College Life

Life at Bishopstrow combines first-class teaching and learning, daily sport, a wide range of extra-curricular clubs and activities, together with outstanding pastoral support.  Everything we do at Bishopstrow is designed to support student’s development – academically, socially and culturally – maximising their chances of success at their destination school.  Our goal is to help students achieve the results required to secure entry to their first choice school, but also to prepare them physically and emotionally for life beyond Bishopstrow.


Assemblies at Bishopstrow take place every day and are a distinctive and very important feature of the College’s academic and pastoral provision.  In boarding, there are also frequent assemblies, but this introduction to assemblies is about those that take place at the beginning of every “school day”.

Most obviously, our assemblies provide a daily opportunity for all members of the College to meet together.   This helps integrate all students with one another, and enables those who are most recently arrived to become known quickly by everyone and to settle in.

During assembly, students sit together in their Houses (Blake, Newton, Nightingale and Pankhurst) and work together in these mixed-age groups to participate in discussions.  The assemblies, like everything else at the College, are designed to be an active process, encouraging students to participate, to think about issues, and to develop the confidence to speak in English in front of larger groups.  It is an extraordinary skill of the Bishopstrow staff who lead assemblies that they can give confidence even to the newest students, with the lowest level of English, to stand up and say a word or two in English in front of everyone else.  Over time, all students develop the confidence to contribute significantly to assemblies by discussing things in their house groups and by speaking up formally in front of the whole group.

Assembly topics are integrated with the PSHEE programme and provide an opportunity to explore the ideas which are also covered in tutorial lessons and diary writing.  The programme is carefully integrated across the College so students have the opportunity to learn and ask questions about important personal, social, health and economic issues.

At the end of each week is “The Big Friday Assembly” at which students receive awards for Primary, Middle and Senior students of the Week, based on the number of Stars they have been awarded.  All students can also receive Library Awards that recognise and celebrate their reading and their book reports.  There is also a celebration of the House of the Week for the House that has the most Stars.

A popular feature on Friday is the “Phrase of the Week” where a pair of students will present a short performance to explain an English idiom such as “out of the blue” or “you’re pulling my leg”.

Far from being a formal and passive part of the day, Bishopstrow assemblies are active and enjoyable, generate discussion, promote confidence, and inspire students to speak up in English for themselves and their opinions.

Example Timetable


Junior College

Middle College

Senior College

0715 Wake-up Wake-up Wake-up
0730 Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
0830 Assembly Assembly Assembly
0845 Mathematics Science English
0945 Science Mathematics English
1045 Morning Break Morning Break Morning Break
1115 Geography Geography History
1215 Lunch Lunch English
1300 English English Lunch
1400 English English Science
1500 Sport Sport Science
1600 Afternoon Break Afternoon Break Afternoon Break
1630 Prep Prep Sport
1730 Activities Activities Prep 1
1800 Dinner Dinner Dinner
1845 Activities Activities Prep 2
1930 Free Time Free Time Activities
2000 Bedtime Free Time
2030 Bedtime Free Time
2130 Bedtime


Events are scheduled throughout the academic year.  During Term 1, we celebrate Halloween and then ‘Bonfire Night’, joining the Bishopstrow Village community for fireworks and a bonfire.  At the end of Term 1, staff and students celebrate Christmas, with a traditional Christmas dinner.

The College’s innovative four-term academic year means that the College is open during Easter.  During Easter weekend, the normal schedule of activities and trips will include an Easter egg hunt and other Easter inspired festivities.

In the summer, at the end of Term 3 and Term 4, we celebrate the achievements of students, inside and outside the classroom, at our Graduation Ceremony, which takes place at the nearby Bishopstrow Church, followed by a hog roast dinner in the College grounds.  For Graduation, we always a Head from one of our local Partner Schools to be the Guest Speaker.

Student Council

The Student Council is a group of students who meet up with College’s leadership team, so they can talk about how to make the College better.  The Council is made up of one student from each class across the Middle College and Senior College Programmes.

Student Council representatives find out the opinions the student body on lots of different issues such as school trips, activities, school decorations, display boards, school rules, what students want to learn, fund raising, improvements to facilities and how to get involved with the local community.

Feedback from students is discussed at Council meetings, held at regular times throughout each term, with an academic manager, such as the Director of Studies or a senior teacher.  The Council then acts on the decisions made at the meetings.

The Council also represents the student body at many special functions and may help or perform fundraising activities for various events throughout the term.


Like most British independent schools, we have a House system.  Students are allocated to one of four houses – Blake, Newton, Nightingale, Pankhurst – and compete in multinational teams for the House of the Term Award.


As well as our on-site activities, we organise a stimulating and varied programme of fully-supervised trips at weekends.  Some allow students to discover places of cultural, geographical and historical interest; others encourage students to sample the great outdoors, through walking and other physical pursuits.

Sightseeing, cultural visits and even shopping provide contexts within which speaking and listening skills are put to the test.  They are also great fun and provide memories to last a lifetime.

Trips and excursions may include London museums and art galleries, outdoor activity centres, trips to the beach and coastal walks and visits to neighbouring towns and cities, including Bristol and Salisbury.  We also visit local attractions, such as Stonehenge and the Roman Baths in Bath.


Sport is a key part of the school day at Bishopstrow, with all students participating on a daily basis.   Sports on offer include rugby, football, basketball, badminton, netball and hockey.

Find out more about sport at Bishopstrow.


College uniform and sports kit is required for all students and costs approximately £250 (except for the Academic Summer Programme, where the cost is included in the fees).  College uniform is designed to be simple, yet smart.  A College polo shirt and jumper are provided for academic lessons and a full College sports kit (including polo shirt, shorts and tracksuit) for sports lessons.

Students are also required to bring black trousers for boys and black trousers or black skirts for girls, plus black school shoes.

Second-hand uniform is available from the College.