The future of our planet is in safe hands – if the commitment of caring children at Highfield and Brookham is anything to go by.

Our pupils showed not only maturity beyond their years in terms of awareness and knowledge of the plight of our home planet from the ever-growing threat posed by climate change but also a steely determination to put things right.

And this was ably demonstrated by the young eco warriors at both pre-prep and prep schools on Earth Day last Friday – a special day set aside in 1970 to “diversify, educate and activate an environmental movement worldwide” which has carried on ever since.

In a change to regular lessons, the children embarked on a series of day-long green activities aimed at tackling climate change and protecting the natural environment; everything from the creation of colourful mini-Earths by the pre-prep’s youngest cohort, to be hung on trees in the Nursery at Brookham, to the design and production of workable wind turbines by the enquiring minds of young engineers in Year 8 at Highfield.

Year 2 children recycled old milk cartons to produce decorated bird feeders while Year 3 pupils worked alongside children in Year 4 in a fine example of cross-school harmony and collaboration as they dug deep to consider the threat to wildlife caused by masses of harmful plastic in our oceans. They also produced beautiful ‘nature jewellery’ in the form of bracelets using recyclable materials and planted a young silver birch tree in the school grounds to help curb rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which are a known driver of climate change.

The scourge of ocean plastic, with a shocking eight million pieces finding their way into our seas on a daily basis, was also probed by children in Year 5 and Year 6 who considered ways in which we can clear the deadly detritus in our oceans in order to help marine life survive and thrive.

They also headed out of the classroom to monitor bee activity as they considered the consequences of a threatened bee population on mankind’s very survival, with the busy buzzers pollinating our crops and therefore impacting on food production.

Thoughtful Year 7 and Year 8 children had a brainstorming session on a ‘nature timeline’, discovering what has already occurred environmentally and what could be done to restore the balance, while all the year groups staged a mock IPCC conference to debate climate change from differing global perspectives.

Phillip Evitt, Headmaster at Highfield School, said: “Climate change is an incredibly serious issue that affects each and every one of us and we all have a duty to do our bit. These are worrying times but what gives me great heart for the future is the way in which the children at Highfield and Brookham have taken up the challenge with open minds and big hearts with a real willingness and desire to make our world a better place.”

Gangsta Granny, Cruella de Vil, Willy Wonka’s Oompah Loompahs and The Midnight Gang have been brought to life at Highfield and Brookham Schools.

They were joined by a wealth of weird and wonderful literary characters of all shapes and sizes as children celebrated World Book Day.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the global phenomenon, the children began the day with a colourful parade in their year groups as part of a best-dressed character competition before taking part in a series of literary-themed activities and lessons.

Appropriately, the school library was a hive of activity as children got creative with a ‘Reading Rocks’ initiative, using all manner of arty paraphernalia to decorate rocks in the style of their favourite characters or books, and puzzled over an emoji quiz which revealed the identities of famous book titles.

But it wasn’t just the children who were bitten by the World Book Day bug as the teachers brought their favourite alter egos to the party too, with appearances by the likes of Harry Potter, Yorkshire vet James Herriot, Cleopatra and Tintin.

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said: “World Book Day is a day that we all look forward to each year as it gives pupils and staff alike the opportunity to really let their hair down, use their imaginations and immerse themselves in all things literary.

“The colourful costumes were simply a joy to behold around the school all day and the effort that the children went to was extraordinary. I never thought that I would ever be in a school lunch queue with the Oompah Loompahs!”

The first World Book Day in the UK took place in 1997 to “encourage young people to discover the pleasure of reading”, according to founder Baroness Gail Rebuck – and children at Highfield and Brookham certainly don’t need asking twice to open a book and start to read.

“Reading is an incredibly important part of education and reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success,” added Mr Evitt. “There really is nothing quite like a good book. In the midst of our technological age, the opportunity to lose oneself in a favourite book, to let one’s imagination wander, to visualise characters and settings and to form opinions of those very characters and settings is incredibly special.”

The unmistakeable strains of legendary rock anthems have shaken an independent school in Liphook to its very foundations.

The occasion was Rock Day at Highfield and Brookham Schools, held last Friday as a feel-good celebration in response to almost two years of restrictions and disruption caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

And it followed hard on the heels of national Children’s Mental Health Week at the end of February, which the school marked with a series of workshops, presentations and themed lessons which put the focus firmly on the continued well-being of its pupils.

The school chapel, usually the preserve of choristers and classical musicians, was transformed into a stunning arena of rock as children, suitably attired in sensational outfits, make up and big hair and wielding inflatable guitars, belted out classic tunes from the likes of AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Status Quo and Queen in a bid to be crowned rock gods of their particular year group.

And the three-strong judging panel, complete with Strictly-style score paddles, couldn’t fail to be impressed by the poise, character and vibrant vocals of the young songsters as the likes of Highway To Hell, Born To Be Wild and I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll reverberated around the chapel.

Not to be outdone entirely by the talented children, Highfield Head of PE Jo Gordon (vocals) and Head of Maths Patrick Davies (guitar) teamed up to perform four ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin tracks at break time while Slash (aka Head of Drama Sarah Baird) and Axl Rose (Head of Maths John Mühlemann) rocked the playground with superb covers of Guns n’ Roses hits Paradise City and Sweet Child O’ Mine.

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt, who was on the judging panel, was in awe of the standard of the performances of the children, who were aged nine to 13.

