EDUCATION – Ethos and tradition in our schools


Parkside is a high achieving Prep School where pupils receive plenty of opportunity to shine and develop their potential inside and out of the classroom

Article from FOCUS Magazine – Winter 12 issue.

Parkside School

Parkside School is set in a beautiful forty acre estate on the banks of the River Mole in Stoke d’Abernon, Cobham. The School has been in existence for over 125 years and on its present site since 1979 during which time there has been a continual development plan which in recent years has seen the addition of a new Music department and concert hall, total refurbishment and updating of the Science laboratories, a new Art studio, a new library and, most recently, a second well equipped IT suite.

Academic progress at Parkside is geared to the individual so that boys work at their own pace towards Common Entrance. Obviously this works well as in 2012 Parkside again had an excellent set of results in Common Entrance with all boys passing to their first choice of senior school, many having won prizes from the senior schools for outstanding results.

Predominantly a school for boys aged between 4 and 13 years, there is a very popular co-educational nursery on site for children aged 21/2 – 4 years offering a warm and friendly atmosphere, Parkside is large enough to offer a broad based curriculum but is small enough for all pupils to be treated as individuals. There is a wide range of after school activities for the boys to take part in such as debating, crafts, gardening, cooking, Mathletics, chess, IT with graphic design, touch typing, music technology and school magazine editing, plus many sporting activities. There really is something for everyone. School trips are arranged throughout the year, ranging from theatre and museum visits to cultural trips to France and Italy, sailing, hockey tours to the Channel Islands and an annual cricket tour to the Caribbean.

The school has an enviable sporting record and over the past few years has won many tournaments in a variety of sports, many boys having gone on to represent both county and country. The main sports are football, hockey and cricket, but the boys also have an opportunity to take part in rugby, swimming, athletics, tennis, basketball, judo, golf, fencing, archery, kayaking, fencing and cross-country running.

Parkside also has musicians of an incredible standard and, in addition to lessons as part of the general curriculum, boys are able to receive individual tuition in a variety of musical instruments.  Musicians may also have the opportunity to join the Big Band, Jazz Orchestra, smaller instrumental groups or the school choir. There are musical soirees and concerts put on throughout the school year, culminating in a charity concert held in May which always raises a very substantial figure for the chosen charity.

Further details are available by visiting the school website on


The Manor, Stoke D’Abernon, KT11 3PX
T:  01932 862749  F: 01932 860251


Farnborough Hill prides itself on being the ‘Caring face of academic excellence’

Farnborough Hill

Farnborough Hill prides itself on  being the ‘Caring face of academic excellence’. To understand this ethos, one really has to visit the school  and see the blend of academic rigour and outstanding pastoral care that the school delivers so impressively. Farnborough Hill is not highly selective but the quality of  the teaching and learning leads to very high proportions of A* and A grades in GCSE and A level examinations. All who wish to, go on to higher education and every year girls gain places at the top universities including Oxford, Cambridge and the London medical schools.

Academic results are by no means the only story at Farnborough Hill. Based on traditional values but always forward-looking, the school aims to educate the whole person in a happy, caring community. The Roman Catholic tradition and Christian values are seen as key to the excellent pastoral care and respect with which students treat each other. Welcoming all girls who support this ethos, Farnborough Hill celebrates everyone’s success. This is most apparent at the Monday morning assemblies where certificates and trophies are presented for all the girls’ achievements both inside and out of school. The staff get congratulated for their achievements too; excellent role models for life-long learning.

The school’s impressive main house, a Grade 1 listed building once the home of Empress Eugenie, has had many modern purpose built facilities added. These include a sports hall, indoor swimming pool, a theatre and dance studio, state-of-the-art laboratories, IT suites, Art and Design Technology Centre, and chapel. Headmistress, Sarah Buckle (pictured above with Year 7 girls), says “This is a very special place; the buildings, the history, the spectacular grounds are impressive but what makes it so special are the people.” Mrs Buckle adds “the staff are a wonderful group of people, a great mix of youth and experience, who work closely together and get to know the girls very well indeed. They teach creatively and with passion and the girls respond brilliantly; staff and girls have great respect for each other.”

Life at Farnborough Hill is vibrant and busy – an environment that fosters energy, friendliness and fun. Girls are encouraged to participate in everything on offer and they become adept at balancing their studies with a variety of interests. Mrs Buckle holds the view that learning should be fun, that lessons should be inspiring so that school work never becomes a chore, and she never ceases to be amazed by how much the girls pack in to one day. Whether it is sports practices, music rehearsals, attending the exciting talks programme or dancing their way through the lunch hour for charity, she firmly believes that Farnborough Hill establishes a positive can-do attitude which develops the self confidence the girls need for bright and fulfilling futures.

If you would like to find out more about Farnborough Hill our next Open Afternoons are on 14 November and 8 February: please call Director of Admissions, Clare Duffin, on 01252 529811 to book a place.


Farnborough Road, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 8AT
T: 01252 545197


Woldingham School – Balancing Tradition and Modernity: the Future of Girls’ Education

Woldingham School

Woldingham School is a Catholic School founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1842. The School continues to draw its meaning and strength from its long and distinguished tradition. The School aims to be a caring and supportive Christian community, in the Catholic tradition, in which girls are happy, confident and inspired to meet challenges and achieve excellence in whatever they choose to do, according to their ability. Girls are encouraged to become independent, enquiring young women who forge lasting relationships, achieve academic success and become positive influences in the world they will enter.

The Goals and Criteria for the School were first introduced in 1987. Since that time the ideals have continued to be adapted and modified. However the key principles will not change. These concern:

Faith – which allows us to live responsibly in today’s world, a world that has clearly moved into a period of rapid, and in many respects, turbulent change.

Social Justice – a social awareness which impels to action so that each of us is ready to give, not merely receive.

Community – the building of a community prepared to look outside itself, where the emphasis is on sharing, friendship and care as reflections of our relationship with God, as we live out Christian values.

Scholarship and Intellectual Values – ;a deep respect for scholarship and intellectual values.

Personal Responsibility and Growth – personal growth in an atmosphere  of wise and appropriate freedom.

What makes an education at Woldingham truly life-changing is the world that is revealed during a girl’s   time at the School. As part of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, the School benefits from an even wider affiliation with the people and institutions associated with the Society of the  Sacred Heart in 41 countries around the globe. This truly international character  of Sacred Heart education helps to  foster an important global awareness in our students.

2012 has been an extraordinary year for Woldingham School’s Headmistress, Jayne Triffitt MA (Oxon) and her team.  At the start of the year, the Independent Schools Inspectorate placed the School in its top band excellent’ (equivalent to Ofsted’s ‘outstanding’) in all areas of activity: pupils’ achievements and learning, curricular and extra-curricular provision, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the pupils, pastoral care, boarding, governance and leadership and management.

Jayne Triffitt’s commitment to ensuring the quality and tradition of Sacred Heart education prevail, has invigorated and empowered all those who contribute to this thriving school. This approach has paid dividends. 2012’s public examination results are a testament to the girls and teaching staff. 51% of GCSE grades were at A*, 79% A* or A, and a truly remarkable 92% of all grades were A* – B. At A level 83% of girls achieved A*,  A and B grades.

The School is happy to accommodate prospective families and private tours and appointments with the Headmistress can be arranged. Saturday Open Mornings are on 16 March, 18 May and 15 June, 2013 (by appointment only). To reserve your place, please contact the Registrar on 01883 654206 or email


Marden Park, Woldingham, CR3 7LR
T: 01883 654206