Service Parents's Guide to Boarding Schools

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Boarding School Magazine / Media Pack 2015

PPart art o he B SA G roup off tthe BSA Group



S E R V I C E PA R E N T S ’ G U I D E TO B OA R D I N G S C H O O L S • P U B L I S H E D B Y T H E B OA R D I N G S C H O O L S ’ A S S O C I AT I O N • S P R I N G 202 2

Service Parents’



OPEN MORNING 7 May from 10am


Foreword Lieutenant Colonel Matt Woodeson

stability, incorporating longer tours and fewer relocations. There will be new incentives surrounding house purchase and a greater integration of regular and reserve service. As these changes take effect, it is likely that fewer members of the Armed Forces will meet the conditions for the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA), although it will remain available for those who do meet the criteria. These changes, however, will allow more families to maintain lives where both parents can All parents have important decisions to

pursue careers and so will be able to

make on how and where their children

fund a private education for their children

should be educated. Schooling is a

without public assistance.

key factor in preparing young people for the rest of their lives and parents

The choices parents make about their

naturally want to make this a positive

children’s education are some of the most

and successful experience for their

important, and the most personal they will


make. As a former boarder, I benefited from a boarding life along with my

For parents in the Armed Forces, decisions

brothers and sister. Our parents thought

about schools are even more challenging.

long and hard about our education and

For many Service families it is impossible

they settled on boarding for all of us –

to achieve a settled education in a day

each of us was and remain very different

school. There is often a stark choice to

from the other. Our parents have no

be made: should we choose to keep the

regrets about sending us to board. We

family together – with regular moves of

thrived in the stability of friends and

both home and school, sometimes in

teachers and benefited from the wide

remote locations with limited facilities

range of experiences that boarding life

or overseas, and with the inevitable

provided. Boarding definitely shaped our

disruption to friendships formed by the

characters for the better. My own sons

children – or should we opt instead for

will also be offered the opportunity to

boarding, which will mean the family is

benefit from a boarding education if they

separated in term time?

choose it. As the Chair of Governors at

“The choices parents make about their children’s education are some of the most important, and also most personal, they will make.”

the UK’s largest state boarding school, I There are financial implications in this

see the benefits of a boarding education

decision too, and these need careful


consideration. As with all other major purchases, we have to establish our

I commend this Guide to you. It introduces

priorities in the context of our careers

a very wide range of schools, covering

and lifestyles. Decisions we make about

a variety of locations, educational

our children’s education will be influenced

philosophies and specialisms. It provides

by the changing conditions of service as

an excellent start to the research you will

the Armed Forces transform. Increasingly

want to carry out and will enable you to

over the next decade, most members of

concentrate on some preferred options.

the UK Armed Forces will be permanently

There are also articles which will help to

based on the UK mainland. This change

prepare the family for visits to schools and

will encourage and support greater family

make these more focused.

Matt Woodeson joined the Army in 1997 after studying for his first degree at The University of Ripon and York St John. As a member of the Royal Anglian Regiment, he has seen extensive operational service and trained all over the world. He has held a number of Regimental appointments and served on the staff at a number of Brigade, Divisonal and Operational level HQs. He has also worked as an instructor on the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) and more recently at PJHQ (Permanent Joint Headquarters). He is Chair of Governors at Wymondham College.

Contents Foreword




Keeping children safe in boarding education


Continuity of Education Allowance for Service children


Education in Scotland



Boarding at a state prep school


Choosing state boarding


Sixth-form boarding


Will Chuter, Head, Cranbrook School

Lee Hunter, Headteacher, Sir Roger Manwood's School

State boarding schools


Life at a state boarding school


Dr Chris Pyle, Head, Lancaster Royal Grammar School

Choosing and assessing schools Barnaby Lenon, Headmaster, Harrow School, 1999–2011 and Chairman, Independent Schools Council (ISC)

The benefits of state boarding

Dan Browning, Headteacher, Wymondham College

Education of Service children



Helen Barton, Headmistress, St George's School

James Malley, Headteacher, Royal Alexandra and Albert School

Jenny Dwyer, Head of Schools Practice, Saxton Bampfylde and former Head, Sherborne Girls

What about boarding schools?

State boarding schools What provision do state boarding schools make for the needs of children from Service families?

Lieutenant Colonel Matt Woodeson

Boarding at an independent school Boarding lessons from COVID-19


What makes a good boarding school?


Natalie Bone, Head, Sherborne Prep Caroline Kirby, Head, Shebbear College John Browne, Head, Stonyhurst College

Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools


Out of the ordinary: realising the potential of every child


Ofsted inspection of boarding schools


Schools together in partnership


The importance of good governance


How boarding benefits the wellbeing of pupils


Turning minimum standards into excellence


Teamwork, leadership and service


School visits: questions and answers


Supporting character development in a boarding school


Faith in our schools


Looking after children and young people’s mental health after COVID-19


Specialist schools – arts, drama, music


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – making a difference to young people’s lives


Learning modern foreign languages at a boarding school


Barney Durrant, Head, St Lawrence College

Dr Joe Spence, Master, Dulwich College

Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI)

Dale Wilkins, Director of Safeguarding, Professional Development and Accreditation, BSA Group Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus Dale Wilkins, Director of Safeguarding, Professional Development and Accreditation, BSA Group Adrian Underwood, Education Consultant

Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus

Schools founded by the Military Queen Victoria School, Dunblane (Scotland)


The Duke of York's Royal Military School


The Royal Hospital School reinforces a values-driven education


Boarding at Gordon's School


Donald Shaw, Headmaster, Queen Victoria School, Dunblane Alex Foreman, Principal, The Duke of York's Royal Military School

Genevieve Ford, Deputy Head (Pastoral) and Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), Downe House School Thomas Garnier, Headmaster, Pangbourne College

Paul Sanderson, Headmaster, Bloxham School

David Walker, Deputy Head (Pastoral and Wellbeing), Wellington College

Ruth Marvel, CEO, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Rachel Rees, Deputy Head Pastoral, Monmouth School for Girls

Twenty-first century learning 88 – embracing technology to drive a culture of learning Louise Orton, Senior Deputy Head (Academic), Sherborne Girls

Simon Lockyer, Headmaster, Royal Hospital School, Holbrook Andrew Moss, Headmaster, Gordon's School

Julie Robinson, Chief Executive, Independent Schools Council (ISC)

Boarding and adolescence


The importance of creativity


Teaching empathy


Bex Tear, Head, Badminton School and BSA Chair, 2021 Victoria Rose, Director of Art, Dauntsey’s Damian Todres, Director of Drama and Head of the Creative Arts Faculty, Wells Cathedral School

Recognising the physical and mental value of sport 96 Rob Kift, Director of Sport, Hurst College

The importance of pastoral care

Andrew Russell, Headmaster, St David’s College

Boarding in the North of England

Jeremy Walker, Head Master, St Peter’s School, York Photo with kind permission of Monmouth School for Girls

98 100


Preparatory schools

The popularity of prep school boarding


The benefits of prep school boarding


Why choose a boarding prep school?


Music – an important part of the boarding experience


Outdoor learning – ‘rewilding’ pupils


Using robotics, 3D printing and computing in a prep school


It takes a village school to raise a child


Dr Trevor Richards, Head, All Hallows Preparatory School Robert Lankester, Headmaster, Maidwell Hall Rob Morse, Headmaster, Aysgarth School

Gareth Jones, Headmaster, Bilton Grange

Will Frost, Head of Geography and Outdoor Learning, Salisbury Cathedral School

Olly Langton, Headmaster, Belhaven Hill School

Regan Schreiber, Head of Boarding and PSHE teacher, Hazlegrove Prep School

Responsibility versus maturity – when to introduce 116 more freedom to prep school boarders Paddy Moss, Headmaster, Dean Close Preparatory School

King’s is more than Christmas


Preparing pupils for the transition to senior schools


Yvette Day, Head and Master over the Choristers, King’s College School, Cambridge

Simone Mitchell, Deputy Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, Swanbourne House School

Senior schools

Special educational needs and disabilities Educational provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities


Special educational needs provision in boarding schools


What is CReSTeD and how does it help boarding families?


Provision in the independent sector for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities


David Smellie, Partner, Farrer & Co

Sally Moore, Head of Learning Support, Fulneck School

Brendan Wignall, Headmaster, Ellesmere College and Chair, CReSTeD

Curriculum choices

GCSEs and IGCSEs in a changing curricular landscape


Sixth form – future ready, set, go!


Sixth-form programmes – the choice


Charlie Hammel, Deputy Head Academic, St Swithun’s School, Winchester Rhiannon Wilkinson, Head, Ashville College

Paying the fees

Entitlement to CEA – the Bursar’s view


Paying the fees: a major financial commitment


Fees – where do they go?

151 153

Susan Meikle, Bursar, Gordon’s School

David Woodgate, Chief Executive, Independent Schools' Bursars Association (ISBA) Andrew Ashton, Bursar, Radley College

The importance of a creative education


Schools offering special awards for children of personnel serving in the Armed Forces

The benefits of boys-only boarding



What does a bespoke education actually mean?


Useful contacts


Boarding schools in this issue, by county


Stefan Anderson, Principal, Tring Park School for the Performing Arts John Moule, Warden, Radley College

Jo Cameron, Principal, Queenswood School

Promoting good mental health in boarding schools


Girls and STEAM subjects


Making sure girls learn to love physics at school


Boarding as preparation for twenty-first century life


What do we mean by a boarder’s progress and how do schools measure it?


Dr Felicia Kirk, Headmistress, St Mary’s Calne

Olivera Raraty, Headmistress, Malvern St James Girls’ School Dorothy MacGinty, Headmistress, Kilgraston School

Lisa Kerr, Principal, Gordonstoun

Chris Hillman, Deputy Head Academic, Godolphin School


Part of the BSA Group

BSA acquires Guides to boarding As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting member schools in all areas of boarding, we’re delighted to announce that the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) has acquired ‘The BSA Guide to Boarding Schools’ and ‘Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding’ and their associated websites from Bulldog Publishing. We now also own 100 per cent of You’ll notice this edition of ‘Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding’ does have a slightly different look and feel, which we hope you’ll like, and we’ll be undertaking a further review of content, style, offering and distribution of the publications and going forward. Please contact Andrew Gray, Communications and Partnerships Manager, BSA Group, at regarding any editorial matters relating to ‘The BSA Guide to Boarding Schools’ and ‘Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding’. Any advertising enquiries should continue to go to Neil Rust, who has moved from Bulldog Publishing to BSA as part of the acquisition – Neil’s new email address is If you have any other questions about either publication or, please don’t hesitate to contact us at With thanks, The BSA Team

Designed and printed by


Dear parent, Hello and welcome to the ‘The Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding Schools’. We’re delighted to have taken full ownership of this Guide, its sister publication, ‘BSA Guide to Boarding Schools’ and, and we hope you’re looking forward to seeing all three develop and grow as much as we are. As a former boarder myself, I can tell you

Students often enjoy this so much they

that boarding today is a very different

decide to move to weekly or full boarding.

world to the one I remember. It’s certainly nothing like the stereotypical images of

And no two boarding schools are the

boarding which wouldn’t be out of place

same. Some are based in cities, others

The Service Parents’ Guide to

on the pages of a Harry Potter novel, that

in more rural locations. Some are single

Boarding Schools is a trade mark

may still be conjured up for some when

sex, while others are co-educational. Or

owned by BSA Group.

the name ‘boarding school’ is uttered!

should you choose an academic school, or

In fact, the reality couldn’t be more

one which focuses specifically on the arts

Published by:

or sport?

BSA Group

different. Modern boarding offers parents

First Floor

and pupils a broad range of options,

So there’s no shortage of options, and this

27 Queen Anne’s Gate

providing tremendous flexibility to suit

Guide aims to give you a comprehensive

London, UK

almost any young person and fit in with

overview of the choices that are open


all types of busy lifestyle.

to you and your child when it comes to selecting a school. We also hope it will

+44 (0)207 798 1580

Full boarding, where students are based

help you to identify what you need to look

at school all day, every day, remains a

for when visiting a school, and the right

popular choice. It’s widely recognised as

questions to ask speaking to staff.

a great way to develop independence,

Chief Executive:

strong inter-personal skills, a sense of

Making that definitive choice of the right

community and teamwork, and form

boarding school for your child can be a

long-lasting friendships. But there are

lengthy process, but taking all the time

other options too.

you need to get your decision absolutely

Robin Fletcher Editor: Sheila White

right is crucial. Boarding will not suit every

Head of Commercial:

Weekly boarding, which sees students

child or family – but for the right child, in

Neil Rust

attending school during the week,

the right school, it can offer an enriching

typically going home on a Friday or

life experience like no other. We hope this

Saturday and returning on Sunday

Guide will give you everything you need to

evening or Monday morning, also offers

make that choice a lot easier.

excellent structure, support and facilities for an extended time. And then there’s flexi or occasional boarding; an excellent

Best wishes,

way to get a taste of boarding life by

Robin Fletcher

boarding part-time or semi-regularly.

CEO, BSA and BSA Group

Some of the articles in this Guide have not been updated since March 2020. Photographs for most articles were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information on COVID-19 and boarding go to The information and views in this Guide were correct to the best of the Editor’s and Publisher’s belief at the time of going to press and no responsibility can be accepted for outof-date information, errors or omissions. While every effort has been made, it may not always have been possible to trace all copyright holders. If any omissions are brought to our attention, we will be happy to include appropriate acknowledgements in the next edition of the Guide. The Service Parents' Guide to Boarding Schools is published twice a year by BSA Group, a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 4676107.All rights reserved. No part of this Guide may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without written permission from the Publisher. Front cover photo with kind permission of Gordon's School


HUISH TIGERS COACH YEAR 8 STUDENTS FROM LOCAL SECONDARY SCHOOLS Richard Huish College, in partnership with Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership (SASP), recently held Basketball sessions for Year 8 students from across the local area to help to improve and develop Basketball across the county and local area. The vision of the Huish Tigers is to develop Basketball, people,

DAUNTSEY’S CREW IN TRAINING FOR THE DW – THE “CANOEISTS’ EVEREST” Training has started in earnest at Dauntsey’s for the infamous Devizes to Westminster “DW” canoe race, known as “The Canoeists’ Everest”. The race involves paddling the 125 miles between Devizes and Westminster in three and a half days over the Easter weekend – the equivalent of a marathon a day. Dauntsey’s has been entering teams in the DW for more than 40 years.

players and teams, alongside exceptional academics. The Huish Men’s and Women’s teams have had many successes in recent

The School’s 2022 team consists of seven boats, including the

years, winning the AOC Sport National Women’s Knockout Cup

fastest female crew, fastest male crew, fastest mixed crew, next

and Silver in the AOC Sport National Men’s Knockout Cup in

three fastest crews, and a wildcard crew chosen by the coaches.

