Benefits of Independent Education from a young age – Chris Calvey, Headmaster Great Walstead School

09 Nov 2018

With league tables an established part of our educational system, older children’s learning experience is very much focused on passing an exam with the best possible grade.  Indeed many schools now decide which A-Level options pupils can take based on the likelihood of getting the best grade, sometimes at the expense of that particular pupil picking the subject they feel most passionate about which is such a shame.

What it does mean, is those younger, more informative school years are more important than ever before, as they provide schools with the opportunity to really develop a child’s love of learning, their curiosity and their ability to be creative problem solvers.  A child’s first 8 years at school can set them up with the skills and resilience they need to enjoy learning and ultimately to be prepared for the work place or university.  Whatever the A-Level grade they achieve, at university or in the workplace they will have to use the skills they have learnt and apply them to problems they will not have faced in their GCSE or Sixth Form Syllabus.

At Great Walstead, we put as much value on skills which include curiosity, creativity and the ability to confidently make and then learn from our mistakes.  These become the focus in the classroom where subjects are linked through engaging topics and cross curricular opportunities so that pupils are able to work collaboratively with interdisciplinary skills.  By developing this attitude at a younger age, it becomes a habit and is something that will stay with them during and after their schooling life.

The class sizes and teaching assistant support in Prep and Pre-Prep Schools also allow for a highly individual approach to teaching where each pupils needs can be met specifically.  This ensures that foundations in literacy and numeracy are strong.  Teachers are also able to get to know their pupils very well and develop those personal and social skills that enable children to deal with their emotions and have a strong sense of community and respect for each other.

Investment in our children’s education at a younger age can really set them up with a positive attitude to learning, coupled with an emotional intelligence which will give them the attitude to be successful in this ever changing world of ours.

Great Walstead School, West Sussex