Country Life picks our top 50 schools around the country

Forget Exam results who is top of the real league?

On cross-country runs through Dorset farmland, sporting meridian knickers, grey divided culottes and lacrosse boots, I questioned my parents’ choice of public school. When other girls’ schools arrived for matches at Sherborne, they’d pile off the coach in trendy tartan mini-kilts over shell-suit tracksuits—what made my parents choose a school with such appalling dress sense?

I knew exactly why. They reminded me, whenever I moaned, that it was the drain smells outside the chapel that put them off one Wiltshire girls’ school, and the lack of desks that deterred them from another. The fact that these schools were echelons above their chosen Sherborne School for Girls in the A-level league tables didn’t seem to matter. ‘We didn’t think they were right for you,’ my mother maintains.

Uniform aside, the self-esteem and gang of friends I left Sherborne with proved my parents were right. ‘League tables don’t take into account the gut feeling—that question, “Can I see my child here?”’ says Jenny Dwyer, the current headmistress of Sherborne. As a parent, she under- stands the disappointment when a ‘good’ league-table school doesn’t feel right. ‘We’d almost decided on a school for one of our sons, but as soon as we arrived, we absolutely knew it was the wrong place. A good school is a good school for your child,’ she says.

There’s nothing that aggravates a head more than a league-table-obsessed parent. ‘League tables are vile—they test the quantity of teaching, not the atmosphere,’ says Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College. ‘They’re sinister, as they make schools focus on results alone.’ And as more schools introduce the International Baccalaureate, parents should be aware that the A-level league tables are now a less accurate indicator of a school’s academic prowess.

Headmasters and headmistresses point out that academic range is just one of a multitude of factors that encourage parents and children to choose a school. ‘I meet about 400 prospective families every year, and the decision always comes down to gut feeling rather than anything tangible,’ says Tim Haynes, headmaster of Tonbridge.

So what is this gut feeling dependent on? ‘The breadth of education is important, but this is only part of the story. All schools have good sports centres and art blocks,’ says Mr Haynes. ‘Education should be an adventure—young people should be encouraged to get involved.’

Exactly what encourages children to immerse themselves in school life depends on their individual characters. Some will thrive on being part of the eventing or clay-pigeon-shooting team, others will look forward to paintballing or go-karting, singing in the abbey, or taking the school dog (Rory at Shrewsbury; Fleur at Oakham) for a walk.

‘One wouldn’t expect teenagers to be so appreciative of their setting, but they truly are—and they enjoy the tremendous range of opportunities it offers for leisure-time pursuits,’ says a spokesperson for Westonbirt, which occupies the former private estate of Robert Holford, founder of the adjacent National Arboretum.

By participating in things not associated with the GCSE and A-level curriculum, children develop leadership skills. ‘Whether it be shooting or sailing, doing activities raises self-esteem,’ says Mrs Dwyer. Visit- ing parents may be baffled by the amount each school offers, from cooking to scuba diving, Pilates to rock climbing. Schools are trying to please a generation faced with a wider choice of schools—and increasing fees. Pupils are served contemporary, nutritionally analysed food (chicken fajitas at Wycombe Abbey, Caribbean dishes at Downe House), and are given more freedom. Mr Seldon says: ‘We work to help every child become a leader—but to do that, you’ve got to let them have space.’

It’s impossible for a parent to know how their child will do academically, or if they’ll make the first rugby team, but they will know the kind of environment their child will feel comfortable in. The ‘Capability’ Brown gardens at Wycombe Abbey will help one parent decide, and the head girl’s special bedroom at Heathfield St Mary’s will appeal to another.

Fettes College (where Tony Blair was educated) and Roedean appear in exactly the same position in the academic league table (138=), and both play polo and have similar-costing uniforms, but there are intrinsic differences between the two schools. Fettes is co-educational, but Roedean is a traditional girls’ school; there are too many pets to mention at Fettes, Roedean has none; the headmistress of Roedean walks to school and the headmaster of Fettes drives a Land Rover. The two schools couldn’t be more different, and will appeal to different families.

