Striving for Excellence
Set in the depths of rural Berkshire between Pangbourne and Bradfield, but within easy reach of all main routes, including the M4, St Andrew’s has a reputation for excellence within a nurturing, caring environment.
We set out to make the most of each child’s potential and are a happy school which is purposeful and child-centred. We strive to achieve the best in everything we do, within a broad curriculum.
The time spent at preparatory school is very precious. What is absorbed during these most formative years will be indelible. We want to send children forward, filled with an enthusiasm for learning – for the rest of their lives.
We want to teach them many things, and we want them to be confident, to be kind, and to be useful members of society.
We are all – staff and children – proud of what we do here. We would be delighted to meet you, show you around and discuss the education of your child. You can be sure of a warm welcome!
Happy people achieve a great deal. Come and see!
About St. Andrew's
Set in 54 acres of playing fields, lawns and woods,
St Andrew’s School is centred on a Victorian mansion
dating from 1885. The school was founded in 1934 and
became a non-profit making trust administered by a board of governors in 1961. Since 1968, St Andrew’s has been fully co-educational. Many new buildings have been added, and the programme of development is continuous. Today there are approximately 300 boys and girls aged 3-13 in the school. The Headmaster is a member of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), which ensures that the highest standards are met.
The main entry points are in the September following the third, fourth and seventh birthday, but pupils may be accepted at any stage where a suitable place exists.
The Registrar organises visits to the school by appointment. The Headmaster likes to meet all parents who are interested in placing their children at St Andrew’s and this meeting is preceded or followed by a tour of the school. Such a visit normally lasts about 60-90 minutes.
To apply for a place in the school, parents should complete and return an Application Form with a non-refundable registration fee of £25.
All uniform can be obtained from Jacksons of Reading, with the exception of school tracksuits which are available from the School Office. We also have a school uniform shop where second hand items in good condition may be bought or sold. Opening hours are published on the school calendar. Full details of the uniform required are available to download here:
Offer of a Place
At age three and four there is no selection; offers of places are made in the order of registration, these offers being made early in the school year prior to entry. Offers of places at all other stages are subject to:
An assessment, which is normally carried out during the course of a day’s visit to the school by the child; and
A satisfactory report from the child’s current school
To view our statutory notices click here.
From The Headmaster
“Good luck, guys!”
Starting the races at the annual sports day, I often hear these words, and for me they capture something of the essence of the school it has been my great pleasure to lead since 1995. We all want to do well, and along the way we shall encourage and support each other.
We strive for excellence within a broad curriculum. Teaching groups are small and there is plenty of time given to music, art, drama, sport and recreation. We are here to develop the body and soul as well as the mind. There is no ‘cramming’; rather, there is the joy of learning and the promotion of teamwork. A code of conduct is recognised throughout the school, and high personal standards are valued alongside curricular achievements.
I know things are right when Stuart, who is sitting scholarship examination papers tomorrow, takes time out from studying to chat to his friends during free-time in the woods. He wraps his knees round a bough and hangs upside down to share the joke of the day. Claire pauses from her flute practice to give me the thumbs-up from a window in the Music Centre. And Josh, who has just made it into the Second XI, hits his first four. He stands in the centre of the cricket field with a smile as wide as the Berkshire downs.
This is a happy, purposeful community in a beautiful estate. We regularly and rigorously review our procedures. The programme of development is continuous, so that a wonderful environment is in place for dedicated teachers to deliver the best possible education. We hope that the children in our care will leave us with a well established set of values which will stay with them for life. We want them to gain confidence from their achievements in this school and move on to great future success and fulfilment.
I trust that those who are, or have been, members of St Andrew’s recognise this as true, and I warmly invite parents who are considering placing their children here to come and see that it is. A website can only give a series of snapshots. Come and see the real thing!
The Nursery is a separate, purpose built, modern unit where most children start their St Andrew’s years.
Morning and afternoon sessions are held, and children usually increase the number of sessions attended as they move towards full-time schooling.
There is a generous staff/pupil ratio and a comprehensive pre-school learning programme is in place.
Children start in the Nursery in the September following their third birthday. Those who stay for an afternoon session have lunch in the school dining room.
Various facilities in the grounds and buildings are enjoyed by the Nursery. When children transfer to the Pre-Preparatory Department they are already quite familiar with the school and with their new teachers.
Morning Nursery sessions are from 9am until noon. The afternoon sessions end at 3pm.
Play and work, structure and exploration, new friends and smiles.
The Pre-Prep Department is housed in two adjacent buildings where the foundations for a sound education are laid in small class groups. There is a specialist staff team and extensive resources. Liaison is maintained with subject departments in the main school, to ensure excellent preparation for the years ahead.
