Emma Goldsmith’s First Impressions

Sep 13, 2021

I am writing this on the first day of term as the sun blazes down on our Dragons. We lit the touch paper of the new school year with some invigorating staff meetings, all of us relieved and energised to have the Covid restrictions behind us. This school is extraordinary. Not only is it arguably the largest boarding prep school in the country but it also has a tangible energy which emanates from the staff who breathe life into this place.

Our young boarders have been embraced by the family-feel boarding houses which offer a home from home. Experienced House Parents care deeply about their responsibility to nurture the young Dragons in their care. The balloons and welcome gifts on their beds made the goodbyes so much easier as parents from all over the world dropped off their offspring.

For those at the very start of their educational journey our Pre-Prep has welcomed new children with warmth and reassurance and set about laying the foundations of a Dragon education. As we launch into lessons, the key learning habits set out for the children of diligence, resilience, ambition, collaboration and organisation underpin their learning. The curriculum is rich with a golden thread of skills from Reception to A Block (Year 8), and it is enhanced by the wide and varied extra-curricular programme including Dragon QUEST which offers all Prep School children the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of experiences from 9.30 to 12 on a Saturday morning. Where else could you experience paddle boarding or the art of debating?

Just before term started we hosted a reunion for our 1960s Old Dragons. It was reassuring to hear them talk about the values that the School instilled in them, knowing that they remain the same: kindness, courage and respect. The School’s motto is Arduus Ad Solem, ‘Reach for the sun’, and the School lives and breathes this motto continuing to be ambitious and challenging as we prepare global citizens for the 21st Century.

(Re)Discover the Dragon

Diary Dates

From regular reunions to Dragon Drinks, Remembrance Sunday to the Dragon Sale, there are lots of opportunities to come back to Bardwell Road.


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In 1886, it was parents’ faith and financial support which enabled the fulfilment of an extraordinary vision – to found a school that would inspire and nurture each child’s unique gifts.

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