Gina’s school trips
Each year Gina visits several of the schools we recommend; some are completely new to her, others she has known for years but hasn’t seen for a while. This spring and summer she stayed reasonably local, visiting three Yorkshire boarding schools, before returning to her old stamping ground in Oxford to bring herself up to date with developments at two schools in that famous university city.
First it was a return visit to nearby Woodhouse Grove School. Founded in 1812, this traditional English boarding school inhabits a beautiful 70-acre campus, very conveniently located for rail and airport links. The small boarding community of around 100 pupils is caring and welcoming, accommodated in houses that are well equipped and modern with a real “home from home” feel to them. There is a fantastic range of weeknight and weekend activities available to all boarders, while international students are mentored by English pupils to help them integrate and encourage wider use of the English language. Sport is a huge strength of the school, with students enjoying fantastic facilities.
Gina then revisited Fulneck School, a small, caring boarding school with a family-feel, nestled in beautiful West Yorkshire countryside, yet convenient for Leeds / Bradford or Manchester airport. Two boarding houses for students aged 9-18 house up to 80 boarders and the girls’ house even has a Harry Potter-themed common room! There are some lovely facilities including a modern Sixth Form Centre and the school’s own 9-hole golf course. Due to very small class sizes and learning support for dyslexia as a CReSTeD accredited school, an excellent level of care is available to each individual student. Alongside a good selection of A Levels, the school also offers five BTEC qualifications in Sixth Form.
It was a first visit to Pocklington School near York. Around 100 of its 500 senior school pupils are full-boarders and ca. 10% are international students. Situated in 60 acres of grounds, the school has a warm, friendly feel and some outstanding facilities, including a recently completed Art and Design Technology centre and an impressive theatre for school productions. A wide range of languages is offered, including French, German, Spanish and Latin. It was from the boys’ boarding house that alumnus William Wilberforce drafted his first letter to Government, requesting that they abolish slavery. He wouldn’t recognise the boarding facilities today – the boys’ house is one of the best Gina has ever seen, with single, en suite rooms for all Sixth Formers!
Then, in leafy North Oxford, Gina revisited D’Overbroeck’s and St Edward’s School to catch up with their latest developments. Each just a 5-minute bus ride into the city centre, the former’s new Sixth Form facilities are incredibly impressive, with state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, as well as a super art block and dining hall. A beautiful boarding house just across the road accommodates ca. 50% of the students in en suite rooms, while many in Year 13 choose to stay with a local host family. The relaxed, informal atmosphere belies serious academic intent; 35 different A Level subjects are offered, results are very good year on year and there’s an equally impressive list of university destinations. The nearby International School offers GCSE courses over one or two years to international students, many of whom go on to the Sixth Form or other UK boarding schools. Students here also have the choice of accommodation in a boarding house or with host families.
At St Edward’s an outstanding new music faculty was opened two years ago to complement the impressive art department and professional theatre, which houses regular drama and dance productions. Due for completion next year is a state-of-the-art library, student café and auditorium to seat the whole school. Around 85% of students board and all attend Saturday morning school. In Sixth Form both A Levels and the IB are offered, with around 60% now taking the IB. Completing the picture, this English boarding school’s sport offering is also extremely well rounded with excellent rugby, hockey, rowing, cricket, netball, athletics, cross-country and tennis.
Earlier this academic year Gina also popped into a couple of Harrogate schools to meet students she had advised. In October she met a German girl at Harrogate Ladies’ College, who could hardly believe she had already nearly completed her first half term. At the co-educational boarding school Ashville College, she caught up with Justus, who was enjoying boarding life and his lessons. He had made a wide circle of new friends, with whom to also enjoy the sport, activities and weekend outings for boarders.
This regular contact with our British boarding schools is what keeps Gina’s knowledge and opinions refreshed, so you can always trust her to find the right school for your child. Contact us to find out more.