Ipswich High School reports Covid-defying rise in applications

Instead of offering online tours, the independent school chose to carry out individual in-person tours during a short window of opportunity

A Suffolk independent school has recorded a significant increase in applications, despite having to radically alter its admissions procedure in the face of Covid-related restrictions.

Applications for year seven entry to Ipswich High School are up 24% on the previous academic year, while external admissions to its sixth form have risen by 35%.

In a typical year, the school would showcase its attributes via open days, pathway evenings at local schools, or exhibitions at county fairs. When those avenues were closed by the pandemic, it bucked the prevailing trend of offering online open days or tours.

“We made the decision that we would not offer an online virtual tour or open day, a decision that, when every other school was offering this, felt at times as if we had missed an opportunity,” said the school.

We made the decision that we would not offer an online virtual tour or open day, a decision that, when every other school was offering this, felt at times as if we had missed an opportunity – Ipswich High School

“However, we stood by our decision that we would undertake an increase in private tours of our campus, each led by a member of our senior leadership team, as and when the government allowed.”

“We made this decision knowing that parents and students need to be immersed in and experience first-hand the culture, atmosphere and environment of a school, as well as meet those who will be responsible for the education and pastoral care of their children for the most important formative years of their lives.

“Offering our highly personalised, individual tours during a short window of opportunity, we have achieved amazing admissions results.”

Such has been the rise in interest, September will see the addition of an extra class in year seven.

“Since I arrived at the start of July, we have had a significant increase in the number of applicants join us with immediate effect,” said head of school, Mark Howe.

“We welcomed 16 new pupils over the summer and a steady stream since. This means our overall enrolment continues to rise, and this excludes any international students, which we are delighted to say is also increasing.”

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10 March 2021, 11am GMT