“Great oaks from little acorns grow.”
14th century proverb

  • Which are our top British boarding schools for hockey? | Dickinson School Consulting
  • Which are our top British boarding schools for hockey? | Dickinson School Consulting

Which are our top British boarding schools for hockey?

As the sport grows in popularity, with both girls and boys, I am often asked for help with placing keen players at one of our top British boarding schools for hockey. Here is a selection of those I’d recommend.

Clifton College has won County Championships many times, has progressed to the National Finals every year for the last 14 years and has had significant representation in international hockey. The most successful was Lily Owsley, who was capped for the full England team while still a pupil at Clifton, then went on to win a gold medal with Team GB at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and gold at the Commonwealth Games.

The 66 boys’ and girls’ teams benefit from excellent facilities, including an Olympic-standard, water-based pitch and two sand-dressed full-sized pitches, as well as current and ex-international players in the coaching team. College also has a strong relationship with Clifton Robinsons Hockey club that plays premiership hockey on its pitch most weekends.

Dean Close School’s boys’ and girls’ hockey teams of varying ages have been National Finalists every year since 2009. Experienced coaches have Astroturf pitches and a well-equipped indoor training facility on which to train the squads. Players have access to the School’s Physiotherapy and Strength & Conditioning teams, who help them to be robust and resilient individuals, and provide a ‘Return to Play’ programme for anyone who needs it.

The School’s Hockey Academy maximises and develops talent through technical skill development, tactical game understanding, physical conditioning, nutrition, rehabilitation and injury prevention, and psychological preparation, including anxiety control. Committed to one-to-one mentoring, students are supported by guest coaches and current professional players coming in on a regular basis to coach on an individual and group basis, as well as providing up-to-date expert guidance.

As with all its sports, hockey at Millfield prides itself on a development philosophy and legacy created by Old Millfieldians, who have represented the school as Olympians. Specialist hockey staff are highly experienced and qualified coaches within the England Hockey Player Pathway and club hockey setting. The school has players at every level of the pathway, whether the Academy Centre hosted at Millfield or the Elite Development Programme, involving current and recent OMs.

Players may access a bespoke programme including technical one-to-one coaching, athletic development sessions with Strength & Conditioning coaches, and performance analysis monitoring. As well as, or instead of, school fixtures, high performing players can be challenged by playing National League at clubs such as Team Bath Buccaneers HC, Clifton Robinsons HC and ISCA HC. They can also participate in club hockey at a senior or junior level for local community club Mid Somerset HC.

Oakham School’s 75 teams have been enjoying success in league and cup games, in both indoor and outdoor fixtures. Players have access to year-round training with highly qualified coaches, playing on facilities including two sand-dressed hybrid surfaces and an indoor sports centre.

Performance pathways are available to students wishing to play top school and club hockey, within the England Hockey Player Pathway, providing access to the school’s own Skills Academy, County and Regional Performance Centres, and Men’s and Women’s National League Clubs, to deliver an exciting, dynamic and progressive programme for hockey players. In addition, the school has links to pro clubs, such as Beeston, Leicester Ladies, Loughborough Students and Peterborough.

Last but by no means least, Repton has established itself as the most successful hockey school in the country, having won 49 national titles since 2005 across every age group for both girls and boys, in both indoor and outdoor hockey.

Every pupil has access to the Olympic-standard, water-based Astroturf pitches and team of specialist coaches, with girls playing hockey multiple times per week during the Michaelmas Term and the boys during Lent term. 

The most gifted players can hone their game throughout the year, playing fixtures against schools, universities and club sides, as part of the performance sports programme, which has produced five Olympians since 2008, and a collection of gold and bronze medals at London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. A significant contributing factor to this success is the level of post-play analysis; pitch-side cameras enable individual and team analysis that sees Repton teams polish and enhance every performance.  

Pupils training with the England U21, U18 and U16 squads have additional support to ensure they balance their schoolwork whilst maximising their sporting ambitions. This support continues as pupils move towards Higher Education, when the coaches and Repton’s HE team use their global outlook to guide pupils towards the right course at the best university, to enable them to continue playing at the highest level.

These are not the only schools offering great hockey, however. Worth an honourable mention would be Bromsgrove School, King’s College Taunton, Shrewsbury School, St Lawrence, Trent and Worksop Colleges.

With so much choice, and so much to consider aside from being our top British boarding schools for hockey, you need a British boarding school consultant for the best advice on boarding schools in England, Scotland and Wales. Time for a chat?.