EXPERIENCE WELLS

Day Pupils

Our day pupils benefit from spending their nights and weekends with their families whilst also having opportunities to extend their time at school to suit your family's needs and make the most of our activities on offer.
64%

Day Pupils

304
Day Pupils - Senior School
159
Day Pupils - Junior School
School hours

On Monday to Friday, pupils need to arrive about 8.30am,  ready for registration at 8.40am. School finishes at 4.00pm, but with activities and supervised prep, pupils often stay until 5.00pm and beyond.

From Years 9-13, pupils also attend on Saturdays from 8.35am – 12.10pm, giving us space in the rest of the week to include other enrichment opportunities for pupils. Most families find that it isn’t all that different than the typical Saturday activities most families participate in anyhow, and parents enjoy making the most of cheaper travel fees with our longer holidays! 

Junior School

We have incorporated flexible and comprehensive wraparound childcare provision for our pupils from Reception to Year 6 for families who need it. With healthy meal options, it even makes getting ready in the morning and the hustle and bustle of arriving home after school less stressful.

Breakfast Club starts from 7.45am for £1.80 per child, per day.

Supper Club goes until 6.00pm for £2.20 per child, per day.

Senior School and Sixth Form

In the Senior School and Sixth Form all pupils are assigned to a boarding house so they can join the boarders before school, during break and lunchtime, and after school. They can enjoy snacks, activities with their friends and get help with prep in a supervised but family-like home.

Travel

Being in Wells city centre can make parking slightly more challenging than we would like, but we have designated drop off and pick up points around the site depending on your child’s year so you can do the school run safely.

Our bus service allows families an easy, safe alternative to get to school. We offer discounts on our bus service for families with more than one child: families with two children receive a 25% discount and families with three or more children receive a 50% discount.

Our bus routes are based on our current users’ needs so please contact us if you would like us to to consider a new stop to an existing route, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.

Click here for our current bus timetable.

Boarding

We realise that Wells is a home away from home for our boarders and recognise how important it is to make us feel like a family. Birthday parties and chats with the matron over a cup of tea (among many other things!) help our boarders feel right at home.

Boarding at Wells

Introduction to Boarding

A Week in the Life of a Boarder

Junior School Boarding

Junior School Boarding Life

We offer boarding for Junior School pupils in Years 4 to 6 (aged 8-11) in the beautiful house and grounds of Beaumont House. It is a priority to create a warm, caring family environment for this age range. The children are very well looked after by a resident family – community living lies at the heart of their daily lives. They all eat breakfast and most evening meals together, the house is extremely spacious and includes excellent facilities, including separate rooms for games, music and relaxing. The house capacity is 14, which ensures a lovely family feel and yet is large enough for the children to form lots of strong friendships.

Senior School Boarding Life

Each house consists of around 20 to 30 boarding pupils, which is large enough to ensure everyone has a good balance of friends but small enough that everyone knows everyone well. We find this balance helps strengthen our family feeling.

Each boarding house has a resident house parent and assistant (both are often joined by their families and pets!), along with a non-resident matron and a number of staff. The house teams are vital to running the houses smoothly, but more importantly, they give a continuity to the boarders’ lives. We find boarders form strong relationships with our house teams, which enables them to have an adult they trust on hand to help with anything and everything!

The boarding family is complemented and strengthened by day pupil members who are all assigned to houses, making them vibrant and exciting communities.

Facilities

All of the boarding houses at Wells are beautiful medieval and eighteenth century buildings with lovely British gardens, stimulating communal areas and cosy rooms, in which each boarder has their own space with a locking cupboard for valuables. Whilst each of the houses is gifted with quirky and unique qualities befitting historic houses, they also have all the modern conveniences a boarder would expect – including WiFi!

Activities

Each of our boarding houses is the focal point for group identity, friendship and relaxation, with healthy rivalries between houses in sport, drama, public speaking and other academic achievement.

We organise weekend trips ranging from cinema, theatre and concert visits to adventure activities, ten-pin bowling and shopping in Bath and Bristol. From Year 7, small groups of pupils may go into Wells unaccompanied. The city centre is just a few minutes’ walk from the school, with numerous shops, banks, cafes and a twice-weekly market.

Benefits of boarding

Many pupils and parents find boarding useful as it allows pupils the opportunity to participate in after-school clubs, keep up with homework, strengthen friendships and avoid a late journey home. Boarding also helps them gain a sense of personal responsibility, as they are given freedom within sensible constraints.

International

We welcome pupils from overseas for whom English is an additional language (EAL) and value the contribution you make to school life. Our pupils are a stimulating mix of talents and backgrounds. Our international community is large enough so you won't feel isolated, but nonetheless small enough for us to remain a quintessential British boarding school.

