|Meads Street, BN20 7RP, UK Eastbourne|
+44 (0)1323 733203
The present Headmaster, Jeremy Griffith, was appointed in 2003 having previously run Winchester House (an IAPS school of similar profile) since 1997. He and his wife Lindy (a trained teacher and Headmaster’s daughter) are Prep school people through and through. Having met and married in the early eighties at Horris Hill, near Newbury, they then had spells as Houseparents at both the Dragon School in Oxford and, subsequently, at Windlesham House in West Sussex before Jeremy’s move into Headship. Their two children are still of school age - a younger daughter currently at St Andrew’s and her older brother at Eastbourne College.
Part of the reason why boarding and 'sleepover' is so popular at St Andrew's is because of the happy family atmosphere which exists in the girls' and boys' houses. They are generously staffed and run by two husband and wife teams with their young families, as well as resident matrons and house tutors. The level of pastoral care within the school has been commended on many occasions, recently by inspection teams, journalists and parents. One parent has written, "The general atmosphere of St Andrew's and the values that the school tries to instil in all of its pupils will have an effect right through life".
The boarding atmosphere is warm and friendly and the newly refurbished bedrooms are bright and cheerful so that children really do treat the school as their second home. There is a busy programme of weekend entertainment for boarders at school and they are also invited to join their local friends and their families at weekends. Boarders usually join in hobby activities on each weekday evening and many of them discover lifelong interests through such pastimes as stamp collecting, radio broadcasting or chess.
In 1998 BBC2 featured St Andrew's as a model of modern boarding practice in its educational programme 'Just One Chance'. Interviews revealed the enormous enthusiasm of the children for staying the night at school- very different from the old view of boarding!
A feature of St Andrew's is the wide range of after-school activities offered to the children. During the two winter terms every evening is full of activity. In the Summer, when longer evenings allow for greater participation in outside pastimes, the activity programme changes to allow for these, alongside the most popular indoor activities. Hobbies include amateur radio, art, canoeing, chess, climbing, computers, cookery, craft, drama, gymnastics, indoor hockey, juggling, model making, stamp collecting, table tennis, textiles and many more.
Participation in hobbies is entirely voluntary but most children choose to take part two or three evenings a week. Many stay for the night afterwards and enjoy the company of their friends in the boarding houses. Constructive use of leisure time is encouraged and hobbies bring girls and boys together in recreational activities. One of the favourite hobbies is climbing where children learn the basic techniques of climbing and abseiling. Skiing trips and adventure holidays organised by staff in the holidays are also very popular.
St Andrew's is large by preparatory school standards, yet the needs of each individual remain of vital importance and the small units within the school allow us to serve the needs of each child.
At St Andrew's we believe in establishing firm foundations to children's knowledge with the help of small classes to ensure that sound habits of learning are developed as early as possible. For that reason we are delighted if children can begin their school careers with us at the age of three and the time spent in the Nursery and in the Pre-prep gives the children the chance to grasp 'the basics' firmly so that they are confident and secure in their elementary but vitally important skills.
Children's needs are provided for in a purpose-built Nursery and Pre-prep department from where they will progress to form-based years in the Prep department before they become seniors. Up to the age of nine, children have a Form Teacher who teaches them in most subjects and who also undertakes an important pastoral role. During this time, French, Music, PE and Swimming are taught by specialists as part of the curriculum.
In the early years we aim to build general competence but equally important is the nurturing of confidence which children acquire as they master new techniques and grasp new skills - mental, physical and social. There is much emphasis on development of reading, writing and number skills and the children are also helped to develop their creativity through art, music and drama. The curriculum has been devised so that the children enjoy a smooth progression throughout their years at St Andrew's.
The style of teaching is 'traditional' in the sense that we expect high standards of the children and ask them to do their best, yet we employ many 'modern' aids to achieve those aims. Children are introduced to working on computers at the age of three and ICT lessons begin at age seven. French is taught from the age of five with the help of music, tapes and games.
When children enter the Preparatory department they join an individual Set where, with about twenty-five other members, their progress and well-being are closely monitored both by the Headmaster and the Set Tutor, a member of staff who bears overall pastoral responsibility for all the children in his or her group. The Prep department day children arrive in the morning when their boarding friends are just finishing breakfast and for the rest of the day they work and play together. In the evenings day children can stay on at school and join the boarders in a large variety of activities.
Children's early learning experiences are crucial in determining their future development so we strive to ensure that children are happy, supported in their learning and sufficiently challenged by their work. Children are grouped according to ability from the age of nine in order that they can progress at an appropriate rate. Those who need extra help receive it from our own qualified support staff.
Once children reach the age of nine they are taught by subject specialists for English, Maths and French and by their Form Teacher for other subjects. When they are ten, children are taught by specialist teachers for all their lessons. All Form Teacher-taught classes have open days each term when parents are welcomed to look at the work their children have been doing and discuss their progress with their teachers.
Children are encouraged and helped to give of their best within a structured framework of friendly discipline, and competition is seen as a useful stimulus to each child's effort. The aim of all the teaching is to prepare the children as well as possible for their examinations while maintaining a broad view of education, fostering the children's abilities to think for themselves, to question, to create and to appreciate.
We cover the National Curriculum - and more besides - and the results of the tests at Key Stages I and 2 confirm that St Andrew's children are well ahead of the national average. Most children sit the Common Entrance as their qualifying examination to enter a senior school and the most able win scholarships. Aspiring scholars are part of a scholarship stream from the age of nine and, having completed the Common Entrance course a year early, they spend their final year extending their knowledge and skills to near GCSE standard.
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