Every child deserves the very best start in life and education forms a huge part of a child’s development. The North is home to a wealth of incredible independent schools that promise to give your child the very best education possible while also enriching their life away from school with a range of extra-curricular activities. We’ve found some of the top independent schools the North has to offer.
Sedbergh School, Cumbria
Founded in 1525 by the Provost of Eton, Sedbergh School is one of the few remaining boarding schools in the North of England. Nestled between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District National Park in the stunning village of Sedbergh, this traditional, co-educational British public school promises pupils fulfilling school life in a safe, healthy and dynamic environment. With superb exam results and an ethos of challenge, innovation and belonging, Sedbergh School is proud of their academic success that sees the majority of their pupils regularly winning places at top universities.
But, Sedbergh is so much more than just a school and thanks to its magnificent location, offers pupils a unique extra-curricular programme filled with an almost unlimited array of outdoor activities from mountain biking and caving right through to sailing and horse-riding.
The school has a strong sporting reputation with many of their teams competing on a national level – their cricket team has even played at the Premadasa Stadium in Sri Lanka!
But undoubtedly, the thing that Sedbergh does best is boarding. Taking the view that everyone performs best when they feel cared for, confident and relaxed, Sedbergh provide incredible pastoral care and create a caring environment through their successful House system. With family style meals, well-furnished boarding houses and weekends filled with activities, Sedbergh School will undoubtedly ensure your child thrives.
They also have a Nursery for ages 0-3 and a Prep School for ages 3-13 in the nearby village of Casterton that is just 15 minutes away, meaning they can nurture your child from cradle to university and help them become the very best they can be.
Woodhouse Grove School, Apperley Bridge
Every education needs a captivating beginning and Woodhouse Grove promises to deliver just that. Starting in Ashdown Lodge and progressing through to Woodhouse Grove, children are promised a seamless education from the age of 2 through to when they leave at 18.
Equipping their pupils with confidence, morals and the skills to succeed, Woodhouse Grove instills the firm belief that there is no glass ceiling to academic attainment and the school is proud of their exceptional academic results.
Set in a spacious 70-acre campus right in the heart of Yorkshire, Woodhouse Grove has an array of excellent all-round facilities from an all-weather pitch, gym and swimming pool right through to a performing arts complex including a 230 seat theatre and recording studio, encouraging pupils to partake in co-curricular activities. A centre of sporting excellence, Woodhouse Grove has reached a number of national finals in a range of sports making it ideal for nurturing the keenest sportsperson!
Woodhouse Grove also has a thriving boarding community with dedicated boarding houses for girls and boys aged 11 upwards. With a full activity programme for boarders utilising the extensive facilities on site and the wealth of local amenities off site, boarders are promised a home from home.
All fees for the school include breakfast, lunch and dinner and the school offers day, weekly, flexible and full boarding options. Woodhouse Grove alumni include General Sir Nick Houghton, Lord Michael Walker, Paul Sampson, Katie O’Brien and Jessica Knappett.
To register for an open morning or apply for a place at Woodhouse Grove, visit their website.
Ackworth School, Pontefract
Ackworth School has always been a co-educational, boarding and day school.
They have maintained a passion for teaching and learning for over 230 years and while they are proud of our traditions and family values, they are equally proud of their innovative approach to co-education.
“As a dynamic and forward-thinking school, we strive to develop resilient individuals who not only think creatively, but also act in an ethical and responsible way. We encourage our pupils to express themselves with confidence, embody the Quaker value of respecting others but also in a way that is true to themselves and their beliefs.
Set in the beautiful, rural surroundings of Yorkshire, Ackworth School offers a broad curriculum from nursery age through to sixth form for both day pupils and boarders. We host a vast number of extra-curricular activities for all of our pupils to get involved with each week. Our pupils always have opportunities to learn beyond the curriculum.
Academic studies continue to be the most important part of Ackworth School but as a balance we offer a comprehensive sporting programme with over 20 sports for pupils to take part in. We launch our new Football Academy in September, run by ex-premier league coach and manager, Jamie Fullarton. We pride ourselves on being National Schools squash and table tennis champions, and we are proud of all of our pupils who have played nationally and internationally as a part of these teams.
The school also offers opportunities in drama, music, art, cookery and the chance to develop leadership and teamwork skills through the Duke of Edinburgh Award. With a full activity programme at weekends, excellent pastoral care, and flexible boarding to suit most needs, Ackworth School promises to guide your child to be the best that they can be and always aware of the needs of others.”
Westholme School, Blackburn
Set in beautiful, rural surroundings on the outskirts of Blackburn, Westholme School promises a first rate education for boys and girls from Nursery through to Sixth Form.
An independent, co-educational day school, Westholme is a happy, supportive school where each and every child is valued for their talents and personal qualities. With a belief that every pupil has the right to an excellent education, academic success has central importance at Westholme, but they also promote co-curricular activities to develop pupils’ personal attributes, a moral compass and a true sense of community.
Whether your child is a budding sportsperson, an aspiring performer, a superstar scientist or anything in-between, Westholme promises to help them achieve their ambitions by offering a breadth of opportunities in a caring, structured and secure environment.
With a rigorous curriculum and passionate teachers, lessons are stimulating and fun, allowing learning to happen with ease while each child is individually supported to ensure no one is left behind. With such an emphasis on your child’s personal ambitions and learning, Westholme School is the ideal choice for ambitious children to thrive and emerge as confident, polite and professional young adults ready for the next phase in their lives.
Based in Preston, Ashbridge School is an independent school that provides an outstanding independent primary education for children aged 4 to 11 years. Set in eleven acres of beautiful countryside, the school has Forest School status that means they actively promote outdoor learning. Ashbridge has wildlife gardens, a greenhouse, a kitchen garden and even donkeys, guinea pigs and rabbits all on site as well as extensive woodland play and learning areas. With high academic success resulting from a broad, challenging and creative curriculum and small class sizes, Ashbridge is a superb choice.