Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing the right school is one of the most important decisions you can make for your child and their education. Below are some questions and answers from existing and previous parents; we hope you find them useful, but if you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to call us or come along to one of our Open Mornings to find out more. 

Academic FAQs

Does the School offer scholarships or bursaries?

Yes, The School is keen to recognise and reward talented students and we offer scholarships at 11+, 13+ and 16+ (Years 7, Year 9 and Sixth Form entry).  Please see our Scholarships and Bursaries page.

Additional discounts are available for Armed Forces Families (Royal Navy, Army, RAF etc.), children of anyone in full-time Christian ministry and children of former Park School pupils.

A bursary fund is available for existing pupils to assist families who may experience a sudden change in financial circumstances.  Such awards are subject to the availability of funding.

For more information please call Jane Whear, Head of Admissions on 01935 850555 l admissions@parkschool.com

How many pupils are in your classes?

Each year group will be different depending on the number of children on our roll.  In the prep school we aim to keep our classes small and from Years 3 – 6 children are in individual year groups.  In the senior school, we have two classes in each year group allowing our teachers to give individual support and guidance to each pupil according to their needs and abilities.  Numbers per class are very much lower than in the state school model where children can feel lost in classes of 30 or more.

In our Sixth Form classes are much smaller and can be as few as three per subject.  This is an ideal environment for the depth of learning required at A Level.  We work hard to tailor our A Level offering to a student’s individual wishes, to help them gain the A Levels they require to access the next step in their education, whether it is university or not.  Students often comment on the highly supportive relationships that are fostered with subject teachers in the Sixth Form.

Do you have a pre-school or nursery?

No, we can take pupils from 4 years old – rising 5 (those who will be 5 years old in the academic year), but not before.  We would expect pupils to be ready to attend full-time when they join us, or soon after.

Do Park School pupils sit SATS in Year 6?

No, we do not prepare our pupils to sit SATS in year 6.  This is because we teach the core subjects with added breadth, not just to meet the requirements of the tests.  We also teach a wider range of additional subjects.  Pupils in our Prep School learn French and Spanish as well as having Music and PE lessons with our Senior School subject specialists.

How many GCSEs do your students typically sit at the end of Year 11?

At The Park School students typically sit 9 or 10 GCSE subjects.  We may advise a reduced number in certain circumstances.

Does my son/daughter have to sit Religious Studies at GCSE?

Yes, all our first language English students sit RS at GCSE.  This is an excellent basis for many other subjects at A Level and a sound training in Philosophy and Ethics for later life.

You’re a private school, why don’t you have lessons at weekends?

We believe that our private school model of a no-frills, independent education and no Saturday school allows more time for families to be together and for our boarders to relax.  Many of our parents appreciate weekend time that doesn’t include a school run!  Our terms are also a little bit longer than other private schools, which working parents find helpful.

Does the School accept pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

Yes, we already have some pupils in our school who need a little extra help.  Our smaller classes enable us to take more time to support a child’s individual needs.  We welcome any child who is willing and able to make the most of the curriculum and the opportunities we provide.  We are known for our nurturing, family environment and children flourish in our care when they may not in a school with larger classes.

For more information see our Policies page for our Disability Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Learning Support Policy.

Or contact David Cudworth (Inclusion Co-ordinator) or Jane Whear (Head of Admissions) 01935 850555 | admissions@parkschool.com

What provision does The Park School have for Ambitious, Academic and Able (AAA) children? (previously Gifted & Talented)

We have an enrichment programme for all children and AAA children are encouraged to participate and contribute to a wide range of opportunities including Public Speaking, Debating and Model United Nations (MUN), with tailored visits to cater for individual interests, notably a visit this year to The Houses of Parliament and another to Bath Spa University to investigate the Architecture Faculty.

For more information see our Policies page for our AAA Policy.

Or contact David Cudworth (Inclusion Co-ordinator) or Jane Whear (Head of Admissions) 01935 850555 | admissions@parkschool.com

Does The Park School have a tutoring system?

Yes, every class has a form tutor who becomes the first point of contact between the student, school and home.  EAL students have a tutor dedicated to overseeing their cultural and linguistic development so that they understand and feel fully involved in the life of the school.

My child speaks English as a second language, can you help them with English lessons?

Yes, we offer specialist language provision to EAL students entering the Sixth Form who wish to take their IELTS exam.  This teaching is provided by The Phoenix School of Languages in Yeovil.  

