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For most students, the individualised teaching style is very different from anything they have experienced before: ‘My son discovered a deep well of self-motivation,’ says one parent. Overall feel is more opulent home than school – orchids and apricot roses on deep mantelpieces, no bells between lessons, no prize-winner noticeboards and no uniform (unless you count cashmere beanies and big scarves). ‘There are rules,’ says one student, ‘just not silly…

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What the school says...

Founded in 1973, Mander Portman Woodward provides bespoke Fifth and Sixth Form education, offering GCSEs and A levels in over 40 subjects. We welcome students from Year 10 upwards who are seeking a socially relaxed yet academically disciplined college to help them achieve their goals. We are distinctive in many ways, not least in our small classes of no more than eight students and our focus on exam preparation, but also in the outstanding personal support for students through our Director of Studies system. A full team of staff offer specialist university entrance guidance. We have fully equipped media studies, computing and film rooms, plus drama and art studios, a photography darkroom and five science laboratories. Our extra-curricular programme is comprehensive. Among other options, we offer rugby, football, creative writing, street jazz dancing, basketball, gym membership, conversational Italian, instrumental lessons, debating, Duke of Edinburgh, and community service. We also run revision courses over one year, one term and during the Easter holidays. ...Read more

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since September 2023, Dr Sally Powell. English, drama and theatre studies at Royal Holloway, then PhD in Victorian fiction at Oxford University. Spent 22 years at Collingham College, the last 11 as principal. Was chair of CIFE (Conference for Independent Further Education). Poised, polished and a passionate advocate of the tutorial model, Sally Powell believes it is ‘the jewel in the crown of the independent sixth form sector’. ‘Students benefit unreservedly from small classes, a tutorial style of teaching, and individual attention,’ she says. ‘They hear their own voices and grow in maturity. And the micro rules, which up till now may have been the bane of these students’ lives, melt away.’ ‘Our students want to take ownership of their learning, they don’t want parents helicoptering overhead,’ she says knowingly, but she is also...

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Please note: 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

School's description of their SEN provision:

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
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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