“What our children achieve here at Highfield never ceases to amaze me,” he said.

“They have the talent, the aptitude, the resolve and the confidence to turn their hands to pretty much anything, either as individuals or in groups, to incredible effect. What we saw in the chapel on Rock Day was nothing short of sensational.

“Getting up on stage in front of your peers and in front of your teachers can be quite daunting to many children, but each and every one of them got up there, did their best and performed to an exceptional standard. I am incredibly proud of each and every one of them.”

An independent school in Liphook has fallen foul of Storm Eunice – with a favourite old tree and the wooden score box on the edge of the cricket pitch being hit for six.

With the south of England bearing the brunt of one of the fiercest storms in recent years, with winds gusting up to 70mph on Friday, the iconic 30ft silver birch tree in the grounds of Highfield and Brookham Schools had an entire limb ripped off.

And the score box on the boundary edge fared no better as the high winds tore off the roof of the hut and demolished the frame, leaving it in tatters on the playing field.

With Highfield and Brookham closed last week for the half-term holiday, the grounds crew cleared the wreckage ahead of the children’s return to school on Monday.

The score box has been an integral part of the quaint cricketing scene at Highfield and Brookham during the spring and summer months for more than 25 years, hugging the boundary rope alongside the striking pavilion, while the accessible silver birch has for decades been a draw for adventurous Highfield children who love to climb on its lower reaches.

Ironically, plans were already in place to refurbish the score box before Storm Eunice struck, so Mother Nature has merely hastened the need for a replacement scoreboard instead.

As well as removing the debris caused by the second storm to hit the region in a matter of days, Highfield and Brookham’s grounds team have been scouring the vast estate to assess further damage, forcing Brookham’s youngsters to have their popular adventures at Forest School suspended on safety grounds.

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said: “It was incredibly sad to see the old silver birch tree and the scorer’s box on the edge of Chapel Field in such a state of devastation, being such well-known landmarks on the school scene, but that sense of loss is miniscule in comparison with the deep sense of gratitude that no-one was hurt during what was a pretty ferocious storm.

“Thankfully, the school was closed and all of our children were safe and well on their half-term holidays. Our children’s health and well-being are of paramount importance and underpin everything that we do. Trees can be replanted and buildings can be rebuilt, but people can’t be replaced.”

The school was also hit by a power cut late on Friday morning, an outage which affected many of the villages around Liphook as falling trees brought down powerlines. Power was finally restored on Sunday.

Rugby is thriving at an independent school in Liphook – and the results are there for all to see.

Proud coaches at Highfield and Brookham Schools are celebrating their “strongest season for several years” in what is always a competitive arena.

The U13A team ended their season with a pulsating draw against a traditionally big and powerful Aldro side from Godalming and an outstanding away win against a strong Twyford line up, prompting coach Dan Bather to applaud “one of the strongest squads we have had for some time”.

Driven on by the success of Highfield’s oldest cohort, the U12A team ended their season with impressive wins over Aldro and Twyford School in Winchester while the the U12Bs were beaten only once in six games, winning four in style.

The U11A side were dominant all season, winning six games out of seven, while the U11B boys won six out of eight.

And to underline Highfield’s strength in depth on the rugby pitch, the U11C, U10A and U9A sides were all unbeaten, seeing off the might of Cranleigh, Aldro and Westbourne House along the way.

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said: “Our two schools put out a tremendous number of teams each week in various sports and always look forward to locking horns with our friendly rivals from across the region, but while matches are played in a respectful manner, and while we pride ourselves on our high level of sportsmanship, they are still hugely competitive with a strong will to win.

“And nowhere has that desire, hunger and strong team ethic been more apparent than with our rugby teams of all ages. They have all had tremendous seasons and the future of Highfield rugby looks very bright indeed.”

The Highfield boys now have a short stint playing hockey before the cricket season gets under way in April. Football and rugby will return in the Autumn Term. The girls currently play hockey, netball and lacrosse before beginning their cricket campaigns in the spring.

Work has begun on an extension to provide a new nursery space at a thriving independent school in Liphook.

The expansion at Highfield and Brookham Schools is due to continuing strong demand for Early Years places over the last few years. The existing nursery space has been bulging at the seams, and the short-term fixes the school has made to house the extra children are not sustainable in the long term.

The new open-plan extension will enable the schools to accommodate all their nursery provision in one place and enable three-form entry throughout the pre-prep. It will measure around 100 square metres internally, with toilets for pupils and staff. It will also have a retractable wall to allow a space to be closed off for the youngest children when they are sleeping.

The building work is being undertaken by Verity Contractors and is expected to be completed in time for the start of the Autumn Term in September.

Brookham Headteacher Sophie Baber said: “These are exciting times for Brookham and I’m delighted that work on the extension is finally under way. It’s been several years in the planning but we know it will be very much worth the wait.

“The nursery children are already incredibly excited, and not just a little curious, about seeing all the new activity outside their window, and I’m confident that they will be just as excited come September when we move into our new space.”

With a week-long half-term holiday this month, the Easter holiday, a further half-term break in May and the extended summer holiday between now and September, noise and disruption to schooling at Brookham will be kept to a minimum.

Mrs Baber added: “Our nursery provision is exceptional, a fact which continues to be reinforced by the constant demand for places, but we know that our current arrangements aren’t sustainable in the long term if we want to continue to provide excellent education throughout the school, which is exactly what we intend to do.”