2019 and in 2020 both teams were crowned joint champions in the Basketball England Dynamik Cups. Furthermore, each team

Sam Moore, Head of Adventure Education, Dauntsey’s, said:

qualified for the AOC Nationals Competitions and the Men’s

“Having selected our final team, full training is now underway,

team were due to compete in the semi-final of the National

with three water-based sessions a week, in all weathers. The

Colleges Cup in 2020 before the events were unfortunately

crews are working hard and this week have turned in their

cancelled due to the pandemic.

fastest speeds so far.

The Year 8 pupils had the chance to learn from Huish Tigers

“With the recent snap of cold weather, they have had to

Basketballers who put them through a variety of drills before

contend with ice on the canal for the first time which is a

later setting up a range of 3v3 mini games which gave them

challenge – anything but the thinnest ice means a long run

the opportunity to put what they had learned into practice. It

carrying the boat!”

also gave the players at Huish a chance to further develop their coaching skills.

Ben, a Lower Sixth student who is a member of the Dauntsey’s team, added: “We are very excited to be taking on this

The first of the two sessions saw Year 8 pupils from Kingsmead

adventure and following in the footsteps of so many Dauntsey’s

School, Huish Episcopi Academy and The Gryphon School take

students before us. We know it will be hard work but it will be

part, with pupils from King Arthurs School, St Dunstan’s School

worth it when we get to Westminster”.

and Heathfield Community School taking part the following week.

Dauntsey’s crew will paddle in aid of the mental health charity, MIND, the School’s chosen charity for this year.

Huish Tigers Coach Gary Carter commented: “It was great to welcome the younger pupils to the #TigersFamily, our mission is to inspire a generation of positive basketball players and it was fantastic to see the current generation sharing their skills with the up-and-coming players of the future”.


DENSTONE COLLEGE PUPILS EARNS PLACE IN ENGLAND U18 RUGBY SQUAD In December 2021, Denstone pupil, Daisy Aspinall was selected for the North vs South England U18 rugby trials. All the hard work Daisy put in paid off and it has earnt her a place in the England U18 squad for the 2022 campaign. This is an incredible achievement at just 16 years of age.

FORMER ST SWITHUN’S STUDENT ZARA RUTHERFORD BREAKS TWO AVIATION WORLD RECORDS Zara Rutherford, who finished her A levels at St Swithun’s in Winchester last summer, has successfully completed her circumnavigation of the globe. The 19 year old has become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world and the youngest person to do so in a microlight aircraft.

Daisy will prepare for the forthcoming matches, which will take

After a challenging and dangerous journey of 22 weeks, Zara

place in February and April, by attending training camps this

returned to Kortrijk airport close to her base in Belgium from

month and in March.

where she embarked on her world record-breaking attempt on 18 August last year. Travelling in a small Shark ultralight aircraft

On naming the squad, Head Coach James Cooper said: “It was

Zara faced lengthy delays to avoid bad weather conditions.

extremely tough to narrow down and select the group after the

She spent a month in Alaska waiting for a safe weather window

quality of potential and performances shown by players both

and experienced temperatures as low as -34°C. She finally

in camps and the game in December with some good players

touched down two months later than originally planned having

narrowly missing out. This is testament to the great work being

accumulated 200 hours in the air and travelling 52,080km

done at clubs and colleges, constituent bodies and centre of

across five continents and 31 countries.

excellences’’. Zara qualified as a pilot whilst studying for her A Levels in Here at Denstone, girls’ rugby is becoming hugely popular.

mathematics, further mathematics, economics and physics at St

Pupils benefit from our elite facilities, as well as having four

Swithun’s. She first began flying when she was 14. In breaking

Level 3 staff to hand.

two world records she hopes to inspire other girls and young women to pursue their dreams and in particular to take up

Daisy joins Old Denstonian, Lecky Dunne, in achieving sporting

flying or enter STEM-related careers. Her daring exploits and

success in women’s rugby!

positive attitude have encouraged over 50 girls at St Swithun’s to take up flying lessons as part of the school’s co-curricular

We wish Daisy and the team all the best with their upcoming


matches. Headmistress of St Swithun’s Jane Gandee said: “Seeing Zara’s interview in Germany with just one day to go really brought home to me the magnitude of her achievement. Zara is an exceptional role model who I am sure has single-handedly inspired a generation”.

STONYHURST ST MARY’S HALL ANNOUNCES THE APPOINTMENT OF A NEW HEADMASTER The Governors of Stonyhurst have announced appointment of a new Headmaster for Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall. Fr Christopher Cann is currently Headmaster of Ratcliffe College Preparatory School in Leicestershire and was previously Headmaster of Leicester Preparatory School and Denstone College Preparatory School. He has a Master of Arts degree in French from the University of St Andrews and in Theology from the University of Oxford. He is married to Honor, who works as a GP, and has six children and two grandchildren.

GORDON’S SCHOOL – A BUMPER YEAR FOR SPORT This year promises to be a bumper one for sport at Gordon’s with golf, equestrian, netball and rugby teams already set to top leaderboards across the country and six individual students enjoying international acclaim. Cara Falconer has been selected for the Scottish National Girls’ Hockey Squad 2022; Millie Cottrell for the Welsh Golf Team in their match v Ireland; Thomas Golder has received a call up for the Wales U18 and Caleb Ashworth for the England U18 training squads in preparation for selection for the U18 Six Nations Tournament and netball players Jayda Pechova captained the England Invitational Squad with

Fr Christopher is a former Anglican priest who was received

Pippa Dixon in her team for the Europe Netball Competition.

into the Catholic church in 2011 and is now a priest of the

Gordon’s also finished as top school in the British Schools

Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Fr Christopher joins on

Rifle Championships with James West clinching gold in the

1 September 2022, providing a seamless transition following

intermediate competition.

the stepping down of Ian Murphy at the end of the academic year after eight extremely successful years as Headmaster.

The school partners with premiership rugby club Harlequins; Superleague netball team Surrey Storm and Vanarama League

He said: “I feel very honoured to be appointed as the next

Football Club Aldershot Town FC so students are fortunate to

Headmaster of Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall. I very much look

be coached by some of the best on the games fields.

forward to getting to know all the SMH children, parents and staff and to working closely, under the guidance of the

Former Pakistan Olympian Muhammad Irfan has joined former

Governing Body, with John Browne, Head of Stonyhurst, to build

GB player David Mathews on the Hockey coaching staff of the

on the tremendous success the school has enjoyed in recent

First Team while former Wales International and ex-Chelsea


player Gareth Hall heads up the First Team football. Rugby students benefit from former Fiji 7s Skills and Analyst Coach

John Browne, Head of Stonyhurst, said: “I am delighted to

Chris Davies and netball Superleague players Nicole Humphrys

welcome Fr Christopher Cann and his wife Honor to St

leads the netball with Leah Middleton on the coaching team.

Mary’s Hall and the Stonyhurst family. He brings a wealth of

The school’s sporting successes coincide with a new sports

knowledge and a deep experience of education and spirituality

hub and all weather pitch enabling students to take part in

to Stonyhurst as well as a background in all areas of school

even more sporting activities and events at all levels, whatever

leadership, including eight years as Headmaster of Ratcliffe

the weather. Gordon’s Director of Sport, Jamie Harrison

College Preparatory School immediately prior to joining us.”

commented: “Gordon’s is synonymous with sporting excellence and we are very proud of the sportsmen and women we have nurtured and developed here. Our talented and dedicated students together with an impressive coaching line up and new facilities is proving a winning combination.“


CREATING THE PRODUCTS OF TOMORROW: STUDENTS TACKLE FUTURISTIC DESIGN CHALLENGE Tonbridge’s Lower Sixth boys have been meeting a product design challenge set by global technology company Huawei. Their brief was to design a prototype of a product which could help facilitate remote working, while their creation needed to reflect strategic vision, style and quality.

ADVENTURE TAKES SHAPE AT DAUNTSEY’S Pupils at Dauntsey’s are experiencing truly immersive adventures with Moonrakers, the School’s programme of outdoor activities for Third Formers. Each Friday afternoon, pupils take part in a wide range of activities including outdoor cooking, kayaking, cycling, first aid, expedition skills, navigation, orienteering, indoor climbing, sailing, shooting, survival, river crossing, sub-aqua diving and

Developed in partnership with the School’s Design Technology

archery. The course will culminate in a five-day Moonrakers

Department, the challenge saw the A-level students coming up

Camp, where the pupils continue their adventures in

with various types of emerging technology, from virtual reality

Aberdovey, North Wales. Moonrakers is the largest programme

glasses and earbud charging hubs to new ways of folding

run by the School’s adventure education department, with 120

computer accessories such as keyboards and trackpads. During

Third Formers taking 21 activities run by 16 teachers, over 30

the judging process, each student was given a five-minute slot

weeks, with around 15 Sixth Form helpers.

to make their design pitch and show their completed model. The programme celebrated its fiftieth year in 2021, having Head of DT, Richard Day, said: “This was an exciting and

been introduced in 1971 by the then Head Master, Guy King-

challenging brief. The judges from Huawei and Tonbridge

Reynolds, with the objective of “trying to educate 13- and

were hugely impressed at the range of sophisticated and

14-year olds in the use of their leisure time.” There was a

creative solutions the students came up with, which pushed

compulsory six-week course in campcraft, navigation, first aid,

the boundaries of traditional design. “The ways in which people

gym and “service to the School”.

work have changed enormously since the pandemic, and have opened up tremendous opportunities for designers to meet the

Sam Moore, Head of Adventure Education at Dauntsey’s, said:

needs of this new age.”

“Moonrakers is an iconic Dauntsey’s experience. When Upper Sixth Formers have their leavers’ events, they all talk about it

Honours for Tonbridge in the British Physics Olympiad

as a high point of their time here. Having the opportunity to try

Tonbridge boys are celebrating Gold, Silver and Bronze

so many different adventure activities, as part of the timetable,

awards in the First Round of the British Physics Olympiad. This

ensures that everyone finds something they really enjoy. It also

national competition encourages the study of the subject and

brings the year group together as a team.

recognises excellence in young physicists. “It’s a core belief at Dauntsey’s that the behaviours that make Two Upper Sixth Formers, Kenneth Lee and Yury Balabin,

you successful in adventures are the same as those that make

claimed the highest ranking on offer, with a Top Gold placing,

you successful in life. The same courage that enables you to

which puts them among the top students in the country. Those

cope with white water rafting helps you tackle a tough maths

with Top Golds also go on to compete in Round 2. Chris Powell,

exam. It’s all about being willing to have a go, a mindset which is

Head of Physics, said: “This was an extremely challenging paper

part of Dauntsey’s DNA.”

and so all students who gained awards should be very proud of their performance.”

PAVING THE WAY FOR FEMALES IN STEM Daisy Yorke left the Duke of York’s Royal Military School in July 2021, since then she has taken the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industry by storm as a leading lady in a male dominated field. While at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School (DOYRMS), with assistance from the designated Sixth Form support staff at the school, Daisy applied for an Advanced Mechatronics Engineering Apprenticeship with Amazon. The apprenticeship is highly sought after with thousands of applicants annually. After a rigorous application process consisting of online tests, interviews and assessments, Daisy was awarded one of just approximately 60 available apprenticeships, surpassing thousands of applicants. Daisy said, “DOYRMS was my second home for seven years. When applying for the apprenticeship, Amazon were amazed by the STEM experience I had gained while at the school. I truly believe without the opportunities provided by the school and assistance from the staff, I would not have secured my place as an apprentice with Amazon”. As part of the STEM provision at DOYRMS, students from Year 7 through to Sixth Form benefit from industry links with Pfizer, Infineon Technologies and the James Dyson Foundation. Lately, students were manufacturing and testing WIFI antenna for Infineon Technologies to ensure six batches of various antenna were delivered on time meeting the client’s specifications. The school also benefits from alumni who donate a large amount of money to the schools STEM equipment, which recently included the purchase of five 3D printers. The state boarding school, open to 11–18-year-olds, is very proud of all its alumni and is delighted to see Daisy paving the way for females in the STEM industry; out of the 16 apprentices Daisy works alongside at Amazon Oxford, only two are females. To find out more about the school, visit

SPRING 2022 / 11

Outstanding facilities, an all-round education and endless opportunities await you at The Duke of York’s Royal Military School. Our full-boarding school, open to 11–18-year-olds, is placed in the top 2% of schools nationally for GCSE progress. Students benefit from excellent teaching delivered by managers and leaders rated Outstanding by Ofsted (2018). | | 01304 245023

Keeping children safe in boarding education Jenny Dwyer Head of Schools Practice, Saxton Bampfylde and former Head, Sherborne Girls Heads of boarding schools often

affected young people, some of which

Never before has wellbeing had such

spend a large amount of time talking

have made them feel uncomfortable.

prominence in the minds of school leaders and we see whole school

to prospective pupils and parents. When I was a Head, I was once asked

Schools have responded positively to

initiatives in this area which are well

by a parent how I could guarantee to

the issues raised through the Black Lives

resourced and clearly understood. This

her that I could keep her daughter

Matter (BLM) movement and ensured

preventative approach has ensured that

safe in my school, as her daughter

they have properly listened to the

issues for young people are dealt with

was particularly precious to them.

concerns of former and present pupils.

quickly and sympathetically and that

The curriculum has been reviewed,

there are lattices of support to catch

I can remember thinking to myself

diversity in teaching staff and governors

any pastoral issues before they become

that in my experience all children are

has become a priority and real work has

crises, wherever possible. Key in this

precious to their parents, but that it was

gone into making sure schools adapt

endeavour is the willingness and ability

a good question and a reminder that

appropriately to changes in society.

to work closely with parents and to ensure parents and pupils are heard and

the responsibility a boarding school has

included in relevant discussions.

to its pupils to ensure all safeguarding

Schools are not in the business of just

procedures are in place is both a

intervening when things go wrong. The

privilege and a terrifying burden!

emphasis on creating an open and

Boarding schools have worked hard to

welcoming environment where young

improve their safeguarding and give

Boarding schools are all too aware of the

people can discuss difficult issues and

young people the opportunity to thrive

ways in which they must ensure that all

the school can respond to real concerns

in a safe environment. The pandemic has

their young people are safe. This is the

has played its part in framing schools’

been a difficult time, but let’s hope the

absolute basic of what they do and all

responses to Everyone’s Invited

increase in communication, emphasis on

schools aspire to do much more than, a website

wellbeing and greater openness are the

the basics. Safeguarding is at the core of

where young people share their

positive takeaways.

everything they do.

experiences of sexual harassment, both inside and outside education

All staff at boarding schools are well


aware of the Government document Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021)

Staff have worked hard to make sure

and in terms of safeguarding, policies and

young people can be heard and have

procedures are clear and schools work

the opportunity to talk through those

hard to ensure that safer recruitment

difficult issues which they have been

is carried out, pupils and parents know

brave enough to bring to the fore. It is

where to go with concerns and quality

so important to allow young people to

assurance is checked regularly.

discuss these very complex issues within a safe and secure environment so they

But ensuring young pupils’ safety is so

can work through their very real worries.

much more than this. Boarding schools

It’s part of growing up and defining their

are committed to ensuring their pupils

own moral compass. They have to be able

feel safe and able to talk through any

to debate and challenge without fear of

concerns. In recent times there have


been a number of issues which have

Jenny Dwyer has worked in boarding schools for the last 30 years. She began her career at Benenden teaching mathematics and running a boarding house. She moved to Queen Anne’s in Caversham as Pastoral Deputy and then became Headmistress of Prior’s Field School, a day and boarding school, in Godalming, Surrey. She spent 12 years of her career in Dorset, as Head of Sherborne Girls, a full boarding school, and retired as Head in 2018. Jenny has been on the governing body of a number of independent prep and senior schools as well as a local MAT and has been a team inspector for ISI for a number of years. She is Head of Schools Practice at Saxton Bampfylde. Married with two sons, she enjoys sailing, keeping fit and spending time at her house on the Norfolk coast.



