What it’s like
Founded in 1959, it is in the village of Mickleham in whose life the school
plays an active part. The main building is a handsome Victorian mansion situated
in 40 acres of delightful grounds, with big playing fields. A recent building
programme has added new science and classroom blocks, fitness and art centres,
as well as additional boarding accommodation. It belongs to The Round Square and
is run on the principles of Kurt Hahn, founder of Salem and Gordonstoun, setting
academic work at the centre of a broad education. It has close links with
schools across the world, and there is an efficient system of exchanges and
post-A-level attachments with them. There is a strong tutorial system and pupils
meet their tutors daily. Unusually, parents can monitor their child’s academic
progress, disciplinary record and pastoral matters through the school’s academic
monitoring website (BHS4Parents). A wide range of activities and expeditions is
operated in the belief that all pupils may excel at something, will develop
through challenging experiences, and should emerge as well-rounded citizens.
Drama, music and art are regarded as particularly important. It was founded as a
co-educational school. The staff includes dyslexia specialists and teachers of
English as a second language. An all-round education is given. Examination
results are good and almost all sixth-form leavers go on to universities.
Expeditions to York, Canterbury and the Lake District form part of the Years 7–9
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 11–18; 350 pupils, 195 day (120 boys, 75 girls),
155 boarding (100 boys, 55 girls).
Entrance: Main entry ages 11, 13 and 16. Own exam used; for sixth-form
entry, 5 GCSEs at least grade C. Good music or art and an ability to contribute
to school life looked for; no religious requirements. Approx 20% of intake from
Scholarships, bursaries & extras 20 pa scholarships, value 10%–50% of
fees: academic, performing arts, sport, all-rounder (at 11, 13 and 16).
Bursaries for cases of proven need. Parents expected to buy some A-level
textbooks; other extras vary but kept to a minimum.
Parents 65+% live within 30 miles; 25% live overseas.
Head & staff
Headmaster: Mark Eagers, in post from 2003. Educated at King's School,
Canterbury and at universities of Cambridge (history) and Bath (education).
Previously Deputy Head of Ardingly, and taught at United World College,
Singapore, and at Wycliffe. Also senior examiner with IBO.
Teaching staff: 37 full time, 10 part time. Annual turnover 5%.
GCSE: In 2003, 46 pupils in Year 11; 76% gained at least grade C in 5+
subjects. Average GCSE score 44 (40 over 5 years).
A-levels: 23 in Year 13. Average final point score achieved by upper
sixth formers 245.
University & college entrance 94% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on
to a degree course (10% after a gap year), including some to Oxbridge. 5% took
courses in medicine, dentistry & veterinary science, 15% in science &
engineering, 5% in law, 20% in humanities & social sciences, 5% in art & design,
25% in business and finance, 20% in vocational subjects eg journalism,
accountancy, tourism. Others typically go on to non-degree courses or into
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 24% take science A-levels; 40%
arts/humanities; 36% both.
Vocational: RSA qualifications available in IT and core text processing.
Special provision: 4 dyslexia specialists, 5 teachers of English as a
Languages: French, German and Spanish offered to GCSE and A-level.
Regular exchanges to France, Germany and Spain.
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (4 lessons/week in Years 7–9) and
across the curriculum. 20 computers for pupil use (13 hours a day), all
networked and with e-mail and internet access. All pupils given a laptop in Year
7 and encouraged to purchase one in Year 10. Fully equipped cyber café is used
by all pupils.
Music: Over 40% of pupils learn a musical instrument. Instrumental exams
can be taken; also A-level music and music technology. Some 6 musical groups
including orchestra, strings, choirs, rock, jazz, percussion.
Drama & dance: Both offered. GCSE drama and A-level theatre studies may
be taken. Some pupils are involved in school productions and all in house/other
Art & design: On average, 30 take GCSE, 15 A-level. Design, fashion and
textiles also offered.
Sport & activities
Sport: No compulsory sports though all take part in some sport and PE.
Optional: wide range including athletics, badminton, basketball, climbing
(expeditions and indoor climbing wall), cricket, cross-country, football,
hockey, judo, karate, netball, riding, squash, ice skating, swimming, table
tennis, tennis, volleyball. GCSE PE and A-level sport studies may be taken.
District, county representatives in athletics, cricket, swimming.
Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
(gold may be taken in countries all over the world). 2 expeditions a year for
Years 7–9. Activities timetabled for 2–5 hours a week, plus some 10 clubs, eg
Box Hill Society, economics and politics, electronics, debating, community
Uniform: School uniform worn; smart formal wear in the sixth form. Houses
prefects: Competitive houses. Prefects, head boy and girl, head of house and
Religion: Non-denominational service most Sundays from which parents may
Social: Sixth-form conference and careers conference. Organised overseas
trips; mountaineering trips to the Alps; well-developed exchange programme.
Sixth-form and society/club dinners formal; self-service at other times. School
shop sells books. No tobacco or alcohol allowed.
Discipline Pupils failing to produce homework would be kept in on one
afternoon. School has strict, published policies on illegal drugs, alcohol and
smoking. A strong moral code is inculcated.
Boarding 5% have own study bedroom, 85% share (2–4); 10% are in
dormitories of 6+. Single-sex houses of 35–50, divided by age. Weekly boarding
allowed. Medical centre staffed by qualified nurse; 2 school doctors
(non-resident). Central dining room. 2 weekend exeats each term for full
boarders plus half-term. Visits to the local town allowed.
Alumni association is run by the school.