The Mount delivers a UK curriculum within a very international setting where students from a variety of cultures are taught within small classes by teachers with expertise in teaching English alongside academic study.
The Mount School was founded in 1925 in Highgate and merged with Mill Hill School in 2014 when it was renamed Mill Hill International. The Mill Hill School Foundation has well-established pre-prep, prep and senior schools spread across Mill Hill village in North London; most recently, the all-girls’ Cobham Hall School has joined the Foundation. Mill Hill International’s self-contained campus is just a short walk from the main Mill Hill School, and Mill Hill International students have full use of the senior school’s facilities including an indoor heated swimming pool, sports hall, library, theatre and music department.
There are only a small number of UK independent schools with a dedicated international campus. Others include Sherbourne International School, Taunton International School, and Kent College International Study Centre. As with its peers, Mill Hill International offers students a higher level of support to develop their English than you’ll find at most UK independent schools.
Mill Hill International has expertise in teaching English alongside academic study. It has small class sizes needed to give foreign students the individual support they may need; there’s a maximum of 12 students and two tutors in each class so the teacher to student ratio is low at 1:6. It offers a choice of one-year courses to prepare students for GCSEs and A Levels, one- and two-year GCSE courses, and fast-track courses. It provides a close-knit community of just 95 students where international learners make “friends from all around the world – Iran, Nigeria, Russia, Colombia, Italy, China and Japan to name just a few”. And it offers an introduction to boarding school life at a much larger, UK independent senior school.
This is not a standalone school, though, and there are plenty of opportunities for international students to integrate with their British peers at the main senior school. Boarders have breakfast and dinner with Mill Hill boarders (lunch is served at the International School); they wear the same uniform; and boarders at both schools attend a compulsory Saturday morning programme together, which includes revision and extension classes as well as non-academic activities such as cookery. All students board together in one of five houses located within Mill Hill village, giving international students plenty of opportunity to develop their English listening and speaking skills.
In terms of pastoral care, students check in daily with their tutor and have three 40-minute tutorials a week.
Headteacher Sarah Bellotti is an Oxford graduate with experience teaching English as an Additional Language in Rome and as director of King’s Ely International.
Mill Hill International was rated Excellent in its most recent ISI Educational Quality Inspection (2020).
Teaching at Mill Hill International is described as “rigorous, challenging and exciting”. Teachers are qualified or trained in teaching English as an additional language, and ISI inspectors found that students “rapidly develop excellent speaking, writing, listening and reading abilities as their communication skills are practised throughout the day”. The school encourages both a love of reading and a positive environment for improving English skills – through the D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) initiative – when students read a book of their choice with their tutor – the discussion of 19th Century customs in a history class, exchanges with their team mates on the rugby pitch, and much more.
The school offers four different courses. The majority of students take the Year 9 course, which prepares them to study GCSEs in the UK from Year 10. As well as studying a traditional programme of academic subjects (English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, design and technology, humanities, computing, art, music, drama, PE and PSHE), students are given additional English language support. Depending on their progress, students can transfer to Mill Hill School to study GCSEs in Year 10 – and many of them do.
The school also delivers a traditional two-year GCSE programme, which sees students taking eight to 12 GCSE subjects while being offered additional English language support. Subjects studied include English, mathematics, and science (dual or triple award), and a broad choice of options including art, business studies, computer science, design and technology, English literature, geography, psychology, and music.
Students can then apply to study A Levels in Mill Hill’s Sixth Form. There is also the option of taking a one-year, intensive GCSE course to prepare students for A Levels, as well as a Fast-Track course for 14–16-year-olds with basic level English.
After timetabled lessons, the school runs an extensive Games and Activities programme up to 5.45pm with a wide choice of sport, music, art, and drama clubs, as well as many societies.
There’s a strong arts culture embedded in academic and non-academic life at the school. Students can study creative GCSEs including art, craft and design, and music. Beyond the classroom, there are opportunities to join the Chapel Choir, Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, Jazz Band, Glee Club, Shout Band, Wind Band, as well as join music tours with the Mill Hill Music School.
Student life at Mill Hill International includes both competitive and recreational sport, including rugby, golf, and cricket; there are also weekly timetabled PE lessons for all students, with lessons in badminton, table tennis, netball, basketball, football, touch rugby, ultimate Frisbee, tennis, and rounders. International students have the use of some excellent sporting facilities at Mill Hill School including a sports hall, Eton Fives courts, hard tennis courts, netball courts, and facilities for rugby, hockey, cricket, and football. There are also playing fields, sports hall and gym and an indoor heated swimming pool.
Mill Hill International has a strong academic record, particularly when you consider that most of these results are achieved by students studying in the UK for the first time and for whom English is an additional language. In 2019, 43% of the cohort achieved 9-7 (A*-A) in their I/GCSEs; 63.5% scored Grades 9–7 (A*–A), and 90.5% received Grades 9–6 (A*–B).
Students have the option of day, weekly and full boarding, and most students are boarders living in the UK for the first time. There are five dedicated boarding houses on the Mill Hill School site, each with a housemaster, housemistress or house parent and resident tutors and matrons; these include two single-sex houses, and three mixed-sex houses.
Located in North London, the school is part of a village which means that it has a more rural feel than nearby city centre schools. International students are part of the vast 120-acre Mill Hill campus which has modern facilities including two fully equipped art studios, ICT room with full use of the Adobe Creative Suite, science labs, and the whole-school Piper Library. With central London on its doorstep, the school is within easy reach of many attractions and activities for weekend outings and educational day trips.
Students can enter Mill Hill International at three points – 13+ (Year 9); 14+ (Year 10) for the two-year GCSE course; and 15+ (Year 11) for the one-year GCSE course. As part of the admissions process, students are interviewed by the headteacher and sit entrance tests in mathematics, verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, spatial ability and written English.
Year 9 students are required to have an IELTS level of 4.0 (or equivalent); Year 10 (for the two-year GCSE course) a minimum of 4.5 IELTS (or equivalent); the one-year GCSE course a minimum of 5.0 IELTS (or equivalent), and the Fast-Track Course a minimum of 3.0 – 4.0 IELTS (or equivalent).
Annual tuition fees are £25,989 for day students and £42,162 for full boarders.
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