In Years 10 and 11 EAL students are prepared for the IGCSE English as a Second Language exam as well as being supported in other lessons.  Younger students are supported in class and encouraged by their teachers and peers to join in and speak English.

We ask that each student works hard to improve their English to allow them to access the curriculum fully and for them to be able to socialise with other students at The Park.  They are encouraged to speak in English, rather than their native language during the school day and at social times in the boarding house.

Does The Park School have a forest school?

Yes, we offer a forest school experience in our own parkland grounds and woods.  Our pupils really enjoy their time spent outside the normal classroom learning.  They learn varied skills including photo orienteering, use of tools, identification of trees, measuring the moisture of sticks for fires and about water flow and erosion of river banks.  They also create artwork and pictures using natural resources.  Our forest school leader is very experienced. 

Admissions FAQs

Does my child need to pass an entrance exam to get into The Park School?

No, there are no entrance exams – we are a non-selective school.  However, students wishing to join us in the Sixth Form are expected to be predicted (or already have achieved) at least five level 4-9 grades at GCSE to qualify for entry, with at least grade 6 attained in their chosen A-level subjects (where appropriate).

We do not require students to sit common entrance.  Entry to The Park is often at Year 7, but students are able to enter at any stage.  Taster days are encouraged and previous school reports are required. 

Overseas students are often interviewed by the Head via Skype.  EAL students are required to sit English and Maths tests prior to entry, to ascertain their level of English comprehension.

Do you hold regular open mornings or should we book a personal tour of the School?

It is our aim to hold open mornings every term; these may be for the whole school or specifically tailored to a particular year of entry.  At an open morning, you can expect to be met by the Head, taken on a tour of the School led by pupils and to see some lessons in action.  Typically, out tour mornings start at 9.30am and finish by 11.30am, depending on the Q&A session.  We limit the number of attendees on these tours to ensure everyone has a good experience. 

Some parents may prefer a one-to-one visit to take a private tour.  It’s up to you.

Some parents may prefer not to bring their children for their first visit.  We understand – that’s OK.

We ask that parents don’t arrive at school for a tour unless they have previously booked an appointment.  You may be disappointed if the Head is unable to meet you or if we can’t show you a part of the School you wish to see.

Sixth Form FAQs

Are there any privileges to being in the Sixth Form?

Yes, Sixth Formers are revered and respected members of the School community.  Having graduated through their GCSEs, Sixth Formers are exempt from wearing school uniform (although we expect them to wear smart business attire each day).  They have their own common room and they are given respectful independence to manage their own timetables as any adult would.

The common room is equipped with computer terminals and plenty of study desks where A-Level students can get on with work in study periods.  They have internet access and are encouraged to bring their own laptops for research.  If they are studying a practical subject like Art, they are able to work in the Art Department as much as possible.

Where do Park School students go after Park School?

Many go on to university and we pride ourselves in helping students to find the right university and course for them.  Some go on to more vocational courses or apprenticeships through the local colleges and others may get a job or take a gap year, then contact us again to help them with applications for further education.

Boarding FAQs

What are the boarding facilities like?  Are boys and girls separate?

Our modern Riverside Boarding House is situated in the grounds of the Chilton estate.  On two levels it provides twin rooms and dormitory bedrooms that allow each boarding student their own space for their personal belongings and a comfy place to sleep.  Male and female students board on separate, self-contained floors with private bathroom facilities. A communal lounge, known as ‘The Swamp,’ provides space for TV and gaming, pool, table football, jigsaws, board games and table tennis, with comfortable seating and doors that open out onto a patio.  A bar area provides Wi-Fi and internet access for all students in a safe public environment.

In the communal area is a kitchenette where the boarders can make hot and cold drinks for themselves; there is also a fridge in which to store their own snacks.

The boarding house has its own raised patio area with covered veranda and picnic benches where boarders can relax outside of school time.  Situated right in the middle of the open grounds and parkland, when the school is closed, the boarders can use this as their exclusive garden.

What do the boarding pupils do at weekends?

During term time weekends boarding pupils spend their time completing homework tasks and they have specified prep times for this.  The boarding team also organises activities and trips at weekends that may include trips to the cinema, shopping, the beach or to historic local sites.

We also run a Health and Wellbeing programme in conjunction with Nuffield Health in Yeovil.  Boarders can become members of the gym and fitness centre and we provide a minibus service to the centre on scheduled evenings and at weekends. 

