appropriate, and have a variety of learning needs including dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD and autism. There are strong links between subject teachers and Learning Support and meetings are held regularly to share information and strategies to support the children. There are also strong links between the Learning Support department and the pastoral team.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia Y
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia Y
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Genetic Y
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health Y
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability Y
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health Y
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Y
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
VI - Visual Impairment

Leavers' destinations

Who came from where


Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
☑ Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

Buy Now

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.