Looking Ahead in 2023: Repton School’s Five Takeaways From the Last Year

Last Updated on: 21st November 2023, 08:27 pm

Nestled in a rural Derbyshire village, Repton School is one of the UK’s most prestigious co-educational boarding schools, one that offers pupils an equally outstanding education across academics, sports, and the creative arts.

Emerging from the turbulent months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Repton’s 2021/22 academic year marked an impressive return to peak performance in all aspects of school life. Pupil numbers rose, and Repton’s family of UK and international schools continued to grow. Repton School and Repton Prep also completed their through-school transition. Together, they now offer pupils a streamlined educational journey from preschool to A Level.

Repton School then continued to enjoy a flourishing 2022 with five notable takeaways:

  1. The celebration of excellent GCSE and A Level results.
  2. Impressive performances in and out of school from talented pupils.
  3. A host of individual and team sporting triumphs.
  4. Careers advice from one of many acclaimed Old Reptonians Radha-Kaushal Bolland.
  5. A thoughtful remembrance service for Queen Elizabeth II.

1. Excellent Examination Results and University Destinations

Young people around the world faced challenges to their education during the pandemic. Although Reptonians were no exception, the Education Business Awards commended Repton for introducing a cutting-edge IT system, outstanding remote learning provisions, and remote Pastoral care to support pupils throughout the lockdown.

After two years of school-assessed grades, 2022 heralded the return of formal GCSE and A Level examinations. When exam boards released results in August 2022, Repton pupils celebrated the culmination of their hard work and resilience.

Approximately 60% of GCSE entries received grades 7 to 9, with some pupils achieving all 9s, the topmost grade. At A Level, 77.4% of all entries resulted in grades A* to B, with over 50% achieving an A* or A grade.

Despite a year of fierce national competition for university places, these top A Level results allowed approximately 80% of Reptonians to study at their first-choice destinations. Additionally, 96% secured places at one of their top two university choices.

More than half of Repton’s Upper Sixth moved on to University College London, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Edinburgh, St Andrew’s, and many more Russell Group universities. Four candidates confirmed places at Oxford and Cambridge, and six others chose to study at U.S. institutions like Harvard, Cornell, and New York University.

These exam results and higher education outcomes highlight Repton’s success in maintaining the strength of its educational provision despite the uncertainty and change that COVID-19 has caused schools over the last few years.

Repton’s Headmaster Mark Semmence emphasises that, in the wake of the pandemic, the School has greatly enhanced its academic strategies and embedded EdTech into Repton’s daily classroom learning. These digital capabilities complement and augment the in-person pupil and teacher interaction that remains vital to young people’s education.

2. Compelling Drama and Music Performances

The last academic year saw Repton reach new cultural heights as various dramatic and musical productions allowed pupils to showcase their passion and talent for the performing arts.

The School’s RIBA-award-winning 400 Hall hosts three large-scale performances annually, and, recently, pupils staged a compelling production of the ancient Greek tragedy Medea.

Derbyshire stately home Chatsworth House proved an inspiring venue for a memorable concert honouring Ralph Vaughan Williams and featuring talented musicians and singers from Repton School and Repton Prep. The young performers helped celebrate the famous composer’s birthday with ensemble pieces and solos in Chatsworth’s iconic Painted Hall.

Last year, Repton purchased a new Steinway grand piano, and the School’s top pianists displayed their musical skills on the instrument during a Launch Concert. Repton’s vocalists also had the chance to shine as the School’s Chapel Choir performed at St Paul’s Cathedral and Derby Cathedral.

3. Individual and Team Sporting Achievements

Repton School chalked up another year of sporting success in 2022, with significant individual and team achievements across the School’s focus sports and beyond.

Swimming

Although just two years old, Repton Swimming Club is already firmly established, attracting athletes who are keen to take advantage of the School’s academic curriculum and opportunities for those with international swimming ambitions. Last year, Repton’s swimmers returned from summer and winter championships with multiple medals, including golds.

Football

Repton’s footballers excelled in the Michaelmas Term, with the boys’ first XI advancing in the England Schools’ Football Association (ESFA), Independent Schools’ Football Association (ISFA), and the Hudl League. In addition, various ISFA teams, professional clubs, and national teams have selected individual boys and girls from Repton to play football.

Cricket

The School remains strong on the cricket field, and many Repton boys and girls have represented their counties  at U16 and U18 levels. Last summer, the former captain of Repton’s first XI cricket team made his debut playing for Derbyshire against Worcestershire.

As with girls’ football at Repton, the girls’ cricket programme continues to grow, echoing the national rise of women’s cricket. Repton’s U15s ended their season as runners-up in the School Sport Magazine National T20 Cricket Cup 2022.

Hockey

Repton remains the most successful hockey school in the UK, with more pupils receiving international call-ups to represent U16 to U21 teams for England, Wales, Germany, and the U.S. than any other school. Last year, Repton’s Head of School and first XI hockey captain represented Great Britain in the 2022 Sultan of Johor Cup and has recently been selected to join the GB Men’s Hockey Elite Development Programme for 2023. .

Repton’s male and female hockey teams continue to progress in national competitions in every age group. Following a summer tour of Chile and Argentina, both the boys’ and girls’ first XIs maintained all their season records. Impressively, the senior girls’ hockey team has now tallied 96 consecutive wins since 2015.

Fives

Repton has a long history with Fives; in recent years, the sport has seen a revival at the School. In a Repton first, the School took part in the all-female Richard Black Cup, and a team of pupils, staff, and alumni competed for Eton’s Graham Turnbull Trophy.

