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Trafalgar Castle School:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades Gr. 4 TO Gr. 12 — Whitby, ON (Map)

Trafalgar Castle School:

Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Trafalgar Castle School (2021)

Trafalgar Castle School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Byanna, Michelle, Karen had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Byanna — alum

Byanna graduated from Trafalgar Castle School as head girl in 2016, and then went on to the University of Toronto to pursue a double major in ethics, society and law, and diaspora and transnational studies. She plans on continuing her education with a master’s degree in public policy, with the goal of working with the United Nations in the future. She appreciated the wide variety of classes and opportunities offered to her during he time at Trafalgar Castle School, and felt that she was prepared both academically and socially to succeed in her post-secondary education.

  • “I spent six years at [Trafalgar Castle School] and during my journey there, I realized how valuable the varied curriculum was. … A lot of people don't know how [many courses] are offered at [Trafalgar Castle School], especially being such a small school. When I was there, we were offered Latin and Mandarin, such diverse and unique classes for such young girls. I think it's amazing to have been given the foundation and the platform to learn these different classes at such a young age so that when you do graduate from [Trafalgar Castle School], you have a better idea of what you love and what you want to learn at university.”
  • “[What differentiates Trafalgar Castle School] is that it is a small school. ... And with that comes the intimate class sizes, and knowing everybody. I know that even within the CAIS schools, [Trafalgar Castle School] is always one of the smallest in terms of class sizes. I think that's something so unique from my graduating class, that there were 35 students. When I tell that to people, they're always like ‘35 students!? That was the number of students in my biology class.’ It really did foster sisterhood and a family. Within a month, you knew the staff and you knew all the students.”
  • “Whether you were in Grade 12 or in Grade 5, you knew everybody at [Trafalgar Castle School]. I think that's really important and unique, especially when it comes to focus and discipline within an academic setting because it allowed the teachers to get to know each student on a very intimate and one-on-one level. So academically, they know your academic history to a tee. They're able to help you with anything and everything that you need to succeed, and because of that, your academic journey at [Trafalgar Castle School] is really refined, and you can fine-tune it along the way. I think that's something that I haven't seen at other independent schools.”
  • “[At Trafalgar Castle School], you really don't feel like you get lost within the school, and you're not just one of the other students. You get to make your mark there, and whoever you want to be you can be during your time there.”
  • “[Trafalgar Castle School] has always had the ability to evolve and keep up with the times, whether it's through their academic curriculum or the extracurriculars, they've always offered the newest and most unique programs and activities. Their vision has always been carried out through their love and dedication for the girls. I think that's really important.”
  • “You really see the happiness of the students and the teachers [at Trafalgar Castle School]. Everyone is just smiling all the time. When you put passion into something, you will never be motivated to do anything less than that, and you'll always be motivated to keep learning. ... [Trafalgar Castle School] was always willing to learn. They were always willing to take feedback, which is so important. They were always willing to sit back and say, ‘how can I change this?’ or ‘what can we do better here?’ and listen to the feedback of parents, the feedback of students, and the feedback of current staff. With that always came more refined programs, more refined opportunities for the girls, and ultimately a more holistic environment.”
  • “[Trafalgar Castle School] is one of the private schools that is tucked away. We're a little bit far from everyone else, being in the heart of Whitby, which is a blessing because we have a small, unique community.”
  • “Not only is [Trafalgar Castle School] truly in a castle but [Trafalgar Castle School] has really kept the integrity of the building. All of the bones from 150-plus years ago are still there, and that is so unique.”
  • “I remember when I would give tours, I was excited to see the looks on parents’ faces when they would step into the school. I think that's what new families would find most surprising.”
  • “At [Trafalgar Castle School] you're in an environment where you have help, you have help from the staff. You have help from your peers, and you have the ability to do these really unique activities and programs.”

Michelle — current parent

Michelle has one daughter that attends Trafalgar Castle School. She was initially drawn to the school because of the beautiful architecture of the castle, the kindness of the staff, and the welcoming atmosphere. Michelle grew to appreciate the strong values of the school that are being instilled in her daughter, which has contributed to her self-confidence. The school has given her daughter many leadership opportunities and made her feel as though her voice is heard and her opinions are valued in the community.

