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Farlington School – Lower School & Middle School
Farlington School – Lower School & Middle School Horsham, West Sussex Visit
Farlington School – Lower School & Middle School
196 pupils, ages 4-13
Day and Boarding

Farlington School – Lower School & Middle School

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Our View

There’s quite a buzz about this pocket-rocket, all-through Sussex school, which is currently celebrating its 125-year milestone. Formerly all-girls, it began welcoming boys in 2018, and started taking them into each year group last September – making it the only all-through (ages four to 18) co-ed day and boarding school in the Horsham area. Crucially, it is also small, with a caring, family-like atmosphere, which means that teachers know pupils very well and everyone has room to thrive.


Not far from the market town of Horsham on the Sussex/Surrey border, the Farlington School is made up of a nursery, Little Barn Owls, the lower school (Reception–Year 4), the middle School (Years 5–8) and the senior school (Years 9–13). All share 33 acres of rural parkland and pretty woodland (stunning bluebells in spring).  

The buildings are a mix of the modern and the more characterful – the Jacobean mansion house, which comprises the boarding wing, head’s office and library, has a cobbled courtyard and clock tower, while drama takes place in the former chapel. The whole school shares one dining room, with different sittings for different age groups.  

There’s a real sense of one, cohesive, close-knit community, with pupils of all ages rubbing shoulders as they move around the campus throughout the day. Lower and middle school pupils learn in modern, bright classrooms to one side of the Mansion House, with dedicated play areas for older and younger students. Towards the end of their time in the middle school, students benefit from the well-equipped classrooms, music rooms, science labs and modern languages rooms on the other side of the campus, where the senior school students do their learning.   

There are good connections to Gatwick (25 minutes) and London (under an hour), plus an escorted local bus service to ferry pupils to and from school each day.


New head James Passam arrived in September 2021, taking over from Louise Higson, whose legacy will be Farlington’s decision to switch from single-sex education to co-ed. Mr Passam joined from Seaford College where he was deputy head for eight years; before that, he was head of English and a housemaster at St John’s School, Leatherhead, so he has extensive knowledge of the independent schools in the south east. Mr Passam has also worked in the City and has an MBA from Henley Business School under his belt.

While Mr Passam is in charge of the school as a whole, the lower school is overseen by Rosalind Clayson, who joined in September 2021 from Burgess Hill Girls' School. Caroline Newell – the school's former head of social sciences and religion, philosophy and ethics – is in charge of the middle school. 


Thanks to the school’s brilliant online learning programme during lockdown, numbers are at an all-time high – and lower school applications have soared by almost 25 per cent this year (notably from families leaving the state sector, or relocating from London). To meet demand, there will be a new Reception class from September, making the school two-form entry at this stage.

All parents and prospective pupils are invited for a tour of the school and to meet the head before applying for a place. For entry into Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, there’s an informal assessment and a report from your child's current nursery or school will be required; for entry into Years 3 to 6, children complete written assessments in maths and English, and have an interview with Ros Clayson, the head of the lower school or Caroline Newell, the head of the middle school. For entry into Years 7 and 8, entrance papers are taken in the January before and students will have an interview with the head of the middle school.

Academic, art, drama, music and sport scholarships are up for grabs for pupils in Year 7 and up with standout talents.

Academics and senior school destinations

One of the biggest advantages to having the senior school on the same site is that pupils are taught French, sport and music by specialist teachers from an early age. Children learn French from Reception, Spanish from Year 3 and Latin from Year 6, and there are weekly forest-school sessions up to Year 2, with leadership and teamwork days offered to the older pupils.

There’s a tracking and monitoring system in place so that any gaps in prior learning are swiftly identified and plugged, with learning support offered where needed. Forest school is a huge deal here, with weekly lessons for the youngest children and a club for the older ones. When we visited, Year 4 pupils were busily roasting marshmallows on a fire they’d learnt to light with friction and cotton wool – and we were impressed with the Aztec-inspired fences built from branches felled from nearby trees.

All pupils in the middle school have automatic entry into the senior school – meaning no need to prepare for the 11+. It is the expectation that every child will stay on all the way through – and the majority do indeed choose to do so, transitioning seamlessly.


Music and drama are a particular strength throughout the school and, in the middle school, more than 80 per cent of pupils learn an instrument. The majority also take part in a choir; speech and drama lessons are available, with a focus on LAMDA exams. Opportunities for budding performers include form assemblies, a ukulele group and the annual drama production. There’s also a full range of choirs and two orchestras.

Sports facilities are ace – there’s an outdoor swimming pool, floodlit Astro, fitness centre and plenty of tennis courts. At the moment, boys play across all age groups to make up teams (competitive fixtures start in Year 3), but that’s all set to change as the numbers of boys grow over the next few years.

Extracurricular clubs include computing, ballet, judo, tennis, trampolining, fencing, street dance and riding (off site), which is especially popular.


The majority are day pupils here, but there is capacity for 42 boarders on a full, weekly or flexi basis. Boarding is offered from Year 4 in Mansion House, a cosy home-from-home where all boarders of all ages sleep under one roof (boys and girls sleep in separate wings, which are strictly off limits to the opposite sex). There’s a co-ed communal TV room and kitchen for everyone to relax together in at the end of the day.  

School community

It’s not just in the UK where this school’s reputation is growing: it’s also making a name for itself on the international scene and is becoming particularly popular with families relocating from places such as Hong Kong, the Middle East and South Africa.

This is most definitely a school with a big, down-to-earth heart, and pupils are really treated as individuals to help bring out the best in them (we’re big fans of the school motto, Vive ut Vivas – live life to the full). The children we met had a lovely sense of humour – and their support for one another really shone through when we spoke to them.

Many parents of Farlington pupils are dipping their toe into the independent sector for the first time, and the school makes much of its smaller size and family-friendly community. This is a school that’s very well geared up towards working parents, too, and wraparound care is excellent; there’s a daily breakfast club and the option for pupils to stay on as late as 7pm (for a very small charge), relaxing with boarders in the boarding house. Best of all, the fees are very competitive.

And finally....

For those wanting an all-through education in a caring environment, this is a serious contender.


  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    The vast majority of Year 8 pupils transition smoothly into Year 9 in Farlington's senior school, without any need for further assessments or entrance exams.

  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 1£2,450
    Year 2£2,800
    Year 3£4,150
    Year 4£4,500
    Year 5£5,050
    Year 6£5,250
    Year 7£6,250
    Year 8 £6,250
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 1-
    Year 2-
    Year 3 -
    Year 4 -
    Year 5 -
    Year 6-
    Year 7£11,300
    Year 8 £11,300

    Bursary contact:
    Director of Finance & Operations Mrs Jo Robinson
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    Dyslexia, mild ADHD, sight/hearing impairment, mild speech issues, diabetes, epilepsy

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    In-class TA support is available if needed, as well as one-to-one SEN sessions.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    Every individual pupil is known and valued, and class teachers are aware of individual needs in small classes.
    The on-site medical centre is staffed by fully qualified nurses.

  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest London tube station: Victoria
    Nearest mainline train station: Horsham
    Nearest London Overground station: London Victoria
    Journey time to London by train: 50 minutes
    Nearest international airport: London Gatwick Airport (15 miles)


Strood Park, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 3PN

01403 254967


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