So I think I will let impartial people do the talking about what is probably one of the best schools in the United Kingdom and at least one of the most exspensive.

Some of the more famous Alumni from this school include Gareth Edwards (Rugby Player) and Duncan Goodhew (Swimmer).

"Millfield's amenities are nicer than those of most British universities, let alone boarding schools. Set on 67 green and woody acres in the middle of picturesque Somerset, Millfield has 18 tennis courts, 2 nine-hole golf courses, a Theatre (sic).... and an Olympic-size swimming pool. There is a large riding stable, and many students bring their own horses to compete in horse shows and polo matches..."

Excerpt from the New York Times.

"Long before I visited I knew that Millfield were the "Tops" in all manner of sports; that former pupil Mary Rand won an Olympic Gold Medal as did Duncan Goodhew. I read that their recently opened swimming pool is one of only a handful of 50 metre, 8 lane pools in this country and their other sporting facilities are almost as impressive. But most parents do not send their children to school purely for sport, nowadays academic qualifications assume ever greater importance.

Once Millfield was unique in the high number of overseas pupils it attracted but these days many schools have had to follow their example.

This is primarily a boarding school with fewer than 25% day pupils; co-educational with a normal split of 60% boys and 40% girls, but it boasts a larger social cross section than any other school I know for, though fees are above average, forty to fifty percent of all pupils obtain some, and in some cases even 100%, remission of fees. Millfield looks for ability in preference to wealth.

It was a strange sensation walking around the well maintained and extensive grounds knowing that Millfield was founded by R.J.O. Meyer in the same year that I was born. It has a feeling of being modern but mature, new and exciting, yet well tried, well tested and safe.

Safety comes into the academic side of life: safety in the knowledge that Millfield has over 160 full time members of staff, plus part timers, a ratio of 1 staff member to every seven and a half pupils. Pupils are taught in small classes, normally of 10 or 12 but never more than 15. The choices of subjects offered at GCSE level total almost 40 and at "A level" an exceptionally high 30, with 1,800 possible combinations. With such a wide range of courses offered the calibre of staff has to be exceptional and the staff list confirms that view.

The point underlined by the academic syllabus is that the individual matters at Millfield. Pupils are not forced into a standard straightjacket determined by reference to some mistaken idea of what constitutes an "average" child. The syllabus for your sons and daughters will be decided when their strengths and weaknesses have been identified to make the best of their strengths and not allow their weaknesses to hold them back.

Millfield has superb buildings, most of them modern and very functional, which are the envy of many Independent Schools. Classrooms are comfortable, light, airy and attractive; laboratories are well equipped; the library is exceptional, arts facilities are out of this world, and there is even a television studio for those set on a career in the media.

Drama, dance and theatre studies are given special emphasis by the ultra modern Meyer theatre, music lives with 30 thriving orchestras, choirs and instrumental groups (there are up to fifteen music scholarships awarded each year) art is considered a natural part of the school with its fine arts centre, the Atkinson Gallery mounting a varied and frequently changed programme of Art Exhibitions from around the world, and its annual Sculpture Commission, under which a sculptor is commissioned each year to create a new piece for display in a specific site in the grounds, which are fast becoming a "Sculpture Park", and add an extra dimension to an already impressive campus.

I was privileged to see a comfortable boarding house, one of thirty single sex houses run by house parents who create warm, friendly family environments in which pupils can be confident and be themselves and feel free to discuss their problems with the house staff. There are attractive common rooms, small dormitories and twin and single rooms for seniors. Houses are both on and off campus, and provide a haven from school life in very homely surroundings. All meals are taken in the central dining room where a cafeteria service is provided with a wide choice of menu: tasty dishes made from good quality ingredients, skilfully prepared and attractively presented.

Pupils are encouraged to follow their own religions, continue with their own religious customs and respect the views of others. Members of the Chaplaincy team are ready to support and to listen. In addition to House Parents, each pupil is assigned to a Tutor who guides, monitors and advises.

Pupils meet their Tutors individually on a regular basis to discuss problems and progress, and in a weekly discussion group to cover subjects as diverse as study skills and relationships.

Millfield emphasises individuals in sports, academic life, extra curricular activities, living, eating, religion, worries and in every other aspect of a pupil's years at school."

"This is the school for your sons and daughters."

Excerpt was written by the Editor of the Independant Schools Directory.

An Insider's View

I don't believe that you can judge a school purely on a report that it receives from outside inspectors... How can they possibly know what goes on behind closed doors and some of the injustices that we face every single day?

Millfield does indeed push you into a straight-jacket. I would know since I have attended it for the last two years and the prep school 3 years before that.

It may offer a wide range of subjects and it may accept dyslexics and it may be one of the most sportingly strong schools in the country but it still tries to mould its pupils to be a certain way. Like Pency Prep it has a boasting outward appearance but really it is "fur coat and no knickers". Yes, we have an olympic sized swimming pool and an athletics track to die for but some of the classrooms are miniscule and the dining hall doesn't even cater for vegans.

There is a type of person that they want you to be and there is a certain way that they want you to act. They want you to be a subservient person and act in a subservient way.

They want you to be an unargumentative person and never, ever to stick up for yourself.

In fact, they would rather see that the whole school looks identical in their uniform than allow people to remove their jackets in assemblies or whilst walking around the campus - even in the summmer!

Boys are not allowed to practise the art of dance except ballroom dancing before the two balls put on for the upper sixth form each year. Even if a boy was a ballet superstar or a latin ace they would not be able to further their studies purely because the 50/60-something senior master claims "it is not a manly activity nor one that we would like to promote here" as he said when I quizzed him about this most odds of rules in a geography lesson.

People in the 5th year and below are not even allowed out on exeat from certain train stations. Castle Cary is deemed unsafe because it is unmanned, so instead of taking a direct route from Somerset to where my mum or dad lives I instead have to travel from Bristol or Bath and make two changes, which is of course perfectly safe for "young children" to do. This rule does not apply to the sixth form because apparently during one summer holiday between 5th and lower 6th, one matures a huge amount and is able to transport oneself in an immensley better way.Ridiculous.

Oh yes, and just one more thing before I go, Millfield fees are over £21,000 per year for boarders, £11,000 per year for day pupils and the largest scholarship they offer (usually only one or two at the very most is 50%). So actually, they do want a specific person at their school - one with rich/stupid/naive parents.

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