Leighton Park School


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  • Category: Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Quaker
  • Roll: 282 (Boys) 182 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 11-18 years
  • Founded: 1890

General Information

Our positive approach to life and education provides us with the energy and enthusiasm to look for the good in each individual, and prepare well-rounded and confident students with the wide variety of skills and experience so valued by universities and employers. Through their academic endeavour, sport participation, charity work and event organisation our students become self-motivated and fully equipped with the skills they will need to succeed in their future studies and careers.

With our rich Quaker traditions and history, a strong sense of pastoral care and community and an engaging academic curriculum Leighton Park can offer a guided, disciplined learning environment in which every individual can thrive.


Versatile theatre and concert space; drama studio; digital recording studio and technology suite. Extensive sports fields, floodlit astroturf, cricket square and indoor pool. Large number of electronic whiteboards in classrooms, 3 ICT suites. Well equipped Library and range of author visits and events to excite readers. Sixth Form Centre with lounge, kitchen, garden and study space. Careers Library. Boarding houses well equipped with leisure facilities, for use of day pupils as well as boarders.

Entrance Requirements

Entry into Years 7-10: Tests in English, English Essay and Maths plus interview. For entry in September 2017, the entrance tests will be held on Saturday 14th January 2017.

Sixth Form entry: required GCSE or equivalent results and interview.

Students whose first language is not English will be required to sit an EAL (English as an Additional Language) test and possibly other subject area papers depending upon previous educational background and subjects studied.

International students: arrangements can be made for students to sit tests at their current school. Interviews will be arranged and carried out using Skype. A birth certificate and passport will be requested to confirm identification and date of birth.


A limited number of Academic, Art and Design, Drama, Music and Sports scholarships are granted for entry to Year 7, Year 9 and Sixth Form on the basis of a competitive examination.

Open Days

2017. Open Mornings: Sat. 30th September, Tues. 10th October, Tues. 7th November and Tues. 5th December.

2018. Open Mornings: Tues. 20th February, Tues. 13th March, Tues. 24th April, Tues. 22nd May and Tues. 19th June.

Please visit our website www.leightonpark.com or contact the Admissions Office for details, by telephone on 0118 987 9608 or email admissions@leightonpark.com.


2017/2018. Per term. Junior pupils (Years 7 and 8): Day £5786, Weekly Boarding £7962, Full Boarding £9054. Senior pupils (Years 9 to Upper Sixth): Day £7218, Weekly Boarding, £9767, Full Boarding £11348.

Sibling discount offered.


ISI Boarding Inspection 2012
ISI Full Inspection 2014

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr Nigel Williams

Leighton Park School
Shinfield Road

[t]: 0118 987 9600
[w]: www.leightonpark.com

Location Description

Set in 60 acres of parkland, 1 mile south of Reading. Close to M4 and River Thames and within easy reach of Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

To send an email to the school please fill in your details below and add a short message. If you are requesting a prospectus to be sent to you please include your postal address.

School News

Leighton Park School Independent Berkshire

On Thursday 25th May, Eye Film won Best Promotional Programme at The Royal Television Society East Awards 2017 for their school film they made with

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Leighton Park School, located in Shinfield Road, Reading.

Charlie Gauvain, Managing Director at Eye Film, in Norwich, Norfolk, commented, “Leighton Park School has a unique quality that is hard to put into words. Eye Film had the freedom to be creative and produce a script and film that would best convey the essence of the school. We spent a day filming with students, deliberately choosing to capture genuine, natural enthusiasm for the Leighton Park School. A few more days of filming followed to capture aerial shots, before adding some innovative editing techniques to create a slick final film full of creative transitions.”

“We’ve had a busy year with our company rebrand, launching a new website, producing two new TV projects for the BBC and working on a series of new films for schools, so we’re thrilled that we won. I don’t think there’s another school film quite like it and it was wonderful that Leighton Park allowed us creative free reign on the project, so thank you to them!” added Charlie.

Leighton Park School were thrilled with the video which can be viewed on the homepage of their website. Nigel Williams, Head, added, “I was eager to work with Eye Film, as Charlie and his team had a very clear vision about what they could offer us and a willingness to explore and understand the unique set of values that make Leighton Park School so special. I am delighted with the film and very excited about the thoroughly deserved award.”

