Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Oh boy! School to become fully co-ed

A TRADITIONAL independent school in Henley is to become fully co-educational.

Rupert House School in Bell Street was founded in 1924 for girls aged up to 11 and boys up to the age of seven.

Now it plans to accept boys and girls aged three to 11 from September 2020, saying this will help parents with children of different sexes to be taught at the same school.

Headteacher Clare Lynas said: “It’s very important to the school because there’s a feeling nationally that girls and boys should be educated together where possible, particularly at this age. Increasing numbers of working parents, and parents in general, like the idea of children being educated together and it’s logistically easier for them.

“This will also strengthen the offer for what we can do in Henley.

“We have long maintained high academic standards and excellent pastoral care for our upper school girls and we look forward to welcoming boys through the upper school and being able to prepare them for a range of senior schools at 11-plus. Rupert House has an outstanding record of preparing its girls for the senior schools of their choice at age 11 and the school will continue to provide a rounded curriculum that enriches the educational experience of all its girls.

“An increasing number of local senior schools is taking boys from age 11 and Rupert House will now be able to offer the same high quality preparation to boys looking to gain 11-plus entry to independent schools like Abingdon, Reading Blue Coat, Pangbourne and Shiplake as well as grammar and local state schools.

“There are more options for boys at 11 whether it’s in the maintained sector or independent sector so we’re also responding to that.

“It’s about listening to parents. More and more are asking us or saying ‘it’s such a pity you can’t keep the boys’.”

Anne Collinson, who chairs the governors, said: “The staff and governors appreciate the sacrifices that parents make to educate their children privately and the logistical pressures of having sons and daughters at different schools, particularly for those families in which both parents are working.

“Our decision to provide a full co-education to age 11 means that parents will be able to educate their sons and daughters together, easing the pressures on family life.”

She said Mrs Lynas was well qualified to lead the change thanks to her long experience of co-education.

“She and her team will be reviewing the full academic and extracurricular programme to ensure that the school offers a balanced and comprehensive education with expanded opportunities for both boys and girls,” said Mrs Collinson.

The school has also revealed plans to build an all-weather pitch within the school grounds which should be ready by the autumn term this year. It will be used for hockey, netball, football, tag rugby and mini tennis and will have enough space to cater for more than one sport at a time.

Mrs Lynas said: “This will hugely enhance our ability to offer an even wider range of clubs and different sports for both boys and girls.

“It’s still going to be a playground but it’s going to provide us with all sorts of flexibility.”

The school currently uses the tiger turf at Henley Rugby Club, off Marlow Road, and has its own netball courts and running track off Fair Mile.

More News:

POLL: Have your say