Burgess Hill Girls

West Sussex

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  • Category: Nursery / Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory / Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Girls
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Roll: (Boys) 478 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 2 1/2 - 18 years
  • Founded: 1906

General Information

Burgess Hill Girls is an ‘Excellent’ rated Independent day and boarding school in the heart of Sussex. It is a through school for girls aged two and a half to eighteen. The Nursery (which is co-ed), Junior and Senior schools are all located on the same campus, a 14 acre conservation area centrally located in Burgess Hill and very close to the main road and rail links to Brighton and London.


The site comprises of open playing fields surrounded by natural woodland. The buildings date back to 1704 and are a mixture of Victorian and Edwardian villas complemented with sympathetic contemporary buildings.

Little Oaks is a modern contemporary building built in 2008 for our expanding Nursery and infants classes. The building is set into its sloping site which allows for high ceilings and vaulted corridors creating a feeling of space and tranquillity. The Junior School is housed in two Edwardian villas which have both been refurbished and modernised to provide a welcoming and friendly learning environment. There is a learning hub, computer suite, cookery and technology room. The buildings are surrounded by landscaped grounds with equipment to challenge children of all ages.

The main teaching block of the Senior School is Webb House. It was built in the early nineties and was refurbished during the summer of 2015. A Learning Resource Centre, computer rooms and state-of-the-art teaching facilities provide a clear vision for teaching in the modern world. The refurbished science centre opened in 2010 and provides superb teaching facilities with separate sciences laboratories for the chemistry, biology and physics departments.

Croft 11 is a state-of-the-art drama, performance and music academy encompassing a 320-seat tiered auditorium. The original building was refurbished and extended to provide a theatre which is used by the school and the wider community. Our Music School links neatly to the performing areas and modern practice rooms surround the main teaching areas. Facilities for Art are a sprawling array of light and airy rooms all centred around an exhibition area. Dedicated Sixth Form studios provide a perfect location for A Level study.

Well-maintained sports fields are used for athletics, hockey and summer sports. The numerous tennis and netball courts are all floodlit and provide sport surfaces which are used well into the evening. The floodlit 3G astro (artificial grass with rubber chip) provides a superb training facility.

The Sixth Form centre is a standalone building providing modern accommodation. Lecture rooms, study areas and common rooms make a truly unique environment for students to flourish and learn.

There are three Victorian houses which provide on-site accommodation for our boarding community. Each house is well-equipped to provide a homely feel; they are refurbished on a regular basis to provide modern facilities.

Entrance Requirements

There are different arrangements for entry into the different parts of our school, ranging from informal assessments for the younger Junior School pupils to the more formal entrance examinations for those wishing to join our Senior School.


Academic, Music, Art, Sport and Drama Scholarships, up to a maximum of 40% fees, are awarded at ages 11+, 13+ and 16+ (Sixth Form). Technology Scholarships are available at 16+ (Sixth Form).

Junior Academic and Music Scholarships are available in the Junior School from Year 3 to the end of Year 6.

Open Days

2019. All visits are welcome, please contact the school.


2018/2019. Junior School. Reception: £2,600 (£1,840 if eligible for EYF*) per term. Year 1- Year 6: £2850 - £4750 per term.

Senior School. Year 7 - Year 13. Day: £4850 - £6400 per term. Weekly Boarding: £9350 - £10900. Full Boarding: £9850 - £11400 per term.


ISI Inspection 2014 - senior school
ISI Inspection 2014 - junior school

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mrs Liz Laybourn

Contact for enquiries: Admissions

Burgess Hill Girls
Keymer Road
Burgess Hill
West Sussex
RH15 0EG

[t]: 01444 241050
[w]: www.burgesshillgirls.com

Location Description

Set in 14 acres of beautiful grounds within a conservation area close to Burgess Hill’s town centre. The school is only a five minute walk from the railway station (on the London to Brighton line) and close to excellent road networks (10 miles from Brighton city centre and 20 minutes from Gatwick). We provide a daily minibus service for girls across Sussex and beyond.

