Mark Tovey is the Assistant Head in charge of boarding at Bilton Grange Prep School, part of the Rugby School Group. In September 2022, Bilton Grange welcomed its first two Earle Fund pupils – Sarah and Aden, who entered at Year 7, both aged 11. Both had attended schools in London.
‘Sarah and Aden each visited the school with their families before they started at Bilton Grange, and I showed them round. They had already passed the academic tests and interviews and then came to see where they would be living and learning.
‘Both of them were fascinated by the buildings, and our lovely grounds. Being outdoors is an important part of education here, both for learning and playing, and we are very lucky to have so much outside space.
‘A boarding school is strange environment for any new pupil, sometimes overwhelming, but they both adjusted quickly, gaining confidence, making friends, and being up for all the opportunities and activities we offer.
‘Sarah was slightly tentative when she started but soon got to grips with all that BG boarding has to offer and she has a great sense of humour. Her favourite subjects are Classics, French and drama. She has already achieved so much, including becoming a prefect.
‘Aden was quite shy when he arrived, but made friends quickly, both with fellow boarders and day pupils. He was thrilled to score a number of personal bests on Sports Day. He is a very determined young man as anyone can see when he’s outside playing football on the lawn.
‘Both Aden and Sarah have passed the entrance exams to Rugby School where they will be going in September. They have both been wonderful members of our school community.’
Lyn Moyo is the mother of 12-year-old Aden, who is in his second year at Bilton Grange. Having passed the entrance exam, Aden will be moving to Rugby School in September 2023. The family lives in Essex.
‘Aden had a tutor when he was in Year 6 at a school in Ilford who thought he would do well at a boarding school and encouraged us to try to find a suitable bursary to make that possible. We had never considered a boarding school. We looked at various options and thought we had found the right school for him. Then we were invited to come and have a look at Bilton Grange, so we did and immediately we knew – all three of us – that this was it. I would say to any parents going down this road, You must go and see the potential school for yourselves.
‘We watched Aden talk to everyone at BG and he was so at ease. We felt the school was small enough for him not to be lost in the system. And we knew that, if he passed the exams, he would have the chance to go on to Rugby.
‘I was anxious that he might feel we were deserting him by choosing a boarding school for him but he said No, I want to try it.
‘It was obvious when he started that, academically, things moved at a faster pace than at his previous school. There was more work to do and it was harder. He needed to catch up, having come from a different system, but he had so much support and was shown so much patience that, very quickly, he did. We also had plenty of contact with the staff which was very reassuring. He likes to try new things and last year he joined the choir. He’s a sociable boy so we didn’t have any worries about him making friends and we’re pleased that when he comes home he can pick up with his old friends too.
‘Aden has matured a great deal since he’s been at BG. His older brother, Joshua, encouraged us to find a school for Aden where he could really thrive, and we know now that he is at a school where that is happening. He is where he is supposed to be.’
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