What is Ardingly College like?
Ardingly College is one of those schools that seems to tick every box for a wide range of students. The school caters for children from 3-18, with approximately 50% of students in the senior school boarding. Ardingly occupies a glorious site in East Sussex, with far-reaching views over miles of beautiful green countryside. Yet the school is within an hour of London, and even closer to Gatwick.
The campus manages to be grand without being in the least bit austere, and students and staff everywhere look genuinely happy to be there. Traditional buildings sit comfortably alongside brand new facilities, including a state of the art Science and Technology block to be opened in 2019. Boarding houses are well-designed and very comfortable. Students from Year 9-12 are in single sex houses, and in the final year everyone moves to a co-ed house, which apparently is very popular. There is a strong but friendly rivalry between houses.
Academically, the school does extremely well, especially in the IB where results consistently put it in the top tier of schools. Ben Figgis, the headmaster, deliberately pursues a policy of only allowing excellent all-round students to take the IB, pointing out that it is an academically demanding course and that it’s easy to be let down by a weak subject. The majority of 6th formers take A-Levels, chosen from or one of the newly introduced BTEC courses in Sport, Business and Psychology. There is also a Pre-IB programme for students starting in Year 11, to which entry is competitive.
Ardingly’s mantra is ‘nobody excels at everything, but everyone can excel at something’ and the school offers a fantastic range of extra-curricular activities to enable students to discover and develop their talents and interests. Music and sport are particularly strong, and the school has an outstanding Art department. Football and hockey are the major sports, and there is an elite football programme for boys and elite hockey for girls.
Would Ardingly College be suitable for my child?
Ardingly is an academically selective school, but not a ‘hothouse’. Students need to be achieving well and eager to learn and take advantage of all the school has to offer. Although some EAL is offered, international students need to demonstrate a high level of English to be considered.
The school offers a well-rounded education with a large and diverse cohort of domestic and international students. A global outlook and enthusiasm to enjoy and contribute to the school community is the kind of mindset the school expects as a given.
How can I apply to Ardingly College?
The main entry points are into the prep school (Years 3-8), and then 13+ (year 9) and 16+ (year 12) with a small number of places available each year in Year 10 and Year 11 (for the Pre-IB programme). Ardingly is a popular school and it is advisable to apply well in advance of the proposed start date. The school sets its own tests for entry to the senior school for students who are not in a UK prep school. Speak to us for advice about applying to this and other UK boarding schools.
Calvin from Myanmar talks about what it's like to be an Ardingly student