We chat to headmaster Daniel Cummings about life at the thriving south-west London school
Can you tell us a bit about The White House School’s history?
The school was founded in 1986 by Mary McCahery. Thirty years on, Mary – in her role as principal – is still very passionate about the school and the development of the pupils, as are her three daughters, who run the Woodentops day nurseries. The White House is very much a family school and great importance is placed on the family approach.
How do you ensure that every pupil achieves their full potential?
The White House prides itself on choosing to be deliberately small in size, with one form per year. Our smaller class sizes mean that every child will enjoy a more personalised teaching approach, exploring their talents and finding their strengths. We find out what really excites the children and then help them to excel. The staff know all the children well and work tirelessly to ensure every child feels valued and meets their full potential.
Does The White House School offer any extra-curricular activities?
The dynamic nature of a small school means we can be flexible to children’s emerging interests. We offer a wide range of activities, offering clubs until 5pm. These include football, Car Club, netball, swimming, ballet, computing, chess, Spanish, dance, Puzzle Club, science, cooking and fashion. We also give the children opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. Whether that’s stepping back in time at Kentwell Hall, where children and staff immerse themselves in a Tudor day, or visiting the Houses of Parliament. For the Year 6 class, the school organises an annual overseas trips for the children to immerse themselves in the local culture. This year the class visited Seville, exploring the Giralda and Plaza de Toros
de la Maestranza and sampling local tapas.
What kind of feedback do you receive?
Our children go on to prestigious schools, including Dulwich College, James Allen’s Girls’ School, Alleyn’s School, Woldingham and Bedales, and many of them return to visit, and even come back for work experience! Our parents are full of praise, and it is not uncommon for us to educate a whole family from Kindergarten through to Year 6. I often hear from parents that they appreciate the extra care their children experience from the committed staff. From children we hear that they feel safe at school, have great friends and, above all, have fun while learning.
How do you see The White House School progressing in the future?
Alongside many more years of excellent education, we are developing our science provision and curriculum, concentrating on investigative and experimental science skills, and recently The White House has invested in a new IT suite and WiFi infrastructure. This, alongside a broad curriculum that is being constantly revised to meet the needs of our children, ensures outstanding learning opportunities for all.