Milton Abbey School


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  • Category: Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 180 (Boys) 50 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 13 – 18 years
  • Founded: 1953

General Information

Milton Abbey is a traditional yet modern, forward looking boarding school that celebrates excellence, hard work, industry and endeavour. Our environment is inclusive, caring and ambitious for every pupil. Our small size allows for a level of care that is unsurpassed in bigger schools. We want pupils to have big achievements, big ambitions and big hearts.


The School is a Church of England school with a full-time chaplain and the abbey church is the dominant architectural and spiritual feature. We have excellent Art and Design Technology departments with facilities for textile design, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, photography and computer graphics and a purpose-built DT workshop. Drama and Music play an important part in school life and there is a 370-seat, purpose-built theatre and music technology studio. There are 2 choirs, a variety of informal chamber groups, jazz and rock bands. Over a quarter of students learn a musical instrument.

Entrance Requirements

Lower School: Common Entrance or the School’s own entry papers in English, Maths and Science. Sixth Form: assessment day of interviews and team-building exercises and a good GCSE pass in each of the subjects chosen for A Level.


13+ and 16+: Academic, art, DT, sailing, drama, sport and music. At 16+ an equine scholarship is also available. Some bursaries are awarded, please contact the school for details.

Open Days

2017. Sixth Form Open Day: Sat. 4th November.

For details of Open Days please contact Diana Morant on +44 (0)1258 882182 or alternatively email


2017/2018. Lower School. Full Boarding: £12,400 per term. Day: £6,500 per term. Sixth Form. Full Boarding: £12,900 per term. Day: £6,900 per term.


ISI Inspection 2015

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr Magnus Bashaarat

Contact for enquiries: Mrs Diana Morant, Registrar

Milton Abbey School
Blanford Forum
DT11 0BZ

[t]: 01258 880484
[f]: 01258 880484

Location Description

Set amongst beautiful rolling hills in the heart of Dorset, eight miles southwest of Blandford Forum.

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

Milton Abbey School Independent Dorset Capability Bakehouse, Kitchen And Smokery

This term Milton Abbey School Lower Sixth form Hospitality pupils have been studying a Business Enterprise unit as part of their

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Level 3 Hospitality BTEC qualification.  In previous years events such as the School’s Cabaret evening were used to enable the pupils to plan menus and publicity.  This year we decided to set them the challenge of having a stall at the Friends of Milton Abbey Summer Fete, and so idea of the Capability Bakehouse, Kitchen and Smokery was born.    Individually or as teams the pupils were asked to come up with ideas for artisan products to create, package and price.

To support the pupils and provide an insight into the world of business we asked Rose Prince to work with the group.  Rose is an author and food writer who has been writing and campaigning for good food for over 20 years and writes a column for the Daily Telegraph; she also set up and ran her own business for three years, the Pocket Bakery in 2010. She is the author of five cookery books and guides to good shopping.

Pupils began by researching a range of different items that they could cook to sell at the Fete.  Through a process of elimination they arrived at a wide ranging list of products:  sourdough breads, pizza pockets, fudge, parmesan shortbread, peppermint creams, chili jam, macaroons and dog biscuits.  

Perhaps most challenging was Charlie and Archie’s decision to smoke locally sourced trout from Winterborne Houghton fish farm which is run by Hans Hoff.  This required careful planning on their part as they had to weave the time to remove pin bones, cure and smoke the trout into their school day.  They also had to consider appropriate packaging and devise an attractive label to include both price and information about the ingredients used to cure the trout.

Hospitality teacher Elka Charlton worked with Rose and the pupils on branding, ensuring an overall cohesiveness for the stall and products.  They decided to use the school colours of black and gold in their labelling; use of brown paper and raffia, baskets and wooden boards also gave an authentic artisan feel to the stall.

On the day of the Fete the pupils worked throughout the morning to ensure the stall was ready on time, with all the products arranged in clearly defined areas across the tables. On the previous evening several of the group worked on shaping the sourdough loaves, preparing for the overnight fermentation. 

