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Schools Spring Open Days

Some of the best independent schools in Somerset and Dorset – all of them reviewed by us – are opening their doors over the next few weeks. Want to have a nose?

Here’s our round up of some of the best local schools we’ve reviewed – some of whom are Finalists or have been Highly Commended in the Muddy Best Schools Awards 2022 – with info on how to arrange a visit or book yourself onto one of their upcoming open days.

Bournemouth Collegiate School, Bournemouth & Poole

The Bournemouth Collegiate School is set over two sites. The Prep, an independent, day school for girls and boys from the age of 2 to 11 is on a leafy site in the Lower Parkstone area of Poole. Happy and vibrant, it focuses on more than just the academic, allowing pupils to fulfil their potential and grow and develop through the school and onto the Bournemouth Collegiate Senior School as well as the potential for getting a place at a state grammar. Read the full Muddy review. The Senior School, the only co-ed independent school in the Bournemouth and Poole area, is inclusive, diverse, dynamic and a stone’s throw away from Bournemouth beach. Read the Muddy review. Contact their Admissions Registrar via email registrar@bcschool.co.uk to arrange a visit or book yourself onto one of their upcoming Open Days on Thurs 12 May (Prep) and Tues 21 June (Senior).

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Bruton School for Girls, Bruton

The independent boarding and day school for girls aged 2 to 18 (and boys aged 2 to 7) on a hillside in the hip town of Bruton in Somerset, combines a progressive outlook with core values of co-operation and kindness, allowing girls to reach their potential without ruthless competition or pushing. Read the full Muddy review. To arrange a personal visit, email admissions@brutonschool.co.uk. For Sunny Hill Nursery, contact Laura Field at lfield@brutonshool.co.uk.

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Bryanston Knighton House, Durweston, near Blandford Forum

All the advantages of a small rural prep – nurturing family feel, individualised learning in an idyllic countryside environment (ponies, orchards, woodlands) – and access to the superb facilities and opportunities at one of the top senior schools in the UK. Read the Muddy review. See for yourself at one of their open events. Next Open Morning: Fri 6 May, from 9.30am to 12.30pm. Prospective pupils can attend taster days. Contact the admissions department on 01258 484633 or email admissions-bkh@bryanstonkh.co.uk

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Clayesmore School, Iwerne Minster, near Blandford Forum

Clayesmore is a bucolic co-educational day and boarding school set in stunning grounds tucked neatly between Blandford Forum and Shaftesbury, for kids aged 5 to 13 in the Prep School and aged 13 to 18 in the Senior School. One of the things that sets this school apart is its brilliant and innovative LEX weekend activities programme. Read our review of the Senior School and our review of the Prep. To find out about visiting either school, register for their next Open Morning on Fri 14 May or email admissions@clayesmore.com.

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Downside School, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, near Radstock

This Catholic day and boarding school with Benedictine values, for girls and boys aged 11 to 18, set in 500-acre grounds in the village of Stratton-on-the-Fosse and 12 miles from Bath, may be steeped in history and tradition but is keeping well ahead of the game. Read the full Muddy review. Next Open Day: Sat 14 May. For more info click here. Contact 01761 235103 or email admissions@downside.co.uk to arrange a personal visit.

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Dumpton School, Wimborne

Set in 26 acres of grounds on the edge of the Dorset market town of Wimborne, this excellent independent day school for boys and girls aged 2 to 13, delivers academically without sacrificing the fun of childhood and has an impressive commitment to outdoor learning (check out their forest school). Read the full Muddy review. Contact them to arrange a visit via Lerryn Chaffey, the Head’s PA, on 01202 883818.

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Millfield Prep, Glastonbury

The famously sporty school isn’t only for future Olympians, it’s focused on finding brilliance in every child, whatever that might be – and the opportunities are there for the taking. Highly Commended in the Happiest Boarding School and Best Experiental Learning category in the Muddy Best Schools Awards 2022. Read the Muddy review of Millfield Prep. Visit the school on one of their Open Days, the next one is Sat 7 May.

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Monkton Combe School, Bath

At co-ed day and boarding school Monkton Combe Senior, in the Midford Valley just a mile south of Bath, failure is valued, pupils write their own school reports and personal development is as important as the excellent academics. They’ve made the Finals in three categories in the Muddy Best Schools Awards 2022: Most Creative Learning Through Play (Early Years), Best Sense of Humour and Special Sixth Form. Read our review of the Senior School. In the Prep (with nursery/kindergarten), the teaching is ambitious within a gentle pastoral setting, they keep alpacas and design their own racing cars! Read our review of the Prep. Make a date to visit the schools at their next Open Day on Sat 7 May (Prep) & Sat 21 May (Senior), call their Admissions team on 01225 721133 or email admissions@monkton.org.uk.

