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25 May 2023
by Ferdinand Steinbeis

Our Top Five Boarding Schools for Being Creative

Sunny greetings from Richmond!
It wasn't at all easy to choose our von Bülow Top 5 of British boarding schools for creativity, because many of our partner schools have excellent creative offers. After all, creativity encompasses so, so much: in addition to painting, drawing and sculpture; ceramics, photography, printmaking, textiles, design and technology and even entrepreneurship are all part of it.
Needless to say, music and the performing arts such as theatre and dance are also creative endeavors. But we felt that these areas merited their own dedicated blog posts with the von Bülow's Top 5 of Boarding Schools for Music and von Bülow's Top 5 of Boarding Schools for The Performing Arts.
Here, we focus exclusively on our favorite schools with the best overall creative offer. Pupils who graduate from these schools often go on to prestigious art universities like the Royal College of Art or Central Saint Martins in London.
One of Bryanston's five art studios
UK creative community and British boarding schools: a long tradition
Centuries ago, many of the most creative minds attended British boarding schools which gave them the appropriate support. Nothing has changed on the island to this day. On top of the extraordinary teachers, facilities and equipment, young artists have access to the schools' creative networks, which regularly organise exhibitions and help many talents to break through or at least start their careers. So, in addition to highly specialised teachers, the students at our favourite schools in the creative area also have luminaries of their respective arts available as guest lecturers.
Setting the scene: photography at King's Ely
Advantages of British boarding schools with the best creative advancement
A boarding school stay in the UK is always worthwhile, because all the boarding schools which you'll find at von Bülow open doors to coveted study and training places. There are also numerous advantages such as the personal and academic development of the students. On our school overview page for mixed boarding schools you'll find an overview of all the general advantages for pupils visiting one of these boarding schools.
Specific additional benefits come with attending schools with professional art, design and technology departments:
  • Highly qualified teachers and artists-in-residence
  • Innovative design and technology projects using cutting-edge technology - - - A wide range of art and design facilities
  • Top quality equipment and spaces to work in
  • No time-wasting having to travel to art and design facilities
  • Regular exhibitions and participation in competitions
  • Numerous scholarships available for creative talents
  • Creative expression as an ideal balance to everyday academic school life
  • First contacts in the creative community and industry
Hugging art: seen at Sidcot School's art studio
Our Top 5 boarding schools with the best creative offers
If your child is showing special talent or interest, they'll be in good hands at the schools of our von Bülow Top 5. The creative field here includes both classical disciplines like painting, drawing, sculpture, textile crafts and ceramic art, and modern creative disciplines such as photography, video and performance art, graphics, digital art as well as design and technology, where the students sometimes even build their own electric cars.
Below we present our Top 5. Among them you’ll find some famous names, but also a few less well-known ones which, however, are sure to build up a similarly strong international reputation for creativity in the future, as they’re places where students can fully exploit their creative potential.
Bryanston's Design and Technology workshop
1. Bryanston School: probably the best British school for creativity
If you're an avid reader of the von Bülow blog the name Bryanston School will already be familiar to you. The school is internationally known not only for excellent A-levels and IB degrees, but also for its unique creative offer. In this respect, Bryanston is probably one of the top 10 in the world. In addition to theatre, dance and music, Bryanston offers fine art, design and technology in almost all its facets and at the highest level. This school literally breathes creativity, and in almost every hallway and on every wall you can see the students' works, which Bryanston is rightly proud of. In the Don Potter Art Department, experts in drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, printing and textiles get to work. The school's design and technology centre offers countless opportunities. The students work here (under supervision and safely!) with circular saws, 3D printers and, among other things, through cooperation with industrial partners, designers and artists, they also have access to tools and exciting projects which no other school on the island can offer. During their time at Bryanston, they'll gain valuable contacts in the creative scene and have unique experiences which will benefit them in their future creative work, as the famous designers and Bryanstonians Jasper Morrison and Jasper Conran have already done.
Art studio at King's Ely
2. King's Ely School: fantastic art and design departments
Although the cathedral school of King's Ely is mainly known for its music department and its proximity to the University of Cambridge, the school has also earned a place in our Top 5 in the area of creativity. The impressive art and design and technology department as well as the close connection to the local creative community allow the pupils to try out a variety of types of art, including fine arts, sculpture, photography, graphic design, fashion and textiles.