I don’t want my son/daughter to board all the time – Do you offer occasional boarding?

Yes, we understand that some families require flexibility when it comes to boarding – they may wish their child to board only occasionally according to their work commitments for instance.  We are happy to take enquiries for flexi or occasional boarding and can offer places subject to there being beds available.  To find out more about flexi boarding options, please contact Jane Whear, who will put you in touch with our boarding team.

For boarding fees, click here.

From what age can my child board at The Park School?

We can offer flexi boarding from the age of seven, but we recommend that full-time boarding begins from the age of nine onwards.

Fees FAQs

Your fees are quite low compared to other private schools, how come?

We have a low fees, no frills approach to private education.  We offer small classes and excellent pastoral care at an affordable price, so that children who find the large classes of the maintained sector difficult, feel safe, comfortable and happy.  In our family orientated environment we foster a life-long love of learning, in which children are enabled to find what interests and inspires them.

What is included in the school fees and what is extra?

The fees cover all tuition costs, wrap around care (if required), school lunches, school books and stationery.  Fees do not include: school uniform, minibus service, external exam fees and costs (GCSE, AS/A level, IELTS, BTEC etc.), educational trips and excursions, travel or medical insurance, pocket money, or individual boarding activities.

Individual Music lessons are an extra and are invoiced directly by the peripatetic teacher.

Our optional Health and Wellbeing Programme (for boarders 12+) is not included in the fees.

Application and enrolment fees are in addition to and paid in advance of fees. 

Pastoral/Wellbeing FAQs

Is there a School Council?

Yes, the school holds regular Prep and Senior School council meetings to gather pupils’ opinions and wishes on school matters. This might include how to spend a new fiction library budget or ideas for school days out.  Each year group has two representatives on the school council, and they meet with the Bursar and the Head of Pastoral Care twice a term.  Meetings are chaired by the Head Boy and Girl.

Does The Park School have a peer mentoring system?

Yes, we have a ‘Buddy’ system where our Reception and Year 1 & 2 pupils have a Buddy in Year 6.  Year 6 pupils love reading with their younger charges and the younger children enjoy meeting the Year 6 pupils at break and lunchtimes and sometimes spending some time with them on project or topic work. 

New pupils in all classes are paired up with a pupil in their own year group to help them and act as their mentor until they are familiar with the routines of the school.

What is the School’s policy on mobile phones and internet access?

The use of phones is not permitted during the school day until students enter the Sixth Form and then at specific times, outside of academic lessons. Senior Day pupils in Year 7 and above are permitted to bring phones to school in case they are needed to help with transport arrangements or to listen to music on the journey to school.  Phones are collected each morning by the form tutor, who returns them at the end of the day. 

Boarders must leave their phones in the boarding house. They are permitted to use these out of school hours at the discretion of the boarding staff.  Pupils in Year 11 and below must hand in all mobile devices and laptops before lights out.

Miscellaneous FAQs

Is The Park School a Christian School?

Yes, the School was founded on Christian principles in 1851.  The ethos of the School remains rooted in these principles; however, we welcome families of all faiths or none.  We encourage pupils to explore the spiritual side of life as they progress through the School.  We run a Christian Union for those who wish to enquire or engage further.

What is a typical school day schedule?

The timings of the school day vary slightly depending on the year groups, but this is the outline:

  • 08.30     Registration
  • 08.40     Lessons begin
  • 10.20     Pre-Prep and Prep School Break-time
  • 10.40     Senior School Break-time
  • 12.00     Lunch begins for Pre-Prep
  • 12.40     Lunch begins for Senior School
  • 15.30     Lessons end

               End of the day for Pre-Prep

  • 15.45     Extra Curricular Programme (Monday – Thursday)

Wraparound care: By prior arrangement, parents may drop their children at school from 08.15 and collect up to 17.30.  There is no extra charge for this.

My son/daughter isn’t very sporty, how will your school support them in PE and Games?

We believe in our inclusive sport curriculum whereby we encourage pupils of all abilities to try new experiences, irrespective of their existing sporting ability or expertise.

We find that pupils arrive at The Park School with a variety of skills and abilities but the School’s philosophy positively encourages everyone to try and this has been proven to build an individual’s confidence.

Our long-term aim is to encourage every pupil to find an activity they can be passionate about and for them to foster a life-long love of sport and appreciate the importance of following a healthy lifestyle.

