School Life: The five best schools in the West of 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.

Moffats, Shropshire
01299 841230


family-run, co-ed prep school and kindergarten based in Georgian Kinlet

Hall – teacher-pupil ratio is about 1:12. Choice of day,

weekly-boarding or full boarding. Children are expected to muck

in-literally-with chores, which includes stable duties. The cricket

ground was once voted one of Britain’s most beau- tiful settings. School

was founded in 1934 by the children’s author, Natalie Joan

Engleheart-the current headmistress is the sixth member of her family to

run it.

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Dean Close School, Cheltenham
01242 258000


co-educational public school in Cheltenham (which also has pre-prep and

prep departments) is possibly the best-kept secret in Gloucestershire.

It aims to provide pupils of a broad range of ability with a superb

all-round education in a no-non- sense way. It boasts a very good drama


Dormer House, Gloucestershire
01608 650758 


is a tiny-fewer than 150 pupils- co-ed school in Moreton-in-Marsh,

Gloucestershire, and takes pupils from 2 to 11. Parents’ National

Education Union-affili- ated, there’s lots of individual attention; the

children are encouraged to develop indi- vidual talents. Prides itself

on being affordable. The Nest, open 51 weeks a year, is a childcare

service for working parents

Hereford Cathedral School, Hereford
Junior school 01432 363511; senior school 01432 363522


day school with nursery, junior and senior departments sited on the Wye

and next door to the Cathedral, where the carol service takes place.

One of the oldest schools in the country, it offers a particularly wide

range of extra- curricular activities, is notable for producing

musicians, including the former royal harpist Jemima Phillips, and has a

strong link with a school in Nepal, which many Year 12 pupils visit.

Kitebrook, Cotswolds
01608 674350


long prepared Gloucestershire girls for their senior schools (often

Tudor Hall and Cheltenham Ladies’) but has only recently catered for

boys, too. Family-run, small, friendly and nurturing in a Cotswolds

setting, with sheep and chickens, Kitebrook is back on an upswing. Has a

pre-prep, Hillside.

* See the best schools in the South of England

* See the best schools in South West England

* See the best schools in the North of England