Dauntsey's is a leading co-educational boarding and day school of some 790 pupils aged 11 to 18, set in an estate of a hundred and fifty acres of idyllic countryside on the edge of Salisbury Plain.
About the school
Our School community is lively, creative and caring; it is a happy place with a strong family atmosphere, where friendship matters and where the courteous informality between staff and pupils is highly valued. Our pastoral framework is simple – it is one of warmth, care and discipline, where individual needs are addressed. Academic endeavour is at the heart of our School and it is expected that pupils will leave us with strong examination results. In addition, we aim to instil a love of learning and a curiosity that will ensure pupils make the most of the many opportunities on offer outside the classroom. We have a strong spirit of adventure and a passion for a wide variety of extra-curricular activities including music, drama, sport and art. We believe if we get the environment of the School right, where courtesy, consideration for others and kindness are valued above all else, then every single one of our pupils will grow up to be confident without being arrogant, in a tolerant and harmonious atmosphere where they are happy, stimulated and inspired to succeed. For more information please visit our website which we think will give you a real flavour of Dauntsey’s.
At Dauntsey's we are committed to promoting and rewarding excellence in a wide range of areas. Thus we offer a number of scholarships to young people who can show us how their various talents would enrich our school community.
Scholarships and awards are available for boarding and day places at 11+, 13+ and 16+ and carry a maximum fee remission of 10%. Scholarship supplements are available to those who have been awarded a scholarship and provide financial help with the school fees.
Dauntsey's School operates a 100% Bursary place scheme. The scheme has been approved by Governors to widen access to the excellent education and development opportunities offered by Dauntsey's to children whose parents could never ordinarily contemplate private education on financial grounds. For more information please visit our website.
Dauntsey’s Stages its First Socially Distanced Drama Production
Pupils and staff at Dauntsey’s have staged their first socially distanced drama production, Chatroom, a play by Enda Walsh.
17th December 2020 — A powerful depiction of modern-day isolation and the power of technology, the play received its first professional production at the National Theatre in 2006.
The plot depicts five young people who meet on the internet and encourage each other’s bad behaviour. The cast required for the play is small, enabling social distancing on-stage, while a team of pupils from Second Form through to the Upper Sixth were responsible for stage design, lighting and sound.
Pupils were committed to getting a production on-stage, after a long break from creating theatre due to Covid restrictions. Casting two ‘bubbles’ meant that pupils had to be socially distanced at all times, while the audience configuration had to ensure seating was ‘bubbled’ by year group and by house.
In spite of several rehearsals being conducted via Microsoft Teams, the end result saw the cast cultivate relatable and three-dimensional characters, each of them learning a large number of lines in a short timescale.
Elise Chambers, Head of Speech and Drama at Dauntsey’s, who directed the play, said:
“The themes in Chatroom are as relevant as ever, as we spend increasing periods of time on screens and we see growing levels of loneliness and anxiety. The clear message is that if we are open to discuss mental health and talk about our problems, resolutions can be found.
“The pupils did an outstanding job in pulling this production together under difficult circumstances. It was wonderful to see them creating theatre once again. Drama at Dauntsey’s is back!”
Dauntsey’s Dozen are 12 books the School’s English Department would like pupils to have read independently during their time at the School.
2nd December 2020 — The list offers inspiration for those hoping to distract children from their electronic devices over Christmas.
Andrew Brown, Head of English at Dauntsey’s, said:
“It has been a very difficult challenge for the Department to select just twelve books but we wanted to encourage pupils to keep a book by their bed and develop the habit of reading on a regular basis. There is a mix of fiction and non-fiction and even a collection of poetry. We have tried to select books that have been around for a little while and still stand up to scrutiny.
“The idea is to read them in order, with number one being a good book to read in the First Form; number 12, pretty essential for a Sixth Former. However, we feel that they are suitable for all ages.”
