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Cranleigh School
Cranleigh School
Cranleigh School
Cranleigh School
Cranleigh School Cranleigh, Surrey Visit
Cranleigh School
692 pupils, ages 13-18
Day and Boarding

Cranleigh School

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Our view

Basking in 240 acres of leafy Surrey countryside, Cranleigh School is a bit of a Goldilocks school – not too big, not too small, good for girls, good for boys, not greedy for the sportiest or the cleverest, but rather valuing what every pupil brings to the community. A real family atmosphere and a down-to-earth attitude creates a school filled with happy, well-rounded children confident in their own abilities.

Where is Cranleigh School?

Cranleigh’s sweeping grounds and 19th-century buildings are genuinely breathtaking with the Surrey Hills and South Downs offering wraparound views. It’s approached from a pretty road outside the market town of Cranleigh and is easy to get to from Guildford, which is only 20 minutes’ drive away. London isn’t far either and as well as attracting the less flashy Surrey crowd, Cranleigh is also gaining popularity with parents looking to escape the competitiveness of the London school circuit.

Headmaster at Cranleigh School

Martin Reader has been head since 2014 and he’s a shining example of the warmth and quiet confidence the school exudes. He’s rightly proud of the co-ed experience Cranleigh has been delivering for more than 20 years – the split is 50/50 and it’s notable how seamlessly boys and girls mix at the school. ‘It’s an environment that encourages mutual respect, a sense of equality and empathy,’ says Mr Reader. He’s definitely a community-minded head and has centred the school’s ethos around young people, ‘the sort of people the world is going to need – thinking, being, giving people’.

Mr Reader leaves Cranleigh at the end of this academic year, with new head Samantha Price stepping into his shoes from September 2024. Mrs Price arrives from a hugely successful tenure at Benenden, and we look forward to hearing what plans she has in store.

Admissions at Cranleigh School

While applicants sit the ISEB pre-test at their prep schools in Year 6, there is no hard-and-fast pass or fail mark. It’s more about finding the ‘Cranleigh fit’; ie, are they prepared to have a go and get stuck in? Will they contribute to the school community? Holistic assessment days where the children take part in team-building exercises and discussion groups help the school find the all-rounders it’s looking for. 

Children from Cranleigh Prep are exempt from sitting the ISEB if they wish to move on up to the senior school, which helps them avoid stressful senior-school entrance exams. Instead, the head of the prep will discuss each child’s individual suitability for progression with the senior admissions team. Around 85 per cent of the prep cohort join the senior school, making up around 45 per cent of the Year 9 intake.

Things get a bit more selective at sixth form when demand outstrips places, so there are minimum GCSE requirements as well as an assessment day that looks at applicants’ ‘Cranleigh fit’ potential.

The Cranleigh Foundation offers means-tested bursary support to children who have faced significant trauma, and works together with local charities and Surrey Social Services to identify children who could benefit from a boarding school experience and education. 

Academics and destinations

Pupils receive a broad education with equal emphasis on academic and creative subjects. There’s streaming in most subjects from Year 9 and independent learning is encouraged from the start. In Year 10, all children take the School Certificate in Philosophy, which Cranleigh developed with the New College of the Humanities, which involves pupils completing a philosophy project which they can present as a written report, artwork, presentation or video. In the sixth form, most students do an EPQ (the school’s director of learning, teaching and innovation, Dr John Taylor, was one of the founding writers of the qualification) alongside three A-levels. This emphasis on critical thinking over digesting facts is all part of the school’s ethos and children are encouraged to look to the future, identify how they can be useful global citizens and develop their leadership skills.

Results are good, with 60 per cent achieving seven or more grade 9-7 GCSEs in 2023 and 80 per cent achieving grades A*-B at A-level. Leavers’ destinations are diverse and celebrated equally: Russell Group universities; music conservatoires; the armed forces; computer science entrepreneurships; and universities abroad.

Co-curricular at Cranleigh School

Cranleigh has a glittering sporting reputation, but it’s important to note that pupils are equally revered for all talents, not just their skills on the pitches. The school embraces sport wholeheartedly, which shows in the incredible facilities available. Almost too many to list, they include 10 grass pitches, nine Astro courts, an equestrian centre, a nine-hole golf course, a swimming pool, a sports centre and an athletic development facility for pupils on the elite sports programme. There’s also the Woodland Fitness centre equipped with hi-tech gym equipment and a physiotherapy room – and a new building with another gym, squash courts and two dance studios is slated to open in 2024. All children have four sessions of sport a week, with Saturday matches. They’re formidable competitors and often walk away triumphant.

