Skip to main content

What says..

 Choice is impressive with over 30 A level subjects including BTec equivalents in travel & tourism, digital production and sport, which have impressive results. Squash is truly exceptional, with boys' and girls' teams winning national events, and the school has an internationally-renowned programme that pupils from across the world come to join as boarders, producing recent British and European champions. The school has been fully co-educational for more than 30 years and it feels absolutely right. The happy purposefulness of the place is most evident in the exceptionally user-friendly library, full of pupils working quietly and calmly...

 

Read review »

What the school says...

Wycliffe is a thriving day, boarding and flexi-boarding school, set conveniently close to the M5 within the heart of the Cotswolds. The school also has excellent links to London both by road and rail, and is close to the amenities offered in Cheltenham, Bristol and Bath, making Wycliffe an ideal destination for students who want all the advantages of a contemporary environment in a beautiful rural location. Turning potential into achievement Wycliffe aims to educate pupils to become confident and capable of dealing with the challenges that lie ahead in a fast-changing world; pupils will achieve their academic potential in a happy and caring environment and will also contribute to sport, music, art and drama, as well as many other activities on offer. Specialist teachers ensure outstanding teaching delivery across the curriculum, and a wide variety of co-curricular activities enables the school to offer a fully rounded education designed to develop confidence and self-esteem. ...Read more

What the parents say...

Great insight into our daughter. Lots of patience and understanding. Also diverse mix of students with some ethnic minorities which was important to us. Will be returning for A Levels.

Commented on 20th Jan 2018

Read comments

Please login to post a comment.

2015 Good Schools Guide Awards

  • Excellent performance by Girls taking Russian at an English Independent School (GCE A level)
  • Excellent performance by Girls taking German at an English Independent School (GCE AS level)
  • Best performance by Boys taking Russian at an English Independent School (GCE AS level)

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.

Sports

Polo

Equestrian centre or equestrian team - school has own equestrian centre or an equestrian team.

Rowing

Fencing

Shooting

What The Good Schools Guide says

Head

Since 2015, Nick Gregory (40s), previously pastoral deputy head at Mill Hill School in London. He graduated in French and Spanish at Nottingham, then spent eight years at Barclays, including time in Madrid, before teaching modern languages, first at Barnard Castle School, County Durham, then at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood. He then became boarding housemaster at Old Swinford Hospital. He and his wife, Helen, have three sons, two of them at Wycliffe. He believes school needs to be more than a teaching machine, somewhere that gives a lived and valued experience which will lay a foundation for life.

He is ‘nurturing boys’ sport from the bottom up’ to ensure that there are promising signs of success (girls are doing pretty well at present). He aims to support ‘the gifted and talented pupils the school attracts, while maintaining access to all academic levels, and supporting bringing out the best in those with difficulties’. He expressed his approach very simply as enabling his pupils ‘to be good people’. His pastorally orientated philosophy works on the premise that young people learn and are motivated when they are confident secure and feel valued. If the these sound like ‘soft’ skills, he is also determined that the school will be supported by the best in teaching and technology, and have well structured opportunities from tutors, careers advice, business links and university access. Exceptionally accessible and easy to talk to, Mr Gregory is also someone who works fast and gets things done quickly. ‘A force of nature,’ said one parent. He and his family live on the premises, and when he actually gets some time away he likes to spend it giving full time attention to his family life in their house in southern Spain.

Academic matters

Considering that the school has an open access policy with exams only used for purposes of setting or scholarships, GCSE and A level results are usually very respectable. There is no doubt that gifted pupils do really well, with the relatively few high flyers, including those who have been right through the Wycliffe experience and some more recently arrived from abroad, getting straight A*/A grades. However, a disappointing 11 per cent A*/A and 30 per cent A*-B at A level in 2017. Mr Gregory says the long-term aim is least a third of A levels A*/As and two-thirds at B or above. Choice is impressive with over 30 A level subjects including BTec equivalents in travel & tourism, digital production and sport, which have impressive results. Languages (French, Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese) have good take up as does maths, with a consistently sound record, though whilst economics and business studies are also much in demand, As and Bs are thin on the ground.

2017 GCSE results much more encouraging - - despite the national downward trend. Some spectacular results here in maths, further maths, German, Russian and Chinese – the latter possibly accounted for by some native speakers.