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School News

Burgess Hill Girls independent girls' day and boarding school West Sussex

11 year old Ruby Light has taken first place at the National Schools Equestrian Association Southern Regional Qualifier, competing against 60 other riders of ages

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up to sixteen. Ruby will now represent Burgess Hill Girls at the National Championships in October.

The National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) Southern Regional Qualifier took place at Felbridge Showground. 11 year old Ruby Light and her pony Ulster Tournerie, representing Burgess Hill Girls, jumped 90cm to win first place.

This is an amazing achievement for a rider whom is only 11 years old, competing against 60 other children aged up to 16 years. Her victory means she will go on to represent Burgess Hill Girls at the prestigious NSEA National Championships at Addington Equestrian Centre in October 2019.

Ruby has already started preparing for the Championships. She said:

“I am proud and excited to be representing Burgess Hill Girls. I’ll be training even harder and I am going there to win and bring that title home!”


Burgess Hill Girls independent girls day and boarding school West Sussex

Students at Burgess Hill Girls saw off teams from Sevenoaks School and Brighton College to become Champions at the Independent School National Beach Volleyball

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Championships at Yellowave in Brighton.

The team, Tia Homer, Meg McCallum, Olivia Gunn and Jurkowski, were able to draw on their ball handling skills as accomplished netball players for Burgess Hill Girls. Olivia Gunn also plays for Netball Super League team Surrey Storm. She commented:

“It’s been an incredible opportunity for us to learn a new sport and win the Championships. We’ll be back to defend our title next year!”

The Burgess Hill Girls team played nine games and won all nine, beating Sevenoaks School in the Semi-Final and Brighton College 40-15 in the Final to become champions. Tia Homer also received the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament award.

Burgess Hill Girls independent day and boarding school West Sussex

Sixth Formers have won second place in a prestigious national competition run by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) –

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and they vow to come back next year to claim the top prize!
The BASE competition is designed to give school and college students a taste of what it’s like to work as a chartered accountant. Since its launch a decade ago, more than 18,000 students have taken part.
The Burgess Hill Girls team consisted of Year 12s Lucy Collins, Sofia Comper-Cavanna, Emma Naunton and Amber Xuan. Having come 1st in the South East in the first round, the girls were invited to the finals in Birmingham. Here, the 48 top-performing schools in the country were treated to an overnight stay, a three-course meal, industry-specialist speakers and musical entertainment.
The day’s competition involved problem-solving, presentations and public-speaking, requiring teams to evaluate and analyse charitable investment opportunities using raw data and industry expertise. Each team had a dedicated specialist mentor, with Burgess Hill Girls gaining the excellent support of Dr Catherine Salzedo, Admissions Tutor and Accountancy and Finance department head at Lancaster University.
After their presentations, the girls faced rigorous questioning from the panel of judges, made up of leading chartered accountants from around the country, including Naima Siddiqi, Chief Financial Officer and Finance Director of Friends of the Earth.
Teams were evaluated on their commercial acumen, integrity, communication skills, team-work, individual leadership, financial analysis and problem-solving.
The girls were overjoyed at their second-place finish, and were complimented on their confidence, their personability, their outstanding individual performance, and the quality of their presentation.
Emma Naunton, from Worthing, was thrilled: “After the special commendations had been awarded, we were consoling each other and thankful to take part, but then we heard that we had come second! It was a wonderful surprise.”
Burgess Hill Girls Head of Economics Dionne Flatman said: “I am extremely proud of the team – up against stiff competition from across the country, their performance was exemplary, and they were thoroughly deserving of their podium finish! Their teamwork and research skills embodied everything we champion at Burgess Hill Girls. We will be back next year to pick up the winners’ trophy!”

Burgess Hill Girls independent day and boarding school West Sussex

A budding fashion designer from top independent school Burgess Hill Girls who modelled her own outfit on the runway at the NEC Birmingham has been chosen as a finalist

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in a prestigious national schools competition.

This theme of this year’s annual ICHF (International Craft and Hobby Fairs) Fashion Icon competition was the Met Gala Ball, the iconic New York event which raises fund for the city’s Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute.