Join us for our Pre-Prep & Prep School Open Day

Monday 2nd May

Generous fee support packages offering up to 90% discount for serving military families. A leading Catholic co-educational boarding and day school for pupils aged 3-18 years. With a long tradition of welcoming military families, Stonyhurst encourages individuality and the opportunity for children to become all that they can be.



Boarding in Surrey Ranked in the top 1% of schools in England and Wales for progress at A Level Bespoke Residential BoaRding House foR YeaR 7 students ContinuitY of eduCation allowanCe (Cea) aCCepted Close to london and its aiRpoRts BY Road and Rail


that they can be.

Photo with kind permission of Ludgrove School

Continuity of Education Allowance for Service children The aim of Continuity of Education

Eligibility Certificate (CEA EC) application

If your child has Special Educational

Allowance (Board) (CEA(Board))

form for each child for whom they are

Needs or Disability (SEND), this should

is to assist Service personnel to

eligible to claim CEA.

not stop their admission to a boarding

achieve continuity of education for

school. In certain limited circumstances

their children that would otherwise

CEAS is part of the MoD’s Directorate of

an allowance for SEN support may be

be denied in the maintained day

Children and Young People (DCYP) and

available and the details are again all

school sector, due to the mobility

consists of a small team of educational

contained in JSP 752. It is vital you speak

of their family as a consequence of

professionals and advisers who are

to CEAS regarding this.

consecutive assignments.

there to support the parents of all three

Eligibility to claim the allowance is set

Services with any issue linked to their

We understand that decisions around

children’s education.

your child’s education are some of the most profound that you will take as a

out in Joint Service Publication 752, part The fastest and simplest way to contact

family. Our message is that by seeking

CEAS is always by email. The CEAS team

information, advice and guidance at the

To ensure that Service personnel have

will offer support and guidance on the

earliest opportunity you will put yourself

been advised on the best options for the

CEA system.

in the best position for everything to

2, Chapter 9.

education of their child, and provided

work well.

with the information available, they must contact the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) for advice before an initial application for CEA may be submitted or when any change of school is being planned. On completion of the advice process, CEAS will provide the Service person with an individually serial numbered CEA

CONTACT Email: Phone: 01980 618244 Fax: 01980 618245 Websites:

Open Day Saturday 14th May 10.00am

HMC co-educational day and boarding school for children aged 2-18 in Wells, Somerset

SPRING 2022 / 15

Education in Scotland The Scottish school system is based on a 3–18 curriculum:

• • •

Children moving to Scotland from Year 7 in an English

Nursery age 3 years–5 years

secondary school will generally be required to attend a

Primary age 5 years–12 years

Scottish primary school for up to one year (depending on

Secondary age 12 years–18 years

the time of the move). Academic levels are similar and each

(minimum school leaving age is 16).

case will be considered on its merits by the school and local authority.

KEY FEATURES OF THE SCOTTISH SYSTEM Learners are entitled to a range of features at the different stages of learning. The entitlements are:

• • • •

• •

A child transferring from a Scottish primary school at the age of 12 (P7) will miss the first year of secondary education

a coherent curriculum from ages 3 to 18

in England/Wales. Although standards in English and maths

a broad general education – learning across all areas from

are similar, the child may not have experienced specialised

the ages of 3 to 15

teaching in the areas of science or a modern foreign language.

support – all staff share responsibility for identifying the needs of children and young people, and for working in

Children and young people are entitled to six years of

partnership to put support in place to meet those needs

secondary education (S1–S6): a broad general education

a senior phase that prepares children and young people

(S1–S3) and a senior phase (S4–S6) during which the young

to study towards qualifications, but with a continuing

person will build up a portfolio of qualifications. There are

emphasis on health and well-being, physical activity,

considerable consequences for the transfer of pupils between

opportunities for personal achievement, service to others

the systems between the ages of 14 and 16. If a change of

and practical experience of the world of work

school is unavoidable at that age, further advice should be

skills for learning, life and work – support to develop

sought from the relevant local authority.

skills used throughout life and in work a positive destination – local authorities and schools are responsible for planning and supporting young people to make successful transitions to young adulthood and the

ASSESSMENT AT 16 Scotland has National 4 and 5 qualifications, followed by Higher and Advanced Higher.

world of work.

NURSERY Between the ages of three and five, children in Scotland are entitled to funded pre-school education. Though provision varies, this usually means that, during term time, a child is offered five sessions of education a week, of about two and a half hours each. PRIMARY SCHOOL Children in Scotland complete seven years at primary school (P1 to P7), with all curriculum areas generally being taught by their classroom teacher (some specialists, e.g. in music, modern languages, can also be used).

ADVICE AND INFORMATION Advice and information can be obtained from the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS), the appropriate Scottish Local Authority (there are 32 local authorities, each with responsibility for the schools in their area) or directly from the school. Additional information can also be found at:

• •

Curriculum for Excellence: understanding thecurriculum CfE Communications Toolkit: understandingthecurriculum/

whatiscurriculumforexcellence/index.asp Parent Zone:

Children in Scotland must start primary school in the August

Scottish Government

term after their fifth birthday. This generally means that

Tel: 0131 244 0645

children start school when they are aged between 4.5 years


and 5.5 years. Education authorities can make arrangements for children to start in the August when they are four, if they

Scottish Qualifications Agency

will turn five by the end of the following February.

SECONDARY SCHOOL Most children move to secondary school (typically a larger school taking pupils from several primary schools) between 11.5 years and 12.5 years. Pupils are taught by several teachers with specialist expertise in each curriculum subject or area. All subject teachers are responsible for teaching Health and Well-being, Literacy and Numeracy across Learning within their subject material.

Scottish Council of Independent Schools Eurydice Eurydice provides information on and analyses of European education systems and policies, including those of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales: www.eacea.


Feel free to be yourself Stonar has a history of exceptional pupil achievements enabled by a remarkable, supportive educational environment that engenders hard work and the desire to get involved. Pupils feel free to be themselves, while flourishing academically, and as individuals.

20% FORCES DISCOUNT For Boarders and Day Pupils



Which Boarding School

Helping families find the right boarding school “As a military family, we didn’t know where to start in finding the right school. Which Boarding School took the time to find out about our daughter and were thus able to help us choose a school that we believe will fit her interests and temperament extremely well.” Victoria

Let us help you with this vital decision. Our expert, one-to-one service is confidential and completely free to military families. Call William on +44 (0)1702 588225 or visit


What about boarding schools?

Barnaby Lenon Headmaster, Harrow School, 1999–2011 and Chairman, Independent Schools Council (ISC) Boarding schools continue to be

form this proportion more than doubles to

by parents and can be used to fund

popular in the twenty-first century,

one in three of all pupils. For junior pupils

transformational bursaries at the school. In

offering exceptional education and

this proportion is significantly lower, with

return, the British school provides advice

extra-curricular activities with round-

only 2 per cent of pupils boarding.

and monitors the franchise school in a way

the-clock pastoral care.

which guarantees standards.

Although the overall number of nonThe 2021 ISC Census showed that an

British pupils with parents living overseas

In 2021, average fee increases were 1.7 per

estimated 65,345 pupils board at ISC

has understandably declined due to the

cent. A total of 179,768 pupils now receive

schools. Overall, 458 schools, representing

pandemic, the number of Hong Kong pupils

help with their fees, representing 35 per

33 per cent of all ISC schools, have some

has increased by 6.6 per cent to 5,466.

cent of all pupils. The value of this help

boarding pupils.

totals over £1.1 billion, an increase of 4.3

The parents of these pupils choose British Parents are able to choose between

schools because they are keen for their

different types of boarding to suit their

children to master the English language,

child. Although full boarding remains most

they understand the significance of extra-

popular overall, the pattern appears to be

curricular activities as part of a wide

changing with weekly and flexi boarding

education, and they know attending a

becoming more popular. In 2016, 15.7

British school may be the best way to gain

per cent of boarders were weekly or flexi

admission to a British university.

boarders. In 2021 the figure was 19.5

per cent on the previous year.

WIDENING ACCESS This reflects the long-term aim of our schools to increase bursary provision and widen access. Over the last 15 years, there has been a consistent trend of schools providing increasing amounts of fee assistance to pupils.

per cent. Many working parents value the

Some boarding and day schools have set

flexibility of these boarding options.

up franchise schools abroad. While I was

More than 40,000 pupils receive means-

headmaster at Harrow, we built schools

tested bursaries, valued at £432 million

There are variations between different age

in Thailand, Beijing and Hong Kong. These

in 2021. The average bursary is worth

groups. For the sector as a whole, 12 per

schools pay a fee to the British school

£10,237 per pupil per year.

cent of pupils at ISC schools board. At sixth

which helps to keep down the fees paid



ADVANTAGES OF BOARDING Boarding schools have many advantages: • They are able to offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities to a high proportion of pupils because more time is spent by pupils on the school grounds. They also tend to attract staff who want to be involved in sport, music or drama at a high level.

• Boarding schools take pupils from all

over the country and all over the world. This is a valuable educational experience in itself: the opportunity to know people from many walks of life and from many different cultures.

• And of course, boarders do not have to travel to school, something which can be challenging in some parts of the country.

THINGS TO CONSIDER The boarding environment is positive and fun, but remember:

Choosing to board is a personal decision for parents to make with their child – and with support and advice from their chosen school. Every school is different and details of individual schools can be found on their websites, or through the Independent Schools Council (ISC) website.

WHAT IS THE ISC? The ISC is a membership organisation that brings together seven education associations and works on behalf of more than 1,300 independent fee-charging schools in the United Kingdom, which educate more than 500,000 children every year. The ISC has three main functions, covering policy and public affairs, media and communications, and research and data. The aim of the ISC is to be a service organisation, promoting and protecting the independent education sector.

Boarding houses can be noisy places full of other children.

• Being away from home will be a new

Importantly for our members, the ISC provides a central base in London where all

experience for children and their

types of independent schools (prep schools,


mixed and single-sex, academically selective

• Boarding requires substantial investment.

Barnaby Lenon was brought up on a council estate in south London. He was educated at Eltham College and Oxford University and he won the Cambridge University prize for Education. He taught at Eton for 12 years, was Deputy Head of Highgate School, Head of Trinity School Croydon and Head of Harrow (12 years). He has been a governor of 22 schools and is a trustee of the nine independent and state schools in the King Edward’s Birmingham Foundation. He is chairman of governors and joint founder of the London Academy of Excellence, a state school which opened in 2012 in Newham, east London. He is Professor of Education at the University of Buckingham, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, a trustee of the Yellow Submarine charity and a consultant to the Robertson Foundation, which sponsors schools in New York and South Africa (among other things). He is a member of the Ofqual Standards Advisory Group. He has published several books including Much Promise: successful schools in England and Other People’s Children: what happens to the academically least successful 50%?

and non-selective, day and boarding) can

However, overall more than a third of ISC

come together to discuss issues of common

school pupils receive help with their fees.

interest. Parents can find information about all ISC schools at

A community where you can flourish



Contact the Admissions Team: 0118 976 7415


boarding school? What makes a good boarding school? Visiting a school certainly gives you a sense of the atmosphere, grounds and local area and you should try to visit if possible. I always think choosing a school is like buying a new house – you may not immediately know you want it but you usually know if you don’t want it within the first few minutes of walking in!

Barney Durrant Head, St Lawrence College On a visit to a prospective school, look at the way pupils treat each other and the staff – and by this, I mean all staff whether they are the Head or Head Groundsperson. Look at how the staff treat the pupils and the relationships pupils have with each other. Are the classrooms vibrant, energetic and pupil-focused? Are the pupils clearly enjoying stimulating and active lessons? Are the boarding houses warm, friendly and welcoming? Is there an obvious pride in the appearance of the school and the way in which the grounds and buildings are looked after and presented? These are some of the questions I ask myself when walking around a school and they give a good insight into the school’s values and ethos. In any good school, pupils should be able to achieve their academic potential, and it should be a given that

the value-added scores for all boarding pupils are significantly higher than the national average. The smaller class sizes, individualised approach and careful monitoring by tutors and housemasters and housemistresses in the evenings ensure pupils are supported and well taught. However, a good boarding school will do much more than this. It will inspire pupils’ love of learning, develop their creativity of thought and give them opportunities to develop independence in their education and more generally in their lives. Good boarding schools see the academic side of the school as not just a discrete stage in an education on the way to university, but as part of the educational journey that continues for the rest of a pupil’s life. A boarding education gives pupils the skills and attributes they need to thrive at university and in the twenty-first century world.


An independent, co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 11-18 set in 100 acres of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds Excellent GCSE and A level results (90% of leavers go to first choice universities)

Excellent facilities (Farm, pool, gym, sports hall and climbing wall)

Excellent transport links (90 mins from London Paddington to Kingham station)

Discounts for HM Forces or UK Diplomatic Service families leaving parents to pay 10% of published fees after full CEA entitlement Call us on 01608 731884 or email to arrange a visit

A flourishing boarding community 100 prep boarders aged 7 -13 and 480 senior boarders REGI


62% 89%


Founded 1553



Generous Forces’ Bursaries


A strong House and tutor system to look after your child’s pastoral and academic wellbeing

IN 2021

An outstanding range of extra-curricular activities


Contact Admissions to organise a visit Day and Boarding, 1090 pupils aged 13 - 18 720 pupils aged 2 - 13



01527 579679 •




LIFELONG LEARNERS A key outcome of a good education is the development of lifelong learners. This means developing a mindset that we can always do better and creating a desire to improve our skills, attributes and approach to solving problems and overcoming obstacles. Genuinely producing lifelong learners is not simply about cramming for exams and teaching to the test. It is about inspiring pupils, enthusing them to work independently and empowering them to question, be self-critical and stand up for what they believe in.

of support when needed. Learning how

A good boarding school ensures pupils feel

to accept defeat – and also learning how

valued and an integral part of their school

to win magnanimously – is taught through

community, with an understanding of their

co-curricular programmes. Team sports

role in the local and global community

develop camaraderie, leadership, teamwork

and a wide perspective on their individual

and communication but a good boarding

responsibility to society. This comes partly

school also has a broad programme of

from the charity and service opportunities in

activities in the evenings and weekends,

the school, but also from living in a diverse

catering for all pupils. This gives pupils

pupil population. Living in a boarding house

Another essential element of a good

opportunities to thrive in all areas, not just

encourages tolerance and an appreciation

boarding school is the excellent pastoral

on the sports field. Expressing yourself

of difference. It allows pupils to develop

care provided by the ‘school family’. As well

creatively is an important part of any holistic

their emotional intelligence and to recognise

as being in smaller class sizes, boarders

education and so opportunities for art,

when others need support or are struggling

receive pastoral support from housemasters

music and drama are in abundance. Not all

– the bonds of friendship developed during

and housemistresses, tutors, the school

pupils want a starring or lead role, so you

boarding can last a lifetime. Soft skills are

chaplain, counsellors and the medical team,

may also look for opportunities offered in,

developed both explicitly and implicitly and

all working together to ensure that every

for example, scriptwriting, filmmaking and

these give boarding pupils a real advantage

individual pupil is known, appreciated,

sound and lighting.

in the future – in their personal and public

supported and developed.


