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Bryanston School

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Title: Bryanston School  
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Bryanston School

Bryanston School
Motto Et nova et vetera
(Both the new and the old)
Established 1928

Public School

Independent school
Religion Church of England
Head Sarah Thomas
Founder J. G. Jeffreys
Location Bryanston
Blandford Forum
DT11 0PX
DfE URN 113910 Tables
Staff 118
Students 681
Gender Mixed
Ages 13–18
Houses 12
Colours Dark Blue & Yellow          
Former pupils Old Bryanstonians

Bryanston School is a co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils, located next to the village of Bryanston, and near the town of Blandford Forum, in Dorset in South West England. It was founded in 1928. It occupies a palatial country house designed and built in 1889-1894 by Richard Norman Shaw, the champion of a renewed academic tradition, for Viscount Portman, the owner of large tracts in the West End of London, in the early version of neo-Georgian style[1] that Sir Edwin Lutyens called "Wrenaissance", to replace an earlier house, and is set in 400 acres (1.6 km2).

Bryanston is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Eton Group. It has a reputation as a liberal and artistic school using some ideas of the Dalton Plan.


The school opened on 24 January 1928 with 23 pupils and seven members of staff. In 2004, the school had around 650 pupils and 80 teachers.

During the mid-1930s, Bryanston School was the location of Anglo-German youth camps where the Hitler Youth and Boy Scouts tried to develop links. [2]

In 2005 the school was one of fifty of the country's leading independent schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel (exposed by The Times newspaper), which allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents, although the schools made clear that they had not realised that the change to the law (which had happened only a few months earlier) about the sharing of information had subsequently made it an offence.[3] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.[4] However, Mrs Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and that they were unaware of the change to the law (on which they had not been consulted). She wrote to John Vickers, director-general of the Office of Fair Trading, saying, "They are not a group of businessmen meeting behind closed doors to fix the price of their products to the disadvantage of the consumer. They are schools that have quite openly continued to follow a long-established practice because they were unaware that the law had changed."[5]

Gateway to Bryanston School
Main Hall


The school has many facilities at the disposal of its students, including:

  • Over 400 acres (1.6 km2) of grounds
  • A 25 metre indoor heated pool
  • 4 indoor squash courts
  • 3 indoor eton fives courts
  • Free weights room
  • Gym ( Rowing Machines, Treadmills, Cross-trainers, Exercise bikes, Benches, Multi gyms)
  • 2 sport halls (1 wooden gymnasium)
  • Up to 50 tennis courts ( 37 permanent: 10 grass, 12 carpet, 15 hard)
  • 2 AstroTurf Pitches
  • Medical centre, with over 20 beds
  • 600 seat theatre (Coade Hall, named after Thorold Coade)
  • 3 tier Science centre with 1 tier for each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics
  • Cafeteria
  • A darkroom
  • 2 tier technology centre (upstairs ICT and Design & Technology downstairs)
  • Music school, hosting approximately 600 individual music lessons, a senior orchestra, string chamber orchestra, junior wind band, concert band, six choirs, choral society, brass trio, wind, string and vocal ensembles, many different chamber groups, jazz bands and rock bands.
  • Outdoor Greek Theatre
  • St Martin's Church in the grounds of the school where worship occurs on Sundays during term time
  • St Anthony's Chapel in the heart of the main house where informal services take place during the week.


  • Beechwood (Junior Boys)
  • Cranborne (Junior Boys)
  • Connaught (Senior Boys)
  • Dorset (Senior Boys)
  • Greenleaves (Girls)
  • Harthan (Girls)
  • Hunter (Girls)
  • Portman (Senior Boys)
  • Purbeck (Girls)
  • Salisbury (Senior Boys)
  • Shaftesbury (Senior Boys)

Heads of Bryanston

Old Bryanstonians

Alumni of the school are known as Old Bryanstonians; there is an alumni organisation called The Bryanston Society. "The Society exists to further the cause of Bryanston in the broadest possible sense. It aims to bring together the whole Bryanston family through social and sporting events." [6]

Other information

  • The school estate has Europe's tallest London Plane tree (160ft). This tree may also be England's tallest deciduous tree.
  • Each year, the JACT Ancient Greek Summer School is held at Bryanston; the school has played host to many of the United Kingdom's classicists, both as teachers and pupils.
  • The school hosts the annual Dorset Opera Festival, which combines amateur and professional performers. Operas are staged at the conclusion of a two-week summer school.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "An approximation to what was later to be called Neo-Georgian", according to Roderick Gradidge, Dream Houses: the Edwardian ideal 1980:49
  2. ^ The mystery of Hitler's 'spyclists' Radio 4 Today Programme
  3. ^ Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees - Times Online
  4. ^ The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement
  5. ^ "Private schools send papers to fee-fixing inquiry". The Daily Telegraph (London). 3 January 2004. Retrieved 15 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Bryanston Society objectives, Bryanston School, UK.
  7. ^ Christiansen, Rupert (4 August 2009). "Opera singing is not just for professionals". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 

Further reading

  • The Burning Bow, Thorold F. Coade. London: Allen & Unwin (1966). ISBN 0-04-370001-2.
  • Bryanston Reflections: Et nova et vetera, Angela Holdsworth (editor). London: Third Millennium Publishing (2005). ISBN 1-903942-38-1.

External links

  • Bryanston School website
  • UK Schools Guide entry
  • Independent Schools Inspectorate report, 2007
  • article on the history of the school buildingDorset Life
  • Leading sculptors mark school's 75th birthday, The Guardian, 2 June 2003
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