girls sat on a bench



Art is a very popular subject at Thornton and we offer both Art and Photography at GCSE and A’Level.

Art is taught as part of Creative Curriculum in our Prep School and from Year 7 – Year 9 we offer Art on carousel with Drama and Design and Technology.

We have a huge main art room for all senior students to access including creative space and resources for large canvas, clay and textiles pieces and portfolios.  We have a separate art room for younger students with lots of resources.

We have our very own dark photography development room and often use the abundance of outside and historical features of our school for on site inspiration!

We recognise that students learn in different ways, so girls are encouraged to explore and express their individual creativity in a variety of media, working independently or in small groups.

Students have the opportunity to experience working in a wide range of materials and methods in two and three dimensions. These include drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, textile design, heat transfer printing, printmaking and photography (both digital and film). Making use of ICT to extend and develop ideas is also integral to the teaching of Art and Thornton.

The department firmly believes in the value of learning outside the classroom and seeks every opportunity to expose students to Art and Culture at local, national and international levels. In the course of the year each class will visit a major exhibition, gallery or museum as part of their curriculum.


The Chapel is very much the heart of the School and is located within one of the oldest parts of the School which was built in the 14th Century.  It was the banqueting hall before it was consecrated when the Manor House was purchased by the Sisters in 1917. The old fireplace is now the alter and the original minstrel’s gallery remains.

At Thornton we have a chaplaincy and ethos committee in the senior school and they will meet in the Chapel and ensure that the Chapel is a welcoming space for all our girls of all faiths and none.

The Chapel is always open and everyone is welcome. It is used for prep and year group assemblies and girls can also visit it at break and lunch times for quiet reflection, prayer and ‘listening ear’.   


Our common rooms are spacious and bright and are in various locations across the school for our students in different year groups.  In Year 11 our girls have a common room in one of our terrapin buildings.  This is a modern spacious area for study and relaxing.  There is also a small kitchen enabling the girls to make hot drinks and toast.

In year 12 our Sixth Form students have a lovely big bright common room in the old Manor House part of our school.  The room is dual aspect overlooking the church and our fountain lawn. Students have a kitchen area with island for making hot drinks and gathering to eat lunch.  There is a table for girls to sit around for study or eating together as well as a printer and a living room area with sofas and a TV.

In year 13 our Sixth Form students have a common room in our dedicated Sixth Form space in school in the tower in the Manor Building.  The girls love this area as it is only for them, and they have their own kitchen space, big comfy sofas and computers / laptops for study.  It is located next to our Head of Sixth Form’s office enabling students to access support as and when needed.


We have two superbly equipped ICT suites in addition to the ICT facilities in teaching rooms. 

One suite is specifically used for the teaching of Computer Science as a subject, which is taught from Year 7 and an option for GCSE.  This is a huge room in our Manor Building and is stocked with desktops, Virtual Reality Sets, a 3D printer, a family of Mekamon Robots and A.I. programming links with Cranfield University.

Almost all teaching rooms have Smart Board technology – interactive whiteboards which allow greater scope for engaging pupils with varied learning styles, particularly girls who respond better to visual and kinesthetics (or tactile) learning.

Thornton College was a finalist in the National Independent School Awards for our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) provision.  We also won the Independent Schools of the Year Award for our Student Career Programme including our annual STEAM fair, careers workshops and corporate partnerships much of which reflects the technological online world our students will work in!


A superb Expressive Arts Studio was developed in the centre of the School in what was a former courtyard area. Opened by Bonnie Langford in 2008, the suite is now in constant use for dance and drama.

The studio has a sprung wooden floor and excellent sound system and it is the perfect venue for small music and dance performances and tea-time concerts.  We also have a smaller dedicated drama studio for GCSE and A Level students.


At Thornton we have a huge Design and Technology subject space.  We have wood machines, cutters and tools for all metal and woodwork.  We have sewing machines and materials for our textiles work.  We also have computers in our Design and Technology space for the use of CAD and online programming and design work.  We have a classroom section as well for theory teaching and we have a 3D printer.

