Welcome to Duncombe Prep School - Little Learners, Big Dreams.

Duncombe School is the only co-educational, non-selective independent school in Hertford, Hertfordshire, educating children aged 2 to 11 years. Our high academic standards are achieved through a diverse curriculum and specialist teaching, resulting in all-round academic excellence. Our teachers nurture young minds through an inspiring educational journey. A vast number of opportunities enable our children to think for themselves whilst exploring their ideas and creativity. At Duncombe every child is treated as an individual, encouraging them to develop strength of character, whilst preparing them to step out into the world with an open inquisitive mind with confidence, not arrogance.

An inspiring and enriched approach to learning

High academic standards and results

Offering a competitive sibling discount and 15 free hours

48 weeks wrap around care

Explore Our School

Pre-School: Early Kindergarten and Kindergarten – 2-3 years old

Children join Treetops Pre-School from the age of 2 years. Learning is child focused, exciting and brought to life through first-hand experiences. The children’s days are packed with engaging activities and interactive lessons. What better way for a child to learn than through a Spanish song with actions or a Gruffalo cookery lesson, followed by a trip to Forest School to look for the Gingerbread Man and sit under the trees listening to stories. A young child’s mind is like a sponge, effortlessly soaking up huge amounts of information, which is why we believe enriched learning opportunities are truly beneficial. We are also proud holders of 'Millie's Mark', an endorsement for 'Inspiring Excellence in Paediatric First Aid'.

Early Years: Nursery and Reception – 3-5 years old

From your child’s very first day they will learn, not only through traditional methods and creative play but also through experiencing Foreign Languages, Forest School, Physical Education and Music Lessons. Across a weekly themed curriculum, our specialist teachers bring learning to life through their unique teaching methods. Lessons provide a foundation of understanding, helping the children to build their knowledge and character ready for Lower School. With our small classes, teachers are able to build personal relationships with each child, identifying the best way to encourage and inspire them on their educational journey. Treetops remains home for our Treetops Pre-School children, giving them a little longer in familiar surroundings before they move to the Main School building.

Lower School – 5-7 years old

The firm foundations laid within our Early Years provision continues to be built upon in Lower School with inspiring and engaging lessons across a broader curriculum, focusing on English and Maths. Children are taught in small classes by their form teacher for some subjects and supported by specialist teachers who deliver Languages, Music, Forest School and Physical Education. Our enriched curriculum is taken to the next level with children using ICT facilities such as interactive whiteboards, laptops, green screens, iPads and 3D printers to enhance learning. The children also benefit from exciting extra-curricular activities outside the classroom such as musical tuition, Speech and Drama, seasonal performances and school traditions such as The Duncombe Bake Off and House Sports.

Upper School – 7-11 years old

From Upper School the day becomes slightly longer and children move between specialist classrooms for teaching in a range of subjects. They begin taking on school responsibilities from Reception Buddies to Head of School, encouraging independence. Our diverse enriched curriculum continues, building upon the importance of developing character to become the best they can be. Preparation for the Secondary School entrance exams begins in Year 5, with examinations commencing in the Autumn term of Year 6. During the Summer term of Year 6 the children benefit from an enhanced enrichment programme involving interactive lessons including Financial Capability, Cycling Proficiency and off site trips linked to the curriculum. Our outstanding pastoral care throughout Upper School provides support to every child, so they mature into remarkable young people, gaining confidence to flourish beyond Duncombe.


As parents you will rightly consider the cost of sending your child to private school. Here at Duncombe School, we understand that parents want flexibility in the way they pay their fees. There are different options available to parents, from paying termly in advance by direct debit or if you would like even greater flexibility, monthly through the School Fee Plan.

Our story: an inspiring world of education

Our school is part of Cognita which is an extraordinary family of diverse yet connected schools, spanning ten different countries. We share one common purpose: to create an inspiring world of education that builds self-belief and empowers individuals to succeed. Together, we provide a uniquely global education that goes beyond grades to develop all-round academic excellence – building resilient minds and encouraging positive, international perspectives. We do this by sharing expertise, insights and best practice across the world – and by collaborating to develop rich learning environments in every school. We equip young people with the confidence and resourcefulness that prepares them to grow, thrive and find their success in a fast-changing world.

Cognita schools
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