Drama is also a big part of school life. The department is eye-catching with ‘Cranleigh Drama!’ emblazoned in neon lights and old theatre chairs lining the corridor. It’s a very popular option, with 70 per cent of Year 9s choosing it. And everyone is easily accommodated as there are plenty of dedicated rooms and places to perform, including the 1920s Speech Hall, which has stage and technical lighting, and a smaller, 100-seat theatre, complete with green room. It’s like a slice of the West End in Surrey and is often used by visiting theatre companies. Dance is also part of the performing arts offering, with ballet, modern, contemporary and tap all on the menu.

Music is an option from Year 9 too, with hundreds of individual lessons taught each week. In addition to GCSE and A-level music, pupils can choose music technology at A-level, making use of an impressive recording studio and music tech suite. Art, meanwhile, is served by double-height-ceilinged rooms that are wonderfully light, the perfect setting for children to explore sculpture, printmaking, photography and painting. Plus, there is a comprehensive design engineering department and many students who take A-level go on to take engineering degrees.

Boarding at Cranleigh School

The majority of children board at Cranleigh; day pupils make up about 25 per cent. Boarders are evenly split between boys and girls, and live in eight lovely boarding houses dotted around the campus. Boarding houses vary from modern to quirky and characterful, with big dorms for younger children and single rooms for older years. House families, created within each individual house, are not only a super support network for younger pupils but also excellent for in-house bonding.

Day pupils are assigned to houses too and each have their own desk space, so there’s a fantastically integrated feel. All day pupils stay for supper and often don’t go home until after 9pm as the school day is so full of activities. Each boys’ house is paired with a girls’ house, and lots of socials together and inter-house competitions create a lively, fun atmosphere. The houses have a strong family feeling and are a happy downtime hub where children can eat, relax and hang out with their friends.

As so many boarders are local, most return home for the remainder of the weekend after the completion of Saturday fixtures. A small number of international boarders do remain on site, and staff ensure they can have some social time with sleepovers, cooking sessions and informal brunches together on Sunday. And, in a move that’s proved popular with both children and parents alike, chapel now takes place on Friday evening so weekly boarders can return to site first-thing on Monday morning.

Cranleigh School community

The house system creates a very secure pastoral setting, with houseparents and matrons all enjoying a great relationship with pupils. Families within the houses are headed by sixth-formers, and children are also assigned tutors who stay with them throughout their time at the school. The Year 9s aren’t allowed phones – at all – which they seem to get used to after the initial shock. They even end up agreeing it’s a good thing. As they go up the years, phone access is increased – but up until Year 12, phones get handed in at bedtime. Pastoral care is tracked by a system initiated by the IT department and the pastoral team meets weekly to ensure no one slips through the net.

A new assistant head pastoral role was created last year, welcoming David Mulae to the senior leadership team. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, Mr Mulae is in charge of both pupil and staff wellbeing, and he is determined to recruit staff from a wider range of backgrounds and heritages which he believes would lead to a further increase in diversity among the pupil and parent body.

Since trousers were introduced for girls’ uniform, almost all have switched to this smart and modern option.

Parents are regarded as part of the family and even though many pupils board, plenty of parents live locally and are invited into school for concerts, talks and matches.

And finally....

Quietly confident, entirely unpretentious, it’s no surprise that local Surrey families and, increasingly, canny ones from London seek out the excellent broad-church education which Cranleigh delivers.

Gallery See All

  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • Subjects offered


    Art & Design
    Classical Civilisation
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Religious Studies

    A Level

    Art & Design
    Business Studies
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Further Mathematics
    Physical Education
    Religious Studies
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8 -
    Year 9 £12,635
    Year 10£12,635
    Year 11£12,635
    Year 12£12,635
    Year 13£12,635
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8 -
    Year 9 £15,345
    Year 10 £15,345
    Year 11£15,345
    Year 12£15,345
    Year 13£15,345

    Rather than having a set pot, Cranleigh allocates bursary support depending on need and requirement. In order to be considered for a means-tested bursary, a pupil must be awarded a scholarship (academic, sporting or creative arts). Means-tested bursaries are available without a scholarship if a pupil’s parents are in the armed forces. Cranleigh also has a number of Foundationer places available, which offer transformational bursaries to children with significant pastoral need (for example, losing a parent through exceptional or tragic circumstances) who would hugely benefit from the school’s nurturing boarding environment.

