Good luck to Prep School pupils who have competed in the qualifying round for the IAPS Swimming Competition

Our Prep School swimmers travelled to Culford School to compete in the area qualifying round for the Independent Association of Prep Schools Swimming competition. The top 20 swimmers from around the nation will be invited to swim at the National Finals in June. For the last few years we have had swimmers from Gresham’s Prep at the National Finals and we are very much hoping that some of our pupils might swim fast enough to make the cut in 2024. Good luck to all and thank you to Culford for hosting!

The Prep School Green Team challenged pupils to decorate recycling bins

The Prep School Green Team set a challenge to all Prep School pupils last week to decorate their recycling bins and raise awareness in our school community of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’. The hotly contested competition was judged on Friday and ‘5TH’ are the winners of a fully recycled and recyclable prize – well done to all! 

Author Scarlett Clark visited the Prep School to speak about her book, ‘The Smart Girls Handbook’

Scarlett spoke to parents on raising daughters and she also did a workshop with all of our Year 7 and 8 girls which the HSMs from Oakeley, Queens and Edi attended with representatives from their Houses. 

Scarlett is the author of The Smart Girls Handbook and is the CEO of Smart Girls Tribe. She is a fantastic ambassador and has some incredible achievements for a woman in her twenties, including being the host of top rated podcast Smart Girl Tribe, a TV commentator on women’s issues, and an ambassador for the NSPCC and Childline.

Year 3 recreated the rock cycle using chocolate!

In Science this week Year 3 recreated the rock cycle in chocolate. By using different types of chocolate and different processes they were able to make chocolate versions of the three rock types. They even made a chocolate volcano!

Well done to Olivia who competed in the Norfolk Sportshall Athletics County Championships

Year 6 pupil Olivia competed in the Norfolk Sportshall Athletics County Championships at University of East Anglia on Saturday. Olivia achieved second place in the Under 11 girls standing long jump and second place in the Under 11 girls standing triple jump, whilst also achieving PB’s in both events.

She has also been selected to represent Norfolk at the Sportshall Regional Finals at the UEA on Saturday 17th February.

New Chair of Governors Appointed

Paul Marriage has been appointed as the School’s new Chair of Governors from July 2024, taking over from Michael Goff who will step down after a six-year tenure.

Paul is an Old Greshamian (Kenwyn & Tallis 1982-1990), a Liveryman of the Fishmongers’ Company and he became a Governor in 2012. Having read Modern History at University College, Oxford he began his career in the insurance market before entering the investment industry in 1997.  Having run leading specialist UK equity funds at Cazenove Capital and Schroders, he founded Tellworth Investments in 2017.

Paul Marriage, said: “I am honoured to be taking over from Michael Goff as Chairman of the Governors, he has done an exceptional job and will be a hard act to follow.  Parents, staff, pupils, OGs and my fellow governors can be assured that I will do my utmost to keep the School on its upwards trajectory as we approach our 475th anniversary.”

Well done to the U11 girls hockey team who are regional winners

Our U11A girls hockey team played in the East regional finals of the England Hockey In2Hockey Championships on home turf last week. The girls had a great start, winning their first two matches with ease. They then came up against the bigger challenge of a skilful Perse side. Things didn’t go to plan with them losing 0-2. However, the testament of a good side is the ability to bounce back and this they did by winning their remaining group matches to finish 2nd in the group and qualify for the semi-finals. This was a tough local derby against Langley Prep School, things were very tight throughout and they fought back from lots of strong play with excellent defending. Thankfully, they managed to score in the closing minutes to reach the final, once again facing The Perse. This time, the girls executed the plan with real commitment and managed to score late in the second half and hold off last minute pressure to win the title. This is a trophy Gresham’s haven’t won in recent history and is certainly an achievement of which to be hugely proud.

Prep and Senior pupils gave incredible performances in the Piano Showcase

The Piano Showcase on 22nd November saw a combined programme from the Prep and Senior Pupils, launching the start of the new Steinway Status school. Ranging from Classical piano solos, and contemporary duets, to a boogie-woogie number and a four – part paso double, the performances were incredible and showcased the full range of the new piano, and the variety of genres being taught and enjoyed across the schools. 

Year 7 Romeo and Juliet: A Play in 2 Days

Visiting director, Ian Murchie, led all our Year 7 pupils in a whirlwind production of ‘ Romeo and Juliet’. Put together in just 2 days, pupils delivered a fantastic performance. 

