Education Focus: Norfolk Independent Schools

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The second most important decision you will make as a parent – apart from deciding to have the child in the first place – is deciding which school for them to enroll in. Make the right decision and you could put them on a path toward lifelong learning, a prestigious college education and a successful career. Mahvish Malik goes through some of Norfolk’s top independent schools to help you with your decision. 

Avocet House 

Avocet House combines the very best qualities of highly individualised therapeutic care, health and educational programmes for boys with complex behavioural, emotional, and social difficulties and associated learning needs.
Avocet House opened in April 2005 and accommodates eight boys. The age range for admission is normally between eight and 14 years but young people can and stay on should that be deemed to be in their best interests by the placement agencies.
Young people coming to Avocet House do so because of their need for 52-week residential placement and a highly specialised education. They believe in making the curriculum fit the child and not the child fit the curriculum. 
School Lane, Heckingham, NR14 6QP. 01508 549320.
Acorn Park School
Acorn Park is an independent, specialist day and residential school that caters for children and young people aged 4 – 19 years who have autism and associated difficulties. They make every effort to make sure that young people are respected as individuals. On top of that, the school makes sure to work in partnership with families, recognising that it’s shared a commitment for the students’ welfare and valuing the knowledge and experience that family members offer.
In September 2012 the school extended their provision to cater for children whose attainment is average or above average, but who need an autistic-friendly environment in order to achieve their academic potential.
Mill Road, Banham, Norwich, NR16 2HU. 01953 888656.
All Saints School
Opened in 1987, All Saints is an independent day school, with junior and senior departments. The school provides a friendly and well-structured environment for learning. Small classes let teachers work individually with pupils during the school day, allowing for progress according to their own ability, and many of the more able students will be expected to gain A-Grade passes in their G.C.S.E. results.
There is no entry examination for new pupils in the main school, but all will be invited to attend the school for two days, where they will be informally assessed. No child will be accepted into All Saints with severe behavioural problems, which are considered to be to the detriment of others.
School Road, Lessingham, Norwich, NR12 0DJ. 01692 582083.
Beeston Hall
Beeston Hall School was established in 1948 in a Regency house on the North Norfolk coast.  As an independent boarding and day preparatory school for boys and girls aged between seven and 13, the school is a charitable trust, administered by a board of governors. Beeston’s children move on far and wide to all the leading public schools in accordance with parental wishes and where the children’s personalities and talents will be best suited.  
This is achieved through the Common Entrance Examination at 13, although the school’s most able pupils gain entry through scholarships (not only academic, but also art, music, drama, general or sports) –  a route by which the school has enjoyed considerable success in recent years.
West Runton, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9NQ. 01263 837324.
Gresham’s School 
Gresham’s is an historic and vibrant co-educational school where they bring out the best in each other. The school provides a high quality, fully rounded education to boys and girls from the age of three in their pre-prep nursery to sixth form students in the UK and overseas, adding a breadth of diversity for a happy learning environment. Young people are prepared for rewarding personal and professional lives with the intellectual, personal and social qualities and skills needed to make a positive difference to the communities in which they live.
With a long history of sporting and musical success which has produced many outstanding alumni in the fields of sport, science and the arts, the school is well placed to support and nurture young talents.
Cromer Road, Holt, NR25 6EA. 01263 714500.
Hethersett Old Hall School
Understanding girls and how they learn best, is key at Hethersett. Your daughter will be taught in small classes within a small community. As such, she will be known by every member of staff, and her peers, as a person in her entirety, not just as a potential exam grade in a particular subject. Your daughter will be encouraged to develop her abilities in all areas, while acquiring teamwork skills, leadership and more importantly self-confidence that will stand her in good stead in the years to come.
The school believes that their job is to help young girls identify the areas in which they shine and to give the skills, knowledge, support and opportunities to do well at GCSE and A Level, laying a firm foundation for the future.
Hethersett, Norwich, NR9 3DW. 01603 810390.
Langley School
Langley School exists to provide a first-class, all round education within a friendly, inclusive and supportive community. By focusing relentlessly on improving standards, students will learn to be independent, valued citizens and develop their abilities to the full. They select co-educational boarders and day pupils, based on their overall potential, who are prepared to benefit from and be active partners in the continued success of Langley private school. Langley School has a strong focus on the performing arts and provides scholarships for the exceptionally able. 
Langley Park, Norwich, NR14 6BJ. 01508 520210.
Norwich School 
