British School of Osteopathy


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British School of Osteopathy

Age: 93

History: The UK's oldest and largest school of osteopathy was founded in 1917 and became a charity in 1963.

Address: Borough High Street in London, five minutes' walk south from London Bridge.

Ambience: The school is housed in a large modern block, in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Borough and Southwark. Students come from a variety of backgrounds and ages, and with only 471 of them on the M.Ost degree course it creates a family-like atmosphere. Some students come fresh from A-levels, while others are retraining after past lives as the likes of sports people and city dealers.

Vital statistics: Since 2008 it has offered a Master of Osteopathy (M.Ost) degree – an undergraduate, four year masters programme validated by the University of Bedfordshire. The school houses the largest osteopathic clinic in Europe. With 34 treatment rooms, it gives students practical experience. There are also several outreach clinics in the local area and beyond.

Added value: More than 90 per cent of graduates are working as osteopaths within six months of graduation. There is a student café and bar on site. HRH Princess Royal is the patron of the school, attending all graduation ceremonies, and she takes a very active role in school affairs. Most tutors are also practitioners.

Easy to get into? Competitive. For school leavers they look for 3 A-levels at grades BBC, including a B or above in biology and preferably a second scientific subject (ideally chemistry). Applications from mature students are also encouraged and they take other work and life experience into account. Prospective students must also attend an assessment day, where they have to demonstrate skills suitable for the job.

Glittering alumni: Dr Elizabeth-Anne Redgrave; Professor Laurie Hartman, internationally renowned osteopaths.

Transport links: Excellent. School is bang opposite Borough tube, and is also walking distance from London Bridge and Waterloo station.

Who's the boss? Charles Hunt took over as principal and chief executive in May 2006.

Teaching: As an independent institution the BSO is not rated like more mainstream universities. Approach to teaching is personal and detailed - teacher/ student ratio in technique classes is 1:8 and 1:4 in the clinical centre.The course has recognised qualification status, which allows graduates to apply for registration with the General Osteopathic Council.

Research: The UK's leading centre of osteopathic research and a member of the National Council for Osteopathic Research. The school publishes the Osteopathic Research and Treatment Bulletin and staff find their way into journals on subjects such as chronic back pain and the role of function in osteopathy. Undergraduate research is also supported.

Nightlife: Its central location means that students have the pick of London nightlife. There is a bar on site, whilst the pubs, restaurants, theatres and clubs on the South Bank are five minutes' walk away and Covent Garden and the West End are nearby.

Any accommodation? None provided by the school itself, but they can help with finding private rented housing.

Cheap to live there? Not really: this is London, after all.

Fees: The University of Bedfordshire, which validates degrees at BSO, is proposing to charge £9,000 per year for students enrolling from September 2012.

Bursaries: The BSO offers a bursary of £420 to students with a household income of less than £25,000 and a further £420 to students who have completed its Access course or come from various local boroughs.

Prospectus: 020 7089 5316;

UCAS code: B87