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Ripley Court School, Ripley

A friendly, nurturing prep school for boys and girls aged 3 to 11 set on an idyllic 19 acre site in the chocolate-box village of Ripley.

A friendly, nurturing prep school for boys and girls aged 3 to 11 set on an idyllic 19 acre site in the chocolate-box village of Ripley.

WHAT? WHERE?

Pupils at Ripley Court School, Ripley Surrey

Ripley Court School is an attractive prep school in Ripley taking children from age 3 to 11. It’s a non-selective school with a strong reputation for its excellent pastoral care where children are nurtured and supported to achieve their full potential. There’s a relaxed and warm family feel to the school, where children are happy and thrive.

It’s a relatively small school with 200 pupils in total spread across the Nursery, Little Court Pre-Prep (reception to year 2) and the Upper Court (years 3 to 6) and a two-form entry throughout.

Pupils come in from Ripley, Clandon, West and East Horsley, Pyrford, Woodham and also Cobham and Guildford, plus other local surrounding areas. In 2019, Ripley Court School merged with Reed’s School, an all-boys senior school in Cobham with a co-ed Sixth Form, but Ripley Court will continue to prepare its pupils for a wide range of schools. This is a process that begins from the time they join the school, with additional support, exam practice and preparation in Year 5 and Year 6, prior to taking their entrance examinations.

FACILITIES

Ripley Court School, Ripley Surrey

Ripley Court might look like a small school site from the front, but don’t be deceived – it opens up like a Tardis to reveal acres of playing fields, woodlands for Forest School and extensive outdoor play areas.

Outdoor learning is a big part of school life and as much as possible the children are encouraged to get outside. There’s everything here that you’d expect to find – playing fields for rugby, hockey, football and cricket plus a quintessential timber-clad cricket pavilion, netball and tennis courts, and an indoor heated swimming pool.

There’s also an indoor sports hall, a music and drama centre which includes a small theatre, dedicated arts, food tech, IT and science labs (one of which is set up for the smaller kids).

THE ACADEMICS

Pupils in science lab at Ripley Court School, Ripley Surrey

Specialist subjects are taught from as young as nursery and these increase as you move up the school. In years 5 and 6, all pupils follow an itinerant timetable taught entirely by specialist teachers. Preparation for seniors schools begins in year 5, with the school meeting with parents and working closely together to match pupils to the best possible school. Children are also taught study skills and verbal reasoning from year 5 to help prepare for senior schools. Many children go on to apply for, and receive, scholarships to their chosen senior schools for a range of subjects including academics, sport, drama, music and art. All achievements, at Ripley Court, are celebrated.

Philosophy has been introduced into the curriculum this year from years 3 to 6, and there are plans to expand this to include the pre-prep from reception to year 2.

SPORT

Children playing sport at Ripley Court School, Ripley Surrey

There’s a strong sporting culture at Ripley Court School and as well as regular sports sessions, children also compete in fixtures against other schools each week in football, cricket, hockey and netball, and the school hosts an independent cross-country event each year.

Children are taught to swim from Nursery, and specialist lessons continue every week all the way through to year 6 – which goes some way to explaining the school’s success at the Independent Association of Prep School swimming gala.

ART, MUSIC AND DRAMA

Girl playing the flute, Ripley Court School, Ripley, Surrey

Art is strong at Ripley Court, and there is a wonderful light-filled art room where classes are taught from year 1 to 6 by a specialist art teacher.

All children at the school study music as part of their class music lessons, learning the ukulele as an instrument, basic keyboard and composition skills. There’s also a team of about 12 peripatetic music teachers who offer individual tuition.

The converted stable block is home to the drama department, which includes a small theatre, although larger productions are staged in the sports hall. LAMDA is also offered at the school.

LITTLIES

Kids reading at Ripley Court School, Ripley Surrey

The nursery is housed in its own building at the school with direct access to a dedicated playground. All nursery children have specialist swimming, dance, music and French lessons as well as Forest School.

NEXT SCHOOLS

Children go on to a wide range of senior schools – mostly day schools in the local area including Reed’s School, Guildford High, Royal Grammar School in Guildford, St Catherine’s school in Bramley and St George’s College in Weybridge to name but a few. With 13 scholarships and exhibitions awarded to the 2020 cohort, all pupils secured places to a range of senior Schools.

THE HEAD

Pupils and head teacher Aislinn Clarke at Ripley Court School, Ripley Surrey

Aislinn Clarke is new to the school, arriving as Headmistress in April this year. Warm, friendly and with a gentle nature, she seems to be an excellent fit for a school with a strong family vibe going on. Her two year old son will start in the nursery in April when he turns three.

She’s already started making her mark on the school too, with subtle changes like the introduction of Philosophy into the curriculum, expanding Forest School to run from nursery up to year 6, an increase in Maths and English teaching provision, and the introduction of more specialist teaching to the pre-prep. Ms Clarke is first female headteacher at Ripley Court in 100 years, for which she’s justifiably proud. She’s a local girl – having gone to school herself at Notre Dame in Cobham, and coming to Ripley Court from St Hilary’s in Godalming where she was the deputy head for five years. Her first ever teaching role was at Greenfield School in Woking and she has experience of teaching in London.

WRAP AROUND CARE

Kids in playground at Ripley Court School, Ripley, Surrey

The school day starts at 8.30am and ends at 3.30pm for pupils up to year 2 and 4pm for years 3-6. There’s a free one-hour homework club after school for the children in years 3-6, and a free 30-minute holding service for the younger pupils who have siblings in the older years finishing at 4pm.

There’s a breakfast club from 7.30am and after-school care that runs until 6pm. There’s also an extensive extra-curricular programme that includes clubs like ballet, archery, bush craft and chess.

FEES

Nursery fees are £3,340 per term for full time places (10 sessions a week) and £1,670 per term for the minimum of five sessions a week. In reception fees are £3,510 per term, rising to £3,750 per term in years 1 and 2, £4,890 per term in years 3 and 4 and £5,100 per term for years 5 and 6. There are discounts for siblings, and for years 3 and above academic, Music, Art and Sports scholarships are available as well as means-tested bursaries. As part of the Andrew Reed’s Foundation, bursary support may also be provided to pupils who have lost of one or both parents.

WORD ON THE GROUND

pupils at Ripley Court School, Ripley Surrey

Parents like the family feel of the school and the fact it offers an all-round holistic education for children. Academic children are supported, but not hot-housed, and there’s a good sporting culture, as well as arts and drama facilities.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Parents looking for a friendly, happy school where pastoral care is important, and kids won’t be hothoused.

Not for: Super ambitious parents might want to look elsewhere if they’re after an academically pushy environment. Whilst children are all supported in reaching their full potential it is not ‘pushy’. Instead, it encourages children to develop a passion for learning, identifying their own talents and capabilities.

Dare to disagree? Have a look yourself by booking a tour of the school.  

Ripley Court School, Rose Lane, Ripley, Surrey, GU23 6NE. Tel: 01483 225217 ripleycourt.co.uk

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