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DVE ASSIF RTIS IED Se e ING insi de f or d e tail s

PUSHING TOO HARD The Tiger Mothers phenomenon

CHARITY OR SYNERGY Do school partnerships work?

BED BUGS Say goodnight to little visitors


EDUCATION NEWS Local & national round-up

COMMENT & REVIEW More pages, more features

Heritage holidays

The Good Schools Guide 2? Full details of open events inside Looking at places for September 2011 or 201

We’d like to invite you to a special Preparatory Department open event Friday 6th May Between 10.00am and 12.30pm The event is for those considering entry into Reception class through to Year 6. Should you wish to receive a prospectus in advance, please call our Registrar on 0161 224 0447, or visit Discover how, at MHSG, your daughter will develop a lively love of learning, and thrive both academically and personally in a caring, friendly and secure environment.

The Preparatory Department has an excellent range of extra-curricular activities during lunchtimes and after school.

Children make outstanding progress towards the early learning goals in all areas of the curriculum.

The quality of the pupils’ achievements and their learning, attitudes and skills are outstanding.

Quotes are taken from our latest Independent Schools Inspection Report (October 2010). You can download a copy at

today’s students, tomorrow’s successful women Grangethorpe Road, Manchester M14 6HS | | Charity registration no: 532295

4to18 Spring 2011


Inside 5

Local and national round-up

Charity or Synergy


Do school partnerships work?

Star student


Prof Brian Cox on his inspirations

Tiger Mothers


What’s all the fuss about?

Unwanted visitors


Get them back into their own bed


Welcome It’s amazing to think that we have been doing 4to18 for almost two years now (and another year before that for planning and scheming). Looking back on our first, rather naive, edition I’m reminded of early starts, long days and sleepless nights as we tried to convince sceptical advertisers of the merits of a free magazine for parents that talked about stuff parents might be interested in. Though that first edition was very light on advertisements (the absolute lifeblood of 4to18) a few brave souls came in with us and to them, we will be eternally grateful. You know who you are! All five of us feel like 4to18 is our child...hard work, frustrating, expensive to run but still capable of giving us moments of sheer joy and exhilaration. And like children, we all dream that this baby will one day grow up to be staggeringly rich and in a position to happily look after us in our dotage! Enjoy the magazine and if you respond to any of the ads please mention our baby!



Back to the campsite

Curtain Call


When actors turn on the audience

Toys & Books


Latest released for all ages

Ged Norton


Our new teenage columnist

Mark Harris


Our old columnist on how to be cool



Confidence and opportunity

Advertising Director

Editor Features Editor Commercial Director


Advertising Editorial

Sarah Longley 0791 772 5335 Jane Field Nicki Thornhill Mark Harris 0791 890 5619 Graeme Alderson 07801 462 141 0161 610 2620/0791 7725 335

Horse riding and bell ringing were among the first subjects to suffer under a draconian new cost-cutting regime

Cover photo courtesy of Altrincham College of Arts. Photographer: Matt Priestley 4to18 magazine is published by Atticus Media Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without the permission of the publishers. Views expressed in 4to18 magazine are not necessarily those of Atticus Media Ltd. Atticus Media Ltd is a registered company. Information and pictures for some articles have been gathered from various sources and these, together with the advertisements are published in good faith, without responsibility on the part of the publishers or authors for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action, as a result of any views expressed therein. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, we cannot take responsibility for publishing errors, however caused. Special thanks to the organisations that have provided us with information and photographs


The Manchester Grammar Junior School

Boys should be seen... and heard! Exciting and stimulating academic, cultural and sporting education which engages boys.

JUNIOR SCHOOL OPEN EVENT Thursday 19 May 2011 From 4:15 pm to 7:30 pm Entrance by assessment only for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 with automatic entry into Year 7

Glyn sings with the HallÊ Children’s Choir based at MGS

Contact Kath Heathcote 0161 224 7201 ext 234 Old Hall Lane, Manchester M13 0XT Full details at





roposals for the UK’s first eight free schools have won formal approval and should open their doors in September. Education Secretary Michael Gove is committed to a vision of a new generation of independent – but publicly funded – schools which will set their own curriculum and admissions policy “free from local authority control”. Mr Gove was initially disappointed by the number of applications to set up such schools but is determined to press ahead with his proposals. They will be run by charities, businesses or parents. One proposal, the Ark Conway school in Hammersmith and Fulham, is backed by Ark, an existing academy sponsor which is working with a parents' group. Woodpecker Hall is a new primary being set up by an oversubscribed academy school in Enfield. The Stour Valley community school in Suffolk emerged from a local parents' campaign to save a middle school from closure, while the Norwich free school is being created by a group of teachers. Mr Gove has urged councils to support free school proposals wherever a new school is needed, as the government revealed that it has received 249 applications from groups wanting to play a role in the Conservatives' flagship policy. Free schools are state-funded but independently run and set up by parents, teachers or charities. Councils will be obliged to look for academy or free school proposals if new schools are needed, under the terms of the education bill published in February. The government is seeking to give fresh impetus to free schools, the most prominent part of Cameron's Big Society idea, after months in which the policy has come under attack from unions and the coalition's Liberal Democrat partners. Gove said he wanted to encourage councils to back academy proposals: "That would be the first choice we would like local authorities to make, when new schools are needed, they

should be free schools or academies." The government has given initial approval to 35 groups. Proposals which have received initial approval include the Maharishi school in Lancashire, a private school where children practise transcendental meditation at the beginning and end of the school day, a Muslim boys' school in Blackburn, and the McAuley College Academy, a proposed free school in Hull which aims to enable every child to get to university. Free schools have faced intense opposition from unions including the GMB, which has accused the backers of a free school in Wandsworth of setting its catchment area to exclude poorer children. Liberal Democrat party members last year voted to campaign against free schools because they "risk increasing social divisiveness and inequity". Teaching unions share concerns that creating new schools will lead to a two-tier system. Britain’s biggest teaching union, the NUT, says free schools are not wanted – and will not work. A survey of 1,021 parents by YouGov for the NUT in areas given the go ahead by Mr Gove found that just 26 per cent were in favour, with 31 per cent against and 43 per cent not sure. Christine Blower, the union’s general secretary, said: “This survey clearly shows that parents are not clamouring to set up free schools, have no issue with schools being accountable to the community through democratically elected local

authorities, and absolutely reject the premise of their children’s education being handed over to private companies. “Free schools are not wanted or needed. They are divisive and unaccountable. It is time this Government stopped playing with the educational future of this country based on nothing more than the fact they can.” 15% of parents in the YouGov survey thought private companies should run schools while 72 % thought any new state-funded school should follow the national curriculum and 78% wanted their children taught by qualified teachers. Mr Gove said: "Yes, there are opponents, people trying to stop this. That's why it's so important that reformers across party and across countries talk to each other and know there are people who are attempting to start new schools and realise that far from being individuals with a vision they are part of a global movement to transform education for the better." Supporters have looked to the US charter school model which offers an alternative to the public school system. But results have been mixed. Research carried out at Stanford University found that more than a third of charter schools had results that were worse than the traditional system. But the research also found that poor children and those with English as a second language did well in charter schools. 5





RUGBY CALL-UP Stockport Grammar School pupil Andrew Ward has been selected for the North of England U16s rugby squad, having initially played for Cheshire U16s. Hugo Corbett, Andrew’s rugby teacher, said: “Andrew has worked extremely hard throughout the season and I am so pleased to see that this has paid off with his well-earned selection for the North U16 squad. The key to Andrew’s success is his willingness to take on board, and act on, any advice that he has been given.”

eter Cresswell and Andy Shipman, friends since primary school, have launched a website aimed at helping children learn to love times tables and improve their multiplication skills. Peter, now head teacher of a primary school said: “All too often I see children struggling with basic multiplication and that really holds them back in learning more advanced maths.” “There’s nothing drier than rote learning of times tables, so I knew we had to make it as entertaining as we could. One parent told me that her 7year-old was having so much fun she didn’t realise that she was learning at all!” said Andy.

Bolton Sixth Form College: The only sixth form college in Bolton The College has two contemporary and modern campuses, one on Queen Street in Farnworth and the other on Deane Road in the town centre. Both facilities provide high quality education for 16-19 year old students who wish to study within the context and ethos of a sixth form college, where learning mentor and pastoral care schemes are at the heart of learning. The combination of high quality teaching and support has resulted in students achieving quite excellent results: recognised nationally as being in the top 5% of all schools and colleges in the country. The College is the outstanding valueadded provider in the Bolton area offering a wide range of courses including AS/A Levels, BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diplomas, BTEC Level 2 First Diplomas, BTEC Level 1 Introductory Diplomas and Sports

Academies offering girls and boys football and boys cricket. The College works closely with local high schools to ensure that the option of progressing to College is one that is as seamless as possible with hundreds of school children visiting the

campuses in years 10 or 11 for taster days. The great links to local transport throughout the borough make it easy for students to commute to College without incurring large travel expenses. Extra curricular enrichment activities play an important role in the education of all the students and help them to develop social and personal skills and enhance their university and job applications. There are plenty of activities on offer ranging from competitive and recreational sports to dance, to fundraising, to developing new skills and improving self confidence. “The Sixth Form College provides students with high quality education and extra curricular activities and is one of the best equipped Colleges in the country.” Steve Wetton, Principal



averian College has an outstanding record of getting our students into the very best universities. Last year 48% of them received offers to Russell Group universities – the most highly regarded research institutions in the country – and overall progression to university was approaching 90%. Over 560 students actually started degrees in 2010, well above the national average and in spite of last summer’s shortage of places. That’s what we think really matters but when, as with this year, you also get 12 students offered places at Oxford and Cambridge it probably is something to jump up and down and shout about! Eighteen months ago Xaverian launched an initiative to encourage students to make the most of their time at college. Our Stretch and Challenge programme is designed to help students aspire to achieve the best results and the best opportunities at university. Students were encouraged to apply to Oxbridge, 25 got interviews and 12 were offered places – a great success ratio, and you can be sure that the unlucky ones will be snapped up by other top Universities. Stretch and Challenge is open to all students who think they will benefit from it, and as well as encouraging applications to the very best universities also offers

Xaverians flying high with 12 Oxbridge offers students opportunities for voluntary work, work experience, additional qualifications, regular guest lectures and much more. The real praise, of course, must go to the students themselves, and their subject teachers, and the twelve

students will be moving on to degrees including Medicine, Natural Sciences, English, Classics, Biological Sciences, French and Spanish, Psychology and Law. Now they just have to come back down to earth and carry on the serious study!

Xaverian College ‘In Harmony Small Things Grow’

Xaverian is a highly successful Sixth Form College based in Victoria Park, Manchester. The heart of our work is to create a caring, supportive and academically excellent environment for every student. The college is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors, receiving grade 1s in all areas. We offer prospective students: A wide range of A-Levels and other courses Consistently excellent exam results (99.8% pass rate at A-Level) Support delivered through a strong pastoral system A strong programme of extra-curricular activities and other enrichment An outstanding record of progression to university

ADMISSIONS For admissions enquiries email

Xaverian College Lower Park Road Manchester M14 5RB


0161 224 1781


BIG BAG PACK Year 10 student Matthew Polmore of Hulme Hall Grammar School in Stockport arranged a Big Bag Pack at a local supermarket as part of his volunteer work towards the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award.

Matthew and eight other pupils and members of staff raised a staggering £641.55 by packing and carrying Sainsbury’s customers’ bags. Helen Phillips, Charities Co-ordinator at Hulme Hall said: “ It was a great team effort. The money will go to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which is Sainsbury’s chosen charity and the school’s chosen charity, Christies Against Cancer.”

ROUND BRITAIN ADVENTURE FOR SCHOOL YACHT Tenacity of Bolton, the 60-foot yacht built by the boys of Bolton School, is to circumnavigate the British Isles this summer in a series of legs with crews from different schools. It is the latest chapter in the amazing story that started off as a school technology project for the millennium. Tenacity, launched in 2007, is used by Bolton School Year 8 pupils for sailing training voyages and by Sixth Form students for their Duke of Edinburgh training. Skipper, Colin Wright, said: “Tenacity is equipped to the highest specifications and has been designed to be fully operational anywhere in the world so we are very excited by our round Britain adventure. Apart from a couple of legs of the trip which have been reserved for alumni of the School, the intention is for other schools to help sail the boat around our coastline.”

holocaust memorial Pupils and staff at Stockport Grammar School took part in activities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27 It was to encourage pupils at all levels of the school to consider and reflect on the reasons for, and aftermath of this human disaster. As well as several talks and performances throughout the day, there was an exhibition of writing and art produced by pupils from both the Junior and Senior Schools.

RED RABBITS This year’s celebrations to mark the start of Chinese New Year at Manchester High School for Girls’ Preparatory Department proved to be their biggest to date. For 2011’s Year of the Rabbit, Infant and Junior girls arrived in either lucky red clothing or Chinese costume. At assembly, Mr Xu Anlin from the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra gave a spectacular woodwind performance and Mrs Lee Kian Hilton, Lead Tutor in Music at Beaumont College, Lancaster, taught the girls a song to help drive away evil spirits and misfortune. The youngest of the girls gave a dramatic dragon dance display in their self-made, fiery creation (above). Throughout the day the girls explored festive-themed arts and crafts. ITV’s Granada Reports news team reported on the school’s progressive position towards teaching Mandarin. Since 2007, it has been taught to pupils in Years 5 and 6, and since January this has been extended to girls in Years 3 and 4.

