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What says..

School stands on extensive grounds on a hilly plot with the various buildings dotted around, giving a campus atmosphere. Friday afternoon is time tabled for the Seckford Scheme, an extraordinary range of non-academic activities in which the whole school (staff included) joins. All interests and tastes are encouraged: eg sailing, MUN, chess (school has its own Grand Master), and CCF is a top draw for many. Pupils drawn largely from professional East Anglian families, many with a media background (Aldeburgh, BT close by). A fleet of buses brings pupils from as far afield as Norfolk and Essex [new routes]...

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What the school says...

The School is a caring and nurturing school, with a real sense of warmth and community. Woodbridge focuses on providing an education in which academic results are highly important, but ultimately can only be achieved by innovative approaches to teaching and learning, excellent extra-curricular provision, outstanding pastoral care, and a particular emphasis on the personal development of its pupils.

The central aim of a Woodbridge education is to help equip our students with the qualifications, personal attributes and characteristics that they will need to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
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What the parents say...

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2015 Good Schools Guide Awards

  • Best performance by Girls taking Japanese at an English Independent School (GCE A level)

2016 Good Schools Guide Awards

  • Best performance by Girls taking Speech & Drama at an English Independent School (Grade 6 Drama Music Lit Speech)

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

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

Fencing

Shooting

Sailing

What The Good Schools Guide says

Headmaster

Since September 2018, Dr Richard Robson, formerly head of St Bede’s College in Manchester. Degree in drama and theatre studies before taking a PGCE and an MA in English; he worked as a professional actor and musician before turning to teaching. He has completed a doctorate in marketing in the independent school sector. He was previously deputy head of St Joseph's College in Reading. He is married to Emma and they have two children.

Academic matters

Despite a keen eye for results, the school is not enamoured with league tables believing, as do many, that too much of a focus on the school’s overall performance can lead to individual pupil’s needs being ignored. Academically the right buttons are being pressed, with 40 per cent A*/A and 69 per cent A*-B at A level in 2017, 57 per cent 9-7 at GCSE. The arts, maths, sciences and languages perform particularly well. Though less eye-catching, the middle range ability pupils’ results reflect their solid achievement and success. Pupils are banded from year 7 and setted in certain subjects eg maths. Classes around 20. Everyone takes French in year 7, adding Latin and Spanish or Mandarin in year 8; at least one modern language to GCSE, with Mandarin and Japanese optional extras and classics including Greek available at GCSE and in the sixth form. Around 60 pupils have mild learning difficulties; several full-time teachers offer support individually and in groups. The emphasis is on keeping pupils fully integrated into the mainstream classes. Strong EAL provision for overseas pupils. This is a school that works for all abilities.

Games, options, the arts

Impressive pitches and courts with the sports hall housed in the Eden Project-style Dome, which provides room for several classes at a time. Sport is for all and everyone has the opportunity to play competitively in the school teams, often trouncing the opposition. The Elite Sports programme is devised to encourage the most talented pupils, many of whom catch the selector’s eye at county and international levels. Swimming is for the hardy in an outdoor pool. Friday afternoon is time tabled for the Seckford Scheme, an extraordinary range of non-academic activities in which the whole school (staff included) joins. All interests and tastes are encouraged: eg sailing, cookery, chess (school has its own Grand Master), and CCF is a top draw for many. D of E is also popular.

Music regarded as mainstream – no 'sporty' or 'aesthete' labels and half the school learns one or more instruments. It is 'cool to sing'. School has a close association with Aldeburgh and Snape with masterclasses, courses and recitals taking place regularly. Proliferation of choirs, ensembles, orchestras and bands. Drama also wildly popular with eight plays and shows performed annually in the impressive Seckford Theatre. Dance is increasingly popular. The school’s international programme provides visits and exchanges throughout Europe, India, Australia, S Africa, China and Oman. Pupils spend periods of up to 10 weeks at linked schools.

Boarders

Although some are from the UK, boarders are mostly from overseas - from 14 different countries including Spain, Russia, Germany, Nigeria, Turkey, Thailand, China and Hong Kong. They are fully integrated into the school, and as there are only 62 of them they have a close relationship with the boarding houseparents. They are free to visit the town after school and at weekends; some weekend excursions further afield organised to eg London or Cambridge, plus parties, paintballing etc. Help with language issues available.

Background and atmosphere

Founded in the 17th century, the school is part of the Seckford Foundation and has occupied its present site in the town since the 19th century. It has been fully co-educational for 40 years. School stands on extensive grounds on a hilly plot with the various buildings dotted around, giving a campus atmosphere. The immediate approach to the school passes the slightly unprepossessing boarding house. However, the school buildings are a mix of styles from the Victorian to the contemporary, including the recently-built Seckford Theatre and sixth form centre. Atmosphere in classes, library and areas for independent working is palpably studious. Time-wasting is frowned on and most pupils spin from lessons to sport to activities non stop. One mother commented, ‘Pupils can have a crack at everything going - there is a niche for everyone’. Pupils themselves are friendly and polite; teachers, if anything, even more so. Unstuffy relations all round, and the staff give praiseworthy loyal service.

Pastoral care, well-being and discipline

Enthusiastic endorsement by parents for vertical tutoring system, which operates from year 10 to 13. Younger pupils have the benefit of knowing older pupils well, and it provides leadership opportunities for sixth formers; ‘most pupils know whom they would go to’. Few discipline problems.

Communication with parents is taken very seriously. As well as the usual parents’ consultations, staff are available on a day-to-day basis via telephone or email. This care of the children is at the heart of such a happy school.

Pupils and parents

Pupils drawn largely from professional East Anglian families, many with a media background (Aldeburgh, BT close by). A fleet of buses brings pupils from as far afield as Norfolk, Felixstowe and Colchester. The school is very popular in the town and many parents have moved out from London to take advantage. Foreign students from a range of 14 different countries are encouraged to come for long or short periods, partly to ginger up what would otherwise be a very English school.

Entrance

Common entrance or test, together with a report from present school, and interview at 11 or 13. Two-thirds of intake at 11 transfer from The Abbey prep, the rest from local state and private schools. About three-quarters of those tested are accepted. Entry to the sixth form is based on an interview and GCSE predicted grades.

Exit

Few leave after GCSEs. Great majority leave sixth form for university; Edinburgh, York, Newcastle, Oxford Brookes and Reading currently popular, as are sciences, modern languages, English and business/finance courses.

Money matters

Academic scholarships worth up to 50 per cent of fees can be topped-up with means-tested bursaries. Music, sport, all round and art scholarships are also available. Some sibling reductions.

Our view

A good all-round 'country school in the town'. Lively, and although selective, would suit quite a wide ability range. Exceptional extracurricular provision for what is, largely, a day 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.

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Special Education Needs

Pupils who have specific learning difficulties are given support both inside and outside lessons by qualified and experienced learning support teachers.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
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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