Millfield is extremely proud of its international character. We embrace pupils from all countries and believe that the rich cultural diversity provided by over 240 overseas pupils from more than 65 different nationalities is a truly wonderful opportunity for pupils and staff alike to learn about cultural differences and promote tolerance, respect and understanding - all very important values in our modern-day global culture.
Pupils from around the world live together in boarding houses and share all aspects of school life, including sports and extra-curricular activities, which provide a valuable learning experience. Many of our international pupils receive specialised English language tuition in the EAL Department, where teachers help pupils with both their everyday and academic English, as well as providing language support for work in academic subjects. The school is a multi-faith community and religions other than Christianity are both valued and practised.
We aim to promote inter-cultural awareness and understanding. We are sensitive to the special challenges faced by youngsters arriving for the first time in a new school in a foreign land where they are expected to operate in a second language. These challenges include culture shock, loneliness, language difficulties, confusion and homesickness. Our teachers and house stafff understand, for example, that you may be suffering from jet lag, will be missing home, or will not be familiar with the bank system. They are friendly and will do everything they can to make you feel welcome and at home, to get to know Millfield and the country. Don't be afraid to talk to your housemaster / housemistress, teachers or group tutor about any difficulties or concerns you may be having. New pupils are also provided with a guide or ‘buddy' for their first weeks in the school and can join the International Pupils' Association.
International Pupils' Association
The International Pupils' Association (IPA) exists to represent and promote the interests of international pupils within Millfield, and to enrich the school generally by drawing upon the cultural diversity within the pupil population. It provides a forum for celebration, support and discussion as well as giving the school's international pupils collective representation. It is also a great way to make new friends! The IPA has a pupil committee and is run as a Millfield Activities Programme (MAP) by Mr Winkley, Head of EAL.
Each year the school hosts two main ‘International Evenings', as well as other smaller meetings, discussion groups and evening entertainment, to celebrate the cultural diversity of its pupils. As well as being fully involved in the new pupil induction days, which are run in year groups, the overseas pupils are invited to the International Pupils' Association Welcome Dinner at the beginning of the autumn term in September. This event welcomes new international pupils and helps them to get to know some of the national pupils as well, and to meet other young 'internationals' who are in or have been in the same situation as they are. It also gives them an opportunity to see the cultural diversity of pupils and staff.
The second major event, in March, is one of the highlights of the school calendar. International Week culminates in an international themed evening and dinner, also open to national pupils, with a wide variety of performances of music, dance and poetry readings, rounded off with the now famous colourful 'catwalk' display of various national costumes. The members of our outstanding catering staff never fail to rise to the challenge of creating a range of dishes from all continents.
All dietary needs are catered for in the school's Dining Hall with a daily range of options available including meals for vegetarians.
Spiritual and Moral Development – Provision for Christians and those of other faiths
Millfield believes that true education must be concerned with spiritual and moral development. All pupils of the school, irrespective of their religion, are encouraged to explore and develop their own faith, and learn from that of others, in an atmosphere of generosity and tolerance.
The school chapel is dedicated for use as a place of worship for all faiths. So, in addition to Christian services, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists have the opportunity to meet and contacts with local leaders of these other faiths are nurtured with a view to mutual visits. Roman Catholic pupils attend Mass in Glastonbury and can be confirmed every other year. An Anglican Confirmation course runs every twelve months.
English Language Holiday Courses
Visits to cultural events and places of interest are on offer to international pupils on holiday courses run by EAL. Favourites include the ancient Roman town of Bath, Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole Caves.
Travel Arrangements and Visa service
Parents or Guardians are responsible for arranging flight tickets, and the school Travel Office can arrange transfers to and from the airports. Travel information is usually collected by the houseparent and sent through to the Travel Office before the holiday period. Unaccompanied minors (the age is different and dependant on individual airline rules) can be accommodated if this is indicated at the time the travel request is submitted. Any pupil who does not hold an EU passport will require a visa in order to study full-time in the UK. A pupil will not be allowed to begin their education at Millfield without proof of the correct visa. A registration form for this can be downloaded from the Visa Guidance section.