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Bryanston School
Bryanston School
Bryanston School
Bryanston School
top 200
Bryanston School Blandford Forum, Dorset Visit
school
Bryanston School
Blandford Forum
684 pupils, ages 13-18
Mixed
Day and Boarding

Bryanston School

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Our view

The magnificent setting might be what first catches your eye at this buzzing school that has the air of a university campus, but once you’ve spent a little time here, it’s the relaxed, purposeful pupils who really wow you. Innovative and progressive, Bryanston delivers pastoral care and mentoring that is second to none, so pupils thrive in an environment where boundaries are clear, but in no way quash their sense of individuality and agency. Sky-high ambitions are nurtured, independence is fostered and creativity is given free rein. It’s no wonder it’s oversubscribed, and as its close ties with Bryanston Prep grow ever stronger, the all-through education Bryanston offers is a no-brainer for many families.

Where?

You can’t dispute the magnificence of Bryanston’s first impressions. Meander past the Doric column archways, pootle along the long, long drive – weaving through rugged woodland and past elegant stables – and you’ll finally arrive at the school’s knockout Norman Shaw-designed red-brick mansion, which was modelled on a Loire Valley château. Set just outside the sleepy Dorset village of Blandford Forum, deep in gorgeous West Country countryside, the estate spreads out across 400 acres, with the River Stour running parallel to it – and the school’s all-singing, all-dancing boathouse gracing its banks.

It’s not all historical treasures. The facilities here are extraordinary – including the Terence Conran-masterminded dining hall and The Sanger, the mega-wow-factor science and maths centre named after two-times Nobel Prize-winner and OB Freddie Sanger, and designed by the same architects as the London 2012 Olympics velodrome.

Most pupils are boarders (about 80 per cent), but a flexi-boarding option gives day students the opportunity to stay overnight. In response to parental demand, there are also now a small number of day places (without a bed) available.

Buses run from Dorchester, Bournemouth and Ringwood, with more planned next year. Salisbury, the nearest city, is a 40-minute drive away and from there, trains to London Waterloo take 1.5 hours.

Head

Bryanston’s head Richard Jones took up the role in 2022 after a year as acting head – he initially joined the school in 2020 as second master. With a master’s in educational leadership and experience both as a housemaster and teacher from his time at Canford and St John’s School Leatherhead, he definitely comes well qualified for the top spot. A likeable and liberal man with a steely edge, he is evidently proud of everything Bryanston has to offer – from its unique one-to-one tutoring system, which he calls the school’s ‘jewel in the crown’, to its entrepreneurial spirit, recently demonstrated when pupils pitched for sponsorship for their Green Power go-karting project and raised £10,000.

Entrepreneurship and innovation are one of the four pillars he’s zeroing in on, the other three being creative and performing arts, sports and wellbeing, and the digital world. His strategy is perfectly in step with the way the world is moving. We noticed the integration of real-world thinking and practices everywhere we looked on our visit – from meetings happening in the café over a cup of coffee to the lack of a uniform, which allows pupils to express themselves as they wish.

He has personal as well as professional ties with the prep – his two boys are pupils there and his wife helps out with social media. Prep pupils are often seen in the senior school, whether they’re working on a wind chimes project in D&T or playing one of the 200 pianos in the music centre.

Admissions

Like many things at Bryanston, the approach to admissions is highly bespoke. Children flock here from over 90 prep schools and 39 countries, and as a result, there’s a huge amount of diversity and no real Bryanston ‘type’. Instead, the aim is to encourage Bryanston pupils to be open, ambitious and entrepreneurial, and to take risks and succeed.

It’s a popular place, so be prepared to start enquiries three years before entry; prospective parents are taken on an initial tour with a dozen or so other families, but there are plenty of opportunities to pop back for another look around. For entry at 13+, prospective pupils are invited to a Discovery Day in Year 5, which gives them an opportunity to find out more about the school, hear from current pupils and take part in an activity. In Years 6 and 7, registered pupils are invited to one of Bryanston's Imagine Days, a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the school's facilities and for teachers to gain an insight into each child. CAT4 testing takes places in Years 6, 7 or 8, depending on the year the pupil is in when they are registered. References are then requested from the pupil's current school, and interviews help staff line up best-fit tutors and get a grasp of co-curricular interests. Offers are then made taking into account each of these components. 