Parents shouldn’t be guided by preconceived ideas—schools have changed dramatically. Sedbergh, for example, known as the bastion of the most skilled rugby players (Will Carling was a pupil) now has a girl as head of school. Mean-while, ‘horsey’ St Mary’s, Shaftesbury (Badminton winner Lucinda Fredericks is a former pupil) is flexible in the sixth form and somewhat cheaper than other schools, despite its excellent A-level results.

Country Life’s league table lists the top 25 boarding schools according to The Sunday Times A-level league table, but also reveals the ‘behind the scenes’ factors, such as school pets, notable architecture and sporting prowess, that can inspire a child to excel—and bring on that decisive ‘gut reaction’ in their fee-paying parents. ‘They’re all the most important things,’ says one parent—determined to send his son to Radley.

Country Life’s Top 50 Schools

Name: Wycombe Abbey School
County: Buckinghamshire
Website: www.wycombeabbey.com
A Level rank: 3
Boys: 0
Girls: 553
Sport: Lacrosse school champions
Best known attendee: Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss
School dinner: Chicken fajitas
Colours: Navy
Head boy/girl privileges: Can keep a goat
Architectural merit: Capability’ Brown gardens
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, rifles, beagling
Headmaster drives: Vintage Alfa Romeo Spider
Pets: Various house dogs
Motto: In Faith Go On

Name: Winchester College
County: Hampshire
Website: www.winchestercollege.org
A Level rank: 6
Boys: 680
Girls: 0
Sport: Winchester College Football
Best known attendee: Sir Humphrey Appleby
School dinner: Winchester Mess
Colours: Red, blue and brown
Head boy/girl privileges: Must be able to speak Latin
Architectural merit: Christopher Wren building
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Fishing, clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: Smart car
Pets: Wykehamist Mr Maclure
Motto: Manners Makyth Man

Name: Tonbridge School
County: Kent
Website: www.tonbridge-school.co.uk
A Level rank: 35
Boys: 750
Girls: 0
Sport: All boys represent their house and school
Best known attendee: Frederick Forsyth
School dinner: Lasagne
Colours: Black, red, white and blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Can keep sheep on the main cricket pitch
Architectural merit: School chapel by Donald Buttress
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Target and clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: 1934 Alvis Firefly
Pets: Henry the cat
Motto: God Gives the Increase

Name: Eton College
County: Berkshire
Website: www.etoncollege.com
A Level rank: 9
Boys: 1305
Girls: 0
Sport: Field Game
Best known attendee: Duke of Wellington
School dinner: Eton Mess
Colours: Eton blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Entitled to furl their umbrellas
Architectural merit: Fine Gothic chapel
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, clay pigeon, eventing, beagling
Headmaster drives: Ancient Audi
Pets: Labradors
Motto: May Eton Flourish

Name: Cheltenham Ladies College
County: Gloucestershire
Website: www.cheltladiescollege.org
A Level rank: 20
Boys: 0
Girls: 874
Sport: Won 75% of matches played
Best known attendee: Bridget Riley, Kristin Scott Thomas
School dinner: Themed dishes, e.g. Caribbean
Colours: Green
Head boy/girl privileges: Special prefects’ dinner
Architectural merit: Stained-glass Britomart windows
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Riding, polo, clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: Alfa Romeo
Pets: Dogs and guinea pigs
Motto: May She Grow in Heavenly Light

Name: Harrow School
County: Middlesex
Website: www.harrowschool.org.uk
A Level rank: 23=
Boys: 805
Girls: 0
Sport: Unbeaten in swimming and polo
Best known attendee: Winston Churchill
School dinner: Oriental or pasta
Colours: Harrow blue
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Library and chapel by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Clay pigeon, rifles
Headmaster drives: Renault Scenic
Pets: Herd of Longhorn cattle
Motto: Let the fortune of the House stand