Leighton Park School Independent Berkshire

Facing a Dragon’s Den style panel of judges of IT experts at Cisco, the world leader in IT and networking, might not be everyone’s ideal

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day out but for 25 girls from Leighton Park School it opened the gates to their dreams. On Thursday 27th April, thousands of girls worldwide were inspired by leading global companies in communication technologies as International Girls in IT Day took place, an initiative backed by International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Twenty-five girls from Year 9 and 10 from Leighton Park, Shinfield Road, Reading, travelled to Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT and networking, also based in Reading, to celebrate the day that encourages girls and young women to consider careers in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Alongside Leighton Park School, girls from Westgate School, Slough, Springwest Academy, Feltham and Rivers Academy Hounslow, also took part in the event at Cisco. Girls spoke to a variety of employees at Cisco about their job roles, as well as getting a greater insight into the world of IT, as they learnt how to write code, plan how to connect everyday items to the internet, create their own in-school app and present it Dragon’s Den style!

Girls were empowered and encouraged to work within the ICT field, as they were shown the numerous roles available and addressed stereotypes associated with the

field. “Attending Cisco’s Girls in IT Day has enabled us to identify our full potential, to open the gates of our dreams, to know that we can excel and achieve whatever we put our minds to; from public speaking in front of a crowd of unknown faces, to recognising the evolution of our everyday devices.” commented Letitia.

Girls left feeling more motivated and inspired to pursue careers within ICT fields. “We gained a meaningful insight into the growth of technology and the future of the internet that overrules our lives as human beings. At the end of the day, each of us were able to realise the abilities and strengths we possessed throughout public speaking, as well as recognising our unique confidence shining through against other schools! As females, we are now strong, proud and independent women!” affirms Emma.

Leighton Park School’s ambition is to become a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) centre of excellence and is hoping to host similar events in the future that inspire young people to see the opportunities available to them. We are in collaboration with UTC Reading who are working with the Institute of Engineering and Technology to host a series of talks on women that work in STEM. The next two talks are on the 8th May and 5th June, with speakers from UK Space Agency, Institute for Environmental Analytics and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

Leighton Park independent day and boarding school Berkshire

Year 11 artists absorbed much of the Catalan culture during a four day trip to Barcelona in September, gathering inspiration for this year’s theme of

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‘Contrasts’. Beginning with the contemporary design and ceramics at Museu del Disseny they swiftly headed for the city’s beach at dusk before meandering through the packed streets of the Gothic Quarter.

On day two students took in the giants of Spanish art and architecture, Joan Miro and Antoni Gaudi. The Miro Foundation was reached via a funicular railway and was undoubtedly worth the climb. Energetic splashes of colour filled the gallery walls and rejuvenated everyone after a long morning.

With almost ten years to go until completion, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia is already incredible. The afternoon saw the young artists entering a vast space filled with colour and light, with contrasting styles on each facade. In the evening everyone headed for the relative tranquillity of Parc Guell to take in the fresh air above the city.

Ralph reflected on the trip, “I was overwhelmed by the contrasts throughout the city. The Sagrada Familia has to be my number one though. It’s up there, for sure.”

The third day took in century old traditions in the Jewish quarter of Girona before working spontaneously in the spirit of Dada and Surrealism, at Dali’s Theatre in Figures.

The final day was spent in the hustle and bustle of a Barcelona market, taking street portraits of the stall holders and sampling local delicacies. This year’s trip will leave indelible memories on many and all have pledged to return for the completion of Gaudi’s masterpiece. Fantastico!


Leighton Park independent day and boarding school Berkshire

A mix of 25 engineers and designers from Year 7 -11 have been spending the last few months putting together their creation for the Greenpower

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Project. Each student has been taking on their own role, whether it be assembling, designing, or fundraising!

The Greenpower Education Trust’s objective is to advance education in the subjects of sustainable engineering and technology and created the Greenpower project to inspire young people to become interested in engineering by getting them to design, build and race their own electric powered car. The event sparks a lot of interest in pupils nationwide, with 450 schools taking part in the event that involves 2 x 90 minute races at some of the best motor sport venues across the UK!

Many schools take the event very seriously and put together proper racing teams as well as a bespoke kit for their designs, however, all teams must follow these stipulations: the car must have the same motor and one pair of 12 volt batteries per race; at least three team members must drive the car and up to six further members can act as pit crew; drivers may only drive for one car and for one team for a minimum of fifteen minutes.

