Epsom College: All we know about elite £42,000 a year school where headteacher and family found dead
Staff and pupils at an elite private school are grieving after their headteacher was found dead with her husband and seven-year-old daughter.
Epsom College head Emma Pattison, 45, husband George, 39, and daughter Lettie were found on school grounds in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Surrey Police says it is treating the family’s deaths as an “isolated incident”, indicating there was no third-party involvement.
Ms Pattison was just six months into her post as the school’s first female head. Described as a “wonderful teacher” and a “delightful person”, she presided over the education of almost 1,000 pupils.
“It is with the deepest sadness and regret that we have to announce the news of the deaths of Emma Pattison, Head of Epsom College, her daughter Lettie, and her husband George,” the school said a statement on Sunday. “Our thoughts, condolences and sympathies are with their families at this tragic time.”
Dr Alastair Wells, chair of the board of governors at Epsom College expressed the school’s “utter shock and disbelief” at the deaths.
“Our immediate thoughts and condolences are with Emma’s family, friends and loved ones, and to the many pupils and colleagues whose lives she enriched throughout her distinguished career,” he added.
According to its website, £45,000 a-year Epsom College is the current Independent School of the Year.
It is a co-educational independent school on Epsom Downs, Surrey for pupils aged 11 to 18 – offering both day and boarding places.
Founded in 1853, it first opened as a boys’ school intended to provide support for poor members of the medical profession, such as pensioners and orphans.
Notable alumni include comedian Tim Vine and BBC broadcasters Nicholas Witchell and Jeremy Vine.
The college takes day pupils throughout, with some boarding in 5 of the 13 houses in the senior part of the school.
Much of its intake arrives in Year 9, selected via a rigorous process including exams and an interview, in order to “take into consideration their personalities, talent”.
Each year, it offers around 20 further places in its sixth form, with its website saying it seeks out “young men and women who are well-rounded and academically able.”
The Daily Telegraph has reported on the school’s long history of rifle shooting – with the school grounds boasting an eight-lane indoor shooting range where guests can test out the facilities for £15.
The range, which has a “well-stocked armoury of rifles”, allows pupils to practice shooting the year round.
Students are taught small-bore and full-bore target rifle shooting – the former referring to .22 calibre firearms, which are shot indoors, the newspaper reports. Full-bore is for larger calibre firearms, shot outdoors at long range.
It has been reported that gunshots were heard before Ms Pattison was found dead alongside her husband and seven-year-old daughter. This prompted a staff member to alert the emergency services who found the family’s bodies, the Telegraph added.
The school’s rifle range was also among buildings cordoned off, butThe Independent understands that this was due to its proximity to the Pattison’s home and is not part of the investigation.