Schools in West Essex: why you should choose us

Our guide to schools near you

Our guide to schools near you - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Check out our guide to schools in West Essex. Head teachers give their views: why should your child study here? What makes us different?

Daiglen School

Daiglen School - Credit: Archant

Loyola Preparatory School

103 Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5NH

Mrs Nash (Admissions)

020 8504 7372

Our speciality is what makes boys tick. We have identified the characteristics that distinguish boys’ learning from girls’: their greater peripheral vision, their innate competitiveness, their instinct to respond to structure and hierarchy; their practical approach to learning. We offer soccer, rugby, hockey, swimming, cricket and athletics as competitive sports; we provide access to computer and general sciences; we supply opportunities in the creative arts. The quality of our choral music is appreciated widely: our boys have sung in venues as wide as St Peter’s in Rome and the set of EastEnders. As a Roman Catholic Faith School that welcomes all denominations we seek to esteem the differences – cultural and religious – within our community: whilst maintaining the unity of being one school family, proudly maintaining fundamental British values. Our boys develop a certain presence; a sense of occasion and the self-confidence that stems from being introduced to reading out loud in front of the school from the age of 4. They are well known by their teachers and benefit from some specialist subject teaching from the age of 3 and from formal setting in maths and English from the age of 7. Come for a visit and see for yourselves! - Mr P.G.M. Nicholson, headteacher

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Established in 1900

Number of pupils: 180-200

Age range: 3 - 11

Is boarding available? No

Co-ed or single sex? Boys only

Does the school have a speciality? Catholic, educating boys, high academic, choral music & sporting achievements

Date of next open day: TBC (See website for details)

Daiglen School

78 Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5LG

Linda Palmer

020 8504 7108

Daiglen School will be celebrating its centenary year in 2016. There have been many changes, big and small since 1916 but we have maintained our traditional values whilst developing a unique style of education that nurtures children’s talents and instils in them the values and temperament to succeed. In recent years, art, music and sports scholarships have been awarded to our Year 6 leavers in addition to the very healthy proportion of academic scholarships. We would be delighted to hear from anyone previously or currently connected to the School. We invite former pupils, staff and friends from the wider community to submit memories and photographs to help us compile celebratory materials, plan events and generally mark the occasion with gusto! - Mary Bradfield, headteacher

Established in 1916

Number of pupils: 150

Age range: 3-11

Is boarding available? No

Co-ed or single sex? Co-ed

Next open day: May 21 2016 centenary fete by appointment

Avon House Preparatory School

490 High Road, Woodford Green IG8 0PN

Mrs Porter, Registrar

020 8504 1749

At Avon House we aim to provide our children with an appetite for learning, a thirst for knowledge and a curiosity for the wider world. We strive to achieve academic excellence beginning with firm foundations and to present children with occasions to create memorable experiences during these important years. Avon House is a school community where children are valued as individuals and encouraged to demonstrate their own unique personalities both in class and beyond. Through music, sport and the arts there is something for each individual and opportunities to work together as a team. The energy and imagination of the staff provide children with the enthusiasm to go the extra mile creating opportunities within our unique learning environment. Strong pastoral care adds immeasurable value to the success of the children and allows us to celebrate and support every child. By visiting our school we hope you will discover for yourself that Avon House is the right place to send your child for these formative years. - Mrs Amanda Campbell, headteacher

Established in 1965

Number of pupils: 200

Age range: 3-11

Is boarding available? No

Co-ed or single sex? Co-ed

Does the school have a speciality? A structured environment for 11+ preparation

Date of next open day: Saturday, March 5 2016

Cranbrook School

34 Mansfield Road, Ilford IG1 3BD

Rena Morzaria

020 8554 1757

I am often asked ‘what makes a good school?’ My answer is I am not really satisfied with ‘good’ and the question I would prefer is “what makes a school outstanding?” In my experience there are three essential elements. These are; highly motivated students able to fulfil their maximum potential, secondly, supportive parents who can be critical friends and finally, teachers who “aim for the stars” with their students. All these elements are in place at Cranbrook with additional positives such as small class sizes, a strong family atmosphere and an academic pedigree going back many years. Students are encouraged to become leaders and make decisions about their learning. Personal ambition and goal setting are strongly encouraged and Cranbrook former students go onto success in most areas of life. For us at Cranbrook, education is not about wonderful facilities but much more about successful interaction between our teachers and students both inside and outside the classroom. - Mr David Morrison, headteacher

