This is an aspirational, welcoming and well-rounded day and boarding school that offers a flexible education in a rural Lancashire setting and has a reputation for producing high achieving students, athletes and performers.
This is a countryside school with a vast campus set in the very scenic Ribble Valley in North West England. It offers a traditional education where headteacher Deborah Frost places huge importance on family values and creating “a warm, happy and caring atmosphere”.
The school can offer a more individual education than most, and timetables are adapted if required to accommodate students with demanding football and ballet schedules. Based on results and leavers’ destinations, students are clearly benefiting from the individual attention and flexible learning that they receive here.
There’s a small cohort of 340 students; which really helps to maintain the family vibe that Moorland is so proud of; the majority are day students (65%) and around 35% are boarders. There’s a small number of overseas students too.
The school offers an all-through education as students moves up through Nursery, Infant, Junior, Senior schools and Sixth Form, which are all located on the one campus and share the same ethos and many facilities.
Mrs Frost was appointed as Headteacher in January 2022, following her previous roles of both Business Manager and Assistant Head at the school.
An education at Moorlands is broad, really tailored to the individual (particularly those in the football and ballet academies) and very flexible. Moorland encourages academic achievement by focusing on students’ individual needs and keep learning as broad as possible for as long as possible; there’s no streaming in the early years and specialisation is left until the GCSE years. Students are offered plenty of additional support if needed; there are Private Tuition classes after school, for example.
From the infant school upwards, students have access to some incredible facilities to support all aspects of the curriculum. Small class sizes of no more than 20 children combine with a nurturing environment to really cater for individual development. Teaching also benefits from modern facilities such as a full ICT suite, well-resourced library, and modern classroom, as well as access to plenty of nature and space for outdoor learning.
In the Junior School (Years 1-6), there’s specialist teaching in music, French, PE and football, and class sizes as small as 10 students means that students can be supported or stretched where needed. The school prepares students well for GCSEs – there is regular assessment and plenty of time allocated to independent learning.
In the Sixth Form, students study A Levels, from a choice of subjects including maths, English, geography, religious education, science, art, drama, ITC and more. There is also the option to take a more vocational BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport. The school has a small Sixth Form of around 20 students, meaning each child gets plenty of individual attention but may miss out on the community of feel of a much larger school.
Moorland offers students a rather unique opportunity to have a traditional UK education alongside professional training and development. Aspiring dancers and footballers are offered the chance to go professional thanks at Moorland, which has the facilities, experienced coaching teams, and connections with professional clubs and academy scouts.
Students in the football academy train at the school’s training pitch and indoor 4G training centre – and travel off campus to Brockhall, home to the Blackburn Rovers Academy. The school’s partnership with Blackburn Rovers FC helps to develop football talent, and invites several boys to progress through Rovers’ Youth ranks.
The academy is exclusively for Moorland students (until Sixth Form) and there’s a balance between developing footballing talent whilst delivering excellent GCSE, A Level and BTEC results. As well as boasting an impressive trophy collection (it’s the current Lancashire Cup and ESFA Trophy holders for U14), Moorland has seen over 30 students sign contracts to professional academies such as Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and Real Madrid.
The ballet academy offers classical training and modern dance, as well as conditioning, choreography, and dramatic training to train students for the professional world of ballet. There are courses for students from seven to 18 years, including Professional Vocational Courses and a diploma in dance education.
The academy is run by former student Lynsey Kidd (CHECK), who trained with the Royal Ballet School in London, and students have the opportunity to learn and train with some of the best in the ballet industry.
There’s a huge amount for students to get involved with – and there’s an inclusive ‘have a go’ culture. An enrichment programme for Junior school students involves taking part in activities such as caving, tree climbing, archery, raft building, abseiling and more, as well as den building, fire lighting, tool use and woodland games in Forest School. Senior students broaden their horizons by taking part in horse riding, golfing, ballet, team sports, skiing trips and debating, to name just a few.
Moorland offers boarding from eight years old in modern single-sex houses on the school campus; it’s particularly popular with students in the ballet and football academies. The school offers the most support for its youngest boarders (Years 3-9) and as students move up the school, they are offered greater independence to prepare them for university life; Years 12-13 students boarding in The Cottage have all the facilities of a normal house and are granted permission to leave the campus.
The appeal of Moorlands reaches far and wide, with students coming from up to 50 miles away (the school runs its own bus service to save parents the commute).
Annual fees are £11,820 for day students and £27,810 for boarders.
Good for: This is an excellent choice for students with a passion (and talent) for football or ballet as it offers the benefits of a smaller, dedicated private education alongside a professional training programme. By living and studying on the same campus as the academies, students can maximise their training and studio time while also receiving the time and support they need to focus on their traditional academic studies. Due to its size, this is a school where your child is unlikely to get lost in the crowd, too.
Not for: Located on the outskirts of an historic North West town, Moorlands may feel too rural for some, too far away from London for others. As smaller school, Moorlands cannot match the state of the art facilities of other independent schools in the area, and some students may prefer the opportunities that a much larger school can offer.
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