Prepping children for the future

The future is bright for children encouraged to develop their individual strengths, talents and personalities, says Kay Smith, headteacher of Bournemouth Collegiate Preparatory School

There are many ways of measuring the success of a school, but the simplest is often the best: how happy is the school? Education isn’t just about English and Maths, it’s about character building and preparing pupils for future school life. We want them to love life and love learning.

At BCS children are encouraged to be independent. We don’t spoon feed them, we encourage them to speak up and be confident. We monitor their attitude to learning and bring them back to our core values and ethos to see where we can help them get back on track.

We have the same high expectations for every child, which is why we do not separate them into sets – we want them all to aim for the bullseye whether they can or not. It’s like the saying goes, whether you believe you can or if you believe you can’t, you’re right. We don’t want to limit the children to their ability and make them feel they aren’t good enough.

We turn every negative into a positive. If someone says to me something such as ‘I can’t swim’ I reply ‘yet’. We focus on teaching children to be kind and that we are all different, so that they love and respect each other.

Kay Smith

BCS is Forest School-accredited, meaning children can learn in nature and understand the importance of the natural world. We want to encourage individuality and build self-confidence, which can be enhanced when children feel relaxed in the natural environment.

Parents are invited to events where they can gain an insight into what the school is working on and why. Families are happy when they feel involved and when their aspirations are fulfilled and exceeded. We are a big family at BCS and work hard to maintain excellent relationships with parents; we are completely open, there’s no smoke and mirrors. Kids flourish when all of the people in their lives are supporting them.

The best part of working at BCS is watching the children grow while they enjoy learning and being challenged. It’s great to see them experiencing new things every day, and their passion for learning grow. I want them to feel confident when they leave and be able to stand at the gate on their last day and say ‘It’s good to be me’ – if they’re able to say that, we have succeeded.