Afford your child an educational head startAs an alternative to an autumn 2022 state school Reception place, consider investing in your child’s future by applying to one of our one-off Covid hardship bursaries, valid for all three years of our Pre-Prep education (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2).
One-off Covid hardship bursaries for autumn 2022 Reception applicants
Whilst the economy and most livelihoods have recovered reasonably well from the Covid crisis, we are aware that a number of parents who had contemplated private schooling for their child from Reception are now needing to consider state schooling instead, purely due to the change in financial circumstances. Many of them are working on a self-employed basis and/or in hard-hit sectors like leisure, hospitality, arts or travel, and we would like to offer these families the opportunity to still access our Pre-Prep education (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) through means-tested fee remissions.
We are able to offer these bursary places as we have some spare capacity in our Reception this autumn as a result of a smaller Pre-Reception cohort transitioning into our Reception this year. This, in turn, stems from a limited Kindergarten cohort last year due to Covid restrictions and related delays to the opening of our facilities at 99 Herne Hill.
At a glance, the cornerstones of the scheme on offer are as follows:
- Available to families who are considering sending their autumn 2022 Reception child into a state school (or into an independent school on a remission/bursary basis); this includes current Herne Hill School Pre-Reception families who had opted to not transition into Reception but move to a state school due to financial constraints.
- The extended fee remission will range from 20% to 40%, depending on means testing and the number of applicants; it will, in principle, be valid for all three Pre-Prep years, subject to the family’s financial circumstances not changing materially.
- Offers of a place and the level of fee remission extended will be subject to our standard admissions assessment of the child as well as the evaluation of the means testing submissions.
- To apply for the scheme, prospective parents should express their interest by contacting our Bursar Anne Thompson, who will then email them an application form, which will need to be completed and submitted with payment of a £50 application fee for the child to be invited for his/her assessment visit.
- In the first instance, application forms should be submitted by 13 March 2022 at the latest. Assessments are planned to take place in the week commencing 21 March 2022, with offers being extended swiftly thereafter, before the Easter break, which starts on 1 April 2022.
- The scheme will remain open until classes are filled to the desired level, up to a maximum of 22 pupils per class.
The value of investing in quality Pre-Prep education
In just over three years’ time, when your child will finish Key Stage 1 and move on to Year 3, s/he will be reaching the natural end of Early Childhood Education. By then, all foundations for future success will have been firmly set, making a long lasting impact. Although societal understanding of the transformative impact of Early Childhood Education is still low, the science underpinning this is well established, driven by the rapid development in this period of the human brain.
It is therefore not surprising that investing at this stage of a child’s education also provides the greatest return on this investment, with arguably only the earlier childhood and pre-school years offering a greater return. The so-called Heckman Curve, first published in the 2003 research paper ‘Human Capital Policy’ by Pedro Carneiro and Economics Nobel Prize Laureate James Heckman, illustrates well the greater rate of economic return coming from early investments in children.
Of course, we appreciate that at even at 60-80% of our fees, sending a child to Herne Hill School still represents a substantial expense for many families. Nevertheless, we would advocate that if you are considering offering your child a period of private schooling at some point in their education, now, if affordable, is the best time to do it.
Besides the return on investment argument, another important consideration is that the gap in education funding in England between the state sector and independent schools is greater than ever, having doubled over the previous decade. According to a report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in October 2021, the average cost of annual private school fees was around £13,600 per pupil in 2020-21, nearly twice the £7,100 spent by the government per state school pupil – a gap of more than 90%. In 2009-10, that gap was only 39%, with private school fees being £11,000 per pupil on average, whereas state schools received £8,000 per pupil from government, after adjusting for inflation.
By all available accounts, the gap in the quality of provision and outcomes is likely to have become even greater over the past two years due to the coronavirus disruptions to schools. At Herne Hill School, we are proud of the amazing results our Year 2 pupils who graduated in summer 2021 achieved in our internal Statutory Attainment Tests. In spite of the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, they largely matched, and in some cases even surpassed, the ‘far above national average’ attainment achieved by our summer 2019 graduates – testimony to the high-quality provision we were able to deliver, with superb support from our parents, through our home-schooling platform during the lockdown periods.
Whilst we hope that over the next three years we will not face anywhere near the coronavirus disruptions we suffered over the past two years, we cannot be sure that this virus will not again cause negative surprises. If that happens, we will, as always, do all we can to ensure that the children receive the best possible education based on our bedrock of love, care and expertise in Early Childhood Education – irrespective of circumstances.
Why Herne Hill School is ideally suited to optimise this investment
Firstly, because of our focus on and extensive expertise in Early Childhood Education
This includes managing smoothly one of the most notoriously difficult transitions in a child’s educational life – from the conclusion of the Early Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1, through which the children need to adapt to greater academic demands and increasingly more formal learning required by the National Curriculum. In Reception, our loving and caring staff put great emphasis on settling external joiners quickly by integrating them with our transitioning Pre-Reception children. We support them in establishing new friendships, and endeavour to form a strong class spirit rapidly, in which all children feel secure, have fun and thrive collectively.
Secondly, because of our well-resourced classes of up to 22 pupils per class in Reception
These are taught by three staff in each class as well as our specialist teachers in French, music, PE/sports and dance. Through natural attrition, class sizes reduce by about two pupils each year from Reception through to Year 2.
And thirdly, because our provision ends at the end of Key Stage 1
This enables us to make a virtue of the Year 2 children becoming the oldest pupils at the school, thereby developing their sense of social responsibility and strong leadership skills. Of course, it also means that we thoroughly prepare them for moving on to their next schools in Year 3, with a special spark in their eyes and equipped with a comprehensive set of life skills and values.
How to apply
If you would like to apply for your child to be admitted into our autumn 2022 Reception and benefit from a fee remission with a level to be determined, please email your interest to our Bursar Anne Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your child’s full name and date of birth as well as your contact details (address, email and phone number).
We will then email you log-in details to access the password-protected Prospective Parent Area of our website as well as a DocuSign application form which will need to be completed and signed by every parent/guardian who has parental responsibility for the child. For our means testing purposes, you will need to provide financial information regarding income, expenditures, assets and debts, together with documentary evidence.
Applications should be submitted by Sunday 13 March 2022. For the application to be processed, a fee of £50 is payable, by bank transfer, at the time of submission. This fee also covers the registration of the child, i.e. you do not need to also register. If you have registered previously, you do not need to pay the £50 application fee.
Once we have processed your application, we will invite your child to visit for our standard admissions assessment. The visit entails the children joining a play session in which we observe their social interaction, language, numeracy, physical development and concentration skills. The assessment visits are scheduled to take place during the week of 21 March 2022. We intend to make offers of a place to successful candidates, together with the level of offered fee remission, swiftly thereafter (before the start of our Easter break on 1 April 2022).
If you would like to find out more about our provision, we suggest you first view all relevant areas of our website, including the password-protected information reserved for prospective parents. We would also encourage you to visit on one of our regular tours and come to our spring open morning on Saturday 12 March 2022. Please visit the ‘Tours & open days’ page on our website to book your tour.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We are looking forward to meeting you!