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Akeley Wood School
Akeley Wood, MK18 5AE, UK Buckingham
+44 (0)1280 814110

Welcome to Akeley Wood

Although we are very much one school for boys and girls aged from three to eighteen, our three separate sites - The Senior School (11 - 18), the Lower School (9 - 10) and the Junior School (3 - 8) - allow us both to cater for the particular needs of each age group and to retain our very special family atmosphere.

Akeley Wood is a happy and caring school with an unpretentious approach. There is a strong emphasis on good manners, a friendly discipline, and looking after others. We strive for high academic standards and the results achieved in public examinations are impressive. However, we are also concerned with education in a broader sense, and Art, Music, Drama and Sport are all important to us. In short, we play to the strengths of each individual pupil.

I hope this site answers many of your questions about Akeley Wood - but it cannot properly convey the feel of the school, which immediately strikes the visitor. Do please telephone the Registrar (01280 812000) to book an appointment to see us. We would be delighted to meet you and to show you round.

Dr Jeremy Grundy

Linda Hayes

Linda Hayes
Head of Junior School

Anna Taylor

Anna Taylor
Head of Lower School

Entry Procedure

If you would like to find out more about Akeley Wood, to receive a prospectus or to make an appointment to visit the school, please telephone the Registrar, Mrs Carole Horton on 01280 812000 or email


There are four main entry points into the School:

  • Entry to Akeley Wood Junior School is at any stage after the start of the term in which a child reaches 18 months. A good number of pupils also join us for Year 3.
  • Many pupils come to the Lower School for Year 5 and 6 to enable them to prepare for Senior School life.
  • Entry to the Senior School is normally at the age of eleven (Year 7), though there are also a good number of pupils who join us in Year 9, after Prep School.
  • Entry into the Sixth Form is at age 16.

However, children are accepted into most age groups, subject to vacancies and assessment.

Transfer from the Junior School to the Lower School and from the Lower School to the Senior School is automatic unless the Head Teachers advise otherwise. All those who wish to stay on to the Sixth Form may do so if they fulfil the minimum academic requirement of five GCSE grades at C or above (at least three at grade B or above), and if they have a satisfactory record of effort and behaviour.


As there is considerable demand, we recommend that prospective pupils should be registered in advance. This is done by returning the School's registration form, with a non-refundable registration fee (£25). This is normally returned after the parents have visited us. The Head Teacher will contact all those registered in the Autumn or Spring before the proposed September entry and will invite them for assessment in order of registration.


In the Junior School prospective pupils are invited to spend a day with the appropriate year group (half a day in the Nursery) when they would join in a normal school day. Reading, literacy and numeracy skills are observed informally and note is taken of how comfortably the child settles within the group. Of paramount importance is that there is a shared agreement between the parents and the school that the child would be able to work within the educational programme of the school before a place is offered. After joining the school a more detailed assessment of skills will take place to determine how best to integrate each child into the class.

Prospective Lower School & Senior School pupils are invited to an 'assessment day' to judge their suitability. Where appropriate, reading, literacy and numeracy skills are assessed. Places are offered to those of at least average ability who in our opinion will be comfortable with the level of work here. We look for pupils who are well behaved, well mannered and enthusiastic.

Admission to the Tutorial Programme is decided on the basis of both an 'assessment day' and a recent report from an educational psychologist.




In 1946, Hillcrest School, a small boys boarding preparatory school which had evacuated from Frinton-on-Sea to Wales during the war years, moved to Akeley Wood and soon took on the name of its new home. In 1972 the school was reorganised as a coeducational day school in which boys and girls flourish together academically and combine their complementary qualities in Art, Music, Drama and Sport.

A junior department was quickly introduced and in 1976 provision was also made for those who wanted to remain at Akeley Wood to take their Ordinary Level (subsequently G.C.S.E) examinations. A sixth form was added in 1987.

