We speak to headteacher Cathy Trundle to find out more about Chinthurst School, the Surrey-based independent nursery, pre-prep and preparatory school
How long have you been at Chinthurst School?
I joined Chinthurst in March, when the school became part of the Reigate Grammar School (RGS) family. I had joined RGS’s junior school, Reigate St Mary’s, in 2007 and was deputy head for seven years. I loved the atmosphere there and was delighted to have the opportunity to take up a headship within the RGS group at a school with a very similar feel. The children at Chinthurst make me smile every day!
Can you tell us a little bit about the school’s history?
The school was founded in 1908 by Miss Alice Atkins, in an old perfume factory. Two years later she purchased a farmer’s field in Tadworth and constructed a large building to house the increasing number of pupils. The school remains on this site today and has grown into a modern, forward-thinking prep. We hope that Miss Atkins would be pleased to know that her original school building is still at the heart of it.
What do you see as the school’s main strengths?
We are proud of our reputation as a caring, family school with excellent academics. This year our 11-plus results were outstanding and our Year 6 pupils went on to a range of top independent and state schools, many with scholarships for academics, music, sport and art. More than that, they left as well-rounded individuals ready to embrace the next set of challenges and with an enthusiasm for life that is very much a reflection of Chinthurst.
The school is now in the fortunate position that it can thrive and grow within the supportive framework of the RGS family and our Year 5 pupils can benefit from early offer entrance arrangements to RGS, should this be their chosen path.
How do you nurture learning in the Early Years?
Our ‘Little Chicks’ have a gentle introduction to school life within a caring and stimulating environment that encourages learning through fun and rewarding play activities. The learning journey is continued in Kindergarten and, as the children develop, they benefit from a wealth of activities and experiences.
We have a fully qualified Forest School teacher and the children enjoy enormously the regular outdoor Forest School sessions. Specialist music and games lessons each week are great fun and the children love using their own ICT suite and the interactive whiteboards. They reach Reception as enthusiastic learners where a significant boost to the pace of learning is facilitated by excellent teacher to child ratios. I always enjoy visiting the Reception classrooms and watching how the pupils and staff interact. Whether they are collecting conkers or working on their phonics, the children are clearly secure and happy, and that is the best foundation for learning they can get.
What’s coming up for Chinthurst School in 2018?
It is an exciting time for us! Our numbers have grown significantly this academic year and we have plans to continue to improve our beautiful school site and expand our children’s opportunities.
The best way for prospective parents to find out about the excellent education we offer is to come to one of our regular open mornings or arrange a private tour and see the teachers and children at work, happy and engaged in their learning experiences.
52 Tadworth Street, Tadworth KT20 5QZ. 01737 812011, chinthurstschool.co.uk