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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.

Does the School offer scholarships or bursaries?

Yes, The School is keen to recognise and reward talented students and we offer scholarships at 11+ and 13+ (Years 7 and Year 9 entry).  Please see our Scholarships and Awards 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 852195 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.  We aim to keep our classes small and, 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. 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 contact, in confidence, David Cudworth (Inclusion Co-ordinator) on 01935 850555 or Jane Whear (Head of Admissions) 01935 852195 | admissions@parkschool.com

See our Policies page for our Disability Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Learning Support Policy.

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.

Contact Jane Whear (Head of Admissions) 01935 852195 | admissions@parkschool.com

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

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.

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 conventional 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.

See our Forest School here.

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

We do not require students to sit common entrance examinations.  During a Taster Day pupils will be informally assessed and previous school reports will be requested.

Entry to The Park is often at Year 7, but students are able to enter at any stage.

Students wishing to join us in the Sixth Form are expected to be predicted (or already have achieved) at least five level 9-4 grades at GCSE to qualify for entry, with at least grade 6 attained in their chosen A-level subjects (where appropriate).

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.

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.

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, 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, breakfast or after-school club.

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

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

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 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.

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 (and whole school on Fridays)

15.45     Extra Curricular Programme (Monday – Thursday)

16.55     End of Day

Wraparound care: By prior arrangement, parents may drop their children at school from 08.00 for breakfast club and collect up to 18.00.

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. 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 lunches 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 a long time.  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 coeliac, 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 daily.

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, Wincanton 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.

Find out more about our Houses here.

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 would like to be able to keep in touch with all of our former pupils and encourage them to sign up to our Facebook page, Twitter Feed or LinkedIn profile. Contact alumni@parkschool.com

Does the School have its own chaplain?

Yes, our parent governor, Revd Ron Martin is our School Chaplain and is also Head of Chaplaincy Services at Sherborne Hospital and Associate Priest at Sherborne Abbey. Our assemblies are Christian based and are held in the beautiful surroundings of St James’ Church, Chilton Cantelo.