Shrewsbury School brings all the rigour of a British public school education to the banks of the River Severn in the UK, while balancing it with a well-rounded education in sport, the arts and pastoral care
With a large boarding contingent, this co-ed day and boarding secondary school for girls and boys in the West of England has a truly international student body. Yes, the school is academically demanding but not at the expense of extra-curricular interests. In fact, boarders are expected to actively get involved with the many clubs and societies, the school has invested heavily in sport and arts facilities across its stunning riverside campus, and headmaster Leo Winkley has described an education here as ‘serious fun’ where learning and enjoyment go hand in hand.
Winkley, who joined the school in 2018, is said to know every one of his 800-plus students by name; he has quickly become a popular head. The school was rated excellent in its latest ISI inspection in 2017, and under Winkely's leadership it looks set to continue these high standards. Key findings in its latest report included students "exceptional" achievements in external competitions, in gaining other academic distinctions, and tsuccesses in sport, music and the arts; the rapid progress made due to independent study; and the students' "excellent" personal development.
Shrewsbury has all the charm of its history and heritage (Charles Darwin is among those to have studied here). And, with its combination of elegant Edwardian houses, stylish modern buildings, well-manicured cricket pitches, and riverside location, it has a more down-to-earth, unpretentious atmosphere than some other public school.
Shrewsbury offers a solid a secondary education from Year 9 through to 13 (which it calls third form through to upper sixth). Shrewsbury’s curriculum focuses on a wide range of subjects that provide a strong foundation for further study, with additional subjects that you may expect to see on a public-school timetable including Classics, Latin, Ancient History, and Greek.
Rather than teaching subjects in isolation, Shrewsbury encourages cross-curricular learning from the moment students join the school in Year 9. The school’s Origin curriculum will, for example, pair the interpretation of stars in physics with the interpretation of poetry in English, and debates in philosophy will also be explored in the arts. It’s examples such as these that highlight the school’s commitment to ‘real life’ learning where your child will see the links between different subjects.
At GCSE, options include English, Mathematics, French, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology to GCSE; student take at least one Modern Foreign Language, chosen from French, German and Spanish. Other choices are Latin or Ancient History, Greek, German, Spanish, History, Geography, Art, Design, Philosophy & Theology (RS), Music, Astronomy and PE.
In the Sixth Form, students typically take three A Levels (there are several options not offered at GCSE including Business Studies, Economics, and History of Art) and the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Around 20% of students at the school take a fourth A Level.
The careful monitoring of student progress is one of the major factors differentiating an effective school from an ineffective one, and we see Shrewsbury tracking and reporting progress with daily tutorials and an online learning diary called Shrewd.
Another key factor is learning beyond the classroom, and Shrewsbury ensures that every faculty offers its own extra-curricular activities and societies. Students can also broaden their horizons by joining the Academic Extension programme, which focuses on current affairs and themed talks from visiting speakers. While academic achievement is hugely important to Shrewsbury, the school does not overlook the importance of sport, music, drama and other activities.
Shrewsbury has a strong sporting ethos and offers a wide breadth of sports with particular strengths in football, cricket, and cross country; it is huge on rowing and has one of the top rowing schools in the country with 14 Henley Royal Regatta wins to date. Facilities include a beautiful cricket green and indoor cricket centre, a boathouse on the River Severn, nine full-size football pitches, Fives courts, and indoor swimming pool. There’s a good balance of enjoyment and achievement in sport here, encouraging students to compete for fun in the school’s house leagues or train at the highest possible level in the dedicated athlete programme – and there are many platforms for students to develop their sporting skills.
The arts are also something that Shrewsbury likes to make a wonderful song and dance about. Many schools can boast an impressive theatre programme, but not many actually take their productions beyond the school campus; Shrewsbury takes productions on the road and as far as the Edinburgh Fringe. Performing arts have recently been given an upgrade with a £3 million theatre and studio, and students have the opportunity to try everything from bagpipes to the mandolin in a range of free trial music lessons.
As well as fostering intellectual curiosity, Shrewsbury has an abundance of exciting extra-curricular opportunities. With a choice of more than 100 clubs as varied as beekeeping, model railway, electric car racing and technical theatre, there will be something for everyone.
Many of the school’s activities take advantage of Shrewsbury's natural back garden, on the banks of the Severn and on the doorstep of the South Shropshire hills and Snowdonia. As well as Duke of Edinburgh and CCD programmes, the school offers a popular BASE (Boldness, Adventure, Skills and Experience) for Third Form (Year 9) students, which combines sport, outdoor activities, community work and expedition practice.
There’s a strong culture of kindness at this school, which is highlighted best through its community outreach work with Shrewsbury House, a youth and community centre in Liverpool. Here’s a school where you can expect your child to work with and support communities to make a positive impact – and learn key life skills that can’t be graded in any exam in the process.
The 2020 results once again underline Shrewsbury’s academic strengths. While students did not sit their exams due to the Covid pandemic, their results continue the high grades we have come to expect from this school. In A Levels, 28% were A*, and 84.6% were A*-B; 72% of Salopians went on to study at Russell Group universities.
In GCSEs, over 50% of grades were awarded at 9 or 8 (an A* on the old system) and 72% at 9 to 7, which gives students a strong base from which they can move forward towards their A Level studies.
Pupils come from a range of backgrounds, mostly from White British families, with boarders coming from homes throughout the UK and more than 20 countries overseas.
With around 80% of students boarding, Shrewsbury is close to being a full boarding school – and it has developed a caring, close-knit community within each. There are 11 boarding houses (seven for boys, four for girls), and each one is supported by a large team of staff and tutors. They choose their own tutor and can apply for the post of prefect.
Termly fees range from £12,520 (boarding) and £8,590 (day) in the lower school, to £12,980 and £9,055 (day) for sixth form, and these are fairly inclusive; you will, for example, have to pay for extras such as membership of the school’s Boat Club.
• Boarding and international students
• Students looking for a UK-based education with a large international culture
• Cross-curricular learning
• Active participation in a wide range of extra-curricular activities
• Those seeking a single sex education
• An examination hot house education
• Anyone looking for a city-based/urban education
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