Year 10 student Abigail Fossey, 15, made it through to the final 10 with her outfit. Sustainability was a key criterion for the ICHF competition, so students were encouraged to use an existing garment to recycle.

Abigail’s charcoal black, strapless evening dress was restyled to include grey and black lace additions – to the shoulder line and at the centre front of the skirt. The lace was also used to create roses which were used to decorate the black velvet hat and the fold-back sections of the skirt. Students were also required to use an accessory in the form of either a hat or an umbrella/parasol.

Judges inspected the garments very closely and marked construction techniques and appearance on the catwalk when being modelled.

Burgess Hill Girls Head Liz Laybourn said the whole school was delighted by Abigail’s success: ‘Abigail’s outfit looked fantastic on the catwalk, and she had enormous poise and presence as a model. Creativity is such an important quality and we do everything we can to foster and develop it.’


Photo: Burgess Hill Girls student Abigail Fossey, 15, models her own dress on the Birmingham NEC runway.

For further information, email susan@empra.co.uk or phone 07739 354899

Burgess Hill Girls independent day and boarding school West Sussex

When Nursery pupils at Burgess Hill Girls were asked who they would most like to visit their school, they chose TV favourites PAW

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And older pupils seemed to be just as keen !

Led by 10-year-old Ryder, the plucky pups of PAW Patrol are rescue dogs in training. Each pup is inspired by a real-world job such as fire fighter, police officer, and construction worker. When trouble strikes, they’re there to save the day. Whether it’s a cat in a tree or a train off the tracks, they always find a way to help those in need

Burgess Hill Girls Head Liz Laybourn said: ‘It wasn’t only the Nursery pupils who were excited about the PAW Patrol visit. It was part of our Spring whole-school Open Day and it was open to everyone in the local community. We were full to capacity on the day, so it seems that PAW Patrol have legions of fans in Sussex.’

Burgess Hill Girls independent girls day and boarding school West Sussex

Pupils at leading independent school Burgess Hill Girls have voted to rename their school houses in honour of inspirational women.

Among the shortlist for

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the new house names, compiled by the girls, were Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, American civil rights activist Rosa Parks, aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, and Florence Nightingale, a founder of modern nursing.

But after putting their votes in ballot boxes, there were four clear winners: Harry Potter film actress and activist Emma Watson, world-renowned novelist Jane Austen, Emmeline Pankhurst, who played a key role in the struggle for women’s suffrage, and Serena Williams, who has dominated women’s professional tennis for a quarter of a century and a campaigner on feminism and race .

Burgess Hill Girls Head Liz Laybourn said that she felt the previous house names, honouring poets WB Yeats , John Milton, Edward Thomas and Robbie Burns, had served their purpose and there had been a consensus among students and staff that it was time for a change.

‘We wanted to have a mix of modern and historic female role models,’ she said. ‘The process of making the change was a great event for the school, encouraging all girls from Year 3 to the Upper Sixth to debate and learn about women past and present who have made, or are making, a difference.

She added: ‘The new names will inspire the girls to follow their examples. And they will be reminded of these women’s extraordinary achievements on a daily basis.’

Burgess Hill Girls independent day and boarding school West Sussex

Making a moving robotic hand would be a tough challenge for sixth-formers, but at Burgess Hill Girls it is all part of a term’s work

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for Year Five girls aged nine and ten.

Working in pairs, the girls made hands of card, with straw fingers. Then they did the necessary coding and wired it to the sensor-equipped glove which they could then use to move the robotic hand.

Working in the school’s new Design Technology suite, the girls had to learn lots of new skills in order wire up their sensors and put the boards together. They were finally able to move the hand with the glove in the final session of the project, which has been running since the start of term.

Burgess Hill Girls Head Liz Laybourn said: ‘This would be a challenging project for any age group, so these Year Fives did exceptionally well. They also spent time evaluating the project and discussing what its applications might be, including use by disabled people who have lost the use of a hand. Robotics is becoming an increasingly important part of technology, and it’s vital our girls acquire the necessary skills.’