The effect was truly impressive and the stall was a great success with many items selling quickly, whilst other products which had been produced in bigger quantities, have continued to sell to school staff in the weeks following the event.   All proceeds from the stall will be donated to Julia’s House and SKRUM, a charity working in Swaziland bringing life changing education to children about HIV/AIDs.

The Bill Ainscough Award for Artisan Food Enterprise will be awarded to the pupil or pupils who showed sustained effort throughout the project as well as a willingness to support others in their endeavours.  Bill has over 30 years house building and property experience and has been a Director of a number of public companies. He is also involved in many youth projects, setting up youth clubs in Merseyside and London. 

Rose Prince said of the venture, “It has been a fascinating experience to work with the Lower Sixth form pupils, and I think we had an overall outstanding result. The pupils worked really hard to ensure their different products were of a professional standard and displayed great creativity – any one of these products would be commercially viable.”

Milton Abbey School Independent Dorset New Weekend Activities Programme

Milton Abbey School has always been an interesting and fun place at weekends but this year under the direction of Fergus Wilson, Housemaster of Tregonwell,

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the weekend activities programme reached dizzy new heights.

When so many boarding schools can be almost empty at weekends, we thought the level of take up from pupils, and the sheer range of activities on offer, warranted some recognition. We’ve been totting up the number of pupils who have been involved in different activities this academic year and the results surprised even us. So here goes, the numbers relate to the number of pupils who took part in each activity:

1208 Internal Social/ Fancy Dress Parties / DJ nights

656 House BBQs

520 Inter School Socials

514 Meal Trips

326 Cinema Trips

318 Town visits – Bath, Bournemouth etc.

250 Inter-House Music nights

245 Open Mic night

245 Inter-House Sport

200 Quiz Night

120 Paintball

118 Bowling

96 Pizza making

89 Water Park

81 Laser Tag

75 Trampoline Park

67 Surfing

55 6 Nations @ Twickenham

54 Climbing

53 Fireworks

50 Kayaking

40 Point to Point

28 Skate Park

25 Summer games

22 Dry ski slopes

12 Sea Fishing

10 Touring car

10 Kite Surfing

Max Thompson, who is in the sixth form, says “Weekends at school are far from dull, mainly because everyone is always around, even the day pupils come on trips over the weekend and get involved. Regardless of whether you are doing one of the extensive activities on offer or just relaxing at the end of a busy week it is a happy, energetic and enjoyable environment to be in with your friends”

Phoebe Taylor, also in the sixth form, says “Weekends at school are amazing. You’re always off with your friends whether it’s a fancy dress party or an open mic night on Saturday, tie dye-ing on a Sunday…or making s’mores! We have such a variety of activities to pick and choose from.”

We’d like to know if any other boarding school, especially one of our size, can offer such an extensive range of activities and such high take up – we think this is one area where we have an unrivalled offer.

Milton Abbey School Independent Dorset Brownsea Open Air Production Of 'As You Like It'

The cast of this summer’s Brownsea Open Air Theatre (BOAT) production of ‘As You Like It’ will include two members of the Milton Abbey School

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community. School Counsellor Harry Susser and fifth form pupil Bobbie King both successfully auditioned in January and are busy rehearsing in preparation for the opening night on 24 July.

Harry has acted in many productions on the island but for Bobbie this will be her debut on stage with the theatre company. Harry plays the enigmatic, philosophical Jacques, whose famous speech ‘The Seven Ages of Man’ will be familiar to many in the audience whilst Bobbie plays a young archer who has retreated to the idyllic Forest of Arden to join the court of the banished Duchess Senior.

The Brownsea Open Air Theatre is a registered charity which has donated more than £200,000 to the National Trust, proceeds from their annual Shakespeare productions, since 1964. ‘As You Like It’ runs from 24 July 24th to 12 August and Director, Brian Woolton, is no stranger to the island as he has played major roles in BOAT productions since 2009. However, this is the first time he has directed for BOAT and it promises to be an exciting debut as his creative vision takes shape.

