About us

Aldwickbury is a day and flexi-boarding school for boys set in 20 acres on the outskirts of Harpenden in Hertfordshire. 

At the heart of the Aldwickbury community lies our belief that pastoral care should form the bedrock for academic success. Every boy is nurtured and encouraged to try their best, embrace challenge and most importantly; be kind. 

We allow them to flourish as individuals in an environment that challenges and stimulates them whatever their interests, passions or talents. Our teaching mixes traditional approaches together with modern ideas and methods. We aim to equip all the boys with the skills to be happy and confident, build relationships with their peers and staff and develop strategies for coping with the challenges life presents.

The breadth of opportunities on offer at Aldwickbury is something we are incredibly proud of. The boys are challenged and engaged academically but also benefit from a wide-ranging co-curricular programme making full use of our extensive grounds and facilities. The school offers boys of all abilities a myriad of exciting opportunities to develop their confidence and unearth their talents in the arts, STEM, on stage, in music and on the sports field. 

The journey through the school prepares the boys to leave at 13 when we believe they are truly ready for senior school education. The boys move onto a wide range of senior schools, both day and boarding. The recent results at Common Entrance, entry tests and scholarships have been a reflection on the excellent teaching that the boys receive.

Maximum class size for Pre-Prep is 16 and 20 for Years 3-8. Wrap-around care is available in the form of breakfast and after-school clubs and flexi-boarding is also available from Year 5 upwards.

The school has excellent facilities based around a large Victorian House. Purpose-built teaching blocks, including a modern self-contained Pre-Prep department, ensure that the education is of a high standard. Other facilities include an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and playing fields. Over the last ten years there has been extensive redevelopment of the school’s facilities, including a new hall complex, a new music department, refurbishment of the science labs and a total renovation of the Coach House providing a new Art and DT department. A new £3.8m sports centre was completed in 2022.

In 2022 the Independent Schools Inspectorate Inspection gave Aldwickbury School the highest grade of Excellent for both (ISI) quality categories – ‘pupils’ academic and other achievements’ and ‘pupils’ personal development’.

Latest news

26 Aug 2022

Aldwickbury School Rated ‘Excellent’ by the Independent Schools Inspectorate

Aldwickbury School, a Pre-Prep and Prep School for Boys in Harpenden, Hertfordshire has been recognised as fully compliant and graded ‘Excellent’ in all areas of education by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).

26 Aug 2022

Aldwickbury School Rated ‘Excellent’ by the Independent Schools Inspectorate

Following a recent inspection Aldwickbury School has received the highest grade of Excellent for both Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) quality categories – ‘pupils’ academic and other achievements’ and ‘pupils’ personal development’.

The ISI inspection of the Boys' Pre-Prep and Prep School in Harpenden took place between the 17th and 20th May 2022 and involved a team of inspectors spending four days at Aldwickbury observing lessons, speaking to pupils, surveying parents and staff and reviewing the school’s curriculum and facilities.

The quality of pupils’ academic achievements was graded excellent with the report describing Aldwickbury pupils as showing, 'excellent knowledge, understanding and skills … demonstrated across all areas of learning in the school, supported by a broad curriculum, which allows pupils to satisfy a clear thirst for knowledge.’ The report highlighted the commendable work of the school's staff in instilling curiosity and passion for learning in the classroom. Pupils’ competence in numeracy, ICT, study skills, achievements in the wider school, attitudes to learning, spoken and written communication skills were also considered excellent with supporting evidence documented in the report.

The second quality category concerned the personal development of Aldwickbury pupils. This was also deemed excellent with the inspectors commenting favourably that ‘Pupils’ development of their self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-discipline and resilience is excellent. Gentle and generous to each other, the pupils show high levels of self-understanding and confidence in the support they receive from staff. Pupils respond positively in this caring environment.’

Inspectors observed that the ‘pupils have strong moral awareness and a clear sense of right and wrong’ and their ‘respect for diversity and cultural understanding’ was considered excellent, with pupils having ‘a strong understanding of a variety of cultures, within the school and beyond.’

Aldwickbury pupils were also praised for their ‘appreciation of the non-material aspects of life. In conversations with inspectors, pupils were able to convey their desire to be kind, friendly, generous, and charitable to each other and the wider world, in line with the school’s core values.’

Commenting on the ISI Report Paul Symes, Aldwickbury Headmaster said "We’re delighted with the outcome of this recent inspection. The results were overwhelmingly positive and a fantastic foundation for us to continue to progress. I am extremely proud of all members of the Aldwickbury team for providing such an amazing platform for the boys to excel. The inspectors were extremely complimentary of the boys and their achievements. One statement that left me feeling incredibly proud was as follows, 'Attitudes to learning are excellent throughout the school. The pupils feel challenged in a safe and secure environment with the knowledge that getting things wrong or asking questions to get support is perfectly acceptable. They understand that making mistakes helps you improve and develop future performance'.”

