We speak to Kay Goldsworthy, head of St Ives School in Haslemere, Surrey
How long have you been at St Ives School?
This is my seventh year. I joined in 2011 as head of English, and I was delighted to be promoted to headteacher in 2014. I love working at the school and believe it’s a very special place.
Tell us a bit about the history of the school.
St Ives is a school for girls aged two to 11 and boys aged two to seven years. It opened in 1911 on the other side of Haslemere, but moved to its current eight-acre site on Three Gates Lane in 1966. Since then, it has expanded and developed its grounds and buildings, the most recent of which is The Ivies, our nursery and pre-prep building.
What do you see as the main strengths of your school?
St Ives offers an outstanding education within a fun, supportive community, where the individual progress of each pupil is celebrated. We are unique in our small size, which means our pupil-to-teacher ratio is the best in the area, giving children excellent individual attention as and when they need it. Being small also means our pastoral care is second to none – our pupils leave us brimming with confidence. I believe these are the main reasons St Ives was shortlisted for ‘Pre-Prep/Prep School of the Year’ at the TES Awards 2018.
What do pupils get up to outside the classroom?
Our pupils are taken regularly on educational trips, such as visits to Arundel Castle and animal sanctuaries, and they gain so much from this. They are already so lucky to be in our newest and most modern building, The Ivies, as it has so much indoor and outdoor space for exploring. However, we find taking the children out on regular educational visits gives them even more hands-on learning and brings each key topic to life.
How do you prepare the children for their later years at school?
The teachers in The Ivies provide a warm, caring environment where pupils learn to be independent, confident and sociable. The children also have full access to a range of facilities in the school such as the gym, the woodland and Forest School area, which means they are familiar with the whole school and are less daunted when the time comes to move into Reception.
We also offer a ‘Reception Readiness’ programme, which focuses on weekly afternoon sessions that run throughout the summer term. Children get to know their Reception teacher and spend time in their new classroom, so they are fully prepared for starting ‘big school’ in September.
What’s in the pipeline for this year?
Our new drama room will open in the summer term, where we will hold weekly musical theatre sessions. We’re also big on playtime and the outdoors, and have a new Pirate Ship being installed this term.
We look forward to welcoming a record number of new pupils in September, but we’ll also be sad to say goodbye to our current Year Sixes, who are off to seven different senior schools. Earlier this year, we were also delighted to find out we were shortlisted for ‘Pre-Prep/Prep School of the Year’ at the TES Awards. Only eight Prep Schools from the whole country have been nominated for this accolade and we are the only one in our area, so suffice to say, we’re thrilled!
Open morning: Thursday 17 May – stiveshaslemere.com