The rapid growth of the school meant that additional premises were needed. Nearby Wicken Park was acquired in 1988 and provides an ideal home for the Junior School; ten years later the acquisition of Charmandean enabled the creation of a separate Lower School to meet the needs of nine and ten year olds as they prepare for the new challenges and responsibilities of the secondary years.

Today Akeley Wood has about nine hundred pupils and an outstanding reputation, but each site retains the secure, family atmosphere of a small school. We are very proud of our achievements, but prouder still that through all the changes and the remarkable growth, Akeley Wood has remained a very happy place.


At Akeley Wood it is our aim that pupils should develop their individual talents and personal qualities in whatever direction they may lie, placing a particular emphasis on high academic achievement as well as encouraging excellence in Art, Music, Drama and Sport.

Most importantly, however, we hope that pupils will genuinely enjoy and value their time here, and will take with them not only the best possible qualifications, but also a sense of purpose, a belief in themselves, firm friendships and a caring attitude towards those around them.

So Akeley Wood offers a friendly and purposeful environment, with small classes and enthusiastic teaching, where good habits of work and independence of mind can flourish. This is a school without pretension, but with a happy and civilised atmosphere and a demonstrable record of success.

Education Policy

Akeley Wood aims to help every individual to fulfil his or her academic potential. This is achieved through skilled, dedicated and enthusiastic teaching in small classes, differentiating the expectation and (as far as possible) the work for each child as appropriate. For some A* grades or scholarships will be the goal; for others it will be entry into appropriate senior schools at eleven or thirteen; for others still the achieving of five C grades at GCSE will be a triumph. The bright must be challenged; those who struggle academically must be encouraged and helped.

Most importantly, the school believes in the education of the whole child. It is our job to discover and nurture each pupil's abilities, wherever they may lie. So Music, Art, Drama and Physical Education (for example) all play an important part in school life, both as part of the curriculum and as activities outside the curriculum. Some children will succeed more in these areas than in the academic life, and the confidence thus gained will be carried back into the classroom. So there is no hierarchy of value as far as subjects are concerned. The value is the value to the child.

A small number of pupils with minor difficulties work happily in the main stream classes and receive extra specialist tuition. In addition to their teaching role, the dyslexia staff encourage pupils in all their work, helping them to overcome any problems which they may encounter in their lessons.

The 'Tutorial Programme' caters for those whose dyslexia is greater. Here pupils work in much smaller classes - one in each age group - under the guidance of specially qualified teachers and assistants. This allows them to build up their skills and confidence in a relaxed but challenging environment, while enjoying the wider social life and all the opportunities of the larger school.


Akeley Wood is run by its Head Teachers and their team of experienced senior staff. The School is also part of Cognita Ltd, the UK's leading independent provider of day school education. The Group ensures Akeley Wood is well resourced and provides specialist support and expertise to the Head Teachers in education, property, finance and personnel.

Education Officer

Akeley Wood has its own Education Officer, Mr Roger Trafford, (former Headmaster of Dragon School, Oxford and former chairman of the IAPS) who works alongside Cognita's Chief Education Officer, Jim Hudson, OBE. A formal meeting is held each term between the Education Officer, the Headteachers and senior staff to review the academic, social, spiritual, sporting and cultural performance of the school.

ISI or Ofsted Report

April 2006 saw Akeley Wood School's first ISI inspection. The full report is available on the ISI website at:

Independent schools are subject to regular inspections in the same way as maintained or state schools. The Independent Schools' Inspectorate (ISI) is approved by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills to report the extent to which schools comply with the regulatory requirements set down in the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2003. During the week beginning Monday 24th April 2006, thirteen inspectors from ISI made Akeley Wood School their home. Four of the inspectors were based at the Junior School (Nursery to Year 4), three stayed at the Lower School (Years 5 and 6), and seven inspectors were charged with observing the Senior School. The result was a very positive report which highlighted the school's key strengths of good teaching, high attainment, first-rate relationships between pupils and staff, and the promotion of mutual respect and a strong system of values.