Good English language support is crucial to the success of overseas pupils at Wells, and we are able to offer you a developed programme to suit you and your abilities, which enables you to flourish and reach your highest potential. We recognise that choosing a school far away from home is an exciting opportunity but a potentially daunting task. We hope our website will help answer your questions, but our admissions team are here to advise you on your options so please contact us on on 01749 834441 or [email protected], and we’ll be happy to help.

Our international programme is split into our EAL programme and our WISC Pre-GCSE and Pre-A Level programmes, which are detailed below. We will advise you when you apply as to where we feel you will be best suited, which we determine by your level of English and your year group.

EAL Programme

If your English is at an appropriate level, we recommend you join our main school on our EAL Programme. This programme starts with our complimentary 10 day International Preparatory Course so straightaway you have the strategies and techniques you need to help you quickly settle into a new life of study in the UK and know what to expect. We then create a tailor-made programme of language support for you, which we review each term, to complement the rest of your studies and activities to help enable you to flourish and reach your highest potential.

Otherwise, life is no different for an international pupil than for those from the UK – you will share the same boarding houses and co-curricular opportunities, and every pupil has access to the pastoral care they need.

Additional Benefits

  • Teachers within your mainstream classes will use strategies for differentiation to better support you.
  • You will have opportunities for subject specific support, usually in larger groups or seminar sessions, taught by English Language teaching specialists.
  • 

You will have access to consultations on an ad hoc basis for specific pieces of work and/or personal statement writing.


  • We can provide support in preparation for GCSE or A level examination in your native language (in cases where we can offer the examination) and for external examinations, such as IELTS, CPE, CAE, FCE, PET or IGCSE in English as a Second Language.
  • If required, you will receive explicit teaching of English as an Additional Language by English Language teaching specialists or subject-specific support in either small groups or one-to-one.

Before you arrive...

Wells International Study Centre (WISC)

WISC is the perfect starting place for overseas pupils (14-16 years old) who want to gain their first experience of a traditional British school education but need to improve their level of English before enrolling onto a mainstream programme of study. 

On WISC, you will have a programme concentrating on intensive English language development with grounding in vocabulary and language conventions for a range of academic subjects taught through Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).

With our international reputation for music, we also can provide a highly specialised route for overseas music pupils who are looking to enter a music conservatoire in the future. Our aim is to prepare pupils with the knowledge, skills and cultural awareness they will need to succeed.

WISC Pre-GCSE

We offer a rolling programme taught in six blocks, which includes English as a Second Language, Maths, Science, Humanities, Literature, Cookery and PSHE. All of our pupils are fully integrated within our boarding houses and participate in some mainstream classes, including co-curricular sports and activities. We review each pupil’s individual progress each term, and facilitate their phased move onto our EAL programme once they are ready.

WISC Pre-A Level

We offer a one year programme designed to prepare pupils for life in our Sixth Form. The programme includes 
IGCSEs in Maths, Combined Science, English as a Second Language and Global Perspectives as well as lessons in literature and British culture.  In addition, many of our pupils choose to participate in the 

Young Enterprise Company programme.



All of our pupils are fully integrated within our boarding houses and participate in mainstream co-curricular sports and activities

Find out more

Before you arrive...

Specialist Musicians

The musical community at Wells is unique as we are the only dynamic, independent school that offers specialist music provision so our musicians can develop their talents within a normal school environment. This unique combination offers benefits for musicians and non-musicians alike.

The formative years spent at Wells were vital to my progress, not just as a musician but also as a person.

Jamie Walton, international cellist, Wells Cathedral School 1985-1991 

Musicians have wider choices that are simply not available at other specialist music schools. Being with pupils who have other interests will help you to maintain a perspective and become rounder and better-balanced people. This doesn’t come at the cost of your music development as you will receive a first-class, pre-professional training from teachers who are world-class musicians themselves, many of whom are active performers and teach at UK conservatories. Our musicians achieve great success both as performers and in public examinations.

Even pupils who are not specialist musicians benefit from the exceptional musical provision – from enjoying the excellent music tuition available as a hobby to joining one of our many ensembles and being part of our ‘musically alive’ atmosphere!

Please see our music section for details about what we offer and our scholarships section for how to apply.

Choristers

Our choristers are part of a rich choral background that has lasted over 1100 years with a reputation for excellence. An international jury from Gramophone Magazine hailed Wells Cathedral as the greatest choir with children in the world, and the sixth greatest overall...

Hanging in my studio in Los Angeles is a picture of the Chapter House of Wells Cathedral. It serves to remind me where my musical journey began and where I first fell in love with music. Without those wonderful, intense, and happy years as a chorister I am certain I would not be where I am today.

David Buckley, Film score composer, Chorister (1986-1990)

Choristers are at the heart of the worshipping life of the Cathedral and sing a wide repertoire of music ranging from the Renaissance period to the present day. The boys and girls usually sing separately with the Vicars Choral (the men of the choir) but occasionally come together for larger events and tours. Their background of musical and team discipline is an education far broader than most, which will last them a lifetime.

