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Walhampton School
Walhampton School
Walhampton School
Walhampton School
top 200
Walhampton School Lymington, Hampshire Visit
Walhampton School
370 pupils, ages 2-13
Day and Boarding

Walhampton School

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Our view

This innovative prep has its finger on the pulse when it comes to providing a holistic education where diversity, inclusion and pupil empowerment are paramount. A fully rounded ethos encourages children to be children, while a broad academic offering, stellar co-curricular and a decidedly 21st-century eco awareness means pupils are nurtured in the best possible environment to prepare them for senior school.


It’s impossible not to be bowled over by the magnificence of this co-ed day and boarding prep school, with its Grade II*-listed architecture, acres of ancient woodland and grounds that include three vast lakes, stables and a Hobbit House for pupils to play in. It’s set on the edge of the New Forest near Hampshire’s port town of Lymington, with the Isle of Wight visible on the horizon. The 100 acres of woodland encompasses endless trails to ride through and explore on foot, and the stunning Queen Anne Revival-style main building is wonderfully welcoming. Little wonder we’ve heard of families moving 100 miles just to be close by.

But with its homely boarding facilities, this magical country prep is accessible to all. For London families, the Walhampton Express travels to and from Waterloo each week, with staff chaperones and homemade teas all part of the service, and Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Salisbury are under an hour’s drive away, while pupils travelling from the Isle of Wight are met off the ferry. For working/commuting parents, there is wraparound care from 7.30am to 6.30pm.


Jonny Timms joined the school in 2021 from Caldicott, where he’d been deputy head, and he has spearheaded an innovative new approach to an already thriving prep. He has a calm and reflective manner paired with a strong belief in his mission – namely, to create a school that is led by pupils, allowing them a voice and the space to shake things up. To this end, pupils take assemblies, lead open days and preside over drama productions, from performing to planning and cooking food to serve to audiences.

As a young head and the father of three young children, Mr Timms is very much a 21st-century educator, alive to the issues of the day that affect the younger generation. He’s passionate about sustainability and diversity, and is forging ties with the New Forest community so that Walhampton isn’t perceived as the ‘posh school on the hill’. His clear vision coupled with his approachable manner – to parents and pupils alike (he teaches Year 7 because he feels it’s important for the children to see him teaching) – seem like a great recipe for success.


Most of the school’s intake is at the start of the academic year, but some children, including international pupils (there are currently 15 boarders from overseas), can start during the spring or summer terms. There is often a waiting list for entry into the nursery and kindergarten, and in some of the pre-prep and prep-school year groups. Thanks to the amazing space, though, there is the capacity for an extra bulge class to be added to a year group if there is demand or to accommodate siblings. There are plans to grow numbers and give more access to Londoners and city-based families through weekly boarding.

Means-tested bursaries of up to 100 per cent are available from Year 3, and armed forces children who board (and don't receive CEA) receive a 15 per cent fee reduction. The Walhampton School Foundation Trust charity supports the transformational bursary programme which goes to those who would normally never be able to consider an independent education. The school also works with Springboard to identify children who would benefit from a Walhampton education.

Academics and senior school destinations

The school’s focus is to provide a holistic education built on academic excellence. The Prep School Baccalaureate is combined with Common Entrance in science, maths and English, which Mr Timms feels is the perfect blend, allowing the best of both and ensuring a truly broad curriculum. His ‘radically traditional’ approach is all about teaching the whole child while preparing them for tomorrow’s challenges. In practice, this means taking learning outside of the classroom – into the kitchen garden, the lakes, the woods – to bring subjects to life, and focusing on skills, attitude and character rather than test results. Small class sizes (no more than 16 in pre-prep and 20 in prep) ensure individual attention, and the school willingly accepts pupils with specific needs. And for those who need stretching, there’s a scholarship set.

Pupils go on to a broad range of senior schools; the most popular include Canford, Bryanston and Winchester, with plenty heading off to the likes of Eton, Charterhouse, Harrow, Marlborough, Godolphin, Sherborne and King Edward VI too. More than half opt for boarding schools as there are few independent day schools in the area.


