Forces Families at Giggleswick School

Forces families

Giggleswick is a popular choice among Forces families with our strong boarding ethos offering a stable, healthy, supportive and friendly environment for children from Year 4 to Year 13.

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Housemistress and two pupils chatting at a kitchen table

Best of british boarding from Year 4

Not just a school, but a real community. Giggleswick is renowned for its happy and supportive environment and family friendly boarding. Our Prep and Senior Schools are on the same campus and Catteral House is a dedicated boarding house for our pupils from Year 4 to Year 8. In Year 9, pupils move into one of six boarding houses.

Our Headmaster and Deputy Head are both ex-military and have a deep understanding of the extra challenges Forces families face. 65% of our pupils are boarders (increasing to 80% in Sixth Form) and everyone attends school on Saturday, with lessons in the morning and team sports and clubs in the afternoon. Even on a Sunday there are a range of trips and activities to enjoy, as well as time for some important rest and relaxation. Here, children make lifelong friendships as well as learn the importance of tolerance, compassion, and respect for others.

Read more about boarding here

The importance of continuity

This important sense of continuity that our youngest boarders gain from progressing seamlessly through from prep to senior school and ultimately sixth form is key to their wellbeing and personal development. This is true for all boarders but particularly for those from forces backgrounds that might otherwise experience considerable change in their lives. Some children of forces parents may otherwise attend more than six different schools during these formative years. It also helps our international boarders, many of whom are a long way from home.

Headmaster Sam Hart explains:

“Creating a safe, secure and stable home from home environment all the way from Year 4 through to 8 provides our youngest boarders with continuity that really supports them through the time when they transition from the Prep School at Year 6 to the Senior School in Year 7. They are already familiar with their surroundings, routines, expectations and the key people in their lives, helping to make this adjustment naturally seamless and smooth. We work really hard to build a wonderful family-friendly feeling here at Giggleswick and we love to see our boarders and other pupils develop through their school years here, leaving us as well-equipped, resilient, assured and happy young people.”

Christine Gemmell, former housemistress of Catteral House adds:

“We focus here at Catteral House on building really good relationships with all the children and supporting them in every aspect of their lives as part of one big extended family. This creates a very solid foundation and helps them make and keep friends through sharing experiences together. It really gives them the very best start as they progress towards our senior boarding houses, sixth form and eventually life beyond Giggleswick.”

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Stunning rural location

Giggleswick is perfectly located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, home to some of Yorkshire’s most iconic scenery and attractions. Fresh air, unspoiled landscapes, and a safe and secure environment, are all within a 3 ½ hour train journey from London. Manchester, Leeds and York are all just an hour away.

Catterick and Northallerton are just over an hour's drive away. With spectacular limestone valleys, picture postcard villages and historic castles on our doorstep, it is a place that stirs the emotions and stimulates the senses. Pupils enjoy growing up surrounded by fresh air and stunning scenery, inspiring them to leave their phones behind and ‘throw themselves in’ to school life. We take full advantage of our idyllic setting, giving life at Giggleswick a real sense of adventure and discovery, where children have the time, space and freedom to grow as individuals.

"There can be no other school in the UK, if not the world, with such immediate access to caves, rivers, crags, trails, an indoor pool, climbing wall and a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition directly from the school grounds."Pete Keron, Head of Outdoor Education

Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA)

Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) is offered to assist Service families in maintaining continuity of education for their children which would otherwise be denied due to the movement of their family as a consequence of their assignments and posts. Some parents believe that boarding schools offer the most stable approach to their child’s education, and in most cases, they will be entitled to CEA (also known as Children’s Education Allowance).  We also offer a very generous service family bursary.