Caterham School: Exploring Reviews, Rankings, Fees, And More

Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. With so many factors to consider—academics, extracurricular activities, community, and cost—it can feel overwhelming. In this article, we delve into Caterham School, a renowned institution in the UK, to provide you with a well-rounded view of what it has to offer. From honest reviews and current rankings to detailed fee structures and unique features, we aim to give you all the information you need to decide if Caterham School is the right fit for your family. Join us as we explore what makes Caterham stand out in the crowded field of British education.

Caterham School Review

Table of Contents

Key Features of Caterham School

  • Local authority: Surrey (Only 20 miles from London)
  • Pupils: 900 ; sixth formers: 313
  • Religion: United Reformed Church
  • Boarding: Around 100 boys and 70 girls (mostly international students)
  • Fees: Day £22,335; Boarding £45,945 pa

Caterham School Results

A-Level Results (2023)

    • 85% of grades were A*-B
    • Almost two-thirds of grades were A*/A
    • 25% of all grades were A*

GCSE Results

    • 2023: 69% of grades were 9 to 8
    • 2022: 90% of grades were 9 to 7
    • 2019: 79% of grades were 9 to 7 (pre-pandemic results)

Notable Student Achievements

    • 99% of students remain at Caterham after GCSEs for A-levels
    • 9 pupils achieved a clean sweep of grade 9s in every exam
    • 24 pupils earned at least 10 grade 9s across their subjects

University Admissions

    • 6 students accepted to Oxford
    • 5 students accepted to Cambridge
    • 3 students accepted to the London School of Economics (LSE)
    • 3 students accepted to University College London (UCL)
    • 85% of students secured their first-choice university and course

These highlights demonstrate Caterham School’s strong academic performance and its effectiveness in preparing students for higher education.

Teaching and Learning in Caterham School

At Caterham School, the philosophy is clear: learning comes first. The school is nurturing independent thinkers through a method known as ‘productive struggle.’ This approach encourages students to embrace challenges and learn from their mistakes in a safe and constructive environment. By exposing pupils to enquiry, awe, and wonder, Caterham equips pupils to think for themselves, even when faced with road bumps.

Broad and Diverse Curriculum

  • Years 7 and 8: Students follow a broad curriculum that includes two modern languages and Latin. Ancient Greek becomes an option in Year 9, allowing students to delve deeper into classical studies.
  • GCSE and A-Level Options: The school offers a wide range of GCSE subjects, including business studies, computer science, music, drama, and PE. For Year 12 students, psychology, politics, and economics are added to the mix. Every student begins their sixth form studies with four A-level subjects, choosing from over 20 options.

The EDGE Curriculum

The timetabled EDGE (Explore, Develop, Grow, Evolve) curriculum is a cornerstone of the learning experience at Caterham. This innovative programme focuses on metacognition, big ideas, and problem-solving. It integrates elements of business and entrepreneurship, iterative design, and logic, challenging students to think critically about issues like GroupThink and navigating new technologies like ChatGPT.

As an Apple Distinguished School, Caterham provides pupils with iPads, facilitating both written and verbal feedback. This integration of technology is part of the school’s ongoing commitment to nurturing digital, soft, and social skills.

Enrichment and Extracurricular Opportunities

Enrichment is seamlessly woven into the academic fabric of Caterham School. Programmes aim to cultivate a passion for learning across all interests, from academic scholars to sporty types. 

For instance, the Moncrieff-Jones Society has been a platform for science enthusiasts for 55 years, hosting a Christmas lecture and a formal speaker series. Contributors to this society also write for the school’s science magazine, Quantum Ultimatum. Similarly, the Wright Society produces Caterham’s own Medical Journal, showcasing the work of budding medics, vets, and dentists.

Boarding Experience in Caterham School

Caterham School understands the importance for parents to feel confident that their children will be happy, safe, and well-cared for while boarding. The boarding community, which makes up just under 20% of the student body, is vibrant and diverse, with 70% of boarders coming from overseas. Whether a student is joining for full, weekly, or the new half-weekly boarding (two or three nights a week), they will find a supportive and welcoming environment.

