St Peter’s School leads the way with its Baccalaureate

St Peter's School

St Peter's School - Credit: Archant

NAOMI TOLLEY reports on education in Devon

An East Devon preparatory school is leading the way nationally with its curriculum model, boosting pupil numbers higher than ever before and encouraging children to ‘think outside normal academic boxes’.

St Peter’s School in Harefield, Lympstone is being held in high regard by schools across the country for its ‘St Peter’s Baccalaureate’.

Last autumn, school head, Noel Neeson, was invited to speak at the Independent Association of Prep Schools Conference about the conception, birth and growth of the school’s curriculum.

“We like to think that the St Peter’s Baccalaureate speaks for itself, but we were pleased to have a platform to advertise it, and delighted to have endorsements from other schools, not just in the South West.

“There is a general acceptance that education is about more than teaching youngsters to jump through hoops. We have a formula which encourages children more effectively to use their initiative and to think outside the normal academic boxes.”

The school is currently so popular its roll of pupils has now reached 300-plus. Delegations have also visited St Peter’s to explore the SPB details with head teachers going away and adopting or adapting the schools unique idea: to ‘embrace every aspect of school life; encourage cross-curricular activity; and reflect every child’s effort, skills, knowledge, citizenship and enthusiasm’.

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Says Jacqi Daval-Reed, head of a school in Bromsgrove: “We have adopted the St Peter’s Baccalaureate, and it now reflects the values and distinctions of our school.”

Hugely experienced independent schools inspector, Graham Nunn, says: “The St Peter’s Baccalaureate is an excellent example of curriculum assessment planning that is geared to the individual child.”

Adds Mr Neeson on his school’s success: “When children leave us, we want a seamless transition for them. Senior Schools have started to use more informal modes of entrance criteria, and we now send them really detailed statements of what their prospective pupils have covered. We call it ‘joined-up thinking’ - and it works.”

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