She continued: ‘It was fascinating to read this week that inspirational Jo Dunkley, UK-educated Professor of Physics and Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, believes that a single-sex learning environment can support girls in their scientific ambitions. She said: “At an all-girls school, all subjects get an equal footing, but in a co-ed environment girls receive messages — from boys and teachers — that this is not a thing girls do.”’

Mrs Laybourn said: ‘Robotics projects like this remind us that science holds no fears for our girls.’

PICTURE CAPTION: Burgess Hill Girls Year Fives Amelia Butler-Byram, Xanthe McCarthy and Lola Monnery show off the robotic hand they made.

Burgess Hill Girls independent day and boarding school West Sussex

The Burgess Hill Girls junior and senior ski teams have returned to Sussex with a clutch of medals after taking part in this

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year’s Independent School Ski and Snowboard Championships (ISSC).

Held in the French Alpine ski resort of Les Deux Alpes, the six-day competition attracted over 400 competitors from more than 20 British schools.

The 19-strong Burgess Hill Girls teams – the largest ever –  competed in the individual slalom and giant slalom.

There were two wins in a single family when 16-year-old Annabel Hogbin took gold in the under-16 individual girls giant slalom while her sister, Georgina, 10, achieved gold in the same event in the under-10 age group. Ten-year-old Emily Meyer brought home silver in the giant slalom and slalom while Eve Sandman took bronze in the under-12 individual slalom.

The school’s junior team claimed gold in both the junior giant slalom and slalom events while the senior team achieved a very creditable silver in the giant slalom.

Some of the girls will be representing the school at the British Schoolgirls Ski Championships in Flaine, also in the French Alps, later this month.

Burgess Hill Girls Head Liz Laybourn said: ‘We love to see our girls succeeding at the highest level in a host of activities which take place outside the classroom – where a lot of extremely important learning takes place. They were competing against some of the most talented young skiers in the country and showed that they’ve got what it takes to succeed. Huge congratulations to our individual and team winners.’

 Picture caption: members of the triumphant Burgess Hill Girls junior and senior ski teams in Les Deux Alpes, including Georgina Hogbin (second left, front) and Emily Meyer (third left, front).

Burgess Hill Girs' independent day and boarding school West Sussex

Seventeen-year-old Rachel Yu (pictured) is in a spin after winning the prestigious Asian Junior Figure Skating Challenge 2018/19 in Hong Kong which attracted competitors from

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all over the world.
Rachel, a pupil at Burgess Hill Girls, began ice skating at the age of five.
‘I started enjoying watching people skate before I could even fit into the smallest-sized skates,’ she said. ‘When I was only three, I used to stand outside the rink for hours watching people doing spins and jumps. As soon as I could fit into the smallest skates, I had my first lesson
She continued: ‘Everything goes away when I’m on the ice. There is so much to focus on that I don’t have the chance to think about anything else.’
Rachel says that competing can be tough: ‘It can be quite stressful but nothing feels better than skating a clean programme, knowing that all my hard work has paid off.
‘It takes a lot of work just for a couple minutes of glory or pain; it may take a million of trials to complete one element. But when you succeed, it’s all worth it. I love it because of the artistry, jumps and precise spins. I think figure skating is a unique sport as it is a combination of artistry and techniques.’
Rachel’s devotion to her sport means an arduous practise regime: ‘I practise five to six days a week, three hours minimum per day,’ she says.
Burgess Hill Girls Head Liz Laybourn said: ‘This is an amazing achievement by Rachel. To be successful in an international competition is something very special. It is wonderful to see our girls having the drive and passion to pursue their creative and sporting interests to the very highest level. We’re very proud of her.’

Burgess Hill Girs' independent day and boarding school West Sussex

There’s no messing with these Roman soldiers, in rehearsal for the Burgess Hill Girls Infant School’s nativity play.
Junior School Head Heather Cavanagh said: ‘The

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play is one of the high points of the school year, and this one is shaping up to be particularly enjoyable if these costumes are anything to go by.’

