United Kingdom / South West England / Somerset / Queen’s College, Taunton

Queen’s College, Taunton Review

A small, non-selective all-through day and barding school with an extensive outdoor education programme and outstanding performing arts department.
At a glance
School type
Private
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Excellent
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 14,000
Annual fees
GBP 6,975–20,670
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1843
School year
Sep to Jul
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Queen’s College, Taunton
School type
Private
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Excellent
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 14,000
Annual fees
GBP 6,975–20,670
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1843
School year
Sep to Jul
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A small, non-selective all-through day and barding school with an extensive outdoor education programme and outstanding performing arts department.

A leading school for the performing arts in the South West, Queen’s College Taunton is a co-ed day and boarding for 0-18 year-olds. A city school on the outskirts of Taunton, this all-through, non-selective school has a reputation for excellent GCSE and A Level results, outdoor education, and an excellent performing arts department.

Queen’s has a nursery, pre-prep, prep, senior and sixth form, and is a popular choice with local families looking for an independent education; it also has a growing international community of boarders (around 20% of students). A small school of just under 600 students, Queen’s is one of three independent schools in Taunton. 

Founded in 1843 by a group of local Methodists, this is a family-focused, caring school that remains true to its Methodist ethos (students are taught the value of good manners, consideration and respect). However, as headteacher Julian Noad says, “we wear our Christian clothing lightly” and there are students of all faiths and none here. 

The school motto is ‘non scholae sed vitae discimus’ – ‘we educate not just for school but for life’, and there’s a balance here between academic study in small classes and broadening their experiences through an extensive range of co-curricular in the ‘big wide world’. With a reputation for its supportive, approachable and friendly atmosphere, Queen’s offers plenty for the adventurous, the sporty and most certainly the artistic. 

Boarding begins in Year 3 through to Year 13, and more than a third of the school boards; there’s Cotlake House for the younger boarders (Years 3-8), the all-boys senior School House, and the all-girls senior Hutton House.

Headteacher Julian Noad took over from Dr Lorraine Earps in 2021, and he joined Queen's from Oswestry School, Shropshire, where he was head for seven years.

Curriculum

Queen’s is not academically selective, and students here are encouraged to pursue their individual talents and interests, which may be more creative or active than academic. The curriculum here remains broad and balanced from nursery through to sixth form, idela 

Teaching in the pre-prep (Reception to Year 2) is enriched with Forest School and weekly swimming lessons. In the prep school (Years 3-6) students have specialist lessons in languages, drama, music, art, computing and design and technology. Outdoor education is a timetabled subject here.

French, Spanish and German are the main languages in the senior school, and there’s a wide choice of GCSE options including business studies, religion, ethics and philosophy, food prep and nutrition, and PE alongside more traditional subjects. The school performs well in GCSES; in 2021, 65% were graded 9-7 and 97% were 9-4.

Sixth Formers move into their own dedicated Sixth Form Centre, where they study a wide choice of A Levels. There is also the option to take vocational courses (all equivalent to one A Level,) including BTECs in Sport, Marketing, and Outdoor Adventure, as well as Food Science and Nutrition (Level 3 Diploma) – something that really sets this school apart from many others in the area.

Sport and the arts

The arts really stand out at Queen’s. It has a purpose-built Music School complete with multiple practice rooms, class teaching rooms and music technology suite; the 570-seat Queen’s Hall auditorium, complete with Steinway Model D concert grand piano and pipe organ, is the largest school performance venue in the area. It also has a purpose-built, blacked-out drama studio and performing arts centre, with heated wooden floors, mirrored wall and retractable seating for 120.

Queen’s has an excellent team of teachers in its art department, with professional experience in acting, writing, directing and producing. Their enthusiasm and passion are unmistakable. For example, Artistic Director Ian Trafford founded a touring theatre company for the students in September 2021, which involves everyone from actors to tech crew. 

The school presents three large-scale productions every year (the YouTube videos of these are nothing short of spectacular). There are clubs in everything from drama, street dance and hip hop to ballet, modern, tap and contemporary. It really is an all-singing, all-dancing school. 

Sport is not overlooked either, and the facilities are equally exceptional. Queen’s has over 30 acres of land, room enough for six rugby pitches, six cricket squares, a 400m grass athletics track, mini rugby and football pitches, two Astro-turf pitches, 22 tennis courts, outdoor cricket facility and four outdoor netball courts. The school’s indoor sports complex features a large sports hall, indoor swimming pool and gymnasium.

The main curriculum sports are rugby, hockey and cricket for boys and hockey, netball, rounders and tennis for girls. With a belief in “early sports diversification and late specialisation”, the PE department introduces students to wide variety of sports as well as teaching diet and nutrition. An Athlete Development programme offers specialist :11 training to the school’s most elite athletes.

Hockey is the star of the show here, and teams have regularly reached the national finals. The school also fields strong teams for rugby, cricket, athletics, cross-country, swimming and triathlon, as well as some less traditional sports including canoe polo, rowing, bobsleigh and polo.

Beyond the classroom

Outdoor education is huge here, with everything from clay pigeon shooting and horse-riding to canoeing and sailing; there’s also an adventure club for the younger pupils. This a school that embraces all the outdoors has to offer and takes full advantage of its glorious location within easy reach of the coast, mountains, rivers and woodland.

The school also excels in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, all Year 10 students are encouraged to do Bronze, half the year group continue with Silver in Year 11, and around 40 sixth formers go for Gold. 

Boarding

Boarding begins in Year 3; Cotlake House is home for younger boarders (Years 3-8). Years 9-13 boys live in School House, whilst the girls are in Hutton House. Every boarder is also attached to a day house to integrate all students across the school.

Weekends are busy with a programme of activities and trips, and a mixture of structure and free time.

Admission and fees

This is a non-selective school where the admissions process includes attending a taster day (Year 1 upwards) or an interview (Year 7 upwards). Scholarships are available in the following areas – Academic, Art, Music, Performing Arts, Sport and Outdoor Education.

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