Families Magazine 'Meet the Head' Interview
This interview was published on 15th September 2022 by Families Magazine.
Mr Shore became Head at Waverley School in 2015, having worked at St George’s School, Windsor Castle, before that, and since then he has built the school’s reputation and increased numbers from 96 to 140 children. They have added a nursery, and they maintain a busy sporting calendar with weekly fixtures and house events – the three houses are named after planets!
Waverley School is non-selective and has a welcoming, friendly feel, where staff know all the children in the school, whether or not they have worked directly with them. Mr Shore’s dog, Luna, was present during our conversation; she is always available for children and staff that want to sit with her and de-stress, and children are not shy about peeking into the office to greet Mr Shore from the playground on occasion! I asked about some of the curriculum-based and fundraising events that children have been involved with over the past few years, and I especially loved the “surround the school in silver” fundraiser image of rows and rows of silver coins laid out in the playground!
What makes Waverley School special in your view?
Children learn best where they are secure, celebrated and encouraged – a really similar setup to a family. It was at Waverley that I recognized a unique warm, friendly family feel, which has just become stronger over the years. Being a single form entry school, with only 21 children in each class, everyone knows everyone well. It has always been a priority here to really get to know our children, and help them develop their passions.
We share three simple values with everyone who is part of Waverley: we are honest, we’re kind, and we do our best. It sounds straightforward, but we really feel it transforms the experience of working at Waverley for adults and students alike.
How do you promote good communication with parents?
There’s no substitute for face-to-face communication. It’s just so important to be there so that parents can share their child’s day-to-day needs. Every morning and after school, rain or shine, I will be on the gate to welcome the children into school and talk to any parents who need to discuss anything.
Have there been any major changes at the school in the last few years?
As a school we have had a much bigger drive and investment in the technology area in school. During the pandemic when children and staff were working from home we noticed how both staff and pupils’ computer skills had improved due to having to work remotely. We did not want them to regress with this, so we invested in Chromebooks for all pupils from years 3-6 and a bank for year 2 to use in school. The children now use these as a part of their everyday teaching, with homework tasks being set weekly and children handing work in electronically.
In what ways do the older children at Waverley School look after the younger ones?
All the children apply for roles of responsibility within the school, from Head Boy and Girl, Deputy Head Boy and Girl, House Captains, Vice House Captains and prefects. All the children complete applications for these roles and are then interviewed. From this, positions of responsibility are appointed, and all the children take these roles seriously. They help supervise lunch duties and help children in their early days at school with their trays and where to empty them, walk them down the corridors and set a good example for them to follow.
The house system acts as another family that the children belong to, and all children from Reception to Year 6 are part of a house and have fortnightly meetings, sometimes house lunches or even team-building charity events where across all age groups the children all work together.
In what ways does the school work with the local community or other organisations?
We encourage our young people to be outward facing and have a sense of community – they are the citizens of tomorrow. This shows itself in any number of small ways throughout the school year, for example our Year 6 pupils write to NHS workers who have to work on Christmas Day, and the letters are shared out at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and the doctors and nurses read them on Christmas Day.
What are your favourite places to visit in the local area?
At the weekend I like to either run or walk our school dog, Luna, in Swinley Forest nearby. I always find it such a peaceful place to visit, and it is a great way to relax at the end of a very busy week.
To read this interview about our Head, Mr Shore, with Rachel from Families Online, on the Families website, please click here to be redirected.