There are roughly three applicants per place for Year 9 entry (80 boys and 56 girls max), but entrance is nicely broad; Bryanston prides itself on its superb value-added. About 20 to 30 places open up at sixth form – entrance is via CAT4 testing and achieving at least 40 points at GCSE.

Academics and destinations

Spoon-feeding doesn’t exist at Bryanston, and much of Year 9 is spent teaching pupils the ‘Bryanston Method’, which empowers them to take independent control of their learning and manage their time and assignments effectively. Pupils are carefully matched with a dedicated tutor who sticks with them right through from Years 9 to 13, becoming their life coach and mentor as well as their academic guide. Free periods (of which there are more than average) can be spent in the pupil’s choice of study area – impressively, each subject has its own library with a teacher on hand to help. This, as well as long lead times on assignments, helps to encourage self-motivation while also offering support and mentoring if needed.

Despite the very creative environment and the overriding sense of freedom, there is still a great deal of academic rigour and structure, and expectations are high: pupils are graded weekly on eCharts (which parents can look at via an app). The result: brilliantly robust academics – as long as your child is prepared to push themselves.

Pupils take a minimum of nine GCSEs, with many doing 11, and Greek and Latin are part of the subjects on offer. Sixth-formers choose between A-levels, CTECs and the IB. The latter is becoming ever more popular; 15 per cent now choose it over A-levels. Mr Jones is a passionate advocate for the breadth it offers – languages, of course, but also quirkier subjects such as eSports. Weekly one-to-one meetings with every subject teacher (slackers beware: there’s nowhere to hide) mean pupils can get advice on everything from UCAS applications to pastoral niggles. Results are good, but value-added is even better: Bryanston’s score puts it in the top 15 per cent nationally. But alongside academic results, which are undoubtedly important, the school also places a great deal of emphasis on what each pupil will gain from their time here.

Pupils head on to anywhere from Oxbridge to music conservatoires, catering college, art foundation courses, apprenticeships or even straight into work – a delightfully individual range of destinations of which Mr Jones is very proud. There is no set trodden path for Bryanston pupils, he says – from degree apprenticeships with JP Morgan to studying fashion in Paris, the opportunities are endless.

Co-curricular

Bryanston's director of sport Rory McCann is a huge advocate for sports as a boost for pupils’ wellbeing and sense of belonging – and a team-first mentality across all sports and disciplines. There’s a proper sport-for-all-ethos, with football, rugby, netball, hockey, cricket, rowing, squash and equestrianism et al, as well as the extraordinarily good Performance Sport programme for the top set, plus lots of variety for those who prefer to play for fun (the brand new skate park being a perfect example). The new sports centre is fabulous, featuring a smart indoor bouldering wall, indoor sprint track with state-of-the-art laser timers and a dedicated analysis room with 3D cameras and physiotherapy to ensure everyone is in peak condition.   

The equestrian centre is top notch, and the show-jumping lesson we spotted as we toured the grounds in the school buggy was impressive. From Year 11, pupils are allowed to go off on their own hack – 90 per cent of the 75 pupils who ride own a horse. They compete at international level and use the polo club up the road for both prep and senior teams. They’re also part of the Riding for the Disabled group and offer support for Change Life Through Horses. Rowing is popular too (one of the coaches is a double Olympian) – the boathouse on the river is full of rowing boats and has an upstairs training area. 

Creativity is a core part of Bryanston’s DNA, and art, music and drama are leading strengths. You only need to look at the star-studded alumni to get an idea: Lucian Freud, Emilia Fox, Jasper Conran, Sir Mark Elder, Max Irons – and we’ve hardly scratched the surface. The art and D&T departments are incredible. D&T is compulsory at Year 9, and we saw everything from skateboards to desk tidies being created. It’s a popular GCSE option, with an equal boys-girls split. The art department has a library, a pottery studio, a kiln and 3D printers. Each year group has its own room, so their artwork stays put rather than being carted around.   

There’s a Greek theatre for outdoor plays, masses of student-devised drama (and 15 large-scale productions annually, from The Addams Family to an innovative play by Years 9 to 11 called The Hug) and an incredible standard of dance – everything from ballet to tap to hip-hop. 

