North Yorkshire’s Cundall Manor School open day: See happy pupils with a love of learning for yourself in May

“Our pupils are happy and we foster a love of learning right through the school,” says Chris James-Roll, head teacher of Cundall Manor School.

Cundall Manor School, a small co-ed day and boarding school in North Yorkshire prides itself on its pupils aiming – and reaching – higher than they were expected to achieve. This does not just apply to academia – although this is a high-achieving school in terms of exam results – but in many areas of a child’s development.

The school is a ‘through school’ with pupils joining in Nursery at the age of two, and transitioning through pre-prep, to prep and senior levels for their GCSEs.

Chris joined the school in September 2022 and says one of the most remarkable things was how engaged the school community was.

“By that, I mean the whole community – pupils, parents, staff and governors. Some people have had involvement with the school for 20 years or more,” he says. “When you join Cundall Manor, you join the family and that’s very much the atmosphere here.”

An independent school which draws both day and boarding pupils from across Yorkshire and beyond, Cundall Manor is not an academically selective school but its pupils are achieving outstanding academic results.

The school is all about developing the whole child. Here we want children to develop their character. Being a smaller, through school, means we really get to know them as individuals. It helps them to be happy and confident, to build resilience – and that support builds year on year.

Chris James-Roll, head teacher of Cundall Manor School

Teaching young people from the age of 2 to 16 means the whole school community gets to know individual children.

“The same principles apply throughout the school. Pupils are kind, mindful and understand the value of friendship,” says Chris.

Chris James-Roll, head teacher of Cundall Manor SchoolChris James-Roll, head teacher of Cundall Manor School
Chris James-Roll, head teacher of Cundall Manor School

Value added

That nurturing environment from the ages of two to 16, the smaller class sizes of between 12 and 18 pupils, and the supportive and encouraging nature of the school ethos mean the school boasts a 1.5 value-added score. This means that at GCSE level students are gaining 1.5 grades higher than they might be expected to achieve. Cundall is very proud of these outstanding academic outcomes.

But it’s not just class sizes that set the school apart, but its teaching methods too.

“We teach to the child rather than the whole class,” adds Chris. This means each child’s particular needs can be properly accommodated helping them achieve their best possible academic outcomes through personalised nurture and support or stretch and challenge activities.”

Beyond the classroom

There are a wide variety of activities outside the classroom – indeed encouraging pupils into the outdoors is a huge part of Cundall life. Be it climbing Ben Nevis at year 8, or covering the Three Peaks in a day, its pupils are encouraged to take part not only in sport but in any activities which get them enjoying the great outdoors.

School trips and experiences are a huge part of life here too. As pupils move through the school there is a packed itinerary of day trips, residential stays and excursions carefully curated to spark curiosity and enhance their understanding of classroom learning within real-world contexts.

And it culminates in a big trip at the end of Year 11. Here pupils fundraise to finance trips which have seen them visit places like India and Morocco – and all to benefit others. These visits are about putting something back into the community beyond Cundall – in Morocco for example the pupils built new pathways.

The school has 28 acres of grounds with plenty of room for sport and pupils compete in the North Yorkshire circuit with many pupils representing the school at district, county and national levels in their chosen sport.

Open day May 10

There will be a whole school open morning on May 10. With a rolling admissions programme, a child can join the school at any time from the age of 2 to 16 and start to benefit from the expert teaching, personal attention that small class sizes give, the broad curriculum and first-class facilities – be that in the classroom, the gym or on the sports fields.

Please visit the website here to find out more and go to ‘open days’ to register your interest in attending on May 10.