Our Design and Technology is linked with our STEAM work throughout the school and Design and Technology students can access relevant careers workshops and future linked job spotlight series from Year 10.

We offer Design and Technology specialist subject teaching from Year 7 on a rota basis with Drama and Art.  Prior to Year 7 students access this subject through their creative curriculum timetable.


A superb Expressive Arts Studio was developed in the centre of the School in what was a former courtyard area. Opened by Bonnie Langford in 2008, the suite is now in constant use for dance and drama.

The studio has a sprung wooden floor and excellent sound system and it is the perfect venue for small music and dance performances and tea-time concerts.  We also have a smaller dedicated drama studio for GCSE and A Level students.


At Thornton we began to offer Forest School from September 2019 and it has been a hugely welcomed addition to our prep school curriculum and a firm favourite of the girls!  Forest School is run by our specialist trained Forest School Lead, Miss Daley.

Once a term each Prep Year group will attend Forest School to learn key outdoor skills such as den making and how to start a fire (safely).  The girls love it!  They learn about the eco-system and animal habitats and have fun making bug hotels and learning to explore outside safely.

We have our very own forest trail, den making forest and eco pond.  

Forest School is not part of the senior timetabled curriculum however senior boarders regularly spend time at the fire pit at weekends and senior girls can access all this wonderful outside space by joining nature trails, eco clubs and committees, running clubs, wellbeing walks and more!


The Friends Café at Thornton is situated in our grounds outside the St Clare Building.  It was purchased by our Friends of Thornton Association in 2018 and is a wonderful meeting point for all parents, staff and students throughout the year.

The café is warm and welcoming and offers an impressive array of refreshments and goodies including the famous Thornton Cookie!

Sixth Form students use the café every day to meet and socialise, study and have lunch.  The facility is open to parents after pick-up.

Students at school have café days – these are real treat days and girls can bring in money from home and go to the café at break time or after lunch and purchase goodies!  The milk shakes and smoothies are real favourites!

The café is also open and used throughout the year at our many wonderful family events including our annual Fireworks Celebration, the Thornton Summer Fete & Fun Dog Show and our Christmas Market.


Thornton College is set in 25 acres of beautiful grounds surrounded by stunning Buckinghamshire countryside.  

The School’s history as a manor house affords us the luxury of having a walled garden, an ancient orchard and beautifully landscaped lawns.

Our extensive grounds are used daily by all age groups either learning outside within classtime or by attending extra-curricular clubs. At Thornton we offer over 80 clubs each week across the school including Nature Walker, Eco Club, Gardening Club, Wellbeing Walks and many more to ensure that our students have every opportunity to benefit from the wonderful outside space we have. In addition to the woodland walks taken by our pre-reception children, Eco Club members and boarders go apple scrumping and damson picking and our Eco-Committee work hard to ensure as a school we protect our environment to ‘share our world with those around us’.

We have a Forest School with our very own den making zone, open air fire pit, forest trail and eco pond.


The Library is one of the most beautiful rooms within the main school Manor building and is well used by the whole school, from Nursery to Year 13. 

It is exceptionally well stocked for fiction and non-fiction.  Our full-time Librarian, Mrs Barnes is an avid reader and ensures that we have a regular supply of interesting new books. She knows what interests the girls and purchases books which will be well-read and enjoyed. Mrs Barnes is also a qualified teacher. 

Our library is visited by our very youngest students from 3 years old and has a designated Pre-Prep section with teddies, comfy chairs, short bookshelves and carpet!

Students up to Year 9 have Library lessons where girls choose fiction books to write and talk about and reads stories aloud to the Junior children. All girls have a personal libarary ID which enables them to borrow books. We use an electronic system which makes it easier for girls to reserve books in advance and to keep track of their borrowings. The library is open before and after school and at break and lunchtimes and girls choose to spend in the beautiful and peaceful space.

