Here to Help

Wealden Times explores how schools are
easing the pressure on working parents...


claremont_school

Claremont School

What's on offer for pupils after school? Our working day incorporates both the children's needs and those of parents. Children may be dropped off any time after eight o'clock in the morning and collected, after supervised homework, up to six o'clock. We also have an extensive list of after-school clubs operating from our outstanding 100 acre site, including street dance, fashion and textiles, art and craft, chess, mountain biking, horse riding, science, 'Glee', golf, kick boxing and more.

Is flexi boarding available? Claremont is a family orientated school and, therefore, we believe children should spend as much time as possible with their families. Consequently, there is no Saturday school here. Weekend commitments are limited to Sports Day and Speech Day. For the same reasons, there is no boarding element at Claremont School.

Do you arrange activities that take place during school holidays? For some years, the school has organised a popular Summer Holiday Activity programme. For children aged three to 13 years old there is a varied programme of sport, adventure, exploration art and games. Children are divided into groups to suit their interest, age and ability. Activities are held throughout July and August, five days per week from 8:30am to 4:30pm. We also offer intensive cricket coaching and football training regularly throughout the year.

What support systems do you have in place for working parents? Claremont operates a daily transport service across a wide local area including Hastings, Hawkhurst, Cranbrook, Tenterden, Etchingham, Burwash, Heathfield, Stonegate, Dallington, Pett, Icklesham, Wadhurst, Battle, Rye, Eastbourne and many villages in between. This is an inexpensive service that is tailored to the needs of pupils, enabling working parents to get to work without the worry of being tied to school hours. Children can be dropped off any time after eight o'clock in the morning. The pre prep department operates a late stay facility and homework club up to six o'clock every day, where children are supervised and given a snack and a drink.

Claremont Nursery & Preparatory School, St Leonards on Sea 01424 751555 / Senior School, Bodiam 01580 830396 www.claremontschool.co.uk

Ashford School

Ashford School

What's on offer for pupils after school? A great feature of our Prep School is that we have excellent wrap-around care, from 7.30am until 6.30pm. In addition to this there is a variety of after-school activities on offer every day. At Senior School pupils choose from around 80 co-curricular activities and are expected to participate in one each day.

Is flexi boarding available? Yes – pupils find this a helpful option when regularly staying late for a club, such as orchestra. Boarding is open to all pupils from age 10 upwards and we have a recently refurbished dedicated junior boarding house.

Do you arrange activities that take place during school holidays? We have a number of activities in the holidays ranging from Adventurous Sports in the summer to the ski trip at Easter. The school also offers a holiday club for children aged between three and six years old, as well as many holiday activities for older children.

What support systems do you have in place for working parents? In the prep school, breakfast club starts at 7.30am, and the day runs until 6.30pm, when the school closes. After school there is a snack on offer before pupils start supervised prep. The senior school is home to our boarders (prep and senior) and so arrangements for day pupils can be flexible. Senior pupils can also enjoy access to an in-school café.

Ashford School, Ashford 01233 739030 www.ashfordschool.co.uk

Lancing College

Lancing College

What's on offer for pupils after school? As a boarding and day school the evenings provide further opportunities for our pupils to pursue their individual interests. The set time for homework is 7-9pm. The Music School and Art School are open for study or recreation and many pupils participate in our concerts, dance and drama productions. We have clubs and societies, and regular lectures from visiting speakers. All our indoor sports facilities are available and the café is always buzzing!

Is flexi boarding available? Although we don't have a flexi-boarding rate, a lot of our pupils live relatively nearby and some only board a few nights a week. Occasionally, should they need to, day pupils choose to board, perhaps to take part in a play, finish some art work or attend a particular club. We aim to be as accommodating as possible of each individual's needs.

Do you arrange activities that take place during school holidays? Many of our trips take place during the holidays. There are regular CCF camps and Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions. Every other year a group travels to Malawi, where we have a link with a school and hospital. Each department arranges field trips, for example: Art and Photography to Florence or Rome, Geography to Morocco and Iceland, and this year, Economics to New York and Biology to Cuba! And of course there are also language exchange trips, sports tours and leisure holidays, such as skiing.

What support systems do you have in place for working parents? All our boarding facilities are available to our day pupils and our two day houses open before breakfast. School ends at 6pm but day pupils can stay for supper, to use the Library, meet a tutor, or to take advantage of the wide range of evening activities. Some day pupils aren't collected until 9pm or later, if they are participating in a play or concert. There are kitchens in each House for snacks and drinks once the Dining Hall has closed.

