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School Bucks Trend With 'Unique Approach'

Tuesday December 24 2013

We Are Barnsley We Are Barnsley

A BARNSLEY school is bucking the trend and is placed among some of the highest achieving schools in the country.

Hope House School, on Blucher Street, says it's performing well at both primary and secondary levels and is bucking the trend both locally and nationally with its results.

It follows this story. Ofsted claimed that more than three-quarters of school pupils are in schools rated 'inadequate' and 'requiring improvement' in the town.

However, for the past nine years Hope House School has averaged a 90 per cent A* to C pass rate at GCSE level, including maths and English, compared with 51 per cent nationally and a lowly 37 per cent locally.

The independent school, formerly Barnsley Christian School, teaches children aged from four to 16 and is financially supported by Hope House Church, although it costs £400 a month for pupils to attend.

Paul Bedford, chairman of the governors, said the school's high results had been achieved through a 'unique approach to education'.

He said: "Barnsley has real potential and Hope House believes this should be celebrated."

After the recent damning report from Ofsted about the town's schools, Mr Bedford said: "It's grossly unfair to the education system in Barnsley.

"Keep telling kids and staff they're not up to standards and they'll start to believe it."

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Reply Posted by anonymous on Tuesday December 24 2013 at 13:07
could they not be bothered to tell us what the unique approach is?

Reply Posted by j on Tuesday December 24 2013 at 13:37
Probably 1-1 tuition - how many go to that school? How many in a class? They don't tell you that do they? And they pay for their tuition!! That's why they get such good results - but then, good luck to them, had I had the means to pay for my children's education I may have considered it.

Reply Posted by jen on Tuesday December 24 2013 at 13:46
Cant see many children from barnsley goin to this school both me and my partner work n still wudnt be able to afford to send not even one of our children to this school

Reply Posted by June on Tuesday December 24 2013 at 14:42
So very small class sizes. Teachers doing most of the coursework with the kids spoon feeding them which you can do for less than half a dozen.

No secret is it?

No suprise is it?

But the children there don't get to play outside or mix with other cultures etc nor do they have access to as varied a curriculum as others

And their parents pay a small fortune

Reply Posted by Adele on Saturday December 28 2013 at 08:06
I went to this school 21 years ago and it does have very small class sizes, hence lots of attention, but they don't spoon feed, the kids worked hard there.

Reply Posted by ugh on Saturday December 28 2013 at 08:20
"is financially supported by Hope House Church..." am i the only person who read that sentence?

Reply Posted by Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know on Saturday December 28 2013 at 08:41
Yep Hope House Church + £400 per month per kid from parents, read it all

Reply Posted by Sue Lavery on Saturday December 28 2013 at 08:25
June you are so wrong.My daughter goes to this school but it costs less than what most people spend on a Saturday night out. It depends on what your priorities are.

Reply Posted by Coffee Lover on Saturday December 28 2013 at 08:37
My daughter goes to this school. There are 12 children in her class so not quite 1 to 1. They are expected to work hard and are certainly not spoonfed. Yes, this is a fee paying school but it costs less than what most people spend on a Saturday night out. It all depends on what your priorities are.

Reply Posted by Jake Darlington on Saturday December 28 2013 at 08:42
June - spoon feeding at GCSE level would lead to failure at AS and A2 then I suppose? That would then lead to none of the pupils attending a University (especially not a major one), due to the obvious lack of qualifications.
That is, unless, the surrounding colleges and 6-forms have a better way of teaching pupils that have been spoon fed for the major part of their education?
Surely they should share their 'unique' approach instead?
Or maybe it's not a very well thought out argument.

P.S. Ex pupil

Reply Posted by Nicky Booth on Saturday December 28 2013 at 09:04
As an ex-pupil I can vouch for small class sizes and excellent teaching. I was not spoon fed but when I needed help things were explained in a way I would understand. After completing a complicated degree and now almost an MSc it shows my foundation for learning is solid. Hope House School releases and realises potential.

