Switching schools is a bold step, but at Heywood we ensure a fun-filled transition. We spoke to two parents about how their children got on when they arrived.
As parents we naturally crave the best for our children, and finding the right school is a huge part of that. But what about when we need to move them elsewhere? Whether it’s for academic, pastoral or geographical reasons, the decision to uproot your little one can seem daunting.
Here at Heywood Prep, we always welcome new families with open arms, regardless of what point we are at within the academic year. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be the start of term, because we know that life doesn’t always work out like that.
From taster days to our buddy system, we are adept at making the move a smooth, fun-filled transition. And, as our parents frequently tell us, once they’ve taken that bold step, they never look back. They often say they only wish that they’d done it sooner!
‘I genuinely didn’t sleep for a month while deciding whether to move my daughter to Heywood, but I needn’t have worried,’ says one mother. ‘We were part way through the autumn term but the Headmistress, Mrs Mitchell, assured us that the timing wouldn’t hold our little girl back. And she was right! She settled incredibly quickly and rapidly developed a lovely confidence that we had never seen before.’
Tours and taster days
For most families, the decision to join Heywood Prep starts with a tour of the school. Then there is the opportunity for children to enjoy taster days, where they get to meet their potential teachers and classmates, and experience first-hand what’s in store. For this mother, the taster day quickly quelled any nagging doubts.
‘When I collected my daughter at the end of the day, she was glowing,’ she says. ‘Buzzing with excitement, she told me all about playing hockey for the first time and studying history. She chatted about school with a passion I’d never heard before and begged me to let her start, which totally put my mind at rest.
‘When she did join Heywood properly, she was allocated two class buddies, who stuck by her side for the first fortnight. They showed her everything, from where to drop off her sports bag to navigating the lunch queue, and it gave her so much confidence. She walked in knowing nobody, but quickly developed lovely relationships. And as parents, we felt very welcomed by the other mums and dads too. There’s a real sense of family at Heywood, it’s such a close-knit community.’
A passion for learning
So, what do our new pupils gain that they might not find elsewhere? For this mother, and many other new starters, increased confidence is often the most immediately noticeable change.
‘Our daughter used to be shy when it came to speaking out, but her teachers gently encouraged her to conquer those demons,’ she explains. ‘And when I came to watch her first assembly, I couldn’t believe it. There she was, at the front of the stage, with the main speaking part. She was so self-assured, it was like looking at a different child.
‘Even in her first week, I could see she had a renewed passion for learning too. She was so fired up by Computer Science, and amazed when she discovered 3D printing. And she couldn’t believe that her Art lessons dedicated an entire hour to painting!
‘But her favourite part was getting stuck into her first Hockey and Netball matches. She thrived on taking the coach to another school, competing and then sharing a match tea with her friends. It gave her such a sense of independence.
‘At first, she wasn’t where she should have been with maths, but her form tutor worked closely with us, giving us daily feedback, and within two terms she was excelling. During the national lockdown, Heywood’s remote learning programme really set our minds at rest too. It gave us all structure, and ensured she didn’t fall behind. From Maths and English to art and sport, she could enjoy a full day’s school.’
At Heywood Prep, we firmly believe in giving children the chance to try new things. And another mother, whose two sons recently joined us, has been staggered by the opportunities on offer.
‘For us, it was very important that the focus at school wasn’t solely on academics,’ she explains. ‘We wanted our boys to have a rounded education, and at Heywood they are enjoying such amazing, hands-on experiences.
‘Instead of sitting behind a desk, they are designing and building their own cars in STEAM, immersing themselves in art and learning music. They are inspired by the sheer variety of subjects too, and energised by the fact they are taught by specialist teachers. They are also excited about being exposed to so many sports, from Rugby, to Hockey, Swimming and Football. And the smaller class sizes mean any challenges can be flagged immediately too.
A warm welcome
‘Right from our first phone call, one of the most noticeable things has been the warmth of the welcome we’ve received. When we first looked round Heywood, we sat and had a cup of tea with Mrs Mitchell, and she asked all about us. Instead of just telling us about Heywood, she wanted to know all about our children, and what we wanted for them.
‘We joined the school at short notice and it could have been baptism of fire for the boys, but their first day went incredibly smoothly. Their buddies met them on the gravel, ready to take them inside, and they came home with big smiles. I had anticipated that we might have tears on day two, but they were so keen to get in, they were pushing on the gates. When they opened, they went running off across the gravel and they’ve done that every morning since. That’s a wonderful feeling for a parent!’
Call us to find out how Heywood Prep will give your child the best possible start! Come to one of our Open Days, or arrange an individual tour of the school with our Headmistress, Rebecca Mitchell, on a normal school day. Please contact Registrar Lauren Harmon on 01249 713379 or at firstname.lastname@example.org