The School caters for both day and boarding pupils from a wide catchment area. Although there is an entrance assessment, there is a wide ability range. We pride ourselves on an extensive range of activities outside the classroom which clearly give the ethos of a thriving boarding environment. There are currently 55 teaching staff attached to the School, where class sizes are kept to a maximum of 19.
Six-year-old Patrick youngest member of volunteer group making items for NHS
A six-year-old pupil from Taunton School is working round the clock sewing essential items for NHS workers as part of the community group, ‘Taunton Scrubbers’.
30th April 2020 — Since learning to use a sewing machine at the age of 5, Patrick Dixon, who is in Year 1 at Taunton School, has been busy creating facemasks and headbands on his sewing machine, under the supervision of his mum, Eva.
Eva said: “I’m very proud to have taught Patrick to sew. He is the youngest member of Taunton Scrubbers and everyone loves him; he’s even inspired local scouts to have a go at sewing for the NHS.”
She added: “Covid-19 has brought some much needed awareness to Cystic Fibrosis which Patrick has. He has needed to wear a mask from a very early age, and used to get a lot of stares; this is one of the reasons why he wanted to start making masks and other items for everyone when it became a necessity for the whole country.”
Despite being unable to leave the house for weeks, Patrick has been participating in home schooling, daily lung physio and has given up lots of his play time to continue with his sewing in order to help others.
Patrick says: “I’m used to having to be careful about germs all the time, but it must feel very scary for all the people who are not used to it. This is why I wanted to help. Also, I go to the hospital a lot to see my CF Team and I want to help keep them safe, because they help me all the time.”
Taunton Scrubbers is a voluntary group founded by Susan McDonnell. Susan has managed to inspire hundreds of people from the local community to join forces and make free scrubs and other protective items for the NHS and other carers. Orders for scrubs and other protective equipment is increasing exponentially with the number of items distributed to date at 2,951.
Local hospital departments, care homes, GP surgeries and other carers can contact Taunton Scrubbers via email and state what protective equipment they need (scrubs, hair caps, headbands or scrub bags) and the group volunteers will make them in their own homes using fabric and material either purchased by themselves or donated/sponsored by local shops and individuals who might not be able to sew, but still would like to support the cause.
You don’t have to be able to sew to be a part of the volunteering group, however. Many people help with delivering items and materials, fabric donations collections, sewing machine repairs, administrative aspects of the group such as answering queries and dealing with social media and storing and sorting finished items ready for distribution.
Eva commented: “This is a project all of us are incredibly proud of and it has really brought the whole community together in an effort to try help out those who are working so hard to keep us safe.”
Louise Leah, Head of Taunton School Pre-Prep said: “Everyone at TPPS are so incredibly proud of Patrick for his hard work and desire to help the NHS at such an important time.”
Record-breaking Channel Swimmers donate £7200 to local hospital Neonatal Unit
Students from Taunton School who swam the English Channel for charity have donated over £7200 to the Neonatal Unit at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.
10th February 2020 — In the autumn of 2019, twelve school girls and boys from Taunton Preparatory School in Somerset became the youngest relay teams ever to swim the English Channel at just 12-years-old. They managed the 22-mile feat in just 12 hours 38 minutes. Many of those who took part were born at the maternity unit in Musgrove, so chose to raise money for a charity that meant a great deal to them.
A small group were invited to visit the neonatal unit to see exactly where their hard-earned charity funds would be making a difference. Susan Fulker, Neonatal Unit Manager, showed the students around and explained how babies were cared for and what the equipment did.
Dan Varley, Community Fundraiser for Love Musgrove said: “To swim the Channel at 12-years-old is incredible. We are so grateful for the generous donation from the Taunton School swimmers. They have managed to raise nearly half the required amount for a “Giraffe” incubator which is invaluable at a crucial time in a new baby’s life.”
State-of-the-art incubator units cost approximately £16,000. They are designed in a way that complex care and treatment can be given to vulnerable babies much more easily than traditional units. They also enhance the experience for parents by allowing closer contact with their newborns.
Mr Varley added: “The Mayor of Taunton is also kindly raising funds for the department at the moment, so together with the donation from the Taunton School channel swimmers, we are well on our way to getting one of these fantastic pieces of equipment.”
The 12-year-olds were supported on their epic swim by Taunton School’s Long Distance Swim Coach Hamish McCarthy. He said: “For our young swimmers to undertake this challenge, most of it at night, is just extraordinary, a great feat of courage and resilience. We understand our students are the youngest teams to have undertaken a channel relay swim since the rules changed some 20 years ago. They should be very proud to have raised so much for an extremely worthy cause.”
Taunton School Swimming Team win National Championships
Four pupils from Taunton School have been crowned English School National Champions after winning their medley relay race at the London Aquatic Centre recently.
25th November 2019 — The Taunton School Junior Girls’ team - which included Jasmine Porter, Poppy Tull, Chloe Mills-Bown and Sofia Johnson - took part in the Medley Relay competing against several schools including local rivals Millfield School and Kelly College. After a strong qualification, the team excelled in the final to be crowned English Schools National U13 Medley Relay Champions.
Lisa Manley, Head of Swimming at Taunton School said; “The girls started well with very little between all the teams at the first changeover, but by the time our final swimmer hit the water we had a clear lead, pulling away more in the final 25 metres to be crowned English Schools National U13 Medley Relay Champions; an outstanding achievement.”
She added: “Swimming at the London Aquatic Centre was a great opportunity for all our swimmers and we are extremely proud of them all.”
