St. Margaret’s Nursery & Prep School, Essex

St. Margaret’s is an exceptional private nursery and day school – set in acres of listed parkland in the North Essex village of Gosfield. We welcome girls and boys aged two to 11. Our private nursery and preparatory school is nestled in an idyllic rural location near the market town of Halstead, close to the A120 and with access into Colchester, Chelmsford and Suffolk.

An excellent all-round education

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), rated St. Margaret’s as ‘excellent’ in October 2021. The inspection report concluded that the quality of the pupil’s academic and other achievements is excellent and the quality of the pupils’ personal development is also excellent.

“Pupils’ enjoyment of school life is evident in every aspect of their activities in and out the classroom. This is a result of the high quality of pastoral care, which focuses on the well-being of each individual to ensure they all flourish.” ISI, 2021

Awarded European ‘School of the Year 2022’ at the Cognita O-wards, we offer specialist teaching across the curriculum, combined with a home-from-home family feel, to give your child the very best start. Our specially designed nursery is at the heart of our school, providing space to learn through play, build friendships and explore the world on their doorstep. Nursery (ages 2 to 4 years) and Reception (4 & 5 years) children also enjoy their own play and discovery outdoor area.

Preparing your child for a bright future

Small class sizes continue into all areas across the curriculum for Pre-Prep (ages 5 to 7 years) and Prep (7 to 11 years), giving your child many opportunities to grow intellectually, physically and socially. Our team of dedicated and enthusiastic, highly qualified nursery practitioners, class teachers and teaching assistants help pupils to discover the joy in new things and find out what really drives them, across a broad range of subjects and activities. From languages, science and maths, to sport and all aspects of the arts, we have something to suit every child.

We are a traditional Prep, with a very forward-thinking focus, where happy children make excellent progress. The truly preparatory ethos of St. Margaret’s opens up a life of choices for their next stage. At the end of their time with us, all pupils leave for the senior school of their choosing, with many being offered a scholarship, grammar school place or both. Our 2022 Year 6 cohort achieved an outstanding 43 scholarship offers and 11+ places.

We would love to meet your family and show you around. Please contact us to book a private tour or to reserve your place at a forthcoming open event or fun family experience.

Meet our pupils

Hear from some of our 2020/21 Year 6 pupils about what they love most about St. Margaret’s, click on  their image to find out:


Meet Maya
Meet Sylvie
Meet Oliver
Meet Edie
Meet Noa

What our parents say…

“St. Margaret’s has given my children the best start in life. Giving them the opportunity to become their best, in a nurturing environment.” 

“Supportive and loving environment, which enables the children to develop to their potential.”

“St. Margaret’s has such a family feel about it. The staff care for the children so much and really do want what is best for them all.”

“The school has just been amazing for my son’s development. The range of topics covered and the wider, all-round education he is receiving is just fantastic.”

“St. Margaret’s is a lovely, caring school with the right balance of focus between academic achievement and pastoral care.”

Voice of the Parent annual survey

Nursery at St. Margaret's

Two, three and four-year-olds thrive in our well-equipped, purpose-built new nursery. We go over and above the Early Years national curriculum with specialist teaching including in French and Music and weekly activities including cookery. It is the perfect springboard for school.

Starting School

Children aged four and five join Reception from nurseries including our own. The timetable includes daily maths and literacy lessons, delivered through games and play, specialist teaching including French and visits to the school library and computer suite.

Academic Results & Senior Schools

All pupils leave us for senior school at the end of Year 6. The superb, rounded education we provide as a preparatory school means our children are spoilt for choice when considering their next step, typically being offered a scholarship, grammar school place or both.

Exceptional Music Provision

St. Margaret’s is renowned for musical passion and prowess. Our incredible Director of Music is supported by 13 peripatetic musicians teaching piano, cello and French horn, to name but a few. We have pupil choirs, ensembles, bands and music clubs – not to mention an orchestra! 

01787 273050
01787 472134