West Buckland School


Image for West Buckland School

  • Category: Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory / Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Christian
  • Roll: 333 (Boys) 300 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 3-18 years
  • Founded: 1858

Open Days

2019. Mon. May 6th.


2017/2018. Senior School day fees: £15,060 per annum. UK full boarding: £30,720 per annum. Weekly and flexi-boarding also available

School Contact Details

West Buckland School
West Buckland
EX32 0SX

[t]: 01598 760281
[w]: www.westbuckland.com

Location Description

Set in 100 acres of beautiful North Devon countryside in the South West of England.

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School News

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

West Buckland School, in North Devon, has been shortlisted for Boarding School of the Year, in the TES Independent Schools Awards 2019.

West Buckland School, in

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North Devon, has been shortlisted for Boarding School of the Year, in the TES Independent Schools Awards 2019. In recent years the school has seen investment into its facilities to the tune of £14million, including the building of a state-of-the-art Sixth Form boarding house and study centre, both of which were specifically designed to ease the transition between school and a more independent living regime found at university. The Sixth Form boarding house consists of 70 beautiful single en suite bedrooms and light, spacious social and breakout areas, as well as kitchen facilities, available to both day and boarding students. It is not surprising that, in only its third year, and with A-level results in 2018 being the highest for ten years, at 78% grade A* to A, the boarding house in the Sixth Form is at full capacity, with beds for September 2019 filling fast. In addition, the school offers a very attractive 4-night weekly boarding offer which has become extremely popular with our local students. Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, is delighted with the TES recognition. “West Buckland is all about delivering an innovative and personalised education. Set amid the beautiful and peaceful Devon hills our Sixth Form boarding facilities represent a gold standard that inspires and delivers on our aim to produce young men and women with the capacity to face exciting futures. The perfect blend of structure and independence is not only reflected in the popularity of our boarding offer but, more importantly, in the impact on pupil outcomes.”

West Buckland School Independent Devon West Buckland Results Show Benefit for ‘Home Grown’ Students

Two West Buckland School students, who have both been at the school since Year 3, have joined an exclusive club of only 730 others, in

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the country, in achieving a full-house of 9s in their GCSEs exams.

Another 23% of students achieving ALL 9-7/A*-A grades. In total, 53.1% of all grades were passed at 9-7/A*-A, with over 16% of grades awarded at grade 9 (four times the national average). Although most subjects were marked under the new numerical scale of 9-1, a few subjects remained under the old A*-E system.

As with our A-level students, there was much to celebrate from our ‘home grown’ talent. Whilst 81% of our A-level students who started life in the Prep School, achieved A*-B, it was a similar story with the GCSE results. Hollie Crosbie and Emma Rawicz-Szczerbo, who got straight 9/A*s, have both come up through West Buckland from the Prep school, benefiting from many years of careful nurturing and excellent personalised learning offered in both Prep and Senior schools.

Whilst Hollie will be entering the West Buckland Sixth Form, Emma has been offered a place at the prestigious Chethams School of Music in Manchester, to further her musical ambitions. This comes on the back of her being selected for the Junior Guildhall last year, to study clarinet, and the school were delighted to support her regular trips to London for rehearsals.

There were other notable results, including Fiona Corrick, Edmund Colville, Jerry Chu and Daniil Chernyshov who achieved all 9-8/A*.

Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, feels that the new grade system suits West Buckland’s style of teaching:

“At West Buckland we encourage students to build on the knowledge given to them, not simply regurgitate facts. The new GCSE examinations suit our approach to learning and I am delighted for all our students who have achieved at or above expectations and therefore secured the opportunity to begin their next chapter.

“These results represent an important step in the students’ educational journey and I am delighted that many have achieved excellent grades. The top level 9 has proved less elusive for our students with over 16% of grades awarded at this level. Emma and Hollie’s achievement, in gaining 9s in ALL subjects is extraordinary and sets them among the best in the country, however their success should not overshadow the achievement and application of all our staff and students.”

West Buckland School Independent Devon West Buckland A-Level Students Smash It!

Sixth Formers from West Buckland School, in North Devon, have smashed it, achieving the perfect score in their A-levels, with a 100% pass rate! An

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impressive 77.8% of students achieving Grade A* to B.

45.9% of students achieved A* to A and the top 80% of the sixth form cohort achieved a staggering 91% A* to B.

Including Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) results, considered so valuable by the many universities, these figures rise still further.

These results see West Buckland maintain their reputation as one of the top performing schools in the South West peninsular and a school exuding academic excellence.