Junior School BurSarieS Hulme Hall Grammar School, Stockport’s top performing school 2011, is delighted to announce that they will be offering Junior School Bursaries on a limited number of places for September 2011. For further details and an application form for this ground-breaking opportunity, please contact the School Secretary on 0161-485 3524.

nigeria to cambridge Nsikan Obong-Essien, from Nigeria, is one of seven students from St Bede’s College in Manchester to have been offered Oxbridge places this year. The 17-year-old student arrived in the UK just over sixteen months ago to take up a place in the Sixth Form. He has been offered a place at Churchill College, Cambridge, to read Engineering. He said: “When I phoned my mum at home I could hear her jumping up and down with excitement.” 9

Hulme Hall Grammar School: top of the league! Hulme Hall Grammar School is celebrating its success, having topped the GCSE league tables for Stockport Schools in 2010. With the boast that the school is non-selective, Headmaster Philip Marland announced the results as being ‘Truly fantastic and a credit to the pupils and their teachers’. Whilst 93% of students reached the benchmark of 5 or more A*-C grades, it was particularly impressive to note that 88% of these also included passes in the core subjects of Mathematics, English and a Science. In addition, 76% gained 8 or more A*-C grades and 41% of all examinations were passed at A* or A grade. Mr Marland extended his thanks to his teaching staff, ‘Without whose untiring effort, dedication and skill, the students could not have achieved their outstanding individual and collective success. He also added, ‘Whilst it is flattering to receive such recognition, our parents do not need league tables to know that their children receive an excellent education at Hulme Hall. It is our commitment to the individual pupil and the nurturing, child-centred approach to learning that enables young people to realise their true potential. This is the key to our success and this can never be quantified as a digit in a league table’.

With Kumon, all children are capable of greatness

Kumon helped me with my schoolwork and ce. my independen Ifrah, 11 nley Wigan, Winsta Study Centre

Develop your child’s independence with Kumon Our maths and English study programmes are tailored specifically to maximise your child’s individual abilities and development, building an active enthusiasm for learning.

Contact your local Instructor today



0161 969 2734

01565 621 142

Cheadle Hulme


0161 488 4988

0161 864 4157

Hazel Grove

0161 292 8421 0800 854 714 Fees vary. Please refer to your local study centre.


Ensure your child’s future and help them succeed with Kumon’s maths and English study programmes At your local study centre, Kumon offers individualised maths and English study programmes which are tailored to your child’s age and ability. Established for over 50 years, Kumon’s unique worksheet-based method can help your child to excel in these subjects, develop their capacity for learning independently and boost their all-round confidence. Your child will start at a level they are comfortable with, consolidating familiar topics before moving on to something new. Working at their own pace and studying a little every day, your child will build their confidence and quickly make progress. This regular

study helps students to retain information on a longterm basis, building speed and accuracy and developing abilities such as confidence, concentration, time management and problem-solving. Once they have filled in any gaps and mastered the topic, the Instructor will set your child new and eventually unfamiliar work, challenging them to learn for themselves. Kumon’s maths and English programmes are not tied to the national curriculum, but are international programmes which families find complement classroom learning. Above all, the programmes develop independent learning, ensuring that your child can study by themselves.

short film showing the problems of sexting has been created by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. In Exposed, a teenage girl becomes distressed after images she sent to her boyfriend appear on the internet. CEOP says senders can also find they become victims of bullying or harassment. Meanwhile, a survey by the Beatbullying charity suggested one in five 11 to 17-year-olds has received a sexually explicit or distressing text or e-mail. CEOP chief executive Peter Davies said: "Young people are increasingly using technology not only to stay in touch, but to explore their sexuality and to push the boundaries in what they send, and to whom. It is now so easy to send pictures instantly via emails and texts that we are seeing instances of boys or girls sending sexual images of themselves to others without considering consequences. "They often find out later that the image has been passed on to many others and as a result they can be the victims of bullying or harassment. In some rare instances we have seen images end up in collections of offenders." It is a serious issue that parents shouldn’t be afraid to discuss with their children. Here’s some tips from


Picture Posed By Models

4to18 child welfare expert Chrisine Durie: Skip the lecture You’ll just get a big eye roll. Instead, say you read an article on sexting and want your child’s opinion on it. (“Are kids really doing it? Why?”) If she doesn’t know what it is, tell her in a matter-of-fact way. Having the conversation in the car makes it easier to keep it casual. Connect sexting to texting Your child may not realise the photo

Girl Power Alive & Well Wilmslow Preparatory School is a place of exceptional opportunity, enjoying an outstanding academic reputation, and encouraging achievement in sport, the performing arts and in the community. Wilmslow Prep is a family orientated school and one of the only all-girls prep schools in the South Manchester area. It is a small, inclusive school where pupils are nurtured as individuals and encouraged and inspired to achieve their very best. In this special environment our girls do well, achieving attainments well beyond national expectations.In the last academic year our 17 Form 6 girls amassed 42 passes between them to

Don’t ignore the dangers of texting or message can reach a much wider audience than she intended. Explain that texts aren’t like private conversations—thumb-happy friends can quickly forward an embarrassing or rude text to their friends. Keep talking Get your child’s input on all sorts of topics, including technology. That way, you underscore the message that she can talk to you, especially when she’s faced with a situation where she’s unsure what to do.

s rie e sa abl r l Bu vai a

some of the North West’s top schools. The girls enjoy a busy sporting calendar with many extra-curricular sporting opportunities and excellent facilities. Music and arts are a very important part of everyday school life at Wilmslow Prep and visitors to the School often comment on the melodious sounds drifting through the School’s corridors which themselves are colourful and brightly decorated with our pupils’ artistic work. We also pride ourselves on our pastoral care and have a well-organised and disciplined system in which traditional values of courtesy and good manners are practised.

SUCCESS IN THE MAKING We are one of the only independent all-girls preparatory schools in the area and pride ourselves in laying down solid educational foundations in a caring, creative environment. Pupils, aged 2½ to 11 years old, are encouraged and inspired to achieve their best and attain results well beyond national expectations.



For more information please call 01625 524246 or email

WILMSLOW PREPARATORY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS Grove Avenue, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5EG Tel: 01625 524246 Web:


Stretford Grammar School Stretford Grammar School is a co-educational foundation grammar school with a rich and diverse ethnic, cultural and social intake. The school has a real sense of community where individuals are encouraged to succeed within a supportive, disciplined environment. The school seeks to nurture and challenge all students to achieve their potential within a caring ethos where relationships between staff and students are strong and built on mutual respect. We expect that when our students leave us they do so feeling valued and prepared to take their place in the wider community. Stretford Grammar is an improving school where according to Ofsted (March 2010) 'Attainment remains high, and students consistently reach standards that overall are significantly above average by the end of Key Stage 4'. Indeed, in 2010 over 98% of all our students achieved 5A*-C including English and Maths. In addition to this, 50% of all grades were awarded an A*/A and 51% of all students achieved at least 5 grades at A*/A. This is a wonderful achievement for the school and reflects the hard work and dedication of both our students and staff and the incredible support we receive from our parental body. We are proud of these achievements and also those of our Sixth Form which is regularly placed within the top 10% of sixth forms nationally. As a result of these achievements, Ofsted recently judged the Sixth Form to be 'good' overall.

During their time at Stretford Grammar School students are able to access a broad range of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities which seek to develop their learning opportunities. We are a small school and as a result students quickly settle into school, fostering lasting friendships and feeling valued by their teachers. That said, we are also an incredibly happy school where those old values of respect, politeness and courtesy are at the heart of the school. In 2005 the school was granted Specialist Status in Science and Mathematics, an area of the school which has continued to flourish. As a result of our designation as a specialist school in Science and Maths significant refurbishment has been undertaken of the Science teaching rooms and an additional science block has been built. Through our specialism we have sought to develop a real passion for the sciences and many of our students continue to pursue the sciences to A Level and beyond. The learning environment is also important to us and over the last year we have invested significantly in the infra-structure of the school. The school has an extensive wireless network and most rooms are equipped with an audio system, projector and interactive whiteboards. In the longer term we are seeking to refurbish the school library. A very active PTA has agreed to undertake this very important task and we seek to continue the extensive refurbishment we have undertaken to date. Our aim is to provide a first class environment with the facilities to enable all our students to achieve the outstanding results of which we know they are capable.

Stretford Grammar School


Specialist Science College


You are warmly invited to attend


our Open Evening on Tuesday 5th July 2011 6pm-8pm Come along and visit our High Achieving School Headteacher’s Talks at 6.30pm and 7.30pm

Entrance Examination 8th October 2011 for entry September 2012 (Closing date for applications is 4pm on 16th September 2011) 

More detailed information is available from our Admissions Officer, Sharon Campbell Tel: 0161 866 0130 Fax: 0161 866 9938 E-mail: Granby Road, Stretford, Manchester. Tel: 0161 865 2293.


SCHOOL NEWS national art winners The Form 6 girls from Wilmslow Preparatory School have taken 1st prize in the ISA National Art Competition, competing against 300 schools from across the country. The girls won first place with their range of “seated figures” in the 3D category. Art Teacher Mrs Fenton said: “The girls have developed their art and craft skills brilliantly in the last few years. Winning a national art competition is the culmination of effort and endeavour and the School is delighted that their hard work has been rewarded. This is a fantastic achievement.” The 3D figures are now on display in the Hall.


he end of the Alderley Edge School for Girls Ship a Library campaign is getting ever closer, with the container now on its way to the Mambrui Secondary School in Kenya (pictured). The school has collected approximately 3,000 books, educational games and toys since September which have been boxed and loaded onto the shipping container that has been funded through the generosity of parents and the school. Business Studies teacher Lynn Merry, who has been leading the project, spoke of her gratitude towards those who have donated items and volunteered their support. “We have had excellent support from all of our girls, parents and staff but special thanks must go to Ian Francis, Managing Director at Abraclean Ltd who has supported the school with funding for the campaign in addition to logistics, and to Paul Fahey and his team at BiG Storage Handforth who provided free storage space for our collection items since October. “We know how desperately the Mambrui School needs these items for their library and we will ensure we keep the local community informed about the school’s progress throughout the year”.

SGS: high academic standards, excellent pastoral guidance and superb facilities Life at SGS is a happy and exciting experience for girls and boys from 3-18 years, with high academic standards, excellent pastoral guidance, superb facilities and over 100 clubs and activities. The school’s extensive extra-curricular programme includes participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, for which it is an Independent Operating Authority and recently presented its 1000th Award. The school boasts a thriving music department, presenting pupils with countless opportunities to perform both in and out of school. The standard of sport played at SGS is extremely high with pupils often going on to represent regional squads. Pupils also compete in academic competitions on a national level. A Junior School and Nursery on the same site provides younger children with a caring and stimulating environment in which to learn, whilst enjoying the benefits of strong links with the Senior School. SGS has an extensive school bus service, close proximity to 2 railway stations and will soon be easier to reach for children travelling from Hale, Altrincham and Bowdon with the introduction of a new transport service for that area from September 2011. Parents and children are warmly welcomed to Open Events and regular school day visits throughout the year, with the next events being Year 5 Taster Days and Junior School Open Day in May. Call 0161 456 9000 for more information. Or visit

A PASSAGE TO AFRICA Alderley Edge School for Girls has achieved the top spot for producing the best A Level Results in Cheshire East, and achieved the second place for GCSE results. The league tables show that the Alderley girls achieved an average A Level score 966 which is the highest in Cheshire East. GCSE girls also achieved high results, with 94% of students achieving five or more A*-C grades in GCSE including English and Maths - over 40 percent higher than the national average.



An independent school for girls and boys from 3 to 18 years Bursaries and music scholarships available at 11+ and 16+ ‡2XWVWDQGLQJDFDGHPLFUHVXOWV ‡'HGLFDWLRQWRSDVWRUDOFDUH ‡2YHUFOXEVDQGVRFLHWLHV ‡([WHQVLYHVFKRROEXVURXWHV LQFOXGLQJ1(:$OWULQFKDP route from September 2011 Nursery and Junior School Open Morning Saturday 7th May 2011 9.30-11.30am Come and spend a day in our Senior School Year 5 Taster Days 17th and 26th May 2011 For more information and to book a place, call 0161 419 2408 Regular school day visits available throughout the year

Call 0161 456 9000 to arrange a visit or request a prospectus


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spiring n i n a y enjo en who lth of enriching r d l i h c ea ppy with ha n providing a w d school with s n i g e b t te o ievemen hool is focused , family orienta h c a h g i e c a flexibl ve that h hy our s We belie ent, which is w . Terra Nova is ce m ? environ es all in one pla cellence. yourself r x o c f e n f e e i e o r s ry o expe ed histo orning t h s M i l n b e a t p s rO an e us at ou n i o j t o Why n pm

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Terra Nova School. A co-educational 3-13 prep school. Call 01477 571261 or visit for more details. Email: Jodrell Bank, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, CW4 8BT. Charitable Trust Reg. No. 525919




Three Manchester High School for Girls students have secured offers from Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Aria Pattinson-Speirs received an offer from Newnham, Cambridge to read Natural Sciences, Hayley Weir from St Catharine’s, Cambridge to read Medicine and Claudia Williams Balliol, Oxford to read History.

