Right. So the website looks pretty good but then so do all the other schools’ websites that you have pored over – how do you know that this is the one? How can you be sure that, under the glossy wrapper, this is the school that will deliver everything that you want for your child? The best way to be sure is to turn up unannounced but that is not always possible so I would like to take a minute to talk, from my heart, about this school and what it means to the pupils who come here.
The first thing both children and parents notice about the school is the feeling, as you walk into our entrance hall, of having come home. This is odd because Riddlesworth Hall is an incredibly imposing Victorian building, steeped in history and populated by antiques, stuffed birds and antelope heads. It has always seemed to me that these artefacts somehow help to put people at their ease – perhaps we are absorbing something from the history of the house that gives us confidence and tranquillity, I only know that we thoroughly enjoy having so much space at our disposal and that we sing and shout and tear around just as the house seems to want us to do.
On the subject of space, I very much believe that ‘learning’ takes place everywhere, not just in the classroom. I’m thrilled when I see the children marching off to our Forest School to bake brownies inside an orange (don’t ask, I don’t know how they do it); it is wonderful to see children big and small pour into the grounds at playtime to swing on a rope or climb a tree – just as it is great to see them travelling for fixtures against other schools or just for the joy of exploring.
With our move into senior education, I think there is a lot of reassurance to be had from the fact that our teaching staff are able to teach their small groups almost on a tutorial basis – a good knowledge of the pupils and an easy familiarity adding up to a very effective combination where exam preparation is concerned.
At each age and stage we are able to offer our pupils an individual and a unique education – from the very first phonics lessons, through the excitement of first sums and spellings and on to the exam hall: no child will ever find themselves unsupported or unprepared on their journey from babyhood through adolescence to early adulthood. There are no barriers to learning at Riddlesworth Hall – just strategies for success.
I’m going to shut up now but not before I have invited you to come and sample the rare commodity that is Riddlesworth Hall for yourselves. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Susan Hayes – Principal