Sherborne School

Logo of Sherborne School

Pupils Info

Gender – Boys School
Age range – Ages 13-18
Number of pupils on roll – 600 Pupils


Average Class Size: 20
Boarding School
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 5%
Day: £25,635 – Boarding: £31,555
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 75%

Sherborne is a good place to go to school. Scattered over a picturesque abbey town, the honey-coloured school buildings (confiscated from the monastery and given to the school after the Reformation) might look ancient but are increasingly cutting edge. The ethos of the school too is deceptively traditional. Though Sherborne is almost the prototype of a boys public school – there are 8 different boarding houses each run by a scholarly old-school housemaster, teaching is good but traditional and the schools sports teams go around the country challenging other big public schools to hearty applause – there is an informality and versatility to Sherborne that other old schools lack. The boys when they leave are just as prepared for life building Internet start-ups in Oman as for merchant banking.

Background and Reputation

Sherborne is a good bet for most boys. The teaching is good across the board, not just for the boys who excel but also for the less academic. The whole Sherborne experience is aimed at turning out well-rounded and well-educated types. Courtesy and organization are taken seriously; and although boys get to know their housemasters and their wives well during their years at Sherborne, there is little mollycoddling. Boys are expected to get themselves up and out to class in the morning and finish their homework (or ‘hall’) in the evening with minimal supervision. This relative freedom extends to most areas of school life: while discipline when it is meted out can be severe, for the most part it is up to the boys themselves to choose their boundaries. This, surprisingly, seems to work.

Academic and Exit Results

Though not the most high-flying school in the country, Sherborne generally acquits itself well in public exams. The 2013 results at GCSE and IGCSE bucked the national downward trend with an increased performance at all levels. Just under 30% of all results were A* and just over 60% were Aand A with performance A to B at 86.4% Record IB Examination results were recorded that year with an average point score of 35.3, the highest since Sherborne introduced the International Baccalaureate five years ago. Three boys achieved 40 points or more and one an impressive 42. The boys did well at A Level too with just over 60% of grades being A*/B.

Social and Pastoral

The brilliant thing about Sherborne is that although it has all the advantages of an all-boys school, it has everything going for a co-ed one too. The school’s strong ties with Sherborne Girls (just up the road) mean that the boys grow up knowing lots of girls, who they see at weekends, in the evenings and can do some lessons with in sixth form. Sherborne might also be just about the perfect school town: it is a good size, and though it has lots of pubs there are no nightclubs, meaning that things can get rowdy at weekends but rarely get completely out of control. The pastoral system also works very well; the boarding Houses are not too big (around 70 a house) which means that the Housemasters, Matrons and Heads of House know each of the boys in their care and there are individual tutors and form teachers to keep an eye on their individual development.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

Shirburnians play a lot of sport. There are around 26 school sports teams, ranging from Fives and Water Polo to some pretty high end Rugby and Cricket. So seriously is sport taken at Sherborne that they have their own physiotherapists and a sports psychologist. Although the pitches are set a little away from the main campus, sport is very much part of the mainstream life of the school: lots of academic teachers also coach a team and the weekend’s match results are discussed obsessively. Sports tours are a big thing for the school and there is always some plan to take a team to a far- flung spot, in the offing. This might compensate for the commitment expected of the team players: training happens early and late, and excuses to get out of Saturday afternoon matches simply do not fly. There is a great drive at the moment to improve the already impressive facilities, if the school rumours are anything to go by Sherborne is set to resemble an Olympic village by 2020. The Art Department is a haven. Designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, the art block though positioned in the center of the school, seems to be in a world of its own. Tranquil and hectic by turns, the boys are encouraged to tread their own path. To that end, though there is support from the accomplished art teachers when it is asked for, much of the boys’ work is done without supervision. Mucking around in the Art Department after hours is something of a course requirement, and the results are striking. Posted over the department and around school, there is no particular ‘Sherborne style’; rather, each boy seems to flourish for himself. Music is taught particularly well at Sherborne, this might have something to do with the care that is taken to imbed it into school life. A special slot, ‘Q time’, after lunch is set aside for the many music groups to meet, while one of the great things about being at a boarding school are the long evenings in which to practice. Performance is another prominent part of a Sherborne music education: the choir never seems to stop gigging (this is on top of their twice weekly performances at Sherborne Abbey) and the other music groups get more than their fair share of airtime with weekly lunch time recitals in Cheap Street Church. The Rock Society (RocSoc) is also a hotbed of creativity, having fostered the likes of Chris Martin, it is showing no sign of slowing up and every year stages a full on rock concert in the school courts.

Sherborne is well known for making thespians out of its boys (Jeremy Irons, Charlie Cox and Hugh Bonneville are alumni). This might have something to do with the number of ways that students can get involved with the department. For although Drama GCSE and A Level are popular and well taught, they are not a prerequisite for appearing in the many productions put on throughout the year (there are generally at least two School Plays, five House Plays and a Junior Play). The facilities are on their side too, with the large Powell Theatre, the Big School Room and the Hargreaves Studio, all ready to showcase the school’s talents.


A Sherborne education goes on long after the bell rings. In fact, boys report that they are encouraged just as much in their extra curricular activities as they are in their academic life. Most boys will have one big thing that they do outside of the classroom, from caving to sailing (the school has its own fleet) to conducting. Sherborne is also very good at fostering special relationships with different local institutions, this means that whether they want to get involved in the Sherborne Golf Society to a community center in the town, the boys have lots of scope for activities beyond the school walls.

Sherborne School

Headmaster: Christopher Davis

Telephone: 01935 812 249

Address: Abbey Road Sherborne Dorset DT9 3AP

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