For the audiences, performance evenings start with a ferry trip from Poole, followed by a picnic in the island’s idyllic setting and then the play itself which is held in an open air auditorium. For the actors, being part of BOAT is a unique experience: from Sunday set building days on the island, indoor and outdoor evening rehearsals at Pelhams Park and Brownsea itself, to being able to watch the wildlife at close quarters once the daytime visitors have left.

The production has powerful and imaginative lighting and sound effects, carefully choreographed fight sequences, live music, colourful and elaborate costumes and a magical set.

Harry says of the production, “This is my tenth production with Brownsea Open Air Theatre and I am very honoured and a just a little bit scared to have the famous speech, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…’”

Bobbie adds, “I have really enjoyed the rehearsals for my first full production of a Shakespeare play with such a well established company. I am looking forward to performing in front over 500 people a night and having my family, friends and teachers in the audience.”

Milton Abbey School Independent Dorset Summer Fete For Julia's House And SKRUM

The Friends of Milton Abbey Summer Fete is now in its fourth year and last Saturday, 24th June, once again the School community came together

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to raise money for Julia’s House as well as SKRUM, a children’s charity working in Swaziland providing life-saving education on HIV/AIDS.

It was a great morning with beagle racing, miniature steam train rides, bouncey castles, the School Farm petting area, live music from pupils and storytelling by drama students for our younger visitors. In addition our hospitality pupils had been working hard with food writer and Telegraph columnist Rose Prince on an artisan food stall. Their hard work paid off and the stall proved a huge success with sourdough bread, locally sourced smoked trout and other delicious treats selling out quickly to appreciative punters.

Milton Abbey School Independent Berkshire

On Friday 12th May pupils and staff at Milton Abbey School had a ‘Hunger Lunch’ to support the Oxfam East Africa Famine Appeal and

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the upcoming World Hunger Day on 28th May.   Instead of the normal Friday lunch, the ever popular weekly fish and chips or a range of salads which are enjoyed in the school’s medieval Abbot’s Hall, our chefs made a simple lunch of soup and a bread roll.

The aim was to raise awareness of global famine; the previous day at our Chapel service the prayers, hymns and readings were all themed around ‘hunger’.  The school community spent time reflecting on the truly staggering scale of global hunger, where hunger kills more people than AIDs, malaria and tuberculosis combined, and the relative comfort of Milton Abbey school life.  Staff and pupils were asked to consider if they had really ever experienced hunger, and what real hunger might feel like.

The savings made from this modest lunch will be donated to the Oxfam appeal along with additional donations from staff and pupils.   We hope that in some small way this will help the 795 million people experiencing hunger around the world and remind pupils that food is something that many people cannot take for granted.

Milton Abbey School Independent Berkshire

Once again this year Milton Abbey entered two teams for the Ten Tors competition – a junior team who took on the 35 mile

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challenge and a senior team who took on the 45 mile challenge.  There are many challenging walks in Britain today, but the Ten Tors is alone in catering solely for young people and is said by many to be the largest and most challenging event held nationally.

Over the weekend of 6th/7th May, the Milton Abbey pupils competed against four hundred teams each made up of six teenagers.   They hiked over the rough terrain of Dartmoor, visiting ten nominated tors / check points in under two days. The teams had to be self-sufficient, carrying all that they needed to complete their route and stay out over night safely. The weather can be very changeable and at times quite extreme, and success or failure can depend very much on the extent to which a team has been trained for all eventualities. Fortunately with Milton Abbey’s Trevor Law at the helm, our pupils were extremely well prepared for all eventualities.