The nursery forms part of the early-years provision at Brookham and takes children from the age of two before they move up to Reception.

Fresh from scooping silverware at a netball tournament in Dorset, talented players from an independent school in Liphook have gone a step further.

The U13 girls from Highfield and Brookham Schools followed their Plate success at Bryanston School with a stunning victory in the IAPS regional tournament at Cranleigh School this week.

The girls won five of their six matches – culminating in a tense 7-5 win over Brighton College in the final – to secure their place at the national finals of the tournament run by the Independent Association of Prep Schools.

The finals will be held at Ipswich School in Suffolk on March 14.

Proud Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said: “It really has been quite a week for our U13s on the netball court. We’ve only just stopped celebrating the girls’ wonderful win in the Plate competition at Bryanston, and now they have topped that with overall victory at the IAPS tournament.

“We are always delighted to send our sports teams to the IAPS events and support what are always incredibly competitive occasions, so to come away with the regional trophy and book our place at the national finals is truly wonderful. The girls and their coaching staff should be immensely proud of themselves.”

And Mr Evitt added: “They say things come in threes, so we’ll all keep our fingers firmly crossed for March!”

At Cranleigh, with only the semi-finalists guaranteed a place in the national finals, Highfield secured their place in the last eight with two wins and one defeat in the group stages – edging out Windlesham 7-6, thrashing Dumpton 18-0 and losing a close affair to Westbourne House 5-3.

But the girls really got into full flow in the quarter-finals as they pulled away to beat Edgeborough 9-6 before blitzing shellshocked Kings Rochester 11-1 in the semi-finals to set up their glory bid against Brighton College.

Highfield last reached the national finals of the U13 netball tournament in 2018 when they returned home as Plate winners.

Netball players from an independent school in Liphook are celebrating after netting silverware in a tournament in Dorset.

The Year 8 girls from Highfield and Brookham Schools won the Plate competition in the annual prep schools netball tournament at Bryanston School.

And they couldn’t have done it in more dramatic fashion as captain Minty Delliere scored the decisive goal in the final minute to secure a 6-5 win over Hanford in the Plate final, having earlier swept aside Durlston Court 9-0 in the semi-finals.

Earlier in the day, Highfield made a strong start to the group stages of the Cup competition with an impressive 9-3 drubbing of Sherborne, a comfortable 7-3 win over Salisbury Cathedral and a gutsy 6-4 win against a tough Cheam side after player-of-the-tournament Tilly Hogg forced a late interception to set up Flora Tyrwhitt-Drake to seal the win.

Eventual Cup winners Millfield Prep proved a step too far in Highfield’s final group game, winning 11-3 to take the group and relegate game Highfield to runners-up spot in the group and a place in the Plate competition.

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said: “The annual netball tournament at Bryanston is always a firm favourite on the sporting calendar, so to come away with a trophy really makes me feel a huge sense of pride.

“The Year 8 girls always work incredibly hard on their game and now they have some silverware to show for their fantastic efforts. To think that their only defeat all day, against some very fine schools, was against the overall Cup winners really speaks volumes.”

Buoyed by their success at Bryanston, the Year 8s are set to compete in this week’s prestigious IAPS tournament at Cranleigh School in Surrey, where the top four teams will qualify for the national finals at Ipswich School in March.

It’s only been a matter of days but our eager children have picked up exactly where they left off before the Christmas break.

The Spring Term at Highfield and Brookham may be less than a week old, but already it’s been incredibly busy – and it shows absolutely no signs of slowing down!

Year 2 youngsters at Brookham took an exciting trip to the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester which they described as “out of this world”, Year 4 immersed themselves in a day of rich and colourful African adventure complete with drumming, beading and dance courtesy of Southampton-based African Activities, and Year 8 went straight into study mode ahead of this week’s mock exams.

But there’s much more still to come as this week also sees the start of the popular house creative writing competition, the resumption of external sports fixtures with netball and rugby matches against our friends from Amesbury, Eagle House and Edgeborough, and a fun-filled boarding trip to Coral Reef Waterworld in Bracknell.

Add in a return visit from intrepid adventurer Nick Carter who will regale Year 5 with his amazing travel tales, cushion concerts, scholarship visits to Benenden and Bryanston and a Year 3 Burns Night ceilidh and it promises to be an all-action January – which is just how we like it!

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said:

One thing I truly love about our schools is the sheer enthusiasm of our children. After the Christmas break, one could perhaps expect a degree of tardiness and listlessness, but that’s definitely not the case with our wonderful children

School trips and specialist groups and individuals who visit schools add real breadth and depth to the curriculum, enabling children to get involved in a hands-on way while learning through real-life experiences.

Mr Evitt added: “This first week of term has again seen a happy and seamless transition back into school life from all year groups, both in and out of the classroom, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to hear the vibrant sounds of busy and excited pupils around the school once more. And I’m delighted to say that the children have so much more in store.”

Highfield and Brookham Schools has been given an early Christmas present from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

We have again been awarded the maximum five stars in our annual inspection into food hygiene, not only for the pre-prep and prep schools but also for the new Oak Leaf Café.

Run in conjunction with the environmental health department at Chichester District Council, the school’s local authority, the FSA ratings are a snapshot of the standards of food hygiene found at the time of inspection.

Inspectors scrutinise handling of food, how food is stored, how food is prepared, cleanliness of facilities and how food safety is managed.

