Vinehall School

Vinehall School

Overview

Vinehall School is a co-educational day and boarding School located near to the village of Robertsbridge in Sussex. It takes children from ages 3 to 13. At Vinehall a dedicated team works hard to make boarding an extremely attractive option. In addition to academic support, the children also benefit enormously from a wide range of activities and opportunities at a well resourced school located deep in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside.

Vinehall also has a well-established boarding community of boys and girls. It is very much the heart of the school, including some overseas boarders.

Location

Vinehall lies deep in the Sussex countryside and has its own golf course. The link below has a picture of the school and its grounds.

History

Vinehall is an imposing country house with a central building constructed in the late 1830s. It is believed that the great Joseph Paxton designed the grounds. When Lady Ashton died in 1938, the estate was sold and Vinehall started its life as a country preparatory school, opening with six local children.

During the Second World War, the school was evacuated to Killerton Park in Devon along with a local girls’ school. However, accounts from the time showed that the boys were not over-enthusiastic about playing lacrosse! The school returned to its Robertsbridge home after the war and in 1946 was bought by Major Tom Stuart-Menteath. He and his wife ran the school until 1957 when his stepson, Richard Taylor and his wife Pat continued running the school. Many of the old traditions of the school began under their care; the dormitories acquired their unusual names (for example Wild West, Squirrels and Hurricanes) and the habit of taking the children for a camping expedition to Tanners Farm began. The Year 6 children still visit the same location each summer term. The Taylors built an indoor heated swimming pool, still in use today!

Richard and Pat Taylor handed the school over to their son-in-law David Chaplin in 1977. He and their daughter Sally, parents of Keane singer Tom Chaplin, remained until 2002. During their stewardship the school (which was already a charitable trust) took ownership of the whole estate and a major period of growth occurred. Pupil numbers rose throughout the years and many exciting developments followed, making Vinehall one of the best-equipped prep schools in the country. The purpose-built Pre-Prep was added as was a theatre, sports hall and finally in 2000 the Millennium Library and classroom complex.

They handed over the school to Mrs Julie Robinson, who moved in with her husband Mark and young daughter Gemma in 2002. She is the current headmistress. Recently there was a change of staff with Mr. Hudspeth leaving the boarding house to make way for the new house parents Mr. and Mrs. Caithness.

Houses

Every child at Vinehall is entered into one of the four houses, Ashton, Paxton, Rushton or Saxton.

All Vinehall children are allocated one of the four houses for their time here [hmm, yes, this is a prospectus, not an encyclopaedic entry]. If they have brothers, sisters or cousins at school, then they join the same house, so a family feel is maintained. The school does the same if their parents or other relatives were at Vinehall. Ashton (blue) was named after Lord Ashton, who owned Vinehall, Paxton (green) is named after the Victorian architect who is believed to have designed the grounds, Rushton (red) was the name of the park in the 19th century and Saxton (yellow) was made up when many years ago another house was needed!

Boarding

Vinehall has a lovely community, especially in the boarding house. There are many dorms and over 100 children board. The dorms include Hurricanes, Elephants, Squirrels, Mousehole, Amazons and Rooks.

Vinehall Today

Since, many more buildings have been erected, such as The Millennium Building, the Debeer Block for Science and the Art and Design Technology centre. Also, Vinehall has a well-established boarding community of boys and girls. It is very much the heart of the school. Many of the boarders are from overseas or other parts of the country. There is also a pre-prep, which is the primary department run by Tessa Richardson.

Overview by a pupil

"Vinehall is a wonderful school and there are lots of good friends you can make. There are many clubs and there is always something to do. My time at vinehall has been a pleasure and I will remember it always."

Sport

Vinehall is proud of its record in playing competitive sport and many of the children achieve places in county and national squads in hockey, rugby and cricket. In recent years our gymnastic, cross-country and swimming squads have won medals at national IAPS events.

Alumni

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