Name: Oundle School
County: Northamptonshire
Website: www.oundleschool.org.uk
A Level rank: 38
Boys: 637
Girls: 452
Sport: Won 65% of matches played
Best known attendee: Prof Richard Dawkins
School dinner: Roast
Colours: Navy and maroon
Head boy/girl privileges: Can read the Memoranda Book
Architectural merit: The headmaster’s house is Grade I listed
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Full-size outdoor shooting range
Headmaster drives: Audi
Pets: None
Motto: God Grant Grace

Name: Downe House
County: Berkshire
Website: www.downehouse.net
A Level rank: 39
Boys: 0
Girls: 567
Sport: Four pupils selected for under-19 England lacrossse team
Best known attendee: Clare Balding
School dinner: Theme days, e.g. American
Colours: Red and green
Head boy/girl privileges: Allowed to attend special events
Architectural merit: Cloisters built by Maclaren Ross
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Eventing
Headmaster drives: Audi
Pets: Can keep pets in the pet hutch
Motto: None

Name: Charterhouse
County: Surrey
Website: www.charterhouse.org.uk
A Level rank: 40
Boys: 637
Girls: 103
Sport: 1st XI football team is unbeaten
Best known attendee: Peter Gabriel
School dinner: Sticky toffee pudding
Colours: Pink, burgundy and dark blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Wear a pink tie or scarf
Architectural merit: Chapel by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Rifle and clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: Renault
Pets: Mr Noble’s Parrot
Motto: To God, Having Given, I Give

Name: St Mary’s, Calne
County: Wiltshire
Website: www.stmaryscalne.org
A Level rank: 43
Boys: 0
Girls: 300
Sport: Won 50% of matches played
Best known attendee: Jade Jagger, Eva Rice
School dinner: Teriyaki Salmon
Colours: Navy
Head boy/girl privileges: Can keep a car at school
Architectural merit: Was previously the Calne workhouse
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo team
Headmaster drives: Volvo
Pets: Black Labradors Beth and Mac
Motto: Only the Best

Name: Sherborne School for Girls
County: Dorset
Website: www.sherborne.com
A Level rank: 46=
Boys: 0
Girls: 380
Sport: Won 57% of matches played
Best known attendee: Sophie Kinsella
School dinner: Can choose a birthday meal
Colours: Green and blue
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Main building by W. D. Caröe
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo
Headmaster drives: Audi A3 Diesel
Pets: Murphy the black Labrador
Motto: Fair is the Prize and the Hope is Great

Name: St Mary’s School, Ascot
County: Berkshire
Website: www.st-marys-ascot.co.uk
A Level rank: 51=
Boys: 0
Girls: 369
Sport: Won 60% of matches played
Best known attendee: Marina Warner, Baroness Hogg
School dinner: Chicken Kiev
Colours: Blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Have a large, ensuite bedroom
Architectural merit: School building and chapel built in 1885
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Rifle shooting, polo, equestrian team
Headmaster drives: Honda Civic Type R
Pets: Girls’ rabbits in the pet shed
Motto: For the Greater Glory of God

Name: Radley College
County: Oxfordshire
Website: www.radley.org.uk
A Level rank: 58
Boys: 630
Girls: 0
Sport: Excel at rugby, cricket and rackets
Best known attendee: Desmond Llewelyn, Peter Cook
School dinner: Cooked breakfast on Sunday
Colours: Red and white
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: 18th-century manor house
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Rifle shooting, polo, own beagle pack
Headmaster drives: none
Pets: None
Motto: Be ye Wise as snakes, and Gentle as Doves

Name: Woldingham School
County: Surrey
Website: www.woldinghamschool.co.uk
A Level rank: 69=
Boys: 0
Girls: 485
Sport: Won 45% of matches played
Best known attendee: Carey Mulligan, Dillie Keane
School dinner: Caesar salad
Colours: Blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Ensuite bedroom with leather sofa
Architectural merit: Jacobean country house
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: Land Rover Freelander
Pets: Shetland sheepdog Teddy Triffitt
Motto: None