Trevor said of the teams, “They all worked really hard throughout the Ten Tors Event and did Milton Abbey proud. They put exceptional effort into their training which started back in October last year which really paid off. The 35 mile team smashed the course so quickly that some of the parents and staff who came down missed them coming into the finish.  They were second in their group by only 14 minutes despite having decided to go up Chat Tor two times, so in fact they did the Eleven Tor Challenge!  Both teams navigated excellently and displayed amazing team work.”

A special mention must go to Fran for being the first girl at Milton Abbey to complete both the junior and senior Ten Tors challenges and to Tom, Alec and Charlie who have also completed both challenges.  Next year, to keep challenging ourselves,  we are planning to have a 55 miles team.”

The Ten Tors Challenge is organised by the Army, specifically Headquarters 1st Artillery Brigade & South West, from its Moor Group Headquarters at Okehampton Camp. It is assisted by the Royal Navy (with manpower and helicopters), the Royal Air Force and the Dartmoor Rescue Group.

Milton Abbey School Independent Berkshire

Last week Milton Abbey pupils were lucky enough to spend time picking the brains of one of the top magazine editors in the country

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– Kate Reardon. Editor of Tatler.

Kate spent the morning with pupils studying Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in the sixth form and those who are entering the annual Milton Abbey Entrepreneur in Residence competition which this year is being led by Nick Wheeler, founder of the Charles Tyrwhitt shirt company.   Kate gave the group an excellent insight into the magazine and publishing industry and how traditional and new media can best be used to help promote businesses.   The discussion moved on to some of the challenges the magazine industry faces, in  particular how the ever increasing use of social media was impacting on advertising, revenue and the future of print and web based publications and how traditional methods need to adapt to keep up with the market changes.

Kate inspired the pupils to challenge themselves, both now during their school years and in their future careers, and to accept that failure is a part of life; it is how you respond to failure by not giving up that is important. Kate stressed that hard work and passion are the key ingredients to a successful career and life and that young people should always choose a career that they are passionate about as then they will be more driven to succeed.

After lunch with some of our pilots, Kate led a discussion with girls from across the year groups on ‘Women and Leadership’.   In a world where  girls’ perception of women can often be skewed by the media or social stereotypes the pupils  wanted to ask Kate how they can empowered and believe that as females in society they can do anything – run a business, be successful, have a family…in short, they wanted to find out how they could have it all!

Kate discussed the realities of being a woman in the world of business and the realities of what this has meant for her.  She successfully challenged the girls to consider their mind-set and attitude telling them that to be successful attitude really is everything – ‘if you want it, decide you want it and go get it.’  She encouraged the girls to make the most of all opportunities when they arise and give them their all.  The group discussed the inevitable future considerations the girls would need to weigh up and likely challenges that they would face, including the need to be as qualified as the person next to them regardless of gender and discussed issues around starting a family whilst building a career.

Kate’s final advice was that the girls should be motivated, focused and hard working and to keep believing that any job is open and available to any person, not just because of their gender.

Kate said of her visit, “I was delighted to be invited to Milton Abbey, it is an extraordinarily beautiful school with an inspiring ethos. The pupils were a great pleasure to meet – impressive without appearing entitled and ambitious without being pretentious. Full marks!”

Magnus Bashaarat, Headmaster of Milton Abbey said, “We were delighted that Kate was able to visit us and give two really excellent workshops for some of our pupils.  They found her approachable, interesting and motivating and we hope that they’ll take her helpful advice on board as they think about future career options and business ideas.”

Milton Abbey School Independent Dorset

Head chefs from Franco Manca, the sourdough pizza restaurant chain with 34 pizzeria in London and southern England, descended en masse to Milton Abbey School

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on Wednesday 26th April, lured by tales of our delicious wild garlic.

A total of 48 head chefs journeyed down on a bus from London to forage for the wild garlic which they took back to their respective pizzeria to adorn their award winning sourdough pizzas with a seasonal twist. A total of 460kg was collected in total.

