Small class sizes result in big success for Beech House School

Unique education as individual as your child - that is what Beech House School offers each and every one of its students.

With just 225 pupils in the whole school and class sizes averaging 12 students, there is room galore for youngsters to learn, grow and succeed as they progress through their academic journey to excellence.

The independent co-educational day school takes children from as young as two and nurtures their full potential through their primary and secondary education.

Despite its small size, or maybe because of it, the school is bursting with academic, sporting and extra-curricular success - recent accolades including Independent Schools Association (ISA) School of the Year 2014 and SportsmarkGold 2014.

Kevin Sartain, Headmaster since joining the school in 1996, said: “What sets us apart is our academic success and our achievements, which are amazing considering the size we are.

“We look at each child as an individual, as well as how they progress through Beech House. We’ve got talented teachers getting the best out of each child and our students go on to great things such as attend Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

“We’re a school that has a broad spectrum of students from every social and economic background, including students from abroad and children with special educational needs.”

Beech House School has been an integral part of the Rochdale educational horizon since opening its Manchester Street doors prior to 1850.

Rated as one of the top 50 schools in the country and an accredited member of the Independent Schools Association, part of its success lies in operating a little differently to other Independent or schools.

The selective entrance interview, which only occurs in the Senior Department, focuses not only on academic standards but also on how well the child will become a valued member of the school community.

All children regardless of their abilities are encouraged to take part in a broad range of activities as a way of building confidence and discovering new talents.

The school also prides itself on helping children reach their full potential, whether that means securing a place at university or gaining a raft of GCSEs.

Kevin said: “We’re not an elitist school and we have places for a complete cross-section of pupils with all abilities.

“We operate a policy of inclusiveness, we’re not just picking the best but ensuring everyone is performing together.

“Some schools will only take part in activities when they know they¹re going to win whereas we do things to give children the experience of participating.

“The way we work means each student becomes a rounded person who is not only academically good but able to deal with other people and different situations.”

He added: “Three years ago, out of 26 students who left that year, seven did law and six did medicine at degree level and that was their choice with no pressure put on them to pursue that career.

“By not putting extra pressure on our students, they actually get better results.”

The family-orientated school has a holistic approach to education and pastoral care.

There is a continuity of teaching staff with children potentially having the same specialist subject teacher in Yr1 as in Yr11, which helps establish better relationships between children and staff.

By starting school at an early age, youngsters build up an appetite for learning and are comfortable with the coeducational environment and studious ethos the school promotes.

Kevin said: “It’s a caring environment that the children come into with students looking after each other.

“There is a cooperative ethos across the age ranges. Year groups don’t matter so much between older and younger children as they all get along and help each other.

“I know I can go and visit our nursery and there are smiling, happy children waving hello and holding your hand ready to be taken out to learn something new.”

With small class sizes and a willingness to learn, the teachers themselves are proud to work at Beech House School.

Staff members include Cambridge graduates and many stay in their post for years due to their love of the teaching environment.

The school provides specialist tuition in subjects such as music right from Reception class, and specialist teaching staff are regularly brought in to nurture a pupil’s talent.

Kevin said: “Two of our former students played lacrosse for Great Britain, a talent they would never have known about if we hadn’t had brought in a lacrosse teacher for a few years.

“You might have the best students at a particular thing but if you don’t nurture that talent, it is wasted.

“At Beech House School, we give students opportunities they might never have had.”

Kevin added: “There is a real affection amongst former students for their time here and it is not unusual for us to teach generations of the same family.

“The wonderful thing about Beech House School is that we can change a person’s future just by them coming here."

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