Beech Hall History
Beech Hall is a large country house set in over sixteen acres of wooded grounds. A house named Beech Hall has been in existence on the site since 1435, when it was the main residence of the Worth family – although signs of a bronze age settlement were discovered when the swimming pool was being built. The main building on the site dates from the Victorian period and was once the home of one of the silk barons of the area.
Beech Hall School was formed in 1926 by Mr. W. Edwards as a Preparatory School for boys. Most of its pupils boarded. The school passed to a Mr Hunt in 1935 who in turn was succeeded by his son in law, Mr Worthington, in 1956. In 1966, the school became a limited company and a charitable trust, although the freehold was retained by the Hunt-Worthington family.
In 1982 Mr Fitzgerald became Headmaster. Changing trends during his tenure saw Beech Hall become coeducational and extend its range to include a nursery, now called Little Griffins. As with many prep schools, boarding numbers dwindled during the early 1990s and ceased altogether towards the end of the decade; however the overall number of pupils at the school expanded.
Towards the end of Jim Fitzgerald’s headship, the freehold passed to a property developer. Such was the parents’ enthusiasm for the education provided at the school and its ethos of friendly acceptance and encouragement of each individual that a tremendous campaign ensued; Beech Hall’s future was secured with the purchase of the freehold and the establishment of a more proactive governing body.
Mark Atkins became Headmaster in 2003 and, with great energy, began the process of modernising school procedures and improving its facilities whilst maintaining its distinctive ethos. The changing attitude of local independent senior schools to transfer at 13+ caused the governing body to consider whether to retrench as a prep school that provided education to 11+ or extend its range to GCSE, thereby providing a more intimate alternative to large secondary schools. The latter option was chosen and so began the process of improving facilities further to suit the needs of pupils between the ages of 6 months and 16 years.
In January 2007, Tim Scott, succeeded Mark Atkins and continued the process of modernising the school whilst retaining its most cherished traditions. Developments included refurbishing the ICT facilities, libraries and playgrounds. An astro turf pitch was installed in January 2007 with flood lights being added in 2010 and the Assembly Hall has recently been refurbished.
Geraldine Yandell, succeeded Tim Scott in September 2010, making history as the first Headmistress of the school.
In October 2015, Mr James Allen assumed the role of Headmaster of Beech Hall School following the school’s sale in May 2015 to Professor Michael Lewis of the Riverston Group. The ambitious development plans of the Riverston Group and their commitment to invest in the school assures a strong and exciting future for Beech Hall School.