Comments from the Inspection Report:

"Akeley Wood School provides a good standard of education for boys and girls aged three to eighteen. In the three sections of the school, pupils attain standards that are good in relation to their ability. Senior School GCSE candidates achieve results that are well above those in maintained schools…The achievement of the pupils following the Tutorial Programme is outstanding. Pupils in all sections of the school enjoy excellent relationships with staff and benefit from a good standard of pastoral care…As a member of the Cognita group of schools, it has developed a new confidence and sense of purpose."

Headmaster, Dr Jeremy Grundy, said of the Report:

"The inspectors saw us as we really are: an exceptionally family-orientated school, where pupils and staff enjoy outstanding relations in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Accountability is vital in any profession, and it is gratifying to be deemed to be providing a good standard of education - officially, as it were. My confidence in the whole process of school inspection is reassured by the fact that the inspectors picked up on the genuine warmth that characterises the excellent relationships that exist between teachers and pupils at Akeley Wood. I am especially pleased that they recognised and commended the friendly, positive ethos of the school. "The inspectors acknowledged that Akeley Wood is fast developing, and they applauded the school's development plan for the future. It is my aim to build on the school's successes - both academic and extra-curricular - and to provide the facilities and opportunities that will enable all our pupils to exceed their expectations and to enjoy their schooldays at Akeley Wood to the full. I am delighted to have received such a strong vote of confidence in the school and its vision for the future."

Akeley Wood Junior School

Inspection date: 19 November 2003

The nursery and infant 1 classes of Akeley Wood Junior School provide very good nursery education, with children showing enthusiasm for learning through play. The children are making very good progress towards all early learning goals.

The quality of teaching is very good overall. The staff have a sound understanding of the Foundation Stage; seen through the planning of a wide range of interesting activities. Assessments are used very effectively to establish children's ability on entry and to enable children to continue to make good progress. Staff know children very well, and adjust planning to cover any individual needs and interests, including challenge for the more able children. Staff have the knowledge and experience to support children with special educational needs or who are learning to speak English as an additional language. They encourage all children to take part in all activities, and all children and their contributions are valued.

Click here to see full report:

Akeley Wood Lower School

Inspection date: 10 November 2003

This is a school with many strengths. It meets nearly all the legislative requirements that have recently been introduced, and is now well placed for further improvements. The head teacher plays an important part in setting the ethos and tone, in ensuring consistency in curriculum coverage and in marking, and in developing the curriculum as syllabuses are revised.

Click here to see full report:



From Summer Term 2007

Including provision of lunches, text books and exercise books

Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 2 £2115.00
Half Day Nursery £1075.00
Year 3 £2380.00
Years 4, 5 and 6 £2650.00
Year 7 £2900.00
Year 8 and above £3145.00
Tutorial Programme £4028.00
Extra Dyslexia Tuition £610.00

Sibling Reductions:

Second child Fees appropriate for that year group less 5%*
Third child Fees appropriate for that year group less 10%*
Fourth child Fees appropriate for that year group less 20%*

*(or £125, whichever is the greater)

Term Dates

Spring term 2007
Wednesday 10 January Term begins
Monday 12 February Half term begins
Friday 16 February Half term ends
Wednesday 21 March Term ends

Summer term 2007
Wednesday 11 April Term begins
Monday 28 May Half term begins
Friday 1 June Half term ends
Friday 13 July Term ends

Autumn term 2007
Wednesday 5 September Term begins
Monday 22 October Half term begins
Friday 26 October Half term ends
Friday 14 December Term ends

Catchment Area

Pupils come from a twenty mile radius, with coaches running from a number of surrounding towns and villages, including Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, Winslow and Buckingham.

Map of the local area


Wrap Around Care

From the beginning of the Autumn Term 2006, CATS Club - a charitable childcare organisation that offers high quality, out of school hours childcare with education will be based at Akeley Wood Junior School. The club will initially run from the end of the school day until 6.00 p.m. At the beginning of the Spring Term 2007, a breakfast club will also be offered, starting from 7.45 a.m.