Hulme Hall Grammar School, Stockport, is embarking upon two exciting theatre productions. The Junior school’s Annie will be performed in March and the whole-school Summer production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be staged in their 420-seat theatre. Head of Drama, Sofia Ahsan-Hunt said: “A few years ago we did a production of Twelfth Night which was hugely successful and a visual treat. I believe our students love the challenge of Shakespeare and it fits our ethos of setting very high, yet achievable goals.” Last year, over a hundred students from both the Junior and Senior school performed in the school play, Fantastic Mr Fox (right) and the Junior school staged a production of A Christmas Carol. Ms Ahsan-Hunt said: “Drama plays a key role in creating students who are self-confident and thoughtful individuals.”

Bright Inspiring New Nursery for Terra Nova School

The Nursery at Terra Nova School has undergone a complete refurbishment and the building is now awash with colour, excitement and inspiration for the months ahead. The three main classrooms have been transformed to provide a Creative Room where the children are inspired to get creative and two main classrooms with vast opportunities for learning through play. Through the creation of a dining area, the children can now enjoy their

cooked lunch in the security of the warm, nurturing, nursery environment. Rachel Cookson, who joined Terra Nova this September as Head of Early Years Foundation Stage, said “We are absolutely delighted with the Nursery. It really does offer the ‘wow’ factor. We believe the first steps of a child’s education journey are very special and require much nurture, creativity, inspirational teaching and affectionate support. “When you combine this with the

environment we have now created for our three and four year olds, the Terra Nova Nursery really is a special place to be.” As the weather improves, the outdoor learning environment, which already boasts a large expanse of outdoor space and an adventure play area, will be further enhanced with a vegetable and herb garden; multi sensory areas; a role-play setting and science and investigation opportunities. 15



Altrincham College of Arts

Altrincham College of Arts

new multi-million pound Sixth Form opens in September 2011, offering a state of the art learning environment and a curriculum offer that will prepare and equip students for life after Sixth Form. Altrincham College of Arts is an ‘outstanding’ school (Ofsted 2008) and due to its reputation for excellent teaching and learning, and outstanding progress and achievement, we can now offer 16-19 learning. The sixth form will provide a highly structured learning environment offering a full range of A Level subjects and a wide choice of Vocational courses including

Creative & Media Production, Art & Design, Performing Arts (Acting), and Child Development. Students will receive outstanding independent advice and guidance in preparation for higher education and the world of work. *To avoid disappointment, please ensure your application is sent in as soon as possible to secure a place on your chosen courses. An 11-19 Foundation School. For all enquiries and application information please contact the school. Altrincham College Of Arts, Green Lane, Timperley, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 8QW. Tel: 0161 980 7173 Email:






St Bede's College student Christy O’Brien has won both the English Cross Country Relay and the English Road Relay championships with two other runners from his running club, Sale Harriers. Christy is also the reigning North West champion at Cross Country. Altrincham College of Arts was judged to be an ‘Outstanding and fully inclusive school’ in its most recent Ofsted report in February 2008. In addition to this, the school has been listed by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust as a High Performing Specialist School for 4 consecutive years, 2007-2010. As a result of nine years of continuously improving results, the school is very popular and over subscribed in all year groups. In 2010 the GCSE results achieved were the best ever, with 76% achieving the government benchmark of 5 or more A*-C passes at GCSE or equivalent. This success with 11-16 students has led to government capital funding of £5.3m to support the opening of a 200 place Sixth Form in September 2011. This new, iconic, state of the art Sixth Form Centre will enable Altrincham College of Arts students and new entrants who join the school aged 16, to study a range of level 3 academic and vocational courses through to University entrance. Students will experience outstanding teaching, excellent support and guidance and will have access to industry standard resources and equipment in a 21st century learning environment. The school’s main specialism is the Visual and Creative Arts, but in addition to this, and due to Altrincham College’s status as a high performing school, the government have asked the school to adopt further specialisms in Maths and Computing and Applied Learning. The main specialism was chosen because the school believes passionately in developing childrens’ creative talents, in addition to achieving their true

eader of Trafford Council, Councillor Matthew Colledge, celebrated Manchester author Sherry Ashworth and Director of Education and Early Years for Trafford Council Margaret Woodhouse joined Head Teacher Lynn Nicholls and a host of VIP guests to open Sale High School’s new library. The £200k library has transformed the former school gymnasium and will add hugely to the school’s learning facilities and will feature over 4000 books, a brand new IT suite and IT pods, a conference suite, a mezzanine floor with seating and study areas and an auditorium area for films, lectures and presentations. The new library will form a hub for the school and will also be available for use by community groups and primary schools in Sale. Councillor Colledge said: "Having access to such a quality facility gives

the students the opportunity to develop their learning through the use of the most up-to-date technologies. It is a top class learning environment that I'm sure the teachers and pupils cannot wait to make the most of." Head Teacher Lynn Nicholls said: “The students can’t wait to get in there and start exploring the new facilities. Our parents have been incredibly generous in donating and sponsoring new books and we look forward to welcoming them all in to see the new building.”

Altrincham College of Arts:

An ‘Outstanding and fully inclusive school’

academic potential, supporting the Every Child Matters commitment to a well rounded whole education. Finally, Altrincham College is about much more than the pursuit of academic excellence. The school has an outstanding reputation for the care, guidance and support of its students along with a very welcoming and friendly ethos. Children spend much of their young lives in school and at Altrincham College they endeavour to offer opportunities

and exciting enrichment activities that make that time enjoyable and rewarding. Sports, arts, drama, music, enterprise, science, outdoor education and residential experiences home and abroad all play a major part in the life of the school. For further information on entry aged 11 or into the Sixth Form aged 16 please visit our website or contact the school directly on 0161 980 7173. 17

Cheadle Hulme School

Cheadle Hulme School offers an outstanding education, developing well rounded boys and girls in a warm, nurturing and dynamic environment. With our proud history of co-education, teaching boys and girls together since 1855, our excellent facilities, reputation for high achievement and outstanding pastoral care, we are proud to produce confident young men and women who are destined for success.

If you would like your son or daughter to share in that success, contact the Registrar, Viv Gray, on 0161 488 3345 for details of the opportunities available, or come to a Junior School Open Afternoon on:

Thursday 17th March 1.45pm - 3.00pm Thursday 5th May 1.45pm - 3.00pm HMC Co-educational Day School for 4 – 18 year olds (Registered Charity No. 1077017) Claremont Road, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, SK8 6EF


Cheadle Hulme students’ Oxbridge success Ten talented students from Cheadle Hulme School Sixth Form have secured conditional offers to study on prestigious courses at either Oxford or Cambridge university. The aspirational students, many of whom have attended the leading independent co-educational school since the Junior School, plan to study challenging courses ranging from Engineering, Medicine and Law to Natural Sciences and Chinese. “It has been a competitive year for

entrance to all universities and we are delighted that so many of our students are securing offers from their university of choice,” says Head of Cheadle Hulme School, Lucy Pearson. “We are very proud of the hard work that has gone into securing these offers and we wish the students every success moving forward.” Pictured are students securing Oxbridge offers: Akshat Agarwal (Mechanical Engineering, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge), James Arnot

Photo: Jason Lock

(Medicine, Brasenose College, Oxford), Head Boy, James Black (Medicine, St Catherine’s College, Oxford), Jonathan Davidson (History, Balliol College, Oxford), Jessica Hudson (Law, Hertford College, Oxford), Michael Hurst (Natural Sciences, Downing College, Cambridge), Toby Kennon (Physics, Oxford), George Sykes (Natural Sciences, Homerton College, Cambridge), Lizzy Totten (Chinese, Pembroke College, Oxford). Not pictured is Tom Cole (Class of 2010) (Engineering, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge).

review Guys and Dolls

Successful Mission Photo: Jason Lock

Gambling Guys and dancing Dolls delighted audiences at the recent Cheadle Hulme School Senior production of the 1950s musical. Over 1100 students, staff, parents and former pupils packed into Holden Hall, during the five night run. Polished dance routines complimented the strong acting in this joyful love story, with outstanding performances by the talented cast of over 45 Senior and Sixth Form pupils. Spectators were left tapping their feet to the lively music, played by the 17 strong band and superbly sung by the cast. The musical Comedy was a “great success”, says Head of Drama, Ms Clare Harms. Visit the media gallery at to see more photos from the production.

Recipe for a happy school Cheadle Hulme School’s Junior School poster competition, Recipe for a Happy School proved popular with pupils. Winners were judged to be those with the most imaginative ingredients and advice. “Take 200g of smiles, stir in a cup of kindness and some joy, and add a pinch of caring. Stir in a lump of loyalty, ladles of love and a pint of patience. Serve with respect,” advise the youngsters. 19




Charity or Synergy?

Do education partnerships really work, asks Stuart Leeming


n England and Wales there has been the perception of an atmosphere of suspicion between the State sector and the Independent sector in education. Nevertheless, and in the face of frequently ambivalent and occasionally hostile reaction from Local Authorities, partnerships of one sort or another between schools in different sectors have developed and prospered. Indeed, some thirteen years ago now, the Government of the day, riding the wave of Tony Blair’s Education, Education, Education manifesto speech, established the ISSP (Independent/State School Partnership programme) to promote the establishment of such partnerships both by providing funding and by giving permission to Local Authorities to get on board where their ‘sensitivities’ allowed. Of course, once Government money is involved, so is government influence and accountability. Ofsted issued its first report on partnerships in March 2005 and concluded: most partnerships inspected are effective in fulfilling their objectives. Terrific; but what does that mean for individual schools? There is a fundamental question that should be asked by school leaders about any initiative that will affect the way the school operates: how will this initiative benefit the boys and girls of this school? And in the case of a partnership, one must ask the same question in relation to the pupils of the partner school. If the answer to the question is not as clear as the thumb on your hand, it is probably not worth pursuing; there is always a

Stuart Leeming Deputy High Master The Manchester Grammar School

temptation to embrace an opportunity just because it is there without really evaluating its benefit, or worse, simply because it will attract funding. That way is to sell one’s soul, and that of the institution. Many of the enduring partnerships arise and grow organically; they are not contrived via misguided attempts at social engineering or by targeted funding. Rather, they reflect genuine needs and empathies. Often they are simple and cost little other than time, and the benefits to the pupils are manifest. Witness the paired reading schemes between Independent senior schools and state

sector junior schools and special schools that so many of my own pupils take part in. Time here is the key. On the one hand, one-to-one time for the developing reader to gain practice and confidence, on the other, time for the mentor to develop and hone both pedagogic and personal skills in a professional environment. Yes, it is something to write on one’s UCAS form, but that is to miss the point. The skills, relationships and perspective acquired along the way are the real prize. And for the developing reader, earlier and better independent access to information. Manchester is remarkable for being home to three of the most academically successful Independent schools in the Country. Indeed, they are unequalled in academic terms by any school north of Oxford. When greater than a critical mass of very clever children is brought together in one place they feed off each other’s intellect and suddenly the educational glass ceiling imposed by constraints of national doctrine are lifted. Pupils and teachers alike discover their wings and true scholarship replaces routine learning. Initiatives like the 4 Schools partnership between two independent senior schools and two academies in Manchester can bring together that critical mass both of pupils and teachers across the sectors. With a pool of over 4000 pupils in total, that can be done at subject level in a way that none of the schools individually could achieve. Much is made of provision for Gifted and Talented, rightly, but what really makes the difference is sustained interaction 21

Continued from previous page

with others of equivalent ability. Those very bright young men and women deserve and need to gain entry to the very best universities. Of course, entry should be predicated on merit alone; life is rarely that simple, though. Just by dint of numbers who apply, teachers at the top independent schools develop a knowledge and understanding of the selection procedures adopted by the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial, Durham, Harvard, Yale, that teachers in the state sector do not. Consider the selection of college for an Oxbridge application; it is akin to the experienced Travel Agent explaining that if you pick the five-star hotel in Cancun with the swim-up bar you probably won’t get in because it is so popular. But if you pick the five-star hotel in Cancun that is renowned for its cuisine, then you might. It is now routine for my colleagues

It is no bad thing for pupils in the independent sector to confront the reality of the ability, drive, determination and sheer talent of the best pupils from the state sector to help prepare pupils from our partner schools and academies for their Oxbridge applications, helping them to present themselves in the best possible light at interview and in the various selection tests. But how does this help my own pupils who are competing for places? Well, competition is the key concept; this is a competitive process, and complacency loses places. It is no bad thing for pupils in the independent sector to confront the reality of the ability, drive, determination and sheer talent of the best pupils from the state sector who have a real thirst for a place at one of the best universities. By no means all partnerships are academic, of course, or even domestic. Cultural partnerships with overseas schools; language, drama, charity work and support for Third World education have had a profound and sometimes fundamental impact. It is

gratifying to count the number of my former pupils working for overseas development agencies and for charities who cite their early experiences in the country schools of Uganda or the orphanages of Russia as defining influences on their chosen careers. But it is becoming ever more difficult to sustain meaningful partnerships in today’s zero risk culture. Whether access and vetting constraints at home or impossible to implement checks on host families overseas, bureaucracy is stifling innovation. As the father of a six-yearold daughter and a scientist who understands probabilities, I regret that my child may be denied opportunities by the irrational quest to eliminate all risk. Perhaps now the most important partnership is with parents in recognising the price of opportunity.


