As teachers we have been overwhelmed with the support that parents and the local community have shown us during our first year at Whitehall Park, we wanted to share the responses from everyone:
Here are just a few comments from parents about why they chose Whitehall Park School and how their children are settling in.
‘When we first started applying for school for our daughter, we realised that we weren’t in the catchment area for any of the local schools. As it was unlikely we’d get a school close by, or in our borough, we thought we’d (begrudgingly) sell up and move out of london. Then along came Whitehall Park. As expected we didn’t get a school near by, and not in islington, but thankfully we got Whitehall Park. I definitely had my reservations in the beginning but our daughter couldn’t be happier, and has two teachers and a headmistress I could could only have dreamed of! Needless to say, we scrapped our plans to move and are thrilled our daughter goes to such a great school!’
‘I just read this week’s newsletter (cannot believe you guys have managed to keep that up…it’s a huge bonus) and realised we are nearly at the end of my son’s first year at school. And my goodness what a time he has had. We are so grateful for the love and nurturing he gets daily from you all; the adventures and outings he is lucky enough to have with you (above and beyond any other school we know of); the incredible progress you are ensuring he is making with reading, writing and numeracy and the amazing family feel your school provides. We feel very very lucky indeed. We just wanted to say thank you. Only a few weeks into the first term, as you know, we turned down Coleridge and Ashmount but not once have we looked back. We couldn’t hope for him to go to a better school. As we always believed…bricks and mortar means nothing…it’s love, passion and commitment of which you all have bucket loads. We had considered moving to the country but are dead set on staying now so Rufus’s brother Ethan can also come to your school! So we look forward to many more years of this and thank you for all your hard work.’
‘I had planned to home-school my son as I wanted him to be schooled in an intimate, personable environment. My own experience is that this is hard to find in an inner London school. I turned down a place at a high performing school in Highgate to take up a place at Whitehall Park School because I believed that it reflected my values. I couldn’t be happier with the learning opportunities and pastoral care which my son is receiving. The teachers are extremely passionate about their vision for the school and in day to day learning and my son wakes up every day excited to go to school.’
‘I am writing to express my extreme gratitude to Bellevue Place Education for having had the conviction and determination to get Whitehall Park School up and running, and to thank you and your team for the incredible effort you have put in personally to get everything operating to such an incredibly high standard from the start.
Having grown up in Highgate, and having benefitted immensely from attending a local primary school, I was extremely keen that my children be able to enjoy the same privilege. Unfortunately, living on Stanhope Road, my family was located in an education black spot, out of the catchment area of any school to which we could reasonably walk a four year old in less than half an hour. As a result my wife and I were delighted to hear of the plans to open WPS, as the alternative was private education which would have stretched us financially, assuming we could even get a place. Initially we were somewhat sceptical about whether it would be possible to get WPS running in time given the logistical and political complications, however any doubts we had about the passion behind the scheme were immediately dispelled when I attended one of the consultation sessions that you had arranged, and subsequently by your willingness to openly and honestly address our concerns. Just as importantly we were blown away by the excitement and enthusiasm of the other parents, many of whom were in the same position as us, and the support you were receiving from them, the governors and Bellevue. Needless to say we spent most of Summer with our fingers tightly crossed.
Now that the school is up and running, I can say without reservation that it has surpassed our highest expectations. Everything from the look of the uniforms to the quality of the food, the provision of before and after school activities and of course the quality and dedication of the staff is awesome. Nobody could reasonably have expected you to achieve as much as you have so quickly, and there is no doubt in my mind that word of mouth will ensure that the school is materially oversubscribed next year. Most importantly of all, our son comes home every day telling us how much he loves his “big boy school”.
We cannot thank you enough; the establishment of WPS has not only transformed our personal circumstances from schooling nightmare to schooling dream, it has created an asset to the local community supported by enormous goodwill from its stakeholders.’
‘What now stands at the Whitehall Park site – two beautiful classrooms, with amazing outside space, all painted and decorated by us, the new Whitehall Park School family – is testament to the huge support this school has garnered from families and neighbours like us. We are all certain that this school will be Isington’s crowning glory and will do whatever we can to make it a success.’
