East Surrey

Category Archives: Schools

After a challenging year for all, Essendene Lodge Prep School in Caterham returned to school in a double celebratory mood.

The school has been recognised by The Independent School Association for their outstanding international involvement. Essendene Lodge School has enjoyed a partnership with Msalura Primary School in Malawi for a decade.

The many fundraising initiatives by pupils and parents have helped to secure desks, improve toilets, provide a freshwater pump on site, introduce sports such as hockey and tennis and exchange of ideas on teaching and learning.

Whilst Malawi is currently also facing the challenges of the global pandemic the Essendene Community have continued their support by funding secondary girls education and also providing PPE equipment and food supplies to the neediest families.

Mrs Ali, Headteacher at Essendene Lodge School said she was delighted that the school has been recognised by the ISA for their involvement and thanked the pupils, parents and staff for their on-going effort and commitment to solidifying this partnership which undoubtedly has a positive impact on pupils here and in Malawi.

Warlingham Park School has announced that it has been acquired by The Inspired Learning Group, a family of Independent schools and nurseries.

The current Warlingham Park School was founded by Stuart Sexton, former Advisor to the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in September 1986. The Independent preparatory school and nursery was established with the aim of providing primary level children with a curriculum that included an emphasis on design technology and IT and its practical teaching, while maintaining a solid grounding in Maths and English.

Over 30 years later, the school still follows the same educational approach while also developing strengths in the broader curriculum particularly in areas such as Drama and Music. Mr Sexton, who turned 85 in 2019, felt that the time was right to think about the school’s future and its long-term sustainability. The Sexton family have all contributed to its success over the years and wanted to see the school continue to flourish for future generations.

The inspired Learning Group was founded by Mr Amit Mehta in 2014 and has grown into a family of highly successful Preparatory Schools and Nurseries around London and the South East. The Inspired Learning Group are also a small family run organisation who are dedicated to ensuring that their schools retain their individual and unique ethos, identity and values. The news was received very positively by both parents and staff and Mr Mehta has held meetings with both groups to explain the advantages and opportunities now available to Warlingham Park School’s staff and pupils through the Inspired Learning Group.

These include: interschool events, networking, sharing of outstanding practice across the group and professional development opportunities; all of which will combine to further enhance the children’s education and breadth of opportunities.

Mr Sexton said, “This is an exciting opportunity for current pupils and staff and I am happy that The Inspired Learning Group will continue to build on our strengths of developing children into happy, rounded and articulate individuals who are ready to meet the challenges of secondary education”. Headteacher, Sarah Buist, commented, “This is fantastic news and we look forward to building on our current strengths such as our family friendly ethos, high academic achievement and outstanding pastoral care. Being a part of a bigger family will bring its own benefits and secure the school’s future! The ILG ethos is very much in line with our own; such as traditional values, forward thinking and ensuring that all children reach their potential”.

Banstead Prep School pupils are celebrating their success at the inaugural Banstead Young Artist of the Year competition last month.

The competition, launched at the Banstead Art Group Annual Exhibition, invited local school children to submit their own works of art to be exhibited at Banstead Community Hall between 24 and 26 October.

Banstead Art Group members were then encouraged to vote for the pieces that they felt showed the greatest maturity and understanding of artistic techniques. Visitors from the public were also able to vote for their favourite works.

In what was nearly a clean sweep for Banstead Prep School, a number of pupils achieved awards across the age categories. The children all received a certificate, prize ribbon and generous prizes of artist materials provided by local business Pullinger’s Art Supplies as sponsors of the competition.
Prizes in the Age 8-11 category were all awarded to Banstead Prep’s talented young artists; with Plant by Olivia receiving the first prize ribbon, Sunset Bay by Shreya awarded second prize and Kingfisher by Georgie taking third place. Georgie also celebrated particular acclaim from the public vote – which saw 786 votes cast in total – recognising her pastel rendition of one of the nation’s favourite birds.

