Hereford Cathedral Junior School


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  • Category: Nursery / Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 113 (Boys) 112 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 3 - 11 years
  • Founded: 1898

General Information

Hereford Cathedral Junior School provides an outstanding education in the heart of the city. The School boasts a warm and inviting atmosphere where children make friends with ease, enjoy their learning and develop confidence. With small class sizes, specialist staff and strong pastoral care, the School is able to respond to the individual needs of every child, from Nursery through to Year 6.


Pupils are encouraged to make the most of the opportunities available to them, including a wide-ranging programme of lunchtime and after-school clubs. These include a variety of activities including craft, drama, cooking, rugby, creative writing, chess, science and Latin.

The School occupies a number of Medieval and Georgian buildings along Castle Street at the east end of the Cathedral, with extensive games' fields (Wyeside) a short walk away by the River Wye. The buildings range from the Grade 2 listed No. 28 and the ancient 14th century "Hall of the Vicars Choral" to the 21st century RIBA award-winning Moat, which houses the Pre-Prep in a range of bright and modern classrooms and outdoor spaces.

Open Days

2019. Open Day: Fri. 15th November, 9.45-11.30am.

We also offer informal visits throughout the year and taster days for students to get a taste of what life is like at HCJS. To enquire further please contact our Admissions department via the details below.


2019/2020. Nursery: Details available upon request. Reception: £2,703 per term (£8,109 pa). Years 1 to 2: £2,758 per term (£8,274 pa). Years 3 to 6: £3,544 per term (£10,632 pa).


ISI Inspection 2017

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr C Wright

Contact for enquiries: Mrs Lucy Debenham, Registrar.

Hereford Cathedral Junior School
28 Castle Street

[t]: General Enquiries: 01432 363515 Admissions: 01432 363511

Location Description

Hereford Cathedral Junior School, lies at the centre of the Cathedral City of Hereford, in one of the most rural and unspoilt counties of England

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School News

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Independent preparatory school Herefordshire

Hereford Cathedral Junior School pupil Zara B has become the Under-11 national swimming champion, gaining a personal best and breaking the national record set in

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After winning her regional heat in the Under-11 50m breaststroke, which was held at Moreton Hall in January, Zara got to swim in the national final at the London Aquatics Centre.

Before going to the finals, Zara was ranked No1 out of an original 164 other entrants and was 2.5 seconds faster than her nearest rival.

Zara says it was an ‘incredible’ feeling being awarded national swimming champion and says she thoroughly enjoyed her experience at the London Aquatics Centre. She would one day love to be an Olympic swimmer.

The plucky young student puts in 12 hours of swimming practice per week, and is a member of the City of Hereford Swimming Club. Her next gala will be held in Bristol where she will compete in a 100m breaststroke race.

Stuart Turpin, Head of Sport at Hereford Cathedral Junior School, who attended the national finals with Zara and her family last weekend, said: “This was an incredible victory by Zara. At the finals, she stormed through her semi-final with an astonishing performance in a time of 35.88 seconds, not only breaking her own personal best, but breaking the previous IAPS* Under-11 50m record of 36.27 seconds, set in 2015.

“In the final, Zara was ahead by the 25m turn and stormed away to win in a time of 35.98 seconds, winning by over two seconds to become the national champion. Zara has also enjoyed success when she won the Malvern Downs Under-11 Aquathlon event for the second year in succession.”

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Independent preparatory school Herefordshire

Almost 100 youngsters from across Herefordshire and the surrounding counties took part in the Mercia Delancey UK Chess Challenge Megafinal at Hereford Cathedral School.

The contingent from

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Hereford Cathedral School was successful. Isabelle M won the U12 girls silver medal, missing out on the trophy on tie break, while Jonathan H and Rory B won silver and bronze for the boys.

Oliver G was third in the U13 boys. HCS achieved a clean sweep in the U14 section, with Beren G winning the trophy on a score of five out of six, Jim A placed second, and Tom S, third.

