Nick Herbert MP visits Steyning Grammar

Mr Nick Herbert MP with Mr Nick Wergan headteacher at breakfast with students

Mr Nick Herbert MP with Mr Nick Wergan headteacher at breakfast with students - Credit: Archant

On Tuesday 7th October, Mr Nick Herbert MP visited Steyning Grammar School for breakfast to meet boarding students and to see what life is like as a boarder at the school.

This visit comes just after the State Boarding School Association issued the largest-ever parent survey of state school boarders, an extremely positive report with 93% of parents confirming that their children are happy in state boarding schools. 95% of parents would also recommend their school and boarding as an option to others.

Mr Nick Wergan, Headteacher, Steyning Grammar School said: “This research is a major affirmation of the work and potential of a boarding provision like ours at

Steyning Grammar School, and it endorses our own positive experiences of why parents and students might choose our boarding option – access to excellent academic and social enrichment, and support in developing the confident and independent skill set to be successful young adults; for many families this is the perfect solution for enabling their children to achieve their full potential. We are as proud of our students as they are too of their boarding community – we are focussed in supporting all our students in developing the grit and resilience to succeed, and our boarders embody that positive mindset.”

Mr Herbert was instrumental in supporting the capital bid for monies allocated by Lord Adonis – for the boarding provision expansion in 2011, with the fantastic recent addition of Bolton Boarding House, a multimillion pound state of the art boarding facility now dedicated as a Sixth Form house.

Mr Herbert had the opportunity to meet students in an informal setting over breakfast to see the start of a typical day for Steyning boarding students. Mr Herbert said: “I can see that the boarders benefit hugely from this experience professionally and academically, the atmosphere here is one of friendship and there’s a real sense of community amongst the boarders. This new research report has really brought to life the positive attributes of state boarding provision.”

Following breakfast Mr Herbert had a tour of the four boarding Houses, three of which have recently been refurbished, now offering boarding for 124 boarders.

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Steyning Grammar School is one of only 35 state boarding schools nationwide, and the only one in Sussex. State Boarding offers great value for money, with no tuition fees and affordable accommodation. Places are offered on a weekly or full time basis for students from Years 9-13. The quality of boarding provision at the Steyning Grammar school has been judged by Ofsted to be ‘Outstanding in every category’ (2012 & 2009).

Mr Wergan explained the strong school ethos: “Steyning Grammar School is a unique, successful and dynamic learning community, built on traditions of excellence and highest expectations. The school has always had boarders since its beginning in 1614, and now supports many more students from the local community as well as further afield. The boarding community adds enormously to the dynamic learning environment of the school.”

Head Girl of Boarding, Anna Donavan said: “I always wanted to experience Boarding, and when I arrived I found something unique about Steyning, I was drawn by the ‘whole family’ environment and wanted to be part of this community and involved in all the enrichment and community activities.”

Many parents and students choose boarding as an option because this offers an environment where students can excel. The national survey confirms that over 80% of parents choose State Boarding schools because of the high academic quality and the chance for their children to fulfil their potential. Miss Danielle Cook, Director of Boarding confirmed: “This is certainly true at Steyning Grammar School with boarding students achieving 100% pass rate at A Level, with 84% of the subjects taken by boarders at A Level achieving grades at A* - C. Students are also provided with a real ‘home-from-home’ experience and quickly develop independence and build friendships which last a lifetime.”

Boarding can also offer that stepping stone for students between home and higher or further independent education, and an introduction to a more independent way of life whilst being surrounded by a strong support network of committed house-parents, a fully qualified matron and boarding tutors.

Deputy Director of Boarding, Mr Tom Leighton said: “Our students take an active role in shaping their own boarding experience; student voice is valued, encouraged and lies at the heart of our philosophy of continual improvement and innovation.”


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