Feature articles

There are no stereotypes at Manor House School!

Girls are free to be who they want to be at Manor House School. Our vision is to ensure that girls leave with the academic qualifications and confidence to pursue their dreams and ambitions; with qualities that ensure integrity and kindness and with experiences that foster a better understanding of democratic ideas and responsible citizenship. Find out more...

Manor House School are holding a Reception Taster Morning on Wednesday 18 October 2017, 9.00am – 12.30pm.

A morning of themed activities to celebrate World Heroes Day for girls aged 3 to 5 years. Sign up for our Reception Taster Morning and find out why there are no stereotypes at Manor House School. #FutureLeaders

Please call 01372 457 077 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your daughter’s place.

Following on from our award-winning pre-school, the Seven Areas of Learning continue to be the focus of achievement in our reception class and form the foundations of our curriculum, which is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.

Our teaching staff considers the individual needs, interests and stage of development of each girl in our care and provide a challenging yet enjoyable experience in all the areas of learning and development.

We recognise that play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore and allowing each girl to take the first steps to becoming an independent learner. A careful range of self-initiated and adult-led activities are provided to promote risk-taking, creativity, curiosity and independent thought.

Our reception class is housed in excellent purpose-built facilities, with large, modern and light classrooms with access to a dedicated all-weather playground. Pupils benefit from having full access to whole-school facilities, including an assembly hall, a sports hall, a swimming pool, extensive playing fields, an outdoor learning area (The Dell) and specially designed cookery, music and drama rooms.

As part of their physical development, we provide opportunities for the girls to be active and interactive, to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Reception pupils learn a range of basic sports skills aimed at developing agility, balance and general fitness. Girls continue to have specialist teachers in PE, music and French and also have dance lessons as part of their curriculum. In Reception Year, they learn the violin as an additional specialist lesson.

We work hard to build a caring, family-style environment where our happy girls flourish in their learning and personal development. We encourage strong links between school and home through ‘Meet the Teachers’ evenings, regular written reports, parents’ evenings and an ‘open door’ policy.

There are no stereotypes at Manor House School and girls are free to be who they want to be. Sign up for our Reception Class 2018 and join us at our Reception Taster Morning on Wednesday 18 October from 9.00am to find out more #FutureLeaders. 

Get ready to relax with a massage & holistic therapy discount offer

Introducing massage and holistic therapies from Beth Benneyworth at Purple Utopia. A qualified massage and holistic therapist based in Walton-on Thames, I can offer my clients various therapeutic treatments in a calm, soothing environment.  Qualified in many massage therapies, I offer pregnancy massage, manual lymph drainage massage, reflexology, and I am also a Reiki Master Practitioner. Please note that I do not massage during the first trimester due to the potential risk miscarriage.

Pregnancy Massage

As well as aiding relaxation, pregnancy massage supports the body during the physiological changes, and helps prepare the whole body for birth. It also has an indirect relaxing effect on baby, as mother releases oxytocin and prolactin, due to the skin stimulation. As with all types of massage therapies, there are many health and well-being benefits with pregnancy massage, including; lymph drainage and stress and pain relief. This treatment also release vital ‘good’ hormones, supports and prepares the body and aids sleep.

I also offer a longer appointment, at no extra charge, where the partner can attend and learn some basic techniques for massage during labour, this not only helps mum, but also helps the partner to feel included.

Massage during pregnancy is not always recommended, therefore, prior to an appointment, clients will receive a pregnancy massage pack, with information and questions. I also conduct pre-massage tests for DVT and Pitting Oedema before starting any body work.

Post Birth Massage

Having post birth massage increases the circulation, boosting the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system not only delivers nutrients around the body, but it removes waste from around the body, which assists with the reduction of cellulite and stretch marks. In turn this can make mum feel better about herself, and also gives her some down time, which can help immensely when dealing with the demands of new motherhood.

All available treatments

  • Swedish Massage              
  • Reiki
  • Indian Head Massage                                                       
  • Crystal Healing
  • Hot Stones Massage                                                          
  • Ayurveda Therapy
  • Reflexology
  • Manual lymph drainage
  • Pregnancy Massage                                                
  • Colour Therapy
  • Aromatherapy                                                                      
  • Facials


Bespoke packages are available on request. All packages must be paid in advance and cannot be used in conjunction with any other discounts.

10 pre-natal sessions £300.00*                

10 pre-natal sessions plus 3 post-natal sessions £450.00*

*Saving £200.00

Indian head massage

Due to issues that arise from lying on your stomach, after 22 weeks, massage to the back of the body is conducted whilst lying on your left side. Some people may find this uncomfortable, but will still want the relaxation benefits of a massage; therefore, Indian head massage is a good option. The client is seated for this treatment; no oils are used and the client remains fully clothed.



