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What says..

These are not privileged princesses who think the world owes them. They are self-disciplined young women who have learnt in school that you can make a difference and live happily together. Its increasing success draws in star teachers and bright girls, so it’s all on an upward trajectory. With lots of living accommodation on site, the job becomes a lifestyle choice for teachers as well as families. The English department boasts a writer, the art department has… 

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What the school says...

Moreton takes girls and boys from 3, boys leave at 11. Combining excellent academic results with an equal focus on developing the individual, Moreton Hall offers girls an outstanding opportunity to flourish in a friendly, caring environment. The school is set in 100 acres of parkland with a new all weather surface, golf course, new indoor pool and new sixth form boarding house with en-suite accommodation.

Extensive opportunitites in music, drama, D of E, sport, art, Moreton Enterprises (businesses run by the girls), community work. Outstanding careers advice in house.
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What the parents say...

Our 3 daughters attended this fine school over 17 years. They fully embraced all aspects of school life. Supported brilliantly through the very few wobbles any of them had. Academic achievements have been outstanding but they were all 3 emerged in so many other fields - 5 or 6 sports, drama, music, D of E, but most of all they came away with so many lifetime friendships. With Mr And Mrs Forster, the many teachers and house mistresses and other support staff. But also with dozens of their peers and comtempories a lot of who have gravitated to London to work thereby making their working careers there less daunting. Friends for life, picking up where they left off even with those they lose touch with in all parts of the Globe. We feel very lucky to have experienced the 'people' quality of this school as well as achieving balance of all roundedness and great respect&compassion for others. Total Score : 97.3% ! BIG THANKS to them , RW-S

Commented on 28th Nov 2017

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Other features

All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.

International Study Centre - school has a linked, international study centre for overseas students wishing to improve their English.

What The Good Schools Guide says

Principal

Since 1992, Jonathan Forster BA PGCE (50s) who still ‘just loves every day at Moreton Hall’. His daughters have been through the school and he and his wife, who’s heavily involved in school life, can testify as parents to what a wonderful place it is bring up children. Jonathan - who has a degree from Leeds and was previously housemaster and English teacher at Strathallan - rescued the school from imminent closure, and he has continued to drive it at a pace that speaks of a life-long mission and endless creative energy. He is always ahead of the game, ensuring the school leads not follows market demands. He has kept true to the liberal educational vision of its founders and provided that liberalism with a modern twist, to give Moreton Hall girls the edge when they enter the adult world of work. Jonathan says he has been empowered by the environment, and it must be mutual, because his entrepreneurial spirit, his thinking outside the box, shows in the girls and in the whole ethos of the place. He has done remarkable things and when he eventually does leave, it will take someone very special to take his place. Indeed, retiring in July 2019.

Academic matters

Academic results are strong, with an improvement at A level to 53 per cent A*/A grades; GCSE 50 per cent A*-A/9-7, and the value-added scores at both GCSE and A level are usually huge. Its increasing success draws in star teachers and bright girls, so it’s mostly on an upward trajectory. With lots of living accommodation on site, the job becomes a lifestyle choice for teachers as well as families. There is no deadening insistence on the latest Department for Education pedagogy here. The principal is far more interested in bringing in people who have done things – the English department boasts a writer, the art department has practising artists and the girls told us that their chemistry teacher had been testing perfumes before joining Moreton Hall. There is a strong science drive in the school (innovative science centre includes medical science facility - the first for any UK school) and well over half are taking at least one science A level. Close links to Keele University and the orthopaedic hospital at nearby Gobowen.

Though edging up all the time, the ability is quite wide on entry, which makes the results particularly encouraging. It’s down to excellent teachers as well as small class sizes. The girls describe their teachers as ‘passionate and enthusiastic’ and are very aware that they are there literally all the time. ‘They give you as much extra as you need,’ said one sixth former who told us that when she was working late on a piece of work, she had emailed her teacher with a query at 11pm and had a reply that night.

There is no extra charge for learning support, whether it is Oxbridge preparation or getting through GCSE maths. Teachers are there for the girls whatever their needs – no sense of children having to fit into rigid school systems here. One parent commented on the flexibility the school offered in terms of curriculum – girls can study more or less any combination of subjects they want at GCSE and A level.

Games, options, the arts

It’s in this side of school life where its radical and constantly progressing nature really shines. In sport it embraces that most traditional of girls' sports, lacrosse, where the Moreton Hall teams win everything this side of London and a fair bit nationally as well, but there are masses of other successes and opportunities with the fabulous sports facilities on site – a nine hole golf course and grounds that mean cross-country really is cross country. Cricket popular summer sport - now has indoor nets. Elite sports scholarship programme gives access to top quality coaching.

Lots of music goes on, classical and popular, with girls performing regularly to both large and small audiences. Drama is hugely popular and professional. ‘Musical theatre can consume everything’, said one non-thespian parent, worrying about exam results, but the girls are queuing up to take part.

All this is nothing like enough for Moreton Hall. The school is strong on connections and is extraordinarily well linked with a network of influential men and women whom Jonathan brings into the school for inspirational talks. Outside London this is not easy, and you would never guess this school was in the depth of gorgeous Shropshire. Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnett, world famous astrophysicist, had just been when we visited, and strong links with Keele University produce a steady flow of high-powered visitors. These not only enhance academic lessons but often come to speak at one of the many societies to which parents also drop in. There is wine-tasting, a feminist society, a medical science group, share dealing and so it goes on, reflecting the scope of opportunities for young women in the 21st century world.

All the girls get involved in the English Speaking Board to enhance confidence, presentation skills and the ability to think on their feet. One parent said, ‘Everyone gets a 2.1 from Bristol or wherever these days, but Jonathan Forster really understands that the girls will need a lot more than that – he is giving them the life skills to succeed.’

