The King’s School is celebrating a glowing report from The Good Schools Guide, which praises both its continued academic success and a renewed commitment to student well-being, with one parent commenting that the focus of the school is on ‘kindness, warmth and care’.
The Good Schools Guide (GSG) reviews more than 1,000 schools, covering state and independent, boarding and day, mainstream and special sectors. A GSG representative visited King’s in November and spent the day touring all areas of the school and met with an array of pupils, parents and staff.
Summarising the outstanding academic performance and vast co-curricular programme, the report concluded King’s is, “A fantastic, vibrant and friendly environment in which your child can attain high academic goals while nurturing their interests and passions, whatever they may be.”
The school is already celebrating the best GCSE and A Level results in Chester for 2018.
The report begins by discussing the impact of changes being made by Headmaster George Hartley.
One example cited is the scrapping of end of year exams for Year 7 and 8 students, in favour of regular assessments and the tracking of an individual’s performance throughout the year.
The report says, “He wants to mix academic excellence with outstanding pastoral care. It’s an educational elixir he hopes to deliver by helping students ‘learn in a way that is sustainable’: to take the undue pressure out of exams and introduce appropriately paced studying,”
Commenting on parental feedback, it says, “The fact that he makes himself approachable, even doing reading sessions with the children. ‘He has the best interests of the child at heart,’ said one parent.”
It adds, “Parents, too, seemed very aware of the increased pastoral emphasis; one suggested the school suffered locally from the perception that it was concerned only about academic results. ‘And it’s not, it’s all genuinely about looking after the child,’ he said.”
The offer of more than 120 clubs and activities through the extensive co-curricular and enrichment programme is commended, in particular the sporting opportunities
The report notes, “Senior sport is strong for both sexes; all the usual suspects on offer (netball, football, hockey, track and field, cricket et al) plus taekwondo, water polo, lacrosse. Mr Hartley is keen to ensure everyone gets chance to represent the school, at whatever level.”
Focussing on Willow Lodge and the Junior School, the report highlights the individual support and care given to each pupil.
“One parent whose child had struggled in maths said the school had worked with him at lunchtimes, even pulling in a maths teacher who was also his football coach because they communicated well. They work on little weaknesses, was the parental echo; they see the whole child, and don’t label them.”
Another parent said, “The Junior School breeds self-esteem and independence, all very carefully planned.”
It also praises the Head of Infants and Juniors Margaret Ainsworth.
“Mrs Ainsworth is a fan of children learning without boundaries, learning about team building and risk taking. She exudes warmth, care, accomplishment and efficiency. ‘A well run ship’ one parent said. Another described her as ‘phenomenal’.”
Mr Hartley welcomed the report, he said, “We are obviously delighted with such a cracking report from The Good Schools Guide. It’s particularly heartening to read that they were able to get an appreciation of the excellent pastoral care that sits alongside academic achievement at King’s, as well as the extraordinary wealth of extra-curricular opportunities available to students.
“I am also pleased to read that the unrelenting focus we place on the support of individual pupils has been recognised, as it’s this commitment to their well-being and sustainable success that defines and inspires our school community.”