The first Franco Manca store was opened in Brixton Market in 2008 by founder and entrepreneur Giuseppe Mascoli. Franco Manca is built on the belief that to be truly enjoyed, food needs to be made with authentic, delicious ingredients. These are both organic and locally sourced where possible.

Milton Abbey School is set in a glorious Capability Brown landscape in the heart of Dorset; pupils looking for a vocational focus in the sixth form alongside, or instead of A levels, can opt to study courses such as hospitality, countryside management and enterprise and entrepreneurship – a natural fit for Franco Manca’s ethos on many levels.

Giuseppe Mascoli said, “For our new specials we are working with seasonal ingredients featuring spring and summer offerings, last week 48 of our pizzaioli descended upon Dorset to handpick 460kg of wild garlic. Thank you to Milton Abbey School for allowing Naples to invade Dorset!”

The wild garlic will be made in to a wild garlic pesto and some lucky Milton Abbey pupils have been invited to sample this and more at the opening of Franco Manca’s new restaurant in Bournemouth when it opens on 10th May.

In addition, Milton Abbey School is looking forward to welcoming Giuseppe Mascoli to Milton Abbey In November when he will meet our hospitality and enterprise and entrepreneurship pupils. He will also give a talk to all pupils about his inspirational business journey from economics lecturer at the London School of Economics to being the founder of Franca Manca. Giuseppe is sure to be inspirational, he was described as ‘sparking a food revolution in South London’ when his first store took off in Brixton Market in 2008.

Milton Abbey Independent Dorset

Milton Abbey Head Boy, Ralph, capped off a remarkable cross country season at Canford School on Thursday 16th March when he was presented with the

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trophy for the Dorset Independent Schools Cross Country Champion beating the best Athletes from local rivals including Bryanston, Sherborne, Clayesmore and Canford. With the pressure on, Ralph put in his best run of the season to record a brilliant time of 11mins 6 seconds for the 2 mile course. To put this into context, a time of 11minutes 30 seconds is considered excellent.

Members of the Milton Abbey cross country team enjoy training three times a week in some of England’s most beautiful countryside around the school. This year Ralph has also been part of Milton Abbey’s Elite Running Programme which is connected to Wimborne Athletics Club. The programme has given Ralph and our top athletes the opportunity to train with other aspiring county and national runners, and have access to top level coaching.

Of Ralph’s victory, Milton Abbey coach Will Fraser, pictured below, said, “It has been hugely rewarding to see Ralph’s hard work and determination pay off. He has always had tremendous potential but the work he has done with the Elite Running Programme has really paid dividends. We also have some very strong girls coming through the programme and I’m sure it won’t be long until Ella Chalmers, Ella Sykes and Alexandra Geldard are also winning trophies be it as a team or individually.”

Milton Abbey independent day and boarding school Dorset

Milton Abbey’s recent Taster Day was full to bursting with prospective pupils who arrived in glorious Spring sunshine ready for an action packed day.

After a welcome

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by Headmaster Magnus Bashaarat, who explained that the aim of the day was for the children to get a really good feel for what life is like at Milton Abbey, everyone chose a sports activity –either golf, hockey, netball or lacrosse led by our specialist sports coaches.

This was followed by a choice of spending time in the Art Department, the Design and Technology workshop or the Hospitality kitchen.   Amid lots of fun and laughter everyone produced either a work of art, an impressive electronic gadget or some delicious smelling mini quiches and bakewell tarts to take home.

Lunch in the Abbot’s Hall, our dining room dating back to medieval times, was followed by ‘woodland activities’ for some alongside Milton Abbey pupils from the CCF who helped with a range of games in the woods or Music and Drama in the New Barn Theatre.  Parents returned for tea in the Kings Room at the end of the day to find some happy, tired and quite messy children keen to tell them about their day.  We very much look forward to welcoming back all the families who visited today.

Isabella Hopps enjoyed her day so much she emailed to say, “…how much I enjoyed my taster day at Milton Abbey.  Now, thanks to that day, I have my heart set to try to get into Milton Abbey. I feel it is such a wonderfully welcoming and warm environment with so many amazing people. I enjoyed all the activities provided and would love to come and do some again.”

