George, Charlotte and Louis’ new school Lambrook has ‘heart of gold’
Set in 52 acres of idyllic Berkshire countryside, the outdoorsy co-educational independent day and boarding school for three to 13-year-olds near Ascot is just a 10-minute drive from their new home in Adelaide Cottage in Windsor.
The Good Schools Guide describes it as a “classic prep school” with a “heart of gold”, and tells of how youngsters get to “run and run” in the vast grounds with “total freedom to explore, provided you’ve got your wellies on”.
It says the surrounds are “elegant – Farrow-and-Ball to a tee”, and adds: “Childhood is alive and well at Lambrook, whose lucky pupils spend much of their day frolicking in the school’s 52 acres.”
Lambrook boasts of “first-class teaching and superb facilities” which include a 25-meter swimming pool, a nine-hole golf course, an astroturf, hard courts, a squash court, cricket, and other sports pitches.
It has a reasonably definitely named Precious stone Celebration performing expressions studio and a new £6 million Sovereign’s Structure for ICT and scholastic learning.
The prospectus quoted one parent as saying: “It’s the most magical place for our children to spend time, and they can often be seen rosy-cheeked and perfecting handstands, throwing balls or racing to the tree stumps.”
There is a school on Saturday mornings followed by an afternoon of sports fixtures for pupils in Year 5 and above which includes nine-year-old George.
George, Charlotte, and Louis arrive at Lambrook School with their parents (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Lambrook offers weekly and Flexi-boarding for boys and girls aged seven onwards, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge having the option to let George and Charlotte stay as little as one night a week on an ad-hoc basis, with the sleepovers booked online.
George and Charlotte will be day pupils for now.
“Weeknights sounds like a hoot; think Harry Potter evenings and lashings of hot chocolate,” Talk Education said in its review of the school.
Fridays are the most well-known night for one-off loads up, leaving guardians allowed to have supper gatherings and attendant headaches, the Message detailed.
Fees cost £4,389 a term for Reception to Year 2 pupils such as Louis, £6,448 per term for Years 3-4 like Charlotte, and £6,999 per term for George through Years 5-8, with an additional £1,481 per term for boarding for Y3-8.
It means William and Kate will be spending in excess of £50,000 a year on their children’s private education.
The bill amounts to £53,508’s worth of fees in 2021-2022, not factoring in any potential sibling discount if available, fee increases, or the cost of uniforms or trips.
Boarding for the older two Cambridge children would cost an additional £8,886 a year if chosen at a later date.
Lambrook, a Christian school, prides itself on its high academic standards, with a pass rate of 100% for the Common Entrance exam – taken by private school pupils as part of the selective admissions process at age 13.
George, Louis, and Charlotte during the Jubilee carriage procession (Adrian Dennis/PA)
With 620 pupils, it is a larger than average pre-prep and prep school but billed as not as pushy as its London counterparts, with some of its intake being bussed in from west London and Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Surrey.
Year 8 leavers join renowned schools, for example, William’s institute of matriculation Eton, Wellington School, Marlborough School, where Kate went, and Charterhouse among others.
Headmaster Jonathan Perry is known for his charm, and performed a rock-and-roll dance and jumped on chairs to cheer up pupils during the lockdown.
His wife Jenny works with the pastoral team, with the pair is praised for their focus on emotional wellbeing, perfectly in line with William and Kate’s campaigning on mental health.
Mr. Perry says on the school website: “We give our pupils the ‘feathers to fly’ so that when they move on to the next stage of their educational journey, they will spread their wings and will take flight; leaving as confident, happy, engaging, mature, considerate and thoughtful young adults who are outward-looking global citizens.”
Lambrook School (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Lambrook’s on-site orchard is home to pigs, chickens, and rabbits, available to cuddle during tutor time wellbeing walks, bees with hives, and visiting lambs and George and Charlotte will have an enrichment afternoon every Monday to complement their academic studies.
They will be able to draw from a huge range of activities for this including farming, bee-keeping, chess, mountain biking, ballet, tap, jazz, mini-Masterchef, polo, podcast-making, scuba diving, skiing, as well as life-saving, survival, debating and public speaking.
Louis, who will be in reception, will enjoy “Forest Fridays” and be “taken on a journey of discovery in the beautiful outdoors”, the school’s prospectus says, mirroring Kate’s philosophy of the importance of outdoor play and spending time in nature
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George at Wimbledon (John Walton/PA)
Talk Education said there is a “sense of delicious freedom” while the Good Schools Guide said one mother was “mystified by how they get pupils back for lessons, but like clockwork, they tumble in, ruddy-cheeked and full of fresh air”.
And parents enjoy the benefit of not having to deal with muddy PE kits.
Games clothes are handed in at the start of term and remain there to be laundered by staff, before being sent home at the end of term.
Every item must be named but only sewn-on tags are permitted.
The main school building is a large white 19th-century country mansion.
Lambrook was established in 1860 and two of Sovereign Victoria’s grandsons, Ruler Christian Victor and Sovereign Albert of Schleswig-Holstein, joined in, with Victoria heading out from Windsor Palace to watch them in plays and cricket matches.
Uniforms consist of blue and green tartan kilts for girls and navy corduroy trousers for boys, plus check shirts, navy pullovers, and blue and green ties.
William and Kate can also immerse themselves in the school’s busy social life amid reports of plentiful Lambrook get-togethers and helpful WhatsApp groups.
Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Range Rovers apparently fill the car park.
But one Mumsnet user wrote: “I have been rather put off by the size of Lambrook, and the reputation of ‘Lambrook’ parents. We are not super wealthy, nor are we city people or country landholders!”
Abroad school trips incorporate hikes to France, Italy, Iceland, and South Africa.
But Year 7 students preparing to embark on a canoeing trip in Sweden must each first fundraise £500 to help an underprivileged child do the same through the Teenage Wilderness Trust.
Sustainability – no doubt a hit with eco-conscious William – is also key with the children planting 400 saplings to create new woodland.