Giggleswick School: The charm of a British education, underpinned by excellence
Promoted by Giggleswick School

Giggleswick School: The charm of a British education, underpinned by excellence

Traditional UK boarding school values within a caring and supportive community of teachers, staff and peers — this is a rarity these days.

Yet, Giggleswick School offers exactly that. With a strong focus on community and belonging, it has earned the accolade of being one of the UK’s top co-educational day and boarding schools. 

Such recognition is obvious to any visitor of its campus nestled in the beautiful, picturesque county of North Yorkshire. Here, young people gain the skills and confidence to embrace the world beyond school and lead happy, fulfilling lives. As they pursue academic excellence, ambition and self-belief, they evolve from children into well-rounded individuals with a lifelong desire to learn. 

“Children should be able to savour everything education provides, from the physics lab to the art room and sports fields,” says Headmaster Sam Hart. “Yes, education must keep adapting to meet the needs of our increasingly fast-paced modern world, but at Giggleswick we pride ourselves on giving children the time they need to think, explore, grow and achieve.” 

At Giggleswick School, students get plenty of hands-on learning experience. Source: Giggleswick School

For Sixth Formers, this means following an academic programme that prepares young people for a complex and rapidly-changing world. Three key components make this possible: Academic Curriculum, Extended Project Qualification and Co-curriculum.

At Giggleswick School, students take the normal path to GCSE/IGCSE in Year 11 and A level/BTEC qualifications in the Sixth Form. The majority of them do well — 73% of their A Level grades are A*-B.

Beyond the classroom, Sixth Formers join active, creative and service enrichment programmes. From sports to music, drama and outdoor pursuits, to service in the local community, they let an individual discover and develop their strengths. 

“I’d best describe Giggleswick as a diving board, taking you head-first into experiences you never thought about trying,” says graduate Duncan. “No matter what you want to do, Giggleswick will try to provide for all. This is what I am grateful for, that in a relatively short amount of time here, I’ve managed to experience and achieve so much, whilst still feeling I’ve only just scratched the surface of what Giggleswick has to offer.”

Source: Giggleswick School

Students can choose from a variety of sports to play. Source: Giggleswick School

At every step of the way, their well-being is made a top priority. Embedded into lessons and co-curricular activities, the school’s student well-being strategy ensures each child is safe, looked after and given the chance to thrive.

“Societal changes have really pushed good mental health and well-being to the forefront of people’s minds, and that’s a good thing. We should be looking out for each other and be comfortable having these conversations,” says Deputy Head, Christian San José.

“What it’s not about is a lessening of expectations. In fact, it’s the opposite. By giving children the tools and support they need, and chances to do new things and pursue their own interests, we are able to push them to achieve and develop their confidence.”

The school has been awarded the Silver Award by the Leeds Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, which is designed to ensure robust strategies are in place to enable a whole-school approach to well-being.

Feeling welcomed and cared for are more important still for international students. Giggleswick is the home away from home for about 65 international students from 15 different countries, with recent arrivals from Honduras, Israel, Iran and a small group from Ukraine as well. 

Living away from home isn’t always easy, which is why the school ensures there’s always something to do and a new friend to make here. Saturday is a full school day, even for day pupils and on Sundays, there are trips and visits to explore more of British culture.

All of this gives international students plenty of friends, camaraderie and lifelong memories to make. When the trip or class is over, they head to their respective houses, home to 60% of students and rising to 75% of Sixth Formers.

Should they run into any issues, each student has a team to turn to for help or guidance. This includes their Housemaster or Housemistress, experienced Senior House Staff and personal tutor. 

“We also actively encourage the pupils to talk to their peers and in the Senior Boarding Houses the Sixth Form mentors are a great source of support for younger pupils,” adds Assistant Pastoral Lead, Emma-Jane Wharton. “Each year our Lower Sixth are given the opportunity to become mental health ambassadors as part of a Peer Education Project, which gives them specific training in well-being and mental health and enables them to deliver workshops to the Year 7 pupils.”

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