RGS Springfield A GSG School
- RGS Springfield
- Head: Mrs Laura Brown
- T 01905 24999
- F 01905 27957
- E [email protected]
- W www.rgsw.org.uk
- A mainstream independent school for pupils aged from 2 to 11 with a linked senior school
- Boarding: No
- Local authority: Worcestershire
- Pupils: 104
- Religion: Non-denominational
- Fees: £8,847 - £13,596 pa
- Open days: 12 February 2022, 14 May 2022
- Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
- Linked schools: RGS Worcester, RGS The Grange
What The Good Schools Guide says..
A very lovely, slightly bonkers school,’ is how the head describes it. ‘Fun and more fun,’ is what the pupils say. It’s the first time we've heard a pupil say, ‘I would live here if I didn’t have my own house.’ If your opening line to the head is, ‘Where’s the sports hall?’ she’ll probably (quite rightly) send you off to RGS The Grange. If your question is, ‘How do you keep them happy?’ we doubt you’ll be disappointed. ‘‘Small is beautiful’ is the overriding ethos. Though the building is listed and full to bursting, some shrewd amendments have been made including…
What the school says...
Our aim is to ensure that children develop their full potential academically, socially and emotionally in a safe, caring environment.
All our pupils, who range in age from 2-11 benefit from individual care, small class sizes, professional and dedicated teaching; all of which help children become confident, secure and considerate of the needs of others.
The school has scored highly in recent inspections, rated as consistently outstanding by Ofsted, ECERS and ISI inspectors. There is a wealth of academic and extra curricular opportunities to provide children with an enriching and stimulating environment, preparing them for the challenges of the 21st century, underpinned by traditional family values.
The school has wonderful grounds, which allow pupils to play outside in all weathers, learn from the natural environment and take part in all the fun that Forest School offers; wellies are very much encouraged!
The school, tucked away within the beautiful Georgian Britannia Square in the heart of Worcester, will provide a safe and happy place for your child to grow and develop. This website conveys only some of the ethos and spirit of RGS Springfield. Please visit us and see for yourself the happy, smiling faces of children having fun and learning in a stimulating environment. We are very much a happy family.
I look forward to welcoming you in person to our school. ...Read more
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All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.
What The Good Schools Guide says
Since 2012, Laura Brown (50s). Educated at London day schools, then boarder at Kent College. Spent her gap year in retail (‘which I loved because it was fast paced and fun’) before doing a philosophy degree at the University of Kent that involved working in schools (‘which I loved even more’). Inevitable, perhaps, coming from a long line of academics. Took PGCE in primary education, then combined bringing up her three (now grownup) daughters with prep teaching posts in Berkshire and Gloucestershire, followed by six years as director of studies and deputy head at Dean Close in Cheltenham.
Full of fizz and dynamism but not naturally ambitious – ‘I’ve always loved the job I’m in, it’s others that suggested the moves.’ Even her current post was the result of a friend’s text - ‘I’ve found your school, it has you written all over it!’ it said. Friend was spot on, it seems, as pupils, who describe her as ‘kind’ and ‘fun’, say they can’t imagine the school without her – ‘She is the school!’ declared one. Parents say she’s ‘absolutely fantastic – at the door every morning,’ ‘doesn’t bother with layers – I could phone her right now and she’d talk to me’ and ‘has a huge sense of fun that sets the tone for this happy school.’ Scoops up pupils and parents alike when the chips are down too – a shoulder to cry on for both, plus a walk with Bumble the dog for the pupils and a cup of builders' tea for the parents.
Style is hands on. Knows every child - ‘a privilege,’ she says; teaches science as well as commanding this happy ship. An ISI inspector in her spare time, she also rides her Arabian horse, just the ticket for skimming the hurdles at nearby Worcester racecourse. Lives on the Gloucestershire/Worcester border.
