Non-selective and keen to appeal to a broad range of children, The Elms does a good job of attracting London parents thinking of moving out west – and there’s a scholarship programme for local primary-school entrants too, plus Year 7 scholarships up for grabs for academics, sport, equestrian, art, music, musical theatre and drama (more information here). The Montessori Early Years is incredibly popular – we know of at least one father who waxes lyrical about the system’s impact on his youngest son. Elms pupils are the best possible advert to visiting parents and potential pupils: busy, happy and able to speak up for themselves.
Most children start in the nursery, Saplings, where there’s a fabulous Montessori grounding (a new nursery, Seedlings, which will take children from as young as six months, is in the pipeline – watch this space…). More structured classes begin from year 2 onwards - setting kicks in in year 5. No great pressure but tons of encouragement, and a general sense that children want to do well.
The new day fee is a no-brainer for local families, or those after a gold-standard education at a more affordable price – pupils get the same, brilliant academic grounding, top-notch preparation for whichever senior school they choose to go onto, and a total rural idyll to grow up in – just without the bells and whistles extras such as boarding, after-school clubs and Saturday activities and matches. There’s also a new ‘day plus’ option for those who want to dabble in boarding on an ad-hoc basis, paying £45 a night to board any time (there’ll even be their own duvet and teddy bear waiting on their bed).
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.