Windlesham House School
About this school
Introduction to Windlesham
Windlesham House School is an independent, day and boarding prep school for boys and girls aged 4 to 13, set in 65 acres of South Downs, centrally situated between Horsham, Worthing, Brighton and Chichester. Founded in 1837, it is one of the oldest prep schools in the UK.
Although Windlesham is one of the oldest prep schools in the country (Est.1837), it has always led the way in embracing the new.
It was the first prep school to go co-ed in 1967, and has a long-held policy of no school uniform which helps children feel relaxed and embrace the extensive grounds and climb a tree or two - there are over 1000 to choose from! It has fantastic facilities including a new state-of-the-art sports hall and 6 lane swimming pool, theatre and floodlit astro-turf.
Over and above excellent academics, there is an extensive co-curricular programme with over 100 activities to choose from and try out. The school runs a Windlesham Diploma in Years 7 & 8 and the Windlesham Challenge for juniors. These programmes ensure full preparation for senior school and beyond including: leadership and teamwork; entrepreneurship; community and outdoor education. Windlesham takes full advantage of its location in the South Downs National Park and proximity to the coast.
Windlesham is recognised for its pastoral care and community of trust and respect for others. It has always been family run and the original family are still involved. All these aspects merge together to give its unique and special feel that pupils, parents and alumni people describe.
To ensure you are on the radar, you should register your child as soon as you can. This can be either pre or post a visit to the school. The Admissions Team will stay in touch with you in the lead up to the next stages. Taster days (nursery visits if it is for Reception) and tests take place the year before the child is due to start and a deposit is due then. The school does take last minute places mid year so it’s worth contacting Admissions if you want to apply mid-year or at late notice.
Windlesham House welcomes day and boarding (flexi, weekly and full) pupils from the UK and internationally. The school is ‘gently selective’ and international pupils should have a good grasp of English, although the school has a dedicated ESOL department.
About the Head
Mr Ben Evans
Devonshire born and bred, Ben Evans spent a large part of his childhood on Dartmoor where his mother now breeds Dartmoor ponies. He enjoyed lots of riding across the moor and worked at a trekking centre for many years during the holidays, plus broke horses to harness – quite a dangerous occupation at times.
He graduated from the University of Exeter with a 2:1 (Hons) degree in History and Archaeology and qualified as a secondary History teacher with games a year later. While at University he was a member of the Officer Training Corps for 3 years (passed MTQ1 and 2) and a CCF instructor.
His first appointment was at Bramdean School (3-18 independent school) where he was a resident Housemaster and Head of History. He moved on to Brighton College as Head of History and continued to coach games and swimming, as well as accompanying the cricket team to South Africa on a 3 week tour. He then went back to Bramdean as Deputy Head.
His next move was further afield – this time to Sri Lanka to be the Deputy Head at The British School in Colombo (he was also KS2 co-ordinator and Year 5 teacher). After two years he took over as Head and by the time he moved back to the UK in July 2012, there were 760 pupils on roll. He reorganised the curriculum, assessment, management structure and resource levels and had waiting lists in all year groups.
He met his wife, Alexandra, whilst in Sri Lanka and they married in 2008. Their son Edward was born in 2011, followed by Thomas in 2014. Ben joined Edge Grove in 2012 and has overseen the growth of the school from 320 to 528 pupils, the relocation of the Nursery off-site and most recently, the construction of a new, state of the art Lower School building.
Ben joined Windlesham in September 2020 as Headmaster.
Ben is currently an elected Councillor for Aldenham Parish Council, a Director of the Spiral Partnership Trust (a multi-academy trust of six primary schools) and a member of the Board of Reference for St Peter’s Prep school in Devon. In his spare time he enjoys all sports, has run 4 marathons, the most recent in 2017 and 2019 and spending time with his young family.
The wonderful Sports Centre & Swimming Pool
Windlesham excels at finding and developing the abilities of all our pupils, celebrating their talents and teaching them the knowledge, knowhow, skills and confidence they need to succeed in their senior school and beyond.
As a result 100% of our Leavers are accepted at the senior school of their choice and 25% of our pupils are awarded scholarships by their chosen senior school, including 2 Eton King’s Scholars in the last 3 years.
For those children joining us in Years 3 to 7 who have exceptional ability and potential in any given discipline we offer our specialist Scholarship programme providing a range of benefits including a significant discount on the normal school fees and extra tutoring and/or specialist coaching and instruction to help them excel during their formative years.
