Deputy Head Academic

Mrs H. Pakenham-WalshBA Ed (Hons)

We want to inspire children to love learning and to embrace the all-round education we provide. If children feel safe, confident and secure they leave the Prep School being motivated and driven to succeed. Many of our pupils have been recognised in national academic competitions such as the Townsend Warner History competition, Primary and Junior Mathematics Challenges and Young Writer’s competitions. We are proud to have gained 28 awards and scholarships to senior schools last year which is testament to the dedication and aspirations of our staff and pupils.


At the start of the pupils’ journey we focus on class teaching, where the central figure is the Form Tutor. The class sizes are small to give the children more individual attention and give them the sense of a safe and secure learning environment. They have most of their lessons in their classroom but also benefit from the specialised facilities for Science, Art, Music, Drama and Dance.

As the pupils progress through the School, the teaching is delivered by subject specialists and the pupils, rather than the teacher, move around the campus, encouraging their development to gain further organisational skills and independence.


From Form 3 we begin to hone in on delivering the curriculum in a way to stretch the most able; support the weaker pupils and ensure each pupil reaches their full potential through our setting structure. The wealth of experience of our staff enables us to set in blocks in Maths, Science, English and French from Form 4.


At the top level we adopt a discrete upper stream. This is aimed at our highest achieving pupils. They are taught as a class in all subjects so that they can develop inquiring minds with children of similar ability; a healthy dose of competitiveness allows these pupils to strive for the highest heights and often gaining scholarships and awards to many of the top public schools such as Eton, Cranleigh, Wellington, Winchester and Brighton College, to name but a few.

We are proud to be so innovative in our More Able programme. Each section of the school has the opportunity to be challenged through investigations, problem solving and discussion groups in Maths, English and Science in our enrichment blocks that occur throughout the year. Each more able pupil is provided for individually so that they can reach their full potential.

Our pupils are exposed to a wealth of opportunities within the curriculum. We pride ourselves on a curriculum that not only enables our pupils to achieve exceptionally good examination results but also engages them in the excitement of learning and preparing them for the wider world.

Cranleighans grow up to be independent, thoughtful and well-rounded; confident in their ability to question, analyse and express opinions. They experience a diverse programme of study from Maths Puzzle days to Shakespeare; from modular Humanities courses to philosophical thinking.

Our Form 5 pupils undertake an extended project, based on the IPQ (ISEB Project Qualification) which enables them to explore a question of their own choosing in greater depth and also learn how to record their findings in a coherent and mature manner; with advanced referencing skills.

We teach our pupils how to study with our Study Skills programme. Our schemes of work are tailored to the ever developing world we live in. We want our pupils to be at the forefront of innovation as well as secure in the fundamental core skills in Maths, English and Science.


Cranleigh Prep School has a wealth of facilities and our 240-acre site, shared with the Senior School, enables our pupils to have the freedom to explore learning both in and out of the classroom. They are exposed to a multitude of trips; trips to museums, castles, medieval cities and coastal adventure excursions. They have opportunities to participate in fieldwork and river studies.

We regularly hold theme days such as rocket building, Greek mythology, Tudor Balls and much more. Our Patron of Reading ensures that the children’s love of books is related to a well-known author so that they can see how school skills are transferrable in real life. These outings, visiting speakers and theme days put their learning in context and encourage the pupils to become creative thinkers who communicate at a level beyond their years…it is about bringing their learning to life.