Lancing College, Lancing 01273 465805 www.lancingcollege.co.uk

King's Rochester

King's Rochester

What's on offer for pupils after school? King's Rochester offers a huge choice of academic subjects but also 17 sports from rugby to netball, fencing to rowing on the Medway from our own boathouse, hockey to shooting and swimming to cricket played on our beautiful green. Extra-curricular opportunities include film club, quiz challenges, Combined Cadet Force (CCF), self-defence, kayaking and skiing as well as board games, cooking, ballet, taekwondo, climbing-wall, Irish dancing and aero-modelling for younger pupils. King's musicians of all levels rehearse and perform regularly in the sublime surroundings of Rochester Cathedral

Is flexi boarding available? Schools like King's, which offer boarding as well as day places, are fast becoming the favourites of savvy parents working more than the standard nine to five, safe in the knowledge that their offspring are benefitting from expert after-hours care, study facilities and entertainment in familiar surroundings – without the additional cost and worry of finding reliable external childcare. Weekly and full boarding allow pupils to live and study at school during term-time whilst benefitting from a wide variety of clubs, activity sessions and outings. King's also offers Boarding Taster Overnighters where children can come and spend a day and a night in school to experience the fun of living with friends.

Do you arrange activities that take place during school holidays? For the last two years in August King's has run a Summer Sports Week for children aged 7-14 which allows them to take part in a wide range of sporting activities during the school holidays and, from next summer, there will be a day activity camp throughout the holiday for 4-16 year olds which will make full use of the school's vast grounds and amazing sporting and recreational facilities. Trips for pupils of all ages are also arranged during holidays and have recently included destinations as diverse as Ladakh in India for Sixth Formers on a World Challenge trip, outdoor pursuits at a CCF training camp in Wales for younger Senior pupils and numerous visits to various parts of France and Germany for Prep children.

What support systems do you have in place for working parents? At a time where family budgets are straining – often both mother and father are working longer hours – getting a first-class education is more important than ever. Extended days allow day pupils to enjoy the whole range of facilities and activities which a boarding school can offer and which are off-limits to their day school peers in other schools once the home-time bell rings at 3.30. At King's, libraries, art, DT and ICT rooms, swimming pool, pitches, music practice rooms, homework clubs - and expert staff – all remain accessible well beyond the core school teaching day.

King's Rochester, Rochester 01634 888590 www.kings-rochester.co.uk

Dulwich Preparatory School

Dulwich Preparatory School

What's on offer for pupils after school? At Dulwich Prep, our children have a home away from home. We nurture the children as they take their first steps on their educational journey and encourage them to move at their own pace. They are afforded time to develop personally, to develop a love of learning and to discover their passions. Success at Dulwich Prep, Cranbrook, is not merely measured by academic results. To prepare for life, children need to experience a whole range of activities and challenges – sporting, musical, dramatic, creative, and artistic. Many of these take place during the school day, and others are offered as after-school clubs such as dance, orchestra, sewing club, eco club, gardening club, LEGO club, chess club, gymnastics, model club, and a large number of sports clubs and sports matches.

We also offer after-school care for 3-9 year olds, and a supervised prep room for 9-13 year olds.

Is flexi boarding available? Yes. Boarders are cared for within two houses, the Lodge for boys and the Manor for girls. Our flexi boarding gives every child the chance to experience all that boarding has to offer. Children have fun with their peers, take part in organised evening activities and do their homework in a supervised, structured environment. Our brilliant boarding staff aim to provide a happy and caring environment so that the children learn respect for themselves and others, and develop confidence and independence. Events such as birthdays are celebrated with special parties.

Do you arrange activities that take place during school holidays? There are school trips and visits abroad during the holidays which the school organises including skiing holidays, choir trips and educational visits to Europe. Additionally, we rent out our facilities to organisations who offer holiday programmes for children, and many of our pupils attend these.

What support systems do you have in place for working parents? Our flexi boarding helps busy parents by allowing pupils to have a 'work sleepover' at the school during the week. There are approximately 34 children in each boarding house each week. For older day pupils, as well as the after-school clubs, we offer them the option of staying until 6.50pm. During this time they do their prep under supervision and dine with our boarders which many working parents find very useful. Our younger pupils can enjoy our after-school care club until 5.15pm.

Dulwich Preparatory School, Cranbrook 01580 712179 www.dcpskent.org

Vinehall School

Vinehall School

What's on offer for pupils after school? A huge amount! For boys and girls in Years 3-8, the school day finishes at 5.20pm every day apart from Wednesday, when it finishes at 3.45pm (or once matches are over). There are 15-20 after-school clubs to choose from (which change every term) making sure there's always something for everyone. There is also an after-school club for children in our Pre-Prep which offers a range of activities and a light tea.

Is flexi boarding available? Yes it is. We call it 'temp' boarding and it is extremely popular, so popular in fact that many pupils choose to board regularly! The cost is &40 per night and the children have supper, followed by evening activities (including supervised prep for older children), toast and hot chocolate before bedtime and breakfast in the morning. The boarding house is upstairs in the very heart of the school so the children are looked after in a safe environment.

Do you arrange activities that take place during school holidays? As the children work hard during term time we don't have academic activities in school holidays. However, we do offer a variety of sports courses: for example tennis, rugby, netball, gymnastics, swimming and football.

What support systems do you have in place for working parents? We are very flexible and will always do our best to support an individual family's needs. In our Pre Prep we offer an Early Morning Club so a working parent can drop their child off before school starts with the reassurance that they will be taken care of. For older children, they can always book in for breakfast at 7.30am and/or arrange to stay on in the evening for supper.

Vinehall School, Robertsbridge 01580 880413 www.vinehallschool.com