The Sixth Form Resource Room is housed next to the main school Library with plenty of Mac and Microsoft computers for online work and research. There is an excellent range of literature on sixth form and university choice in addition to career information.  At Thornton we have an excellent Careers Education Programme which starts in Year 9 and makes full use of these resources.


Thornton College’s Music Department aims to inspire our young musicians of all abilities to enjoy all aspects of music making. Performance is at the heart of what we do in the Music Department. Students are actively welcomed into ensembles and encouraged to be part of a co-curricular musical activity during their time at the school. 


Instrumental ensembles such as Orchestra and Jazzworks include students from a range of year groups, and this provides such an opportunity for younger girls to learn from older students and be inspired and motivated to continue developing their own skills.


Thornton has a strong Choral tradition and approximately 70% of the girls in the Senior School sing with one of the 4 Choirs. The Choirs are non-selective, however the commitment and discipline required from the girls who sing in these ensembles assures high standards are maintained. The Chamber Choir is the only select and auditioned ensemble in the school.

All musical ensembles at Thornton have the shared aim of enjoying music making and performing pieces to a high standard.

Performance opportunities for the girls are offered regularly with a variety of concerts throughout the year.

  • Instrumental teachers concerts offer an opportunity for girls who have only just started or are nervous about performing in a larger concert
  • The Soloist Concert every term allows for a more formal performance and is especially useful for those girls preparing for exams
  • The Christmas Concert and Summer Concerts allow the Orchestra and Jazz Band as well as the Choirs a large scale performing opportunity
  • Harvest Festival and Awards Ceremonies offer further performance opportunities for the girls
  • The Music department has also staged Night at the Musicals cabaret style performances and the stage musical Grease.


The Music Department encourages the girls to take part in performances outside of the school environment. The Choirs regularly win classes at the Milton Keynes Festival as well as taking part in the National Festival of Music for Youth where we were selected to perform in the Birmingham Symphony Concert Hall. Younger Choirs have sung at the O2 Arena in the Young Voices Concert and Senior Choirs have been asked to perform at events at The Stables and Whittlebury Hall.


Music is part of the Curriculum from Years 7 -9 with students receiving two 40 minute lessons a week. Girls follow a wide ranging and contemporary curriculum to challenge and motivate them to develop a life-long love of music. 


There are two Music teaching rooms one of which houses a full class set of 8 Apple Mac Computers running Logic Pro and Sibelius software to support a variety of composition tasks. Both classrooms have a range of classroom percussion, ukuleles, guitars, keyboards, microphones and amps.

There are two full time music teaching staff and 12 self-employed peripatetic music teachers who offer one to one instrumental lessons to girls as well as supporting the department in Concerts and leading Chamber Ensembles and activities from Music Theory clubs to Aural Test sessions as well as accompaniments for public performances and exams.

Instruments offered are:

  • Piano
  • Violin/Viola
  • Guitar/bass guitar
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Saxophone
  • Drums
  • Cello
  • Singing
  • French Horn
  • Trumpet


At Thornton we have brand new state of the art Science laboratories on the upper level of our new St Clare building.  The St Clare Building was opened in March 2010 by BBC nature and wildlife presenter Mike Dilger.

We have a dedicated and experienced team of specialist science teachers for all pupils from Prep to Sixth Form.

We have specific Biology, Chemistry and Physics laboratories and a fourth multi -science use laboratory.  We offer single and combined science GCSEs and the separate subject A Levels as well as our Forensic and Criminology Vocational Qualification course in Sixth Form.


Thornton has excellent indoor and outdoor sports and games facilities. Within the 26 acres of grounds there are:

  • Hockey pitches
  • Football pitches
  • Netball courts
  • A state-of-the-art Astroturf
  • Eight tennis courts
  • A running track and long jump
  • A heated swimming pool 
  • A spacious Sports Hall which is beautifully equipped. It has a high ceiling which basketball, trampolining and badminton. In addition to a wide range of gymnastics equipment it has climbing equipment and is marked out for all major sports.