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【The Standard】 Introducing Woodard Schools: Lancing, King’s College Taunton and Ellesmere

Boarding 101


Young learners deserve to flourish as human beings within nurturing communities. Such surroundings can be found at independent schools across Great Britain, but no more so than at Woodard Incorporated Schools where high quality education is provided to everyone in a Christian environment.

Before we look at the credentials and values of Woodard Schools, let me briefly pay homage to Nathaniel Woodard, the Church of England priest whose principles went on to inspire the founding of eleven schools and also The Woodard Corporation.

Woodard graduated from Oxford in 1840, though he was not especially an outstanding scholar.

However, his organizational skills and ability to attract funds helped to realize his vision for combining high-quality public school education with Anglican teaching – at a reasonable cost.

Woodard Schools share many defining characteristics, not least their desire to provide education to students of all faiths and of none. With the belief that each person is of sacred value, Woodard Schools encourage pupils to develop a moral framework and show commitment to advancing their moral character. As with many independent schools, a Woodard education is student-centred and holistic. Hong Kong parents can also be assured that pastoral care is of the highest order and provided with each student’s personal circumstances firmly in mind.

Let us look at three Woodard Schools:

Lancing College

Lancing College educates boys and girls from 13 to 18. It is majestically situated high above The South Downs, one of the most stunning stretches of scenery in Great Britain, and just a few kilometers off the South Coast.The seaside town of Brighton is just 16 kilometers away.

Lancing stands out owing to its belief in a broad and balanced curriculum. This is reflected by the number of students who go on to art schools, drama colleges and music conservatoires.

The music school, in particular, thrives. Each week some 250 to 300 lessons take place, covering areas such as singing and composition, while visiting tutors add an extra dimension to the school’s operations.

Exciting projects, such as The Malawi Expedition and the Lancing College Farm Project, ensure that students can really a make difference where it matters.

Overall, Lancing College has a more relaxed feel to it and very much encourages pupils to be themselves. Individuality and not being afraid to show off talents are part and parcel of life at Lancing.

King’s College, Taunton

King’s College is co-educational boarding and a day school for 13 to 18 year olds, situated in Taunton – the county town of Somerset.

King’s Taunton provides a constant and steady stream of good results every year, though performance is not quite on a par with some of the more academic independent schools.

That said, King’s award-winning design and technology department, as well as buzzing art, music and drama departments, offer opportunities to Hong Kong students who have a more creative streak.

Facilities are sound and continue to improve. King’s has the finest concert hall in the town in its own chapel. It can hold up to 400 people.

The amphitheater is also a sight to behold and serves as a useful outdoor classroom and meeting space for pupils.

Sports are strong, while there is always a lot going on in an outdoors sense. The Ten Tors challenge for instance takes place every May and demands pupils to take part in an expedition over Dartmoor.

Key skills such as planning, endurance, teamwork and navigation are tested and honed.

Ellesmere College

Located in the market town of Ellesmere in rural northern Shropshire, Ellesmere College provides co-educational schooling for ages seven to 18.

With echoes of Oxford University in its buildings – neat precise quads and squares of grass – Ellesmere is an attractive, if somewhat formative introduction to the British independent school system.

Sidestepping the usual fury about GCSE results, the middle school does so much more for its pupils than prepare them for exams. Its Leadership and Entrepreneurship program is flourishing, as is the Academic Enrichment program which incorporates extension work in academic subjects as well as story writing competitions, to name but a few activities.

Co-curricular pursuits are varied and include expeditions around the globe and The Monduli Green Project in Tanzania, designed to improve for facilities for young children.

The inclusive approach which Woodard Schools take means that no student is left out and everyone is made to feel part of each school’s community.

Samuel Chan is a director at Britannia StudyLink