Photo: Burgess Hill Girls Infant School’s nativity play cast line up before going on stage.

Burgess Hill Girs' independent day and boarding school West Sussex

Burgess Hill Girls is celebrating after being ranked in the top 100 independent schools in the prestigious Sunday Times ‘Parent Power’ listings.
The 26th edition

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of Parent Power identifies the highest-achieving schools in the UK, ranked by their recent exam results.
It is the only girls’ school in Sussex to be awarded the accolade. And only two other schools in the county are included in the top 100.
This year’s ranking represents a jump of 57 places since last year.
Head Liz Laybourn said: ‘A Burgess Hill Girls education amounts to far more than a clutch of A* grades for our students, but it’s very rewarding to see our outstanding GCSE and A-level results recognised in this prestigious national listing which places us alongside some of the most famous schools in the country.’

Burgess Hill girls' independent day and boarding school West Sussex

Burgess Hill Girls is joining together with Burgess Hill Academy, engineering giant Siemens and the Government’s Year of Engineering campaign to inspire girls to study

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more STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and tackle the UK’s shortage of women engineers. Women make up only 15% of engineering students at UK universities and less than 15% of all STEM jobs are done by women.

Fifty girls – 25 from each school –  attended an interactive stage show, SeeWomen, at Siemens’ flagship building, The Crystal, at Victoria Dock in London on 6 November. The event was part of an innovative national partnership between Siemens and the Girls’ Schools Association in support of the Year of Engineering – a Government campaign to encourage more young people from all backgrounds to discover what they could achieve as engineers.

The girls were taken on an interactive, energetic, journey as they investigated the world of STEM, meeting and learning about contemporary women engineers and the contribution they make to shaping the world around us. There were live experiments and thought-provoking activities to empower young women to have the confidence to set future goals and pursue their dreams.

The show is particularly targeted at inspiring girls who don’t consider themselves ‘scientists’ or who have no clear career vision or conversely too rigid a vision of what science is.

Science teachers heard from Dr Jess Wade, post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Physics and Centre for Plastic Electronics at Imperial College London. Dr Wade is passionate about recruiting and retaining female scientists.

Head Mrs Laybourn said: “We know that girls in a single-sex learning environment are more likely to study STEM subjects at GCSE and A-level, but the shortfall in women engineers nationally shows very little sign of improvement and represents a terrible waste of talent. This is a fantastic initiative which is attracting girls from a wide range of schools.’


Burgess Hill Girls independent girls' day and boarding school West Sussex

Students from Burgess Hill Girls have created a special hat for an inspirational cancer awareness campaigner to wear for the New York marathon.

Sara Cutting, who

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has raised £35,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support since being diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, is heading to the States to run the New York Marathon on 4 November.

Rohaise Flint, Assistant Head at Burgess Hill Girls, said: “As soon as Sara visited Burgess Hill Girls to talk to our Year 8s about how she turned a life-changing diagnosis into a burst of creativity and campaigning, the students were blown away by her personality and passion for life. Our Year 11 Fashion and Textiles group were keen to take up the challenge of creating a unique hat for Sara to wear in the New York marathon and they have had a wonderful time designing and constructing it. We feel honoured to have added to Sara’s awesome collection of hats and we hope it will contribute to her inspirational fundraising campaign, which does so much to raise awareness of breast cancer.”

Sara – Twitter’s @fizzysnood – from Brighton, started the popular Daily Headgear Challenge on social media during chemotherapy, when she started losing her hair and decided to shave it off to take control of what was happening. Her aim was to post a photo of different head gear every day for a year to raise funds for Macmillan, as well as awareness of breast cancer. Now almost 1,500 posts later, two Brigthon marathons and four Half marathons, Sara has raised £35,000 for Macmillan.

Sara said: “I am excited and privileged to have a bespoke hat made by the creative young women at Burgess Hill Girls. The hat is so personal as it will be worn in memory of three dear friends who have died in the last six months; their names have been embroidered into the hat. I am very grateful for the time, energy and skill that’s gone into creating this millinery masterpiece and I will wear it with pride. No doubt it will help me run a little faster too!”

