A message from the Head
Matthew Parker MEd (Cambridge), BEd (Exeter), CPhys
Mr Parker was Deputy Head of a large private school in London before doing a year of research into the learning styles favoured by Advanced Skills Teachers. He was Deputy at Stoke during the years 2002-2010 and became Headteacher in February 2011. His two children attend the College and his wife teaches English.
“I believe that children have the right to learn in an environment that will maximize their chances of developing into adults that contribute fully to the world. In practice this means two things. Firstly, we must equip young people with the emotional skills that enable them to cope with all that life throws at them. The world around us has never been changing as fast and it is those students whose personality and dispositions that allow them to deal with anyone who will prosper within it.
Secondly we must ensure that our students leave with the qualifications that will enable them to achieve the goals that match their abilities and aspirations. We are a mixed ability school and as a result we have students here who target straight A* grades and others who will do very well if they achieve 5 C grades to go to vocational college. We will track them all the way through school to make sure they stay on target.
We insist that all students, whether top set single scientists or mixed ability Performing Arts students, have the right to be educated well. This means that no student has the right to interrupt the learning of any other – something you will find written on the wall of every classroom. Behaviour is, therefore, really good, and since classes are small our value-added figures are excellent.
Our aim is to produce fully motivated learners fit for further work or study. We believe that if children learn in an environment in which they are valued their opinion of themselves is likely to rise and motivation will follow. Stoke students leave with a deep sense of security and self-worth. This does not occur by accident. We encourage growth in this area by asking everyone to get up on stage in the school production for example or to play something in the Gala concert.
This is a school where everyone knows your name and where you are happy. Stoke children get on with their teachers and each other. In some senses it is a community in which innocence is preserved, something I feel strongly that has disappeared from the life of many modern children. My wife and I are deeply content that our children are growing up in this idyllic world.”