Meet the New Head At Britain’s Best Country Prep
We speak to the newly-appointed head of Repton Prep, Vicky Harding, about her future plans for the school
The role is indeed the ideal combination for any ambitious head. Nestled in 55 acres of rolling Derbyshire countryside, the school fought off more than 1,000 independent preps to be crowned the best country prep in The Week’s ‘Best of the Best’ issue earlier this year.
Vicky is the first to admit that her ‘to-do’ list for this thriving boarding and day school is quite long. ‘I’m working on a five-year strategic plan as well as a longer-term 20-year vision for the school to ensure that we are fit to deliver the best formative years education available to all of the pupils in our care. For me this means each child developing their individual place within the school community and an understanding of transferable skills, which is something I’m passionate about.’
‘The school fought off more than 1,000 independent preps to be crowned the best country prep in The Week’s ‘Best of the Best’ issue earlier this year’
Repton Prep’s magical setting certainly makes it an attractive prospect for any family looking for a boarding education; expansive woods where tree climbing is permitted (pupils are allowed to climb to twice their height), a lake for paddle boarding, every kind of sports pitch you can imagine, not to mention cosy boarding houses and delightful Houseparents.
Vicky wants this lovely setting to inspire the pupils: ‘Encouraging children to be curious is the wonderful thing about being an educator. So, during a science lesson talking about how they feel physically when they play sport, and then getting outside to re-enact that; taking algebra into the woods; or discovering that many children’s authors, such as Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome, drew inspiration from the landscape by taking an English lesson next to our lake, all make for a much richer educational experience.’
This joined-up learning, says Vicky, keeps every subject purposeful and interesting to every child. ‘Learning comes alive and takes on greater relevance; the child who finds maths overwhelming can see the role it plays in practical subjects such as DT, music and sport. It instantly becomes more accessible.’
If it seems like a lot to pack into a school day then it is, but the army of highly-qualified teaching assistants to support every teacher allows for a tailored approach to education. ‘Small class sizes mean that we can respond to the needs of every child. The inspirational team of staff ensure that all pupils feel included. Individual learning journeys are carefully considered and academic rigour is not just for those at the top of the school.’
This inclusive approach to education encourages children to be in the driving seat of their own success.