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Welcome to the Bryanston blog

Meet our bloggers and vloggers

Our staff have valuable expertise, long experience and endless patience in allowing adolescents to find their adult selves. Explore our blog to find out what they know. Among them you'll also find a growing number of pupil vloggers who are keen to tell you at first hand what it's like to be at Bryanston.

Sarah Thomas

Former Head

Sarah Thomas was Head of Bryanston from 2005 to 2019. She read classics at Hertford College, Oxford, took her PGCE at King’s, London, and came to Bryanston after helping to run two of Britain's most successful co-ed public schools. She was deputy head at Uppingham for six years and before that spent 13 years at Sevenoaks teaching classics, housemistressing and heading the sixth form.

During her 14 years at Bryanston, Sarah oversaw a number of changes, including a significant development programme on campus, the migration to an online version of Bryanston's distinctive paper ‘chart’ and the successful introduction of the IB to the sixth form. Bryanston continued to thrive under Sarah’s leadership and in 2015 the School was rated as excellent across the board by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. She retired in July 2019.

Posts by Sarah Thomas

  • 19 Jul

    Life is the adventure

    A few weeks ago I spoke at my last Speech Day as a Head of Bryanston School. A leitmotif of my final chance to hold forth to a full Greek Theatre was of not outstaying one’s welcome and knowing when it is the right time to stay or to go. I used one of my favourite poems, which I quot...

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  • 2 May

    The importance of the spiritual

    Life is not all about the here and now. Although, as we all know, the ability to live in the present, to take life as it is and not to hanker after how it ‘should’ be, or how it seems to be for celebrities who airbrush their life for social media, is one of the things that is l...

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  • 18 Jan

    Letters of note

    It’s that time of the year again where the whole world seems to be banging on about new year resolutions and bettering yourself.  It puts me in mind of the author of Charlotte’s Web, E B White’s quotation: “I get up every morning determined both to change the w...

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  • 14 Sep

    The IB: as good as it gets!

    It’s the time of year where as a school we gear up to admit a fine cohort of sixth formers for September 2019. Bryanston has always welcomed a pleasing number and quality of candidates at this point, and the existing yeargroups, year on year, enjoy and benefit from the injection of new ideas...

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  • 13 Jul

    Speech Day reflections

    As another school year comes to an end, Sarah Thomas looks ahead to the future with one foot firmly rooted in the past. Discover why she believes that Bryanston’s motto of “Et Nova et Vetera” – both the new and the old – is more apt than ever. 

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  • 27 Apr

    School lingo

    Former Head, Sarah Thomas, demystifies the language of schools, including the word tutor, which has a particular resonance for Bryanston.

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  • 19 Jan

    90 years young!

    As we approach our 90th anniversary, former Head, Sarah Thomas, looks at why a school that is proud of being young still celebrates getting older.

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  • 15 Sep

    Keep talking

    As the new school year gets well under way, former Head Sarah Thomas reflects on the importance of a good relationship between school and home, including her own experiences of this as a parent. 

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  • 28 Apr

    Food for the soul

    As the new term gets under way, former Head, Sarah Thomas, looks at the need for us all to explore our spirituality and find a way to feed our souls.

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  • 16 Sep

    Earned and learned

    Be yourself; as the saying goes, everyone else is taken. It sounds easy enough, but being yourself can be a challenge when there is so much pressure to compare yourself to, or conform to the expectations of, others. Being yourself requires, above all, the right sort of confidence. 

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  • 29 Apr

    Against the clock

    It’s a term of exams; one which is more complicated than any of my teaching career, as the latest round of national exam tinkering starts to bite. The country’s Year 12 pupils (we call them A3) are engaging, depending upon their choices, in a mix of legacy and reformed A levels - and it...

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  • 12 Feb

    Piercing the gloom

    I always say, if asked, that the most difficult months in a school are November and February. I don’t know why I’ve always found this time of year so bleak; perhaps it’s the circadian rhythms and the short days which affect me.

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  • 22 Jan

    Who owns the school?

    There’s a famous story I’ve used before about Cyril Alington, Head Master at Eton College from 1917 to 1933, being asked by a small boy in his school, “Sir, Sir! What is the difference between you and God?” And of Cyril Alington’s tearing his gaze away from the lofty fi...

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  • 4 Dec


    “I’ve never really felt alone here,” a girl reported about settling in at Bryanston in the pupil pre-inspection questionnaire at the start of this term. Music to my ears.

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  • 6 Nov

    Nepal and beyond

    There’s an episode of Friends in which Phoebe, the only really interesting (as opposed to likeable or funny) character, decides to work out if there is such a thing as a truly unselfish act. Everything she tries proves either to be in fact not a good thing at all, or something from w...

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  • 18 Sep

    Every year a new start

    Every year I enjoy walking down to the pitches on the first Tuesday afternoon of the autumn term to see the new Ds in their brand new sports kit tackling the business of learning the ropes of rugby and hockey.

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  • 10 Jul

    People, not things

    Another summer term has drawn to a close and another successful Speech Day has allowed us to send off with love and every best wish both departing staff and 150 or so departing A2s.

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  • 6 Feb

    Greenhouse not hothouse

    There’s been more still in the media in recent weeks about what teachers must do to satisfy the grinding requirements of some moved goalpost or other, with several of my HMC colleagues rightly cross about league tables.

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  • 5 Dec

    Unchanging truths

    It’s almost the end of term and the time of year when I reflect upon rather a lot of reports. This year I may be writing slightly fewer owing to being called for jury service. I shall be doing all I possibly can and Pete Simpson, Director of Studies, will this time potentially be writing some...

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  • 7 Nov

    Never forgotten

    This year, Remembrance Sunday is all the more poignant because of the 100-year anniversary of the start of the First World War.

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  • 3 Oct

    Widening horizons

    Ni hao! On the afternoon of Tuesday 7 October we shall be hosting a now annual event wherein international universities send representatives to Bryanston to talk to interested A3 pupils.

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  • 20 Jun

    Raising sights and spirits

    Earlier this term I had the most pleasurable dining experience with pupils in my 27 years of teaching when our former IB Co-ordinator, invited the first cohort of IB pupils and their teachers to a dinner in recognition of their being about to sit the first ever IB exams at Bryanston this May.

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  • 16 May

    School ties

    Last weekend we had reunions for the classes of 2004, 1994, and 1984. The school was full of returning Old Bryanstonians (OBs), and in many cases their young families, and there was a constant buzz of enjoyed excitement as old friends encountered one another again. 

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  • 13 Feb

    An antidote to tedium

    Being a teacher for nearly 28 years means you think a fair bit about years, terms, months, weeks and lessons and occasionally even remember being on the receiving end of things.

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  • 10 Jan

    Renewed epiphanies

    January’s the time when we look back to the old year and forward to the new, remembering, whether we know it or not, the Roman god after whom the month is named.

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  • 20 Sep

    Big School

    At the start of the new school year, former Head Sarah Thomas shares her tips for new pupils starting at 'big school'.

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