Jack B was on fine form, beating boards one and three from Hereford Sixth Form College. In the last round he reached an opposite coloured bishops ending against Elizaveta S who is in the England U16 team. Unfortunately, her experience told, and Jack had to settle for the U15 silver medal, with Laszlo B picking up the bronze.

Congratulations also to the Hereford Cathedral Junior School contingent. Jonathan D, Ralph W and Iris P qualified for the Gigafinal, and Iris was crowned ‘U10 Girls Suprema’.

Well done to all those who took part.

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Independent Herefordshire A Day in the Life of an HCJS Gap

No one would argue over the importance of role models. Behaviour and attitudes are contagious, and the children in our care pick-up readily and

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often unknowingly on those examples set to them by the adults who work amongst them at school.

Our Gap students are vital members of our staff team for all sorts of reasons. One of these is the role they play during every moment of every day: that of role model to our children. Of course children do not operate in half measures, they “take in role models and swallow them whole”* – every interaction, every facial expression and unspoken thought impacts (not just the good bits!).

How lucky we are to have recent Hereford Cathedral (Senior) School leavers working amongst us as Gap students. In what follows, Miss Wilson, with help from Miss Prosser, Mr Taylor and Miss Benson, tells us more.

 Chris Wright, Head of the Junior School, June 2019

The first day at school is always daunting, even more so when you have just finished your A-levels and are suddenly surrounded by children staring up at you with inquisitive eyes and even more inquisitive questions!

As the four of us Gaps entered HCJS that day, I don’t think we were quite prepared for what we were embarking upon. Whether it be transforming Year 1 classrooms into castles, standing in the rain cheering the children on at a match, cutting up fifty pieces of fish on ‘Fishy Friday’, recreating children’s heads out of papier mâché for school productions, or managing to break numerous laminators, shredders and staple guns (and that’s just within the first term). Not to mention acting as older brother or sister to over 200 children – it’s safe to say life as a Gap student is never boring!

I cannot recall how many times people have asked me, “So what do you actually do?” for which I tend to answer “Uhhh… I guess kind of a teaching assistant/sports coach/ display maker/ coffee brewer/ photocopier/ spare body?”. Understandably people tend to nod encouragingly with a blank look in their eyes which suggest they are just about as sure of what I’m talking about as I am. So here it is definitively, a day in the life of a Gap…what we actually do.


Two of us head outside to collect children from the bus. Although this seems like a simple job in principle, it took a while to get the hang of which buses arrive when. The other half of our Gap ‘team’ are left inside to oversee the children who get off the bus. As Mr Taylor and myself braved the wind, rain, sleet and snow every morning, sitting in a warm, dry library seemed the better option. However, as we were often reminded by the girls in their summer dresses, we were very lucky to be wrapped up in layers of sports kit. Despite the weather, this remains one of my favourite jobs as a Gap – greeting the children as they arrive at the beginning of their school day.


We then adopt our alternative personas as ‘postmen/postwoman’ delivering internal mail to the Senior School. It takes a while to decipher which post goes in which pigeon hole, and, in my opinion would be much easier if we actually had pigeons to do this job!


Two of the Gaps collect the Choristers from morning rehearsals – the commitment and talent of these children still astounds me. The other two Gaps will either be at clubs or doing ‘crossing duty’ for assembly.

From 0915:

Lessons begin. A typical lesson ranges from forming letters in sand with Reception, creating stained glass windows with Year 1, helping Year 2 children develop their sporting skills such as passing and catching, watching the excitement of Year 3 children at their sunflowers blossoming and Year 4 children investigating the historical features of our school and their amazement as they realise the significance of the beautiful building they spend each day in. In terms of the older children, it is so rewarding to see the Year 5&6 children flourish into athletes and young people as they prepare to move on to their next adventure in Year 7.

Lessons continue throughout the day, broken up for us with prop making for school plays, lunch duties, swim walks, photocopying, display making and numerous other jobs. After almost a year in this job I love that every day is still as unpredictable as it was in the first week.