Myles Nash, Head of DT has been guiding students, “The Greenpower project is great opportunity for students to focus on their design and technology skills and embrace engineering by looking at aerodynamics, stream-lining and your ability to manage power”.

Students have been customizing, adapting and assembling their standard kit this term and now will begin fundraising for sponsorship from companies in the local area with any manufacturing expertise or interest in children learning engineering. The races will be taking place in the summer – We look forward to seeing further progress over the coming months!

Leighton Park independent day and boarding school Berkshire

On 8th – 10th February we saw a truly unique performance, both in venue as guests gathered in a brilliant bright red circus tent, as

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well as in theatrical exploration as performers contrasted the murderous plot of ‘Woyzeck’ with the cheerful frivolity of a circus setting.

Leighton Park’s new Head of Drama, Peter Scoggins, had the challenging task of creating a special environment for the production due to ongoing building works for our brand new state of the art Music and Media Centre, which is due to be completed spring 2018. “It has been an absolute joy to direct and design this performance and I have to say a special thank-you to everyone who has helped to make it happen. The young people of Leighton Park created something very special – theatre that seeks to explore something of the world that surrounds us and which also transports us somewhere else.” comments Peter.

‘Woyzeck’ is a dark play originally set in a small 19th century German garrison town, however, for the school’s production the setting of ‘Woyzeck’ was transported to a small travelling run-down circus at the start of the 20th century. Performers in the production experienced a variety of outings and workshops to inspire them with how to understand the unusual setting and devise their own circus scenes. Trips included spending an evening at the Circus Starr big top in Woodley where students got to see dangerous feats of acrobatics and strength accompanied by humour, as well as a workshop with Peter Wintercane from Big Top Mania. Students learned how to perform slapstick comedy and various circus acts to help them devise scenes for audience participation.

Despite the fun circus elements, the tragic central focus of the play remained intact as Christian exceptionally portrayed the down-trodden and inarticulate Franz Woyzeck as he descended into madness. Christian commented being involved in the play, “Taking part in the school production was a great learning experience for me. Playing the disturbed Woyzeck was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do as an actor but the feeling of achievement afterwards made all the work worthwhile and despite the pressure and stress, I thoroughly enjoyed taking part.”

“The whole cast’s performance was remarkable in portraying the calamitous story of poverty, human suffering and violence, juxtaposed with the frequent light-hearted jovial circus scenes. What appeared an unusual combination for theatre was executed as an incredible demonstration of the talent at Leighton Park, as well as an unforgettable and exciting setting for the play in a unique theatre venue.” Nigel Williams, Head, commented.

Vladislav, who played Andres, Woyzeck’s friend and confidant, reveals the difficult demands for the production due to the unconventional location: “Performing in a circus tent was interesting experience because we had a few complications with space and the acoustics on our way to the final performance but I would be prepared to go through that journey again and again just to experience that incredible feeling of accomplishment after the curtain call!”

Students from Year 9 to the Upper Sixth contributed to the technical crew, the band, costumes and make-up over the three night run and received a monumental round of applause for all of their dedication and hard work. This year has proven to showcase another memorable Senior Production and demonstrate the abundance of talent throughout the school.

Leighton Park’s IB students were excited to receive their International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP) results yesterday. Their top flight marks will see them taking full advantage

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of this internationally recognised qualification, accepting their places at UK, European and international universities.

Robert Beckett, who lives in Reading, was delighted to receive his results. With 37 points he will be heading off to Tilburg University in the Netherlands to read Economics.

Lillie Sokolski will also be studying abroad, joining another Leighton Park student, Finty Grace Kelly, at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York for an immersive two-year, performance-based course which prepares students for a professional career on stage and screen. Head of Drama, Geraint Thomas, commented, “The American Academy is one of the most famous drama schools in the world and is certainly on a par with our best; RADA, Central or the Bristol Old Vic etc. It is so great for an international school like ours to be placing students in prestigious places all around the world.”

Max Jennings, whose 40 points are taking him to Falmouth College for his Art Foundation course before he selects a creative degree course in his preferred medium, told his Art teacher, Elaine King, “I’m so happy with my results! I have the overall grade requirements so I can go to any uni I choose, thank you so much for all your help during the last two years!”. Another of Elaine’s students, Liza Gargarina, achieved the highest possible subject mark in the IB with a 7 in Art. Liza’s talents and her fantastic results will see her applying to the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art at UCL next year.

