St Petrocs (School Visit)

St Petrocs is a small private school nestled in residential housing in an affluent neighbourhood in Bude, Cornwall. This school was of interest because the headmaster is has been battling a range of issues - most recently a declining roll. In the private sector a low roll can lead to a vast range of financial issues impacting on property, staffing and resources. This challenge has provided an opportunity for the school to diversify and market itself through different spheres.

The school bases its vision on a number of key philosophy statements:

* We value children who try their hardest. * We value children who achieve excellence in academic, sporting and cultural fields. * We value children who consider the needs, values and cultures of others and not just their own. * We value children who try to get involved in a range of activities. * We encourage manners and self-discipline. * We recognize that children need time to play. * We value children who, when things are hard, live up to our motto:

Their mission statement is.. “Fast Yn Mesk Tonnow”, Cornish for “Firm amongst the waves”.

Reading through the philosophy statements also highlight a challenge that is on the horizon. Private schools tend to have a traditional basis that parents buy into. The Bursar of the school stated that parents wanted a school similar to the one they used to go to. The challenge here is that the headmaster is well aware of the direction of education, the need to modify programmes and immerse our kids in a range of future skills teaching.

Although these challenges seem large they provide the fertile grounds for the exciting times ahead to be built at St Petrocs.

The school has a wonderful history and a marvellous character. Set in a large old house the school has manipulated the property to provide teaching spaces that are unique, different and learning orientated.

With such low class numbers, around 5-11, the emphasis is grounded in the traditional teaching subjects. Handwriting, computation, and vigour are evident through the students' books. The curriculum is beginning to be weaved in with STEM and also play based learning. Focuses such as these need to be included gently and the value evidenced with the parent community.

The school administers the national standardised tests although there is some skepticism around their validity. As the results are published nationally, small year groups can mean data can be easily skewed. This is something the school is working on.

Link to the new headmaster's write up.

With the new headmaster in place and a strong vision there are intriguing times ahead for St Petrocs. The philosophy statements, if adhered to, will take St Petrocs into the modern education age.

I wish them well on their voyage - 'Firm amongst the waves'.

Ben Ward-Smith


Lytton Street School, Feilding

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