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Reddam House, Wokingham, Berks

Muddy says: Reddam House in Wokingham has a progressive curriculum, wow facilities and a clutch of brilliant results. Impressed.

REDDAM HOUSE BERKSHIRE SCHOOL WOKINGHAM 

Aerial view of he red brick Victorian mansion that is now home to Reddam House Berkshire School on the Bearwood Estate in Berkshire

What? Where?

Reddam House is a co-ed day and boarding school for ages 3 month to 18 years – perfectly positioned for anyone living in Wokingham, Reading and the surrounding areas, but if you don’t mind whizzing along the M4, it would suit anyone in Berkshire and beyond. Superb train links to and from London, Birmingham and the south. And with Heathrow less than 30 minutes away, it’s also has global appeal.

Comfy green and plaid sofas in the ornate wood panelled reception room at Reddham House Berkshire School

Co-educational with a 50/50 boy/girl split with  pupils this year – just about capacity, 125 littlies with 369 pupils in the main school  – the school is set in 125 acres of frankly gorgeous grounds. The main building is stonking: grand, imposing, but not austere, when you go inside your jaw will drop at the ornate wood panelling, elegant fireplaces and the rare round radiator is a talking point . But following a huge refurbishment, it’s the classrooms that really sing – light, bright contemporary spaces.

Colourful artwork in the light and airy classroom at Reddam House Berkshire School

If you like your schools with a feeling of informality and intimacy, you’re in the right place. There’s a harmonious blend of old and new, which is rather poetic given that Reddam House has only been open for 2 years, having taken over the site of the historic boys’ boarding school Bearwood College (originally the family home of The Times newspaper owner John Walter).

Facilities:

You’d expect any school charging nearly £17k a year to have decent sport, drama and music facilities, and Reddam House has invested heavily to ensure everything is top notch (and if it’s not up to scratch, it’s on the list to be refurbished).

Kids jump to it on the springboard i the new state of the art gymnasium centre at Reddam House School Berkshire

It has the obligatory rolling playing fields, sports courts, a superb 350-seater Performing Arts centre, a new state-of-the art Gymnasium Centre with sprung floor (several of the students compete nationally and internationally), dance studios, a music school with dedicated practice rooms, spingly spangly Early Years play area, a shooting range, a lake for sailing in the summer months and, as luck would have it, the school  neighbours the famous Bearwood Lakes Golf Course, so the kids can go there too. All that’s missing is Larry Grayson as your host, a cuddly toy, 48-picee dinner service and a food mixer.

Bright red curtain across the large stage in the 350-seater theatre at Reddam House School Berkshire

The big headline all-lights-flashing development is a full-size astro turf and refurbishment of the tired looking 25m indoor pool. But judging by the standard of the work elsewhere – new changing rooms, science labs and classrooms – it’s all going to be swish!

Boarding:

Lime green sofa and contemporary blue lamp in the homely teen dream boarding house at Reddam House Berkshire School

Reddam House is your flexible friend (huge sigh of relief from frazzled parents). Contemporary boarding options are available from Y5 (age 9), either flexi (ad hoc and regular part time), with weekly or full available as well from Y7 (age 11) – and the boarding houses here are well above average. The communal areas in particular are cool, colourful spaces (a teen dream, quite frankly) and the dorms themselves, although simple, are homely and way above the usual white plasterboard.

Tree mural on the slate blue blind add a modern tough in the modern boarding house at Reddam House Berkshire School

In the evenings staff supervise a 2-hour prep sesh, providing tutoring that the kids really appreciate. In fact, many day students ask to tag along for supper and study, to take full advantage of the additional support. Once the work is done, there’s plenty of opportunity to kick back with extra curricular activities and planned trips to premiership football matches, Windsor Castle, Oxford Uni and Harry Potter Studios. And that barely scratches the surface.

The academic results: Although not highly selective, the school performs it’s own assessment on taster days. It’s not an academic pressure cooker, but Reddam House strives for excellence, and pupils undergo a weekly cycle of tests to monitor progress. Obviously it’s not going to suit everyone, but the results are impressive and waaaay above national average – 2017 GCSE results 91% A*-C with 36% A*-A. At A Level, 69% of pupils achieved A*-C. Many students go on to study at top universities, but I love the fact many are hunting down apprenticeships in some of the world’s biggest firms.

