The Granville tells us how they are creating success for all in a non-selective setting
A preparatory school is charged with preparing its pupils for senior schools. Firstly, preparing them for entrance exams but also, and perhaps more importantly, for academic, social and extra-curricular success when they embark on that next stage of their educational journey.
At The Granville, the vast majority of our Year 6 leavers go to a local independent or grammar school, which require them to undergo challenging and highly competitive entrance procedures. Our success rate is superb. At the time of writing, every girl who has sat an exam for an independent senior school has been offered a place. Our success rate for girls passing the Kent 11+ is over 90%. Yet we are a non-selective school. On arrival, our girls’ attainment varies significantly. So what is the secret to enabling all girls, of all abilities to achieve such excellent outcomes?
For us, it all hinges on an inclusive and personalised approach. From their very first days at The Granville, our staff get to know each child’s individual learning needs. In understanding our pupils, the way they learn, their strengths and weaknesses, their interests and passions, their experience at school is made bespoke.
Our pupils’ learning specifications are many and varied. Nationally, around 14% of children in independent prep schools have a special educational need, and our community is no different. These children often require additional support with their numeracy and literacy skills. Some benefit from sensory circuits each morning. We also have a number of children whose abilities require the curriculum to be extended, to offer greater challenge. Many of our children have particular talents in sport, art, music or drama which are nurtured by our specialist teaching staff. The common thread however is inclusion. We focus on supporting all of our pupils’ individual needs, within the classroom. Removing individuals from the class for interventions, thus removing them from collaborative learning, does not prove most effective. Instead, we use our well-trained teaching assistants, our teachers’ expertise in differentiation and our SENCO’s in-depth knowledge and guidance to include pupils with different learning requirements, not to exclude them by taking them away from their peers and teachers. In this way, we bolster self-esteem and foster a culture of collaboration and support.
We truly believe that this approach is fundamental to our girls’ success. They learn not only from their teachers, but from each other. They are confident learners; their particular needs are understood and attended to. They feel fully prepared to tackle the challenges they are faced with. And the proof is in their performance. Last year, our 31 Year 6 girls were offered a total of 26 scholarships to independent schools. Each of them received multiple offers to attend prestigious, sought-after senior schools. They didn’t all start at the same point, but they all achieved superb outcomes. And they did it together, in an inclusive, equitable and collaborative community.
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