S. Anselm’s Preparatory School in Bakewell, recently crowned the UK’s Best Independent Prep School 2021 by Tatler magazine, has today announced changes to its educational provision and organisation.

Founded in 1888, S. Anselm’s has an enviable reputation as one of the country’s leading independent preparatory schools with many pupils achieving the high academic results needed to go on to study at some of the leading senior schools of the country. Such schools include Eton, Harrow and Winchester, Manchester Grammar, Oundle School, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, and Withington Girls School, as well as other independent day schools such as Birkdale School in Sheffield.

Since September 2015, S. Anselm’s has also offered S. Anselm’s College for Years 9, 10 & 11 with students securing outstanding GCSE results in recent years. However, the constraints of the Stanedge Road site in Bakewell have always imposed severe limits on the overall holistic educational offering of the College and constrained ambitions for growth.

The recent pandemic has caused further changes to take place within the market for educational provision nationally and the Board of Governors and Headteacher have taken the opportunity to review of all aspects of educational provision at S. Anselm’s. It has been decided that S. Anselm’s will continue to build on its national reputation as a superb preparatory school and focus on education from Pre-School to Year 8, with pupils completing their Common Entrance or Scholarship in preparation for their chosen destination school, whether in the independent or maintained sector. As a result S. Anselm’s College will not continue beyond the end of this academic year with all students in Year 11 completing their GCSE courses as planned and graduating in summer 2022.

Frank Thompson, Headteacher at S. Anselm’s said:

“We are firm believers in focusing on what we do best and for S. Anselm’s that is the provision of an holistic education for children from Pre-School through to Year 8. For us, such an education encompasses not just academia but a full range of learning experiences offered to each child. These are extensive and span sports, music, drama and extra-curricular events and trips, as well as opportunities to board if wanted. All our pupils are encouraged and enabled to reach their own potential and further understand the contribution they can make to our wider community.

The College has in so many ways been a great success and we are tremendously proud of all the students who have achieved such great results together with the staff who have made it possible. However, our site at Stanedge Road has real limitations and it is just not possible to do everything here. We have decided to make this decision now in order for the Prep School to develop and thrive in the coming years.”

Richard Bowker CBE, Chair of Governors said:

“We are acutely aware of the impact of our decision, but we are committed to working proactively with all families on an individual basis to find alternative schools in the area. We have strong relationships with many of the excellent schools in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire and we are confident that we will be able to help everyone move seamlessly and with the minimum of disruption.

We are proud of everything S. Anselm’s has achieved throughout its history and especially in recent times during the Pandemic from which, through the quality of teaching and the resilience of the school community, we have emerged in a position of strength. We are also proud of the fact that the historic Derbyshire town of Bakewell, located here in the heart of the glorious Peak District, can now say it is home to the UK’s best prep school, recognised nationally by the prestigious Tatler Schools Awards.”


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