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History of Bryanston

Bryanston School was founded in 1928 by J.G. Jeffreys, a young, innovative Australian schoolmaster. There were just seven teachers and 23 boys of various ages in the first term. Jeffreys was a natural innovator but one who respected good traditions, reflected in his choice of school motto, et nova et vetera.



the Dalton Plan

Bryanston was one of the first English schools to adopt the Dalton Plan, its combination of the new and the old being of particular appeal. The system was flexible enough to offer a combination of lessons in the classroom and time for assignment work in subject rooms, which gave boys the freedom to decide which pieces of academic work should have their attention. Pupils were required to keep a daily record on a chart showing their use of working and leisure time, meeting with their tutors on a weekly basis to ensure effective monitoring of their progress. The principles of this system, including the use of the chart, are still in place today and remain central to the School’s success.


In 1932 Thorold Coade took over as Headmaster. Coade believed that the emphasis on freedom and self-development implied self-discipline and that the School should provide the framework within which this could be developed. He spent the next 27 years establishing this structure. The growth in numbers after the war favoured the development of several areas, notably Pioneering, which remains a feature of school life to this day.


Thorold Coade retired in 1959 and Robson Fisher was appointed in his place. A number of important changes took place under his headship, including the change from short to long trousers, and the arrival of the first girls in 1972, making Bryanston one of the country's most experienced co-educational boarding schools. The transition to co-education was completed under the subsequent head, the Reverend David Jones.

A Family School

1983 saw the arrival of Tom Wheare as Headmaster and the start of a substantial, ongoing building programme. But Bryanston has always been more than just its buildings and the concept of the loving family school was the strongest characteristic for Sarah Thomas to recognise as she took up her appointment in September 2005.


In 2019 the Good Schools Guide described Bryanston as  "Secure in its identity, superbly staffed, safe, kind, rigorous and highly likeable, a school in buoyant form that celebrates all sorts and all achievements." In September of the same year, Mark Mortimer became the School's seventh head.

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Your connection with Bryanston doesn’t stop when you leave at the end of your time with us.

We have an active alumni programme that supports OBs with careers advice and networking, organises reunions and provides ways for you to stay in touch with each other and to get involved with the School and support its future.