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. The senior school’s modern, well-equipped classrooms, music rooms and science labs are set around a pretty courtyard on one side of the Mansion House, with the lower school classrooms and play areas on the other. Senior school pupils make full use of the South Lawn and full-size Astro at break times.
The sixth form is slightly set aside from the senior school, in its own self-contained, purpose-built block, with small tutor rooms, great communal spaces, its own library and a balcony overlooking the grounds.
Farlington has always attracted relocating London families – and thanks to its brilliant online learning provision during lockdown, applications are at an all-time high.
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.
For those joining Farlington in the senior school, prospective parents and pupils are invited to take a tour and meet with the head. Pupils also spend a taster day and/or night (for possible boarders) to check whether this is the place for them. Although Farlington is selective – entrance exams are held in the January before entry –it has a broad intake and is looking for students with the potential to work hard and do well. Academic, art, drama, music and sport scholarships are up for grabs for pupils with standout talents.
For current Year 11s looking to enter the sixth form, a preview evening is held in the September prior to entry, followed by an experience day.
Most are day pupils here, but there is capacity for 42 boarders on a full, weekly or flexi basis (a mix of international full boarders and a handful from the UK taking advantage of the odd midweek sleepover). Short-term boarding is also a possibility, and increasingly popular with (mostly) Spanish pupils, who stay on for a term or more.
There’s one boarding house (Mansion House), and all boarders of all ages sleep under the same roof. Boys and girls sleep in separate wings, with co-ed communal areas including a kitchen and TV room. Older pupils have their own room (depending on availability), while younger pupils sleep in either twin rooms or cosy dorms. There are lots of weekend activities, from kayaking and abseiling to cinema trips and theme-park outings – plus, of course, the chance to make the most of the school facilities, such as the Astro and pool.
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.