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What says..

Fair degree of academic rigour (spellings, 3Rs and fairly trad subject mix), but emphasis placed increasingly on individualised learning, with IT playing an important rôle. Clear emphasis on making learning enjoyable - fancy dress competitions and treasure hunts go hand in hand with events like World Book Day, when children’s authors come to talk to pupils. Previous head was even dressed as Cruella de Vil during a recent inspection (apparently no inspectors went missing afterwards)...

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What the school says...

Entrance assessments: during an informal process pupils will be given an opportunity to demonstrate literacy and numeracy skills as appropriate for their age. A school report is also considered for all entry ages.

What the parents say...

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Headmistress

Since 2015, Sue Marks. Began as a medical scientist working in pathology and clinical biochemistry. Qualified as a teacher in Essex and has been involved in primary teaching now for over 20 years, most recently as head of early years and then head of junior school at St Joseph’s School, a co-ed independent day school in Launceston, Cornwall.

In 2012, she received The Astra Zeneca Primary Science Teacher Award and was invited to become a fellow of the PSTT College (Primary Science Teaching Trust), which promotes the provision of excellent primary science throughout the country.

Lives on the edge of Dartmoor with her husband and two children, both of whom enjoyed a most successful sixth form experience at Exeter School and are now busy with their further studies. She is also a keen runner and has recently completed her second London Marathon, running for Cancer Research UK. Retiring in July 2019.

Entrance

Mainly at 7+ and 8+. Increasingly from state sector, but also from pre-prep in Exminster (many other local pre-preps have closed in recent years). Applicants may also enter at other ages where places are available. Selection is by informal assessment and report from current school.

Exit

Almost everyone (85 per cent in 2017) to senior school at 11+ with progression normally seamless unless applicant has joined in year 6. A trickle go to state selectives - usually Colyton or Torquay Grammars.

Our view

Lovely Georgian house adjacent to senior school. Recent remodelling has provided improved facilities, including four additional classrooms on first floor. School has doubled its numbers in recent years. Period architectural features lend an air of graciousness and classrooms have made good use of the generous amount of space. Pupils benefit from shared facilities with senior school (eg Astroturf, swimming pool, music school, auditorium with large stage for productions). Own multi-purpose hall. School chapel is also used regularly.

Fair degree of academic rigour (spellings, 3Rs and fairly trad subject mix), but emphasis placed increasingly on individualised learning, with IT playing an important rôle. Following a recent parental survey, less onerous homework, to allow children time to pursue outside activities in their own neighbourhoods - ‘A better balance,’ one parent told us. Specialist rooms (art/DT and IT suite) also on first floor and final year makes more use of whole school facilities.

Large numbers take instrumental lessons and sing in choir. Regular concerts (some for charity) and drama (recent nativity play was in French). Annual highlight involves all year 6 leavers at the end of summer term. Pupils also participate in outside music festivals and competitions. Parents like to meet informally for coffee in local cafés and support the school with practical help as well as fundraising.

Clear emphasis on making learning enjoyable - fancy dress competitions and treasure hunts go hand in hand with events like World Book Day, when children’s authors come to talk to pupils. Previous head was even dressed as Cruella de Vil during a recent inspection (apparently no inspectors went missing afterwards). House competition includes fun challenges, like ‘best flipper’ on pancake day. Staff expect high standards, which are achieved by all, including those who start shakily. Junior school SENCo provides screening and support for dyslexia and numeracy issues as required.

New entrants are assigned a buddy from year 6 who helps them through the initial stages. Traditional house system introduces element of competition across a wide range of sporting and other activities. Main sports are netball, hockey, rounders (for girls) and football, hockey, rugby, cricket (for boys). Cross-country, squash and swimming for all. Surprisingly full fixture lists for older ones, and inclusive approach to participation means results are mixed. Initially unsporty children tend to catch on – ‘My daughter even plays in a local hockey team now,’ reported one parent. Lots of visits (a residential trip at end of year 5) and wealth of activities.

No aggro over contents of lunch boxes - school dinners are compulsory. Large playground, with specialist play coordinator who wheels out a trolleyful of exciting games equipment every breaktime. A happy, bustling school where children grow in confidence and enjoy early success.

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