Amongst the impressive overall performance have been some outstanding individual achievements. 26% of students achieved straight A*/A grades, with five achieving three or more A*s. A special mention goes to Ethan Cobb, Ottilie Kuehne who both achieved three A*s, with an additional A* in their Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Ethan will be taking up a place at University of Birmingham to read Liberal Arts and Sciences whilst Ottilie will be going to the University of Bath to read Psychology.

Close on their heels and equally impressive were Jamie Dennis and Yuki Shen (two A*s and two As) and Jemima Hadley-Piggin and Harry Palmer who both gained two A*s and one A. They, amongst others, will be taking up places at some of our best universities including Imperial College, Durham University, University of Southampton and University of Manchester.

But it’s not just about the top achievers, many of our students have exceeded their personal goals, securing places at their chosen destination. Top tennis player, Brad Phillips and Head Girl, Millie Wilton, both performed beyond their expectations and are looking forward to exciting futures with confidence.

West Buckland’s Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton says:

“This is a wonderful day and I am delighted for all those who have secured their chosen course. They leave us as young men and women ready to make a difference and I am genuinely excited about what they might go on to achieve in the future.

Of course, this did not happen by accident. This day has been four years in the making and two years in the preparation. Careers advice, visiting lecturers, targeted conversations, individual support from alumni all serve to inspire curiosity in our students. Their personal dreams and choice of subjects or university course were crafted through focused diligence, a tailored curriculum and excellent teaching.

Congratulations to all involved: staff, parents and of course the students. I hope they enjoy their moment in the sun and what is to come.”

West Buckland Independent Devon West Buckland Displaying the Finest Music

West Buckland School was able to show off its full repertoire of musical talent during their outstanding performance of Mozart’s Requiem at Exeter Cathedral, in

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front of a packed audience, in June.

Featuring choirs from both Prep and Senior schools, as well as a chorus of parents and staff, and with both Soprano and Bass soloists being former pupils, this really was a showcase for the school’s music. Not only that, but the choirs were accompanied by the very popular North Devon Sinfonia, which includes member consisting of current and past pupils as well as staff, including the Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, on double bass.

West Buckland’s Director of Music, Emma Kent, was proud of their performance. “For a relatively small school we punch above our weight in music. Not only did we get a chance to show our audience what current pupils are able to achieve, but also, in our distinguished soloists, Ana Fernandez and Will Brockman, we can demonstrate that a bright career in music is achievable, with the right support and guidance at school.”


West Buckland offers music scholarships at Year 7, 9 and 12 entry level. For more information, please contact our Admissions department at admissions@westbuckland.com or call 01598 760178.

West Buckland School Independent Devon West Buckland U14 Cricket Team Takes County Title

West Buckland School’s U14 cricket team have been crowned Devon county champions after a good win against Exeter School. The quality of the squad is

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unquestioned, having kept a clean sheet of wins all season.

West Buckland, in North Devon, has a strong heritage of sport and this win for the U14s comes on the back of this squad having won the same title at U13 level.  In fact, the current U14s remain unbeaten in all boys sport for the entire academic year!

In a strong team effort, there were a few individual performances of note.  Lead wicket-taker of the match was Ethan Cross and top run scorer was Reuben Windley, both in Year 9.

Cricket coach, Dom Ford, is impressed with their results this summer but sees this as just part of the bigger picture at the school. “West Buckland has always invested fully in its sport and the boys’ efforts are testament to this.  But it is not just the cricket that is benefiting,  This summer will see the astroturf pitch surface replaced, which will be great for our boys and girls hockey.  In addition, our tennis programme continues to be very popular with our senior teams remaining unbeaten for two seasons!”

West Buckland Independent Devon West Buckland School Show Strength in Hockey

West Buckland School, in North Devon, has enjoyed one of its most successful hockey seasons in recent years across the boys’ age groups from U11

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to U15.

The U11 and U13 boys were crowned Devon Hockey Champions, reaching the West National Qualifiers, while the U13s had the added accolade of winning all their fixtures throughout the 2018 season.

The U14 boys were also crowned Devon Hockey Champions and were undefeated throughout the Devon tournament, beating Exeter in the final 3-0. The U14s also reached the West National Qualifiers, remaining undefeated at the regionals with 3 draws and 1 win.

The U15s also remained undefeated for the whole 2018 season!

Hockey coach, Duncan Rudge, is delighted with their dominance in the region. “The boys have worked really well and really gelled within their teams. Success breeds success and we can confidently say that West Buckland boys’ hockey is in a very healthy place for next year.”

