What it's like
Founded in 1629, it is set in fine open countryside in Chigwell village. It lies in 70 acres of playing fields and woodlands between Epping and Hainault Forests, only 7 miles from central London. Architecturally, it makes a most satisfying unit and the original 17th-century building is still in use. It has many excellent modern facilities, including a state-of-the-art drama centre and floodlit all-weather pitch. Originally a boys' school, it became co-educational in 1997 after nearly 25 years' experience of girls in the sixth form. A first-rate all-round education is provided; it has a strong academic tradition and examination results are very good. The curriculum is flexible and designed to suit every pupil's talents. The inspiration and ideals of the school's foundation are Anglican, although all faiths are represented in the school and are welcomed. Pupils are encouraged to be involved in the plentiful extra-curricular activities on offer, including commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. Drama, music and art are strongly supported and there is a variety of sports played, including football, hockey, cricket, netball and tennis, with numerous pupils representing the school at regional and national level.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Total age range 7-18; 709 pupils; 676 day (372 boys, 304 girls), 33 boarding (19 boys, 14 girls). Junior department 7-13, 310 pupils (150 boys, 127 girls). Senior department 13-18, 399 pupils (222 boys, 177 girls). Entrance: Main entry ages 7, 8, 11, 13 and 16. Own entrance exam; for sixth-form entry, 6 GCSE passes at grade B or above.
Scholarships & bursaries
Academic scholarships awarded at 11, 13 and 16 (approximately 17 pa), up to 50% fees; also scholarships for art, drama, music. Means-tested bursaries are also available.
Head & staff
Headmaster: Michael Punt, appointed in 2007. Educated at Brentwood School and at Oxford University (physics) and Imperial College, London. Previously Academic Deputy Head at the Perse School. Teaching staff: 75 full time, 34 associate teachers (including visiting music teachers). Annual turnover 5%. Average age 38.
GCSE: 65 pupils in upper fifth, all gaining at least grade C in 5+ subjects (average of 9.4 per pupil). A-levels: 85 in upper sixth; 31% passed in 4+ subjects (average of 3.4 per pupil). Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 353.
Virtually all sixth-form leavers go on to a degree course, 10% to Oxbridge. 13% took courses in medicine, 10% in science and engineering, 7% in law, 42% in humanities and social sciences, 13% in eg business and ICT, 8% in vocational subjects, 5% in arts.
GCSE, AS and A-levels. 22 AS/A-level subjects. Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3-4 at A-level. Special provision: SEN specialist (assessment and study skills training programme in place). EFL specialist (assessment and teaching programme in place). Languages: French, German and Spanish offered at GCSE and A-level. ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject and across the curriculum. 200 computers for pupil use (10 hours a day), all networked and with email and internet access.
Music: Over 40% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Some 15 musical groups including orchestras, swing band, chamber choirs, choral society, symphonic wind band, rock groups. Participates in Stratford Music Festival and in various musical events locally (eg local Rotary Clubs' Youth Makes Music) and in London (eg senior flutes at the Barbican). Drama: Drama offered, GCSE and A-level may be taken. Majority of pupils are involved in school productions and house/other productions. Art and design technology: On average, 25 take GCSE, 13 A-level. Graphic design and photography also offered.
Sports & activities
Sport: Soccer, cricket, hockey, cross-country, athletics, swimming, basketball, tennis, gymnastics compulsory. National representatives at football, hockey, netball and cricket. Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Community service optional. Large Scout troop (boys and girls); county records for Queen's Scouts awards. Adventure services challenge for junior and middle school. Much money raised for charity (25k pa recently). Up to 30 clubs, eg Mandarin, chess, philately, arts appreciation, model, drama, computer.
Uniform: School uniform worn to 16; suits in the sixth form. Houses and prefects: Competitive houses. Prefects, head of school, head of house and house prefects - appointed. Religion: Church of England school. All pupils attend Chapel twice a week. Social: 8+ organised trips abroad or exchanges each year. Pupils allowed to bring own car to school. Meals self-service. School shop.
Aims to be firm, fair and friendly. Pupils failing to produce homework once might expect a warning or additional work in weekly academic detention. No tobacco, chewing gum or alcohol allowed. Any pupil caught using drugs on the premises could expect to be asked to leave the school.
Sixth form boarding only. 33 boarders in 3 single-sex houses. Medical centre. Central dining room. Pupils can provide and cook own food. Saturday school sports fixtures and event days.
Association of former pupils
The Old Chigwellians' Association, contact through the School Development Manager, Mrs Loredana Morrison, c/o the school.
William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania); Professor Sir Bernard Williams (philosopher); Michael Thomas QC (former Attorney General of Hong Kong); Sir Ian Holm, Ken Campbell, Anatol Yusef (actors); Timothy Collins MP; Col Bob Stewart (ISFOR Bosnia); Michael Marshall Smith, Anton Gill (writers), Nicholas Hagger (writer and philosopher); David Landsman (Ambassador to Greece).