Time & Leisure Schools Guide St Hilary’s Preparatory School and Nursery

St Hilary’s Preparatory School & Nursery

Godalming  I    218 day pupils    I    2-11 years Boys & Girls

St Hilary’s Preparatory School and Nursery, based in Godalming, Surrey, is an independent preparatory day school which provides a stimulating and safe environment in which boys and girls can develop and flourish.

Woodcote House School really does have it all.  It is the ultimate family-run, traditional prep school, not just in fact but also in ethos. The motto ‘Live to learn and learn to live’ is put into practice throughout the school. Woodcote has been owned and run by the Paterson family for 89 years and David Paterson is very proud to be the 4th member of the Paterson family to be Headmaster of the school.  Born and educated at Woodcote, David is a hands-on Headmaster, teaching mathematics and providing a personal reference for each boy’s application to senior school.

Being small is one of its strengths because every boy who joins Woodcote becomes part of its extended Woodcote family, getting on with life and with each other.

Set in 30 acres of stunning grounds, the boys at Woodcote are encouraged to get out and explore, enjoying unrivalled freedom to play as hard as they work.  There are woodland areas, a rope assault course, campfire area, climbing ropes and a zip wire.  The boys can pursue a wide range of indoor and outdoor hobbies in their free time, including golf in their lunch breaks!  Woodcote is a school where boys really can be boys.

One of the most valuable lessons the boys learn is to live with different people, a skill that will benefit them throughout their future lives.  Woodcote provides a happy, secure environment where boys can live, learn and flourish as individuals. The school demands high standards of behaviour and manners and aims for them to be honest, confident, respectful and trustworthy, together with a sense of humour and a balanced perspective on life.

Successful and happy, the school has recently been judged as ‘Independent Prep School of the Year 2020’ by the Independent Schools Parent Magazine. 

The Award was judged on St Hilary’s successes of the previous academic year, including the opening of their own Lego Innovation Studio, securing the British Council’s International Schools Award, winning national art competitions, a strong buddy system, community outreach and the development of higher order thinking skills through teaching philosophy and chess.

The Headmistress, Mrs Whittingham said ‘This prestigious award is an excellent reflection of our school and everything we do to ensure the boys and girls not only achieve their academic personal best but also equip them with skills and values for life.’

Time & Leisure Schools Guide St Hilary’s Preparatory School and Nursery

St Hilary’s was chosen as the school that stood out above the rest amongst a very strong field of schools.  Mr James Priory, Headmaster of Tonbridge School and one of the judges, presented the award to St Hilary’s for their ‘energy, super range of activities and demonstrably strong school values’. Chair of Judges, Dr Helen Wright, said that ‘You are all, quite simply, amazing!’

At St Hilary’s School, every pupil benefits from well-qualified and specialist teaching staff combined with a broad curriculum and splendid facilities. Amenities include well-equipped classrooms, music wing, spacious hall for the performing arts, library, modern computing suite, art studios, all-weather pitch, the Hiorns Centre for drama and dance and the fantastic LEGO Innovation Studio.  Small class sizes allow children to achieve their best in a dynamic and vibrant environment.

Situated within spacious landscaped grounds, there are numerous outdoor facilities, enabling boys and girls to learn outside the classroom all year round.  With trails, nesting boxes and an open-air classroom, the woodland is a popular place to explore and is used for Forest School and features in lessons and activities across the curriculum.  The Taurus Trail and Young Explorers’ Area provide further opportunity for pupils to challenge themselves during break times. Children are responsible for their own areas within the grounds and learn what is required to nurture and care for plants and flowers.

Solid links with our local community are of paramount importance, as are strong traditional moral values based on a Christian ethos.  Pupils are expected to show respect for everyone and to be kind.

Parents are guided in senior school options for their son / daughter and have the opportunity to make informed choices at a time when a child’s true academic potential can be more accurately predicted and talents in other areas identified. St Hilary’s has an excellent reputation in securing first-choice schools for their pupils when they leave with Year 6 leavers successfully moving on to a wide range of prestigious senior schools; every year many obtain an impressive number of academic, art, music, sport and drama scholarships.

The school has recently welcomed many new families who have relocated out of London, as Godalming provides a great location to ‘escape to the country’ whilst also being commutable with a 45-minute train into Waterloo.

Prospective parents are welcome to find out more about the school by contacting the Registrar, Mrs Dickenson, on 01483 416551 or

St Hilary’s Preparatory School and Nursery


Holloway Hill, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 1RZ


Mrs J Whittingham B.Ed Cert., Prof.Prac.SpLD


218 Day Pupils, Boys & Girls


2-11 years


from £3,621 – £5,328 in the main school. Nursery £33 per session. Kindergarten £31.50 per session.


If a place is available, parents are advised to Register. Children will be invited to attend a Taster Day in the appropriate year group. Alternatively, the Headmistress and key staff will Zoom the prospective families and their child/ren. For more information visit our website