Visit St John’s


At St John’s we are hosting a virtual Open Morning  and would be delighted to welcome you on:

Friday 13th November 2020, 10:00am for a live webinar and virtual tour experience

To book your place in advance please email

Due to the national lockdown restrictions, we are currently not able to offer any in-person visits. We will continue to monitor Government advice and look forward to welcoming you to St John’s for a socially-distanced personal visit as soon as it is safe to do so.

At this time, prospective parents will be taken on a personal tour of the School with the Head of Admissions. The visit will provide ample opportunity for conversations about every aspect of your child’s learning and character, talents and interests, which will allow us to demonstrate how we would support and develop them at St John’s.  Our guided tour of the School will also give you a comprehensive understanding of all that St John’s has to offer your child during their educational journey.


We appreciate that a school visit is a valuable part of the school application process. Therefore we are delighted to invite you to engage with a virtual visit to St John’s at a time to suit you featuring a virtual tour of the campus, photo galleries and FAQs.

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The Admissions Team have answered some of the most frequently asked questions for each school, please do not hesitate to ask us more questions if you cannot find the answers here, using the contact form below.

What scholarship opportunities are available?

Children can apply for an internal 11+ Scholarship in Y6. Available scholarships include: Academic, Music, Drama, Sport, Art and Design Technology.

Talented scholars receive generous financial assistance with tuition fees, which can continue to age 18 (Year 13) at Dean Close Senior School.

What senior schools do children progress to?

A number of our pupils progress each year to Dean Close Senior School, where our pupils are guaranteed a place (provided the child will be able to access the curriculum).  Our pupils go to a wide range of senior schools including: Monmouth School for Boys; Monmouth School for Girls; Clifton College; Christ College Brecon; Marlborough College;  Malvern St James; Shrewsbury School; Wycliffe College; and King’s School Gloucester.

What do we offer in wrap around care?

There are a wide range of after school clubs and activities available to all children from Years 3 – 8. Many are for pure fun. Others, involve specialist preparation for formal exams to give an additional focus for progress, achievement and satisfaction.

Pre Prep after school care from 3.30pm until 5.00pm is free of charge. There is a small charge (£6) for 5pm until 6pm.

Prep school after school supervision from 4.30pm until 6.00pm is free of charge.

Children can join the boarders for their evening meal at 6:00pm. Further late stay is also available from 6.15pm – 8pm.  An additional charge will be added to the end of term bill.

By prior arrangement children can arrive from 7.30am.  Breakfast is available at 8am for a small charge.

What do we offer children gifted in sport/art/academics/music/drama etc, and those requiring learning support?

We recognise and support the needs of those children who have been identified as having ‘high learning potential’. There are a variety of opportunities for particularly able children and those with a keen interest in a subject.

Programmes are put in place to support individuals with a particularly high level of ability; for instance, extra language sessions for those excelling in a foreign language. Furthermore, there are a range of external trips and competitions which allow children to broaden their horizons.

Those taking scholarships in Year 8 are given a more complex and demanding curriculum in both the academic sphere and in Music, Art, DT, Drama and Sport. In addition to the provision within lessons for children of different abilities, there are various clubs and activities in school which can help develop special interests.

If a child has a special educational need, the school does all it can to meet those individual needs. If a child displays signs of having a learning difficulty their teacher alerts the Head of Learning Support, as detailed in the school’s Learning Support Policy.

The department offers a range of support in the areas of literacy and numeracy. Specialist tuition, individual, paired or in small groups, is tailored to individual needs.

St John’s charges for the provision of Learning Support where individual lessons are provided and this is detailed in the fees booklet.

The Learning Support Department offers specialist support for pupils with dyslexia and provides a structured course to develop spelling, literacy, comprehension, numerical and study skills. Various multi-sensory techniques are used.

Explain the relationship between SJs and DC.