James Dyson donates £35 million to create a state-of-the-art Prep School for Gresham’s

  • Donation funds purchase and restoration of Grade II listed Holt Hall, set in 85 acres, and building of new state-of-the-art facilities for pupils aged seven to 13
  • James Dyson has now donated more than £50 million to Gresham’s School, which provided him with a full bursary after the death of his father, a teacher there, in 1956
  • The Dyson STEAM Building at Gresham’s opened in 2022, following a previous £18.75 million donation; the new Prep School will open in September 2026

The James Dyson Foundation today announces a new £35 million donation to Gresham’s School. It will create a state-of-the-art Prep School with a brand new building incorporating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) facilities for pupils aged seven to 13.

James Dyson boarded at Gresham’s from the age of nine, attending the school from 1956 to 1965. He has always acknowledged his deep gratitude to the school and its then Headmaster, the late Logie Bruce-Lockhart. The school gave James’s family support so that he and his brother could continue their education for free at Gresham’s after the untimely death of their father, Alec Dyson, aged 43, who taught Classics there.

James Dyson, Founder of Dyson and Gresham’s alumnus, said:

“Holt Hall is a magnificent setting and when it came up for sale we had the extraordinary opportunity to rescue this Victorian hall, to provide a new setting for a cutting-edge Prep School for Gresham’s pupils. As the son of a Gresham’s teacher, I had the free run of Gresham’s grounds and playing fields in the school holidays – but the arcadian park of Holt Hall was out of bounds.

The architecture and design of the new wing – with a mirrored external surface – will reflect the ancient woodland, allowing it to blend into its stunning setting. We will also restore the Victorian building and protect the surrounding ancient woodland for Gresham’s pupils to discover and learn in, adding state-of-the-art facilities.

It is so important to inspire young people through problem-solving and discovery. I’m forever grateful for the generosity Gresham’s showed me when my father – who was Head of Classics at the school – died when I was nine. Logie Bruce-Lockhart, the Headmaster, allowed my brother and me to continue our studies with a bursary, when it would otherwise have been impossible. I’m so pleased to be able to support the school and to see it shaping incredible young people who go on and flourish.”

The £35 million donation will enable a much-needed restoration of the adjoining Holt Hall and the surrounding 85 acres of grounds which are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, increasing the area of the school grounds by a third.

The plans for the new Prep School include:

  • A sustainable, naturally ventilated, mirrored new building adjacent to Holt Hall – inspired by Dyson’s research building (D9) in Malmesbury, Wiltshire – that reflects nearby ancient woodland. The new building will have:
    • High tech equipment and STEAM facilities.
    • Solar panels on the roof.
    • Heating and cooling via a ground source heat pump.
    • An irrigation system using recycled rainwater.
  • Careful restoration of Grade II Listed Holt Hall which will become the heart of Gresham’s new Prep School.
  • Investment into an ancient woodland management plan.
  • Removal of invasive plant species protecting the site long-term.
  • Preservation of the walled garden.
  • Installation of a Field Studies Centre and outreach programmes for local schools, including outdoor activities at Holt Hall and residential stays.

Douglas Robb, Gresham’s Headmaster, said:

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rescue Holt Hall and breathe new life into its grounds. We are enormously grateful for the generous donation of Sir James Dyson and the James Dyson Foundation. The natural setting of Holt Hall and its ancient woodland will be the new home for Gresham’s Prep School – currently a superb school limited by its cramped location at a crossroads. No land will be sold off during this development and we will repurpose the Prep School’s existing site to expand the Senior School facilities. I am particularly grateful that Sir James has chosen to further enhance the school’s facilities and build on the tremendous success of the Dyson STEAM Building.”

From left: Michael Goff (Chairman), James Dyson, Douglas Robb (Headmaster). Credit: Dyson.

On average Gresham’s provides £2.5m worth of bursaries and financial support a year, benefitting 200 pupils. 1,000 children from local schools have made use of the school’s existing Dyson STEAM Building, which opened last year, in workshops provided by the school and there are plans for local children to use the new Prep School campus.

The new Prep School and restoration of Holt Hall will be designed by architects WilkinsonEyre. WilkinsonEyre have a long relationship with Dyson, with Sir James Dyson and the late Chris Wilkinson developing Dyson’s Malmesbury & Hullavington campus, the Dyson Institute’s undergraduate village, and the Dyson STEAM Building at Gresham’s together.

Dyson STEAM Building at Gresham’s. Credit: Dyson.

All photography copyright Dyson.