Marijn Vuijk, who achieved 38 points and is going to be studying in the Netherlands next year, has spent the last month volunteering at a local primary school in Guatemala. Marijn was awarded £300 earlier in the year as part of Leighton Park’s Travel Scholarship programme, enabling her support Niños de Guatemala, a charity offering education to children from low-income families.

Nigel Williams, Head, commented “In the uncertain climate in which we find ourselves, it is very reassuring that Leighton Park students have performed so well in an internationally recognised rigorous Diploma programme, that will give each student the option of continuing their studies in the UK, the EU or anywhere in the world. The IB curriculum is unanimously praised by universities; who appreciate its breadth, academic rigour, and preparation for students to become lifelong learners. It is a natural fit with the ethos of Leighton Park  where we look to ensure our students develop as internationally minded and caring global citizens who are better prepared to be a positive influence in a very challenging world”.

Leighton Park students averaged a score of 35 against a world-wide average of 30. Five students also gained a bilingual diploma. Just under a quarter of students achieving a point score of 40 or more against a maximum of 45, including Head Boy, Finbar Aherne. Fin, who has been spending the summer so far surfing in Newquay with a dozen of his fellow Sixth Formers, took time out of his relaxed schedule, to celebrate his excellent results with some fish and chips washed down with champagne! “We are so proud of him” said Fin’s mother, Joanna, “The teaching staff at Leighton Park are excellent and Fin responded brilliantly to their teaching. He worked so hard; he really put the work in and now he has reaped the rewards.” Speaking from the beach, Fin commented, “I was really happy to get my results. I felt like it was well deserved; I put so much effort into it and I’d been aiming for a 40. It’s an amazing feeling!”.

Deputy Head (Academic) and IBDP Co-ordinator at Leighton Park, Karen Gracie-Langrick, added, “The IB Diploma Programme  has been the gold standard in International Sixth Form education for over 40 years. At Leighton Park the IB has continued to grow and now, in its seventh year, I am delighted that this year’s students have maintained an excellent average point score of 35 which will see them attend leading universities across the globe. I am extremely proud of our students and congratulate them on their well-deserved results, which is a testament to all their learning and hard work and to the dedication and professionalism of our academic team.”

Leighton Park School, located in 65 acres of beautiful parkland, opposite the University of Reading, offers Sixth Form students the opportunity to choose between studying A Levels and the IBDP. IBDP students follow a diverse and interesting curriculum across six core subjects in addition to an extended project, and modules in Theory of Knowledge and Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS). In addition to the IBDP, Leighton Park also offers a rigorous one-year Pre-Sixth Form course primarily for international students seeking an intensive programme of study prior to Sixth Form.

The school is offering Year 11 students the opportunity to learn more about the IBDP at their Sixth Form evening on Monday 10th October 2016, 6.00pm.


Photo: Netherlands bound student, Robert Beckett (left) and Justin Wong, who scored over 40 points (right)

IB Philosophy students travelled to London for a day out at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) and Tate Britain Museums.

Starting at the V&A, students made

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their way through a “Botticelli Reworked” exhibition where they got to see modern renditions of “The Birth of Venus”, which included pop art, textile and digital art versions. The students had a great time working in their sketchbooks and attempting challenges that Mitch Whitehead, Philosophy Teacher, gave them to do whilst at the museums.

The Tate Britain was a highlight for many of the group as they had the chance to go through the gallery twice – once to discuss the art, and once to absorb the art and attempt to fill the fun sketchbooks that they were all given. All of the students found it exciting to be able to recognise paintings by period due to prior lessons, and even see some of the artwork that they have seen on screen at school in person. One of the group said: “Mitch made a trip of what I would have initially thought to be filled with boredom into something refreshing!”

With academically stimulating exhibitions, students found the trip to be a thought provoking experience which broadened their understanding of philosophy of aesthetics, which is part of the IB philosophy course. Lower Sixth student Shanaya Khan praised the trip, commenting: “It allowed all of us to further link our education to everyday life; a skill we all wish to have developed thoroughly so as to successfully enjoy and make the most out of our unique and special time at Leighton Park.”