Working together for a great future




3-18 YEARS The Bury Grammar Schools are a registered charity (No. 526622) for educational purposes

Bursaries Available



Star pupil TV physicist Brian Cox recalls how teachers helped inspire him to reach for the stars


elieve it or not, the head at my junior school was called Mr Perfect. He was brilliant. He ran after-school classes in maths and English and let kids stay on to play board games. When we played Risk, we would discuss each move and only make one or two moves a week, so one game would go on all term. I grew up in Chadderton, outside Oldham, and we lived next door to the playing fields for my junior school, Chadderton Hall. Against the rules, I could climb over the fence to get there. One thing I wasn’t happy about at junior school was that I wanted to have physics lessons, but you didn’t get specific science lessons until you were in senior school. My interest in physics and astronomy came from outside school — I suspect from growing up during the Apollo space programme. I was born in 1968 so definitely absorbed the sense of excitement — my father was into it too and I remember the pictures of the moon landings we had on the wall in our house. I was probably seven or eight when I had my first telescope and I remember having star maps and looking up at the sky before that. For as long as I can remember, that’s what I wanted to do. My favourite teacher was Mr Galloway (inset), my first physics teacher at Hulme Grammar in Oldham. It was quite a traditional

boys’ school and though he looked like a Seventies physicist, complete with beard, Mr Galloway was very young, relaxed and different from most of the other teachers. What was great was that you could sit down with him after school and say “I want to build this piece of electronics” and he would help you. My keyboard playing mixed quite well with my interest in physics. When I was about 11 I wasn’t really interested in music — I was interested in bits of electronics and noises and synthesisers. I had a band with a friend, but we were keener on building a recording studio. One of the bands we liked was Ultravox, and they had found a way to trigger chords on a keyboard to make it syncopate with a high-hat drum. We wanted to make the same noise and needed to build something called a “noise gate” that would be triggered

by the high-hat. We asked Mr Galloway about it, and he sat down and drew a circuit. Then we built the circuit with him and it worked. Years later I met Billy Currie, the keyboard player with Ultravox, and told him: “We had to build this thing with our physics teacher.” And he said: “I know, I did the same.” It was the only solution at the time for making that sound. I enjoyed other teachers, but they were eccentrics in some ways. For chemistry we had quite a character. He was a perfectionist and you had to do everything very precisely. He used to go mental if anyone did anything wrong, and practical experiments could clash with his control-freakery. If anyone sprayed some copper sulphate out of a test tube he would scream and throw people out of the lesson. When you were 11 you would all be frightened to death of him. But by the time you were 15 everyone was fond of him because he was so strange. He would horrify educationalists today. But he got amazing results. His approach was quite modern because he taught you to pass the exam with precision. Professor Brian Cox is a particle physicist who presents TV and radio programmes on science. In the 1980s, he was a keyboardist with the bands Dare and D:Ream. This article first appeared in the TES, the magazine for teachers and anyone with an interest in education. 23

Tiger Mothers: raising children ‘the Chinese way’ After Pushy Mum, here comes Tiger Mother, a fearsome outboard-motor of ambition for her offspring. Tiger Mother’s children are never allowed to watch television, play computer games or go to sleepovers, which are a time-wasting invention of indulgent Western parents who are too lazy to put in the hours needed to raise a genius. Tiger Mother rarely sleeps herself. Why would she? Sleep prevents you shouting at your child to practise her violin by Maureen Corrigan


my Chua may well be nuts. What kind of a mother hauls her 7year-old daughter's doll’s house out to the car and tells the kid that its is going to be donated to the Salvation Army piece by piece if the daughter doesn't master a difficult piano composition by the next day? What kind of a mother informs her daughter that she's "garbage"? And what kind of mother believes, as Chua tells readers she does, that: "an A- is a bad grade; ... the only activities your children should be permitted to do are those in which they can eventually win a medal and ... that medal must be gold"? What kind of a mother? Why, a mother who's raising her kids the Chinese, rather than the Western, way. In her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Chua recounts her adventures in Chinese parenting, and — nuts though she may be — she's also mesmerising. Chua's voice is that of a jovial, erudite serial killer — think Hannibal Lecter — who's explaining 24

how he's going to fillet his next victim, as though it's the most selfevidently normal behavior. That's the other gripping aspect of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother: There's method to Chua's madness — enough method to stir up self-doubt in readers who subscribe to more nurturing parenting styles. Trust me, Battle Hymn is going to be a book club and parenting blog phenomenon; there will be fevered debate over Chua's tough love strategies, which include ironclad bans on such Western indulgences as sleepovers, play dates, and any extracurricular activities except practicing musical instruments ... which must be the violin or piano. The back story to Chua's memoir is this: She is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and is now a professor at Yale Law School and the author of two best-selling "big-think" books on free-market democracy and the fall of empires. When Chua married her husband, fellow Yale law professor and novelist Jed Rubenfeld, they agreed that their

children would be raised Jewish and reared "the Chinese way," in which punishingly hard work — enforced by parents — yields excellence; excellence, in turn, yields satisfaction in what Chua calls a "virtuous circle." The success of this strategy is hard to dispute. Older daughter Sophia is a piano prodigy who played Carnegie Hall when she was 14. The second, more rebellious daughter, Lulu, is a gifted violinist. Chua rode the girls hard, making sure they practised at least three hours a day even in the holidays, when she would call ahead to arrange access


A- is a bad grade: tiger mum Amy Chua

to pianos for Sophia in hotel lobby bars and basement storage rooms. Chua also rarely refrained from criticising her daughters, and in one of the many provocative passages that fill her book, she explains: “Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable — even legally actionable — to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, "Hey fatty — lose some weight." By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of "health" and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating

disorders and negative self-image. ... Western parents are concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently. As Chua admits, though, the Chinese model doesn't dwell on happiness, nor does it deal well with failure. (Some of the most hilarious parts of her memoir deal with her attempts to apply Chinese parenting methods to the family's two dopey Samoyed puppies.) I was on my living room couch, reading the end of Chua's memoir,

when my 12-year-old daughter came downstairs and announced she had "done enough reading" for one day and that since she had also practised flute (for 15 minutes) she was going to chill out and watch TV — in this case, a made-for-TV Disney movie. Chua tartly sums up the stereotypically "Western" Disney plot this way: "In Disney movies," she says, the [studious kid] always has to have a breakdown and realise that life is not all about following rules and winning prizes, and then take off her clothes and run into the ocean or something like that. But that's just Disney's way of appealing to all the people who never win any prizes. Winning prizes gives you opportunities, and that's freedom — not running into the ocean." I looked over at my daughter and had mixed feelings about her just chillin' in front of the TV, rather than plugging away in that virtuous circle of enforced practice. I guess we won't be sending out the invitations for Carnegie Hall anytime soon. This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. It's also about Mozart and Mendelssohn, the piano and the violin, and how they made it to Carnegie Hall. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how someone can be humbled by a 13-year-old.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua Bloomsbury £16.99 25

Top of the table Students at The Grange School have yet again put the school at the top of local and national performance tables. In the Department of Education Key Stage 5 tables published recently, the Hartford independent school was the only school or college in Cheshire to make the list of top 100 Sixth Forms in England, as measured on the overall achievement of its pupils at A and AS level. Headmaster Chris Jeffery said: “We are delighted by the recognition that the Alevel table gives to the hard work and success of our senior students and their teachers. We believe that this is the ninth year running that The Grange has been judged the best performing Sixth Form in Cheshire.. “It is a disappointment, however, that despite the Coalition Government’s willingness to recognise achievement in IGCSE exams, the GCSE tables do not yet acknowledge this. This is despite Grange pupils achieving 87% of grades at A* or A last summer.”

The Grange School: proud to report our excellence

100% bursaries are available at 11+

The Grange School A world beyond the classroom Whatever the challenge, The Grange will prepare you.

Senior School Open Morning – 9am-1pm Saturday 24th September 2011 Junior School Open Morning – 9am-1pm Saturday 5th November 2011 For further information on Sixth Form introductory days and taster days please contact: Sharon Dickens Senior School Admissions T: 01606 74007

Mandy Shaw Junior School Admissions T: 01606 77447

The Grange School Bradburns Lane, Hartford, Northwich, Cheshire CW8 1LU School buses cover a 25 mile radius Registered charity number 525918


Excellent in every area! This remarkable accolade is the judgement made by the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate on The Grange School. “Outstanding” cannot be given as an overall rating to independent schools; instead they are given assessments – with excellent as the top grade – in no fewer than eight categories. Headmaster Chris Jeffery is delighted that The Grange has achieved the rare feat of being given the top grade in each category, based upon a wide range of evidence which, significantly, includes well over a thousand pupil and parent questionnaires. Despite its success The Grange is determined not to rest on its laurels and Mr Jeffery promises that it will, “continue to develop and strengthen its provision for pupils, parents and staff”.

At Oldham Hulme Grammar School our Early Years and Key Stage 1 children love nothing more than putting on their waterproof trousers, jackets and wellies and exploring... Nature is a treasure chest waiting to be unlocked, but unfortunately for many children, accessing a natural outdoor area is not an option. Nobody doubts the value of having nature on one’s doorstep, particularly in urban areas. We are very fortunate in that we have a perfect woodland area at the bottom of our garden, right outside Thornycroft House, our beautiful Grade II listed Kindergarten building. Our carefully planned forest activities incorporate listening and touching, awakening curiosity, communicating and reflecting. The children learn about mini-beasts and their habitats. They work together to make things like fairy houses, rainbow colour charts and large natural collages. We also educate the children about how to stay safe in the natural world. The children are taught not to touch possible dangers like

If you go down to the woods one day...

mushrooms, thistles and brambles and we practise good hand hygiene. Children are rewarded at the end of each series of activities with certificates to record their achievements. Children get the opportunity to experience the natural world in small groups with trusted adults. In this magical setting, they can safely and independently explore, forage and observe. They experience enchanting

stories and sometimes even become absorbed in fantasy and role-play! On Saturday 9th April, we will open up our woodland for the first time to all Early Years children and their parents. We will provide refreshments, an Easter Egg Hunt around the woods and a fabulous “Sing-up” to end the morning. Carol Wilkinson Deputy Principal Preparatory Schools Oldham Hulme Grammar Schools

Make sure your child’s education has plenty of growing room

Nursery and Kindergarten Saturday 9th April 2011 10.30am - 11.30am and 12.30pm - 1.30pm Bring your child to our ‘Easter Egg Hunt’ which will take place in our extensive woodland setting! It’s a great way to discover what we have to offer. For more details and to reserve a place for your child visit or call us on 0161 630 6255 or email

Modern education with traditional values Oldham Hulme Grammar Schools is a Company Limited by Guarantee Registered Number: 6125927. Registered Charity No: 526636


Backpack basics IT may sound a bit nanny state but backpacks can be a major health issue. Lugging more than 10 per cent of his body weight (which isn’t much -- about five and a half pounds for a 55pound child) can be a serious pain in a kid’s back. Here’s some tip son how to lighten the load: 1. Choose a backpack that has two wide straps with good padding to distribute the load evenly. 2. Adjust the height. “Children like to leave the straps loose so the bag hangs off their back,” says Dr Timothy Thompson, the lead author of a study conducted at the University of California in the US, on back-pack side effects. “That may cause pain because the lower back is carrying all the weight, rather than the shoulders doing more of the work.” Tighten straps so the bag is centered on the back, ideally above the lower curve of the spine. 3. Use both straps. The one-shoulder method may be cool, but it adds serious pressure and throws body alignment way out of line. 4. Weigh the bag. Bung it on the bathroom scakes, then have your child step on (without the backpack). Do the maths, and pull things out of the bag until you get below 10 per cent of body weight. If he regularly HAS to carry more than he should, then try getting get him one of those rolling backpacks that he can pull. 5. Don’t be afraid to have your child checked out by your GP. If he complains of back pain, even if it seems minor, talk to your doctor. No amount of back ache is normal in a child and a medical professional can recommend strengthening exercises to help ease it.

