What I noticed first about the Elms children, when I arrived as Headmaster, was that they throw themselves into all that life brings with enthusiasm and a smile on their faces. They have a go, they encourage each other and they laugh a lot. Together the staff and the children create a tremendously positive community in which to learn and grow. I am immensely proud of them all and the range of their talents and abilities.

Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the foot of the Malvern Hills, the school has been here for over 400 years. With 110 acres of grounds and our small farm, it provides an enormous and incredibly beautiful outside classroom and home to the children and many of the staff, including me.

Our school encompasses the Montessori Early Years (for children aged 3-5) which guides young children’s learning at their own pace, through the Pre-Prep (aged 6-7) where children transition to a more conventional classroom approach and on to Main School (aged 8-13).

We are very conscious of the trust that you, as parents, place in us when you give your children into our care. As we know, children need a breadth of experience, a depth of knowledge and a well of self-confidence to draw on to make a success of their next school and their lives beyond. The life of our school is wholly geared to equip the children with these resources inside the classroom and outside, through individual effort and team work, be it academically, in the theatre, on the sports field, riding their ponies or playing in the “jungle”.

The Elms is built on the ethos of a full boarding school, which brings many benefits for all children, not just those who board full-time or flexi-board but for those who do not, at least initially, board at all. The boarding ethos creates the family atmosphere that allows children to enjoy their childhood, take the risk of trying new things and learn to live with others. Our children are drawn from the surrounding counties but also from families whose parents may be working further afield in the UK or abroad, or who find that what we have to offer is simply not available elsewhere.

I am delighted that our approach seems to work. The children pass on to their senior schools  across the country via success in the Common Entrance exams and Scholarships in academics, music, art, drama, sport and riding. We are proud to report that almost 50% of our children achieve scholarships and awards, with 100% passing C.E. Senior School Registrars regularly congratulate us on the grounded, enthusiastic and well-rounded children who arrive from The Elms. Guides and tutors who encounter our children on expeditions frequently comment on their “can do” approach, their good manners and good behaviour among themselves and with others.

Our school might not be for everyone. We do not seek to “hot house” our children. Our task is to lift them to where they will succeed according to their own abilities, but not to squeeze every last drop of effort out of them, leaving them jaded or exhausted. We want them to arrive at their next school able to make the transition easily, with a love of learning, full of enthusiasm and with plenty more to give during their senior years.

I hope you will come to visit The Elms. Whilst we host open days from time to time, we much prefer to welcome you individually so, if you like what you see here, do please call us to arrange a  visit to see the school in action and meet the children for yourselves. Wellington boots or sensible shoes definitely recommended!


Alastair Thomas