Independent schools offer the very best start

Independent schools offer your child the best possible education with many holding open days in the coming months.

Independent schools offer your child the best possible education with many holding open days in the coming months. Here’s our guide to some of the North-East’s best schools.

CENTRAL NEWCASTLE HIGH

At whatever age your daughter joins Central Newcastle High School, you will be giving her an unbeatable start in life. She will join one of the best schools in the country, enjoy a diverse and rich education and develop confidence and self-belief.

There is a vitality and buzz which can only be truly understood by visiting the school. They value each girl as an individual and their overriding aim is that each girl should be encouraged to achieve her full potential.

Central Newcastle High School has a superb A-level and GCSE results record. This year half of all entries at A-level were at grade A and 81% at A or B grade. The GCSE results put the school in the top 100 schools in the country with 78% of girls achieving A or A*.

What makes Central High unique, however, is that this academic success is achieved within a caring and supportive environment, where each girl is nurtured and given the opportunity to develop her own individuality and skills. The recent Inspection Report carried out in February 2007 remarked “the social development of the girls is outstanding”.

The school is holding its 11+ entrance examination on January 19 for entry into the senior school in September 2008.

Scholarships and bursaries are on offer at 11+ and also on entry into the sixth form. To find out more contact the admissions secretary on (0191) 281-1768 or email cnhs@cnw.gdst.net.

DURHAM SCHOOL

Durham School has existed for nearly 600 years but the first girl was not admitted until 1985. Today there are 140 girls at the three to 18 school (20 of them at Bow, their preparatory school which accepted its first girls in 2006).

Such has been the rise in girl numbers that a second purpose-built girls’ House (MacLeod) was opened in 2006. All the girls in the senior school, whether day girls or boarders, have access to superb accommodation, including study areas, common rooms, kitchen and leisure facilities in a single-sex environment.

Opportunities for girls in drama, music and sport abound. Recent productions have included Les Misérables, Pride and Prejudice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Bouncers and Shakers, all of which have played to packed audiences.

Girls play a major part in the school’s many choirs and other musical ensembles; the current holder of the Individual Musician of the Year is a girl in Year 10 and one of the girls’ Houses has just won the school’s annual House Singing competition.

The school’s girls enjoy a wide variety of sports, including rowing, hockey, netball, cross-country, rounders, swimming, tennis and athletics. There have been recent girls’ tours abroad to Barcelona (football) and Barbados (hockey).

Two of the most recent ventures involving girls at the school were a charity week run by Pimlico House and ‘Hands Off’, a professionally-led 10-week course on self-defence and self-assertiveness.

Find out for yourself why girls (and boys) are thriving at Durham School, by phoning (0191) 386-4783.

KING’S SCHOOL

The King’s School in Tynemouth is the North-East’s largest fully co-educational independent day school. In academic studies, in sport, drama, music, art and a wealth of extra-curricular activities, King’s strives to provide the best educational opportunities for boys and girls aged four to 18 years.

This commitment inspired the school’s new £8m building project which is set for completion in August.

King’s pupils experience a broad range of subjects from the early years through to GCSE, AS, A-level and Oxbridge entrance. Every boy and girl is encouraged to achieve high academic standards. This year King’s celebrated an almost perfect pass rate of over 99% at A-level and an impressive 93% A*-C rate at GCSE, including five pupils who achieved national top five marks.

NEWCASTLE SCHOOL FOR BOYS

Newcastle School for Boys is likely to change more in the next five years than at any stage in its future, as it expands to deliver its first GCSE curriculum and to develop its first sixth form.

It is an independent boys’ school based on three closely-linked sites in Gosforth which now provides continuous education for boys from three to 18. The school believes in firing boys’ imaginations and encouraging independence of thought. It does this within a supportive and friendly environment with a strong emphasis on pastoral care.

The boys whom the school respects are those who look after each other and go out of their way to show kindness to those in need.

The school cares greatly about courtesy and good manners, saying thank you when appropriate, talking politely to visitors, good manners at meals, opening doors to others, and much more besides.

Newcastle School for Boys is looking for boys with courage, honesty and respect, for boys with enthusiasm and commitment, for boys with determination and strength who relish a challenge.

ROCK HALL SCHOOL

Rock Hall School is set in the idyllic village of Rock 10 minutes from Alnwick. The main building is a medieval pele tower housing classrooms and specialist facilities.

The school is well-established, with an enviable reputation for art, music and drama, and makes full use of the environment in the curriculum.

Recent performances have included the Wind in the Willows in the beautiful grounds at Rock Hall.

The National Curriculum is enhanced with classics, ecology and a full arts educational programme. The children enjoy learning in small classes from committed teachers who cater for their individual needs. The family atmosphere of the school supports the children, nurturing their individuality and self-esteem.

All involved in Rock Hall School believe that if children are happy and enjoy school, good results will follow. They have rarely been proved wrong.

The school has recently undergone some exciting developments as the new sports hall is completed. It will be used for sports, concerts and plays and has a state-of-the-art kitchen, showers and changing facilities.

The hall is heated by ground-source heating so it is warm 24 hours a day without contributing to carbon emissions, and there has already been interest from other educational groups wishing to use the hall as a base from which to run camps, courses and conferences.

WESTFIELD SCHOOL

Any really good school will certainly not focus merely on examination results, although with its 100% A-level pass rate, Westfield School in Gosforth excels over most.

Highly-qualified, dedicated teachers and an individual approach to girls’ achievements lead to superb results. Able girls will achieve a place at Oxford or Cambridge but they won’t leave feeling failures if they don’t.

Through its huge range of extra-curricular activities and its commitment to developing each girl’s individual talents, Westfield produces happy, confident, outward-looking young ladies who are ready to take an active role in society.

An independent day school for 400 girls, from junior to senior, Westfield is proud of its high academic standards and broad curriculum, but is equally renowned for its caring atmosphere. Respect and mutual trust are the foundations of life there and the school’s relative smallness means that girls don’t get lost in the cracks.

All girls are encouraged to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and take part in community service projects.

This year girls are doing environmental work in Scotland, helping in the People’s Kitchen in Newcastle, assisting in homes for the elderly and at Priory and Hadrian Schools. They are taking part in projects in Thailand, Kenya, India and Honduras.

Westfield’s international connections enable the school to produce young women with a global rather than a parochial outlook on life. Many schools claim to educate the whole person. Westfield genuinely does. Tel: (0191) 255-3980 or visit www.westfield. newcastle.sch.uk

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