Head teacher new vice chairman of State Boarding Schools’ Association

State Boarding Schools' Association meeting at Steyning Grammar School SUS-150624-132240001
State Boarding Schools' Association meeting at Steyning Grammar School SUS-150624-132240001

Representatives from many of the state boarding schools across the UK met at Steyning Grammar School last week for the State Boarding Schools’ Association (SBSA) annual general meeting held at the school’s Boarding Campus.

Guests were welcomed to the school by head teacher, Nick Wergan who said: “We are delighted to welcome State Boarding Schools from across the UK, to showcase our own highly successful boarding provision, and to share best practice. We always have much to learn from each other, and a shared determination that our schools should deliver outstanding boarding experiences for our students.”

The first guest speaker Ian Davenport, founding chief executive of The Springboard Trust, gave an update on the valuable work of the trust, a charity set up to find boarding places for vulnerable children.

Steyning Grammar School, head of science Andrew Wood led a workshop on ‘Promoting the Growth of Learning Characteristics’. Since September 2013 Andrew has been working on the measurement and development of achievement characteristics at the school and completed a significant data gathering exercise.

Andrew Wood explained: “This idea has been based on the ‘positive psychology’ work of Martin Seligman, Carol Dweck and Angela Duckworth, and from the data I have gathered so far, there are proven links between character and achievement at Steyning Grammar.”

Andrew is currently developing training courses for staff on fostering character growth in children and leading work with children to improve aspects of their character that will lead to more successful life outcomes.

The main speaker of the day was Simon Moore, Rear Admiral (retired) who spoke on ‘The Commonality of Leadership’, and the moral imperative of leadership in challenging circumstances and the importance of leaders as positive role models.

The AGM was formally opened by Nick Wergan who gave an outline of the school’s achievements and plans for the future highlighting the great benefits from collaboration across the boarding school sector, and the unique skills advantage that students can develop in a boarding environment.

Paul Spencer Ellis, Headmaster of Royal Alexandra and Albert School and Chairman of the State Boarding Schools’ Association gave a report on the activities of the organisation since the last AGM outlining future marketing plans for the sector.

Nick Wergan was formally elected as vice chairman of the State Boarding Schools’ Management Committee effective from 2015 to 2018 when he will become chairman.

Nick Wergan said: “We are very proud of our boarding facilities, our superb boarding students and our committed boarding staff. We offer a unique boarding opportunity in Sussex for families who want peace of mind in securing their children’s education in a safe, rural environment, with exceptional academic support and an engaging enrichment programme.

Boarding is central to the dynamism and energy of our school and a key part of our ‘Steyning Family’ ethos. The boarding experience contributes significantly to the development of positive, independent and resilient young learners, distinctively prepared for their future successes”.

All visitors were then given a tour of Steyning Grammar School’s ‘Outstanding’ boarding facilities by a group of boarding students. The tour included all four boarding houses that can accommodate 120 boarders, including Bolton House which opened in 2011 and provides purpose built Sixth Form accommodation for 56 learners. The tour was followed by lunch in the Bolton Dining Room.

Chairman, Paul Spencer Ellis said: “Our meeting at Steyning Grammar School was a great success and visiting Heads of other State Boarding Schools were particularly impressed by the new and refurbished boarding accommodation. I was particularly struck by the fact that such a large, successful school is investing in the boarding provision which attracts excellent applicants to study at this high performing school, particularly in the Sixth Form.

It was also very obvious how boarding impacts on the ethos of a large school where relations among pupils and between pupils and staff are clearly very positive.”

Robin Fletcher, National Director of the Boarding Schools’ Association, said: “Steyning Grammar School did an amazing job hosting this year’s AGM for the State Boarding Schools’ Association. It was stimulating seeing the impressive standards being set and to meet pupils and staff. Steyning Grammar School is a great example of a high-quality boarding school delivering excellent outcomes for students.”

State Boarding Schools provide high quality boarding at the lowest possible cost, paying only for the cost of boarding as the education is received free. State boarding schools regularly out-perform other state schools with many topping the academic league tables around the country. The combination of the excellent state-funded education and a stable boarding community enables pupils to make the most of their talents and abilities.

For further details on the Boarding Provision at Steyning Grammar School please contact Mrs Suzie Plimmer, Registrar on 01903 817601, sgsboarding@sgs.uk.net or visit our website www.sgs.uk.net. Tours of the boarding facility can be organised on request.


Admission to State Boarding Schools in the UK is limited to children who are nationals of the UK and are eligible to hold a full UK passport, or those who are nationals of other European Union countries or those who have the right of residence in the UK.

Report and picture contributed by Steyning Grammar School.