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Witham Hall Preparatory School
Witham Hall Preparatory School
Witham Hall Preparatory School
Witham Hall Preparatory School
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Witham Hall Preparatory School Stamford, Lincolnshire Visit
Witham Hall Preparatory School
252 pupils, ages 4-13
Day and Boarding

Witham Hall Preparatory School

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Our View

‘A quintessential country prep school with a bit of ambition,’ is how head Will Austen describes Witham Hall. We think he’s being modest. This co-ed in rural Lincolnshire seems to have cracked the formula for providing a near-perfect education, with pupils gaining scholarships left, right and centre to the country’s top public schools. It’s no wonder parents travel up to an hour each day to send their children here.


Located in Witham-on-the-Hill, a village a few miles from the market town of Stamford, the school sits in stunning parkland with a magnificent Queen Anne mansion at its heart. Several snazzy new buildings have been added in recent years, including a science and resources centre with a modern languages suite and a superb sports centre that is, without doubt, the best we’ve seen at a prep. The grounds offer ample romping room for outdoor fun and reflection – as well as the tree house and swings complex, an ornamental pond area has been turned into a safe and accessible wellbeing space and Reception has a new adventure playground.

The rural location means most children arrive by car, while a school minubus service scoops pupils up from Oakham, Uppingham and Grantham. There are links to mainline trains at Peterborough via Stamford – the area is becoming increasingly popular with ex-Londoners, with the commute from Peterborough to King’s Cross taking just 50 minutes.


The easy-going and unstuffy Mr Austen joined in September 2020 from Ludgrove School in Berkshire, where he was deputy head. His two sons are pupils here, giving him both a parental and professional perspective.   

A self-declared ‘country person’, Mr Austen has set out to ensure that pupils can make the most of Witham Hall’s impressive grounds. He also strives to help the most and least academically able achieve the best they can, with learning support now a central and natural part of the school day. Drama, music and art are other focal points; Mr Austen hopes to make the school’s reputation in these disciplines as strong as it is in sport.


Most pupils join at Reception, and with high demand and no formal assessment – places are allotted on a first-come, first-served basis – early registration is highly recommended. There are also admissions in Years 4 and 7 with informal assessments – current reports and a school visit – to gauge levels for streaming. Ad-hoc admissions are possible if there is space. Since the pandemic, the school has seen increased demand, which has meant the introduction of waiting lists. However, there’s ‘always room to squeeze in another’, says Mr Austen, so it’s definitely worth enquiring.

Academics and senior school destinations

Mr Austen’s drive to strengthen the school’s academic offering has seen him appoint a new deputy head of academic and introduce streaming for pupils taking scholarships at Common Entrance in Years 7 and 8. It’s a roaring success. The current Year 8s are the first to complete the two-year programme and scholarships are already in double figures midway through results season, with five academic scholarships including ones to Rugby and Oundle among them. 

A restructured timetable allows for more time to travel between lessons and in turn has maximised learning time. Pupils have form teachers from Reception to Year 4, after which they move to subject teachers. The SEND department is brilliant, with four learning support teachers (there was only one when Mr Austen arrived) who take pupils out of lessons for one-to-one work. Among other recent appointments are a new head of maths and head of geography.

Pupils go on to a wide range of senior schools; the current Year 8s are heading to 12 different destinations, including Eton, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Marlborough, Rugby, Greshams, Stamford, Uppingham, Oundle and Oakham.


Witham Hall is renowned for its sporting prowess and fields teams for all of the main IAPS competitions (the girls are shining particularly bright at the moment, smashing national finals), as well as triathlon and cross-country running. But its competitiveness doesn’t mean it caters only for the gifted, with teams and matches for all abilities. The state-of-the-art sports complex built in 2018 houses an indoor sports hall, sprung-floor dance studio, gym, changing facilities and a first-floor viewing terrace overlooking an Astro hockey pitch and tennis courts. In the grounds there is a grass running track and a number of cricket square, which are sometimes used for county training. There’s also a small golf course, a long-jump pit, a discus cage and space for javelin.

Art, drama and music are timetabled, as well as offered as clubs. Head of music Miriam Forbes is both extremely talented and inspirational, and everyone takes part in music, be it in a choir, in the drum ensemble (places in this are hotly contested), the rock group or learning an instrument with a peripatetic teacher. All pupils enjoy art in a loft-style studio, and a good number go on to gain art scholarships to senior schools – ‘We clean up on art scholarships every year,’ Mr Austen tells us. A Lent-term production is the focal point of the school’s drama calendar – this year was The Lion King – with festivals and competitions throughout the year, and all pupils in Years 4 to 6 each doing their own annual play. LAMDA exams are an option for those with a passion for the stage.

There is an array of extracurricular clubs, including polo, dry-ski slope skiing, clay-pigeon shooting, water-skiing, cooking, sewing and bushcraft in the school’s wilderness area. Pupils also get involved in the school’s various councils and can earn headships and prefect status, which come with plenty of kudos.


Weekly and flexi boarding is available from Year 4, and it is very popular. Understandably so, as the dorms, housed in the main mansion, are both elegant and cosy, and the boarding activities are a real draw. By Year 8, most pupils will have boarded at one time or another. There is no full boarding, so everyone goes home after sporting commitments on Saturday.

School community

Pastoral care is exemplary, with form teachers the first point of contact, and there is also a vertical mentoring group. Boarders are under the care of matrons, as well as houseparents Chris and Lucy Meadows. ‘Steph the Chef’ is a school legend – she has won awards for her cooking and is a real innovator with her tasty and healthy dishes. One pupil told us their three favourite things at Witham Hall are breakfast, lunch and supper.

