Our History | Highfield Prep School, Hampshire

Highfield School was originally founded in Southampton in 1892 by Mr E A Wells, the first Headmaster and owner. The School opened as a boys' prep school with 18 pupils. In 1904 Mr William Mills became owner and Headmaster. It was Mr Mills who moved Highfield to its present site of some 175 acres in Liphook, Hampshire, on the West Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey borders.

The new purpose built school opened in September 1907 with 32 boys, all boarders. The school grew steadily; a beautiful Chapel was added in 1910, with other buildings following. Mr Mills, who was ordained in 1912 and later became an Honorary Canon of Portsmouth Cathedral, remained Headmaster until 1953. Under Canon Mills the school grew to accommodate 120 boys and established an enviable reputation for academic and sporting excellence. Highfield won many Scholarships to the leading English Public Schools, including Eton, Winchester, Shrewsbury, Charterhouse, Rugby and Sherborne.

Historical photo of past pupils swimming

On Mr Mills' death in 1953 he was succeeded by his son, Peter, who retired in 1979. The school became co-educational in 1978 and under Peter, also started to take day children into the junior part of the school. Peter Mills retired in 1979 to be succeeded by an Old Highfieldian, Robin Orr, who remained Headmaster until 1993. During his time the numbers of children in the school rose from about 120 to almost 170. Under Nigel Ramage, his successor, the school started a considerable programme of refurbishment and new building. Since he was succeeded in 1999 by Phillip Evitt, the compulsory boarding requirement has ended, but many children board for at least part of their last two years.

Historical photo of teachers conversing

All Departments now have designated departmental teaching rooms; new Science, Maths and Computing facilities were opened in September 2000. A new indoor swimming pool was opened at Easter 2005, and a new Music School in 2006. Highfield is genuinely co-educational with equal numbers of girls and boys. In 1992 a pre-prep school, Brookham School, was built in the grounds of Highfield and many of its top year come to Highfield at 8+.

Highfield and Brookham are the property of Mr William Mills, the grandson of the founder. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of both schools. Today, Highfield continues to enjoy an outstanding reputation as an 8 to 13 Preparatory School that offers an excellent all-round education and its tradition of Scholarship success continues.

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