Dr. Pamela Edmonds has enjoyed her first 6 months as the new head of the Hampshire School, Chelsea. An extensive academic background backed up with a huge amount of ambition and passion for the school. We talked with her about her passion for providing an exemplary arts education for the pupils. Dr. Edmonds believes a curriculum filled with the arts ensures ‘the children gain confidence and self-esteem and have a range of talents valued and recognised.’ Having taught for 15 years in Japan, Singapore and Thailand as well as in Spain, her international knowledge of effective teaching techniques is being integrated into the School.
With over 20-years experience in the management and senior leadership of schools and specialising in mathematics teaching within the independent and international schools sectors, she brings a new approach and opportunities to the school as well as a fresh mindset to the execution of the curriculum.
The school places a high emphasis on musical education and the arts which is fitting as a school with a rich history, started by the acting dynasty of the Hampshire family. Dr. Edmonds believes the ability to read music is empowering for pupils and a language that ‘transcends into other subjects like maths and logic as well as providing the base for musical interests to flourish.’ With 13 highly skilled visiting music teachers, that specialise in a range of instruments, timetabled music lessons taught by specialist teachers for all
at The Hampshire School Chelsea,
the children have access to one-on-
one and group classes, as part of the School’s impressive extra-curricular programme. Dr. Edmonds believes
one of the most important aspects of a child’s music education ‘is repertoire,
a focus on accuracy and success in music examinations, as well as about having a very robust and rigorous music curriculum from Early Years to Year 8.’ She says the Director of Music is ‘very proud to say that we have an eclectic approach to repertoire from “classical
to garage” to provide exposure to the widest range of music as possible.’
Art can have personal development and mindfulness benefits which improves their entire educational experience. The art department are committed teachers who understand the way mindfulness and art work together. Dr. Edmonds says ‘using art as therapy is beneficial because children will show their emotion through art and offers opportunities for self-expression. She acknowledges that ‘art is for some children a pleasure and for others it presents positive challenges which are described by the pupils as ‘portals to learning’, Dr. Edmonds wants to ensure ‘every child can access the arts curriculum and the experience the joy of creativity.’
Arts week is a major focus of the school with each of the 220 pupils preparing a piece of artwork for display. The work is exhibited in the Library which is temporarily converted into a beautiful exhibition space and open to the public. The week includes performances, a music concert and the rather special fathers’ breakfast offering the fathers a chance to experience the event and view their children’s art work with their child.
Theatre plays a significant role in the life of the pupils at The Hampshire School Chelsea, with the Glee club being one of the 60+ extracurricular activities the school host. The club performed a production of Oliver Twist earlier in the year and is a favourite amongst the pupils. Dr. Edmonds is excited for the future, where she aims to combine the talent from drama, music and art departments in the annual school theatrical productions. Her own daughter, who trained at White Lodge, The Royal Ballet School, and studied at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, is a professional choreographer who benefited from the opportunity to expand her experience of the art form through participation in productions outside of school including the charity The London Children’s Ballet as a preparation for specialist training. This experience has strengthened Dr. Edmonds desire to encourage further those who excel within the arts at school to access the expertise and facilities that the local community has to offer, and to fully prepare all pupils for the transition to senior school through targeted provision. The Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) and the Independent Schools Association (ISA) of which the School is a member, run competitions and award ceremonies, of which The Hampshire School Chelsea has already seen significant success, in art, fencing with the support of Knightsbridge Fencing Club, and theSchool Rhythmic Gymnastics team, to name but a few.
This month, the school is holding its inaugural whole-school poetry competition. Every child from Year 1-Year 8 is writing their own poem, performing a poem of their choice, illustrating a poem and practising the art of handwriting. The aim is to nurture and value the breadth of talent at the School. Those that do not yet have the confidence to sufficiently perform will be rewarded for their poetry writing skills, and those whose writing is perhaps yet to stand out may receive praise for their performance, if the dramatic arts is their strength.
In addition to the emphasis on theatre, music and art, Dr Edmonds has also bought from her experience of teaching in Singapore, a transformational Maths programme. Maths mastery, through Inspire Maths, is a programme that ensures a deep understanding of mathematical concepts that encourages the development of critical thinking skills, reasoning, and mathematical problem solving.
“Our teachers explain maths in terms of experience and experiential knowledge, through a concrete, pictorial and abstract process that ensures that every child is able to see mathematical connections and become confident mathematicians.’ She says ‘it is taught and through concepts through the process of the concrete and the pictorial which provides the scaffolding for maths mastery; the prerequisite before taking the next step to the abstract in the pupils’ learning. It is rigorous and when taught well, the children relish the challenge and reach levels of understanding they would not normally reach.” This approach also dovetails with our Growth Mindset approach to learning.
Progression to senior school could not be a higher priority at The Hampshire School Chelsea. Dr. Edmonds is passionate about supporting all pupils and their families regarding the transition process to the right senior school for their child. Her efforts are certainly paying off as she confirms that pupils in 2019 will have a smooth transition to an array of London’ selective day schools, plus other day and boarding school in the UK. She proudly lists the successes announced this week including places at: St Paul’s School for Boys, City of London Boys’ School, Emanuel School, Queen’s Gate, Harrow, Dulwich, Latymer Upper, Westminster Cathedral Choir School amongst the breadth of senior schools welcoming our pupils this September.
Families interested in learning more about The Hampshire School Chelsea are invited to join their next Open Morning on 9 May 2019.
To register, please visit: