Duncombe School


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  • Category: Nursery / Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 150 (Boys) 150 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 2 - 11 years
  • Founded: 1939


The school is housed in a large Palladian-style mansion house nestled within four acres in leafy Bengeo, just outside Hertford. The Main School building houses Years 1 to 6, while the Early Kindergarten to Reception children spend their day in a large purpose built Early Years facility within the school grounds, known as Treetops Pre-school.

Duncombe is an accredited Forest School, offering outdoor education and activities in our own purpose-built Forest School area known as The Dell – a large sunken woodland area that was the house’s sunken garden in the Victorian era.

In 2012 Duncombe opened a music and dance studio on site. During the day the studio comes alive with the sound of music lessons of all year groups and choir practice. After school the room takes on a different purpose, becoming the home to after school dance activities such as tap, ballet and street dance.

With an all-weather floodlit Astroturf pitch and 75m athletics track, we are able to encourage our children in sporting activities all year round. We also take part in competitions and tournaments with other schools in sports such as football, netball and hockey to name a few.

We are proud of our close links with the community and benefit from local amenities including the Hartham Common Leisure centre for swimming, Bengeo Cricket Club and Haileybury School for various sporting events.

Breakfast club starts from 7.30am and After School Care runs until 6.30pm. There’s also a supervised homework club running from 4-5pm. Afterschool activities are wide ranging, from gymnastics to cheerleading, construction to chess, fencing and cookery to crime lab and self-defence.

Open Days

Please contact our Registrar Lucy Evans for more details or to arrange a private tour on 01992 414109, or lucy.evans@duncombe-school.co.uk.


2018/2019. Nursery (1 half day – 4 full days): £545 - £2,985 per term. Kindergarten – Year 6: £3,460 - £4,855 per term.


SIS Inspection 2014
ISI Regulatory Compliance Inspection Report 2018

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr Jeremy Phelan

Duncombe School
4 Warren Park Road
SG14 3JA

[t]: 01992 414100
[w]: www.duncombe-school.co.uk

Location Description

Duncombe is set around a Palladian-style mansion house and is surrounded by 4 acres of grounds, just north of Hertford.

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School News

Duncombe School independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

Four of Duncombe’s Upper School children took part in the recent  Haileybury Robotic Challenge.    Working as a team against the clock, Samantha, Solomon, Erin and

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Dominic built their own remote controlled robotic models, which would then go forth to compete in the arena battles against 13 other schools. The team worked together well and they all had a fantastic time.

Thank you to Señor Torres and Miss Norton who accompanied the team.

Duncombe School independent school Hertfordshire

Pupils in Upper School took part in a Live Lesson hosted by the BBC, to support the development of creative writing for the 500 Word writing

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competition.  Gathered together in Old Hall, we listened, captivated by the dulcet tones of author, Frank Cottrell-Boyce. With the creative juices flowing, pupils helped plan out ideas for a short story which, no more than 500 words in length, could showcase their imaginative ideas. There was a collective gasp when David Walliams stepped unexpectedly into the studio to read our shared story!

Miss Cartwright

Duncombe independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

Early Kindergarten had lots of fun in The Dell during their Forest School session as they went hunting for The Gruffalo. They went tramping through

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the woods to find all of the different characters from the book, and even made and coloured in their own Gruffalo masks

Duncombe independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

This year our topic was ‘The Seaside’. The children became explorers for the day and learnt about water, ice, sand, floating and sinking, fossils, shells,

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sea creatures and the sounds of the sea. They carouselled around each room in Treetops where they investigated using all of their senses.

It was fantastic to have a whole day focused on science and we are certain we have many ‘Einsteins’ and ‘Newtons’ in our midst!

Duncombe independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

Congratulations to Bethany, who is the IAPS National Clay Pigeon Shooting U11 female champion.

After a fantastic shoot across five clay disciplines where she averaged a

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hit rate of 60%, including two rounds where she achieved an amazing five out of six shots her overall score was 17 – making her the clear winner. Bethany is testament to the idea that’ you just never know until you give it a go’ as she only picked up a shotgun for the first time two months ago, and this was her first ever competition!

Well done Bethany. We are all incredibly proud of you!

Duncombe independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

Kindergarten Blossom experienced a taster session in learning Mandarin last week. The children were very excited as we listened and answered Clara the crocodile, we learnt

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to say: ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’ in Mandarin and even had a go at singing some nursery rhymes!

The children really embraced this opportunity and stayed focused throughout, well done!

Duncombe independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

Reception had an exciting time learning about volcanoes this week with the ‘Proff’ from our pre-school science partner Lab Tots and had a go at making their

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own. After putting on their safety goggles, they mixed bicarbonate of soda (an alkali) and citric acid together with dish soap and food colouring to create a chemical reaction which bubbles up and looks just like an erupting volcano. It was an interesting way to make a cross-curricular link between Science and Geography, and to engage the childrens’ imaginations and make learning fun.

Duncombe independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

Nursery had a squirrel fun-filled experience in the Dell.

The children were excited to don their special forest school all-in-ones and they had lots of fun.

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First they played a squirrel-themed hide and seek by seeking out different numbered squirrels amongst the trees.

Then they put their artistic talents to good use by creating stunning masterpieces using brushes and forks to paint to represent the squirrel’s big bushy tails.

Finally the children learnt about working effectively in teams using natural materials to build cosy squirrel homes before going back to the classroom for a well-earned snack.

Duncombe independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

Duncombe’s pupils are showing that the sky really is the limit when it comes to sporting success as Maddi (6S) brought home a gold medal

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in the Under 11s category at the prestigious International CEP Circle of Parisien Fencers competition in Paris recently.

There were over 300 fencers competing from around the world, including Germany, Israel, Hong Kong and Japan, and 50 U11s taking up the foil. Maddi has worked extremely hard to get to this level in her sport, and competing at an international level requires both physical and mental strength.

We are all incredibly proud of her determination and achievements.

Duncombe independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

Mrs Marrion and her young scientists have been learning about matter and how physics, chemistry, maths, art and technology work together in 3-D printing.

The new

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3-D printers in the Science Lab have been put to use to produce some beautiful sculptures including a frog, a robot, mesh-work bowls and a Duncombe school sign. The children have been so impressed with what the printer can produce that they decided to present Mr Phelan with a little trinket box with a lid.

Duncombe independent preparatory school Hertfordshire

As part of their Enrichment Program, Year 6s was visited by members of the Hertford Magistrates court. The children were informed about what goes on

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inside a court room, and the specific procedures that the court follows. They also had a chance to ask questions about the process and what it’s like being in a position of authority and the responsibility that entails.

To conclude the morning, Year 6 staged a mock trial, where the pupils took the roles of everyone in a court room to learn first-hand how the different roles are performed, including the defendent, witnesses,  ushers, prosecution, and of course the magistrates. It was a very informative session, and we are incredibly grateful to our visitors who took time out of their day to come and talk to us.

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