Tucked away in a side street on the border of Wandsworth with Putney, The Roche School is a hidden gem in South West London’s thriving independent education sector.
The family-owned school remains truly independent and is still owned and run by Carmen and James Roche. Carmen, a linguist, started out teaching a handful of students from her front room across the river in Earl’s Court over thirty years ago. Her original commitment to “thorough teaching in a homely environment” has grown into a form of values-based education which focuses on bringing out the best in every child through close personal attention and a wide range of academic and creative opportunities. “Mrs Roche’s Coaching Establishment” has grown into a school in which local children are flourishing and which, even amongst the high standards of independent education in SW London, remains unique.
The original philosophy of the school was based upon the now commonly-understood precept that children do better in every respect when they are learning in a community which does not force conformity but values each and every individual, celebrates unique potential, believes that aspiration is for everyone and, crucially, understands that nobody should go under the radar. As a result, the school has a buoyant atmosphere in which pupils are enthusiastic and kindness is cool.
The original values of James and Carmen Roche were consolidated as, “The Roche Approach” by current Head, Vania Adams (ten years tenure) who recognised the need for integrity in an erratic and competitive educational landscape. The school continues to produce vivacious, thoughtful children who enjoy a challenge and who also enjoy being part of a diverse and aspirational community in the heart of SW London. It has been said of Roche School pupils that they “bring a lot to the table” when they go on to secondary school and this must be due in part to the high level of developmental attention they experience during their formative years.
All the major faiths are represented, a range of languages are spoken at home and there is a range of ethnicity not often found in the more homogenous aspects of the private sector. “We are in London and we reflect London” says the Head. It is more important than ever to create a culture of warmth and friendship in which we celebrate our wonderful city and the level of opportunity and creativity it has to offer for our families”.
It’s a tall order – especially in times like this. For such a vision to continue to succeed, everyone needs to be on board. The curriculum is taught by inspiring, committed teaching staff and attitudes to learning are important. Thanks to a commitment from James and Carmen, staffing is generous and small classes, attentive to matters of pace and understanding, enable pupils to fulfil their profile academically. Many go on to achieve places at top London day schools and many come back to help, to reminisce and remember the school that was the “Oh so important” start of their educational journey.
The world is changing and the future is uncertain but the values of the school will prevail, guided by the initial vision of the foundress which has been steadfastly passed on to the present day.
The Roche School have just produced a fun and informative video highlighting the wide range of academic, sporting and cultural activities in Reception Year. Do take a look to discover The Roche Approach in action!
You can contact the Admissions Secretary via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.