West Buckland School


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  • 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. All visits are welcome, please contact the school.


2019/2020. Senior School Years 7-13. Day fees: £5170 per term. UK full boarding: £8400 - £10,600 per term. Weekly and flexi-boarding also available.

Prep School Reception - Year 6. Day fees: £2690 - £4210 per term.

Ad hoc Boarding: £25-£45 per night (depending on age). Sibling discount.

International fees. Years 7-13 (EU): £8740 - £11,145 per term, (Rest of World): £9206 - £11,780 per term.

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 Devon, produced outstanding performances at the National Prep School Athletics Finals, held at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on 29th June,

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with the team breaking three national records.

West Buckland School, in Devon, produced outstanding performances at the National Prep School Athletics Finals, held at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on 29th June, with the team breaking three national records.

Eden Robinson broke the UK national U13 record for the long jump with a jump of 5.29m, and also broke the U13 national record for 200m. During the heats for the 4 x 100m relay, the West Buckland team broke the national record by 0.01 seconds. In the final, the team of Bella Lawson, sisters Jasmine and Codie Clark, and Eden Robinson, smashed their own new record by carving another 0.3 seconds off their time.

Every member of the West Buckland team came home with a medal with Linus Emuna third in the U14 boys high jump with a new personal best of 1.63m, as well as running in the 100m heats. Bella Lawson performed impressively in the heats in the 100m and 200m races, eventually securing bronze medals in both events.

This was an incredibly impressive performance by the West Buckland team and Head of Athletics, Angus Calder, is delighted. “This latest performance shows the strength and variety of the track and field talent we are delighted to nurture at West Buckland. Athletics is an important part of our summer sports programme but these athletes also have the opportunity to train during the winter months. The results of their hard work are more than evident here.”

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

Sixth Formers from West Buckland School, in North Devon, have achieved an average UCAS score of 144 in their A-level results, equivalent to three As.

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As well as achieving an excellent 74.4% of grades at A* to B, the students excelled in the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), run alongside their A-levels, and equivalent to half an A-level, with 74.5% of grades being A* to B.

Sixth Formers from West Buckland School, in North Devon, have achieved an average UCAS score of 144 in their A-level results, equivalent to three As. As well as achieving an excellent 74.4% of grades at A* to B, the students excelled in the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), run alongside their A-levels, and equivalent to half an A-level, with 74.5% of grades being A* to B.

These results see West Buckland maintain their long-held reputation as one of the top performing schools in the South West peninsular and, with the high UCAS score, will see a large number of students take up places in some of the country’s best universities.

While recognising that a student’s performance is not limited to a set of grades, West Buckland’s Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton said:

“We are delighted to share the excellent performances of our leaving Year 13. We are ambitious for our pupils and running the EPQ alongside the new, linear A-levels has extended the students beyond their conventional studies, encouraging independent learning, research, and critical thinking. Not only has this enabled them to enjoy academic breadth, but they have developed powerful learning tools along the way that have enabled them to leave school with great results and fully prepared for the rigours of university.”

Amongst the impressive overall performance there have been some outstanding individual achievements. Tim Peng gained four A*/A grades at A-level and a further A* in his EPQ; Katie Willes and Will Wardle both achieved three A*s, with an additional A* in their EPQ. Katie, who has attended West Buckland since Nursery, will take up her place at the London School of Economics to study International Relations, whilst Will will be going to Durham to read Geography.

Another eight pupils leave clutching a combination of A*/A grades but perhaps the ultimate mark of success, on results day, is in achieving the grades needed to access the right course for them. This is a combination of good personal advice, exciting opportunities, appropriate challenge and excellent teaching. Many of our students have exceeded their personal goals, securing places at their chosen destination.

As well as celebrating these wonderful results, Mr Stapleton is keen to stress the huge contribution that this year group have made to the school and the support of their teachers:

“More than just grades, we are very proud of what each of these young people have contributed to the school and look forward to what they will become in the future. As a cohort they were committed to the end: representing the school in sport, drama and music and still achieving superb results. And, perhaps most importantly, they had a great time doing it. I am grateful to the teaching staff who have tutored and nurtured them on this journey. They depart ready for what lies ahead and with our very best wishes.”