West Buckland Independent Devon West Buckland Gymnasts Beat the Field to Qualify for Nationals

West Buckland School trio of U16 gymnasts have qualified for the National Finals after winning the South West Milano competition, held at Kingsleigh school, last

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The team of Mia Morris, Martha MacDonald and Ellen French beat teams from Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Mia was also placed 5th individually.

Joining them in the National Finals, which will be held in Stoke in March, are the U13 Mixed team, who were already guaranteed a qualification place for the National Finals.  Charlie McClure performed superbly to take gold in the U13 Boys. He will be joined by Annabel Maskell, Jasmine Jefferies and Lottie Wakefield for the finals.

West Buckland Independent Devon West Buckland U14 Hockey Team Crowned County Champions

West Buckland School’s U14 boys’ hockey team conceded only one goal on their way to becoming Devon County Champions.

The Devon county tournament took place on

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1st February at Blundell’s School, on a dry but cold day and after convincing wins against Mount Kelly and Sidmouth, the team’s final pool match was against defending champions Exeter School. A closely fought 1-0 win took the boys to the semi-finals, where they beat Devonport High School 3-1. In the final they once again met Exeter School and this time put on a very powerful display, beating them 4-0 to take the trophy.

The team will head to the Regional Finals at Millfield School on 15th March.

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

Thirty three West Buckland School musicians will be heading off to Germany in the summer to perform in three different concerts as part of a

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five day tour in July.

The pupils will make up the concert band, a string ensemble, concert choir, and the ever-popular WBJ, West Buckland Jazz, playing a repertoire of Dixieland and popular jazz.

The trip has been organised by Head of Music, Emma Kent, who featured in the BBC programme All Together Now:  The Great Orchestra Challenge, last summer when she led the North Devon Sinfonia to victory and a slot on the line up in BBC Proms in the Park in Hyde Park, London.

The challenging tour includes playing in an outdoor concert in the spa town of Bad Bertrich, after the group will have visited Trier, Germany’s oldest city, which dates back to Roman times.

Last year, a group of musicians from the school visited Belgium, where they combined sightseeing with concert playing and Emma sees these trips as an important part of the enrichment programme.  “Every year we are lucky enough to visit some very special locations in Europe and this year is no different. The pupils see some stunning sites and cities, get to meet musicians from other countries and enjoy playing in some unusual and fantastic venues.”


West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

West Buckland School Year 13 student, Mary Lykova, has received a conditional offer to study Fine Art at The Ruskin School of Drawing and

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Fine Art in Oxford, one of the most prestigious art institutions in the world.

Mary, who is also studying product design and English, has worked under the guidance of Head of Art, Cameron Main, and has been able to benefit from the outstanding art and design facilities that the school offers.
Mr Main is delighted for Mary, “It has been a pleasure to have been involved in her development as an artist. The Ruskin is one of the great art institutions and the facilities are incredible. It only accepts a maximum of 30 students per year from around the world. What’s more, she will be tutored by some of the art world’s most diverse and engaging lecturers and artists.”
West Buckland School can boast some of the best facilities for art and design technology in the country, with eight studios for the students to study in. Over the years, art students have taken up places in some of the best art colleges in the UK, studying a range of subjects from animation to fine art.

Photo: Mary Lykova with her commissed painting, “The Exmoor Run”

West Buckland independent school Devon

Mr Nick Robinson will be taking up the position of Headmaster of West Buckland Prep School in Spring 2018, joining the North Devon school from

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his position of Head at Bedales Prep School, in Hampshire.

Nick emerged as the top candidate after a rigorous process that attracted over sixty applicants and confirmed West Buckland’s popularity and appeal as one of the leading independent schools in the South West.
Nick joined Bedales from Castle Court where he was Assistant Headmaster. Nick’s career in teaching Maths and Sport began after completing his PGCE at the University of Portsmouth in 2002 and then gaining a Masters in Leadership and Management in 2013. Prior to this, he pursued his passion in swimming as a high performance coach and was Head Coach for the 1996 Zimbabwe Olympic team and placed three swimmers on the 2000 Great Britain Olympic team.
A keen sportsman and qualified mental health first-aider, Nick’s passion for the outdoors, popularity with the pupils during interview and reflective approach to an education that ensures excellent outcomes for all children, seemed a perfect fit for West Buckland.
Nick says: “I am absolutely delighted to be appointed the Head of Prep at West Buckland. It was evident from my first visit that this is a wonderful school in a superb location, with exciting times ahead. It will be a privilege to work alongside the outstanding staff team and I am very much looking forward to meeting with pupils and parents in the coming months.
“My family and I are thrilled to be moving to North Devon and joining the West Buckland community.”
Nick has awaited a return to Devon having previously taught at Kelly College. He moves to West Buckland with wife Lindsey and the two youngest of their four children who will join the senior school. Nick will assume leadership of the Prep School from the beginning of the Summer Term 2018.