So, there it is, a brief insight into life as a Gap.

Personally, this year has reinforced that I am following the right career path into education. The pleasure of working with children is unmatched, and my fellow Gaps and myself feel so privileged to have been able to work in a school as happy and inclusive as HCJS.

As we enter our final term, we would like to say thank you to the staff and in particular every single remarkable child at this school who has made our year so enjoyable. I hope we have impacted on them as much as they have on us.

Their Highlights:

Emily Prosser

“One of my favourite moments of the year was forest school with Year 6, making shelters from wood and a massive game of hide and seek, it was a great trip and all the children loved it. I also enjoyed going to Pizza Express with Reception and swimming each week with the children, watching them improve weekly and gain confidence”

Imogen Wilson

“I have particularly enjoyed helping with sports teams this year. It is so rewarding to watch the development of children’s sporting ability and confidence throughout the year.”

Elliot Taylor

“I loved my experience on the French trip, it was hard work and very full on but so much fun! It was amazing to see their faces light up when they recognised famous landmarks and the excitement as they saw their favourite Disney characters at Disneyland Paris. Hard work but rewarding seems to sum up the year for me!”

Emily Benson

“One of the highlights for me was the visit from the police for Reception. It was so interesting learning what the police do and I loved seeing how excited the children were at the prospect of sitting in a police car or trying on the uniform and of course the most exciting bit… the siren!”

Photo: Miss Wilson, with Miss Benson, Miss Prosser and Mr Taylor – HCJS Gap Students 2019/20, June 2019

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Independent preparatory school Herefordshire

Many children join us in Nursery and Reception. We are proud of our Early Years Department and all that we offer the children.

If you are

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considering HCJS for your child from the outset of their education, you may well be interested to hear the views of parents with children in Nursery and Reception. Well here they are – the uncut and unedited comments from parents.


Parents of a girl who joined in Reception:

As a parent of a child going into reception we could not be more delighted with the care and attention the many staff and older pupils have shown to our daughter. I asked my daughter this morning to think of all things she has learned in one term at school and she said ‘Mummy, so many new things, letters, numbers, French, Music, Yoga, science, writing, swimming and playing with new friends’.  All of these have made a huge impact on her which we can see as she continually grows in confidence and ability. The all-round approach to education could not be bettered in our opinion and we are thrilled she is embarking on a tremendous journey with the school.


Parents of a girl who joined Nursery:

I can’t recommend HCJS nursery highly enough. My daughter cannot wait to go in each day, if fact she now attends an extra day at her request. The activities they do are well planned out and the staff make you feel like you are part of the nursery family. The small class size means that that get a lot of one to one attention and superior learning from an early age. It makes the transition to reception in September so much easier (as I have found from my older child) that they are familiar with the surroundings and are already learning the basics in reading and writing that they will go on to use. 


Parents of a boy who joined us in Nursery:

We have been attending nursery at HCJS since the term after our son’s 3rd birthday. He is happy to see his friends every morning and hasn’t shown a reluctance to go but instead has been very excited to choose his toy to take in. We are kept in the loop fairly well with his willingness to share what he has been up to from his letters and numbers to library, a particular favourite of his, to tennis! Our son has progressed in so many ways, we are so proud of him and we welcome all that Reception has to offer in September!


If you would like to find out more about joining our Junior School, please do come and visit us. To arrange this, contact Mrs Lucy Debenham, our Registrar (01432 363511).

In the meantime, you may like to have a look at our Junior School Facebook page or browse through our weekly newsletters to see what we have all been up to recently.

Thank you for reading, and do please feel free to comment below.

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Independent preparatory school Herefordshire

If you are considering HCJS for your child, you may have read my article ‘Welcoming New Pupils to our School’. Certainly we work hard at this.


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keen to hear the naked truth, I contacted parents of children in Years 1-6 who have joined us since September 2018, asking them about their experience and thoughts. Below is what they wrote – word for word, unedited and unredacted!

