Last term we celebrated the joyous news of our Year 6 pupils’ senior school offers. And boy, did they do well! This tight-knit troop of 24 secured a whopping 100 offers between them, including 17 scholarships – all of them academic – from some of London’s top schools. An incredible achievement in any year and pulling it off against the backdrop of the pandemic makes it all the more special. I am so proud of each and every one of them for their courage and character to keep learning through lockdown and I know they will continue to make me proud when they move on to their next school.
I know that the senior school process can seem daunting. I’ve been there both as a mum and, on countless occasions, as a teacher, so I completely ‘get’ the mix of emotions parents will experience: excitement for your child’s future and pride for what they might go on to achieve, yet tinged with trepidation that they might not realise their goals. As parents we want to do everything we can to protect our children, but the 11+ is one test they have to sit on their own and for themselves.
That’s why we emphasise to parents the importance of applying to the right schools, those that will fit their child’s personality and character and support their academic development. At Broomfield, we treat our pupils as individuals. We work hard to understand the best way to unlock their talents and we tailor our approach to help them reach their potential. We know there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’, and so it follows that not every school will be right for every child. Of course, the schools we feed to are all excellent and provide their students with an outstanding education. That’s not the same, though, as finding the school in which they will fly.
I’ve learnt this from personal experience. When my Bessie was in Year 6 the social pressure to apply to the so-called ‘top schools’ was evident. Many of her friends were sitting entrance exams for academically competitive schools but, as her mum, I knew it would take a special, homely school, a senior school with the characteristics of Broomfield, to coax the best from her. We found it in Hampton Court House – a brilliant school that was the making of her. Its emphasis on pastoral care, more relaxed style and wonderful freedom from being in Bushy Park brought out the best in her. She went on to achieve all 8s and 9s in her GCSEs and got a place at Lady Eleanor Holles for Sixth Form, before moving to UCL for her degree. More importantly, the foundations laid at Broomfield and built up at Hampton Court House made her the happy, confident, independent young woman she is today. My son, Barnaby, is quite a different character. He was set on an academic trajectory from the get go and is now thriving at Hampton School.
Looking back, I feel confident we chose the right schools for our children and I feel passionately about supporting Broomfield children and their families when the time comes to make their school choices. We have excellent links with senior schools across London and beyond, with a sharp awareness of our pupils strengths and needs. By working in partnership we aim to help parents identify their child’s likely ‘right schools’ – lifting the anxiety they may feel going into the process and thus freeing their children up to do their best and confidently steer their own way through the 11+ process. So that, when they get their offers, they are as proud and pleased as our current Year 6 children are, and go on to be happy, successful and fulfilled in the next phase of their academic journey.
Mrs Byers, HeadteacherCategories: Academics