Children must be given opportunities to stretch themselves, be independent and fail – the last being a really important element of education. In a good boarding school, pupils can do this in a safe and nurturing environment that can provide a high level

Barney Durrant became Head of St Lawrence College in summer 2020, arriving from the new Harrow Hong Kong school, where he established the pastoral structures and systems as Principal Deputy Head. Before that he was a Housemaster and Head of Geography at Stowe School. Both he and his wife started boarding at the age of seven – as his parents worked in Development and his wife’s father was in the Gurkhas. Having both travelled a lot when younger, they appreciated, and fully understand, the importance of stability throughout their educational careers and Barney aims to provide that at St Lawrence College (where all three of his children attend).


The Royal School

Girls and Boys, Day and Boarding, Nursery to Sixth Form


Excellent GCSE & A Level results Outstanding pastoral care Affordable state boarding for 11-18 year olds Centrally located with excellent UK travel links Extensive enrichment opportunities

We have a long tradition of working closely with Forces Families and remained open throughout the pandemic for Key Workers’ children.

Pay only 10% of the fees, around £1,000 per term* Tel: 01902 341230


*This applies to Service Families who are eligible for the Continuity of Education Allowance, entering the School 2022/23. Additional means-tested support, subject to availability, may be offered to families who lose the CEA. Charity No. 525616

Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) All English accredited independent

an additional inspection, the next ISI

number of standards was reduced from 53

boarding schools are inspected on a

inspection experience for a boarding

to 20, reflecting the way in which boarding

three-year cycle. If the boarding school

school in the cycle will be a Focused

schools promote the highest standards

is in membership of one of the five

Compliance Inspection (FCI) and an Inspection

in care, education and the personal

independent school associations (GSA,

of Education Quality (EQI). The FCI will

development of boarders. The 2011

HMC, IAPS, ISA, Society of Heads) and

inspect the boarding provision against

Standards were further updated in 2013

thus accredited by its association,

the NMS. Immediately following the FCI,

and 2015.

the inspection of boarding is carried

the EQI will evaluate the quality of the

out by a specialist team of boarding

outcomes for pupils. This will evaluate

A significant aspect of raising the quality of

inspectors from the Independent

pupils’ achievement and pupils’ personal

the boarding experience has been schools’

Schools Inspectorate (ISI). If it is

development. Educational quality findings

investment in boarding training. The

an independent school, but not a

will be reported against a four-point scale.

Boarding Schools’ Association’s programme

member of one of those associations

For boarding provision, the inspection and

of continuing professional development

or is a state boarding school, the

the report will include the contribution of

(CPD) is the major provider of this training.

inspection of boarding is carried out

boarding to boarders’ achievement and

The full programme can be found at

by a specialist team of Ofsted boarding

their personal development. Full details

inspectors. A small number of ISI-

of this new inspection framework can be

inspected schools are classified as

found on the ISI website. Readers should

special schools, which have an annual

note that, depending on the dates of

social care inspection.

previous inspections, a FCI-EQI inspection might come before a RCI inspection.

All accredited independent boarding

Schools should prepare for both types.

schools are inspected under the ISI

NATIONAL BOARDING STANDARDS The 20 National Boarding Standards cover: • Policies, procedures and practice: includes anti-bullying, boarders’ activity programme, boarders’ induction, complaints, confidential counselling and guidance, contact with parents, equal opportunities, guardianship, health and safety, management and leadership, medical care, promoting positive behaviour, role of prefects, boarders’ meals.

Inspection Framework which came into

Over the last 20 years, good practice

force in January 2017. Every three

in boarding schools has developed

years, the inspection will be a Regulatory

significantly and schools have responded

Compliance Inspection (RCI) which, in terms

positively to national legislation. The effect

of boarding, will inspect the boarding

of this has been to raise the level of care

provision against Boarding Schools: National

and management in boarding schools. This,

Minimum Standards (NMS). Full details

in turn, has supported the improved quality

of the Standards (the latest April 2015

of the boarding experience for the more

supervision, boarders’ privacy,

version) can be found at

than 75,000 boarders in independent and

recruitment checks on boarding staff,


state boarding schools.

relationships between boarders and


People: includes boarding staff

between boarders and staff, seeking These improvements have been recognised

boarders’ views, leadership and

Assuming the school meets the minimum

by the Government, so much so that

management of the boarding provision.

standards and no immediate action

the DfE consulted with boarding schools

is required, or unless the Department

and boarders and in September 2011

for Education (DfE) has commissioned

published a new set of standards. The

Photo with kind permission of Ludgrove School


Premises: includes boarding

On a boarding inspection, the chair of

Some independent schools are

accommodation, medical facilities,

governors and any other governors

proprietorial, i.e. they are not a charitable

recreational facilities, toilet and

with responsibilities for boarding, are

trust, but instead owned by an individual,

washing facilities.

interviewed about how they monitor the

group or company. The regulations place

quality of the boarding provision and the

the same requirements on proprietors as

ISI reports on boarding are sent to all

policies and the implementation of policies

they do on governors.

parents of current boarders. These must

relating to child protection (safeguarding)

also be published on the school’s website.

and the appointment of staff. As the final

They are certainly published on the

responsibility for the management of a

inspectorate’s website (listed at the end of

school rests with the governing body,

this article). An ISI RCI or FCI report states

the Government needs to be certain

whether the standards are met or not. An

governors understand their responsibilities

ISI EQI report grades the pupil outcomes

in all areas, but, particularly, the safety

using one of four descriptors.

and welfare of pupils. Many schools now have designated governors who monitor

THE ROLE OF GOVERNORS The Government, through the inspectorates, is putting an increasing emphasis on the role of governors in monitoring standards in schools. The 2015 version of the Boarding Standards introduced a new standard: 13.1 The school’s governing body and/or proprietor monitors the effectiveness of the leadership, management and delivery of the boarding and welfare provision in the school, and takes appropriate action where necessary.

the quality of boarding life. They must have a governor designated to monitor safeguarding. These governors spend time in the boarding houses, meet regularly with the designated senior lead (child protection officer) and monitor the effectiveness of the recruitment checks on new staff and the quality of the single central register of staff appointments.

CHILD PROTECTION The safeguarding of pupils is a major responsibility of schools and is rightly given emphasis by schools in their procedures and by the ISI and Ofsted in their reports on boarding welfare. Understandably, parents are often more concerned about a school’s location or examination results, and prospective boarders may be more interested in the quality of the bedrooms or the sports facilities. However, the school’s safeguarding of its boarders should also be high on parents’ and prospective boarders’ list of questions.

There are four key areas in child protection (also known as safeguarding). 1 How can I access the school’s child protection policy? Every school must have a safeguarding (child protection) policy. A review by the full governing body of the school’s child protection policies must take place at least annually, including an update and review of the effectiveness of procedures and their implementation. Schools are also required by the DfE to make this policy freely available to parents and prospective parents on request. If a school has a website, it is required to publish this policy on its website. 2 Who are the school’s child protection officers? The school appoints one or more ‘designated

Photos with kind permission of St John’s College, Southsea

safeguarding leads’ (DSLs) to be child protection officers. Usually there is a lead

child protection policy and is expected to

DSL and one or more deputies. These DSLs

know them and also to know the names and


are required to have training every two

contact details (day and night) of the DSLs.

For the Boarding Schools: National Minimum Standards go to www.

years in child protection and inter-agency working. The DSLs in a school take the

4 What is in the school’s policy

lead responsibility for all child protection

concerning reporting child protection


issues and liaise with the Local Safeguarding

allegations to a local safeguarding


Children Board (LSCB), the Local Authority


Designated Officer (LADO) for safeguarding

It is a requirement that, in any school child

For the ISI Inspection Framework go

and the local Children’s Services Team. The

protection policy, it is stated that a school


names of the bodies carrying out these roles

must communicate readily (in practice,

may vary according to local arrangements

within 24 hours) with a local safeguarding

For Safeguarding Children and Safer

for Safeguarding Partners. The school’s child

agency whenever an allegation or disclosure

Recruitment in Education there are

protection/safeguarding policy should explain

of abuse has been made. It is also a

two government documents:

these arrangements.

requirement to report to the Disclosure

Keeping Children Safe in Education

and Barring Service (DBS) within one month

(KCSIE) (2021)

3 What training do the staff in a school

of leaving the school any person (whether

receive in child protection?

employed, contracted, a volunteer or


The first thing to emphasise is that it is the

student) whose services are no longer used


responsibility of a school to train all its staff. If

because he or she is considered unsuitable

Working Together to Safeguard

a pupil needs to share a confidential matter

to work with children.

Children (WTTSC) (2018)

with an adult, he or she does not necessarily approach a tutor or a teacher. All staff must receive child protection training as part of the induction procedures before they start working in the school. This training must be updated regularly, and the expectation is

BE REASSURED Although abuse incidents are relatively rare, schools have robust policies and procedures for preventing abuse and for dealing with any incidents which are reported to them.

publications/working-togetherto-safeguard-children--2 For ISI reports go to Reports on boarding welfare will

that this is at least annually. Schools consult

only be found on the ISI website

with their LSCB to determine the most

for schools whose boarding

appropriate schedule, level and focus for

provision has been inspected


since September 2011. For reports before that date, please go to the

This training covers the categories of abuse

Ofsted website

(physical, sexual, emotional and neglect), how


to respond to a pupil who discloses abuse to a member of staff, and what actions to follow after a disclosure. Each member of staff is provided with a copy of Keeping Children Safe in Education (Part One) and the school’s

SPRING 2022 / 27


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Ofsted inspection of boarding schools


Much of the material in the previous

More information can be found at:

article Inspections of accredited

independent boarding schools is


relevant to Ofsted’s inspection


of boarding schools and I would recommend reading this article as

Most inspection activity was paused in

well. The material has not been

2020 as a result of COVID-19, but has now

repeated here as it is available on the


previous pages.

The evaluation criteria for Ofsted

In England, Ofsted inspects all state

boarding inspections are used to make a

boarding schools and also those

judgement of the overall experiences and

independent schools not accredited

progress of children, taking into account:

by one of the five independent school associations (GSA, HMC, IAPS, ISA, Society of Heads). Unless a school requires improvement or there are immediate

• •

how well children are helped and protected the effectiveness of leaders and managers.

concerns, Ofsted inspects boarding once in a three-year cycle under the Social Care

Details can be found in the framework

Common Inspection Framework (SCCIF):


boarding schools and residential special schools. This framework came into use

Reports do not comment in any detail on

on 1 April 2017, with minor updates most

the Boarding Schools: National Minimum

recently in November 2021.

Standards (NMS) but will state clearly any which are deemed not to have been met.

Inspections of boarding and education

Schools, and indeed Ofsted, consider

are fundamentally separate processes.

the NMS to be a minimum requirement

However, if the scheduled boarding and

which schools should aim to exceed

education inspections of a school fall


within the same year, Ofsted will try to ensure the two inspections are aligned.

Dale Wilkins Director of Safeguarding, Professional Development and Accreditation, BSA Group

“Reports do not comment in any detail on the Boarding Schools: National Minimum Standards (NMS) but will state clearly any which are deemed not to have been met.”




The education provision at the school

should read the school’s most recent

will be inspected in the same way as it is

reports, available at: https://reports.

at any day school which Ofsted inspects,

other than where it has been possible to


align or integrate the inspections as above. A new framework for inspecting education

Education and boarding reports are usually

provision was launched on 1 September

listed under separate registration numbers.

2019 and can be found at: https://www.

To focus on the boarding element, click on

‘Children’s Social Care’ and then check the


box entitled ‘Residential and boarding’. The


education report can normally be found

As well as giving a judgement on overall

simply by searching under the name of the school.

effectiveness, inspectors will report on:

• • • •

quality of education

There are two government documents

behaviour and attitudes

which relate to safeguarding and safer

personal development


leadership and management.

Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021)

The Ofsted report grades both education


and boarding in four categories:

• • • •





Requires improvement Inadequate.

Dale Wilkins became a boarding tutor at Norwich School in 1987, shortly after taking up a post there as a language teacher. From 1990 to 1992, he and his wife ran a junior girls’ boarding house at Tettenhall College, before moving to Old Swinford Hospital, a state boarding school where Dale was Housemaster of both senior and junior boys’ houses, Director of Boarding, Deputy Head and Designated Safeguarding Lead. From 1998 he was also involved with BSA as a course tutor and in 2002 he was among the first group of boarding inspectors trained to inspect against the then new NMS. Since 2017 he has worked full-time for BSA, originally as Head of Safeguarding and Standards and now, as Director of Safeguarding, Professional Development and Accreditation. Dale lives in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, close to his former school. Dale is also a Deputy District Commissioner for the Scout Association, Chair of Youth Services for the Rotary Club of Stourbridge, and Chair of the Friends of Dudley Performing Arts, the music, art and drama service for schools in Dudley Borough. He enjoys travel (when COVID-19 allows!) and is a former sports coach and referee, who still plays cricket occasionally.