Chris Wright, Head of the Junior School.

Parents of a girl who joined in Year 5

Our daughter settled quickly into Year 5, after relocating from South East England. The staff have been consistent with their outstanding pastoral care and naturally went to great lengths to ensure a positive induction period for her. She has made super friendships and the HCJS parents have also been extremely kind. We have been particularly grateful for the opportunities she has been given and the array of activities on offer at HCJS.  Her confidence has flourished which we feel has increased her ability to just ‘give it a go’! Her academic progress has also continued to improve, her strengths have been celebrated and her areas for development have been quickly identified. 

In the words of our daughter . . .

“I really like my new school. I’ve made lots of friends and everyone made me feel welcome. The teachers are very supportive too.”


Parents of a girl who joined in Year 2

My daughter joined Year 2 in winter time mid-way through the academic year, and it was one of the biggest decisions we ever made.

We moved from the Far East, which meant that various aspects of life like weather, culture and cuisine would all be very different for our 7 years old daughter. We were worried whether she would settle well in the UK, and whether the school we had chosen for her was the right one, even though she had always studied in International British Schools from a very young age.

Surprisingly, our daughter loves her new school (HCJS) and gets along very well with her class mates and her teachers. She gets to experience so many new exciting subjects and things at school that help her to forget how cold the weather is compared to where we used to live! She was so happy to see her first snow in Hereford on the way to school. As parents, we received a warm welcome from everyone in the school i.e. teachers, class parents, PTA & school staffs, they are very helpful with information about the school and Hereford town. We could say from the hardest decision we made to the best decision to send our daughter to HCJS.


Parents of a boy who joined in Year 5

We’re really pleased with how he’s settled in. The staff have all been really helpful with any queries we’ve had, and we’re very glad we decided to move him in Year 5. 


If you would like to find out more about joining our Junior School, please do come and visit us. To arrange this, contact Mrs Lucy Debenham, our Registrar (01432 363511).

In the meantime, you may like to have a look at our Junior School Facebook page or browse through our weekly newsletters to see what we have all been up to recently.

Thank you for reading, and do please feel free to comment below.

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Independent Herefordshire HCJS Choir through to Barnardo’s National Choral Competition

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Chamber Choir had an exciting rehearsal last week when they heard the amazing news that they had been selected as finalists

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in the Barnardo’s National Choral Competition.

The choir sent off a CD in November and were chosen from hundreds of entries across the UK.

HCJS Head of Music Miss Toolan commented: “The choir were jumping for joy when they heard the news. It’s a real honor to be chosen and we can’t wait to perform at the Royal Festival Hall.”

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Independent Herefordshire HCJS Reception children visit Cafe Ascari

Children from Hereford Cathedral Junior School’s Reception class enjoyed a valuable lesson in commerce and confidence at Ascaris this morning.

Mrs Goode and her team led

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the children to the West Street cafe, where they each ordered a drink and a snack for themselves, and paid with their own money.

The children had a great time. Many thanks to Ascaris for hosting us.

Hereford Cathedral Junior School independent day and boarding school Herefordshire

Well done to Hereford Cathedral Junior School pupils who took part in the NSEA Grassroots Dressage Competition last week. Milly and Evie came away with

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rosettes and Florence rode the test uncalled. They all did brilliantly!

If your child is interested in competing for the HCS equestrian team in future competitions run by the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA), we would be keen to hear from you.

You must have your own horse and preferably means to transport it (though we may be able to arrange sharing). Competitions for Junior School pupils will probably be local though some are qualifiers for national events. Please let Mr Wright know if you would be interested in taking part.

Hereford Cathedral School independent day school Herefordshire

Congratulations to Hereford Cathedral Junior School Chamber Choir (and Miss Toolan!), who performed brilliantly in the finals of the BBC One Songs of Praise competition.

Unfortunately the

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children missed out on being crowned Young Choir of the Year, but they did themselves proud. Judge Carrie Grant said they were “relaxed, confident and dramatic”.

