Please click on a question below to view the answer. Visit this page to see frequently asked questions relating to boarding.
What is your admissions process?
All enquiries are taken by our Admissions Team who will request the pupil’s name, age and date of birth along with copies of latest school reports and the pupil’s passport. If relevant it is helpful to know the pupils’ A Level or GCSE choices.
All entrants must complete English and Maths tests provided by the School to be sat under exam conditions either at the pupil’s School or Agency. Alternatively a UKISET report can be submitted if the pupil has one. Tests should be returned to Admissions for review by the Deputy Head and Head of International Pupils.
After tests have been marked the pupil will be invited to an interview with a senior member of staff, typically the Head of Head of International Pupils. This can take place either in person as part of a visit or via Skype, arrangements should be made with Admissions. Face to face interviews may be possible when the Head is travelling.
Offers will be made after interview and testing and may be conditional where certain documents are yet to be disclosed. Offers are typically held open for one month but this may be shorter if there are limited places available.
What is the deadline for application?
There is no formal deadline and we continue to accept applications until our places are full, after that we operate a waiting list. Candidates are advised to apply as early as they can, especially at GCSE and Sixth Form to ensure maximum option choice.
How do you secure a place?
Places are secured with payment of the deposit fee and signature of the Terms and Conditions. Deposits are refunded on the pupil’s final bill, they will not be returned if the pupil decides at a later stage that they do not require the place.
How many places do you have for international pupils?
On average 30 international pupils join Leweston every year representing a wide range of different nationalities.
For the benefit of all students, we maintain a good balance of British and international pupils in classes and boarding houses so availability changes throughout the year. It is advisable to apply early in the year preceding the point of entry, especially for Spanish speakers. There is typically the highest demand for spaces in Years 9, 10 and 12.
At what age do you accept international pupils?
Boarding at Leweston starts in Year 5 (age 9) and international boarders are welcome from this point. The school has international day pupils, whose families are living in the UK from Nursery upwards.
If a pupil wants to study at Leweston with the aim of staying in the British higher education system we would recommend them joining the School as early as possible.
Do you accept students for short periods of study?
Subject to availability students are accepted for short stay visits ranging from a half term to one year in length. The admissions process will be adapted for short stay pupils according to the requirements of the year group and the length of stay.
One term or less
Short stays are available from Year 5 (age 9) to Year 12 (age 17). Pupils can join throughout the year but Autumn and Summer terms are most popular. As Year 11 is a public examination year short stays are not recommended.
Short stays are popular with families whose domestic education system prevents them making a longer term commitment. Many short stay pupils return for the same period every year and we look forward to seeing them on an annual basis.
It is sometimes possible for the school to accept small groups for one or two week periods during the year, again subject to availability.
Some pupils attend Leweston for a one-year period to access a full year’s teaching and complete an EAL examination. It is an ideal way for pupils to improve their English and learn about British culture. One-year courses are most common in Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12. The academic year starts in September and runs until early July.
How quickly can applications be processed?
The admissions process can be completed in as little as two weeks if relevant information is shared and the pupil can make themselves available for interview.
What are your entry requirements?
In Sixth Form international applicants are normally expected to offer GCSE English, IGCSE English as a Second Language or IELTS Band 5.5 or any equivalent EAL qualification as pass level or above. All Sixth Form entrants should have 6 GCSEs (or equivalent) at Grade 5 or above with Grade 7 in the subjects they wish to study.
In the lower school pupils are expected to evidence that they have the potential to achieve Grade 5 or above at English GCSE (or equivalent).
Do you accept pupils throughout the year?
Pupils typically arrive in September at the start of the school year but it is sometimes possible to join after this point. Each application is looked at individually as there will be a requirement to catch up on work missed. This is not recommended in Years 10 and 12 due to examination courses.
Do international students need a guardian in the UK?
We require all students based overseas to have an adult guardian who is resident in the UK or be enrolled with a guardianship agency.
Pupils need to be able to stay with their guardian during half term breaks (if not returning home) and, if necessary, the school holidays. The guardian must also be able to take responsibility for the pupil if they need to come out of school at any other time.
Guardians must be over 25 and live within 2 and half hours of the school.
Guardians are encouraged to become involved in the life of the School and are welcome at parents’ evenings, productions and concerts.
Can you help with a Visa application?