The result was a clean bill of health for Highfield and Brookham Schools and the Oak Leaf Café, with no recommendations or advisory notes, and a big helping of pride and satisfaction for catering manager Nadine Travis and her dedicated team.

The school was also awarded five stars 12 months ago but this year was the first inspection for the café, which officially opened its doors in early November.

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said: “Food is a very important element of life at Highfield and Brookham, from breakfast, lunch and dinner to our enviable sports day match teas, so to receive a glowing, five-star endorsement from the Food Standards Agency really is a tremendous honour.

Nadine and her fabulous catering team work incredibly hard to ensure that we work to and maintain the very highest standards in our kitchens, so they deserve all the credit in the world for this tremendous achievement.

Highfield and Brookham has a team of highly-skilled chefs who produce a varied choice of delicious, nutritious and well-balanced meals, cooked on the premises using only the freshest ingredients.

Seasonal produce is a regular staple of the menu while the catering team also prepare Ôthemed’ menus such as meat-free Mondays and dishes from overseas. They also cater for a wide range of special dietary requirements.

Highfield and Brookham Schools has again been named the top prep school in Hampshire for cricket Ð and that’s official!

The latest glowing endorsement comes from The Cricketer Schools Guide 2022, which has named us among its Top 50 Prep Schools in the UK for the third consecutive year.

It follows an exhaustive process which saw a record number of schools submit entries to be included in the prep school category of the guide. All entries were judged against an extensive set of criteria, which included a compelling commitment to cricket in the curriculum, facilities, fixture programmes and coaching.

Also considered was how schools kept the game alive during the pandemic, and how they look to ensure cricket remains a central part of school life.

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said: “Cricket is an important part of the sporting curriculum here at Highfield and Brookham and we are very proud to have been named one of the top prep schools in the country, recognising our fantastic facilities and coaches.

It was wonderful last summer for the school, for parents and children alike, to be able finally to welcome back spectators to our competitive match fixtures, and now to be named as the top prep school in Hampshire for cricket really is the icing on the cake

Highfield and Brookham has a strong cricketing tradition and regularly fulfils as many as 230 fixtures in the summer term against rival schools from neighbouring Surrey and West Sussex, as well as further afield encompassing the Home Counties.

The teams feature boys and girls aged eight to 13, with star prospect Summer Gratton becoming the first girl to break into the first XI while the U13A girls were the first at Highfield to take part in a competitive T20 game.

Huw Turbervill, editor of The Cricketer magazine, said: “It has been incredibly heartening to see schools cricket making such a comeback after a very different 2020. Of course, not all schools’ programmes have been the same due to varying restrictions, facilities, and many other understandable reasons but what has been consistent across the spectrum is that the dedication to the game in schools has, not only remained unaffected, but increased.

“Congratulations to all of the schools included and we look forward to hearing about all of your future successes.”

As well as representing Highfield and Brookham in external fixtures, many young school cricketers also play for local club sides, including Liphook & Ripsley, Haslemere, Fernhurst and Grayshott, while making full use of the indoor and outdoor nets at Highfield.

Suzannah Cryer has been appointed the new Head of Highfield School.

She will replace retiring Headmaster Phillip Evitt and take up her new role next September.

Mr Evitt announced earlier this year that he would be standing down at the end of the summer term after 23 years at the helm of the highly-respected independent school which nestles in 175 acres on the rural borders of Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

Mrs Cryer’s appointment follows a “long and demanding selection process” involving Highfield and Brookham Schools owner Bill Mills and the board of directors and signals a return to the thriving prep school for the former Head of Drama and Head of Boarding.

Currently Deputy Head at Thomas’s Prep School in Battersea, Mrs Cryer previously had a successful seven-year association with Highfield, leading the drama department on joining the school in 2012 and adding the boarding role in 2016 before heading to south London in 2019.

Mrs Cryer and her actor-writer husband Bob’s three children also have a strong association with Highfield and Brookham Ð Hope having been a regular volunteer in the boarding house while Martha and Connie are former Highfieldians.

She said:

I am very excited about returning to Highfield and building on the incredible platform that has been laid by Phillip. My family has strong links with this wonderful school and to be returning as Head is a real privilege

Mr Mills said of the appointment: “Suzannah demonstrated great insight in how education is evolving and offered an exciting and compelling vision of how we can develop both our curriculum and our approach to teaching and learning to prepare children to thrive in an ever-changing world.”

Mr Evitt, who previously taught at Monmouth School and Dulwich College, said: “I know that the school is in incredibly safe hands with the appointment of Suzannah, who was always a firm favourite with pupils, staff and parents alike during her previous time with us. She will undoubtedly bring fresh energy, enthusiasm and ideas to the role, underpinned by her existing knowledge of the school’s special DNA.”

It may have seemed odd but the message was clear Ð we’ll beat the bullies!

That was the firm vow from our children at Highfield and Brookham Schools, who gave their full support to Odd Socks Day in order to give bullying the big heave-ho.

Odd Socks Day was the brainchild of the Anti-Bullying Alliance and kicked off Anti-Bullying Week, which gave people the chance to express themselves and celebrate their individuality and what makes us all unique.

And children and staff alike really stepped up as they donned all manner of barmy and colourful combinations of fancy footwear in a bid to help stamp out the societal scourge that is bullying.

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said:

I was filled with great pride to see so many of our children put their full weight behind the fantastic Odd Socks Day initiative with a marvellous array of weird and wonderful footwear. It was quite a feat!

