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Heathfield School
Heathfield School
Heathfield School
Heathfield School
top 200
Heathfield School Ascot, Berkshire Visit
school
Heathfield School
Ascot
226 pupils, ages 11-18
Girls only
Day and Boarding

Heathfield School

Open all

Our view

‘The merit of one is the honour of all’ is the school motto here – and there is certainly much to be merited at Heathfield. Cast aside any preconceptions you may have about this all-girls, Ascot-based senior and prepare to be bowled over by an unashamedly girls-first ethos which puts its pupils at the forefront. Feeling valued doesn’t depend on coming top of the class – instead, the school believes in bringing joy, happiness, kindness and inclusivity so that girls of all abilities can fly academically.

Where?

The setting for this single-sex day and boarding school – in a smart Italianate mansion, on 36 acres just outside Ascot – is lovely. Tall trees surround the site with beautifully coiffed and manicured lawns and flower beds and seem to somehow breathe space between the buildings and classrooms which might otherwise feel close together. Just 45 minutes from central London and only 20 minutes to London Heathrow Airport, Heathfield is easily accessible. Transport links are first-rate with local minibuses for day pupils, as well as a weekly service to and from London for boarders, which currently drops off at South Ken, Clapham, Chiswick and Queensgate (the routes are continually expanding to accommodate the location of new pupils). 

Head

Sarah Wilson – formerly senior deputy head of Cranford House and with two decades’ experience of working in girls’ education – joined Heathfield in January 2021. She is warm, friendly, down to earth, bright and evidently loving every minute of putting her girls front and centre. As well as her role as head, Ms Wilson also teaches geography to the Year 7 children so that she can get to know every pupil and ‘understand how they are feeling and adapting to their new school environment’.

Pupils we asked about their headmistress were universally positive in their responses, (‘so nice’, ‘love her’ and ‘knows every single person’). She expects her girls to ‘be kind and work hard’ and in return she will always give them a say in what they do as well as being a woman of action who leads by example – her approach to everything, she says, is ‘to face it head on’. Atmosphere, ethos and feeling are all vital to Heathfield’s head, and markers which help her balance the traditional with the evolutionary. The unique and customary wearing of achievement badges in a vertical line on girls’ jumpers (visible under an open blazer) sits comfortably alongside the interactive science wall in the STEM building where pupils busily scan QR codes as part of a quiz.

Admissions

Applications have been soaring, thanks to the proximity to London, the availability of day places (since 2015), full boarding and the newly introduced weekly boarding options. And although the headcount is up by around 20 pupils for the coming year and set to rise further, the school has a strict upper limit ensuring that they remain ‘intentionally small’ with a family feel and a focus on the individual – everyone is welcomed with a handwritten letter from the head.

Registrations are encouraged two years ahead of entry, but the admissions team is open to approaches from those wanting to escape the London academic race later than that. Prospective pupils sit a computer test and have an interview – the prep-school reference is also important. The school is looking for potential and attitude rather than the finished product and are interested in what each girl can offer Heathfield.

There is a small intake at 13+ (Year 9) – particularly from overseas – and in the older years, Heathfield is chosen particularly for its art. There has always been a sizeable sixth-form entry and, with a fabulous new sixth-form centre opening in September 2022, we expect this to continue.

Academics and university destinations

The key here is value-added, which the school piles on in spades: class sizes are small, the staff to pupil ratio is 1:4, there is setting in English and maths from the outset and subject clinics abound if a little extra help is needed. Assessments are thrice yearly to ensure everyone is on track, stretched or supported and academic standards are relative to each pupil. Girls thrive in this nurturing environment, and many blossom way beyond their initial expectations of themselves – which is the joy of a school like Heathfield where individuals count and individual successes are celebrated.

The brilliant STEM building – opened by Professor Robert Winston in 2016 – has really inspired Heathfield’s pupils – and photography has also captured imaginations both at GCSE and A-level. Standards in art are impressive across the board with girls heading to Parsons School of Design in New York or the London College of Fashion. Other leavers head to a wide range of courses and destinations from the USA and Edinburgh to Spain and Salford – given that there’s no such thing as a typical pupil at Heathfield, it stands to reason that there’s no such thing as a typical destination either.

