AD Disclaimer: (AD Disclaimer: This blog post was written in paid partnership with St George’s School Windsor Castle). Views are those of Berkshire Mummies following a tour of the school in March 2023 and online research.
Berkshire Mummies recently had a tour of St George’s School Windsor Castle, along with a meeting with Head, Mr William Goldsmith. It was a privilege to be shown around this school, rich in heritage and history with a forward vision for children to be ‘Real World Ready’, by two articulate, well-presented, confident and passionate pupils.
Overview of the School
St George’s School Windsor Castle, which provides an education for children 3 – 13 years, has the future at the heart of all it does, under the passionate leadership of the Head. Whilst historical traditions still play a vital role in the school, the school is now at the forefront of education reform. The school launched its pioneering International Baccalaureate curriculum in September 2021, girls are now choristers and the Pride flag is flown during Pride Celebrations. The school is non-selective and every child at the school is celebrated for who they are, what they can and want to achieve. The pupils are confident and supported to be who they want to be and are encouraged to celebrate one another’s success. The prefect system is no more – just hardworking children given the tools, skills and mindset to thrive.
St George’s School Windsor Castle is part of Round Square which is a global network of 230 schools. Giving the school an advantage of being connected to a global network with a world class approach to education and platform for future leaders.
The school is deceptive from the outside, much larger from within and has real charm set inside the grounds of Windsor Castle with strong links to St George’s Chapel, as well as a host of other facilities enabling the children to excel academically, in the arts, sport, digital learning and so much more.
During my meeting with William Goldsmith, you could feel his passion for the school, it’s pupils and their families. Mr Goldsmith is there to make change happen, his priority and pioneering vision sets out to ensure the children have a progressive nurturing education, preparing them for our ever-developing world. He is not afraid to make change, knowing that each individual child is able to be who they want to be.
Mr Goldsmith became Head of St George’s back in January 2019. He was previously Head at St Leonard’s Junior School at St Andrews in Fife. Having previously held various teaching and management roles at St Paul’s Cathedral School, London, Ludgrove School in Wokingham and Highfield School in Liphook, Hampshire.
St George’s School Windsor Castle is steeped in history and dates back to 1348 when the College of St George was founded by King Edward III, it’s one of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom. The College of St George, which the school is part of, was inspired by King Arthur’s legendary Knights of the Round Table. At the heart of the College is St George’s Chapel which was established to provide a spiritual home to the Knights of the Garter.
From the very start, choristers were integral to the daily worship and have been ever since, save for a brief period during the reformation. St George’s School Windsor Castle was formed to educate the choristers and provide them with their term-time home.
In 1893, the school, relocated to the Travers Building, located at the foot of the North Wall of the Castle. The Naval Knights of Windsor occupied this building and were reported to have behaved so badly after regular visits to the tavern, that they were thrown out and their place was taken by the school, still educating the choristers only.
During the 20th century, the school began to expand, educating non-choristers, still boys from age 8-13 years. During the mid-1990s the school expanded further, to both welcome girls, and open a Pre-Prep (in 1997). Since then the school has continued to grow and now educates around 350 children aged 3-13 years.
Today, while being a very different school to the one originally founded, St George’s remains very proud of its history and connection with the College of St George and Windsor Castle. It also remains the term-time home of the Choristers of St George’s Chapel.
St George’s School Windsor Castle has a vision for all students to be Real World Ready. The school are fully aware children are entering a new world, where University and the world of work is different from before, with jobs in the work place of the future often currently not even in existence today.
The school is committed to meeting the education requirements of children today and tomorrow, allowing them to be well equipped to thrive in a world which sees geographical and cultural borders broken down like we haven’t witnessed before.
The school is ensuring the campus is equipped and investing to allow all students to excel and the co-educational offering remains a key focus for the school in the future.
School life is busy with pupils working hard academically but also ensuring they have time to spend with friends and the wider community, whether that be at break-time, whilst representing the school at sport (and yes everyone gets this opportunity) to cuddles with Olive the school dog, to being part of house events, school trips or projects within the local community. There is a well-being hub, with a dedicated, fully-trained mental health team who provide support and drive awareness to the whole school community about mental well-being.
Whilst the school follows the Christian values of honesty, courage and kindness; pupils and families from all faiths and none are all very welcome at the school. The school community is diverse and liberal and this is celebrated.
The house system allows children to interact and develop friendships across year groups. There are four houses and children compete in houses for sports and music events and also fundraise for charity. The children also work towards gaining house-points throughout the school year in Years 1 – 8, which are awarded to children demonstrating the core school values.
St George’s School Windsor Castle also offers boarding provision for pupils from Year 4 upwards and the boarding house can be found in the heart of the school. The school offers weekly (Sunday – Thursday night) and flexi boarding provision which is popular with waiting lists.
