A small prep school, now part of the King’s Ely family of schools, whose strengths include its family atmosphere, small class sizes, early teaching of Mandarin and reputation for preparing children for leading senior schools in the area.
Located in the horseracing town of Newmarket in Suffolk Fairstead House offers a pre-prep and prep education to children aged 0-11 years. The school is divided between the Pre-prep (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) and Prep (Year 3 – Year 6). There’s also a purpose-built Nursery in the grounds of Fairstead House offering full time day care all year round to children aged three months to four years old.
Fairstead House is a small school of around 200 students with a caring, family vibe. It’s a school where students sit with their class teachers for lunch every day, and kindness cups are awarded to children who show kindness and consideration towards others.
The school’s rural setting is part of its charm, but it remains within easy reach of Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge and Ely, and most students live locally. Children move on from Fairstead House to various state and independent schools in the area, including King’s Ely, The Perse School and St Mary’s Cambridge, many with scholarships.
Founded in 1950, Fairstead House has recently joined the King’s Ely family of schools; the merger was initiated by King’s Ely as part of its strategic plan to partner with another successful local pre-preparatory and preparatory school.
Nicholas Longford, Chair of Governors at Fairstead House, said:
“For some time, the Governors have been considering how best to preserve and develop the long-term future of Fairstead House in the context of considerable changes in the independent sector. The merger will allow both schools to continue to grow and prosper, which will in turn create greater scale and additional, beneficial opportunities going forward.
“The similarity in ethos and educational philosophy of our schools and the relative proximity of their sites, in the context of the general trend of school consolidation, makes the merger a natural, obvious and achievable one. This is a wonderful and exciting opportunity for Fairstead House. It opens a new chapter in our history to secure the long-term future of our unique school as part of a successful, growing, financially secure foundation, whose ethos and educational philosophy already match those of Fairstead House.”
Both Fairstead House and King’s Ely will retain their own identity, name, uniform, badge and autonomy. King’s Ely is a co-ed day and boarding all-through school in Cambridgeshire known to be an excellent all-rounder school that has an excellent outdoor education scheme, an outstanding music and drama department, and an ambitious modern languages programme.
The current Acting Head is Michael Radford.
The school was rated Good in all areas in its latest inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2020.
Teaching follows the National Curriculum for England but is enhanced in certain areas; for example, all students learn Mandarin and a combination of Spanish and French, and subjects such as art and sport are taught by specialist teachers.
As part of the school’s wider curriculum, there are residential field trips from Year 3, regular day trips, and wide choice of clubs and activities at both lunch times and after school. These include multi sports, athletics, chess, animation, storytelling, orchestra and textiles, and are include in the annual fees.
Specialist coaches teach rugby, football, netball, hockey, rounders, athletics, cross country, tennis and cricket in addition to gymnastics and dance. Years 1 and 2 also have swim lessons. All students have a chance to compete in a variety of sports, either as part of house teams or in fixtures against other prep schools in the area.
The school encourages wide participation in the arts, from private tuition in a wide range of instruments including the piano, cello, flute, violin, clarinet, guitar, drums, violin, recorder, saxophone and trumpet to performances in the school orchestra and the choirs, and annual production.
The school is most popular with children from the areas surrounding Newmarket including Suffolk villages Moulton, Barton Mills and Red Lodge. Annual tuition fees range from £10,704 in Reception, Years 1 and 2 £3,568 up to £11,934 in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6; there are extra costs for Breakfast Club and After School Care which can extend the school day from 7.30am until 6pm – ideal for working parents.
Scholarships are available in a subjects such as academia, music, drama or sport from Year 5 onwards.
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