The Dean Close Foundation was established in 2015 following the acquisition of St John’s on-the-Hill Preparatory School (and various nurseries) by Dean Close.  The amalgamation of Dean Close with St John’s has brought benefits to both, with substantial investments in the fabric of St John’s as well as sharing resources such as professional sports coaching; whilst providing Dean Close with a footprint in Chepstow and a relationship with parents looking for an outstanding senior school in Cheltenham.  The diversification of activities in the Dean Close Foundation portfolio has strengthened the financial position of Dean Close and therefore its ability to improve facilities, keep fees manageable and offer the very best to pupils of all ages.  After considerable investment and changes in structure, the schools and nurseries are all thriving and highly successful.

Who is the Head?

St John’s on-the-Hill, Chepstow’s independent preparatory school, has announced the appointment of its new Head Mr Nick Thrower. It has been confirmed that Mr Thrower will be starting at St John’s in January 2021. Mr Jason Dobbie, who is the Deputy Head and a familiar face at St John’s, will be standing in as interim Head from Monday 6 July 2020 until Mr Thrower joins the school.

Mr Thrower is currently Assistant Head and Chaplain at Lambrook School, in Berkshire. Prior to that he was Director of Sport and Houseparent at St Andrew’s, in Turi, Kenya. The current Head of St John’s, Mrs Ruth Frett, leaves in July to join Gloucestershire Constabulary in a leadership role.

 Mr Thrower said: “It is a real joy to teach in a prep school environment, especially one that shares my passion for sport and the great outdoors. Being active is simply one of life’s best things. I am hugely impressed with the team, beautiful grounds and facilities at St John’s. The prep school not only provides an excellent all-round education, it strives to equip children with skills that will last a lifetime. Every child is valued and encouraged to think big, which is so important in today’s uncertain environment.

“With my wife Jo, daughter Poppy (15) and son Harry (13), we are incredibly excited to make the move West and embark upon this next chapter. As a Geography graduate being close to the mountains of Wales will be a delight and will allow my passions for walking and photography to be reignited in the stunning countryside around Chepstow.”

How does a typical day run, and what are homework expectations?

 Here is a detailed breakdown of the Pre-Prep school day:

The Prep school day consists of seven 50 minute lessons per day except on a Wednesday when the afternoon is dedicated to Games.

Age appropriate levels of homework are set on a daily or weekly basis.

Do they have class teachers/subject specialists?

Pupils have a form tutor who they see every day. As well as checking that they are keeping on top of their academic studies and giving relevant feedback from other subject staff, the form tutor’s role is to encourage and support pupils.

In the Pre prep French, music, art and physical education are taught by dedicated specialist teachers from the Prep School, giving the children an early advantage in experiencing and developing their skills in these subjects.  From Y3 this also includes Design Technology, ICT, Science and Drama; and from Y5 also Maths, English, and Humanities.

How many pupils/class sizes/boy girl split?

Approximately 160 pupils with an even boy:girl split.  Class sizes are generally about 12-15 pupils, and will not exceed 20.

How do we register/sign up, and have we space for next year?

We currently have spaces available throughout the year groups, though we will shortly need to open a waiting list for Reception 2020. Please contact Head of Admissions, Leana Ward on for a Registration Form.

To register your child at St John’s on-the-Hill a registration fee of £100 is required.

A deposit of £250 is payable for pupils in Reception to Year 2, and £500 for Year 3 to Year 8 on the submission of the Parent Contract.  This will be deducted from the final invoice.

For parents who are resident overseas the deposit is a full term’s fees.


If you would like to find out what our school can offer please contact our Head of Admissions, Leana Ward for a friendly chat on:

Tel: 01291 635 382
Mob: 07469 140 449


St John’s In Pictures




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    Contact Us

    Dean Close St John’s
    NP16 7LE
    United Kingdom

    Tel: +44 (0)1291 622045

    Admissions Enquiries
    Tel: +44 (0)1291 622045