Pre-prep pupils enjoy weekly forest school in an outdoor classroom, where lessons include den building, whittling and tree climbing, and from Reception, making a fire and cooking. Outdoor learning is also part of the prep timetable and includes activities such as archery, bushcraft, canoeing and kayaking.

Every day everyone takes part in sport, with children encouraged to find one they love, helped along by a new pathway programme which allows pupils from Year 5 to specialise in the one they’re passionate about, a great way to grow talent. There are plenty to choose from: traditional team games (academy programmes in rugby and netball provide one-to-one sessions and extra training for gifted pupils), archery, golf, swimming (there’s an outdoor pool that comes into its own in the summer term), riding and sailing. The latter two are both co- and extracurricular, and carriage riding is also offered as a club. The focus is on enjoying the outdoors as much as taking part in competitive fixtures, and the Arts Trail that leads to a Hobbit House and the assault course both foster a spirit of fun and adventure.

A purpose-built performing arts centre hosts everything from Nativity plays to full-scale productions – in February, the school staged its second opera, Hansel and Gretel. A new director of music has seen even more instrumental groups, performances and individual lessons added to the school week.

Environmental issues are very important at Walhampton. It joined the Eco Schools Scheme more than 10 years ago and has been awarded Green Flag status (it has pledged to be carbon zero by 2030, not an easy task considering the consent needed for listed buildings, but they’ve pledged it nevertheless). Gardening club and beekeeping are just some of the many activities timetabled every day from 4.15 to 5pm as part of the SPARK enrichment curriculum, a dedicated programme laid on for all children in Years 3 and above.


From Year 3, the school offers full, weekly and flexi boarding, and there are currently more than 60 boarders. There is no formal Saturday school, which means parents can attend Friday afternoon chapel and then take their children home for the weekend. There’s also the option of returning to school on either Sunday night or Monday morning.

Boarding rooms are within the main building and they’re lovely. Houseparent Mrs Cullum provides a nurturing, family-style environment, with pupils going bowling or playing laser quest on Saturdays (some flexi boarders choose to stay in for the odd weekend if they like the look of the activities being laid on), and hunkering down on Sundays, catching up on homework or just hanging out with friends. In September 2024, Rosie Baker will be joining as house parent from Downe House.

The big event is always the school’s Glade-iators game, which happens on a Friday evening during the autumn and spring terms, with day pupils from Year 3 upwards staying on to play. As darkness falls, pupils and teachers, all covered in camo paint, gather at the bottom of the glade and the game begins: pupils vs teachers, each team setting off and, through tactics and cunning, seeking to evade capture. The first team to ring the brass bell outside the head’s office is declared the victor.

School community

The whole ethos of the school is founded in pastoral care, and a comprehensive tutor and heads of section system ensures continuity of care. We love the sound of the coaching mentoring programme which sees Year 7 and 8 pupils coming up with their own individual goals and targets, both pastoral and academic, with the support of their very own coach drawn from the staff, both teaching and support.

Inclusion, diversity and equity are part of the fabric of the school with a group of parents, staff and governors actively working to cultivate an empowering and supportive environment for all. And the pupil-led PoP Group (People of Power) meets weekly to discuss topics and come up with ideas to ensure every pupil feels represented. They’re currently working on a mural to celebrate and reflect the school community today.

Wrap around care is fantastic; breakfast is on offer from 7.30am; optional after-school clubs run until 5.45pm, and children are welcome to stay on for supper until 6.30pm – a move that has been very well-received by families with two working parents.

The majority of children are day pupils, and there is an active parents’ association, which organises fundraisers including quiz nights and the annual Founder’s Day summer party. There’s easy communication between parents and staff. Mr Timms and his wife have good relationships and friendships with parents, and many of the staff have children at the school.

And finally....

With its stately-home proportions, Walhampton has the demeanour of a grand old English prep school but its beating heart is bang up-to-date and forward-looking. Sustainability, diversity and mixing things up are all part and parcel of the holistic, outdoorsy, pupil-centred education on offer, strongly led by the visionary and energetic Mr Timms.