Incredible hand crafted tables are now being displayed in the Old School Reception area. The tables weren’t designed and created by professionals, but actually

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by a group of talented and hard working AS Design and Technology students!

Each student has created a stunning and completely individual coffee table, which will reside in Old School for some time before being taken home by lucky members of staff and students. The tables represent over six months of hard work and learning by our talented young designers and manufacturers.

The project briefs for the tables were carefully constructed to challenge the students and maximise the amount of DT processes used, “Students designed on CAD software, learned how to laser cut and engrave acrylic and experienced creating an acrylic mould” said Mark Smith, Design and Technology teacher.  They also gained experience in drilling and tapping a thread, lamination, form-bending and turning down brass on a lathe. The project was split into separate design and manufacturing tasks, with the design elements led by the students, who were encouraged to think like professional designers when approaching the project.

“I wanted to carve pictures on the inside too so that you can still the sunshine when you are lying on the floor.” said Lower Sixth student, Vlada Evtushenko.

”The students who enjoy this subject tend to learn by doing,” says Mark “rather than by reading a book.” Design and Technology continues to grow in popularity and scope at Leighton Park, with the number of students choosing it as an option doubling from last year.


Leighton Park School rounded off a year of celebrations of its 125th Birthday with an Open Day for its alumni, known as Old Leightonians, on

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19th September.

Almost 100 Old Leightonians and their families came from across the country and even from across Europe to enjoy a look round the school, guided by current students, to visit old haunts, inspect new buildings and to hear about exciting planned developments.  It was a precious chance to meet up with old friends and teachers too.  The school’s Archivist, John Allinson, displayed some of the treasures from the school Archives and spoke about the history of the school.  And of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday, without birthday cake!

One of the highlights was the burial of a time capsule, the brainchild of two of the students Katinka Pim and Robyn Ellis.  Old Leightonian Hugh Dawson, who was celebrating his 90th birthday at the weekend, spoke about his memories of schooldays during World War II and how the school’s ethos and values remain strong, almost seventy years after he left.  He then scattered soil over the capsule. It is to be opened in 25 years, and contains photos, memorabilia and as a souvenir of the school play this year, the mask worn by The Phantom of the Opera, Dan Barber. A number of other Old Leightonians then enjoyed helping to fill in the hole.

Robyn commented “Ever since I joined in the school I have wanted to make my own mark, and when the offer came along I could not resist helping. The idea was that future generations of students who will come through the school will just get a little snippet of what the school was like in its 125th year and so they can see how much it has developed. At the launch I had a little glimpse of what I hoped would happen; one of the OLs gave a speech about what the school was like not only during the 50th birthday celebrations but also during the war. This was so special since it really shows how the school has come through such a horrible time better than ever and just one step closer to the Quaker value of peace.”

Leighton Park, a Quaker School, opened in March 1890, with four boys. Girls joined the school in the Sixth Form in 1978, and the school has been fully co-educational since the early 1990s.

Famous alumni from the school include actor Jim Broadbent, singer songwriter Laura Marling, Olivier winning actor Nat Parker, Nathan Crowley (Oscar nominated Production Director on films eg Interstellar, the Dark Knight series), Michael Foot, Richard Wilkinson (co-author of The Spirit Level, leading researcher in social inequalities in health and the social determinants of health), Oscar winning film director Sir David Lean and composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.

With 90% A* to C grades, there were plenty of delighted students and parents at Leighton Park School this morning.

This year’s cohort of 104 students

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has been particularly successful in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), which traditionally have a reputation for being the most academically challenging. 84% of physics students, 82% of chemistry students and 82% of maths students were awarded A*-B grades with an impressive 91% of Design Technology students celebrating the same achievement. Mandarin, which is studied from Year 7 by Leighton Park students, who experience a trip to China as part of their course, gained 100% A*-C grades with 73% A*-A; a phenomenal achievement for so many non-native speakers in the class of 22.

Nigel Williams, Head at Leighton Park, said “I am pleased to congratulate all our students who have worked so hard and achieved so well. Their enthusiasm and commitment will ensure that life in the Sixth Form will continue to be vibrant and successful, whether they are pursuing the A Level or International Baccalaureate course.”

