Headteacher’s Open Day Speech – The Beaconhurst Difference

Good morning. Welcome. My name is Sandra Bannerman, I have the privilege of being the Headteacher of Beaconhurst.

We have series of open events throughout the school year. Our September event is a day when we throw the doors open and, as well as welcoming visitors, enjoy some fun activities with our current families.

Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions we ever make as parents. We all know that every child is different. Every school is different.

So, you will be wondering this morning what IS The Beaconhurst Difference?

Some of what makes Beaconhurst is the small size of the school. Small numbers mean that pupils feel safe, they are well known, encouraged and supported by teachers to whom they feel connected. They are not invisible. Close, respectful relationships with teachers, in small classes, contribute to a calm and constructive learning environment – where no pupil can hide! Bespoke support arrangements for pupils, made possible by small numbers, are not uncommon. Being small also means that we can have vertical structures for Tutor groups and House groups where age groups are mixed. This means that everyone really does know everyone.

It is important for all pupils to have the opportunity to succeed. In a small school there is a better chance of being on the team, or cast in the play, or entering the competition. Our busiest pupils really do seem to do it all. At Beaconhurst there are lots of opportunities to stand out from the crowd.

However, being a small school does not mean small scale: our successes in national competitions in Sport, Debating, Eco and Maths, for example, showcase our pupils far beyond the school gates. Our membership of the global network of schools, Round Square, creates world-wide opportunities. Please make sure you learn all about the amazing experiences our pupils have had through Round Square during your visit today.

The Beaconhurst Difference also covers some of those all-important practical things. We know that for working families the 8 until 6 wrap-around supervision is important. Our wide range of extracurricular activities that take place on campus or next door at Stirling University, our partner for both Sports and Expressive Arts, helps to make organising family life around the children’s activities more manageable. If being ‘taxi of Mum and Dad’ is a daily challenge, this might be worth exploring further! There is no need for expensive tutors of an evening: the level of individualised academic support at Beaconhurst is unique, is something we are committed to and very proud of – and it’s all on campus.

The most significant ‘Beaconhurst Difference’ of all is our culture. While we do select the pupils who come to Beaconhurst, we do not do so by a so-called ‘ability’ test. This is a narrow and unrepresentative method which cannot measure potential. We believe that success takes many forms. So, we do select, but by ‘fit’: we encourage a shared vision for an education that is about genuine roundedness, where exam results are important but so too are life skills and character development. We expect all members of the Beaconhurst community to share our values of Respect, Ambition, Empathy, Integrity and Resilience, which are embedded in school life.

So, enough from me. You will be touring with the people who will give you the most important perspective of all – the pupils. And we don’t tell them what to say!

If after today you would like to come back for a tour to experience our school on a working day, or would like a meeting with myself or any of the staff team, please let us know.

Thank you everyone for coming along this morning. I hope you enjoy your visit.

Our doors are always open.

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