We have a genuine investment in childhood where the wellbeing of the child is central to everything we do. We celebrate their diversity and provide a truly inspirational start in life. We provide a tailored experience for every child. The size and nature of our school gives the comfort of an extended family feeling and allows us to enjoy small class sizes. Many staff bring their dogs to school and can be found in the classrooms and running around at break time. This also adds to the warm family feeling in the school.

What is The Elms’ ethos?

Our children are encouraged to aim to be the best they can be and to test themselves. The ‘can do’ attitude is inbuilt in children who are at The Elms. Character is forged in the furnace of failure; our children are not afraid of it as they understand that we learn most when things go wrong. We encourage each other and revel in each other’s joy. We are a rural school, but don’t let this fool you into thinking that we are anything less than aspirational, driven and competitive. Our children are fiercely proud and loyal, be it on the stage, sports field or in the classroom. Our school farm and equine centre help to ensure our children are grounded and rounded. Whilst we deliver a personalised journey the children understand that they are key players in the community and that each of us has a role to play.

“We are in an incredible rural location and that gives us the opportunity to harness childhood. It certainly struck me the first time I walked through the gates, that actually it was a place that I could imagine myself being a child. The boys wear shorts until they leave. It’s a sanctuary for childhood and that for me really rings true to my values and my ideas of what prep school life should be about. We don’t have any screens here at The Elms; the children don’t have phones or iPads and so when you wander outside, you will find them playing conkers or find them rollerblading up and down outside the theatre. It is proper childhood and I think first and foremost this is the most important thing to me. If the children enjoy themselves, they are going to achieve.

It is helped by the fact that we are a small, independent prep school. We have day, flexi and full boarders. We harness boarding principles. What makes our boarding great is our deep pastoral care and a deep understanding of our children which is not limited to just the boarders; it is given to all the children in the school. We will never be home and replace a family, but what we do here is create a homely environment. We are in’ loco parentis’ and we are here to care for these children. There is no greater responsibility than looking after your own and other people’s children.

We don’t finish the job here. We lay the foundations that the next school builds on. It is vital that we send the children to the right schools. What I would say to any prospective parent is that you can listen to me, you can read our prospectus, you can look at our website but actually come and meet and talk to the children because you hear the enthusiasm in their voices and you talk to them about what they enjoy at The Elms, they will all have different things to share with you. This is all built on the same thing which is a real passion for life.”

Chris Hattam, Headmaster