All Wells Cathedral choristers are educated at our School, which helps them to form lasting friendships and maintain a high level of education that fits alongside their chorister life. Being a chorister becomes a key part of their daily lives and identity so we are sensitive to ensure the transition runs smoothly when the time comes for them to move onto the next stage.  Should they wish to continue their musical journey, our world-class music programme offers countless opportunities across disciplines.

Please see our chorister section for details about what we offer choristers and our scholarship page for how to apply.

Specialist Maths

Our specialist maths scheme starts at Year 7 for pupils who are gifted and talented at maths to enable them to fulfil their mathematical potential whilst experiencing a rounded education within a proper school setting. We achieve this by giving our specialists extra maths lessons (in classes consisting of only specialists) by dedicated maths teachers who inspire and stretch their abilities.

We award financial Maths Scholarships to recognise excellence, and our Specialists benefit from a challenging and extensive mathematics curriculum. We recommend that pupils currently in Years 5 and 6 sign up to one of our Be a Mathematician for a Day events, which happen every term, three times a year. Candidates enjoy a variety of activities as a taster of the kind of specialist classes that you will experience as part of the specialist maths scheme here at Wells. For older pupils, we recommend you apply using our Scholarship Form. For details, please see our Scholarship page.

Military Families

We welcome families from the Armed Forces from all over the world. With our convenient location, family-orientated focus, understanding staff and reduced fees for military families, we are a great choice for an outstanding education!

Convenient Location

At Wells, you can enjoy easy access to airports, railway stations and military bases.

Reduced Fees

Sons and daughters of members of the UK armed forces qualify for reduced fees with an average saving across all years of 16.83%. For 2019/20 the fee for each pupil is CEA (including parental contribution) plus £350 per term.

 Years 

 CEA

10%
Parental
Contribution
on max CEA

Top Up
Payment

Total
Paid

Published
Fees

Savings

Savings
Percentage

12-13 £7,828 £870 £350 £9,048 £10,855 £1,807 16.65%
10-11 £7,828 £870 £350 £9,048 £10,614 £1,566 14.76%
7-9 £7,828 £870 £350 £9,048 £10,220 £1,172 11.47%
6 £5,969 £663 £350 £6,982 £8,983 £2,001 22.27%
5 £5,969 £663 £350 £6,982 £8,538 £1,556 18.22%
4 £5,969 £663 £350 £6,982 £8,093 £1,111 13.73%

Military Staff

We are proud to employ several serving and retired military personnel on our Board of Trustees and Governors, as well as members of teaching and support staff and these include the following:

Alastair Tighe, Head Master of Wells Cathedral School
Alastair Tighe
Head Master

Alastair is a son of a Royal Navy Officer and boarded at both Prep and Senior School, so he has a thorough understanding of what it’s like to have a parent in the armed forces.

Dr Janette Shepherd
Head of Boarding, Houseparent & Biology Teacher

Janette is a wife of a retired Officer who served in the Royal Navy for 24 years. Her daughter boarded at Wells for four years before Janette joined us as a member of staff.

David Brown
David Brown
Foundation Trustee and Governor

David served in the Army for 21 years before going on to work with The Bristol Port Company in 2007 as Operations Director. He became the Chief Executive in 2016.

Stuart Elks
Director of Outdoor Learning, Contingent Commander and Housemaster

Stuart served in the Royal Marines for two years and then the Special Boat Service for six years. He has served all over the world on operations.

Chris Grant
Events Manager, Cedars Hall

Chris served 34 years in the Army as an engineer who served all over the world. He was involved in numerous operational theatres including the Middle East, Central Europe, West Africa and the USA.

Peter Knell, Bursar
Peter Knell
Bursar

Peter served 16 years in the Army where he served in a wide range of posts including an operational infantry platoon commander attachment and lead accountant on a number of tri-service finance projects.

Glyn Lancey
CCF School Staff Instructor and Training Officer

Glyn served two years in the Royal Armoured Corps (TA), followed by 10 years in the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment. He also completed four operational tours of Northern Ireland and served 13 years in the ACF.

Lawrence Plum
Teacher of Latin and Classics

Lawrence served in the Intelligence Corps for four years. He was previously our Contingent Commander but now holds the rank of Sub lieutenant in the Royal Navy section.

Fiona Robertson
Section Officer RN & Chemistry Teacher

Fiona grew up in an armed forces family as her father was in the Royal Navy for 23 years. When she joined Wells, she established a Royal Navy section within our CCF which has now grown to 35 cadets.

Chris Seaton
Chris Seaton
Foundation Trustee

Chris, who is a former pupil and chorister joined the Royal Navy as a warfare officer. He served on various ships including a Hong Kong Patrol craft, an aircraft carrier and destroyer before retraining as a lawyer. He remained with the Royal Navy reserves for a further 10 years.

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