The White House is a co-ed prep school where every child’s voice is heard as their characters develop and grow.
“The White House is a great school,” new Headmaster Mr Tony Lewis explains, “but my job is to make it even better.” It’s a tough remit in an establishment which boasts an ‘Outstanding’ rating from Ofsted and more recently an ‘Excellent’ rating from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). In addition, 70% of leavers achieve scholarships at London’s top secondary schools, a freshly
built block includes smart music, art and science facilities, as well as a new senior library and bright, airy classrooms for the top two year groups.
Mr Lewis has introduced a range of innovations that have been enthusiastically welcomed by teachers and parents over the last year since he joined. “Every form teacher writes to every parent each week with a few highlights from life in the classroom. I’ve introduced workshops on how to transition from prep to senior school – both for pupils and parents – and we’ve started a school council, withrepresentatives from Reception to Year 6.”
Giving pupils a voice that is heard is of primary importance to Mr Lewis and the staff. At The White House Prep children are genuinely empowered to change how things are done. For example, this year’s Young Enterprise project has focused on plastics. “Years 5 and 6 have been looking at how we’re using it at school and how we can reduce it. A girl in Year 2 has questioned how we could use the yoghurt pots from lunch – everyone has a role to play in the school community.” Challenge Days created by the Year 6s presented riddles and tasks for all children to try, and during the gathering of the Houses this top year group galvanised house identity with a fun-flled, exciting day which was brilliantly organised.
“These days provide pupils with the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and take responsibility – and they run them incredibly well,” says Mr Lewis, admiringly.
September 2017 saw the first two-form entry at Reception but class sizes have remained small, with no more than 16 pupils per form. “I’ve been stunned by the rapidity of academic and social progress by pupils in the Reception classes. Our aim is to maintain the highest standards for our pupils in an environment where all are key players,” Mr Lewis reﬂects. The school has grown organically over the last 34 years, the continuing ethos of the school being to set out a broad and wholesome educational environment in which children can thrive. Maintaining that wholesomeness in 21st century life is a challenge the school is ready to face. “At the top of the school we look at e-safety, the impact of social media and fake news – we want pupils to develop awareness and understand when falsehoods are presented as truths,” Mr Lewis says. “We’re studying coding in our new ICT suite and incorporating more STEM and STEAM work
to encourage independent critical thinking and develop a cross-over between subjects.”
With a rigorous academic agenda, a vast selection of co-curricular clubs, easy-to-access excellent sporting facilities, this small school punches well above its weight. “We’re proud of what we do and will continue to progress and lead the way,” smiles Mr Lewis. At The White House Prep School the potential, the confidence and the character of each and every child is given space to develop and shine, and that will never change.