Registered Charity No.1006726

Nursery & Junior School Open Day

Saturday 19 March 10.00am–12.00 noon For more information, please contact Julie Bedigan on 01625 583028. Alderley Edge School for Girls, Wilmslow Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, SK9 7QE

Alderley girls have the Edge 28

Scholarships now available in Year 3 and 4 from September 2011

Most parents don’t plan on having a family bed but find that’s exactly what they end up with. JILL SPIVACK, a family therapist and former sleepdeprived mum is the co-creator of The Sleepeasy Solution. You can untrain them, she promises, but it may not be easy


our life is not an episode of Supernanny and your family’s sleep issues won’t be resolved in an hour or even a day. If you really want to make the change, though, and you’re prepared for tears, wails, and cries of “But Mummy, don’t you love me?” you’ll make it through. Here’s how to pull the my-bed-toyour-bed switcheroo: First things first: Is today a good day to start? If you’re in the midst of potty training, are going on holiday, or are expecting a new baby, wait until things settle down. Yes, you’ll have to put up with your little bed partner longer, but the sleep training will go much faster if you wait until your routine is more regular. Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, start talking about your new bedtime expectations in the afternoon - that way, she’ll know what to expect at lights-out. Try saying something like “Mummies and daddies sleep in their beds, and little girls sleep in their own beds,” says Jill. She also suggests making a homemade “sleepytime book” - nothing fancy, just stapled-together paper illustrated with stick-figure pictures that your child can colour. If your family recently moved, for instance, and your daughter started sleeping in your bed while she got used to the new house, your story would focus on that and end with how she finally started sleeping happily in her very own bed. A picture book can help young children understand their new sleeping situation in a very concrete way. Do your usual bedtime routine (here’s help if you don’t have one!), then get ready for the hard part. After Lights-Out Okay, reality check: This is where mums who couldn’t stand the cry-it-out method when their kids were babies may turn back and say “Forget it.” Hey, kids will eventually sleep alone (show me a teenager who wants to be in bed with Mum and Dad and I’ll show you a reality show waiting to happen). But if you’d rather yours go solo this month rather than this century, you can do it - you just need to brace yourself. In general, both sleep consultants and parents who’ve been there say that once you decide to start this sleep training, bed sharing needs to end entirely. No “Well, just for five minutes” or “Maybe tonight because she had a long day.” That means midnight visitors get walked back to their rooms, tucked in, kissed, and left behind. No extra snuggles, no drinks of water, as many times as it takes. There will be screams and sobs, and kids so resistant you’ll have to carry them, wriggling and accusing all the way, to their beds. Which they will jump out of in a split second. You will start to wonder if you will ever sleep again. You will; just maybe not tonight. Keep this up until the new rules sink in. If your child has been starting out in your bed and sleeping there all night, every night, your job is even less fun. Take a dummy into your child’s room and sleep on the floor - not in her bed - all night. Even though a sleepover party in your child’s room is probably not your idea of a good time, it’s a good move

This bed ain’t big enough for the three of us! in the long run. After two or three nights, switch to sitting quietly in a nearby chair until your child falls asleep. But no talking! You want to bore your child to sleep. If she kicks up a fuss, temporarily leave the room. She’ll settle down if she knows the reward is that you’ll rejoin her. Each night, move yourself farther from your child’s bed — to the door, to the hallway, and eventually back to your own bedroom. A secure door gate - or just the idea of it - can also work wonders for some kids. When she was three, Mandy and Jeff Butler’s daughter, Holly, started waking up at around 4 a.m. and sneaking into bed with her parents. After a few nights the couple reminded little Holly of “the gate,” the one she knew from when she was a “baby”. Holly hated being imprisoned, so that gentle threat was more than enough to coax her back to her own bed.


Academic, Inspiring and Affordable Education from 3½ to 11 years

Open Day

Open Mornings

1.30pm to 4pm

10.30am to 11.30 am


Sat 12 March 2011

Tues 10th May 2011 Thurs 9th June 2011

The Next Morning How did they do? If not so great, keep encouraging him and reminding him of the new rules. If he made it through the night —or even made some improvements — bring on the praise. He’s a big boy! He can do it! Toddlers and pre-schoolers, thank goodness, thrive on pleasing you. Prizes are also generally welcomed. You could let your child pick a small “sleep treat” from a grab bag in the morning or leave one under his pillow. I admit it: I lured my younger daughter, Flora, back to her bed with prizes. I told Flora that the Sleep Fairy (sort of like the Tooth Fairy) leaves stickers, small toys, and other goodies under sleeping children’s pillows. It worked like a dream. It may take more than one tactic to entice your child into his bed. But whatever you do, be consistent and have faith!

‘Teaching of the broad and balanced curriculum is rigorous. Pupils enjoy school a great deal and develop well in their time here, not least as a result of the outstanding provision the school makes for their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and their welfare. June 2009 Ofsted Inspection Report St James Independent School, Belmont Street, Stockport, SK4 1TG tel. 0161 480 4586


Come and see our new school

We are very proud of our wonderful new Junior Girls' School, Hesketh House, and would be delighted to show you and your daughter around. You will feel the excitement for learning in this warm and friendly atmosphere. This is a truly "happy home" for girls to experience excellence in teaching and a rich variety of extra-curricular opportunities alongside superb new facilities.

Mrs Ruth Brierley

Head of Bolton School Junior Girls

To arrange your tour or to enquire about a September start in Year 3 or Year 4, please contact us:

telephone: 01204 840201 or email:

We look forward to welcoming you! Chorley New Road, Bolton BL1 4PB t: 01204 840201 e:



Summer, CSI style S

tudent sleuths can put their forensic skills to the test in a CSI-style summer school at the University of Leicester. The CSI Leicester summer school creates a unique learning environment where students can be part of an investigation team and experience what it is like to work at the cutting edge of forensic science. For three weeks students will immerse themselves in the role of a forensic scientist to investigate a crime scene and, by examining the evidence, to get to the truth of ‘whodunnit’. The intensive course combines theory and practice and whilst the

crime they investigate is a simulation, the materials and equipment are the same as those used by real police scientists, making the experience as authentic as possible. Under the supervision of an international multi-disciplinary teaching team, led by Professor Rob Hillman of the Department of Chemistry and Dr John Bond of Northamptonshire Police, the investigative team will also visit a national forensic laboratory and a police crime laboratory. The event, which attracts students from all over the world, takes place from 18 July – 6 August at the Department of Chemistry.

Stunning new sixth form centre to provide best of both worlds Bolton School has been given the goahead for a new £7m Sixth Form Centre in the heart of their Chorley New Road campus. The new centre will link to the main building with two-storey glazed walkways and will provide independence for over 400 Sixth Form students and include an ICT suite, seminar rooms for project work and tutorial sessions, quiet study areas, a common room, a refectory café area, exhibition space and the main school reception. The glass and sandstone elliptical building promises to provide a stunning contrast to the School’s Neo-Gothic façade and turrets. Mrs Gill Richards, Headmistress of

the Girls’ Division, said: “These are exciting times for Bolton School. The Centre will provide the best of both worlds in that girls and boys will share the facilities, including the Common Room, but lessons will continue to be taught in single sex environments, something that we strongly believe benefits the students. The new building will complement the excellent teaching and opportunities that our students already receive.” Mr Alistair Baines, Director of Cassidy and Ashton architects, commented: "From a design perspective, once completed,the Centre will help illustrate the best of modern design against the traditional

background of the school. The effect will be sensational and will provide an attractive and stimulating environment for the students. This will be the latest project in our 30year relationship with Bolton School." The school will be funding the development from donations and hopes to begin the building work in the Summer of 2012 with the centre opening in time for the 2013 Autumn Term. The building of the Sixth Form Centre marks the final stage in a building programme which has seen the construction of a new Infant School, a new Junior Girls’ School and a refurbishment and extension of the Junior Boys’ School.


Wellington School 11 – 18 School Wellington Road, Timperley, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 7RH Headteacher: Mrs J M Armstrong

Wellington School: Excellence in Everything

Tel: 0161 928 4157

The Governors, Headteacher, Staff and Students are pleased to invite parents and Year 5 primary pupils to an Open Event at Wellington School: -

Open Morning Saturday 25th June 2011 9.30am - 12.30pm Mrs Armstrong, Headteacher, will address visitors at 10.30am and 11.30am in the Watson Hall Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the School and VI Form facilities and also experience and join in a number of activities from each subject area.

We look forward to welcoming you.


Mutual respect, responsibility, discipline, care for the individual and high achievement – a lot to expect but minimum requirements at Wellington School. The very highest of standards from students and staff is the recipe for success and the school motto ‘Excellence in Everything’ is what we aim for in everything we do. Wellington School is an 11-18 School which has been graded Outstanding by Ofsted. We are proud of our school and the achievements of our students and this success is reflected in our popularity. We are a ‘High Performing’ school due to our record breaking results that outperform other schools, both locally and nationally. This year, 79% of Year 11 students gained 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE, with 70% achieving 5 or more GCSE’s at A* - C including English and Mathematics. A new performance indicator, the English Baccalaureate was introduced this year. This is the percentage of students gaining a GCSE at grades A* - C in five subjects - English, Maths, Science, a Modern Foreign Language and either History or Geography. At Wellington School, 44% of our students achieved the benchmark, the national average for all schools is 15%. At A level the pass rate was 97%. Being part of Wellington School is an experience valued by both students and parents. In the latest Ofsted report, the school was described as providing ‘a supportive environment in which students blossom’. A major contribution to the School’s success has been the extensive refurbishment and new building programmes over the last six years. All teachers enjoy their own permanent teaching base. Specialist classroom provision ensures that all Science teachers have their own laboratory and all technology teachers have dedicated workshops. The PE Department has benefited from a new fitness suite and girls’ changing room and a remodelled boys’ PE changing room. The Art Department has moved in to three refurbished rooms. The School has expanded its ICT provision and there are three rooms available for dedicated ICT teaching to support the wider curriculum with an additional 6 ICT rooms for MFL, Design Technology, Humanities, Science, Maths and English. We have completed an extensive Sixth Form Centre redevelopment which has resulted in our Sixth Formers having their own dining and washroom facilities and extensive Private Study and Common Room space. The majority of classrooms have interactive whiteboards. Currently we are extending our main reception area. We really do believe that we achieve our aim, Excellence in Everything, but we would be delighted for you to see this for yourselves. Come and take a look!



t seems that our children are under increasing pressure to 'do' and 'be' so much more. Success appears to depend on more schoolwork, more exams, and more after school activities. But this pressure to perform can result in stresses which our children are not always equipped to deal with. Many fears which adults consider irrational are perfectly real to a child and when they experience stress, fears or worries, whether or not they are conscious of it, the warning signs are generally there. Schoolwork may slide, they can become accidentprone, have head aches or stomach aches, bite nails and clothing or pull hair and lashes. They may show a change in temperament, cause problems in the classroom, refuse to go to school or even steal or return to bedwetting. The child may be having nightmares or sleepwalking. Hypnotherapy is increasingly used as a safe, gentle and highly effective method of helping children —whether 8 or 18 — to get back on track, feel in control, overcome fears and anxieties, increase confidence and deal with issues such as eating disorders, phobias, peer pressures, exam or test nerves, shyness, bedwetting, bullying, loneliness, unwanted habits and much more — thus allowing them to be

The natural power of our child's mind can help overcome stress and worry themselves, be more motivated and achieve their goals more effectively. But what is hypnotherapy? Hypnotherapy uses a natural state of deep relaxation — just like daydreaming, something children do easily and naturally — combined with a range of safe and effective therapeutic techniques. These techniques can help the child break that cycle of negative thought patterns, fears, false beliefs and habits which can prompt unwanted behaviour and allow them to have better control of their own thoughts, feelings and actions and gain greater confidence and self-esteem for themselves. Hypnotherapy must be carried out in accordance with the needs of the child — and not just to manipulate some desire of a parent or guardian. When carried out by a professional practitioner, hypnotherapy is safe and effective and the child is fully aware of everything. If anything is said which goes against the beliefs and values of

the child, then it will be rejected. Younger children in particular are very receptive to techniques used in hypnotherapy, as they can use their wonderful imagination. Appropriate story metaphors can be used, which are engaging and induce a state of calm, allowing positive messages to be received as the child pays attention to the story. Hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool in strengthening any child's confidence, helping them to feel empowered instead of being a 'victim', with a sense of real freedom, allowing them to become happy, healthy, comfortable and successful children and young adults. The key to it all, however, is that the child, just like an adult, has to want to change and to be willing to work with the therapist. angela Slattery Dip. W.B. Int. Hyp., Dip. Adv. Hol. Hyp, Member of the Hypnotherapy Society NHS Independent Provider See page 49

POWNALL HALL SCHOOL A traditional start for a modern education For girls and boys from 2-11 years. Set within extensive grounds in the heart of Wilmslow…

From Nursery to year 6

Pownall Hall School can offer your child the perfect start to success Bursaries available from year 3

Open Morning

26th March


For a visit or to find out more please contact us now.. Telephone: 01625 523141

e- mail: 33


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More weekend sleep may mean leaner children


lack of sleep over the weekend could lead to children putting on more weight , a new study has concluded. American sesearchers studied the sleeping habits of 300 children between 4 to 10 years of age for a week and found that obese children slept fewer hours, and had more irregular sleep patterns, than their slimmer peers. "We think the direction of the arrow is you sleep less, you eat more, you exercise less because you're tired, and therefore you gain more weight," said David Gozal from the Corner Children's Hospital and University of Chicago, who led the study.

"Over the last 50 years we have seen an increase in obesity rates also for children, and in parallel there have been decreases in the amount of sleep that children get." Gozal and his team did acknowledge their study wasn't designed to prove that less weekend slumber packed on the weight, but noted that other animal and human studies show sleep can also influence weight. To check for links between increased weight and decreased sleep, researchers had the children wear a small device that measured their sleep at night. While children on average got about 8 hours of sleep a night regardless of

weight, those who were obese got some 20 minutes less on weekends, and it wasn't as regular as among normalweight children. Eight hours is still less than they should be getting, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which recommends at least 9 hours for school-age children and adolescents. Repaying the "sleep debt" over the weekend did appear to help, Gozal said. "If you sleep little during the week but consistently caught up on it over the weekend, then you reduced your risk of obesity from fourfold to twofold," he said.

Excellence in the heart of the city Trinity Church of England High School is in the heart of Manchester, directly behind Manchester University and mid way between Manchester Metropolitan University and the Science Park. Our students come from various parts of Manchester and beyond, attracted by our outstanding pastoral care, high academic standards and commitment to a faith based education.

