School Life

Hobbies & Activities

With so many activities to choose from, we are confident that there is something to suit every child.  Some dovetail with or enhance subjects already covered within the curriculum and some provide an introduction to areas which children go on to enjoy at senior school and beyond.

Parents are always welcome to speak to activity leaders, all of whom are well-qualified and experienced in their fields, and children can book a `taster’ session before committing to joining a group.

Art Club

Mrs Harrison opens the Art room twice a week for children in the Prep to come and explore their own ideas, whilst using the extensive materials and equipment in the department.


Miranda Labuschagne, former principal ballet dancer, teaches the Cecchetti method of ballet.  The Cecchetti method is a ballet technique and rigorous training method devised by the Italian ballet master and pedagogue Enrico Cecchetti (1850–1928).  Miranda encourages the children to develop self-esteem, musicality and creativity through their dancing, striving to instil the “joy of dance”.  Children are encouraged to take exams and have the opportunity to take part in an annual Summer Show to show off their talents and performance skills!

Band Project

Chris Mountford and his team always put the music first – it’s the heart of everything they do. A team of fully trained and passionate tutors lead sessions for children in Years 7 and 8, making sure they achieve their goals as musicians, whatever they might be. The Band Project offers an un-patronising taste of being a professional musician – rehearsals at school and gigs in real venues. The mix of playing and performing great music that our students want to play, our committed team and the encouraging and supportive atmosphere of all our sessions makes being part of The Band Project a very special experience.


David Graham has been teaching chess to children and adults for many years.  Chess is an incredibly beneficial pastime – playing chess results in better brain function, attention improvement, improved strategic thinking, memory and cognitive abilities.

The weekly chess club at Dorset House will feature an internal school tournament with medals for the tournament winners plus behaviour / effort awards for other competitors.

There will be coaching of various chess themes and the club is intended as a stepping stone for interested children into chess at county level.

He is a coach for Sussex Junior Chess, the strongest county in the country that has won many national age group competitions in the last 10 years.

He has coached the Sussex U9 and U11 squads for many years and have trained 8 juniors who have gained places in the England Junior Squad.


Alison Howard-Dace, our Catering Manger, leads a group where children enjoy learning basic skills and taking home the resulting goodies (or sharing them with friends if they are boarding!)


Greg Weaver, our Director of Sport, offers extra cricket coaching.  This is a popular activity during the autumn and summer terms.  The focus is on developing and fine tuning skills, through drills, net sessions and games. The winter sessions take place at the indoor school at the Arundel Castle Cricket Club and in the summer we make use of the wonderful surroundings of Dorset House.

Engineering Club

Chris Thomas, who many will know as one of our peripatetic Music teachers, will lead a new group where children in Years 6 – 8 can learn basic engineering skills including working on Kit Cars and even servicing the school’s lawnmowers!

Experimental Photography and Print Making

Sophie Sitwell will be running several types of workshops, all of which will enable children to have an introduction to photography and printmaking on both a practical level and within a historical context.

The workshops are suitable for all abilities and throughout the sessions pupils will be able to create individual pieces to take home. This will include printing photographs using nothing but juice extracted from the petals of flowers, the peel from fruits and pigments from plants, and Recycling and printing from found objects.


Helen Jennings leads the Gymnastics activity.  She is a highly experienced coach and she teaches in an enjoyable and safe environment to assist children in meeting their maximum potential.

Through structured instruction children will show progress in many key development areas.

Gymnastics builds physical fitness, flexibility, body awareness, coordination and confidence and is also challenging, creative and fun with an opportunity to be awarded British Gymnastics Badges for Achievement.


Debbie and Mantha Hills are the second and third generations to teach Judo at Dorset House which has been a very successful activity here for well over 30 years. It is a popular activity with boys and girls from Year 1 through to Year 8. Children do not need to be a natural sportsperson to enjoy judo and to make good progress.
Pupils practise and later contest, with others of the same size and ability. Past experience has proved that Judo can be enjoyed by almost every young person. It is an ideal way of gaining self-confidence and learning the importance of self-discipline and self-control.

Children enjoy a number of “Judo Games” all of which have a purpose; but to the pupils, they are just great fun. The rough and tumble of these games is a great way of preparing them for contact rugby!


Elaine Hawken leads our Lamda activity.  LAMDA is the oldest drama school in the UK. Founded in 1861 as the London Academy of Music, they were the first such institution to offer acting tuition – defining LAMDA’s ongoing role as a pioneer in its field.

Students participating in the school’s LAMDA classes study “The Speaking of Verse & Prose” and acting pieces.  Classes begin with a range of warm-up exercises and conclude with “acting based games” aimed at developing improvisation and team-building skills.

The most popular exams are `Verse and Prose',and `Acting', but LAMDA has a wide curriculum covering `Reading for Performance', `Devised Drama’ as well as `Musical Theatre’.

In addition to attaining excellent examination results, DH has a proud tradition of producing Drama Scholars for a number of Independent Senior schools.

