What facilities do private schools offer?

What facilities do private schools offer?

It’s well known that facilities at private schools far outstrip the resources available at state schools, but what could be on offer to your child during their independent education?

Unlike schools in the state sector, private schools are almost entirely funded by school fees, which means they have the cash to spend on enhancing their offering. They also have complete autonomy when it comes to spending their budgets and, since private schools often have extensive grounds, there’s plenty of scope to build state-of-the-art facilities for their pupils.

Every private school has its own specialisms and areas of expertise, so the facilities available at each establishment are different. Let’s take a look at some of the incredible resources your child could access through a private education.

Young people sailing.

Go outdoors with private education

Windermere School sits within the Lake District – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and takes advantage of the stunning surroundings by offering plenty of outdoor learning opportunities throughout both junior and senior school.

The school has its own private Watersports Centre, where pupils can enjoy sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and windsurfing, and adventure is timetabled into the learning curriculum.

The school makes the most of the natural landscape all around it, with visits to local caves to inspire creative writing, and 40% of science lessons held outdoors to help students engage with the importance of the natural environment.

Tune into learning: music at private schools

Haileybury in Hertfordshire regards music as central to cultural life. The school has a symphony orchestra, a chapel choir, and ensembles in pop, jazz and rock. Students can make use of both large and small performance spaces, and top-notch recording facilities.

Wells Cathedral School in Somerset has one of the most highly regarded music departments in the UK. The school provides specialist music training with world-class musicians, and even offers organ scholarships to young organists.

A young woman playing a piano.

What a performance: drama and theatre in independent schools

Bryanston School in Dorset is renowned for its prowess in music and performing arts. The school boasts an amphitheatre-style outdoor performance space, a purpose-built indoor theatre and professional-level concert hall and recording studio. Pupils can immerse themselves in all areas of the creative arts, from performances to backstage and front-of-house management, and the school hosts plenty of professional touring companies who inspire pupils with their performances.

Hurtwood House teaches its students to work at professional levels in drama, media, music and dance, by providing top-flight performance spaces, studio facilities and full-time theatre technicians. Students can get involved in all areas of the performing arts, including regular shows attended by agents and casting directors.

Historic legacies at public school

Stonyhurst College in Lancashire has incredibly rich historical resources at its disposal. The vast Grade 1 listed school building includes a museum, archives, and no fewer than three historic libraries for students to delve into.

Children studying English can access manuscripts by poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and a First Folio of Shakespeare’s work. Pupils can use the libraries as places of quiet study, and the school even hosts museum teaching for its pupils.

And that’s not all. Stonyhurst is also home to artworks by greats such as Turner, Rembrandt and Rubens, allowing art students the incredible opportunity of working directly with the original pieces.

In fact, the school is thought to be the oldest museum in the English-speaking world, having started its collection in the early 1600s with vestments worn by Henry VII in Westminster Abbey. There are now over 35,000 artefacts within the school’s collection.

Set in 1,000 acres of countryside, the school even offers a working Victorian observatory where students can study the stars.

A young boy fencing.

A sporting chance: physical prowess in the private school sector

Repton School in Derbyshire offers elite sporting facilities to its students, with a multi-million pound Sports Centre used by all its children.

During their time at Repton, pupils have access to indoor and outdoor hockey pitches and tennis courts, squash and netball courts. Many outdoor playing spaces are floodlit for extended training and match hours, and the school also boasts a 25m swimming pool and top-flight fitness suite for strength training.

Repton punches above its weight on the professional sporting stage, with many alumni going on to represent the country in their chosen sports.

Tonbridge School in Kent offers some of the best sporting facilities in the south east, including a top-level athletics track, swimming pool and fitness suite. Students can take advantage of a climbing wall, cricket nets, fencing, shooting and martial arts facilities, and the school has over 150 acres of playing fields. The school’s sports facilities are so highly regarded that they were used as an Olympic training venue during the London 2012 games.

The science of learning at independent schools

For girls looking to pursue a career in science, Benenden School in Kent has a fully-equipped Science Centre, with 14 laboratories that double as classrooms so students can move seamlessly from theory to practical. The science facilities also include an anechoic chamber to absorb electromagnetic and sound waves, and a spacious lecture theatre.

Meanwhile, Alleyn’s in London has a rooftop observatory so pupils can observe the night sky, and a cloud chamber that enables students to see first-hand the effects of alpha particles and electrons.

A young woman riding a horse.

Cultivating education at private schools.

A growing selection of independent schools in the UK have their own farm within the grounds. Roedean, in East Sussex, makes the most of the local ecology of the South Downs and the coast to teach girls about biodiversity, conservation, ecology and animal welfare, tying in with topics studied in biology, geography and PSHE. Pupils take on farming responsibilities, including the rearing and healthcare of sheep and poultry.

Milton Abbey in Dorset has both a farm and stables, supporting pupils in their studies for BTEC qualifications in Equine and Countryside Management. All students can get involved on the farm even if they aren’t studying land-based subjects, caring for a wide range of livestock including pigs and guinea fowl.

Children at Milton Abbey are even encouraged to bring their ponies and horses to the school, where they can make the most of a show-jumping arena, all weather canter track and hacks through the nearby countryside.

An inspiring private education for your child

The schools available in the independent sector have an astonishing array of fantastic facilities to inspire your child and help them blossom through their education and into adulthood.

If your child has a particular passion or talent, it’s worth exploring the private schools that could help them achieve their potential.

Of course, independent schools usually come with sizeable school fees, particularly when they have a reputation for greatness in a specialist area.

This can be off-putting for some parents, as it can feel as though they’ll have to sacrifice their own dreams to fund their children’s ambitions. But instead of dismissing the opportunities out of hand, it’s important to make an informed decision about the affordability of school fees.

If you feel unsure about whether paying independent school fees is the right choice for your family, there are several ways we can help you decide. Get in touch to find out whether you can give your child access to world-class facilities, without letting go of your own ambitions to take early retirement or buy a second home.