Following our very successful OFSTED Inspection, the subsequent National Society Inspection of Anglican Schools Report stated that ‘Students receive an outstanding Christianinspired education at Trinity.’ The Report judged Trinity to be ‘outstanding’ in all categories and ‘outstanding’ overall. Beyond the classroom we excel at sport, music, dance and drama and

have an array of extra-curricular activities to enable students to take a full part in the life of the school. In September, 2011, all 1200 students will move into the new school buildings directly alongside the site of the present school. For more information about the school, open days, etc, please contact the school office on 0161 226 2272 or via email



here was a time, and it seems a lifetime ago, when my wife and I would be happy to announce to our other Twin Income, No Kids Yet friends that we’d rather stay at home than spend a holiday where the accommodation was on wheels or the roof was made of canvas. But soon enough the Tinky lifestyle was gone, to be replaced with, well, Tinkywinky, and after a couple of fraught weeks in Mediterranean resorts with overheating toddlers we started to reconsider the idea of “roughing it” on a French campsite. You see, this was the sort of holiday we enjoyed as children and ultimately, don’t all parents try to relive the highlights of their own childhood through their offspring? Obviously, this doesn’t always work and one piece of advice I would give to any new parent is: think twice about passing your cherished childhood toys to your own little ones until they have passed the age where they will be interested. Just hide them away so they’ll stumble upon them when they are tearfully clearing your house. This way, at least they might get a few quid for them on Ebay and feel a pang of guilt. The alternative is that you hand them over now along with a few wistful words on how much they meant to you and how long your parents saved for them. By the time you’ve finished this emotional preamble they’re likely to be well on the way to reducing your beloved playthings to their constituent parts. All that then remains is that you sweep up the bits and head for the tip. So, what about a holiday under canvas or on wheels? At least one thing in its favour is that Tinky staple: “not too touristy”. We certainly didn’t have a problem with that and the children are happy as long as there is access to a swimming pool, regular ice creams and other children their own age. But how would we cope? Despite everyday rigours of parenthood we still remembered our Tinky days and how accustomed we had become to boutique hotels, longhaul flights and fine dining. Well, that was about ten years ago and we have been going back ever since. The kids don’t really know anything else and we hope that, in time...plenty of time...they will look back on their holidays fondly enough to want to recreate the good times with their own offspring. Oh, and of course, there’s the price. A couple of weeks on a beautiful site with all the amenities will come in cheaper than a very average Med hotel. And with a site you’ll see your kids running or cycling around acres of safe pathways rather than carefully picking their way round an overcrowded concrete poolside. Most of the time it has been great. We’ve stayed on sites of all sizes all 36

Back to the future

Graeme Alderson is keen to introduce another generation to the joys of French camping holidays

over France and generally speaking, we have never had a bad experience though, of course, some were better than others like that time in the Dordogne where it rained so much and so hard that we thought our mobile home was going to float away. Torrential rain hammering on a tin

roof combined with two hysterical children for four hours in the middle of the night is a noise I really don’t want to hear again. Anyway, whatever the location and whatever the size of the site and your pitch there are some aspects of a French camping holiday on which you

can rely...or not. The weather: it’s France and not Ibiza so you can’t expect blazing sunshine every day but keep your fingers crossed and you should enjoy better weather than at home. Your accommodation: It’s not luxury but it’s far from uncomfortable

and if, like us, you opt for an outside deck you’ll find that “indoors” is only for sleeping and the odd bit of cooking. The beds are not the most comfortable and as space is at a premium you’ll do a lot of walking sideways. Your fellow campers: if, like us you

go early in the summer season you will meet a lot of Dutch, French and Irish campers who seem to start their summer holidays a bit earlier . Generally speaking, everyone is very friendly but there is a respect for privacy that you don’t always get in hotel holidays. Food and drink: it’s France, for goodness sake! If you have the car, and you probably will, then stock up at the local supermarket or venture out to a local village restaurant and be amazed at the quality of the menu. Last summer, after a lengthy drive down to the Charente-Maritime region around La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast (for you nongeographers, about half way down on the left) we pitched up Siblu’s La Pignade. Siblu has 14 holiday villages in France, mainly in coastal locations, from the rolling hills of Normandy to the glitz of the Côte d’Azur. They all boast excellent facilities and services, indoor and outdoor pool complexes, waterslides, multi-sports grounds, three free kids’ clubs, bars, restaurants and nightly entertainment which is one factor that sets them apart from other leading holiday companies. Personally, I can take or leave the entertainment provided by energetic and hard-working reps but our children were all over it, so I’m not complaining. La Pignade offered us the lazy days by the pool or in the shade of the oak trees over the patio of our mobile home (pictured, inset). The site was probably more suited for slightly younger children than our teenagers but the excellent poolside facilities were a big draw. Of course, the site was just a base to explore all the region had to offer. La Rochelle and Ile de Re were on our doorstep and both well worth a visit, the former for its history culture and excellent restaurants and the latter for its miles of amazing cycle ways which meander through some of the most beautiful villages in France. Convinced yet? Well, weigh up the pros and cons. The pros: The excellent facilities, acres of open space and fresh air, privacy, easy access to proper culture, fine cuisine and it all comes a decent price. The cons: Thin walls, thin matresses and the occasional cooking and washing up chores. Oh, and the lack of room in the boot of your car for all the wine you will want to bring home. 37


few years ago, I had the misfortune to attend a matinee performance of Macbeth, a GCSE text studied by many local schools, where, despite the best efforts of the teachers on duty, the behaviour of quite a proportion of the students ruined the show. As the lights went down, the ironic cheering began, accompanied by the snap of ring–pulls being lifted on a dozen or so cans of pop. Twenty minutes in, the toilet trips started and continued throughout the rest of the performance, despite the twenty minute interval. As some of the staff were now required to supervise in the toilets, those remaining in the auditorium found it even harder to quell the intermittent bouts of irrelevant chatter, despite standing in the aisles for easier disciplinary access. What’s more, the rustle of sweet wrappers and crisp packets added little to the evocation of a dark and brooding medieval Scotland. Each murder was greeted with riotous cheers worthy of the Roman Colosseum at Christian baiting time, these cheers laced with just a touch of teenage cynicism. The famous “Tomorrow and tomorrow” speech was to be delivered on a stage enrobed in theatrical smoke so naturally Macbeth struck an appropriate theatrical pose – “embittered” if I remember rightly- and waited for the fake coughing to subside. It didn’t. And then something wonderful happened. The actor playing Macbeth, with no regard to fourth wall conventions, moved downstage, fixed his attention on the worst offenders and in clear street Glaswegian tones launched into a bit of the script that seemed somewhat unfamiliar: “We’ve been working for weeks on this play. If you dunnae shut the **** up , yu’ll feel the back o’my hand!” The coughing stopped, the play continued (with only one further interruption when Macduff asked people to stop talking just before he dispatched Macbeth), but there was a sense that battle lines had been drawn not between the Scots and the English but between the cast and the audience. I never really believed all the nonsense about the curse of “the Scottish play” but years later, at the fabulous Library Theatre/Out of Joint production staged in an Ancoats warehouse, the same soliloquy was interrupted by a mobile phone. Which rang. And rang. And rang. With not a school party in sight as this promenade performance had an age limit and restricted seating , the audience began to cast surreptitious glances from side to side as if to prompt the offender to turn the damned thing off. The phone rang. And rang. Embarrassed coughing and 38

Out, damned sprogs! An evening at the theatre is not like a night in front of the telly. Actors and audience members expect a standard of behaviour that does not come naturally to all children. Arts Editor Nicki Thornhill lays down a few ground rules and warns of what can happen when an actor roars at his crowd awkward shuffling around heralded the onset of the breaking of the tension so carefully built up by the company and then...Macbeth sighed and said “I’m sorry. You’re going to have to turn that off” before walking off stage to get ready to give it another go. The offender? A well to do, middle aged Jeffery Archer lookalike who should have known better. And then there was a time I had to look daggers at a bunch of elderly ladies who talked their way through a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – wasn’t he off Emmerdale, do you fancy a chocolate brazil, that kind of thing. And the time a local theatre thought it would be a good idea to sell kids glow in the dark three foot long

Theatre visits: the rules For younger children, try to create a sense of occasion. Lively discussion and an enthusiastic approach will set the right mood. Discuss proper behaviour before arrival. Explain that unlike a film, you're seeing a live performance. Quiet is encouraged out of respect for the performers and fellow audience members. Try to play down a sense of occasion with teenagers. If they feel more comfortable with their ripped jeans and piercings, so be it! Phones should be switched off however. They can pick up

swords which made an authentic clashing sound. And the parents who thought it would be fun to allow their twin sons to have sword fights throughout the show. (This was the family who added an extra dimension to my sensory experience by bringing in a KFC bargain bucket which they shared noisily through the first few scenes). Now, I’m not completely intolerant (!) but some people just do not seem to appreciate the difference between watching a live performance and something on the telly at home, the main difference being of course that we all have to suspend our disbelief to make the show work – like the cast, the audience have a part to play in creating the magic. And children their social life at the interval. Once in the auditorium children should know they have to remain in their seat. If your child can't see, place them in your lap. This will also help calm down children who become antsy. Don't allow food and drink into the theatre – although you may wish to soften this restriction when “training” little ones. The upside of not eating during the performance is that you can let them have staggered treats – before, afterwards and during the interval. Insist they visit the loo prior to the show. It's very

Curtain Call Theatre for the whole family

Suitable for ages 3+ One LittLe WOrd M6 Theatre at The Lowry, Salford April 9&10l This beautiful and gentle story of friend ship, power struggles and the rich world of creative play contains only ONE spoken word! Meet two characters who play together – exploring a new space, new objects, dressing up and takin g turns.

Suitable for ages 4+ The DraGon’S DauGhTer The Lowry, Salford Sun March 27 One starry night, a tiny ball of light fell from the sky. And there, in the darkness, was a baby dragon! With bewit ching music and beautiful hand-carved puppets this is a funny and moving story about a brave little boy and a scared little drago n, who grow to become the very best of friends.

Suitable for ages 5+ The WorM ThaT SquirMeD Bolton Octagon March 19 Wonderful puppets and live music tell the story of a squirmy worm who causes chaos wherever he goes. This visual feast of farce crosses cultural borders in crazy pursuit of the worm.

need to be trained in how to tap into this enchanting art form, an art form asking them to watch, imagine, engage. The irritating kids I wrote about clearly were not used to sitting quietly, giving something a chance to develop – no remote control to zap over to something else in this age of instant gratification. Plus, to be honest, the production was not the most engaging – who wants a Macbeth with cost-cutting voiceovers instead of real witches? Nevertheless, I’m still left wondering if, amongst all the teenage boredom and hoots of derision there was one kid, intrigued enough by his first theatrical experience to one day give it another go. difficult to squeeze past the other people in your row without disturbing everyone onstage and in the audience. If you must leave in the middle of a performance, watch from the back of the theatre until an appropriate break. Don’t be dismayed if your children don’t seem to have a lot to say immediately after a show. Quite often they are quite simply mulling things over – they will probably impress you with something surprisingly insightful the next day! Boys are more likely to engage with the theatre if their dads come along too – don’t let it become just a “mums and kids” experience.

The unlikely TaleS oF Molly MoonShine Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester April 28-30 Meet Molly Moonshine, lady traveller and unreliable raconteuse. A unique, interactive story-telling experience that will have you shaking your head in disbelief, wipin g away a tear and smiling like a cat who's got the cream as Molly remember s the ups and downs and curly bits that have shaped her extraordin ary journey.

Suitable for ages 9+ PoWDer Monkey Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester May 31 to June 18 Stella and AK are 12 years old. AK’s a soldie r; Stella has battles of her own. Maybe that’s why she goes to her secre t place, and why she strikes a deal with the stupid kid Worm . But peace is hard and there’s definitely something in the woods. Powd er Monkey is a play about being at war and making peace, about friend ship and territory, about children in an adult world and children in a world without adults.

Suitable for ages 14+ avenue q The Lowry, Salford Tue 31 May - Sat 4 June (See website – this show contains adult content) After nearly five years of mischief, bad behaviour and political incor rectness. Here’s a show that will actua lly impress your teenagers. The Tony Award-winning Avenu e Q is the irresistibly charming musical about the lovably hopel ess characters on a New York street tryin g to make sense of life’s burning issues. It was once memorably described as “Sesame Stree t’s foul-mouthed cousin” a Doll’s house The Library Theatre Company at The Lowry, Salford February 24 to March 12 Ibsen’s ground-breaking play created a huge sensation at its première in 1879 and is as fresh and pertinent as ever, with an unfailing capacity to shock. 39

Specialist Performing Arts College

Lostock College:

Get ‘ready to fly’

*Ofsted Inspector’s Report 2010



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EXCELLENCE IN THE ARTS as a Specialist Performing arts college we are delighted to report a 100% pass rate in Music and Performing arts


10/11 students This pioneering project sends year nhS Trafford and M&S ens, Siem like s firm top into and learn ce iden conf in grow e, thriv where they s skill valuable life-long learning

STATE OF THE ART FACILITIES arts theatre Specialist recording studio Dedicated music technology suites Dance studio icT suite interactive whiteboards in every classroom

