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Bancroft's School
Bancroft's School
Bancroft's School
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Bancroft's School Woodford Green, Essex Visit
Bancroft's School
Woodford Green
870 pupils, ages 11-18

Bancroft's School

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Our View

Headmaster Simon Marshall is a highly experienced educator, and a staunch ambassador of the ‘full’ education that Bancroft’s delivers in spades. Ambitious, competitive pupils (and parents), splendid buildings, an admirable academic output, all right there at the end of London’s Central line: Bancroft’s School could be said to have it all. Diversity is key here – economic, cultural, national – with an emphasis on scholarship in the widest sense: CCF and DofE, house drama, jazz band and art and design, a rich tapestry of cultures and backgrounds, as well as a healthy, happy attitude to learning.

Where is Bancroft's School?

Housed in a towered and turreted Victorian residence, set slightly incongruously on an Essex dual carriageway surrounded by woodland, the school has enough Hogwarts-esque twisting passageways and spiral staircases to enchant the most apathetic 13-year-old – and that’s outside of the library’s annual Harry Potter week.

The site is refreshingly spacious for what is essentially a London senior school and although it is a fair walk from the nearest Tube station (Woodford), the school lays on a shuttle bus each morning. The impressive Great Hall sits beside a courtyard quad with a colonnaded walkway. Facilities are great, with a newly extended sixth-form common room with its own dining space, IT room and library. 

Headmaster at Bancroft's

Mr Marshall has been here since 2016 (he was previously head of English at King's College School Wimbledon, and then deputy head at University College School). A classics graduate from Cambridge with a masters in English language and literature from Oxford and an MPhil in 18th-century studies – he’s an astoundingly bright spark but he is also calm, engaging and astute, with a desire for every single one of his pupils to have it all.

Pressure to perform academically in these parts means that his role is to sometimes endorse passion and confidence – learned through a wide ranging and exciting curriculum that must, and does, extend beyond the classroom. A more holistic approach to learning, he feels, is far more likely to lead to real, meaningful added value, longevity of skills and thinking and the ability to exceed expectations by your own hand.

Mr Marshall is determined to see every pupil flourish during their time here and leave Bancroft’s transformed and able to engage in the world beyond, equipped to manage adulthood, make decisions, form relationships and socialise in positive ways. And while keeping academic standards exemplary, he sees it as his role to persuade children and parents that activities outside the classroom are just as valuable as those within it in turning out rounded, happy individuals.

Sadly for the school, he retires next summer, handing over the reins to Alex Frazer in September 2024. Currently director of projects at North London Collegiate School, Mr Frazer was previously head of Wolverhampton Grammar School and has almost 20 years' experience working in independent schools underneath his belt. 

The admissions process at Bancroft's School

For entry at 11+, 50 per cent of pupils (about 60) move up from Bancroft's Prep School, with the rest from local preps and primaries. It’s a competitive process, with lots of tutoring going on in preparation, but the school firmly discourages this. All applicants sit a computer-based reasoning test, English and maths papers and those who make the grade are interviewed at a later date. For students wishing to join at 16+, there are exams in two subjects (which they hope to take at A-level) as well as a thinking skills paper and an interview. Offers are made on the basis of achieving grade 8 or 9 in five GCSE subjects. Pupils are broadly local (although the radius is growing) and, while some travel from Potters Bar, Winchmore Hill or Cheshunt, most live a 10- to 30-minute drive away.

The highest of high achievers in music, sport, creative arts and academics can apply for awards and although these no longer come with any financial discount, recipients of these coveted accolades are expected to make a greater contribution to school life in these areas. Bancroft’s also offer means-tested assisted places, which aim to offer the Bancroft’s opportunities to families who would otherwise be unable to access them.

Academics and destinations

Results are dazzling: 80 per cent of the most recent GCSE grades were at grade 8 or 9, nearly 15 per cent of pupils bagged 10 grade 9s and one student even achieved a jaw-dropping 11 of the highest possible grades. A-levels were similarly stratospheric with more 93 per cent of pupils achieving A*-B in all their exams and almost half the total grades at A* level.

Maths and sciences are popular A-level choices – 30 per cent of girls take physics and most pupils study maths – with stellar results (one maths teacher told us that his department is famously competitive). But Mr Marshall assures us that a great deal of work is being done into giving the arts equal prominence. 

