All the pupils have timetabled sport three times a week and the key sports are hockey, netball, rugby, cricket and football. They have swimming lessons all year round, making use of the senior school’s pool. Alternate Saturday matches start in Year 5, with about 50 teams fielded each week so all the children get involved, playing against Aldro, Windlesham House and Hurst, among others. Cranleigh also puts forward teams for the IAPS competitions. More unusual sports include Eton fives, riding, sailing and golf – the senior school has a nine-hole course. A hugely sporty reputation precedes it but sport here is for everyone. Children are encouraged to ‘play well, but with humility’ and other co-curricular pursuits are considered equally as important.
Music is a big part of school life, with prep and senior music departments managed as one by 11 staff. The music department has recently been decorated, becoming a vibrant, colourful space that is not only informative – walls are covered with biographies of and quotes from key composers – but inspirational. More than 50 peripatetic teachers come on site and pretty much every pupil plays an instrument with guitar and drums (there’s a handy sound-proof practice room) the most popular instruments for individual lessons. Reading music is taught in class, alongside performing, composing and theory. Choirs, orchestras and ensembles mean everyone enjoys music beyond the classroom. Drama is also part of the core curriculum – from nativity plays in the lower years to all-singing, all-dancing musical productions as children move up the years. The Year 8s can audition for the annual production and is always a very impressive performance, from the acting down to the costumes and lighting. Many of the pupils take a weekly LAMDA lesson.
Art and D&T are also outstanding, with extraordinarily life-like self self-portraits of last year’s leavers on proud display, and there’s definitely a spirit of innovation at the school with the upper years learning coding and programming. From Year 5, pupils are let loose in an incredible tech kitchen which wouldn’t look out of place on a TV cooking competition. Nothing is off the menu – from treacle tart to sushi – and there is a Masterchef-style competition for Year 8s after CE exams. DT and Food Tech are taught in rotation, so every child has the chance to try their hand at both.
Children are definitely kept happily busy at Cranleigh. Other clubs include Lego, brain games and stone masonry.
Around 20 per cent of pupils board, with weekly and flexi (minimum two nights) on offer from Year 3, and with no full or international boarders, the school is closed on Saturday nights. The boarding house is across two floors in the main building, one for the boys and one for the girls. They were renovated in 2021 and are clean and homely with pin boards and bunk beds, smart TVs and comfy sofas. Flexi boarders have their own bed, and those boarding on the same nights share a dorm so no one is left to sleep alone. A shared common room, called The Hub, has a pool table, air hockey and table tennis tables. There’s also a kitchen where the children can make themselves an evening snack. The three live-in houseparents ensure excellent pastoral care.
Cranleigh Prep offers a number of scholarships at 11+, including Academic, Music and Sport. Scholarships attract a fee remission and may be supplemented by means tested top-up bursaries.
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