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2020) (WTTSC)

Prospective parents and boarders who are

considering a state boarding school or an


independent school inspected by Ofsted



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The importance of good governance

Graham Able Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus

Many parents do not research closely the composition of the governing board when they are considering a school for their child. Yet the role of governors is critical to the success of a school. In most independent schools, the

are common to most schools – they allow

talent but there should also be some

governing board appoints the Head and

governors with particular expertise to

‘outside’ influence on the board to ensure

will have a major input to the appointment

look and advise in more detail in specialist

it does not become too inward-looking.

of the Bursar or equivalent. These

areas. If the governing body is functioning

appointments are key to the school’s

well, the work of these committees will

The best boards will have defined terms

performance, both academically and in

make full board meetings more focused

which governors may serve and will

terms of financial viability. Prospective

and effective.

take care in succession planning. Most boards are probably too large and, like

parents should satisfy themselves that the school is likely to deliver a good

The range of expertise needed on a

turkeys at Christmas, are disinclined

education appropriate to their child and

governing body will vary a little according

to vote for their own culling. No school

remain financially viable. Governors are

to the type and age-range of school, but all

needs more than 12 governors and 14

also responsible for agreeing the school

schools will need governors with specialist

is certainly too many. The largest boards

budget, determining the salaries of the

knowledge of finance and business, law,

often contain governors nominated by

Head and Bursar and setting fees; this

property, marketing and education. It is

groups associated with the school. These

latter function is of definite interest to

also important for some governors to

nominees may not cover the range of

most parents! In a boarding context, it is

be in touch with the local community.

desired skills so the board has expanded

particularly important to note governors

Whereas it is relevant for prep and senior

in order to address this. Governors

are also ultimately responsible for

schools to have someone with school

must keep up to date with all regulatory

safeguarding and health and safety.

headship experience on the board, a

changes and ensure safeguarding and

senior school will additionally benefit from

health and safety matters are regularly

The nature of governance has changed

a governor with university connections.

addressed. So it is important for governing

considerably over the last 30 years. The

In many boarding schools, one governor

bodies to ensure they receive sufficient

role of governors was once just to appoint

will have a special responsibility for

training where appropriate.

the Head and give general support. They

liaison with the boarding houses, and it is

are now better described as a board of

helpful if this person has some relevant

Governance is judged as part of the

specialist non-executive directors helping

experience of boarding education.

Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) or Ofsted inspection process. Governing

to run a mid-sized company with the Head as chief executive and the Bursar or Business Manager as finance director.

‘CRITICAL FRIENDS’ Governors need to act as ‘critical friends’ to their ‘chief executive’ and to do so effectively they need to be well-informed and with sufficient experience and knowledge between them to ask the right questions and interrogate the responses thoroughly. To monitor the progress of the school, governors need to take time to observe lessons and activities and to attend school functions outside their termly board and committee meetings. They should be visible but careful not to cross the line between non-executive and executive functions. The number of governors’ committees will vary from school to school. Finance, property/ development and academic committees

PARENTS AS GOVERNORS Opinions vary about parents as governors. I have always favoured having a current parent on the board, but one elected by the board for his or her expertise rather than a ‘representative’ parent governor elected by the PTA. The latter approach looks very democratic but tends to produce governors with a specific agenda – and possibly without any of the desired specialist skills – and this may not be in the best interests of the school as a whole. It is important governing boards do not become self-perpetuating oligarchies. There should be clear criteria for the appointment of a new governor and a desired skill set agreed before the board seeks suitable candidates. The alumni and parent (past and present) body will provide a rich source of appropriate

boards which cannot demonstrate a good knowledge of their schools and a proper contribution to strategic decisions are likely to be downgraded and criticised in the inspection report. Most schools now list their governors with details of their specialisms on the school website, so, when considering a school, it is certainly worth taking the time to check their credentials and assess their suitability to govern. Graham Able has spent 40 years in independent schools, the last 22 as Headmaster of Hampton School and then Master of Dulwich College. After retiring from Dulwich he was appointed Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, stepping down from this role in 2014 since when he has been Group Deputy Chairman. Having previously served on the governing bodies of Roedean and Imperial College, he was a governor of Gresham’s School from 2013 to 2020 and is a governor of Beeston Hall, where he was once a pupil and is now Vice-Chairman. A former chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), he has advised governing boards on their structure and effectiveness.






SPRING 2022 / 31

Photo with kind permission of Ludgrove School

Dale Wilkins Director of Safeguarding, Professional Development and Accreditation, BSA Group


At the heart of the Academy offer are

Specific training content is also designed

(BSA) is committed to supporting

core skills for all practitioners, especially

to meet the needs of prep schools, senior

those who are new to boarding, through

schools, state schools, sixth-form boarding

‘Essentials for Boarding’ for teachers,

and international colleges. In 2020 all of

matrons, nurses, gap and graduate

this content was moved online, with the

quality guidance and training that

assistants and secretaries, as well as

immediate advantage that we are now

benefits schools, their staff and,

‘Leading a Boarding Team’, ‘Updates

more accessible than ever to our member

for Governors’, ‘Prep School Issues’ and

schools, both in the UK and internationally.

‘Preparation for Inspection’. In addition, we

A small number of face-to-face events will

offer more specialised seminars on a wide

be reintroduced in 2022.

everyone involved in boarding – adults and children – offering high

perhaps most importantly, the children and young people who board. Our primary objective is to raise professional standards and we have an extensive and diverse continuing professional development (CPD) and training programme through the BSA Academy for all staff working in boarding environments throughout the UK and beyond.

range of specific issues, particularly relating to safeguarding, through both BSA and our

Our work is centred on the requirements

sister organisations, the Safeguarding and

of the relevant Boarding Schools: National

Child Protection Association (Sacpa) and

Minimum Standards (NMS), but these are

the Health in Education Association (Hieda).

only a starting point, with member schools

A number of day conferences are also run

aiming for excellence across a range of key

throughout the year for heads and for other

areas relating to the day-to-day experiences

boarding practitioners, as well as those

of the boarders, and also including

looking at specific issues such as mental

important considerations such as policies,

health, immigration and safeguarding.

procedures and premises. By working

Photo by Bonjour School Photography with kind permission of St Andrew’s Prep


together with colleagues from a wide range of schools, we are better able to help them benchmark their boarding against the expectations across the wider boarding sector, both in the UK and internationally. At the end of 2020, the Department for Education (DfE) opened consultation on its proposed updated NMS. BSA provided extensive feedback on the proposals on behalf of its member schools before the consultation process closed in February 2021. At the time of writing, we have been advised by the DfE that the consultation is still being evaluated, and that the updated NMS will not be introduced until well into 2022. However, we do anticipate additional standards on guardianship and behaviour, and a focus on schools being at least ‘Good’, rather than reaching a ‘minimum’ standard.

the University of Buckingham. An expanding INSET and consultancy programme

Alongside our day conferences and

enables further spread around the UK

seminars, we run an accredited training

and into Europe and beyond. We are

programme, offering certification to

constantly seeking new areas of interest and

boarding practitioners. At its core is the

responding to the needs of the sector. Our

BSA Advanced Certificate Course. Based

safeguarding portfolio continues to grow,

over two years, this course looks more

and we deliver bespoke content focused on

deeply into Pastoral Care (Part 1) and

the boarding environment through webinars

then Boarding Management (Part 2) or

and day seminars. In 2022 we are launching

Health & Development (Part 2), including

a Safeguarding Certificate in conjunction

specialised courses for school nurses and

with Sacpa.

school matrons. The courses are led by the BSA team, supported by very experienced

We also run a guidance helpline, receiving

tutors from member schools and specialist

calls and emails on a wide variety of topics

presenters who cover online safety, mental

from member schools, and helping them

health, strategic management and other

deal with compliance issues and move

issues critical to working in boarding. In

towards best practice. A Member Services

the last few months bespoke certificate

team focuses on ensuring that we are

programmes have been introduced to

best placed to support the whole range

focus on mental health and also on equity,

of members, from schools which are

diversity and inclusion.

exclusively boarding to schools with just a few boarders. This is enhanced by our

We also run the BSA Diploma Course twice a

regional Forum meetings in all parts of the

year for experienced boarding staff, offering

UK and internationally, which have been

further steps towards senior leadership, and

particularly popular while schools have been

the very popular Certificate in International

working remotely, although consultancy and

Boarding. There is also a Masters in

other visits to member schools are also now

Residential Education in conjunction with

beginning again.

Dale Wilkins became a boarding tutor at Norwich School in 1987, shortly after taking up a post there as a language teacher. From 1990 to 1992, he and his wife ran a junior girls’ boarding house at Tettenhall College, before moving to Old Swinford Hospital, a state boarding school where Dale was Housemaster of both senior and junior boys’ houses, Director of Boarding, Deputy Head and Designated Safeguarding Lead. From 1998 he was also involved with BSA as a course tutor and in 2002 he was among the first group of boarding inspectors trained to inspect against the then new NMS. Since 2017 he has worked full-time for BSA, originally as Head of Safeguarding and Standards and now, as Director of Safeguarding, Professional Development and Accreditation. Dale lives in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, close to his former school. Dale is also a Deputy District Commissioner for the Scout Association, Chair of Youth Services for the Rotary Club of Stourbridge, and Chair of the Friends of Dudley Performing Arts, the music, art and drama service for schools in Dudley Borough. He enjoys travel (when COVID-19 allows!) and is a former sports coach and referee, who still plays cricket occasionally.

Adrian Underwood Education Consultant

School visits: questions and answers School visits can take many forms. They can involve meeting the Head or perhaps attending an open day. Whatever the format, the first meeting is crucial so if possible always try to visit a school on a normal day. If it goes well, follow it up with an open day visit. Further visits can then be

prospective boarders and their families and boarders enjoy talking about their school and their house. Here are some useful

boarders should have the opportunity to stay overnight.

The initial look round is absolutely vital. It is where a parent and their child start to assess whether they fit the environment (and whether it fits them). It is where

prospective parents and boarders decide whether they like the location, the ‘buzz’ and the Head. Open days can involve a

talk about the school, usually by the Head,

and the International Baccalaureate,

the boarding school’s website, prospectus

but smaller ones will find this more

and accompanying information did not cover

difficult and expensive. Schools may

everything you wanted.

also offer the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma (being withdrawn from 2023 with a

The list is not exhaustive: use it as a guide

last resit available in June 2024) or the

and adapt the questions to your own

Advanced Diploma. Most schools will be

requirements – you will have to be selective,

attempting to broaden their sixth-form

given the relatively short time available.

curriculum, introducing more skills-

Covered in this list are:

based courses.

• • • • • • •

academic issues rules and regulations boarding life and pastoral care financial issues

and current boarders, and then current boarders lead a tour of the school.

All this should be followed by an opportunity to ask any further questions.

As a prospective parent visiting a boarding

school with your child, you should have the

opportunity to spend time with the Head, a boarding housemaster/housemistress and some boarders. Above all, set out to enjoy your visit. You will find the vast majority of boarding schools enjoy welcoming

Q: How has the school addressed the examination reforms? A: GCSEs and A levels have been reformed

the governing board

introducing linear programmes


with examinations at the end of

after your visit.

two years. The standalone one-year

sometimes hands-on classes for prospective boarders while parents chat to senior staff

curriculum? A: Larger schools may offer both A levels

questions to ask, particularly if you found

Q arranged; for example, potential

Q: How do you organise your 14 to 19

ACADEMIC ISSUES Q: What are the entry requirements? Is our child likely to obtain a place, and when? A: This is a crucial initial administrative matter. Remember the majority of places available will be for the main ages of entry: normally at 7, 8 and 11 for a prep school and at 11, 13 and 16 for a senior school. You need to know whether to have alternative schools lined up, and at what age the school recommends entry and has places available.

AS qualification no longer counts towards the full A level. In the National Curriculum, mathematics focuses on problem solving and mental arithmetic and English on producing good quality written communication and comprehension of a range of texts including those from our English literary heritage. Schools should be able to explain how they have approached these reforms.



Q: Can we see your sixth-form examination

Q: What is the school’s policy on careers

results and GCSE/standard grade results

education and applications to further

to look into the medical and counselling

for the past three years? Also, can we

and higher education, and with which

services available, to discover what happens

see details of the school’s position in the

professions does it have particularly

if serious offences are committed, and to

league tables and the number of places

strong links?

find out on what grounds a pupil may be

obtained at Oxbridge (the Universities

A: Good careers advice is an essential part of

health and safety and disciplinary policies,

temporarily or permanently excluded, and

of Oxford and Cambridge) and at other

education. Providing advice is a crucial role

when this last happened. You should feel


for the school. Careers departments should

matters would be dealt with consistently,

have an established local support network

sympathetically but firmly, and, above all,

caution, as they do not give a rounded

of contacts in the main professions, who


picture of the school’s real success or

are able and willing to pass on the benefits

failure in enabling pupils to reach their full

of their experience. Again, a list of recent

potential. IGCSEs are no longer included in

leavers’ university places will provide a

the UK Government’s school performance

valuable indicator of the school’s strengths

tables and so the tables do not reflect

and successes.

A: League tables need to be treated with

IGCSE performance. The annual tables, or better still the subject and pupil point score averages over the past three years, can be used to identify trends within a school, and most schools accept that these tables are used for obtaining comparisons. All the information should be available in a form

RULES AND REGULATIONS Q: What are the key rules for boarders in the houses? A: A question for the boarding staff, as this is aimed at finding out as much as possible about the regime of the boarding house.

that is understandable and helpful. These, the Oxbridge results and the list of university

Q: What is the weekend programme for

entrants will give you an indication of pupils’

boarders and what activities are on

attainment and progress, particularly with


reference to those at the top of the ability

BOARDING LIFE AND PASTORAL CARE Q: How can I be confident my child’s interests are protected at all times? A: Schools are subject to rigorous child welfare legislation, regulation and inspection, which is entirely right and proper. The interests of the child are at the heart of a boarding education. All schools are required to have a Safeguarding (Child Protection) Policy and all staff should receive regular training in safeguarding. The school’s latest ISI or Ofsted report should provide further details.

A: A question for the boarding staff, as this is

Q: How does the school work with children who are shunned by their peers? A: The school should be able to identify these

range and will illustrate the school’s success

aimed at finding out as much as possible

children at a very early stage. Schools

at helping pupils realise their academic

about what boarders can do at weekends

should explain the measures they take to

potential. Please note that during the

and the school’s ability to offer wider

deal with this. Schools should provide high

COVID-19 pandemic, schools marked the

cultural and social opportunities for its

quality pastoral care and support to all

public examinations in 2020 and 2021 and

boarders. If the school does not have lessons


then these results were moderated by the

on Saturday morning and does not have a

examination boards. This means there is

co-curricular programme on a Saturday, it

no national data for public examinations in

is important to find out what the boarding

2020 and 2021.

programme is from Friday after school until

Q: How does the school approach

many problems immediately. Knowing

staying in the house over a typical weekend.

who that is and developing confidence in

& and information and communication

technology (ICT) for the most and least able students?

see if there is a problem? A: The right member of staff can deal with

Sunday evening. Also, do ask about numbers the teaching of English, sciences,

mathematics, modern languages,

Q: Who is the first staff member we should

Q: What is the school’s policy on use of the internet and mobile phones?