LAMDA has been offering practical examinations in communication and performance subjects for over 130 years. Today, they offer a performance and communications-based syllabus leading to accredited and non-accredited awards in the UK and worldwide. Almost 98,000 candidates took their examinations in over 30 countries last year, making LAMDA the largest speech and drama awarding organisation in the UK.

The examinations are about achievement and empowerment. Anyone can take a LAMDA exam, regardless of age, ability, ambition or experience. The ultimate aim is to provide every individual with the opportunity to develop the life skills they need to be a success, wherever their future takes them.

Higher grade LAMDA exams contribute to a student’s UCAS points.


Yaning Xiao leads our Mandarin activity which is limited to 20 pupils and led by an experienced native Mandarin Chinese tutor in order to ensure maximum engagement and progress for each pupil.

Pupils develop and strengthen their Mandarin Chinese listening, speaking and writing skills in fun and engaging classes that are carefully structured to incorporate a series of interactive games, songs, role play and story-telling.  Pupils also have the opportunity to explore the Chinese culture through traditional Chinese poetry, arts and crafts, and participate in Chinese festival celebrations.

Pupils are also introduced to Pinyin and the 5 tones of Mandarin Chinese to reinforce accurate pronunciation and enhance their confidence in Mandarin Chinese speaking and listening.

The programme uses a well-designed text book, called Primary School Chinese, which has an online practising platform and pupils are encouraged to practise their learnins at school online, using all types of interactive and fun games.

The programme runs in line with the ISEB (Independent Schools Examinations Board) syllabus, which provides a progressive and structured framework to develop lifelong Mandarin Chinese language skills and establish a solid foundation for further learning and preparations for public examinations in Mandarin Chinese.


Mrs Wightman, our Head of Girls’ games, runs Multi-Sports sessions with Miss Oland, one of our Girls’ Games Coaches.  Children participate in a range of activities including netball, football, pop lacrosse, tennis and swimming (in the summer term). This is structured as a fun-based session, although the girls and boys do receive some coaching.

Performing Arts

Sandra Wilson and Charlotte Amey have been leading Performing Arts classes at Dorset House for several years.  During this time they have taught many children throughout the school from Reception to Year 8 and have put on performances of Matilda, We Will Rock You, Billy Elliot and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to name but a few!  The pupils get the opportunity to perform these at a large venue and experience working on a big stage with lighting, sound etc.

Performing arts classes provide the opportunity for the children to grow in confidence and to learn in all areas of dance, acting and singing and provide a platform for them to showcase solo performances in these areas.  All pupils have roles in every performance and we place particular emphasis on pronunciation and projection which assists in the important skills required for public speaking, serving them well for the future.


Alison Leggett is our point of contact for the riding activity which takes place at the Arundel Riding Centre – a family run business. Lessons take place under the watchful eye of well qualified staff. There are over twenty horses and ponies at the centre and so they are able to accommodate riders of all abilities from beginners through to the most experienced.

As a BHS Approved Riding School the centre is inspected regularly to ensure they meet high standards of safety, horse welfare and tuition.

Many of the children who take part in this activity and those who ride elsewhere, join the Dorset House Show Jumping Team and take part in competitions locally and further afield.


Matthews Tennis Coaching (MTC) provide lunch time tennis coaching at Dorset House School, for all Year groups. More experienced players have had the opportunity to play with the
Year above. Due to the popularity of some groups, we now have 2 coaches in attendance at the same time, to split the group, to cater for differing levels and ensure the coach: pupil ratio remains healthy for the players to get the most from the sessions.

The 45 minute group sessions tend to focus on a particular shot or skill during the session, with the emphasis on technique and developing the necessary skills to play the game; sessions always finish with a game-based situation, where the pupil has the chance to put their new skills to the test!

The tennis club runs from February half term to October half term, making the most of the better weather. However, numerous players continue playing year round, in specially designed small groups or having individual lessons throughout the year at school.

As well as after-school coaching at clubs, MTC also offers holiday camps for those children wanting to play more frequently.


Charlotte Wilmore, from The Family Yoga Company, is our Yoga teacher.  Enhancing and assisting education through ancient proven techniques in a fun and modern way, The Family Yoga Company brings topics and stories to life using yoga poses, balance movement and dance including acrobatics! Children love to learn whilst moving their bodies; Charlotte takes them on an adventurous yoga journey and encouraging each child to use their imagination and creativity.

Yoga is a movement-based activity connecting the mind and body. Bringing topics and stories to life using yoga poses, balance and movement helping the mind and body connection. Using the traditional yoga composition of sun salutations, yoga poses, and gentle breathing exercises and of course Sava Sana. Charlotte creates themes and topics to express and communicate through movement, whether it is an underwater world/Space/Victorian times (examples topic based) or a class dedicated to positive affirmations and wellbeing.

Yoga helps children to improve motor development on both sides of the body, as well as their strength and coordination which will improve muscle tone and confidence in everyday activities.