12-year-olds become one of the youngest teams ever to swim the English Channel
Twelve school girls and boys from Taunton Preparatory School in Somerset have achieved their mission to swim the English Channel becoming one of the youngest teams ever to complete it.
19th November 2019 — Swimming in two teams of six, the pupils took on the brave challenge of swimming the English Channel on an Sunday evening in the autumn.
Setting off from the shores of Dover late in the afternoon, they accomplished the 21-mile six-person Relay Team Crossing largely during the night through the choppy waters of the Channel, arriving in France at sunrise.
The Channel 4 celebrity “Sink or Swim” team set off at the same time as the Taunton School 12-year-olds who were delighted to get some great advice from Ross Edgley who was the Celeb team’s coach.
Emotionally and physically exhausted, but riding high on adrenaline, the 12 youngsters arrived back at school late on Monday afternoon to a hero’s welcome of cheering peers and teachers.
Most of the students are from Somerset and Devon, so chose to raise money for The Neonatal Unit at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton. Many of the students were born at the maternity unit in Musgrove and so far, they have raised almost £5000.
The squad began their endurance pool based training in May 2018 and then undertook acclimatisation training at Wiveliscombe outdoor pool over the Christmas holidays in water temperatures of only 19degC with frost all around. Since then they have completed over 300 hours each of training in Clevedon and Lyme Regis, as well as in the schools two swimming pools several times a week.
During August, they completed the Clevedon Long Swim and the following day took on The Chestnut Appeal Plymouth Breakwater Swim. They began night swimming training in Lyme Regis a few weeks ago.
The students were supported by Taunton School’s Long Distance Swim Coach Hamish McCarthy who is an experienced open water swimming coach. He led a team of 13 and 14 year-olds across the Channel in 2016. The students then were racing against a team of Marines who they managed to finish just two minutes behind. Hamish is also Head of Geography and Pastoral Head of Years 7 and 8 at Taunton Prep School, and last year won the Somerset Activity and Sport Award for Contribution to School Sport.
Hamish said: “When you’re 10 years of age and you make the decision to train for the English Channel it’s aspirational; when you are then 12 and swim most of it at night it’s just extraordinary, a great feat of courage and resilience. I believe our students are one of the youngest teams to have undertaken a channel relay swim since the rules changed some 30 years ago. Many of our pupils only turned 12 in July and August. Having spoken to Channel Swimming and Pilots Federation staff, they didn’t know of another team that had been younger. It really is an incredibly overwhelming achievement.”
Isabel said: “It was very dark and difficult at times but the water was warmer than what we’ve been training in so wasn’t too bad. It was good to know that I was safe; Mr McCarthy wouldn’t let anything happen to us and the boats are with you the whole time. When we got to France we landed on massive rocks with waves crashing!”
Martha said: “I felt a bit uneasy at the start. Between the relay we were trying to get to sleep but mostly lying awake because it was cold on the boat. I’d do it again though!”
Poppy commented: “I didn’t think I’d be able to do it at the beginning of the training but I conquered by fears and did it.”
Maddie said: “I’ve been swimming since I was 3 so I can swim quite fast. I don’t know if I could swim the whole thing now but maybe I will when I’m older.”
Louis added: “I cheered on my friends when they were swimming when I wasn’t resting. It was really fun.”
Elizabeth said: “In one of our training sessions we saw a dolphin which was great”.
To qualify under the Channel Swimming and Pilots Federation rules, all students have had to swim for two hours in sea temperatures of 16degsC and pass a stringent medical examination. All have to be 12-years-old when the swim occurs. Cara Cunnginham was the youngest at just 12 years and 8 days old, the minimum age being 12 years and 3 days.
10-year-old Emily wins Five GBR Gold medals to become European Champion
Taunton School Year 5 pupil Emily Miller has returned from the European Championships in Madeira with an incredible five GBR gold medals.
16th July 2019 — European Champion Emily, won the Individual Biathle, Individual Triathle and mixed relay in the Biathle and Triathle and Team to claim 4 Golds and her 5th Gold medal came from a team competition where she was with two other GB girls. Around 500 competitors took part in the European Champsionships overall.
Earlier this year, Emily won both her qualifying events in Biathle and Triathle which subsequently then paired her with the winning under 11 boy to compete in the mixed relay. Emily traveled to Madeira with the GB team at the end of June for five days to compete in the European Championships.
Emily said "It feels amazing to be European Champion in Triathle and Biathle and representing my country. I am really looking forward to the World Championships in Florida in October".
Emily added: "Thank you very much to Taunton School for supporting me and taking me to lots of sports events - this really helped me with my training. I am also competing in the European and World Championships for Laser Run for Great Britain and I hope to have qualified for the Schools Laser Run Finals too".
Emily also competes in Triathlons (Shoot, Run, Swim) and Tetrathlons (Ride, Shoot, Run, Swim) with her pony, Alfie. Emily's dream is to become an Olympic Gold Medalist in Pentathlon.
Emily was the recipient of the Taunton Preparatory School Mission prize at the end of this school year.
She now looks forward to the World Championships in Florida in October.
Thirty-two pupils from Taunton School have successfully passed their Royal Academy of Dance ballet exams this year.
9th July 2019 — The large cohort of pupils from Pre-Prep (age 4) up to Year 11 (age 16) have passed their RAD ballet exams with Distinctions and Merits.
Their exams range from Pre-Primary to Grade 6. Diane Turner, RAD Ballet teacher at the school says: “I’m very proud of each and every one of our students for their commitment and hard work to pass these exams. Congratulations to them all on such excellent results.”