Choosing a School in COVID Times | Surbiton High School
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Choosing a School in COVID Times

Posted: 15th June 2021

As if choosing a school for children was not hard enough already! Throw a pandemic and a rollercoaster of learning environments in the way, and your mind is completely muddled.

There are many arguments – including many dinner party ones – where the debate about independent versus state becomes a hot topic. In our area of Kingston, Richmond and Elmbridge, we are blessed with some incredible state schools where children achieve and thrive. However, there are so many factors to consider when you are choosing a school.

One of the unique selling points for the independent sector is the opportunity to create an innovative curriculum full of passion, excitement and challenge. This can be done outside the confines of the National Curriculum, enhancing the knowledge and skills which the youngest of brains are so much more capable of maximising. Early Years teams across the country create exhilarating and stimulating environments for their 4/5 year olds. Here at Surbiton High Boys’ Prep School we are no different, except that we aim to enhance that provision with the challenge and rigour afforded to us in our small class sizes. Only recently, I witnessed Reception ensconced in a maths partitioning lesson more likely to be found in a Year 2 classroom. The individual access to the curriculum ensures that all individual learners have a tailored programme which befits their needs by stretching or supporting as appropriate. Starting on that engaged learning programme where all children thrive and flourish means that they are suitably prepared for the transition years which lay ahead of them.

Our subject-specialist model here at Surbiton High Boys’ Prep School ensures that all aspects of a child’s learning life are tailored to their needs, taking into account their strengths and weaknesses. The beauty of this model is that the children have a great sense of pride in their achievements, and we can celebrate all aspects of their holistic development. This then balances out those subjects which they find a little more challenging. We work with the individual children and in intervention groups to extend their knowledge, stretch and support them at each stage of their journey.

The opportunity to access a full wraparound offering is here on your doorstep. The children can have breakfast, lunch and snack tea with us if you so wish, between 7.30am and 6.00pm. In addition to this, they can take part in Co-curricular clubs most days; currently there are about 50 clubs on offer (despite COVID-19 restrictions) over the course of a week. If logistics prove challenging, we have a bus route, as well as a drive-through drop-off and pick-up point. By the time you have collected your children, or they have arrived home, they will have had an action-packed day, full of challenges, fun and incredible learning. If only we were all back at school age!

The pandemic and numerous lockdowns have also shown us how incredibly resilient our children have been. Our embedded pastoral programme, increased throughout lockdown, has enabled pupils to take each change and transition in their stride. They have become proficient at adapting to change: moving swiftly from rolling out of bed onto Microsoft Teams lessons to being up and out, uniform on, with daily school routines adhered to. Clearly it has not even been that simple, with additional restrictions and risk assessments put in place which they have also had to get used to. Nevertheless, there is not a day that goes by since the first lockdown was announced that I don’t thank my lucky stars for how well the children in our care have fared.

Back to choosing a school… my strongest piece of advice would be to go with your gut instinct. Only you know what you need, want and desire for your child’s schooling, and which environment they will best flourish within. Wherever you choose, we wish them the happiest days of their lives.

Tracey Chong

Head of Boys’ Preparatory School

Categories: Boys' Prep School
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