Frensham Heights School
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|Motto||Think, Create, Explore|
|Type||Independent and Sixth form college day and boarding|
|DfE URN||125338 Tables|
|Former pupils||Old Frenshamians|
Frensham Heights School is an independent school and sixth form college located in Farnham, Surrey, England, run by the registered charity, Frensham Heights Educational Trust Ltd. It was founded in 1925 and formed as part of the movement for progressive education. Unlike many HMC member schools, it has been coeducational and took both day and boarding pupils since its foundation.
Foundation and location
The school was founded by Edith Douglas-Hamilton and established under joint headmistresses, Beatrice Ensor and Isabel King. It became firmly established under the headmastership of Paul Roberts (1928–1949) and was recognised as efficient by the Ministry of Education in 1935.
Based at a mock-Tudor mansion, built by the brewer Charrington in 1902, and in its estate, the school is on a hill 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from the centre of Farnham but is actually in the village of Frensham. Its grounds run into Rowledge.
Frensham Heights came 258th in the Sunday Times table of the top 500 independent schools in 2008. In the 2009 rankings, the school was placed 347th.
The current headmaster is Andrew Fisher, who replaced the previous headmaster Peter de Voil in 2004. Prior to becoming headmaster of Frensham Heights, Fisher was deputy headmaster at Wrekin College in Shropshire.
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Frensham Heights is often seen as a liberal school. There are no mandatory school uniforms and the dress code is broad. The school's motto, We are all members one of another, was adopted by Paul Roberts who was headmaster of Frensham Heights from 1928 to 1949.
The school's ethos revolves around the idea of mutual respect between teachers and pupils and as such, staff are referred to by their first name by pupils. The idea of individuality is also encouraged so that an individual's talents and personality are developed. Because of the belief in the importance of the individual, Frensham Heights has a very active Sixth Form Committee and School Council which play an active part in the running of the school.
While Houses do exist (Ensor, Douglas, Nevill and King) alongside termly sporting events, there is little competition between the Houses for House Points and prizes. The school encourages fair and just competitions so therefore has a sports day. Instead of a means to encourage competition and as a divisive force, the role of Houses at Frensham is to act as a socialising force once a term as each year group (7-8, 9-10, 11-13) plays a variety of House matches in a sport (football, basketball, netball or hockey). In the summer term there is a 'Sports day' in which the houses compete against each other. Aside from these events, however, houses have little impact on school life.
The school now has a fully functioning music centre including the Sixth Form Centre. The Aldridge Theatre is the Frensham venue for drama activities, with external theatre companies sometimes performing there. The school also has a Photography Suite, Sports Hall, Dance Studio and 'Outdoor Education' facilities. It also has a new sixth form centre for both day and boarding students, it is slightly separated from the rest of the school in order for the school to compete with other colleges.
Frensham Heights is the site of many projects. Over recent years this has seen the construction of the award-winning highly equipped Aldridge Theatre (formerly known as the Performing Arts Centre) which is the venue for drama and dance performances as well as school notices and the 'Morning Talk' on Monday afternoons when a speaker talks about a particular topic. The school now has a new Music School and a new sixth form centre. As well as numerous studies for both day and boarder pupils, this new sixth form centre will also act as a boarding house for sixth form boarders.
Socially, the school is involved in many projects including an active School Council and much charity fund raising, currently for the Liberty Foundation in Belize. The school is also involved in World Challenge, every two years sending a group to a country to participate both in adventure and charity work. In the summer of 2009, the expedition was in India, while previous destination have included Tanzania, Chile and Costa Rica and numerous other countries. The next trip in the summer of 2013 is to Cambodia and Vietnam. Money for each expedition is raised by the students themselves and have, in recent years, included the raising of money through ice cream sales during the summer term and organising school discos, most of which being the 'Spring Fling'. Most of the money comes from the lucrative school tuck shop.
