St Francis prides itself on being, first and foremost, a friendly, family school and nursery. Set in beautiful surroundings in the heart of the Pewsey Vale, we are one of Wiltshire's leading preparatory schools for boys and girls aged 0 to 13.
Founded nearly 80 years ago in September 1941 by Miss Phyllis Burden, with just four pupils in the Rectory in Pewsey, St Francis School is now a thriving IAPS co-educational day prep school and nursery for pupils aged 0 to 13, with 260 children on roll.
In 1984 the school moved out of Pewsey village to Haybrook House (which now houses the Pre-Prep department and Little Saints Nursery), and the neighbouring Travancore House (housing the Prep Department) was acquired in 1990. The current school is situated in 17 acres alongside the Kennet and Avon Canal, in Wiltshire’s picturesque Pewsey Vale, six miles south of Marlborough. Although a village, Pewsey is well-situated mid-way between the M3 and M4 motorways, and with a mainline railway station with regular express services to/from London Paddington (c60 minutes) and Exeter/Penzance.
The Sweet Sound of Success for St Francis Musicians
St Francis musicians celebrate incredible exam results.
15th September 2021 — Arguably, one of the areas most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, was The Arts. With singing (indoors) banned, audiences restricted and face-to-face events seriously curtailed, opportunities to perform musically or dramatically were limited.
Pupils from St Francis though remained undeterred. Despite the vast majority of their music lessons taking place online (have you ever tried to play a cello on Teams?), they showed their customary grit and determination when undertaking their ABRSM Music Examinations last term.
The range of instruments was vast – encompassing both the traditional (cellos and flutes) and the more modern, Saxophone, not forgetting the all-important singing too! Pupils clearly made an impression on the examiner who praised them for their performances and commented that they were a real asset to the school. Over a third of the pupils who took their exams were awarded a Distinction!
Kay Francis, Director of Music at St Francis explained “It was quite a challenge to keep music lessons going, both individually and as classes, during the lockdowns but I think these exam results show the talent and tenacity of St Francis pupils. I am incredibly proud of all of them for the hard work they have put in – not just during lessons but also giving up their free time to practise. Well done all!”
David Sibson, Headmaster at St Francis, also enthused “I may be biased, but I have always said how talented St Francis pupils are, and these results pay testament to this. As Kay explained, these awards have not just come from music lessons, but also the effort put in when no one is watching – something St Francis pupils have always been good at. I would like to echo Kay’s praise of the pupils, and extend my thanks to each member of staff, and family member, who helped these pupils along the way!”
St Francis School, Pewsey, celebrated a bumper crop of LAMDA results. Despite COVID restrictions requiring many of the LAMDA lessons to take place online, 27 pupils achieved Distinctions and 23 received Merits.
9th September 2021 — It’s been a dramatic start to the term at St Francis, Pewsey with a bumper crop of exceptional LAMDA results.
Despite COVID restrictions requiring many of the LAMDA lessons to take place online, and the fact that the exams took place the same week that many of the students were also taking part in the summer production of The Pied Piper of Hamlin, the results were phenomenal.
Of the pupils who took their exams at the end of the Summer Term, 27 achieved Distinctions and 23 Merits across the Grade 1-5 assessments.
Pupils demonstrated their in-depth knowledge of the characters, staging and costumes required to act the monologues and duologues they performed.
Abby Bracken, Head of Drama at St Francis was effusive about her students: "Both of the LAMDA examiners spoke to me after the exams to explain how wonderful they found our pupils; noting in particular how mature and friendly they are.
"It is clear from the results we achieved that we can also add 'talented' to that list! I am so proud of all the students, and their results."
David Sibson, Headmaster at St Francis added: "Whilst lockdown took a toll on education as a whole, it could be argued that the Creative Arts were amongst those subjects worst affected.
"These pupils’ LAMDA results, which are impressive at the best of times, are all the more so for the adverse conditions they prepared in.
"Drama is not just a creative outlet, but also prepared pupils for later life – improving their memory, increasing confidence, and broadening their cultural awareness; skills which are all assets in the modern world."
