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A Head’s account of joining the Bellevue group

Posted on: 09 Aug 2017 by Headteacher

Situated in an idyllic four-acre site in the quiet, desirable area of Hiltingbury in Hampshire, Sherborne House School joined the group in October 2016 and caters for pupils aged three to eleven.

Heather Hopson-Hill, the school’s Head Teacher, reflects on her experience of joining Bellevue:

Our biggest change this year, was setting sail in September as a GEMS school, and pulling into port at the end of the year, as a Bellevue one.   The question I have been asked more than any other, is how life at Sherborne House has changed since becoming a Bellevue school, and whether this change of ownership has been a positive one.  Perhaps this can best be answered with reference to our recent inspection.  

An inspection at any time is quite an experience – an inspection just after a change of ownership is quite another, as the chance of a document being in the wrong name, or an update to a regulation having being missed during the months when the school is transferring ownership, is understandably high.  However, the support we received from Bellevue Head Office was tremendous, with regular visits to check all aspects of school compliance, visits which have continued on a termly basis since. 

Much more important to me though, than the regulatory support, whilst that is not to be underestimated, has been the overwhelming focus on the day to day life of the school and its offer, which is overseen by phone calls, emails and face to face conversations. Each term, I attend a Heads’ Management Meeting, which is a chance to discuss matters with governors and all the other Bellevue Heads.  The discussion during these days is not one of figures or finance, but education theory and practice, how to improve what we do now, and where we are aiming to be in the future.  This different focus, whilst hugely welcome and enjoyable, has not come without its challenges, and for us all as staff, there have been adjustments to make, and many new things to learn; however I firmly believe that as teachers, we should all be pupils too from time to time, if we are to really understand the demands we are making of our children.  There is also a pride in belonging to the Bellevue group which emanates from Head Office, which brings a certain confidence and positivity which is encouraging and motivating.   I also know that, whatever the external changes of this fast-paced world, Bellevue whole-heartedly supports the retention of the individual character of the school and its own, unique ethos, where the children are at the heart of all we do.

Heather Hopson-Hill, Head Teacher at Sherborne House School

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