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Amesbury Hindhead, Surrey Visit
312 pupils, ages 2-13


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Our View

Judging by what we saw on the ground, this is a school bursting with warmth and sociability. Nothing was too much trouble, no stone was left unturned and we were made to feel very welcome indeed. Charming and energetic children proudly showed us everything that this semi-rural co-ed prep has to offer, and the Amesbury ethos was very neatly summarised by the school: ‘We are not an academic hothouse, we are a greenhouse.’


Amesbury is set high up above Hindhead in a beautiful 34-acre site anchored around the purpose-built Grade II building, which was designed by Lutyens. Light and airy with a comfortable and traditional school feel, it has symmetrical wings to the left and right with classrooms opening up from long corridors. More modern buildings supplement this fabulous campus, including the Thomas Visual Arts Centre, built in 2016 with a stunning combination of wood, metal and glass carefully constructed around a tree growing through the atrium.

Petersfield, Farnham, Guildford and Haslemere are all close by and the proximity of the A3 means there’s a fast route in and out for London families. Three car parks (one is for EYFS only) means drop-offs and pick-ups are orderly, and from Year 3 there’s a drop and go service. Pupils are also eligible for the school bus routes from Year 3 which the school is hoping to expand. Rail links are excellent too.


Gavin Franklin took over as head in September 2023. Previously head at Wellesley House in Broadstairs, Mr Franklin is an ex-cricketer and cricket coach who brings the life skills the game embodies to the educational setting. He’s particularly adept at working with senior schools – a boon as Amesbury leavers head off to some 21 different destination schools.


All children from Reception age upwards are required to visit for observations. From Year 4, children are asked to sit for or provide recent CAT scores, but there is no formal entrance examination. It’s worth knowing that Year 3 is currently the most popular entry point. There has been a noticeable rise in interest from state-sector parents who want to be assured of more constant teaching provision, as well as London parents experiencing greater workspace flexibility and wanting their children to grow up with more space.

Although not particularly selective, Amesbury has excellent academics born out of the ethos that children will thrive if they are happy and relaxed. Means-tested bursaries are available, as are sibling discounts and reductions for the children of former pupils. Entry is two-form from Reception to Year 2, rising to three across Years 3 to 6. Some pupils depart at 11+, so Years 7 and 8 return to two forms.

Academics and senior school destinations

The impressive EYFS department – with its sleek wood and glass angles – is a wonderful setting for littles ones with serene classrooms (both outside and in) and a passionate head, Michelle Thurley, who oversees the wonderfully nurturing and stimulating environment. Children can join at the age of two and from September 2023 Baby Amesbury will offer places to nine tiny tots from 8am to 6pm all through the year.

The overarching head of pre-prep Sam Hopwood is equally impressive, guiding her little charges with praise and encouragement: ‘We aim to make them feel 10-feet tall.’

The focus at this stage is on progress, working effectively and efficiently to give children a relaxed, varied but purposeful education. Youngsters have access to newly created and beautifully designed outside spaces and forest school, and children in all years are encouraged to be outside as much as possible. Respecting each other is a common theme throughout, and every class writes a charter for itself – endearingly, Year 2’s includes the specific mention of ‘hugs and cuddles’.

The library – Austen’s, which opened in 2019 – echoes the overall mood at Amesbury. Modern, bright and airy, it’s full of books and colourful displays with curved shelves, making it all the more distinctive and inviting.

From Year 5, pupils move around the school for lessons. Growing numbers means there are now three forms in Years 5 and 6, and discussions are going on about introducing heads of years or a deputy head to enhance pastoral care. Pupils are set according to their destination school and there is also a scholarship set. The PSB ensures a wide-angle educational lens – academics are important, but equally so are collaboration, commitment, leadership, perseverance, reflection, risk taking and developing a sense of community.

Amesbury is the springboard from which children bounce to a wide range of destinations. This year, children will leave well-prepared for over 21 different senior schools, reflecting both the individuality of the pupils and Amesbury's status as a truly independent prep school. From local independents to boarding schools further afield, Charterhouse, Cranleigh, Seaford College, Wellington. College and St Mary’s Ascot all come up regularly – but the emphasis is on finding the right school for each child, wherever that may be.


Art gets top billing here, not least because of the award-winning Thomas Visual Arts Centre right at the heart of the school. It has to be the most visually inspiring art department we have seen, and an environment so attractive and uplifting that it would make anyone want to give art a go. EYFS children do art in their own classrooms but all other pupils have their lessons and clubs in this incredible facility.

