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Zoe Brading

I was about to pull my son out of the school he was attending and support him with the Education Otherwise programme when I received a letter from The Leys. It was asking me if I wished to register him for a place, having put his name down during an Open Day four years before, with the possibility of receiving a spot under the old ‘assisted place’ scheme. I was a little apprehensive as, although I knew my son had talent and could pass tests, he had not been in the right environment to do so for a long time.

I spoke to the Headmaster’s secretary who assured me they didn’t just assess children on academic excellence, but on character as well. This is when I thought my son would have the opportunity to thrive in a supportive environment that would set him up for the future – he’d become very disillusioned with the whole school ‘thing’.

We applied and after interviews, tests and an overnight stay, he was accepted and we were delighted. He settled in quickly once he knew the ropes, ably assisted by his housemaster, teachers and me! He immediately wanted to become a home boarder and always wanted to fully board at weekends out of choice, to become even more involved with the Leys Community. We were delighted when he secured a bursary to fully board in Sixth Form.

Going to the Leys School was good for both of us! Crucial for me was the satisfaction of knowing that he was entering an environment in which I saw his skills and abilities were taken seriously in a well-balanced, individualised scholastic community with excellent pastoral care.

He was helped to find ‘his’ sports after having a go at rugby and football in his first year, and settling into racquet and sailing sports and joining the CCF. He ran and participated in the plugged (drums, guitar and singing) and un-plugged (acoustic) concerts and his acting talents were brought to the fore in regular theatre performances. This became the platform from which he went on to his acting career!

I am delighted to support the Gift of Education, as I hope it will allow other young people to access the life-changing opportunities at The Leys which my own son enjoyed.