Sherborne House School, Chandlers Ford
This small co-ed, for kids 6 months to 11 years, near Southampton has a friendly feel, is big on music and drama and has plenty of quirks.
Sherborne House School is a small, yet perfectly formed, day co-ed just outside of Chandlers Ford. It sits in 4 acres of space, surrounded by woodland, in the quiet village of Hiltingbury. The school caters for 247 pupils between the ages of 6 months and 11 years.
The majority of the pupils here come from the immediate surrounding area, plus a few from over the border in Wiltshire. Because of its location near to the busy city of Southampton, it’s absolutely ideal for any commuting parents and those who live around the greater Southampton area.
The school buildings are centred around the central playground and are a mixture with the older original buildings, from when the school opened in 1933, along with the newer wooden-clad classrooms and sports hall.
While the school doesn’t have its own pool or acres upon acres of playing fields like other settings, it does some very nice facilities. There’s the gorgeous little library in the main building, complete with its own dreamy window seat – perfect for snuggling up in with a good book.
The new sports hall is impressive and would not be out of place in a much larger school and there are outdoor pitches for football, cricket, netball, hockey and rugby.
Its location is a massive bonus and allows for plenty of field trips into the city. Previous trips have included a visit to the Apple Store in Southampton for an interactive workshop, along with plenty of trips to nearby theatres such as The Point, The Berry and The Mayflower.
There’s a really big focus on music and drama at the school, and many of the students take LAMDA exams and have additional music tuition. The Head of Music & Drama, Shelagh Lee, is extremely passionate and is an alum of the school herself.
Each year group has its own musical instrument that they practice throughout the year, allowing them to try out many different options. There are also a number of choirs and orchestras – with Rock Choir, Musicals and String groups all being popular options.
For a non-selective the academics are strong and with pupils heading off to a mixture of state, grammar and other independent settings, each child is given a good head start towards their next step. There is plenty of opportunity for preparing for the 11+ here as well.
Pupils have a brilliant success rate of getting into their chosen school, and previous scholarships have been awarded for pupils going to Portsmouth Grammar School, Embley and Bishop Wordsworth’s School.
Mark Beach is the head here and while only recently coming to the role, he’s an old-hand when it comes to teaching – having previously held the post of Head at Parkside School in Surrey.
He initially came in as an interim teacher, originally planning to head off and do consultancy, however, the reception and atmosphere at Sherborne House were too good to leave so he ended up changing all his plans to stay. Like most heads new in the job he’s sitting back and watching before making any huge changes – at the moment he’s looking at the dining facilities and see how they can encourage more interaction between different year groups.
See the latest ISI report here.
For a small school, it crams in the quirks! There’s the chance to take mime exams, perfect for those who are a little bit shier when it comes to performance. There are two gaming clubs, one the typical board games and another specialist in strategy (and Mr Beach gets involved as well!) The school is also putting together a parent and kids team for this year’s Tough Mudder as well.
The school also has its very own resident pooch that can often be seen around the school.
The nursery has just been expanded in January to include provision for littlies aged 6 months to 3 years. The setting, spread over three different rooms, and has been very well received by current parents and new parents.
Fees are in line with other local prep schools from £2,848 per term for reception up to £3,322 per term for Year 6.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Kids who need a smaller pond and a warm and enriching environment. The super close-knit setting is perfect for the shy types and those who may struggle in a super competitive arena. It’s also perfectly located if you’re working in and around Southampton.
Not for: If you want a school with a huge role call of facilities, you won’t find it here.
Dare to disagree? Don’t take my word for it! Have a look for yourself. The next Whole School Open Morning will take place Fri 13 March from 9am. Call the registrar for details on 023 8025 2440 or fill in the form here.
Sherborne House School, 39 Lakewood Road, Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, SO53 1EU. Tel: 023 8025 2440