A non-selective independent prep school

Recently, I’ve been asked how can you reconcile a non-selective intake (which we have) with selection, or preparation for selection, as an output?  By and large, all of our children take, or are prepared to take, entrance assessment into selective independent senior schools.  I am curious about the decision-making process that encourages parents to recognise that, despite no assessment at 3 years old, they are willing for their children to be assessed at 10 or 11.  It is, as always, best to go straight to the parents and I asked this question, this morning at our regular Head’s briefing.  The responses were incredibly valuable as we seek to reinforce the strength of St Joseph’s In The Park in providing the best possible education for all children.  I’ve summarised the parent responses here.

  • The school nurtures the children and supports them as they mature into well-rounded students, provided challenge at a range of ability levels.
  • We don’t know who they are at 3 or 4.  We learn about them through their time at school.
  • The children are not categorised, set or limited in their mindset about who they are or what they can be.  We find strengths and celebrate them.
  •  Learning is enjoyable and from this position children are more willing to persevere despite greater challenges.
  • Nurturing the children drives a philosophy of learning and teaching that permeates the whole school community.
  • Awareness of the children enables a bespoke and individually crafted learning journey to be developed through the course of their time at school.
  • There is less pressure on any child, regardless of ability.
And to prove that it works, we had the highest ever number of children achieving Level 5 at KS2 SATs in English & Science in last years cohort.  Maths was lower than last year, although higher than 2013 and continuing the overall upward trend.  And coupled with the highest number of scholarships that our children achieved last year (8), we can be confident that the ethos and philosophy of the school is the best possible in having such positive outcomes on all our children.
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