Repton School Wins Muddy Stilettos Happiest Boarding School Award 2022

As one of the UK’s foremost co-educational independent schools, Repton School in Derbyshire is no stranger to receiving accolades. In 2021, Repton achieved the Education Business Award for Remote Learning and made the shortlist for two Times Education Supplement Awards. And in 2020, the Independent Schools Inspectorate awarded Repton “Excellent” in both Achievement and Personal Development, the highest achievable grade. More recently, in June 2022, the School won the Education Business STEM Award.

Now, Repton School’s most recent triumph has seen it crowned the UK’s Happiest Boarding School in the 2022 Muddy Stilettos Best Schools Awards. The win recognises the fact that Repton School offers a safe and happy environment for its pupils to enjoy a well-rounded education of the highest quality.

Repton’s Award “Richly Deserved”

Also in the running for the Happiest Boarding School award were Bedford School, Brambletye Prep School in East Grinstead, The Junior King’s School in Canterbury, and Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire.

After three rounds of judging, Repton School managed to beat the other impressive finalists to the top spot, unanimously chosen as the winner by the team of judges. Brown, who chaired the judging panel, called the award “richly deserved for this excellent School”. Her fellow judges represented some of the UK’s top senior educators, including Emma Goldsmith, Head of Dragon School in Oxford; Tove Okunniwa MBE, former CEO of London Sport; and Patrick Derham OBE, former Headmaster of Westminster School.

Strong Community and Family Atmosphere

Launched by journalist Hero Brown, Muddy Stilettos is often called the ultimate “urban guide to the countryside”. The online guide offers comprehensive reviews of rural destinations, experiences, and businesses and is well-known for the Muddy Awards, the UK’s largest lifestyle business awards.

2022 saw Muddy Stilettos launch its first-ever Best School Awards, which saw over 400 schools enter in the hopes of winning in 11 categories. These categories, such as “Special Sixth Form” and “Most Creative Learning Through Play (Early Years)”, showcased institutions with modern, holistic, pastorally strong approaches to education.

Repton School, a preeminent boarding and day school in the heart of England, took first place in the “Happiest Boarding School” category. Repton has around 600 pupils, and boarders make up approximately 70% of the student population. The School places enormous importance on pastoral care and, alongside a culture of academic excellence and sporting achievement, nurtures a welcoming family atmosphere through its House system, in which each child feels valued, respected, and supported.

Day pupils and boarders are fully integrated and divided equally across ten Houses (6 for boys and 4 for girls, each home to around 60 pupils). The Houses provide a strong sense of community, and pupils dine with teachers and staff in their Houses three times daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Repton’s Muddy Stilettos nomination included quotes from pupils past and present, such as full boarder Hattie, who noted the “sense of community” in the School and her House. She described her House as her “second home”, explaining that being a boarding student has meant building strong, lasting friendships.

Happy Young People

Brown visited Repton in February 2022 and wrote a shining review of the School in the Muddy Stilettos’ Best Schools Guide, which offers honest, independent, in-depth recommendations of educational institutions across 26 counties. She covered the School’s “immense” facilities; impressive academic, sporting, and creative commitments; boarding and pastoral care; and the stimulating activities on offer after school and beyond. A rich extra-curricular programme ensures that day pupils and boarders fill their weekends with varied and inspiring opportunities.

Mark Semmence, Repton’s 36th Headmaster, emphasised that winning any award is a validation of the hard work and world-class education that the School offers, yet described the Muddy Stiletto award as “particularly special”. He noted that any educator’s primary goal should be ensuring the happiness of their students and that “young people who are happy perform better and those who perform better are happy”. This is evident in the School’s exam results. In 2021, 99.3% of GCSE students and 96.2% of A level students achieved an A* to C grade.

However, it isn’t only academic performance that matters to the School. Semmence has highlighted Repton pupils’ passion for sports, theatre, and music, as well as their “superb House spirit”. He added: “By interweaving traditional care with scientific data-driven tracking we have developed highly tuned pastoral care provision that works for every child”.

Sporting Excellence

Repton also bagged a Highly Commended Award in the Inventive Sports Programme category. In her review of the School, Brown went into great detail about Repton’s “biggest calling card”, its sporting provision, and how it caters to both elite and “sport for all” levels.

All Reptonians play sport a minimum of three times weekly, with more than 80% representing the School in at least one sport. The School focuses on six core sports: football, cricket, netball, hockey, swimming, and tennis, for which Repton has lately received recognition as one of the UK’s top six tennis schools in a Which? guide.

A multi-million-pound Sports Centre with a 25-metre pool is just one in several impressive sporting facilities, and Brown notes how the children perceive their sporting involvement as “positive for their mental health and wellbeing”.

Read the full Muddy Stilettos guide for Repton School.

About Repton School

Repton School is a world-class boarding and day school set in the rural village of Repton, Derbyshire. One of the UK’s oldest learning institutions, Repton combines 465 years of educational experience with comprehensive, up-to-date curriculums to ensure pupils are fully prepared to excel in the modern world. Extensive facilities, small class sizes, and outstanding pastoral care ensure all students benefit from an exceptionally high standard of education.

The School’s core values of respect, wholeness, truth, and excellence maintain a high standard of education and community at Repton, and the School’s aims to nurture grounded, rounded, and unbounded young people instil in pupils the attitudes and skills they need to thrive in their futures.

Famous Old Reptonians include Jeremy Clarkson, journalist and broadcaster; Carole Blackshaw, the first-ever female Reptonian and former Lady Mayoress of London; and Georgie Twigg, part of the GB hockey team who won gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

A through-school, Repton’s seamless curriculum carefully transitions its younger pupils, aged 3 to 13, from Repton Prep to the senior school. Thanks to a range of scholarships and bursaries that recognise academic ability and distinctive talent and contribute up to 20% remission of school fees, an excellent, independent education is available to many young people at Repton.