Reply Posted by Anon on Saturday December 28 2013 at 09:07
As ex pupil sue lavery, I can from a poor family who bust a gut to get us to that school, and as we didn't have much money we were treated very differently from others!!! I now have a child of my own, I don't go out drinking and could defo not afford the fees, and would certainly not spend 400 a month drinking on a Saturday night!!!! Maybe you don't know the current situation of many family's in Barnsley, but a lot of family's don't go drinking and cannot afford the fees!! This school is for parents with spare cash to burn, which quite frankly shouldn't be compared with other schools across Barnsley!

Reply Posted by sunshine girl on Saturday December 28 2013 at 09:25
My husband and I work very hard and only just manage to cover our bills with very little to spare, we don't spend a fortune on alcohol because we don't have it to spend and wouldn't anyway! We want to give our children as many opportunities in life as possible, but as usual its the wealthy people and their children that have better teaching therefore better chances of achieving and doing well in life. my children are intelligent and try hard so will hopefully do well anyway but why should schools provided better or worse education!

Reply Posted by Anon on Saturday December 28 2013 at 09:35
Exactly sunshine girl, I don't drink either, would love my child to go to that school but cannot afford, it's I inequality in Britain at its best, look after those who have, and stuff those who don't.

Reply Posted by ejaleigh on Saturday December 28 2013 at 09:49
This school is excellent. My son goes there and as an independent school it does not cost a lot at all. We are not wealthy. We make sacrifices. I would recommend this school to any parent. I have taught at the secondary schools in Barnsley and they are rife with disruptive behaviour and bullying. Hope House School is the only school I would consider for my children at secondary level.

Reply Posted by Mr wrong on Saturday December 28 2013 at 09:58
This is great news for who ? Probably The parents who fork out £400 pound a month wich may I add my family could live on for a month ( keep up the good work ) ... Lol

Reply Posted by Anon on Saturday December 28 2013 at 10:07
Ejaleigh, like me wrong says u can live off £400 a month, you may not be wealthy, and may make sacrifices but some do us don't have sacrifices to make as we don't have anything to sacrifice, let's just say if you can find 400 pound a month, u ain't in poverty are ya luv, some odour need o live a life in the day of someone who really struggles, maybe a more Christian attitude will develop then? After all it is a Christian school?!

Reply Posted by different view on Saturday December 28 2013 at 11:17
My girl went to normal state school. We have always been very poor. It did not mean she could not get good results. Just by sitting with them and listening to them read and maybe assisting them with understanding their homework, you can make your child learn better. You don't have to be rich or a genius to help your kids. You just need to be bothered. Private schools are not the answer.

Reply Posted by Anon on Saturday December 28 2013 at 11:32
Looking at the stats they are though, people at this school (private) do generally better than the other schools, But sitting with your child does help,a. Lot more should make the time to do that, although some parents are working all hours just to keep a roof over their heads!

Reply Posted by Paul bedford on Saturday December 28 2013 at 11:45
Just to provide some clarity for readers of the article. The school fees are in many cases half of those mentioned and a significant number of pupils have highly subsidised places. Typically the pupils attending are not wealthy, but people sacrificing to give their children every future oppertunity. Sadly the school is fee paying, but equally the staff a paid less than half the state rate to help keep prices down. In reality school fees are typically less than child care costs. In addition, to date no family has been asked to remove their child if their circumstances deteriorate. I notice a comment regarding the cultural mix of the school. This could not be more inaccurate! Pupils come from a variety of faith and non faith backgrounds and from many differing cultures and nationalities. Indeed, this is one if the schools strengths. No one is compelled to agree with the ethos of the school, but for those taking time to actually research it they may well be surprised by the quality and breadth of education provided. Hope house school compliments the wider aspiration of Barnsley education providing an additional not competing benefit.

Reply Posted by sunshine girl on Saturday December 28 2013 at 11:52
Paul bedford- how does a child recieve the highly subsidised places you speak of are they reserved for gifted children or for children already in receipt of the schools education that then find it impossible to afford the fees?

