In Dorset, you’ll find miles and miles of sweeping golden sand on fabulous beaches, fine walking trails, breathtaking scenery and thrilling cycling routes. Scattered around this county are beautiful market towns and intriguing historical landmarks. The villages here can feel picture-perfect, so much so that they were voted among the most beautiful in the UK.
It is best known for its limestone arch called the Durdle Door, but in the heart of Dorset lies an institution that deserves more than just a share of the spotlight. Spanning 62 acres in the lush English countryside is Clayesmore School. Here, pupils aged 8 to 18 years old find their second family thanks to Clayesmore’s welcoming boarding community.
Clayesmore School understands that in order for students to do their best academically, they need to be comfortable and at ease – which is why all five “Houses”, are designed to resemble a home away from home. The three boys’ Houses (Gate, Devine and Manor) and two girls’ Houses (King’s and Wolverton) are where each student goes back to after classes to socialise, complete their homework, and have fun.
Joining Clayesmore School is not just about academic rigour, however. A strong emphasis is placed on the English boarding school experience, and that includes forging lifelong friendships, learning how to become independent, and exploring hobbies and passions outside of the classroom.
On Saturdays, for example, boarders participate in LEX – a personal development programme that could include lectures, expeditions, and specialist coaching. These opportunities span several key pillars (The Great Outdoors, Arts, Creativity and Culture, Service and Leadership, Enterprise and Employability and Wellbeing). On Sundays, students get plenty of time to rest and unwind, but only if they don’t find themselves a part of a wide range of trips and experiences.
Clayesmore’s approach is holistic: the school wants to ensure that each and every one of their graduates leave the school with a good set of values and confidence to brave the real world. This is exactly why it invests in Houseparents, a strong pastoral team, exemplary medical care, and academic staff on top of cosy dorms and warm common rooms – it is all in the hopes that its students can focus on reaching their full potential.
While it is essential to prepare students for the real world and arm them with the tools they need to succeed in university or life, it is just as important to make them feel like they belong. Although socialising among students is easy due to the many events and dinners Clayesmore holds throughout the academic year, students genuinely are a part of a tight-knit community here – they’re not just students of Clayesmore, but they also belong to one of the five Houses, an identity many graduates carry for life.
Belonging to a subcommunity in school helps build a child’s confidence. International students especially benefit from this at Clayesmore. Each House has a Housemaster or a Head of the House to whom they can refer to if they are ever in need of assistance. Should they not want to approach an authoritative figure, they can reach out to any of the seniors within the House as Clayesmore seniors enjoy being responsible for the care and mentoring of the younger students.
But what makes boarding at Clayesmore unique is that around 15% of its student body are international students from countries like Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, China, and Turkey. This not only encourages intercultural relations, but serves as the most effective way for both local and international students to learn how to live side by side with people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities, and religions.
One of the biggest challenges while living and studying in a foreign country is learning how to assimilate and immerse ourselves in the national language. Clayesmore helps students overcome this challenge. Opting to board here will no doubt improve international students’ proficiency in the English language exponentially. This is because they will be speaking, reading, and writing in English from the time they wake up to the time they sleep.
English as an Additional Language (EAL) courses provide more support. International students will be able to improve their English with the help of highly specialised and experienced staff members. The best part about the EAL lessons is that classes are conducted in small groups or, if needed, on a one-to-one basis. Clayesmore is also a test centre for Cambridge exams.
Ready to join one of the best, British independent boarding schools in the UK? Click here to apply to Clayesmore School.