CASE STUDY: GORDON’s SCHOOL, SURREY
GORDON’S SCHOOL CAN PROVIDE A ‘CONSTANT’ AFTER A LIFE OF MOVING SCHOOLS AND HOMES IN LINE WITH A CHILD’S PARENT’S POSTINGS AROUND THE WORLD
AWARDED TO THE MILITARY DIVISION of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in the Queen’s New Year Honour’s List, one of our parents commented “…it is tremendously helpful to have the support of a school that understands and is sympathetic to the demands of service life.”
Certainly, Gordon’s proximity to Heathrow Airport and major routes across the country make it a practical choice for parents who live or constantly travel overseas. But an understanding of diplomatic and military life is something that has been running through the fabric of the school since its inception over a century ago.
Originally built in 1885 by public subscription as a national memorial to General Charles Gordon, the school was opened as a home for ‘necessitous’ boys. The idea behind it being that the boys would be trained for civil and military life.
Today, the military aspect very much remains. Each student is issued with ‘Blues’, their marching uniform and takes part in weekly marching drills. Gordon’s is the only school permitted to Parade along Whitehall, something done annually to commemorate the life of General Gordon.
CCF, whether Army, Navy or Air Force is compulsory for one year and students have an enviable record in completing their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
Set in over 50 acres of beautiful Surrey countryside, the school is home to some 800 students and offers residential (weekly and termly) boarding from only £5,378 per term.
For many of the children from families living and working overseas, Gordon’s has been their first ‘constant’ after a life of moving schools and homes in line with their parent’s postings around the world. These students are given priority over others applying for a place at Gordon’s. The school also employs counsellors for them and tutors to plug any gaps in their education. The success of these measures is illustrated by the statistics that rank this non-selective school in the top one per cent of schools in England and Wales over the past three years at GCSE and A2-levels. Its reputation as one Britain’s most outstanding schools is well-deserved.
House Parents provide a ‘home from home’, lending a special atmosphere to each boarding house and ensuring that free time is fun with numerous activities.
To further ensure these children have equal opportunities to other students, the school stays open over the Easter holidays to residential boarders, so they can attend revision clinics. Many residential boarders find they are reconnecting with family friends made in another country and making new ones.
For Tracey Phillips, a military wife, who had moved to a new house with her children nine times before they returned to England, the decision on where her children should be educated came down to where they felt at home. “The homely feel really stood out for us,” recalled Tracey. “We felt a strong sense of family and the fact that the pastoral and teaching staff were used to working with military families meant they understood the special nature of where the kids are coming from and that they have had to move frequently.”
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