Co-curricular

Extracurricular and community are key: everyone is encouraged to sign up for the DofE Bronze award and community service – which might mean linking up with a house at Eton to look after disabled children, reading at local schools or visiting an old people’s home. Sixth-form options also crucially include the immensely popular Leiths cookery course.

Note that in sports, pupils play lacrosse and netball instead of hockey, with Saturday fixtures taking place in the mornings, before a timetable of extensive and age appropriate weekend activities in the afternoon (which day girls are welcome to join in with). There’s riding and tennis, cricket, a polo team (which has beaten Eton, Harrow and Marlborough) and the Windsor swimming club four times a week. Athletics is excellent, and several girls compete at county and national level. Lacrosse pitches, a fantastic six-lane indoor swimming pool, a sports hall, a dance studio and fitness suite are all on site.

Drama is ‘amazing’ according to pupil insiders, and the recent whole school production of The Addams Family received universal rave reviews. LAMDA lessons are on offer too and there’s plenty of choice in music (compulsory for the first three years), whether your tastes incline towards the drums or the ukulele.

Boarding

We are told that boarding has ‘dramatically shifted culturally’. Whilst full boarding is still popular, weekly boarding is on the increase and the two lower years are now a 60/40 split with day pupils. In Form III (Year 9), many of the girls transition to boarding. We love the flexibility: there are already four exeats a term, with parents welcome to take their daughters out for supper or to pop in to celebrate birthdays (plus extra leniency for Years 7 and 8 as they settle in), and girls are also allowed to stay over during exeats, adding scope for day pupils to try out sleeping away from home, and more options for overseas parents. From September 2022, weekly boarding is available too.

We loved ‘the avalanche room’ where boarders’ trunks and suitcases are stored – now in an orderly fashion on custom-built shelving (the name has stuck from the days when removing one could bring the whole pile cascading down). Younger ones are in dorms in the main house (it speaks volumes when dorms are as lovingly decorated as they are here), and there is a big common room for the younger children and separate common rooms for the top two years. GCSE-year pupils have single rooms in The Square (all girls can anonymously request three people they would like on their corridor, and change rooms every term). The new sixth-form centre will connect the lower- and upper-sixth boarding areas and create social and learning spaces.

School community

Just as the boarding model is progressive, so too is the pastoral care. Heathfield was the first to follow the pioneering Flourishing at School pastoral system from Australia, which promotes mental and physical wellbeing from the outset, rather than waiting until later to identify those in distress. 

Girls are individually mentored by a teacher to ensure that they are indeed flourishing, plus they are assigned a form tutor (the frequency of one-to-one meetings increases as they go higher up the school) and a counsellor is on hand if needed.

There are four vertical houses, lively inter-house competitions and from what we can see, a lot of fun to be had – from dressing up for World Book Day to end-of-term games. This has been one of the many initiatives by the head girl’s team to ‘replace the hierarchy of the years with respect’, and it’s working, whether it is role-modelling from the top down or Heathfield pupils of all ages meeting each other in the holidays. A merits award system promotes solid, traditional values and accountability, with the ultimate upper-sixth accolade being the Lily badge for consistently excellent behaviour.

Chapel takes place three times a week – a good time for quiet reflection and an opportunity for the entire Heathfield community to come together (everyone takes part in the ceremony, whatever their beliefs).   

When pupils tell us a lot about their school meals it’s either because they’re great or because they’re awful – but reassuringly the chatter at Heathfield was unanimously more Masterchef than mass catering and inspiring teenage girls to be so effusive about their ‘amazing food’ is no mean feat. The school’s catering manager has recently been awarded location manager of the year and the regular themed events (such as the Harry Potter feast complete with Hogwarts cake) are incredibly creative and extremely popular.

And finally....

Heathfield old girls (affectionately known as HOGs) are a strong and remarkable bunch of women and their ongoing links with each other is evidence that girls make lifelong friendships here. There's a lovely balance between learning to soar academically and socially (socials are an important part of life, with Papplewick and Sunningdale in younger years, then Eton, Harrow and Radley) and there are community outreach initiatives, mentoring schemes with local business leaders and alumni and a bespoke leadership programme helping to teach children how to be the catalysts for change and shape their own worlds. If you’re looking for a school where pupils are educated academically, personally, socially and emotionally in an environment that puts girls’ needs first, then look no further.