Applying For A Windlesham Scholarship
Scholarships are awarded to children who wish to benefit from all a Windlesham education can give them and who demonstrate outstanding potential in one or more of the following disciplines:
- Sport (including Elite Swimming and Elite Golf)
- Art & Design
- Computing & Digital (ICT)
In addition to showing aptitude in their chosen discipline all candidates must have good academic ability and perform well in interviews.
All rounder scholarships will be awarded at the discretion of the school.
We will be offering additional scholarship places to children and siblings of Alumni. If this applies to your child, please state this in your application.
We will expect each Scholar to maintain a consistently high level of effort and attainment and to participate enthusiastically in the extra-curricular life of the school.
Bursaries (Additional Financial Support)
Means-tested bursaries (grants towards fees) are also available to scholars who require additional financial support. Once a child has been awarded a scholarship their parents may apply for a bursary. If our bursary programme is of interest please contact us for more information.
Windlesham House School is one of the oldest independent preparatory schools in the country and the first independent preparatory boarding school to become co-educational.
The school was founded under a different name in 1837 on the Isle of Wight by Lieutenant Charles Robert Malden, who founded and began running the school with guidance from masters at the prestigious Rugby School in Warwickshire.
After nine years, Malden decided to move the school from the Isle of Wight to a more urban setting in Norfolk Terrace in Brighton close to the popular tourist resort.
Highden House, West Sussex
When Brighton and Hove grew during the early 20th century and the area became more urbanised, the school moved to a new location in the countryside near Portslade in 1913 for twenty years.
However Portslade soon fell victim to urbanisation too and so Windlesham moved again in 1934 to its long-term ‘home’ and current location in the magnificent Queen Anne ‘Highden House’ near Washington, West Sussex.
During World War Two, the evacuation of children took the school temporarily to Somerset and then the Lake District, before returning to Highden in 1945 for the final time.
The children have now been boarding in Highden House for seventy years without disruption.
The School’s Name
The school’s name has no relationship with its location.
It became known as ‘Windlesham’ from 1846 onwards when the school’s founder, Charles Robert Malden, married the daughter of a vicar based in Windlesham, Surrey.
Throughout the first 157 years of its existence, Windlesham remained in the hands of five generations of the same family, until the retirement, in 1994, of the second Mr and Mrs Charles, Charles and Elizabeth Ann Malden.
The school now has its own beautiful theatre, named in honour of the Malden family. The family still play an active role in the school via the Governing Body. Our Chair of Governors, and alumnus, Douglas Moody-Stuart is the son-in-law of Elizabeth Ann Malden.
Our previous Headmaster Richard Foster and his wife Rachel have recently retired after 13 years at Windlesham, succeeded by Ben Evans who arrived with his wife Alex and two children to take up the headship in September 2020.
‘Old Harry’ Malden
Henry Charles Malden, the second Windlesham House Headmaster, affectionately known to his pupils as ‘Old Harry’, was the eldest son of the founder and ran the school from 1855 to 1888.
However even before taking on the school Henry had already guaranteed his place in history by helping to draw up the first rules of football!
A ‘Father’ Of Football
The story goes that whilst Henry was at Trinity College Cambridge football was a hopeless game because there were no official rules. A meeting was duly called in… Henry Malden’s college rooms! It was attended by representatives from the Public Schools, who were so frequently at odds about the various rules of football, and by two representatives of Cambridge who had not been to a Public School.
At this momentous gathering the Cambridge Football Rules were drawn up and the large majority of these were later to be taken on formally by the Association of Football. As a result Henry Malden is now often referred to as one of the ‘fathers’ of football!
The ‘Windlesham’ Chapel
In 1896, the then Heads, the first Mr and Mrs Charles, were visiting Oxford and discovered that St Martin’s Church at Carfax was being demolished.
With Windlesham in need of a Chapel, they stopped the demolition and brought as much of the Chapel as possible back to Sussex. So, leaving Carfax Tower to stand alone as it still does today, most of the remainder of the building was re-erected in Brighton, where it was re-dedicated in 1897 as All Saints’ Chapel.
That chapel moved again with the school in 1913 and once more in 1934 to its final location where it can be found at the heart of the Windlesham of today.
What are our favourite things about school?
Oldest and youngest boys discuss what they enjoy about school.
My daughter has been allowed to be a child.