As a family, we were searching for a school for our two small girls which provided academic excellence and stretch, but within a nurturing environment where delivery of the curriculum was both creative and thoughtful. Luckily for us, we didn’t have to search very far because, just around the corner, there is The Royal School.
Our older daughter joined the school in Reception and is now in Prep 4. Our younger daughter joined the Little Sailors Nursery at the age of about 12 months and has just moved up to Reception this year. Both are blissfully happy at school and run in enthusiastically every morning, anticipating “a million, squillion fortigrammes of fun” as my littlest puts it.
For the youngest children, we have found The Royal School to be a loving and supportive environment, where children are encouraged to explore and experiment as part of their everyday learning. Through the nursery years, our younger daughter received affectionate and consistent care from her dedicated nursery practitioners, who were always prepared to go to great lengths to ensure her needs were met and that she was encouraged to stretch herself when she was capable of achieving the next milestones. It is impossible to fake pride and affection where small children are concerned, and none of us were ever in any doubt about how invested the staff were in our daughter’s progress. This nurturing approach to the care and education of the youngest children persists into Reception and we have been so impressed by the seamless transition that our littlest has made into “big school”.
Our older daughter was also a beneficiary of this caring approach, which was especially important for her as she is an August baby and was the youngest in her year for a long while. Her teachers have skilfully balanced her needs for extra emotional and social support with her appetite for being stretched academically. Her achievements have been rewarded with appropriate recognition and this has enabled her to feel very proud of herself. On the occasions when she has had friendship issues, these have always been taken seriously and dealt with diligently by the staff. I am impressed with the way that all staff are involved in the care of each child in the school so that, when a child does have pastoral needs, all of the staff are informed and can act or support if necessary.
We have also appreciated the enormous range of activities available at The Royal School. Music is especially strong, with the exceptional Head of Music being very ambitious for the children. In addition to the timetabled music lessons, the children can join a wide range of choirs and musical ensembles, depending on which instruments they play. There is always room even for the newest beginner and the quality of what they produce is outstanding.
The beautiful grounds of the school are also used to the fullest extent, with forest school and outdoor learning being woven into the full curriculum in an imaginative and creative way.
Sport is also a big feature, with all the usual sports, including external fixtures, being played in school time. We particularly appreciate this, as there is no need to ferry children around after school for away matches at other locations.
Clubs, both at break times and after school, are a big hit with us as parents and with the children themselves. The range of clubs on offer is astonishing, covering everything from golf, to ballet, robotics, music, gardening and much more besides. For parents who work longer hours, there is a lovely breakfast club and after school provision sufficient to meet the needs of London commuters like us. All of this is done to a consistently high standard, so that we as parents can be sure that our children are happy and engaged with what they are doing.
Thanks to The Royal School, both of our children are happy and determined learners, safe in the knowledge that they are always supported. The School’s ethos is very much about pastoral care, and that is not just about teachers caring for children, it is about children learning to respect and be kind to each other.
The School’s non-selection policy is an enormous strength. Every child is celebrated for who they are and what they individually can achieve. The children know instinctively, without having to think about it, that all of their friends are special in different ways and this produces a wonderful harmony across the School.
Children who need to be stretched academically get that stretch and achieve to their full ability, but this is done without fanfare. Within the same classroom, children who need extra support get it, and this is also done without fuss. As a result, children across a wide range of academic abilities coexist happily in the same classroom, each getting what they need and all considering themselves equally valuable as human beings. It is this which, for us, distinguishes The Royal School as being exceptionally special.