Trendy subjects like psychology still don’t make the slate, but we get the feeling that the school is keen for pupils to push beyond family expectations and to choose for themselves. This is working: modern languages are increasingly popular, with German, French, Spanish and Russian all on offer.

Bancroft's pupils are an aspirational, hardworking bunch, with plenty aiming for and winning places at top universities including Oxbridge, UCL, LSE, Imperial College London, Durham, Bristol and Edinburgh, with many medics and engineers among them. 


Sport hasn’t always been a top priority, but it is now flying high. Not everyone is going to be an England U16 hockey player or nationally ranked tennis whizz (although they do have their fair share of these), but sport is properly supported and well resourced, with extensive pitches on site, plus a superb sports hall and full-sized indoor pool. The school also makes use of the nearby seven-acre West Grove sports facility with pitches and tracks aplenty.

Rugby, hockey, netball and cricket are the biggies, with football offered as a timetabled option from Year 11. There’s been a big push for ‘sport for all’, with teams all the way from A to E.

CCF for (almost) everyone – heaps of children were running around in camo on the afternoon we visited. Our pupil guide was hilarious about the challenges of learning to march while carrying a rifle and raved about the joys of ‘Night Ex’ and ‘Sniper Stalk’. DofE is popular with many pupils too, with plenty gaining their gold awards. But Bancroft’s have taken ‘challenge’ up a notch with a spring term Hunger Games week – beginning with an author visit discussing dystopian fiction, setting the scene for the discussion of various dystopian scenarios and the strategies necessary to lead a small community of survivors to safety. And it’s not only theoretical, lunchtimes are given over to jousting, archery, bug eating and escape room contests in which Tribunes (house tutor groups) compete to ‘survive’.

Music is another strength here, with an annual concert in Drapers' Hall. Drama is a core part of the curriculum in Years 7 and 8 – there are house, school and even Edinburgh Fringe productions. Our visit coincided with an impressive dress rehearsal of Gershwin’s Crazy for You with a cast drawn from across the senior school. The annual interfaith production, Taal, is a highlight of the school year: a song and dance extravaganza staged by the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Muslim Society. The all-faith chapel assemblies are an intrinsic part of school life, with each year group attending weekly. 

This is an incredibly busy place, with too many clubs and activities to mention (new pupils are encouraged to join at least a handful at the Freshers’ Fair), and if a club doesn’t exist, children can start their own (note the popular EqualiTEA Society, founded by a pupil and launched with a talk by actor and activist Lord (Michael) Cashman). 

Bancroft's school community

The Bancroft’s community extends outside of the school gates. The school has close ties to The Drapers’ Company, while leavers join more than 4,500 other alumni as part of the Old Bancroftians’ Association, and The Parents’ Association works tirelessly to run a number of fundraising events. Pupils throw themselves into community work too, with senior pupils hosting a weekly social club called Phab for the physically handicapped and swimming sessions with children from a local special needs school. Pupils also run science and modern languages fairs with local primary children, and invite members of the local community in to watch matinee performances of student-led productions.

Pastoral care is strong with the house system providing a solid foundation – tutors and house staff are the daily point of contact and consistency. Older students are encouraged to take responsibility for wellbeing, engage with younger pupils and even present some of the PSHE material in a format that will resonate more profoundly when delivered by peers. Workshops throughout the year teach parents and pupils how to deal with digital technology, handle academic pressures and forge positive mental-health strategies.

And finally....

In our book, this is an exceptional place with brainy, creative children which feels delightfully low-key for a school that boasts so many accomplishments. One pupil described the school community as the ‘Bancroft’s Bubble’ and we rather liked it: hardworking, ambitious and energetically pursuing the six core values that will unlock the door to successful adulthood for these fortunate teens – curiosity, kindness, integrity, courage, balance and excellence – sounds like a pretty good bubble to be in.

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  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • University destinations

    8% of leavers went on to Oxford or Cambridge university.
    73% of leavers went on to a Russell Group university.
  • Subjects offered


    Ancient Greek
    Art & Design
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Physical Education
    Religious Studies

    A Level

    Ancient Greek
    Art & Design
    Business Studies
    Classical Civilisation
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Literature
    Further Mathematics
    Government and Politics
    Physical Education
    Religious Studies
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7£7,590
    Year 8 £7,590
    Year 9 £7,590
    Year 10£7,590
    Year 11£7,590
    Year 12£7,590
    Year 13£7,590

    Bancroft's currently has 5 per cent of its pupils on Assisted Places (bursaries), and continues to increase the number of Assisted Places on offer. The school offers up to 100 per cent fee coverage and all bursaries also include a £300 annual uniform grant and a £200 one-off grant for a suitable laptop or tablet, plus all public exams paid for. Assisted Places are available to children joining primarily at 11+ and 16+

    Fee remission is only applicable to Assisted Places which support children who would not otherwise be able to attend the school. Assisted Places are awarded following a confidential financial assessment of household income which is reassessed every year. Candidates must also fulfil the minimum entry requirements.