Does the School offer swimming lessons?

Yes, pupils in Years 1 – 6 go swimming at RNAS Yeovilton every week and pupils in Years 7 and 8 are offered swimming lessons to ensure they are able to swim and are safe in the water.  Our swimming team trains for the ISA gala, which we host regularly at the Oxley Centre in Sherborne.

Can I hire the school buildings and grounds for a private event?

Yes, we’d love to hear about any event(s) you may wish to hold on our Chilton site.  Availability is more likely in the school holidays.  Please contact our Assistant Bursar, Tammy Cooney to find out more.  Tammy.cooney@parkschool.com

What is the food like?  Can you cater for special dietary needs?

All meals at The Park School are included in the fees.  Our catering is provided by Palmer and Howells and Rob, our Head Chef has worked with us for three years.  Each day meals are cooked from scratch with fresh, local ingredients.

Lunch menus offer a varied choice of meals including a daily vegetarian option.  You can see a sample menu here.  If your child has any special dietary requirements (for example celiac, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian) we are happy to make sure they are met.  We have a nut free policy at school.

During morning break there is a tuck shop and complimentary afternoon snacks are provided.

Does school have special Park School buses to pick up pupils?

Yes, we have a fleet of minibuses and dedicated drivers collecting and returning children from many local towns and villages around Yeovil.  Pick up points include Sherborne, Yeovil, Ilchester, South Petherton, Milborne Port etc.  For a full list click here. Every minibus driver is DBS checked and they offer safe, familiar and trustworthy transport to and from school.  Our minibus service is extra to our fees. 

Does the school have a House system?

Yes, we have four houses:  Livingstone, Müller, Shaftesbury, and Slessor.  Each year they compete for the Stunt Cup for which points are awarded throughout the year for sport, and service to their house and the school.  The Academic Shield is awarded to the house with the highest number of academic merits.

Each house appoints house captains who are responsible for organising teams for house events such as the Swimming Gala, Sports day and inter-house matches.

Why did The Park School move from Yeovil to Chilton Cantelo?

Our School had been part of Yeovil since its establishment in 1851.  It was sad to leave after such a long time in the centre of town, but during its 167 year history, it has moved buildings several times to bigger and better premises.  The Chilton Cantelo site became available for purchase in 2016 when Cognita schools vacated it and the Governors felt that the estate offered many benefits over the buildings and grounds we occupied in the centre of Yeovil.  The School now occupies 27 acres of parkland so we can offer a forest school experience which is great for the Pre-Prep and prep, but also for those preparing for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award!  It also gives us the opportunity to host home rugby, football, hockey, cricket and tennis matches as well as cross country and athletics in their season.

Our new location also offers parents easier access to School from the A303, Sherborne and the surrounding villages.  Parking and access are a lot easier away from the town centre.

The peaceful grounds also offer all our pupils and staff a calm, clean, unpolluted environment in which to learn and grow.

How long has the current Head – Jane Huntington, been at The Park School?  And what is her background?

Mrs Huntington joined the School in 2011.  Before The Park School she was Deputy Head and Director of Music at Thetford Grammar School in Norfolk.

Mrs Huntington’s special interest is in Music, having taught and sung professionally for several years.  She has been instrumental in bringing about the move to our new site and with the support of the Bursar and the Board of Governors she is looking ahead to develop further the facilities and opportunities this offers for the School.

How can I get in contact with my old school friends from The Park School?

There is some activity within particular year groups of former Park School pupils; they are in contact on social media platforms.  We held our ‘Farewell to Kingston’ event on 30 June and many old friends were reunited at this event.  We would like to be able to keep in touch with all of our former pupils and encourage them to sign up to our Alumni Association.  There is no fee.  Contact alumni@parkschool.com

Does the School have its own chaplain?

No, but our Head of Religious Studies holds a Masters Degree in Theology and, with the Head and Deputy Head, leads our assembly programme.  He produces the ‘Thought for the Day’ and the School Liturgy which is followed throughout the year.  Our assemblies are Christian based and are held in the beautiful surroundings of St James’ Church, Chilton Cantelo.  The Chair of Governors, Roy Moody, is a Licensed Reader in the Church of England as is governor, Keith Stevens.  Our parent governor, Revd Ron Martin, is Head of Chaplaincy Services at Sherborne Hospital and Associate Priest at Sherborne Abbey.

 

 

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