This week Undercover goes behind the scenes and discovers what it is really like to live and study at one of the most prestigious boarding schools in Britain, Bradfield College. Coming to a UK independent school can be a wildly different experience to the schooling that students are familiar with back home. Therefore, we want to give you a mini tour so that you can be prepared for your visit to Hogwarts – sorry, I mean Bradfield College, of course!
Bradfield College, located in the rolling hills of the Berkshire countryside, was founded in 1850 by Reverend Thomas Stevens. Named after the village of Bradfield, the structure and architecture of the College seems to have evolved out of the village itself. You are never quite sure where the College ends and the village begins, which creates a sense of a close-knit and nurturing community between boarders and residents.
Stevens initially sort the assistance of Victorian architect Sir Gilbert Scott to enlarge his village church. This was just the beginning. From there, he establish a Choir School, and so grew the College. Now known as Bradfield Place, the original Choir School is still very much a part of the College. See if you can spot it when you arrive on your broomsticks – I mean taxi…
Bradfield College is widely considered as one of the best co-ed boarding schools in the country. One of the reasons for this is that Bradfield seamlessly blends the traditional with the modern. For instance, historical architecture stands side by side with modern facilities. On the same campus you will find a beautiful Chapel and Dining Hall, as well as a state-of-the-art Sports Centre and Art Studio. Students’ awareness of the old and the new, the past and the future allow them to appreciate where they are today and how they fit into the world around them.
Another reason why Bradfield College is so highly regarded is because it seeks to prepare its students for the challenges that young people face in the 21st Century through a well-rounded education. Bradfield is an outward-looking school, and takes pride in offering students numerous opportunities to learn in different ways. For example, extra-curricular activities, from sports to performing arts to volunteering, are encouraged alongside academic study in order to develop these students into independent young adults. Bradfield takes pride in its students who are ready to step out into the adult world, eager to contribute to society and make a difference.
Finally, the boarding experience also provides students with valuable social skills. For instance, learning to accept students that come from different backgrounds, cultures and faiths; learning to understand different customs and habits; the importance of sharing; and the joy that lifelong friendships can provide. It is true, the people you board with become like a family to you and the bond that is created lasts a lifetime. Now, where did I put that Sorting Hat…
So I hope that gives you an insight into what to expect when you join us at Bradfield College next Summer. Remember to soak up the experience and make the most of all the opportunities available to you while you are staying on campus. Oh, and don’t forget your wand!