Gallery See All

boy in a blue and white checked shirt sitting in front of a map
Boy in blue striped top running with a rugby ball
Girls wearing blue tops riding ponies with black helmets on
  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    Winchester College, Clifton College, St Mary’s Ascot, Bryanston, Marlborough College, Clayesmore, Millfield, Ballard, Canford, Talbot Heath, King Edward VI, Sherborne Girls, Monkton, Canford, Brighton College, Downe House, Eton, Sherborne, Stonar, Wellington

  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 1£3,785
    Year 2£3,785
    Year 3£5,640
    Year 4£7,180
    Year 5£7,180
    Year 6£7,180
    Year 7£7,180
    Year 8 £7,180
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 1-
    Year 2-
    Year 3 £8,740
    Year 4 £10,280
    Year 5 £10,280
    Year 6£10,280
    Year 7£10,280
    Year 8 £10,280


    Bursary contact:
    Finance and Operations Director Alison Bennett
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    Not everyone learns at the same pace, but at Walhampton they support each pupil to ensure that no one gets left behind. For those children who need that little bit of extra input with lessons and understanding, their Learning Support Unit is there to help. The LSU team does a vital job and is an integral part of the school, with dedicated classrooms dotted all around the site, close to the other classrooms. They work hard to ensure that the successes of every child are celebrated by the whole school. As a result, the children who receive learning support are confident and always make up a significant proportion of the school leadership positions. In recent years their Head Boy and Head Girl positions have been awarded to children with learning difficulties.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    Their Learning Support Unit, which operates within a tiered approach depending on the needs of the child, benefits from a range of technological resources to help pupils during lessons and with homework. Teachers and Teaching Assistants provide support in class with appropriate differentiation for those with learning difficulties. They also provide Learning Support lessons from specialist teachers including some external experts. Typically, most children have around 50 minutes of dedicated support per week, but some have less and others considerably more.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    Pastoral care is an overarching priority at Walhampton and all their staff value the importance of the emotional well-being of the children as highly as their academic successes. They have five trained ELSAs (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants) in the school who work with children to provide an important layer of pastoral support and nurturing. Issues such as anger, anxiety, divorce and bereavement are worked through with play, art and gentle conversation and always over biscuits and hot chocolate. They also have the most amazing School Nurse, Kathyrn Young, and her wonderful medical team. Kathryn is a hero within the school. Her eagle-eyed attention to detail means that nothing is missed. She and her team take a holistic view of each child's health and works closely with the academic and pastoral staff to ensure that all aspects of the children’s school lives are taken into account. The team have excellent child development knowledge, which ensures age appropriate behaviours are understood. She and her team have a deep understanding of family dynamics and liaise closely with the parents in a sensitive and empathetic way. Parents feel confident that their child’s medical needs are not only dealt with in a professional way but with heartfelt kindness. Sometimes a walk around the lakes with Jemma can be the best medicine!! Weekly pastoral meetings are held where any pastoral concerns are discussed. Some children may be signposted to ELSA, counselling or the medical team and in other cases, tutors may be advised that extra TLC is needed and they will monitor the well-being of the child.

  • Transport links

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

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Brockenhurst
    Journey time to London by train: 95 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Heathrow (81 miles)

School Updates

  • View from the Top: Jonny Timms on the importance of pupil voice

    View from the Top: Jonny Timms on the importance of pupil voice
  • 10 Questions with Jonny Timms, head of Walhampton School

    10 Questions with Jonny Timms, head of Walhampton School
  • See Walhampton School in our Town and Country Preps Guide

    From bucolic country preps to schools on the edge of buzzy market towns or slap bang in the centre of a city, there are a myriad of prep school options up and down the UK and within a daily minibus-ride of the Big Smoke. Use our guide to help with your search.
    See Walhampton School in our Town and Country Preps Guide


Lymington, Hampshire SO41 5ZG

01590 613300


ISI Report


Term Dates


Open Days

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

Open Morning
11 October 2024

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