As mentioned, Mr Austen has bolstered the learning-support team with the aim of removing any stigma. The department is at the heart of the prep-school building and is open to any pupil, whether they need extra help with spelling and times tables or emotional support.

Parents are active with a society known as the Friends of Witham organising lots of events throughout the year, including the much-anticipated biannual summer ball.

And finally....

This is a beautiful and happy school, with a strong family feel and an ethos based on encouragement and promoting wellbeing rather than pushing for achievements – and yet achievements roll in in spades, from scholarships to sporting triumphs.

Gallery See All

Children walking in front of the main school building with wisteria on the wall
Girls in the sports hall playing netball
Teacher walking outside with two children by stone arch and dark pink blossom
Pupils wearing white coats watching flames in a science experiment
Boys sitting on their beds in a dormitory chatting
Boy in pale blue school blazer reading in the library
Wooden adventure playground in the trees
Exterior image of Witham Hall with children walking in front
Girls in white shirts and red ties acting is school play
  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    13 to Uppingham, nine to Oundle, five to Oakham, four Stamford, two to Rugby, one to Downe House, one to Millfield, one to Milton Abbey and one to Gresham's.

  • Scholarships for senior schools


    Academic4Rugby and Uppingham
    Drama1 Oundle
    Sport7 Oakham, Rugby, Stamford and Uppingham
    Art4 Gresham's, Milton Abbey, Oakham and Uppingham
    All Rounder3 Oundle

  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 1£4,250
    Year 2£4,750
    Year 3£4,750
    Year 4£7,200
    Year 5£7,200
    Year 6£7,200
    Year 7£7,200
    Year 8 £7,200
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 1-
    Year 2-
    Year 3 -
    Year 4 £9,725
    Year 5 £9,725
    Year 6£9,725
    Year 7£9,725
    Year 8 £9,725

    Witham Hall offers means-tested bursaries which are assessed on an individual basis. Please contact the admissions team for more information.
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    Dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, slow processing, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Ocular Albinism

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    The school has a school counselor who provides sessions for children two days per week; children can have regular appointments, they can self-refer and they can drop-in for single sessions. Witham also has a robust pastoral care structure with a hands-on pastoral Senior Management Team.

  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Peterborough
    Journey time to London by train: 43 minutes
    Nearest international airport: East Midlands (44 miles)

  • Parents tell us

    ‘We chose the school as we loved the head and his wife and they showed good leadership – it is a friendly, local and supportive school that wants to get the best out of the children, there is sport for all levels and a strong outdoor focus and the kids get into their chosen secondary school in non-pressurised way.

    Also, school runs 8.15am-7pm so it is perfect for working parents. School finishes at 5.15pm with all homework done at school. There is the option to do a club after tea every night that runs till 7pm.

    The music, art and drama departments are great. There is also a flexi-boarding option.

    The admissions process was brilliant. We had a long chat with the headmaster, a tour of the school with a pupil, we went to open days and other events to get an insight into the school and the children had a taster day.

    There is great communication between the school and parents by emails, social media and the website. We also receive regular updates from form tutors and their mentors. There are parents’ evenings and we feel very involved in their education and what they’re up to.

    If there's ever a problem, the headmaster or form tutor can be contacted, and issues are resolved quickly and efficiently. There is brilliant pastoral care.

    Houseparents do a brilliant job of occupying the boarders. Matrons are always there to chat and support. The “listening lady” comes into the school and any child can go and have a chat to her.

    Pupils have mentor groups and mix with other children once a week in these sessions from all year groups in the school. Amazing to see 13-year-olds looking out for seven-years-olds in the playground. There are no electronic devices allowed in school and on any trips (including trips abroad with hours and hours on buses).

    The Learning for Life programme is run well by Deputy Head Pastoral. All parents are told about the programme of learning first so they are fully aware of what their children will be taught over the course of a term – from bullying and puberty to safe sex and drugs with the older children.

    The Common Entrance preparation begins early and all pupils get into the secondary school of their choice with plenty of scholarship accolades. Year 8 are prepared for the next stage well with a programme of activities after their June exams.

    It is a very close-knit community and is very welcoming to new families with class reps organising events. There's a parent coffee morning every Monday morning at the beginning of each term.

    Parents are all encouraged to join the PTFA. There are regular events for parents that get a lot of support, such as the firework night, the summer ball every other year, sports day, speech day, sports events like cross-country and various tournaments.

    There is an amazing musical put on every year and also informal music concerts every term. There are exeat services in chapel, Easter and Christmas concerts and carol services, plus loads of events where there are a lot of parents present.

    It has definitely lived up to our expectations and more. Our kids have been so happy there. It was the best decision we ever made.’

School Updates

  • WATCH: Witham Hall Film

    WATCH: Witham Hall Film
  • WATCH: Witham Hall School Drone Footage

    WATCH: Witham Hall School Drone Footage
  • 10 Questions with Will Austen, head of Witham Hall School

    10 Questions with Will Austen, head of Witham Hall School
  • WATCH: Witham Hall - helping your child develop and discover their potential

    WATCH: Witham Hall - helping your child develop and discover their potential
  • See Witham Hall 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 Witham Hall in our Town and Country Preps Guide


Witham on the Hill, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE10 0JJ

01778 590 222


ISI Report


Term Dates

Open Days

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

Open Day
09 November 2024

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