Why Dorset House?
Parents are faced with so many choices when making decisions about their child’s education, and there is no doubt that choosing a school is a huge and emotional commitment. The following list is designed to summarise why Dorset House might suit you and your child.
- Classroom teaching methods – plenty of practical learning to keep children stimulated and physically active while learning. Our staff know the children extremely well and are able to tailor lessons and activities to help them achieve their full potential both in and outside the classroom.
- Time outside – Whether it be Forest School, play rehearsals in the amphitheatre, Woods at playtime, games lessons or just reading at break-time – Dorset House children love to be outside whatever the weather. We cannot guarantee they will return home mud free at the end of the day but they will have rosy cheeks!
- Leadership – we have a tried and tested leadership programme which begins with on-site activities in the Pre-Prep and then moves to residential trips in Years 5 & 6 and climbing Mount Snowdon in Year 7 before a DH rite of passage – a trip to Skern Lodge in Devon immediately after Common Entrance. It is interesting to note that many of our pupils are given positions of responsibility – as Heads of House or School at Senior School.
- High Expectations with respect to manners and discipline – children respond well to very clear boundaries and firm but fair rules. They enjoy the rewards and understand the sanctions that are part of life at `DH’.
- Involvement in creative activities – Dorset House children enjoy a wide range of creative activities from Reception to Year 8 and we are proud to have secured regular scholarships in Music, Drama, Art, Sport and DT to senior schools. Over 90% of the children learn a musical instrument in addition to their timetabled music lessons and there are opportunities to take examinations in LAMDA and Ballet as well as having fun with musical theatre or Band Project.
- Sport – Recreational and competitive sport is a vital element of the children’s development, at whatever age and level they are playing. We offer opportunities for all those in Years 3 – 8 to participate in team sports and we offer specialist coaching to suit all levels of ability from Reception up.
- Extra-curricular activities – our programme is full and varied and children enjoy additional opportunities which include: Chess, Judo, Mechanics, Tennis, Drama, Cookery, Riding, Yoga, Gymnastics and Mandarin.
We are under no illusions as to the main reason why parents might choose an independent education for their child – they want them to achieve the best they possibly can in terms of academic success to take them on to the next stage of senior education. We are an inclusive school and we genuinely believe in educating the ‘whole’ child, our primary focus is in ensuring children receive an excellent academic grounding and that a love of learning and in particular, reading is instilled from the time they join us.
Our results speak for themselves, and we are proud of the fact that our Year 8 leavers regularly secure places, and often awards and scholarships, at academically selective schools. However, not every child is suited to an academically selective senior school, and not every parent wants that. Our job is to teach each child as an individual, and to help them achieve academic success at their own level. We also help guide parents to select a senior school that suits their own child in all respects, and we have excellent links with all our senior schools to help ensure that we achieve this.
No Lessons on Saturdays
We know how precious family time is, and how important it is to have a break from the weekday routine – this applies to all members of the school community – pupils, their parents, and staff, allowing everyone to recharge batteries over the weekend. Dorset House combines all the traditional elements of a Prep School without requiring children to attend lessons on Saturday mornings. For Years 5 – 8 there are some Saturday sports matches in order to fit in the extensive list of fixtures against other schools, and to allow parents to enjoy spectating and meeting one another (and partaking of one of our famous `match teas’!
Boarders are confident, reliable and courteous, demonstrating a high level of personal responsibility. (ISI Report 2012)
Boarding or Day at Senior School? Keep your options open
In considering a senior school, it is difficult for parents to predict whether a day or boarding environment will suit their child. As a day school with optional flexi-boarding from Year 5, Dorset House offers the flexibility for you to wait and see how your child develops, and then decide whether you want to take advantage of flexi boarding to help prepare him or her for a boarding senior school.
There is absolutely no pressure for children to board unless they choose to. Indeed, we find that any pressure comes from children asking their parents to allow them to board.