Leweston is a registered Tier 4 Sponsor and is fully licensed to issue Tier 4 Visas. Once an offer is accepted we will apply for a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies or CAS.
The CAS number will be required for the pupil’s visa application. Once received the CAS is shared with the families’ agent. There are occasions when a pupil is living in a country which requires a UK visa but holds a passport of a nationality that does not, in these instances a CAS number is not required.
WILL INTERNATIONAL PUPILS HAVE TO SPEAK ENGLISH?
All pupils are required to speak English in the boarding houses and our international pupils quickly find themselves speaking English all the time. However, we know that on occasions pupils feel more comfortable communicating in their mother tongue and will support this when required.
HOW ARE INTERNATIONAL PUPILS SUPPORTED ACADEMICALLY?
The core purpose of the school is ensuring that pupils reach their academic potential. The teachers are very helpful and approachable. Every pupil is assigned a tutor is to support their academic development. Tutor meetings happen three times a week and cover a range of topics. All tutors work with the Head of Year, Deputy Head and Houseparent.
The Director of International Students offers additional support and will have regular check-ins with overseas students.
Every pupil will receive an annual written report and there is a parent consultation evening for each year group. Guardians or family members based in the UK are encouraged to attend. In addition pupils receive half termly grades which will be shared with the families’ agent.
How many terms are there in a school year?
There are 3 terms in the school year. The first term (Autumn) normally runs from the beginning of September until mid December. The second term (Spring) runs from early January until late March. The third term (Summer) runs from mid-April until the beginning of July. There is a half term holiday in the middle of each term and two exeat weekends per term (one in the Summer).
What is half term?
There is a half term holiday in the middle of each term. The length of these varies from term to term. In the Autumn term it is two weeks and in the Spring and Summer a week. The school closes and pupils go home or go to their guardians.
Do you have EXEAT weekends?
Leweston has five exeat weekends spread across the year. Students are encouraged to take a break from school but boarders can opt to stay at school and take part in a more relaxed programme. There is a small charge and early booking is essential. Alternatively, international pupils may stay with their guardians.
What is included in the fees?
Tuition, most textbooks, accommodation, meals, laundry, most school activities, games and societies along with some EAL lessons.
Do you charge for English as an Additional Language (EAL)?
Free EAL is offered as part of the curriculum where it takes the place of one other subject, this is typically French or Spanish. Private individual or group lessons are charged as an extra for those who need further support or want to accelerate their learning, particularly A Level students preparing for IELTs examinations.
What might be charged as extra?
School uniform is approximately £330 in the Prep and £510 in the Senior School. No uniform is required in Sixth Form but pupils are expected to purchase Sixth Form sports kit which is approximately £50.
Examination entry fees, individual music and drama, school trips costs vary but are usually between £250 and £500, parents are notified in advance. Travel to and from school, stationery and personal expenses.
Where can I buy the school uniform?
Does the school accept Euros/dollars/cash payment/credit cards?
The school accepts payments in British Sterling. Payments can be made by cheque, or by bank transfer. Bills can be paid termly or monthly by direct debit.
Can families visit the school?
Prospective pupils and their parents are welcome to any time but we recognise this can be difficult for overseas families. Agents are welcome to visit in their place. Please contact the Admissions team on +44 1963 211015 or [email protected]
Does the school provide transport to and from airports?
The school works closely with long-term travel partners Hounslows who provide an escorted airport collection service. Further details are available from Admissions.
What is the weather like in Dorset?
The South West in the UK has quite a mild climate and there is not a great variation between the seasons of the year. The summers are usually fine.
What Medical Care is Available?
Pupils are registered with the British National Health Service (NHS) which provides free care (except for some small charges). The school has its own Health Centre staffed by two registered nurses and a school doctor who visits weekly. The Health Centre is open Monday to Friday with qualified staff on call in boarding overnight and at weekends. There are two hospitals in easy reach of the school and treatment can be arranged through the school doctor as necessary.
Who looks after pupils when they first arrive?
The Head of Year, Tutor and House Parent are all on hand to care for new arrivals. Every pupil will be assigned a ‘guardian’ (another pupil to looked after them) and matched with a peer mentor, a current Sixth Former who has been trained to act as a mentor to a younger student. This relationship will continue throughout the first term and often beyond.