Woldingham School

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Woldingham School is a Catholic independent school for girls, located in the former Marden Park of Template:Convert outside the village of Woldingham, Surrey, in South East England.

It is a member of the global Network of Sacred Heart Schools.


The school was founded as the Convent of the Sacred Heart in 1842 in Berrymead, London by the Society of the Sacred Heart; the first Convent of the Sacred Heart in England.<ref name=wold>A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden at British history Online website</ref> The Society had been founded in France in 1800 by Madeleine Sophie Barat (canonized in 1925) immediately after the French Revolution (1789–1799). The first Sacred Heart school had opened in 1801 at Amiens, France; others were soon established in France and across Europe.

The Convent of the Sacred Heart moved to Roehampton, London, in 1850. Shortly after the 1939 outbreak of World War II, the school was evacuated, first to Newquay and later to Stanford Hall, near Rugby. Because the Roehampton site was damaged during the air raids of 1940, the school decided, at the end of war, to find a new location. Marden Park was purchased by the Society in 1945, and the school moved in one year later. Early in the 1980s, the Society decided to commit the school to lay management under the trusteeship of the Society. In 1984, Philomena Dineen was appointed first lay Head of School for the newly renamed Woldingham School; she took up her duties in January 1985. Template:Citation needed

Accommodation Structure

Girls in different year-groups live in different boarding houses: Marden House (Years 7 and 8, i.e. 11-13 year olds), Main House (Years 9, 10 and 11, i.e. 13 to 16 year olds). Sixth Form girls are accommodated in Berwick House and Shanley House, named respectively after Dr Edward Berwick, Chairman of Governors (1989-1994) and Sister Claire Shanley, Mistress General (1947-1967).Template:Citation needed

House System

On entering the school, girls are placed into one of four house tutor groups named after four nuns who were influential figures in the development of the Society. They are Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, who founded the Society; Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne; Mother Janet Stuart; and Mother Mabel Digby.

Woldingham educates girls between age 11 to 18 who can join the school at ages 11, 12, 13 or 16, i.e. at any stage in the junior school (Marden House) or upon entering senior school (Main House). Girls can also join after completing the General Certificate of Secondary Education and enter straight into the Sixth Form.

Office of Fair Trading investigation

On 20 November 2006, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced its decision following a 2005-2006 investigation (Ref No. CA98/05/2006) into allegations that fifty of England's top independent schools, including Woldingham, had broken competition law (section 2[1] of the Competition Act 1998) by sharing information about fees via the so-called "Sevenoaks Survey". The OFT made no finding as to whether there was an effect on the fee levels of the schools concerned. The schools agreed to pay nominal penalties of £10,000 each, a reduced penalty in view of a number of exceptional features in the case: a voluntary admission had been made, the bodies were all non-profit making charities and they had set up a £3 million educational trust fund for those who had attended the schools in the relevant period.

This situation came about as a result of a dispute between the U.K. Charity Commission for England and Wales, which regulates the behaviour of U.K. charitable organizations, and the Office of Fair Trading, responsible for profit-making businesses. Although U.K. charities are required to share financial and other information among themselves, U.K. businesses are not allowed to do so. The U.K.Competition Act 1998, which regulates the behaviour of businesses, was altered in 2000 to place independent schools — which are charities — in the same category as businesses as far as exchange of financial information is concerned. Template:Citation needed

Notable former pupils

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Convent of the Sacred Heart, Roehampton

Template:Clarify All of those listed attended the school for at least one term and the names used are those by which they are best known: Template:Multicol

  • Evelyn Anthony, writer
  • Candy Atherton, politician
  • Sonia Brownell, wife of writer George Orwell and editor
  • Clarissa Dickson Wright (expelled) Template:Citation needed, celebrity chef and television personality
  • Dame Mary Douglas, social anthropologist
  • Lady Marcia Fitzalan, actress
  • Vivien Leigh (1920), actress
  • Lady Vanessa Musgrave (1952), mother of actress Jennifer Saunders
  • Maureen O'Sullivan, actress
  • Princess Benedikta of Hohenzollern
  • Princess Editha of Bavaria (1936)


  • Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Hohenberg (Luxembourg)
  • Princess Gabriele of Bavaria (1937)
  • Princess Hilda of Bavaria (1937)
  • Princess Irmingard of Bavaria (1936)
  • Princess Maria Adelgunde of Hohenzollern
  • Princess Marie-Adélaïde of Luxembourg
  • Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark
  • Monique Sylvaine Viner, British judge
  • Caroline Waldegrave, cookery writer and health-food expert; president of the Hospital Caterers Association
  • Antonia White, writer
  • Catrina Skepper, model / actress


Woldingham School


  • Caroline Wyatt (1984), BBC news journalist
  • Louise Mensch (1989), Conservative MP for Corby (2010–), novelist (as Louise Bagshawe)
  • Tilly Bagshawe, journalist and writer
  • Leslie Ferrar, treasurer to Charles, Prince of Wales
  • Dilly Keane (expelled), actress, singer and comedienne
  • Lady Tanya Hamilton


  • Carey Mulligan (2003), Academy Award-nominated actress
  • Lady Isabella Hervey (2000), socialite, model and actress
  • Florence Brudenell-Bruce (2003), lingerie and swimwear model; socialite; ex-girlfriend of both Formula 1 driver Jenson Button and Prince Harry
  • Sophie Mullen (2009), child actress in the 1997 award-winning film Titanic




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External links

Template:Schools in Surrey Template:Tandridge Template:Coord