Norwich School is a co-educational, independent day school for pupils aged seven to 18. Norwich School is a traditional, yet lively place where boys and girls enjoy a well-rounded and stimulating education. The school is characterised by strong, warm relationships and a profound appreciation of scholarship. Norwich School teaches philosophy in various forms throughout the seven-18 age range. Discoursing with peers and teachers, formulating questions about weighty topics and engaging in debate – these things help the pupils’ intellectual development.
The school aims to produce young people who are capable of handling difficult concepts, and expressing profound thought is greatly aided by philosophical teaching. 
70 The Close, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 4DD. 01603 728430.
Riddlesworth Hall School 
Boarding, whether full, part-time or occasional, is available for girls and boys from the age of seven to 13. Numbers are strictly limited so there will not be more than 20 children in each year group. Riddlesworth Hall, set amid 30 acres, aims to be a unique, stimulating, secure and happy environment rich in opportunity and expectation. Every child is encouraged to aspire to the highest possible educational, moral and spiritual standards, preparing them to meet the challenges of a changing world.  
The school is dyslexia-friendly, with every teacher in both the specialist learning centre and in the main school understanding and fully sympathetic to the challenges faced by children with specific learning difficulties.
Diss, Norfolk, IP22 2TA. 01953 681246.
St Nicholas House School
This affordable, happy little school, offers nursery and day preperatory education for ages two to 11 with before and after school care available.  In small classes, the wide and varied curriculum offers a solid grounding in core academic subjects, numerous specialist subjects and a plethora of activities and after school clubs.  It enjoys an excellent success rate in entrance examinations to senior schools.  
A 2013 ISI Inspection reports: “Pupils’ personal development is excellent across all age groups.  They are effusive about their school and have exemplary manners and behaviour.” St. Nicks is a friendly, encouraging and busy school dedicated to excellence.  It offers flexibility and at a cost that will surprise you.
Yarmouth Road, North Walsham, Norfolk NR28 9AT. 01692 403143.
Taverham Hall
Each pupil, whatever their ability, will be motivated to develop skills, interests and understanding through personalised, academic learning programmes and investigative hands-on experiences in the school’s unique woodland environment. The school believes an education should stretch, inspire and develop every child. For them it’s all about opportunity and choice through small classes.
Focus is on personalised learning and target-setting with an awareness of each individual’s learning style. The school’s examination success at scholarship and common entrance level is impressive, with over 60 scholarships having been won over the past decade. This year’s Year 8 leavers all gained places at their first choice senior schools.
Taverham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR8 6HU. 01603 868206.
The New Eccles Hall School  
The New Eccles Hall School has the resources to ensure a caring and supportive teaching and learning environment for all pupils while maintaining the full, balanced National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 to 4 (ages four to 16) and Sixth Form. It is a small school which allows each and every pupil to be given a considerable amount of attention, both academically and socially.
The aim of The New Eccles Hall School is to help all pupils develop good work habits and to encourage good manners, respect for the environment and for each other. The school’s Individual Tuition Unit provides strong support for pupils with special educational needs and have many years’ experience in helping with dyslexia, dyspraxia and aspergers. 
Quidenham, Norwich, NR16 2NZ. 01953 887217
Beeston Hall 
Idyllically placed on the North Norfolk coast, Beeston Hall is a school like no other. One of the few remaining full boarding and day preparatory schools Beeston has an enviable reputation for achieving remarkable results across the board, sending children to leading public schools across the country. As a traditional family school, they are renowned for providing outstanding pastoral care, placing the happiness and welfare of their pupils at the very heart of all that they do and achieve.
The School’s facilities include 25 acres of grass pitches, an athletics track, a full size Astro turf pitch, three all-weather tennis and netball courts,  4 badminton courts, both indoor and outdoor cricket nets and an outdoor heated swimming pool. The curriculum covers the following academic subjects: English, Maths, Science, French, Latin, History, Geography and Religious Studies.
West Runton, Cromer, Norfolk NR27 9NQ. 01263 837324.
Thetford Grammar School 
Offering a broad curriculum based on a core of maths, English, foreign languages and the sciences, every individual has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Sport, travel, the arts and other extra-curricular activities contribute to the social and intellectual development. In Year 8, German is introduced and personal, social and health education runs to Year 9.  Latin is available as an additional early evening class starting from Year 7 through to GCSE. At the end of Year 9, pupils select the subjects they wish to study for GCSE.  Three optional subjects are normally added to the core subjects, which are taught separately and examined either as a double award or as separate subjects.  Music and drama and theatre studies are also available.
Bridge Street, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 3AF. 01842 752840.


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