What it’s like
Founded in 1823 (the Brontë sisters attended the school in 1824), it was
established at Casterton in 1833. It stands in its own grounds of 50 acres on
the outskirts of the village; the surroundings are very beautiful. There are
handsome solid buildings, excellent modern facilities and comfortable boarding
accommodation. Recent developments include a creative arts centre and an
all-weather pitch. A sound traditional education is provided and examination
results are very good. The staff:pupil ratio is about 1:6. Its religious life is
based on Anglican practice and the village parish church is used regularly for
worship. A happy, friendly place with a family atmosphere, it is strong in music
and drama and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Plentiful use is made of the
superb Cumbrian countryside for outdoor pursuits, including riding (on the
school’s own horses), walking, sailing.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Total age range 3–18; 340 pupils, 132 day (20 boys, 112
girls), 208 boarding girls. Senior department 11–18, 260 girls.
Entrance: Main entry ages 11, 13 and 16. Own entrance exam or Common
Entrance used. School is Anglican though all denominations are accepted. State
school entry 50% intake at 11.
Scholarships & bursaries Some available, dependent on ability and
Parents 10+% live within 30 miles; 10+% live overseas.
Head & staff
Headmaster: A F Thomas, in post from 1990. Educated at William Hulme’s
Grammar School and Cambridge University (mathematics). Previously Housemaster
and Head of Mathematics at Sedbergh. Also Assistant Chief Examiner in GCSE
Mathematics. Publications: Co-author of SMP Additional Mathematics. England
lacrosse international (tour of USA/Canada and World Cup 1967).
Teaching staff: 43 full time, 13 part time. Annual turnover 3%. Average
GCSE: In 2003, 40 pupils in Year 11: 97% gained at least grade C in 8+
subjects. Average GCSE score 57 (58 over 5 years).
A-levels: 46 in Year 13. Average final point score achieved by upper
sixth formers 405.
University & college entrance 97% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on
to a degree course (30% after a gap year), 7% to Oxbridge. 11% took courses in
medicine, dentistry & veterinary science, 18% in science & engineering, 12% in
law, 52% in humanities & social sciences, 7% in art & design.
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 22 AS/A-level subjects.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level,
most take a broad range; in addition, general studies AS and A-level. 35% take
science A-levels; 65% arts/humanities. Key skills taught as optional and
discrete units and integrated into sixth-form courses.
Vocational: Work experience available; also RSA courses in keyboarding.
Special provision: Mild dyslexia, hearing loss catered for.
Languages: French, German and Spanish offered to GCSE and A-level. Latin
to GCSE. Regular visits and exchanges to Europe.
ICT: Taught across the curriculum. 85 computers for pupil use, networked
across campus, with email and (monitored) internet access.
Music: Over 70% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental and
vocal exams can be taken. Some 14 musical groups including orchestras, wind
band, chamber groups, choirs. Regular finalists in National Festival of Music
for Youth, county youth orchestra players.
Drama & dance: GCSE and A-level drama available, also AB exams may be
taken. 4 plays/musicals, house plays etc involve most pupils. Recent main
productions Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Grease, House of Bernarda Alba.
Art & design: On average, 15 take GCSE, 5 A-level. History of art
(A-level), ceramics, textiles also offered.
Sport & activities
Sport: Hockey, lacrosse, netball, rounders, swimming, athletics
compulsory. Optional: tennis, riding, sailing. 2 national, 2 regional lacrosse
player; 3–4 county hockey, athletics, netball and lacrosse players.
Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s
Award. Other activities include public speaking, debating, Young Enterprise,
sailing, sub aqua, parachuting.
Uniform: School uniform worn throughout (casual clothes after school).
Houses & prefects: Competitive houses. Prefects, head girls, house
captains and house prefects – appointed by the Headmaster.
Religion: Anglican, but girls of other denominations are accepted;
provision for RC pupils locally.
Social: Some social events with other schools. Cultural trips to Europe;
skiing trips. Some meals self-service, some formal. School shop (books and
sundries). No tobacco or alcohol allowed.
Discipline Honesty, self discipline and consideration for others
expected. Disciplinary offences are dealt with sympathetically but firmly.
Serious misdemeanours are rare; involvement with drugs would lead to expulsion.
Boarding 18% have own study bedroom, 44% share (1–4). Houses of 20–35
(separate houses for under-12s and for sixth-form). Resident SRN. Central dining
room. Sixth form can cook own food and visit local inn at weekends. 2 weekend
exeats each term (3 for sixth form). Visits to the local towns allowed at
Alumni association is run by Miss J Laycock, c/o the school.