Dauntsey’s Dozen is as follows:
Book 1. The Wolfe Wilder by Katherine Rundell. Rundell is a very exciting writer. Her novels are beautifully written, ambitious, often magical and loved by her readers. She is an excellent journalist too, with an outstanding on-line archive of reviews and nature writing. This novel is set in Russia and a wolf wilder is the opposite of a wolf tamer. It develops from there.
Book 2. Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge. This is a few years old now and Hardinge has written some amazing novels since. This is a weird tale, set in 1920s England, full of references to early jazz music and cinema but, most importantly, it’s about a little girl whose doll starts to talk to her.
Book 3. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. We haven’t yet met anyone who did not love this novel. It deals with more adult themes of racism and teenage self-harm but opens discussion of those themes in a sensitive and provocative style. Blackman has received an OBE for services to children’s literature and was for a while the Children’s Laureate.
Book 4. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. This is the sort of book that makes people laugh out loud while reading on the train. Bill Bryson is American and lived in Britain for many years. This is the book he wrote about Great Britain as he found it in the 1990s. Not much has changed really.
Book 5. I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl who stood up for Education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai. Malala’s story is well-known: shot by people who were opposed to the idea of girls attending school, she recovered and went on to not only return to school but to become a campaigner for education throughout the world. This memoir discusses questions of identity and nationality and is a great way to start thinking about some of the world’s more complex questions.
Book 6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. The narrator of this detective novel, Christopher, is autistic. He doesn’t see the world as most others do. The events of the novel take him out of his comfort zone and challenge him in unexpected ways. It’s a pacy, original story, with some really engaging characters.
Book 7. KID by Simon Armitage. Armitage is the current Poet Laureate. This is one of his earliest collections and, we think, his most successful. Reading a poetry collection is quite an unusual thing to do but can be hugely rewarding. Keep this by your bed and read the odd poem every now and again.
Book 8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. The only real ‘classic’ on our list. Austen, Dickens and Hardy all have their place, but this is the one that we managed to agree that we had all enjoyed as teenagers ourselves, or at least that we knew plenty of teenagers who had loved it.
Book 9. BLINK by Malcolm Gladwell. The market in pop psychology or self-help books is enormous. Esquire magazine says that this book “might just change your life”. Our English Department believes that any book might just change your life, but this exploration of intuition and instinct, delivered in Gladwell’s compelling and engaging style, is as good a place to start as any.
Book 10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This has never been bettered as a piece of comic English writing. The story of Arthur Dent, who is rescued from Earth as it is destroyed to make way for a hyperspatial express route, is told with a measure of insanity and weirdness that has made this collection of novels one of the most popular to have ever been written. Don’t panic!
Book 11. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This is one of the very first novels in the dystopian genre that has taken over publishing in the last few years. Originally written in 1932, it still feels relevant today, exploring how control over reproduction and the use of psychological manipulation techniques create a terrifyingly ‘perfect’ society.
Book 12. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. This is an extended essay about the role of women in the world. Woolf writes about women’s need for financial independence as well as the need for a room of their own in which to write. Her argument expands to explore women’s education and their roles in history and literature. Sixth formers trying to find an essay-style can learn a lot from here.
In spite of the restrictions imposed by Covid 19, music has continued to thrive at Dauntsey’s.
20th November 2020 — Two on-line solo recital concerts took place in September and October, featuring GCSE and A Level students. A wide programme including Mozart, Chopin, Handel, as well as more recent musical theatre numbers, entertained viewers and provided valuable performance experience for the students.
Just before half-term pupils took part in the heats of the Lower School Music Competition. The range of instruments, variety of styles, and musicality demonstrated was impressive, and from 39 performances, eight pupils were invited to compete in the final. The programme included music from Sondheim, McCartney, Mancini, Rebikov, and Duke Ellington with vocal performances and a wide range of instruments including the acoustic guitar, trumpet, clarinet and piano.
The adjudicator for the final competition was Alison Mears, Director of Guildhall Young Artists, who was highly impressed with the standard of all performances and delighted to see live music.