Reply Posted by Paul bedford on Saturday December 28 2013 at 12:32
Hi sunshine girl. The school is non selective so we are not about only taking the gifted children. Every child has promise and potential. The school simply encourages every potential parent who is interested to approach the school. Obviously the school has to pay its way, but everything possible is done to allow those who wish to attend to find a place. We have a number of individual arrangements with parents to allow access. Some families can't afford the fees, I struggled myself for both my children, but others who can help support our bursary scheme. I encourage people to take a look and meet us before they opt against us. I know we don't meet everyone's needs, but the cross section of families we have demonstrate there is a desire for our approach. Money isn't everything in education and our school probably spends less per pupil than A state school ( don't quote me on that), but it is needed. In all this debate I simply hope people will value education in barnsley and be supportive of the teachers and staff wherever they teach. The town is improving and that should be celebrated, whoever and however that is being achieved. I absolutely believe education is central to the future of barnsley. Hope House School may not be around forever and may not be needed at all eventually, but in the meantime it has offered something of real value and positively impacted many young lives. In reality we can only ever impact a tiny number of lives, but non the less this little school has made a big difference.

Reply Posted by Anon on Saturday December 28 2013 at 13:00
Hi Paul, I used to be a pupil at the school over 20 years ago, and while my experience wasn't too good :s i can't deny the academic standards were excellent! I have to say though I felt there was definitely a class divide back then, although i have heard on the grapevine it has changed a lot over the past few years. I think it's great that the teachers, give up a higher paid salary to work there though.

Reply Posted by Paul bedford on Saturday December 28 2013 at 13:08
The school really has changed over the last few years. Both myself and the head and governors felt it was right to reconsider our approach and vision. Hope house school is very different to the founding BCS. I'm very confident that the vast majority of our children have a great experience now. We have many pupils who return to visit and have even had a former pupil on placement with us as part of his teacher training. I'd love you to call in and take a look around at all we do in the school, but more importantly in the wider comunity too! We are a busy and I believe better and healthier place Anon pupil from 20 years ago. Would love to meet you. :-)

Reply Posted by Anon - Adele lacy :) on Saturday December 28 2013 at 13:13
That would be great Paul, and I'm glad to hear you do a lot of work in the community too. I would love to see how it runs now and will definitely take you up on that kind offer. Can I just call in at some point or should I make an appointment. Thanks, Adele :)

Reply Posted by Paul bedford on Saturday December 28 2013 at 13:33
Hi Adele. You can come anytime! I'm away the first 2 weeks in January but would love to see you after that. We have a cafe wed, thur, fri, so we could have a good coffee too. Simply call the school and check I'm around (01226211011) hope to meet up soon. Happy new year!

Reply Posted by Adele on Saturday December 28 2013 at 13:46
Thanks paul, happy new year to you too, sounds great, see you in a couple of weeks :)

Reply Posted by anorak on Saturday December 28 2013 at 19:55
I don't even go out on a Saturday night and I work full time (ironically in Education!) I couldn't afford to send a child of mine there! I don't believe that private education is all it cracked up to be.

Reply Posted by ron on Saturday December 28 2013 at 21:47
Private and religious. No thanks.

Reply Posted by marge simpson on Monday December 30 2013 at 08:38
Who on earth spends £400 on a night?????

Reply Posted by CaravanLover on Tuesday December 31 2013 at 21:33
Think about this without the private v state slant. On average each child in state education costs the tax payer £6000 per year. HHS doesn't spend this amount and they realise success for their pupils. May be at HHS it's about having a high proportion of teachers who care about the pupils and their success. Having said that the English state system has huge class sizes compared to other wealthy nations such as Germany, Finland and Sweden. Money and fancy newly built schools aren't the driving force behind educational success, dedicated teachers, parental support for educational success and hard work are what is needed. HHS has that. Parents have a right to spend their money how they wish, hard work gets rewards.

Reply Posted by Beth on Friday July 4 2014 at 23:45
Very interesting reading. However, I will like like to add that if as parents, we must learn to SACRIFICE a lot for the future of our children in this tough and damning environment. Hope House School is not forced on anyone and as a matter of fact after researching several schools/fees and weighing the pros and cons with my son's future at the back of my mind, I took a drastic decision and left London to educate my son in this school. For most people, I will leave you to dwell on this "TRAIN UP A CHILD IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO AND WHEN HE GROWS UP, HE WILL NOT DEPART FROM IT" Thanks to all the teachers of this school who for the future of these children give up good pay in state schools... GOD BLESS!