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Meet the Headmaster

Mark Smith 1

Northcote Lodge is, I believe, unique. Although our ethos is the same as that found in the best country prep schools, our location, in the heart of London, means that we are very different. For parents who are looking for this kind of traditional education for their boys, but who are understandably reluctant to send them off to boarding school at a young age, we believe that Northcote Lodge provides all the benefits of a country prep school whilst allowing boys to remain at home as part of their families.


The main function of a prep school is to prepare children for their next school – something that Northcote Lodge does outstandingly well. An important part of my role is to get around the senior schools, and I am struck by how often housemasters tell me how pleased they are to have Northcote boys in their houses, and how well prepared they are.


We are unashamedly traditional: manners and respect for others are at the core of everything we do. Academic rigour is important too, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the best public schools are looking for boys who have something to offer outside the classroom. That applies to employers as well; nowadays, they are looking at much more than just examination grades.


So, we’re equally proud of what the boys achieve outside the classroom as within it. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – and we don’t want dull boys around here! Our boys play lots of sport (we are lucky to have access to the playing fields just across the road on Wandsworth Common) and we do rather well in matches, often against much bigger schools. Music, Art and Drama are embedded in the curriculum, and for those boys who are so inclined there are also plenty of extra-curricular opportunities in these areas.


We are a small school, of around 230 boys, with no plans to be any bigger. That’s important. Because it means that all the staff know every boy by name. Our Common Entrance results speak for themselves: every year our boys get into the best public schools across the country.


Being at school should be fun! At Northcote Lodge it is our firm belief that when a boy is happy he is much more likely to learn then when he is not. Our school day is an extended one – 8.00am until 6.00pm for the older boys – which means that, until the very final stages, all homework is done at school. So, when he gets home, a boy’s work is done and he can relax and be part of his family.


Please come and see us – a part of my job that I especially enjoy is showing visiting parents around the school and chatting to them afterwards. Throughout my long career as a schoolmaster, I have seen enough salesmen trying to sell products they don’t believe in to have some sympathy for them. My job is so much easier, and when you visit Northcote Lodge you will know why.


I very much look forward to showing you our unique school – truly, a country prep school in the heart of London.


Mark Smith, Headmaster


26 Bolingbroke Grove, London, SW11 6EL Location Map