Located in the Midlands, this small sixth form college specialises in STEM subjects, and offers a day and boarding education to mainly international students aged 15 -19 years who are gifted in Science, Tech and Maths.
This Warwickshire-based campus opened its doors in September 2016 to meet the demands for a specialised STEM college. It has very quickly filled the gap in the market for a more personalised, smaller independent college for students who want to pursue a career in STEM.
The college was founded by Dr Martin Stephen, who was head at leading independent schools including St Paul’s School, London, and The Perse School, Cambridge, and former MP Geoffrey Robinson. Keen to celebrate the college’s unique position as a specialist sixth form, the head is focused on delivering high-quality teaching and learning and top exam results.
NatMatSci has around 110 students (There’s capacity for 200), including 89 boarders, and there is an international community of students representing 25 nationalities.
It’s a school for academics, for those “capable of achieving A grades at A Level” and for students with “mathematical and scientific potential”. If any doubt about whether the college is the right ’fit’, try the maths quiz on their website, which was designed and researched by the mathematics department to “entertain you, challenge you, and give you an idea of what studying maths here might be like”.
The Principal is Dr Andy Kemp, who previously had leadership roles in Taunton School and Wells Cathedral School.
NatMatSci offers a choice of college-level programmes that work towards A Level qualifications with a STEM focus.
There is a one-year pre-A Level programme, not to be confused with a one-year IGCSE programme (there are several UK schools offering this, click here). This one-year course is a foundation A Level programme to equip international students with the English language skills and practical science and maths skills that they will need to go on and study A Levels. It’s a STEM-focused programme that covers maths, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and English only.
Most popular is the two-year A Level course. All students study maths and typically up to three other A Level subjects over two years, selected from biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, economics and further maths. International boarding students also receive timetabled English language tuition and support.
The college also offers a two-year medical pathway programme for students looking to apply for medicine and medical related fields such as dentistry, pharmacology and biomedical science. Taught alongside the two-year A Level programme, students take A Levels in chemistry and maths, as well as two other subjects, usually biology. It’s a unique course that gives future medical students additional support from medical experts and the Warwick University Medical School, including workshops on medical ethics, interview practice and 1:1 mentoring.
There is also an intensive one-year A Level course. Students covering two years of content in a single year, which requires huge commitment to an increased workload and study time as well as academic ability. However, there are various reasons why students may want to do one or more A Levels in just 12 months. This could be to retake their A Levels; improve on their existing A Level grades; add a new A Level to fulfil university entrance requirements; or to get a head-start in university life.
As the college says, this is “typically for students who have completed studies to the equivalent of A Level internationally, but wish to undertake A Levels to apply to a top tier UK university”.
On all courses there is a strong EAL programme, which certainly makes the courses here very popular with overseas students.
There’s a strong focus on the academic when it comes to extra-curricular activities, with clubs and societies such as MathSoc and LinguisticSoc, and academic visits to local universities (there are regular STEM in Action Days at nearby Warwick University). All A Level students are entered for Olympiad competitions and there’s a leadership programme that develops confidence, public speaking skills.
Sport is limited on campus, but there’s a public leisure centre within walking distance and the college does encourage students to create their own sporting clubs and join local sports teams.
Music is often heard throughout the college corridors. There’s a Steinway grand piano in the reception area for students to play at their leisure, guitars in the common room, and individual music tuition for a range of instruments. Students can also join the College choir.
As a highly selective specialist college, results are as you would expect – well above the UK average. The college has a high number of students receiving Oxbridge offers, and a 100% gaining Russell Group university places.
2022 A Level results: 77% of grades were A*-A, and 51% were A*.
NatMatSci is a selective college. All students sit entrance exams in mathematics and English and attend an interview with a senior member of staff.
Day fees are £13,500 and full boarding fees are £41,997. Fees for international students are slightly higher as they include extras such as English language tuition
Good for: Students wanting to pursue future study and careers within the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics will thrive at a college where their ‘love’ for these subjects is widely celebrated. This is a college where it’s ‘cool’ to be an academic and students who love science and maths can study alongside likeminded students. With nearly all international students and new boarding facilities, the college has a huge global appeal. As a STEM specialist college, the labs are very modern and well-equipped (there’s a lovely new restaurant too), and it offers students a much more university-campus style of learning environment.
Not for: The college will not suit students looking to follow pathways in sport and the performing arts, and its strong focus on academic subjects does not leave much time (or support) for pursuing other interests. Its location within a business park close to Warwick University is far removed from the sweeping countryside campuses of other schools within this Midlands county, but this is a school that is heavily focused on learning (and results) within the classroom.
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