Steyning Grammar School
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From Cultural Exchange to Lifelong Friendships: The Steyning Grammar School Experience for International Students

A Steyning Grammar School (SGS) education is all-encompassing, from the first day of each pupil’s “Journey to Excellence” to the day they graduate with promising futures and lasting memories. “SGS is built on the firm foundations of high expectations for all with a creative and personalised curriculum that will extend learning both in the classroom and through a wide range of enriching experiences and environments,” says Adam Whitehead, Headteacher.

At this day and boarding school in West Sussex, days are full, as are hearts. Subjects and extracurricular activities are diverse — with sports, arts, and music programmes that appeal to a wide range of interests. At every step of the way, pupils and staff come together, always offering and getting support — an endeavour that’s led to 27% of A Level students achieving A* to A grades in 2020.

SGS’s research-backed emphasis on developing character strengths is crucial to this success. It focuses on eight character strengths that help students reach their full potential – academically, socially and individually — and get into their first-choice universities. 

Steyning Grammar School

Rather than mere acceptance, there is a celebration of equality, diversity and what it means to be human growing up in different cultures. Source: Steyning Grammar School

Curiosity and Zest

In Sixth Form, students pursue a broad range of A Level and Applied courses that prepare them for university, apprenticeships or the world of work. They get to explore an incredible breadth of A Levels subjects, including Art and Design, Digital Media, Law, Psychology and many more. 

Teachers are experts in their field and use their knowledge to inspire young minds in a relaxed, yet purposeful environment. They keep learning interesting by incorporating various teaching methods, such as small group seminars, demonstrations, or practical activities. Whatever the format, each ensures students get the most out of their classes. 

Oscar Canton, an SGS graduate, still remembers his favourite class.” I enjoyed Mathematics as it is my personal favourite and my Further Mathematics classes explored complex topics which satisfied my curiosity,” he shares. “In Economics, my teachers taught real-life, practical examples outside of the syllabus and encouraged lively discussion.”

Gratitude and Grit

For Canton, joining SGS was not an easy move at first. It meant leaving behind his friends, family, and home to follow in his older sister’s footsteps. “At first, I found it challenging to integrate as I was not an outgoing person,” he says. The induction process and the family atmosphere at SGS would soon not only help him settle in but to come out of his shell and improve his self-confidence too.

As a boarder, he was paired with a boarding buddy with more experience living away from home. Since both his parents were living in Qatar, Canton truly appreciated all the help he could get in his new environment. “It was helpful to discuss challenges and how to overcome them,” he says. “We all went on a day out to Brighton with staff to familiarise ourselves with the city and got a student bus ID to reduce the cost of travel during social time.” 

Growth Mindset and Self Control with Learning 

Outside the classroom, there’s room for students to play, explore, and grow. At SGS, super-curricular activities allow young learners to go in-depth into something they have picked up in the classroom or learn about a new topic altogether. That’s not including enrichment activities hosted by a wide range of clubs and societies, such as drama, music, ICT and more.

Canton loved exploring new things. “There is a great enrichment programme and I had a go at most things,” he enthuses. “There were also leadership opportunities and I was lucky enough to be elected as Head Boy in my final year. Furthermore, there were several sporting opportunities to partake in, such as a weekly trip to the local 5K park run and football clubs.” 

Steyning Grammar School

SGS students have plenty of opportunities to grow into the person they aspire to be. Source: Steyning Grammar School

Understanding Others and Self Control with Others 

When it was established in 1614, SGS had only 50 boys, with 6 boarders. Since then, the school has grown into one of the largest state schools in West Sussex — housing over 2,200 students, 450 Sixth Form students and with one of the most modern boarding facilities in the country accommodating 120 students from all over the world.

Everyone is equal here. SGS emphasises seven key principles of equalities whereby all learners are of equal value, diversity is a strength, positive attitudes and relationships are fostered, a shared sense of cohesion and belonging is nurtured, expectations are high and standards are raised for all students, but especially for the most vulnerable.

Just as high are academic standards, which have led to excellent results over the past few years in the A Levels and Applied qualifications. Upon graduation, Canton pursued Mathematics and Philosophy, a subject he thoroughly enjoyed in Sixth Form, at the University of Sheffield. Today, he works as an audit analyst for a large US technology company called Calero. 

Click here to learn more about how you can start your child’s journey to holistic excellence. 

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