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  • How does Gina keep her British boarding school knowledge fresh? | Dickinson School Consulting

How does Gina keep her British boarding school knowledge fresh?

One of the best ways to stay updated on everything our British boarding schools have to offer is to go and visit, and recently I have been out and about doing just that, starting with Westonbirt.

Set in glorious grounds near Tetbury in the Cotswolds, the stunning main building speaks for itself and is complemented by modern additions. Some beautiful new Maths classrooms have been created in old greenhouses off the Italian Garden and are flooded with natural light. There is also an impressive sports centre with indoor swimming pool, and a 9-hole golf course on site. The school is co-educational, with almost equal numbers of boys and girls in most year groups, and a lovely new co-ed boarding house for Year 13 pupils on the edge of Tetbury. While there are exeat weekends, boarders may stay in school for these if they prefer. There is a strong Arts offering, as well as the ever popular Leith’s Cookery Course and, more recently, CCF. I was impressed by the very positive, happy and welcoming vibe throughout the school.

Second stop on my British Boarding School Tour – Bristol 

Next on my tour of boarding schools in England’s southwest was Sidcot. Situated on a campus enjoying a gorgeous countryside setting South of Bristol, this co-ed school’s Quaker ethos creates true understanding of the merits of mutual respect and it is suffused with an upbeat, positive and dynamic feel. 16+ students can opt for the IB or A Levels and they have an impressive new Sixth Form Centre in which to study. Leading off the school’s beautiful library, the Centre has state-of-the-art classrooms and study rooms. The modern Arts Centre is for everyone to enjoy, with Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music, Photography and Film all well supported. The comfortable boarding houses have either been renovated recently or are currently being renovated, and have lovely light and airy common rooms. They have a very international feel to them, with around 50 different nationalities represented. At the centre of the school there is a modern student hub / common room with a café and a pasta café for the Sixth Form.

Next stop Somerset Boarding Schools

On the edge of the small town of Wellington, about 15 minutes from Taunton in Somerset, Wellington School is thriving – student numbers have never been higher! I was struck by the warm, friendly, inclusive and caring feel to the school; students are supported and encouraged to reach their own individual potential, but with huge emphasis on happiness and being involved. There are some impressive sports facilities, including a huge sports hall with indoor and outdoor climbing walls, astroturf (great for hockey), fencing salles, swimming pool and a well-equipped gym. It is also strong in Music and Performing Arts. The recently refurbished dining hall has a lovely modern feel to it and is complemented by a brand new, very smart on-site café. There are no compulsory exeat weekends for overseas boarders, and they can stay at school for the half-term holidays if they wish too.

Taunton School is made up of four schools: Taunton Prep School, Taunton Senior School, Taunton School International (TSI) and Taunton International Middle School. Sixth Form students can study for A Levels, IB, BTECs or a University Foundation Programme, so there is something for everyone! This reflects the innovative, individual and forward-thinking ethos of the school. Students are happy, confident, and enthusiastic about their school. I enjoyed discovering the impressive new facilities at the Senior School, including a new library, dining hall and Sixth Form Centre; all are bright, light, open-plan spaces – just beautiful. As is the new green space created at the heart of the school, great for wellbeing. There is great provision for Science and Design Technology within their respective departments, as well as a well-equipped theatre and fantastic sports facilities. Tennis is offered all year-round and girls’ football is now available too. Having a maximum of 10 children per class, TSI offers truly bespoke lessons with an impressive level of individual attention and support. Students make great progress and are offered excellent EFL support alongside lessons. There are some exciting plans for TSI to relocate to the Senior School site in 2026 with state-of-the-art new facilities.

Also within Somerset’s county town of Taunton, King’s College has strong boarding numbers, with about 70% of the school population living on-site in centrally located houses. Having so many pupils, plenty of whom are British, and staff there all the time, the sense of community is particularly strong. The award-winning Design Technology department has the latest equipment, including a CNC plasma cutter, and the new Silvermead studio provides a focal point for the specialist areas of the Art School. Music is strong, with multiple choirs, orchestras and ensembles, and performance venues including recital rooms and the beautiful 400-seat Chapel. Drama is based in the fully equipped 280-seat theatre that also has a ‘Black Box’ Drama studio and Dance floor. For sport, there are indoor facilities for tennis, netball and cricket, as well as an excellent equestrian centre just one mile off site. Other new additions include the striking Sixth Form Centre, and a light and bright library.

And finally, a British Boarding School in the Midlands

Next stop the Midlands to visit Worksop College. Set within a 330-acre estate bordering Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, the stunning grounds even have an 18-hole golf course. Students are obviously very happy and proud of their school, giving it a warm, welcoming, family-feel. Boarders make up around 30% of the Senior School population, living in houses that are well maintained and homely. Sports facilities include two floodlit astroturfs, a climbing wall, a recently refurbished gym, 25m indoor swimming pool and a golf analysis room. This is another school where girls’ football is taking off too. Art, Music and Drama are also strong, with a 350-seat theatre in which to perform. New developments here include the computer centre, the food and nutrition department, and a funky Sixth Form Centre with study room, common room and café. Being non-selective, focussing on progress and recognising the individual aptitudes of each child, some BTECs are offered alongside A Levels.

To benefit from my British boarding school knowledge and start the conversation about which school might suit your child, please do get in touch.