The Leys was founded in 1875, a time when a large number of schools were founded, especially by the churches. Whilst there were already several leading schools providing an education for the sons of Ministers, Methodists were asking for schools for the sons of lay members.
The Wider Curriculum has traditionally been one of the main pillars upon which a Leysian education is built and is an integral part of the school week for all pupils, with a significant amount of time in the afternoons and early evenings devoted to it. In their time at The Leys, pupils are actively encouraged to experience a broad range of activities that will bring a wide range of benefits to them. They should offer great enjoyment and fun as well as enable all pupils to identify areas of activity in which they can achieve success and grow in confidence. Indeed, the Wider Curriculum aspires to offer a benefit led programme that is inclusive and provides opportunity, participation, variety and depth, and gives pupils the opportunity to participate and feel good at something they enjoy. In addition to this, excellence is important and pupils with the potential to achieve it should be given that opportunity.
The International Support Department are aware that traditions and cultural awareness, as well as language proficiency, are very important in education. Therefore, the Department works to help pupils adjust to life at The Leys academically, socially and to the wider environment. The Department works with our pupils to help them to achieve their full potential in using English in academic, professional and social situations. Aspects of culture, world traditions and classroom expectations are integrated into the lessons where appropriate.
The Department plays a significant role in the induction of pupils from overseas, regardless of their level of English. The induction involves academic assessments, social integration and administrative tasks e.g. police registration.
The School has approximately 574 pupils . Approximately 70% of the pupils are boarders with the remaining 30% attending as day pupils, living locally. For pupils for whom, English is not their first language there is a dedicated EAL department. Typically, less than 20% of the students at The Leys are international students.
The Sixth Form comprises the Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth and only A levels are taught. The majority of pupils start the Lower Sixth with four subjects, but will only take three as qualifications. This allows them to make subject choices from a position of knowledge.
In Years 10 and 11, all pupils study the Core GCSE Curriculum, which is: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. In addition, nearly all pupils study at least one Modern Foreign Language (French, German and Spanish) and choose three further options.
The majority of Leysians are boarders and while they live in one House, school-wide activities will find them mixing throughout the day in lessons, sport, after-school activities and social time, ensuring school friendships are widespread. The Leys campus thrives on community life, each House having a strong sense of identity and unity, yet healthy inter-house competition enrich the pattern of daily life, especially in the sporting, arts and debating fora. The boarding day starts at 7:30 am with breakfast; at 6:00 pm boarders have supper then return to their House for evening prep, and participate in a wide range of evening activities on campus.
The primary support to pupils is the Housemaster or Housemistress (HsM). This is the person who will see them throughout the day, who will help them make choices such as what GCSE to study; will speak to them when there are any concerns and celebrate in the little and big successes of daily life.
Working alongside the HsMs are the Matrons who look after the day to day physical well-being of the pupils. Instilling habits of tidiness, sorting out school uniform in a hurry and finding lost kit - these are just a few of the essential chores that Matrons face. Meeting on a weekly basis and also working in the house are the Tutors, members of the teaching body, who are tasked with taking care of the academic progress of a number of pupils.
Tutors will talk through reports with their Tutees and plan how pupils can make progress from one cycle of reports to another. Uniquely at the Leys, Sixth Form pupils have a dedicated Tutor who will stay with them for two years guiding them through the UCAS process.