Look northwards across the rooftops of St. Helier and you will see an iconic granite building hovering majestically above the town.
Colourful pennants are usually flying from its hexagonal towers, between which there is also a mediaeval hall, and one can’t help thinking on slightly closer inspection that its gothic style has touches of Hogwarts.
That said many of the institutional public boys’ schools throughout the British Isles have equally imposing architectural merits as Victoria College which opened its doors in 1852 as a monument to mark the Queen’s Royal Visit six years earlier.
Some great men ranging from ambassadors, actors, and architects to yacht designers and zoologists were educated here and went on to make their mark on the worldwide stage.
Places at Victoria College and the Jersey College for Girls across the road are selective and highly sought after partially based on leavers’ results with A*, A and B grades at ‘A’ level regularly outperforming their English equivalents providing a key to places at the best universities.
Nearby catholic schools, Beaulieu Convent (for girls) and De La Salle College (for boys), reflect similar standards in national league tables to that of Victoria College and Jersey College for Girls (JCG), but it is worth noting that they are both independent schools rather than States run educational institutes, and the fees reflect this.
Jersey College Preparatory school offers education from Reception to Year 2 for boys and girls, with girls continuing their education through to Year 6 and feeding into JCG. The boys from Year 2 feed into VCP, which is situated on Pleasant Street, only a stone’s throw away from the College. It is beneficial to know that boys are welcome to join VCP from Year 3 to Year 6 regardless of attending JCP or not.
The attraction of all four schools is in continuity of education as they all have feeder preparatory systems so that children can settle in from five-year-olds and finish at 18.
As in many areas of local life, Jersey has its own curriculum, which follows the UK national curriculum, via key stages leading to exams through normal channels and recognised boards.
Hautlieu, which is the non-fee paying alternative for secondary education only, also offers an international Baccalaureate course.
St. Michael’s Preparatory School a little further away in St. Saviour and St George’s in St. Peter are both private prep schools preparing pupils for the rigours of secondary school education on and off island. They are both situated in secure, countryside settings with very high quality facilities.
For those not wishing to progress to A level, Highlands College offers many different vocational alternatives, an adult learning and business centre, evening classes as well as opportunities to study to degree level having developed close affiliations with a number of universities especially for finance related qualifications.
For those in work, professional courses are available through a number of private business schools and a Jersey Law School based in St. Helier.