Name: Heathfield School
County: Berkshire
Website: www.heathfieldschool.net
A Level rank: 80=
Boys: 0
Girls: 220
Sport: Won 64% of matches played
Best known attendee: Princess Alexandra, Sienna Miller
School dinner: Chicken fajitas
Colours: Light and dark blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Special bedroom
Architectural merit: Beautiful white Georgian buildings
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: Land Rover
Pets: Matron’s cats
Motto: The Honour of One is the Merit of All

Name: King’s School, Canterbury
County: Kent
Website: www.kings-school.co.uk
A Level rank: 85=
Boys: 425
Girls: 358
Sport: National indoor hockey champions
Best known attendee: William Somerset Maugham
School dinner: Romney Marsh lamb with local vegetables
Colours: Blue and white
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Norman staircase
Hunting/shooting/fishing: None
Headmaster drives: BMW
Pets: The Cathedral cat
Motto: None

Name: Wellington College
County: Berkshire
Website: www.wellingtoncollege.org.uk
A Level rank: 87=
Boys: 627
Girls: 216
Sport: Won 78% of matches played
Best known attendee: James Hunt
School dinner: Roast
Colours: Orange, yellow, blue and black
Head boy/girl privileges: Can keep a goat or grow a beard
Architectural merit: Monument to the Duke of Wellington
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, course and trout fishing
Headmaster drives: Nissan Micra
Pets: Golden Retriever, Toby
Motto: Fortune Favours the Brave

Name: Repton School
County: Derbyshire
Website: www.repton.org.uk
A Level rank: 87=
Boys: 347
Girls: 278
Sport: Girls national hockey champions
Best known attendee: Roald Dahl
School dinner: Chefs respond to pupils’ requests
Colours: Navy and grey
Head boy/girl privileges: Can ride a horse under the arch
Architectural merit: 12th-century priory
Hunting/shooting/fishing: None
Headmaster drives: None
Pets: None
Motto: Don’t lay the blame at our Gate

Name: Queen Margaret’s
County: Yorkshire
Website: www.queenmargaretsschool.co.uk
A Level rank: 99=
Boys: 0
Girls: 350
Sport: Lacrosse and hockey county champions
Best known attendee: Winifred Holtby, Elizabeth Poston
School dinner: Pasta and salad bar
Colours: Black and red tartan
Head boy/girl privileges: Choice of room
Architectural merit: Award-winning centenary building
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Clay pigeon, eventing
Headmaster drives: Isuzu 4×4
Pets: The ratter, Buster
Motto: Daughter of the King

Name: Benenden School
County: Kent
Website: www.benenden.kent.sch.uk
A Level rank: 101
Boys: 0
Girls: 520
Sport: Lacrosse county champions
Best known attendee: The Princess Royal
School dinner: Hot salad bar
Colours: Blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Can plant a tree on Seniors’ Day
Architectural merit: Restored ice house
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Riding, clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: None
Pets: Dogs
Motto: None

Name: Malvern College
County: Worcestershire
Website: www.malvern-college.co.uk
A Level rank: 103
Boys: 356
Girls: 244
Sport: Won 65% of matches played
Best known attendee: Jeremy Paxman
School dinner: Lasagne and banoffee pie
Colours: Malvern green
Head boy/girl privileges: Allowed to carry a silver-topped cane
Architectural merit: Kempe stained-glass windows
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Rifle shooting, polo, eventing
Headmaster drives: Mercedes
Pets: Border terrier Pidge
Motto: Wise is the One who Looks Ahead

Name: Shrewsbury School
County: Shropshire
Website: www.shrewsbury.org.uk
A Level rank: 107=
Boys: 700
Girls: 0
Sport: Eton Fives Cup winners
Best known attendee: Charles Darwin
School dinner: Chicken of all varieties
Colours: Blue
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Moser Library with early manuscripts
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, beagling
Headmaster drives: Renault Espace
Pets: Rory, the chaplain’s dog
Motto: intus si recte ne labora

