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From the Headmaster

Bryanston is not bound by tradition. We are a forward-thinking and outward-looking school, proud of the reputation and calibre of our education, of what we stand for, of our family ethos, and of the ways in which our pupils go on to make their mark upon the world. One of our core values, kindness, is at the heart of everything we do, but ‘resourceful’, ‘independent’ and ‘creative’ are also words you will hear a lot at the School. Pupils are encouraged to think imaginatively and intelligently break convention. 

At Bryanston, we expect everyone to play his or her part in the community, while remaining very much an individual. The two are complementary and we recognise the importance of having a broad range of pupils and rejoice in this diversity; the breadth of interests, talents and backgrounds of our pupils is a key part of what makes Bryanston what it is. 

The School’s Guiding Principles are longstanding, timeless and core components of the education we provide: creativity, breadth of ambition, individuality, humanity & family and resilience.  

Our aim is that Bryanstonians will leave us as well-rounded, optimistic individuals, having fulfilled their potential in a variety of areas at school, not least academically, ready to go out into the wider world, to lead happy and fulfilling lives and imbued with a sense of the duty of service. We believe a school can have no more joyful and important an ambition.

This website will give you a flavour of Bryanston, but please do come and visit. I look forward to meeting you.

Mark Mortimer
Follow the Headmaster on Twitter: @markd_mortimer

Bryanston's one-to-one tutorial system is the jewel in the School's crown. Our new film explains the impact this has - academically, pastorally and socially - from the perspectives of parents, staff and the pupils themselves.

At Bryanston, every pupil receives an unrivalled level of individual attention and support. Pupils benefit from extensive one-to-one time with their personal tutor and, as they move up through the School, also with their subject teachers, providing the academic and pastoral encouragement they need to achieve their full potential as individuals.

We believe pupils do best when they learn to relish every opportunity and discover their own individual talents and interests, exploring them to the best of their abilities. Pupils are encouraged to experience a wide range of academic subjects and extra-curricular activities, all of which helps them to discover areas where they can flourish and excel.

Education is not about moulding, nor are children end products. We believe that education is an exciting process, organic and ongoing; that pupils learn better actively, growing up in secure surroundings, than if passively taught; that to lead successful lives, at school and beyond, each needs to be prepared to give of his or her own talents and to value those of others.


Bryanston is a vibrant family full of interesting individuals, in which the sense of mutual respect between all is both evident and strong. One-to-one attention for the individual is at the heart of creating this and of all we do at Bryanston.

Before arrival at Bryanston, each pupil is assigned a personal tutor. The tutor, who is a member of the academic staff, takes care of the pupil's academic and extra-curricular growth throughout their time at Bryanston. Pupil and tutor meet one-to-one on at least a weekly basis and this provides the model for the relationship between adults and pupils in the school as a whole.

As they progress through the school, pupils also spend increasing amounts of dedicated one-to-one time with their individual subject teachers, alongside the time spent with them in the classroom. A depth of understanding develops between teacher and pupil which enables pupils' learning to prosper and informs the teacher's subsequent teaching of the whole class. But most of all, the one-to-one approach encourages pupils to be articulate about what they are learning, to engage with adults in a productive and increasingly mature way, and to know how to take responsibility for their own academic, and other, development. It allows a pleasingly broad church of pupils to achieve their potential; to fulfil, and indeed surpass, expectations.

Learning to learn

With its particular focus on the individual, the Bryanston model aims, above all, to ensure that a pupil at 18 is a more mature learner than at 13. We want our pupils to be able both to learn independently and to thrive upon it. In order to deliver this, over the course of their time at school, teachers and pupils work together to develop the skills required for a successful career both at Bryanston and beyond.

However, we don't expect pupils to 'ride the bicycle' at once or without the right support. Pupils are introduced to methods of learning and research by their subject teachers and through the provision of weekly assignment periods. From D, the first year at Bryanston, teachers and tutor act as 'stabilisers', as the pupil learns the proper confidence for learning independently. By the sixth form, pupils spend as much time outside the classroom - in one-to-one discussion with their individual subject teachers, undertaking their own research in assignment periods and working in prep time in the boarding house each evening - as they spend in the classroom learning with other pupils.

Balance between teaching and learning is critical to individual achievement. Our rigorous support system, via the use of our online weekly assessment charts, encourages pupils to be successful independent learners both in and out of the classroom as soon as they are ready to do so, and certainly by the time they leave for study at university.

Breadth and depth

Key to a Bryanston education is enjoyment in learning, in relishing every available opportunity, in discovering talents and interests and exploring them to the best of one's abilities. In the first year the curriculum is broad, allowing everyone to try the widest possible range of academic subjects before choosing a programme of study for GCSE and IGCSE. Deciding upon the right subjects comes in collaboration with parents, through the hands-on approach of the tutorial system, and with guidance from other appropriate expertise.

The sixth form presents further choices, not least between A levels and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Each has its merits and the decision as to which to study is dependent on the interests, abilities and intentions of the pupil. For all sixth formers, the extra-curricular element of school life remains important, and there is added academic 'fizz' in the form of Masterclasses, societies and discussion groups.

