Leighton Park School was founded in 1890 and the same values of peace, integrity, equality, simplicity and reflection still inform its teaching practices today.
Based in Reading, Berkshire, Leighton Park School offers day and boarding secondary education to students who leave as passionate, knowledgeable young people ready to make a difference in the world. The School is set of 65 acres of beautiful parkland with 300 year old oak trees, 30 minutes from Central London.
Academic Life at Leighton Park
Leighton Park is a school that inspires Achievement with Values, Character and Community, with academic excellence the consequence of their approach. The School is particularly well-known for its STEAM creative problem-solving approach and excellence in Music.
The UK Government’s latest 16-18 league tables list Leighton Park as the best performing School in Berkshire and in the top 14 boarding schools in the country, with each student gaining on average 0.6 of a grade. Leighton Park won the Best Co-educational School 2021, South East England.
Years 7 and 8 are given a strong foundation of knowledge across all the subjects offered at Leighton Park. The school makes sure students get the chance to follow their interests and doesn’t limit their choices at such an early stage of their formal education.
As well as all their core subjects, students take part in off-curricular projects to help them become more creative, confident and globally minded. Examples include the Fryer Project Qualification (FPQ) and the School’s Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) Programme.About the lower school
In year 9, students build on their knowledge and start thinking about which subjects they might like to take at GCSE. Teachers are on hand to help them make the right choices for their future aspirations and to give them the best chance of a happy and successful time at school.
Years 10 and 11 students begin preparation to excel at their GCSEs. They learn more than what’s required of them to pass the examination and enjoy experiencing new academic challenges. Educational trips are an important element of the senior school, with students heading off to Bournemouth, The Tate Modern, the Imperial War Museum, Malaga, Rome, and Paris.About the senior school
The Pre-Sixth is the school’s intensive one-year GCSE programme, where students study five GCSE courses in one year. Students will ordinarily continue their studies into Sixth Form. The pre-sixth course is a rigorous academic programme designed to prepare students for their A-Levels or higher study.
Pre-sixth students are integrated into mainstream classes in many subjects but also attend separate classes to get the support they need in a small group environment.About pre-sixth study
Leighton Park offers the choice of A-Levels or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
A-Level students can take part in an extended project qualification (EPQ), a 5,000 word essay as the culmination of 5 months of independent research alongside their A-Level subjects.
Despite being among the top performing schools in the country, Leighton Park is no results factory. They believe a school must be judged by the full range and depth of achievements of its students, and Leighton Park develops young people who understand, cherish, and make a difference to the world which they inherit.
You can find an article talking about the school’s top performance in the UK Government League Tables here.
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, or “IB Diploma,” is a great alternative to A-Levels, with many universities perceiving it to be better preparation than traditional A-Levels for higher study.
Students who study for the IB Diploma follow a broader range of subjects than A-Levels. It allows them to develop and hone important skills in problem solving, critical thinking and independent thought.
The course is divided into 3 sections, theory of knowledge, creativity, action and service, and an extended essay. Within these, students study 6 subjects from different curriculum areas: literature, languages, science, social and world subjects, maths, and arts.
Charlotte’s Leighton Park story
Listen to what sixth form student Charlotte has to say about her experiences at Leighton Park School.
Charlotte discusses her daily routines, talks about her classes and her teachers, and shares what she loves most about her school.
“My three favourite things about boarding would be getting to be with my friends all the time, it is so nice to have your own space at School, which is yours and then the House staff, they’re amazing!”
Each term, Leighton Park offers 90 co-curricular activities for their students, so there’s always something to get involved with. Activities occur both on the school grounds and off-site to give students a great range of extra-curricular experiences. Any activities that occur after school hours are available to both day and boarding students.
While the school offers a holistic curriculum, it is particularly well-known for its STEAM academic approach, which combines the analytical skills from Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths with the creativity from the Arts. It won the national Award for Excellence in STEAM Education in 2020.
Music is another particular strength of the School, including Music Technology, with a brand new Music and Media Centre providing students with exceptional facilities, including a Yamaha Live Lounge recording studio. The Music department is accredited as a Flagship Music Education Partner, the only school in Europe to hold this status, with 50% of students studying an instrument and 27 music teachers on staff.
All kinds of art are studied and displayed at the school, which runs their own version of the famous Turner Prize, the Lurner Prize. Sewing, textiles, knitting, digital photography, computer aided design and traditional art forms are all explored by staff and students.