He concluded: "A school where boys are happy and can be themselves is imperative and it’s extremely reassuring to have independent confirmation of how happy and safe the boys feel at Aldwickbury.”

To find out more about Aldwickbury School please visit their website where you can also view the full ISI Inspection report.

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26 Apr 2022

Aldwickbury School Complete 'Marathon' Run for Local Hospice

Boys from Aldwickbury School braved the snow at the end of the Spring term as they took part in a ‘Marathon’ run to raise funds for Hertfordshire based charity, The Hospice of St Francis.

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26 Apr 2022

Aldwickbury School Complete 'Marathon' Run for Local Hospice

Boys from Aldwickbury School braved the snow at the end of the Spring term as they took part in a ‘Marathon’ run to raise funds for Hertfordshire based charity, The Hospice of St Francis.

Each year the boys from the local Pre-Prep and Prep school in Harpenden select a charity to support and during the course of the year host a number of events to raise funds. For the 2021-2022 academic year the boys are fundraising for The Hospice of St Francis, a charity providing free care for local people and their families in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

The boys were originally aiming to complete a combined total of 5 marathons but undeterred by the cold and snow they managed to run a staggering 550 miles equating to just over 21 marathons and the equivalent of running from London to Aberdeen.

The idea for the charity fundraiser came after the hospice offered the school a place to run in the Brighton Marathon. According to Mrs Pendell, the School’s Head of Individual Development, “We thought it would be great to get all the boys involved and support their teacher, Mr Eketone, with his marathon training. Our plan was to have our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 boys run one combined marathon and each of the school sections (houses) run a marathon, but it seems the boys had greater ambitions and kept on running.”

Commenting on the run Headteacher Mr Symes said, “It was great to see boys right across the school from the youngest aged 4 to the oldest at 13 get involved in this event and a fantastic way to show the boys just what you can achieve when you believe in yourself. It was a unique way to finish the term and the snow certainly added to the atmosphere. We are delighted to have raised so much money for the hospice and congratulate Mr Eketone on his fantastic run last week in Brighton.”

Lisa Herring-Rogers, Community Fundraising Manager for The Hospice of St Francis said, “After the challenging few years we’ve all experienced, to have the continued support of our community really does mean so much to all of us here at the Hospice. We are so grateful for the support of the students, teachers and parents at Aldwickbury School and thankful for the warm welcome we received when two of the community fundraising team and a Hospice Ambassador visited the school to talk about our special Hospice care. Every student should be proud of all the running they did and Mr Eketone well done and congratulations on running the Brighton Marathon!”

Mr Eketone’s leg of the challenge followed during the Easter break, this time in more favourable weather conditions and along with 12,000 other Brighton marathon runners he reached the finish line in the sunshine.

To date, the Aldwickbury Marathon Challenge has raised over £3000 for The Hospice of St Francis. Donations can still be made at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/aldwickbury-marathon-2022

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06 Sep 2021

New Headmaster for Aldwickbury School

Mr Paul Symes has assumed the role of Headmaster at Aldwickbury School, a Pre-Prep and Prep School for Boys in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. His appointment follows the retirement of Mr Vernon Hales.

06 Sep 2021

New Headmaster for Aldwickbury School

The start of the new term at Aldwickbury School marks the beginning of a new era as the Boys’ Pre-Prep and Prep School in Harpenden announces the arrival of its new Headmaster Mr Paul Symes. Mr Symes is only the school’s 5th Headmaster in its 70+ year history with his predecessor Mr Vernon Hales having served 18 years at the school.

Mr Symes has 18 years of teaching experience across both co-ed and all boys’ state and independent schools. He joins the team at Aldwickbury from Belmont Prep School in North London where he has spent the past 6 years as Senior Deputy Head, responsible for the school’s pastoral care.

Commenting on his appointment Mr Symes said, “I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as the new Headmaster for Aldwickbury School. Understandably, I am passionate about leading Aldwickbury and its talented staff into the next chapter of its history. The school will continue to place pastoral care as the foundation for success in and outside the curriculum. I envisage Aldwickbury to continue to be a school that embraces its traditions and rich history while at the same time being forward-thinking in our approach.”

Mr Symes new role as Head at Aldwickbury coincides with the start of an exciting £3.75M project to create a new sports centre for the school. The new building, due for completion in September 2022, will provide a modern indoor sports complex to complement the school’s existing facilities and extensive outdoor sports grounds.

Marking the arrival of the new Headmaster at Aldwickbury, Chairman of Governors Jeremy Bromfield said, “We’re delighted to welcome Mr Symes to Aldwickbury. We are confident he will develop Mr Hales’ excellent work as Head and will lead our school community into the next stage of its development. His passion for education, pastoral care, and his respect for and his understanding of our ethos and values, combined with his leadership skills, made him the ideal candidate for the Headship. The Governors look forward to working with Mr Symes.”

Mr Symes is looking forward to meeting the boys, parents and prospective parents of the school in the coming weeks.

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