Leighton Park School


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  • Category: Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Quaker
  • Roll: 309 (Boys) 172 (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.


In addition to the new IT suite and upgraded IT facilities, well-equipped Library, Sixth Form Centre with lounge, kitchen, garden and study space and Careers Library, we have a versatile theatre and concert space, drama studio, digital recording studio and technology suite and a modern and spacious Food Technology facility. The new Michael Malnick Centre for Music and Media is due to be opened in Autumn 2018. This will house practice rooms and classrooms, a ‘live’ lounge inspired by Radio 1, which can be used for band rehearsals, recordings and broadcasts and a custom built media room including a green screen, lighting, editing equipment and a surround sound cinema system.

Our excellent sports facilities include a new Cardiovascular Fitness Suite with functional strength room, an Olympic lifting room and a new ergo room. There are also all-weather surface tennis courts, extensive sports fields , cricket square, a flood lit AstroTurf used for hockey, basketball and netball and covered swimming pool.

Full, weekly and flexi boarding is available. Our boarding houses are 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.

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

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.


2018/2019. Per term. Junior pupils (Years 7 and 8): Day £5873, Weekly Boarding £8121, Full Boarding £9507. Senior pupils (Years 9 to Upper Sixth): Day £7326, Weekly Boarding, £9962, Full Boarding £11,915.

Sibling discount offered.


ISI Boarding Inspection 2012
ISI Full Inspection 2014

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr Matthew Judd

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.

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School News

Leighton Park independent day and boarding school Berkshire

Leighton Park’s 80-strong cohort of Year 11 students were up bright and early this morning eager to collect their GCSE results. Whilst all were keen

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to discover the outcome of two years’ dedicated study, many were equally keen join the Sixth Form next autumn, ranked the Best in Berkshire and in the Top 40 nationally for academic progress.

Karen Gracie-Langrick, Deputy Head (Academic), commented, “These are the best results we’ve had in a decade. The pass rate for 5+ GCSEs with grades 4-9 equivalent is up by 7% year on year, with over 50% of our students gaining grades at the highest level, 7-9 or equivalent. The uncertainty of the new grading system and the new specifications have been a challenge but the cohort have achieved some outstanding grades and I’m proud that the students own efforts, supported by the capability and commitment of our academic staff, have resulted in such an excellent set of results.”

“I’m really happy! Just so, so happy! I didn’t expect such good results.” grinned a delighted Nikki Wilson (five grade 9, four grade 8 equivalent), “I did,” smiled proud mum, Ji Young, “Because she worked so hard. She really deserves these results.” Nikki is looking forward to studying Biology, Chemistry and Psychology in the Sixth Form with Music A Level. She’ll be one of the first to undertake the qualification in the school’s new state of the art music and media centre, supported by the Yamaha Flagship Education partner, the only secondary school in Europe to benefit from this exclusive relationship. Music GCSE results for the cohort were 87% grades 7-9.

Fellow A Level musician, Sam Caley (four grade 9, three grade 8, two grade 7 and one grade 6 equivalent), was also celebrating this morning; “I’m extremely happy with my results and am grateful to my teachers for their support. I’m going on to study Maths, Physics, Computer Science and Music at A Level.” Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects have been especially successful with Physics 92% grades 7-9, Chemistry 72% grades 7-9, Biology 69% grades 7-9 and Design Technology 75% grades 7-9. Science orientated, Adriana Ioannou was pleased with her three grade 9, five grade 8, one grade 7 and one grade 6 equivalent; “I did better than I was expecting and that is such a relief. I’m doing A Levels next year in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Maths.”

Adam Norris was relaxed, explaining as he collected his envelope, “I feel fine; I did my best.” and happily was still smiling after he had opened his results to discover he had passed every subject! “I’m really relieved that I’ve done well.” commented Alex Allison (two grade 9, six grade 8, two grade 7 equivalent), glad the tension was over, “I was surprised but so thankful to my teachers.”

“I only slept on and off as I was kind of nervous and excited at the same time,” said Jasmine Walker. “Some people went online at midnight but I didn’t look. I wanted to come in to collect the envelope. It’s more tangible, it makes it seem real.” Jasmine’s two grade 9, four grade 8, one grade 7 and one grade 6 equivalent results secure her place on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Leighton Park, one of only a handful of schools in Berkshire to offer the internationally acclaimed qualification. “I’m pretty well balanced across all my subjects and I think I’ll be well suited to it,” enthused Jasmine, “I like the different style of teaching and I think it is more fun and engaging, more me! And I might want to study abroad, I’m considering universities in Europe: it’s good to be able keep my options open.”

