All schools think they’re special, but Woodcote really is – ask any old boy. This small, all-boys boarding and day school has been run by the Paterson family since 1931. Head David Paterson is an old-fashioned schoolmaster in the best possible sense: engaging, thoughtful and inspiring, and an expert in finding the best-fit senior school for his charges, whether it be Sherborne, Oundle or Harrow. Boys are a well-rounded and cheerful bunch, a third of whom come to school on the bus services from south-west and west London. Woodcote’s sporting achievements are formidable for a school of this size, as are its music and drama. There are clubs to suit all tastes: we’d like to join the Turf Club boys, who have a share in a racehorse, and the Nutritional Ninjas’ healthy cookery classes.

Tatler Schools Guide 2019

“We’ve always loved the fact that Woodcote is less flashy than certain other preps, but (drum roll) there are new classrooms, a new theatre and – very Woodcote, this – a new pig pen in the woods. Last year’s CE results were a school record, and the scholarship boards are something to behold. ‘There is no hiding place at Woodcote,’ they tell us. ‘Every boy will be in a team, will be on stage, will be in a concert and will be helped/pushed in class.’ Head Henry Knight is, among other things, a wizard at senior-school selection. The Paterson family has owned Woodcote since 1931 and is still involved in its day-to-day life. The new London bus service has been such a success that they are reviewing their (previously relaxed) admissions process. What are you waiting for?”

Tatler Schools Guide 2016


Dear Henry

We wanted to place on record our immense gratitude for all that you have done for our two boys during our eight year association with Woodcote House. From the moment we first visited as prospective parents in 2003 we have been made to feel nothing but enormously welcomeand very much at home at your wonderful school. Despite numerous house moves and tours of duty for me in Iraq and Afghanistan, XXXX and XXXX have enjoyed – and benefitted from – the continuity and reassuring presence that Woodcote has provided. And, perhaps most significantly, it has been the very strong pastoral care that you have provided that we valued most. Put simply, had my wife and I been posted to Timbuktu we would have gone safe in the knowledge that Woodcote was as wonderful second-family for our boys as we could have wished.

With XXXX now about to start his GCSE year at Sherborne and XXXX joining him there shortly, we are confident that they are as prepared as they possibly could be for what lies ahead in those formative mid-to-late teenage years.

Very many thanks once again for all that you and your team have done in bringing up our boys.

From the Royal Thai Embassy
Dear Mr Knight

I would like to thank you most sincerely for the care you have taken of XXX. Our parents greatly appreciate the work your excellent staff who not only encourage the children to achieve their very best academically but also provide a secure and happy environment in their ‘home far away from home’.

The preparation the children have received during their formative years under your care, promoting self-confidence and a strong independent work ethic, enables them to take the next big step on their educational journey.

Our sincere thanks go to you and your staff and we look forward to continuing our relationship with your excellent school in the years to come.

Best Regards


Minister of Education


From the first moment I walked into the school, everything just felt right and I knew instantly that any son of ours would thrive there. There was something magical about the atmosphere: warm, friendly, positive and yet, disciplined.

I passed a group of small boys covered in mud and grinning from ear to ear chatting about the rugby they had just been playing and wondering whether they could get away without a shower!  It was obvious that this was a place that boys could really be boys.

As an Army family, we needed a school for our sons that would provide a traditional  education, continuity, stability and a home from home.  It was clear that Woodcote ticked all the boxes. It was small enough to feel like a family, yet big enough to offer a wide range of activities.  The children seemed to reach the required academic standard for Common Entrance without stress and there was plenty of time to do sport, music, drama or simply play in the beautiful grounds. It was the best decision we ever made.