The School has recently refurbished its Fives facilities and will host the Varsity Match in spring 2023, where Old Reptonians (ORs) will represent both Oxford and Cambridge teams.

Repton Sports Recognised in School Guides

In 2022, Repton’s wider sports programme received recognition in national school guides. The London Guide to Schools published an article about football for girls at Repton Prep, and The Week’s “Best of the Best” Schools Guide titled Repton “Great for Sport.” The latter accolade acknowledged Repton’s whole-school approach to promoting sport amongst all pupils as a source of physical, mental, and social well-being.

Sports aside, Repton also received a glowing review in the Tatler Schools Guide, and the online guide Muddy Stilettos named Repton the “Happiest Boarding School” in recognition of its exceptional Pastoral care.

4. Lessons From Inspiring Old Reptonians

Many of Repton School’s alumni go on to excel in their sporting fields. For more than a century, ORs have represented their countries on the world athletics stage, including at the Olympic games.

The School has commemorated the sporting legacy of ORs by renaming its Sports Centre’s Hospitality Suite and conference facility after accomplished Repton athletes Georgie Twigg and Shona McCallin, who won gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Meanwhile, the Fry Abrahams Room honours England cricket captain C. B. Fry and Olympic gold medalist Harold Abraham.

Old Reptonian Hockey Stars

In summer 2022, the Commonwealth Games starred McCallin along with other ORs Leah Wilkinson, Flora Peel, and Lily Walker, representing the women’s hockey teams for England and Wales.

Already the most-capped Welsh athlete of all time, Wilkinson’s participation in the Commonwealth Games marked her 200th appearance in a group match. McCallin, Peel, and Walker helped England win gold in the final.

Old Reptonian Tennis and Football Cup Winners

Last year, the OR football team won the Arthur Dunn Cup for the first time in 31 years with the highest-ever winning score — 7-1 against Old Etonians.

At Wimbledon, the OR tennis team retained the D’Abernon Cup for the fifth time in six years. The knockout competition for public school leavers is highly contested, and the 2022 finals saw the ORs defeat Bromsgrove with eight match wins.

Old Reptonians Share Experiences With Pupils

ORs also inspire and inform current pupils through the School’s careers programme. Recently, Radha Kaushal-Bolland — MasterChef 2022 finalist and founder of The Spicy Flexitarian — returned to the School to share her experiences as a professional chef.

Kaushal-Bolland attended Repton from 2011 to 2016 and credits the School with giving her the confidence that helped shape her successful career.

5. A Remembrance Service for Queen Elizabeth II

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, Repton School held a remembrance service for the monarch in the Chapel and the Garth. Semmence notes that the atmosphere of the event spoke to the School’s “unanimous respect and gratitude” for the monarch’s life of service.

Queen Elizabeth II visited Repton School in 1957 to open the newly built 400 Hall. Former Headmaster Geoffrey Fisher welcomed the monarch, who planted a royal oak, took a tour of the School, and granted Repton an extra four days of holiday. As Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, Fisher had married the then-Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip and would later crown the young queen.

Earlier in 2022, Repton celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with an exhibition centre that commemorated the Queen’s 1957 visit, House celebrations, and a special chapel service and choral concert.

Plans for Repton School

Although Repton’s 2021/22 academic year achievements are noteworthy, the School has its sights set firmly on adventures yet to come.

Semmence reports that Repton started the 2022/23 academic year with a full school roll and welcomed Vicky Harding, Repton Prep’s new headteacher. He adds that the School is committed to hiring and retaining excellent staff and that Repton’s teachers “make the real difference in a Repton education.”

Looking ahead, the School is preparing for development projects across both Repton and Repton Prep’s sites.

The senior school plans include:

  • The creation of two third-generation (3G) football pitches. 3G pitches use the newest type of astroturf, which combines synthetic turf with sand infill and rubber infill. These pitches absorb impact to reduce injuries to players.
  • Renovation of the Art, Textiles, and Design and Technology departments.
  • A Business Centre that will promote innovation and entrepreneurialism.
  • House refurbishment and the addition of an eleventh boarding house.
  • A new “Grubber” (onsite tuck shop) and café.

The café will reinstate the area inside the Arch on the school campus as Repton’s buzzing hub, with spaces for pupils to collaborate, socialise, and relax. The School campus is noted for its historic church, abbey, and priory: The Arch is all that remains of the Priory’s original gatehouse, and it inspired the School’s motto porta vacat culpa (the gate is free from blame).

Repton cherishes its rich heritage and respects the past while looking forward with energy and ambition. The School’s unique blend of honouring tradition and embracing contemporary practices makes it well-placed to offer an exceptional education to today’s young people.

About Repton School

Repton School and Repton Prep form one of the UK’s most distinguished day and boarding schools for pupils aged 3 to 18. Located in the heart of England, in Derbyshire, the School is known for its consistently impressive exam results, sporting prowess, and pupil success stories.

Established in 1557 by Sir John Port, Repton offers high-quality teaching, sweeping facilities, and an array of co-curricular activities and opportunities. The School encourages pupils to adopt a balanced approach towards their education that ensures each pupil fully explores their talents and interests while aiming to achieve their academic best.

The School’s inclusive House structure and warm community atmosphere extend to both boarders and day pupils. Houses give Reptonians a sense of identity and a supportive network of caring Pastoral staff.

A Repton education is especially valuable in light of the economic and geopolitical challenges of the modern world. Repton’s dedicated teachers, coaches, tutors, and wider community ensure that each pupil can develop into well-rounded, responsible citizens who are ready for the 21st-century’s challenges and opportunities.

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