Edgeborough School, near Farnham
Edgeborough is non-selective day and flexi boarding prep school set amid 50 acres of stunning countryside just out of Farnham.
There’s no denying the beauty of Edgeborough School and its idyllic setting amid 50 acres of rolling hills and woodlands at Frensham, just outside Farnham. A long winding driveway is your first impression – and a stunning first impression it is – worthy of any Hollywood film set, and certainly a somewhere you’ll easily imagine dropping off your little darlings each day.
The impressive approach, as stunning as it is, pales though when the school’s real centrepiece comes into view – an elegant Victorian stone mansion house called Frensham Place which is rammed with original architectural features. This was once the home of Sir Cyril Arthur Pearson, the British newspaper magnate who founded the Daily Express and apparently hosted regular parties that were frequented by the likes of Peter Pan author, JM Barrie, among others.
The school is warm and friendly – and proudly non-selective, taking boys and girls from the age of 2 (in the nursery) up to 13. There are about 360 pupils here, with most years having a three-form entry. There’s a strong sense of family and community here. The kids eat their meals with the teachers, which creates a lovely relaxed and comfortable vibe (although limited opportunities to flick peas across the table!).
From September 2021, Edgeborough will join the Charterhouse family which will provide extra breadth and depth in both academic and co-curricular life.
What? Apart from the 50 acres of outdoor space for your child to roam and frolic in (not without supervision, natch)? The outdoors are a huge part of the ethos at Edgeborough, and students are encouraged to enjoy being outside. There’s all the usual playing fields, both astro and grass, an outdoor swimming pool and plenty of grassy fields that are also home to several deer. Games are a big part of the curriculum. There’s a strong sport-for-all ethos at the school, with a plethora of staff credentials spread through all levels of coaching.
The arts is well represented with an impressive dance studio, music room and indoor theatre, as well as a bright and light art studio, complete with kiln. You’ll also find libraries, science labs, design and technology workshops and a snazzy new ICT and robotics suite with more techy stuff than you can shake a stick at. Big plans are also afoot to upgrade other facilities this year, starting with science.
There’s a huge emphasis on pastoral care, nurturing and personal development. The school is non-selective so academic results are not the sole focus – there will be no hothousing here – but that doesn’t mean academics are not important. Clearly this is a school with kids who are talented across the board. But that’s not why children come to Edgeborough – it’s a happiness thing.
As you’d expect of a school with happiness and nurturing at its core and small class sizes, each child has a massive amount of attention lavished upon them. The results of this showed with 100 per cent pass at Common Entrance and scholarships aplenty across all areas; academic, sport, music, drama, art, all-round. Pupils go on to Charterhouse, Wellington College, Lord Wandsworth College, Marlborough, Cranleigh School, St Catherine’s and Prior’s Field, among others.
OTHER BOASTY BITS
Edgeborough fields teams in football, netball, rugby, hockey, cricket, cross country, swimming, tennis and lacrosse. Teams regularly qualify for the Schools’ National Finals to play alongside the top 24 schools in the country.
The boarding house is on the first and second floors of Frensham Place. Kids can board from Monday to Friday – some opt for weekly boarding, take the flexi boarding option to help build up their boarding experience, while others still, opt for occasional – or hotel – boarding, joining in the pillow fights only every now and then.
Mrs Buckey, new to Edgeborough in Sept 2020, the Housemistress, is a natural, providing a warm fun and friendly environment, and it’s clear the kids love her. She lives on the first floor with her husband Pete, their children Wilfred and Posey and black lab, Ivy. Dorm rooms vary in size from a cosy four to 10.
Dan Thornburn arrived at the school from St Petroc’s School in Bude, Cornwall via a 3 month trek thourgh Europe. His children Molly and Walter are both pupils at the school, and his wife, Emi is heavily involved as both a maths teacher and Marketing Manager at the school. Dan is keen to cultivate an inclusive school catering to children with diverse interests and abilities, while also being exclusive in its ability to support those who want to excel.
But above all else, Dan wants all the pupils to be happy at Edgeborough. “Happy children who want to come to school will eventually find something to latch on to and throw their energies into,” he says. “Happy children thrive and succeed; and Edgeborough is full of success stories.”
The nursery and pre-prep is housed in a timber lodge with separate playgrounds for those in nursery and the reception to year 2 classrooms. There are two parallel classes in each year, and when the children get to year two they’ll be taught French, PE and music by specialist teachers in the main school, which helps to smooth their transition into the upper school.
Are dogs quirky? Perhaps not in every day life, but at Edgeborough there are several dogs who live on the grounds and take an active part in school life. Humphrey and Parsnip the Head’s golden retrievers are often found lounging outside his office and they always enjoy the odd pat from the children on the way into lunch. In the library, too, Mrs Holder’s two pooches, Paisley and Petal, are a regular sight – and love listening to the children read – and in the boarding house there’s Ivy and Mani the black labs.
WRAP AROUND CARE
Good. The flexi boarding means that parents have the option to book their kids in for a night boarding. There’s a breakfast club option from 7.50am and an after-school club and supper also as an option. As you’d expect, there’s also an abundance of extra curricular activities, from computer coding to street dance.
Pre-prep (Reception to Yr 2): £3800 per term; Lower prep (Yrs 3 and 4): £5564; Upper prep (Yrs 5 to 8) £6170. Add between £31 and £43.75 for boarding, depending how many nights you do. The fees include all meals and most day trips. There’s a 5% discount for second and subsequent children, while there are siblings at Edgeborough. The nursery is £70.75 a day, or £82.75 for an extended day.
The school offers a restricted number of means-tested bursaries and scholarships to appropriate pupils.
WORD ON THE GROUND
Edgeborough has a strong sense of community for both the children and the parents. It is one of the go-to prep schools for London leavers, parents like that it’s not a pushy environment and yet still sends a batch of well-rounded kids off to excellent senior schools. Our advice? Get your registration form in quickly as a number of year groups are already operating waiting lists.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Those who want a warm, friendly home-from-home environment for their children with an emphasis on all-round development.
Not for: This is not an exam factory, so if you’re after a purely academic hot-house this school may not be the one you’re after.
Dare to disagree?! Don’t take my word for it! Personal virtual tours available from email@example.com or call 01252 792495.
Edgeborough School, Frensham, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 3AH. edgeborough.co.uk