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Huge Vote of Support from The Times and The Tony Blair Institute

The Times Education Commission published its final report (15 June 2022) on proposed reforms to the British education system. The commission’s report has been welcomed by Sir Tony Blair and Sir John Major, along with ten former education secretaries.

The report is a strong recommendation that all British schools switch to a system modelled explicitly on the International Baccalaureate programmes:

  • The commission proposes the introduction of a British Baccalaureate at 18, an equally rigorous but broader qualification than A-levels with academic and vocational options under the same umbrella. It would be based on the tried and tested International Baccalaureate (IB), which is widely respected by employers and universities, but would be customised for the UK.

  • At 16, pupils would take a slimmed-down set of exams in five core subjects, with continuous assessment as well as online tests contributing to their grade. This would allow children to progress to the next level and provide accountability for schools, but lower the stakes and reduce the amount of time spent on preparing for and taking exams. It mirrors the IB Middle School Programme and other European systems such as the French brevet.


The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change echoed these recommendations in its report on 23 August 2022. Its Phase Three reform is as follows:

  • "Replace the current system of assessment, including GCSEs and A-Levels, with a new qualification at 18 that would draw on and refine the principles that underpin the International Baccalaureate and would include multiple, rigorous forms of continuous assessment between 16 and 18. Meanwhile, retain a series of low-stakes assessments for pupils at the end of secondary schooling – at 16 – to help inform pupil choice and hold schools to account."​​

It is difficult to imagine a stronger recommendation for the education model which we already offer at Wotton House!

Lots more details in our blog post here.

Our Approach: Minimise Anxieties and Maximise Aspirations

We are in competition with every other school to attract families to enroll their children. It is an unusual sort of competition for two reasons: firstly that most schools don't think of it as a competition or at least they don't discuss it openly in those terms; and secondly in that we make a charge for what we provide while two thirds of the competitors are free.


Why would anyone choose to pay for a service which can be obtained for nothing? And why would you choose us rather than any of the other fee-charging schools? This section of the website will help to answer those questions, along with profiles of the Prep and Secondary and the ASD Annexe.

The best answer, of course, is to come and visit the school in action: see a community of teachers and students inquiring energetically, reflecting quietly, arguing respectfully, creating art, thinking deeply about possible answers to the hard questions of our times.

Small Class Sizes

Our class sizes are mostly around 11 children and will not go above 13. This means that our staff-student ratio is exceptionally high, well above the average even in independent schools. The average class size in state secondaries is 22 and increasing every year.

Safe Learning Environment

We provide a genuinely safe environment with a strong, deeply embedded culture of safeguarding, which both reduces risks and boosts resilience. As a result bullying is rare and is dealt with quickly. Behaviour is mutually respectful without losing the fun and laughter of childhood.

Small, Close-knit Community

We are a human-scale school, where everyone is known by name by everyone. Our maximum size is around 140 compared to the average state secondary of 986 pupils. Our size is deliberately limited to Dunbar's number - the cognitive limit of stable social relationships. Any institution of 1,000 people is intimidating and impersonal.

Close Individual Attention


This allows us both to spot potential and to pick up on potential problems very quickly. Our pastoral support through mentoring, caring and kindness is much-praised.

Stimulating Learning Environment

Our school occupies an inspirational and historic building with character in every room, set in a vibrant city with outstanding local facilities to enrich our Arts, Sports and Drama. 

Engaged and Enthusiastic Staff Team

As a direct consequence of our size we have a mutually supportive community of skilled, knowledgeable, happy & enthusiastic teachers who share a commitment to a higher vision for education.

Rigorous and Progressive Curriculum


Our flexibility of approach allows individual strengths to develop within a very strong curriculum model, which has been described as the best secondary curriculum available in the world.

Personal Achievement and Development

Regular outdoor learning activities at the Wilderness Centre develop character which in turn provides the motivation for hard work, ambitious goals and superb value-added results for all our students. Here "it's cool to succeed".

Strong Relationships with Families


Our size permits the channels of communication with families to be always open. As an independent school we welcome family involvement and scrutiny - we are accountable ultimately to parents not to politicians!

Qu'est-ce qu'une école du monde de l'IB?

Une école du monde de l'IB est une école qui a été autorisée par l'organisation du baccalauréat international (IB) peut offrir l'un de ses trois programmes académiques: le programme primaire (PYP), le programme de premier cycle secondaire (MYP) ou le programme du diplôme (et en plus du certificat relatif à la carrière de l'IB).

Children Reading
Students learning at Wotton House School
Further Information

There has been a great deal of research into what parents look for in a school - but there is not unanimous agreement as these links show.

The “right” school builds children’s academic, social and emotional skills, gathers a diverse group of classmates and potential friends, and helps to prepare children for the world of work later on. 

Discipline, learning environment, small class sizes​

“School choice is a parental attempt to maximise aspirations and minimise anxieties associated with their children’s future.” 

‘a school that suits my child’ and ‘location’ of the school were identified as important by over half of respondents

Families want their children prepared for life after high school.

"we confirm that all families do indeed choose schools on the basis of their academic performance. Parents also value particular peer groups, preferring schools with low proportions of poor children."

Good teachers, strong curriculum and academics, and school safety are the most commonly cited criteria by parents to evaluate schools. 

More than 85 % of parents said they chose a private school for a “better learning environment” for their child, whereas 81% said for a “better education.” The next two most common responses were “smaller class sizes” (80%) and “more individual attention for my child” (76%). 

Behavior problems are so much greater in larger schools that any possible virtue of larger size is canceled out by the difficulties of maintaining an orderly learning environment (Stockard and Mayberry, 1992).

Why does smaller seem to work better?...People seem to learn, to change, and to grow in situations in which they feel that they have some control, some personal influence, some efficacy (Berlin and Cienkus, 1989 ).

"Leading motives for parents to choose private schooling are the wish for their children to gain better academic results through smaller class sizes and better facilities, and to mix with a preferred peer group. The peer group motive is masked by social desirability bias when using conventional survey methods, but is revealed through alternative methods."

"I want my son’s school to facilitate creativity and independence within a supportive and nurturing environment." 

“I want a teacher to spot my child’s potential in different areas”

"When choosing a school for their child, parents in all participating countries value academic achievement highly; but they are often even more concerned about the safety and [pleasant] environment of the school and the school’s reputation."

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