‘Like many other families, we were in a similar position of not having been offered any of the schools of our choice. We ended up being offered a catholic school 35 minutes’ drive away which would have made it impossible to keep my job as a hospital doctor at UCLH. I declined our offer and appealed to my first school of choice under medical and social grounds. In the interim I heard of Whitehall Park through my neighbour who was in a similar position. Whilst gathering all my evidence for my appeal, I looked into Whitehall Park and contacted Laura Birkett. To my amazement Laura offered to come round one evening to answer all my questions as I had missed all the community meetings.’
‘I was immediately seduced by Laura’s passion, drive, ambition and vision for Whitehall Park. Her enthusiasm was just infectious and her vision of what she wanted to achieve was simply inspirational. I applied that same day and when I did get into the school of my first choice, I declined our place in favour of a school that represents the community with an ethos and an ambition I respect wholeheartedly. It required a leap of faith for the families to sign up to a school that in reality didn’t really exist yet. For me personally it was an easy leap to make – I instantly believed that Laura would succeed and had all faith in her abilities. I am beyond delighted to be part of a phenomenally exciting opportunity to create a truly special school for the children of our community. The opening of Whitehall Park is an inspiring and wonderful beginning of a rather magical new family.’
‘Having been offered none of our six schools in April we gratefully accepted a place at Whitehall Park fully expecting that if one of the waiting list places for our top choice schools came up we would swap. However as the summer progressed we were so impressed with the headteacher and her team, their ambitions for Whitehall Park and the way they have worked relentlessly against the odds to create a lovely school with a great atmosphere that even when a place at the number one school on our original list came up later on we were very happy to stay with Whitehall Park school. We’ve gone from feeling pretty desperate in April with no school place to feeling incredibly lucky that our children are now going to have a wonderful school minutes away from where we live.’
‘We would wholeheartedly recommend that people interested in the school for this year and next just go and see it for themselves. You will then understand why us parents feel so very lucky!’
‘My daughter cried on her first day and stated ‘I don’t want to go home, I want to stay at school.’ Which just made me think I definitely made the right educational choice sending my daughter to Whitehall Park School.’
‘I find the teachers and staff are very approachable should parents have any questions or concerns. I like the fact that all members of staff know every single child and parent by name. For me this is important, it means they take each child and family as individual rather than just a number. There is a real sense of community and parental involvement is strong. A picnic was organised to introduce teachers, pupils and parents; parents were able to come help decorate; and there was an opening ceremony and party for everyone. The school encourages parents’ participation in having a say in their child’s education and I am very happy to be part of this new family.’
‘My husband and I initially got behind the opening of this school because we were desperate for a local community school for our son to go to, and had very few (and certainly no local) options. But it soon became clear that Whitehall Park was going to be much more than that; we have a real gem of a school opening in our neighbourhood. There is already a sense of a really strong ethos; passionate about learning, but at the same time caring, nurturing and, really importantly, mindful that each child is an individual, with individual needs and interests. Our (pretty shy) son is already really keen to go to school and it’s only the second day for him!’
‘We just feel incredibly lucky that, against many odds, this school has managed to open. It has a really exciting future ahead of it and we feel privileged to be a part of that’
Here are some of the comments from parents at our sister school, Rutherford House.
‘As a parent with a child who is just completing her first year at Rutherford House School, I am writing to congratulate you all on gaining a place for your children at Whitehall Park School for this September. The unknown, particularly where our children are concerned, can be a very worrying time, none more so than when they are starting ‘big’ school for the very first time.’
‘My daughter Bella has had the most wonderful first year at Rutherford House and I know that all the other parents whose children started with her feel exactly the same. It was a daunting prospect when we brought them along to their first day last September; the building was far from completed, builders were in and out pretty much 7 days a week. However, the children were so excited to be meeting new friends that to be perfectly honest, it simply did not matter and before we knew it our wonderful building was ready in February. The children have flourished so very much and looking back to the small, sometimes very shy little girls and boys they were almost a year ago, we are all so very proud of the goals and strengths that they have achieved and delighted us all with.’
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