Happy Children Succeed A great strap-line, don't you think? Of course it is, but Forres Sandle Manor don't just leave this statement on their advertising. It's an ethos that they believe in and act on every single day and with every single child. You may imagine, with a line like 'Happy Children Succeed', that Forres Sandle Manor (or FSM as we are known) is some kind of holiday club dedicated to keep your children smiling and entertained but the sort of happiness FSM means comes from knowing that you are liked and respected by your peers and your teachers. It comes from knowing that no matter what your skills and talents, or indeed your lack of them, you will be helped and supported to do the best that you can in order to reach your own particular star.
Mark Hartley, who took over as Headmaster in 2010, says, “from the Nursery all the way up to Year 8 there are many stars at FSM. Naturally there are those who excel in particular areas of the curriculum or indeed one of the many extra-curricular activities, and these children are enrolled into our Gifted and Talented Programme. Some of these children may also attend the fabulous, nationally renowned, Learning Support Centre which also provides essential support for those who learn differently when and where required. Not all children are all-rounders after all.
At FSM each and every child is supported by our skills based, creative curriculum which allows every single child to contribute to the plans of what they will be learning as a class. We believe that it is only when children have some ownership of their learning that they are able to fully engage with it so that it is meaningful and relevant to them”. None of this happens by accident. FSM have fantastic resources, the main one being the staff. The teachers at FSM are passionate about what they do and in all areas they actively seek out and nurture raw talent in whatever field that may be.
Life at FSM starts at the Pre-Prep, where children can join the Nursery during the half-term when they turn 3. Tracy Spottiswood, Head of Pre-Prep says, “the first years of school are vital and it's fundamental that they are of the very highest standard. It is at this time that children learn how to learn; that their curiosity is harnessed through meaningful and purposeful play and that they develop the neural pathways that will serve them for the rest of their lives. FSM provides an environment which nurtures and encourages the developing child at this special time in their lives.”
The Music school produces amazing results and every child is encouraged to try an instrument and experience performance in many different areas. FSM's sporting reputation is becoming stronger every term. All children play sport every afternoon in our beautiful grounds; the recent addition of an Astroturf has seen the standard in Hockey reach dizzying heights. Academically, FSM leads the way in its innovative approach to teaching. Many of the techniques used here have now been adopted by Prep Schools across the country and Mark is justifiably proud of the fact that every Year 8 has always been successful in achieving their first choice senior school. Always! Leavers' destinations have included Winchester, Bryanston, Canford, Sherborne, Sherborne Girls', Godolphin, Uppingham to name but just a few! Much of the family atmosphere surrounding the school comes from the fact that at its heart, FSM is a boarding school; with over 100 full and weekly boarders, over half of the total children from Year 3 to 8. The recent Ofsted report supported their claim to havethe best Boarding House in the World' by grading it as ;outstanding'.
The level of care shown by the pastoral team isn't just saved for the boarders though. The Senior Houseparent, Tracy Cowper (fondly known as Mrs 'Calpol') and her team extend their support not only to all the children but their parents as well. Tracy says,'it is enormously hard to send your children away to school for whatever reason and parents need to know that we are always at the end of the phone; although I have to say, more often than not they call us because they haven't heard from their sons and daughters for so long, usually because they are having such a good time!'
Mark adds, 'one of the things I noticed when I first arrived at FSM is that there was no segmentation between day children and boarders. We often invite our day children in to join in our legendary Wednesday nights and our boarders also get invited out to stay with day children at the weekends'. It is difficult to single out any one particular area and be able to say that FSM excels in this or that; perhaps this is where the uniqueness of FSM lies. As you walk around the beautiful manor house and amazing grounds we hope that you will think that, actually, 'Happy Children Succeed' isn't a clever advertising gimmick after all. It really is at the heart of everything we do. But don't just take our word for it. Mark and his wife, Beth, would love to see you at the show and if you can't wait that long then please give FSM a call, or email them, and they would delighted to show you everything FSM has to offer.