What sort of school is Dauntsey's?
Dauntsey's is an independent, fully co-educational boarding and day school for pupils aged 11-18. Entry is at 11, 13 or 16.
Where is Dauntsey's?
It is situated on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, five miles south of the Market Town of Devizes and 25 miles from Salisbury, Swindon and Bath. There are excellent road and rail links to London and Heathrow.
What are the School's strengths?
This is for others to judge, but one view comes from the Good Schools’ Guide:
"It’s in there competing with the heavies but still unpretentious, with feet firmly on the ground. Parents value its special atmosphere, rooted in being reasonably non-selective, both academically and socially. Steadily improving results and facilities are putting Dauntsey’s among the front-runners in the area. Its friendliness, breezy campus and outdoorsy image belie a focused academic purpose, which encompasses arts and sciences, though it doesn’t inhibit the pupils from having a pretty good time. Dauntsey's is fab. ” — The Good Schools Guide, 2016.
Entry to the School
What are the entry requirements for Dauntsey's?
We aim to have a comprehensive, informative and welcoming process for admitting pupils to Dauntsey's. Admission is at 11+, 13+ and 16+, and is by examination, school report and interview or, for Sixth Form by I/GCSE grade predictions or equivalent and interview.
What Scholarships are offered?
Scholarships and awards are available for boarding and day places at 11+, 13+ and 16+ and carry a maximum fee remission of 10%. Scholarship supplements are available to those who have been awarded a scholarship and provide financial help with the school fees. Find out more here
When can we visit the School?
There are two Open Mornings each year in May and October, and we also welcome visitors to join one of our small group tours. The Registrar is happy to welcome families at other times by arrangement. Find out more here
What is the policy on siblings being offered places?
Dauntsey's is a family school and welcomes applications from siblings. We try hard not to turn away siblings.
How many new pupils are admitted each year?
At 11+ some 80 children join Dauntsey's. Our 13+ intake is for boarding places only and at this point approximately 40 pupils join us, from prep or state schools. At 16+, between 35 and 40 pupils join us from a wide variety of secondary schools
How are new pupils helped to settle in?
Dauntsey's is well known for being a friendly school; few pupils have a problem settling in. There is an Induction Day and a wide system of support, including a buddy system. All pupils have a tutor, offering advice and support, throughout their time here
What are the daily transport arrangements?
Most day pupils travel to and from School by bus. This transport network serves most of the county and buses start at Tisbury, Frome, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Royal Wootton Bassett, Swindon, Marlborough, Hungerford, Andover, Amesbury, Salisbury, Etchilhampton, Pewsey and Cherhill. More details can be found here.
What is the School's academic policy?
The academic life of the School is vibrant, stimulating and energetic; we aim to encourage independent minds and a desire for individual achievement. Breadth and challenge are the key elements of the School's curriculum, which is taught by subject specialists. Find out more here
What are the class sizes?
Pupils in First to Third Forms are taught in groups of around 20, Fourth and Fifth Form in groups of around 16-18 and in the Sixth Form a typical class numbers 10-12.
Which subjects are streamed and when?
There is mixed-ability teaching in all subjects apart from Mathematics, and, to a lesser extent, English.
What is the IT provision?
Computing is widely used to support pupils' learning across the curriculum. The facilities available to staff and pupils are extensive and include some 300+ workstations connected to a distributed network. Filtered internet access is available at all workstations and in the boarding houses through multiple broadband connections. Wifi is also available for roaming access on mobile devices. Coverage is currently 90% of the site.
What provision is offered to gifted and talented pupils?
There is a wide-ranging and challenging gifted and talented programme, organised by a team of staff responsible for ensuring that the brightest pupils are properly challenged, both in and out of the classroom.
Find out more here
What help is provided for pupils with specific learning difficulties?
Pupils identified with specific learning difficulties receive learning support through extra lessons, organised to ensure minimum disruption to timetables.
Does the School offer the International Baccalaureate?
No. Our policy is to encourage breadth, but also to allow pupils a completely free choice of GCSE and A Level subjects; thus each one can tailor the curriculum to suit his or her own needs, abilities and interests. We do not feel that the IB allows such flexibility. As well as numerous extra-curricular and enrichment activities outside the timetable, we offer pupils the chance to take up several additional qualifications in the Sixth Form. They are the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and our new Leadership, Sports and Adventure (LSA) course.
Find out more here
Where do leavers go?
Most pupils go on to their first choice of university to follow a wide variety of courses. Some 75% of our pupils secure places at Russell Group or The Times top Fifteen/Twenty universities, including around eight each year gaining places at Oxford or Cambridge. Find out more here
Is there a programme of careers advice?