For early years, children spend a morning or afternoon here and are observed for ‘school readiness’ and ‘any red flags around misbehaviour.’ Impressively, the early years team conducts around 30 home visits each year to meet parents and introduce themselves to their children. More formal from year 3 onwards, with papers in English, maths, VR and NVR. But as with the other schools in the RGS family, they’re more interested in potential than raw scores. ‘In fact, if I see an undiagnosed dyslexic, it’s my dream because I know we can bring out the best in them,’ says head. No separate scholarship exam; at least two instruments (voice can be one) at grade 3 or above, for music. Waiting lists in some years, but always worth asking. One parent, whose son joined mid-year, told us, ‘The transition was amazing, with lots of thoughtful check-ins – he arrived with the clear sense that there were 15 people who couldn’t wait to be his friend.’
Over 95 per cent at 11+ to RGS Worcester, just round the corner (and just about visible from the school field). School’s literature stresses the 2-18 journey which parents buy into, some having moved to the area especially. Head speaks of ‘constant dialogue with senior school’ and has a curriculum review coming up – what do the children need to be successful when they get there? What more can school do to make sure they arrive feeling confident? Etc.
People ‘just don’t know we’re here,’ says head. Truly a hidden gem, the delightful 1823 house is located in a Cheltenham-esque square of Regency residences, taking the prime central spot surrounded by a generous six-acre patch of greenery that, for such a city centre location, is remarkable.
Part of the RGS family of schools consisting of RGS The Grange (another prep), RGS Dodderhill (co-ed juniors and girls-only senior school) and RGS Worcester (the main senior school). ‘A very lovely, slightly quirky school,’ is how the head describes it. ‘Fun and more fun,’ is what the pupils say. As for parents, one told us, 'Oh no! is the response I get from my son when he asks me on a Friday if there’s school tomorrow.’ ‘Small is beautiful’ is the overriding ethos, with single forms of 16 maximum feeling like a throwback to earlier age, particularly since years 3 to 6 get (hurrah to this) traditional wooden desks to help with sense of ownership and self-organisation. Pupils are wise but not streetwise, displaying a childhood innocence more often found in rural schools. But outdated this school is not, thanks in large part to its being an Apple Distinguished school (iPads are provided to years 1-4; parents buy them for years 5-6). The odd grumble about this expense is counterbalanced with the praise that ‘it sets them up for the modern world.’ Made for an easy transition into lockdown too – ‘I couldn’t believe how lucky we were compared to other local schools,’ enthused one.
Cross-curricular learning (castles and knights when we visited) is a defining feature of academic life, spanning (among other subjects) history, geography, science and ICT. These are not flimsy ‘project’ style explorations; clear learning objectives are stuck into each of the pupils’ theme books. Specialist teachers in French, IT, PE, games and music from the off and in science (the headteacher) from year 5; everything else taught by form teachers ‘who know what makes them tick.’ The school aims for at least 95 per cent of pupils to leave with a reading age of two years beyond their chronological one, helped by daily 15 minute reading session after lunch. We saw some exceptional examples of handwriting too.
School approach is all about confidence building. ‘They make them feel successful, so they are successful.’ For those who need additional support (around 22 per cent), a SENCo oversees four TAs who are specialists in areas such as handwriting or spelling and who help them in class, small groups or one-to-one (no extra charge) – we saw one such boy being supported outside his classroom. His mother told us, ‘They’re communicative, caring, keep you in the loop and follow up on things.’ ‘Recognising individuality is my biggest hurrah of the school,’ raved another, who said her twins were ‘definitely not considered a job lot.’
Most preps claim to be homely but it’s the first time we've heard a pupil say, ‘I would live here if I didn’t have my own house.’ Though the building is listed and full to bursting, some shrewd amendments have been made including a hall and specialist rooms for art and design, science, ICT and music. Head has cunning plan to create further teaching spaces, possibly even a STEM room. Pre prep (divided into Ducklings, Tadpoles and Dragonflies) is full of sparkle. We watched children in the free flow nursery playing with water, sand, Duplo and magnets. Reception were writing short stories and playing with recycling materials. At the top (literally, as years 4, 5 and 6 are on the second floor) they practised their gerbil seasoning (verbal reasoning to the rest of us – head has created own vocab) and fun facts about WWI. Displays are child-centred, colourful and inclusive, including fantastically blurry photos taken by tinies who were given their own iPads. Outside, there’s greenery, woods and even a Forest School with outdoor rooms, bamboo circle, home-made benches and lanterns and apple tree with swing – ‘and there are badgers,’ whispered a pupil.