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

West Buckland School Year 8 pupil, Harriet Wilson-North, has been presented with a new ipad by Barnstaple Mayor, Mrs Julie Hunt, after winning first prize

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in a poster competition celebrating 50 years of the North Devon Samaritan’s branch.

The competition was open to three age categories with the winners of all three age categories seeing their posters displayed in Barnstaple library over the summer.
In addition to Harriet winning her category, Year 8s Summer Culverhouse, Tyler-Paige Beckley and Jasmine Jefferies were presented with highly commended certificates for their stunning poster designs and a plaque to be hung up in the school in recognition of their girls’ achievements.

The competition, which was open to 99 schools in North Devon, was run to raise awareness of the charity’s invaluable work. Volunteer Anna Flynn was delighted to attend the prize giving at West Buckland in assembly. “This positive and fun activity was aimed to highlight to students from as young as eight, the importance of emotional health and the role of the charity in supporting those in emotional distress. All these girls have put a great deal of thought into their designs and Harriet’s was particularly striking and poignant. Well done to all of them.”

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

Over the Easter holidays we have seen some very notable achievements on the sports field by some of our pupils, including Year 8 Henry Cooper,

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who has been selected to represent the ISFA (Independent Schools) U14 England football team in August.

In addition, Year 9 Saffy Ayara-Ekpe and Year 11 Jess Thompson, have both been in action playing for the ISCA hockey teams at U14 and U16 level, respectively.  Whilst the U14 squad have successfully qualified for the National Finals at Lee Valley in London, to be held in May, the U16s have just been competing at the Nationals, where they excelled, coming runners-up overall.

We congratulate them all on their success.

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

The West Buckland School CCF is celebrating after a select team of eight returned having taken part in the gruelling Cambrian Patrol Exercise, last

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weekend, achieving a very creditable Bronze medallion award.

The Cambrian Patrol is an annual event, taking part in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales. It is a nationally recognised exercise that tests Cadets at Section level, in a demanding environment, on leadership, teamwork, endurance, navigation and cadet military knowledge. This was West Buckland School CCF’s first ever entry into the competition and therefore their Bronze award is all the more impressive.

The successful team was:

John Hancock (Section Commander)

Kian Hayles-Cotton  (2I/C)

Jagoda Cottingham

Archie Guildford

Molly Muir

John Skinner

Isaac Tredant

Isaac Windley


West Buckland CCF Instructor, Dave Flynn, was extremely proud of the team’s efforts. “To achieve a Bronze award in their first ever attempt at this extremely testing exercise, is a magnificent achievement.  Before the event, each member of the team was trained to step up to Section Commander or 2I/C if needed, and each one of them proved that they were more than capable of doing so.”

West Buckland independent school Devon

Sixth Formers at West Buckland School in North Devon have delivered another excellent set of A-level results which will see students heading to Oxford, Cambridge

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and other top universities later this year.

37% of all exams were awarded the highest A* or A grades and the overall pass rate was 97.3%.  Within this high level of performance are some outstanding individual achievements.

Beth Keech is Oxford bound to read French and Russian after gaining two A* grades and an A, whilst Ed Mabon will take a place at the University of Cambridge to study Engineering after achieving a clean sweep of three A* grades.

Ed’s twin brother, James, also kept up the high level of family achievement after recording a set of straight A* grades which will see him take a place at the University of Warwick to read Mathematics.

Peter Dawson was also awarded an impressive three A* grades and will now study Physics at The University of Manchester.

Emily Morrish studied four A-levels and recorded an outstanding three A* grades and an A which will see her take a place at Durham University to read Economics with Management, whilst Alex Cammack also studied four A-levels, achieving two A* grades and two A grades and he now intends to study Architecture at the University of Bath.

There were strong results across the curriculum, with over 80% of students in Art and Design, Product Design, Economics, English literature, French, Geography and History all achieving A* to B grades.

West Buckland’s incoming Headmaster from September 2016, Phillip Stapleton says:

“I’m delighted that the hard work of our sixth formers has paid off with some excellent results.  They are to be congratulated and many have achieved or exceeded their expectations which puts them in a strong position as they move towards their futures beyond school.  They will be the first to recognise the contributions of their teachers and parents who have helped them make the most of their abilities in achieving these results”.


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