Welcome to Frensham Heights
Frensham is a different school in many ways – and we’re very proud of that.
However, it’s only very different in the context of a traditional English public school. If you’re imagining boaters or tartan or children with badges down their lapels, then we are definitely not that. Yet if you have experienced an international school or an American school, then we’re not very different at all. In fact, so many areas that today are heralded as pioneering in education lie at the heart of what Frensham Heights has stood for since 1925.
Rick Clarke | Head of Frensham Heights
One of the things that will strike you about Frensham is the different style of relationship between the teacher and the student.
At Frensham, we use first names for everyone. The teachers are still respected, our Head, Rick, is still very much respected, but he doesn't have to be frightening, he doesn’t have to be distant. This creates a rich and engaging relationship that doesn't require anger or making children feel like they're not of value. It requires higher skills of being inspiring, being focused, being open and caring.
Our academic culture
Ours is a culture that says come and be you. Get better – be braver – take some risks.
People sometimes question if Frensham is academic enough. Yes, it is. We achieve exceptional academic standards. Our aim is to provide a really good robust academic environment alongside a much richer experience as well. We do have clear goals, but equally we want our students to be confident in themselves. Actually, that is a very powerful thing because if you value who you are, you are more likely to be successful.CurriculumThe Good Schools Guide
Will Marriott | Old Frenshamian, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys Law Firm
Frensham is a different school for people with a desire to allow their children to develop and learn to be the best person they can be...
Allowing children to understand what their loves and their passions are is the key driver to succeeding later in life. If they understand what drives them, they are more likely to be ambitious and succeed in what they do, particularly if they're positive and passionate about it... I would say it's a school for everyone but it's particularly a school for people who want to see a well rounded child, confident in their own skin and their own mind.
our younger students
A place to grow up. Regardless of age, all our children thrive in our uniquely, nurturing child-centred environment.
Our youngest students from the nursery onwards are valued and valuable members of the school community. They benefit from the same imaginative and engaging curriculum, specialist teaching and wonderful facilities as our senior students. We keep all our class sizes small enough to tailor the learning to each child's needs, to capture each one's imagination. If we can capture their imaginations when they are young, they will be curious and eager to learn for the rest of their lives.
Izzy Watts | Old Frenshamian
Frensham taught me to be independent and stand alone while still being able to make friends and be part of a group.
It's a really supportive atmosphere that means you're able to try different things and that really does give you confidence later on. I felt really well prepared for university. Many other students thought they had to wait for someone else to tell them where to go and what to do, whereas I was already quite curious, going off by myself and making sure I had myself sorted.
We want homework that’s clever, particularly for our younger students. We call it independent learning.
What’s the point in a child who’s already really good at multiplication spending an hour doing another 20 multiplications? Instead, make a film about it, create a poster explaining how multiplication works, prepare a presentation or come and teach multiplication to your peers. In that way, you give children opportunities to make choices, to become more involved in their learning.
Phil Kirby | Frensham Parent, Managing Director of a leading insurance broker
It's a school that has individuals, it's a school that achieves, it's a school that allows children to develop at their own pace...
A lot of the skills that Myles has learned at Frensham - teamwork, collaboration, the ability to recognise what other people want and how they are trying to achieve it - are going to work really well in the wider world... In a company like ours, we're looking for people who can collaborate, people who can empathise. We are looking for people who will be supportive and work in a team environment. Frensham has instilled this in Myles.
Teaching & Learning
We're looking to the future. We want to prepare young people who are open-minded, who are not afraid to ask the difficult questions.
These are the young people who will go into companies with the right skill set to succeed in a workplace where many traditional careers are certain to be subsumed by the ever-encroaching march of Artificial Intelligence. We want to face the challenges by encouraging our students to think, understand and ask the right questions. Likewise, we encourage and empower our teachers to be open minded, to take risks and to be creative in their teaching.Next StepsHigher & Careers Education
Franny Sullivan | Frensham Heights Student
You're not going to leave school and have people or teachers motivating you... you need to be able to self-motivate and push yourself. Frensham allows that.
School shouldn't be about pushing someone to do things they aren't capable of or don't want to be able to do. Frensham allows you to really motivate yourself, which is what you need in life. The range of subjects gives everyone the opportunity to pursue their passion. The fact that I'm taking sciences and photography allows me to have the creative side in my life but also really pursue my academia.
Does Frensham do sport? Yes, we do – we do sport really well, but we don't define sport within narrow boundaries.
We have over 100 fixtures each year, so students who love competitive games can have that here. We have our main sports but we have an open mind to new ideas. Our goal is for students to be fit and healthy. It's all about involvement and inclusion. If you want your children to love sport, love going to matches, win some, lose some and know how to win or lose well, then that's what they'll get here.
Florence Andrews | Old Frenshamian, singer and actress in London's West End
The freedom given at Frensham, perhaps more than at other schools, helps students to be more ambitious and driven rather than the other way round.
I think naturally humans want to learn – you look at toddlers and they want to learn to walk, they want to learn to talk – and I don't think that changes. The more regimented and stifling you make an educational environment, the more people resist it and decide they don't like learning. Frensham's really good at spotting what someone loves and what their talent is... and they follow that.
Our job is to recognise the students' ambitions and skills and to get them to their next step.
The overall results from one recent A Level year are a good example of how easily statistics can be skewed. On the face of it, the results were disappointing, but we were thrilled with them. That year had a small group of creatively-driven students who were not going to follow the traditional student pathway from school to university. Yet in that same group, we celebrated the fact that three had offers from Oxford and nearly all of the rest went on to their first choice university.ResultsThe Good Schools Guide
Richard Atkinson | Old Frenshamian, Systems Design Engineer for a Formula One Team
Frensham doesn't necessarily tell you what to do; it teaches you how to take responsibility for yourself.
