Great Walstead School

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Great Walstead School
Established 1925[1]
Type Preparatory School[2]
Religion Christian
Location Lindfield
Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH16 2QL
Coordinates: 51°00′25″N 0°03′17″W / 51.00686°N 0.05486°W / 51.00686; -0.05486
Local authority West Sussex
DfE URN 126135
Students 446
Gender Coeducational
Ages 2–13
  • Carey
  • Grenfell
  • Livingstone
  • Mowll
Colours pink, blue and white

Great Walstead School is a day and weekly boarding school for girls and boys between the ages of 2½ and 13 years with a Christian ethos.[3] It has some 400 children in the school's Nursery, Pre-Prep and Main School departments. Academic, music, sports and drama scholarships are available. The school is a member of the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools.

The school is set in 265 acres (1.07 km2) of grounds just a mile and a half from the village of Lindfield, West Sussex in the countryside and has extensive playing fields and woodlands.


The school was founded in 1925 by Robert James Mowll (1895–1963),[4][5] the last Baron Mowll of the Cinque Ports. It was originally situated at Enfield, north London and known as Kilvinton Hall school. The school was moved to its current location in 1927 and was renamed Great Walstead school. Headmasters since Mr Mowll have been Gordon Parke (1960),[6] Nick Bawtree (1986), Hugh Lowries (1991), the Reverend Jeremy Sykes (2006) and Colin Baty (2010).

The school has an eccentric tradition called "Q Day". A series of coloured dots were posted in the Big Hut (at one time by Mr Alban, the music master), indicating the likelihood of Q-day happening. One boy would have been told a secret code, when he heard this code spoken in a public place (the dining hall, chapel, sports field, etc.), he'd jump up and shout "Q Day", at which the entire school decamped to live in the woods for a few days in pre-built camps that each team had worked on all summer. Here, assorted adventures and plenty of muddy chaos was organised, such as attempting to invade enemy team camps to explode bangers, kidnap boys, navigate with maps, cook meals for staff and generally enjoy the great outdoors. In recent years, health & safety laws have had their effect on "Q-day" with bangers replaced by party poppers! However the great tradition of "Q-day" continues into the 21st Century.[7]


In 2006 the school invested in the construction of a new performing arts centre.[8] This has aided the teaching of Drama and the Arts at the school. As well as normal school drama there is a Performing Arts Week each summer term which consists of an Art Exhibition, usually opened by a local Senior School Head of Art, and various showcase concerts performed by different year groups. Dance, both modern and ballet, is also a feature of these concerts.[citation needed]

The school has a large music school which has a "Keyboard Lab" containing 12 electronic keyboards all connected to the teacher's central computer allowing music to be recorded and listened to by the whole class. There are regular concerts throughout the academic year, which allow the children to perform musically.[citation needed]

There are four workshops on the school campus designed for Arts, Home Economics, Pottery and Design Technology.[9]

Activities and traditions[edit]

The school provides many activities which include drama, horse riding, fencing, golf, archery, and games in the woods.

In the heart of the campus, there was once a very large ropes course consisting of large swings, bridges and ladders built by a teacher, now retired, Mr. Cripps, who also taught design technology and kayaking.[10][11] This has now been replaced by a ground level "challenge" course thanks to increased Health and Safety considerations.[12]

The campus also features a covered swimming pool, used all year round, but an indoor facility is occasionally used off-site.[13]

Every November the school has its Bonfire Night celebration. In the 70s and 80s the bonfire was constructed in the clearing in the woodland whilst fireworks were let off in the walled garden. Until the late 1980s pupils would bring in a firework of their choice with a teacher putting together the fireworks display. Nowadays a more professionally organised fireworks display (and the bonfire) take place in the field immediately to the north of the school. Prior to the display mulled wine and hot dogs are sold in front of the dining room.[14] It is one of Great Walstead's many traditions that a large amount of the wood used in the bonfire is collected from the woods by the pupils during the Autumn term [15]

The campus is surrounded by a large oak forest, and it is common for activities and day trips to be held in the woods throughout the year. One of Great Walstead's long held traditions is a day of games and activities held in the woods during the summer term.[15] The Juniors (Years 3 & 4) take part in Mudlarks. This is when they spend the whole day in teams out in the woods cooking food, playing games and competing for first place.

The Middles (Years 5 & 6) take part in Woodlanders . They spend the term building camps out in the woods and have a similar format to the Juniors on Woodlanders Day.

The Seniors (Years 7 & 8) take part in Q Day.


The sports that take place are

Term Boys Girls
Autumn Football and Rugby union Netball and Hockey
Easter Rugby and Hockey Netball and Hockey
Summer Cricket, Athletics and Tennis Rounders, Athletics and Tennis


Each pupil belongs to one of the four houses for whom they compete in various sporting activities and academically. Pupils also sit in their houses at lunch and have a house assembly once a week.

House Colour
Carey Yellow
Grenfell Green
Livingstone Blue/Black
Mowll Red


In 2003, a staff member was detained under Operation Ore.[16][17]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Leinster-Mackay, Donald (15 November 1984). The Rise of the English Prep School. Falmer Press. p. 234. ISBN 978-0905273747. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Schaeffer, John; Schaeffer, Frank (24 November 2003). Keeping Faith: A Father-son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps (Reprint ed.). Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc. p. 8. ISBN 978-0786713080. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Great Walstead School - Schools and Local Statistics". Department for Education. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Williams, Barrie (32 August 2010). Somebody Had to Do it: The Story of Notorious "Union Buster" Christopher Pole-Carew. AuthorHouse. p. 8. ISBN 978-1452029528. Retrieved 29 April 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Coggan, Donald (1934). Christ and the colleges: a history of the inter-varsity fellowship. p. 47. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Schaeffer, Frank (2 October 2008). Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. Da Capo Press. p. 216. ISBN 978-0306817502. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
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  16. ^ "Teacher resigns after child porn arrest". The Guardian. 15 January 2003. Retrieved 29 April 2012. A teacher at an independent secondary school has resigned following his arrest for involvement in child pornography on the internet. 
  17. ^ Sullivan, Mike (27 July 2007). "Matthew Kelly held over child sex". The Sun. Retrieved 29 April 2012. A PREP school teacher has been arrested in the child porn crackdown. 

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