Leighton Park School, located in 65 acres of beautiful parkland, opposite the University of Reading, offers GCSE students the opportunity to choose from a broad range of 26 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 29th September 2018, 10am–12pm. Book online at www.leightonpark.com/visitus

Leighton Park School Independent Berkshire A Level Excellence at Leighton Park School

Recognised as the top school in Berkshire and in the top 40 nationally by Government’s new league tables for Sixth Form progress, Leighton Park staff

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and students already had cause to celebrate the success of their Sixth Form education. Even so, it was a delight to see so many smiling faces on the Park today as excited students grabbed their brollies and braved the downpours to collect their A Level results.

Head of Sixth Form, Helen Taylor, remarked, “The increase in our percentage of A*-B grades to 61.7% this year is excellent news. It is testament to the quality of teaching for the new linear A Levels, and the hard work and application of our students who met and exceeded the grades required by their Russell Group Universities.”

Deputy Head (Academic), Karen Gracie-Langrick, commented, “In contrast to many schools, we encourage students to study four AS Levels in the Lower Sixth. It is excellent preparation for their full A Levels, offering a secure measure of rigorous academic performance, and it maintains greater breadth of subjects for as long as possible. Indeed, several of our students enjoy their AS Level subjects so much, they go on to do four full A Levels.”

One such high achiever was Jonty Hyde, who took four A Levels (A*AAB) and was awarded a 7, the highest possible mark, in the Philosophy module of his International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Jonty, who has been heavily involved with supporting musical and dramatic performances throughout his time at Leighton Park, culminating in his role as Prefect and Head of Tech Crew, is looking forward to reading Film Studies at Warwick after a gap year in Japan. “I’m really pleased. Thankfully the results were what I was expecting and I am grateful to everyone for being so supportive whenever I needed it.” Karen Gracie-Langrick added, “We are looking forward to welcoming Jonty back for the opening of our new Music and Media Centre next term, which will have state of the art film production facilities supporting our BTEC in Creative Digital Media Production and exciting partnership with Pinewood Studios.”

Another example of the school’s strength in the Creative Arts is Rowan Taylor, who at 15 years old is the school’s youngest A Level candidate, achieving an A grade for her Creative Writing in Year 10. “I really wasn’t very good at writing before I joined Leighton Park, but the

teacher who ran the Creative Writing hobby was so encouraging and helpful; he really pushed me to do the AS Level last year and the A Level this year. I am so pleased I did!”

Cat Mulvihill, destined for the University of Sussex with her AAB grades in Geography, Psychology and English Literature, was delighted with her results, “Last night I was very, very scared and I didn’t think I’d do well at all; certainly not this well!”. Cat’s mum, Jane, was equally insomniac but proud as well as tired this morning, “I am relieved and very proud of her; she worked really hard, especially towards the end.”

The school was recognised for its excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) provision by the Education Business Awards in June, winning the ICT Facilities Award, sponsored by Fujitsu, and being shortlisted and highly commended for the STEM Award. The Community Education Awards, sponsored by Costa, awarded Leighton Park 2nd place in their STEM Innovation Awards, beating over 350 other schools. The achievements follow Intel and IT solutions specialists, XMA, awarding Leighton Park the latest Ripple Effect Prize, recognising schools at the forefront of using technology to support student learning. Such a STEM focus has clearly benefitted the students with impressive results in STEM subjects including Maths (73% A*-B), Design and Technology (86% A*-B) and Chemistry (73% A*-B).

Jack Bowes-Reynolds, who describes himself “a bit of a mad scientist!” also said, “I am pleased with my 3 A grades. I felt a little anxious this morning but I knew I’d done my best and I’m looking forward to studying Space Science at Leicester, which has a real specialism in the area. I’m most interested in how space technology is used and the different applications for it on earth. I’ll really miss the calm environment of Leighton Park.”

Seb Milhofer, one of the school’s STEM Ambassadors, helping to guide the direction of STEM and the student experience of science, is taking his 3 A* grades to read Maths at Bristol next year. “I’m happy with these results and looking forward to new experiences in Bristol. I’ve enjoyed life at Leighton Park and will miss the people.” he commented.

Another of Leighton Park’s STEM Ambassadors, Olly Nicholls, whose 3 A grades in Chemistry, Maths and Physics have secured him a place at Bath to read Physics, is feeling relieved, “It’s nice to have it all over,” he commented, “You have to work hard and motivate yourself in the Sixth Form. I did work hard; what you put in, you get out.” Henry Middleton also gained 3 A grades in the sciences and is taking a gap year to travel Asia and focus on his ABRSM Diploma having already earned a Grade 8 for his oboe talents before studying Civil Engineering at Edinburgh University. Other accomplished musicians in the 2018 cohort include Ravi Nathwani who with his 3 A grades in Geography, Maths and Music will be studying Classical Guitar at The Royal Northern College of Music. Delighted Director of Music, Rosemary Scales, commented, “We are extremely proud of Ravi and we know that he is going to thrive studying at one of the country’s top music conservatoires.”