Sophie Rowe (3A*s, 6As), one of four girls to have achieved purely straight A*s and As, commented “It’s a huge relief after all the hard work to actually have the results in my hand. It’s great!.”  Another top scoring student, Kara Ellis (7A*s, 3As), added, “I’m just really pleased.” High flier, Lia Hale, who was up every hour through the night worrying can relax now that she has collected her 5A*s and 5As. Aliaksei Pilko (5A*s, 3As, 1B) is delighted that his results will secure his place to study Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Geography in the Sixth Form. “I got A*s in all the subjects I want to continue,” said Aliaksei, “I am hoping  to be a pilot and study Aeronautical Engineering alongside my pilot’s licence at either Southampton or Edinburgh University. I’m celebrating my GCSE results by going flying this weekend.” Twins, Helga and Peter Polz, are planning a double celebration with both Peter and Helga scoring 5A*s and 4As.

Leighton Park School, located in 60 acres of beautiful parkland, opposite the University of Reading, offers GCSE students the opportunity to choose from a broad range of more than 20 subjects. In addition, Leighton Park also offers a rigorous one-year Pre-Sixth Form course primarily for international students seeking an intensive programme of study prior to Sixth Form.

Students currently in Year 9 and their families are welcome to find out more about the GCSE or Pre-Sixth Form courses at Leighton Park at the school’s annual open morning on Saturday 3rd October 2015, 10am–12pm.


Jumping for joy – Sophie Rowe, Anna Bagneris, Niamh Green, Robyn Ellis



Anxious students arrived early at Leighton Park School this morning, eager to learn what the future holds beyond their A Level examinations. Nervous chatter was

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replaced by laughter, hugs and tears of relief as students were delighted to discover the reward for all their hard work was a fantastic set of results. 62% of candidates achieved A*-B grades, an increase of 6% on 2014’s results, and the average points per student rose by 7% to 301 points per student.

The A Level results continue to build on the excellent success of Leighton Park’s Sixth Formers, with July’s International Baccalaureate results averaging 34 points against a world average of 29.9 points.

Nigel Williams, Head, commented “I am delighted that the students have responded so well to the particular challenges of this year’s examinations and, through their dedication and the hard work of the staff, the school has once again continued to  improve the already impressive academic reputation of the school.”

Star performer, Harry Day, was thrilled with his fantastic A*A*A* results and received well-deserved congratulations from Academic Deputy Head, Karen Gracie-Langrick.

Celebrating his outstanding AAA grades, Theo Burgess is looking forward to reading International Relations and Politics at the University of Bristol in September. “I’m really surprised actually,” said Theo, “I don’t know how I did it but I’m delighted!”.

Sarah Reed, whose great score of  AAB will take her to the University of Leeds to read Economics and Management, commented “I was convinced I was going through clearing; I’ve been up since the early hours. It’s such a relief to get my results; I’m so pleased!”.

Leighton Park School, located in 60 acres of beautiful parkland, opposite the University of Reading, offers Sixth Form students the opportunity to choose between studying A Levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. In addition, Leighton Park also offers a rigorous one-year Pre-Sixth Form course primarily for international students seeking an intensive programme of study prior to Sixth Form.

The school is offering Year 11 students the opportunity to learn more about studying A Levels and the IB at Leighton Park at their Sixth Form evening on Monday 12th October 2015, 6pm.


Photo: Celebrating University Acceptances: Theo Burgess (AAA), Sarah Reed (AAB) and Ed Capstick, Head Boy (ABB with A* for EPQ)

For further information on the 2015 A Level results please contact Emma Randall, Marketing Manager or  Karen Gracie-Langrick, Deputy Head (Academic)


0118 987 9609

Leighton Park’s IB students recently received their International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP) results with their sights set on a global future.

Hugh Macdonald, whose musical talents have

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been regularly showcased at school events and on the Reading music scene, was delighted that his 37 points will be taking him to Boston, Massachusetts. Having secured a place to read music at Berklee College of Music, Hugh is excited about developing his musical career in such a prestigious and creative environment. Hugh recently contributed to the summer video concert series with one of his own compositions which can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm86qhj3gTY and will be gigging over the summer in London’s Kentish Town.

Also off to the States is Carlotta Paone, who with 34 points, has a place at New York University to read Biology. “I’ve lived in Texas before but never in New York city,” enthused Carlotta, “I’ll have some lectures at 8am and some at 10pm; it’s the city that never sleeps – It’s going to be such an adventure!”