During the evenings, children will be offered a wide range of activities. Typically, the week will comprise - drama, role play, arts and crafts, outside play, homework time, music, cooking, construction toys and table top games.

Information for Parents


Nursery and Reception:
18 months - 5 years of age

Nursery and Reception pupils are introduced to school life in a happy, secure and caring environment. The classes are staffed and equipped to provide a wide range of interesting and challenging activities for the children and to satisfy the Early Learning Goals as laid down in government guidelines for the foundation stage. Outdoor and indoor play is viewed as an essential part of the developmental process.

In the Reception year children are introduced to pre- reading, language and mathematical skills as well as broadening their general knowledge through topic work and creative activities. All programmes are devised in consultation with the whole staff and in accordance with the needs of the main school curriculum.

Junior School:
Years 1 to 4 (5 - 9 years of age)

The carefully structured programme in these forms lays the foundations of basic skills in English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Design Technology (DT) and Information Technology (IT).

Great importance is attached to the acquisition of fluent reading and numeracy skills, through whole class, group and individual work. PE/Games, Conversational French, Music and Music & Movement are taught by specialists.

Individual progress is carefully monitored and reported to parents. Children requiring attention to extension or support of learning will be identified and provision made for them through the Special Needs department.

Above all it is important to develop a level of independence in learning and to stimulate the imagination through access to a variety of resources including outings and educational visitors. The programme of pastoral care fosters initiative and courtesy for others and is supported through Circle Time and assembly themes. Our behaviour policy rewards all sorts of achievement in work and conduct through stickers, badges, certificates and the Achievement Tree.

Lower (ages 9 and 10)

The Lower School provides a bridge between the Junior and Senior Schools, with specialist teachers in such subjects as Science, French, Music and Physical Education.

  • Curriculum follows on smoothly from the Junior School, with a continuing emphasis on the basic skills
  • Introductory course in Latin is offered to the more able pupils
  • Preparation for the Senior School and, if appropriate, for the Buckinghamshire eleven plus selection

Senior (ages 11-16)

With a class size of about twenty or less, enthusiastic teaching, and a determination to target the needs of individual pupils, Akeley Wood gets the best out of pupils from a wide range of ability

  • Modern Foreign Languages include French, German and Spanish
  • Information Technology is studied by all to GCSE level
  • Setting in Mathematics and Languages throughout the school, with additional setting for English and Science at GCSE level
  • GCSE option choices made at fourteen: most pupils study nine or ten subjects
  • Outstanding achievements in public examinations

Sixth Form (ages 16-18)

The sixth form at Akeley Wood provides a high standard of tuition to Advanced Level in a friendly adult environment. The teaching groups are small and each student's progress is overseen by a sixth form tutor. Those in the sixth form are expected to take responsibility and to play a full part in the life of the school.

  • Most students take four subjects to AS level and three to A2 level, chosen from: Art, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computing, Design Technology, English Literature, French, Geography, German, History, Information Technology, Mathematics, Music, Music Technology, Physics, Psychology, Sports Studies and Textiles
  • A new purpose-built Sixth Form Common Room with exclusive access to computers, complete with its own kitchen area.
  • Wide range of extra-curricular interests encouraged including voluntary service and charitable events

University Entry

Our students have gone to many top universities over the last few years, including the following:

  • University of Warwick
  • University of Durham
  • Manchester University
  • Sheffield University
  • Imperial College, University of London
  • Loughborough University
  • Birmingham University
  • London School of Economics
  • Leeds University
  • University of Reading
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Southampton University
  • University of Cardiff
  • Aston University
  • Newcastle University
  • Nottingham University

Overseas Students

Each year, a small number of overseas pupils join our Sixth Form to benefit from an Akeley Wood education.

All overseas students live with host families. At present, we work with Gateway Guardianship Services, who provide a network of suitable home environments and act as a guardian during a student's stay in the UK.