Photo: Henry Middleton (AAA), Seb Milhofer (A*A*A*) and Olly Nicholls (AAA)

Leighton Park independent day and boarding school Berkshire

#LP Girls’ Can

The girls of Leighton Park ran, kicked, batted, bowled, shot, stretched and jumped their way through last week as the inaugural festival of

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girls’ sport sprang into action!

With almost twenty different activities planned between Monday 11th and Friday 15th June  female students, staff and parents were invited to get involved with a wide variety of sports, ranging from Gaelic Football to Parkour; Boxercise to Cricket.

The five day celebration of sport, which builds on the national initiative to increase activity in young women through Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, began on Monday with a step challenge culminating in a 1K, 3K or 5K Race for Life. The race raised money for Cancer Research and brought together friends and family dressed in pink from across the Leighton Park community for a sprint, a wander and everything in between, around the beautiful 65 acre site.

For many, the highlight of the week was an inspirational visit from Svava Sigbersdottir, personal trainer to celebrities such as Amanda Holden and Nicole Sherzinger. Svava put each year group from Year 7 to Year 10 through their paces before inflicting her infamous ‘Viking Method’ on some of the staff, during their lunch break. “I can really feel my muscles today,” laughed recovering English teacher, Leana Mikula, “I wasn’t expecting to, as I work out pretty regularly, but I can definitely feel it.” Svava’s training focusses on a positive approach to mental as well as physical health and she shared anecdotes from her past which illustrated her approach. Determination, having fun and doing your best, in spite of other people’s comments or criticisms, were the messages conveyed to her entranced audience during the Q&A sessions on the sunny Headmaster’s Lawn.

There were trips off site for daring feats of Parkour at Sol Joel Park in Reading and the London Schools’ Gaelic Football Tournament in Greenford on Tuesday. The tournament kicked off, quite literally, with a skills session in the morning where the girls

learnt how to hand pass, run with the ball, defend and score. After lunch the team really began to find their feet and, building on their natural co-ordination and sporting instincts, rapidly developed a talent for the game. The girls were delighted to finish the tournament in second place. “I had a great time trying out Gaelic football,” commented Emily (Year 10), “We were able to learn something new as well as apply skills from different sports in the tournament.” Continuing to combine sport and travel, Wednesday saw a minibus full of enthusiastic footballers heading to Independent Schools’ Football Association (ISFA) Girls U15 7-a-side tournament at ACS Cobham School. Competing for the first time the team played valiantly against some strong sides from schools including Repton, Royal Russell, Millfield and ACS Cobham. They returned full of enthusiasm for the game, “Let’s hope it the first of many Girls’ Football Tournaments!” commented Head of Football, Tim Green.

It was equally busy on the Park with the school hosting a Cricket Festival for Maiden Erlegh, Pangbourne College and The Holt as well as Leighton Park students on Tuesday. The Festival offered plenty of fortuitously timed training as we hosted our very first girls’ hardball cricket match against The Abbey on Thursday, which we won! Looking forward to the autumn term, we were pleased to welcome the Nomads, a rugby squad famous for their touring, to coach a session of Girls’ Rugby on Thursday afternoon, offering an insight into the training commitments of those playing at professional level.

Jez Belas, Director of Sport, reflected on the success of the week: “When I sat with two of our Year 10 students, Nic and Ellie, at the beginning of this year and this was just an idea, I never thought it would be this great a week. It has truly inspired me and I hope it has inspired all the girls, even those who wouldn’t normally consider themselves to be sporty. The girls have been awesome this week. It’s been filled with staff and students playing top level sport, enjoying fun activities, taking part in fitness sessions, in depth talks, hosting other schools… the list goes on.”

Karen Gracie-Langrick, Deputy Head (Academic) added, “I loved watching all the girls playing cricket on the 1st XI pitch – and yes, in their whites! A truly inspirational and fantastically well co-ordinated week. I am definitely looking forward to a repeat next year!”

Image: Parkour


Leighton Park Independent Berkshire New GCSE Subjects at Leighton Park School

With the school’s aim of providing an inspiring, holistic education for each individual, Leighton Park School’s Deputy Head (Academic), Karen Gracie-Langrick, is delighted to announce

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three new GCSE options to offer Year 10 students even more choice from September 2018.