Value-added is key to the school’s approach and all the statistics indicate that this is impressive. (It is worth pointing out that value-added is particularly difficult to assess in very high achievers, and pupils and parent satisfaction is probably a much better guide). Masses of help available when needed – with teachers exceptionally ready to go the extra mile with one-to-one and special help. Lots of careful supervision and expert help on subject choice. Study leave is only allowed at A level, and even then those who need guidance with revision are advised to stay in school. Teachers always keen to help even after exams have started. Boarding and day pupils have study space in their houses and the library, which is also a fabulous multimedia resource centre. Very popular, spacious and well planned, with plenty of help on hand; it was very full and had an extremely studious feel on the day of our visit. All this is underpinned by a careful tutorial programme and rigorous tracking of pupil progress which stops pupils slipping through the net. PHSEE provides life and study skills and every year group has courses such as teamwork, problem solving etc, aiming to develop skills as useful in life as they are in academic approach.

Newish labs, biology sporting a fish tank that wows prep school visitors. Classrooms jigsawed into every part of the buildings with plenty of the relevant IT etc, and without exception those we passed looked busy and purposeful.

Extensive remedial and special needs programme with lively, sensitive and fully qualified teachers who help and support. Pupils are automatically assessed on entry to the school, as much to identify gifted and talented as those with learning difficulties. Wycliffe has received accreditation and plaudits from both CResTeD (for SEN) and NAGC (for specially talented), which endorses the quality of teachers' work with pupils. Emphasis is on differentiated teaching as well as individual help. EAL support is on hand.

The ‘development year’ is a pre-A level course designed to give pupils from abroad both basic English and some GCSEs or equivalent on which to ground A level study. Some 30 or so pupils each year from all over the world benefit from this, with 15-20 staying on into the sixth form and contributing a range of sporting and other skills. Mr Gregory, parents agree, has certainly ‘turned up the gas’ a bit on the academic side but not, they also agree, at the expense of Wycliffe’s happy and supportive community feel.

Games, options, the arts

Sport is a vital aspect at Wycliffe and a number of parents cite it as their deciding factor in choosing the school. Facilities are excellent, with smashing new Astroturf and smart multipurpose sports hall (full of aspiring small cricketers avoiding the rain on our visit) with professional standard squash courts, fitness gym and viewing areas. The pool is on the prep site. Massive pitches and lawns surround the school. Teams in hockey, netball, rugby and tennis reach county level at least on a regular basis, while individuals perform at national level in a huge range of sports including rowing, biathlon and an abundance of all branches of athletics. Girls’ teams have acquitted themselves particularly well recently, with recent district and county successes at netball, hockey, rounders and tennis. Squash is truly exceptional, with boys' and girls' teams winning national events, and the school has an internationally-renowned programme that pupils from across the world come to join as boarders, producing recent British and European champions.

Choral singing - with a 75-strong chapel choir and the upmarket Vox chamber choir for the real elite – is the heart of performance music, but a vast swathe learn instruments with a few getting to grade 8, and National Youth Orchestra or Choir standard. No full orchestra, but lots of thriving ensembles and an emphasis on music technology. Several take A levels in music and music technology each year, with some progressing to uni on the technology side. Fantastic support and inspiration from the two exciting musicians who head the department.

Strong drama boasts established theatre studies and emerging film studies, with pupils carrying both of these on to post-school study and ambitious school productions. The Sibly Theatre, named for the founder, now looks a little dated, so not quite as slick as the junior theatre, but bigger and very well equipped with studio spaces behind the stage.

Art inhabits its own building with a chaotic barn-like upper art room and pottery, classrooms and other media below producing some striking work, which reflects the team of professional artists. Sadly we missed the A level work, which had been packed up for dispatch, but there was some exciting painting and in most years the results are A* studded.

Not surprisingly for a school offering a whole life experience, the range of co-curricular activities is wide and diverse. Up to GCSE pupils have to opt into two activities weekly. Since the alphabet of activities starts with astrology, beekeeping and cryptology, continuing in the same vein, this is no hardship. Opportunities to take up fencing or yoga, the staples of CCF and Duke of Edinburgh, and academic extensions such as robotics, studying newts or serious debate are an integral part of what Wycliffe is about, and a chance for every pupil to excel – and they do.

Beyond this there is serious programme of exchanges, visits and expeditions: cricket to Barbados, squash to Canada, hockey and netball to Sri Lanka. Language visits include Japan and there are careers and education trips to theatres and museums etc, and year 12 is launching a charitable project in Costa Rica.

Boarders

Having pupils from all over the world, plus Brits who live some distance away, means there is a solid core in school at weekends. Some locals choose to stay as there seems to be a thriving social scene, so boarding really is a good bet for Forces families or expats.

