The original 9 public schools are top schools in the UK with the longest history, to which so many students want to apply. It’s not easy to stand out from a sea of applicants, of course. But in Bilton Grange Preparatory School, half of its leavers manage to get into these prestigious schools. What’s their secret in this? We have the school’s Headmaster, Alex Osiatynski, answer this question in our interview.
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BE Education (BE): Please give a brief introduction of the history of your school and how does your school compare to other schools?
Alex Osiatynski (Alex) : Bilton Grange Preparatory School was founded in 1873, and moved to its current geographic location in 1887. We have an amazing site and buildings, which were designed by Augustus Wellby Pugin, the same man who designed the Parliament houses in London. We are a middle-land school, about an hour north of London. We feed to all the main public schools all around England.
BE: What’s the percentage of local students and international students respectively?
Alex: We have about 10% international students at most and most likely 7%. We have about a quarter of our children in the main prep school who are either full or weekly boarders. Another quarter is flexible boarders. We have local children as well, who come to us as a day and other kind of boarding children.
BE: Could you give us some details about the school’s curriculum and extra-curricular activities?
Alex: We have kinds of extra-curricular pursuits, lots of arts, music, drama and sports. One of the things that we do quite unusual is more outward bound and outdoor activities. We run a group of scouts, guides, clubs and brownies. Maybe not so familiar in China, but they involve camping, making camp fire, cooking food outdoors, going on long walks and hikes, and also learning how to be part for team. That’s a really important part of our education.
BE: So how about the entrance results of your school?
Alex: Our children go to a wide variety of schools, like public schools all over the country. Quite a lot go to Rugby School because it’s very near us. We have the top scholarship to Rugby last summer, and lots of academic scholarships as well as drama and sports scholarships. We also have children going to Eton, Harrow and other famous schools.
BE: What qualities are you looking for in an applicant?
Alex: It’s about making sure that they have a good level of spoken English and ideally a good level of written English as well. Because in order to access the full curriculum, they need to have that fluency of English. It depends on how old they are, because if they come to us at a slightly older age, then they will need to be more polished in their academic credentials. They need to have a good level of mathematics understanding as well.
And the most important thing is that they are inquisitive, that they want to learn, to find things out. They don’t want to just sit there and wait to be taught, not to sit there be filled up like a can of water. They should be out there to investigate, to get stuck into life at school and are going to really thrive at Bilton Grange.
Bilton Grange Preparatory School
The feeder to Rugby School, 40% of its leavers go on to Rugby
Rated by TATLER as the “School with the best Design Technology department in the UK”
Founded in: 1873
Type: Co-educational school
Nearest airport: Birmingham (40 min drive)
Age range: 4-13
Number of students：300
Teacher to student ratio：1:4
Percentage of boarding students：12.5%
Percentage of international students：12%
Curriculum and destination schools
English, Geology, History, Classical Literature, Mathematics, Sciences, French, Religious Studies, etc.
Football, Horse-riding, Golf, Hockey, Rugby, Swimming, Tae Kwon Do, Trampolining, Zumba
Ensemble, Choir, Musical Production, Chamber Music, Ballet, Sculpture, etc.
Design Technology, Electronic Programming (grades 4-6), Robotics, Webpage/Software Design, and Animation
Brownies, Cubs and Guides, Chess and board games, hiking, Astro-observation, skating, climbing, movie, etc.
Eton College, Cheltenham College, Rugby School, Marlborough College, Oakham School, Oundle School, etc.
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