What it’s like
Founded in 1868, it lies in a very attractive village 3 miles from Bath,
overlooking the Avon valley. The buildings are in Cotswold stone and there have
been many modern and well-equipped extensions, including a new sports hall,
indoor swimming centre and state-of-the-art drama studio. Extensive playing
fields adjoin the school. There is active Christian teaching, including both
chapel and a range of informal activities. Academic standards are high and
examination results are good. There is a staff:pupil ratio of about 1:8. It is
strong in music, drama, art and computing. A good record in sports and games
with a large number of representatives at county level and some recent junior
internationals. The CCF contingent is large and active. There are numerous clubs
and societies and a community service group.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 11–18; 350 pupils, 137 day (92 boys, 45 girls),
213 boarding (137 boys, 76 girls).
Entrance: Main entry ages 11, 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own entrance
exam used. No religious requirements but must be willing to attend chapel. Small
state school entry in main intake plus 40% to sixth form. 25+% come from own
junior school (enquiries to the Headmaster, Monkton Combe Junior School, Combe
Down, Bath BA2 7ET, tel 01225 837912).
Scholarships, bursaries & extras 12 pa scholarships, 10%–50% fees
(can be increased by bursaries in cases of need). 6–8 pa bursaries for children
of clergy and missionaries, up to one-third fees. Maximum extras £150.
Parents 20+% live within 30 miles; 20+% live overseas.
Head & staff
Headmaster: Michael Cuthbertson, in post from 1990. Educated at Merchant
Taylors’ School and Cambridge University (history, education). Previously
Director of Sixth Form Studies and Head of History at Radley and Head of History
at Bradfield. Also Prep School Governor; former lay member of Bath and Wells
Diocesan Board of Education; member Admiralty Interview Board; ISI inspector.
Teaching staff: 36 full time, 14 part time. Annual turnover 10%. Average
GCSE: In 2003, 63 pupils in fifth: 95% gained at least grade C in 8+
subjects. Average GCSE score 53 (51 over 5 years).
A-levels: 67 in upper sixth: Average final point score achieved by upper
sixth formers 342.
University & college entrance 92% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on
to a degree course. 52% took courses in science & engineering, 48% in humanities
& social sciences. Others typically go on to non-degree courses or straight into
careers eg banking.
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 21–22 AS/A-level subjects
(including sports and theatre studies).
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level;
general studies taught but not examined.
Vocational: Work experience available.
Special provision: Language support centre with specialist ESL and
learning support teachers.
Languages: French, German and Spanish offered to GCSE, AS and A-level.
Regular exchanges to France, Germany and Spain. Occasional European pupils in
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (1 lesson a week in Years 7–9) and
across the curriculum. 40+ computers for pupil use (13 hours a day), all
networked and with email and internet access; plus many in departments.
Music: 40% of pupils learn a musical instrument or singing; instrumental
exams can be taken. Musical groups include choir, choral society, big band,
orchestra, several ensembles. Big band gives many concerts outside school and
recently toured France and Boston, USA.
Drama: Drama offered. GCSE, A-level theatre studies and Guildhall exams
may be taken. Many pupils are involved in school and house plays and musicals.
Art & design: On average, 25 take GCSE, 15 A-level. Design and
Sport & activities
Sport: Rugby, hockey, cricket, tennis, netball, rowing are major sports.
Minor sports: volleyball, aerobics, swimming, squash, judo, fencing, athletics,
cross-country, basketball. A-level sports studies offered. District and county
representation at hockey, rugby, cricket. Recent junior internationals in rugby,
hockey and rowing.
Activities: All encouraged to join CCF at age 14. Community service
optional. Annual visit to Julian House in Bath to help with homeless. Over 30
clubs, eg chess, Christian Union, climbing, judo, bridge, dance, basketball.
Uniform: School uniform worn, modified in the sixth form.
Houses & prefects: Competitive houses. Prefects, senior prefect, heads of
house and house prefects, appointed by the Head Master or houseparent after
consultation with staff and pupils.
Religion: Attendance at chapel is compulsory and Christian activities are
encouraged. Active voluntary Christian Union.
Social: Sponsored Activity Day in support of a local or national charity.
Pupils allowed to bring own bike to school. Meals self-service. School shop. No
tobacco allowed; limited quantity of alcohol allowed in sixth form centre on
Discipline Report card system or detention for pupils failing to
produce work. Estate work and/or fines for most other offences. Forfeiture of
right to remain for any offence involving drugs or serious sexual misconduct.
Boarding 15% have own study bedroom, 20% share with one; 40% in
dormitories of 6+. Single-sex houses of 40–50, same as competitive houses
(separate house for 11–13 year olds). 6 qualified nurses. Central dining room.
Pupils can provide and cook own food. Flexible weekend exeats each term, and
half-term. Visits to local town allowed once a week.
Alumni association is run by John Gedge, 17 Partis Way, Bath BA1 3QG.
Former pupils Bernard Cornwell; Richard Stilgoe; Martin Adeney; a
number of bishops including
Rt Rev I P M Cundy (Bishop of Peterborough) and Rt Rev S W Sykes (former Bishop
of Ely); Sir Timothy Lankester; Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Stear.