Westonbirt School is an co-educational independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18 located near Tetbury in Gloucestershire in South West England. Founded in 1928. The historical Westonbirt House is part of the school. Westonbirt Prep School is located within the 210 acre grounds of Westonbirt School.
Westonbirt House, part of the school
|Type||Independent, Public School day and boarding|
|Motto||"Bono malum superate" |
(Overcome evil with good)
|Religious affiliation(s)||Church of England|
|Founder||Eleanor Louisa Houison Craufurd|
|Department for Education URN||115789 Tables|
|Age||11 to 18|
Westonbirt School was founded by the Martyrs' Memorial and Church of England Trust (now known as the Allied Schools), which had acquired Westonbirt House and converted it into a school. During World War II, the premises were used by the Air Ministry and pupils and staff were evacuated to Wiltshire due to the Blitz. Six old girls died during the war and a memorial scholarship was set in their memory; girls who are daughters of British military personnel are entitled special discounts.
In 2002, Westonbirt acquired Querns School to become its preparatory department. Seven years later it absorbed Rose Hill School to form the prep school Rose Hill Westonbirt. In September 2013 Rose Hill Westonbirt School was renamed Westonbirt Prep School.
As of September 2019, Westonbirt became co-educational and welcomed boys into year 7. The school will be welcoming boys in years 7,8,9 and 12 in September 2020.
Pupils are approximately two-thirds boarders and one-third day girls, all of whom are members of one of the following houses:
Dorchester, named after Dorchester House owned by Robert Holford in London, which served as the American Embassy from 1905 and 1912 and was demolished in 1929 to be replaced by the Dorchester luxury hotel. Dorchester dormitories are located in the old servants' quarters at the top of the house, including the school's central tower, currently part of the Dorchester House Mistress' rooms.
Badminton, named after Badminton House with dormitories located in the west wing of the house on the second floor.
Beaufort, named after Beaufort Polo Club, located near the school. This house is occupied completely by first and second year girls who are then sorted into one of the other two houses when they enter their third year.
The Sixth Form acts as a fourth house.
Holford, named after Robert Stayner Holford, owner of Westonbirt House before it was a school. Holford dormitories occupy the most elaborately decorated part of the house and are located around the balcony overlooking the great hall. This is no longer used to house dorms, and the three houses have been merged to form two.
Buildings and grounds
The majority of the classrooms at the school are located in the courtyard, an area that was stables during the buildings' life as a stately home. Half of the sixth form dormitories are built above these classrooms. The new sixth form block was completed in 2008 and is located between the Science Block (opened in 1993 which contains the Art Department, D.T workshops, Science laboratories and the main I.T suite) and the courtyard classrooms.
In September 2012 the Marriott Music Centre was opened. Named after former Chairman of Governors this was designed by Bath-based architects DKA and built by Steele Davis between April and August 2012. It contains three learning spaces: The Technology Room,named The Friends’ Room in appreciation of a substantial donation by The Friends of Westonbirt. The Greenwood Scott Studio and the Ensemble Room, known as the Harborne Room, again in recognition of a substantial donation. This new centre complements the Camelia Building, a small practice area for music pupils, originally a greenhouse. The main school building is centred on the reception and the great hall, which has a marble fireplace and large organ overlooked by a balcony. In 2005 a new sports hall was opened by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. It features 25m swimming pool, courts and a gym, which is open to members of the public.
The grounds include a lake, amphitheatre, grotto, fountains and a set of Italianate gardens. The school also owns a peacock that lives in the grounds. Many of the fields around the school are rented out to farmers for cattle grazing or are used to keep horses either belonging to the local stables or to the pupils themselves. The school now owns the church, St. Catherine's, which is located within the grounds and which was originally the local parish church; Westonbirt pupils attend the church regularly.
The school library, made up of a separate ante-library and larger non-fiction library, was recently renovated using funding from an anonymous donor.
The school has a large conservatory known as the Orangery which includes a stage and balcony used for school ceremonies and drama productions. A basement contains the costume wardrobe where dramatic costumes and props are kept, originally the house's bomb shelter during World War II.
Notable former pupils
- Maxine Audley, actress
- Georgia Byng, children's author
- Pamela Carruthers (1916–2009), showjumping course designer
- Betty Clay (née Baden-Powell), scout and guides leader
- Anna Hornby, artist
- June Jacobs, peace activist and campaigner for Soviet Jews.
- Patricia Llewellyn, television producer, businesswoman
- Lady McCorkell OBE, the founder and first President of the British Red Cross branch in Derry.
- Mercia MacDermott, historian, writer
- Lady Natasha Rufus-Isaacs, socialite, co-founder of Beulah London
- Salma Sobhan, Bangladeshi barrister, human rights activist
- Patsy Toh, Chinese pianist
- Ruth Watson, hotelier, food critic, broadcaster
- "History of Westonbirt School". Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
- Hedenborg, Susanna. "Carruthers [née Torrie], Pamela Isabel Jameson (1916–2009), showjumping course designer". ONDB. OUP. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
- Betty Clay Archived 28 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine. www.spanglefish.com. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- "June Jacobs obituary". The Guardian. 3 August 2018. Archived from the original on 21 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
- Westonbirt School Archived 31 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine. www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Lady McCorkell". 27 October 2018. Archived from the original on 10 September 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- For Freedom and Perfection. The Life of Yané Sandansky. www.kroraina.com. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- GIPCA Hosts Patsy Toh Piano Recital. www.argief.litnet.co.za. Retrieved 26 March 2012.