A NEW independent school in St Clears is now fully open and taking on pupils from across South and West Wales. Set in a former courthouse, Westward House School is a specialist school providing bespoke classes for pupils aged from 7 to 16. It has been designed to offer a supportive learning experience for students with a wide range of needs, from dyslexia and school phobia to pupils who want to progress more quickly with their studies.
“Westward House School offers its pupils appropriate learning centred around each pupil’s abilities, learning style and pace,” says founder Harriet Harrison. “This flexible approach will suit those who are more able and talented who can be fast tracked and don’t have to tread water academically. It also caters for pupils who may have missed out due to illness or moving schools.”
Westward House also offers part time schooling, which may appeal to some home schoolers, those with health conditions or anyone struggling with a five-day week.
“We focus on teaching in a wide range of ways not just the ‘talk and chalk’ approach taken in many school environments,” says Mrs Harrison. “With access to its own Outdoor School and Cookery School, lessons are far from dull. A full range of GCSEs are available further up the school, and in due course sixth form provision will be on offer.”
Opening a new school in the midst of a pandemic has not been without its challenges, but in terms of need, Mrs Harrison believes the timing is spot on.
“Having experienced two periods of school closures many parents are, for the first time, realising that, for many different reasons their child is not accessing mainstream lessons,” she says. “The catalogue of issues is long and hugely individual, but one thing is clear: mainstream education is clearly not working for many pupils.
“Parents are now more painfully aware of these learning gaps than ever before and are desperate to find a fix that will allow their children an accessible, enjoyable and valuable education. We’re delighted to be able to offer a solution.”
There are now plans to open a new branch of the school in the Cardiff area in September 2021.