Millfield Prep School is top-ranked for sport – but that’s balanced with strong academics and pastoral care to ensure happy, healthy and successful school days

Ever wondered where a Formula One racing champion goes to school? Lando Norris attended Millfield Prep from age 6. He is one of many famous OMs to achieve a ‘pole position’ over the years, and the Glastonbury school has garnered a stellar international reputation for its teaching and training in sports. Recently, it was named best sports school in the country, by Schools Sport Magazine – the tenth time in eleven years it has earned that plaudit.

Millfield Prep sport is designed so that even the most talented children encounter sporting challenges. There’s a jam-packed calendar of fixtures at every level, access to high-level coaching and state-of-the-art facilities on campus, and also at Millfield’s senior campus nearby. There are no less than 60 sports teams each term, and pupils try out a huge range of different activities through the clubs and activities programme.

Focus: Millfield Prep on winning at sport
Millfield Prep’s girls are U13 national champions at football

Competitive achievements are only part of the picture – you don’t have to be a future sports star to come here. The main focus is teaching a broad, balanced programme. This is tailored to each individual and prepares children for lifelong involvement in sport and physical activity. Sport’s broader benefits are well-recognised – bringing confidence, health and wellbeing at all levels. The school’s philosophy is to encourage all pupils to develop their talents.

Indeed, the school – which welcomes boys and girls from age 2-13 and offers day and boarding options – aims to uncover the brilliance in every child, whether that’s in the classroom, in the music hall or on the sports pitch. This is all summarised in the school values everyone in the school community lives by – ‘Be Kind, Be You, Be Curious, Be Challengers and Be Brilliant’.

 “Each week, pupils spend five hours (minimum) within the curriculum on PE, games, individual sports and fixtures. They can spend up to 12 hours per week on their chosen discipline, with individual training programmes and coaching sessions plus fixtures,” says Headmaster Dan Thornburn. “Academic studies and ensuring we nurture happy children are front and centre of what we do. But we also highly value the enjoyment and skills that come from playing sport. Our pupils can enjoy sports at a high level, and partake in the arts as well, if that is what they want to do.” Coaches at Millfield Prep are part of a ‘team around the child’ to ensure they won’t fall behind in academics or in any other aspect of school life.

“Academic studies and ensuring we nurture happy children are front and centre – but we highly value the skills that come from playing sport”

The school’s sporting excellence is supported by excellent facilities. There are industry-leading coaches and facilities, including a 25m swimming pool, equestrian centre, tennis bubble and courts, sports pitches, athletics track, sports hall, indoor and outdoor cricket nets – also a 9-hole golf course. Millfield’s senior campus is a seven-minute drive away and its facilities include an Olympic-sized swimming pool, indoor golf and cricket centres, athletics track, fencing salle and equestrian centre.

Focus: Millfield Prep on winning at sport
Sport is only one part of the equation, with academics and pastoral care designed to give wraparound care for each child and let them play to their strengths

Millfield Prep’s trophy cabinet is groaning, and with too many achievements to list them all. A recent snapshot includes Girls’ and Boys’ IAPS swim champions (for the 35th consecutive year and 21st time respectively). Pupils carried home the National Prep Schools Cross Country prize, while eight pupils won a combined 22 medals at the 2022 Biathle, Triathle and Laser Run European Championships in Greece.

Pupils are also winning in cricket and rugby – with 33 cricketers selected onto county performance pathways and U13 boys achieving an undefeated record in Rugby 7s for the 2022/23 season. The school’s U13 girls football squad won the national final, while three netball teams qualified for the national finals. Recently, the boys’ tennis performance squad won their National Club League tournament and will be representing the school at the national finals.

Focus: Millfield Prep on winning at sport
Millfield Prep campus offers excellent sports facilities, and Millfield School is just down the road providing additional resources and training

Headmaster Dan Thornburn sees sport’s benefits as multi-faceted. It teaches pupils to be resilient, supports mental health and wellbeing and helps children understand that progress and success are not linear. And the difference sport can make in the classroom is palpable, he adds. Pupils who are active and fulfilled in sport have a higher level of concentration, productivity and creativity.

Pastoral care is part of every school but, with over 120 full boarders from all over the world, Millfield Prep makes it a top priority. Its innovative Wellbeing Curriculum, launched in September 2021, is designed to help pupils identify poor wellbeing and then improve how they feel. Yoga, Soul Food, Movement to Music, Self-Care, Alfresco Pursuits and Meditation are all on the timetable for pupils in Years 7 and 8 – bringing benefits to body and mind, as well as teaching really useful skills for future life.

Ab Ed Prep And Pre Prep Summer Cover
Millfield Prep – cover story for the summer 2024 issue of Absolutely Education Prep & Pre-Prep

Millfield Prep School

Further reading: Why school sports are so important