Box Hill School
Box Hill School is an independent coeducational boarding and day school situated in the village of Mickleham near Dorking, Surrey, England. The school has approximately 425 pupils aged 11–18. The school has a 60% day student:40% boarding student ratio, and as part of an international network (Round Square), around 25% of the students come from over 25 nations. The international environment of the school is deliberate, as part of the school's mission to develop students for life beyond school. Each student is assigned to a House on admission, with an ethos based around the family and Houseparents to act as the guiding influence. The school has offered the International Baccalaureate since September 2008 and re-introduced A levels in 2013, meaning both are now available at Sixth Form. It is situated 40 minutes from central London on the direct Dorking and Leatherhead line.
The school recently underwent an Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) Inspection (2012), gaining excellent feedback. In summary:
- Pupils grow and flourish into confident young people with a strong sense of who they are and what they believe in
- Good academic achievement is supported by excellent teaching
- The curriculum and extra-curricular programme is excellent
- The school's arrangements for pastoral care are excellent. The fact that all pupils are in houses is a strength of the school
- Boarders enjoy being part of an international community and believe this prepares them for life beyond school
- Challenging outdoor activities are a particular strength
Dalewood House, the main school building, was constructed in 1883 by a local developer called Charles J Fox. The House was designed by the Victorian architect, John Norton (who also designed a number of other buildings of distinction within the UK and Europe including the National Trust house ‘Tyntesfield’ in Somerset). Although the house was built during the Victorian era, its design is both mock Tudor and Gothic. The interior is full of hand-painted tiles, beautifully crafted stained glass windows, and fine wood panelling, with magnificent fireplaces throughout. In 1890 the house was sold to David Evans (one of the nineteenth century’s pre-eminent silk printers and chairman of 'David Evans & Co'), on whose death it passed to his daughter Lucie Fosberie until 1939. Before Box Hill School took occupation of the house it was in almost continuous private ownership by the Evans family, but was converted into use as a school building after the Second World War. The house was requisitioned by the Army as the headquarters of the Pay Corps during the Second World War. In 1951 the house was taken over and run as a school by two Australian sisters.
The school was founded in September 1959 by Roy McComish, a housemaster and art master at Gordonstoun School in Scotland. It is one of the founding schools of the international Round Square association. The grand fireplace in the entrance hall is lit during the colder months of the year, adding to the cheer and warmth of the hall so that friends may gather together around it.
Each student is assigned to a group or third for competitions in music, sports and various other events. These are similar to 'houses' in other boarding schools, and are separate from the actual physical Houses that each student is assigned to on arrival for pastoral reasons. The number of thirds has varied over the years, but there are currently four thirds:
- Olympians (3 times winner)
Boarding & Day Houses
Box Hill School has six boarding and day houses.
- Atwood - built in 2005 and opened by HRH The Princess Royal, Atwood House was named after Box Hill School’s second headmaster, Dr Rodney Atwood. It is a purpose built two-storey house for senior girl boarders.
- Burmester - a Grade II listed 18th century house purchased by Box Hill School in 1979, used as a girls' boarding house for girls in Years 11 and 12. Many of the rooms have recently been refurbished providing comfortable accommodation in this period house. Burmester has a large garden, which is used by the girls during the summer months for studying, socialising and relaxing.
- Constantine - Constantine House was the first purpose built boarding house at Box Hill School. It was opened in 1990 by the school's Patron, King Constantine of Greece. Constantine House has its own computer room and was recently extended to provide additional accommodation. It is a boys' boarding and day house.
- Dalewood - Dalewood House is the school's main building and was purchased in 1959. Part of the listed building also forms Dalewood boarding house, providing boarding facilities for Years 7 to 11 junior girl boarders. The House underwent extensive refurbishment during the summer of 2012 resulting in beautifully decorated and comfortable rooms with personal study facilities.
- Old Cottage - Old Cottage is a Grade II listed house with parts dating back to the early 17th century. First used for boarders in 1963, the house is said to ooze character. It is a senior boys' boarding house for boys from Years 12 and 13. It has a well maintained garden, which is a popular place to relax and study during the long summer days.
- Ralph - Ralph is a boys' boarding and day house. This purpose built house is quirky and provides comfortable living accommodation for the boys. It received extensive refurbishment in recent years and has a garden in the quad area used for study, BBQs and relaxing during good weather.
The school also has three houses which are just for day pupils from the lower and middle parts of the school (from Years 7 to 11).
- Hatton - for boys in Years 9, 10 and 11.
- Polesden - for girls in Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.
- St. Nicolas - for boys in Years 7, 8 and 9.
The school runs a very full Performing Arts programme, adding a million pound, purpose built Music School in November 2009. The Summer 2012 school play was Bugsy Malone, and in Christmas 2011 Box Hill School students performed 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller, directed in the round by Donna Walton and Helen Glen. The Summer 2011 production was an open air rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Sixth Form Centre & Classroom Block
A new multi-million pound state of the art Sixth Form Centre and classroom block is being built and due to be opened in the first half of 2014. It will include a media centre / Common Room for Sixth Form students, together with a changing room for Sixth Form day pupils and 8 large modern classrooms with Wi-Fi throughout.
In December 2013 the School's Headmaster Mark Eagers stood down after 10 years in the job following revelations that he had been having an affair with the wife of the Deputy Headmaster. All four partners involved were employees of the school.