Back to school for Gina
At last, Gina has been able to get back out on the road to catch up with at least a couple of the British boarding schools we work with.
She started not too far from HQ with Ashville College. Situated a short stroll from the centre of Harrogate, a lovely spa town in North Yorkshire, Ashville has an extensive campus with impressive facilities.
For sport there is a state-of-the-art gym, 30m swimming pool, a fitness and dance studio, two indoor sports halls, a climbing wall and, outdoors, six tennis and netball courts, a selection of pitches for rugby and cricket, as well as astro-turf and all-weather pitches suitable for a variety of sports. There is also an excellent creative offering, covering art, design, music and drama. The 600-seat auditorium houses regular productions.
On the academic side, around 60% of school leavers typically go on to Russell Group universities and an increasing number go on to university in the US too. A well-established EFL department offers good support to overseas students.
True to its Methodist ethos, the school has a caring community. Just shy of 15% of the Senior School boards in three boarding houses – two for boys and one for girls. Relatively new in post, Ashville now has its first female Head Rhiannon Wilkinson, who was previously Head of Wycombe Abbey School. Her aim is to continue and even further develop the school’s mantra of helping children to become the best versions of themselves.
Gina’s next trip was to Barnard Castle School, around half an hour from Durham in the North of England, on the edge of the pleasant town of Barnard Castle.
The school caters for around 100 different extra-curricular activities for students to choose from. Enjoying a strong reputation for sport, particularly rugby, facilities include extensive playing fields, tennis courts, a sports hall, indoor heated swimming pool, a floodlit all-weather sports pitch and a newly built fitness suite with a dance studio. There is also good music provision with nine different choirs and ensembles.
The Sixth Form Centre that opened in 2016 was designed to help prepare students for their futures by providing a professional working environment that doubles as a social hub. Facilities include an open-plan main space for individual or group working, lunch and social time, as well as air-conditioned rooms for silent study, larger rooms for lectures, presentations and larger group teaching, and a fully equipped teaching kitchen to practise skills for life. It also houses a dedicated careers / further education support office.
Barney, as it is known, has a full-boarding ethos, which includes Saturday morning school. With a marked increase in boarding numbers over recent years, around 30% of the Senior School now boards in three boarding houses, two for boys and one for girls. Recently refurbished, they have a bright, homely feel to them. In fact, happy, busy and thriving, there is a palpably warm, friendly, family-feel to the whole school.
If you think either of these great UK boarding schools would suit your child or would like to know more about any of the others we recommend, please contact us for free advice.