Banbury Crossroads School logo
Banbury Crossroads School:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades JK TO Gr. 12 — Calgary, AB (Map)


Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Banbury Crossroads School (2020)

Banbury Crossroads School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Pamela, Steve, Thomas had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Pamela — current parent

Pamela has two daughters that attended Banbury Crossroads School. One of her daughters is now doing her residency as a doctor, and the other is now completing a Master’s degree in computer science. She believes the school has taught her daughters to take responsibility for their own feelings and actions, and to be kind to everyone around them. She credits the school with making her a better parent by example, and teaching her children to ask questions, be active in their own learning, and respect teachers.

  • “Banbury students know their teachers are people, they've been dealing with their teachers as people. In the case of the children who start at the beginning, and go all the way through, 12 years, [they are] training to ask questions, set their own learning agenda, identify what their goals are, and collaborate. ... That sends shivers down my spine. Instead of going to university and suddenly finding that it's hard, because nobody cares whether they show up or not. [My daughter] said it was so much easier because at [Banbury Crossroads School], you could always renegotiate deadlines.”
  • “[My daughter’s] arthritis was horrible, it was horrible for our family, it was horrible for me, and I'm sure it was horrible for her teachers as well. … As a result, it took her three years to finish Grade 11 and Grade 12. … [Banbury Crossroads School] had zero problem with accommodating the fact that this active athletic child had suddenly become [disabled], and couldn't finish her work on time. She’s much better now, completely.”
  • “[Banbury Crossroads School] was so much not a problem, at a time when everything else was a problem [for my daughter]. I am sitting there going, ‘how could it possibly be?’ For a public school to allow a kid to take two grades over three years because they couldn't walk [would have been] nearly impossible.”
  • “[My daughter’s] motivation is entirely based on who she affects and what her responsibility is.”
  • “In two months, I'm pretty sure at Christmas time, [my daughter] was reading a story out of the King James Bible. …  Giving that much autonomy to a three-year-old to say, ‘sure, go ahead, make an appointment with the principal, she’ll give you a reading lesson. ’... That was amazing and surprising, and so enabling and respectful.”
  • “I know that the example of [Banbury Crossroads School] made me a much better parent. … My own conception of the parenting role has rapidly become less authoritarian, and much more of a mentoring role. It was not an easy chunk of growth for me. I didn't have a good self-conception about positive parenting at all. I think as time went on, I would realize these things with my eldest, and then apply them to the junior engineers in the office, and I think it made me a better engineer, certainly a better manager, as well as a better parent. Little things like if you want someone to do something, tell them what you want them to do, which you think is obvious. It’s a matter of being respectful, of realizing where someone is at, and then providing them with what they need to make the next step on their agenda.”
  • “I remember one kid who was in Grade 1 [at [Banbury Crossroads School] who never wanted to do anything that didn't have to do with snakes. [His teacher] found him books about snakes, and she let him make charts about snakes, and when he had to add and subtract, he added and subtracted snakes. She really listened to where his interests were, and then adapted to his interests. [She adapted] the curriculum to his interest. … She was a fairly direct teacher that year, but she had the idea that this child's agenda matters.”
  • “I see students at [Banbury Crossroads School], recognizing [their goals]. … The kids know where they need to be to achieve. They also know [if they] need more structure, [they will] sit down with their personal mentor and create a structure.”
  • “The community of children at [Banbury Crossroads School] sets powerful norms, so that when new children come in from the outside, they have a community structure. It's informal, it's not mandated. It's not created, but it's the example of children who have spent years at the school. Taking responsibility for their actions, and knowing that teachers aren't the enemy. So when a stranger comes in from junior high school in the public system, feeling resentful of teachers, and thinking it might be cool to skip every class, there's no one to encourage them.”

Steve — current parent

Steve has two children that attend Banbury Crossroads School. He feels that the school is a safe learning environment that encourages his kids to be independent. He appreciates the school’s emphasis on tolerance and respect, and how they will go to great lengths to accommodate individual students. Steve believes that its self-directed learning philosophy has a very positive impact on his children academically and personally.

