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#Getting Better 11 - Epsom College and The Mermaid Centre
5th December 2017

Epsom announces largest ever fundraising campaign for The Mermaid, an ambitious £8.4 m centre set to transform prospects for students.

It is with great excitement that Epsom College announces its ambitious plans for a new £8.4 million centre to transform the educational experience of its pupils, with particular focus on the Sixth Form.

 

The plans come in response to a period of significant growth for the College, which has seen a 28% increase in pupil numbers since 2004. Today, Epsom teaches 890 bright, talented and enthusiastic girls and boys, and its academic star is in the ascendancy – with record exam results, a leap in all league tables, and continued strong performance inside and outside the classroom.

Rather than rest on its laurels, the College is taking ambitious steps to secure its position among the UK’s elite independent schools.

“Among this positive growth and strong sense of community, the College lacks one essential space: a co-educational space for pupils to come together, particularly in the Sixth Form,” says Jay Piggot, Headmaster at Epsom College.

“Pupils learn as much outside the classroom as inside it, and as much from each other as from adults. Truly great schools need to provide safe and imaginative spaces for this to happen.”

Our vision:

Epsom’s vision is to provide much-needed space for academic and cultural enrichment, with seminar rooms, discussion pods and a large study area. The space also features a screening room and a lecture theatre that can accommodate up to 190 students.

Located at the heart of the campus, and spread over 2,000sqm, the new building will equip students with the skills to succeed in the 21st Century. The new facility, and the additional support it provides, will foster a seamless transition into undergraduate life. Central to this aim is a state-of-the-art careers centre, supported by interview practice rooms.

The Mermaid will also provide students with a much-needed co-educational space for social interaction, relaxation and culture. It will house Epsom’s programme of arts, culture, debates and performances. The café will double as a gallery space, celebrating students’ art and photography.

What’s in a name?

The building’s name – The Mermaid – is inspired by an audacious and enterprising group of pupils from Epsom’s past.

In 1922, the reading of plays had been prohibited by the College as it was seen as a distraction from the rigour of academic pursuit. Undeterred and undaunted, a group of bright young things formed The Mermaid Society to indulge their passion for the life of the mind and their love of literature and the arts.

This society was named after The Mermaid Tavern in Cheapside, where notable literary figures Ben Jonson, John Donne, William Shakespeare, John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont are reported to have met on the first Friday of each month to discuss the ways of the world, away from the cares of the world.

A society formed independently by pupils to quench their thirst for knowledge; these individuals displayed bravery and initiative to break convention in pursuit of academic and cultural enrichment outside the classroom. These qualities, held by the original Mermaid Society, will find expression in the transformative power of our exciting new building.

Fundraising:

To bring this ambitious project to life requires the biggest fundraising campaign undertaken since the College was founded in 1855. The Education Trust has raised in the region of £2.5 million in generous pledges from OEs (Old Epsomians), parents and friends of the school as part of the campaign’s ‘quiet phase,’ largely through the naming of some of the Centre’s various rooms and facilities. The College will contribute a further £2.4million, and a fundraising campaign will raise the remaining sum via a series of fun events, celebrations and challenges to engage the whole Epsom community.

Headmaster, Jay Piggot, said: “This imaginative new building will play a key role in enabling us to become the pre-eminent co-educational day and boarding school in London and the South East.

“It will complement the school’s other buildings, enhance the collegiate environment, underpin the school’s philosophy, strengthen our community and foster individuals who will go on to make a difference in society.

 “I’m excited by the development and positive trajectory of this College over the last few years. For the first time in my tenure, we are being mentioned in the same breath as top independent schools. We now wish to reinforce this success and growth by fashioning a school fit to meet the challenges of future generations.”

Details of the campaign launch event will be announced in the coming weeks.  To find out more about the plans for The Mermaid, or to help support the campaign, please contact Education Trust Director, Karen Doyle, at: karen.doyle@epsomcollege.org.uk or on 01372 821290.