Bellevue school celebrates its 99th birthday


Bellevue school celebrates its 99th birthday


In anticipation of its forthcoming centenary, Holmwood House Preparatory School and Nursery, Chitts Hill, Colchester, is celebrating its 99th birthday this month.

The school plans to celebrate in as traditional a manner as possible, whilst adhering to the Covid-19 restrictions and recently announced November lockdown.

Holmwood House has been an integral member of the local community of Colchester since its beginnings. Having been bought in 1921 by Mr and Mrs E Duggan, the private house on Chitts Hill, which sits in 25 acres of beautiful grounds, opened its doors as a school in the summer of 1922 with just three boys.

Since then, the school has grown and developed, becoming a fully co-educational day and boarding school in 1985 when it admitted girls for the first time. The Holmwood House nursery, for children from six months to four years, near Great Horkesley, offers outstanding care 47 weeks of the year. The school’s Pre-Reception class, which shares the same, recently refurbished building as the Reception classes, offers parents an alternative solution to starting at big school from age three.

The school’s offering continues up to Year 8 where the older pupils are provided with a tremendous amount of development and leadership opportunities before they go on to a range of grammar and independent schools at either 11 or 13.

Today, Holmwood House has transitioned into primarily being a day school with an extensive range of learning and extra-curricular opportunities on offer due to its extensive facilities and grounds. The school’s boarding heritage enables regular overnight stays for the older pupils which range from weekly nights in for the Years 7 and 8 pupils, to cinema nights with popcorn and hot dogs for the younger ones.

Headmaster of Holmwood House, Mr Alexander Mitchell, comments: ‘We are incredibly proud of the history of our school, and how it has evolved over the years to meet the needs of families in our local community. At a time of great uncertainty in the world, it is wonderful to be able to enjoy the moment with our children as they celebrate the 99th birthday in traditional Holmwood fashion.

The birthday celebration is a big event in the school’s calendar each year. For decades, children at the school have enjoyed the Animal Game, a unique event in which the children hunt for hidden cards belonging to their Element (House) and make the noise of their Element animal until a senior runner arrives to take it from them. With a few adjustments for pupil ‘bubbles’, this traditional game will happen again this year.

Other events to mark the 99th birthday include the traditional cutting of the cake, tutor group challenges, a sing-a-long and party games, and a School Birthday quiz.

Mr Mitchell adds: ‘The children love this unique day and whilst they will not be able to share special time with their Buddies from other year group bubbles, we’re sure they will love the fun all the same.’