A: You should feel confident the school has

them is very important. Most boarding schools have very good pastoral care and counselling systems and knowing how these operate is very important. This question will

realistic and sensible policies in place to

also allow parents to find out how well the

monitor internet usage. Similarly, mobile

school communicates with parents, and

be at either end of the ability range. It is

phones can be useful, not least as a means

what opportunities there are for visits to the

important to know how a school responds

of keeping in touch with parents, so long as

school to meet your child’s housemaster/

to individual abilities and needs. It is also

rules on their use and security are in place

housemistress, teachers and other parents.

important to find out how subjects fit into

and put into practice. Also, find out whether

a broad, well-balanced curriculum, and

boarders must hand in their devices when

Q: What are the bathroom facilities like?

how essential study skills, particularly in

they go to bed to ensure good sleep routines.

A: Boarding house bathrooms range from

A: These are key subjects, and your child could

information and communication technology (ICT), are being developed and integrated.

Q: Our child has a particular interest in

sport/music/drama/art. How will the school get the best out of them?

A: This question is aimed at finding out which

Q: What are the school’s policies on

individual ensuite arrangements to communal shower areas with private shower

alcohol, drugs and smoking? Is the

cubicles. You should be satisfied that the

school facing any particular problems in

showers offer personal privacy.

any of these areas at present?

A: Every boarding school will have policies in place to cover these matters. The real issue

co-curricular activities are offered, and how

is how they are dealt with, and whether

the school encourages participation in them.

the individuals concerned learn from their

Ask about the activities that interest your

mistakes. This is a chance to consider

child most, or in which your child has a

the school’s personal, social, health and

particular talent.

economic education (PSHE) programme, its

Q: Do boarders have access to communication platforms? A: These platforms provide a very cost-effective method of keeping in touch with your child. You may want to ask how access to platforms is monitored. Q: How good is the catering? Do the boarders have an input into the choice of menu offered? A: These are really questions for the boarder showing you around. The general standard of school catering nowadays, though, is remarkably high and schools are far more conscious of the need to maintain healthy diets. On an overnight taster stay, your child will be able to assess the quality of the food. If there is a Food Committee, you can ask how often it meets and to see some of the minutes/action points. Q: What medical arrangements are in place?

THE GOVERNING BOARD Q: What is the role of the school’s governors? A: School governors have the ultimate responsibility for all aspects of the school. Although they may delegate the day-to-day operations to senior leaders of the school (for example, the Bursar and finance team usually manage financial matters), in law the governors are regarded as having overall accountability for the management of the school. This is why most governing bodies have sub-committees to monitor specific areas of the school. The most common of these committees are education, finance, welfare and health and safety. Governing bodies may also have committees for boarding, governor succession, investments and audit. If a school is a member of an academy, it will have a Local Governing Body (LGB). In this case some of the functions of governance will be carried out centrally by the Trust.

A: Obviously, it is important to know what happens in the case of either illness or an

Governing bodies are also required

emergency or accident. Schools should

to monitor all policies (and their

inform you about the medical staff and the

implementation) in regard to the National

facilities. It is also wise to check on insurance

Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools

arrangements, particularly for sporting fixtures,

(NMS) and, additionally for independent

expeditions and trips, both at home and

schools, the Independent Schools’


Standards Regulations. Governing bodies

AFTER YOUR VISIT After your visit, try to discuss with your child your thoughts about the people you met, what you were told and what you saw. Then ask yourself a number of follow-up questions: • What views did you form of the Head? Why? • What sort of leadership was provided? • How did the aims and objectives of the boarding school appear in practice? • Was there a good rapport between pupils and staff and boarders and the boarding house staff? • How was the eye-to-eye contact? • Were the boarders well-mannered and enthusiastic about their house/school? • Did the school have policies, procedures and rules to make it a civilised and caring community? • Were the staff communicative and did they enjoy their teaching? Did they have control of their classes? What contribution did they make to the life of the school outside the classroom? • Were the buildings and the grounds wellmaintained? • Was there a generally positive atmosphere about the community? • Finally, and crucially, will the school meet your child’s needs and will your child be happy there?

increasingly delegate governors to monitor


specific areas of the school. It is common

Over the years I have advised many friends and

to have a Safeguarding (Child Protection)

acquaintances on choosing a boarding school.

Governor, a Staff Appointments Governor, a

The key message is to listen to your child’s

school life. While not every pupil may be

Boarding Governor and a Health and Safety

views. Despite what the media still write, very

expected to participate fully, a great deal


few children are ‘sent to boarding school’. It is a

Q: How important is the role of chapel in school life? A: The chapel may be central to the boarding

can be achieved through chapel, most

child’s choice to be a boarder and they should

notably its important role in SMSC (spiritual,

Governors give their time and specialist

have a big input into the choice of school. By

moral, social and cultural) education and,

expertise voluntarily and a good rapport

all means ensure that the chosen school could

particularly, in helping to develop pupils’

between governors and the Head and

support your child in developing their particular

life skills and a sense of care, concern and

the senior management team is essential

skills. Just because your great friends have

respect for others in the whole community.

for a well-run school. When inspecting

agreed on a boarding school for their child,

governance, inspectors will expect governors

that does not mean it is necessarily right for

to know the school well and have strategies

your child. The greatest mistake I have seen in

for understanding the school beyond

terms of the choice of boarding school is when a

reading reports from senior leaders.

parent is fixated on a particular school and does

A FINANCIAL ISSUES Q: What extras can we expect to pay? A: Extras vary according to a child’s co-curricular involvement. The Head and school prospectus should make it clear at the outset what additional expenses can be expected. There is normally no reduction in fees for periods of study leave, but there is no compulsion for a boarder to be at home for study leave.

Q: How do you finance capital expenditure and what are your development plans?

A: Schools need to keep pace with national developments in education, so capital

projects will always be on the agenda. Some of these may be funded by donations or an appeal. Others may come out of fees. The Head should be open about future plans and financing options.

COVID-19 Boarding schools have worked extremely hard to protect boarders in their schools. Parents can access the latest COVID-19 information issued by the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) at

not consider their child’s needs. Adrian Underwood’s career has been in boarding education for over 50 years since 1971 when he was appointed a housemaster and head of department. From 1975 to 1997 he was headmaster of a boarding and day school. In 1998 Adrian became National Director of the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA). He watched over the Association’s development into the world’s foremost boarding association, pioneering a professional development programme for boarding staff. He was appointed OBE in 2007 for services to education. For 15 years he was a lead inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate and the Education Development Trust. He now lives on the North Norfolk coast and is a governor of Wymondham College and a trustee of the Sapientia Education Trust.




in our schools Graham Able Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus

Faith schools have often been – and

Many faith schools are very popular with

and a strong tradition for attracting Jewish

continue to be – controversial. People

parents from other persuasions. The

students. Many pupils transferred to Clifton

opposing faith schools express concerns

strong moral principles on which most

when Carmel College, a Jewish foundation,

about the possible indoctrination of

faith schools are based inculcate the good

closed in 1997 following the demise of the

developing minds whereas supporters

behavioural outcomes and disciplined

Government Assisted Places scheme on

point to the strong moral compass they

approach to learning which coincide with

which it was heavily reliant. Several boarding

provide in a world which provides so

the expectations of most parents. Those

faith schools based on the Islamic tradition

many temptations and distractions for

maintained primary schools with Catholic or

have been developed over the last 20 years

young people.

Anglican Church governance are the most

and this provision is likely to expand.

popular among parents of different faiths –

It is important to distinguish between

sometimes to the extent of real or apparent

The independent sector is very much about

majority faith schools where the curricular

sudden parental conversions in order to

parental choice. Faith schools widen that

offering is very much mainstream and the

improve the child’s chances of a place! The

choice and can cater for parents who want

very small minority of establishments where

balance between strong principles and

their children’s education to reflect their own

the curriculum is substantially reduced or

indoctrination is important, however, and is

faiths as well as parents who feel that a faith

distorted for doctrinal reasons. Our focus in

an area where most good faith schools show

school will help to provide a stronger moral

this Guide is very much on the former and

respect for and tolerance of the views of

compass. The variety of faiths represented

these include many well-regarded and well-

families from a variety of faith backgrounds.

and the differential contributions which

established schools.

faith makes in the modern lives of each

The range of faith schools in the boarding

school allows most parents to find a school

There is a wide range of schools with

sector is extensive and reflects the role of

well-suited to their child and the family as a

affiliations to faiths. Some of our oldest

various faiths in the founding of schools


established boarding schools were originally

across many years. Within the Christian faith,

founded as Christian institutions but not

there are Catholic schools such as Prior Park

all have retained such a strong religious

and Stoneyhurst, Anglican schools of varying

tradition. Dulwich College is a good example

churchmanship such as the Woodard group

– it remains a Christian foundation with an

(high church Victorian foundations including

Anglican Chaplain and an honorary Catholic

Lancing and Worksop) and those of a more

Chaplain but with no chapel on its campus

Protestant tradition such as Rugby. There

since it moved location in 1874 and no

is a strong Methodist group (including Kent

requirement on any of its pupils to attend

College and Ashville College) and several

any overtly religious gathering. It caters for

well-established Quaker foundations such

the needs of a multi-faith student body with

as Leighton Park. Caterham School was

visiting Imams and Rabbis and provides

originally established to educate the sons

for meetings of Hindus and Sikhs. Other

of Congregationalist ministers although it is

schools such as Christ’s Hospital (Anglican)

now a mainstream co-educational boarding

and Prior Park (Catholic) maintain strong


allegiance to their founding traditions, although they are very much open to those

Clifton College, a Christian foundation, had a

of other – or no – faiths.

Jewish boarding house for many years

Graham Able has spent 40 years in independent schools, the last 22 as Headmaster of Hampton School and then Master of Dulwich College. After retiring from Dulwich he was appointed Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, stepping down from this role in 2014 since when he has been Group Deputy Chairman. Having previously served on the governing bodies of Roedean and Imperial College, he was a governor of Gresham’s School from 2013 to 2020 and is a governor of Beeston Hall, where he was once a pupil and is now Vice-Chairman. A former chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), he has advised governing boards on their structure and effectiveness.

Specialist schools – arts, drama, music The specialist schools programme is a UK government initiative that encourages secondary schools in England to specialise in certain areas of the curriculum to boost achievement. The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust is responsible for the programme. Currently there are nearly 3,000 specialist schools, or 88 per cent of the state-funded secondary schools in England. In the independent sector the term ‘specialist’ tends to focus more on developing outstanding talents mainly in a range of co-curricular activities such as drama, music and the arts. The principal independent boarding schools in music, dance and drama are covered below.

MUSIC AND DANCE The Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) is a government-funded scheme to provide support for talented musicians and dancers. You can find out more at There are eight MDS specialist independent schools throughout the UK, committed to the highest teaching standards in music and dance, alongside an excellent academic education. MDS schools are listed below. MUSIC AND DANCE SCHEME SCHOOLS Music boarding schools Chetham’s School of Music The Purcell School for Young Musicians Wells Cathedral School Yehudi Menuhin School

Dance boarding schools Elmhurst School of Dance The Hammond School The Royal Ballet School Tring Park School for the Performing Arts


CHOIR SCHOOLS The Choir Schools’ Association (CSA) represents 44 schools attached to cathedrals, churches and college chapels around the country. Pupils have unlimited access to first-class schooling and musical training, giving them an excellent start in life. More than 1,200 of the 21,500 boys and girls in choir schools are choristers. Some CSA schools take children from 7 to 13; others are junior schools with senior schools to 18. The majority are Church of England foundations, but the Roman Catholic, Scottish and Welsh churches are all represented. The majority are fee paying, with nine out of ten choristers qualifying for financial help with fees from the school or through the Government’s Choir Schools’ Scholarship Scheme. To find out more, go to Choristers at about 20 choir schools are day pupils. These days only a dozen or so require all choristers to board. Others offer the choice if parents can demonstrate they can get their children to and from school in time for choir practice and services. The choir schools offering boarding are listed in the table below. CHOIR SCHOOLS OFFERING BOARDING School




Northern England The Chorister School Durham Lincoln Minster Prep School Lincoln Chetham’s School Manchester Ampleforth College York St James’ School Grimsby

Central England Dean Close Preparatory School Cheltenham Hereford Cathedral School Hereford Lichfield Cathedral School Lichfield Christ Church Cathedral School Oxford Magdalen College School Oxford St George’s School Windsor

London St Paul’s Cathedral School London Westminster Abbey Choir School London Westminster Cathedral Choir School London

Eastern England King’s College School Cambridge St John’s College School Cambridge King’s Ely Ely

Southern England St Edmund’s School Canterbury The Prebendal School Chichester The Cathedral School Exeter King’s Rochester Preparatory School Rochester Salisbury Salisbury Cathedral School Polwhele House School Truro Wells Cathedral School Wells The Pilgrims’ School Winchester

Wales The Cathedral School Llandaff


Queen Victoria School, Dunblane (Scotland)

Q Queen Victoria School is a boarding school which is funded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide for the children of UK Armed Forces families. Parents do not pay fees as such and many costs are covered by the MoD. However, parents are asked to make a termly contribution to support the smooth running of the school.

Donald Shaw Headmaster, Queen Victoria School, Dunblane

a variety of locations, so coming to QVS

Drumming and Dancing are a major

provides a wonderful, stable and secure

part of our school and we show off our

place of education.

skills on those areas on our six Parade Sundays a year, and on Grand Day – the

Games and outdoor activities are

final day of the academic year – which

important parts of life at QVS. Rugby and

is one of the proudest moments of a

hockey are the main sports. We have

Victorian’s life. The Pipes, Drums and

a beautiful setting in some 45 acres of

Dancers of QVS are internationally

countryside on the edge of Dunblane,

renowned, playing at tattoos both at

We tend to cater for families who are

much of which is given over to games

home and abroad, and they are regular

Scottish, are serving in Scotland or

pitches and recreational areas. The Duke

successful competitors in many Pipe

who have served in Scotland. Retired

of Edinburgh’s Award is pursued at all

Band events around the country.

personnel are also eligible to apply for

three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold.

a place for their children but priority is

If you meet the criteria and you think

Academically, the school regularly

your child would thrive at QVS, a visit is

achieves pass rates at National 5

the best way to experience what we can

If your child comes to QVS, he or she

and Higher which are well above the

offer. Open Day is in September every

will be joining a supportive ‘family’

Scottish national averages. Some

year and any enquiries can be sent to

community, where pastoral care and

Advanced Highers are offered in S6

academic excellence are at the heart of

and numbers are increasing with each

For more information go to

all that we do.

year. We are also now starting to offer

given to actively serving personnel.

more vocational subjects such as


photography, woodwork and metalwork,

QVS is co-educational and tri-Service.

and employability. As an academically

Our main intake is in Primary 7, which

non-selective school, we strive to cater

is broadly the same as Year 6 in the

for the needs of every individual.

along with subjects such as enterprise

English system. Many of our pupils have come from educationally disrupted

The ceremonial aspects of school life

backgrounds, caused by moving from

are central to becoming a ‘Victorian’,

school to school as parents are posted to

as our pupils are known. Drill, Piping,

Donald Shaw began his teaching career at Inveralmond Community High School in Livingston, West Lothian, where he was promoted to Principal Teacher of Mathematics with whole-school responsibility for raising attainment. In 2006, he moved to the post of Head of Mathematics at QVS and in 2012 he became Senior and Academic Deputy Head. He was appointed as Headmaster in 2016. In his spare time he is a keen runner, cyclist and hill walker.

