Interview With The Head Of Senior Prep At St George’s School Windsor Castle


Henry Knight took over as Head of Senior Prep and Student Performance of St George’s School Windsor Castle last September – here’s how an exciting school year is progressing

What originally attracted you to the role at St George’s?

A multitude of things! St George’s is going through an extraordinary transformation and is on a journey to become the leader in its field – choosing the innovative International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and becoming an IB World School; being the first standalone independent prep school to join the international Round Square network; adopting the Pre-Senior Baccalaureate (PSB) as an academic framework for Years 7 and 8; introducing High Performance Learning across the school, and so much more. The clarity of vision displayed by the Head and the dynamism of the wider team were also both extremely attractive.

Henry Knight
Henry Knight

What has surprised you since your arrival?

The blend of tradition and 21st century educational philosophy. St George’s was founded in 1348 to educate the choristers of St George’s Chapel and this tradition remains unbroken today; the school still sits at the foot of the castle and the school playing fields are in Home Park Private, with the castle as the most magical backdrop. This bears all the hallmarks of tradition; however, it doesn’t take long at all to discover that the focus of St George’s today is very much on providing the most forward-thinking, holistic education.

What have been the highlights of this school year so far?

In the short time since I joined, I have been really blown away by how passionate and enthusiastic the staff are. With the introduction of the IB and PSB, the opportunity afforded to our teachers to think outside the box, work more collaboratively across subject areas and remove the shackles of a typical, traditional prep school education have been transformational. What this has created is a body of teaching staff who are both hugely experienced and utterly reinvigorated – a fantastically potent combination.  

Years 7 and 8 is a key time in the development of young people; how do you feel St George’s supports children at this age?

Our Senior Prep faculty provides a bespoke two-year programme for children in Years 7 and 8, marking the final stage in a ten-year journey with us to become ‘Real World Ready’.

At this age, 11-13, young people tend to crave independence and are able to make more advanced decisions. They also need the freedom to explore and experiment in a safe and supportive environment which enables them to make mistakes and reflect on these in a healthy way. By having dedicated, self-contained facilities in Old Bank House, small class sizes, passionate and caring staff, access to flexi-boarding, and the PSB framework driving the development of confidence, resilience and compassion, we believe we are ideally placed to support children through this period of accelerated development.

The skills St George’s students hone, including in leadership and public speaking, critical thinking, entrepreneurialism, constructive self-reflection, and the importance of respecting the views and attitudes of others, will support their development not only at St George’s, but at their senior schools, at university and in their working lives as well.

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What kind of thing would we see if we entered a typical classroom?

The nature of our transdisciplinary curriculum means a ‘typical classroom’ no longer really exists! You might find students outside launching rockets, the conclusion of an assignment incorporating skills across economics, engineering, science and maths. Or in the design technology suite working in small groups, designing and building a model F1 car before competing in a race. Or up at the castle, delivering a presentation on a topic they have chosen to research as their end of year project. Or perhaps making use of the swimming pool, or planning the scene change music for an upcoming drama production. The possibilities are endless. Although no matter the subject, the topic being studied, or the PSB skills being employed, once immersed in the lesson, you might find it hard to leave!

Is the extra-curricular just as important for you, and what opportunities are there at St George’s?

Yes, it is – and there is so much in which to get involved at St George’s – sport, music, drama, art, trips and excursions … the St George’s Award, and that’s before you consider all of the incredible activities led by the boarding team for those who stay on-site during the week. 

Boarding, whether for the full week or for the occasional night, is not only considered by our students to be great fun, it is also a fantastic way to develop valuable life skills, such as collaboration and the appreciation of individual difference. For the students in Years 7 and 8 who are planning to board at senior school, it is also a nurturing environment in which to experience – and acclimatise to – life as a boarder. 

What are your plans for the Senior Prep faculty for the coming year?

We have some incredibly exciting developments in the pipeline for Years 7 and 8 in the coming years. Not least the establishment of an annual exchange programme with a school in Kenya, which we are hoping to launch later this year.

Closer to home, we are looking to create two new common rooms, to give Old Bank House even more of the feel of a sixth form ‘hub’. We will also be incorporating the principles of ‘High Performance Learning’ into the PSB, further solidifying our philosophy that all students can be high attainers, not limited by a fixed ‘ability’ or ‘potential’. 

As a ‘living’ curriculum, the scope of the PSB is almost limitless in terms of the knowledge that can be taught. As such, this curriculum will change, subject by subject and term by term, and our plans will change accordingly, based on our transdisciplinary approach to learning.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this journey will take us.


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