What it's like
Founded as a Benedictine Catholic prep school in 1933, it admitted the first boys to the senior school in 1959. It is now moving to becoming fully co-educational: girls were admitted to the sixth form in 2008 and at age 11 and 13 from 2010. Set in 500 acres of parkland, many of the staff live in houses on the estate so that, as far as possible, monks, staff and students form one community. It is a community which offers each pupil a high level of pastoral care, traditional values, high academic standards and a modern education. There has been considerable recent development, including a purpose-built upper-sixth house and a performing arts centre, new boarding facilities and social centre, and refurbished science laboratories and art department. Examination results are very good; the International Baccalaureate is offered alongside AS and A-levels. The school is also very strong in voluntary service, music and drama. There is a wide and growing range of sports and games and an excellent variety of clubs and societies which cater for most extra-curricular activities.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 11-18; 506 pupils, 193 day (165 boys, 28 girls) 313 boarding (280 boys, 33 girls); figures include sixth-form girls only. Entrance: Main entry ages 11, 13 and 16. Own assessment used.
Scholarships & bursaries
15-20 pa scholarships, value up to 40% of fees: academic, sport, art, music, all-rounder. Also 3 pa St Benedict's scholarships, value of 100% of day fees (1 awarded at age 11, 2 at 16), for Catholic families whose financial circumstances preclude an independent education. Parents expected to buy sixth-form textbooks; £500 maximum extras.
60+% live within 30 miles; 20+% live overseas.
Head & staff
Headmaster: Gino Carminati, appointed in 2007. Educated at St Aloysius College, Highgate, and at Bedford College, University of London. Previously Head Master of Kent College Canterbury and of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Faversham, Deputy Head at King Edward VI School, Chelmsford and Head of Sixth Form at Sir Roger Manwood's School, Sandwich. Teaching staff: 58 full time, 16 part time. Annual turnover 5+%. Average age 33.
GCSE: 75 pupils in Year 11: 97% gained at least grade C in 5+ subjects. A-levels/IB: 80 in upper sixth: 55 taking A-levels, most passing in 3 subjects with an average final point score of 330; 25 taking IB, with average IB score of 35 (out of 45).
Almost all sixth form leavers go on to a degree course. 22% take courses in science and engineering, 28% in humanities and social sciences, 21% in arts, 38% in business, management and economics.
GCSE, AS and A-levels and IB Diploma. 22 GCSE subjects, 23 AS/A-level, 20 IB subjects (including theatre studies and physical education). 1 AS-level taught by distance learning. Sixth form: some 33% take IB Diploma, 67% take AS/A-levels. Latter generally take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level. 19% take science/maths A-levels; 46% arts/humanities; 34% take combinations. PSME is delivered through sixth-form lecture programme and tutor system. Christian living course is compulsory. Vocational: Work shadowing places available. Special provision: Support for special needs and EAL. Languages: French and Spanish offered to GCSE and A-level; French, Spanish, German and Italian offered through IB; Mandarin and Russian available as extra. Regular exchanges (to Belgium, France and Spain). ICT: Taught both as a discrete course and embedded in teaching and learning across the curriculum. 115 computers for pupil use (12+ hours a day), all networked and with email and internet access.
Music: Over 30% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams are taken. Music is popular; some 12 musical groups, including string, brass, woodwind and jazz groups, orchestra, choral society and informal pop groups; annual house music competition. Choir tours, records and sings in the Abbey Church; musical events with other schools eg concert in Central Hall Westminster; parents and locals join Choral Society eg for Requiems (Fauré and Gounod) and St Cecelia's Mass. Orchestra performs regularly; 2 concerts a year by Worth Abbey Community Orchestra. Drama: Flourishing drama with several productions a year; drama tours. Art and design: On average, 8 take GCSE, 4 A-level. Pottery, photography and sculpture also offered.
Sports & activities
Sport: Rugby, soccer, hockey, netball, cross-country, cricket, tennis, fencing, squash, athletics are main sports. Optional: golf, badminton, clay pigeon shooting, basketball, swimming, volleyball, polo. Activities: 80+ pupils take part in community service. Pupils take bronze (nearly 25% of pupils), silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Clubs and academic societies include gender studies, astro-physics, Shakespeare, world cinema, cookery, chess and debating.
Uniform: School uniform worn to Year 11; suit in sixth form. Houses and prefects: Competitive houses (3 boarding, 2 day, 3 both). Upper sixth prefect team, appointed by Head Master and housemasters after application and interview. Religion: Roman Catholic. Thursday worship, Sunday Mass (if at school), daily prayers by house. Social: Plays and music with other local schools, debates, choral society, dances. Trips abroad include language exchanges, trip to First World War battlefields, sixth form history trips, geography trip to Iceland; also drama tour (eg to USA), choir tours (eg Germany, Poland, USA), ski trips (France, Canada), charity links with Peru (South American expeditions), sports tours (eg South Africa). Meals self-service. School shop.
Established rewards and sanctions policy (see school website). Pupils failing to produce homework once might expect detention; those caught smoking cannabis on the premises are likely to be expelled.
All sixth formers have study bedrooms. Single-sex houses including sixth form centre. Resident qualified nurse; doctor visits three mornings per week. Central dining room. Saturday night (weekend) exeats as families wish.
Association of former pupils
Worth Society, run by Mrs Olivia Henley, c/o the school (email email@example.com).
Onochie (Larry) Achike (Olympic athlete); Neil Laughton (Everest climber, London-Timbuktu in world's first flying car); Sir David Bell (Chairman, FT Group); Nick Walshe (rugby player); Robert Bathurst (actor); Harry Enfield (comedian).