What it's like
Founded in 1552 by King Edward VI for children in need of a boarding education. In 1985 the boys' school at Horsham and the girls' at Hertford joined to form one co-educational boarding school. It has splendid buildings, in an estate of 1200 acres, built in 1902 when the boys' school moved from London. It is very well equipped; recent developments include refurbishment of all boarding accommodation. The sports and social centre not only offers very fine facilities for the school, but also a chance to integrate with the wider community which shares the facilities. The school is a well-run establishment with high standards of teaching and very good examination results. The staff:pupil ratio is about 1:9. The school has particularly generous bursary support; the majority of pupils benefit, most of whom enter from state primary schools. There is great strength in the creative arts and the school is famous for its music. Numerous dramatic entertainments are staged each year in the school's Shakespearean theatre. The school is also very strong in games and sport. A wide variety of activities is available. There is a strong community action group. . The scout group (for boys and girls) is very active; the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and the CCF both flourish.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 11-18; 840 boarding pupils (420 boys, 420 girls); a few day pupils on full fees. Entrance: Main entry age at 11; some also at 13 and 16. Own entrance exam used; all should expect to achieve high level in maths and English at key stage 2. For sixth-form entry, at least 6 GCSEs, grade A in sixth-form subjects. Music, art, drama and sporting skills taken into consideration; no special religious requirements.
Scholarships & bursaries
Scholarships awarded at age 11, 13 and 16, value up to 20% of fees: academic, music, drama, art and sport. Means-tested bursaries available to all boarding pupils (and some day pupils on scholarships): currently 15% of pupils are totally supported and 80% of parents earn under £30k pa. The original charitable intention is still strongly maintained; children are assessed on the grounds of need as well as ability. Extras are means-tested if not free. 85% of all costs are currently funded from the Hospital's endowments.
Head & staff
Head Master: John Franklin, appointed in 2007. Educated at universities of Southern Queensland and New England. Previously Headmaster of Ardingly, Deputy Headmaster of St Peter's College, Adelaide, and held posts at Marlborough, Sedbergh, Toowoomba Grammar School and other state schools in Queensland. Teaching staff: 90 full time, 40 part time.
GCSE: 111 in upper fifth, 99% gaining at least grade C in 8+ subjects (including English, maths, a science, a humanity and a modern language). A-levels: 115 in upper sixth, on average passing 3.2 subjects with a final point score of 346. No IB results yet available.
Almost all sixth-form leavers go on to a degree course, 12% to Oxbridge. Pupils go on to study a range of subjects, particularly sciences, medicine, engineering, economics, maths, classics, history, philosophy and English. Regular entrants to conservatoires, drama schools and art colleges.
GCSE/IGCSE, AS and A-levels/Pre-U, IB Diploma. 24 subjects offered at AS-level, 22 at A-level, 18 at IB. Sixth form: Most (75%) sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level; general studies is not taken. 25% take the IB Diploma. Weekly lectures for upper sixth plus talks on philosophy, history and English. Vocational: Work experience available in England, France and Germany. Special provision: for mild dyslexia etc. Languages: French, German and Spanish offered to GCSE and A-level (French or German compulsory to GCSE); also Italian and Spanish and non-examined continuation languages offered in sixth form. Regular exchanges (France and Germany). ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject and across the curriculum. Network throughout the school, including boarding houses, giving filtered access to email and the internet; all upper sixth provided with a laptop. GCSE IT offered.
Music: Over 50% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Some 25 musical groups including 3 orchestras, 6 choirs, choral society, marching, concert, symphonic, wind, show, jazz and other bands. Recently, piano quintet finalists in National Chamber Music for Schools; pupils involved in National Youth Music Theatre and National Wind orchestra; marching band plays at eg Twickenham and Lord's; regular entrants to conservatoires and Oxbridge choral scholarships; several CDs and national and European tours (choir and band). Drama and dance: Both offered. GCSE drama and A-level theatre studies may be taken. Majority of pupils are involved in school and house/other productions. School theatre combines professional and student work in full programme accessible to general public. Art and design: On average, 25+ take GCSE, 13+ A-level. Pottery, textiles, printmaking, history of art (12 per year) also offered. Regular entrants to art colleges.
Sports & activities
Rugby, soccer, cricket compulsory for boys to age 16; netball, hockey, tennis, rounders for girls; some 10 further options including swimming, squash, fencing, volleyball. RLSS exams may be taken. International and county rugby players; county hockey (boys and girls), netball and cricket representatives at several age groups. Also bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award; CCF; community service (50-100 involved: disabled sports club and day centre; work at primary and special schools locally and old people's home centre); large mixed Scout and Venture Scout units; several Queen's Scout Awards. Up to 15 clubs, eg chess, ecology, golf, debating, natural history, photography, astronomy, creative writing, human rights.
Uniform: Distinctive school uniform worn throughout, provided by the school. Houses and prefects: Competitive houses. Monitors, head boy/girl, head of house and house monitors, appointed by Headmaster and/or housemaster/mistress. Religion: Chapel compulsory twice weekly (Protestant tradition). All faiths welcome and those of no faith. Social: Strong community service element. Organised trips abroad and exchange systems, heavily subsidised; many European visits (drama, history, archaeology, classics, music, sport); sports tours (eg South Africa, Australia and Barbados). Senior pupils allowed to bring own bike to school. Formal lunch (march in with school band), cafeteria system. School shop. Pupils over 17 may join sixth-form club.
Pupils failing to produce prep once might expect a warning. Card monitoring system for more serious misdemeanours. System of disciplinary or academic detentions and gatings for less serious matters.
Own rooms from age 15; youngest pupils in rooms of 4; all have individual study units. Houses of approximately 45; upper sixth in separate co-ed university-style houses. Pupils can provide and cook own snacks. Regular leave weekends. Visits to local town allowed for over 14s.
Association of former pupils
CH Club, President R C Poulton, c/o the school.
John Snow (cricketer); Stuart Holland (Labour MP and academic); Lord Stewart (ex-Foreign Secretary); Keith Douglas (poet); Air Cmdr E M Donaldson; Bryan Magee (broadcaster and writer); Bernard Levin (journalist); Sir Colin Davis (conductor); Barnes Wallis (inventor of the bouncing bomb); Edmund Blunden (poet); Michael Marland (radical headteacher and educationalist); Ruth Deech (ex-Chair of Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority); Catherine Ennis (organist); Charles Hazelwood (conductor).