The Chamber Choir started its journey in the BBC’s national competition back in November 2017 when they sent a CD entry to judges. They were then selected out of hundreds of choirs from across the UK to sing live on national television.

Discussing the amazing experience junior school pupils had filming for the show at the Pontio Centre in Bangor, Rachael Toolan, Head of Music at Hereford Cathedral Junior School, said: “With a tremendous sense of excitement and anticipation, the Chamber Choir travelled to North Wales to battle it out against four other schools in the competition.”

She added: “Upon arrival they were met with a camera crew capturing the atmosphere and were soon engaged in interviews with BBC presenter Josie d’Arby, warm ups and sound checks on stage.

“The youngsters got a real insight to how a TV programme is made and enjoyed meeting presenter Aled Jones. The choir sang a specially arranged four-part version of ‘Be Still for the Presence of the Lord’ and celebrity choral judges Carrie Grant, Ken Burton and JB Gill remarked upon their ‘beautiful sound’ and ‘awe inspiring performance’.

“There were some outstanding choirs involved from Kent, South Wales, Hampshire and Jersey and our youngsters enjoyed meeting them and making new friends. Only a few choirs are chosen for the televised performance so the children are extremely proud to be one of them.”

Hereford Cathedral independent school Herefordshire

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Year 3 pupils performed their show ‘The Piper’ three times to an audience last week.

Each performance was full of fun,

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songs, great acting, wonderful costumes and excellent teamwork skills. There were fantastic characters such as the rats, village children, a thrifty treasurer, the villagers, narrators and the village mayor, and of course not forgetting the fearsome Pied Piper!

Well done to the staff for their hard work and to the children for their fun-filled and confident performances – brilliant!

Hereford Cathedral independent school Herefordshire

Hereford Cathedral Junior School Year 4 pupils went to the Old House in the centre of Hereford as part of their humanities studies into life

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in Tudor times. They looked at a fabulous model of what Hereford would have looked like 400 years ago and used a mortar and pestle to crush medicinal herbs.

A lesson in Tudor table manners followed, as well as an opportunity to dress in period costume. On the top floor there was a room where pupils were able to play with some toys and lie down in a bed, as well as receive expert instruction from Miss Jeynes in how to swaddle a baby.

Competitors from Hereford Cathedral Junior School travelled to Malvern College last weekend for the aquathlon.

There were 12 independent schools from the West and West Midlands

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represented, including some very strong sporting schools (Monmouth, Malvern St James, RGS Worcester, King’s Worcester, Cheltenham College Prep, Bromsgrove School).

Over 150 pupils took part in the U13 and U11 categories. All competitors had to swim 100m, ‘transition’ into their running gear and run 800m around the undulating grounds of Malvern College (with no break between swimming and running).

All of our young team did very well. They will have gained from the experience, and all but one will be eligible for the U11 competition next year. Special congratulations go to Oliver S (Year 5), who won bronze in the U11 boys category (out of 42 competitors).


Hereford Cathedral Junior School’s Junior Chamber Choir have won the Barnardo’s National Choir Competition 2015 in London’s prestigious Royal Festival Hall!

Following more than 350 entries

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from choirs all over the UK, the School’s Junior Chamber Choir was one of only 18 selected in the junior age category.  The choir sang ‘We are the young’ and ‘Hey Diddle’ for a panel of five judges (videos of their song on available at:, all of whom are choral specialists.  They brought the Royal Festival Hall to life and clearly impressed the judges with their energy, positivity and excellent singing.  By winning, the Junior School choir is now invited to sing in November’s Young Supports Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

The choir received excellent feedback from Douglas Coombes MBE and he has offered to write a song especially for them​ as the winning choir.

Miss Rachael Toolan, Hereford Cathedral Junior School’s Head of Music said:“We were competing against 17 excellent choirs within our section and so we were truly honoured to be selected as the winners. We are all delighted!”