Headmaster Magnus Bashaarat said, “Days like this, organised by our Admissions team, are a great way for prospective pupils to test out what it would be like to be a pupil here at Milton Abbey.  The focus is on fun and activities are led by a mixture of older pupils as well as staff so children get a really good feel for the school.  It was lovely to see so many pupils takin part in the Taster Day from a wide variety of schools across the country and overseas.”

Milton Abbey School Independent Dorset

On Wednesday 1st February, we welcomed ten teams from a wide range of local schools who were taking part in the Milton Abbey Prep

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Schools’ Debating Competition, now in its third year.    A total of 30 young students took part in an afternoon which included a workshop on debating and public skills.  This was a great opportunity for the children to find out more about how debates are run – their structure and the terms commonly used in debating – and to consider the skills needed when presenting arguments in support and against a given motion.

The teams were then each assigned a motion so they could prepare their arguments in advance of the competition.  The motions included, ‘This house believes that teachers in classrooms should be replaced by skype lecturers’ and ‘This house believes that contact sports should be compulsory’.

After thirty minutes of intense preparation the teams took part in a competition in front of an audience in the New Barn Theatre and judged by Magnus Bashaarat, Milton Abbey’s Headmaster.   All teams performed extremely well and the winning team was from Sunninghill Prep School.

Magnus Bashaarat said, “The standard of debating was really high and I greatly enjoyed listening to the lively and entertaining arguments put forward by the different teams.   Debating is an excellent way of building confidence and sharpening thinking; as well as preparing their speeches, the children had to think on their feet when faced with counter arguments from their components.  The competition was a fun, friendly way to introduce these young people to debating and I hope they continue to develop their skills in this area at their senior schools.”

Certainly the visiting schools were very appreciative of the day. Sarah Adkin, Head of English at Sandroyd School said, ‘Our students greatly enjoyed themselves. It has inspired them to organise a permanent debate team!’

Schools taking part in the competition were: Castle Court School, Dumpton School, Farleigh School , Forres Sandle Manor School, Hanford School, Sandroyd School and Sunninghill Prep School.

Milton Abbey School Independent Dorset

Milton Abbey pupils held a Charity Cabaret evening last week to raise money for the two school charities – Julia’s House and SKRUM.    Parents

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and ‘Friends of Milton Abbey’ attended in large numbers and with over 14 individual acts performed during the evening, and a delicious three course dinner served by Hospitality pupils, the evening was a real show case of some of the school’s best musical and culinary talent.

Julia’s House is the only children’s hospice charity in Dorset dedicated to helping life-limited children and their families across the county. They run regular respite sessions at their hospice in Corfe Mullen and in families’ own homes. The charity also runs events for siblings and parents, thereby supporting the whole family.  SKRUM was founded by rugby-mad Michael Collinson and his wife Linda.   SKRUM works in Swaziland visiting schools, coaching rugby and most importantly, educating children about AIDS, which threatens to wipe out the population. 42% of the population in Swaziland has HIV/AIDS, the highest rate of infection in the world, SKRUM uses rugby to do life changing work in Swaziland and Southern Africa, introducing the game and its values to schools, and at the same time life-saving education on HIV / AIDS.

Magnus Bashaarat, Headmaster of Milton Abbey School, said, “This was a wonderful evening of music and entertainment all in support of two fantastic causes.  We have fundraised for Julia’s House for the past three years as we were keen to support this local charity that provides such crucial support to families at the most difficult of times.  We are also delighted to be supporting SKRUM this year which does such great work with children in Swaziland.” 

Milton Abbey is a Round Square school and as such pupils are encouraged to follow the six ideals espoused by educational philosopher Kurt Hahn, internationalism, service, democracy, leadership, adventure and environmentalism.