Every pupil gets a year’s worth of private singing or instrumental lessons and most choose to carry on way beyond that. There’s a concert hall, recording studio – and an all-pervading atmosphere of encouragement. The school has its own radio station, Bry Radio. Run by pupils, it’s already set an ambition alight for head of school Ollie, who is hoping to go to university in Manhattan and pursue a career as a DJ.  

Then there are the 80+ clubs and societies on offer (members of staff are all expected to run one, and taster sessions in Year 9 get pupils trying something new); compulsory outdoor education (but no CCF); and the brilliant Pioneering programme in which pupils run riding classes for the disabled, work as classroom assistants in local primary schools or create artwork to donate to the local community.

Boarding

Most pupils opt for full boarding (around 80 per cent), and those who sign up for flexi-boarding also get a bed. Weekends are fairly flexible – many live within an hour or so away and head home every other weekend after Saturday lessons and matches, but all are obliged to stay in for regular whole-school weekends, dedicated to community work or school-wide projects. Importantly, day pupils are fully integrated into the boarding houses, so each and every pupil feels fully part of this wonderfully close-knit community.

The house system is slightly different for boys and girls. The former spend their first year in a junior house, acclimatising and settling in before moving up to a senior house, and girls stick with one house throughout their Bryanston career (the school has found that the older girls naturally look after the Year 9s). Some boarding houses are up in the main building, while others are dotted around the estate (no more than a four-minute walk away), and although pupils and parents can express a preference, the final decision comes down to the head.

We had a look inside one of the girls’ boarding houses which was immaculate – gorgeous views with separate work rooms rather than bed/desks creating a healthy separation between work and sleep. Each three- or four-bed dorm has its own ensuite and sixth-formers have their own rooms. There are five girls’ and seven boys’ boarding houses, with about 15 pupils per year group across each house. Day pupils are integrated with boarders, with each allocated a work area. The boarding houses are a popular base during the day, with pupils popping back to work, relax or get a bite to eat.

School community

Pupil development is at the heart of everything at Bryanston. Deputy head of pupil development Dr Preetpal Bachra, who has been here for 22 years, is passionate about one-to-one tuition. Tutors are matched individually and staff visit Year 8s at the prep to get to know them. Special training is given to all the staff to ensure their mentoring skills are exemplary. And there’s no resting on laurels – Mr Jones feels the provision can get even better. Though it’s hard to see how, as already the bonds between tutors and tutees are beyond impressive, often surviving beyond school.

Families are spread far and wide – children come from 90 different prep schools – though the local crowd is increasing since the merger with Bryanston Prep. About 14 per cent are from overseas, with the US, Germany and Thailand being just some of the countries represented by international pupils.

And finally...

Quirky works here because there’s no pressure to fit into a mould. The Bryanston Method not only serves to get pupils through their exams, but sets them up for a lifetime of making things happen for themselves – invaluable in today's fast-paced world. Busy, buzzy and a place where all talents are celebrated, Bryanston is a school for young minds who are curious, self-reliant and purposeful – where children learn to love their minds.

Gallery See All

  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    IB results
    Download results as PDF
  • Subjects offered

    GCSE

    Ancient Greek
    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    Economics
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    German
    Government and Politics
    History
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Religious Studies
    Spanish
    Art History
    Classics

    A Level

    Ancient Greek
    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    Economics
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    German
    Government and Politics
    History
    History of Art
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Religious Studies
    Spanish
    Classical Greek
    Music Technology

    IB

    Higher
    Ancient Greek
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Design and Technology
    Economics
    English Literature
    Film
    French
    Geography
    German
    History
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Philosophy
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Psychology
    Spanish
    Visual Arts
    Standard
    Ancient Greek
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Design and Technology
    Economics
    English Literature
    Environmental Systems and Societies
    Film
    French
    Geography
    German
    History
    History of Art
    Italian
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Philosophy
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Psychology
    Spanish
    Visual Arts
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8 -
    Year 9 £10,350
    Year 10£10,350
    Year 11£10,350
    Year 12£10,350
    Year 13£10,350
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8 -
    Year 9 £15,534
    Year 10 £15,534
    Year 11£15,534
    Year 12£15,534
    Year 13£15,534




    Bursaries
    Bryanston’s total annual bursary point is between eight to 10 per cent of its fee income. The school takes several factors into consideration when assessing means and uses a professional agency to undertake an initial assessment and make a recommendation to the school. It is also supporting young Ukrainian refugees by offering funded places. It relies on charitable support to fund these bursaries for deserving pupils, and is committed to providing an exciting and enriching future for both current and future pupils. Awards may also be made to relieve hardship where a pupil’s education and prospects are potentially at risk.