To donate to Sara, visit  www.justgiving.com/chemosnoodhead

Burgess Hill Girls independent girls' day and boarding school West Sussex

For most teenagers, their 16th birthday is an occasion for partying into the early hours, but talented young sailor Annabel Hogbin chose to go

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to sea on her big day.

Her birthday, Saturday 15th September, was the first date on which she could undertake the final part of the prestigious Day Skipper sailing qualification for which the minimum age is 16. Annabel, a pupil at Burgess Hill Girls, couldn’t wait to get stuck in to her three days of sailing, travelling between Brighton Marina and Eastbourne, which included a night at sea.

She completed the Day Skipper qualification at the age of just 16 years and two days, making her one of the youngest candidates to achieve such a feat.

Annabel had already undertaken 60 hours of online lessons and sat two written exams on topics including preparation for sea, navigation, pilotage, meteorology, maintenance and repair work, engines, victualling and emergency situations.

Annabel wasn’t allowed to forget that the first day of the three-day sail was her big day. ‘When I walked on to the boat there was a birthday cake there; it was so nice,’ she says.

She says the night sail, on the second of the three days, was an ‘amazing experience’ despite one member of the crew being violently sick!

‘You turn all the lights off,’ says Annabel. ‘You have to be able to feel the wind on your face and adjust your sails to that. You can’t rely on the technology so it feels very old fashioned. All you can see is the lights of the other boats and on shore.’

And what happens if disaster strikes? ‘Things go wrong very quickly at sea,’ she says. ‘You have to obey whoever is in charge and argue about it later.’

Annabel is already a keen dinghy racer – at Weir Wood Reservoir in East Grinstead – but hasn’t yet done much yacht sailing. She says she would love to work in sailing at some point in the future – perhaps during a gap year before university. She has a round-the-world trip in her sights.

She says teachers and pupils at at Burgess Hill Girls made a huge fuss of her when she returned to school after achieving her qualification. ‘Every single teacher congratulated me and everyone said things like “Aye Aye, Skipper” whenever I walked into a room!’

Burgess Hill Girls School Independent Girls West Sussex Burgess Hill Girls School - Independent school education for your four-year-old for just £37 a week

Top school reaches out to parents as TUC analysis shows that childcare costs have rocketed by 52% a week since 2008

As soaring

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nursery fees take their toll on working families, a top independent school has produced a ground-breaking infographic to show that a place in a top independent school for a four-year-old can cost as little as £37 a week.

A recent TUC analysis showed that working parents with children under five have seen nursery fees rise three times faster than their wages over the past decade, with childcare costs rocketing by 52% per week since 2008.

With this in mind, Burgess Hill Girls is reaching out to parents to publicise the underestimated financial benefits of private education. The school’s infographic, which details potential costs and savings, demonstrates how a premier education is actually within reach for thousands of families.

It shows that the extended school day can reduce childcare cost by £2,800 per year, while free after-school activities at independent schools represent a saving of £350 a year (based on two after-school clubs per week at £5 per club). And with a free breakfast and dinner factored in, on top of a hot lunch, many families may also find themselves £437 (per year) better off. And now, thanks to the Government’s free childcare scheme for three- to four-year-olds, the £81-per-week actual cost to parents of a Reception place at Burgess Hill Girls can be reduced even further by a maximum of £44 to only £37 a week, or £1,924 a year, as the infographic shows.

Burgess Hill Girls Head Liz Laybourn said: ‘So many families assume that the cost of an independent school education is beyond their means, but we’re

showing in one handy infographic that there are a number of significant savings that should be factored in before they make a decision.’

Mrs Laybourn added: ‘Of course, the decision to educate your child in the independent sector is about far more than money. For example, the pupil-teacher ratio in independent schools is, typically, almost half that of state schools, meaning more one-to-one time with your four-year-old and more effective teaching from day one.’

She added: ‘We really hope the infographic gives parents all the information they need to make an informed decision about choosing the right school for their four-year-old. It’s one of the most important decisions they will ever make.’

School website design: Innermedia