    Bursary contact:
    Bursar Mr Lionel Green
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    Dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers, deafness, colour blindness, epileptics, diabetics.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    Children with identified educational needs are given 1 to 1 support on a regular basis for as long as necessary. They have personal plans drawn up so individual MoS are aware of how a particular child might work best. Health needs are catered for by a full time school nurse, who will arrange training for staff in areas such as management of diabetes, etc.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    Two full time counsellors. Pastoral care focussing on well-being centres around house system (tutors, house staff). Use of AS tracking throughout school. Pastoral team works with parents to obtain specialist help in cases such as anorexia or self harming. Pupils can self refer.

    Co-ordinator: Name of SEN co-ordinator: Anne Hubbard
  • Transport links

    Public Transport
    Nearest London tube station: Woodford
    Nearest mainline train station: Liverpool Street
    Nearest London Overground station: Chingford
    Journey time to London by train: 20 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Stansted (35 miles)

  • Parents tell us


    'Bancroft's has an excellent reputation in the local area. The results are the best in our local area for GCSE and A Level results which was a big factor also in our choice. From the moment we walked into the school we felt that it was exactly the right balance of excelling at education, but also offering great pastoral care and extracurricular activities. The choice is immense.

    The admissions process was smooth for us. We were kept well informed along the whole process.

    From our interaction with the head he is very approachable, always at school events and willing to talk to parents. He makes himself accessible if a parent wishes to speak to him (although we have not needed to). 

    My son has really enjoyed having the same form tutor, Miss Grossman, for two years and she has been an enormous help to him, especially when he had a small confidence issue in his second year. She is very supportive and nurturing and her pastoral care is excellent.

    The school communicates very well with parents. There are regular emails and all our son's reports, grades and homework are available for us to view on the online VLE system. There is a fortnightly newsletter showing the activities and achievements going on around the school and the variety is massive.

    The school encourages charity activity and pupil-led fundraising, and it is good to see how much goes on in the school.

    The form tutor and housemistress know my child well and when we had a small issue we saw both of them by appointment and they could not have been more helpful and supportive. I felt that they knew my child well.

    The pastoral care and advice for parents is excellent. The school runs sessions for the parents which I have attended and found to be very useful.

    I feel that my child would be very well supported if he had any problems. They are already preparing them for GCSE studying and giving them revision and study techniques. They have regular 'mini tests' in all subjects which really helps with the long-term learning and revision. They have a varied PSHE curriculum which covers things to help prepare them for the future. When they were choosing their GCSE options, they had an individual interview with the Careers teacher which I think was an excellent thing to do.

    There is an active PA who put on regular social events. The house system gives a great sense of family and we attend an annual fundraising event for our house which really feels like a proper family event.

    The school has totally lived up to our expectations. It has a reputation of being highly academic but our experience is that the children are not 'pushed' or 'hothoused'. The first two years are effectively spent encouraging them to join in everything that the school has to offer, to make the most of the extracurricular activities and sport and enjoy getting to know and make new friends. They work hard and play hard, and my advice to new parents is to let the school do their job as they do it well!’

    'My husband and I both went to Bancrofts, it was in fact where we met and married. Later on both our girls were fortunate enough to follow in our footsteps. Our younger daughter is just about to leave the school, and so all 4 of us will now be proud Old Bancroftians and we all have many happy memories of school careers stretching over the years.

    Both of our girls joined at 7 and went through the admissions process quite young. It was a long time ago now but we tried to keep any pressure off them, and being younger they both took in more in their stride I think.

    Mr Marshall the head has always been most encouraging and got to know our daughters. He especially went the extra mile when our youngest was recently going through the Oxbridge process and made time to talk to give, give her interview prep and help her with his insight. It meant a great deal to her, and to us, and we will be forever grateful.

