The College’s 150-year heritage is evidence of its ethos and achievements. Clifton has a unique story amongst leading public schools which explains the character and achievements of today’s Cliftonians.
Clifton was set up by Bristol businessmen and led by Dr John Percival, a visionary, intellectual Head Master who believed in science, the education of women and racial tolerance. He was a Victorian ahead of his time; he aimed to produce “children of varied but definite character” and built a school where the teaching, library and chapel were central to our private school.
His curriculum and activities outside the classroom developed young people who were confident without arrogance and had a sense of responsibility towards others; characteristics which remain today.
The buildings have a rich history of their own, from the famous architects who designed them to the people who occupied them. In the 1880s, the provision of education for Jewish pupils fostered cultural understanding, whilst in the 1940s, occupation by the US Army meant the pupils had to be evacuated to Cornwall, producing a modern, focused outlook amongst the pupils and staff.
Clifton College is committed to embedding safeguarding into the whole school. Pastoral care and academic achievement go hand in hand and they recognise that one cannot flourish without the other.
Their pupils perform best when they are happy and secure, so Clifton College are proud to have built a caring and supportive community.
Students needing qualifications in English, such as IELTS, for university entrance are required to arrange these externally. However, Sixth Form students from overseas have the opportunity to take an intensive course in IELTS preparation as most of them will need to take the IELTS exam prior to entry to a British university. Should it be necessary, private lessons with specialist EAL teachers are also available to help with IELTS preparation and to support the language requirements of other subjects. These lessons are at extra cost and usually take place in a student’s free time so that withdrawal from other lessons is not necessary.
The College’s broad academic and co-curricular provision is underpinned by its tailored pastoral care system. The house system is central to the College’s approach; it engenders a sense of belonging in all its pupils and delivers outstanding individual care. Day and boarding houses benefit from the same pastoral care structure and have a Housemaster or Housemistress, an assistant, a matron and tutors, who provide support and guidance to each pupil.
The strong friendships pupils form within their house are a valued and are fundamental part of their Clifton College experience.
It has approximately 735 students of which over 335 are boarders. The school is a mainstream school with typically less than 20% international students.
The Sixth Form at Clifton is a special place, providing an opportunity for self-discovery and personal development. Whether inside or outside the classroom, Sixth Formers embody the College’s ethos of integrity, honesty and spirit, as well as developing skills of leadership, organisation, responsibility, resourcefulness, perseverance and tolerance throughout their two year journey with them.
In the Upper School, the adventure of learning begins and pupils learn to cope with greater independence and more rigorous challenges. They develop the working methods which will see them through their time at Clifton College; at the same time, they do all they can to maintain their natural inquisitiveness and eagerness to learn.
There are seven boarding Houses in the Upper School, including four Boys’ Houses and three Girls’ Houses.
Most pupils are full-time boarders involved in the College’s busy life for seven days a week, but some families prefer to opt for a ‘flexi-boarding’ arrangement. This may range from regular ‘day-boarding’, with an entitlement of up to four nights per week, to ‘occasional boarding’, available on a per-night basis.
The pupils share their home with a Housemaster or Housemistress and their family, an Assistant, a resident tutor and sometimes a pet. In addition, each House has up to five non-residential tutors.
Staff work hard to create a caring and supportive atmosphere to help make each child feel safe and secure.
The House and Tutorial systems are the formal structures for looking after the pupils in their care, but further support comes when needed from informal sources of spiritual and social guidance.
They believe kindness, tolerance, good manners and honesty are all vitally important in the life of our community, and they aim to instill virtues and values that our pupils will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
They have an excellent support network of highly-trained staff who work tirelessly to ensure your child is both happy and healthy.
Their on-site medical facilities are first-class and our catering staff work with nutritionists to optimise the health of your child at every stage of their development.
Clifton College is able to make provision for students who have certain specific learning difficulties, for example dyslexia, or who have a need for specialist or additional help in some areas of their learning.
The College facilitates the provision of specialist teachers for Learning Support, both mainstream academic subject teachers and teachers with experience in Special Educational Needs. The Learning Support Department in the Fyffe Centre has a classroom for group learning support and six classrooms for individual teaching as well as the new Learning Hub computer suite.