Brentwood School is one of the UK’s leading independent schools for boys and girls aged three to 18. Based in Essex, this institution is guided by its rich history of almost 500 years. “Although the words from our school motto – ‘Virtue, Learning, Manners’ – were written in 1622, they are remarkably timeless,” says Michael Bond, Headmaster. “They guide our core purpose in helping young people discover and develop their talents with both self-assurance and humility. Our students are kind, ambitious, and seek to make a positive contribution in the present and the future: our role is to help them achieve their successes – in whatever shape they may come – without any sense of entitlement.”
Nestled in a 75-acre site in the heart of Brentwood town, Essex (just a direct train ride from London Stratford station), campus is filled with facilities of the highest quality. From modern music studios and a beautiful chapel constructed in 1867 to extensive fields that served as training grounds for the London 2012 Olympic Games and creative design hubs, these provide a stimulating environment for innovative teaching and a first-class education.
And beyond campus lies a thriving town. “It is great that the school is situated next to the high street, so boarders can walk into town after school or at the weekend, helping them grow independence whilst not being more than five or 10 minutes away,” says Emily Petrou, who is a maths teacher and boarding house tutor. “There is easy access to transport into London should they wish to visit the many famous tourist spots, museums and beyond.”
The school offers boarding for students aged 13 to 18 in comfortable houses under the care of experienced housemasters. Mill Hill and Hough House are the girls’ and boys’ boarding houses, respectively.
“The boarding house master and tutors ensure the boarding house runs well to schedule to ensure all activities and prep time are incorporated as well as free time for the students to relax, socialise and develop their hobby interests,” says Petrou. “This also gives an opportunity for staff to be approached around the house by students should they have any concerns or want to talk through something.”
Petrou has been teaching at Brentwood School for over eight years, mainly Mathematics to KS3,4 and 5 and lately began leading a few KS3 Dance classes. As a tutor at the boarding house for the past two years, her role includes taking over for the housemaster when they are off duty and being another person the girls can reach out to for guidance.
Petrou keeps a watchful eye over the daily schedule as well, getting involved with day-to-day activities and helping the students with their needs. “I find it rewarding to be a part of the boarding house at the school as it has a nice community atmosphere, and I feel the student’s school experience is really enhanced with all the opportunities that are available,” she says. “It is nice to see the students grow in confidence from the time they start at Brentwood to when they leave.”
With such support and care, students are free to build long-term relationships with their fellow boarders. “Students are encouraged to socialise and make friends, often with people from different countries,” says Petrou.
With a diverse international community, boarders can share their cultures as well as learn from others in a safe space. For those whose native language is not English, they can join the English as an Additional Language (EAL) course to become confident and fluent in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English.
An exceptional programme of co-curricular and enrichment activities further ensures every boarder gets to discover new interests and sharpen current passions. Through the house system, they can take part in competitions, from sports like dodgeball to pursuits like public speaking. These activities encourage students to support their house in healthy competition. After-school co-curriculars include more than just sports but also feature clubs such as Chess and SABS.
Boarders are always welcome to suggest trips and activities. “I think it is important the students can voice their interests so they enjoy the activities they attend in their free time,” says Petrou. “Meanwhile, this helps staff get to know student interests.” Some highlight outings, which often involve both boarding houses, include theatre trips and an excursion to Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios.
Click here for a virtual tour of the facilities at Brentwood School.