School Profile – Cranleigh Prep

PUTTING THE CHILD FIRST

Cranleigh Prep is a co-ed school in the Surrey countryside that offers a holistic approach to boarding and academic endeavour.

“Boarding at prep school offers a rounded approach to education,” says Neil Brooks, Cranleigh Prep’s new Headmaster. “We have 85 boarders out of a school of 245, with most boarding in the Upper School years. But we’d like to welcome more boarders to Cranleigh Prep and can offer flexi-boarding on one to two nights a week, weekly boarding, or even full boarding for international students.”

Boys live in Old House and girls in School House, both under the nurturing care of a housemaster or housemistress, a matron and two ‘Gap’ students per house, who help with looking after the children. The structure aims to retain and promote a family atmosphere so everyone feels at home. Each evening, all the boarders eat together in the school dining room and then the fun starts, with different activities on offer, such as archery, climbing wall, dodgeball, golf, board games, or crafts. “We’re lucky that we have so much space to do things properly,” Brooks remarks.

Supervised prep followed by some time to relax and unwind with friends is the perfect end to a fulflling, busy day.

The grounds of Cranleigh Prep, tucked away in the beautiful Surrey Hills, offer an opportunity for children to grow up in rolling countryside and fresh air, but only an hour from London, just beyond Guildford

There’s a private coach service from Wimbledon to take children to school on a Monday morning, so they can benefit from a full weekend at home. Many boarders are also current pupils who live close by and are keen to try boarding from 11+ before moving on to their senior school, be it Cranleigh or the other leading secondary schools to which Cranleigh Prep sends its pupils. “It’s  a sensible idea as we can gently introduce  boarding to the children, so by the time they go to senior school, they are familiar with the system,” reassures Brooks.

The school’s academic programme is designed to be stimulating and challenging. Pupils respond to the encouragement of academic and pastoral staff, and whilst preparing to succeed at competitive independent schools, they are introduced to a life-long love of learning. Academic curiosity is nurtured and personal responsibility gained. Part of engaging with the curriculum includes a range of trips to bring the studies of the timetable alive.

“We strongly support the theory that ‘I do: (therefore) I understand’ and so, whether the pupils toy with tarantulas, stand on the stage at the Globe Theatre, retreat to Wales for a writers’ workshop or weave a fire-breathing dragon, their senses have been stimulated and real life connections made,” says Brooks. Follow up work in the classroom is focused and purposeful, and the school’s aim is that Cranleighans grow up to be independent, thoughtful and well-rounded, confident in their ability to question, analyse and express opinions.

“We are a very positive, friendly, family orientated school where the children are encouraged to work hard, join in and have a go,” says Brooks. “Cranleigh Prep is about rounding off the child to explore a variety of different things and to be comfortable in his or her own skin – that’s my aim.”

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