Name: Uppingham School
County: Leicestershire
Website: www.uppingham.co.uk
A Level rank: 117=
Boys: 475
Girls: 297
Sport: Won 57% of matches played
Best known attendee: Stephen Fry
School dinner: Pheasant
Colours: Royal blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Can grow a moustache
Architectural merit: 16th-century Grade I-listed buildings
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Target and clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: VW Passat Estate 2.0 Diesel
Pets: Bertie and Billy, the Labradors
Motto: None

Name: Roedean
County: Sussex
Website: www.roedean.co.uk
A Level rank: 138=
Boys: 0
Girls: 376
Sport: Excel at rugby, cricket, hockey and netball
Best known attendee: Dame Cicely Saunders
School dinner: The Wednesday roast
Colours: Navy
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Private tunnel to Brighton Beach
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo
Headmaster drives: None
Pets: None
Motto: Honour to the Worthy

Name: Fettes College
County: Edinburgh
Website: www.fettes.com
A Level rank: 138=
Boys: 280
Girls: 214
Sport: Many individuals in national teams
Best known attendee: Tony Blair
School dinner: Fish and chips, apple crumble and custard
Colours: Magenta, brown, blue and Fettes tartan
Head boy/girl privileges: Weekly meeting with headmaster
Architectural merit: 1870 buildings by David Bryce
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, target
Headmaster drives: Land Rover
Pets: Many
Motto: Hard Work

Name: Oakham School
County: Leicestershire & Rutland
Website: www.oakham.rutland.sch.uk
A Level rank: 128
Boys: 430
Girls: 445
Sport: Excel at rubgy, cricket, hockey and netball
Best known attendee: Lewis Moody
School dinner: Traditional fish and chips
Colours: Black and red
Head boy/girl privileges: Have the largest study
Architectural merit: College-style campus dating from 1584
Hunting/shooting/fishing: In Cottesmore hunt country
Headmaster drives: Volvo 740
Pets: Fleur, the registrar’s yellow Labrador
Motto: As Runners we hand on the Torch of Life

Name: Sherborne School
County: Dorset
Website: www.sherborne.org
A Level rank: 148=
Boys: 575
Girls: 0
Sport: National 20/20 runners-up in cricket 2007
Best known attendee: Jeremy Irons, Chris Martin
School dinner: Chicken Kiev
Colours: Blue and yellow
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Buildings originally a Benedictine Abbey
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, clay pigeon, riding
Headmaster drives: Volvo
Pets: Humphrey, flat-coated retriever
Motto: God and my Right

Name: Dean Close School
County: Gloucestershire
Website: www.deanclose.co.uk
A Level rank: 151=
Boys: 283
Girls: 209
Sport: Won 65% of matches played
Best known attendee: Francis Bacon, Brian Jones
School dinner: Venison casserole
Colours: Burgundy and navy
Head boy/girl privileges: Can grow a beard and keep a goat
Architectural merit: Original Victorian building 1886
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, eventing
Headmaster drives: Ford Galaxy
Pets: Headmaster’s chickens
Motto: God’s Word a Guiding Light

Name: Haileybury
County: Hertfordshire
Website: www.haileybury.com
A Level rank: 171=
Boys: 442
Girls: 314
Sport: Won more than 50% of matches played
Best known attendee: Lord Clement Atlee
School dinner: Chicken Caesar salad, chocolate bread and butter pudding
Colours: Navy blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Elysium tie, reserved seat in chapel
Architectural merit: The quad is 19th-century Greek Revival, designed by William Wilkins
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo
Headmaster drives: None
Pets: None
Motto: Lift up your Heart

Name: Merchiston Castle School
County: Edinburgh
Website: www.merchiston.co.uk
A Level rank: 173=
Boys: 315
Girls: 0
Sport: Scottish Schools Rugby Champions 2008
Best known attendee: Sir Peter Burt
School dinner: Bangers and mash, apple crumble
Colours: Blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Telephone in bedroom
Architectural merit: Ruins of 15th-century Colinton Castle in the grounds
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Shooting and fishing
Headmaster drives: BMW
Pets: Poppy the basset and Stella the spaniel
Motto: Read ay Ready