Comfortable and Convenient Living Arrangements

  • Girls in Beech Hanger: This boarding house is behind the sports centre and a short stroll from the senior school, this cosy accommodation provides a comfortable space for female boarders.
  • Junior Boys in Townsend: With views overlooking sports fields and woodland, Townsend offers a picturesque and secure environment for younger boys.
  • Senior Boys in Viney: Located within the main school building, Viney provides senior boys with convenient access to all school facilities.

Each house is equipped with a variety of recreational activities, including table football, gaming consoles, and board games, ensuring there’s always something fun to do.

Exceptional Pastoral Care

Matrons work tirelessly to create a home-away-from-home atmosphere, caring and supporting every boarder. Caterham’s pastoral care is indeed one of the best in the country, with a wellbeing programme that covers all aspects of student health. This includes personal hygiene and others because these practical life skills are just as important as academic learning. On top of that, there are three registered nurses on rotation, while the doctor drops by twice a week.

Dining and Nutrition

Caterham School constantly strives to improve its catering, working closely with a catering company to offer diverse and nutritious meals. Various dietary needs are catered to, including providing halal and vegetarian options, ensuring that all students can enjoy delicious and healthy meals.

Weekend Activities and Free Time

The boarding programme includes many fixtures on Saturdays, offering students the opportunity to engage in sports and other activities. For those who prefer some downtime, Saturdays can be spent relaxing or catching up on personal interests. Most boarding activities happen on Sundays, featuring exciting options like theme parks and day trips, which are entirely optional. Interestingly, the girls often have fun cooking sessions where they cook together and of course, feast!

Structured Routine

To help maintain a healthy balance, younger boarders have a lights-out time of 9:30pm, while older boarders’ lights-out is at 11pm. Good digital habits are encouraged by having lockers for devices 30 minutes before lights out, though sixth formers are allowed to keep their devices.

Extracurricular Activities in Caterham School

Caterham School offers an extensive range of extracurricular activities, ensuring that every student can find something to ignite their passion and creativity. Here’s a glimpse into the vibrant extracurricular scene at Caterham:

Music and Performing Arts

  • Musical Variety: From symphony orchestras to soul bands, close harmony groups to musical theatre and gospel choirs, Caterham provides a rich tapestry of musical opportunities. Around 35% of students learn an instrument, with double bassists often seen adding depth to the strings groups.
  • Showcases and Performances: MAD Live is a popular showcase of music and dance, while Live Lounge performances offer a more relaxed atmosphere. The school boasts two theatres for these productions and also a state-of-the-art recording studio for aspiring musicians.
  • Arts Offerings: The arts programme is equally lively, with clubs in graphics, textiles, and photography. The school magazine, “Cat Among the Pigeons,” features a rich collection of literature and art, including themes as diverse as optimism in Brontë and creative pieces involving face-masks and nudes.

Visual Arts and Technology

  • Artistic Diversity: Caterham supports a wide range of visual arts, from metalwork and woodwork to computer-aided design (CAD). Students have the opportunity to work in well-equipped rooms dedicated to these disciplines.
  • Achievements: One pupil recently won a silver medal in the ARTiculation competition, presenting on AI and algorithms in art, showcasing the school’s encouragement of innovative thinking.

Unique Clubs and Activities

  • Innovative Clubs: Caterham offers clubs that go beyond the traditional, including e-sports fixtures, a flying club, and a podcasting booth. The Lovelace Coding Club is designed specifically for girls interested in programming, while the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Club allows younger students to build humanoid robots and shooting scorpions.

Balancing Activities

With such a broad array of activities, it’s no surprise that students are kept busy. Some parents note that the packed schedule can be overwhelming, particularly when juggling winter nets, rugby sevens, and concerts simultaneously. However, Caterham School anticipates these challenges and actively helps students manage their time and priorities, even calling home if they notice someone may have too much on their plate. 

Sports Activities in Caterham School

With 180 acres to play on, Caterham School offers an impressive array of sports facilities that cater to a wide range of interests and abilities. The school’s major sports include rugby, hockey, and cricket for boys, and netball and lacrosse for girls, with tennis and athletics enjoyed by both.

Facilities and Infrastructure

  • Extensive Facilities: The campus features two gyms—one standard and one performance—catering to different levels of fitness. A dedicated sports centre is currently undergoing further transformation, which will include a PE classroom, a sports rehab room, and a café. The dance studio boasts a proper sprung floor, enhancing the experience for dancers.
  • Major Sports: The school is proud of its strong hockey programme, being current London champions, and parents are hopeful for the growth of girls’ cricket, especially as new cohorts from Caterham Prep are well-versed in the sport.