The Duke of York’s Royal Military School Alex Foreman Principal, The Duke of York’s Royal Military School The Duke of York’s Royal Military

feedback, with GCSE Dance and BTEC

Combined Cadet Force (CCF) continue

School is the only state full

Engineering recently being added to the

to play a leading role in the lives of

boarding school in the country for

qualifications offered.

all pupils. Co-curricular opportunities

pupils aged 11 to 18. Located in Dover, Kent the school is an ideal choice for those living in the UK and Europe due to its proximity to the ferry port and Eurotunnel, and an hour’s train journey from London St Pancras. Set in 150 acres of Kent countryside, your son or daughter will feel safe and secure in the close-knit Dukie community.

EXCELLENT RESULTS The school provides an all-round education with a strong academic focus and it was awarded The Schools Network (SSAT) Educational Outcomes Award in 2020. The curriculum is constantly under review and staff respond positively to pupil

include over 70 clubs and activities per

WELLBEING AND PASTORAL CARE By choosing to live and study here, your child is choosing to become part of a very special community. It’s extremely important to staff that pupils enjoy boarding and are able to forge strong friendships. Experienced housemasters and housemistresses offer excellent pastoral care and support, alongside an in-house team of tutors, pastoral leaders and housekeepers. It’s a busy and vibrant place, especially on weekends, with various activities and trips on offer. MANY OPPORTUNITIES A good school is about much more than what is learnt in the classroom – sports, outdoor activities, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and the

week such as Chapel choir, fencing, horse riding and trampolining, while all the key sports are played here including rugby, netball, hockey, cricket and athletics. The school continues to work in partnership with a range of different schools locally, nationally and internationally.

£24.9 MILLION INVESTMENT A £24.9 million build and refurbishment project in 2015 included a new sports centre, accommodation and teaching blocks and a performing arts centre. Our facilities include an indoor heated swimming pool, athletics track, assault course, astroturf area, squash courts and gym.


BOARDING FEES As DOYRMS is a UK state boarding school, the state pays for the education leaving annual boarding fees of £15,498 (£5,166 per term) from September 2021. The fee includes full boarding, catering, laundry and clubs and activities. Armed Forces families eligible for CEA pay a parental contribution of just 8 per cent of the fee (£1,240 per annum), which is only available at state boarding schools such as ours. The school also offers 80 per cent academic scholarships into sixth form for pupils who gain at least eight GCSE passes including English and Mathematics, with grade 8 or above in at least two GCSEs and grade 7 or above in a further three GCSEs.

WHY CHOOSE US? •3 Leaders and managers rated Outstanding by Ofsted, and the school rated Good overall. •3 GCSE results significantly above the national average. •3 Every pupil is encouraged to achieve their potential in a supportive community. •3 Military ethos helps develop character and lifeskills. •3 Your child will enjoy an independent school lifestyle with sport, music, drama and CCF. •3 Your child’s laundry, meals and boarding fees are all covered in our yearly charge.

APPLICATIONS All 11 to 18 year olds (from both serving and non-serving backgrounds) can join the school in any year group and applications are welcome throughout the year. The school is non-selective, but all pupils are invited to a ‘suitability for boarding’ interview. However, the sixth form is selective and entry is based on a minimum GCSE requirement. We encourage you to visit this extraordinary school and we look forward to welcoming you. For more information, contact or go to our website

Alex gained his Theology & Philosophy degree from Surrey University, initially teaching PE and Religious Education at Uppingham School in Rutland. He became Head of Year at an all-boys Leicester city comprehensive and then went on to become Assistant Headteacher and later Headteacher, at King’s School, an MoD school based in Germany. Alex joined the Duke of York’s Royal Military School in 2017. He has an indestructible attachment to Leicester Tigers and highlights of the year are playing the pupils’ First XIs at cricket and hockey, where he still thinks ‘he’s got it!’.

The Royal Hospital School reinforces a valuesdriven education The Royal Hospital School was established by Royal Charter in 1712 with a remit to ‘improve navigation’ through education. By the late nineteenth century, it had become affectionately known as the ‘cradle of the navy’ as it prepared boys for a life at sea, many of whom went on to become explorers and pioneers of their time.

Simon Lockyer Headmaster, Royal Hospital School, Holbrook

Just over 300 years later, discovery,

awareness and their sense of British

young people to have the courage

exploration and challenge continue

values is highly tuned as a direct result

and commitment to be ambitious for

to shape the ethos of the school, and

of the school’s links with the Royal Navy’.

their futures, whichever path they choose. Everyone can achieve the

we place great importance on the traditional values of loyalty, commitment,

The RHS of today is a modern, forward-

most exceptional things but we are all

courage, respect, service and integrity.

looking school for around 750 boys and

different. That is why we should focus

The school’s most recent Independent

girls aged between 11 and 18 years

on the individual, getting to know each

Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report states:

from a wide range of backgrounds. I

and every one of our pupils and finding

‘Pupils show strong moral and social

believe that it is important to inspire

out what motivates them.


As teachers, we should challenge pupils

involvement in the Combined Cadet

To find out more about the school

of all academic abilities, steering them to

Force (CCF), Model United Nations,

contact the Registrar on

look beyond the moment, and beyond

public speaking and debating, the Duke

01473 326136 or

the confines of the classroom, and to

of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), the Devizes

approach life with an open and receptive

to Westminster canoe marathon, drama

mind. It is through thinking creativity

and playing in musical performances,

and taking initiative that they learn to

Tall Ships voyages or overseas

establish, and work towards, their own

volunteering. Whatever they choose, we

personal goals. By understanding a

should provide a safe environment in

young person’s strengths, and what he

which young people can step outside

or she might find more difficult, we can

their comfort zones, learn to take risks,

help them to make the right choices at

foster self-belief and self-awareness

the right time, navigating them through

and develop skills such as collaboration,

their critical, formative years and

initiative and resilience.

ensuring their education becomes the foundation for happiness and success.

It is this unique blend of a values-driven education with the focus on individual

Schools like RHS can provide this

challenge and guidance that enables

challenge both inside and outside of

pupils at the Royal Hospital School

the classroom through the breadth of

to develop into self-reliant, socially

opportunity. This may be through the

responsible adults with enviable open-

curriculum and academic enrichment

mindedness and resilience, so sought

programmes but equally though

after by employers and important in life.

Simon Lockyer has been Headmaster of the Royal Hospital School since 2016. He was previously Second Master at Portsmouth Grammar School and before that a Housemaster and Head of Department at Wellington College. He studied Microbiology at the University of Newcastle, completed his PGCE at the University of Cambridge and gained a Masters in Educational Leadership at the University of Buckingham. He is the son of a Royal Naval officer and was educated at Blundell’s School. His interests include running, kayaking, natural history and island destinations. He is married to Abigail and has three children.

Boarding at Gordon’s School Gordon’s School is the national monument to General Charles Gordon, a British war hero, philanthropist and martyr. It was built by public subscription more than 100 years ago at the insistence of Queen Victoria, who become the first in an unbroken line of sovereign patrons.

Andrew Moss Headmaster, Gordon’s School

Originally opened as a home for

debating, public speaking, dance, sport

house competitions in sport, the arts,

‘necessitous boys’, today Gordon’s is a

and as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

cooking, debating – even marching

successful non-selective, co-educational,

(DofE) and Combined Cadet Force (CCF).

– are enthusiastically contested with everyone encouraged to ‘have a go’.

day and residential state boarding school. The school is set in 50 acres of

The original Gordon Boys’ Home was

Underpinning any participation is

countryside in Surrey and is listed as

run along military lines. This is continued

that high performance without good

one of the UK’s outstanding schools by

today with marching, parades and

character is not true success. These

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector.

Pipes and Drums. Dressed in their

inter-house competitions, together with

ceremonial Blues uniform, the pupils

competitive sport against other schools

While the school embraces modern

parade around eight times a year. We

and participation in DofE or CCF, take

ideas, General Gordon’s legacy of

are the only school permitted to march

pupils out of their comfort zone. Taking

traditional values remain – improving the

along Whitehall and pupils carry out

part builds pupils’ confidence and allows

lives of others and championing those

this annual tradition in remembrance of

them to develop new skills as well as

less advantaged. As a school we strive

General Gordon with pride.

leadership, perseverance, endurance, teamwork and problem-solving ability –

to be one of the finest in the world, not just for our achievements, but for the calibre of young people we develop – the progress they make, the lives they lead and the difference they make to the lives of others. Our sixth-form pupils achieve three or more A levels, with 95 per cent of entries graded A* to C, putting the school in the top 1 per cent nationally for academic achievement at A levels. But we also have successes in drama, the arts,

PREPARATION FOR LIFE General Gordon’s life as a philanthropist, leader, scholar, adventurer and soldier is at the heart of our traditional character values of courtesy, integrity, diligence, enthusiasm and resilience. We strive for more than the best possible examination results – we also want to give our pupils an amazing preparation for life. The emphasis is on working as a team and putting back. Each pupil is assigned a house and the inter-

all necessary qualities for their adult life. Around half the school’s residential boarders are from Service families, attracted by the location and the school’s understanding of military life. Military families are given priority for places and counsellors and tutors work to plug any gaps in their education. Residential boarders coming into the school aged 11 are housed together in a bespoke boarding house for a year


before joining their senior boarding houses. Houseparents have considerable experience of caring for children from military families and pupils from similar backgrounds. All pupils benefit from an extended school day, with day pupils staying for supper and prep with boarders. Charges are kept to a minimum, with boarding fees from £6,074 a term (a little over £1,500 a year with Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA)). Bursaries and scholarships in sport and the arts are also available. As we recover from a global pandemic, there has never been a more important time to reconnect with General Gordon’s legacy and reimagine what we can and should try to achieve. My vision is for the national memorial to General Gordon to be a force for a more caring and just world, in which there is more equality of opportunity and individuals have equal chances based not on privilege but on how hard they work for themselves and others.

Andrew Moss has been Headmaster of Gordon’s School since 2010. He started teaching in 1992 and has worked in a variety of boarding and day schools, including most recently a headship in a Cognita independent school. Before that he was a Deputy Head in Hampshire and Director of Studies and Housemaster at Wymondham College (also a state boarding school).


What provision do state boarding schools make for the needs of children from Service families State boarding is said to be one of the best kept secrets in education. I am happy to say it provides a viable, cost-effective and worthy alternative to boarding in the independent sector. At the moment there are 38 maintained or state-funded boarding schools which offer a diverse range of high quality educational experiences. The state boarding system is unique in that you only pay for the boarding element of school life with the only criteria being that you must be eligible for a British state-funded education. Boarding in a state boarding school is highly cost-effective, with parents paying between £10,000 and £17,000 a year for a state boarding school place with the average being £12,000. In addition, members of the Armed Forces can apply for a number of allowances to support their children in education. One of these is the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) supported by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Helen Barton Headmistress, St George’s School PRIME LOCATIONS As well as affordability, many Service parents want to take advantage of the prime locations many state boarding schools occupy. You may want proximity to guardians or other family members or to be near major transport hubs. You may want a school that shares the ethos and values that you have as a family. Perhaps most importantly, you will want your child to experience an environment that is either close to Service establishment or has a deep knowledge and understanding of the unique demands placed on, and experienced by, Forces families. In this kind of environment a child from a Service family can feel comfortable, supported, happy and ultimately thrive. Whatever your needs as a family, the one thing guaranteed with a boarding education is stability and for many Service families this is one of the most significant aspects of boarding.

Many state boarding schools are

among the highest-performing schools

in the country judging by the raw score of GCSE and A-level results, Average

Point Scores and even the percentage of pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate. These are important measures but state boarding offers so much more than excellent academic results. The very nature of boarding creates an environment where young people are encouraged to grow into independence, have the opportunity to experience activities beyond the classroom and develop social and mental resilience that will allow them to not only survive in the world but to thrive. At St George’s we offer an exceptional level of pastoral care – a wide range of diverse activities and facilities as well as good quality accommodation.


PERFECT FIT I am sure that within our family of state boarding schools you will find one that is the perfect fit for your needs. We do not see ourselves as being in competition with each other and in fact, if we believe your child would be better served by another state boarding school, we may be bold enough to say so! Our aim is not to fill our own beds at any cost, but to ensure we provide a bespoke service to Forces and other families in finding the right school for your child at the right time. I am happy to say there is no ‘catch’ when it comes to state boarding!

mixed boarding school in Europe. We

This article may be your first contact

have school locations that suit those

with the idea of state boarding and I am

looking for an urban setting, those who

hoping I will have piqued your interest to

prefer semi-rural small town living, and

find out more. You can find details of all

those who like to experience a more

state boarding schools at the BSA State

rural location. We are confident you

Boarding Forum (SBF) website at

will find a school to suit your needs. Here

Boarding offers a unique experience for

you will find a wealth of information

young people. It enables them to learn

about our individual family members

to live with and work alongside others.

and contact details for each school. I

We aim to engender a common ethos

encourage you to visit – you may be very

of respect, personal responsibility and

pleasantly surprised by what you find.

care for others. We may not be able to

We look forward to welcoming you in the

match the facilities that many boarding

near future.

schools in the independent sector can The opportunity to take advantage of

boast, but what we lack in state-of-the-

excellent facilities, great accommodation

art buildings we make up for in the high

and the experience of great teaching

level of individual care, stability and

and learning has always meant that

encouragement that we provide for

demand for places at state boarding

pupils. We consider these to be essential

schools has been high. In order to meet

ingredients in allowing young people to

that need the state boarding sector

grow, mature and be equipped for the

has been experiencing expansion

adult world ahead.

in recent years. New schools have been established and existing schools have expanded the number of places they can offer. The diversity of choice within the sector has increased with schools representing single-sex education, grammar schools, mixed comprehensives, specialist schools for rural studies, as well as the largest

Helen Barton has previously worked in an independent day and boarding school in Bedford and in state sector schools in Stevenage and Luton. Before teaching she was training to be an accountant at one of the large power companies in London.

Will Chuter Head, Cranbrook School

The benefits of state boarding If you are looking for affordable boarding and a cracking all-round education for your children, you need look no further than this small group of effective and indeed, cost-effective schools. Put simply, parents of children at state boarding schools pay only for the boarding fee – broadly £11,000 to £17,000 per year – receiving in return a topflight education and boarding experience.

