This is a happy school. Those were the first words written about Long Close in our most recent school inspection report. The inspectors also made repeated use of the word ‘outstanding’ – to describe the education we provide, the personal development of our children, our commitment to health and safety, the way we run the school, and the quality of our nursery.
For me, it’s the word ‘happy’ that matters most. It was something I noticed the first time I visited the school. Everyone is pleased to be here. Teachers, pupils and parents greet each other with smiles and respect. The children are known by their first names. Doors are held open. Classrooms are filled with purpose.
I now realise that this happiness is built into the culture of the school. It comes from the unusual amount of individual attention we choose to give our pupils. Our combination of small class sizes and excellent teachers means that we are better placed than other schools to find out what makes each child tick. We identify individual potential and nurture it so that all of our children can make the very most of themselves. It’s an approach that fosters an atmosphere of endeavour, ambition and personal fulfilment.
The benefits are evident. Our academic results, for example, are excellent – in SATs, the 11+, Common Entrance and GCSEs. But there’s another measure of success that matters more. It’s that Long Close ‘adds value’; on average, children make more progress here than they would at other schools. That, I think, is the true measure of a successful school – and a happy one.
Finally, if you are considering joining the Long Close family, I urge you to visit the school and see it for yourself. I hope you will leave with the same first impression that I did.