The second most important decision you will make as a parent – apart from deciding to have a 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. Eastlife goes through some of Suffolk's top independent schools to help you with your decision.
Alexanders International School is an international boarding school for boys and girls, ages 11-17, from all over the world. They offer intensive English language and academic preparation programmes for international students.
They help students to improve their academic ability in the core subjects of English Language, Maths, and Science and in a range of other courses including Business Studies, Art, Global Perspectives, Music, and Information and Computing Technology (ICT). Students establish a firm foundation for the specialist vocabulary needed in each subject, adapt to different teaching and learning styles, and develop a variety of study skills.
The school is based on the Bawdsey Manor Estate with 120 magnificent acres of grounds set in an area of outstanding beauty on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. On campus they have the offices for administration and teachers, 15 classrooms, an ICT room, Wi-Fi, an Art Centre with impressive displays of student work, and four student residences. Bawdsey Manor, Woodbridge IP12 3AZ. 0207 2988877. www.alexandersschool.com
Set in 16 acres of grounds on the borders of Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, the School offers individual all-round education for boys and girls, both day and boarding (weekly and full). High standards are achieved by small classes with an average of 14 children (maximum 20 children) who are taught by graduate and teacher-trained staff.
There is a caring approach and close liaison with parents. Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School believe that they offer some of the very best classroom facilities of any school in the area whilst their Pre-Prep Department enables younger children to learn in bright and spacious classrooms along with a traditional building full of character and charm.
The school has a variety of clubs, activities and societies to chose from such as; Ballet, Modern Dance and Tap, Drama Club, Archery, Cookery Club, Scrabble Club, Model-Making and War Hammer Club are some of the clubs on offer as after-school activities along with a wide range of sporting clubs and musical ensemble groups. Barnardiston, Haverhill, Suffolk CB9 7TG. 01440 786316. www.barnardiston-hall.co.uk.
This school’s Upper-Prep cares for boys and girls aged from 8-11 years old. Subjects and topics covered are in line with the national curriculum, underpinned by the Montessori philosophy. Their students continue to approach all work with the Montessori skills learnt within the Lower Prep: independent learning, planning skills & problem solving.
These are skills will prove invaluable as they progress through their education. Children enter a broad range of schools at the end of Upper-Prep. With 100% success rates in entrance exams, students leave the school fully prepared and confident in their ability to continue their educational journey in the school of their choice.
Cherry Trees School are dedicated to ensuring the children in their care grow to be inspired, independent and inquisitive individuals. The school strongly believes that to achieve this, children need a stimulating environment in which to be inspired together with exceptional pastoral care. Flempton Road, Risby, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP28 6QJ. 01284760531. www.cherrytreesschool.org
Fairstead House School is a co-educational independent day school and Nursery for children aged 3-11, situated close to the centre of historic Newmarket, headquarters of the ‘Sport of Kings’ and adjacent to the famous gallops in the attractive county of Suffolk. In the Nursery and Reception years the children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.
In the Main School the children pursue an academic programme of Literacy, Numeracy, and Science, largely based on the National Curriculum. This is complimented by a wide range of other subjects which are designed to broaden horizons and develop imaginations – all aiming to make learning interesting, stimulating and enjoyable.
The school view creative and performing arts (Music, Drama, Art and Design Technology) together with sport (Physical Education and Games), as vital parts that balance the academic curriculum and have specialist teachers as well as excellent facilities to encourage the development of skills in all of these areas. Fordham Road, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7AA. 01638 662318. www.fairsteadhouseschool.co.uk
Ipswich Preparatory School offer pupils a supportive environment that encourages the girls and boys to enjoy learning, grow in self-confidence and acquire a wide range of worthwhile interests. They believe that school should be a happy place where pupils receive a broad education that fires their imagination and develops their personality. Their curriculum is broad and balanced.
It provides a learning environment across the age range where pupils develop their skills and personal qualities so that the children can move onto the Senior School as confident individuals. The School has a great deal to offer their pupils in art, music, drama and sport. From Nursery through to Year 6, parents/guardians will find a caring atmosphere where the children are valued for who they are.
Everyone’s happiness is considered essential in order for the children to make the most of the high quality education and opportunities on offer. 25 Henley Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 3SG. 01473 408300. www.ipswich.suffolk.sch.uk.
The Old Buckenham Hall mission is to be recognised as one of the country’s leading boarding/day prep school that offers the broadest range of opportunity experienced within the context of a happy childhood. Their curriculum is designed to prepare children for their senior school and life beyond.
At its core it intends to develop the skills they will need to be self-confident, and successful (according to their ability and talents), as well as inculcating social responsibility. The school aspires to develop able young people who will want to make a positive contribution and improve the world they join as well as engage in learning throughout their lives.
To achieve this the school will offer a curriculum that promotes challenges, enjoyment, breadth and depth, relevance, coherence and choice in learning for all pupils. Plus, a positive attitude by teachers towards promoting learning that engages, supports and monitors development so that what is offered to each child is appropriate to their individual needs and is flexible. Brettenham Park,?Ipswich, Suffolk IP7 7PH, 01449 740252. www.obh.co.uk.