Gallery See All

Three girls in blue tops by swimming pool
girls in white tops and blue skirts playing rugby
girls in white hats and striped shirts making pasta
girls in school uniform walking on green grass
smiling girls in blue jumpers in classroom
girls in white coats in science laboratory
exterior image of white school building
smiley faced girls in circle
girl in white top doing triple jump
  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • University destinations

    63% of leavers went on to a Russell Group university.
    15% of leavers went on to an overseas university.
    20% of leavers went on to a creative arts or vocational course.
    100% of leavers went on to their first choice university.
  • Subjects offered

    GCSE

    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    History
    Information Technology
    Latin
    Mandarin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Photography
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Religious Studies
    Russian
    Spanish
    Classical Greek

    A Level

    Ancient Greek
    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    Economics
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    Government and Politics
    History
    History of Art
    Information Technology
    Latin
    Mandarin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Photography
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Politics
    Psychology
    Religious Studies
    Russian
    Spanish
    Textiles
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7£7,990
    Year 8 £7,990
    Year 9 £8,160
    Year 10£8,160
    Year 11£8,160
    Year 12£8,160
    Year 13£8,160
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7£12,900
    Year 8 £12,900
    Year 9 £12,900
    Year 10 £13,200
    Year 11£13,200
    Year 12£13,200
    Year 13£13,200




    Bursaries
    Heathfield operates a bursary scheme offering means-tested fee remission of up to 50 per cent of fees and in exceptional circumstances up to 100 per cent. The award is subject to a full financial review, with annual subsequent reviews.

    Bursary contact:
    Bursar Mrs Rachel Frier
    bursar@heathfieldschool.net
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    The school currently supports students with dyslexia and dyscalculia.



    Co-ordinator: Ruth Colley rcolley@heathfieldschool.net
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School bus service to/from London
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Ascot
    Journey time to London by train: 52 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Heathrow (13 miles)


  • Parents tell us

    ‘We chose Heathfield for its strong support of each girl being an individual and its pursuit of seeing that she thrives not only academically but also in sport and the arts. We also wanted an all-girls school, and loved that Heathfield was a smaller school that allowed it to support and inspire my daughter in a very focused and caring way.

    We had a wonderful experience of the admissions process – it was clear and concise, as were the assessment and offer letters.

    The staff at Heathfield are wonderful. A few standouts would be John Doyle (maths) who is incredibly supportive and gives very clear teaching, Miss Dance (music) who is very inspiring and has such a kind and caring energy, and Miss Reynolds and Miss Willimott (sports) for their drive and passion.

    I feel the school knows my daughter very well. The current housemistress is superb and is such a wonderfully caring figure to support our boarding child.

    The preparation seems very good on all levels.

    This is a caring community that is very welcoming to all. The PTA is very active and also the school runs regular parent seminars and webinars.'

    Our experience of the admissions process was fabulous. The director of admissions was friendly, caring and personally got to know us as we went through the process. Happy to answer any questions, however small. Always smiling and present every step of the way.’

    There is good communication. I feel involved but not overly so. 

    As it’s a small school, the staff know my daughter well. They seem very caring and put the girls' welfare first. 

    The school is preparing my daughter very well for the next stage – teaching them not just the core subjects but also how to learn. 

    The school community is close-knit and very welcoming to new families. There is a PTA – Heathfield Parents’ Association. There are not many parent social events – not easy at a boarding school, where parents live in different places. 

    The school runs a bus service for day girls. At the moment, as numbers are low the girls are picked up at their individual homes. This is a great service.’

School Updates

  • See Heathfield School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.

    See Heathfield School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.
  • Heathfield's Pupil Editor: Sustainability

    Heathfield's Pupil Editor: Sustainability
  • Heathfield School Pupil Editor: 'The Summer Term'

    Heathfield School Pupil Editor: 'The Summer Term'
  • Introducing Heathfield's Pupil Editor

    Introducing Heathfield's Pupil Editor

Essentials

Address
London Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 8BQ

Contact
admissions@heathfieldschool.net
01344 898343

Website
heathfieldschool.net

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates


Open Days

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



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