We are pleased to offer a new GCSE in Dance, further enhancing our strong creative arts offering and complementing our investment in performing arts through the development of the Michael Malnick Centre for music and media. The school is making investments to support this new option, recruiting a dance teacher and creating a new dance studio. These investments will also enable exciting new dance options as part of our expansive co-curricular programme.

Reflecting the school’s strength in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), we will be launching a new GCSE in Engineering. Drawing on expertise in Maths and DT, this subject will explore materials, manufacturing processes and systems. It will also build on our strong industry partnerships with companies like Cisco and Intel and our close relationship with the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). The school is investing in STEM facilities, including the creation of a STEM creative studio, sponsored in part by HP, to support the growth in relevance and popularity of DT, Computer Science and Engineering.

Leighton Park will also offer a new GCSE in Food Preparation and Nutrition, which will focus on nurturing students’ practical cookery skills to give them a strong understanding of nutrition. This exciting new option will make the most of our fantastic food technology centre, link closely with the school’s PE GCSE and support our Advanced Performer Programme (APP) for elite athletes.

Further details can be found in our GCSE booklet at https://www.leightonpark.com/academic/senior-school

Leighton Park independent day and boarding school Berkshire

A Leighton Park student, who is the current U16 1000m kayak UK champion and on the GB Olympic pathway, has been awarded a prestigious Squadkit

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Scholarship for her amazing achievements in kayaking.

Olympic gold medalist and GB Hockey team member, Kate Richardson-Walsh, came to Leighton Park to present Kate with her award. She graciously took the time to deliver a seminar to students in Leighton Park’s Advanced Performer Programme and ran a hockey masterclass with some of the school’s top hockey players.

Kate applied for the Squadkit Scholarship along with several other elite athletes on Leighton Park’s Advanced Performer Programme. Kate is one of only five students in the country to be granted one. Squadkit is committed to supporting the next generation in sports, and the sponsorship goes a long way to helping Kate achieve her goals and get ever closer towards her Olympic aspirations. Providing tangible support that also motivates and engages students and their peers.

Kate said:

“I feel so honoured to have received this award and am so excited to see the opportunities this will open for me. I’m so thankful to Squadkit”

Leighton Park’s Director of Sport, Jeremy Belas said:

“We are very proud of Kate and her achievements in kayaking. She is a thoroughly deserved winner of the Squadkit scholarship and will put the money to good use on her journey to greatness in her sport. This is a big positive for the school, sport and the Advanced Performer Programme and all the students involved in the sessions with Kate Richardson-Walsh have had a truly inspirational experience.”

Kate Richardson-Walsh, Squadkit Performance Director said: “It’s great to see Squadkit support young athletes with the Squadkit Scholarship at the time when they need it the most. I feel lucky to be able to visit schools across the country as Squadkit Performance Director hoping to inspire the next generation and always come away inspired by the young people I meet, who like Kate have so much passion and dedication for their sport. I wish Kate every success in achieving her goals and look forward to following her sporting progress.

It was my honour and pleasure to present Kate with one of the Squadkit Scholarships. With only 5 scholarships awarded each year, this represents the enormity of Kate’s achievements to date. Kate is dedicating her life to being the best kayaker she can be whilst juggling her academic life alongside. Representing her country at junior levels, her progress to seniors is both steady and assured. We all look forward to supporting Kate in any way we can.”


Leighton Park independent school Berkshire

Following months of successfully contested heats, Saturday 20th January 2018 saw Leighton Park School’s Giacomo (Johnny) (Year 10) at The NEC in Birmingham for The

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Open Mic UK Grand Final.

Having made it through local, area and regional heats with renditions of The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Come Together, reggae style, with a rock version of U2’s ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’, Johnny’s performance of his own composition, ‘Come Back Home’ won him fourth place from an appreciative crowd. “I’m a very proud papa” commented dad, Richard. “I write all the time so I thought I would perform one of my own songs in the final. I knew the judges were looking for originality.” explained Johnny, “I wasn’t expecting that much out of it as I’ve never entered a competition like this before but I won the song writing competition with ‘Never Let You Go’ and I made it to the finals for my age group in the singing.”

The competition, which has been running since September 2017, aims to encourage new talent and recognises young singer / songwriters who can enter by age category. Over 3,500 hopefuls entered the Under 16s group and Johnny’s musical skills took him to the Grand Final as one of the best contestants in his category.

