I have a question for you...

As a parent what would you consider to be the most precious gift you could give to your child? Would it be a new iPad, perhaps a mobile phone with all the latest apps, or even a wide-screen television on the bedroom wall? I think not. Surely the most precious gift you could offer is that of a good, sound, all-round start to their education during the formative early years.

Headmaster: Mr J.P. Thayer. Teacher's Cert. Uni. London.

What IS a good, all-round education? Well, it must surely be education for life, not just learning how to do sums and write words. The difficulty for parents is choosing a school which is prepared to go that extra mile to ensure each child achieves their goals.

At Crowstone, a small family-run Independent School, established in 1946, we take great pride in our unique, supportive and happy environment in which pupils can flourish both academically and socially. I have been privileged to work in education for many years. During this time teaching methods have changed. However, I have never faltered in my basic beliefs when educating young children. Nurturing the learning process, encouraging creativity, the ability to think for themselves, learning social skills, to be a team player as well as offering individuality and realising that learning can be fun and rewarding. 

It is common practice these days for schools to be regularly Inspected. The idea is to raise standards and to inform parents of the levels achieved by each school. This, however, is only one way of judging a school. When viewing schools parents are often keen to match their observations to information gleaned from the Inspection Report; checking on examination results, the level of success regarding the 11+ and SATs Levels achieved at Key Stage 2. All very important aspirations. However, might I suggest one or two basic, yet vital, ideas of my own?

Firstly, after eight years of Independent School education can pupils read well? Can they spell? Are they able to put a simple sentence together with all the necessary technical detail? Can they complete simple mechanical sums and get them right? Do they know their Tables and other important mathematical facts? Is it possible to read their handwriting? Are they able to look you in the eye and hold a sensible conversation with you? Do they have confidence when speaking in front of an audience? Do they take pride in their appearance ~ or do they resemble an explosion in a mattress factory! Do they politely use the words "Please", "Thank you" and "May I?" At Crowstone the answer to all the above is most definitely yes!

A further method of judging the worth of a school is by reference to pupils’ own opinions. Are they upset when they have to leave for Senior School? Do they maintain contact after they have left? Are they keen to visit from time to time to report progress, sometimes even before going to university or taking up their first employment? Again, most definitely yes!

What sort of facilities does a school require to achieve all these wonderful aims? Does it have to have acres of rolling grassland and secluded woodland areas? Does it have a brand new sports hall, state of the art science laboratories? Does it provide haute cuisine for school dinners? In the case of Crowstone, the answer is definitely no! However, we do offer a small team of highly professional, dedicated staff with high levels of expectation for their pupils. Some have taught at Crowstone for many years, therefore providing continuity and stability through the school. Small groups make it possible to give each pupil the precious commodity of time. Time to listen to them, to speak with them and to generally take an interest in them as they grow up. Time to guide them along the road to learning. One of my favourite sayings is "Time is Precious. Use it wisely."

I would be delighted to show you around my school to enable you to judge at first hand our success in achieving our aims for each pupil. I hope you will come and meet us all to see for yourself why we are justifiably proud of CROWSTONE.

I look forward to sharing with you the continuing success of this school, and invite you to become part of our future.