Reigate's recently saved Dunottar School has welcomed boys to its lessons for the first time since World War Two.
The school, which is now part of the United Learning group, welcomed more than 20 boys to a “Taster Day” last Thursday (May 8).
The day marked part of the school's transition process from its past as a girls' school through to this September, when the school will be admitting boys to Years 7, 9 and 12. The boys attending the taster day took part in science, art and drama lessons, PE and an afternoon spent orienteering - using iPads - in the school grounds.
Dunottar School turned co-educational for a brief period during the Second World War to meet the needs of the local community. Nearly 70 years later, the decision to go fully co-educational followed the school's decision to join United Learning, which already runs a group of independent schools in the area, including Guildford High School, Surbiton High School and Caterham School.
A Dunottar School spokeswoman said: “Throughout the summer, facilities for boys will be developed and – subject to planning regulations – a multi-use games area (MUGA) will be built. “The high-quality Sport England Type MUGA will be available for five-a-side football, netball, basketball and tennis.” She said: “United Learning’s technology team is also investing to ensure that the school’s computers are up-to-date, fast and secure.
“This includes plans to roll out the use of iPads in dedicated classrooms, taking the expertise already developed in other United Learning schools to further enhance the learning experience of pupils at Dunottar.”
Mrs Rowena Cole, who will be Dunottar School’s new headteacher from September, said: “We have been very pleased with the strong interest there has been from families with boys and, each week, offers are being accepted. “As a Group, United Learning has significant experience in managing the transition from single sex school to co-educational, and we are receiving some excellent support, making sure Dunottar has everything it needs to welcome its boys in September.
“I am very excited about taking up post and look forward to welcoming all our new pupils – boys and girls – into what is already a successful, happy and thriving school.”