Our Review of Felsted School
We frequently visit schools across the UK to ensure our education consultants have a thorough understanding and an up-to-date knowledge of the country’s leading schools. We had the pleasure of visiting Felted School in Essex that — together with it’s prep-school — caters for pupils aged 4-18. If you would like to know more about this school, or need help finding the best possible senior school for your child, please call one of our education consultants or use our online enquiry form further down this page to discuss your family’s objectives.
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The first thing to note is that Felsted is really quite rural – very close to Stansted Airport and about an hour and a half’s drive from London. With 465 children in the Prep School and 530 in the Senior School, the school dominates the small village that is its namesake. The Headmaster, Chris Townsend, read classics at Oxford and is a keen cricketer. He was previously deputy head and his appointment as Head in 2015 was rejoiced by staff, parents and pupils. Although he wants all pupils to strive for great academic success he believes that a school should focus on more than just A*s. He promotes diversity and inclusiveness within the school and encourages all pupils to ‘give things a go’ in order to spark entrepreneurial flair. Chris enjoys meeting parents and can often be found on the side line of a sports pitch.
Felsted is one of the original English Public Schools, over 450 years of age. It is co-ed and not at all stuffy. The school buildings are bright, airy and fantastically welcoming – with a Coffee Shop serving Costa Coffee and endless sports fields. It has the feeling of a campus, with happy energetic students running around in combat fatigues (Combined Cadet Force), sports kit and even a few carrying books.
The school has an international reach (maximum 20% foreign students) but a very British feel. There is a steady influx from North London, although it is a ‘proper’ boarding school and many children tend to stay at the weekends. Sports are important to the school and students excel, particularly at rugby in recent times. Academically, the story is interesting: the level of ‘Value Added’ is amongst the top ten in the country. This is important, because it should accurately reflect a day-to-day working environment that is upbeat and successful. In any case, academic high fliers are well catered for, with a strong set of scholars who perform, ‘brilliantly’ in exams and have the benefit of a dedicated scholars’ programme to bring out their best. There is also a new set of awards, named after a benefactor of the School that celebrate a wide range of talents, both within and outside school.
Felsted has been described as being ‘Mad about Music’ and this would seem to be warranted. They have a significant partnership with the Junior Guildhall School of Music, whereby Felsted is used as an, ‘eastern region campus’ for the Junior Guildhall, focusing on the Guildhall Strings programme for children in the region aged 4 and above Talented students can apply for a Guildhall/Felsted Music scholarship and will get the chance to work with some of the very best musicians in the country. This is quite a feather in Felsted’s cap, making it a ‘Go To’ public school for the musically talented.
Felsted has a modern, forward thinking focus on, ‘the whole child’ and takes a holistic approach to their education. This reflects their belief that the only thing about future that is certain is that it will be very different to now. The traditional professions are not necessarily going to be as relevant as they are today and Felsted is trying to teach its students to be as adaptable as possible. I think it has every chance of succeeding.
Nathaniel McCullagh (updated 27.06.23)