Prospective Parents

What we don’t believe

  1. We don’t believe in cramming. We start preparing for the 11+ in Reception, because the first step leads to the second, the second to the third, and so on.
  2. We don’t believe any child is too young to be challenged. The challenge must just be appropriate for his/her age. Potty training is an appropriate challenge for a young child, for example. Challenge should never be avoided, just designed especially for the individual.
  3. We don’t believe parents should have to choose between happiness or academic challenge. We believe that an appropriate challenge, within an atmosphere of love, leads to satisfaction, fulfilled potential and the discovery of gifts, which in turn lead to happiness. So challenge leads to happiness and high self-esteem, and avoidance of challenge the reverse.
  4. We don’t believe children should be pushed, like a broken-down car. The broken child finds it difficult to learn; he/she needs ideally to be mended first, although mending and learning can occur at the same time in an atmosphere of love and encouragement. Indeed, learning can be healing. The teacher puts the right key in the ignition, and the car starts. We know that each car (child) proceeds at a different pace, but we don’t believe in keeping any car in the inside lane with the brakes on. Nor do we believe in encouraging cars to spin out of control.
  5. We don’t believe we can teach your child everything in seven years. Knowledge is infinite. We provide the tools to unlock knowledge. Different methods of reasoning are passports to future learning. Maths and English are foundational. For example, until you can read fluently and unlock the meaning of complex words, most subject disciplines are closed to you. So we cannot teach your child the whole of History, but we can give him/her the tools to begin a lifelong interest in History. First, he/she must learn to read, to listen, to decipher, to uncover facts, to understand the difference between objectivity and subjectivity, to see that different people in different places at different times were valuable, that their experiences of life differed, that this affected their choices and self-understanding, that we should not generalise or stereotype, that we cannot assume that we (or our era) has everything right. We cannot teach your child the whole of History, but we can give him/her a hunger to learn more about the past and the sensitivity to approach the past well. And thus with Geography, Science and so on.
  6. We don’t believe we can provide your child with every single opportunity there is. We cannot visit every museum, nor can we play every single sport, nor can we provide every club. Opportunities are multitudinous, and we would kill ourselves and your child trying to provide all of them. Instead, we can provide a selection of extra-curricular clubs and opportunities from different areas to ignite artistic, dramatic, musical, linguistic and sporting passion.
  7. We don’t believe that rushing, exhausted, from one thing to another is healthy. We believe that calm and order are the right conditions for learning, and that repeated daily routines are very helpful for children’s personal and academic progress.
  8. We don’t believe there is anything shameful in going wrong. School is a training ground, and we expect to train. Training includes sanctions, which are designed to refine behaviour. Refined behaviour leads to growth of character, which gives the conditions for maximum progress.
  9. We don’t believe every second of every day need be either fun or easy. Some things need drilling: times tables, for example. Drilling can be dull but is very important at primary school. Some things are hard – that’s ok.
  10. We don’t believe that children should feel anxious or pressurised. That’s why the journey proceeds in graduated attainable steps, not in a big rush at the end. Homework is, therefore, done in small ‘portions’ from Monday to Thursday, with the weekend (except sometimes in Year 6) for rest and family time.
  11. We don’t believe in over-examining children.
  12. We don’t believe parents should have to do children’s homework – it’s designed for the child. We do believe parents have a key role in providing an ordered routine and a quiet space for homework – and that parental interest in academic progress has a hugely beneficial effect.
  13. We don’t believe that we educate alone. We educate in partnership with parents. This is definitely not a ‘singles’ match, where the school is pitted against the parents. It is a ‘doubles’ match, where you, the parents, and we, the school form one team. We look over the net together at your child’s future.