This is a natural healing energy that works on every level. It is a non-invasive treatment that can be used safely with all healthcare. This is ideal for clients who don’t like massage, as it can be given with or without touching, and the client is fully clothed. Further information about Reiki can be found on the UK Reiki Federation website www.reikifed.co.uk

Special Offer

All new clients will receive a 20% discount and a goody bag with this offer.*

*Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer excluding packages.

Member of: UK Reiki Federation, BABTAC, International Alliance of Holistic Therapists, Federation of Holistic Therapists, International Alliance of Neuro Linguistic Programming and Coaching 

  • T: 07401 985055
  • F: Purple Utopia T:@purple_utopia
  • E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Opening hours: 10am – 8pm Monday to Saturday
  • Website www.purpleutopia.co.uk

Early Years curriculum - much more than play!

Starting life in the education system is a huge step for you and your child. Some of you will be breathing a sigh of relief as we near the end of the first half term, while others face the hugh decision of which school or nursery to choose for your little one for next year.

The deadline for primary applications is January 15, so now is the time to start considering schools. For those of you with children in Reception already, you may be wondering what happens next...

Many of us consider those early years to be about socialising our children, establishing routines, some basic learning and plenty of play! However, the reality is that these first steps into the education system are actually formally defined as the Early Years key stage of the national curriculum, (which covers children aged from 3 to 5 - so until the end of Reception) and as such, schools and nurseries are required to cover a range of subjects and meet specific learning goals, ready for each child’s performance to be assessed at the end of the stage.

So what exactly should a nursery/school be covering during these formative years? And what makes for a positive learning environment? Sally Walker, Reception Class Teacher and Early Years Co-ordinator at Barrow Hills School sheds some light on the matter.

What are the key areas of development that are covered as part of the Early Years curriculum and have there been any recent major changes?

There have been no major changes since April 2012 when a revised EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) Early Years Framework was issued by the government.  These focused on strengthening partnerships between parents and professionals and pinpointed the three prime areas of learning that are most essential to prepare a child for future learning and healthy development: personal, social and emotional development; communication and language, and physical development.

How are children tested?

In the academic year 2015-16, the government introduced a baseline assessment for each individual child (requiring a child to be taken out of the class for approximately 30 minutes in the first six weeks of them starting Reception to answer a series of multiple choice questions) designed to measure starting points in education and track progress. The outcome has been a realisation that this isn’t a reliable or successful process (it requires the teacher leaving the class to work with one child rather than getting to know all the children in their natural learning environment), so for 2016-2017 year it is not a statutory requirement and schools/nurseries are now returning to in-class assessments, as per previous years.

Are there any particular areas that establishments offering education up to Reception Year have been advised they should focus on?

All the areas of learning are equally important in creating a whole child, not just literacy and maths. Schools and nurseries should focus on initially developing the prime areas of learning (personal, social and emotional development; communication and language and physical development) during the first years of nursery. After this, the child will be ready for deeper learning in specific areas such as literacy, mathematics, expressive arts and design and understanding the world.

There is a national focus on developing boys’ writing and narrowing the gap between both girls and boys and children who are born in the summer.

What are the key markers to look out for in a child that is developing normally in a new Early Years learning setting?

Every age band defines the expected parameters in relation to learning and there is an overlap of months in the learning goals to allow for the different rates of development amongst children. The priority is to focus on the individual and not just use the age band ‘requirements’ as a tick list. If a child can do everything in the age band description except for one thing, they can still be considered to be working within that age band.

At the end of the Reception year, children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals, which represent the desired learning achievements at this point of their education. Some children will exceed these learning goals but some may not and will reach them in Year 1. 

For example, the Early Learning Goal for writing is:

‘Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible’ (source: Early Years Outcomes).

What are the key markers for a child that is struggling in a new Early Years learning setting?

Building a relationship with their key worker or teacher and feeling secure in the Early Years setting is essential. A child that is struggling to build a rapport or who feels worried/anxious in school/nursery will find it difficult to flourish. In addition, if a child is having problems developing relationships with their peers, this will undermine their ability to feel secure, which will ultimately impact on their potential to thrive.

What questions should parents seeking out an Early Years learning centre be asking? 