For every area, the school offers specialised teachers who are excellent at recognising and promoting the students' potential. For every creative discipline, special studios and workstations with modern technologies such as 3D printing, CAD/CAM and CNC milling are available to create even large-format work. These are also available to the students after school hours, so that they can work on their ambitious projects, which will be presented in large exhibitions in local galleries and to local competitions and connoisseurs of the scene. Visits to top-class viewings and participation in lectures and workshops at prestigious institutes like the Royal Academy are also part of the school's creative offer. Old Eleans, as graduates are called, include the designers Rupert Sanderson and Aubrey Powell, among others.
Ear protection at Sidcot's Design labs
3. Sidcot School: one of the best design and technology schools in the UK
Sidcot School is not only well known for its equestrian offer and overall warm-hearted culture, but is also exemplary in the creative field. Sidcot attaches great importance to creativity and innovation in order to offer its pupils a comprehensive education. Creativity at Sidcot includes not only music and acting, but also painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, digital media, product design and especially design and technology. In its Sidcot Centre for Music, Performing Arts and Creative Arts, the school has - on top of stages and rehearsal rooms – excellent studios, workshops, photo studios and design laboratories, which are equipped with all imaginable materials and the latest technology.
The students are completely free in their choice of creative expression, can experiment with materials and art forms and finally choose the medium and art which suits them best. Specialised teachers who have often been successful in creative fields themselves are available for all subjects, as well as practicing artists as guest lecturers. In the design and technology department, the teachers are supplemented by experienced technicians. Trips to galleries and their own exhibitions on the school grounds or in local galleries are part of the timetable and art trips to the USA or Italy are also intended to inspire the young talents. Many Sidcotians study at the University of the Arts and the Central St Martins School of Art.
Lancing's fabulous art studio
4. Lancing College: Promoting art and design
Lancing College is particularly famous for its school farm and the outstanding music offer, but its performing arts, design and technology department are also among the best in the UK. The workshops are equipped with the latest technology like CAD/CAM, 3D printing and CNC milling. Here the students learn practical skills in all design areas such as textile and graphic design, as well as technical knowledge to develop their own projects. Here the school relies on cooperation with designers and industry partners who offer not only practical experience, but also valuable contacts. In the art department, students have the opportunity to try out a variety of art forms in fully equipped studios, and their talents are optimally promoted by art-loving teachers. Among other things, drawing, painting, sculpture and photography are offered. Students can present their works at the popular Craft & Design shows, which have been held at the school for more than 20 years, as well as at various exhibitions.
Fresham's Greenpower Race Car, made in its own Design Workshop
5. Frensham Heights School: big focus on art, design and technology
The music and theatre departments of Frensham Heights are also very good. The arts offer, however, is outstanding. As soon as you enter the school grounds, you'll be greeted by murals in the covered outdoor area and kilns for pottery and installation work. Frensham Heig hts attaches great importance to the interaction of the various creative disciplines and the personal creative development of the individual. Painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, ceramics and textiles are offered. The young creatives can use first-class facilities for these, including studios, photo studios, workshops. The design and technology department is equipped with advanced 3D printing, laser cutting and CAD/CAM, among other things. Here, students have the opportunity to develop their skills in product design, graphic design, architecture and electronics.
In each area, the students are encouraged to pursue their ideas and to develop and implement their own projects from them. Regular cooperations with professional artists, designers and industry partners as well as workshops and exhibitions offer students the opportunity to present their work, receive feedback from experts and make contacts in the business and creative scene. The Old Frenshamians James Irvine (designer) and Sue Rogers (architect) have already developed their creativity here.
Pottery kilns at Frensham Heights
Do you still have any questions about British boarding schools with excellent creative offers?
In addition to excellent conditions, great contacts and the maximum promotion of creative talents of all kinds, the schools of our top 5 are also known for excellent academic results. We'll be very happy to help you find the right boarding school for your child.

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