Children in the Pre-Prep achieve high levels of reading ability and advanced handwriting and numeracy skills. The curriculum includes a good deal of Art, Music, Science and Information Technology, as well as topic work embracing History, Geography and Religious Studies. French is learnt from the age of six.
All classes have Physical Education lessons in the school gymnasium. In these early years, as throughout the school, social skills and good conduct are continually promoted.
The Pre-Prep day is from 9am to 3.30pm. There is early morning care from 8.15am and an after school club until 6pm. Children enter the Pre-Prep in the September following their fourth birthday, and transfer to the main school when they are seven.
School uniform, developing skills, classrooms, sports days and prizes!
We are very conscious at St Andrew’s of the need to equip pupils with the knowledge and skills which will not only help them to pass into senior schools at Common Entrance or Scholarship level, but will also stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. The curriculum reflects this aim and is deliberately broad.
Traditional subjects, which have a central place, sit happily alongside subjects which anticipate children’s future needs. Hence there is a considerable emphasis on Modern Languages, Technology and Study Skills. A large number of educational and recreational outings are organized, including trips abroad.
The school day begins at 8.25am and finishes at 5.20pm (Juniors) or 6pm (Seniors). The day includes plenty of time for recreation and sport, and there are Quiet Study periods when children work independently. Daily ‘prep’ (homework) is set only in the top two years.
There are no class lessons at weekends. Saturdays are used for some sports fixtures, parent/teacher meetings and various school events. Apart from any commitment to these, children are free at weekends.
The school’s admissions policy caters for a range of abilities.
We have a Learning Support Department to help children with mild dyslexia or other learning difficulty. Equally, children who have the ability to perform outstandingly are coached to distinction in senior school scholarship examinations, where our record is very good indeed. Pupils also win accolades in local and national competitions.
Children’s progress is continually evaluated. Reports and assessments are sent to parents throughout the year. We have a pleasant tradition of close staff/parent liaison. Apart from regular formal meetings, parents and relatives are always welcome to come to the school during the term to watch matches, to attend concerts and plays, to join in with many other activities, or just to have a chat. All parents are members of the Friends of St. Andrew’s (FOSA) whose committee organizes many social functions for the whole ‘family’ of the school.
The happiest days of your life? We think so!
At St. Andrew’s we strive to realise the full potential of every child. Through Sport, children learn, not only to improve their own performance, but also to appreciate and respect the performances of those around them; engendering a feeling of well-being, fun and self-confidence.
We value games because as well as helping to develop the full physical potential of each child, sport encourages confidence, self discipline and social development. Children are beginning to understand what is involved in team membership and learn to appreciate fair play.
We encourage healthy competition between players and teams both internally in section matches and through inter-school matches. The large number of fixtures arranged during the school year ensures that the maximum number of children have the opportunity to represent their school in a team, irrespective of their ability. For a relatively small school we are particularly proud of our success at 1st team level both locally and nationally.
During the winter terms, boys play soccer, rugby and hockey whilst girls are involved in netball and hockey. Both boys and girls participate in cross-country running during the spring term. In the summer, boys play cricket and girls play rounders; both come together for tennis, swimming, athletics and golf.
In addition to the major sports, children have the opportunity to learn many others, including gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, badminton, horse riding and table tennis. Orienteering is a particularly popular sport and we compete regularly on the weekends at various venues around the country.
Music & The Arts
St Andrew’s has always enjoyed a strong tradition in the
visual and performing arts. There is a well-equipped Art Department where children throughout the Main School receive specialist instruction. Fine displays around the school are testament to the standards attained in two and three-dimensional work.
Apart from a strong tradition in Music, Drama and Art, all children in the Main School take part in public speaking competitions, debates and poetry recitals.
Ballet and Modern Dance are also popular options throughout the school.
Creative Art demands the service of a mind and heart.
St Andrew’s offers weekly boarding and ‘flexi-boarding’ for boys and girls in the Main School, under the care of House Mistresses. The pleasantly appointed boys’ and girls’ boarding areas are located in separate buildings. Several resident teachers help to supervise boarding hours and ensure that a comfortable, family atmosphere exists.
There are many advantages to weekly boarding. It avoids daily travel; it allows evening study and recreation in the familiar surroundings of the school; it enhances friendships and promotes tolerance and self-esteem. Yet it also means that families are able to relax together at weekends.
Flexi-boarding is extremely popular. Children may board for short periods or when an evening commitment at school makes boarding convenient. Often, groups of friends come in to board together, and this increases with age so that many of the older children have the confidence-building experience of boarding before moving on to their senior school, whether or not they are to board there.
During the summer months, children are given the run of the estate and have great fun playing tennis, golf, swimming or just in building camps in the woods, tree climbing and cycling. In the winter, we organize activities on a more structured basis and children can choose from a wide range of hobbies and forms of relaxation and recreation.
To complete a boarding slip, click here.
What do I need if I want to board? Click here for a list of items needed.