Selby Road Stretford M32 9PL

0161 864 5700

hoosing a school for our children is one of the biggest decisions we will ever make as parents. That’s why we must look so carefully at everything a school has to offer them. To produce well-rounded young people at 16, a school must offer a well-rounded education which may start in the classroom but does not end there. If it were just down to results then Lostock College can boast an impressive record that’s improving year on year. But there’s a lot more to the Lostock College experience. Ofsted recognised this in their 2010 inspection report which highlighted the “outstanding” curriculum, pastoral care, guidance and support. They said the teaching, learning and motivation was especially impressive given the size of the school. Looking to the future, one inspector said: “Lostock College is ready to fly and I expect this year’s results to bear this out.” He was right; this year’s results were up by a massive 27% and hopes are high that 2011 will show another impressive increase. So, what makes Lostock so special? Well, small class sizes and individual attention are fundamental to the College ethos. We are a Specialist Performing Arts College (The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust awarded us ‘highly commended’ status) and our students enjoy excellent facilities including an arts theatre, recording studio, a dance studio and ICT suite but schools are more than technology and a state-of-the-art learning environment. Lostock College places great emphasis on the emotional health and well-being of students and its staff as well as offering outstanding support and guidance in learning. It is the only school in Trafford to have a fulltime fully qualified counsellor who can offer a range of therapies. The college is also the first secondary school in the borough to gain the Trafford Gold SEAL (Social Emotional Aspects of Learning) Award. This reflects its huge commitment to the emotional health and well-being of its students. At Lostock we don’t just want our children to be happy on GCSE results day but all through their time with us. And those smiles were particularly wide on results day when every child was awarded a qualification. Of course, most did a lot better than that; an impressive 81% of students earned five or more GCSEs at A*-C, a 27% increase on the previous year and over 40% of students earned A* or A grades. There was also an impressive 14% rise in the number of students passing English and Maths as two of their five or more GCSE A*-Cs. But while the press and many parents will go straight to these headline figures we are proud of the strides we’ve made in our CVA scores. CVA stands for Contextual Value Added and represents the progress children make during their time at the school. The 2010 CVA score means every student at Lostock College achieved, on average, at least a grade higher in every GCSE they sat compared to their target grade set from their results in primary school. It’s impressive isn’t it? To find out more about the opportunities available to your child at Lostock College, call 0161 864 5700 or go to www.lostock. Lostock College is located on Selby Road, Stretford, Manchester, M32 9PL



Nicola Shields of specialist toy shop Monkey Puzzle suggests some new releases guaranteed to keep them occupied for more than half an hour

Monkey Puzzle Toys 93 Manchester Road Chorlton M21 9GA 0161 862 0100

Dear parent

Every time we mentioned that we were off to the Spring Toy fair at the NEC last week the response was along the lines of “you lucky things” or “I wish I had a job like that”. Not wanting to sound miserable but anyone who has been to the NEC might not be too jealous and secondly there were over 1500 exhibitors and Amanda and I had one day!! Our top priorities: brilliant jigsaws, new innovative games to span age ranges and fun toys for learning (yes that old chestnut!). Toy trends this year include toys in tins, big boxes replaced by small tins that are portable, close better and are magnetic. There’s a lot of retro packaging and the economy and Olympics 2012 seems to be driving the trend for Made/Designed in Britain

Nicola & Amanda

Kites (from £8.99) There’s a lot of amazing, imaginative outdoor toys around (see Ogo Sports Disc last edition) but all kids love a kite. So go and get some fresh air, run about and laugh a lot with designs such as the Pirate Delta Kite (£12.99) or the Shadow kite with the lovely long tail (£8.99)you can’t go wrong. The quality of these is a big plus point. All the children’s kites have spinnaker in nylon material across fibreglass frames which are much better than fragile paper based materials. They also come with single line 10 kilo twine strength. It’s a kite built to last so bung one in the car boot or by the front door ready for action.

Rory’s Story Cubes (£9.99) Magna Puzzles (from £6.99) At a certain age children start thinking they are too cool for jigsaws. Therefore, I must admit to taking pleasure in seeing their confounded (befuddled) faces when presented with one of these. Starting at only 16 same-sized pieces these are a challenge for anyone. You have to see these puzzles “live” to actually believe how effective the 3D imagery is. Although the Wallace and Gromit is real fun the toughies are Sharks or Clown Fish where the pattern is repeated. You can solve them in their magnetic tin or try it on your fridge door.


reaDer oFFer

This is for everybody, 4 years + A set of nine dice, each with a different image on them. They are designed to inspire storytelling and creative play. With just 4 lines of instruction, this award winning activity has no right or wrong answers, no time limits and no story length requirements. A great noncompetitive way to encourage social confidence, develop language and improve vocabulary. There's no reading involved, no player limits and countless possibilities. What could be simpler Winner of Dr. Toy's 10 Best Games Award, the Major Fun Award and People's Choice Awards.

10% oFF

valid until april 30, 2011 instore or online. excludes sale items. To claim your online discount enter code: 428110 Monkey Puzzle Toys 93 Manchester Road Chorlton M21 9GA

tel 0161 862 0100 41

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

Girls growing at The Ryleys

John F. Kennedy

Open Morning Saturday 12th March,10am -12noon

Choosing the best school for your child is one of the most important decisions you will face as a parent. Our Open Morning is an opportunity for you to learn more about how The Ryleys could help your child achieve impressive personal goals, through outstanding teaching and unrivalled extra-curricular support.

You don’t just choose your child’s school. You choose their future. For further information or to arrange a personal tour please call 01625 583241 or visit

Girls & Boys Preparatory School

Providing a perfectly rounded education for children aged 3 - 13 42

Although it’s only just approaching 18 months since The Ryleys became co-educational, the Alderley Edge school has already seen a fantastic growth in the number of female pupils. The popular school received many enquiries from parents of girls wanting to educate them at the school, which prompted the decision to make the change. Headmaster Pat Barrett said: “Some people thought that this would be a step too far for a traditionally established boys school, but looking around the playground today, you would never guess that the girls hadn’t always been there.” It’s clear from their performance, both inside and outside of the classroom, that the current female pupils have settled in incredibly well. By adopting a coeducational approach, The Ryleys offers a fully rounded education for all of its pupils and prepares them for the next stage of their educational journey and beyond. With the current Nursery, Years 1 and 3 full, places at the school are increasingly sought after and are filling up fast. If you are considering The Ryleys as a potential school for your child, there is an Open Morning on Saturday 12th March, 10am – 12noon, or personal tours can be arranged by contacting the school on 01625 583241. You don’t just choose your child’s school. You choose their future.

BookS Zoe and Beans: Where is Binky Boo?

Peter and Frances hopkins of the brilliant urmston Bookshop review the latest and best new titles for children of all ages


Chloe and Mick Inkpen Macmillan £5.99 Zoe and her dog Beans love playing with Zoe’s doll Molly. In fact Beans just won’t leave Molly alone now that he has lost his own special toy, Binky Boo. Beans plays with Molly so much that she gets rather grubby so Zoe decides to put her in the washing machine together with a whole box of washing powder! Beans isn’t too keen on the new clean Molly and misses Binky Boo even more but when Zoe tries to cheer him up she accidently uncovers a wonderful surprise! This first collaboration between father and daughter has resulted in a delightful book filled with lively illustrations. Children will definitely warm to the delightfully scruffy Beans and his endearing owner Zoe.

The Perfect hug (3+)

Joanne Walsh and Judi Abbot Simon Schuster £5.99 “There are hugs for wriggles And hugs for giggles. There are hugs that are tricky And hugs that are prickly!” This fantastic feel-good picture

Moonbird (5+) Joyce Dunbar Doubleday £5.99 A Moonchild blows a bubble that pops on an Earth Baby and surrounds him in silence. His parents the king and queen are devastated when they realise their son is deaf. It takes the Moonbird to teach the little prince how to communicate using his hands and eyes. This is a beautifully produced and thought provoking book that could provide the stimulus for much discussion in the classroom and beyond. Hopefully the conclusion reached by all who hear this story is that we are all special and we all need to accommodate all the differences and similarities in the people around us. The sumptuous illustrations are the perfect accompaniment this very special book.

around her neck to keep it safe. There it stays until she grows up and meets someone who knows how to unlock her heart and help her love again. On the surface this is a simple story but on a deeper level it provides the opportunity to think about and discuss the issues around bereavement. This is an unusual book to touch the hearts of children and adults alike.

The Dumpy Princess (8+)

book is bursting with fun as Panda carries out his search for the snuggliest , cuddliest most perfect hug. Bold and vibrant illustrations enhance a story bursting with warmth and humour. A book just right for adult and child to read together and then share a hug!

The heart and the Bottle (5+)

Oliver Jeffers Harper Collins £5.99 Once there was a little girl who was full of wonder at the world around her. She shared her excitement with her grandfather until one day she finds his chair empty never to be filled again. To avoid further sadness she decides to put her heart in a bottle and wear it

Karin Fernald and Sophie Foster Frances Lincoln £9.99p “There was once a dumpy princess with no money, no friends and no chin.” This is the rather unkind opening description of Victoria, one of the most famous and best-loved of British monarchs, but what happens next reads more like a fairy tale. Full of wicked uncles, a deceitful advisor and a fairytale romance, the story of Victoria’s childhood seems almost unreal. A fair amount of poetic licence has been employed but the resulting story, complemented by witty illustrations, is absorbing, fascinating and eminently accessible to young readers. Ideal as a first ‘chapters’ book for newly fluent readers.

When you reach Me (10+)

Rebecca Stead Andersen Press £5.99 Miranda has just started the sixth grade at school and her familiar world begins to unravel when her best friend is hit by a stranger and refuses to speak to her anymore. Then mysterious notes start to arrive with clues about the future. As Miranda learns to cope with life without her oldest friend she is forced to start walking to school on her own, cope with the Laughing Man and make new friends as she tries to solve the mystery of the notes and help her mum prepare for a quiz show they are hoping will change their lives around. This gentle, and surprising book about the nature of friendship, families and growing up has deservedly won every children’s book prize going.

everybody loves a good book shop!

We’re an independent bookshop that prides itself on the personal service it offers its customers. Call in and browse the books and then relax with a hot drink and a piece of homemade cake in our café

72 Flixton road urmston M41 5aB Monday-Saturday 9am-5.30pm Sunday 11am-4pm 43


Manchester Islamic Educational Trust: the highest standards of education with excellent progress and outstanding behaviour It has been a very busy time for Manchester Islamic Educational Trust with both MIHSG and MMPS being recently inspected by Ofsted. Our schools take great pride in sharing the outcomes of the respective inspections and invite all parents to visit our ‘Outstanding schools’. Our philosophy is based on a rich tradition of offering the highest standards of education coupled with excellent progress and outstanding levels of behaviour. Manchester Islamic High School for girls offers an outstanding curriculum which allows students to make outstanding progress. Manchester Muslim Prep School offers a good curriculum with outstanding features in which pupils make good progress and also has an Outstanding Early Years provision. However this is only the beginning! There is so much more that we wish to share and such few words simply cannot do our schools full justice! So on behalf of our pupils, please free to make an appointment and be a part of this success.

Beware of the iPhone games with a sting in their tail By CeCILIA KING


n two days, eight-yearold Lily Unsworth collected tigers, sea turtles and giraffes on the iPhone game Tap Zoo to build her one-animal pen into a vast safari park. She also amassed a shocking £105 bill from Apple. The iTunes game, made by San Francisco-based Pocket Gems, is one of the most popular for Apple gadgets and also one of the fastest grossing. But Tap Zoo and other games such as Smurf Village have sparked outrage among parents, who question Apple policies that allow games aimed at children to sell pricey add-ons without adequate sales safeguards. The games are included in the category of free applications on Apple's iTunes store that let companies charge users for products and services when the application is launched. Those purchases for Tap Zoo include $19 for a bucket of stars or $99 for a bucket of coins to buy animals to build a safari. Pocket Gems said recently that it received $5 44

million in financing from Sequoia Capital and had its first month of "multimillion-dollar" sales. It has had 18 million downloads of its applications, including Tap Farm and Tap Jungle, the firm said. Applications analytics firm Distino said in January that revenues from in-app purchases for popular iPad and iPhone applications doubled in the second half of 2010. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of the sales. Apple said it tries to prevent episodes like Lily's from happening by requesting a password when making “in app purchases.” And parents can change settings on iPhones, iPads and iPods to restrict downloading and in-app purchases, Apple spokeswoman Truly Muller said. TuRNING oFF IN-App puRChASES 1. Go to Settings 2. Select Restrictions 3. Enter four-digit security passcode 4. On Restrictions screen, go to In App Purchases toward bottom 5. Turn to Off


he school craze – a mother’s fear, a child’s pleasure. To be part of (what seemed like) a world-wide movement at such a young age, surely brought with it ‘coolness’ and, I know for a fact, hours of merriment. But where does the longing to be part of the next ‘fad’ come from? Could it be a child’s inbuilt mentality to follow the crowd and be on a par with classmates? I’m not saying this is a bad thing; on the contrary, it is something that all children must go through, they cannot know how to be themselves without firstly knowing how to be everyone else! My first recollection of the school craze was a fairly vintage one, the noble marble. They took my village primary school in Derbyshire by storm; for about two months the somewhat understated glass balls occupied our break and lunchtimes. Frenzied mothers purchased marbles wherever possible, clearing toy shops, pound shops and attics alike. I’m not sure we even knew the rules of marbles, but ‘matches’ were fiercely contested, some in different weight classes – mini, giant and king-size. If you were feeling lucky (or particularly proficient), you could put your marble up as a wager. But as every young marbler found, losing was hard. I still miss that giant cat’s-eye. I’m sure many mothers will acknowledge the pressure that the school craze drops on them. I’m sure my own mum will be able to recall countless times when her young, redhaired son ran into the kitchen to put a handful of marbles in the bin, and was heard to utter: ‘Mum, there’s these new things out, they’re really cool, X, Y and Z all have them! Can I have some?’ However, now and again the anguished mother might put her foot down and not let her child participate in the craze. As a youngster this was a stressful time, and break-times were met with solitude and dejection. Craze prejudice set in – the kids who weren’t part of the craze were forced to merely watch, or maybe use a close friend’s craze apparatus. But it wasn’t the same, oh no. I remember one craze I was kept out of – Pokémon cards. I was an outcast in the playground; not so much uncool, just unattached. Of course now I realise my mum did the right thing by not buying me even a single Pokémon card. The craze was gone in about a month, and nobody knew what to do with the things anyway! Children can be very cruel, and invariably were. But the discrimination of not being totally ‘crazed’ helped shape the few that survived it; I know for a fact that I never entered a quarrel based on whether Charizard was better than Bulbasaur. I feel a nod should be given to the other crazes I survived: Yu-Gi-Oh