And he added: “The culture of bullying is something that we are acutely aware of as a school and we go to great lengths to educate our children as to why it is so wrong and how damaging it can be, and also what they can do if they are indeed being bullied in any way themselves.”

Fallen war heroes have been remembered during a poignant ceremony at Highfield and Brookham Schools.

The names of 69 former pupils who died in service of their country during the two world wars were read out by Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt on Armistice Day Ð a longstanding tradition at the historic prep school.

And the two-minute silence was impeccably observed by pupils and staff alike who had gathered at the Princess Anne oak tree to pay their respects to the war dead.

Year 4 pupils, the youngest cohort at Highfield, took pride of place among the front ranks of the assembled children, standing proudly with their glazed red poppies which they had lovingly created in art classes in readiness for Remembrance Day, while Year 8 trumpeter Harry Jowett brought a tear to the eye with an emotional and doleful rendition of The Last Post.

“At Highfield and Brookham Schools, remembering is about more than setting aside a day in a year to remind ourselves of the facts of war and sacrifice made by those who died in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts,” said Mr Evitt.

By living our lives with kindness, consideration and compassion and in striving for peace, we will remember them

Both Highfield and Brookham schools focus on wartime activity and associations in and out of the classroom in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day, such as learning about the significance of the symbolic poppies, understanding the importance of Remembrance Day and Armistice Day, and the various roles of men, women and children during times of conflict.

And Year 4 children got a glimpse into wartime life as they dressed up as evacuees for a special trip back in time to the Watercress Line, a working railway which has stayed faithful to a bygone era and which has a strong association with wartime activity.

“It’s important that children of all ages have an understanding of the horrors of war and the difficulties that so many people faced, both at home with bombs falling all round and overseas on the battlegrounds of Europe,” said Mr Evitt.

With that understanding comes respect and compassion which, in turn, can hopefully lead to an end to such horrific conflicts in the future

And he added: “It’s always a sense of great pride to me personally to read out the names of former Highfieldians who were killed during the two world wars, and sharing those names to our current pupils, the names of very real people who were schooled on this very site just as they are now, is very special indeed.”

Passionate children at an independent school in Liphook have delivered a strong message on climate change by vowing: ‘We promise to make a difference!’

With all eyes having been on the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow since the end of October as world leaders gathered to find ways to repel the environmental disaster facing our planet, the young pupils from Highfield and Brookham Schools have set in motion a chain of events that they hope can make a positive impact in reversing the current gloomy climatic trend.

Children from both Brookham and Highfield, from Nursery right up to Year 8, produced class mobiles made up of big leaves on which were written ‘promises of hope’ for a greener, more sustainable world which were joined together using biodegradable string.

The finished mobiles then took pride of place on the Princess Anne oak tree in the Highfield grounds during an assembly involving both the pre-prep and prep schools Ð the first such joint venture between the schools in honour of the sheer magnitude of the crisis facing our planet Ð before being shipped off to the climate conference in Glasgow.

Heartfelt promises to the planet included ditching plastic bags, eating less meat, recycling more, using electric cars and planting more trees.

Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said of the promises of hope initiative which was orchestrated by Deputy Head (Academic) Bev Smith: “We all find ourselves in a very grave situation where climate change is concerned and it is up to all of us to do our bit to try to help save the planet, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear. So to see every pupil and every class eagerly engage in such a caring and compassionate way is truly heart-warming and gives me a great deal of hope for a brighter future.”

Highfield and Brookham Schools are no strangers to environmental initiatives and have long championed a greener and more eco-friendly way of life.

The school has an enviable reputation concerning renewable energy and its carbon neutral woodchip-burning biomass boiler provides 85% of the energy required to heat both schools. The wood itself comes from the school’s estate, primarily through chestnut coppicing as chestnut is a naturally self-replenishing variety of tree which requires little or no replanting.

Highfield and Brookham have also implemented a successful ongoing meat-free Monday menu while the Keys programme at Highfield, which focuses on children learning skills outside of the classroom, has enabled pupils to build hibernaculums for wildlife, produce a bee garden, and undertake regular pond clearance.

And the young children at Brookham tend their very own vegetable patch, with all produce lovingly grown ending up on the lunch plates.

The return to school after the half-term holiday took on extra significance for four pupils in particular this week.

Daisy Green and Luke Woodburn have been named Highfield’s Head Girl and Head Boy respectively and will be assisted by able deputies Kitty Black and Gil Hardwick.

The appointment of the school leadership roles is always taken very seriously at Highfield and Year 8 pupils undergo a thorough selection process in order to land the highly-prized roles.

All pupils are actively encouraged to apply for the prestigious honour and any who decide to must submit a formal letter to Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt explaining why they should be considered for the position.

Mr Evitt, Deputy Head Andy Baker and James Figgis (Head of Year 8) then review the applications, draw up a shortlist, hold interviews and select one boy and one girl from the oldest year group in the school for the sought-after leadership roles, as well as their deputies.

Headmaster Mr Evitt said: “One of my favourite tasks in the school year is selecting the pupils to fill the leadership roles, and the reason I am so fond of it is that it’s always such an incredibly difficult job.

It’s truly a testament to the strength, character, quality and ability of the children that we have here that any number of pupils could successfully fill those roles each year

Responsibilities for the Head Girl and Head Boy will include representing Highfield and Brookham at various events and making speeches, liaising with the school council, and showing visitors around the school.

Alongside the appointment of the Head Girl and Head Boy, the school has also named its boarding leaders.

