GIRLS CAN DO ANYTHING - An Interview with Joanna Leach, Headteacher at Highfield Preparatory School

If you are looking for a small, nurturing Girls Prep School, Highfield Preparatory School in Maidenhead is the school for you. With a family feel, the staff are experts in girls education.

Where is Highfield Preparatory School and what is the ethos?

Highfield Preparatory School is the leading independent girls’ school in within central Maidenhead, we are based just off Castle Hill and a couple of minutes from Maidenhead Station.

We provide both Pre-Prep (Nursery to Year 2) and Prep (Year 3 – 6) education; through a team of skilled, motivated, and dedicated teachers and support staff.

Our School offers exceptionally high quality education for girls, valuing achievement in an atmosphere of happiness and warmth. Girls are motivated to work and play to the best of their abilities; they flourish academically because we encourage them to think for themselves and trust their own judgement. #GirlsCanDoAnything

Why Girls?

There are many reasons to choose an all girls’ school but the first must be that it is a place where girls take centre stage in every activity, and that they can express themselves freely and develop higher order thinking skills.

Girls’ schools enable them to grow and mature at their own pace. Here at Highfield we believe that we should encourage all our girls from a young age to take on leadership roles. #FutureLeaders

Our large inspirational mural in the top playground celebrates great female leadership from Marie Curie to Ada Lovelace to Malala Yosafzai. It is important that we expose our girls to all kinds of female role models.

Girls today should become their own role model and, as it says on our mural, ‘Be What They Want to Be’ and follow their own path, nobody else’s!

Tell me about the Headteacher, How long has Joanna Leach been in place, which school was she at previously?

Mrs Leach went to Kendrick Girls Grammar School before earning her degree and going in to teaching. She is a very experienced teacher and has been a Headteacher for nearly 10 years. Her previous Headship was in a small stage school near Reading on the Englefield Estate where Pippa Middleton got married!

What is the academic pace & focus of the school?

Our focus here at Highfield is giving our girls a First Class Education where a high level of achievement across the curriculum is valued.

The staff are skilled, motivated and dedicated with our specialist teaching skills starting right from the start in our Nursery class up until Year 6.

What role does sport play at the school?

The physical development of all the girls is a key objective of the school, and this has led to some outstanding achievements at both county and national level. Every girl from Reception to Year 6 is involved in a full programme of sports activities and they are encouraged to develop their individual capabilities in all sports. The generous allocation of curriculum time and use of first class facilities within the school and the local community, help us to maintain an unrivalled reputation for excellence in sport.

Tell me about the Arts at Highfield Preparatory School?

Highfield values the individuality of each pupil, understanding the importance of creative self-expression. We offer many opportunities for our girls to enjoy Drama, Dance and Music and are integral parts of our curriculum.

Do many pupils enter the 11+ and how successful are they? Which schools do pupils go onto?

Yes we do have pupils that enter the 11+, we support these girls by offering full support and also the girls sit the exams at school so they feel comfortable in their own environment.

Moving on to senior school is a really important time in the life of our year 6 girls, and to achieve the very best for them, we assist parents with the decision making process. We talk to parents as early as Year 4 about the best option for their daughter. Our girls go to a variety of schools: The Abbey, Queen Anne’s, Marist Senior, Leighton Park, Wycombe High (11+), Sir William Borlase (11+) Beaconsfield High (11+), and Newlands Girls School.

Do you have a Nursery School on site?

Yes we do, right from joining Nursery in the term that they turn 3, we provide girls with an environment that lays a foundation for a lifelong love of learning. We believe it is paramount that our girls are taught in a happy, safe and stimulating setting where they feel free to explore, discover and investigate new things and are encouraged to reach their full potential.

What extracurricular activities take place at Highfield?

We have numerous clubs including sport and music, but also activities as diverse as judo, computer programming, ballet, gardening, Mandarin, football and sketching.

What sets Highfield apart from other independent schools in the area?

Being an all girls’ school, our focus is purely on helping them to grow and develop in an environment where there are no assumptions or stereotypes. We are a small, nurturing, have a family feel and can provide excellent pastoral care.

We are experts in girls’ education at Highfield Preparatory School and provide the girls with an exceptional platform to develop self-belief and the confidence to succeed.

We teach our girls to be confident, independent, resilient, articulate and display a can do attitude.


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If you would like to see the school in action, don’t miss the next Open Morning which is on Friday 28th June at 9.30am. To book your place, please call 01628 624918 or email