    TRCJ, a member of the English department, has encouraged and stretched both our girls. He went out of his way to inspire them and met with us along the Oxbridge process and ultimately brought out the very best in them and their favourite subject. Not only did TRCJ teach both our girls, but both of us too- an absolute star and never to be forgotten. Miss Jones, Head of RS (again a subject that both our girls took up to A-level), is a brilliant teacher in her subject and thoroughly prepared her classes, but more than that - she took them under her wing and helped them through a myriad of teenage dramas too. So kind and nurturing- an absolute star.

    I think the communication with parents has definitely got better over time and as parents who are just leaving I can honestly say I have always known where to go and who to speak to should I need anything. The office staff, especially Kay Kennedy, always go the extra mile too and they are all so friendly.

    Our girls have had a really positive experience of school, teachers and senior management that have really cared about them and wanted them to succeed. We feel very fortunate. The school have advised my youngest who goes to university in September to do some pre-university courses which I think will be very helpful.

    There is a very active and successful PTA group which raises money and provides social events for families to get to know one another more. My advice to new parents would be to get involved! Find other families like yours and support your child; the school will be encouraging you all the way.’

    'The school has a fantastic academic record which was our first reason to look at the school. But on visiting it became clear that there was so much to the school. The sense of community and a genuine warmth was what sealed it for us. The school made the admissions process as calm as possible. One of my girls is very confident and was fine with it all. My youngest daughter is a bit of a worrier so it was more stressful for her. However, Bancroft’s seemed to deal with this better than the other schools we looked at.

    Mr Marshall the head is engaged and enthusiastic. Miss Jones, Miss Mead and Mrs Fryer Green have all made a particular difference to my child’s time at school.

    The school communicates with parents pretty well.

    The school is fantastic on the pastoral front. I feel that both girls are very well placed for the next stage in their education. There is a strong PTA at the school who hold a variety of activities. In all honesty I can’t complain. My girls have both thrived at the school in different areas.'
  • FAQs

    Do Bancroft’s School offer scholarships? 
    Bancroft’s no longer offers scholarships or bursaries with fee remission. However, pupils are rewarded for outstanding achievements with the school’s Academic Awards at 11+, which are based on performance during the admissions process. 

    Does Bancroft’s School have any famous alumni?
    Notable Old Bancroftians range from politicians and athletes to actors and poets, and include Robert Cruickshank and Augustus Newman, both of whom are recipients of The Victoria Cross for bravery.  

    What is Bancroft’s School history?
    Founded in 1737, Bancroft’s is one of the oldest educational establishments in England. The school was originally set up by Francia Bancroft, a member of the philanthropic Draper’s Company, based on the premise that Bancroft’s School would provide education for 100 poor boys from the ages of 7 to 15.

School Updates

  • Alex Frazer Announced as the New Head of Bancroft’s

    Bancroft's is pleased to announce the appointment of Alex Frazer as the new Head, starting in September 2024, succeeding Simon Marshall, who will retire after eight successful years leading the school.
    Alex Frazer Announced as the New Head of Bancroft’s
  • Student-led "Carnival" Proves a Musical Triumph

    A group of talented musicians at Bancroft's School, came together in March for five totally student-led performances of Saint Saën’s "Carnival of the Animals."
  • National Athletics Silver For Bancroft's Pupil

    Caitlin Hancock, year 9 pupil, achieved a personal best in the Girls' U15 Long Jump to achieve a silver medal in February's England Athletics National Indoor Championships
    National Athletics Silver For Bancroft's Pupil
  • Bancroft's is Crazy About Hit Musical

    From start to finish "Crazy for You", Bancroft’s School’s senior musical was a total joy. It was evident that all the talented performers, drawn from Years 10 to 13, were having a blast and their enjoyment was infectious.
    Bancroft's is Crazy About Hit Musical
  • See Bancroft's School in our All-through Schools Guide.

    See Bancroft's School in our All-through Schools Guide.
  • See Bancroft's in our London Senior Schools Guide

    See Bancroft's in our London Senior Schools Guide
  • All-through schools: everything you need to know

    All-through schools: everything you need to know
  • Reverse commuting: schools a train ride from London

    Reverse commuting: schools a train ride from London
  • WATCH: Welcome to Bancroft's

    WATCH: Welcome to Bancroft's

Bancroft's School is
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High Road, Woodford Green, Essex IG8 0RF

020 8505 4821


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