Johnny began his musical journey at the age of eight when he joined the choir at St George’s, the prep school that prepares choristers for St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. From his role as Head Chorister in 2015, Johnny launched a Sussex based three-strong rock / pop band called Paper Machete who are currently working on their first album with plans to tour a number of London venues in the summer holidays. Influenced by musicians as diverse as Frank Sinatra and The Rolling Stones, Johnny feels that he is destined for a career in entertainment. “The NEC was so cool; what I want to do is to perform and sing all the time. It’s exhilarating standing on stage. I don’t get nervous because I love it so much and it’s what I want to do. I wouldn’t see this as work at all, it’s just having a good time on stage.”

In addition to members of the public and the judging panel, the audience included A&R representatives from famous record labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Syco. Part of Johnny’s prize is a meeting with a management company with a view to boosting his exposure on the music scene. Those lucky enough to perform at this national level may well be forging their musical future lives on stage, even before they have left school.

Johnny’s talents have also secured him this year’s lead in the Leighton Park School’s Senior Production, ‘Parade’ by Alfred Uhry. The production which is taking place 6th-9th February packs a punch, with many songs in different styles telling the story of a Jewish factory manager framed for murder. Johnny and the cast have been working hard since the autumn term in putting together a fantastic show. If you have yet to book your tickets to the show, you can do so at http://bit.ly/ParadeLP2018

Johnny in rehearsal for Parade

Johnny on the stage for Open Mic UK


Leighton Park independent school Berkshire

Leighton Park School is delighted to announce the appointment of Matthew Judd as Head from 1st September 2018.

Matthew comes to the school with a very

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impressive track record of success from Haberdashers’ Aske’s School, where he is Second Master (equivalent to Deputy Head) and Executive Head of the preparatory school. He has been instrumental in driving academic standards whilst bringing greater focus on values education and personalised learning. Haberdashers’ Aske’s School is one of the UK’s leading independent schools and won Sunday Times Independent School of the Year in 2017.

Prior to this, Matthew was Principal of Mander Portman Woodward College – an independent co-educational school. He is a Geography graduate of the University of Wales and qualified in education at Queens’ College, Cambridge.

Matthew said: “I am thrilled to be joining Leighton Park School as Head to lead the amazing community with its exceptional commitment to the holistic education of young individuals. Never have Quaker principles for a mindful and reflective education been more important. I am proud to be joining a School dedicated to bringing out the best in young people in their academic and co-curricular lives, at school and beyond”

Matthew also brings valuable experience from his role as a Trustee, and latterly Chair, of Education Action International. Matthew has demonstrated a strong affinity for the School’s Quaker values and was strongly motivated in applying for the role after visiting the School as an ISI inspector. He will live on the park with his partner Ian.

David Isherwood, Chair of Governors, said: “I am confident that Matthew is the right person to lead and shape the School through its next phase. He has achieved excellent results over a sustained period at his previous school and will have a superb foundation to build on at Leighton Park. The school is remarkable because of the huge commitment of its staff, the wonderful sense of calm and the impressive way that it inspires each student to succeed as themselves.”


Leighton Park independent school Berkshire

Under the slogan of ‘Dream big, start small, act now’ (Robin Sharma) 60 enthusiastic Sixth Formers and a plethora of engaging industry experts were ‘full

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STEAM ahead’ as they generated an audible buzz at the CISCO Offices on Green Park on the 9th and 10th November.

15 excited Leighton Park students teamed up with pupils from UTC, Kendrick School and John Madejski Academy for the two-day IT solutions challenge. ‘Green Meets Grey’ was masterminded by Cisco in Reading for technologically minded teens to solve real problems for a range of organisations. Issues such as water irrigation or mapping systems were tackled and through a range of presentations and ice-breaking activities the mixed-school teams were able to understand the importance of business case building, rapid prototyping and creativity when developing an innovative solution.

“It was such an impressive initiative, the brain child of Mark Mason (Director of Design Thinking) and Louize Clarke (Connect TVT), which focussed the creative minds of our students on team building challenges which combined the elements of technology and business to solve real industry related problems.” commented Karen Gracie-Langrick (Deputy Head, Academic).

Each team worked with a representative from a local organisation which a given real world problem to solve using IoT (Internet of Things) technologies. Each group brainstormed and refined their ideas before splitting into technical and business teams. The groups needed to utilise their communication skills to ensure that both sub-teams were working along the same critical path and were keeping to the prescribed timescales. The business teams developed marketing and financial plans around a client profile. The technical teams used Python controlled sensor boards to measure elements such as temperature, rotation and moisture, using computational thinking skills such as debugging and decomposition to edit existing libraries and transmit the output from the sensor readings. On the second day, the teams made further developments to their prototypes and undertook strategic testing to demonstrate their solutions with a pitch communicating the full business solution to all participants.

