One for the Ages – Q&A with Moreen Barnard – Head of Coopersale Hall School

What originally attracted you to the role of Coopersale Hall Head?

I joined Coopersale Hall School in September 2020, in the middle of Covid. It wasn’t an easy time for families but they supported me and the provision we provided during that time. When I first saw Coopersale Hall School, I knew this was a school I would enjoy working at. The premises sell themselves, but when you meet the children you see just how warm and friendly the school is.

What would you say Coopersale Hall School is known for?

We value the close working relationships we foster with our parents to ensure that our pupils become capable, caring, responsible and enthusiastic young people who have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world. I am also privileged to work with an excellent body of staff who care about the children they work with and look to provide an exciting learning environment.

How do you feel about taking young children from rising 3 years into the school?

It really is a privilege to see such young children grow in confidence and character. I will have the rare opportunity to see those children when they are 11 years old and some when they are 16.

September 2023 sees the first ever Year 7 cohort. How has this come about?

Matthew Hagger, Group Managing Principal, purchased the neighbouring building in March 2020 as the world went into lockdown. It has taken 3 years to get to this point, with multiple specialists involve and various applicants to the relevant bodies.

This is an exciting time for our families as we now offer a facility for those families who want to keep their children with us rather than move them at the end of Year 6.

What will this offer parents of existing pupils in the juniors?

The premises will be developed to accommodate the senior students, and the junior children will also have access to some of these new facilities. Our Year 6 children will have access to the senior Science Lab, IT Suite and Art/DT Studio. We are aiming for our new senior students to become learning mentors for our younger children as we develop the relationships between older and younger children.

What curriculum will you follow in the new senior set up?

We are very pleased with the senior curriculum that we have been developing. Matthew Hagger, Claire Osborn (Group Education Principal) and I have spent many months examining various models, recruiting staff and creating timetables.

We emphasise creative and active learning. Academic success is something we expect our pupils to aim for so that they can fulfil their potential and move on to happy and fulfilled futures after Coopersale Hall.

Wellbeing has always been a core value at Coopersale Hall. We support our pupils to become confident, tolerant and articulate young adults. We will give them the tools to build their self-esteem and provide a compassionate and supportive environment.

Are you aiming to fill places in all senior year groups?

In September 2023 we will welcome our first Year 7 students, and the phased introduction of Year 7 pupils will continue year after year. We feel that phasing in new classes is far better than a ‘scattergun approach’ as we will be able to dedicate the time and resources to creating a purposeful learning environment for all pupils.

How are extra-curricular activities offered by the school?

We currently have around 60 clubs and activities spread throughout the week for children of all ages. There really is something for everybody!  Even more opportunities are being launched over the coming months to further develop our programme.

Finally, what else are you looking forward to as we approach the end of the current academic year?

The summer term is my favourite term in the school year. Our children spend lots of time outdoors and there is real excitement in the air. We are a very busy school and I’m looking forward to Sports Day, Prize Giving, the concerts, class assemblies and plays just to mention a few of the forthcoming events.