We chat to Mark Beach about the thriving boys’ prep school in Cobham, Surrey
How long have you been working at Parkside School?
I joined as headmaster in September 2014, having previously been the head of the City of London Freemen’s Junior School and Longacre School in Surrey.
How would you describe the ethos at Parkside?
We focus on providing an education that allows the boys to make the most of their abilities, interests and talents so they will progress to senior school as confident and independent individuals, with a joy of learning. We seek to develop children academically, socially and physically, while drawing out their capacity for compassion, generosity and understanding. We believe that children learn best when they are happy, active and challenged.
Tell us a bit about the school’s history.
Parkside School was founded in 1879 by Thomas Hill, a scholar from Oxford, and originally had just four pupils. These boys were provided with a harmonious learning environment in which good care was taken to ensure that the pupils were valued. This is still very much part of the school’s ethos today. Although we celebrate all that is traditional, we continue to adapt our curriculum to modern times. Parkside School’s aim has always been to inspire its pupils by offering them a challenging, innovative, exciting and creative curriculum.
How do you ensure each student achieves their potential?
We have dedicated staff on hand to prepare pupils for the 11+ pre-tests, Common Entrance and scholarship exams. Pupils receive individual targets that are continually monitored through assessment and they receive regular feedback from teachers to help meet those targets. This form of assessment is applied to all aspects of our curriculum. Parkside’s ultimate aim is to encourage pupils to explore, discover and develop their talents to the full.
What sort of feedback do you receive from parents and children?
The home/school partnership is a vital component in a child’s education. We have found that social media has helped to improve our interaction with parents and we regularly get good feedback, which this quote from one parent will testify: “We are very happy with our son’s progress and love seeing his continuing confidence, and his belief in himself, grow.”
Where do you see Parkside School in the future?
Our aim is to further build on Parkside’s core values and I am always looking to implement innovative and creative ideas into the curriculum to ensure all pupils are stimulated and prepared for life beyond school.
01932 862749, parkside-school.co.uk