Will I have to take an entrance exam?
Shaftesbury School is a non-selective school so there is no entrance exam as such. You complete an application form and have an interview. We also ask for a reference from your current school to make sure that we know that you will get on with a community of 100 other students.
If English is not your first language then you will have an assessment to make sure that you are on the right course.
If you are not following a GCSE course or equivalent then you may also have to undertake a diagnostic test in Maths and Science.
What happens if I need additional support with my English?
You will have an English assessment as part of your interview and again at the start of your course. The results of these tests will show us whether you will require any additional support. Some support is offered in class; however should you need further EFL tuition then this is available at an additional cost (£25 per hour).
Who will ‘care’ for me at Barton Hill House?
Trained pastoral staff, both resident and non-resident, are on hand to look after you and work closely with your parents and guardians. All staff at Shaftesbury School are concerned with the day-to-day welfare of students.
Will I adapt easily to boarding school life?
It is natural to miss home and family at first and some overseas students have the added problem of jet-lag to overcome! In addition, you may not have the language skills you need to adapt quickly to your new environment. Barton Hill House is particularly aware of the language and cultural issues, which can make life difficult for students from other countries and the homesickness, which ANY new student might suffer. Staff do their best to make sure that everyone soon develops confidence and settles into school life happily.
What do I do about homework or additional study?
There is strong emphasis on independent study. After the main evening meal, there is study time which will enable you to get on with your work with no distractions. Younger boarders are supervised, and we give individual help to any that are struggling with the tasks they have been set.
We encourage students to use the library and computer networks, with broadband Internet access, for both study and leisure. The boarding house has wi-fi Internet access for boarders’ laptops with wireless connections.
What is the accommodation like?
We have invested heavily in the boarding house in recent years, for example, with new bathrooms and upgraded common room and dining facilities. You will be either sharing a room with 2, 3 or 4 other students or a single study bedroom. The majority of the rooms have en suite facilities.
What should I bring with me?
Not too much! There is limited storage! Each student has under bed storage, a wardrobe and a desk plus a lockable safe. Don’t forget that students (Year 7 – 11) wear school uniform during the working day. Sixth form students do not have a uniform. Most students bring their own duvets and duvet covers.
Will I get enough to eat and what if I don’t like the school food?
You will have breakfast and dinner at Barton Hill House. Lunch is at school (Mondays – Fridays). There is always a choice of cooked or cold meals with plenty of salads and fruit. You will be able to have afternoon tea when you return to Barton Hill after school and cereal is available in the evenings. In addition, all students can make their own snacks and hot drinks in the student kitchen.
Do I have to do my own washing?
There is a laundry room. Sixth formers do their own laundry; however laundry is done for the younger students.
Can I have my own music system, computer and mobile phone?
At present, you can bring all three of these with you if you wish. However there are rules about safety and when and where they can be used.
Are there lessons at weekends?
We do not have lessons at the weekends.
Are there any trips during the weekend?
We visit nearby towns and cities such as Salisbury, Yeovil, Southampton and Bath. There are also trips and activities for example: cinema, Splashdown, Thorpe Park and paint balling.
You are encouraged to get involved in community activities and take part in the many artistic, cultural or sporting activities of the school. You can also visit Shaftesbury where you can buy most essential items.
Can I continue to play a musical instrument?
Yes, lessons can be arranged at school (you will have to pay extra). Normally the lessons are after school.
I live overseas. Will I have to leave Barton Hill House at half term and holidays?
Yes. You will have to go and stay with your Guardian if you cannot be with your family. However you may go and stay with friends from school providing their parents give permission. There are no Exeats.
What happens if I’m ill?
The house staff look after you if you are ill and will make sure that you receive the appropriate care. As soon as you join Shaftesbury School you will be registered with the local medical practice and appointments can be made either for you or by yourself.
Who arranges travel?
Parents and guardians arrange travel, and the boarding staff will assist in booking taxis and arranging transport to airports.
Are students accompanied to the airport or train station?
We arrange for taxis or coach to transport students to the train station or airport. We offer a FREE shuttle bus from Gillingham, Dorset station on arrival and return days.
How easy is it to get to and from the airports?
The nearest station is in Gillingham about 10 minutes away and there is a direct line to London Waterloo. You can connect to Heathrow Airport here, too.
What are the arrangements for pocket money?
House staff arrange pocket money, although most of the older students have their own accounts.
Can I leave things at school over the holidays?
Yes, you may leave some of your things in a case over the holidays. However, you will need to make sure that all your area is clean and tidy before you leave.
May my friends visit me at Barton Hill House?
Yes, your friends are welcome to visit you but you must clear the arrangements with Houseparents first.