I arrived at Frensham on a music scholarship and my mind was very streamlined to that. But Frensham allows you to explore yourself as you're growing up and I quickly realised that music was not what I wanted to pursue. So as I morphed more towards the sciences, I wasn't held back and told "you have to do your music". I think maybe at a different school that wouldn't be allowed.
"I can just be me. I don't have to be the most beautiful, the team captain and the most academic. I can be me – the best I can be – and that's enough."
Young people feel crushing pressure to conform and perform. This manifests itself in the alarming increase in anxiety, depression and self-harm. We believe children should be children for as long as possible. The community and strong relationships we have mean we can calm the very real social pressures while instilling self-belief and confidence.
Sheri Brissenden | Frensham Parent, a Vice President at The Frameworks
The school has a sense of calm built on foundations of care. They run a tight ship.
The best gift a school can give children is the freedom to pursue their purpose and passions in life. There is always a price for freedom and in this case it's what we all want: the child has to take responsibility and stand on their own two feet. It's much easier to put children in a carefully constructed box and do everything for them but that isn't how the real world works.
Kids make mistakes. That's the whole point of being a kid. It's what you learn from those mistakes that really matters.
At Frensham, we talk about cooperation rather than coercion. We do have discipline but here it means encouraging change and growth. It's about learning from mistakes but there are finite points. Students who keep making mistakes about alcohol, bullying, or drugs will be asked to leave. But when it comes to the normal childhood mistakes, we don't shout or humiliate - we support, challenge, inspire, guide and we teach them to be tolerant and kind.School RulesHeritage & Values
Esalan Gates | Frensham Heights student
I went to an all girls' school before I came to Frensham, It was very strict and the teachers were terrifying.
I came to Frensham and made friends within a week and the relationship with the teachers was the most unique thing I have ever really experienced. Frensham has given me the ability to put myself out there and say what I think if I think it's going to be valuable. Fearlessness is a difficult concept but I definitely think that Frensham instils courage in its students - I can see my courage.
We give them the opportunities to make their choices and we will respect those choices.
It is not for us to push our older students towards a career as a doctor or an artist. We will guide them of course, but it's important that they feel in control. As a result, A Level subject choices of chemistry, biology, geography and photography are not unusual. We can be flexible enough to give them that choice here because we know that following subjects you're passionate about leads to greater success.CurriculumAdmissions & Fees
Debbie Black | Old Frenshamian, Managing Editor of Elle and Cosmopolitan
Frensham is a very unique school and very... inclusive. It gives you the space to be who you are and to be the best that you can be.
Frensham brought out who I am as a person. I don't think I would have been this ambitious had I been anywhere else. You learn to be resilient and that if there's something you really want, you have to work to get it. Even my friends who knew me before, during and after Frensham have said how much of an impact it has had on me.
The values that have lasted 90 years
Paul Roberts, Frensham's first headmaster, said that Frensham wanted children to be mature, free, courageous and happy.
It's a lovely motto. It means allowing children to be children, allowing them to make mistakes, allowing them to have ambitions and allowing them to try things and make up their own minds. As a result, they actually are 'mature, free, courageous and happy'. The heart of Frensham, the ethos if you like, has remained constant for over 90 years.
Cosmo Lupton | Frensham Heights student
Frensham's allowed me to flourish in academics; all the subjects I do are academic subjects.
The relationship between teachers and students is very well built for both creative and academic subjects. It's actually benefited me enormously on the academic side of things because it has meant that I am motivated to learn for myself, to think independently rather than simply cram in information and just get the results the school wants.
With real adventure the unexpected will always happen and it is then that students discover their true strengths and exceed their personal limits.
Our Outdoor Education programme runs from Forest Classes for the youngest students, Duke of Edinburgh challenges for older students through to overseas ventures, mountaineering and exploring for the sixth form students. Whatever the adventure, our aim is to ensure students enjoy the freedom to explore, investigate, experience and take small but significant risks that help them grow into curious and self-aware adults.
Stephen Barrett | Old Frenshamian, architect & partner at RSH & Partners
The combination of science and culture, technology and creativity is an unbeatable one.
Schools like Frensham are uniquely important in that they encourage a kind of exploratory, creative spirit that contributes in a significant way to the British economy, not to mention helping to nurture these professions in which Britain is world-leading. We face some significant challenges in the future - automation being one of them. Creative industries are those that are going to be most difficult to replace, to substitute with a robot.
Alongside our many and varied extracurricular activities, boarders are offered shopping, theatre and cinema trips.
We welcome boarders from Year 7 upwards and offer full, weekly and, where space allows, flexi boarding. Students can get to know and bond with the small dedicated staff teams and parents can feel confident that we know and look after their children. Our coeducational boarding houses are relaxed, warm, lively and supportive with boys and girls accommodated in separate areas but sharing comfortable common rooms where they can study and socialise.BoardingAdmissions & Fees
Duncan Watts | Old Frenshamian, Industry Manager for Google
Looking ahead, it's impossible to predict the impact of technology on the working environment other than to say it's going to be very different.
The best you can expect is to have a well rounded education that exposes kids to a huge diversity of things and does not channel them down traditional subjects. Creativity is at its core because true creativity is not something you can very easily teach a machine. It's also the human element... emotional intelligence, listening are all skills that, along with creativity, will be valued to an even greater extent in society in the future. I can't really think of a better place than Frensham to have those nurtured.
Thank you to all our students, Old Frenshamians and parents who agreed to share their words.
Looking through, there is definitely a pattern of key words. Individuality, relationships, motivation, opportunity, creativity, confidence and respect - all come up time and again. They are all characteristics that have been at the heart of this extraordinary school for over 90 years. Our founders would be delighted to know that their vision has remained both integral to the school and relevant to our times.