Maria Edwards, Head of Orchard House School.

Headmistress's Welcome

Welcome to Orchard House

To help a child achieve their personal best, we must engage their attention and stimulate their imagination. The combination of highly motivated teachers, small classes and our exciting and diverse curriculum nurtures each child’s individual academic and creative talents with a sense of fun and purpose.

Sport encourages a respectful, competitive attitude, teaching children the value of camaraderie. Similarly, music and drama can create increased levels of confidence and self-esteem.

We foster a sense of adventure and all activities take place within an atmosphere of warmth and openness, encouraging pupils in independent thought. Our Pupil Pastoral Plan monitors the well-being of each child and was recently shortlisted for a national award.

The Independent Schools Inspectorate awarded Orchard House the highest accolades of ‘excellent’ in all areas and ‘exceptional’ in achievements and learning. These are mirrored in our first-class academic results. We warmly invite you to visit us at Orchard House School. 

To obtain a prospectus, have a chat or arrange a visit, please do telephone the school office on 020 8742 8544 or contact the school by email at

Mrs Maria Edwards

Read our ISI report


TES Awards

TES Independent School Awards 2021

We are delighted to announce that Orchard House School is the winner of the Sports Award at the TES Independent School Awards 2021!

From Miss Furneaux’s ‘Beat the Teacher’ Twitter challenges to the Orchard House Movement Challenge, the P.E. department has worked incredibly hard to deliver innovative fitness and games content throughout the lockdowns. The award is thoroughly deserved, and we couldn’t be prouder!


Tatler 2021

Tatler Schools Guide 2021

‘With sport-loving Head Maria Edwards at the helm, it’s small wonder that the Orchard House netball, football and swimming teams are forces to be reckoned with.

Keen to encourage any form of physical activity, Mrs Edwards has introduced skipping at playtime and she’s virtually impossible to beat in the Form 6 ‘Challenge Mrs Edwards’ table tennis tournament.

Pupils ‘love the happiness’ at this close-knit Chiswick prep, and parents are delighted by the terrific results which see leavers heading onto the likes of St Paul’s (boys’ and girls’) and Emanuel.

Music is a firm favourite here with the ‘fantastic and inspiring’ Miss Curran encouraging 75 per cent of students to play an instrument. But nothing beats the OHS Summer Fair with its food stands, fun games, small ponies to cuddle, and lots and lots of sweets.‘  (Tatler 2021)

Orchard House features in Tatler magazine’s Schools Guide to the top prep and public schools in the UK.

A boy putting his hand up in the classroom at Orchard House School.

Our Ethos

Every child can learn to fly

Our outstanding results repeatedly show that all children can learn to fly, regardless of early learning ability.

Great minds think for themselves; nurturing individuality is at the heart of our teaching.

We believe tailor-made teaching opens up young minds to endless possibilities, encouraging them to think creatively and form their own ideas.

Our pupils mostly call it having fun.  We call it being the best they can be.

A full statement of the school’s ethos and aims is available here.

A girl reading to a teacher outside at Orchard House School.

Ethos in Action

Close relationships nurture individuality

Orchard House School was formerly a family home and retains a happy, welcoming atmosphere, starting at the front door where the headmistress or a senior staff member greets each child by name every morning.

Currently we have approximately 270 pupils and 47 teaching staff, allowing each child a great deal of individual attention. It is very rare there are more than 20 pupils in any class, and in the early years there are three teaching adults in attendance. Small group and 1:1 sessions are commonplace.

Teachers take lunch with the children and our extensive extra-curricular activities allow teachers and pupils to interact in a more informal atmosphere.

Our school is a place where every child feels valued and gains the confidence to fly.

A boy smiling in his classroom at Orchard House School.

School Philosophy

Cultivating academic tenacity

A ‘can do’ attitude and academic tenacity are in our DNA. They are embedded in every aspect of school life from our curriculum, classroom, staffroom and sports fields to the playground and outside school activities.

If you were to say ‘I can’t do that’ to one of our pupils they would inevitably bellow back ‘I can’t do that YET.’  This mantra is often repeated at assemblies and has become a shorthand for understanding that resilience and perseverance pay off, which in turn feeds a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval. 


‘Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…’ Debbie Millman

Kit Thompson, newly appointed Head of Orchard House School.

Exciting News

Appointment of Mr Kit Thompson as Head from September 2021

Following the announcement earlier in the term of Maria Edwards’ retirement, it is with great pleasure that we share the exciting news of her successor.

After a highly competitive and rigorous recruitment process, Mr Kit Thompson – currently Headmaster at the Unicorn School in Kew – has been appointed as the next Headteacher of Orchard House, starting in September 2021.

In a very strong field, Mr Thompson’s passion for education, wealth of experience and dedication to the children in his charge shone through. His strong educational ethos and commitment to the highest standards of pastoral care make him an excellent fit for Orchard House.

An experienced Headteacher, Mr Thompson enjoys an excellent reputation amongst London schools. Educated at Downside School, Somerset, Mr Thompson has held positions at Tockington Manor School, Bristol and Twyford School, Winchester, where he was Deputy Head. He was appointed Head at the Unicorn School in 2013, where he has overseen a period of tremendous success – with continued academic achievement and an environment where pupils want to do the very best for themselves and their peers. Mr Thompson is committed to educating the whole child, and creating opportunities to nurture, develop and celebrate the talents of every pupil.

Kit Thompson, Headteacher designate, Orchard House School, said:

“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to be Head of Orchard House School, following on from the success of Maria Edwards. I hold a deep belief that children learn best when they feel safe, happy and are inspired to try their very best every day. Orchard House has a superb reputation for its academic success and renowned pastoral care. The wonderful strap line ‘where every child can learn to fly’ immediately made me smile and I know that my views on education are ideally matched to the school. I look forward to joining the community and helping the school move forward to even greater success.”

Mr Thompson joins us at an exciting time. Under Mrs Edwards’ leadership, Orchard House School has securely positioned itself as one of the leading preparatory schools in West London. With Mr Thompson’s energy and ambition for its future, we have every confidence that Orchard House will continue to thrive and be the happy and extraordinary school we all know and love.


A girl working on her tablet at Orchard House School.

Latest News

Stay up to date with Orchard House School

We keep our Orchard House School families up to date with our weekly newsletter,  ‘Orchard Weekly’.  Parents can view the newsletter from the parents’ page.

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