Inclusivity and Fun

  • All-Encompassing Approach: Caterham School believes in providing opportunities for all students, running as many teams as possible. Even the U14 D teams get their share of the action, without the pressure of constant fixtures. This inclusive approach is appreciated by parents who value the focus on participation over elitism.

Diverse Sports Offerings

  • Variety Beyond the Mainstream: For students less inclined towards traditional sports, Caterham offers a range of activities like judo, archery, fencing, taekwondo, and synchronised swimming. This ensures there’s something for everyone, whether they prefer team sports or individual pursuits.
  • Competitive Spirit: While team performances can vary year to year, the school’s co-ed environment fosters a healthy competitive spirit. Students often make it through the group rounds in tournaments, with the excitement of knockout stages adding to the fun.

Admissions Process: Entering Caterham School

The admissions process at Caterham School is designed to be thorough yet engaging, ensuring that students and their families feel comfortable and well-informed. Here’s a look at how it works for different entry points:

11+ and 13+ Admissions

  • Pre-tests and Entrance Exams: Applicants must take the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB) pre-tests along with Caterham’s own entrance tests.
  • Activity Day: Prospective students participate in a day of fun activities, allowing them to experience the school’s environment and culture.
  • Early Assessment: For 13+ entry, students can be assessed as early as Year 6 for deferred entry, giving them the peace of mind of having a place secured. Others are assessed in Years 7 or 8.
  • Limited Places at 13+: It’s important to note that places for 13+ entry are very limited, making early assessment advantageous.

16+ Admissions

  • Tests and Interview: Applicants are required to take the school’s own tests and attend an interview to assess their suitability and readiness for the A-level programme.

Scholarships

  • Unique Scholarship Opportunities: Caterham offers a range of scholarships that go beyond the standard academic and co-curricular awards. These include innovative categories such as entrepreneurship, chess, and dance, catering to a wide array of talents and interests.

Diverse Intake

  • Wide Range of Feeder Schools: Caterham attracts students from around 40 different schools, including its own Caterham Prep, ensuring a diverse and vibrant community.

SEN Support

The school is well-equipped to support students with special educational needs such as:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Aspergers
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders

Caterham School testimonials and Reviews

Sidikat Malik
5/5

A fantastic learning environment with top notch facilities. This school deserves its rating as one of the best independent schools in England. Academics, technology, music, drama and sports are highly rated.

Bellie99
5/5

I love the school and very happy. Eldest has left a few years ago and youngest doing GCSEs. They don’t want to look anywhere else for sixth form which I guess is a good sign.

In terms of where to live, we live in Caterham. For the eldest, all their friends were in Sevenoaks so we did lots of travelling at weekends for parties etc, however youngest has majority of friends in caterham so they all hang out locally. Some in Oxted so again v close.

The school buses run from sevenoaks, Reigate, Tonbridge, East Grinstrad, Crawley, Cheam, Purley and Sutton so a large radius and friends in classes could be anywhere. Some also get train into Caterham and they run minibuses from the station although it is only a 10 min walk.

Nightshade9
5/5

Caterham is a lovely school, my daughter is another local private secondary school but we did seriously consider Caterham at 11. The grounds and sports facilities are brilliant. The kids love playing matches at Caterham. I thought the pastoral care and extra curricula options seemed excellent. We only went for the alternative due to it being similarly good and being much closer to us.

Krishan Champaneri
5/5

Frequently Asked Questions

Boarding schools in the UK are educational institutions where students reside on campus, away from their homes. These schools offer full-time boarding options, where students live and study during term time, typically returning home during holidays.

Boarding schools offer a nurturing and immersive educational experience. Benefits include a structured environment for academics, access to a wide range of extracurricular activities, the development of independence and life skills, and a close-knit community that fosters lifelong friendships.

No, boarding schools in the UK welcome students from all over the world. Many schools have a diverse student body with students from various countries.

Boarding schools prioritise the safety and well-being of their students. They have trained staff, supervision protocols, health services, and designated staff members to address students’ emotional and social needs.

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