“It was heartening to hear the key skills required in today’s workplace echo many of our Quaker values: particularly the notion of an equal voice. Additionally, our students were encouraged to adopt the principles of ‘agile development’ and to raise the bar to achieve, and pitch for success!” continued Karen.

The winning team which included Leighton Park student, Tao (Wallance), Lower Sixth, developed a solution to help Thames Water solve the problem of providing water supply to households. The solution included placing smart sensors with cameras into water pipes to collect the necessary data. This data could then be turned into information visible on a smartphone app so that a customer could identify an imminent problem before it occurred.

I really enjoyed that Green Park Challenge not only because of winning it, but also for improving my presentation ability.” Commented Tao, member of the winning team H2O with their FISH initiative. “It was actually the first time that I have made a presentation in English which is not my first language. What’s more, it was a challenging but interesting to work with students from other different schools.”



Hewlett Packard (HP), Intel and IT solutions specialists XMA have awarded Leighton Park School the exciting Ripple Effect Prize. The prize recognises schools at the

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forefront of using technology to support student learning.

The school will be presented with an HP STEM & Creative Learning Studio, worth over £20,000. As well as specialist laptops, the Prize consists of the latest 3D scanning and immersive computing technology.

Neil Sawyer, Channel and Education Director, HP UKI, commented “The STEM worker shortfall is estimated at 40,000 in the UK. With more jobs being created to meet the shifting demands of the digital economy, this gap is only going to widen”.

“HP believes it can boost STEM learning by reinventing the way we teach these skills in schools. The careers of tomorrow will be in robotics, programming and engineering. Early access to this technology for schools, its staff and students is critical to the UK economy. By working alongside as many schools and colleges as possible – such as Leighton Park – HP hopes to inspire people to be the inventors of tomorrow.”

Leighton Park is working towards becoming a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics centre of excellence, combining particular strengths in these traditional areas with expertise in creative media and the creative arts. The Prize comes on the back of other developments at the school, such as a partnership with Pinewood Studios for film production and becoming a Yamaha Music Education Partner.

Innovative uses of learning technology at the school include the roll out of CleverTouch interactive screens to facilitate dynamic, engaging lessons, the use of Google Classroom and Chromebooks to support student learning and an exciting enabling environment to support creative media, including design, film production and music technology.

Ben Brown, Head of Schools and Further Education at IT solutions specialists XMA commented: “XMA were really happy to award the 2017 Ripple Effect Prize to Leighton Park on seeing their entry.  The exciting use of technology in the school really is supporting the STEM agenda and will be preparing the pupils for life outside of the school. Hopefully the new technology will continue this work and XMA are looking forward to working with them to innovate further.”

Mark Smith, Head of Design and Technology said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the competition and know the HP and Intel technology will be very well utilised in a school where technology is already firmly embedded within our students’ learning. On a personal note, the 28 students who attend a weekly 3-dimensional Computer-Aided Design club are incredibly excited.”

The award-winning submission took the form of a video, which was produced by students and staff – the video is available online here.

Leighton Park School independent day and boarding school Berkshire

Eager GCSE students were keen to collect their results at 8am this morning as the 84-strong cohort awaited the outcome of two years dedicated study.

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“I didn’t sleep at all; not at all!” laughed Hannah Pither, looking forward to celebrating her excellent results by getting back into bed! “She didn’t believe these were her results!” enthused Hannah’s mum, Rachel, “I’m so proud of her.”

Chunya Munga (5A*s, 5As), who has spent the summer training for the rugby season, commented, “I always sleep well but I’m so pleased and relieved to have my results,” he said, “It was the one thing this summer that I had to worry about and now it’s done.” Chunya is looking forward to continuing to his studies at Leighton Park next year taking Economics, Geography, Politics and Maths at A Level.

STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) were particularly successful with A*-B grades in Maths (82.9%), Chemistry (70.4%), Physics (76.6%), Biology (64.6%) and DT (81.8%). Josh Butcher who achieved A*s in all three sciences, along with a further 4A*s and 3As, was delighted with his results, “I’m so happy,” he said, “I’m really, really pleased!”.

There was just under a 10% increase in the number of students achieving 5 GCSEs at A*-C including Maths and English. Other notable subjects at A*-B grades were English Literature (69.1%), Language (66.7%) and Geography (75%).

Nigel Williams, Head, commented, “I am really pleased that so many individual students have realised their potential through their good grades. I congratulate them on their success, achieved through their hard work and the dedication and skill of their teachers.”

