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Clifton College
Clifton College
Clifton College
top 200
Clifton College Clifton, Bristol Visit
school
Clifton College
Clifton
763 pupils, ages 13-18
Mixed
Day and Boarding

Clifton College

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Our view

A flourishing pre-prep, prep and upper school that offers a seamless education all the way through from age two to 18 – and has very respectable results from its broad pupil intake.

Where?

With its marvellous historic buildings, including a Grade II-listed chapel and the Hogwartsesque Percival Library, plus spot-on location in Clifton Village, Bristol’s coolest neighbourhood, Clifton College has a lot going for it. All the main buildings are set around The Quad which opens up on to The Close where the top sporting fixtures are played.

Head

Since stepping up to become head of college in 2016 (he was previously director of studies), Dr Tim Greene has introduced a new peer-mentoring system, overseen the opening of a swish language centre and ensured that the school continues to thrive in all areas. Earnest and charming, he tells us that what makes Clifton special is that ‘each pupil finds their own path, aiming high while staying grounded’.

Admissions

The process is very straightforward: a visit to Clifton and a copy of a recent school report are needed before parents fill out the registration form. This is followed by an interview with the prospective pupil and age-appropriate entry tests. There are scholarships for academic, art, drama, music and sport at 13+ for entry into Year 9 and at 16+ for entry into Year 12. There’s also a separate 16+ Organ Scholarship, the Polack’s Scholarship for Jewish pupils (at 13+ and 16+) as well as a means-tested bursary programme. Around 10 per cent of boarders come from military families, and there’s a 20 per cent discount on the fees for those from a forces background.

Academics and destinations

The aforementioned immensely inspiring Percival Library sits at the heart of the school and during our visit, the children were engrossed in books and quiet discussion (we hear great things about the fun, young librarians in charge). Scientists will be in utopia here, too: Clifton is well known for turning out Nobel Prize-winning scientists and we must give a mention to the state-of-the-art science school and the Stone Library, which has around 5,000 scientific books.

There’s a dizzying array of subjects on offer; at A-level, students can pick from more unconventional choices including sculpture, computing, photography and philosophy, plus a clutch of BTECs in sport, digital music production, business and IT. The majority of Year 11s carry straight on through to study A-levels where intellectual risk-taking and gaining confidence in asking questions is encouraged. Places in the sixth form are in high demand thanks to the school’s reputation for academic rigour and its success in scooping up coveted spots at the UK’s best universities (80 per cent of leavers get their first choice at university).

Co-curricular

From five-star theatre productions (there is a close link with the Bristol Old Vic) to music (swing bands to samba drumming) and the sports field, there’s plenty going on to suit all interests. And it seems to us that Cliftonians love music as much as they do sport: there’s a great enthusiasm for singing throughout the school (we heard one pupil recording a rap in a very smart recording studio) and open mic and jazz evenings at the crypt café under the chapel.

The girls’ hockey teams are a force to be reckoned with, while cricket and rugby are the big hitters for boys (the 1st XV are coached by former England rugby player Danny Grewcock and are rarely defeated); the current captains of the Bristol U17 and U18 junior academy teams are Clifton 1st XV players. Adam Dixon, England hockey captain for Team GB in the Tokyo Olympics, is the director of hockey and is also having a significant impact across the school. Rackets is huge too: Clifton was one of the first schools to play the sport, and several competitive teams regularly compete against rival schools, with Old Cliftonians returning for matches.

The Close and its surrounding pitches host the top fixtures for rugby and cricket, while other sports take place off site at Beggar’s Bush, home to a further 90 acres of indoor and outdoor facilities. There’s rowing on the River Avon and for non-team-sporty types, activities such as spinning classes and aerobics. A weekly outdoor pursuits programme teaches survival skills, bouldering and climbing, and there’s a chance to take part in the army-organised Ten Tors Challenge.

Boarding

Boarding here is nicely flexible: while most opt-in full-time, there’s also day boarding (where pupils can stay over for up to four nights a week), and occasional boarding, available on a per-night basis. Full boarders are free to go home after commitments on a Saturday.

There are seven boarding houses (four boys, three girls) and no separate sixth-form house which children tell us works really well and fosters a real sense of community and belonging the whole way through the school. We visited the beautifully traditional Oakeley’s House for girls, which has a wood-panelled hall (everyone gathers for assembly to share any concerns), a modern kitchen on each floor and a wonderfully happy atmosphere.

Approachable housemistress Vanessa Walsh is a big hit with the girls and makes life really fun and sociable: think Friday night sushi house suppers, pudding and pamper nights (face masks while tucking into sticky toffee pudding), black tie dinners and hot chocolate evenings to discuss books. Around half the girls stay in house at weekends and Sunday afternoon tea is a ritual. Oakeley’s also has a lovely garden with a barbecue, outdoor table tennis and fire pit for roasting marshmallows. Everyone gets involved in house competitions, from singing and darts to water polo and drama.

School community

The all-through shared experience begins in prep school and there are occasions – such as the annual Christmas candlelit advent service in the magnificent chapel – when the whole school comes together. The college has a Jewish Life programme and the Polack Centre, a synagogue for the Jewish community.