Established in 1896

Number of pupils: 165

Age range: 3-16

Is boarding available? No

Co-ed or single sex? Co-ed

Does the school have a speciality? Maths and science

Date of next open day: March 10, 2016 at 9am-11am

Forest School

Snaresbrook, London E17 3PY

020 8520 1744

Forest is a large, vibrant school, with 1,350 boys and girls in equal proportion, from 4 to 18. Our traditional House structure means that each pupil is treated as an individual, of whom we have the highest expectations, while our size enables us to offer breadth and depth of opportunity. This is a humane, open-minded school with both feet on the ground, in which the pupils’ all-round personal development is outstanding and academic attainment is high. It is, above all, a happy school which understands the rich inter-relationship between the curricular, the co-curricular and the pastoral. We benefit from a tremendous location: London but not London, a city school surrounded by ancient forest, safe but not secluded, and within a diverse, dynamic community. There is boldness in the School’s character, a readiness to be forward-thinking and adaptable, with pride in what we are and excitement for what lies ahead. Seeing the School for yourself and meeting our pupils and staff is the best way to learn more about us and our culture. We look forward to welcoming you to Forest School. - Antony Faccinello, headteacher

Established in 1834

Number of pupils: 1,350

Age range: 4-18

Co-ed or single sex? Forest is London’s only diamond-structure school for boys and girls aged 4-18. Our 1,350 pupils are taught in small single-sex classes to GCSE before entering our coeducational sixth form.

Date of next open day: Monday, June 20 2016

Snaresbrook Preparatory School

75 Woodford Road, London E18 2EA

0208 989 2394

Snaresbrook Prep is a small school with a vibrant family atmosphere. We know all of the children, which helps us to give the best pastoral care possible and to take each child as far as they can go academically. You certainly can’t get lost at Snaresbrook. Being a small school means we can give more support to our pupils during lessons, provide a reliable and caring team of staff and the children also use local facilities, such as Redbridge Sports Centre, Hawkey Hall and Ashton Playing Fields, getting them ready to be part of the wider world. Another way in which we prepare the children for the world outside school, is by teaching things like “Current Affairs” which is on our weekly timetable. Emphasis is also put on areas such as ICT, Drama, Music and Sport that can too easily get squeezed out. These are areas we particularly specialise in at our school and we put on Drama Productions involving the whole school, full scale concerts and three annual Sports Day. - Mr Chris Curl, headteacher

Established in 1930s

Number of pupils: 165

Age range: 3.5-11

Is boarding available? No

Co-ed or single sex? Co-ed

Does the school have a speciality? Drama, music and sport

Date of next open day: Wednesday, March 2 2016

Saint Nicholas School

Hobbs Cross Road, Old Harlow, Essex, CM17 0NJ

Julie Bradley, PA to Head/Yvette Mardel, Bursar/Lisa Saggers, Governor & Chair of Marketing Committee

01279 429910

Saint Nicholas School is a thriving independent coeducational day school which combines academic excellence with strong pastoral care. The school’s philosophy is based upon a commitment to sound moral principles and a view of education as an all-round preparation for life. Academic work is given strong emphasis and, equally, sound guidance in personal development is seen as an integral part of a good education. In the most recent inspection pupils were judged to be extremely well educated, extremely articulate and to have highly positive attitudes to their work, achieving high standards. Inspectors reported that pupils are extremely confident, responsible, courteous and considerate. The pupils’ high levels of respect is shown in their interactions with each other which clearly demonstrates their high self-esteem and a palpable and strong community ethos. Pupils achieved outstanding results in their GCSEs this year. Overall, there was an 88% pass rate for those recording at least five GCSEs at grade C and above including mathematics and English. Almost a third of all examinations were graded A* or A, two-thirds were graded at least a B, and over 60% of pupils gained nine or more A*-C grades. Students achieved highly in English and mathematics with 88% and 91% respectively gaining a grade of C or above compared with 65% and 63% respectively nationally. - Keith Knight, headteacher

Established in 1939

Number of pupils: 370

Age range: 2.5-16

Is boarding available? No

Co-ed or single sex? Co-ed

Date of next open day: Saturday, March 12 2016

Woodford Green Prep School

Glengall Road, Woodford Green IG8 0BZ

020 8504 5045

Known locally as the ‘Red School’ because of the scarlet uniforms, Woodford Green Preparatory School was founded in 1932 to provide a non-denominational Christian education for boys and girls, a tradition that has been maintained throughout and is now enriched by a vibrant multi-cultural environment. The School is highly regarded by parents as successful in terms of ensuring children are safe, happy and well prepared for achieving excellent results in 11+ entrance examinations. We aim to provide a learning community that lights the flame within and empowers all children to reach their educational and personal potential. The friendly, supportive environment, in which excellent work and behaviour fosters interest and independence, encourages all children to do their very best. We have purpose-built areas for science, sport, art, music, computing and French, complemented by specialist teachers. We have excellent teachers and modern facilities throughout the school, including a fabulous Library which is regularly used by the whole school to foster a love of reading. Our links with parents are very good as we strive to give parents excellent opportunities to be involved in school life and their children’s progress. We look forward to welcoming you to our very happy and successful school. Mr J P Wadge - headteacher

Established in: 1936

Number of pupils: 375

Age range: 3-11

Is boarding available? No

Co-ed or single sex? Co-Ed

Date of next open day: Saturday, February 6 2016

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