Case Study

Social, economic and environmental impact of Woldingham School grows each year

At first glance the most significant impact of Woldingham may appear to be on its students who leave with excellent exam results achieved by its students, benefits from the opportunities of its 80 plus clubs and societies and the friendships forged for life, but the impact of this Surrey-based school is much wider. Last year it contributed £25 million to UK GDP (gross domestic product), including income from overseas, supported 465 UK jobs, as well as paying – and saving – vital UK tax revenues. At the same time, Woldingham is custodian of 700 acres of land in the Surrey Hills enjoyed by thousands of walkers, cyclists and horse riders and its facilities and teachers are shared with the wider community, including pupils from local primary schools. Looking to the future, Woldingham has ambitious plans to transform it approach to environmental sustainability and significantly reduce its carbon emissions too.

Economic benefit

Directly employing more than 240 people and educating more than 600 students, Woldingham makes a significant impact to the local economy in east Surrey through the salaries and taxes employees at the school pay, the supplies the school purchases and the income the school generates. The annual turnover of the school was £18 million in 2021-22, making Woldingham one of the larger organisations and employers in Tandridge District Council area.

How Woldingham school contributes to the local and wider UK economy (Source: Woldingham school impact report 2021-22):

  • £25.6m contribution to UK GDP
  • £14.3m contribution to GDP of Tandridge area
  • £7.6m tax paid
  • £3.3m savings for UK taxpayers from students not taking a free UK state school place
  • 465 jobs in UK supported by Woldingham’s activities

Environmental benefit

Over the last year, Woldingham developed new plans to improve its impact on the environment and these will come to fruition over the coming years. For example, over the last year it introduced a zero-landfill waste contract, designed new buildings to be energy efficient, and introduced more plant-based meals.

A new outdoor education centre will play an important role in supporting Woldingham’s environmental plans, especially around environmental awareness, behavioural change as well as curriculum development and delivery. The centre will also provide a new income stream from commercial lets in the holidays and weekends, when it is not used by students, for reinvestment in the school, grounds and bursaries.

The school continues its vital role as custodians of 700 acres of stunning Surrey countryside in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI). Thousands of walkers, horse riders and cyclists use the public footpaths and bridleways through the school and the wider estate, which are maintained by Woldingham.

Community benefit

As the world returned to normal after COVID, pupils from local primary schools have been welcomed back to Woldingham as part of it programme to share Woldingham’s facilities and specialist teachers. In recent months pupils from three local primary schools have used Woldingham School’s new adventure centre, including a group of young carers from a primary school in Caterham. In a new STEM for schools initiative, Woldingham School invited pupils from two local primary schools, to experience lessons in science labs at secondary schools. These sessions were run by Woldingham A Level science students. Alongside science initiatives, Woldingham ran an art workshop for local primary school students and provided specialist netball training to pupils at Godstone School.

In the 2021 to 2022 academic year, the school ran more outreach events for pupils at local primary and senior schools as life returned to normal after the COVID pandemic. The Music Department provided music lessons at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, hosted the annual Junior Choir Festival (pictured above) and held the inaugural Orchestra Day (photo below) attended by 150 musicians, including pupils from eight primary and prep schools, where professionals from the London Mozart Players performed alongside junior musicians from 8 to 18 years old.

The Science Department hosted pupils from a local Caterham primary school to the Royal Institution’s ‘Energy Live’ at school. Secondary school students from local schools, Warlingham School and Oasis Academy in Coulsdon, attended STEM Live events with presentations from leading scientists.

Organised by Woldingham’s Head of Science, four Sixth Form students from Warlingham School took part in Woldingham’s first STEM Solutions event, a competition involving students from five local state and independent schools.

As part of the school’s support to SENCO teachers and exam officers in local schools, Woldingham hosted an annual JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications) event in its exams centre on key changes to exam regulations for the year ahead.

Woldingham’s response to the conflict in Ukraine, was both immediate, practical and long lasting. Students stepped up to raise money and donate products to people in Ukraine. Alongside this the school set aside five school places for Ukrainian students for 2022-23 academic year, who had to leave their homes and are now living in the UK – Woldingham school magazine.

Woldingham is keen to contribute to wider society and be a good neighbour. Woldingham has built a great relationship with The Orpheus Centre Trust,  a college for young people with disabilities specialising in performing arts over recent year as well as the London-based Cardinal Hume Centre, which is associated with Westminster Cathedral, where the school has its annual Carol Service. The school continues to support the Purley Food Bank, with annual Harvest Festival collections as well as toiletries for the local charity, The Hygiene Bank, at Christmas. Sixth form students continue to visit care homes with the school’s resident Chaplain.

Woldingham continues to provide a range of support in the form of bursaries to enable students to attend Woldingham who would not be able to attend otherwise.

Seven students – one in each year group – currently receive Jayne Triffitt bursaries, named in honour of a previous Woldingham Head. Two academically able students from Poland joined Woldingham with bursary support and two additional Polish students were given places for 2022-23. A space was also given to a Royal Springboard Foundation scholar for 2022-23 and potentially a Year 7 student starting next year.  In total 54 students attended Woldingham in 2021-22 with the support of a bursary.

The impact of a bursary supported Woldingham is lifelong as demonstrated in a Film of Bursary students.

How Woldingham school supports and contributes to the wider communities in the UK and abroad (Source: Woldingham school impact report 2021-22):

  • £3,000 raised by six Year 11 students for Ukraine
  • 600 books donated to The Children’s Book Project
  • £6,500 donation of new sportswear for Ukraine from chaplaincy team
  • £2,000 fundraised by Houses and Carol Service collection for Laini Saba School, Kenya
  • £737,000 spent on bursaries
  • Half a freight container of uniform donated to children’s charity in Sierra Leone
  • 40 hours specialist music teaching for 30 pupils at St Francis’ Catholic Primary
  • 54 students received bursaries
  • 2 Polish Sixth Formers attended with bursary support


29 June 2023