Clayesmore is a delightfully warm and friendly co-educational boarding and day school in a glorious parkland setting in North Dorset. Gillingham railway station, just 20 minutes away, is on the Waterloo to Exeter line and is two hours exactly from London. Prep (3-13; 225 pupils) and Senior (13-18; 472 pupils) exist side-by-side - perfect for brothers and sisters of all ages and firmly underlining our abiding family ethos. Clayesmore is ideal for young people seeking to escape the academic pressures of London and the school is resolutely committed to being 'all-ability.'
"Developing the unique gifts of every girl and boy" has long been the Clayesmore way, and the 50% growth in pupil numbers over the last few years proves the school's success and popularity. Academic success is achieved at all levels from a broad ability range. At the top end, we've seen students heading off to all four UK members of the World Top 10 in recent years, choosing difficult subjects such as Medicine at five different universities, Engineering at Cambridge, Warwick and Bath, Classics at Durham, Biology at Imperial, Chinese at SOAS, Economics at UCL, for example. All in all, the universities list for 2011 and 2012 is wonderfully diverse and tells the story of Clayesmore in its own way.
Nestling very comfortably and happily in its own spacious corner of the site, the Prep School has its own facilities for boarding and teaching and its own expert staff team for its 225 girls and boys. The Head of Prep and the Headmaster work closely to ensure the most seamless transfer from Prep to Senior at 13. The 58 boarders are accommodated in the main Prep School building and are cared for in a warm and family-focused way by a most caring team of House Staff, matrons and nurses. Facilities are excellent with the splendid Everett Building and the self-contained Pre-Prep and Nursery, which would suit the youngest family members if you are moving from London to North Dorset.
The school is well-known for its first class Learning Support Centre which is staffed by experts in teaching young people with specific learning difficulties, who offer help right through to A-level in whatsoever way might be needed. There is wide choice of largely traditional A-levels including three languages and Latin, but a number of 'newer subjects' are also on the list: Psychology, Travel and Tourism and Music Technology, for example, and the school has also started BTEC courses in four subjects - Hospitality, Sport, ICT and Travel & Tourism. The Good Schools Guide recently described Clayesmore Senior School as 'probably what a boarding school should be.' What better recommendation could there be? Do read the review! Just 472 pupils means the Head knows each and every one - and 260 boarders makes for a lovely family environment, yet there is still a strong day pupil contingent.
Pastoral care is top notch, the food is delicious, boarding facilities are colourful, warm and friendly, and all spaces are kept in excellent condition, with great attention paid to the atmosphere and comfort of the houses. A new girls' boarding house opened for the 2013 autumn term to meet increasing demand. Teaching facilities are excellent and a brand new £2.8m Business School also opened for the new term with classrooms for Business Studies, Economics and Psychology, as well as a new careers centre. There are also 62 acres of beautiful games fields, a brand new floodlit hockey pitch, 25m indoor swimming pool, sports centre, and theatre.
Opportunities for holistic development are many and various: in addition to a great sporting programme, there is a lively cultural life with many pupils taking music lessons and participating in group music making, theatre and dance classes; the Art Department is a world of colour and lively creativity and the Design and Technology Centre is superbly equipped for technicians and engineers. Combined Cadet Force, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and a large range of activities provide many opportunities for personal development and leadership.
All in all, Clayesmore is a strongly family-orientated school that truly lives its mission and where the happiness and success of each girl and boy is uppermost in the minds of all who work here.