Newton Prep opened in 1991, converted from an old city farm. This has afforded it a surprising expanse of outdoor space for a city-centre school, including allotments and an orchard. The school itself is quite large, with around 600 children split fairly evenly across the year groups (though more weighted towards primary level, with around 80 students per year, as opposed to only 32 in years 7 and 8). The size of the school allows it to cater for a diverse array of needs and abilities, whilst providing a strong set of facilities. Large areas of the school have been renovated; the 300-seat auditorium and the floodlit AstroTurf playground were particularly impressive. Alongside the well-equipped science laboratories and IT suites, the facilities reflect the school’s focus on providing a well-rounded, holistic education.
Whilst showing me around, Registrar Susan Symes explained that the school takes on children from a real mix of backgrounds, ‘not just the finance families’. Means-tested bursaries are awarded for children who score highly in their entrance exams. Whilst they have a large number of applications, children should not have a problem securing a place if they are achieving high grades. In fact, the nursery, which has 48 infants in two classes, is non-selective. On assessment day, the admissions team look for well-rounded, academic and interested children who are enthusiastic about the school and the fun activities on offer.