Lunch takes place in the bright and modern Big School Kitchen dining hall where the doorman is an ex-Royal Marine – the head’s eyes and ears – who is hugely respected by the pupils.

Mental health is high on the pastoral agenda, and houseparents are the first port of call for any pastoral niggles (there’s a trained Mental Health First Aider on staff in every house). A team of sixth-formers also act as voluntary mental health peer supporters.

Most families come from no more than an hour away, and there’s a small but thriving community of international students.

And finally....

‘Good pastoral, strong sport, excellent drama, brilliant facilities,’ sums up one happy parent succinctly. We couldn’t agree more.

Gallery See All

  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • University destinations

    3% of leavers went on to Oxford or Cambridge university.
    78% of leavers went on to a Russell Group university.
    85% of leavers went on to their first choice university.
  • 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
    History
    Information Technology
    Italian
    Latin
    Mandarin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Religious Studies
    Russian
    Spanish
    Personal
    Social and Health Education
    English as an Additional Language
    Sculpture

    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
    Italian
    Latin
    Mandarin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Philosophy
    Photography
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Psychology
    Religious Studies
    Russian
    Spanish
    Textiles
    Sculpture and Ceramics
    EPQ
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8-
    Year 9£9,155
    Year 10£9,155
    Year 11£9,155
    Year 12£9,300
    Year 13£9,300
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8-
    Year 9£13,645
    Year 10£13,645
    Year 11£13,645
    Year 12£14,200
    Year 13£14,200




    Bursaries
    Clifton College operates a small bursary fund for students who would otherwise be unable to take up earned places at the school. All applications require a full financial history and are worth up to 100% of fees, although funds are limited.

    The School also offers ring-fenced bursaries for Jewish children already in receipt of Clifton College’s Academic, Music, Art and Sport Awards (at ages 11, 13 and 16) who would otherwise be unable to attend the School. These are fulfilled by the Polack’s House Educational Trust and reflects the School’s long history of educating and supporting the Jewish community.

    The College also offers a flat 20% discount to children of Forces Families. For more information about any of the School’s bursarial offerings as well as the Polack’s House Educational Trust and their Armed Forces discounts, please see their website:

    cliftoncollege.com/admissions/scholarships-and-bursaries/

    Bursary contact:

    bursarspa@cliftoncollege.com
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    Clifton College is able to make provision for students who have certain specific learning difficulties, for example dyslexia, or who have a need for specialist or additional help in some areas of their learning.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    The College facilitates the provision of specialist teachers for Learning Support, both mainstream academic subject teachers and teachers with experience in Special Educational Needs. The Learning Support Department in the Fyffe Centre has a classroom for group learning support and six classrooms for individual teaching as well as the new Learning Hub computer suite.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    The College offers students opportunities to discuss mental health issues and aims to offer an inclusive and supportive environment. The Mental Health Lead works as part of a team to promote a whole school approach to enhancing the emotional health and wellbeing of pupils and staff. Students who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health can get support from a range of people within the College, including their House staff, tutors, teachers and Chaplaincy. The College has undertaken mental health training with teaching and support staff. The College has qualified counsellors who offer ongoing one to one therapy to all years. In the Upper School, students are able to self-refer.

    Co-ordinator: Daisy King dking@cliftoncollege.com
  • Transport links


    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Bristol Temple Meads
    Journey time to London by train: 102 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Bristol Airport (8 miles)


  • Parents tell us

    'We chose the school mainly as the children have the ability to go right the way through up to the age of 18. Also the fact that it has good pastoral care, good academic results, strong sport, excellent drama and brilliant facilities.

    The admissions process was easy. Several members of staff have made a particular difference to my child’s time at school including; the head of pastoral care David Pafford, James Averis (housemaster for Wollastons), Ed Thompson (housemaster for Hartnells) and Karen Brooks (matron for Wollastons and a general superstar).

    The school communicates a lot via email. The pastoral care is good and very thorough. Pastoral care has been a big strong point overall.

    The school has prepared my children well for the next stage of their education. The school is very welcoming and there is an active PTA.

    I wish I had known that there was Saturday school.

    I am happy with Clifton College and I think that it is a very good school.'

School Updates

  • See Clifton College in our All-through Schools Guide.

    See Clifton College in our All-through Schools Guide.
  • See Clifton College in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.

    See Clifton College in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.
  • Clifton College Open Days

    An Open Day is without a doubt the best way to experience everything Clifton College can offer your child. You will have the opportunity to meet staff, learn more about our outstanding pastoral care and facilities, and experience the unique atmosphere that creates equally unique individuals.
    Clifton College Open Days
  • WATCH: Clifton College Upper School

    WATCH: Clifton College Upper School

Essentials

Address
32 College Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3JH

Contact
info@cliftoncollege.com
0117 315 7000

Website
cliftoncollege.com

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates


Open Days

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

Whole School Open Day
01 October 2022
Sixth Form Open Evening
12 October 2022


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