For more information about Banstead Prep School, click here or call 01737 3636300.

6th Form Centre

A-level pupils from Dunottar School in Reigate have moved into their newly built Sixth Form Centre.

The £2.2 million building provides a modern working space that aims to look and feel like being at university and the world of work. Students also enjoy the benefits of silent study areas, collaborative study areas and social spaces, such as a patio, a cafeteria and a ‘rec room’.

The energy efficient building, designed to integrate perfectly with the school’s beautiful Grade II listed buildings, has lots of natural light, an LED lighting system and an environmentally considered heating system.

New plants and trees, sympathetic to the historical gardens, maintain the ecology of the existing landscaping.

The Sixth Form Centre is the first of two building projects that aim to improve the educational experiences of the increasing number of pupils attending the Reigate-based school—since Dunottar became co-educational and joined the United Learning group in March 2014, pupil numbers have risen rapidly. Work has begun on a second project, a £4.5 initiative to build an assembly hall and classrooms.

Headmaster, Mark Tottman, said: “The new Sixth Form Centre has been a big hit with our pupils. They love the feeling of independence that the new facilities allow, and it has also brought them even closer together as a group. On seeing the building for the first time, many parents and staff have commented that they would like to be sixth-formers again!”

For information about studying A levels at Dunottar, contact [email protected].








Year 7 students from Dunottar School in Reigate have spent a half term studying news articles on The Day, a news app that aims to bring the world into the classroom. The youngsters were offered a wide range of articles, encompassing national and international politics, economics, science, technology, arts and media, health, sport, and the environment.

Head of English, Kerry Lewis, said: “The pupils already have access to online fiction via our eplatform library lending system. We wanted to encourage them to read more nonfiction. Nowadays, if tech-savvy students need information, they have immediate access to it from their devices. We modernised our nonfiction unit by ditching our PowerPoints and replacing them with a curriculum that is fresh and flexible, that is always current and that constantly changes. Most importantly, all the nonfiction reading material is accessed through the students’ iPads. The pupils also independently read articles of their choice, keeping the reading material relevant to their interests.

The lessons inspired a range of analytical, writing and speaking activities, including philosophical debate. For students who wanted to learn more about a particular subject, there were opportunities for wider research through links to other articles and YouTube videos.”

Pippa Smithson, Deputy Head, said: “Pupils want to know that their learning is relevant and current. They really engaged with these lessons, enjoyed lively debates and proved that they have an empathy and understanding beyond the Reigate bubble.”

Awarded every year to Secondary Schools, and for the first time in 2019 to Junior and Preparatory Schools, the prestigious cricketing publication have included Cumnor House School in its Top 50 Preparatory Schools for Cricket in the UK by The Cricketer.

Following an exhaustive process which saw more than 350 schools submit entries to be included in the guide. All entries were judged against an extensive set of criteria, with all the chosen schools having outstanding facilities, fixture programmes and coaching.

Cumnor House School Cricket

At Cumnor House School, pupils start their cricket training in the summer term with daily cricket sessions timetabled across the school year groups and have regular matches during the term with independent schools across South London, Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex. The fundamental skills of cricket are introduced in the pre-prep school using soft balls and modified equipment, and the boys start competitive fixtures in Year 3. From Year 4 onwards the boys are introduced to hard ball practices and fixtures. In most year groups the school fields four teams and the A teams from U9 level up take part in several tournaments as well as annual cricket tours, both at home and abroad. The eight outdoor nets at the games field as well as the AstroTurf at school are frequently used by all age groups and teams. The majority of our A,B & C team players play for club, county district or full county age-group teams.