Boarding houses with full and flexi boarders plus attached day pupils form the core of the social life. The system is a real mixture with a designated sixth form house but some sixth formers in the main school houses, and a day pupils’ house, as well as some day pupils in the main boarding houses. Loosley (named after the third and most illustrious Wycliffe head) houses the sixth form - both boys and girls - with spacious common rooms, small kitchens and laundry areas for washing casual clothes and a campus feel for milling about. Sixth formers in mixed age houses can drop in on Loosley. The mixed day house, with generously broad corridors, brightly painted studies and common rooms with balconies overlooking the green sward, is clearly much appreciated.

Rooms (for two to four and the odd single for prefects or heads of houses) are fairly basic and include work space. Most boarding accommodation is utilitarian rather than palatial, though some houses are being upgraded in a multi-million pound project - new boarding house has all ensuite rooms and a sauna. Pupils with study periods can use their rooms – so the houses are certainly not unnaturally tidy. Plenty of loos and private showers, with a bath available in each house. Houses looked after by friendly and very approachable non-teaching staff, who seem to be available throughout the day as well as in the evenings, plus a teaching houseparent in charge of each house.

Sixth form boarders are allowed a pint or glass of wine at weekends and the occasional early evening visit to the pub in the neighbouring Cotswold town of Stonehouse, which despite its quiet atmosphere is conveniently on the main line from Paddington.

Background and atmosphere

The parkland feel of the huge grassy campus is created by wide, well-maintained pitches (cricket/rugby and some Astroturf) sited amid trees and well-kept garden. A succession of buildings, some inspired and some less, has divided the whole into a series of campus ‘rooms’, each with its lawns and distinctive buildings, ranging from the elegant Georgian Haywardsend House, though the bizarre exterior of the Sibly Theatre (really good facility inside) and the workmanlike labs to the inspired modern wood and glass of the huge curved dining area, serving delicious food with a tantalising variety. Sunday brunches 'are to die for'. The last looks out on a massive expanse of new, green Astro used for hockey etc in the winter and tennis in summer. It is spectacularly edged in dark purple, which echoes the head’s penchant for this colour - which, conveniently, is the school colour, emphasized by the pale mauve of the large Wycliffe sign boards and, more attractively, by the wisteria which swarms over several of the buildings.

Founded by the Sibly family in 1882 and named for the pioneering Christian spirit of John Wycliffe, the school now goes out of its way to make this spirit accessible to all denominations and races. Pupils and parents set immense store by the Wycliffe ethos, friendly, nurturing and pupil centred. A sixth former commented favourably on Mr Gregory’s evident efforts to know the school history. A busy campus with friendly staff and well-mannered but unaffected pupils strolling purposefully around. Inside and out there is seating dotted around inviting conversation with a sense of reasonable privacy. The school has been fully co-educational for more than 30 years and it feels absolutely right. The happy purposefulness of the place is most evident in the exceptionally user-friendly library, full of pupils working quietly and calmly (it was almost exam time) with help on hand. It is designed to divide into areas for quiet study, computer research, reading and even discussion and is clearly a real centre of academic life.

Pastoral care, well-being and discipline

The house system is the pastoral structure for both boarders and day pupils. The houseparent, matron, house staff and a team of house tutors are supported by prefects and responsible sixth formers, who provide the essential links between staff and pupils. Both pupils and staff give the impression that the relationship between them is free and easy. Students say there is little or no bullying, certainly nothing serious. ‘It’s just not what we do and absolutely not tolerated’. One parent reported that he was informed of a minor incident which his son had not mentioned because ‘it was not a real problem’. It had clearly been nipped in the bud before it became serious. Communications are excellent and parents who want frequent updates are well satisfied. Pupils from abroad seem to mix in well – a table of very all-inclusive chatterers in the dining room proved on our enquiries to consist of a real mix of recent and new pupils, from both the locality and as far away as Latvia and the Ukraine. Awkward moments, like the transition from prep school, are extremely well handled, according to parents.

All faiths catered for and the chaplain is very open and inclusive. Pupils evidently felt real affection for the beautiful chapel, and recounted its history with pride: rebuilt post war by pupils and staff incorporating wood from a pier on the Isle of Wight and stone from a bombed church.

All is underpinned by clear procedures and regulations. Support runs deep in the community, typified by the head, who after just under a year was able to give minute details of every pupil we met.