Will Captains Wiltshire U11s to Finish the Season Unbeaten
Year 7 St Francis pupil, Will Miller has helped the Wiltshire U11 cricket team to finish the season unbeaten.
7th September 2021 — Will, who captained the team, was part of the 1st XI who won against neighbouring county sides including Dorset, Somerset and Gloucestershire, in season of exceptional sportsmanship. The Wiltshire side faced an unbeaten Gloucestershire for their final match, and both sides battled valiantly to maintain a pristine record, however Wiltshire were ultimately victorious, ably led by Will. Wiltshire teammate Harry was also at St Francis, before moving to Dauntsey’s School on a coveted Sports Scholarship.
Kevan Brown, Director of Sport at St Francis was full of praise for the Year 7 pupil “Will is a phenomenal sportsman, and it has been wonderful to see this recognised and rewarded at a county level. Will has shown his innate leadership abilities in leading the team through such an outstanding season and look forward to watching him develop through the coming year at school.”
Headmaster at St Francis, David Sibson effused “This has been a brilliant season for Will and Harry – both outstanding sportsmen. Will has shown maturity beyond his years by captaining his team to such a phenomenal outcome. I look forward to hearing of both boys’ future successes, of which I have no doubt there will be many.”
St Francis pupils enjoyed a summer of fun activities, helping parents juggle work with childcare!
27th August 2021 — St Francis School, Pewsey has taken a fun approach to the childcare conundrum posed by working parents, with their fun summer-long holiday camp.
Taking place on the school’s incredible 17-acre site, pupils were able to let their hair down and enjoy activities such as t-shirt customisation, baking, climbing on the purpose-built climbing wall and good old-fashioned water-fights.
Headmaster at St Francis, David Sibson, explained “Many of our St Francis families have two working parents, and so we take great care to ensure that our provision recognises that. During term-time we have various after-school clubs and activities which cater for working parents, but it was important for us to continue this during the holidays. The children have really enjoyed the holiday camp; the opportunity to socialise with their friends in a fun, yet constructive, way has been universally welcomed.”
St Francis school enjoyed a phenomenal Sports Day, despite the odds!
25th August 2021 — Despite a delay imposed by COVID restrictions, and of course the British elements (which ensured everything from sunshine to sideways rain), pupils and parents turned out en masse.
Pupils enjoyed a variety of track and field activities, with the real focus “opportunity for all”, and the community spirit in full view for all to see. Perhaps buoyed by the novelty of being able to hold a Sports day after a year of so many cancellations, it was agreed that pupils were on top form!
Pupils Anna, Will and Florence will ultimately go down in St Francis School history; managing to break existing school records – some of which were more than 14 years old.
David Sibson, Headmaster at St Francis, added “It was wonderful to see so many parents turn out to support our pupils, who evidently enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate their prowess and test their strength. Ultimately though, what was evident throughout the day was the real sense of community – from older pupils running alongside younger pupils in encouragement, to parents enjoying the opportunity to (socially-distanced) chat with their year group bubble face-to-face. Congratulations must go to all those pupils who broke records, and won races, but thanks should also be given to all those who made this Sports Day so memorably enjoyable.”
At the end of the Summer Term, Senior Prep pupils at St Francis School, Pewsey performed Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night’s Dream"
16th August 2021 — Senior Prep Pupils at St Francis School, Pewsey, celebrated the end of term by treating a captive audience of parents to a fantastic rendition of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
Attendees enjoyed an outdoor retelling of The Bard’s famous play, with a modern twist. The Mechanicals wore high vis, Titania sported trainers, and Bottom was, well, still Bottom – resplendent in donkey attire. Using the School’s onsite “fortress” playground as a set (masterfully transformed by the Friends of St Francis) the players fell in love, duelled, and eventually “woke” from their dream. It’s fair to say that the audience were as enchanted as the characters.
David Sibson, Headmaster at St Francis said “We are exceptionally proud of this cohort of pupils; not only have they spent the final 15 months of their prep school education dealing with unprecedented circumstances, but they have done so with grace and resilience. The performance was certainly memorable, but felt even more special in light of the restrictions we have been operating under.”