Mendip Living’s Ade Hill meets Helen Cullen, Headteacher at state boarding and day school Sexey’s and discovers more about the historic school and its wonderful location of Bruton!
What is the history, and how did the school get its name?
Sexey’s School is named after Hugh Sexey, who was born into a humble background in or near Bruton in the mid-16th century, but was appointed as a clerk within the Exchequer during the reign of Elizabeth 1. He left several charitable trusts after his death, and Sexey’s School was established in 1891 from one of those trusts.
What do you like most about the school’s town of Bruton?
We’ve got a great community in Bruton. As is so frequently promoted in the national papers, there is also a superb range of restaurants – some of them Michelin starred – and places to visit, like Hauser & Wirth (the international art gallery, which our students benefit from visiting greatly) and The Newt. My family and I love to walk our dog in the countryside and hills around the Dovecote too.
What is your school’s ethos?
At Sexey’s, we work together with a determination to be exceptional in all that we do. Our Sexey’s Seven Christian core values were actually chosen by our students, and include: Courage, Forgiveness, Kindness, Honesty, Empathy, Respect and Resilience. They are the building blocks of our individual character and through these we grow and develop as individuals and as a community – they form the basis for how we treat one another.
What is state boarding?
State boarding schools provide high quality boarding at the lowest possible cost. This is because parents only pay the cost of boarding, as education is covered by the state. This means that rather than paying £25,000+ a year for an independent boarding school, you would probably be paying under £12,000 a year at a state boarding school. But you still get access to a great range of activities (including our in-school swimming pool), and super pastoral care.
At what age can a child join the school?
We take students aged from 11 – 18. The most common points of entry are Year 7 or Year 12 (for our excellent Sixth Form), but we often have students join us in other years. Year 9 is a popular entry year for us, as prep school students often join us at that age. The best thing to do is to speak to our Admissions team to find out if we have places in the year group you’re looking at, and to fill out an application form.
Tell us more about transport links to the school?
We have minibuses that run around the local area, including Frome, Yeovil and Sparkford for our Sixth Form students, and Bruton is easily accessible by train from Frome, Westbury, Taunton and Bath.
How has the teaching team operated during the last year?
My staff are absolute stars of the profession and have excelled themselves over the last year. We used TEAMS to deliver virtual lessons when school was closed, and set daily challenges on our social channels to try to keep a sense of camaraderie. When school began to reopen in line with government guidelines, they juggled a mix of virtual and physical lessons and of course have had to put additional time and work into the exam grading systems. The feedback we have had from parents has been a great joy to receive. Our staff are wonderful caring and inspiring professionals.
How can I get in touch to find out more?
A great first port of call is our school website, www.sexeys.somerset.sch.uk. There you will find a selection of videos, news and information about how to apply (under the Admissions tab). In September and November we are running our Open Evenings for Lower School and Sixth Form (covid restrictions permitting), which you can also sign up to on the website. Or of course you can give us a call anytime on 01749 813393. We look forward to meeting you!