Meet the head

Principal Tammy Howard of Redeem House Berkshire hands out prizes to a bashful young girl

Tammy Howard is Principal working with a fantastic team of school heads – Holly Leather (Early Years), Cassie Morris (Junior), James Day (Middle) and Mike Milner (Seniors). It’s not often I come across a head in the independent sector who has worked in both state and private education, but Tammy has done just that and Reddam House benefits from her broad experience. She’s a straight forward, no nonsense woman with a twinkle in her eye. Tammy is clearly eager for Reddam House to have a leading school role, at the vanguard of trying new techniques to help kids learn. CHEX (Challenge and Extension programme) is the latest initiative to challenge and stretch children’s learning in all subjects. The result? Greater depth of knowledge and understanding and a cohort of free thinkers. If you’re looking for value added learning, you’ll find it here. Just like the Team GB, it’s all about marginal gains.

 

Littlies:

Soft toy animal head of a zebra pops out of lime green walls in the light, bright and big Early Learning classroom at Reddam House Berkshire School
Little people can start at 3 months in the Early Learning School and it’s waaaaay superior to the various nurseries I’ve used for my kids over the years. Housed in the old coaching house, a short stroll from the main building, it’s enormous, bright, with creative and messy spaces, a hall and great outdoor space. There are some nice interior design touches that follow up to Juniors to help transition, so there is sense of familiarity.

 

Quirks:

Wearing navy and khaki multi uniform worn by students at Reddam House Berkshire School

The uniform or rather the ‘multi-form’. Students can choose from a variety of items within the range. If you’re child is more comfortable in a polo shirt and fleece, then that’s what they can wear. Prefer a shirt tie? Crack on. Girls, won’t need to the roll their skirt up on the sly, the skorts are priddy short. Express yourself (within reason). The formal uniform must be worn one day per week, but by and large  your 12 year old won’t feel the need for a full pre-teen fashion strop.

Coloured coded post for pencils to help kids at Reddam House Berkshire School get organised

What else?

The school takes part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and has a strong Combined Cadet Force – a great leveller for kids regardless of whether they are sporty, arty or academic. But adds a few skills to the life skill tool box.
It’s also worth mentioning that Reddam House is a global group of school, with 8 schools in South Africa and 3 Early Learning Schools in Australia. They all share the same progressive vision and philosophy designed around the individual. Endless opportunities to hook up with their sister schools.

Wrap around care: Excellent. The school is progressive and forward thinking. In the spirit of that and entirely flexible. Kids can be dropped off from 8am for breakfast and stay for tea, or after school clubs, or even board at short notice (an extra cost). Flexi-boarding is the norm; kids can book in for as many nights as they like and weekly boarding is also offered.

Liberty print poodle and hare heads on the wall of Reddam House Berkshire School

Word on the ground: There is real buzz about Reddam House. Its progressive attitude, academic rigour, global outlook and endless opportunities ticks a lot of boxes for parents. They were all clicking their heels too, when The Times listed it as the 11th best co-ed prep in the country and the best indy prep in Berkshire. Oh and the school’s CHEX programme has been shortlisted for a TES award for strategic educational innovation. It definitely has a very upbeat, ‘can-do’ aura. Embracing individuality and giving the kids the physical and mental tools to run with it.

Fees: Early Learning – from £56.50 per days; Junior – £3,450-£4,245 per term; Middle – £5,600 per term; Senior – £5,600-£10,625. Reddam House also gives you the option to yearly, termly or in 10 installments – so your not living off baked beans for the rest of your life.

Celebration of individuality at Reddam House Berkshire School

THE MUDDY VERDICT:

Good for: Well-rounded kids. The vibe is informal and friendly, but academically strong – not an easy mix to pull off. The superior sport, drama and music facilities are impressive and all children get to participate fully. Good flexible after-school care in mind is particularly helpful for busy working parents.

Not for: Parents who prefer a more ‘starchy’ approach to schooling and, although non-selective, the cycle of academic testing will not suit all children.

Dare to disagree?! Have a look for yourself at the Open Day, Friday 3 February, from 9.3oam.

Reddam House Berkshire, Bearwood Rd, Sindlesham, Wokingham RG41 5BG. Tel: 0118 974 8300

11 comments on “Reddam House, Wokingham, Berks”

  • Sian Breidenstein January 14, 2018

    We went to visit the head and decided to apply for my son to enter the 6th form. Duly sent off £100 registration and heard nothing! The cheque was however cashed. Phoned on numerous occasions and was met with absolute rudeness. We didn’t receive one single communication. To send a child to such a school would be madness.