Yes. When pupils arrive at Dauntsey's they begin a planned careers guidance programme reflecting the fact that choosing a career is a process and not an event. Careers counselling begins in the Third Form with discussions about I/GCSE options and develops over the following years with advice and guidance on A Level courses, work experience, university applications and personal statements.
Careers guidance is available to Old Dauntseians as well as current pupils. Find out more here
What is the pastoral care system?
The School provides outstanding pastoral care and welfare, which results in happy and confident pupils. Every pupil is allocated to a House with Housemasters and Housemistresses responsible for the overall welfare of their pupils, and House Tutors supporting and monitoring the academic and social progress of a small group of tutees within each House. The House Staff are supported by the School Chaplain and Counsellors; in addition there is a Pupil Listening Service.
What are the Chapel arrangements?
A Christian ethos underpins the whole life of the School. There is a full-time Chaplain who leads both Sunday and weekday services as well as a weekly service of Holy Communion. The Chaplain is there to support pupils from all faiths and those of no faith.
How would you describe the School's approach to discipline?
'Firm but fair', underpinned by thoughtfulness and consideration for others.
What is the School's approach to bullying?
The School has a widely published and clear anti-bullying policy and any incidents of bullying are dealt with swiftly and firmly. Pupils are encouraged to talk to their tutor, the prefects and staff (including the School Counsellors) or members of the Pupil Listening Service if they have a problem, or if they know of others who are unhappy.
What happens when pupils are unwell?
Dauntsey's is lucky to have a superb Medical Centre on the Main School Site which is manned 24 hours a day by registered nurses. The Manor, (Junior Boarding House), has a smaller Sanatorium which is manned from 7am to 8.30am and 7.00pm to 9.00pm, again by registered nurses.Find out more here
What happens at weekends?
Saturday morning lessons are followed by a full sporting programme. All School facilities are open at the weekend and are supplemented by a variety of trips and activities. The Lower School boarders have a full programme on a Sunday, but all boarding pupils are free to go home if they so wish.
How does the School communicate with parents?
Contact is regular and thorough via grades, reports, receptions, bulletins and parents' meetings at the School. The website, and password protected Intranet give parents immediate online access to all sorts of essential information including notices, letters, pupil's reports and grades. A quick email or telephone call is usually enough to resolve a problem or to answer a query. Primary contact with parents is via the pupil's designated House Tutor or Housemaster or Housemistress.
Why is Dauntsey's co-educational?
Living and learning in a fully co-educational environment, especially from a young age, allows boys and girls to develop friendships based on mutual respect and trust. Dauntsey's was one of the first independent schools in the UK to go fully co-educational, in 1976, and the ratio of boys to girls is almost exactly 50:50. There are five boarding houses and seven day houses. In the Lower School (pupils aged 11-13), the Houses are co-educational; in the Upper School (aged 14-18), they are single sex.
What sports are offered?
The major sports for girls are hockey, netball, athletics and tennis; boys play rugby, hockey, cricket, athletics and tennis. There are teams at all levels and for differing abilities. A wide range of other opportunities are provided in such sports as riding, football, basketball, badminton, swimming, judo, fencing, archery, trampolining, rifle shooting, squash, aerobics, yoga and water polo.
Find out more here
How does the School provide physical challenge and adventure?
Adventure is a real strength of a Dauntsey's education - we encourage everyone to sense of adventure and try something new and the School provides a wide variety of adventurous pursuits.
All pupils in the Third Form undertake a programme of adventurous training (called Moonrakers) as part of the curriculum. This culminates in a week's residential outward bound course in Wales. Thereafter they can choose from other opportunities such as ocean sailing on Jolie Brise, the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Scheme, the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race, the Brecons Challenge and Triathlon training.Find out more here
What opportunities are there for pupils to develop leadership skills?
At all ages pupils act as buddies and mentors and are asked to help new pupils settle into the School. Within houses and sports teams, and in other activities such as Young Enterprise and our new Leadership, Sports and Adventure (LSA) course pupils are encouraged to take on a variety of different responsibilities. All Lower Sixth pupils help run the Lower School Houses on a rota basis: one week is spent in a day house, the second week living with the Lower School boarders at the Manor. Around thirty Upper Sixth pupils are invited to be school prefects.
What are the opportunities for Drama?
Drama is a major strength of the School and the School has become well known for the high standard of its productions, all of which are open to the public. Recent showcases include; legally Blonde, Les Miserables, Billy Elliot, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, Lord of the Flies, Into the Woods, Mamma Mia and Jesus Christ Superstar.