  • “When we found [Trafalgar Castle School], we were like, ‘wow, this is close to home. Let's check it out.’ We came in to [Trafalgar Castle School], and the brilliance of the Castle was very like, ‘wow.’ We liked the Castle. We went inside and we were invited in by the warmest staff. The system was clear and it was structured. It was very organized and welcoming. We had a chance to talk to the principal in the hallway and got invited into her office. She gave us a tour, and we thought, ‘Wow, the staff are amazing.’ We looked around, heard about their program, and loved the environment. I went to an all-girls high school that looked like a Castle, and I thought ‘this would be great for my daughter to go to as well.’”
  • “We've discovered is that [the school] is a hidden gem, and we're so grateful that we found [Trafalgar Castle School] as a home for our daughter. [Trafalgar Castle School] is a community, a family.”
  • “My daughter has been ill a lot, especially in her first year. The school nurse [at Trafalgar Castle School] is outstanding and supportive. … Supportive in terms of her care. We started off choosing [Trafalgar Castle School] as a school, but now we choose it because it's a caring, supportive community for my daughter's well-being. For me, that is even more important than what we're talking about academically, because when you have a child that sometimes gets ill, one way or the other, what you're looking for is that level of support.”
  • “The teachers are fantastic at [Trafalgar Castle School]. The teachers are part of a team. There [is] support outside of the classroom. ... Because my daughter has had to have so many interactions outside of the classroom, that is the greatest gift that [Trafalgar Castle School] has given to her. So we started with [Trafalgar Castle School] because we love the school, and we're staying because it's our community. It's our family.”
  • “[Trafalgar Castle School] really reset [my daughter’s] confidence. It's realigned. [Trafalgar Castle School] allowed her to revisit her own voice, which was sort of getting lost in the noise. The environment at [Trafalgar Castle School] allowed her to dig back in, and see a space for her leadership, her style of leadership.”
  • “My daughter likes to interact with adults as much as her peers, and the small, warm, supportive, engaging environment at [Trafalgar Castle School] allowed her to build relationships across the school, not just with her class. She was able to build relationships with teachers. … She was building relationships with faculty. She was even building relationships with the caretakers of the property, and this is important for her. She's a people person. She likes to talk, she likes to be out interacting, and the school provided that environment where she had that opportunity for Student Council.”
  • “[My daughter] believes in her leadership abilities, but she wasn't sure that it would be obvious at the beginning of her tenure at [Trafalgar Castle School]. So coming in, running for Student Council, and being given that opportunity, really set her on the right path to really double down on her belief, and build up her confidence in her leadership abilities. That's the big piece for her, because she is the kind of person that she wanted to lead, and [Trafalgar Castle School] has provided her with the space to go ahead and do that, do anything.”
  • “[Trafalgar Castle School] is [my daughter’s] home. That's where she'd like to live. ... She totally loves the school. She loves the environment. She loves the landscape. She loves the people. She's already built relationships with the housing team there. … She's really deeply connected to the school, and very much owns it, and cares about the school, not just for herself, but she cares about the image of the school.”
  • “[My daughter] says, ‘[Trafalgar Castle School] is my home, and this is where I'll be until I go off to university.’ It really is very comforting for me that she feels safe. She feels secure. She feels at home, and what that leaves is room for her to focus on the main thing.”
  • “[Three words] I chose [to describe Trafalgar Castle School are] inclusive, supportive, and inventive.”
  • “Every person [at Trafalgar Castle School], including the students, are looking out for each other. My daughter is working with a Grade 5 student, and on a Saturday morning, she cares about that student. ... That level of inclusion is non-existent [elsewhere]. It's the kind of family that doesn't exist anywhere else. … I also like the inclusion of parents. … The invitation for feedback, formally and informally.”
  • “I like the fact that the students have their voices included in the conversation at [Trafalgar Castle School], and I'm very impressed to see that students feel like they can give that feedback. My brother and I were home one day when [my daughter] was writing a note to the head of school, and we thought, ‘you can't write that note to your principal’, and she says, ‘oh, yes, I can write it… .’ Then she received a response, and was invited for a call to have the conversation.”
  • “If the child isn't getting the results, there are extra classes for math, and there's online [help]. There are [students] calling the teachers setting up times [for students to get extra help].”
  • “[Trafalgar Castle School’s values are] what sets up our girls for the future. When skills must change, when careers must change, when the world changes, when we get knocked down, we lean on our values. So to teach the values, not just to have it up as a script, and to help them understand how it helps them to build and to be better people. That is absolutely critical, and that's one of the keys to the success of Trafalgar Castle [School] experience.”

Karen — current parent

Karen has one daughter that attends Trafalgar Castle School and is currently the chair of the school’s board of directors. Her daughter was originally struggling in the public school system, so Karen decided to make the switch to Trafalgar Castle School. Immediately she saw improvement in her daughter’s grades, as well as her mood. She believes that the all-girls component of the school has contributed to this success, and has allowed her to form a sisterhood with her friends there without any distractions. She feels that the school saved her daughter’s life, and has helped empower her to be the best person she can be academically and socially.

  • “I cannot stress enough what a game-changer [attending Trafalgar Castle School] was for [my daughter]. I feel confident in saying that it saved her life. Other people will say that it changed the course of her life. What I didn't expect was the level of community that was at the school … What's been the best thing is that they truly believed in my daughter.”
  • “[Trafalgar Castle School] believed in [my daughter] when she didn't believe in herself, and that's been a really big game-changer. She entered [Trafalgar Castle School] failing 3 out of 4 courses, and she's now a prefect, has high honours, and she's going to the university of her choice. She couldn't have done that without the village behind her. It sounds so cliche to say it takes a village, but it really does. That village for us is [Trafalgar Castle School].”
  • “[The biggest impact Trafalgar Castle School has had was on my daughter’s] confidence. ... [Trafalgar Castle School] has given [my daughter] the ability to go out, shine, be strong, and be confident. The head of the school has a really great expression. She says, ‘at Trafalgar Castle [School], the best science student is a girl, the best athlete is a girl, and the best actor is a girl.’ It really has empowered my daughter, and empowered her friends.”
  • “[My daughter] loves [Trafalgar Castle School]. ... She's like every teenager. Sometimes there are complaints, but she loves it. ... She has confidence in having a friend group and having a tight friend group. … I think in particular, in high school, it is a game-changer to have just a single-sex high school. She's great. She has to get up. She gets on the Go train, takes the Go train in, and there are very few complaints.”
  • “[The personality of Trafalgar Castle School if it were a person would be] smart, engaged, and empowered.”
  • “The values of [Trafalgar Castle School] are lived values. I see it with my daughter. I see it every single day. It's in actions, it's in words, it's in being able to feel confident enough to address the head of school, to feel confident enough to address when you think there's a problem. … That comes out of the value system that's taught and lived at the school.”
  • “[The values at Trafalgar Castle School] are not just words, they’re actions. It's an expectation that when something doesn't feel right and doesn't seem right, they will address it. To me, those values at [Trafalgar Castle School] are lived every single day, and it makes [the school] such a great, strong and empowering place to send your daughter.”

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Alum, Roopan Gill (2021)

Watch our alum interview with Roopan Gill to learn about the unique experience of attending Trafalgar Castle School.

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Trafalgar Castle School

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