    Bursary contact:
    Bursar
    bursaries@bryanston.co.uk
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School bus service to/from London

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Salisbury
    Journey time to London by train: 90 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Southampton (44 miles)


School Updates

  • Summit delivers motivational rallying call for girls and young sportswomen in the South and West

    Dorset school hosts unique Powerhouse Project event for hundreds of pupils from schools all over the region.
    Summit delivers motivational rallying call for girls and young sportswomen in the South and West
  • Bryanston – pupils congratulated on A level results

    It was congratulations for Bryanston’s departing A2 year group today (17 August) as they received their A level results - with six out of ten grades awarded the top marks of A*, A or B and 80% securing their first choice of university place, despite the impact of Covid-19.
    Bryanston – pupils congratulated on A level results
  • 10 Questions with Richard Jones, head of Bryanston School

    10 Questions with Richard Jones, head of Bryanston School
  • New insight and inspired thinking for parents and teachers

    Dorset school hosts Coronation poet and impressive speaker line-up at events to promote creativity and wellbeing in children.
    New insight and inspired thinking for parents and teachers
  • High profile sports appointments at Bryanston

    Williams, de Glanville and Sangakkara are latest names to help talented young athletes fulfil their dreams.
    High profile sports appointments at Bryanston
  • “Let’s consign damaging stereotypes to history” - Teenage Equality Champions inspire younger pupils at neighbouring primary schools -

    Sixth formers from Bryanston and The Blandford School have just led a series of special workshops for over 75 young pupils from nine neighbouring prep and primary schools as part of the 2023 Nurturing Equality Festival held at Bryanston.
    “Let’s consign damaging stereotypes to history” - Teenage Equality Champions inspire younger pupils at neighbouring primary schools -
  • Unlocking the Mysteries of the Teenage Mind

    Special Event for Parents of Teens to be hosted by Bryanston School
    Unlocking the Mysteries of the Teenage Mind
  • Former pupil of Dorset school inspires Nepalese children

    An inspirational project to encourage young children in remote areas of Nepal to enjoy sport and running exercises has culminated with a showcase athletics event in a regional stadium involving 250 pupils from seven schools in remote areas of the country.
    Former pupil of Dorset school inspires Nepalese children
  • Special event instils confidence and inspires teenage girls

    Pupils and staff from senior schools in Dorset and Hampshire attend the ‘Sport in Her Shoes’ Conference hosted by Bryanston
    Special event instils confidence and inspires teenage girls
  • Bryanston brings fresh water into the heart of remote Indian community

    Bryanston brings fresh water into the heart of remote Indian community
  • See Bryanston in our All-through Schools Guide

    See Bryanston in our All-through Schools Guide
  • Pupils from Dorset and Wiltshire end the school year by shining a green spotlight on the environment

    Pupils from Dorset and Wiltshire end the school year by shining  a green spotlight on the environment
  • See Bryanston School in our IB Guide

    See Bryanston School in our IB Guide
  • See Bryanston in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide

    See Bryanston in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide
  • Schools unite to address the root causes of gender inequality

    Sixth form ambassadors lead workshops for pupils of local primary schools
    Schools unite to address the root causes of gender inequality
  • Words, actions and scope to inspire a new age in learning - Education Summit puts pupils at the heart of a changing world

    Words, actions and scope to inspire a new age in learning - Education Summit puts pupils at the heart of a changing world
  • WATCH: Talk Education's IB focus - Bryanston

    WATCH: Talk Education's IB focus - Bryanston
  • WATCH: Bryanston from the sky

    WATCH:  Bryanston from the sky
  • WATCH: Bryanston - The Tutorial System

    WATCH:  Bryanston - The Tutorial System

Bryanston School is
linked with:

Essentials

Address
Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 0PX

Contact
admissions@bryanston.co.uk
01258 452411

Website
bryanston.co.uk

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates

Bursaries


Open Days

Open days and how to visit View Open Days Register for open Day



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