  • “[Banbury Crossroads School] will accommodate [students] to some degree. … If somebody had to go a little bit early to go lead a team, then that could be arranged for. It's not like there's a rigid bell, and you're here and you're not. If somebody needs to work that into the program, they can do it.”
  • “We try to live and breathe the value system around what self- directed means, and what it means from the idea of tolerance and respect. ... [Banbury Crossroads School] embodied all of this, and then actually pushed us even further into thinking into the thought process around what this all means. It's infused our family, and I just take it for granted.”
  • “This idea of a safe work environment is a big deal now. ... A few studies have come to the same conclusion, that the happiest work environment is one where people feel safe. People feel safe if they feel a fundamental respect. That they can make mistakes and they'll just have a meeting about it, and explore it, and if they come open minded to that, then they're going to be okay. ... We're getting our dream come true at [Banbury Crossroads School]. I'm helping [my kids] to achieve whatever it is they want to do.”
  • “There's also the option for kids if you want to homeschool. ...We're living the dream of homeschooling. ... I'm getting great support. I have regular call-ins with the teachers, and we have all the materials. On Fridays I drop off a bin [of materials], and I pick up a bunch of materials, and otherwise everything's digital. My daughter works mostly digitally at the high school level, and has regular calls to her mentor or teachers.”
  • “[Banbury Crossroads School] encourages [unschooling], because if the conversation shifts away from the curriculum, or the ‘binder work,’ we call it, that's okay. Eventually they'll get back to the binder work, but it's okay that [the class] has a whole dialogue around some other thing that really got the questions going.”

Thomas — alum

Thomas came to Banbury Crossroads School as an exchange student from Germany when he was 15 years old. It was the school that motivated him to stay in Canada for his post-secondary educationand his career after that. He felt that because it is a small school someone was always there to support him as a second family. He appreciated the close community at the school that nurtured him and welcomed him in, which led to him making many friendships that have lasted him into his adult years.