Saint Felix is a thriving independent co-educational day and boarding school set in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the outskirts of Southwold, one of England’s most famous and vibrant coastal towns. Founded in 1897, they are known for their warm, friendly, family atmosphere and for their very distinctive approach to educating young people for life in the 21st century.
At Saint Felix boys and girls ‘learn for life’. They achieve outstanding academic results and at the same time are taught the habits of mind they will need to cope with the challenges of life beyond school. The Senior School offers a range of extra curricular activities to all pupils.
The activities on offer can change from year to year but some include; sailing, bamk group, drama club, orchestra, life saving, badminton, student cooking and plenty more. Sport at Saint Felix is split into three complementary areas: PE, Games and Swimming. PE lessons focus on developing core skills and allow children to explore their creativity and logical thinking. Halesworth Road, Reydon, Southwold IP18 6SD, 01502 722175. www.stfelix.co.uk
South Lee is an independent day school for boys and girls from two to thirteen years of age. South Lee encourage their pupils to be as adept on the sports fields as they are in the classroom, to have an understanding of history whilst looking towards the future and to develop an appreciation of the Arts and the world around them.
The school’s idea of excellence is that each pupil should achieve his or her full potential. Pupils are therefore measured in terms of that potential. At South Lee, they use a wide variety of assessment procedures that tell them how a pupil is performing on a personal level, within the school and nationally.
The curriculum is based on the National Curriculum and, in the Prep school, the requirements of the Independent Schools’ Examination Board (‘Common Entrance’). This helps them to provide their pupils with the best possible preparation for whichever senior school they are hoping to attend after Year 8. Nowton Road, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 2BT, 01284 754654. www.southlee.co.uk
St Joseph's College is a special place. Their philosophy is centred on a strong sense of Christian community and a supportive family atmosphere permeates all that they do. All pupils entering the Senior School, are selected following an assessment in Mathematics, English and Science.
Academic targets are set throughout the Senior School, together with a tutor-based pastoral structure, which supports and guides pupils. From a broad Key Stage 3 curriculum, this guidance helps pupils and parents select appropriate subjects before embarking upon their GCSE programme of study.
At Key Stage 4, all students follow a core curriculum which includes English Language and Literature, Mathematics, three separate Sciences or Science Double Award and Religious Education. In addition, students can select up to a further six examined subjects at GCSE, if appropriate. PE, Games and PSHE also form part of the Key Stage 4 curriculum. Birkfield, Belstead Road, Ipswich IP2 9DR, 01473 690281. www.stjos.co.uk
Stoke College is an independent school for 3-16 year olds set in an historic house and grounds in rural Suffolk. Children at Stoke College are busy, happy and become confident in everything they do. They look forward to coming to school.
They live in a caring, nurturing environment in which the voice of every child is valued. The School enables each child to make the most of their abilities through a broad and stimulating curriculum. Teachers make sure that learning remains challenging and fun at every stage.
Everyone gets involved in Sports, Music and Drama as well as achieving really good exam results. Stoke pupils leave for sixth form as confident young people ready for the challenges of life.The school is set in beautiful, historic parkland on the banks of the River Stour where we give children a fine start in life. Stoke students leave with a deep sense of security and self-worth. Stoke by Clare, Sudbury, Suffolk,?CO10 8JE, 01787 278141. www.stokecollege.co.uk.
Summerhill is an international school with children from England, Germany, Norway, Holland, Switzerland, Israel, America, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, France and many other countries. This makes for a wonderful multi-cultural environment. There are usually between 80 to 90 children and 12 full time staff.
There are several part time staff and many other adults who help keep the school running smoothly. Summerhill is a small, caring community of children and adults.?The school is set on 11 acres of very beautiful woods and fields in Leiston. Day pupils may come at five years and some children are very happy to board about six or seven. Others need more time and come later.
Many children begin at 9, 10 or 11 years of age and a complete Summerhill education usually ends at about 17 years of age. The Summerhill education offers each child a sequence of important social, emotional and intellectual experiences that should not be missed. Summerhill School, Westward Ho, Leiston IP16 4HY, 01728 830540. www.summerhillschool.co.uk
Woodbridge School is a co-educational day school of over 950 pupils between the ages of four and 18. Everything they do is underpinned by a firm objective – to build confidence in our pupils. They want each child to leave here with a belief in themselves.
A belief which has been buttressed by their successes and achievements. Central to those achievements is academic success. But a well-rounded education is not solely based on exams. Hence their broad programme of sports, arts, activities, music and an exceptional international cultural exchange programme. Woodbridge Sixth Form is a stimulating mixture of students who have been educated at the School and many new faces who join them after GCSEs taken elsewhere.
Predominantly a day school, but with boarding for 50 students, Woodbridge Sixth Form combines academic excellence with an unrivalled range of activities that are designed with one single purpose – to prepare their students to their best possible advantage for their futures. Burkitt Road, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 4JH, 01394 615000. www.woodbridge.suffolk.sch.uk