Queen’s College Taunton – located in beautiful Taunton, Southwest England – may have a long history dating back to 1843 but it is very much forward-thinking. Here, every child’s health, wellbeing and academic development — and how these impact their future — is top priority. Their 24/7 pastoral care and pupil support services accurately reflect Queen’s main motto: “We educate not for school, but for life.”
“The crucial part is to develop and embed a culture where the child is at the centre of all our thinking and decision-making so that we can ensure that they are safely and effectively cared for and therefore have the chance to grow and develop at the rate which is best for them,” Andrew Free, Deputy Head Pastoral and Designated Safeguarding Lead at Queen’s, explains.
That is why many international students – making up 20% of Queen’s student body – feel at home in Queen’s comfortable boarding houses; they are assigned to a day house as well where they can fully integrate with day students.
Wherever they may be, there are house parents and assistants to guide and care, on top of supervising homework and activities. “It feels more like home here than a school – I’ve been here a while now and love the environment,” Jane, a Year 11 student from Hong Kong, enthuses.
At the same time, students who need a listening ear can meet the school counsellors or drop by the newly opened Wellbeing Centre; the nearby Medical Centre looks after the health needs of students. A full-time Chaplain is available for spiritual support, if required.
All pupils have a Year Leader who works with tutors, academic staff and boarding staff to monitor their wellbeing and academic progress. New Grade Seven students participate in the Familiarisation Day in summer to meet house parents; in the Autumn Term, they are paired up with a “buddy” who guides them around the school.
That’s not all. Queen’s believes in striking the right balance both in the classroom (education study) and outside the classroom with an extensive range of co-curricular activities — alongside exceptional care, the school also provides inspiration in abundance. The goal is to nurture students into ambitious, creative, active and caring graduates.
For example, Joe Mann, Head of Food and Nutrition, has won multiple teaching awards. He is Senior Associate of the country’s largest network of Food Teachers and a Department for Education consultant advisor, with his resource materials used in both primary and secondary schools, besides teacher training modules.
Mark Neenan, Head of Outdoor Education, has designed exceptionally robust programmes including Sport and Outdoor Education BTEC and Geography A Level. He leads the Duke of Edinburgh Award and runs co-curricular kayaking, climbing and mountain biking clubs, as well as an adventure club for the younger pupils.
Ian Trafford is the Artistic Director for Queen’s. He brings extensive professional experience in acting, writing, directing and producing — both in the UK and abroad. His impressive catalogue of productions under his belt includes “Amadeus,” “Educating Rita,” “An Inspector Calls,” and Shakespearean dramas.
Besides these and many other teachers who bring fun to Queen’s dedicated small classes, this is a school where all students are encouraged to try everything and find their talents.
“The variety of activities available give students the chance to embrace the opportunities on offer, challenging themselves and broadening their experiences,” Dick Wilde, Head of Co-Curriculum, says.
There are plenty of options for adventure seekers, the lesser-inclined to sports and everyone in between. At Queen’s, students can choose from Outdoor Education (with the Duke of Edinburgh award), Music, Sports, Performing Arts, Creative Arts, Model United Nations, Clubs and Societies. Through these activities, students gain critical skills such as teamwork, leadership, independence, confidence and resilience.
Queen’s diverse academic offerings round off the overall experience. From GCSE, iGCSE, EAL to A Level to BTEC courses – the choices are plenty for students who want to explore their ambitions and dreams. In fact, these vocational BTEC qualifications (equivalent to one A Level) for Sport, Outdoor Education and Marketing on top of the Food and Nutrition Level 3 Diploma are exclusive to Queen’s – no other schools in the area offer these qualifications.
Other activities such as the Extended Project Qualification – as a standalone research qualification which can earn UCAS points – are offered too. International students can attend a course to prepare them for the IELTS exam, a world-recognised requirement to study at British universities, too.
All in all, Queen’s well-balanced offerings in all aspects allow students to evolve into well-rounded graduates, develop their potential to the fullest, and produce outstanding academic results. For more information on how to apply, click here.