7:30am Sunday 6th May 2012
By Martin George
In the increasingly competitive world of private education, Shrewsbury House is stressing the extra benefits its arts and sports programmes bring to its students.
The Surbiton day school, founded in 1865, caters for boys aged seven to 13, and was praised for its high standards when it was last inspected in 2010.
Headteacher Kevin Doble said pressure is mounting on preparatory school students as senior schools move the key age for selection from 12 back to 10 - something he likens to a return to the 11 plus, but a year earlier.
He said: “The importance now is to allow the boys not only to be academic, but to make sure they enjoy their school life, and enjoy their sports, arts and drama.
“What we are particularly looking to do is to make sure the stress has a minimum effect on the boys, so they can enjoy their lives at school.”
With the recession making parents look more carefully at how they invest their money in private education, he said they are looking at the value schools add in terms of other activities, in addition to academic performance.
He is adamant the school, which draws its students from within a few miles of Kingston, will remain inclusive, and not select boys on academic ability.
The last couple of years has seen a marked shift in the destinations of school leavers, with the number going on to boarding schools increasing from about 40 per cent to 50 per cent.
The biggest change on the horizon at Shrewsbury House’s Ditton Road grounds is a plan to build a new five-lane, 25m swimming pool, to be shared with primary schools in the area, to replace the current three-lane, 15m facility.
The school and its architects have had numerous meetings with Kingston Council, and hopes work will start this summer, planning permission permitting.
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