Walden School is a school with a difference. Small, diverse, vibrant, and located in the heart of Saffron Walden. Friends' is based on a Quaker foundation and has a tradition of more than three hundred years of enlightened education for both boys and girls, welcoming students of all faiths.
There is a Senior and Junior school on the same site, which allows for a seamless transition between the years. Sharing the site means that Senior pupils have opportunities to help out in the Junior School, and Junior pupils have access to specialist teaching in certain areas of the curriculum, such as modern languages and Design Technology. The site is also home to a community of about sixty boarders in the senior school. They are accommodated in the fine old Victorian main building and come from different locations within the UK, as well as from a variety of other countries. The boarding community is close and encourages pupils to mix across the age range; all are encouraged to take a role in improving boarding, through discussions with staff on activities and accommodation. Flexi-boarding is a popular option. Our international students bring a range of skills, languages and cultural backgrounds to the school and these are wonderfully demonstrated on our annual International Evening, when they treat the whole school community to a feast of their traditional cuisine and a range of entertainment. We keep our curriculum under review at Friends’ and our independence allows us to develop challenging and creative programmes of study, to suit the various needs of our pupils. While we broadly follow the National Curriculum and offer a good range of GCSE and A Levels, to facilitate entry to employment and higher education, we are nevertheless keen to embrace new ideas, embed new technologies and carry our education well beyond the classroom in a packed schedule of educational visits and extra-curricular activities. At present a number of exciting cross-curricular initiatives, including a strong eco-schools agenda, are being developed. Staff are combining their expertise to offer new perspectives on the curriculum, such as team teaching a Psychology/German A Level seminar on interpretations of a German short story. Pastoral care at the school is excellent because the staff really get to know each pupil well and there is always a listening ear or a helping hand in both the day and boarding schools. We have a medical centre, staffed by two qualified nurses, which is open to all members of the school and we have small tutor groups and classes, so that new pupils are soon welcomed into a friendly and caring environment, where their confidence can grow and they can learn successfully. Parents are always welcome and we try to listen to all members of our community, since we feel that everyone has something to offer. Moreover we try to give something back to the wider community, in a programme of volunteering in the sixth form, along with a number of fund-raising and charitable activities throughout the year, connecting with other countries as diverse as India and Rwanda. All this creates a fine foundation for our pupils to move out with confidencde into the world beyond school. We encourage initiative and we provide an environment in which creativity can flourish and individual talent is recognised and nurtured. We are confident and secure in the long tradition on which we are building but we are constantly looking to the future. We provide a very special place for our students but we are always looking outward to the wider world, as they will have to do themselves in no time at all. “Calm, caring place for individuals who benefit from bespoke, push, and support.” Good Schools Guide 2014