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 26 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 30th September 2017, 10am–12

Leighton Park independent day and boarding school Berkshire

With over 20% of the 2017 A Level cohort achieving A or A* in 3 or more subjects there were many happy faces at Leighton

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Park School this morning as excited students collected their results. “I am delighted that so many of our students achieved the highest grades.” commented Head, Nigel Williams. “I am particularly pleased this year to see that one in five were awarded exclusively A grades or higher.”

Deputy Head (Academic), Karen Gracie-Langrick, remarked, “The increase in our percentage of A* grades to 14.3% this year is excellent news as it demonstrates the quality, rigour and robustness of teaching at Leighton Park with regards to the new linear A Levels, and the hard work and application of our students who met and exceeded the grades required by their Russell Group Universities. In our truly co-educational school, we have an excellent gender balance in our grades, with both girls and boys performing equally well.”

Runbei Cheng, whose 3A*s in Physics, Maths and Further Maths, confirm his place to read Physics at Wadham College, Oxford, commented, “I’ve wanted to study Physics since I was 14 and plan to go on to do a PhD and then gain a Fellowship in Quantum Computing. I’ve been studying extra physics modules during my studies and am looking forward to getting started at Oxford.”

The EPQ was undertaken by 10% of the 2017 cohort including twins Helga and Peter Polz who achieved an impressive total of eight A*-A grades between them. “The workload is greater for A Levels, but so is the support, especially in the Upper Sixth.” said Helga, “I’m really grateful for that! It is the difference between really understanding the course, not just memorising facts. You have to get deeply into the knowledge of the subject.”

Charlie Harris (A*A*A) who dedicated many Sixth Form hours to his passion for stage management, leading the Leighton Park Tech Crew support of a variety of musical and dramatic productions in locations all over the 60 acre parkland, including the woods, was delighted with his results. “It was a lot to take on,” Charlie noted, “I had to work really hard all the time, in every moment I was either studying or busy with tech but I’m looking forward to studying Biochemistry at Imperial College, London.”

Joseph Norris also understands the relief of great results after so much effort, “I really blasted it in the Upper Sixth,” he said, “It paid off as I got A*AA in English Literature, Economics and Psychology and now I can study PPE at uni.”

Also celebrating was Rowan Taylor, who at 14 years old was the school’s youngest AS Level candidate achieving a B grade in Creative Writing. An enthusiastic member of the Leighton Park Creative Writing club, Rowan was inspired by club leader and Head of Teaching and Learning, Ken Sullivan. “Ken suggested we all just go for it!” explained Rowan, “You have to write in two genres with an 8,000 word limit so I submitted a collection of poems and two short stories. I love writing and would like to continue, maybe onto an EPQ next; I’d like to write a novella.”

Traditional A Level courses such as Geography (82% A*-B) and emerging subjects such as Economics were both highly successful. Similar grade successes were being celebrated in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) by Maths (68% A*-B), Design and Technology (80% A*-B), Chemistry (71% A*-B) and Physics (83% A*-B). Nigel Williams, Head, added, “It is fantastic to see our commitment to our STEM initiatives resulting in such brilliant A Level results; demonstrating the school’s success as a STEM Centre of Excellence.”

Number of candidates 57
% A*/A grades 37.7
% A*/B grades 58.9
% A*/C grades 80
% Overall pass rate A*/E 97.7
Average Points per student 117.8
Average Passes per student 3


Photo: Leighton Park Students – delighted by their excellent results



Leighton Park School Independent Berkshire Big Bang Interactive Event at Leighton Park School

Berkshire’s Inaugural Big Bang!

An explosive morning of interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) workshops and presentations from some of the UK’s leading scientific organisations

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was the order of the day on Tuesday 7th March for excited pupils from ten local schools. Leighton Park School, Shinfield Road, Reading was delighted to host the ‘Big Bang Interactive’ event, the first to take place in Berkshire, in conjunction with seasoned organisers, STEM Sussex and part of a bid to move towards Leighton Park School becoming a Centre of STEM Excellence.

PunkScience, the Science Museum’s resident comedy team, charged with making science thrilling and accessible, promised to deliver “the most horrible show in the world”. From eating crickets and scorpion legs to following the progress of a micro-camera through your digestive system there was plenty of high-energy educational entertainment! The groans, grimaces and guffaws which accompanied each of the three sessions they led, offered the team lots of audible appreciation for their revolting demonstrations and gross experiments!

