What is your personal approach to education?
Education should be relevant, interesting, stimulating, engaging but above all fun! Children need lots of opportunities for investigation and challenge. Learning can take place anywhere, in and out of the classroom and we must seize each opportunity. Every child should leave St Ives at the end of the day feeling that today really was the best day ever.
How do you judge your success?
St Ives is truly independent and somewhere that opens doors to a variety of next-stage schools. We strive to offer everyone the opportunity to do their best to be their best. Seeing the children happy to try something new, take risks and give it their all with confidence means we have done our job well. We know that they are prepared for that next important step, whatever and wherever that might be.
Why do you think St Ives was shortlisted for Pre-Prep/Prep School of the Year at the Tes Awards in February 2018?
I believe the reasons we were shortlisted are numerous. However, one of the main ones has to be that St Ives offers an outstanding education within a fun, supportive community where the individual progress of each pupil is truly celebrated. We are unique in our small size which means our pupil to teacher ratio is the best in the area, giving all our pupils excellent individual attention as and when they need it. Being small also means our pastoral care is second to none - our pupils have such a happy time here and leave us brimming with confidence.
What are your pupil demographics?
Our pupils predominantly come from the local area and from a variety of backgrounds. However since the completion of the Hindhead tunnel and the consequent improved accessibility of Haslemere, we are increasingly seeing more and more children come from towns slightly further afield such as Farnham, Petersfield and Godalming. School transport is also available to those who require it.
When can pupils join St Ives School?
There is no set rule as to when pupils can join St Ives. We take girls and boys in our pre-Prep from 2 years upwards and girls only from Year 3 onwards. Many of our children started in our Nursery and have journeyed all the way through, others join us throughout the different year groups depending on their own personal circumstances. Everyone is welcome and fully included in their peer group at whatever stage they join us.
How involved are parents in what goes on at the school?
Very! We operate an “open door” policy and encourage parents to take an active role in all aspects of the school. We have a very strong Parents’ Association and have “Link Parents” who help bridge the gap between home and school. It is important to listen and we are always seeking ways to take the school forward. I value the ideas and opinion of all those connected with St Ives.
How important is sport at St Ives?
There is no doubt that sport plays an important part of life at St Ives and we have quite a formidable reputation when it comes to competing! As well as two hours timetabled per week, children also take part in extra-curricular sports clubs both internally and externally in sports such as netball, hockey, cross country, tennis, horse riding and swimming. We regularly compete with other local independent schools and in many IAPS tournaments. All our pupils get the opportunity to play in matches and we offer A, B and C teams where numbers allow.
Where do St Ives pupils go to after they have left?
St Ives is a truly independent school and prides itself on preparing the girls for a wide range of senior schools, both locally and beyond. Typically these include local popular choices such as Guildford High School, Cranleigh School, Priors' Field, St Catherine’s, The Royal, Tormead and Dunhurst. Further afield our girls have gone to Queenswood, Rodean and Sherborne.
Senior school scholarships are often awarded to girls at St Ives and we are always delighted by the positive feedback we receive about our girls and how well they are prepared for life at senior school. Our year 2 boys are no exception to this and we have in place a rigorous and detailed programme designed to ensure that all our year 2 boys are fully prepared and completely ready for both the preparatory school entrance exam and the change of life they will find once they start in their new school in Year 3.
As a result of building relationships with a range of prep schools in our area, we know what these schools are looking for from our boys. It is this collaboration that forms the backbone of our work in ensuring that St Ives boys meet and exceed each criteria they set, and offering them solid and reliable preparation for the next stage of their academic careers.