Maltman’s Green School
Formidable facilities with a particular strength in gymnastics make up this effective 12 acre non-selective girls' day school in leafy Gerrards Cross.
Maltman’s Green School is an impressive non-selective, secular, day pre-prep and prep school with 360 girls aged 2-11 years. Their motto is ‘excellence with a sense of fun’ and this is certainly borne out by an 84% qualification rate in the recent Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test (11+). Found in leafy Gerrards Cross South Bucks, Maltman’s façade offers a kind of homely elegance – the original building dates from the 17th century, and was originally a malting house (hence the name) before becoming a school in 1918.
It still looks very much like a large home, and inside has the character and charming higgledy-pigglediness often seen when old buildings are added to over the years. As the school has grown, other stand-alone buildings have been added to the 12 acre site, including the Nursery, which was established in 1990, and the Day Care, Little Malties, which launched in 2017. Average class sizes in the bright, well-equipped classrooms are around 18– big enough for buzz, small enough for personal attention.
Some of the best in the area. For sporties there’s the usual flood lit sports courts and playing fields along with the tour de force, a heated indoor six lane 25 metre swimming pool. Very rare to find a full-length pool in a prep school, and no surprise that the school takes its swimming seriously with every girl taking swimming lessons each week, all year round (weekly lessons for girls in Day Care and Nursery take place from the Feb half term onwards).
Academically there’s a fully equipped science lab, IT suite, Art and Design Technology area with fun additions like pottery room and kiln, a lovely cosy library with curved leaded windows looking out onto the lawn, dedicated music classrooms and practise rooms and a multi-purpose performance hall.
The grounds themselves are well kept and pretty, and the relative compactness of the unified site makes it ideal for the nursery, pre-prep and prep school children to mingle. Worth noting that the Little Malties Day Care girls make use of the prep facilities (within reason – I’m guessing the Bunsen burners are off limits!).
Aside from swimming, which is clearly a massive strength, and all the usuals of hockey, netball, lacrosse etc, if your daughter is into gymnastics, all roads point to Maltman’s Green. The school’s roll call of awards from the most recent competitions includes IAPS U9 Team and Individual Champion, U10 Team and Individual Champion, U9 Gold Group Sequence and a haul of Silver and Bronze medals, ISGA (independent schools gymnastics association) U9 Team and Individual Champion, U11 Team Silver, U9 and U11 Individual Silver and U10 Team Bronze.
Plenty of ensembles and choirs, with most girls learning at least one instrument. There’s also an orchestra, which is unusual for a prep school of this size (grade 2 and higher to play in it, for everyone’s sanity). Handbells is also enthusiastically taken up here – there’s an invitation only ‘Maltman’s Belles’ in Y5 & 6.
If you want your daughter to move on to some of the top local independent schools, you’re in the right place. Though Maltman’s is non-selective, the academic results are strong, with a focus on the creative curriculum and personalised learning that allows the girls to forge ahead. There’s excellent learning support here too, with the SEN Coordinator both a teacher and an Educational Psychologist. This year, a record 84% of Maltman’s girls passed their 11+ exam, making them eligible for a grammar school place in September. Senior school offers this year include Beaconsfield High School, Dr Challoner’s High School, Wycombe Abbey, Cheltenham Ladies College, and Downe House.
The headteacher’s office is one of the grandest yet homeliest I’ve seen. Huge sofas face each other like a Homes & Garden shoot, with the fireplace grandly to the side. But then, look in front of the fire and there’s a massive toy dog to put little people at ease. It’s super sweet. On the green creds front, being an eco-school is no longer seen as a quirk, but Maltman’s can dust off a gold star for having been the first school in IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools) to have a dedicated Head of Sustainability.
Mrs Jill Walker started as head in Sept 2020. Previously head at St Nicholas Prep School in South Kensington, she took over from Joanna Pardon, who was in the hotseat for 15 years. STEAM is one of Walker’s passions, and she’s planning to build further on the school’s creds in this department, so watch this space, it’s going to be impressive.
The Nursery, for girls aged 3-4, is housed in the old stable block, with the 2-4 year olds in their Little Malties Day Care in a huge space looking straight across to the woodland where you’ll find Woodland School with bird hide, mud kitchen, fire pit and a bug hotel. Woodland School is currently open to girls in Nursery – Year 3 as standard, and to older girls in various extra-curricular activities. Workshops, activities and events throughout the year allow the littlies to mix with each other and the teachers and progress their learning and social skills.
WRAP AROUND CARE
Plenty. From 7.30am until 6pm for Reception and up, and from 7.30am until 6.30pm for Little Malties Day Care and Nursery. Within the existing school fee structure, parents can drop off kids from 8.15am (lessons start at 9am) until pick up at 4pm. In terms of transport links, there’s currently a school bus that picks up from Beaconsfield, with an Amersham route being added soon and more in the pipeline.
Average for this area I’d say. Day Care half days are £50, £70 school day, £80 extended day. Nursery starts at £1925 per term, and girls must attend all five mornings, which might not suit everyone. Reception children are £3850 per term, Pre-Prep Y1-2 £4410 per term, Prep Y3-4 £5095 per term and Y5-6 £5275 per term.
WORD ON THE GROUND
There’s a perception that Maltman’s is not as ‘touchy-feely’ nurturing as other schools locally but that’s not borne out in the parents I spoke to, who sing the praises of the steady, confident girls who leave the school.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Parents looking for a homely school and a single sex environment. Girls who like to get involved and join in – music, drama, sport, art and dance are seen as just as important as academics here. The combined site for nursery, pre-prep and prep is a bonus for those who would like to see their child’s education through in a unified setting.
Not for: Girls who aren’t up for a challenge. Plus, this is a non-selective school and there are no plans to change the mixed ability cohort so that will perhaps not appeal to tiger parents.
Dare to disagree? Be my guest! You can look around the school in person on their Summer Open Day, Friday 21 May, details here. (Parents can book individual time slots, to ensure social distancing). Otherwise, take a look at the Virtual Open Day and interactive map here.
Maltman’s Green also offer a special Toddler Talk Webinar about developing your child’s social skills during lockdown, when access to other children isn’t possible. This is pre-recorded, to watch whenever’s convenient, and can be found here.
Maltman’s Green School, Maltmans Lane, Gerrards Cross, Bucks, SL98RR. Tel: 01753 883022.