Name: Tudor Hall School
County: Oxfordshire
Website: www.tudorhallschool.com
A Level rank: 176=
Boys: 0
Girls: 291
Sport: Netball, tennis, hockey & athletics
Best known attendee: Julia Peyton-Jones
School dinner: Pasta and salmon
Colours: Green
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: 17th-century Wykham Park, built of local Hornton Stone
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Riding, polo
Headmaster drives: Old Mercedes Estate
Pets: Edith the long-haired dachshund, Orchid the lurcher
Motto: I Have that I May Give

Name: Moreton Hall School
County: Shropshire
Website: www.moretonhall.org
A Level rank: 178=
Boys: 0
Girls: 280
Sport: Excel at lacrosse, hockey and tennis
Best known attendee: Thea Musgrave
School dinner: Roast
Colours: Cornflower blue
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Main building built in 1527
Hunting/shooting/fishing: None
Headmaster drives: Volvo
Pets: Various small pets
Motto: None

Name: Worth School
County: Sussex
Website: www.worthschool.co.uk
A Level rank: 178=
Boys: 440
Girls: 0
Sport: Sussex Cup Winners in all rugby sides
Best known attendee: Peter Jonas, Harry Enfield
School dinner: Curry night
Colours: Navy, pale blue and grey
Head boy/girl privileges: Special tie, allowed to attend certain events
Architectural merit: Main school designed by Aston Webb in 1896
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: None
Pets: Large white cat at the stables
Motto: None

Name: Christ’s Hospital
County: Sussex
Website: www.christs-hospital.org.uk
A Level rank: 181=
Boys: 440
Girls: 393
Sport: County representation at all major spors
Best known attendee: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
School dinner: Sausage and mash
Colours: Dark blue and yellow
Head boy/girl privileges: Keys to main buldings, silver buckle, £10 from the Lord Mayor on St Matthew’s Day
Architectural merit: Buildings designed by Aston Webb
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Clay pigeon, target rifle
Headmaster drives: BMW
Pets: Possum, the head’s golden retriever
Motto: None

Name: Strathallan School
County: Scotland
Website: www.strathallan.co.uk
A Level rank: 190
Boys: 242
Girls: 185
Sport: Scottish Schools Clay Pigeon Champions
Best known attendee: Colin Montgomery
School dinner: Haggis, neeps and tatties
Colours: Dark blue, royal blue and gold
Head boy/girl privileges: Can keep a goat on the front lawn
Architectural merit: Main building designed by Edward Blore and William Burn
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Clay pigeon, show jumping, dressage, fishing
Headmaster drives: Jaguar/TVR
Pets: Big Brown Bear
Motto: Work Overcomes Everything

Name: Downside School
County: Somerset
Website: www.downside.co.uk
A Level rank: 192=
Boys: 250
Girls: 100
Sport: Won more than 50% of matches played
Best known attendee: Auberon Waugh, Rocco Forte
School dinner: Sunday brunch after Mass
Colours: Maroon and gold
Head boy/girl privileges: Weekly tea with the headmaster, leads the school out of Mass
Architectural merit: Outstanding neo-Gothic abbey church
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Clay pigeon, trout fishing, private hunting
Headmaster drives: Battered old Vauxhall Astra
Pets: Deer in the grounds
Motto: Amongst the Good are the Laws of Piety

Name: St Edward’s School
County: Oxfordshire
Website: www.stedwards.oxon.sch.uk
A Level rank: 217=
Boys: 425
Girls: 235
Sport: Individuals national and regional rowers
Best known attendee: Sir Douglas Bader, Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Kenneth Grahame
School dinner: Chefs respond to pupils’ requests
Colours: Dark blue, cornflower blue and gold
Head boy/girl privileges: Daily meeting with the sub warden
Architectural merit: Second-largest quad in Oxford
Hunting/shooting/fishing: None
Headmaster drives: BMW
Pets: None
Motto: The Duty of Parents