Polly Dove is the new girls’ head of boarding, with Sophie Moore, Destiny Williams and Lucille Soin her deputies, while Shaan Amin is the new boys’ head of boarding and will be assisted by Ben Bateman, Issac Yuen and Freddie Burton.

Mr Evitt said: “We are truly blessed with a wonderful group of Year 8 pupils again this year, children who throw themselves wholeheartedly into all aspects of school life, and I know that Highfield is in excellent hands. So, congratulations to the respective heads and deputies on their appointments, and for everyone who was courageous enough to put themselves forward. They really are a credit to our school.”

Christmas is coming early at Highfield and Brookham Schools.

The occasion is a luxury shopping evening on Friday, November 12. Running from 5.30pm-8pm in the atmospheric surrounds of charming Brookham, it will feature a wealth of unique festive gift ideas from some 30 local businesses from across Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

As well as giving people the chance to do some early Christmas shopping in a convivial setting ahead of the rush, visitors can also sample some festive food and drink while celebrating the amazing independent companies which are right on our doorstep.

There is also free childcare while a raffle with a wealth of top-class prizes from the visiting businesses will help raise vital funds for charity.

Brookham Headteacher Sophie Baber said:

Our Christmas shopping evening is always a special night in the calendar. There is always a real festive feel to the occasion and it’s lovely to see and hear the school filled with chatter, excitement and expectation – this time from the parents rather than the children!

Businesses attending include Albi & Mac, Artisan Annie, Charlie’s Trout, Corner Fifty-Three Distilling, Dada Duka, Daisy & The Ink, Dobby & Rose, Et Games, From Angie With Love, Hawkins Bros Fine English Wines, Isimi, Jaipur Jammies, Kempton Branson, Lorima, Luxe and Hardy, Nicola Martin Ceramics, Nue Hoops, Oarsum, Olive & Bloom Grazing, Paul Hawkins Flowers, ROOST, Ruffels Flowers, Savanna Salts, SHB, The Neon Nib, Two Fat Dogs, Susie Eats The Seasons, PITTCH, XV Stripes, KaHo Prints, Shop No Plastic.

Shoppers must register for the event. To do so, and to receive a lovely free shopping bag on the night, visit

An ambitious sports project that has been more than two decades in the making finally came to fruition in a golden ceremony at Highfield and Brookham Schools on Saturday.

Team GB Olympic hockey star Crista Cullen, who won gold with her teammates at the Rio Games in 2016, cut the ribbon to open officially our impressive all-weather facility.

It proved to be third time lucky for both the school and the hockey player, who had twice been denied the chance to unveil the two impressive hockey pitches because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the grand opening was certainly worth the wait as Cullen, 36, who also picked up a bronze medal in London in 2012, wowed pupils, parents and staff alike with a stirring speech and a coaching masterclass as she put Highfield’s Year 7 and Year 8 hockey players firmly through their paces.

What also endeared the visiting Olympian to the young pupils, aside from her obvious top-class talent, was the time she happily spent signing a wealth of hockey sticks and various other bits of sporting apparel, posing for pictures with excited children clutching her gold medal and, of course, the obligatory selfies.

Armed with their new-found skills and techniques, Highfield then welcomed Twyford School for a series of matches to christen the multi-coloured surface.

The pitch project was set in motion in 1999 and will be fully complete when its associated café overlooking the floodlit pitches is opened later this year. The all-weather surface, which is available for hire, is currently used by Haslemere Hockey ClubLiphook United Football Club, and as a performance centre for England Hockey juniors.

It forms part of Highfield and Brookham’s Whole Estate Plan, which was endorsed by the South Downs National Park Authority in 2018 and is led by Estate Manager Guy Baber.

Phillip Evitt, Headmaster of Highfield Prep School, said:

It’s been a long time since we dreamed up the idea of having an all-weather pitch at the school and on Saturday that dream finally became a reality – and it truly was worth the wait

“We had glorious sunshine, an inspirational Olympian and a lot of eager and excited children who loved every minute of it. Crista was fabulous and impressed the children with her passion and her drive from start to finish.”

And he added: “We’ve left a tremendous legacy for the future, one which we are immensely proud of, and maybe one day one of our pupils will follow in Crista’s footsteps and achieve sporting glory on the biggest stage of all. After all, with the opening of the all-weather facility, we have proved that with a bit of hard work and dedication, dreams really can come true.”

Kind-hearted pupils from Highfield and Brookham Schools have done their bit to help tackle food poverty.

Pre-prep children at Brookham brought in a veritable ton of canned goods, bottles, jars and fresh produce on the last day of term, all of which will be donated to Liphook Food Bank.

This followed hot on the heels of a special harvest festival service for prep school children at Highfieldwhich saw an abundance of produce and £350 from the chapel collection donated to Liphook Day Centre. The host of harvest-related events that the children take part in is just one of the many community-based projects that the children actively engage in.

Brookham Headteacher Sophie Baber said

We asked pupils if they could possibly donate some goodies for the food bank and they really did us proud, happily coming to school laden down with all manner of foodstuffs. The food bank is a wonderful cause, and we are delighted to be able to help in our own small way

Liphook Food Bank provides weekly food parcels and signposting advice to a broader range of agencies and services to support families and individuals struggling financially. It is based at Liphook Junior School, on Avenue Close, and is open on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9.30am-11.30am. For more details about the service, call 07871 287295.

