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

Heathfield School

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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, and prepare to be bowled over, Heathfield hits that rare sweet spot of being small enough to give every girl individual attention, and large enough to offer a full school experience in terms of academic options and co-curricular opportunities, whilst offering an astounding amount of flexibility to families. In her short time at the helm, Sarah Rollings has completely re-invigorated this outstanding school, placing pupil well-being and value-added achievement at the forefront of the unashamedly girls-first ethos, and introducing a stunning new sixth form centre, transforming the A-level experience.

Where?

Just 45 minutes from central London and only 20 minutes to London Heathrow Airport, Heathfield is easily accessible. Transport links are first-rate with seven local minibus routes for day pupils, while a new daily bus to and from west London has seen interest from London families soar (there are plans afoot for even more London routes to be added in September 2024). There is also a weekly service to and from London for boarders, which currently drops off at South Ken, Clapham, and Chiswick (the routes are continually expanding to accommodate the location of new pupils).

Head

Sarah Rollings – formerly senior deputy head of Cranford House and with two decades’ experience of working in girls’ education – joined Heathfield in January 2021. She is energetic, kind and forward thinking, and staff and pupils were keen to tell us about the many positive changes she has made in just three years. The underlying values of the school, known for its pastoral care and strong community, haven’t changed but Mrs Rollings is ensuring Heathfield remains contemporary. She would like every Heathfield girl to leave with ‘the firm belief that they can make a difference in the world’, and describes the environment as supportive, with staff encouraging the girls to develop their voice through healthy debate.

As well as her role as head, Mrs Rollings 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, from introducing requested A-levels (sociology this September), to adding a hugely popular basket swing to the growing outdoor wellbeing area this Easter.

Mrs Rollings is particularly proud of the well-being initiatives she has introduced. From the fortnightly ‘Flourishing’ classes to encourage self-awareness and positivity, to the outdoor ‘Summer Sweat’ morning gym classes or the regular walk and talk sessions for those who prefer a gentler pace. Pupils report that since Mrs Rollings joined ‘there is more of everything, more integration across year groups, more choices and better teachers’ - high praise indeed.

Admissions

Applications have been soaring, thanks to the proximity to London, the availability of day places (since 2015), full boarding and weekly boarding options. With the introduction of flexible part-time boarding in September 2024, we expect Heathfield’s popularity to rise even 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 the fabulous new sixth-form centre now in place, 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.

The brilliant STEM building, opened by Professor Robert Winston in 2016 and now complemented by a new art studio, has really inspired Heathfield’s pupils – and photography and textiles have also captured imaginations both at GCSE and A-level. Standards in art are impressive across the board, and the school has a partnership with Parsons Paris and the University of Falmouth. The girls work with tutors from both on design-led projects, and there is a designer in residence each year to inspire and guide the girls.

The stunning new sixth form centre plays host to A-level taster sessions for all fourth formers, and A-level choices are expanding to add sociology (from 2024) and computer science (from 2025) to an already extensive list including photography, psychology, economics, and politics alongside more traditional subjects. Sixth-form options also crucially include the immensely popular Leith’s cookery course and the EPQ.

Leavers head to a wide range of courses and destinations from the USA and Durham to Paris and Exeter – 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 course or destination either.

Co-curricular

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, and many do). There’s riding and tennis, cricket, a polo team (which has beaten Eton, Harrow and Marlborough), the Windsor swimming club, and swimming lessons from year 7 to year 9. Athletics is excellent, and several girls compete at county and national level. Lacrosse pitches, tennis courts, 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 Beauty and the Beast, The Musical 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. The sixth form are making good use of the recording studio to launch their own much-anticipated podcast in summer 2024.

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. This focus on giving back means there is also a new yearly charity ball, planned and organised by pupils, and a colour run planned for this term, inspiring the girls to rise to the challenge and think beyond the school bubble.

Boarding

We are told that boarding has ‘dramatically shifted culturally’. Whilst full boarding is still popular, weekly boarding is increasingly common and the two lower years are now a 50/50 split with day pupils. In Form III (Year 9), many of the girls transition to some form of boarding. From September 2024, Heathfield will offer part-time boarding for pupils who would like to board for a couple of nights a week, and event boarding - which means that if, for example, there is a school trip, pupils can board the night before and after. Such arrangements could even be made on a week-by-week basis, offering huge flexibility to parents and pupils.

There are 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. 

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 older 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 connects the lower- and upper-sixth boarding areas and has created superb social and learning spaces.

School community

Just as the boarding model is progressive, so too is the pastoral care. We met Lou Scott, the bright new deputy head pastoral who everyone thinks is making a real difference. She is keen to increase pupil voice, and to ensure that there are clear privileges for pupils as they move up the school and is firm that ‘nothing goes under the radar’. 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 and nutritionist are on hand if needed. Every new girl has a ‘shadow’ in the year above, generally with similar interests, to help them settle in, and there are pupil mentors for older girls too, known delightfully as ‘crushes’.

There are four vertical houses, lively inter-house competitions and from what we can see, a lot of fun to be had – campfires, water fights and spa nights all feature with an emphasis on getting outdoors – phones are actively discouraged. 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, pupils we met said ‘older girls are really kind, and everyone looks out for everyone’. 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). We found it rather charming that each leaver has her name engraved on a pew, and many of the old girls like to sit by their names when visiting.

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 ‘just delicious’ food is no mean feat. Girls also love ‘long dinner’ evenings, when they can have a more leisurely supper and stay and chat afterwards.