Craze-y kids Our new teenage columnist on the playground apartheid that comes with the latest fads


NORTON cards (the hardest trading card game ever), Beyblades (fighting spinning tops – eye protection should’ve been provided), Tamagotchis (everyone let their sister’s die, they just won’t admit to it), yo-yos (hands up who can Walk The Dog), scoobies (weaving a key ring with some coloured straws – presents made easy for a month), wearing a t-shirt over a jumper (who said the skater look was cool?), statement wristbands (the easiest way

to look like a charity worker aged 10). A special mention should go to the monophonic ringtone craze. As a child I was painfully jealous of the kid who boasted the theme tune to The Simpsons whenever his mum rang him. As I reached the grand age of 17, I noticed that crazes seemed to have played fewer roles in my life than when I was 7. Possibly because I think for myself more, probably because my mum wouldn’t shell out for the stuff now. But after a brief 10 minutes with a classful of Year Six kids, I was astounded to hear that nearly all had mobile phones, most had iPods and one or two even had iPads. The school craze is vastly changing; I think a cup and ball app is the closest you’ll get to the good old days. So, whether you let your young ones revel in the latest fad, or make sure they are not partaking in such activities, bear in mind the mania will pass. But they will all come around again, I’m sure of it. My marbles and yo-yo aren’t going anywhere just yet. Columnist Ged Norton lives in Glossop and goes to school in Manchester. He’s 17 and plays rugby and the ukulele 45


Every parent wants the very best start for their child... Forest Park is a thriving preparatory school with a unique and distinctive ethos. It is academically rigorous within the context of the child’s growth as a confident, happy and responsible person. The school bids to embrace the uniqueness of each pupil. At Forest Park each child is special and teachers quickly grow to know their personality and strengths. It is through this approach that pupils are encouraged to be themselves, thinking independently and engaging fully in the life of the school. Visitors to Forest Park are immediately struck by the friendly, vibrant and purposeful atmosphere, which conveys the lively enjoyment of the learning that is evident in all of its pupils. Children of all abilities do exceptionally well in this environment, which encourages them to aim high. The broad and balanced curriculum encompasses traditional classroom practices and forward-thinking methods of teaching, which extends beyond the classroom. The curriculum is embedded with practical and enrichment activities to delight and engage learners, enabling them to thrive and flourish, develop a life-long enthusiasm for learning and be fully prepared for the challenges of an ever-changing world. A typical Forest Park pupil is well-rounded, enthusiastic, self-confident and very much his or her own person.

Forest Park School


Independent Co-educational Day School for Boys & Girls from 3-11 Years

OPEN DAY Saturday March 12 Small classes ensure individual attention and personalised learning Children work within a broad and balanced curriculum, rich in vibrant learning opportunities A nurturing environment gives pupils the confidence and enthusiasm to achieve and succeed Children are fully prepared for secondary education and the challenges of life beyond A vast array of extra-curricular activities include sports, musical and dramatical areas of interest A strong sense of community is a defining feature of our wonderful preparatory school

For further information and prospectus

0161 973 4835 Forest Park School Oakfield Sale Cheshire M33 6NB

Bury Catholic Preparatory School The small school with the big reputation...

By the time they leave year 6 their level of attainment is exceptional

ISI Report 2010

Independent Education for 3-11 Year olds All Denominations Welcome Bursaries available from Year 1 Small class sizes, specialist teaching for music, dance, sport, drama & French

A varied and inclusive extra curricular programme Excellent before and after school care Outstanding nursery provision

Come and meet us!

OPEN DAY Saturday May 21 Currently interviewing for Nursery & Junior School

For more information contact 0161 764 2346 or visit

Bury Catholic Preparatory School Arden House Manchester Road Bury BL9 9BH 0161 764 2346 47


HY do 14-year-old boys shy away from the idea of wearing a coat when the temperature outdoors would have the most hardy Siberian blowing out his cheeks and reaching for a half bottle of vodka? In my 1970s schooldays I used to travel by bus to school and this meant standing at one of the northern hemisphere’s most exposed bus stops for anything up to half an hour as the timetable was as reliable as an Austin Allegro. So on a mid-January day as, in the words of my favourite carol, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron and water was like a stone why was I dressd in a polyester mix shirt and a school blazer? I had a fine Marks & Spencer anorak hanging on a hook in the cloakroom at home but it wasn’t going to keep me warm there. Hat, scarf and gloves? You must be joking. Wearing cold weather accessories was as likely to happen as me pulling on a dress. The obvious conclusion to draw would be that I wanted to look a.) cool and b.) hard. But it was a litle bit more complicated than that. The mind of the adolescent boy moves in mysterious ways. Yes, coolness and hardness were part of the equation but so too were the fear of comparision with other people’s coats, the unquantifiable stigma of wearing a coat from M&S as opposed to, say, one from BHS or a non-chain store and, of course, the effect a coat of any persuasion might have on a passing girl. It sounds like it’s all about vanity, and while I’m still incredibly vain, in these days of sub-Artic winters I would no more dream of going out from November to March without a coat than become a naturist. Self-consciousness afflicts teenage boys more than any other sector of the population. The average teenage girl would not for a minute consider not wearing a winter coat and, I’m guessing, thinks that any boy shivering at a bus stop without one is a complete idiot. Given my inability as a schoolboy to impress bus-travelling schoolgirls, I am fairly certain that this theory holds water. The two young ladies from the previous village on the bus route, who I worshipped from afar, must have thought I had some kind of learning disability. What other explanation could there be for me being the only passenger dressed for Monaco in August on a bitterly cold English winter morning? People who know me now simply refuse to believe that I was ever painfully self-conscious. But I spent years agonising about how my peers viewed me. Almost every part of my life was 48

Cool? I was really freezing MARK


I N B L A C K & W H I T E

affected; should I take a packed lunch or have school dinners? I actually loved PE but should I bunk it every now and again so as not to look abnormal? Should I join in the bullying of the class weirdo? And then there was the issue that would cause my mother and I to fall out big hair. You have to remember that in the mid-70s long hair was de rigeur for any right-thinking teenage boy. Unfortuantely my mother was of the opinion that hair that dared to overlap the top of your ears was the first step towards drug addiction, a criminal record and possibly

homosexuality. Given that this was the same mother who had me wearing straight-leg trousers when my peers were pulling on bell-bottoms that were wider than the waist, it was a battle that was going to take some winning. The usual schoolboy plea of: “everybody else has long hair” was met with the traditional response of, “you’re not everybody else”. She was made of stern stuff and, despite having three sons, couldn’t get her head round the fact that we felt a desperate need to fit-in, NOT to standout. I was fortunate in that living in a village with no barbers meant that mum had to drive me into town for a cut and you would not believe the excuses I came out with to avoid a trip. I think that I once managed to go a full 10 weeks between cuts and my hair was nearly down to my ear lobes. I had visions of a full-on Robert Plant before I was quite literaly bundled into the family car and dragged off to see my Samson-like strength sapped by a horrible ‘bit off the top/short at the sides’ cut. You can imagine how I chuffed I was around 1976 when it became fashionable again to have short hair. Although Mrs Harris never did get her head around gel and spikes.

4to18 TuTorS name Kumon Educational UK locations: throughout the UK. Please visit to find your nearest centre Subjects: Maths and English study programmes about us: Give your child a head start with Kumon’s maths and English study programmes. We tailor our programmes to develop your child’s individual abilities ensuring their steady progress. Kumon centres provide your child with the foundations to improve their skill set, inspiring a passion for lifelong learning and building the self-confidence to succeed both in and outside the classroom. contact: 0800 854 714 or visit

Kumon centres in region Altrincham Study Centre 0161 969 2734 Bramhall Study Centre 0161 440 0861 Cheadle Study Centre 0161 286 0791 Cheadle Hulme Study Centre 0161 488 4988 Chorlton Study Centre 0161 434 4579 Didsbury Study Centre 0161 439 3946 Hazel Grove Study Centre 0161 292 8421 Heald Green Study Centre 0161 428 2496 Heaton Moor Study Centre 0161 432 1721 Levenshulme Study Centre 0161 225 4307 Prestwich Study Centre 0161 265 8259


Romiley Study Centre 0161 406 9137 Timperley Study Centre 0161 980 0851 Urmston Study Centre 0161 864 4157 Worsley Study Centre 0161 793 4638 Knutsford Study Centre 01565 621 142 Wilmslow Study Centre 01625 532 529 Macclesfield Study Centre 01270 821 430 name Anu Verma location Manchester, Whalley Range, willing to travel in and around Manchester, up to 10 miles radius Subjects GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Maths, English and Sciences for ages 6- 13 yrs old. I also specialise in 11+ exams. Price £18- 22 depending on level and distance to travel about Me BSc honours in Biological Sciences and MSc in Sports Science and TEFL Qualified. Experienced tutor with 6 years experience and wide knowledge of exam specifications and proven record of exam success. Full CRB checked. I have a friendly approach with my students with good relationships built. I pay emphasis on confidence building and on making lessons fun. Tuition tailored to the needs of the student. contact 07931 252012 name Trafford Tutorials location Trafford and all nearby areas covered Subjects All

Call Sarah Longley on 0161 610 2620 or 0791 7725 335 or email 

Price £21 to £26 (travel included in price.) about us We are DoE licensed. Established in 1989. We cover all subjects, primary to A Level, 11+, Grammar and Independent School entry. We only use qualified and vetted teachers as tutors, CRB checked. All tuition is one-to-one, tailored to individual needs (no tutor lists) and in the pupil’s home. We receive many recommendations from local schools, parents and pupils. New tutors (PGCE qualified) always welcome. contact 0161 748 9485


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With confidence comes new opportunities H

ow many times have we heard a child exclaim: “I haven’t tried it so I don’t like it!” Maybe it was a new food or a new item of clothing or a new activity that was being suggested. This general reluctance to try something new is not unusual in children, especially older ones, and maybe we have even spotted it in ourselves when awake enough to notice! However, not being persuaded by such limitations is a step towards developing self-confidence. Confidence in one’s own abilities and acknowledgement of one’s own worth can be nurtured by a willingness to have a go at new activities even at the expense of appearing a little foolish at first. Young children have a natural brightness which can be kept alive by presenting them with new and challenging activities. This willingness to “have a go” can become a very positive, personal quality in life leading to new and fresh opportunities. Nothing inspires us more than seeing someone with a handicap or weakness working to overcome the limitation and then going on to live a 50

full and meaningful life. The recent film The King’s Speech is so heart-warming. It high-lights very clearly that limitations are a testing ground and the more we work with them the stronger we become. King George VI, ably played by Colin Firth, found himself having to address the Nation on many occasions in war-time whilst having a severe speech impediment. His efforts to overcome the difficulties strengthened him as a person. Last summer, I watched a young girl of six perform a dance-sequence in a most beautiful way. Unbeknown to many of the audience, she had physical co-ordination and hearing problems. However, with her own determination and the dedicated help from her mother she turned this weakness into a talent. These examples are inspirational and they show what is possible with intelligent effort, hard work and the willingness to have a go. If we can allow young children to adopt this same attitude in which they are not afraid to try something new nor worried about looking foolish, then their self-confidence will continue to grow as they get older. Schools now offer a wide range of

subjects and activities, some of them at lunch-times and after-school. It is very heartening to see so many children taking up the opportunity of these extra activities. Parents may wonder sometimes if it’s worth all the effort trying to pick up children late from school or taking them to a club or sport elsewhere but it must be well worth the effort if their confidence is nourished as a result.

robert Mcneill Headmaster St James Independent School Heaton Norris

BRIDGEWATER SCHOOL Wee ar W aree an Independent School ffor or bo boys ys and girls aged 3 – 18 yyears, ears, located in a delightful semi-rural setting in W orsley. Worsley. Bridge water is a school which cherishes the individuality Bridgewater of each child and is naturall or naturallyy the right choice ffor so man en. Whate ver yyour our child’ manyy childr children. Whatever child’ss talents and inter ests w interests wee can build on those and help them to aappreciate ppreciate their talents as w ell as aappreciating ppreciating and well aapplauding pplauding others. W ways delighted to show show our gen uinely caring Wee ar aree al always genuinely and n urturing en vironment. We We also off er a br oad nurturing environment. offer broad range of School Bus rroutes outes pr oviding a saf providing safee and secur securee en vironment to transpor your child to and fr om school. environment transportt your from

0161 0 161 7 794 94 1 1463 463 B Bridgewater ri d g e w a t e r S School, chool, D Drywood r ywood H Hall, all, Worsley, Worsley, M Manchester. anchester. M M28 28 2 2WQ WQ

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Boys and Girls aged 2-16 years



Hulme Hall Grammar School Hulme Hall Road, Cheadle Hulme. SK8 6LA

Tel: 0161 485 3524 or 4638 A Co-educational independent Grammar School ISA Administered by Hulme Educational Trust. Charity NO. 525931

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