Congratulations to Savin for his performance of Feuilles D’Autumne by Rebikov on the piano, which won the competition. After adjudication the Finals were broadcast on Dauntsey’s YouTube channel.
Gareth Harris, Director of Music, Dauntsey’s, said:
“Our pupils love to sing and play their hearts out and we love to applaud them. Performance is such an important part of learning an instrument and I am pleased to say that we have managed to continue performing under Covid restrictions with some wonderful recitals on-line.
“The Lower School Music Competition was a particular highlight this term with some outstanding performances from a wide repertoire of musical styles and instruments.
“We can’t wait to be back to performing in more ‘normal’ circumstances, but, meanwhile, we will continue to come up with innovative ways to support the students with their musical endeavours.”
You can see Dauntsey’s music YouTube channel here:
Covid 19 has inevitably impacted the way in which Dance is being taught at Dauntsey’s but the School has come up with some creative solutions to continue this very popular activity.
5th November 2020 — Classes are now non-contact and mixed age group dance clubs have been suspended, with single year group sessions replacing specialised groups. There has been a great uptake in Dance across the Lower School, leading many sessions to be held outside, making the most of the large campus setting the school enjoys.
Miss Wilkins, Head of Dance at Dauntsey’s said;
“Restrictions have encouraged us to broaden our Dance offering and add different skills which weren’t necessarily available to pupils before.
“Instead of the usual Lower School Dance Show, we are planning a film showcasing pupils’ work this year. The theme is ‘Movies’ and pupils are busy choosing film locations, costumes and learning editing skills as well as the usual choreography. Planning the film has created a real buzz of excitement, it’s definitely something we will do again, even when we are no longer in Covid restrictions.
“Dance is fantastic for getting young people moving and having fun. It’s beneficial for mental health and encourages pupils to connect with their creative side. It builds confidence and trust and allows pupils to take on leadership roles in teaching and choreography.”
At Dauntsey’s, Dance is on the curriculum for all First and Second formers and pupils can take Dance as a GCSE and A level option. There are many other opportunities to enjoy Dance and classes are open to all, experienced dancers and those who are new to this discipline. Street, Modern Dance, Contemporary and Ballet are all popular sessions.
Dance has grown dramatically in popularity and is now an accepted career option with three pupils recently going on to join Dance schools.
A group of A level Physics students from Dauntsey’s has spent a day on board the school’s Tall Ship, Jolie Brise, measuring and analysing the forces in her rig and sails to determine how she stays upright and why she sails so fast.
16th October 2020 — The trip formed part of their ‘Physics of Sport’ A level module.
Dan Darwell, teacher of Physics, said,
“Sailing on Jolie Brise was a brilliant way to bring the topic to life and perhaps the best ever Physics lesson!”
Dauntsey’s Training Hard for Gruelling DW Canoe Race
Dauntsey’s Adventure team has had the largest ever number of applications to secure a place in the School’s team for the infamous Devizes to Westminster (DW) canoe race, known as ‘The Canoeist’s Everest’.
12th October 2020 — Sam Moore, Head of Adventure Education at Dauntsey’s, said:
“Months of lockdown have certainly not diminished our Lower Sixth pupils’ appetite for adventure. We have had 43 students apply, many of whom have never paddled before. They have been making good progress in the canoes, practising their technique, steering, situational awareness and communication and working towards their best times across our trial course.
“They are setting some competitive times and spending less time swimming in the canal so we are heading in the right direction!”
Each student practices paddling the lightweight and unstable canoes and then takes part in trials to secure a coveted place in Dauntsey’s DW team for the race which takes place at Easter 2021.
The DW involves a paddling a gruelling 125-mile course from Devizes in Wiltshire to Westminster in London and tackling 77 portages (where the crews need to carry their boats around a lock).
Admission to Dauntsey’s is at 11, 13 and 16, and is by examination, school report and interview or, for Sixth Form by I/GCSE grade predictions or equivalent and interview.
The first step in the admissions process is to complete and return the registration form, along with the registration fee. You can download the registration form from our website.