10 of the best

Country Life Every Week - - Schools -

l St Mary’s As­cot, Berk­shire A de­light­ful oa­sis for Catholic girls to which there is tremen­dous fam­ily loy­alty through the gen­er­a­tions

l Downe House, Berk­shire Aca­dem­i­cally pretty flaw­less; a thor­oughly well run, happy school, with a long tra­di­tion of sta­bil­ity and ex­cel­lence

l Wy­combe Abbey, Buck­ing­hamshire For­mi­da­ble, busy and high achiev­ing, it could be de­scribed as the board­ing equiv­a­lent of St Paul’s Girls’ School (in Lon­don): if you’re at all de­pleted in en­ergy, don’t go—it’s for girls who want to give 100% all the time

l Be­nen­den, Kent A lovely, gen­tle-feel­ing school with an ex­cel­lent aca­demic rep­u­ta­tion in which breadth of ed­u­ca­tion is prized as much as depth. It has an amaz­ing new science block, all glass and blond wood

l Chel­tenham Ladies’ Col­lege, Glouces­ter­shire Re­tains the im­pres­sively aca­demic aura of its founder, Dorothea Beale, but with­out the fa­mous harsh­ness of the 1950s. Girls still need to be on top of their game aca­dem­i­cally and sport­ingly to thrive

l Bad­minton, Bris­tol Has al­ways had a lib­eral, non-de­nom­i­na­tional, in­tel­lec­tual aura—not a fierce school. A good, all-round es­tab­lish­ment in an at­trac­tive part of the city

l Wold­ing­ham, Sur­rey Pre­dom­i­nantly Catholic, but takes girls from other de­nom­i­na­tions. Has a beau­ti­ful set­ting of 700 acres, with ponies, cat­tle and deer. Well run and not too hard to get into

l Tudor Hall, Ox­ford­shire A charm­ing, horsey school in which pas­toral care mat­ters more than aca­demic achieve­ment—al­though that side is steadily gain­ing pace. A lovely en­vi­ron­ment; has a tra­di­tion of moth­ers send­ing their daugh­ters there

l St Mary’s Calne, Wilt­shire A good, sound, all-round coun­try board­ing school; un­pre­ten­tious, civilised, good at both aca­demics and ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tivites

l Queen Mar­garet’s York (above) Bustling, happy school in a fine Pal­la­dian house, in which the girls are en­cour­aged to as­pire to great things aca­dem­i­cally and on the sports field

With ac­knowl­edge­ments to Su­san Ham­lyn, Di­rec­tor of the Good Schools Guide Ed­u­ca­tion Con­sul­tants (www.good­schools­guide.co.uk; 020–3286 6824)

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