About us

Old Buckenham Hall is recognised as one the leading preparatory schools in the UK. We have tremendous academic results with entry to many of the top public schools in the country. Our pastoral provision is outstanding, our boarding houses are beautiful and our facilities incredible. BUT… what really makes us special is the happiness of our children who bound around our magical setting.

With each child having a 1/3 of an acre to play in they can climb the trees, feed the chickens or walk the headmaster’s dog. If preferred, they can take on the challenge of the rope swings, have a round of golf or explore the big woods. The staff to pupil ratio is approximately 1:8 giving an average class size of 14.

All members of staff, including part-time staff, contribute to a wide range of afternoon, evening and weekend extra-curricular activities – where every child has the opportunity to participate. Activities on offer include arts and crafts, tennis, dance, drama, golf, music, climbing, cookery, gymnastics, clay pigeon shooting, fly-fishing and horse riding. Winter sports include hockey, netball, tag rugby & lacrosse for the girls, and hockey, football, lacrosse and rugby for the boys. In the summer girls and boys play cricket and take part in athletics. The school offers excellent tennis facilities with pupils receiving specialist tennis coaching on six tennis courts and a purpose-built, state-of-the-art Astroturf. The school also has a squash court and a 9-hole golf course.

The boarding model is flexible, offering children the opportunity to board anything from one night a week to full boarding on an eleven-day cycle. Children boarding at the weekend enjoy a varied programme of exciting activities such as campfires and wide games by torch light, the ‘Great OBH Bake Off’, ‘Bush Tucker Trials’, a Masquerade Ball and trips out to the coast and other local attractions. The junior boarding house, Spero, gives the youngest boarders at OBH a warm, nurturing boarding environment, whilst being in the care of very experienced and caring staff. 

Children develop a wide range of life skills through the outdoor education programme – the OBEs (Old Buckenham Explorers) for pupils in Years 3–8 and the MBEs (Mini Buckenham Explorers) for pupils in the pre-prep. The construction of two outdoor classrooms has proved to be very innovative and exciting – where children learn to camp, shelter, cook and learn vital survival skills in preparation for Bronze, Silver and Gold expeditions.

OBH was founded in Lowestoft in 1862 and moved in 1937 to Old Buckenham in Norfolk. In 1956, the school moved to its present site in Brettenham Park, Suffolk, which is 4 miles from Lavenham, 11 miles from Bury St Edmunds, 18 miles from Ipswich and an hour and a half by direct train from London. The school became an Educational Trust in 1967. The school prospectus can be obtained on application to the Registrar.

Latest news

28 Jan 2019

New Library opened by Suffolk author and comedian James Campbell

Suffolk author and comedian, James Campbell, cut the ribbon to officially open the re-instated library at Old Buckenham Hall Prep School.

28 Jan 2019

New Library opened by Suffolk author and comedian James Campbell

On Friday 25th January, Old Buckenham Hall Prep School opened the doors to their new school library. The grand oak panelled room, which previously served as a library in the school’s history, has been transformed into a beautiful, magical and inspiring place, where children can embrace their passion for books.

The brilliant local author and comedian James Campbell cut the red ribbon and declared the library ‘Open’! He entertained the children with stories, rhymes and told the children how he became a writer, tips for writing stories and read snippets from his books. James had something for everyone and made every single year group roar with laughter.

Aldeburgh Bookshop, winner of Independent Bookshop of the Year at the National Book Awards have also shown support for the opening of the library and are running a book fair for all of the children.


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09 Nov 2018

Plastic bottles recycled into poppies to mark centenary of WW1 Armistice

Every pupil at Old Buckenham Hall turned a plastic bottle into a poppy for an art installation to mark the Centenary of the end of the First World War.

09 Nov 2018

Plastic bottles recycled into poppies to mark centenary of WW1 Armistice

Old Buckenham Hall marks the centenary of WW1 Armistice with a Poppy Installation To mark the centenary of the WW1 Armistice, over the summer holidays two Year 6 pupils, twins Charlie and Izzie came up with a very imaginative project for making poppies from recycled plastic bottles. At the beginning of term Mr. Griffiths, the Headmaster, was extremely impressed with their idea which in turn sparked a whole school project with every child producing their very own poppy from Nursery to Year 8 in their Art lessons culminating in a Poppy Art Installation.

The OBH community for the Centenary of the end of the First World War, remembered at their Service of Remembrance today, the 46 former pupils who gave their lives, the names of whom were lost in a fire when the school was located at Old Buckenham in Norfolk. They also remembered those former pupils who gave their lives during the Second World War and more recently during the conflict in Afghanistan.

Mr. Griffiths at the Remembrance Assembly reminded the children that every family had a relative who fought in the First World War but also special to Old Buckenham Hall, Elliott Sewell, who became Headmaster of the school in 1923, having survived World War I, becoming the most important Headmaster at the school, and having twice resurrected it from two catastrophic fires with a determination for the school to survive.

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26 Jun 2018

Top marks for Suffolk School

Old Buckenham Hall School was recently inspected by ISI and received top marks in all areas after a full inspection by ISI.

26 Jun 2018

Top marks for Suffolk School

The Inspectorate said “The quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements [and] the quality of the pupils’ personal development is excellent”.

Headmaster Tom O’Sullivan said “I am delighted that the hard work of all the OBH pupils, staff and wider community has been recognised in the report on our school”.

The report states “pupils of all ages are energetic, enthusiastic, confident and happy learners” who make excellent progress and “achieve high levels of success in scholarships and senior school entrance examinations”. They embrace the next steps in their education with “confidence and excitement” and their “self-confidence and self-awareness is excellent as a result of strong teacher support and excellent pastoral care”.

The Inspectors commented that “Pupils benefit from a rigorous curriculum with many opportunities”. Some of the examples given include: an extensive range of physical activities and sports, exciting challenges that require strong team work skills during Old Buckenham Explorers and drama and musical performances in a variety of groups and situations. In Pre-Prep there are many opportunities for outdoor learning and role play. Pupils use natural materials to create patterns and designs and simple graphics programmes to create their own pictures. Boarders have plenty of time to relax and play outside, including occasional supper-time picnics and cycling around the school grounds. Enthusiastic teachers have high expectations, offer outstanding support and challenge to pupils of all abilities. Pupil’s individual interests, gifts, talents, effort and achievements are recognised and celebrated.

Old Buckenham Hall, near Lavenham, is an independent co-education preparatory school for children aged 3-13 and has been educating children for 150 years. It is one of the UK’s leading Prep Schools where a dynamic education blends Swallows and Amazons with the age of the iPad.

We will be welcoming our new Headmaster, David Griffiths, together with his wife and their three children in September. David is very much looking forward to meeting prospective parents either at our next Open Morning is on Saturday, 6th October 2018 or for an individual visit. For more information and to view the full report visit www.obh.co.uk.

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