A Quaker education prepares young people for a world that is constantly changing, and a future we cannot predict. We rely upon a timeless set of values and a philosophy developed over 300 years of experience in educating children. Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of education following our educational philosophies and take a look at the different Quaker schools in the England and Ireland.

We support the academic, social, physical, cultural and spiritual development of all our students. Many of our students achieve highly in their academic studies, and often go on to further study in their first-choice higher education institution. All are given the opportunity to develop passions and skills that will last the rest of their lives.

No matter what the future holds, the things our students learn during their time with us offer the best foundation for a successful life.

We care about our students

The uniqueness of each student matters to us. We recognise their individual needs, talents and potential rather than obsessing over league tables and test scores. We show students how exciting and fun learning can be. Our students develop on personal, spiritual and educational levels.

All our schools follow Quaker values in education and emphasise the importance of educational enjoyment and fulfillment.

Our students leave our schools as individuals who are:

Sibford School pupils playing outdoors

  • Self-motivated, outward-looking, and keen to explore and live adventurously
  • Thoughtful and coherent, with the skills they need to express themselves confidently, but without arrogance. They can justify and defend their opinions using reasoned arguments
  • Open-minded and able to think flexibly, with a love of learning new things
  • Innately socially conscious as local and global citizens, willing to be of service to others. They have a determination to make the world a better place
  • Respectful of every individual, regardless of: ethnicity, religion, culture, gender, age, sexual orientation, physical or learning difference, and be considerate of their experiences
  • Motivated to look for non-violent solutions to problems
  • Able to use reflective silence amidst the noise of the modern world
  • Healthily suspicious of wealth, ostentation and social pretension. They understand how our standard of living is sometimes achieved at the expense of others

We have excellent provisions for all our students, including those with particular educational needs. Quality First Teaching means that all our teachers are aware of the individual needs of their pupils and can differentiate their style accordingly. Students with special educational needs (SEN) are fully integrated with the school. They have just as many opportunities for experiences and personal development as their peers.

Hear from our students about their experience

We teach more than the National Curriculum

All schools following the Quaker educational philosophy equip students with more than GCSEs, BTECs and A-Levels. Our students are encouraged to explore all their interests, including those that sit outside the national curriculum.

We show our students that learning is more than simply passing tests, and instil a love of knowledge and passions for activities they can carry with them into life after school.

Arts, drama and music

Students have so many opportunities within our schools for their personal, social, spiritual, cultural as well as academic development. Arts, drama and music form key parts of the education provided in all our schools so we can support creativity and provide an enriching space for self-expression and growth.

Evelyn Philips, former Headmistress at Sidcot School, stated that the Quaker educational philosophy aims “to draw out the special attributes of every child; that is why we place so much importance on art, crafts, drama and music.”

There is always plenty of time in our schedules for students to learn an instrument, trial a new style of painting and engage with an unusual and exciting dramatic form. Many schools regularly host workshops and performances with guest musicians, artists and theatre experts to provide a deeper understanding of the subject.

Our commitment to the arts has been recognised with many of our schools holding Artsmark Awards.

Children from The Mount School in York fencing

Physical exercise

We know how important physical exercise is to a child’s development, so all our schools offer a range of different sporting activities to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Gymnastics, dance, judo, basketball, horse riding and swimming are just some of the regular sports on offer in our schools, with outdoor adventure trips adding to the range of activities.

We encourage our students to try everything, get involved and enjoy being part of a team. If a student has a particular interest in a sport and wants to pursue it further, we support them in every way. Lots of our students take their love of a sport on after their school days are finished, with some going on to professional success in their field.

Our schools have a strong focus on using sports participation to encourage students to improve their vital thinking skills, problem solving, and team working abilities, as well as to develop their physical literacy.

Outdoor education

Outdoor education is a top priority for all teachers in a Quaker institution. Our students all have the chance to get away from the classroom and learn lots of outdoor skills. We recognise the importance of outdoor learning on a student’s social, physical, intellectual, communication, emotional, and spiritual development.

Learning outside the classroom helps students to become risk aware, not risk averse and gain an appreciation for our natural world. As well as the national curriculum, our schools offer a skills-based curriculum that involves many outdoor lessons, from fire lighting and plant cultivation, as well as many activities to develop imagination, literacy and numeracy.

We have specialist forest schools on site for outdoor learning, with some schools even using yurts as the base for their lessons.

Taking students outside the classroom is used to support what they learn indoors. Experiencing physical geography for themselves is much more memorable and fun than simply hearing about it from a teacher in a classroom.

