Mill Hill School
Originally founded in 1807 by ministers and merchants, the School is placed just outside London, in the peacefulness of the Ridgeway. However, the place has become busy over the years, but is still a beautiful part of the Mill Hill village, surrounded with ponds and rambling cottages. The School’s panorama is one of neatly kept lawns, gravelled walkways and a varying architecture. Students are required to pay a weekly visit to the astonishing basilica-style chapel, even though the School is officially a non-conformist foundation. Very much a campus school with little access to urban reality, Mill Hill is a vast space for seemingly few students. The School bade farewell to Saturday morning lectures, which made the pupils so happy. However, those who decide on full boarding are offered a Saturday morning programme of academic workshops and other activities.
The School has recently set a record for A level results, with around 82 per cent of A*/B grades. However, instead of chasing results, the School’s aim is to achieve each pupil’s full potential while creating comfortable working environment. Twenty-four subjects are offered at A level, including Chinese, business studies, government and politics. Languages are quite popular at GCSE, particularly French, Spanish, German, Greek and Latin, with Portuguese and Chinese as extras. The two most notable learning facilities on the campus are the library that is incredibly well stocked with books, and the stunning Favell building that houses seven departments, including modern languages, history and geography. Mill Hill takes in a reasonably broad spread of academic ability and tries to get the best out of each pupil by helping them to learn effectively. The School has facilities to deal with mild to moderate dyslexia and new entrants are screened for dyslexia and dyspraxia and given more time at the CE exam.
Competitive and recreational sport has always played a prominent role at Mill Hill, and with the site this spacious, it is not difficult to see why. Among the most popular are rugby, cricket and golf, and both girls and boys have represented the School and the county, as well as the country. Other sports on offer include soccer, netball, hockey, cross country, swimming and tennis.
For those less interested in sports, drama is very popular, with many who take it at both GCSE and A level. Art and music are quite strong, with good facilities. In addition to curricular music, there are numerous opportunities to participate in a vast choice of musical activities which include chapel choir, string orchestra, jazz band and chamber music. The School organises monthly lectures on various topics, from classical history to journalism and politics. There is something for everyone in the crammed Mill Hill diary.
Structure of students
There is no such thing as a typical Mill Hill pupil. Many of them, boarders included, live locally, but there are also those who come from China, Africa, France, Germany and Russia. The School is a home to a diverse ethnic and religious mix, with Roman Catholic, Jewish and Greek as the most prominent. Some of the most notable former students are Richard Dimbleby, Francis Crick, Simon Jenkins, Timothy Mo and Katharine Whitehorn.
Housemasters and housemistresses are the first point of contact for concerned students and parents. Regarded as kind and gentle, the School is consistently praised for its outstanding pastoral care that helps shape a social and well-rounded young person. Uniforms are compulsory for all but the sixth form students. When it comes to drugs, the School has strict, but realistic policies – suspension for catching a student with drugs once, expulsion if it happens twice – with no exceptions.
Entrance and exit
Each January before the entrance the School organises its own exams in English, maths, French and science. In order to enter the sixth form, students must have two As and three Bs at GCSE, a requirement that applies both internally and externally.
The majority of students continue to the Russell Group universities, with most popular destinations being Nottingham, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham and Bath. Around five students go to Oxbridge each year.