Milton Abbey Independent Dorset

Congratulations to Milton Abbey sixth former Tom who with his company T.O.M (Totally Original Merchandise) has won the Entrepreneur in Residence competition, resulting in a

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prize of £2,000. Many congratulations also go to Ed and Freddie, the runners up who are both in the sixth form, for getting so far in the competition.

Tom’s company start-up ‘Totally Original Merchandise’ manufactures and sells marble door stops that he has found and repurposed from architectural marble cut-offs. This really captured David Ross, our Entrepreneur in Residence’s imagination. Tom had done a huge amount of work to package and present his product cleverly, and David was able to give him advice on how to market and sell his doorstops, as well as putting in Tom’s first bulk order.

Our Entrepreneur in Residence scheme is now in its fourth year. It brings a successful business leader into the school to adjudicate in a ‘Dragons Den’ style competition, in which £250 of seed funding for a business idea has to be developed into a fully-fledged business proposition. Business surgeries with the entrepreneurs are a golden opportunity for the teams to get advice about strategic marketing, financing and pricing from a business leader well known on the high street. Perhaps the biggest dividend is the encouragement that the budding entrepreneurs receive; someone believes in their idea and in their ability, and they feel able to breathe life into their business.

David Ross qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen & Co. He co-founded The Carphone Warehouse Group plc in 1991 and has also been involved in leading many other public and private companies. David is passionate about developing educational opportunities for young people and established the David Ross Foundation, which currently sponsors 33 academies in Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and the Humber Region. David is a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and on the Board of the British Olympic Association. Previous Entrepreneurs in Residence include Anya Hindmarch, Cath Kidston and Johnnie Boden.

Milton Abbey Headmaster, Magnus Bashaarat, said “We are very grateful to David Ross who has been an inspirational Entrepreneur in Residence for Milton Abbey School, providing our students with real insight into what makes a successful entrepreneur and enabling them to learn from one of the UK’s most successful self starting businessmen.”

Milton Abbey independent day and boardig school Dorset

Milton Abbey pupils are celebrating after winning the recent Millfield Shooting Competition – coming 1st to beat 26 other competing school teams.  This fantastic win

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was testament to the pupils’ skill and the excellent training they have received all term from Purbeck Shooting School, widely acknowledged to be one of the best shooting schools in the country.

The Milton Abbey Clay Pigeon Shooting Club meets three times a week when most of their friends are taking part in more conventional sports such as rugby, football or hockey; for pupils with an interest in this area there is also a target shooting club and opportunities exist to go deer stalking.  However three times a week the team sets off to Purbeck for their training accompanied by Milton Abbey teacher Jordan Williams.  There is a tangible sense of focus to the training they receive there as Graham Brown, the Managing Director at Purbeck Shooting School explains,  “Purbeck Shooting School prides itself on doing things correctly; the main thing is that when the students come to us we make sure the gun fit is right so they have the best opportunity to shoot correctly.  We also structure the teaching in such a way that it is staged from one week to the next, with each lesson following on logically from previous lesson so that the students can see their progress clearly.”

Many independent schools hold clay shooting competitions but Millfield is generally regarded as being the best in terms of the level of skill required to win and there is a healthy rivalry between the schools’ two teams with Milton Abbey knowing the stiffest competition is likely to come from Millfield.   The competition itself consists of two sections.  Firstly there is a 40 bird sporting shoot where each student shoots 40 times at a variety of different incoming targets coming from different directions and at different heights.   Secondly there is a team element in what is called a ‘flush’ – this is where a team stands in a line and various clays are fired above them either from the left, right or directly above them which means that the students have to communicate effectively with each other under considerable pressure and in an extremely fast moving environment.  The fact that this is done in front of all the other competing teams just adds to the pressure.

Milton Abbey teacher, Jordan Williams, explains “Clay Pigeon shooting is something of a hard sport to quantify as on one hand the students have to work as members of a team and yet when it really starts to count, and the clays start to fly, the students are completely on their own -there is nowhere to hide when they make a mistake.  It is no coincidence that all the successful shooters I have met have a certain air of quiet confidence and an unshakeable but modest belief in their own abilities.”