The school is committed to gender equality and with performing arts being as important as sport, there’s an attitude that if you dance it’s just as good as being captain of the hockey or cricket team. Traditional sports, including co-ed football and touch rugby, are all on the curriculum, but tennis is certainly the ace at Amesbury. There are four year-round courts on the newly relaid Astro, as well as one hard and two grass courts. Six tennis coaches provide group and individual lessons to a high standard, all overseen by head of tennis Andy Warry, who sees the sport as not only being perfect for boys and girls but teaching life skills as well. ‘Sport is a vehicle to make well-rounded children,’ he says. A sports festival during mental health week gives pupils a chance to try something new, from boxing to sailing, as well as creating a sports broadcast in English lessons and match analysis in maths.

Head of performing arts Mark Reynolds takes a similarly holistic approach. Creativity and confidence are nurtured from Year 1, with timetabled performing arts lessons and every year group putting on a production – on our visit we saw pupils rehearsing for Aladdin and Shrek, among other shows. ‘Every child feels at home to sing, dance and act in front of parents or peers,’ says Mr Reynolds. Nearly half the school take music lessons and there are three choirs, including the audition-only Chapel Choir which was getting ready for a Disneyland Paris tour on our visit. A week-long arts festival sees the timetable suspended and a Glee-like environment take over. ‘A child’s mind is one of the most frighteningly creative things,’ notes Mr Reynolds who presides over musical theatre nights, dance shows, and even a wrap party.


In keeping with its ‘we’ll do it our way’ approach, Amesbury has 12 beds available for overnighters when pupils are involved in residential co-curricular activities. Some 18 pupils are signed up in any one week – girls Mondays and Wednesdays, boys Tuesdays and Thursdays – bunking up in two interconnecting rooms. Independence is fostered with pupils washing up after supper and making their own beds.

School community

Head of wellbeing Jo Clark has created an inviting hub for pupils to visit at break or lunchtime. It’s a lovely bright space that feels like a real sanctuary. Friday Club sees a psychologist come in to help pupils who might need some extra care, helping them build resilience through group sessions where they do craft, play Lego and generally enjoy a stress-free space where conversations can unfold.

Pastoral care is high on the agenda – there is robust policy in evidence, yet it’s often the little touches that leave the biggest impressions. On a recent visit, we were smitten by the former head’s dog Zephie, who worked wonders with apprehensive new pupils – nervous newcomers are invited to lead the lovable Labrador into the classroom, much to the delight of their new classmates.

And finally....

This delightful school has happy children everywhere you look – from the indoor and outdoor classrooms to the tennis courts and dance studio, the chapel to the giant sandpit full of children digging. Learning is fun and creative here, and playtime joyful (we saw the muddiest school child we have ever seen, sporting the biggest grin). As former head Mr Whybrow said: ‘It is hard to imagine a better place for children to start their education.’

Gallery See All

  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    Year 8 leavers: Bryanston (1), Cranleigh (2), Lord Wandsworth College (1), Portsmouth Grammar School (1), The Royal Grammar School, Guildford (1), Seaford College (9), Wellington College (1). Year 6 leavers: Bohunt School (3), Bramley (2), Churcher’s College (6), Lord Wandsworth College (2), Prior’s Field (2), Royal Grammar School, Guildford (6), Seaford College (3), St Catherine’s, Portsmouth Grammar School (1), Tormead School (1).

  • Scholarships for senior schools


    Academic6Prior's Field (3), Seaford (1), PGS (1), Bryanston (1)
    Drama3 Prior's Field (2), LWC (1)
    Sport4 Seaford (2), PGS (1), Prior's Field (1)
    Art1 Seaford
    Other6 Drama: Prior's Field (2), LWC (1). Dance: Seaford (3)

  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 1£4,290
    Year 2£4,320
    Year 3£5,725
    Year 4£6,100
    Year 5£6,610
    Year 6£6,610
    Year 7£6,610
    Year 8 £6,610

    Bursary contact:
    Bursar Mrs Sarah Jones
  • SEND

    Co-ordinator: Mrs Tanya Rathmell
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Haslemere, Surrey
    Journey time to London by train: 55 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Heathrow (35 miles)

School Updates

  • WATCH: Amesbury School drone footage

    WATCH: Amesbury School drone footage
  • WATCH: Amesbury Chapel Choir

    WATCH: Amesbury Chapel Choir
  • WATCH: Year 6 geography field trip to Radford Park

    WATCH: Year 6 geography field trip to Radford Park
  • WATCH: Year 3 remote learning

    WATCH: Year 3 remote learning
  • WATCH: EYFS at Amesbury

    WATCH: EYFS at Amesbury
  • See Amesbury in our Country Preps Focus

    Find your perfect country prep school. Whether you're contemplating a move for your entire family or want to explore the education options within a daily minibus-ride of the capital, we can help.
    See Amesbury in our Country Preps Focus

Amesbury is
linked with:


Hazel Grove, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6BL

01428 604322


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