To find a boarding school in the United Kingdom that upholds the standards of a classic British boarding school within a community of teachers, staff, and students who truly care about one another is unusual.
Not only that, but it’s available at Giggleswick School. It is one of the best coeducational day and boarding schools in the United Kingdom because of its emphasis on community and belonging.
Any visitor to its campus in the picturesque English county of North Yorkshire will immediately understand why it is so highly regarded. Here, young people can develop the self-assurance and competence they’ll need to succeed in the real world and enjoy full, meaningful lives. Children develop into mature people with a lifelong curiosity for knowledge as they strive for academic excellence, ambition, and self-belief.
“Children should be able to savour everything education provides, from the physics lab to the art room and sports fields,” says Headmaster Sam Hart. Yes, education must change to meet the needs of our increasingly fast-paced modern world, but at Giggleswick, we take great pride in giving children the time they need to reflect, investigate, and develop into successful adults.
What this means for students in their final year of high school is that they will be required to participate in a curriculum designed to help them adapt to a world that is both increasingly complex and dynamic. Three key components make this possible: Academic Curriculum, Extended Project Qualification and Co-curriculum.
At Giggleswick School, students take the normal path to GCSE/IGCSE in Year 11 and A level/BTEC qualifications in the Sixth Form. There is a general sense of success among them; 73% of their A Level grades are A*-B.
Outside of class, Sixth Formers participate in extracurriculars that foster their active learning, creative thinking, and community service. From sports to music, drama and outdoor pursuits, to service in the local community, they let an individual discover and develop their strengths.
Duncan, a Giggleswick alum, says the school is “like a diving board” because it throws students “headfirst” into activities they might not have tried otherwise. Whatever your interests may be, Giggleswick will do its best to accommodate them. What I am most appreciative of is the fact that in spite of my short time in Giggleswick, I have been able to accomplish and experience so much.
We prioritise their safety at every stage. Embedded into lessons and co-curricular activities, the school’s student well-being strategy ensures each child is safe, looked after and given the chance to thrive.
“Societal changes have really pushed good mental health and well-being to the forefront of people’s minds, and that’s a good thing. Christian San José, the deputy head of the organisation, says that everyone should be on each other’s radars and that open dialogue about these issues is encouraged.
“What it’s not about is a lessening of expectations. In fact, it’s the opposite. We can encourage children to strive for excellence and build self-assurance by providing them with the resources and opportunities they need to try new things and follow their passions.
The school has been awarded the Silver Award by the Leeds Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, which is designed to ensure robust strategies are in place to enable a whole-school approach to well-being.
Feeling welcomed and cared for are more important still for international students. Giggleswick is the home away from home for about 65 international students from 15 different countries, with recent arrivals from Honduras, Israel, Iran and a small group from Ukraine as well.
Being far from home can be difficult, but the school makes every effort to ensure that students never find themselves bored or without the opportunity to make new friends. Saturday is a full school day, even for day pupils and on Sundays, there are trips and visits to explore more of British culture.
As a result, international students have many opportunities to meet new people and form lasting bonds with those they already know. When the trip or class is over, they head to their respective houses, home to 60% of students and rising to 75% of Sixth Formers.
Every student has a support group they can turn to for advice and assistance if they run into trouble. They have access to a private tutor and a team of highly trained senior house staff led by a Housemaster or Housemistress.
Assistant Pastoral Lead Emma-Jane Wharton adds, “We also actively encourage the pupils to talk to their peers, and in the Senior Boarding Houses the Sixth Form mentors are a great source of support for younger pupils.” “Each year our Lower Sixth are given the opportunity to become mental health ambassadors as part of a Peer Education Project, which gives them specific training in well-being and mental health and enables them to deliver workshops to the Year 7 pupils.”