Milton Abbey is hoping to hold their own school shooting competition next year in conjunction with Purbeck Shooting School and is looking forward to seeing their team continue to grow in confidence.   Graham Brown continues, “I saw great potential in the Milton Abbey team from the start and it has been good to see their confidence grow as they started to believe in themselves.  It was a pleasure for me to be at the competition and to see the boys realise the fruits of their labour.  I know that with the right support they have even more potential and go on to greater successes ahead.”

Photo:  the winning Clay Pigeon Shooting A team: Zach, Will and George

Milton Abbey independent day and boarding school Dorset

Milton Abbey School is fortunate enough to be one of a small number of schools which runs its own pheasant shoot. The School hosts the

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shoot on five days during the season with the full cooperation of our neighbours, and is run by pupils studying Countryside Management BTEC in the sixth form with the help of staff and a gamekeeper.

Pupils not only study the following modules as part of the course – game bird production, Game Management, Shoot Management, Estate Skills, Fire Arms, woodland management, working dogs, pest and predator control – but all of these modules are taught practically throughout the season in real time along with the relevant class room theory work. The safety of all participants is paramount and the importance of maintaining shooting’s vital rules, codes of practice, traditions and etiquette is reinforced at every opportunity. From catching up birds for the laying pens, overseeing the laying process, rearing, husbandry, maintenance and everything in-between, right up to the shoot days, the pupils are very much hands on.

As the season approaches pupils plan the seasons shoot days, including all its logistics, staffing and catering requirements. Even the shoot invitations are sent directly from the pupils to the guns, with the first invitations being sent to their own parents. To date this season we have held one shoot day – on October 19th – when Milton Abbey parents were our guests and pupils made up the beating team. Gamekeeper and Countryside Management technician Kevin Hurst was delighted with how the day went, “It was unseasonably mild, with the trees still full of leaf and perhaps not the best weather for shooting, however the guns and beaters turned up full of smiles and eager to have an enjoyable day. The beating team were up against it all day, there was very little wind and sound was carrying a long way. It was the first day ever beating for most the team and they got around the first three drives really well. By the end of the day the beating lines were very slick and communication along the line was brief and accurate. The birds performed admirably, flushing high and fast challenging the guns to full effect.”

After some very long walks for the beating team in particular, lunch in the Princes Room in the Milton Abbey mansion was welcomed by all. Guns and beaters always dine together at Milton Abbey enjoying the warmth of the roaring fire. The catering team as always produced a truly hearty lunch during which talk was loud and smiles were broad, all the signs of a successful morning. Kevin continues, “After many hours in the class room our first shoot day is always a cascade of eureka moments for pupils when theory suddenly becomes reality before their eyes. The relevance of habitat management, release pen design and functionality, feeding regimes, predator control all becomes relevant. Education does not get any more interactive than this. The bag for the day was 24 pheasant for 86 shots which for our humble shoot is a very reasonable day.”

Lissy Carr, Director of Land Based Studies at Milton Abbey School summed up the day, “On days like this we see our pupils grow in knowledge, confidence and stature, I saw the birds that we reared in perfect condition flying high and fast over the guns with many making it through to battle another day. Above all it was a pleasure to see proud students and even prouder parents enjoy a day of shooting which was carried out extremely safely and with real respectfor our beautiful environment.”

Milton Abbey parent Charlie Coleman said of the day, “For me it was just wonderful to see so much enthusiasm from the girls and boys; it was totally clear that they were all 100% committed to making the day work as well as it possibly could. The combined effort of the pupils and the Milton Abbey staff resulted in a fantastic day of sport for us in glorious surroundings. The pupils rightly had such pride in what they achieved and can’t wait for their day in January. Many thanks for such an enjoyable day.”

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