Liphook Day Centre, based in the Peak Centre, offers elderly village residents a place to meet socially where they can get a freshly-cooked meal. It relies on fundraising and donations to keep its doors open.

A successful scheme built on kindness, caring and compassion is entering its eighth year at Highfield and Brookham Schools.

The Peer Listeners project has for the best part of a decade offered younger children a friendly shoulder to cry on or a kindly listening ear in times of trouble or upset.

The listeners themselves are a dedicated and trained group of pupils from Year 8 at Highfield.

The children apply for the scheme at the end of Year 7 and are selected via an interview process involving Zoe Thesiger-Pratt, Head of Personal, Social, Health and Economic, and English teacher Lucy Hendry, with around ten pupils typically chosen.

Mrs Thesiger-Pratt, who has been involved with the scheme for the past five years, said:

It gives the peer listeners an element of responsibility and they all love helping the younger children. We talk to them about developing their listening skills and how to be an active listener Ð just be a listening ear when others are feeling overwhelmed. These are great skills to develop

The peer listeners typically deal with issues such as friendships, homesickness or feeling left out.

“For the younger children, it means they have the comfort of someone to talk to who is more like a big brother or big sister. It means they can ask for advice without going to a teacher, as sometimes this can seem a bit overwhelming,” added Mrs Thesiger-Pratt.

Highfield School Headmaster Phillip Evitt expressed his delight that the peer listeners scheme was still as successful as ever and that the future looked bright. He said:

We take tremendous pride in our pastoral provision and the care and well-being of every single pupil in our schools, so how wonderful it is to see so many of our oldest children volunteering each year to help younger pupils during what can, for them, be worrying times

“It is incredibly heartening and gives me a huge sense of joy and satisfaction to see the continuous stream of kindness, care and compassion which runs through our wonderful school, and I have full confidence that these marvellous young people will continue to make the world a better place.”

Our avid young readers have made even more of a beeline for the school library than usual.

The occasion was the week-long book fair at Highfield and Brookham Schools, an annual Autumn Term favourite which returned this week after being cancelled by Covid 12 months ago.

And the pupils’ thirst for new reading material is clearly as keen as ever despite the interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic Ð if the footfall through the school library was anything to go by.

Run by the English department, with help from Highfield and Brookham librarian Dr Fiona Whitfield, with the primary intention of encouraging pupils to read, the book fair is a regular staple of the working week for all year groups at the school.

And this year, we linked up with independent store The Haslemere Bookshop to offer pupils a vast range of shiny, age-appropriate books covering all genres that parents could buy.

The Haslemere Bookshop also supplied literary offerings at Brookham’s successful book fair last term.

Phillip Evitt, Headmaster of Highfield School, said:

Reading is not only an essential part of any child’s learning journey, it’s also incredibly enjoyable. The power of words is remarkable and the way authors engage young minds and spark their imaginations is truly special

“The English department and our wonderful librarian always put a lot of time and effort into making the book fair the success it is every year, and it’s extremely heartening to know that our children have lost none of their desire to get stuck into a good book despite the disruption caused by the pandemic.”

Highfield and Brookham Schools regularly welcome authors into the classroom as part of the English curriculum, and recent literary visitors have included Miles Hudson (The Mind’s Eye) and Andrea Prior (A Piddle of Puppies).

And Mr Evitt was delighted to work with a local independent bookshop as the fair continues to go from strength to strength.

He said: “We would like to say a big thank you to Ian Rowley and his team at The Haslemere Bookshop. For every book the children buy, Highfield gets credit to spend at the shop, so thanks to parents’ generosity, we will be able to buy even more books for our fabulous library.”

Seeing a fleet of minibuses lined up in a school car park may not seem anything out of the ordinary Ð but for Highfield and Brookham Schools it was a very significant sight.

For last week’s influx of school transport marked the end of a long and frustrating absence of external winter sports fixtures.

Highfield and Brookham, like so many other schools up and down the country, had been unable to host competitive fixtures and tournaments on its 175-acre site since March 2020, when the country was plunged into the grip of a national lockdown sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

The lockdown, and the necessary onset of home schooling, brought with it a sudden end to scheduled tournaments and fixtures against other schools in the traditional winter sports of football, netball, hockey, lacrosse and cross-country.

But that all changed last Wednesday as Highfield and Brookham welcomed sports teams from ten prep schools across Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex for an afternoon of football and hockey tournaments watched by visiting parents.

Highfield’s Under-10 boys took on their rivals from Amesbury on the football pitch, while pupils came from as far afield as Woking, Guildford, Godalming and Chichester to compete in the Under-13 girls’ hockey matches.

Phillip Evitt, Headteacher of Highfield Prep School, said

I love nothing better than strolling around the grounds on a Wednesday afternoon taking in the glorious sights and sounds of excited children playing competitive sport, so imagine my joy last week when we were once again able to welcome children, coaches and parents from so many other schools in the area

And he added: “It’s been a long time coming and it’s been a very worrying and frustrating time for everyone concerned, but it was very much worth the wait and now we can hopefully look forward to many more days ahead of competitive sport against other schools.”

External fixtures returned to Highfield and Brookham Schools with a series of cricket matches in late spring, but no winter sports matches have been played against rival schools for more than 18 months.

Highfield and Brookham Schools have seen another healthy rise in new admissions.

We welcomed another 81 pupils to our nursery, pre-prep and prep schools in September Ð up 14% on last September. Last year, 71 new children Ð an increase of 29% Ð joined Highfield and Brookham, the highest number of new admissions in six years.