We take the same care in providing a breadth of sporting opportunities. Sport is at the very heart of Bryanston life. The minimum expectation is of healthy exercise three afternoons a week; the maximum could be much more, leading to selection for Bryanston teams across the whole range of sports and from there to regional, national and international recognition. But whether your aim is to win Olympic Gold, to enjoy and learn the value of being part of a team, or simply to try something new, Bryanston offers excellent coaching and facilities, inspirational role models within both the school and the wider Old Bryanstonian community, and some of the most beautiful countryside in England in which to play.

The Abundant Life

"This school is filled with creative and social activities over and above the academic and athletic pursuits ... in order that the pupils may learn the discipline, and experience the joy, of the abundant life." Thorold Coade, Headmaster of Bryanston, 1932-59

Thorold Coade believed that a wide range of opportunities allowed a child to discover where they could flourish and excel. Today Bryanston offers more than 100 different extra-curricular activities so that all pupils can find out what they are good at and what they are not so good at, and can learn from both, alongside their friends.

Most importantly, extra-curricular activity at Bryanston is treated as carrying real significance for the full development of the pupil. Many Old Bryanstonians have found their future paths from engagement in the extra-curricular life of the school; many others have found that success outside the classroom has given them greater confidence to deal with the challenges within the classroom. We strongly believe that this area of school life is of worth in and of itself.

The Creative Tradition

Creativity is important in all we do at Bryanston. As academic departments, art, drama, music and design and technology all enjoy a strong profile in the school. It is not surprising that many Old Bryanstonians have excelled at the very highest level in these fields. What may surprise is the sheer energy, enthusiasm and ambition of so many of our pupils. Our aim is to provide the time and space, the encouragement and guidance to enable them to make their own mark on the creative life of the school and beyond.

Creativity within academic subjects should not be overlooked. In science, for example, our pupils are encouraged to design and develop methods to test hypotheses in classwork and personal projects, and to visualise what is impossible to see, from the interlocking of molecules to the gravity field surrounding a black hole.

The creative threads draw together in the A3 Festival, an eclectic arts festival organised and delivered to the whole school by the lower sixth year group. They begin to learn the necessary skills through their contribution to the C Festival, The sCene, two years earlier. Both events underline the importance of individual contribution to the whole school. Both create a real sense of belonging for all who take part.

Space to flourish

Whenever Old Bryanstonians return, they have clear, strong memories of the people with whom they spent so much time in their formative years. The place itself also figures vividly in their minds and it is little wonder.

The Bryanston estate encompasses 400 acres of glorious north Dorset countryside. The scale of the grounds allows for a wide range of activities: extensive fields for games; a magical stretch of the river Stour for water sports. There is room for top-class facilities, from modern boarding houses to the remarkable Don Potter Art School and the award-winning Sanger Centre for Science and Mathematics. The estate also contains St Martin's, formerly the Bryanston village church, now the school's spiritual heart.

The Main House itself was built in 1898 as the Portman family home; it is now very much the home of the Bryanston family. All pupils pass through here during the day, to attend lessons, to meet with staff in assignment rooms or for tutorial sessions. In the basement corridor pupils gather to enjoy the prize-winning cuisine in the dining hall, or simply to relax in the very popular cafe and the various social areas.

The sense of belonging that the Main House and the wider estate encourage is enormously important to the school's family atmosphere. The fact that this is such a compellingly beautiful place has a profound and lasting effect on all who live and work here.

The Bryanston Family

We call this school a family and we mean it. It is evident in the way pupils support, encourage and care for each other and celebrate each other's achievements; in the easy and informal manner in which staff and pupils do business together; in the way parents become part of the enterprise, through the Bryanston Parents' Association, at plays and concerts and on the touchline; in the regular reunions, networking events, Bryanston Society gatherings and the growing programme of careers mentoring which keep Old Bryanstonians fully involved. At the heart of the Bryanston family is that crucial sense of belonging.

From the moment our new pupils arrive our aim is for them to feel happy and at home. We pride ourselves on the exceptional standards of our pastoral care, through our boarding houses, run by academic staff, many of whom have their own young family, through the tutorial system and the accessibility and approachability of all our staff. As in any family, good communication is essential and Bryanston works best when teachers, parents and pupils talk to each other.

At Bryanston, the co-educational debate was won years ago and in 1975 we became one of the first fully co-educational boarding schools in the country. We understand the challenges and strengths of co-education. We also know that for both boys and girls some requirements remain the same; developing the essential skills of getting along with other people, of making friends, of valuing the individual and the community to which all belong. These qualities are a natural part of being a member of Bryanston; all serve our pupils well at school and in the wider world.


Most families first visit the School as part of a small group on a Friday or Saturday morning. During the visit there will be a welcome from the Headmaster, a tour of the School by a pupil and an interactive session with a housemaster/housemistress to explore Bryanston's academic and pastoral structures. It is a fantastic opportunity to get to know the School better.



Read on to find out more about Bryanston and what makes it such an exciting and special place to be. 

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