52 Tadworth Street
|Type||Independent nursery, pre-preparatory and preparatory day school|
|Motto||On crest, Latin:|
Ex tenebris in lucem
(from darkness into light).
Traditional values, modern teaching.
|Chair of governors||Mr. Marc Benton|
|Headteacher||Miss Cathy Trundle|
|Staff||Approx. 35 full and part time|
|Gender||Boys and girls throughout|
|Age||3 to 11|
|Houses||Nelson, Raleigh and Wellington|
|Publication||The Chronicle (weekly)|
Chinthurst School is an independent co-educational nursery, pre-preparatory, and preparatory school in semi-rural surroundings in the village of Tadworth, Surrey, England, 15 miles south of the centre of London. As a member of the RGS Group, the school is associated with Reigate Grammar School and Reigate St Mary's Preparatory and Choir School. Its pupils' ages range from almost three to eleven years.
Approximately 200 boys and girls are enrolled at the school, which has the corporate structure of a charitable trust and is a member of the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools. Entry is non-selective, and classes are small and of mixed abilities. The school became co-educational in 2012, reversing a change to boys-only enrolment that had been made in the 1950s. In 2015, the school lowered its leaving age from 13 to 11 on account of the lowering of entry ages by independent secondary schools nearby.
The school's separate buildings for preparatory and pre-preparatory years are set around central playing fields. Facilities include a multi-purpose sports hall, indoor heated swimming pool, and floodlit artificially turfed courts. Additional playing fields are off-site. Classrooms have interactive whiteboards and WiFi connects all classrooms to a state-of-the-art ICT suite.
The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report of its integrated inspection of Chinthurst School in December 2014 stated that "Throughout the school, the curriculum ... exceeds the range of subjects usually found in English schools. ... Sport and physical education are notable strengths. ... The provision of extra-curricular clubs and activities, including for children in the [Early Years Foundation Stage], is excellent."
Chinthurst School has a longstanding reputation for being an especially caring nursery, pre-preparatory and preparatory school whose pupils achieve well in academic, sporting and creative arts fields. According to the ISI report, "Pupils and parents ... were overwhelmingly appreciative of the quality of teaching in the school. ... The high quality of pastoral care makes a significant contribution to the pupils' personal development", and "The atmosphere of caring within the school is particularly marked. ... Pupils show highly developed social awareness ... an acute understanding of the contribution individuals can make to the smooth running of society ... [they] leave the school as extremely well-rounded young people who have a very good sense of their own worth and the worth of others".
The report also concluded that the school had "excellent links with parents, carers and guardians ... parents were overwhelmingly supportive of the school. They particularly value the warm, friendly atmosphere and the overarching family ethos which they believe makes the school so individual. ... [They] are confident that all staff know their children extremely well and appreciate the open-door policy which promotes regular, informal communication." Pupils were assessed as having excellent attitudes to learning.
Academic and other achievements
Chinthurst School was assessed by the ISI's most recent integrated inspection report as being "successful in meeting its aim to produce well-rounded individuals" and "very successful in preparing pupils for their move to senior schools". The school "provides a broad and balanced curriculum with an excellent range of extra-curricular activities" and "succeeds extremely well in fulfilling its aim to teach consideration for others, traditional values and respect for the community ... pupils are extremely well behaved, and relationships between pupils and staff and among the pupils themselves are excellent." The school reports outperforming national standards for both state and independent schools.
Pupils were also assessed as achieving well in music, art and drama and in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. In recent years, almost all leavers have gained places at their first-choice senior school and a good proportion of pupils have won scholarships and awards. In December 2016 the externally moderated Profile Results for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2015–2016 were 100 per cent for each pupil in the Stage. In March 2017 the school reported that on the basis of their 11-plus examinations, its eighteen Year 6 pupils had so far received 38 offers of places to 15 independent and state schools, nearly half of which included awards for academics, sport, music, art and drama.
Chinthurst School was founded in 1908 by Miss Alice Katherine Atkins in a perfume factory. Two years later, the first dedicated school building was erected on farmland at the present site. Records from the school's early days have not survived. However, it is apparent that under Miss Atkins and her headmistress in the 1910s, Miss Thwaites, the establishment was principally a girls' school that accepted a limited number of boarders. The distinguished archaeologist Aileen Fox (then Aileen Henderson) remembered, on joining the school as an 11-year-old in 1918:
Chinthurst was run by the formidable Miss Thwaites, and took some thirty girls, some of them boarders, between the ages of eight and fifteen. We were divided into three classes, mostly taught by Miss Thwaites ... a Dickensian figure, shabbily dressed, thin, erect, with a sallow complexion, a pointed nose, dark eyes and a penetrating voice. She was a good teacher though severe and had little patience with the mediocre or lazy child.