The continued upward curve is another huge vote of confidence for our highly-respected co-educational day and boarding school which lies within the South Downs National Park, nestling on the leafy borders of Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex.

Under the expert eye of Phillip Evitt, Headmaster of Highfield Prep, and Sophie Baber, Headteacher at Brookham Nursery and Pre-Prep, the schools have earned an enviable reputation for their academic excellence, sporting prowess, and high level of pastoral care.

Mr Evitt has forged strong and lasting relationships with the very best senior schools in the country, resulting in a continuous flow of Highfield pupils joining the likes of Harrow, Eton, Charterhouse, Marlborough and Cranleigh, something which has undoubtedly had an impact on the impressive new admission numbers in recent years, while London families looking to move out of the capital has also been a factor.

As a result, Brookham now has its highest ever number of children in Nursery, with a bright new space having been opened during the summer to allow the school to have two classes for older nursery children and offer all the sessions that the children require without increasing class sizes.

And pupil numbers are now at a five-year high for children entering Reception and Year 4 as the schools continue to go from strength to strength.

Mr Evitt said:

Choosing a school, and especially choosing the right school, is an enormous undertaking and these numbers really give us an incredible sense of satisfaction knowing that our approach to schooling, both in and out of the classroom, is being recognised by parents and prospective parents alike

And our pupils look set to have a bright future judging by the thoughts of one particular London parent, whose words are being mirrored by an ever-increasing number of people. She said: “We were very interested in three schools locally, but Highfield and Brookham became our preferred choice for a number of reasons. We felt that they offered pastoral care on a level very different to other schools and saw education as a Ôwhole child’ approach. The facilities really are incredible and readily available. Finally, they have an ingrained ambition of securing the right school for each child after they leave.”

The schools’ international numbers have also bounced back strongly despite the logistical global headaches caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with pupils returning to Liphook from across Europe, Asia and North America.

Mr Evitt added: “We are thrilled to have welcomed back our existing pupils and we are looking forward to getting to know each of our new pupils.”

Highfield and Brookham Schools are celebrating another glowing recommendation by one of the country’s leading authorities on private education.

We have been included in the prestigious Tatler Schools Guide for 2022, officially making us one of the very best prep schools in South-East England.

Featuring a nursery, pre-prep and prep school for children aged from two to 13, Highfield and Brookham Schools came through a stringent selection process with flying colours, as parents, pupils, education sector professionals and editorial staff at Tatler decided who made the grade.

The school was described by one parent as like being “wrapped up in a big hug” while the prospect of its first-rate culinary provision clearly tantalised more than just a few tastebuds on the panel. And Highfield and Brookham’s Whole School Estate Plan being endorsed by the South Downs National Park Authority Ð the first school to do so Ð was also cited as a big plus point by Tatler.

Proud Highfield Headmaster Phillip Evitt said:

It’s always a great thrill to receive any kind of positive feedback regarding the work we do here at Highfield and Brookham, but to be recognised by such a prestige publication as Tatler Schools Guide really is praise indeed

And Mr Evitt added: “Our children’s education, welfare and well-being are at the very core of what we do and I’m so lucky to lead an incredibly dedicated team who never cease to amaze me with their professionalism, enthusiasm and sheer love of school life. Our wonderful inclusion in Tatler is very much testament to them and their sterling efforts.”

“A word that is often used to describe us is unique, and we feel that offering a first-class education to a slightly smaller set of year groups is part of our uniqueness, and I’m delighted that our educational and pastoral provision has been recognised and supported by so many people.”

Four intrepid Highfield and Brookham Schools teachers have battled through fatigue, sore legs and blisters to complete the gruelling 100k South Coast Challenge in aid of Highfield Highreach Holidays.

Walking non-stop overnight last Saturday and into Sunday, Sophie Baber, Kerri Wilkes, Georgie Hunter and Georgie Cooke-Priest marched from Eastbourne in East Sussex to Arundel in West Sussex, raising a whopping £3,815 for Highreach, a volunteer-run charity which offers week-long residential holidays for disabled children.

The 62-mile route took the hardy hikers along the majestic cliffs of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters before following the famous South Downs Way north of Brighton and onto the stunning Devil’s Dyke beauty spot, ending their epic quest in the historic market town of Arundel.

Mrs Baber, Headteacher at Brookham Pre-prep and Nursery, said:

That is without doubt one of the toughest things that I have ever done, but it’s also one of the very best things that I have done, and I couldn’t have wished for better people to walk with

“We had highs and lows and we had tears of joy, laughter and pain, but we were all so incredibly determined to battle on to the very end no matter what to raise as much money as we could for our brilliant Highfield Highreach Holidays charity, which does so much fantastic work for disabled children and their dedicated carers.”

The South Coast Challenge fundraising link is still live and Mrs Baber is hopeful that the final total may still yet top an astonishing £4,000. She added:

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far. We were absolutely blown away when we finished our walk and realised just how much people had raised. The thought that it may still go even higher is really beyond our wildest dreams

Operating since 2016, Highfield Highreach Holidays keeps costs low for families by raising funds throughout the year to cover more than half of the cost of the holidays, while all the staff are volunteers. Last month, 24 Old Highfieldians returned to their former prep school to volunteer for the week, and they were joined by seven pupils from Churcher’s College in Petersfield who were providing key support as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme work.

To donate to the charity walk, visit