At Brentwood School, everyone can further their potential, enjoy their learning and achieve the best possible academic outcomes. Just ask French boarder Miryem. She joined Brentwood School in Year 11 for two main reasons: its renowned equestrian team and its excellent International Baccalaureate (IB) results.
While she may have moved to a foreign country with no one but her horse, at Brentwood she’s found a team and a home away from home. “Being part of the equestrian team is not only about going to competitions to represent Brentwood School, but also about training with my coach, Annette Philpot, biweekly as well as planning my own training sessions in order to keep progressing in my riding,” she says.
Her days are full and fulfilling. “Being a boarder at Brentwood who horse rides four or five times a week, the most useful skill I have developed is how to manage my time,” Miryem says. “I often find myself having loaded days, but planning ahead and minimising any distractions that could hinder my productivity have allowed me to navigate through the first term of school relatively stress free.”
In future, she has big plans to become a horseback safari instructor in Tanzania or to train young horses using gentle techniques in Malawi. “Being an equestrian has given me many opportunities for when I finish secondary school,” she says.
Brentwood is one of the top schools in the UK, catering to boys and girls between the ages of three and 18. Here, each individual pupil is safe and valued in an inclusive community — with plenty of activities that enhance their life skills. Like Miryem, their days brim with clubs, activities and sports; their futures bright.
Co-curriculars play a crucial part at Brentwood School. Focusing on three main aspects — creativity and culture, action and adventure, and service and society — they help students further their potential and have fun while at it. To make the most of school life, students are encouraged to partake in all three. Dance, drama, and music often morph into performances with high production value. Combat Cadet Training and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, to name just two, take children outdoors and in the service of bigger causes that themselves. Sporting lessons, from ski to squash and shooting, are equally challenging and exciting.
Take Leonard, a Year 12 student at Brentwood School who is from Hungary. The amateur football player’s dream is to turn pro — and here, he’s found a passionate community to help him realise this and so much more.
“The football team helped show me the importance of playing football and how determination and hard work can be applied to all aspects of life,” he says. “With scholarships being on offer for football and an opportunity to play beyond high school, I’m excited.”
One might ask, do co-curricular activities really empower students, or is it all just play? For Year 13 student Alberto from Spain, it’s both. “I am eager to pursue an economics degree at university, along with university football in order to balance my studies with sports,” he says. He adds joining the team not only made him gain friends, but through training learned some of the most valued soft skills by employers today. “With hard work and consistency, I have been able to manage my time more efficiently, which is something that will help me significantly in the future.”
All of this would not be possible without passionate and skilled trainers and coaches like Mark Simpson-Crick, Head of the Tennis Academy. Having worked in one of the top European tennis academies in Spain and captained the England School Boys tennis team at the World Summer Games in Morocco, he joined Brentwood to grow a new and inclusive tennis academy to cater for all ages and abilities. “My dream is for the Tennis Academy to create future Wimbledon Champions, but to do this I believe our pupils must achieve excellent results both on and off the court.”
Finding the fun in activities is not only meant for the outdoors, as Head of Chess Robin Slade will tell you. Sometimes all you need is a wooden board to nurture tactical minds and spark competitive zeal among smartphone-glued teenagers.
Robin had a passion for playing chess since little, and began playing competitively about 10 years ago. “Partly through organising a series of events with Brentwood parents and International Master Richard Pert, junior chess slowly morphed into my career,” Robin says.
Today, he co-ordinates chess clubs for all year groups across the Senior and Prep Schools from Year 2 to 13. “Students can simply come along to a club to play with their friends. Or they can take part in or deliver coaching and represent the school either online or in person. Every student can do this if they wish,” he says. “In the last House Chess round, we had 120 students (with cheering supporters) playing online in Memorial Hall with the chess shown live on the big screen.”
Everyone has a good time. And when they leave, they go home with more than just great memories. “Students are just having fun,” Robin says. “But they absorb skills in risk management, problem solving, dealing with the emotional ups and downs of competition, leadership and much else along the way.”