Bakewell private school to end GCSE provision in 2022 to focus on younger pupils

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A Bakewell private school is to end provision for students aged 14-16 next summer, saying the pandemic has forced it to restructure in favour of younger year groups.

S. Anselm’s College, on Stanedge Road, has catered for students up to year 11 since 2015, and has reported consistently outstanding GCSE results.

But now governors and management have decided that changes in the education market and constraints on potential growth mean that resources are best used for preparatory stage pupils only.

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C urrent year 11 students will complete their GCSE courses as planned, to graduate in summer 2022, but they will be the last cohort to do so.

The GCSE class of 2022 will be the last to graduate from S.Anselm's in Bakewell.The GCSE class of 2022 will be the last to graduate from S.Anselm's in Bakewell.
The GCSE class of 2022 will be the last to graduate from S.Anselm's in Bakewell.

Chair of governors Richard Bowker said: “We are acutely aware of the impact of our decision, but we are committed to working proactively with all families on an individual basis to find alternative schools in the area.

“We have strong relationships with many of the excellent schools in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire and we are confident that we will be able to help everyone move seamlessly and with the minimum of disruption.”

He added: “We are proud of everything S. Anselm’s has achieved throughout its history and especially in recent times during the pandemic from which, through the quality of teaching and the resilience of the school community, we have emerged in a position of strength. By focusing on what we do best, the future is bright.”

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The school’s work with younger age groups saw it crowned as the UK’s best independent prep school by Tatler magazine earlier this year, with pupils going on to elite institutions such as Eton, Harrow, Manchester Grammar and Withington Girls.

Leaders hope to build on that success by guiding students up to common entrance or scholarship assessments, ready to move on to their chosen destination school, whether in the independent or maintained sector.

Key to that is being able to utilise the whole of the society’s facilities to enhance classroom education with sports, music, drama and extra-curricular events.

Headteacher Frank Thompson said: “The college has in so many ways been a great success and we are tremendously proud of all the students who have achieved such great results together with the staff who have made it possible.

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“However, our site has real limitations and it is just not possible to do everything here. We have decided to make this decision now in order for the prep school to develop and thrive in the coming years.”

He added: “We are firm believers in focusing on what we do best and for S. Anselm’s that is the provision of an holistic education for children from pre-school through to year eight. For us, that encompasses not just academia but a full range of learning experiences offered to each child.”

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