Academically the school is split into three based on age. There is the Pre-Prep faculty (up to Year 3), beginning with the school’s Early Years Foundation Stage settings in Kindergarten and Reception, Prep (Years 4 to 6) and Senior Prep (Years 7 and 8).
Throughout all years in the school the same framework is adopted, which links knowledge, skill and mindset. The learner journey begins with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme from age 3, where children are encouraged to be critical thinkers and are given the opportunity to express their ideas and thoughts. The model allows pupils to be able to listen to others and accept different points of views, which are skills the children can take with them beyond their time at the school.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage the school looks to develop happy, independent children. The environment is vibrant and stimulating with supportive staff, thus allowing children to be themselves whilst learning, exploring and questioning the world around them.
In the Pre-Prep children learn in and outside of the classroom. The children have a wide range of subjects and activities on offer to them, with the support of purpose-built classrooms and passionate staff.
In Prep the academic learning steps up a gear, with the children thinking critically and challenging assumptions. The teachers use complex, real life examples used to underpin the work and study to enhance their learning and understanding. The key for the school is to produce well-rounded individuals.
The Senior Prep are taught in their own separate section of the school, giving independence in-preparation for senior school at 13+. The school encourages independence and supports the individual’s academic maturity and development of self. The school uses a number of initiatives to support this including the St George’s Trailblazer Award – which gives students the opportunity to take part in community service work and experiences with ‘8billionsideas’ – as well as the Pre-Senior Project Qualification, which allows children to undertake independent research on a topic of their choice, strengthening problem solving and presentation skills. The Year 7 and 8 children also take on ambassador responsibilities and have the opportunity to volunteer for additional roles such as Peer Listener or Library Assistant.
The Year 7 and 8 pupils are challenged to develop a business idea to give them first hand entrepreneurial experience. Taking their ideas and bringing it to fruition from concept to product launch.
Further learning comes in the forms of ‘Dinners with a Difference’ with guest speakers, residential trips and TEDx style talks – all of these open the children’s eyes to the wider world and help to develop their characters and confidence.
The co-curricular programme is a key part of the children’s education and fits the school’s Real World Ready approach. Every child at the school is encouraged to pursue their hobbies and passions and the co-curricular programme caters for a range of interests covering community, creativity, global, performing arts and sports and fitness. The timetable aims to expand the pupils existing experiences and create opportunities to try something new.
St George’s School Windsor Castle is based at the foot of Windsor Castle and from the roadside you would think the school was reasonably small, but it’s packed full of facilities once inside! You are met with beautiful buildings which have classrooms, an IT suite, assembly hall, sports hall, swimming pool, multi-use sports pitch, music rooms, science labs, art studio, food technology suite, design technology lab, dining room, boarding houses, outdoor classroom complete with firepit and more.
The school has a heated indoor swimming pool, with additional access to the pool at Eton College for swimming galas, plus access to extensive playing fields in Home Park Private, the private grounds of Windsor Castle, where the children can play sport surrounded by amazing trees, grounds and stunning views of the Castle.
The school also have private steps up to the castle – 100 plus which are used regularly by the children, staff and families as they make their way to St George’s Chapel for assemblies, gala concerts and visiting speakers.
The Head and staff support the pupils and their families with their choice for their future destination school whether this be at Year 7 or Year 9 across Boarding and Day schools. Click here to view the list of Destination Schools.
Fees and Bursaries
The school fees for St George’s School Windsor Castle can be found here. Siblings discount is given for third and subsequent children in each family of 7.5%.
There is also a boarding and fee grant provided with a choristership, which are awarded annually. Choristers are not eligible for further non-means-tested discounts.
To find out more about fees and bursaries at St George’s School Windsor Castle click here.
The Independent Schools Inspectorate last carried out a full inspection in November 2022. The school received ‘excellent’ in all areas of the report. Click here to read the report.
How to Visit
If you would like to visit St George’s School Windsor Castle do contact the Registrar to arrange a private tour, alternatively you can book onto the next Open Morning. The school also runs a parent and toddler session periodically throughout the year – look out for details of upcoming Butterflies and Caterpillars dates on the school website.
This school is impressive, with a Head on a mission, who is driven to lead a school that prepares children to take on the world head-first, having gained the skills and awareness to equip them for the modern future. The school is unique with it’s links to St George’s Chapel and Windsor Castle and a hidden gem at the foot of the Castle, with a good range of facilities and passionate, hardworking workforce and pupils learning and being guided to grab opportunities, whilst being kind, honest and courageous.
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Click here to view the Berkshire Mummies disclaimer. This post was written in paid partnership with St George’s School Windsor Castle. Berkshire Mummies was invited for a tour at St George’s School Windsor Castle, this review is written based on what we saw and have learnt about the school doing our research.