"When it comes to drama Dauntsey’s is unique, not only for the range and quality of our performing arts but also because we keep standard so high while offering opportunities to all pupils, not only those with the talent and ambition to pursue a career in this most competitive of fields. ” — Rikki Jackson, Director of DramaFind out more here
What are the opportunities for Dance?
We have a pioneering approach that proves that dance is for every pupil, from the hesitant to the elite. Dance is in the curriculum for all pupils in the First, Second and Third Forms. There is an Annual Dance Show, which usually involves over 200 pupils. Currently, dance clubs include jazz, cheerleading, GNI (Girls Not Invited), contemporary and tap and we do run ballet classes if enough pupils are interested. Find out more here
What are the opportunities for Music?
Music is an important and popular aspect of the School. As well as being a taught subject, over 500 individual music lessons take place each week. There are usually over 70 concerts each year: these range from informal evenings of chamber music to rock band extravaganzas, as well as more formal choral and orchestral concerts and major performances such as Verdi's Requiem. Find out more here
What sort of Clubs and Societies are on offer?
Dauntsey's prides itself on the huge range of Clubs and Societies that exist to provide enrichment and breadth to the academic curriculum. There are over 80 extra-curricular, academic, sports and music clubs on offer. From Mountaineering to Mandarin, Fly-fishing to Fencing and Potions to Pottery, there is something to stimulate the interest of every pupil. All clubs are run by enthusiastic members of staff and many of these clubs have been started at the direct request of pupils.Find out more here
You say you are a day and a boarding school - how do the two integrate?
Dauntsey's has a thriving boarding community, which makes up some 50% of pupil numbers in the Upper School (approximately 40% before the boarding intake at Third Form). The pastoral system is structured into day or boarding houses and regular inter-house competitions, sporting or otherwise, foster a healthy but friendly rivalry. In all other aspects of school life, the boarders and day pupils are fully integrated. Boarders invariably make friends with local pupils, and equally day pupils benefit from the many events and opportunities on offer beyond the School day.
Do you offer flexi-boarding?
No. We provide a strong, cohesive home environment for our boarding pupils which would be weakened if a number of pupils were allowed to join on a bed and breakfast basis. That said, boarders are allowed to go home or stay with friends at the weekend, with parental permission. They may also invite day pupils into the common rooms in their house during the daytime and at weekends. Junior boarders at the Manor may invite their day pupil friends for occasional Friday night sleepovers.
Are there many overseas pupils, and how do they integrate?
A number of our boarding students, (around ten per cent of the total pupil cohort) come from overseas, and they bring a richness and diversity to the Dauntsey's community, which is proud of its multi-cultural links. Our international students come from all corners of the world, including Hong Kong, Nigeria, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine and even Bhutan. The overseas pupils are fully integrated into all aspects of life at Dauntsey's and they often comment on how easy they find it to settle into the School. The International Society supports the overseas pupils by organising social trips and events, and these are often open to non-overseas pupils too.
What are the recent building developments?
Our state-of-the-art Pavilion has been in use since January 2016 providing a light, open social space for 200, sheltered spectator terraces overlooking our extensive sports grounds and superb new changing facilities. Environmentally friendly, the Pavilion has already been nominated for the best Educational Building in the Southwest of England and has been in much demand for lectures, careers seminars, house dinners and of course match teas!
Our new academic building opened its doors in June 2016, and provides brand new classrooms for our Maths, Geography and Business Studies departments. We have converted the temporary classrooms in our Sports Centre into an all purpose Dance Studio which hosts our numerous dance lessons and clubs.
Are there exeats?
In addition to the normal half term holidays, there are two exeats in the Autumn term and one each in the Spring and Summer terms.
What is the food like?
The food is excellent and there is a wide choice at every meal including vegetarian options and a salad bar. Pupils are consulted frequently to ensure that their views are heard. The following is taken from the full Integrated Inspection Report 2012 -
"The new servery in the dining hall helps to create a pleasant environment in which to eat. The salad bar is extremely popular and complements the wide choice of main meals available to boarders. Food is plentiful, nutritious and well-cooked, and those with special dietary requirements are well catered for. A number of themed menus enhance the dining experience and promotes cultural appreciation."
Will there be any extras on the bill?
The published fees are all-inclusive, and items such as stationery and textbooks are included. School transport, public examination fees and individual lessons, such as those offered in Music, are charged as extras. Nearly all clubs and societies are offered free of charge.
How does the School integrate with the local community?
Very well indeed. Dauntsey's is proud of its strong links within both the local and wider community and fosters such relationships through a number of enterprising programmes, including weekly Sports Coaching in ten local primary schools, Voluntary Service and Charitable Giving. Nearly all of the excellent lectures and school productions are open to the wider community, as are some of the School's facilities, when not in use by our pupils.