‘If sport is your priority, you’d pick The Grange,’ said more than one parent, some of whom told us ‘You have to get the serious sport outside school’. But while other schools might have whizzier facilities, higher sporting standards and no need for year groups to combine to form teams, the ‘small is beautiful’ ethos still wins some parents over. Means every child gets a go and the chance to represent school. There’s a decent range too, boys play rugby, football and cricket; girls hockey, netball and rounders; swimming is taught at the nearby Perdiswell pool. Super to see the children in their house colours practising for sports day. Look elsewhere if huge competitiveness is your thing – we imagine this thoughtful lot might be likely to say, ‘After you!’ when passed the ball. Houses (Panthers, Jaguars, Lions and Tigers), provide competition in music, sports as well as house Easter egg hunt.
Must be the first school we’ve visited where pupils burst spontaneously into song while we quizzed them (happens regularly on the mini-bus too apparently). We heard some particularly lovely voices - no wonder the choir sings regularly at Worcester Cathedral. There's an orchestra plus ensemble groups - brass band, strings and flooters and tooters. Music classroom is an Aladdin’s cave of instruments and over 95 per cent learn one (‘easy to switch to another if you don’t like it,’ said a pupil). ‘What’s drama?’ said one girl when we asked about the provision. But (and this must also be a first) the annual nativity play is performed outside by candlelight and overseen by a real donkey. Extracurricular clubs include riding, Sylvanian families, LEGO, pottery, creative arts, cooking and cheerleading club (where participants get to perform in front of audiences of 2,000+). Plentiful trips culminate in a year 5/6 residential to Normandy.
Lots of mingling, both at breaks and at lunchtimes when the oldest take care of the youngest, cutting up food and clearing away. Good manners abound, regardless of age group. Over our delicious lunch of lasagne and rocky road (at the request of parents, chef now shares recipes to replicate at home), pupils showed genuine excitement about their school. ‘The downside of it being small is that by year 6 and sometimes a bit earlier, they can start to outgrow it,’ cautioned one parent, but head is delighted – ‘means we’ve done our job!’
Parents praise the school’s communication, including weekend replies to emails and genuine open door policy. Newsletters appreciated, as is SeeSaw – an app that enables staff to zap best of moments to parents’ mobiles. ‘Happens every day – I know I’ll get a picture today of my son making castles, for example,' said one.
Parents – grounded and unpretentious - mostly live within 30 minutes of the school. PA runs all the usual socials including the popular chocolate bingo. Niggles include uniform costs and the small car park which, though luxurious by London standards, can be a potential bumper-cruncher. Parent WhatsApp groups appear uncontroversial, more likely to be used to socialise, arrange playdates and ask about missing socks.
Academic and musical scholarships (10 per cent fee reduction) available for year 5 entry. Bursarial support restricted to the senior school.
The last word
If your opening line to the head is, ‘Where’s the sports hall?’ she’ll probably (quite rightly) send you off to RGS The Grange. If your question is, ‘How do you keep them happy?’ we doubt you’ll be disappointed. With its genuine sense of intimacy and belonging, the secret in the square is well worth discovering.
Special Education Needs
The school can offer support for pupils with a range of mild SEN needs by providing either in class support, small group interventions or 1:1 tuition with a specialist teacher.
|Condition||Provision for in school|
|ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder|
|Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders||Y|
|CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia|
|English as an additional language (EAL)|
|Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory|
|Has SEN unit or class|
|HI - Hearing Impairment|
|MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty|
|MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment|
|Natspec Specialist Colleges|
|OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability|
|Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty||Y|
|PD - Physical Disability|
|PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty|
|SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health|
|SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication|
|SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty|
|Special facilities for Visually Impaired|
|SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty||Y|
|VI - Visual Impairment|
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