    Reply
    • rachel January 16, 2018

      Hi Sian, I’m sorry you have had a bad experience. I have passed on your comment to Reddam House. I’m sure they will resolve it for you. Rachel

      Reply
  • M Hall January 14, 2018

    My grandchildren attend the school and I think your review is spot on. I love visiting, especially for the brilliant shows. Could not be better and they love it. The youngest calls it Hogwarts!

    Reply
    • rachel January 16, 2018

      I didn’t see wizardry and Quidditch, but anything’s possible. I loved it.

      Reply
  • Reddam mum January 14, 2018

    Just stumbled across your ( well-written) review and really recognise my son’s school when reading it. There is an energy about this school and a drive to achieve the best that, I feel, is rare. Since he joined, my quiet, shy, non-sporty son has taken part in numerous competitions – academic and just for fun (at his request), asked to go to sports’ practice on a weekend, competed for the school with his mates, been on and supporting off the stage on a regular basis, shown an interest in subjects he used to shun and grown to be a strong-minded, happy individual. Every day I ask him which his favourite lesson was, on the way back from school, and he’s got several to chose from. I ask him which lessons he hasn’t enjoyed and the list is very short ( if there is one at all). He talks about his teachers positively and there seems to be a warm, friendly relationship between both parties. He’s got a good set of friends, male and female, whose interests are as diverse as his and is happy to go to school each day. I love that he feels able to be him – so important for the teenage years.

    Reply
    • rachel January 16, 2018

      Shucks thanks of the feedback. I loved the ambition for all the kids whether they’re sporty, academic, arty, entrepreneurial. No one is put in a box.

      Reply
  • Gossip Girl January 17, 2018

    My kids are at Reddam and they love it. They joined mid-year last year and settled brilliantly. Such a great school and lucky for us, it’s on our doorstep! Great read.

    Reply
  • Sue Ralph January 17, 2018

    My daughter joined Reddam House in September, Year 9, and I can honestly say it is the best thing we have every done. She has been made to feel welcome and included from day one. The balance of fun and work is just right. Can’t recommend it highly enough

    Reply
  • Deb January 22, 2018

    My daughter joined the Reddam House Junior School at the beginning of this term.

    Before I decided to take a tour, all of my initial enquiries regarding the School (and there were an awful lot!) were answered very promptly by the Registrar.

    Having arrived at the School for the tour, I was greeted by the Receptionist, Registrar and the Head of Juniors, Mrs Morris.

    Mrs Morris showed me around the classrooms and facilities, and answered another round of questions.

    I was incredibly impressed with all areas of the School. Everything was clean, tidy and in it’s place. It appeared that all the furniture and equipment was either new or kept in immaculate condition.

    The children all looked happy and engaged in their lessons, and spoke very politely.

    It is true that a few older areas of the building need a bit of attention, but this does not deter from the amazing facilities on offer.

    When the tour ended I booked a taster day for my daughter, which was followed by an offer to join. As she had a fantastic time and couldn’t wait to join her new friends, I had no hesitation in accepting the offer.

    After signing all the paperwork, the Registrar sent me some helpful documents regarding the normal School day, where to buy the uniform, how to set up the surface pro (yes, my daughter got her first laptop to do her School work on!) and details of the Reddam app (which is so informative).

    Having been at the School for a few weeks now, everything seems to be running smoothly. The communication between teachers/admin staff and parents is amazing. Everyone is friendly and helpful. My daughter is very happy and so am I.

    Reply
  • S.McKenna January 28, 2018

    We have three children at the school, so far I have been very impressed. The school has obviously worked very hard to improve attainment and effort levels.

    The facilities are amazing and staff are enthusiastic and encouraging.

    I would recommend taking a look around!!!

    Reply
  • Aniela & Mike January 28, 2018

    Our daughter has joined Reddam House in September 2017 and we can honestly say it was the best decision we have ever made. She loves going to school, her confidence has blossomed, she loves all of the lessons and sports, she already seems like a completely different child – happy, confident, interested in her education. The the academic interest is nicely balanced with multiple sports practiced every week. Did I mention our child is happy, every day, every morning! The school takes a special interest in identifying something unique in each child and promotes that, we feel that is such an amazing approach. The standard of education is high, the teachers and staff have been so carefully chosen, the management team is approachable and friendly,the communication with the school is excellent, we feel our child is loved and important and looked after. We believe Reddam House really is No 1 school in Berkshire for us!

    Reply

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