  • Check if the school/nursery offers a free flow learning environment. Can the children choose to undertake their learning inside or outside? Providing this freedom to choose is essential for a child’s development.
  • Find out how much time is allocated to child-initiated play and guided learning.
  • Ask how a child’s learning journey is recorded. Do they use books/online learning journeys and how often are these shared with parents?
  • Determine what form of communication there is between parents and staff and the frequency of such communication.
  • Request details of any extra curricular opportunities that are available to the children.

What other steps should I take to ensure the school/nursery is right for my child?

If I was looking for an Early Years setting for a child, my personal priority would be to look at the children already at the school and ascertain whether they are happy, confident and sufficiently supported to help them become independent learners. Seek out evidence to show that the children are engaged in their learning. Personally, I would also spend time assessing whether the staff appear content/fulfilled, as in my opinion, happy staff in the workplace will always go the extra mile both for the school and the individual child.

One thing's for sure, every child deserves a learning journey they can enjoy and thrive in. It's a very special time...before you know it they will be off to university or work!

Photo: Sally Walker with Barrow Hills children.

Autumn is the perfect season for a family bike ride

Whether your children are tiny tots or tall teenagers, you can all have fun cycling together as a family. It’s a fantastic and healthy way to do something where everyone is involved and at the end there is great sense of achievement too.

Vicky Paterson from RIDDEN, a cycling inspired clothes and gifts company, offers some advice for a successful family bike ride:

We are very lucky to live near the beautiful Surrey Hills and have stunning areas of outstanding natural beauty on our doorstep - so what better way to explore them than on our bikes! As parents of two boys, we have often looked for things to do at the weekends that don’t involve a screen and a huge amount of money; cycling has been the perfect activity. Now the boys are a bit older, they often lead the way, but we’ve also had a lot of fun over the years with them on tag-alongs. There’s nothing like whizzing along a beautiful Surrey cycle trail on a crisp autumn day.

So before you get out there: plan your route and give everyone’s bikes a quick check over the day before you go. Always take a backpack with the following: a puncture repair kit, some cash for an ice cream or hot chocolate break, locks for the bikes and plenty of water and snacks. It’s advisable to wear layers including a shower-proof jacket, gloves are a good idea too as little hands can get cold very quickly when pedaling along.

It’s usually best to cycle behind your children so you can keep an eye on them and let them set the pace. Build in places of interest such as a playground or good trees for climbing, and stops along the way for a drink or a picnic. Start with a shorter route and gradually build up to longer distances.

RIDDEN is all about remembering the great bike rides you’ve been on and being inspired to try the trails you haven’t. Why not take the family out this weekend and try one of these routes:

  1. Peaslake and the Hurtwood (for more details go to http://ridden.cc/mtb-trails-around-peaslake-surrey-hills/
  2. Alice Holt Forest near Farnham
  3. Shalford-Bramley-Cranleigh old railway line

All of these trails offer a great trip out, are safe and suitable for adults and children of all ages.

And with Christmas fast approaching www.ridden.cc has the perfect gifts for a ‘Bike Mad Dad’ or ‘Cycle Crazy Kids’. RIDDEN’s collection of original designs celebrate the ‘King of the Mountain’ feeling that bike riders have when they’ve conquered a new hill climb or tough trail. There are great t-shirts, hoodies, gifts and prints (that you’d actually be happy to have in your house, not just in their man cave!). And they’re at prices that won’t break the bank, ideal for a present for Dad from the kids or a Christmas present for your brother-in-law.

We are offering a special Surrey Mummy promotion for free delivery, just enter the code FREERIDE at the checkout.

Spark4Kids computer coding courses for children in Guildford, SURREY

Holiday coding tech camps and term-time coding sessions for kids in Guildford, Surrey.

Computational thinking – the instinctive ability to work out exactly how to tell a computer what to do – is becoming as important as numeracy and literacy in today’s world.

Spark4Kids specialises in teaching kids to code by gently introducing coding through games design. In creating a fun, engaging environment where children are actively encouraged to explore and experiment with coding, kids naturally develop their ability to problem-solve computationally.

An often overlooked aspect of coding is how much of a creative outlet it can be for kids, allowing them to express their thoughts and ideas. When children learn to code, they start to think of themselves as creators and not just consumersof technology. At Spark4Kids, children are supported on their coding journey, enabling them to take ownership of the code they write – in their own time, and at their own pace.

If you have a child who loves playing computer games, then learning to create their own games by attending Spark4Kids’ holiday Coding Tech Camps and term-time coding sessions might just be their ultimate holiday or weekend activity!

Book now and take advantage of the special “Early Bird” discount that is currently available.

For more information, visit Spark4Kids – www.spark4kids.com.