What happens if the thinking capacity of highly gifted adolescents is set loose on a wide range of surprising academic subjects? The Mandeville Academy offers a small group of these students the opportunity to spend one year to look at various problems from different angles. Along the way these students will discover what drives them and what talents and interests they possess. It allows them to find their own path in life and prepare for the next steps in their development.

The academic year at Mandeville Academy is divided in four terms. A new subject will be taught each week by a visiting teacher. He or she will determine the way a subject is taught: in a classroom setting, working in groups, role-play and excursions; everything is possible. The teacher will be invited to stay in the teacher’s apartment in the academy building and participate in the students’ daily life. This gives them the opportunity to get to know each student personally. Because of the small student body of about 15 and this direct interaction with the teachers there is ample room for improvisation.


The first term is for getting acquainted with each other, with the new surroundings and with the appropriate ‘etiquette’. The students are responsible for the daily business of running the Academy; if needed they will receive advice. During this period work will be done on subjects like local history and customs, presentation techniques, gastronomy and proper manners in business and elsewhere.

The theme of the second term is ‘From the first bang to yesterday.’ Highly qualified guest teachers will take the students on a tour through the history of Earth, in the broadest sense of the word. They will explore the development of our planet and of mankind, studying subjects like astronomy, biology, ancient civilizations, the history of science and crucial historic events.

During the third term the students will be properly introduced to man-made systems and structures that were put in place to make sense of the world. This means they study world religions, philosophy of science and law, political sciences, politics, conflict management and negotiating techniques; giving the students indispensable skills in order to determine their relationship to the world that surrounds them.

In the final term the students will be prepared for life after the Mandeville Academy. Students will learn to formulate and present their goals and get acquainted with practical skills like entrepreneurship, project management, ICT, marketing and fund-raising.

Continuous subjects

Besides the thematic approach, Mandeville also offers a range of other subjects during the year. Students are taught martial arts, like fencing or krav maga. In order to be prepared for work or studies abroad, they are given a thorough understanding of the English language. The students will also cooperate on one or more projects during the year.

Personal development

During the first term, each student will set his or her personal goals for the academic year and he or she will the present these to the other students. A mentor will regularly discuss progress with each student, look for issues and help the student accomplish his or her goals or adapt these accordingly. Each student will have a turn in presenting an evening filled with personal stories and media fragments to his fellow students, just like in the Dutch TV show ‘Zomergasten.’

The personal development of the students not only takes place within the walls of the Mandeville Academy, as the objective is to determine one’s course in the world and set sail accordingly. For this reason students will deliver a social service job of their choice, for about one shift per week.

Study trips

Students will participate in a study trip once or twice a year to a destination fitting with the theme of the curriculum.

Living intern

During the academic year students will be interned in the Mandeville Academy. Each room is shared by two students and is fully yet soberly equipped; comparable to a college dormitory. Students will take care of housekeeping and supplies together. On weekdays they will cook and have their meals together.

From the building of the Mandeville Academy, located in the historic city centre of Gouda, students can easily join in the daily life in this friendly city. Public transport, shops, bars and other facilities are all within walking distance.

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