Sign up now for FREE to read our insider reviews in full Sign Up Now
Barfield Prep School
Barfield Prep School
Barfield Prep School
Barfield Prep School
Barfield Prep School Farnham, Surrey Visit
Barfield Prep School
279 pupils, ages 2-11

Barfield Prep School

Open all

Our View

This co-ed day school in Farnham in Surrey has its feet on the ground even if its pupils often don’t – thanks to a treehouse classroom, Aeroball matches (think basketball on trampolines) and the weekly adventure programme of activities, which includes a ‘Leap of Faith’. Parents love Barfield for its grounded approach; pupils love it for all of the above and more.


One mile east of the market town of Farnham, Barfield is set in 12 lovely acres, with plenty of space for its award-winning outdoor-pursuits department, Three Peaks Barfield. A homely, red-brick school building has been modernised with a science lab and food-tech classroom, and work starts on a new dining hall this summer. Most families live within half an hour or so by car, but the school is hoping to launch two new bus routes which will provide transport in the mornings, one from the direction of Alton, the other from Farnborough and Aldershot way.


Andy Boyle joined in 2019, so he had the pandemic to deal with before he even got his feet under the table. He met the challenge head on and says, ‘I learnt more in the eight to 10 months of Covid than I did in the 10 years before it.’ A Yorkshireman, he is a gentle giant who overflows with positivity. ‘I am all about being happy,’ he says. He fell in love with the school’s ‘warmth and family atmosphere’ and is maintaining a close connection with parents while numbers are growing.

There was one-form entry when Mr Boyle arrived, which he has bumped up to 36 maximum, which creates two classes per year. ‘Air in your balloon’ is his catchphrase: ‘Every child has a balloon inside and it is our job to inflate it.’ He’s a very visible head, teaching PSHEE and games. His predecessor, who had been in post for 25 years and is now head of maths, says Mr Boyle is ‘definitely the right man for the job’.


There’s a wide breadth of ability, nationalities and cultures here, and any child is welcome to attend a taster day, which involves low-key assessments. There has been increased interest in Barfield from parents disillusioned by state-sector provision during the pandemic and from families relocating from London. And the fees don’t break the bank, which makes it more accessible than other prep schools.

Academics and senior school destinations

Class sizes are small with a maximum of 18. There are currently two classes in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, with the aim to have two-form entry all the way up the school.

Reception classes are linked to the nursery, which makes the transition into big school easy. Daily phonics lessons are organised by what stage a child is at rather than age. There’s plenty of fun through learning – the recent Water WOW day saw the beach brought to the school, with sandpits, paddling pools and water guns to play and explore with.

From Year 3, pupils move around the school for specialist subjects, including science, food tech and French. There are plans to introduce Mandarin, and there are Latin and Spanish clubs. The recently refurbished library hosts story time for the lower school and ‘social reading’ for older pupils, and exam week sees pupils from Year 3 upwards gathering in the big hall to sit tests under proper exam conditions. This prepares them for the 11+ and pupils say they love it – but maybe that’s because afternoons are filled with fun activities, and Year 6 pupils leave on a high with a trip to a French château. Most move on to secondary day schools in the local area.


Barfield tries to teach as many sports as possible to get pupils ready for secondary school, and there are Saturday clubs – football in autumn and multi-sports in summer. An on-site indoor swimming pool gets plenty of use, and senior pupils recently brought home a trophy from the IAPS tournament.

The art department is impressive. There’s an artist-in-residence, a host of clubs from creative textiles to sketchbook club, and Pekin bantam chicks often join the timetabled art lessons (the art teacher says they calm pupils down). Pupils can take LAMDA classes. The head of music stages an annual play for Years 5 and 6, while the head of drama produces a junior play. The school also takes part in the Young Voices school choir initiative.

The school’s longstanding Three Peaks department (it’s been running for 30 years, and is open to the public too) offers everything from quad biking, paintball shooting and archery to Aeroball, orienteering and the above-mentioned Leap of Faith, where pupils climb a pole to a small wooden platform and jump onto a trapeze bar. All the activities help build confidence, communication and problem-solving skills, while being hugely fun. Other clubs include everything from junk modelling to mindfulness to triathlon training and Mandarin. 

School community

The pastoral care is exemplary – it’s a particular passion of Mr Boyle’s, and the warm atmosphere of the school is palpable. A pupil parliament is represented by two children per class and every form has a captain and vice-captain. A team of three SEND teachers ensures all pupils’ specific needs are met.

Parents are very involved in an active PTA that helps organise fundraising events. They recently held a teddy bear appeal for Ukraine, for which they collected 230 bears. Every term pupils can go on a night camp, sleeping out in tents and waking up for a morning splash in the pool.

And finally....