  • In 2018, scoring 283 for 4 off 20 overs against St John’s, Leatherhead. In 2018 Cumnor House won the U13 Surrey Cup for the third successive year and made it through to the top four prep schools Nationally at U13 level.
  • In 2016 the school was crowned Surrey Prep Schools winners at U13 and U11 level – four different centurions shared a total of 11 hundreds
  • 2017 & 2018: U13 Surrey Cup Prep School Winners, U13 National Prep Schools Finalists. U11 National Schools finalists.
  • 2016: U13 Surrey Cup Prep School Winners. U11 Surrey Cup Prep School Winners.
  • 2015: U13 Surrey Cup Prep School Runners-Up, U11 Surrey Cup Prep School Winners

About Cumnor House School

Located in South Croydon, Cumnor House School has a long history of sporting and academic achievements. The school has an outstanding scholarship record to outstanding senior destination schools and is proud of the number of highly successful international sporting alumni it has produced, within multiple sports including cricket, rugby, football and swimming. The school is proud to have a dedicated sports department, an extensive timetable of sporting fixtures, competitions and meets as well as outstanding and varied sporting facilities including onsite swimming pool and 10 acres of sports field.

Mrs Sarah Buist has started as the new Headteacher at Warlingham Park School, taking over from Mr Michael Donald who retired at the end of the last school year after 25 years at the school.

On joining Mrs Buist said “I am thrilled to have been appointed as the new Headteacher at Warlingham Park School. I first encountered this hidden gem years ago when my son was a pupil here and I am delighted to now be leading the school into its next exciting chapter. Warlingham Park is a truly inclusive school with a unique family feel and I am excited to be leading it into its next chapter.”

During the first few weeks of term, there have already been some popular new initiatives. The children have voted in representatives for their new School Council which they are very excited about. At their first meeting, they discussed ideas for improving playtime and possible meals for the school lunch menu. Each week, one child from each class is awarded the Headteacher’s award and is awarded a certificate and a badge which they wear for the week. Their names are displayed in a special book outside the Headteacher’s office for all to see! Mrs Buist has also been very busy handing out her special Headteacher merit badges to children throughout the school to recognise their achievements and good work.

Mrs Buist was Deputy Head at Oakwood School in Purley for over three years where she was also instrumental to all aspects of management and the development of academics, leading English, and the 11+ exam preparation club.

Mrs Buist said, “I am delighted to be joining Warlingham Park School and I am committed to ensuring the pupils receive the highest standard of education, allowing them to reach their full potential; academic, personal and social. I very much look forward to leading the school into the future and working with the staff, parents and trustees and of course, the pupils, in September.”


In June 2016, girls graduating from Bramley School were presented with their leaving gifts by Shiva Feshareki, the award winning composer who won the BBC Young Composer Award in 2004. Having  worked with Bramley School on several projects in association with The Royal College of Music, Shiva is a familiar face to the girls and had some wise words to send them on their way to their senior schools.

Shiva spoke about her ambitions as an 11 year old and encouraged every girl to keep an open mind;  find their passion and enjoy the present moment. She said: ”What is the definition of a successful individual? Well, it is someone who has been encouraged to have faith in their unique abilities, and someone who knows they are loved, and uses this to live their lives to the full”. This is very much the ethos that Bramley School shares.

Shiva Feshareki is a composer and scholarship graduate from the Royal College of Music. She won the BBC Young Composers Award in 2004 and has awards ranging from the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, to British Composer Award shortlisted works. She has had performances at major UK venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Institute of Contemporary Art, Barbican, Roundhouse and has had working relationships with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonia, London Sinfonietta and London Contemporary Orchestra. She sometimes DJs, and presents experimental classical music on NTS Radio in Dalston.

Established since 1945, Bramley is a leading day school for girls, from rising three to eleven, located in Walton-on-the-Hill near Tadworth in Surrey.  As well as concentrating on the academic achievements of the girls, the school nurtures and develops each girl’s special interests, with a broad and modern curriculum. Awarded ‘Excellent’ in all areas following the ISI Inspection in February 2016, Bramley School provides a highly personal teaching approach for each of its pupils.

