Photo Gallery: Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School in Norwich one year on

As Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School celebrates the end of its first academic year, Evening News reporter DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP catches up with the head teacher to find out how it went.

It is difficult for head teacher Simon Marfleet pictured to take the smile off his face after the successful year for students and staff at Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School in Norwich.

Getting ready for a welcomed break Mr Marfleet is happy to reflect on what has been an exciting year for him and he is already keen to start talking about plans for next term.

'This year has gone amazingly smoothly,' he said.

'But we now want to focus on developing our facilities so we can accommodate more numbers of children.'

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The independent school, based on Yarmouth Road in Thorpe St Andrew, is an amalgamation of the 113-year-old girls' school Thorpe House and the neighbouring co-educational Langley Preparatory School.

Last year's merger saw Langley Preparatory move down from its Beech Hill House site and into Thorpe House.

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Mr Marfleet explained: 'Thorpe House has been providing education for 113 years and Langley Preparatory has been providing education for 100 years. There must be thousands of pupils who have gone through the two schools over the years.' Officially opened by former Norwich City legend Bryan Gunn, this was one of Mr Marfleet's highlights of the year, but his favourite moment by far was the first day back in September.

'After a lot of planning and waiting, I stood on the playground and when I saw the faces of the children, turning up in their uniforms looking smart, I thought this would be alright,' he said.

The school, which takes two-year-olds to 11-year-olds, has also been involved in many activities throughout the year.

'There have been many things for us as a school to commemorate,' Mr Marfleet explained.

'From winning pretigious chess tournaments to performing on stage at Norwich playhouse, and even being invited to Crufts, we have done so much and I'm very proud of everyone who has been involved.'

The school also had their first Independent School Inspection, since the merger, in January. This is the equivalent of an Ofstead inspection for independent schools.

The school achieved 11 'excellent' results, 11 'good', and two 'satisfactory'.

Mr Marfleet said: 'It's brilliant. The one thing all our staff feel really happy about is what we have here. We've moved into a school site where everything is here.

'I sometimes see teachers walking around with a smile on their face because of the facilities on offer. For example we are the best junior school in Norfolk at chess, because we've got a teacher who is mad about chess. What I want is more teachers who are mad about other things.'

Mr Marfleet also explained that is important for their 206 students to work with other schools.

'It's nice to have a cross section of state and independents working together.' he said.

'I think the danger of the independents is that you hold yourself separate from general society, but we are not different from the rest.

'Children need to be interacting with all members of society, and it is also our social responsibility to offer out facilities to other schools.'

The Norfolk born and former zoologist graduate of Cardiff University is clearly passionate about the school and what he wants to achieve.

'Working with children is exciting all the time,' he said.

'You never know what they are going to or how they will respond to things.'

Plans are already in place to develop an onsite bungalow into a bigger nursery space to open in September, and also to increased the amount of extra-curricular activities.

The school is holding open days on October 14 and 15 and will be welcoming its students back for the new term on September 12.

• To view Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School 'a year in pictures' click on the photo gallery in the top right-hand corner

• Is your school celebrating a big success? Contact the Evening News on 01602 772443 or email

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