    Bursary contact:
    Director of Admissions & Registrar Alex Forsdike
  • Transport links

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Guildford
    Journey time to London by train: 45 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Gatwick (24 miles)

  • FAQs

    When was Cranleigh School founded?
    Cranleigh School first opened its doors back in 1865 as the flagship all boys' senior school in Cranleigh. By the 1880s, it had grown to over 300 students, and later became co-educational in the early 1970s. 

    What is the motto of Cranleigh School?
    Cranleigh School's motto is ‘Ex Cultu Robu’ meaning ‘from culture comes strength'. 

School Updates

  • Cranleigh School pupil races at Goodwood

    Sixth Former, Jack Ruddell was the youngest driver at last weekend’s Goodwood 81st members meeting
    Cranleigh School pupil races at Goodwood
  • Cranleigh girls win National Fives Tournament

    Cranleigh pupils won gold at the U18 Girls' National Fives tournament at Repton.
    Cranleigh girls win National Fives Tournament
  • 60 Years of School Musicals

    Cranleigh stages West Side Story 60 years after being first school ever to do so
    60 Years of School Musicals
  • Oscar Beard in Six Nations Squad

    Former pupil, Oscar Beard, has been selected for the England 2024 men’s rugby Six Nations squad.
    Oscar Beard in Six Nations Squad
  • Top Trampoline Title for Will

    Congratulations to Lower Sixth student, Will M., who bounced into the limelight last weekend with a incredible routine that won him the Trampoline National League 3 title.
    Top Trampoline Title for Will
  • Cranleigh's A-Level Results

    Cranleigh is pleased to report another year of excellent A-Level results, with 17 per cent of students achieving the top A* grade, 46 per cent of grades at A*-A, 80 per cent of grades at A*-B and an overall pass rate of 100 per cent.
    Cranleigh's A-Level Results
  • Sixth Former Crowned English National 100m Breaststroke Champion

    Sixth Form swim-star, Sophie Moore, was crowned National 100m Breaststroke Champion.
    Sixth Former Crowned English National 100m Breaststroke Champion
  • Samantha Price Appointed as Next Head of Cranleigh School

    Samantha Price Appointed as Next Head of Cranleigh School
  • Winner Announcement! The Awesome Book Awards 2023

    Congratulations to children's author, Kate Gilby Smith, who has won the Awesome Book Awards 2023 for her novel, The Astonishing Future of Alex Nobody. Her Award was announced via a special online event today.
    Winner Announcement!  The Awesome Book Awards 2023
  • Cranleigh wins Rosslyn Park Plate

    Cranleigh's U18 Boys 1st Rugby Sevens squad has won the National 2023 Rosslyn park plate trophy, beating Millfield School in the final by 17 points to 14.
    Cranleigh wins Rosslyn Park Plate
  • Cranleigh's Motown Special

    Cranleigh School hosted a Motown special at Cranleigh Arts Centre and raised £4000 for the performing arts hub.
    Cranleigh's Motown Special
  • Cranleigh School wins the prestigious Hampton Sevens for second year running

    Incredibly, since 2012, the School has now won the title four times and the plate once and has reached every final since 2016.
    Cranleigh School wins the prestigious Hampton Sevens for second year running
  • Eight Minutes to Change the World

    Cranleigh pupils took part in a competition, 'Dangerous Minds' where they had only eight minutes each to convince the audience on a contentious topic.
    Eight Minutes to Change the World
  • Cranleigh's Riding High

    Show jumping might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of school sports, but Surrey’s Cranleigh School is currently leading the field in equestrian activities.
    Cranleigh's Riding High
  • See Cranleigh School in our All-through Schools Guide.

    See Cranleigh School in our All-through Schools Guide.
  • See Cranleigh School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.

    See Cranleigh School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.
  • Young Triathletes raise over £1.2 million for charity

    On Sunday 15th May, 770 school children came together at Cranleigh School to take part in the Flight Centre Schools Triathlon.
    Young Triathletes raise over £1.2 million for charity
  • WATCH: Cranleigh Sixth Form - Pathways

    WATCH: Cranleigh Sixth Form - Pathways
  • WATCH: Cranleigh Sixth Form - Academics

    WATCH: Cranleigh Sixth Form - Academics

Cranleigh School is
linked with:


Horseshoe Lane, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8QQ

01483 276377


ISI Report


Term Dates


Open Days

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

Open Day
15 June 2024
Sixth Form Open Morning (16+ entry only)
22 June 2024
Sixth Form Welcome Morning
21 September 2024
Open Day
12 October 2024

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