From Nursery to Sixth Form, pupils and staff at one of the area’s top independent schools are celebrating today after another very positive inspection report.


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on from the outstanding review by the Good Schools Guide released in December 2013, inspectors from the Independent Schools Inspectorate have concluded that both HerefordCathedralSchool and HerefordCathedralJuniorSchool are ‘excellent’ in every respect.  The report also highlights the aims, success and achievements of the school, and confirms the high quality of education and the outstanding opportunities which the pupils receive.

Both reports judge the school as ‘excellent’ – the top mark on the ISI’s four point scale – in all of the headline categories, including the quality of academic and other achievements, the quality of the pupils’ personal development and the effectiveness of governance, leadership and management.

The inspectors found that the Junior School, including its Nursery, “is exceptionally successful in meeting its aims” and that “pupils’ success is the result of teaching of high quality within a broad and interesting curriculum, which includes many trips and talks from visitors, as well as the provision of a wide range of extra-curricular activities.”  The Senior School and Sixth Form findings echo the results seen at the Junior School, stating that pupils “respond very effectively to excellent opportunities in the curriculum and activities, and to excellent teaching”, adding that “this results in good levels of progress, and excellent progress in the sixth form”, where “results at A level have been above the national average for maintained schools and above the national average for maintained selective schools”.

A particular strength of the School noted by the inspectors is the excellence of pupils’ personal development in terms of confidence, morality, cultural awareness and social responsibility. Inspectors also note excellence in the provision for both special educational needs and the more able at the School; the Junior School report states that “due to well-considered provision, pupils with SEND and those who are particularly able make good and often rapid progress in their learning” whilst the Senior School’s effective strategies help “those with SEND achieve consistently at similar levels to their peers through excellent support in and out of the class”.

Paul Smith, Headmaster of Hereford Cathedral School said,

“We are delighted that the hard work of pupils, staff and Governors has been acknowledged in these two ‘excellent’ ISI reports.”

“I have always had complete confidence and belief in the quality of education and the outstanding experience our pupils receive and it is fantastic that the inspection teams recognise, as I do, just how special HerefordCathedralSchool is.”

“We have come a long way since our last ISI inspection, improving year on year, meeting recommendations and exceeding our goals and aspirations.  This report is a testament to all our hard work across the Junior and SeniorSchool.  This report is also the start of another exciting chapter in the School’s rich history as we follow our School Development Plan and continue to offer the very best in the future.”


Christopher Wright has been unveiled as the new Headmaster at Hereford Cathedral Junior School.

Mr Wright will take up his role from September 2014, succeeding current

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head Tim Wheeler, who announced he will move on to Stockport Grammar Junior School after over 5 years at the school.

Currently Assistant Head at Exeter Cathedral School, Mr Wright said he had been extremely impressed by Hereford Cathedral School and its nursery to sixth form approach.

“The passion within the Junior School, its excellence, breath and community spirit, as well as its connection to Hereford Cathedral, all combine to make Hereford Cathedral Junior School a very special and exciting place,” he said.

Paul Smith, Hereford Cathedral School’s Headmaster added,

“I am very pleased that Christopher Wright has agreed to lead our Junior School forward. Christopher has a proven track record in school leadership and management and I very much look forward to working with him.”

After attending The Dragon School and Harrow School, Mr Wright went on to study at Warwick University, where he gained a First Class Honours degree in Industrial Economics and also an MSc in Economics.  He is currently studying for a MEd at the University of Buckingham.

He has taught at Winchester House School, St Edward’s School, Oxford and The Banda School in Nairobi.  Prior to his current Assistant Head role at Exeter Cathedral School, he was Director of Studies at Moor Park School.  He has held other positions of responsibility including Head of Mathematics, Housemaster, Child Protection Officer, Head of Boarding and Deputy Head.

He and his wife Jo are very much looking forward to moving to Herefordshire and their youngest child will be joining the Junior School in Year 1.  Mr Wright lists squash among his interests, as well as tennis, scuba diving and surfing.


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