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  • West Buckland School
    West Buckland
    EX32 0SX
  • Head: Mr P R Stapleton
  • T 01598 760000
  • E
  • W
  • An independent school for boys and girls aged from 3 to 18.
  • Boarding: Yes
  • Local authority: Devon
  • Pupils: 600; 99 boarders; sixth formers: 118
  • Religion: Christian
  • Fees: Day £7,800 - £14,550; Boarding £23,520 – 29,685 (UK boarders), £25,785 - £32,520 (international boarders)
  • Open days: Open days in May and October. See website for details.
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • ISI report: View the ISI report

What says..

Outdoor learning is the jewel in the school’s crown. Many youngsters do D of E (bronze, silver and gold) while CCF is compulsory for year 9 pupils (optional after that). New head of outdoor learning encourages pupils to challenge themselves. ‘We’ve got enough tents to put 100 people under canvas,’ he told us with a note of pride in his voice. 

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What the school says...

West Buckland School is a co-educational day and boarding school for 3-18 year olds. It was founded in 1858, nine miles from the town of Barnstaple and stands in nearly 100 acres of grounds in beautiful North Devon countryside near the western edge of Exmoor and just ten miles from the coast.

The school currently has over 600 boys and girls aged 3 to 18. Academic standards at the school are high, and for many years West Buckland has been one of the consistently high performing schools in the South West of England at GCSE and A-level. In 2017, 70% of A-levels were passed at A* to B grades whilst at GCSE, 88.1% of English and maths exams were passed at 9 to 5 grades, with 95.2% of the other GCSE subjects passed at A* to C.

The vast majority of sixth formers progress to university and a consistent 50% plus of students take up places at universities in the Russell Group, regarded as some of the best and most highly sought after universities in the UK and indeed the world.

There is considerable emphasis on extracurricular activities at the school with a proud record in boys and girls games, drama, music, the Combined Cadet Force, outdoor education and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

The schools buildings and facilities have developed steadily throughout its history. There is an outstanding sports complex centred around the Jonathan Edwards Sports Centre which opened in 2008. The award-winning 150 Building, a major 5m development which includes the Art and Design Technology Departments and a Theatre, opened in 2010. Autumn 2015 saw the opening of an excellent Sixth Form Boarding house, with 70 en-suite bedrooms and social and work areas, together with the new Michael Morpurgo library and study centre.

Further information about the school may be found on our website.
...Read more

What the parents say...

We have 4 children at West Buckland School and feel moving them to this school has been an excellent decision for all of them. They are busy, happy and flourishing in all curriculum areas. Teaching is adapted to meet children's specific needs and engage and motivate them. Our children have benefited from a wide range of sporting , musical, drama and outdoor education activities and have grown in confidence as well as developing as well rounded young people. We would whole heartedly recommend West Buckland School.

Commented on 28th Apr 2017

We have 4 children at West Buckland School and can honestly say moving our children to West Buckland has been the best decision we have made for our them. They are all extremely happy at school and flourishing academically, in sport, music , art and drama. The nurturing ethos and the drive of all staff to find out what special qualities each child has and develop these, marks West Buckland out as an exceptional school. The school community is welcoming and the grounds and facilities are beautiful.We would recommend West Buckland wholeheartedly to parents who want their children to develop as well rounded, confident individuals.

Commented on 28th Apr 2017

We recently moved to North Devon and discovered this gem of a school. There are no other independent schools worthy of mention in the North Devon area. West Buckland has the right balance of innovation and tradition. Class sizes are small and the education our children are receiving is personalised. The sport (particularly for girls) is of a very high standard and the new buildings have provided the children with a dynamic and creative learning environment. The campus is beautiful and set in the heart of the countryside, so unlike other town based schools, our children are breathing in fresh air daily - what more could you want! And most importantly, our three children moved to this school and were happy from day one.

Commented on 28th Apr 2017

We chose West Buckland for our children as we felt that it offered exactly the right balance of formality and friendliness, which was evident from our very first visit; we just knew that the School “felt right” for us and our children. It was important to us that the School we chose was able to demonstrate academic success, but, much more than that, it needed to be somewhere that our children could thrive, grow, and feel supported at every stage of their school lives; West Buckland has certainly fulfilled (and even exceeded) our expectations. Both of our children have fully embraced all that the School has to offer, academically and in terms of the huge range of extracurricular opportunities. They have enjoyed participating in music, musical theatre and sport, and with the excellent facilities available for Sixth Form Boarding, West Buckland has given them an excellent all-round experience. Importantly for us as parents, we know that they have both been very happy at the School and made some genuine and lasting friendships here. We will be sad to leave West Buckland School behind, but it has certainly given our children the confidence and self-reliance to look forward to the next chapter in their lives.

Commented on 21st Apr 2016

Choosing a school is a critical decision for any parent to make. We were looking for a school which not only provided high academic standards, but was committed to the individual needs and enthusiasms of each child. A truly excellent education is about much more than academic achievement alone: it is also about developing a passion for learning, capacity for independent thinking, moral values, self-confidence without arrogance, and a broad range of interests that extend beyond the confines of the classroom. In West Buckland we found a very caring school where these values and opportunities are nurtured. The staff and environment at West Buckland has encouraged and supported our children’s interests in sport, music and academic life, whilst developing them as young people in preparation for life beyond the school.

Commented on 19th Apr 2016

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2015 Good Schools Guide Awards

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



What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2016, Mr Phillip Stapleton BSc MA Ed MBA (40s). Educated at Bishop Stopford School in Kettering, followed by Durham University, where he read biochemistry and immersed himself in music, drama and sport. Several university friends became actors (including Alex Macqueen of Peep Show and The Inbetweeners fame), but he modestly says: ‘I wasn’t good enough’. Initially set on a career in molecular genetics, he stayed on at Durham to take part in a show, embarked on a PGCE and discovered he loved teaching. ‘It brought everything together – working with inquisitive minds, a passion for my subject and the chance to perform,’ he says. First teaching post was at Stonyhurst, followed by Charterhouse, where he taught chemistry and became a housemaster. Then moved to Ardingly, where he was deputy head for five years....

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