International Baccalaureate diploma student at a Quaker school

International Baccalaureate and Extended Project Qualification

We teach more than traditional GCSEs, BTECs and A-Levels. Our students can take part in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Project (IBDP) or Extended Project Qualifications (EPQ).

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme encourages our students to further develop their intellectual and creative capabilities. It provides excellent preparation for university study, making them 30% more likely to gain a first-class honours degree than A-Level students. The diploma covers 6 topic areas: language and literature, modern foreign languages, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, and the arts. Students learn over two years and their subjects can be undertaken at standard or higher level.

Extended Project Qualifications encourages creativity and curiosity. Students choose their own topic and plan, research and develop an idea into a professional project. It teaches students how to manage their time and workload, find and use relevant resources, develop their skills, and review their own learning processes. This is perfect for students who don’t want to complete the full IBDP but wish to further develop themselves as researchers and writers in preparation for higher study.

We take pride in our school culture

The culture of a school makes a big difference to a student’s enjoyment of their studies. Quaker philosophy helps us to create a positive culture in all our institutions. Students, staff and guests all benefit.

We create a culture of respect between our staff and students. Every person within the school is a partner in the learning process. Our students know that any contribution they make while they’re with us will be listened to and considered. They don’t have to worry about being dismissed or mocked by their peers.

There is a vibrant, international community in our schools. Students from all over the world study with us. We’re very proud of the cultural diversity present in our classrooms, as it enriches the experience of all members of the school community.

We’re also incredibly proud of the way our school culture allows students to develop their leadership skills. Students regularly organise and run activities for others during lunchtimes, evening and weekends. Supported by the staff, older students are able to develop their leadership, organisational, and problem solving skills with their activities. In the past, student-run activities have included book clubs, film clubs, fund raising events, “goalie” practice, jewellery making, and many more.

Quaker philosophy teaches that everyone has a valuable contribution to make and should be treated with respect. However, this isn’t something we specifically teach in lessons. It’s something that can be learned simply by spending time within the school’s culture.

Find out more about staff experiences

I would go back and work there again in a heartbeat if I didn’t live at the other end of the country – some of the most amazing colleagues I learnt so much from, and some of the most amazing kids I also learnt so much from and just a phenomenally caring atmosphere about the entire place – a really, really special school.

Former Quaker school staff member
Friends’ Schools’ Council

Full board, part board, or day time learning

Our schools offer a range of differing boarding options for all our students, depending on what best suits them and their families. Students are able to live on the school site with all their friends during term time. They’ll have boarding houses they can make their own. For full time boarders, there are always resident staff members available for help or support. Students have the space to develop their independence ready for adult life, with help at hand if they need it.

If full boarding isn’t right for you, many schools offer a part-board option for their students. This way, a student strikes an excellent balance between their family life and school life. part-boarding allows students to be close to both their friends and family.

Many students choose not to board at all. They attend the classes as day students, arriving on time for their lessons in the morning and leaving to be with their families after classes finish. It’s not uncommon for day students to want to stay with their friends after classes. Many of our schools have an overnight stay system in place for one-off boarding.

Friends’ Schools’ Council

Peace education is about teaching children to discover that they have the power to change things they see are wrong and developing the imagination to find alternative responses to conflict…In order to survive we must begin to teach them to challenge authority, our own included.

Janet Galbraith
Quaker Faith & Practice 23.85

Peace and Global studies

The Quaker faith is an inherently peaceful one. We see the value in all people and seek to resolve any conflict in a positive and peaceful way. These values are shared by all members of our school communities, whether they identify as a Quaker or not.

Peace and global studies form a vital part of the syllabus in all our schools. We encourage all our students to look at their local and global community. Students become more discerning. They ask questions about what they see and hear and develop a deeper understanding about the world. We give students the skills they need to confidently challenge injustice in a peaceful way.

Our students and staff engage in the essential elements of peace in all their activities. They are tolerant, accepting, empathetic and knowledgeable. The school community, as well as structured lessons in peace and global studies, help to develop confident, peaceful young adults.

Schools offer lessons, special talks, films and cultural activities to enrich their understanding of social and environmental justice. This approach sets our schools apart and helps to create a more discerning, peaceful and positive generation with the skills they need to make a difference in the world.

Come and visit us and see for yourself

If you’d like to learn more about what makes a Quaker education so beneficial to all our students, you should come and visit us. Spend time in our schools, see our teachers in action and the enjoyment our students take from all their lessons.