School Life: The best schools in South West England

* Read Country Life’s Autumn 2013 School Life supplement in full

We know all about Eton, Ludgrove and Downe House, but what about those schools that offer an equally excellent education on less eye-watering fees? Catherine Austen lists the schools you should know about but probably don’t. 

Clayesmore, Dorset
01747 813111

Co-ed school near Blandford Forum with pre-prep, prep and senior departments on one pretty site. Pupils are unpretentious, hard-working and capable, and the school has become very successful locally thanks to a headmaster described as ‘a human dynamo with an endearing touch of eccen- tricity’. Has a good SEN department.

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Knighton House, Dorset
01258 452065

Girls’ prep school (with boys in the pre- prep) with a lovely atmosphere and happy children. It’s particularly good for riding (ponies can board, too) and sport. Who couldn’t love a school where the uniform is red dungarees?

St Peter’s School, Lympstone
01395 272148

Cosy, co-ed Devon prep school, set in 28 acres by the River Exe, with about 250 pupils. Keen on the ‘three Cs’-being cour- teous, considerate and using common sense. Offers flexiboarding, but has mostly day pupils. Last term’s play was Animal Farm. A recent inspection declared it ‘out-standing’- a school on the up.

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