There’s also excellent provision at Leighton Park for media and film production, with the School offering the BTEC Creative Digital Media at both GCSE level and in Sixth Form. The School works with the nearby Pinewood Studios, giving students access to exciting field trips and industry insights.
Leighton Park has a long history of raising funds and supporting charities and encourages their students to get involved. The School won the national Independent School Association Award for Outstanding Local Community Involvement. Giving some of their free time to working in CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) develops students compassion and drive to help others. Sixth form students undertake fundraising and can take part in community service in Africa.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award
Leighton Park is certified as an independent, licensed Duke of Edinburgh Centre. This allows them to adopt independence over the scheme and better support their students who are undertaking the programme.
All Year 9 students take part in the Bronze Award, with students able to progress to the Gold Award in the Sixth Form. Participating in the programme helps students to develop themselves in a team and hone their independent thinking, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. .
Trips & Tours
Leighton Park offers a wide range of trips and tours for all their students at every part of their schooling career. Students can participate in a range of day and residential trips in the UK and all over the world.
See recent school reviews
The school regularly receives glowing reviews from parents and independent organisations. Take a look at a selection of some recent reviews.
At Leighton Park, they accept both day and boarding students and have a flexible range of boarding options. Students can board at the school full time, weekly, as flexi-boarders or arrange infrequent overnight stays when it’s necessary or they’d like to spend more time with their friends or working on their study.
Housemasters and Housemistresses create homely environments for the students, making sure that each student feels comfortable and happy in their boarding houses. The newly refurbished Fryer House is co-educational and caters to 25 boarders in Years 7 & 8, providing a family-feel, nurturing environment where students can mix and develop friendships. There are separate senior boys’ and girls’ boarding houses, with each caring for 65 boarders in Year 9 to Upper Sixth.
Fryer House students typically share their room with 2 other students, each having their own desk space for study. Students in Years 9 -11 usually share with one roommate, while Sixth Form students have a room of their own in which to live, work and relax and start preparing for independent life. All students are encouraged to make their bedrooms their own with pictures and posters.
Three meals a day are served in Oakview restaurant. The school caters for a huge range of dietary requirements and their menus reflect the diversity of the school. Students are always well-fed and prepared for anything that a Leighton Park day can bring.
Watch short videos from some of their students to hear how they find life at the school and their thoughts on boarding at Leighton Park.About boarding at Leighton Park
The Individual Learning Centre delivers recognised intervention programmes, designed around the individual – empowering students with the skills and strategies they need to achieve their full potential.
While Leighton Park does not supply teaching assistants or one to one support in the classroom, teachers are well prepared to meet the needs of all their students. Individual learning plans are developed for each student and are shared with teaching staff detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the student, as well as the techniques that have helped them be successful in the past.
Leighton Park School is selective and therefore students need to meet certain criteria to be offered a place with them.
For students entering in years 7-10, they must satisfactorily pass entry tests in the January preceding their entry in September. These tests include English (with a short essay) and maths. There will also be an interview with a member of the academic team.
Students wishing to enrol from overseas can conduct the tests in their current schools and the interview can take place over Zoom or Teams. If the student’s first language isn’t English, they will also be required to pass the English as an Additional Language (EAL) test.
Any student wishing to enter the sixth form at Leighton Park must have an interview with a senior member of the academic team and be able to produce evidence of their requisite GCSE or equivalent results.
Leighton Park School Fees, Scholarships & Bursaries
Leighton Park School Fees
Leighton Park School fees are payable every term a student studies with them. A non-refundable £100 (£175 for non-EU students) registration fee is necessary, in addition to an acceptance deposit to secure the place at the school. This deposit will be refunded when the student leaves the school.
Leighton Park School offers a limited number of scholarships and bursaries to students and their families to support the payment of school fees.
Academic, art and design, drama, music and sport scholarships are awarded to students when they enter Year 7 and Year 9. These scholarships typically last throughout the student’s time at the school, but are subject to a yearly progress review. Sixth form students can also apply for scholarships, including additional scholarships for STEAM and Ethical Enterprise.
Bursaries can be granted to students and their families if there is a case of financial hardship. These funds are limited and must be applied for each year the student attends the school. An application will be reviewed by an independent company, Bursary Administration Ltd, who will arrange a home visit to discuss finances and the application.
Arrange Your Visit
Leighton Park offers a variety of events to help families decide if the School is the right choice for them. Find out more at the link below.