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Rydes Hill Preparatory School

Coordinates: 51°15′04″N 0°36′07″W / 51.251°N 0.602°W / 51.251; -0.602{{#coordinates:51.251|-0.602|region:GB_scale:10000|||||| |primary |name= }}

Rydes Hill Preparatory School
Established 1945
Type Preparatory day school
Religion Roman Catholic
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Stephanie Bell MA (Oxon.)[1][2]
Location Aldershot Road[3]
DfE number 936/6049
DfE URN 125344 Tables
Students 200
Gender Coeducational
Ages 3–7 (boys), 3 to 11 (girls)

Rydes Hill Preparatory School is a co-educational Roman Catholic Preparatory school and Nursery in Guildford, Surrey, England. The school welcomes girls aged 3–11 years and boys aged 3–7 years from all denominations.


Rydes Hill was founded in September 1945 by Sister Patricia of the Daughters of Mary and Joseph,[4] a Roman Catholic religious institute, on a three-and-a-half-acre site in Aldershot Road, Guildford, Surrey, where it remains.[5]

Before becoming a school, the main building was a private dwelling called Rydes Hill House, and before that was known as the Clock House. It was built in the 18th century and has Victorian extensions. In the mid 19th century, the house was the residence of William Edmund Elkins, of the Elkins Brewery family, four times mayor of Guildford.[6]

The house has a clock tower which is called 'Little Ben' by the children[7] and is surrounded by mature trees.[5]

In 1989 when the Nuns retired, the ownership of the school was transferred to a charitable trust managed by a Board of Governors.[8]


  • Sister Patricia (1945 to 1984)
  • Sister Mary Gerald (1984 to 1989)
  • Miss Bernadette May (1989 to 1995)
  • Mrs Joan Lenahan BA (1995 to 2006)
  • Mrs Stephanie Bell MA (Oxon.) (from 2006 to date)[1][2]


Music plays a very important role in the life of all the children and staff at Rydes Hill School. There is a purpose built Music & Performing Arts centre. The main aim is to foster children's enjoyment and understanding of music through practical application and active involvement in a wide range of musical activities, both in and out of class lesson time. The children in year two are given a violin for the year and receive group violin lessons each week as part of the curriculum and the children in year three are given flutes, cornets and clarinets and small group lessons, also as part of the curriculum. There is a junior choir, senior choir and an orchestra. Older children are encouraged to compose their own music and enter competitions.

Children and staff

The age range is from 3-7 for boys and from 3-11 for girls. The Headmistress is a member of the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS).[1]

Admission to the school is by informal assessment, interview, and report from the child's previous school where appropriate.[1]

Despite being non-selective school Rydes Hill Prep attracts a number of gifted and talented children including one of the youngest members of British Mensa.[9]


The school teaches all the subjects of the National Curriculum, and children are also prepared for the Common Entrance Examination and successfully placed in leading senior schools, attaining a number of scholarships each year.[10] Swimming is part of the curriculum and there is also provision for teaching ballet, Speech & Drama and individual musical instruments.[11] In addition to form teachers, there are many specialist teachers including Physical Education, Swimming, Music, French, Drama and Science.


The school has a large hall with a stage, which is used for assemblies, school plays, gymnastics, and ballet.[5] As well as classrooms, which all have the latest interactive whiteboards, there is a library, a science laboratory, an air conditioned information technology suite, a purpose built Music & Performing Arts Centre for music teaching and music practice,[5] and a vaulted Dining Hall.

In the school's grounds, there are two all-weather tennis or netball courts, an adventure playground which was renewed and enlarged in 2014, and grassed play areas.[5]

The Friends of Rydes Hill

The Friends organize fundraising and social events in support of the school. Each year group has two parent representatives on the Friends Committee. In 2015, a Summer Ball was held.[7] Concerts with external musicians have been held.[12]

The Friends have done much fundraising including restoring the clock tower, buying two minibuses and installing a new adventure playground, as well as paying for theatre companies to visit the school.[7] They are currently fundraising for tiered, retractable seating in the Hall.


  1. ^ a b c d [1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Up, up and away - News - getsurrey". Get Surrey. 20 September 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2012. The [family fun day] was organised by the Friends of Rydes Hill School to welcome Stephanie Bell as the new headmistress 
  4. ^ "Be There". Daughters of Mary and Joseph. Retrieved 2013-01-05. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Facilities
  6. ^ "Heritage Open Days - Secret Surrey places and events | Surrey Life". Surrey Life. Retrieved 2 May 2012. Originally a private dwelling, Rydes Hill House was converted into a Convent in 1945. Previously, one notable resident had been William Edmund Elkins, four times mayor of Guildford in the 1850s, and member of the Elkins Brewery family. The library has a magnificent 18-panel frieze, recounting the story of Joan of Arc, painted by the Victorian artists Talbot Hughes and Sir Herbert Hughes-Stanton. 
  7. ^ a b c "Rydes Hill School | Under Maintenance!". Retrieved 2013-01-05. [third-party source needed]
  8. ^ Rydes Hill Preparatory School, Registered Charity no. 299411 at the Charity Commission
  9. ^ "Surey Advertiser" (2013-02-11). "Toddlers IQ similar to Einstein and Stephen Hawking". Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Rydes Hill School | About the School". Retrieved 2013-01-05. [third-party source needed]
  11. ^ "Rydes Hill School | Fees and Payment". Retrieved 2013-01-05. [third-party source needed]
  12. ^ "Clarinettist Michael Collins at Rydes Hill School - Entertainment - getreading - Reading Post". Get Reading. 23 June 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2012. Michael Collins, one of the world’s finest clarinettists, and his equally distinguished violinist wife Isabelle van Keulen, brought six friends from the top of the performance profession and presented Mozart’s exquisite Clarinet Quintet and Schubert’s evergreen Octet in beautifully engaging performances. 

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