An unpretentious school that exudes a family atmosphere, with an outdoor-pursuits department that punches well above its weight and helps pupils ‘fill the air in their balloon’ in the most enjoyable ways imaginable.


girls in fox costumes in school play
children in white coats looking through microscopes
boy in blue top and white helmet on climbing wall
girl in blue leotard doing gymnastics
school children walking in front of red brick building
little girl looking at green leaves
  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    Year 6 leavers - 4 to King Edward's School Witley, 3 to Lord Wandsworth College, 7 to Salesian School, 1 to Churcher's College, 1 to RGS Guildford, 1 to St Edmund's College, 1 to Farnhborough Hill and 1 to St George's College.

  • Scholarships for senior schools


    Academic2Salesian College, Churcher's College
    Music2 Churcher's College, RGS
    Drama1 Lord Wandsworth College

  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 1£4,000
    Year 2£4,230
    Year 3£5,700
    Year 4£5,700
    Year 5£5,890
    Year 6£5,890

    Bursaries at Barfield are managed by the Prep Schools Trust. The process requires a full financial review of a family’s income, expenses, assets and liabilities; the key determining factor in the decision to award a bursary is need. Bursaries may be awarded in the form of a discount of up to 100% of the day tuition fees, depending on the financial circumstances of applicants. Pupils do not need to win a scholarship in order to be considered for a bursary.

    Bursary contact:
    Finance Manager Mrs Helen Beltcher
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    Dyslexia and other learning disorders.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    Teaching Assistants and some in class SEN support.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    Mindfulness is a subject on the curriculum and there is a Wellbeing Room within the school.

    Co-ordinator: Dr Grace Elliott
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Farnham
    Journey time to London by train: 60 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Heathrow Airport (30 miles)

  • Parents tell us


    ‘We chose Barfield for our child because of its superb pastoral care, and welcoming and caring environment. The children have access to a wide range of activities and varied learning, with incredible outdoor facilities. The school is non-judgemental. I didn’t want to send my child to a school where there was snobbery and there is none of that at Barfield. It is all about the children.  

    Our experience of the admissions process involved straightforward paperwork. We had the opportunity to meet other children and parents before we started. There was a good induction programme of activities for our child before he started in the nursery.  

    Mr Boyle, the headteacher, is outstanding. He is approachable, supportive and enthusiastic. He is taking the school from strength to strength. He has a ‘can do’ attitude and is making great changes to the school in a very positive way. He is an excellent communicator and has an incredible skill; the children respect that he is the headmaster but have no hesitation when it comes to approaching or talking to him. Barfield is very lucky to have him! 

    The team of teachers is truly amazing in both the upper and lower school. Communication is very good. We have letters from Mr Boyle with news of changes, alongside newsletters and fortnightly ‘A Week in Photos’. 

    Pastoral care is excellent! The pupils’ wellbeing is paramount, and I have no doubt that the school knows my children extremely well. 

    The preparation and academic support have been brilliant regarding my child’s next stage of education. We had interviews with Mr Boyle and Mrs Tupper about the most appropriate senior school for our son. We received emails from our child’s form teacher in the Christmas holidays, wishing him luck for his entrance exam the following day – incredible! But that’s Barfield; those little extras that go such a long way.  

    When families join the school, they are invited to social events and to join Classlist. This has been recently invested in by the school to help promote safe communication from the PTA to families. There is a lovely ‘pop up’ coffee morning near the school front door aimed at welcoming new parents for a coffee in the first few days of dropping your child off. 

    The school has far exceeded our expectations and continues to do so. My advice to new parents – trust the teachers, they are brilliant! Get involved. I’ve made some truly amazing friends being a part of Barfield.’ 

  • Pupils tell us


    ‘The three best things about Barfield are sport (because there are so many to do), outdoor learning (I love making things), and friends (I’ve made loads).  

    I started when I was 2 years old, so I didn’t have to do any exams or interviews to get in.  

    I would tell someone new who is starting now that the school is absolutely amazing. I settled in straight away and if I have any problems I go to the teachers, either Mrs Pryce or Mrs Tupper.  

    My headteacher is amazing and I really like him. He is very uplifting. I can always talk to him, he can be serious and funny. All of the staff have made a difference to my time at the school. They have given me knowledge, and I like them all.  

    The food at Barfield is good, especially the tacos!  

    School traditions include the Easter hat parade, bonfire night, the switching on of the Christmas tree lights, and the Christmas disco.  

    If I was head for the day, I would change nothing really.  

    I wish I could stay at Barfield for senior school because I love it!’


School Updates

  • WATCH: A parent's perspective of Barfield

    WATCH: A parent's perspective of Barfield
  • WATCH: Barfield - Foundation for a Bright Future

    WATCH: Barfield - Foundation for a Bright Future
  • WATCH: Barfield Coming Together - Celebrating our new brand identity

    WATCH: Barfield Coming Together - Celebrating our new brand identity
  • See Barfield 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 Barfield in our Country Preps Focus


Guildford Road, Runfold, Farnham, Surrey GU10 1PB

01252 782271


ISI Report


Term Dates


Open Days

Open days and how to visit View Open Days Register for open Day

Open Morning
20 September 2024

Click for a larger version of map

Need help?

Don’t panic! We have more than ten years’ experience of visiting schools and advising parents, and we are all parents ourselves – we can make this easier for you.

Talk to our team