Houses do lots of social, competitive and charitable events, which give creative opportunities involving everyone in mixed age groups in cultural and aesthetic activities: singing, drama, film quizzes etc. Usual structure of prefects etc clearly relishing their responsibilities.

Pupils and parents

Plenty of army families but also lots of locals as well as a high proportion from abroad (30 per cent, which means about 60 per cent of boarders): Europe, ex-USSR countries and the Far East. The chair of the PA says parents who want to take a large part in their offsprings’ education are given real support, but those with a less hands on approach seem equally satisfied. Head finds pupils refreshingly unaffected in comparison with the London set. Parents here are exceptionally supportive of each other, and those from further away say they get invitations to stay and offers to entertain their offspring.

Entrance

The majority of pupils joining in year 9 come from the school's own prep school, though recently increasing numbers come from other prep schools as well. Entrants sit exams but only for setting purposes. The school really prides itself on value added, which is one of its key aims, and only turns down those with learning difficulties too severe to be managed well at Wycliffe. Entry into the sixth form usually requires at least five GCSEs at grade C/5 or above, but they do consider, more carefully than many, the question of potential, and the variety of academic pathways post-16 allows pretty much anyone to be accommodated appropriately.

Exit

Just over one-third leave post-GCSEs to vocational courses and sixth form colleges. Over 97 per cent of the sixth form go on to university with a few Oxbridge places on occasion (one in 2018). Royal Holloway and Manchester popular destinations recently. A number apply successfully to USA and other unis all over the world, and when the specialist adviser on US places moved on, the replacement was expert in international university entrance. Some art foundation courses and drama school, otherwise business-related careers very popular, as are law and digital/creative courses.

Money matters

In terms of endowments, the school is not particularly wealthy, though it stresses that it is ‘strong financially.’ Scholarships are available at 13 and 16 for academic excellence, art, music, DT, ICT, drama and sport (10-20 per cent). This seems to be a particular draw in sixth form and there are a few pupils with exceptional circumstances who get pretty full financial support from the school, dependent on school reports and financial circumstances.

Our view

A school which offers a way of life as much as an education. That the Wycliffe experience clearly breeds the confidence and openness is evident in its pupils. Definitely hotting up academically under the new head, but still faithful to its broad academic ability range. If success increases demand, will it be able to maintain an open admission policy? At present it is doing a remarkable job of being ‘all thing to all men’ – and women. A real gem of a school.

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

Wycliffe College is a CReSTeD accredited school (category DU), with a highly regarded Learning Support Department, delivering specialist support to dyslexic and dyspraxic students on an individual or small group basis. The Learning Support Department is located at the heart of the College's Advanced Learning Centre, with a suite of four rooms for individual and group tuition. The Department is well resourced, with a wide range of teaching materials and textbooks, as well as networked ICT facilities and specialist software. SEN at Wycliffe is very much a whole school issue. Our experience shows that students with dyslexia can and will achieve, if taught according to their learning preferences and strengths. The Learning Support Department aims to enable students to develop their skills to a secure level in order to emerge as confident, independent learners with a high sense of self-worth. To ensure this, we have set in place clear procedures to identify students with SpLDs - including dyslexia - at the earliest possible stage in their education, and to distribute detailed information and advice which informs all teaching of these pupils. Whilst some students need additional learning support within the department, others achieve with differentiation within the classroom. Close and continuous monitoring ensures that their needs are met. Staff are very aware of the needs of dyslexic pupils and are responsive to SEN advice. Staff consult the SEN Department very frequently, to ensure the students’ needs are met. Good use is made of SEN information in the planning of the curriculum, which has been adapted specifically to meet the needs of SEN pupils, for example in science, English and modern languages. Departmental Schemes of Work all include a Differentiation Policy. Although our main provision is for students with mild to moderate dyslexia and mild dyspraxia, we have supported children with mild Asperger's syndrome and one partially paralysed student. We have also provided for students with mild tic syndromes and epilepsy. Our SEN admission policy is to consider the needs of each child on an individual basis, and following this, determine whether the College can meet that child's needs, without prejudice to the needs of others.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia Y
Dyscalculia
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia
Dyspraxia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
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

  Zoopla sale properties   Zoopla rent properties   Hide Zoopla markers

Powered by Zoopla

Who came from where


Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
 Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
 Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
 Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

The Good Schools Guide subscription

GSG Blog >    In the news >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

Tired of London schools? There’s plenty of life elsewhere…

 
 

For a limited time get one month's Good Schools Guide subscription free with any purchase of The Good Schools Guide to Boarding Schools.