We offer a comprehensive programme of specialist English tuition, as well as academic and pastoral support to encourage integration into life at Akeley Wood. Students can choose from a wide range of A Level subjects including Maths, Further Maths and the Sciences. Sixth Form entry usually requires an IELTS score of 5.5 or greater.


Akeley Wood is well-known for the strength of its Art, Design and Textiles departments, with a number of sixth form leavers moving on to Art Colleges.

  • Art is encouraged in all age groups
  • Pupils' work celebrated and displayed
  • Visits to galleries and museums
  • Local exhibitions supported and arranged
  • Opportunities for ceramics and other three dimensional work
  • Established and successful GCSE and A Level courses in Art, Design Technology and Textiles


There are many opportunities for those who want to take part in Drama productions - past pupils have been selected for the National Youth Theatre and have gone on to study at Drama College.

  • Plays and Musicals performed in all parts of the school
  • Pupils involved in lighting, sound, costumes, make-up, scenery construction and stage management


The School has a strong musical tradition, with a large number of pupils learning instruments.

  • Wide range of individual tuition available - from Drums and Electric Guitar to Oboe and Bassoon!
  • Choirs, orchestras and bands in all parts of the school
  • Concert performances both at school and in the surrounding area
  • Successful GCSE course
  • Both Music and Music Technology offered at A level


Akeley Wood believes that Physical Education is important for all children, whatever their ability, and is taught as part of the timetable by specialist staff.

  • Main sports for boys are Rugby, Football, Cricket and Athletics
  • Main sports for girls are Netball, Hockey, Rounders, Athletics and Tennis
  • Other sports include Swimming, Badminton, Volleyball, Basketball, Cross-country and Weight-Lifting
  • Gymnastics is taught from the Nursery to Year 8
  • Physical Education and Sports Studies are popular GCSE and A Level subjects
  • There are after school training sessions and competitive fixtures with other schools
  • A number of pupils represent their County in various sports
  • The school's new Astroturf was completed in November 2006, offering increased opportunities for soccer, hockey and tennis all year round

Clubs & Extra Curricular

Teaching is by no means confined to the class-room and pupils from the Infants upwards benefit from a educational visits to places of interest both locally and further afield - farms, castles, museums, theatres and galleries. We also welcome visiting speakers, musicians and theatre groups.

A number of clubs and workshops are held in lunch-hours and after school, especially for older pupils. Some cater for leisure interests, while others provide further opportunities and reinforcement in curriculum subjects.

  • Clubs and workshops offered include Chess, Board Games, Textiles, Art, Computing, Design Technology, as well as myriad opportunities in Music, Drama and Sport
  • At the Junior School there are opportunities to learn Ballet and Modern Theatre Dance
  • A number of holidays arranged each year: Skiing in the Alps, Watersports in the South of France, Adventure Holidays in North Devon, Language trips to France and Germany

Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

The Scheme is a major part of life for older pupils, encouraging such qualities as perseverance, initiative and leadership.

  • Most pupils aged over fourteen take part
  • Service, Skills, Expeditions and Physical Activity disciplines tackled
  • Recent expeditions to the Yorkshire Dales, the White and Dark Peak districts of Derbyshire, the Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds

Dyslexia and 'The Tutorial Programme'

Akeley Wood has a particular expertise in the teaching of dyslexic children.

A small number of pupils with minor difficulties work happily in the main stream classes and receive extra specialist tuition. In addition to their teaching role, the dyslexia staff encourage pupils in all their work, helping them to overcome any problems which they may encounter in their lessons.

The 'Tutorial Programme' caters for those whose dyslexia is greater. Here pupils work in much smaller classes - one in each age group - under the guidance of specially qualified teachers and assistants. This allows them to build up their skills and confidence in a relaxed but challenging environment, while enjoying the wider social life and all the opportunities of the larger school.

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Editorial office:
tel. + 48 (094)