Name: St Mary’s School
County: Dorset
Website: www.st-marys-shaftesbury.co.uk
A Level rank: 221=
Boys: 0
Girls: 315
Sport: Excel at a number of sports
Best known attendee: Laura Parker Bowles, Lucinda Fredericks
School dinner: Fast food day with proceeds going to charity
Colours: Bottle green
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Victorian Gothic buildings
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, eventing, dressage
Headmaster drives: Environmentally friendly
Pets: None
Motto: Women Can Do Much

Name: Cheltenham College
County: Gloucestershire
Website: www.cheltcoll.gloucs.sch.uk
A Level rank: 232=
Boys: 392
Girls: 208
Sport: Excel at shooting
Best known attendee: General Sir Michael Rose, Rageh Omaar
School dinner: Lasagne and salad
Colours: Navy
Head boy/girl privileges: Sits on a throne in chapel and gets 30 minutes’ extra leave on Saturday nights
Architectural merit: Chapel carved by masons from Gloucester Cathedral
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Clay pigeon, coarse and fly fishing, polo
Headmaster drives: Mercedes
Pets: Stuffed owl
Motto: Work Conquers All

Name: Felsted School
County: Essex
Website: www.felsted.org
A Level rank: 239=
Boys: 283
Girls: 189
Sport: Won 70% of matches played
Best known attendee: Derek Pringle
School dinner: Lasagne, roast beef
Colours: Navy and gold
Head boy/girl privileges: Can grow a beard, smoke a pipe and keep a goat on the front lawn
Architectural merit: The oldest building dates back to the 15th century
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, hunter trials
Headmaster drives: Volvo Estate V50
Pets: The head’s terriers Molly and Mandy
Motto: Keep your Faith

Name: Bradfield College
County: Berkshire
Website: www.bradfieldcollege.org.uk
A Level rank: 246=
Boys: 468
Girls: 217
Sport: Excel at football, golf and fencing
Best known attendee: Richard Adams, Lord Owen
School dinner: Fish and chips
Colours: Dark green and blue
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Stained glass in Dining Hall by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Clay pigeon, polo, fishing
Headmaster drives: Volvo
Pets: Pancake, the head’s ginger cat
Motto: Blessed are You Our Lord, Teach me Your Laws

Name: Ampleforth College
County: Yorkshire
Website: www.ampleforthcollege.york.sch.uk
A Level rank: 280
Boys: 446
Girls: 167
Sport: Has 83 teams across a range of sports
Best known attendee: Cardinal Basil Hume, Anthony Gormley, Lawrence Dalaglio
School dinner: Roast beef
Colours: Red and black
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Buildings by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Hunting, shooting, beagling, game keeping
Headmaster drives: None
Pets: None
Motto: God our Protector

Name: Blundell’s School
County: Devon
Website: www.blundells.org
A Level rank: 284=
Boys: 350
Girls: 225
Sport: Won 70% of matches played
Best known attendee: Jack Russell
School dinner: Roast lamb
Colours: Black, red and white
Head boy/girl privileges: In folklore, the head boy kept a pig at school and a mistress in town
Architectural merit: Original building 1604
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Hunting, clay pigeon and rifle, show jumping
Headmaster drives: Volvo V70 Estate
Pets: Black Labradors
Motto: For the Country and the People

Name: Stowe School
County: Buckinghamshire
Website: www.stowe.co.uk
A Level rank: 291=
Boys: 487
Girls: 172
Sport: Top of Schools’ League in cricket
Best known attendee: Sir Richard Branson, Lord Sainsbury
School dinner: Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding
Colours: Royal and navy blue and gold
Head boy/girl privileges: Can wear jumper and scarf of own choice
Architectural merit: Stowe House designed by Vanbrugh, Kent and ‘Capability’ Brown
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Beagle pack retrained in drag hunting, fishing, clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: None
Pets: Many dogs
Motto: I Stand Firm and I Stand First