Moreton Enterprises is part of this – a unique business venture consisting of a shopping mall run entirely by the girls. There is a branch of Ryman’s stationery, Barclays Bank and home grown shops. The girls have business mentors, but basically the lower sixth operates as a small business turning over £50,000 a year. It is seriously impressive. Moreton Connect aims to create a network of OM and parent contacts for careers advice and work experience opportunities.

Boarders

About 90 per cent are boarders, and there is Saturday morning school, but apart from that, it is pretty flexible. One parent felt that girls new to boarding could be unsettled by friends coming and going, but we didn’t find any girls who worried about this. The school wants girls to love boarding there and they do, partly because of the very special staff and partly because there is so much going on. ‘It’s like a long sleep-over but with loads to do as well,’ said an enamoured 13 year old who had started as a day girl and then converted to boarding after a few taster nights.

We asked the sixth formers whether they felt a long way from all the city lights and boys, but were assured they saw quite as much as they wanted to of Shrewsbury School boys and often stayed Saturday night with friends in Manchester or Birmingham if they could fit it in between rehearsals, choir, talks. ‘But it is just so lovely to come back,' they said with heartfelt sincerity.

Senior boarding accommodation is single or double (very popular in holidays with overseas adults as well as children), adding to the home from home feel. Junior girls and boys, often boarding one or two nights a week, have their own cheerful dormitories.

Background and atmosphere

As you would expect from girls who run a business at the age of 16, they are confident and at ease with themselves. They work and play hard, but there is something in the rural Shropshire surroundings (the school is set in 100 acres of parkland) that takes any unattractive edge off the ambition and drive. We felt that every girl in England should have at least a term in this environment.

The school was started by women educationalists 100 years ago, and Jonathan holds firm to their liberal view of education. He has used the school’s centenary year to ensure the girls know about the strong female role models in the school’s past. ‘It was never meant to be like other schools,’ he tells us. ‘The Lloyd Williams family wanted a school where girls could enjoy the country and experience a rounded education that would set them up for life and all the different people they would meet’.

The very English country landscape and original school building, a moated Tudor house with the current façade dating from William and Mary, are balanced by new state-of-the-art purpose built areas. There is a stunning new science block, planned in a collaboration with Keele University and local state schools. The facilities are used by the university to run science taster session for local students with a particular emphasis on medical careers. The library is both welcoming and very modern. One girl talked about working in the library before her GCSEs and being able to take her kettle, mug and biscuits in there for a real go at her revision – good for the librarian.

Pastoral care, well-being and discipline

The principal wants the girls to love Moreton Hall as they would love their home, and to care for the school and each other in the same way. From what we saw, they do. There was a genuine warmth between the older and younger girls and a sincere appreciation for their surroundings and the attention they receive from teachers and boarding staff. Given the entrepreneurial energy about the place, the girls are amazingly relaxed. One member of staff said, ‘They have time and space here so you don’t get a frenetic atmosphere building up where no one has room for anyone except themselves’. These are not privileged princesses who think the world owes them. They are self-disciplined young women who have learnt in school that you can make a difference and live happily together. The centenary pageant included everyone who is a part of the school – not just teachers and girls. It’s an inclusive place. Discipline was not a word we heard mentioned, and for a school that can happily host tribute bands in the outdoor amphitheatre on the last night of the summer term without a qualm – who needs lots of rules and punishment?

Pupils and parents

Some 80 per cent of the boarders are from the UK, a deliberate policy, and about 90 per cent of those girls are from within one to two hours travel. The school caters for business, diplomatic and professional families where often both parents are working and see the boarding option as a lifestyle choice, with the girls having endless activities and friends on tap. Communication, both formal and informal, works very effectively. Overseas parents tell us the school makes brilliant use of modern technology and emails are responded to very quickly by both the head and staff. Parents are supportive both in terms of social events and also by acting as mentors for the business enterprises. They can drop in to more or less any event going on, and the division between home and school seems very fluid compared with many schools. One parent said, ‘There are very traditional families who find it all rather liberal, but the principal soon shows them it works’. The principal and staff are well known for their assiduous attendance at school events and their detailed knowledge of the girls and their families.

Alumni include Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor of The Economist, Thea Musgrave, composer and musician, and Dame Linda Dobbs, high court judge.

There is a separate study centre for overseas students and multi-activity holidays for children and their parents.

Entrance

Many of 11+ entrants from co-ed junior school, Moreton First. Then further entry points at 13 and 16 into the sixth form. Number from overseas capped at 10 per cent. Test, interview and school report to determine entry. Oversubscribed at various points, particularly in sixth form. Once girls are there, the school sticks with them and very few leave – including hardly any year 11 leavers (some 10 per cent).

Exit

Up to a quarter leave after GCSEs. Almost all sixth form leavers to university. Leeds very popular (including for physics and biology), then Bath, Exeter, Liverpool and Oxford Brookes. In 2017, four to Oxbridge, plus a medic and a vet. Not surprisingly, given their experience in school, a remarkable number of Old Moretonians are running successful businesses.

Money matters

The school has worked hard to increase means-tested bursaries, particularly to allow local girls from state schools to join the sixth form. Everyone pays something, but the aim is to give girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity a chance to experience the high-powered, aspirational world of Moreton Hall.

Our view

It is outside the radar of parents who don’t look beyond the home counties but more fool them - they are the ones missing out here. When asked why he had chosen Moreton Hall for his daughters, one parent looked vaguely bemused and said, ‘Well, why wouldn’t you?’ We agree. This is a school with a difference, rigour in everything but going about it in a way that shows girls they can lead the world in a new way. And they will.

Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

We have a strong SEN department with specialist staff. Please call us for specific details.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Aspergers
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia
Dyspraxia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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