  • “When I started at [Banbury Crossroads School], because it's a smaller school, I felt welcomed right away. I felt that I had support, and I felt I had family. I really enjoyed that. That was something that allowed me to succeed and ultimately was a major force for my decision to stay [in Canada], and to go to university.”
  • “I will always cherish and remember [Banbury Crossroads School]. I built friendships for life. That's pretty amazing, because I didn't expect that. That's definitely one of my favorite parts of my time at the school. As far as the least favorite [thing about the school], there's really not much that comes to mind.”
  • “I think the best way to describe the experience as a student at [Banbury Crossroads School], from a student's perspective, is a culture of respect. It's nurturing, it's friendly, it's very personal. It's accepting, which is very important. I found it’s a culture of positivity and proactive problem-solving, which is something I really learned while attending [Banbury Crossroads School]. Those are tools that have become so valuable, especially further on in life. That's probably the best way to describe the culture and the values of the school.”
  • “[My] experiences at [Banbury Crossroads School] equipped me with some very important tools. One was because we had such small class sizes, working with the teacher to accomplish goals was something that carried through in university, and allowed me to be very successful. I was used to that kind of approach, and that kind of work, as well as the problem solving that helped me in my career. It also is very helpful in relationships, in my marriage, and dealing with my daughter. Knowing to be respectful, and understand other people. Looking at things from all different perspectives.”
  • “I think back a lot of my time at [Banbury Crossroads School]. I learned a lot, not just in math, or English, or whatever it was, but everything else that I think a person needs to to understand the world around them, and to function in any kind of environment, whether that's in the work environment, higher learning, or in the relationship.”
  • “I came over to [Banbury Crossroads School] as an exchange student. First we started with ESL, and the school allowed me to excel to a point where I just started doing the regular courses for Grade 11, the high school courses, which was fantastic. There was so much support for that. It was a unique situation. All situations for all children are unique.”
  • “It's amazing that [Banbury Crossroads School] adapts so quickly, and provides the support needed. ... I remember just before the end of [my Grade 12] year, I was contemplating … ‘I really enjoyed my time here [In Canada]. I'd like to stay longer.’ I was going to write the TOEFL Test for university acceptance, the English for a second language test that's required. I remember [the principal] said, ‘oh, do you want to write the test?’ I said, ‘sure, when is it?’ And [the principal] said ‘how about this afternoon?’[I said], ‘but do I need to study for it?’ [She said] ‘you'll be fine.’ So I went in there. … I wasn't afraid of it, and it was no problem.”
  • “[Banbury Crossroads School] helped me and my unique situation adapt, and helped me to excel, which was phenomenal. That is something that I had never experienced in a school that I attended anywhere. ... I was surprised everybody at [Banbury Crossroads School] was doing all this for one person, but that's what you get to experience at [Banbury Crossroads School].”
  • “[Banbury Crossroads School] creates such a positive environment and positive memories. A lot of people, when they think about school, they think, ‘oh, I'm glad I'm done with it.’ That's not [what it's like] for me. It was kind of like a family. I still have strong relationships and friendships from [Banbury Crossroads School]. I hope those continue to grow. It's just been phenomenal.”
  • “[The teachers and I] had an ongoing discussion, in order to meet the deadlines, in my case, it was for the provincials that I wanted to write. We brainstormed, and figured out a plan to succeed. [The teachers] offered a lot of help outside of the regular school hours. I remember that we met at [Banbury Crossroads School] on Saturdays, I think, for four weeks in a row, just to get ready for the provincials, and make sure that we covered all the material. I felt I was very well prepared going into it, and I did very well. That was fantastic.”
  • “Most students, especially when they reach high school … have a pretty good understanding of what works for them, and what doesn't. Sometimes [students] just need a comfortable and safe environment in order to communicate what bothers them, or what works for them. At [Banbury Crossroads School], I experienced really great teachers that were able to work with me and prepare me for what I needed to achieve.”

More about Banbury Crossroads School

Back to Banbury Crossroads School overview

Key insights on Banbury Crossroads School

Each school is different. Banbury Crossroads School's Feature Review excerpts disclose its unique character. Based on discussions with the school's alumni, parents, students, and administrators, they reveal the school’s distinctive culture, community, and identity.

See key insights about Banbury Crossroads School

Our Kids Feature Review

The 50-page review of Banbury Crossroads School is part of our series of in-depth accounts of Canada's leading private schools. It provides a unique and objective perspective on the school's academics, programs, culture, and community.

  • 1:8 classroom sizes, multi-age classrooms, and a self-directed learning approach to education.
  • An intimate, family atmosphere teaches mutual respect, active listening and conflict resolution, and non-competitive cooperation.
Read our in-depth review

Our Kids Feature Review video

Learn about Banbury Crossroads School's unique and defining characteristics through this informative video.

Watch the review

More video reviews

Alum, Rachel Mclean (2021)

Watch our alum interview with Rachel Mclean to learn about the unique experience of attending Banbury Crossroads School.

More written reviews


Parent, Hafeeza Atif (2020)

Best school in Calgary. All teachers are very nice, kind and helpful. Guidance at all points. They teach the concepts in a such a positive way and let the child learn at his/her own pace. Diane Siawte...


Parent, Thalia Zelnik (2020)

My daughter likes Banbury Crossroads School because of the very personal, family-oriented atmosphere she gets from her teachers and all the staff at the school. The student/teacher ratio is very good,...

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Banbury Crossroads School

Next steps to continue your research:

 Add to shortlist

By logging in or creating an account, you agree to Our Kids' Terms and Conditions. Information presented on this page may be paid advertising provided by the advertisers [schools/camps/programs] and is not warranted or guaranteed by or its associated websites. By using this website, creating or logging into an Our Kids account, you agree to Our Kids' Terms and Conditions. Please also see our Privacy Policy. Our Kids ™ © 2023 All right reserved.