Meet the Head of Hampshire Collegiate Prep School

We talk to Helen Donnelly the head of prep at Hampshire Collegiate, the Romsey-based prep school and nursery

How long have you been at the prep school?
I joined Hampshire Collegiate Prep School in September 2012.

How would describe the ethos there?
Life at HCPS is based on our five core values of ambition, compassion, integrity, perseverance and respect, which all add up to an atmosphere in which children love to learn and feel safe and secure. Each class has a ‘values tree’ on which they hang tags when they see the value of the term being demonstrated by their peers. From an early age, the children begin to learn how important these values are, not just at school but in the wider community in which they live, so we are, in effect, nurturing responsible citizens for the future.

What is the history of Hampshire Collegiate School?
It was formed in 2006, following the merger of Embley Park School and The Atherley School. The building is situated within 53 hectares of grounds, and was once the family home of Florence Nightingale. The school has always been based around strong core values and we have maintained these throughout a change of senior leadership and a new strategic direction.

How do you help to ensure every student achieves their full potential?
We focus on each individual and their needs, and this begins from the time the children enter the school at two years old. We focus on mastery, and try to encourage the children to be resilient, independent and powerful learners. We structure our curriculum in such a way that each child is encouraged to build upon their learning experiences to create a firm foundation on which to flourish. Our staff know and understand the children in their care, and through this knowledge they can build strong and purposeful relationships that enable the children to know what their individual aims are and how best to achieve these. Each child’s progress is tracked and regular discussions take place between all involved in the prep school to ensure we are always providing opportunities for each child to grow and excel.

What kind of feedback does the school receive from parents and pupils?
We recently carried out a parent survey, which was overwhelmingly positive. Parents frequently comment favourably on the individualised learning their child receives. Likewise, the children love being part of our school and end each day buzzing with news of what they have been doing and excited about what the next day will bring – exactly what being at school should be like.

How do you see Hampshire Collegiate School progressing in the future?
I believe the school will continue to go from strength to strength, and will be seen by parents as a first-choice option for independent schooling for their children. The atmosphere and buzz, the friendly and committed nature of the teaching staff and the unique characteristics of the children are infectious and I am thrilled to be a part of it.