Our children were delighted to welcome Derbyshire Dales MP, Sarah Dines, to S. Anselm’s on Friday 26th November, having recently been named Tatler’s Prep School of the Year.

Miss Dines was given a tour of the school by Head Girl, Isabella and Head Boy, Charles, before meeting with our Headteacher, Mr Frank Thompson and senior members of the school team.

The tour started in the heart of the school with the cosy Dining Room, dating back to 1888 when the school was founded.  There, Miss Dines expressed particular interest in the memorial boards for Old Anselmians who died in the service of our country during the first and second World Wars.  She also studied the extensive Scholarship Boards, on which the names and Senior School destinations of every child who has earned a scholarship or exhibition, are engraved each year – recognising the surnames of a few local families!

Highlights of the tour included visiting various classrooms where junior and senior form lessons were taking place, where Miss Dines was impressed by the creativity of the project work the children are engaged in.  Mrs Dines also met with Mr Price, the school’s longest serving teacher, who has taught Latin to pupils spanning back two generations. She enthusiastically shared her views on the importance of studying Latin with his class, who were eager to talk about its many uses in modern life, as well as value in developing intellectual rigor. She also shared her hope that schools continue to teach Latin in the future.

In the ®LEGO Innovation Studio, Miss Dines was able to see the extensive ®LEGO Mindstorms robots, 3D printers and many other IT facilities that are used as an integral part of lessons, for children as young as Pre-Prep.

Her final visit was to the Music Department, where Miss Dines met Mr Percival, S. Anselm’s, Director of Music.  As a cellist herself, she was interested to discuss the depth and breadth of the music curriculum offered at S. Anselm’s.  She also heard about the Chapel Choir’s exciting Jersey Tour, which is scheduled to take place in March 2022.

Sarah Dines MP commented: “I am very grateful to have been invited to visit S. Anselm’s School and very much enjoyed my visit. You cannot deny the difficulties that schools have faced during this pandemic and I, like many others have been concerned about the impact the pandemic would have children’s mental health and learning. I know that the team at S. Anselm’s have worked tirelessly to reduce this impact and I do not doubt that pupils have benefited from the school’s dedication to making sure that no child has been left behind during the pandemic. I am already looking forward to my next visit.”

Mr Thompson said: “It was a great honour to welcome Sarah Dines to our school. She showed a real interest in our pupils and our history and very generously offered us a chance to visit her in Parliament in the future. The school has many enthusiastic debaters and our older children take a great interest in the wider world. The opportunity to visit the heart of government would be a wonderful opportunity for them. We have invited her back to the school soon and hope she might give our pupils a few tips on public speaking.”