Woodcote House

FAQs – Admissions

Why Woodcote?

Woodcote is the ultimate family-run school, not just in fact but also in ethos. The motto ‘Live to learn and learn to live’ is put into practice throughout the school.  Small class sizes ensure every boy receives individual attention and is motivated to achieve his full potential, both in and out of the classroom.  Woodcote is a family and every boy and member of staff becomes a part of that family.  Every boy is important and all the leavers’ photos are on permanent display in school.

When should I register my son?

Parents may register their sons at any time, subject to availability.  It is better to register early but we usually have a few places available in the year before entry.

Can boys join at Year 7?

Boys are welcome to join any year group that has availability.  Woodcote is happy to accept boys into Year 7 but would always recommend starting at the school as early as possible so that the boys benefit from the individual attention and preparation for senior school entrance exams and interviews.  Woodcote prides itself on the advice it gives parents in selecting the right senior school, one of the most important decisions parents will make during their son’s time at prep school.

Will my son need to sit an entrance test?

Boys do not need to sit a formal entrance test for Woodcote but will be assessed by an informal interview with the Headmaster, who may also ask a boy to sit an informal assessment, appropriate to his age.  Boys will be invited to attend a Taster Day before an offer is made.

Is Woodcote academic?

Woodcote seeks to bring out the best in each pupil and a boy rarely leaves Woodcote without having excelled in some field.  The broad and challenging curriculum aims to foster a desire within each boy to enjoy learning rather than seeing it as just a means to pass exams.  Boys are streamed for Maths and English from Year 5 and for Maths, English and Science from Year 6.  Boys who are looking to sit scholarship exams to senior schools will join the scholarship set known as ‘Shell’.

Is Woodcote sporty?

Sport is timetabled every day to enable the boys to be challenged physically as well as mentally.  Boys learn better when they are enjoying themselves so there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activity and learning.  Woodcote’s 30 acres of grounds include numerous sports pitches, an indoor swimming pool, four tennis courts, two astro turf pitches, a 9-hole golf course and a shooting range.  Every boy has the opportunity to participate and represent the school in team sport with fixtures on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.  Woodcote fields successful teams at all levels with several senior boys winning sports scholarships to their future schools.

Is music important at Woodcote?

Over 75% of the boys learn at least one instrument with daily practice scheduled into their day.  Music is also part of the curriculum and all boys have the opportunity to play in school concerts and recitals.

Does Woodcote have a good art department?

Woodcote’s art department is very popular, with all boys having at least two lessons per week.  Lots of boys choose art as their one of their hobbies.

Does Woodcote teach drama?

There are three major theatre productions each year and boys are encouraged to get involved in acting, set design and stage management. 

Does Woodcote offer scholarships or bursaries?

We offer a small number of discretionary awards and scholarships to boys who show promise in a particular academic subject, music or in sport.  These awards can be worth between 10%-40% of the basic boarding or day fee.  Woodcote accepts the Continuity of Education Allowance from military families.

Does Woodcote take boys from overseas?

Woodcote welcomes boys from all over the world with around 15% coming from overseas.  The Woodcote emphasis on family, tolerance and good manners means that overseas boys settle in and making lasting friendships.  Boys whose first language is not English receive support from a dedicated EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher but it is often in the dormitory, dining room, on the games field or during free time that they really get to grips with the language.

Woodcote is just 20 minutes’ drive from Heathrow Airport and within an hour of Gatwick and Southampton Airports.  We have a dedicated taxi company for arranging airport transfers or transfers to UK guardians for exeats or half-terms but overseas boys are often invited to stay with their friends for Exeat weekends.

Will my son be able to visit the school before he starts?

Boys are welcome to attend open mornings and tours of the school with their parents and will always be invited for an interview with the Headmaster.  All boys are invited to a ‘Taster Day’ in the term before they start so that they can meet their form tutor and other classmates and enjoy a day getting to know the school.

Is boarding the right thing for my son?

If your son is likely to board in the future, boarding at Woodcote is an invaluable preparation.  Boarding at Woodcote is a secure, positive and rewarding experience for each boy in the home-from-home feel dormitories. 

What age can my son start boarding at Woodcote?

Boys can begin boarding at any age from 7 to 13, and prospective boarders are encouraged to board for one or two nights per week before they start.

How many boys board at Woodcote?

Over 50% of boys board at Woodcote with more than half of those doing full or weekly boarding.  Woodcote offers flexible boarding so many boys choose to start with one or two nights a week and build up to weekly or full boarding, even if their parents are local.

What do the boys do at weekends?
Lessons take place on Saturday morning followed by Chapel and then matches in the afternoon. Parents are welcome to attend Chapel and join the boys for lunch in the dining room if they are staying to support the matches. Boys not involved in matches may go home after Chapel.
For the boarders, there is a healthy balance of planned activities and free time. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for them to enjoy once the matches are finished. With 30 acres of beautiful grounds to explore, the boys can really be boys and enjoy the freedom to play. There’s woodland, climbing ropes, a zip wire and camping area, where the boys cook pizzas in the outdoor wood-fired oven and toast marshmallows on campfires. On Sundays, the boys usually have an outing such as sailing, dry-slope skiing, paintballing, climbing or cinema trips.
Who can my son talk to if he has a problem?
The pastoral care at Woodcote is excellent with every member of staff taking an interest in the boys’ well-being and happiness. Boys are encouraged to talk with any member of staff that they feel comfortable with and Woodcote has a fantastic team of matrons who look after the boys and act as their school mothers. Woodcote also has a school counsellor who is on hand one morning each week to meet with boys face-to-face should they wish.
Does Woodcote support boys with Special Education Needs?
Woodcote welcomes any boy who can make the most of the opportunities offered and flourish in the school’s caring environment. Any boy who can cope with the challenging academic curriculum and high standards of behaviour expected will thrive at Woodcote. Woodcote understands that some boys will need a little extra support and has an excellent SENCo, who provides one to one or group sessions to focus on a boy’s needs. Parents should advise the Registrar on registration if their son will need extra support so that the SENCo can make sure she has the capacity and resources to provide what is needed.