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What does it mean to be TES Prep School of the Year?

Posted: 18th December 2022

In 2022, we had the honour of being awarded the TES Prep School of the Year. But why Greenfield, and what does this mean for us?

What is the TES Prep School of the Year Award?
Greenfield was crowned TES Prep School of the Year 2022 at an awards ceremony held in London’s Mayfair, where schools of all kinds came together to celebrate excellence in education.

The Prep School of the Year category is nationwide, and schools from all over the country were considered for the prestigious award. A shortlist of eight schools showcased what the judges determined to be the best on offer with the winner announced on the night of the awards ceremony, in June 2022.

Headmistress Tania Botting said:

To know that we have been selected as the best prep school in the country is truly humbling. We have always looked at the world a little differently to traditional prep schools and so to have this verification that Greenfield is one the best schools you can choose for your child is a huge thing for us. The world is changing, and it’s about time education changed with it!

Diversity and Inclusion
Greenfield is known locally for being a school that champions kindness and believes that great academic success can be achieved most effectively when children are happy. Greenfield children are not subjected to the dreaded annual exam week, nor are the results from one singular test used to ‘set’ the children for the following year. Instead, fluid working groups and an impressive staff to pupil ratio ensures that progress is rapid and long-lasting, irrespective of each child’s starting point.

This approach stems from the school’s academically non-selective admissions process, something which goes hand-in-hand with its increasingly diverse community; one of the areas which was heavily praised by judges at the TES awards.

TES Judge, Simon Larter-Evans said:

It’s bucking the trend of monocultural independent schools in the Surrey area and has a strong community focus.

Passionate, Proactive Staff
The average age of our 9-strong Senior Leadership Team is 37. This relatively young team is headed-up by Tania Botting and David Brown who have led the school for 12 and 9 years respectively. In this time, the school has doubled in size, moved sites and been recognised as the country’s top prep school. The remaining members of the team have experience from across the countries best state and independent schools and bring with them the passion and ideas to continue to move Greenfield forward.

The staff body at Greenfield are a passionate and enthusiastic team, who relish the challenge and opportunities that come with working at the school. Whether they work in our Little School nursery caring for the school’s very youngest pupils or deliver subject-specialist teaching to children up to age 11, the staff are considered one team; working together to ensure the very best opportunities for the children in their care.

Contemporary Education
When you visit Greenfield, you may notice that the staff and children do not immediately talk of English and Maths when they are asked about school life. Some do, of course, but at Greenfield all subjects are given equal billing and this means that our highly academic pupils, our sporty pupils, our bookworms and our dancers understand that success can take on many forms.

At Greenfield, we teach the children how to recognise their own strengths, how to work as team and harness each other’s assets. Our non-selective admissions approach means that our pupils aren’t always surrounded by like-minded peers, and they learn from a young age how to compromise, adapt and get the best out of one-another. This environment ensures our most able pupils are challenged both socially and academically and helps to promote humility throughout.

Our education continues to evolve; and whilst the core subjects may never change, the way we teach them certainly does. As well as English, Maths and Science, we’ve introduced subjects such as “Understanding the World” (where debating, current affairs and ethics are discussed), and promote the value of the Arts by teaching dance, drama and music throughout the school. Sport and physical activity are a daily occurrence for all and the facilities and specialist coaches ensure progress is made regardless of where a pupil’s sporting interest may lie. Classroom lessons are dynamic and collaborative, with a focus on pupil-led learning.

A True Prep School
Prep Schools are intended to help prepare children for the next stage of their education. Greenfield provides education up to the end of Year 6, at which point its pupils leave to begin Year 7 at senior school. The families of Woking are exceptionally fortunate to have more than 30 independent senior schools within easy reach and many of them offering the best the country has to offer across all aspects of school life. It is here that Greenfield comes into its own, as a school that provides outstanding preparation for its pupils and their parents when considering their child’s next steps.

Our subject leaders teach children throughout the school and this enables them to identify talent in the youngest pupils and help to develop raw skills as the child journeys through the school. Focused scholarship preparation usually begins in Year 5, where portfolios will be compiled and performances rehearsed. In sport, the PE department are continually assisting families of skilled pupils to best prepare them for scholarships.

Families applying to independent senior schools are invited to various face-to-face meetings with the Headmistress and Assistant Head for Upper School, who write detailed references for each individual child and offer valuable advice as to which schools would be best suited to an individual.

Simon Larter-Evans said:

The school has increased its roll and made a particular feature of helping parents choose the future school with the interests of the child, rather than the interests of prestige and that’s a good message for everyone in the independent sector.

Preparing for the Future
It is because Greenfield is not tied to archaic teaching methods or outdated practices that the Senior Leadership Team has been able to adjust for its pupils to ensure their education is genuinely preparing them for their future. Greenfield was an early adopter of teaching soft-skills to the very young and this has paid dividends when our 11-year-olds present themselves to senior school heads. The curriculum is regularly reviewed to ensure that the education is relevant to the generation it is serving, and new initiatives are welcomed across the school.

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