The Vale of Glamorgan's Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Changing The Education World, One Step At A Time

With three schools worldwide and more to come, Westbourne School in Penarth, Wales, is taking global education by storm.
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The past year has seen the roll-out of its award-winning model of academic excellence to Singapore and, in January 2024, Westbourne College Sydney topped the rankings for the second year running, placing 1st in Australia for the highest percentage of perfect IB scores (45 out of 45 Points).

Stuart Ayres

Vale Life caught up with Stuart Ayres, Westbourne’s Digital Director hailing from our very own Cowbridge, to find out more about how the pioneering school is shaping the global education frontier.

What makes Westbourne stand out?
With a longstanding reputation for topping the UK and, now, global education league tables for outstanding results, Westbourne’s formula for success is a simple one: nurture every child as an individual.

First things first, we’re a small, friendly school, with an average class size of only 15 pupils in the Prep School (age 4-10) and a 16-pupil class size average across the whole school (Reception to Sixth Form) – far smaller than at other schools. This means that our students receive more personalised attention, guided one-to-one by expert staff to better engage with the curriculum, as well as gaining the confidence to ask more questions and to think more deeply.

This small school environment is coupled with an ambitious global approach, which really sets us apart. Using new technology to enrich the learning experience, we’re doing things that no other school in the world is doing right now. Our students are given the skills and experiences they need to make their mark globally.

I’ve been teaching for over twenty years, specialising in digital education technology, and have seen first-hand the transformative power of education. In a world where change is the only constant, it’s crucial that we prepare our students not just to adapt to this change but to be driving it. At Westbourne, we’re not just educating students; we’re nurturing future leaders, innovators and changemakers.

You’ve won a number of awards for innovation. Tell us more…
We were delighted to win the Global EdTech Award this year, and we were also a Finalist for the Tes Schools Awards for Best Use of Technology for the second year in a row. For us, technology is not just a tool – it’s a gateway to limitless possibilities. We integrate the latest technological advancements into our teaching methods, ensuring our teachers and students are adept at using these tools creatively and effectively. From AI-assisted learning platforms to virtual reality experiences, our students are exposed to technologies that are shaping the future.

Students from our global schools – from the UK to Singapore to Sydney, with more on the horizon! – access an innovative global classroom. Sharing knowledge and ideas via real-time virtual workshops and seminars, their study is led by subject specialists from different countries, meaning they gain access to the very best teachers globally. We have a number of exciting collaborative projects coming up this year.

How do you prepare students for the future?
At Westbourne, we believe that a global outlook is essential in today’s interconnected world. Our curriculum centres on academic excellence but is also designed to instil a deep understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures and global issues. Through this international focus, our students learn to see the world through a broader lens, recognising their role as global citizens.

Proudly an IB-only Sixth Form, our students take the IB Diploma in their final two years of study – offering a rigorous curriculum considered the “gold standard” in education globally. Students not only gain first-class academic knowledge and skills, they also gain those soft skills that really set them apart in university applications – problem-solving, teamworking, communication – as well as a portfolio of community-focused work. The global mindedness encouraged by the IB is woven deeply throughout the whole school, right down to Reception.

Singapore campus

Tell us about Westbourne’s global network…
One of the unique aspects of Westbourne School is our network of sister schools spread across the globe, which empowers students to engage in cultural exchanges, collaborative projects and shared learning experiences. The relationships they build with their peers from different countries are not just academic in nature; they are bonds that often last a lifetime and span continents.

Importantly, we encourage active collaboration, setting up meaningful opportunities for students from our different schools to work together and share knowledge in real-time, as if they were in the same room. Through a pioneering global classroom, they access the very best subject and careers specialists based across continents, offering them unprecedented global academic and personal development opportunities.

We are proud to be nurturing the next generation of innovators in the fields of STEM and business. From economists and engineers, to architects, data scientists, software developers and astrophysicists, our students are at the forefront of shaping the future they want to see – and that’s so exciting.

Open day
Westbourne is pleased to offer private tours for prospective families year-round.
For more information, please click here.

Westbourne School
+44 (0)2920 705 705

Senior school and sixth form
Hickman Road
Vale of Glamorgan
CF64 2AJ

Nursery and prep school
Victoria Road
Vale of Glamorgan
CF64 3EF

What parents and students say…

“Westbourne has changed me for the better. The world-class teaching and encouragement I receive have improved my academic ability and given me opportunities to excel.”
Safia, student

“Westbourne is a big, diverse family, with an amazing group of students and teachers who support you at every step.”
Krishitha, student

“It’s about the smaller class sizes, the ability of the teachers to know each pupil and recognise what they’re capable of and push them just that little bit, in the nicest, kindest, most positive way.”

“It is a small, very friendly school. It’s somewhere you can believe that your children will have the best brought out in them. Not just academically, but emotionally, socially and physically.”

“The teacher-student relationship is profound, which ensures that no-one is left behind.”
Gevin, student

Five Star Education
We rate Westbourne School five stars.

“Its achievements over the last decade are incredibly impressive. This is a world-class institution and we’re incredibly proud to have Westbourne here in the Vale.”
Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts, Vale Life Editor