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What the parents say...

On being shown round Prestfelde many years ago as prospective parents, our first impression was one of strikingly open and unaffected children with delightful manners. Years on, this first impression has been entirely validated, (indeed, I still struggle on a daily basis to persuade a Prestfeldian to enter a doorway first!) During our time here we have witnessed hugely committed teachers and high academic standards help all of the children (including our own) enter whichever school they choose at 13, giving them the advantage of being ‘ahead of the game’ when they get there. A most well deserved ‘Excellent’ report from their recent ISI inspection, supports this wholeheartedly. If it’s strength and depth you’re after, then look no further than the scholars’ honours board here. Sport, music, drama, art, DT and academic scholarships, all feature on this most impressive and ever growing role of honour. Most seem to head to Shrewsbury, Wrekin, Moreton Hall and Concorde, with a small annual cohort heading further afield to the likes of Cheltenham Ladies, Oundle and Malvern. And what of the fluffy stuff? Well, Prestfelde is a much loved school, by both parents and pupils alike. As parents we think it strikes a good balance between creating a wholesome, happy and nurturing environment whilst at the same time, encouraging our children to fulfil their potential through hard work and effort, with huge emphasis on building confidence. Whether cheering on your house cross country team, lending your friend your only pair of goggles when you need them too or simply enjoying dressing up in tudor costume together on History Day, the children here support each other and are supported. There’s always a smiling member of the common room to make sure that each and every pupil feels their value. There’s even a welcoming matron on site, with a cosy sofa, an encouraging word (and a biscuit or two!) when they need it. Along with this sense of warmth and good values Prestfelde has maintained the best of their traditions (long live T & B’s) whilst teaching methods are continually updated to enhance the children’s learning. We’ve recently had a new head too. As a parent you get the distinct impression that Mrs Orchard is there to make a real difference to these childrens’ lives. This lady, supported by an extremely capable management team, (lead by Mr Haswell), has substance. She is tireless in her efforts and brings renewed vigour for the school to be the best it can be, (no matter how good it is already), which no doubt heralds successful times ahead.

Commented on 23rd Nov 2016

I have had three children go through Prestfelde over the past 15 years (only a few months to go before our youngest leaves..) and I cannot think there is a happier or more balanced environment we could have found for them. That is not to say that they have never gone through the odd difficult patch, or (outrageously!) failed to make a team they felt they were destined for. It's just that the school deals with inevitable growing pains like this with the healthy blend of concern and unflappability (borne of experience, not fads) which means they are quickly overcome. Everything is up-to-date and the school has all its anti-bullying policies etc in place, but the children can still have T&Bs (tea & biscuits) after school and the little ones can still imagine they are properly lost in the tiny wood by the Head' house while their big brothers and sisters sprint around Top Field on Sports Day. Having been at the school for so many years, there are many other strengths I could point to; some long-standing, others achieved by more concerted effort during recent years. Into the former would fall the school's delightful embrace of music (cultivated by an exceptional Head of Music). The latter would include the school's ascent of the league tables in sports fixtures (thanks to the focused and committed sports teaching team, nurtured by previous Head). Finally, of the stand-out strengths in which the school has grown in recent years, there is it's academic achievement. This is down not only to the dedication and sheer hard work of its excellent teaching staff (with no exceptions - and parents here are hawk-eyed, like everywhere), but especially to the tenacity of the recently-appointed Head. Brought in a few years back to sharpen up the academic front with the best of modern teaching practice, the head has worked systematically up through the school until everyone knows exactly what they should be aiming for, is geared up to achieve it and - crucially - has "bought in" to the whole ethos. She has achieved a huge amount and IMHO well deserved the job of Head when the previous head stepped down end of last year. As I set out at the start of this review though, it isn't the individual bits - the music, the sports, the academic success - which, for me, make Prestfelde such a lovely school. It's the relaxed, family atmosphere and the sunny optimism which I think are so special and which set up children so well for life.

Commented on 8th Nov 2016

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