For further information please contact Caron Alford, Marketing Manager, by clicking here.

Warwick Davis & Year 7 studentsActor Warwick Davis has visited Dunottar School in Reigate to talk to students about a charity, which he co-founded.

Little People UK aims to help people with dwarfism to build a positive future by offering them, and their families and friends, friendship and support.

Warwick, who is the charity’s patron, said: “Some people with dwarfism feel isolated and shy.  The charity helps to provide them with confidence.”

Little People UK, which will soon celebrate its third birthday, holds annual conventions, workshops, social events, help with grants, and provides support from doctors, physiotherapists and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators.

With a career spanning over three decades, Warwick is best known for his roles in WillowStar WarsHarry Potter films and most recently on our TV screens in Life’s Too Short, Doctor Who, An Idiot Abroad 3.  As founder and director of The Reduced Height Theatre Company, he was featured on the BBC’s Modern Times.


In a lively question and answer session, students quizzed him about his favourite part played (Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi); his funniest moments; his experience of being in Doctor Who (‘it had been my ambition for many years’); his favourite Harry Potter films (The Prisoner of Azkaban and Deathly Hallows Part 2), the last day of filming the final Harry Potter film, and the best part about being in Harry Potter (‘the privilege of bringing one of J.K. Rowling’s characters to screen and working alongside all those brilliant British actors’).  He also explained that he became an actor purely by chance.

After presenting the school with a signed copy of his book Size Matters Not, eager pupils queued up for photographs and autographs.

Charlie Kent & Warwick Davis
Smile please! Pupil Charlie Kent takes a selfie with Warwick

Head teacher, Rowena Cole, said: “It was brilliant for both staff and pupils to meet Warwick and to hear about his different experiences both on and off screen.  It was a really entertaining afternoon, but I also hope it will have reminded our pupils that, in a very image conscious world, it is important to look beyond the image to the person underneath; the fact that most of our pupils left school half an hour late to spend additional time with Warwick is testament to his warmth and the connection he was able to create.’

Warwick Davis and Lesley Moon

Staff get in on the act! Warwick and Accounts Assistant Lesley Moon


Y6 parents science lesson

Pupils at the Hawthorns School in Bletchingley have been getting creative with science during their annual Science Week.

They had the opportunity to take part in a range of activities during break-times and lessons, including ‘Colourful Chemistry’ lessons.  Year 5 pupils made coloured rock candy, Year 7 investigated diff

erent coloured flames and Year 8 tried out various methods of writing secret messages using invisible inks.  Even the parents took part in the lessons, with Year 6 parents and pupils carrying out experiments on thermochromatic paints, which change colour with heat.  Parents were also invited to join their children for an indoor firework show presented by pyrotechnician Matthew Tosh, who entertained with plenty of bangs and flashes. 

As part of Science Week, all the pupils from Year 3 to Year 8 took part in a ‘Science in a Box’ competition.  A huge amount of hard work and creativity went into the boxes, which included ‘How a Washing Machine Works’; ‘A Rainforest Habitat’; and ‘The Science of Poisons’.

No-where was the link between art and science more aptly demonstrated than by four former pupils (Jack Talbot, Paul Randall, George Parrington and Michael Clarke) who scooped first prize earlier this year in a ‘Royal Society of Chemistry Bill Bryson Competition’ in which pupils were asked to answer the tricky question, ‘Where is the art in science?’.  Out of 550 entries, the Hawthorns pupils won one of only four prizes, coming top in the Secondary category with their photographs of chemical reactions captured using a super-fast shutter speed camera.  The boys had the privilege of attending the recent prize-giving ceremony in London and meeting Bill Bryson, the author of ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’.

Jo Rogers, Head of Science, commented, ‘As well as demonstrating real creativity and depth of understanding in their own science projects, the pupils have been given many opportunities to be inspired by science this week, which I hope will foster a life-long fascination with the subject.’