International student, Antonia Claas is deciding whether to take her 36 points back to Germany or take up her place at the University of Warwick to study Biomedical Sciences.

“I am delighted with the results again this year for our well established IB Diploma Programme, which has enabled our students to access universities and future career opportunities across the world. All our students worked extremely hard and I am proud of their individual achievements in such an academically rigorous course of study.” commented Head, Nigel Williams.

Deputy Head and IBDP Co-ordinator at Leighton Park, Karen Gracie-Langrick added, “In times of considerable and unsettling A Level reform, the IBDP continues to provide an excellent, broad and relevant apolitical educational experience.  Evidence from our own students strongly reflects that the IBDP has provided them with the best preparation for the most competitive worldwide universities and the global workplace beyond.  I am again, thrilled with the fact that the vast majority of our students this year have earned their places at first choice universities”

Leighton Park students achieved an average of 34 points this year out of a maximum score of 45, continuing to build on the excellent success achieved by students over the last 5 years since its introduction into the school’s Sixth Form Curriculum (alongside A Levels) in 2010.  In addition, three students also gained the bilingual diploma.

Leighton Park School, located in 65 acres of beautiful parkland, opposite the University of Reading, offers Sixth Form students the opportunity to choose between studying A Levels and the IBDP. IBDP students follow a diverse and interesting curriculum across six core subjects in addition to an extended project, and modules in Theory of Knowledge and Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS). In addition to the IBDP, Leighton Park also offers a rigorous one-year Pre-Sixth Form course primarily for international students seeking an intensive programme of study prior to Sixth Form.

The school is offering Year 11 students the opportunity to learn more about the IBDP at their Sixth Form evening on Monday 12th October 2015, 6pm.


Photo: International Student Antonia Claas opening her IB results this morning

This year has been one of celebration for Leighton Park School with birthday parties, special performances and events all to commemorate its 125 anniversary.


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planning the celebrations Nigel Williams, Head, always had in mind the creation of a more permanent reminder of the school’s birthday. “I wanted Leighton Park to have a lasting reminder of our 125th anniversary, something that reflected our Quaker heritage and was also in sympathy with the character of the community and the beautiful park land within which the school resides. That is when the idea of a peace pole came to mind.” Nigel added “We knew finding a sustainable piece of wood for the carving would not be a problem as we had an oak on the Park which was scheduled to be felled. It seemed fitting to extend the life of the tree, which by its age was most likely planted soon after the school’s opening in 1890, for this purpose”.

A current parent, Fiona Mowlem, suggested a specialist wood carver, Simon Hedger, who had experience of similar commissions. “I had seen Simon’s work before and from Nigel’s description of the project I knew Simon would be the ideal craftsman for the commission and would produce an empathetic carving in line with the brief”. Students of the school were asked to contribute to the design and Vlada Evtushenko’s (Year 11), design was taken forward to form the inspiration for the final piece. The final design created by Simon uses pairs of hands surrounding an internally carved peace pole as a visual representation of the school embracing the Quaker testimonies and values in friendship across the wider community; the six pairs of hands being a deliberate, yet subtle, reference to the six Quaker testimonies. Simon commented, “Combining a design inspired by a student of the school, the spirit of the Quaker path spreading their hands around the world and the school emblem being an oak leaf, the sculpture designed itself! The wood provided for the piece was an oak tree from the grounds of the school and so adorning the top of the peace pole is a crown of acorns. I used the twisting shapes of nature to embrace the straight edges of mans’ world.”.

Although a bold piece of sculpture the pole is already becoming part of the natural vista over the Park and as the wood changes and matures with the seasons, we look forward to celebrating 150 and 200 years with our 125th anniversary Peace Pole.

The planning stages for Leighton Park’s next Sixth Form Africa Trip will be taking place in the next few months, and students in Year 11

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and Lower Sixth will soon be given the opportunity to decide which country they wish to visit. A key highlight for students from Leighton Park’s Sixth Form is the biennial trip to Africa, which involves travelling to one of three countries in Africa to support charitable work in local communities.

Over the years staff and students at Leighton Park School have developed some lasting friendships with individuals from these communities, with many return visits taking place outside of the Sixth Form trips to observe the work that has taken place over years and to see the friends they have made.