In 1934, a Major Bradley bought the school for his son and bride as a wedding present. Described as "liberal for the time", it appears to have been reasonably prosperous as a co-educational day and boarding school. More buildings were added in this period.
After the second world war, Chinthurst remained a co-educational day and boarding school until the Bradleys sold the school in 1953 to Mr. Ronald Kelley and his wife, Joan. Mr. Kelley remained headmaster until his retirement in 1977.
Within a few years of taking over, Ronald Kelley changed Chinthurst into a modern boys' prep school. In doing so, boarding was phased out and girls were no longer taught. In 1976, the school was changed from a proprietary business to an educational trust, and the Reverend Brian Batty became headmaster until 1982.
Headmaster Mr. Trevor Egan and his wife, Heather, were appointed in 1983. Under their leadership, for the next 26 years, the school thrived and expanded, offering much wider opportunities to the pupils than in the past.
Following Mr. and Mrs. Egan's retirement, in 2009, Mr. Ian Thorpe was appointed headmaster. From 2012, the school enrolled girls at all grades in response to demand.
Mr. David Williams was appointed headmaster in September 2013. He was followed in April 2015 by Mr. Tim Button, previously the School's deputy headmaster. In February 2017, Miss Cathy Trundle was appointed headteacher.
Integration with the RGS Group
On 20 February 2017, the RGS Group, comprising Reigate Grammar School (RGS) and Reigate St Mary's Preparatory and Choir School, announced "new long term commitments" under which Chinthurst School would operate in partnership with the group for mutual support, experience and expertise. Chinthurst's Chair of Governors said that "The landscape by which we operate has changed significantly; smaller preparatory schools increasingly need the resilience of being part of a larger entity" and added: "The children will benefit in many ways, including the option of an early offer [from Reigate Grammar School] if it is the school of choice. However, for those parents who wish their children to go to the many other [independent secondary] schools in the area, Chinthurst will continue to prepare them for the 11 plus [examination] as we do now."
The Chinthurst Educational Trust remained as the school's controlling corporate entity. As part of the introduced changes, four RGS nominees replaced all but two governors on the Chinthurst board; those two Chinthurst governors joined the Reigate Grammar School and Reigate St Mary's School board, together with two other former Chinthurst governors; and Miss Cathy Trundle, the Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Reigate St Mary's replaced Chinthurst School's "popular and highly respected" Headmaster, Mr. Tim Button.
- Alistair Darling, Member of Parliament 1987–2015: Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 2007 to 2010 and chair of the cross-party group that successfully campaigned for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom in the 2014 independence referendum.
- Warwick Davis, noted actor and television presenter, who co-founded the talent agency Willow Management to represent actors shorter than 5 feet and taller than 7 feet.
- Aileen Fox, distinguished archaeologist.
- Henry Smith, Member of Parliament for Crawley.
- "Establishment: Chinthurst School". Department for Education. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- "Independent Schools Inspectorate integrated inspection, Chinthurst School, 2014". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- "About us". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
- Establishment: Chinthurst School.
- Charity Commission. Chinthurst School Educational Trust Ltd, registered charity no. 271160.
- "Chinthurst School". The Independent Association of Prep Schools directory. 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Chinthurst School prospectus (PDF). Tadworth: Chinthurst School. 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Independent Schools Inspectorate integrated inspection, Chinthurst School, 2014.
- "Outstanding Financial/Commercial Initiative – Independent School Awards 2011". FIS Magazine. London: TES Global Limited. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- "The RGS Group enter a new partnership with Chinthurst". Reigate St Mary's Preparatory and Choir School and Reigate Grammar School. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "Early Years pupils score 100%", The Chronicle, Chinthurst School, 1035 (14 December 2016), p. 13, retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "Year 6 successes", The Chronicle, Chinthurst School, 1045 (17 March 2017), p. 1, retrieved 26 March 2017.
- "Chinthurst School has first female pupil in 50 years". The Surrey Mirror. Redhill: The Mirror Limited. 5 May 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- "Steeped in History". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Fox, Aileen (2000). Aileen: the life of a pioneering archaeologist. Leominster: Gracewing Limited. pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-0852445235. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Steeped in History.
- "maxine-hulme-parent-letter.pdf". Chinthurst School. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "Chinthurst Educational Trust Governing Body 2016–17". Chinthurst School. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "parent-q-and-a.pdf". Reigate Grammar School, Reigate St Mary's School and Chinthurst School. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- Aileen: the life of a pioneering archaeologist 2000, p. 25.
- Chinthurst School prospectus
- Chinthurst School website
- Independent Schools Council profile
- Independent Schools Inspectorate integrated inspection, Chinthurst School, 2014
- 'The Good Schools Guide' listing for Chinthurst School
- Reigate Grammar School website
- Reigate St Mary's Preparatory and Choir School website