If asked, “What is the best thing about Westminster Under School?” many boys and parents would answer in a flash, “The teachers!” and, rightly so!
Westminster is renowned for inspiring and stretching teaching, which encourages each pupil to reach their potential and learn at their highest possible level. Equally, we are all aware of the privilege such an education provides and the importance of sharing what we have is more critical today than ever. Platform is an educational initiative which works closely with as many as 35 inner city primary schools, some of them local and a number further afield, for example, Bromley and Lewisham, to identify bright children in Year 5 interested in an academic challenge.
Once links are established with primary schools many children are eager to attend the monthly Saturday morning enrichment teaching sessions where they are taught by a range of Under School teachers who are keen to be support the programme. We are fortunate to have received significant funding from the Worshipful Company of Drapers and ongoing support from the Westminster School Development Office. Attendance is very high amongst the 40 children who are taught in two classes of 20.
Each month the children have core lessons in Maths and English and then the world truly is their oyster, with lessons from Drama to Latin and everything in between on offer! The children quickly establish firm friendships and are always excited to attend early on a Saturday morning, often rushing in with their homework! Perhaps the best way to measure what the sessions mean to families is this quote from a parent of a pupil in the inaugural 2017 cohort:
We would like to say thank you as we are very appreciative of all the effort, resources and material invested in our son. He has benefited greatly from the course, discovering new interests in a wide range of authors, books, vocabulary and his enthusiasm for learning has increased.
The programme has been an inspiration to our son, who speaks highly of his experiences at Westminster to all his friends and family. Please continue the fantastic work you are doing. Platform has ignited a flame in our young man and has shown him that hard work will payoff: something we have always instilled in him from an early age. Thank you.
Open to both boys and girls, the sessions are designed to expand their minds and also provide an experience of being taught alongside other capable and enthusiastic children. Reading widely is hugely encouraged and, thanks to financial donations, we were able to set up a high quality library, lending books to the children each month, as part of the English curriculum.
On top of the purpose to enrich the pupils, we also want to show them, and their parents, the plethora of selective educational opportunities available to them at 11+. Forward thinking independent schools look to provide bursaries, for pupils who might not otherwise be able to attend, and Westminster hopes to be leading the way in this area.
To find out more, please visit the Platform website.