Yesterday morning students from year 7 to 13 heard from Nellie visiting Leighton Park from Jinja in Uganda during Collect. Nellie grew up in Uganda at Son Rise, an orphanage set up by the Jinja Educational Trust which takes in babies, young children and girls abandoned on the streets between the ages of 10 and 16. She now works full time with the Jinja Educational Trust on educational projects, helping teach children from surrounding villages, including enhancing their knowledge of English through the reading and study of literature.
Leighton Park School supports projects in Africa beyond trips and visits, with a range of year groups fundraising through a variety of projects throughout the year. In the 2013 Autumn Term, Year 8 students launched in a ‘Water4All’ project with the mission of “raising funds to help people gain access to clean water, raise awareness, promote understanding and educate others through fun community projects.”

From a range of imaginative fund raising activities, including an activity day with pupils from a local primary school and a sponsored swim from Year 8 student, Owen Say, who swam 100 lengths in an impressive time of 55 minutes and 10 seconds, students were able to raise enough money to support the construction of a water tank at Great Hope Primary School on the outskirts of Jinja. Speaking to students, Nellie noted that the water tanks has already been a massive contribution to the school, with students now having access to clean running water enabling them to learn in a cleaner environment. Whereas in the past students went a whole day without a drink, they are now able to stay hydrated throughout the day which is healthier, more comfortable and aids concentration.

When asked to speak to students on what they may find themselves doing if they choose to spend their time in Uganda, Nellie commented, “You will come to the home and the school and meet the children who are very excited to meet new people. Even the little things that you may not think are important but are very, very important can change a child’s life. Just by holding them, because some of them have never been held before, or giving them a little encouragement, you will find is all they need.” In addition, groups would be involved in a range of projects such as painting, building, decorating and teaching in school communities.

Having never previously left Uganda, Nellie will shortly be returning home following her visit to England. She noted that the most important thing to her was that she had had the opportunity to have an education; something that very few Uganda parents value as they have not had that experience themselves.

Photo: Sixth Formers with Nellie on the steps of Main Hall at Leighton Park

Leighton Park School is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a special event to coincide with next week’s World Book Day (5th March); a bookcrossing involving

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125 books, one from each of the past 125 years.
The initiative by the independent school in Reading, Berkshire, will see books being left at bus stops, in leisure centres, near shops and in parks over the next few days.
The idea behind a bookcrossing is that the books are left for the public to find, to enjoy and then to pass on – and hopefully the school will be able to track the books’ journeys locally and maybe even further afield.
Librarian Chris Routh said: “This bookcrossing is celebrating 125 years of reading and we hope that it might fuel the imagination of other people. We’re leaving some books in places where they might just stay and be re-read by others – for example a doctor’s surgery or a hairdresser’s. But it would be really exciting if some of the other books travelled around and we were able to see where they were going and who was enjoying them.”
So far, books have been placed at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, the National Theatre in London, Green Park at junction 11 on the M4, Henry Street Garden Centre in Arborfield, the café at Circo, Reading station and one will even be starting its journey in San Francisco!

The books include picture books, short stories, poetry books, books for younger children and older teenagers and they have been donated by the school community.
The earliest book, published in 1890, is The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, chosen for the author’s links with Reading. The latest published book, from 2014, is a collection of Doctor Who stories marking the series’ 50th anniversary.
Authors on the list include Enid Blyton, Shirley Hughes, Stephanie Meyer, Jacqueline Wilson, H G Wells, Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Chris added: “We have chosen a book from each of the past 125 years and wherever possible tried to make each choice relevant to our school and/or locality. In some cases it was very difficult to narrow down the choices, but we have managed to include all the Children’s Laureates, including the latest, Malorie Blackman.”
The bookcrossing project has been actively supported by the school’s Patron of reading, author Gillian Cross.
The books, which have instructions about the bookcrossing printed inside them and space for comments, will be tracked by readers emailing the school or tweeting with the hashtag #bookcrossing and information will be displayed on the bookcrossing website: www.leightonpark.com/bookcrossing
Any money raised through sponsorship will be donated to The Book Bus Charity, http://www.thebookbus.org/, which was set up by an Old Leightonian and co-founder of the Booker Prize, Tom Maschler, to fund literacy projects in Africa, Asia and South America.

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