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Paragon School, Bath

The family-orientated, nurturing Prep, Pre-prep and Pre-school with wonderful woodland activities scores high on art, music and sports too. You can read the Muddy review of the school here. There’s an Open Door Morning on Fri 20 May, 9.30am – 11am. Call 01225 310837 or email reception.paragon@priorparkschools.com

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Prior Park College, Bath

The independent co-ed Catholic day and boarding school for 11 – 18 year olds, on the top of a hillside in Bath, has one of the most spectacular views in the land (no exaggeration). While the setting may be grand, the education is far from grandiose: it’s down-to-earth, holistic and with happiness and wellbeing at the core. Read our review. Visit on one of their open events: Open Door Morning Fri 6 May; Main Open Morning Sat 24 Sept, 6th Form Information Evening 25 Sept, 16+ Taster Day, Fri 7 Oct, 11+ Taster Day, Tues 11 Oct, Open Door Morning, 25 Nov. Contact their admissions dept on 01225 831 000 or admissions@priorparkschools.com.

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Royal High School Bath, GDST

The Royal High School Bath, GDST is an inclusive, girl-centered education, strong on science, maths and languages, with chic facilities – and the only school in Bath offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. The school has been Highly Commended in the Special Sixth Form category of the Muddy Stilettos Best Schools Awards 2022. Read the Muddy review of the senior school here. The Prep, on a separate site, is a caring, family-based all-girls prep school and nursery with its own skills-based holistic curriculum, where every girl will find her niche. Read the Muddy review of the Prep here. They’re running a fun nature Discovery Day at the Prep where girls aged 6-11 can discover the Big 5 (frogs, owls, deer, foxes and badgers) on Sat 7 May. There’s a Whole School Open Day on Tues 10 May. Register for one of their open day events, book a visit or contact royalhigh@rhsb.gdst.net.

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Sherborne Preparatory School, Sherborne

The independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged between 3 and 13 years sitting in 12 acres of grounds in Sherborne is non-pushy yet achieves academically, strong on music and art and with an innovative approach to sport and fitness. Now joined with Sherborne School. Read the full Muddy review. Get in touch if you’d like to arrange a bespoke visit (they’re very flexible on timings) or a virtual meeting, or arrange a call with the head. Email  admissions@sherborneprep.org or call 01935 810911.

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Sherborne School, Sherborne

shernborne school music

An academically outstanding full boarding and day school for boys aged 13-18, oozing with history and tradition and located uniquely throughout Sherborne, and now merged with Sherborne Prep School. Highly Commended in the Empowering Young Entrepreneurs category in the Muddy Best Schools Awards 2022. Read the full Muddy review. They offer tour mornings, individual visits and a host of Virtual Open House events. Open events in 2022: Sat 14 May (tour morning), Thurs 16 June (virtual open house).

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Sidcot Junior School, Winscombe

Sidcot Junior School (which includes a nursery and reception), is an independent day school for boys and girls aged 3-11, set within the beautiful 160-acre grounds of the main school on the edge of the Mendips. Founded on Quaker principles, it’s inclusive, unpretentious, grounded – and fun. They’ve made the Finals in the Giving Something Back category of the Muddy Best Schools Awards 2022. Read the full Muddy review. See for yourself by arranging a personal tour or booking a place on one of their Open Morning on Mon 2 May.

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Taunton School, Taunton

The co-ed day and boarding independent school in the county town of Taunton comprises a Senior School, Pre-Prep, Nursery and Taunton School International (TSI). This is a school for the 21st century, that wears its 150-year history lightly, embraces difference, and excels in involving all its students in a whole-person educational experience. They are Finalists in the Originality in Teaching Music and the Arts and have been Highly Commended in the Outstanding Pastoral Care categories in the Muddy Best Schools Awards 2022. Read the Muddy review. Book yourself onto one of their open events. There’s a Whole School Open Morning on Mon 2 May and a Virtual Open Morning on Sat 14 May 2022.

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Wellington School, Wellington

This genuinely good all rounder school with a heart, combines a classic grammar school education with private sector facilities and extra-curricular enrichment – and despite having plenty of trumpets to blow, it chooses not to do so. The school takes kids from 3 in the nursery right up 18 in the 6th Form. Highly Commended in the Best Sense of Humour category in the Muddy Best Schools Awards 2022. Read our review. Contact the Admissions Team on 01823 668803 or admissions@wellington-school.org.uk to arrange a personal visit, book yourself onto an open day (the next event is a whole school open morning on Sat 7 May, from 9am – 12 noon) or take a virtual tour.

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Wells Cathedral School, Wells

One of the oldest schools in Europe, Wells has been educating cathedral choristers for over 1000 years. Today it educates children from 2-18 in a co-ed, mixed day and boarding environment and excels in sport, the arts and academics as well as giving career musicians one of the best musical educations in the world. They are Finalists in the Most Creative Learning Through Play (Early Years) category of the Muddy Best Schools Awards 2022. Read the full Muddy review. Upcoming open events in 2022: Summer Open Morning (ages 2-18) Sat 14 May and Be a Mathematician for a Day Sat 11 June. For more info call admissions on 01749 834 441 or email admissions@wells.cathedral.school.

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