Pupils from the ten schools, which included Caversham Primary School, Churchend Primary School, Dolphin School, Emmer Green Primary School, Farley Hill Primary School, Manor

Primary School, Oaklands Junior School, St Edward’s Prep, St Mary’s School Henley and Whiteknights Primary, joined Leighton Park’s own Year 7 students for the fun. Event initiator and Deputy Head (Academic), Karen Gracie-Langrick, said “This event has very much been part of a collaborative process from its inception and we have welcomed the opportunity to work closely and in partnership with committed and enthusiastic STEM Ambassadors from Industry and Higher Education. We very much hope that this will become an annual event – developing young students into creative, critical thinkers and providing opportunities to learn problem solving skills. If noise and excitement levels are good gauge of success – then I would say that today’s event has taken a tremendous step forward in achieving this aspiration!”

The Year 5, 6 and 7 students from the eleven participating schools were split into ten scientifically appropriate groups such as ‘Stephen Hawkins’, ‘Sir Edward Jenner’ and ‘Marie Curie’. Each group enjoyed two out of a possible ten interactive workshops led by industry experts from global companies such as Bion, Pfizer, Cisco and INTEL Corporation (UK) together with scientists from RSSL at Reading University and the University of Reading’s Biological Sciences Department. The activities ranged from designing a compressed air powered vehicle to travel over 1,000mph, building molecules in the drug development process, creating an architect’s model from mega blocks and using a (blunt!) hacksaw blade to power a small car! Leighton Park’s Computer Science Department delivered a Robotics session, the Physics, Biology and Chemistry staff teamed up to offer a ‘CSI-Crime Scene Investigation’ on the theft of the Head’s Christmas Selection Box and the Maths Department created a number based quiz covering several locations across the 60 acre park. “It was great fun!” said Francesca from Caversham Primary School, “I’ve made DNA this morning and am taking it home as a necklace!”

The children went home with a wonderful selection of science related goodies including seeds, 3D puzzles, stationery sets, straws and magazines. Some lucky prize winners even took away speakers, yoyos and maths card games and each school received a Sparkle Wand, all kindly donated by the generosity of the participating organisations.

Jo McKinney-Green, Operations Manager, STEM Sussex and Manager of the Big Bang programme for the South East, commented, “The Big Bang programme inspires young people to consider the interesting careers that are open to them when they study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. I was delighted that Leighton Park School organised the first Big Bang in Berkshire for their own students and those from neighbouring schools, and am looking forward to future STEM careers events there”.

The event is one of a series of STEM initiatives at Leighton Park which will welcome the Big Bang back in June for a careers event for students in Years 10-13 featuring workshops, seminars and stands for industry and academic partners in stem related careers, apprenticeships and Higher Education courses.

Leighton Park independent day and boarding school Berkshire

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.

Kara Ellis whose 42 points have earned her a place at UCL to read Biochemistry, was very relaxed about collecting her results. “She’s been too busy worrying about passing her driving test and taking her Grade 8 Oboe exam which was this morning,” laughed proud mum, Allie Ellis. “I’m just really, really happy!” grinned Kara.

Not everyone was lucky enough to be blessed with nerves of steel. Aiyana Tandon spent the last 24 hours feeling so restless that she had to go to the gym and take the dog for a long walk to burn off some nervous energy. She needn’t have worried though; Aiyana’s 40 points confirm her place at the University of Edinburgh to read Psychology, which she chose because the university also offers such a strong dance and drama programme, building on her extra-curricular success at Leighton Park. The family are off to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month; a chance for Aiyana to start settling in to the city. “I might even know where I am staying by then!” said a delighted Aiyana, keen to embrace the next stage of her academic career.

Fellow future Psychology student, Shanaya Khan, celebrated her place at Goldsmith’s College, London, by rewarding herself with an early night; “I just couldn’t sleep a wink last night, I was so scared about my results!” she said, “It is such a relief now, I’m so pleased!”

Nigel Williams, Head, commented “I am delighted that the IBDP results again reflect the high calibre and hard work of our students and of the teaching at the school.”

Leighton Park students averaged a score of 33, with five of the fourteen candidates also gaining a bilingual diploma. Last year Leighton Park’s results put us in the top five in the UK for small cohort IB results and although this year’s rankings have not yet been released, these fantastic results are a real tribute to the hard work and dedication of our students. We look forward to August when we hope to add A Level achievements to the impressive IB statistics and repeat last year’s success when 94% of Sixth Formers achieved their first university choice.

Deputy Head (Academic) and IBDP Co-ordinator at Leighton Park, Karen Gracie-Langrick, said, “The IB is a programme that has the advantage of offering the complete education with a moral purpose – encouraging students to look at the value of what they can contribute to the world whilst retaining breadth within their learning.  The IB is varied, rigorous and international and encourages students to foster an approach which enables them to explore links between the subjects, complete an extended essay and develop critical thinking.  An excellent, well rounded preparation for University and for life.”

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 inspiring 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 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 16th October, 6.00pm.

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.

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