Extracurricular activities (ECAs) are a part of Frensham life and all students from year 7 to year 13 are required to take part in at least some ECAs each week. For years 7-11, the minimum number of ECAs per week is three while in sixth form, the minimum is two. There is a variety of extracurricular activities run both at lunchtime and after school and occur every day (including Saturday mornings when things like Saturday Photography and a Ballistics ECA take place.). Examples of ECAs include swimming (in the summer term), five-a-side football, photography, chess, badminton, cooking, fashion and textiles, critical thinking, yoga, meditation, card games. Individual teams and music, dance or drama groups also have ECAs running outside of lesson times which often occur after school (such as Cantamus and the wood wind group). Different ECAs are for different year groups while some are for all years; for example, critical thinking, yoga and meditation is mostly for the older years.
The ECAs available vary from year to year and from term to term (the latter due to variations in weather) and as such, new ECAs may be introduced. At the start of the 2011/2012 Academic year, an Italian ECA was begun. Also in 2011/2012 there were Enterprise and Statistics ECAs where students could gain IGCSE qualifications.
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Despite being a somewhat small school, Frensham Heights hosts several sports teams in various fields of sport and played at all age ranges. These include common sports such as Rugby, football, hockey, basketball, netball and cricket. Taking part in sport each week is compulsory until year 13 when students can opt to use the time usually allocated to sport for extra revision and study, although this is only allowed if a student attends a sport ECA. Although not being renowned for its sport, the under 16 boys' football team has reached the quarter final of the ISFA cup, a national trophy for small independent schools.
Between year 7 and year 11, there are two sessions of sport each week, while only one for the sixth form. From year 11 upwards, students can choose which sport to do each term with options being basketball, football, table tennis, hockey and golf, as well as swimming, tennis and rounders during the summer. Prior to year 11, students partake in sports including rugby, basketball, hockey and football and athletics, rounders and swimming in the summer term but have no choice in which the activity occurs.
As a subsidiary to sport, outdoor education (or simply 'outdoor-ed') is compulsory for all students between year 7 and year 11. Different from sport in that it does not stress athletic qualities, instead it encourages teamwork, co-operation, individual courage and leadership, ideals which reflect the school's ethos.
Outdoor ed typically involves team-building activities in the woods including activities such as climbing 'Jacob's Ladder' and a high ropes challenge near the Sports Hall. The school runs regular Outdoor Education trips to places such as a climbing trip to Dartmoor and to Harrison's Rocks in Kent. The school also runs the Duke of Edinburgh award at all levels.
The school has recently introduced weekly Forest Schools sessions for all pupils in the First School; Nursery to Year Three.
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Ex-pupils (Old Frenshamians) include:
- Kay Alexander, journalist and television presenter
- Myrtle Allen, Michelin star winning head chef and co-owner of the restaurant The Yeat's Room of Ballymaloe House in Shanagarry, County Cork.
- David Berglas, Pre-eminent psychological illusionist, President of The Magic Circle (1989 - 1998).
- Hugo Blick, writer, producer, director, and occasional actor
- Edward Davenport, fraudster
- Jack Dee, comedian
- Mark Frankel, actor
- Clive Gillinson, Director, Carnegie Hall
- Jamie Glover, actor
- Domino Harvey, bounty hunter
- Wolfgang Hildesheimer, author and painter
- Will Hodgkinson, writer 
- Charlotte Hough (née Woodyadd), author and illustrator
- Richard Hough, author and historian
- Rufus Hound, comedian
- James Irvine, designer 
- Tony Knowland, professor 
- Sir Thomas Legg, civil servant
- Nick Mason, drummer, Pink Floyd
- Tobias Menzies, actor
- Crispin Mills, musician
- Hattie Morahan, actress
- Lord Claus Moser, came to the school as a refugee from Germany
- Carl Ng, actor
- Bill Pertwee, actor, best known for his role as the greengrocer and warden Mr. Hodges in Dad's Army and cousin to Jon Pertwee
- Jon Pertwee, actor who played the third Doctor in Doctor Who
- Wolf Rilla, film director 
- Valerie Singleton, television presenter
- Henry Smith, Member of Parliament for Crawley (2010-)
- Jim Sturgess, actor
- Ryan Wilson, Scottish international rugby union player
- The Times 2009 League Tables
- 'Obituaries: Charlotte Hough: children's book illustrator, The Times, 7 January 2009.
- MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT IN MAIDENBOWER, CRAWLEY, WEST SUSSEX. Publisher: TheArgus.co.uk Retrieved: 11 April 2014.