Name: Glenalmond College
County: Perth
Website: www.glenalmondcollege.co.uk
A Level rank: 303=
Boys: 231
Girls: 176
Sport: Won 78% of matches played
Best known attendee: Lord Stevenson
School dinner: Roast
Colours: Blue
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Music school designed by Basil Spence
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Range shooting, salmon fishing
Headmaster drives: Peugot
Pets: Many dogs
Motto: Glenalmond, May It Flourish

Name: Bedales School
County: Hampshire
Website: www.bedales.org.uk
A Level rank: 310
Boys: 217
Girls: 235
Sport: Excel at netball, hockey and football
Best known attendee: Daniel Day-Lewis, Alan Jay Lerner, Viscount Linley
School dinner: Chicken Tikka Masala, chocolate tart
Colours: None
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: 18th-century wood-frame Sotherington Barn reconstructed by staff and students
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Bedales Angling & Shooting Society
Headmaster drives: BMW
Pets: Horses and Jacob’s sheep
Motto: Work of Each for Weal of All

Name: Royal Hospital
County: Suffolk
Website: www.royalhospitalschool.org
A Level rank: 330=
Boys: 365
Girls: 277
Sport: Won 65% of matches played
Best known attendee: Sir Arthur Phillip
School dinner: Steak and ale pie
Colours: Navy blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Can ‘walk out’ with a silver-topped swagger stick
Architectural merit: School purpose built and opened by the Duke of York in 1933
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, shooting, hunter trials
Headmaster drives: Volvo
Pets: The Chaplain’s black Labrador
Motto: There’s Nowhere Else I’d Rather Be

Name: Millfield
County: Somerset
Website: www.millfieldschool.com
A Level rank: 335
Boys: 780
Girls: 470
Sport: Excel at basketball, golf and athletics
Best known attendee: Marc Quinn, Lucy Bailey, Duncan Goodhew
School dinner: Roast
Colours: Navy
Head boy/girl privileges: None
Architectural merit: Millfield House built for the Clark family, who founded the shoe empire
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Clay pigeon and target, polo
Headmaster drives: None
Pets: None
Motto: To Build by Grinding

Name: Christ College
County: Brecon
Website: www.christcollegebrecon.com
A Level rank: 341=
Boys: 180
Girls: 130
Sport: 30 pupils with international honours in the last four years
Best known attendee: Simon Hughes MP
School dinner: Roast lamb
Colours: Navy, pale blue and grey
Head boy/girl privileges: Discretionary uniform and more exeats
Architectural merit: Medieval buildings restored by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the 19th century
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Riding, shooting
Headmaster drives: Vauxhall Zafira
Pets: None
Motto: They Achieve Because They Believe They Can

Name: Sedbergh School
County: Cumbria
Website: www.sedberghschool.org
A Level rank: 343
Boys: 350
Girls: 135
Sport: Won 76% of matches played
Best known attendee: The Bishop of Durham, Will Carling, Will Greenwood
School dinner: Roast followed by sticky toffee pudding
Colours: Navy blue
Head boy/girl privileges: Can grow a beard
Architectural merit: The school library dates back to 1716
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Burke and Hare Club for stalking, beating and clay pigeon
Headmaster drives: Volvo
Pets: Ferrets, fish and chickens
Motto: Stern Nurse of Men

Name: Westonbirt School
County: Gloucestershire
Website: www.westonbirt.gloucs.sch.uk
A Level rank: 358
Boys: 0
Girls: 245
Sport: Excel at lacrosse and riding
Best known attendee: Jennie, Lady Bland, Georgia Byng
School dinner: Pasta followed by profiteroles
Colours: Burgundy
Head boy/girl privileges: Welcomes visitors such as HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Duchess of Cornwall
Architectural merit: Buidings date back to 1868
Hunting/shooting/fishing: Polo, hunting with the Beaufort
Headmaster drives: VW Golf
Pets: Labradors Lucca and Guinness
Motto: Good will Triumph over Evil

  • Paula Kerr-jarrett

    Where can I find the link to your article in the school life march 2012 edition on standing tall (deprtment)