My eldest spent Key Stage 1 in a state school class of 31. Whilst he enjoyed school, it quickly became clear that being in such a large class was detrimental to his learning. OFSTED had rated the school he was attending ‘Outstanding’. He was achieving an average level in phonics and maths but was quickly becoming disillusioned with learning. In stark contrast, D, my youngest has been at Hatherop Castle School since he was two and has loved every single minute of Pre-Prep.
By having small class sizes and individualised learning opportunities, he is engaged and happy at school. This has allowed him to develop a strong foundation of knowledge, closely supported by the teachers and assistants. Every member of staff knows him so well that they are able to effectively challenge and support him. Without the pressure of SATS, D has been able to embrace the joy of learning.
The extra curricular on offer at Hatherop and specialist teachers
Being taught by specialist teachers for Music, French, Art and Sport has allowed my youngest to experience a wider range of learning from a young age. Through introduction of these subjects from Nursery at Hatherop, D embraces all of his learning and is ready for bigger challenges. He also loves the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer and my mind boggles when I think about all of the extras he is able to do. He thinks nothing of tackling speech and drama, fencing, tennis and karate (to name a few) in addition to everything else the school day offers.
The importance of early involvement in productions and performing
Hatherop Castle School feels like one big family and by having such a wide exposure to a variety of older children and adults, D has developed invaluable life skills and is confident in communicating with a wide variety of people. Taking part in productions and assemblies from nursery has helped him develop confidence in performing and speaking in public. The regular productions have challenged him to work with a team, be patient and cope when things do not go to plan. The lights are bright when standing on stage, but now D is in Prep 2, he takes it all in his stride and loves to lead the dazzling show with his friends.
Both of my children are thriving at Hatherop Castle School and moving them here was the best decision we could have made. The space for them to be free and enjoy their childhood, the specialist teachers and the individualised learning has allowed them to thrive in their early years. Their first years of learning are so precious and important and I am so thankful that I have found such a wonderful school to nurture and guide them through this time in their life.
I feel certain that if we had stayed in the state sector, my eldest could have lost his spark for learning and may have seen school as a chore. If I had to make the decision again, I would have returned to full time work earlier to ensure that both children were able to experience Key stage 1 at Hatherop Castle School.