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Ryde SchoolRyde School, the Island’s leading independent school has long held a reputation for excellence in all fields, both in the classroom and out.

With expectations running high from parents, students and teachers alike that the school will provide a well-rounded school culture and community as well as an enviably high standard of education, all eyes are on new Headmaster Mark Waldron to see how he intends to not only maintain, but surpass the achievements the school has made to date.

With a background of academic excellence culminating in a 1st from Cambridge; plus a career rich in international experience, Mark Waldron is well-placed to pick up the mantle of running Ryde School. These invaluable experiences plus a love of drama and sport mean that he is sure to lead from the front in encouraging both students and teachers to achieve and excel in all things. Cath Ouston has been to talk to Mark about his vision for providing a well-rounded education.

In addition to providing and developing a first rate teaching staff, what is the biggest challenge you face in providing a well-rounded education?

Building an extra-curricular programme that will challenge, extend and inspire is crucial to the future successes and ambitions of our students. As with all schools, probably the biggest challenge we face is fitting everything in on the timetable. As an independent school we are so fortunate that we can make the decisions we need to make to get it right. After all, it is the lessons that the students learn on the sports field, on the stage and in creative pursuits that develop and hone life skills such as self-confidence; communication skills and leadership qualities. What’s the point of having a first class degree in maths if you don’t know how to talk to people? By taking part in team activities they will learn to lead as well as to be a team player.

Why is creating such a school culture so important?

It will give our students the competitive edge. The school and the Island don’t exist in isolation. That stretch of water is misleading, we need to look beyond these shores to see our competition. Our students will be competing against students from Portsmouth, London, Paris, Washington, Tokyo, and so on. The borders just aren’t there anymore so we need to prepare our students to successfully compete against their peers from all around the world. That is one of the reasons we offer the International Baccalaureate to students as an alternative option to A-Levels. It provides students with such a well-rounded knowledge base and understanding of the interconnectivity of subjects and how they relate to the real world. It’s a superb qualification.

What’s next on your agenda?

I’m really proud to say that we will be offering 4 bursaries to students from schools across the Island to come and study the IB with us from September 2014. Whilst teaching standards will always be of paramount importance we will continue to grow and develop the extra-curricular programme and, therefore, the life skills of our students. That is what will mark both the school and our students out from the rest of the competition.

If you’d like more information about applying for the International Baccalaureate bursaries, please contact Stephen Baxter, Head of 6th Form using the details below.

Ryde School with Upper Chine, Queen’s Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 3BE

t: 01983 562229