EVERY parent’s goal is to make sure their children’s time at school is filled with happy memories, making friends and skills that will set them up for life.
But in the middle of an ongoing pandemic, it’s understandable that mums and dads have never been more anxious to wave their kids off at the school gate.
“It is our job to be here for the children and help put their minds at ease,” explains principal Keith Ellis.
“It is understandable that families are feeling very anxious, which is why our priority is making sure our pupils feel not only safe but happy.”
The school, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has an excellent reputation for academic success and caring staff.
With over 30 different nationalities, pupils are surrounded by different cultures, and many can speak several languages before reaching the senior school. But Keith believes it is helping children connect over similarities that helps create a ‘happy, family environment’.
He said: “We’re truly just all one big family and it has been such a joy to run this place for 25 years and see the smiles on the kids’ faces everyday.”
Keith acknowledges that the last 12 months may have been some of the toughest times pupils have ever faced but he’s also been delighted with the resilience and independence his students have shown.
Keith says that despite the challenges of the pandemic, the school’s 200 pupils are now reaping the benefits of an increased digital awareness.
“The younger children are so happy, they hardly notice anything different now while the older year groups have adapted very quickly to online learning. It has been very impressive to see.
“It has been a massive challenge but hugely rewarding. Online lessons via zoom and google classes give pupils live viewing from our classrooms. There is no disruption and they could be anywhere in the world and they are not going to miss a thing.
“It has opened up a lot of potential.”
Technology aside, Keith promises that most of school life will continue as normally as possible, with an expanded range of subjects, from History of Art to politics and psychology, and even more extracurricular activities on the horizon as the school gears up to build a state of the art sports complex.
“It will have everything a child could ever want,” says Keith. There will be a heated swimming pool, a gym, beautician, even a restaurant.”
The idea is that the sports centre will be used exclusively by pupils during the day but at night and over the weekend, will be opened up to local residents.
Keith believes that involving the whole community in the future of the school is ‘key to its success’.
He says: “A school plays a big part in the community and in return the environment around the school is of massive importance. The more involvement we can have in the community, the stronger the school can be.”