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 and Harrow) 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

  • Academic results

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

    45% of leavers went on to a Russell Group university.
    14% of leavers went on to an overseas university.
    14% of leavers went on to a creative arts or vocational course.
    98% 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£8,589
    Year 8 £8,589
    Year 9 £8,772
    Year 10£8,772
    Year 11£8,772
    Year 12£8,772
    Year 13£8,772
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7£13,868
    Year 8 £13,868
    Year 9 £14,190
    Year 10 £14,190
    Year 11£14,190
    Year 12£14,190
    Year 13£14,190




    Bursaries
    Heathfield offers bursaries for prospective pupils looking to join the school at 11+, 13+ and 16+. All bursary applications are means-tested and considered on the basis of individual circumstances. Awards are typically between 10 and 50 percent of tuition and boarding fees, although larger bursaries of up to 100 per cent are occasionally offered. Bursaries can be applied for in addition to a scholarship or on their own. Applications for financial support are also considered for pupils already at Heathfield, where there has been a change of family circumstance or sudden and unforeseen financial difficulty.

    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.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    Special Educational Needs at Heathfield is catered for by the Learning Support Department. Heathfield has welcoming purpose-built rooms to accommodate either 1:1 or group teaching and the support provided is tailored to suit the individual requirements. Each student has an Individual Learning Plan which will highlight the recommendations made by an Educational Psychologist or Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist(or external professionals if you prefer), and is formulated by the student and staff, setting out their strengths and weaknesses. These are shared with the staff and updated regularly.

    The department is led by a team of qualified staff who provide individual sessions. The lessons specifically focus on the differing needs of the student. Spectrum also administers EFL (extra English for international students), providing additional English Language lessons to international students. They have the opportunity to sit examinations externally to gain English qualifications which may assist when applying to British universities. Since the school's services are ‘in house’ there is considerable liaising between class teachers and SEN staff in order to ensure that every student progresses well.


    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    Heathfield’s Pastoral care is driven by a values based focus where social, personal and curricular matters are supported by their Positive Psychology programme where they encourage all pupils to develop an understanding of themselves and approach life with healthy attitudes and equip pupils with the skills, understanding and attitude to cope with the challenges they face. The pupils can choose who they go to for support, they all have access to Tutors, the Chaplain, Heads of Year, Pastoral Care team, Nutritionist, Counsellor Life Coach and 24/7 nursing care. However, the school ultimately recognises that a pupil will invariably seek the support of their peers before asking an adult for support. Therefore they train their students in peer mentoring and have designed a curriculum, with the expert Alicia Drummond, to teach and accredit pupils with mentoring qualifications. They then offer peer support on a daily basis in our wellbeing room – The Wellnest. They have an established link with Isa Robinson, nutritionist and Alicia Drummond from TeenTips they present to both pupils and parents in developing an understanding to some key themes of wellbeing concern.

    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

  • New Director of Sport appointed at Heathfield School, Ascot

    New Director of Sport appointed at Heathfield School, Ascot
  • Heathfield School welcomes new Head of Sixth Form

    Ascot-based Heathfield School, rated ‘Excellent’ across all areas by the Independent Schools Inspectorate – is delighted to welcome Richard Willis MA as its new Head of Sixth Form
    Heathfield School welcomes new Head of Sixth Form
  • Heathfield School welcomes Ms Lou Scott, Deputy Head Pastoral and Boarding

    Heathfield School welcomes Ms Lou Scott, Deputy Head Pastoral and Boarding
  • Heathfield School, Ascot, helps to make dreams come true for U16s football team from India

    Students have helped provide the trip of a lifetime for a team of underprivileged young footballers from India, taking part in the OSCAR Foundation’s UK School Tour 2023.
    Heathfield School, Ascot, helps to make dreams come true for U16s football team from India
  • New Designer in Residence shares her passion for fashion with Heathfield girls

    Heathfield welcomes Adjoa Essel
    New Designer in Residence shares her passion for fashion with Heathfield girls
  • Heathfield School applauds students’ GCSE results

    Heathfield School in Ascot – rated ‘Excellent’ across all areas by the Schools Inspectorate – is applauding its GCSE students and staff for their hard work, drive and commitment reflected by this year’s results across a broad range of subjects.
    Heathfield School applauds students’ GCSE results
  • Heathfield, Ascot, students celebrate exceptional A Level achievements

    Sixth formers’ talents continue to shine
    Heathfield, Ascot, students celebrate exceptional A Level achievements
  • Dignitaries from Uganda, Vietnam and the UK join Berkshire students to debate Equality and Women’s Leadership, and to challenge unconscious bias

    #EmbraceEquality and #WomensLeadership were the hotly debated topics at Heathfield School’s Leadership and Equality Symposium.
    Dignitaries from Uganda, Vietnam and the UK join Berkshire students to debate Equality and Women’s Leadership, and to challenge unconscious bias
  • Next generation fashion designers claim the catwalk at Heathfield School’s Primavera Fashion Show

    Heathfield’s legendary 2023 Fashion Show – this year’s theme of which was Primavera - springtime and the energy of new beginnings.
    Next generation fashion designers claim the catwalk at Heathfield School’s Primavera Fashion Show
  • 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

Bursaries


Open Days

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

Sixth Form Open Evening
25 September 2024
Open Morning
05 October 2024
Open Morning
14 March 2025
Open Morning
17 May 2025


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