How did Neil’s day at Giggleswick School go?
When Giggleswick School held an Open day for English boarding school consultants, it was Neil’s turn to represent Dickinson School Consulting. This genuine, 7-days-a-week boarding school is nestled in the village of Giggleswick, situated within the Yorkshire Dales National Park and not far from the Lake District. The school owns 200+ acres of this stunning countryside, with its own crag, perfect for rock-climbing.
Having just ca. 350 students, and with 43% boarding, it is a friendly, intimate school with a real family feel. On the tour of the boarding houses, Neil met one of the matrons, in practice the house ‘mother’; she has 5 children of her own, all grown up, and every one of them went to Giggleswick!
The school is not intensively selective, focussing instead on helping every student to find and pursue what they are good at, whatever their chosen path. Offering A Levels and the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in Sixth Form, this year 83% got A*-B at A Level and around half of leavers go to Russell Group universities.
As with all the British boarding schools we recommend, there are some impressive facilities already, including the well-equipped Glover Art School and theatre, one of the UK’s first purpose-built science buildings, and an observatory for viewing the night sky. Moreover, Neil’s day at Giggleswick School included a talk from the Head, Mr Hart, and the Bursar about “Project 26”, which includes current and future developments.
To date, work is largely completed on bringing some older buildings back to their former glory and maximising their value, work is ongoing to develop underused buildings to optimise teaching and social spaces, while a Sixth Form centre is due for completion in 2024. Future plans include amalgamating some boarding houses to enhance the community and create space for House staff to be resident, as well as expanding the student population. This includes welcoming more international students, raising their percentage from 20% to 25% of the school roll.
Mr Hart has a strong commitment to extracurricular activities, believing they teach life skills that can’t be taught in the classroom, in particular resilience, self-confidence, communication and teamwork. Extracurricular elements of CASE (Creative, Active, Service, Enrichment) have been formalised and integrated into the curriculum, and now include over 80 activities.
Talented athletes can access elite sports programmes with tailored training, specialised coaching, mentoring and performance tracking. Outdoor pursuits are actively encouraged – Mr Keron is a maths teacher and housemaster, but also an adventurer who has represented the UK at kayaking and is now the school’s dedicated outdoor pursuits lead, guiding students in kayaking, climbing, mountain biking and hill running. The 7-days-a-week nature of the school, with an extended school day and Saturday school (comprising morning lessons and afternoon sport) provides plenty of time to take advantage of all these opportunities.
Neil’s day at Giggleswick School was excellent; a great opportunity to discover it for himself, and to feedback to Gina and refresh her knowledge of it. If you would like to know more about this, or any of our other British boarding schools, please do get in touch.