India Schools : Woodstock School, Mussoorie
The school was founded in 1854 by an association of army officers and American Presbyterian missionaries with the support of the London Society for promoting female education in the East. The first teachers were four ladies from the UK, who opened the Protestant Girls’ School on a site in Mussoorie. The Woodstock name came from the move in 1856 to the Lower Woodstock estate in Landour, though it was not officially changed until 1862.
In 1874, the school came under the ownership and control of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church, USA, inaugurating nearly a century of service as a largely American mission school, providing education for the children of families serving all over the northern half of the sub-continent and in adjoining countries. During this period, Woodstock families were associated with the establishment and running of many hospitals, schools and churches that continue to serve contemporary India, Pakistan and Nepal.
By the 1950’s the school was run by a consortium of fourteen missionary societies but in the next two decades the school underwent significant changes in student composition and numbers. By 1976, Woodstock had been transformed into a Christian international school governed by an independent Board of Directors. Today, Woodstock is a non-profit society governed by a board made up of Indian and international directors, alumni, representatives, and members of the current administration, staff and student bodies.
A special part of this experience is life in the 240-acre campus set in spectacular surroundings at 1600 metres in the Himalayan foothills. Woodstock School at the start of the new millennium is an educational community whose living and learning accommodation is scattered across its 240 acres of jungle hillside. Many of the academic facilities and student residences are historic buildings, but Woodstock seeks to offer the highest-quality contemporary international education in this traditional setting. As the only accredited international school north of Delhi, it has the best school libraries and computer facilities in north India, with all students having access to the school’s computer network and a personal email account.
Woodstock staff, residential and academic, come from India, Asia, Australia, North America and Europe. The faculty is academically well-qualified, the majority with training and experience in western teaching methods. The emphasis is on attention to the learning, social and personal needs of individual students and the requirement is that students learn to think for themselves. Considerable emphasis is placed throughout the school on the development of personal qualities and virtues, including responsibility, accountability, care and respect for others, self-discipline and honesty. Students are expected to participate fully and actively in the wide range of opportunities for learning that are available to them at Woodstock.
Woodstock School is a Christian international boarding school providing a college-preparatory curriculum for students from over twenty different nationalities and thirty countries of residence. The total current enrolment is 450 male and female students, aged 3 - 18, the majority of whom are boarders.
Woodstock was the first school in Asia to gain US accreditation, in 1959. Since then, the school has maintained its status with the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, being most recently re-accredited in 1999. Woodstock issues an American graduation diploma which is valid for university entrance in USA. Students wishing to enter Indian universities can receive an Indian marksheet and the Woodstock Diploma is recognised as equivalent to the +2 stage qualification by the Association of Indian Universities. The school offers IGCSE examinations at 16+ and Advanced Placement at 18+. The AP examination, run by the College Board (USA) is accepted for college course credit in many US universities, and for university entrance in the UK and Germany.
The Woodstock programme starts with an Early Childhood Programme for day students aged 3 and above. Students are admitted as boarders from Grade 3, though in certain circumstances admission is given from Grade 2. The school is divided into three sections: Elementary (ECP and Kindergarten to Grade 5); Middle (Grades 6 - 8) and High School (Grades 9 - 12). Places are usually available in all grades and enrolment is in July and February, though most students join at the start of the year, in July. The school operates a two-semester year with a long holiday from early December to the start of February, and a shorter vacation in June-July each year.
The school makes good use of its limited sports facilities and participates in inter-school activities with other leading Mussoorie schools in field and track, cross-country, basketball, soccer, badminton, table tennis and cricket. In addition, Woodstock runs a weekend hiking programme that offers all older students the opportunity to experience the beauty and complexity of the natural and human environment of the Garhwal Himalayas. A highpoint of the year is the activity week in October, when all students have a programme of outdoor activities, cultural visits or community service at locations all over northern India.
Extra Curricular Activities
Woodstock also offers a lively and wide-ranging music programme, probably the best in India, taught by specialists in Indian music and dance, classical western music and modern band music. The school runs orchestras, bands, ensembles and choral groups at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels and over half of the students take individual tuition for instruments, voice or dance. The school programme offers regular opportunities for music recitals and performances. There is also a strong tradition of drama, with annual high school productions of a high standard.