Meoncross School, Stubbington
Muddy says: This independent co-ed for ages 2.5 - 16, is situated just outside of Fareham with a rural feel and family vibe.
Meoncross School is an independent, co-ed day school for kids aged 2.5 through to 16 years – 381 students with a 51/49 split between boys and girls. Situated in the village of Stubbington (just outside Fareham) it has a lovely rural feel, close to the seaside, without being too far away from society – it’s a mere 10 miles to Portsmouth and 16 miles to Southampton.
The school itself is really quite small, centred around the original Tudor-style building with newer purpose built blocks built around it. The campus is split into the Nursery, Lower School and Upper School – although pupils can to move around the areas freely (ideal for those with smaller siblings they may want to check up on).
The majority of students come from families in the area and there are no boarding facilities, so this is a private school that feels very much part of the local community. With the through-school age range, it’s a place many students will spend their entire academic career, up until they leave for 6th Form.
Because of the small space, this isn’t the place you’ll find an Olympic size swimming pool or equestrian stables. What they do have is well-kitted out, like the two music rooms (one smaller in the Lower School and one purpose built in the Upper School). The hall does a juggling act typical of space-light schools of being lunch hall, classroom and theatre depending on the time of day. There’s also a small purpose built gym with wall bars etc. available to the whole cohort.
For swimming, the students have access to nearby HMS Collingwood and the school has also recently started a long-term lease (25 years), and developed a 6-acre laser levelled athletics and sports field. In addition to the usual roster of team-sports, Meoncross also have a Triathlon Club for students aged 4-11 – called Meoncross Coastal Tri Stars – which has been stamped with the official bronze standard seal of approval by the British Triathlon Club.
ART & DESIGN
The Art and Design faculties were merged to create one overall subject in the school and they additionally joined the two classrooms into one large art space which is light and airy in one of the newer sections of the school. There’s also an additional Design Technology space in, what was, the former 6th Form area.
With Drama, the school holds four annual performances with a musical in the summer (performed at The Ashcroft Arts Centre), and Shakespeare in the autumn.
Small class sizes and the fact that kids stay at the school for up to 13 years means that the teaching staff get to really know the pupils – a massive advantage of a bijou school. The results are strong with 99% achieving Grade 4 or above in all subjects in 2020. 55% attained Level 7 (A and above), with particularly strong grades in English, Maths and the Sciences.
THE HEAD TEACHER
Headteacher Mark Cripps joined Meoncross in 2018, coming to the school from Hong Kong where he lived as an ex-pat for a number of years. He’s been working to grow school numbers (within reason – those class sizes have to remain small) with a view to implementing the necessary infrastructure to deal with an increase in intake.
Since becoming Head, Cripps has put a strong emphasis on encouraging strong core values across the whole school community. Most recently, Meoncross has introduced a ‘values to virtues’ initiative around family, resilience, optimism, achievement, adventure, kindness and integrity – all important cornerstones in a well-rounded, post-pandemic learning environment.
Quite a few as it happens! The school also offers a huge raft of after-school clubs. The subjects are as you’d expect (sports, debate etc.) with a few curveballs thrown in for good measure. So if your kids fancy becoming the next top hula-hooper, there’s a group for that.
There’s also the rather ominous sounding Werewolf Club, a role-playing game played by Years 6 – 8 where ‘villagers’ try to weed out the ‘werewolves’ using collective reasoning and persuasive techniques. Then there’s Passport session, which is free choice for all the school to try non-curricular activities with other year groups, which is a nice touch – anything from ultimate Frisbee to Ancient Greek.
With Meoncross just a mile away from the Solent, the school’s co-curricular Beach School also provides a regular opportunity for the littlies and some of the older children to enjoy learning and exploring outdoors.
Fees are average for the area and start £3025 per term for Infants, £3420 per term for Juniors and £4400 for Seniors. There’s also a compulsory lunch fee of £270 per term for lunches for years R to Year 6. Meoncross offer sibling discounts of between five and 15%.
WORD ON THE GROUND
Parents really rate the teaching and environment at Meoncross, and in particular, their attitude towards encouraging academic excellence but at a pace that’s right for each individual child. The word ‘family’ gets touted time and again and with the small grounds and cosy feel, it’s easy to see why many would draw that conclusion.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Local families who want small class sizes and a good all-round education for their children. This is the place to send children who don’t like to be too far away from home, thrive in a family-feel setting. Also, any children that are interested in ecology and the sea will benefit from their coastal location.
Not for: Those looking for a top elite ‘named’ school on their children’s CV or a Big Pond-esque scenario – some kids just need bigger classes and more room to roam. Also, if you live a fair distance the traffic can get a bit ropey nearby, though there is a school bus service that operates locally.
DARE TO DISAGREE? Be my guest! Contact the school’s admissions officer to arrange a private tour.
Meoncross School, 65 Burnt House Ln, Fareham PO14 2EF. Tel: 01329 662182