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

Pupils and staff at West Buckland School have founded the West Buckland Ecological and Biodiversity Society (WEBS) in order to improve the biodiversity across the

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school campus. Boosted by the design of a smart new logo, designed by Artist in Resident, Joseph Witchall, the group are starting by planting two wildflower meadows to provide food for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, as well as great green bush crickets!

The school’s stunning and rural 90-acre site is an ideal location for a wildflower meadow and the members of WEBS will be enlisting the help of students from across the whole school (from Nursery to Year 13) to grow the wild flowers from seed in their classrooms. The classes will be asked to grow yarrow, cowslip, betony and yellow rattle, and when the seedlings are ready, the children will help to plant them out as well as broadcasting more seed.

The aim is for the meadow to be flourishing by June 15th, when the school will be involved in a Bioblitz – recording the species present, to see how well they have done in attracting insects to the site. They will be joined by local wildlife expert, Mary Breeds, to provide guidance, and have hired a bat detector from Devon Greater Horseshoe bat project.

Instigator of the project, and Head of Biology, Noah Shawcross, cannot wait to get started. “This is such an exciting project and we’re delighted that the whole school can have an opportunity to get involved. We also thank the hard-working ground staff who have helped support us with this project.”

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

West Buckland School is delighted to launch an exciting new website, which gives visitors the opportunity to dive in and take a virtual tour through

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all its outstanding facilities.

Over the past ten years the school has invested enormously in its facilities, and the school’s new website allows visitors to wander through these amazing buildings, having a 360-degree view as if they were there in person! To find out more, visithttps://www.westbuckland.com/about/our-facilities/. Visitors interested in our Prep school can also take a trip inside, by visiting https://www.westbuckland.com/preparatory/facilities-and-location/.

The website is the product of a great deal of work and innovation and, true to the school’s North Devon roots, it is proud to have benefitted from calling on the services of two local companies to do this. Roots Creative, run by former West Buckland students, designed and built the website, whilst Barnstaple-based Panoptic Motion created the virtual tour.

The website highlights the emphasis that the school has placed on wellbeing, the importance of taking education beyond the limitations of the classroom and the strong academic success of the school. In addition, easy-to-access menus show our extensive bus routes from Bideford and Torrington, to Ilfracombe and Tiverton, as well as food menus, news and blog sections, videos and admissions process.

Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, is delighted with the new site. “Not only does it reflect where West Buckland is in terms of innovation and vision but is a fantastic example of collaboration with state-of-the-art technologies, which are the future for all our children. Hopefully our visitors will enjoy their VR experience!”

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

West Buckland School, located on the edge of Exmoor National Park in Devon, has been placed in the UK’s Top 40 co-educational boarding schools, based

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on A-Level results. It is one of only two West Country co-ed boarding schools in the Top 40, positioning it amongst some of the best-known and most selective schools in the country.

The ranking table has been produced for Best-Schools.co.uk by independent body Education Advisers Ltd and measures the number of A* and A grades awarded to students. This further enhances the school’s impressive academic record, for which it has gained an enviable reputation.

The result is particularly pleasing because, unlike many other schools featured in the ranking table, West Buckland is largely non-selective, and only requires students to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 5 or above to enter the Sixth Form in Year 12.

The school also features in the Top 100 for GCSE results out of all boarding schools in the UK (this includes both single-sex and co-educational schools).

Headmaster, Mr Phillip Stapleton, says “This is a particularly pleasing recognition because the school is not a hothouse but believes that children should be able to develop at their own pace. Coming 35th in the UK shows that parents can have the best of all worlds for their children, a first-class education alongside a healthy and active lifestyle in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.”

West Buckland independent day and boarding school Devon

West Buckland School Year 13, Magnus Carter-Burns, has been selected to join the Independent Schools RFC Lions U18s National squad on their rugby tour to

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South Africa.

Players for the squad are selected from independent schools throughout the country and are notorious for their high level of play.

West Buckland School has a history of producing players who have represented the Lions at South West and national level.

Headmaster, Mr Phillip Stapleton, is delighted for him. “I am so excited for Magnus, who has shown so much commitment and hard work to get to this stage. Touring South Africa will be something he will never forget, and we send him with our best wishes.”

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.”


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