Claremont Fan Court School has a hundred years of varied history that we look forward to sharing with you. To mark our centenary we will be releasing a timeline of our journey from being two small independent boarding schools to the unified and ever growing day school that Claremont Fan Court is today.
Although now far different from our humble beginnings in the back of Mrs Packers home in 1922. 100 years later Claremont Fan Court school has grown not only in size and ambition, but in academic excellence. However, we have not strayed too far from our foundations and we strive to foster a community which still prioritizes that small, close knit feel.
Scroll down to discover more about our in depth history…
Claremont Fan Court School through the years
Clearview school: 1922-1931
On 4 May 1922 a school was opened with eight pupils at Mrs Packers’ house in West Norwood. Miss C. May Trotman was appointed as the headmistress. By September there were twelve girls and a new property on Norwood Hill was bought and the school and property renamed Clear View.
Clear View House was a large country style residence, standing in its own 14 acres of meadow, woodland and flower garden, with magnificent views of south London. The stables were converted into a gymnasium and theatre. Hockey was played on the grass lawns with netball on the rough gravel of the stable yard. The stables were converted into a gymnasium and theatre.
By 1928 the school outgrew its Norwood home and in December 1930 Claremont House along with 34 acres of grounds was purchased by Clear View School. The school moved to its new home in Esher and formally opened in 1931 with 45 pupils as Claremont School.
Claremont School: 1931-1978
The outbreak of the war in 1939 had a dramatic effect on Claremont as a school. Following a number of visits from the War Office, the decision was made to move the 32 boarders and two day girls to Llandrindod Wells in Wales.
For the next six years, the mansion housed the design officers to the Hawker Siddeley Aviation Company, under their Chief Designer, Sir Sydney Camm.
The school returned to the Esher estate in 1946 and purchased The White Cottage in 1949. The Stables were converted to a Junior School in 1955, allowing the school to grow to over 200 pupils, half of which were boarders.
Claremont School celebrated its Golden Jubilee with the construction of a new science facility in 1972. The 1970s also saw the building of a new gymnasium and kitchens.
Fan Court School: 1931-1978
Fan Court School was founded in 1932 by Geith Plimmer and Guy Snape with 5 boys as a preparatory school for boys from the ages of 7 to 13. The purpose of the school was to promote education in an atmosphere of Christian Science.
The school was originally housed in The Lodge at Banstead, and The Warren House in Stanmore. By 1934, the school acquired Fan Court at Longcross near Chertsey and opened as Fan Court School. The upper floor of the house was for boarding and the ground floor for administration and communal rooms. The classrooms were housed in the stable block, called the Courtyard. A gymnasium was built and the 55 acres provided a wonderful area for games pitches and recreation.
The houses at Fan Court School were named after people who had been instrumental in supporting and establishing the school in its early days: Cazalet (blue), MacGregor (red), Cayley (green) Lings (yellow).
In 1967 a co-educational Pre-Prep was started from 3-7 and girls began to make their appearance in the senior part of the school too. A new classroom block was built for the seniors and the Courtyard classrooms adapted for teaching younger children.
Over the years, Claremont School and Fan Court School developed a relationship that would allow them to eventually amalgamate as one co-educational school. Girls leaving Fan Court School were eligible to apply to Claremont School from the age of ten, further strengthening the relationship between the two schools. Staff would hold joint meetings to share ideas and information, and shared carol services were held at Christmas. In 1968 Friends of Claremont and Friends of Fan Court organised a meeting of both schools in the new Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. The schools also held alternate year parties for pupils.
Claremont Fan Court School: 1978- present day
Claremont Fan Court School began from small but very significant foundations. The first families in the then separate girls’ school, Clear View, were Christian Scientists who wished to establish a school for their daughters that advocated seeing good in all, inspired by the principles of Christian Science.
A few years later, several teachers who were Christian Scientists established Fan Court, a boys’ preparatory school in Chertsey. They chose ‘Be Strong’ as the school motto.
The two schools merged in 1978. Our emblem united Fan Court’s morally strong lion and Claremont’s guiding torch, illustrating our motto ‘Be Strong in Understanding’. The school song was written by Phyllis Cooper who taught at Claremont School and the music was written by Fenella Bennetts (nee Farrar, Class of 1957) who was an old girl.
Over the subsequent years the boys grew up through the Senior School until the whole school became fully co-educational. The number of non- Christian Scientist children increased and the school became a more day school orientated. The First and Middle Schools amalgamated under one head in 1999 and was called the Junior School. In 2007 the Junior School was again divided as Lower and Upper Juniors under two separate heads. Boarding stopped in 2005.
The names of the six school houses reflect the history of the two schools. Norwood (blue) was the original site for Clear View School, Radnor (red) for when it went to Wales, Esher (green) is the present site and Longcross (yellow) was where Fan Court School was situated in Chertsey, Stanmore (purple) one of the original the locations of Fan Court School and Banstead (orange), the other original location of Fan Court School before their move to Chertsey.
Goodness underpins this school. Teachers, staff, pupils and their families are expected to support and extend the atmosphere of respect, courtesy, the love of learning and the value of friendship that is held dear at Claremont Fan Court School. This peaceful and purposeful intent extends throughout every lesson and into the pastoral and co-curricular activities we offer.
Young people leave Claremont Fan Court School as confident, contributing and caring members of the global community. They cherish the values that equip them to make a positive contribution and be a force for good in the world.