Rydes Hill Preparatory School

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Coordinates: 51°15′04″N 0°36′07″W / 51.251°N 0.602°W / 51.251; -0.602

Rydes Hill Preparatory School
Established 1945
Type Preparatory day school
Religion Roman Catholic
Headteacher Stephanie Bell MA (Oxon.)[1][2]
Location Aldershot Road[3]
DfE number 936/6049
DfE URN 125344 Tables
Students 170
Gender Coeducational
Ages 3–7 (boys), 3 to 11 (girls)
Website www.rydeshill.com

Rydes Hill Preparatory School is a co-educational Roman Catholic Preparatory school and Nursery in Guildford, Surrey, England. The school welcomes all denominations and caters for girls aged 3–11 years and boys aged 3–7 years.


Rydes Hill was founded in September 1945 by Sister Patricia of the Daughters of Mary and Joseph,[4] a Roman Catholic religious institute, on a three-and-a-half-acre site in Aldershot Road, Guildford, Surrey, where it remains.[5]

Before becoming a school, the main building was a private dwelling called Rydes Hill House, and before that was known as the Clock House. It was built in the 18th century and has Victorian extensions. In the mid 19th century, the house was the residence of William Edmund Elkins, of the Elkins Brewery family, four times mayor of Guildford.[6]

The present School Library, formerly the billiard room, has an eighteen-panel frieze painted by the Victorian artists Talbot Hughes and Sir Herbert Hughes-Stanton which tells the story of Joan of Arc.[6] The Dining Room is in the Jacobean style, with oak-panelling, and between 1945 and 1964 it served as a Roman Catholic chapel for the parish.

The house has a clock tower which is called 'Little Ben' by the children[7] and is surrounded by mature trees.[5]

In 1989, the ownership of the school was transferred to a charitable trust managed by a Board of Governors.[8]

Rydes Hill was a participant in the Schools Without Walls initiative.[9]


  • Sister Patricia (1945 to 1984)
  • Sister Mary Gerald (1984 to 1989)
  • Miss Bernadette May (1989 to 1995)
  • Mrs Joan Lenahan BA (1995 to 2006)
  • Mrs Stephanie Bell MA (Oxon.) (from 2006 to date)[1][2]


The school's senior choir traditionally performs at the annual Wintershall real-life nativity as part of a choir of angels. Additionally, Rydes Hill has become well known for its musical productions which, in the past have included No, No, Noah (1993); The Bell That Cried (1994); The Wind In The Willows (1996); Alice In Wonderland (1997); The Pirates of Penzance (1998); The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1999). The children in year two receive group violin lessons and the children in year three are introduced to the flute, cornet and clarinet. Older children are encouraged to compose their own music and enter competitions.

Children and staff[edit]

The age range is from 3-7 for boys and from 3-11 for girls. There are twelve full-time and twenty-five part-time staff; the Headmistress is a member of the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS).[1]

Admission to the school is by informal assessment, interview, and report from the child's previous school where appropriate.[1]

Despite being non-selective school Rydes Hill Prep attracts a number of gifted and talented children including the current youngest member of British Mensa.[10]


The school teaches all the usual subjects of the National Curriculum, and children are prepared for the Common Entrance Examination and successfully placed in leading senior schools.[11] There is also provision for teaching ballet, Performing Arts, Speech & Drama, Pianoforte, Clarinet, Violin and Flute.[12] Each form has a teacher, while Physical Education, Music, French and Science are taught by specialist teachers.


The school has a large hall with a stage, which is used for assemblies, school plays, gymnastics, and ballet.[5] As well as classrooms, which all have interactive whiteboards, there is a library, a modern science laboratory, an information technology suite, and rooms for music teaching and music practice.[5]

In the school's grounds, there are two all-weather tennis or netball courts, an adventure playground, and grassed play areas.[5]

The Friends of Rydes Hill[edit]

The Friends organize fundraising and social events in support the school. Each year group has two parent representatives on the Friends Committee. In 2007, a Summer Ball was held.[7] Concerts with external musicians have been held.[13]

The Friends have created a millennium garden, restored the clock tower, bought a minibus and play equipment, and paid for theatre companies to visit the school.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d [1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Up, up and away - News - getsurrey". Get Surrey. 20 September 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2012. "The [family fun day] was organised by the Friends of Rydes Hill School to welcome Stephanie Bell as the new headmistress" 
  4. ^ "Be There". Daughters of Mary and Joseph. Retrieved 2013-01-05. 
  5. ^ a b c d e http://www.rydeshill.com/about/facilities.aspx Facilities
  6. ^ a b "Heritage Open Days - Secret Surrey places and events | Surrey Life". Surrey Life. Retrieved 2 May 2012. "Originally a private dwelling, Rydes Hill House was converted into a Convent in 1945. Previously, one notable resident had been William Edmund Elkins, four times mayor of Guildford in the 1850s, and member of the Elkins Brewery family. The library has a magnificent 18-panel frieze, recounting the story of Joan of Arc, painted by the Victorian artists Talbot Hughes and Sir Herbert Hughes-Stanton." 
  7. ^ a b c "Rydes Hill School | Under Maintenance!". Rydeshill.com. Retrieved 2013-01-05. [third-party source needed]
  8. ^ Rydes Hill Preparatory School, Registered Charity no. 299411 at the Charity Commission
  9. ^ Speirs, Jacqui (4 June 1999). "University of Surrey - Government affirms education partnership". Retrieved 2 May 2012. "An innovative education partnership scheme, believed to be the first to involve sixth formers from state and independent schools performing a tutoring role together in primary schools under a university student mentor, has been so successful that the Department for Education and Employment has given £27,000 to fund it until 2001." 
  10. ^ "Surey Advertiser" (2013-02-11). "Toddlers IQ similar to Einstein and Stephen Hawking". Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Rydes Hill School | About the School". Rydeshill.com. Retrieved 2013-01-05. [third-party source needed]
  12. ^ "Rydes Hill School | Fees and Payment". Rydeshill.com. Retrieved 2013-01-05. [third-party source needed]
  13. ^ "Clarinettist Michael Collins at Rydes Hill School - Entertainment - getreading - Reading Post". Get Reading. 23 June 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2012. "Michael Collins, one of the world’s finest clarinettists, and his equally distinguished violinist wife Isabelle van Keulen, brought six friends from the top of the performance profession and presented Mozart’s exquisite Clarinet Quintet and Schubert’s evergreen Octet in beautifully engaging performances." 

External links[edit]