Boarding in state schools is treasured

co-curricular activities than their day

as a distinct and special part of what we

counterparts. It is typical to find a thriving

offer. The quality of accommodation in

CCF and a popular Duke of Edinburgh’s

Cranbrook’s six boarding houses matches

Award scheme, both providing

what I have experienced in some of the

outstanding opportunities for personal

nation’s very best independent boarding

and leadership development. These

schools. Equally, the pastoral care from

are usually combined with rich musical,

resident and visiting staff is excellent

theatrical and sporting programmes

– the team is as dedicated and skilled

that give the whole school a constant

as any I have worked with. This is all

buzz. Consequently, facilities have to

underpinned by a strong House identity –

be excellent. At Cranbrook, we have

at Cranbrook, a pupil’s own House is the

a performing arts centre, sports hall,

best in school, and for me this has always

astroturf, theatre, swimming pool, 70

been the litmus test for a successful

acres of sports pitches, and much more.

boarding culture. State boarding schools cater for the

CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES Happy boarders are usually busy boarders, and state boarding schools tend to offer a far wider array of

needs and interests of every child. Weekends are full and there are many opportunities for trips, socialising and fun. Lifelong memories and friendships


are made. The boarding community in

them to develop effective study habits and

a state boarding school is diverse, with

use of prep time. Outstanding tutoring

British boarders making friends for life

in the House itself by members of staff

with overseas boarders, as well as with the

who know and understand their charges

local day pupil population. This, combined

well supports this. For higher education,

with relative freedom from their parents

selective state boarding schools will

for days or weeks at a time, allows pupils

regularly field large numbers of serious

to build the resilience and independence

contenders each year for Oxbridge and

they need to become healthy and happy

medical, veterinary and dentistry schools

young adults. Character education has

and other leading universities in the Sutton

always been at the heart of state boarding.

Trust 13 or Russell Group.

ADDING VALUE TO ACADEMIC PROGRESS Boarding also develops pupils who are fulfilled and successful in their work, and it has been shown to add value to academic progress. This is almost certainly because we have more time with our boarders than our day pupils and can work longer with

One of the best ways to find out about state boarding is to go to the BSA State Boarding Forum’s website at Or why not come and find out for yourselves! We are extremely proud of our pupils and what we have to offer and would love to meet you.

Will Chuter went to Cranbrook School before reading Ancient History at Durham University and training as a Classics teacher at King’s College London. He caught the boarding bug as Head of Classics and Housemaster at Uppingham School, then went on to lead boarding as Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Gresham’s School. He has been Head of Cranbrook School since 2021.

Boarding at a state prep school

James Malley Headteacher, Royal Alexandra and Albert School

In addition to the outstanding academic achievements and the best educational outcomes which every parent hopes for, there are other fundamentals of education that each school wishes to engender in its pupils. For me, it is important that my school promotes character education and encourages pupils to embody characteristics such as kindness, generosity, acceptance, tolerance and independence. These characteristics are in fact soft skills, the building blocks that make a child – a person – emotionally intelligent. They are vital to strong relationships, successful careers and fulfilling lives. Like most things, the earlier a skill is learned, the earlier it is mastered. This is not only true of practical skills. Skills or personality traits such as For parents considering a boarding

Boarding provided this but of course

kindness and tolerance can be taught and

education timing is crucial. Should they

enabled so much more too. My time at

learned. A boarding environment promotes

enrol their child in boarding when they

school shaped who I am today. I am so

this. Boarding at a state prep school gives

are seven years old or 11 or maybe 13?

grateful I was able to have the opportunities

children an early start in learning these

Perhaps only for GCSEs or A levels? The

that brilliant and caring teachers provided.

skills in an environment that is often more

answer is not a straightforward one.

Now, in my role as Headteacher of Royal

reflective of real-world diversities.

Alexandra and Albert School, a state My background is similar to many pupils at

boarding school for pupils aged seven

Boarding houses are often melting-pots of

my school. My father was in the Navy and

to 18, I meet parents who ask the same

cultures and backgrounds, with each child

from 11 years old until my A levels, I was

question that I’m sure my parents asked:

bringing their own special traditions, ideas

myself a boarder. In 1983, when I arrived

When is the right time?

and beliefs. Friends and peers are always there for you, along with houseparents and

at school with my brothers, the Falklands War was a recent event and the Cold War

Aside from selecting a school, the

other pastoral staff. Pupils need to learn

was still in full swing. My parents faced the

decision of when a child should board

soft skills to navigate and negotiate the

same challenges that Forces families face

is of significant importance. There are

often tricky world of personal relationships.

today, and have always faced, in terms of

many factors to consider, but I would urge

From a multitude of small everyday

providing the three of us with the routines

parents to think of one key but sometimes

boarding experiences children learn

and solid foundations that children need.

overlooked area of education when making

kindness, generosity, acceptance, tolerance

this decision: character development.

and independence.


Children who join a boarding community at prep school age have more opportunity and time to learn and exercise these positive skills. By the end of their educational and boarding journeys, these soft skills will hopefully have become ingrained personality traits and will hold them in good stead throughout their adult lives. State prep schools offer outstanding character development, as well as academic excellence and continuity of education, to families at a much more affordable cost. The care and dedication shown by colleagues to pupil development is of the very highest standard. So, when is the right time for a child to board? Ultimately, every parent must reflect on their child’s individual personality and their own family circumstances before arriving at a decision. I am certain, however, that at whatever age a child joins a community at a state boarding school they will have some of the best and most meaningful experiences that education can offer.

James Malley has worked in comprehensive schools in Croydon and Surrey since 1994. After an Acting Headship in a Croydon school, he moved to Therfield School in Leatherhead as Headteacher in 2015. He became Headteacher at Royal Alexandra and Albert School in 2021. Growing up, James’ experiences at Bembridge School in the Isle of Wight fostered his love of football and cricket.


Choosing state boarding State boarding schools are often described as ‘education’s best kept secret’. Certainly I meet many prospective parents who have found the sector almost by chance and who once introduced are impressed by the range of facilities, types of school and examination results across our schools. State boarding is available at the time of writing to all EU-qualified pupils and the education is provided free of charge, so parents only pay for the boarding element.

Dan Browning Headteacher, Wymondham College

State boarding schools vary considerably

seven years, the school will grow annually,

attending or the proximity of the school

by size and location but they all share

eventually reaching its capacity of 452

to an RAF station or Army garrison. This

a strong commitment to the value of

pupils. The school is located on the same

link is often further developed through the

boarding and provide excellent facilities

site as Wymondham College, enabling

Combined Cadet Force (CCF) which is an

and systems of care. In total around 5,000

the children of the Prep School to access

integral part of the school. For example,

pupils enjoy boarding in a diverse, varied

teaching expertise from both the Prep

at Wymondham College we have more

and hugely successful range of schools.

School and the College. The Prep School

than 200 pupils in our Army and RAF

The sector consists of large mixed non-

will also draw on the expertise of the

CCF sections which gives our students

selective schools, free schools, grammar

Sapientia Education Trust (SET), which

opportunities to learn new skills and travel

schools and schools that offer mixed or

was founded by Wymondham College and

the world.

single-sex education.

incorporates 16 schools in Norfolk and

Although most state boarding schools

Suffolk. For more information, go to

At Wymondham College we have around

650 boarders, offering a strong academic curriculum combined with excellent

offer secondary places, primary boarding is available too. Wymondham College Prep

Many children from Service families attend

pastoral care. We were judged to be

School opened its doors in September

state boarding schools (typically more than

Outstanding in every area in our latest

2020 to its founding cohort of 60

50 at Wymondham College) as it offers

Ofsted inspections for education and

Reception-aged pupils. In September

stable schooling where progress is not

boarding. Typically we run more than

2021, the school welcomed its first cohort

interrupted by regular postings and high

65 weekly extra-curricular activities, a

of Year 5 and Year 6 boarders, who will

levels of mobility between schools. Many

wide range of international trips and

experience life at the Prep School before

state boarding schools have very strong

visits and have a strong commitment to

having the option of applying to join

links with the three Services, because of

sport, music, drama, CCF and the Duke of

Wymondham College. Over the next

the high numbers of Service children

Edinburgh’s Award. We offer 27 different


A-level courses but other state boarding

into key stages or run a separate sixth-

others are attracted by high standards

schools provide different pathways,

form boarding house. They all offer

and value for money, others are attracted

for example the IB is available in some

strong systems of pastoral support and

to the distinctiveness of individual schools.

schools and others offer an excellent

care, ensuring pupils are well known

Across the sector there are very high

range of vocational courses.

by staff and their individual needs are

satisfaction rates from parents and pupils.

catered for. Pupil-voice activities are

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE I firmly believe that boarding adds significant value to young people, developing their independence, resilience and self-esteem. In 2016 three state boarding schools were in the top 20 nonselective state schools at GCSE and state boarding schools topped the league tables in three regions of the country. University entrance rates are very high, with Russell Group and Oxbridge entry well above national averages. At Wymondham College we usually secure ten Oxbridge places each year with more than 50 per cent of pupils in the upper sixth going on to Russell Group universities. And it’s not just academic success – several England rugby players attended state boarding schools.

strongly promoted and pupils are given

State boarding schools are subject to

opportunities to lead and contribute to

regular Ofsted inspections, including an

their schools. Boarding houses are homely

Ofsted boarding inspection every three

with soft furnishings often the norm and I

years. Reports are available online but we

have yet to have a poor meal in ten years

recommend a personal visit because it can

of working in the sector!

be difficult to convey the ethos of a school

State boarding schools may offer single-

Parents and students choose state

sex boarding or mixed boarding. Some

boarding for many reasons and our

have boarding houses covering the

communities are grounded and diverse.

entire school age while others divide

Some prefer the state boarding offer,

through an inspection report. I always Day-to-day life follows a typical boarding

encourage parents to visit several schools

school pattern. At Wymondham College

before choosing, ensuring the best match

breakfast starts from 7.15am, lessons

for their child.

from 8.30am, the school day ends at 3.45pm and our extra-curricular

State boarding schools are proud of what

programme starts at 4pm. Prep is

we deliver. As one journalist commented

completed in the evenings (with boarding

on a visit to the College, ‘this feels like

staff, more often than not teachers, on

any leading independent school’. We, like

hand to support) and we offer Saturday

colleagues in the independent sector, are

morning school, with a full range of

simply committed to high-quality boarding.

sporting fixtures on Saturday afternoons.

Dan Browning is Headteacher of Wymondham College. He was previously Executive Principal for Ministry of Defence Schools working with British Forces Cyprus.

Sixth-form boarding When asked what the aims are for the provision of sixth-form education, I am sure that most leaders of schools and colleges with sixth forms would have a very similar response – to help pupils achieve the best examination grades they can while at the same time prepare them for life after school, in the broadest sense of the word ‘life’ – from social skills to careers. By exposing pupils to as many experiences as possible we can help to develop their ‘soft’ skills and character, and broaden their minds. We want young people to be alive to the opportunities that exist in the global village they now live in, while at the same time being open and sensitive to, and appreciative of, other cultures. I would argue that boarding schools are in a unique position to be able to meet these aims.

Lee Hunter Headteacher, Sir Roger Manwood’s School

DIVERSITY IS A STRENGTH Most boarding schools have boarders from a wide range of countries or heritage backgrounds and therefore cultures. This diversity is such a strength – it means boarders learn from a young age how to live in close proximity with other people and get on with them. There may be teething problems for a few as they learn to make the adjustments needed, but in a close-knit boarding environment boarders forge friendships that last a lifetime. This was highlighted at a recent event here at Manwood’s when a group of boarders who had left school 30 years ago organised a weekend reunion without

any input from the school. Despite now living in different counties, and indeed countries, the special bond that developed between them during their formative years in a caring boarding environment was touching to see. All boarding schools run on a stricter timetable than would be the case in most family homes. Before working in boarding I naively thought young people would resent that aspect of boarding life and perhaps find it stifling and restricting. However, whenever I have discussed this with pupils they have said that having regular, enforced


study time, with staff available to help them as well as to check that work has been done, has helped them to become independent learners faster than their day pupil peers. They also frequently report they think they are more resilient in terms of their engagement with subjects and topics they find difficult, and better prepared for external examinations. One of the other surprises for me has

boarders involved in sports, music and

The boarding option has been attractive

been that the vast majority of boarders

drama is greater than it is for day pupils.

to Service families for many years for

prefer to be in boarding than at home

By the time a young person gets to sixth

all the above reasons. Boarding gives

during term time. In their own words,

form, the average boarder will have

a young person a settled base and

they get to ‘hang out’ with their friends

been exposed to more activities and

somewhere where staff are used to

and do a great many more fun and

been more involved in the wider life of

dealing with pupils whose parents work

exciting activities than if they were at

the school than the average day school

in stressful environments and who may

home. Some also comment that they like


be many miles away. The warm, family ethos found in a good boarding sixth

the fact that they get more food than they do at home! Like most boarding schools, Sir Roger Manwood’s School sees the development of a young person’s talents as being very important. Being resident on the school site gives boarders greater and easier access to after-school clubs, teams, societies, and productions across the whole range of extra-curricular activities offered, as well as having access to all the school’s resources in the evenings and weekends. Consequently, the percentage of

TRANSITION TO HIGHER EDUCATION Perhaps the most obvious advantage to being a sixth-form boarder is how boarding prepares young people for the transition to higher education. Boarders are accustomed to living away from the their parents and having to be independent, both educationally and socially. They are more used to living with others, making new friends, looking after themselves and studying independently than the average 18 year old.

form reassures Service parents that their children are being well cared for and are, most importantly, safe and happy.

After finishing his Natural Sciences degree at Cambridge University, Lee’s teaching posts were at Framwellgate Moor School in Durham, the British School of Milan and the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe, and then the Tiffin Girls’ School in Kingston-upon-Thames. During his career Lee has taught in a wide variety of schools – comprehensive, selective, independent, state, international, all boys, all girls, mixed, day and boarding.


boarding schools

If you are considering boarding, a state

academies or free schools. These schools

In England there are 34 mainstream

boarding school may be an option. As

give priority to children who have a particular

members of the BSA State Boarding Forum

always, it is important to do your research

need to board and will assess children’s

(SBF) and 32 are listed here, including

and above all, see the school in action before

suitability for boarding. At state boarding

academies and free schools. For more

you make any choice. State boarding schools

schools and academies, including sixth-form

information on state boarding schools go to

provide free education but charge fees for

colleges, parents pay between £10,000 and

boarding. Some state boarding schools are

£17,000 per year for their children to board,

run by local councils and others are run as

with an average of £12,000 per year.

State boarding schools School



Beechen Cliff School


South West

Number of boarders 34

Brymore Academy


South West


Burford School


South Central


Colchester Royal Grammar School


East England

Cranbrook School


South East


Dallam School


North West


Exeter College


South West


Gordon’s School


South East


Haberdashers’ Adams


West Midlands


Hockerill Anglo-European College


East England


Holyport College


South East


Keswick School


North West


Lancaster Royal Grammar School


North West


Liverpool College

City of Liverpool Borough

North West

Old Swinford Hospital

Metropolitan Borough of Dudley

West Midlands


Peter Symonds College


South Central


Reading School


South Central


Richard Huish College


South West

Ripon Grammar School

North Yorkshire

North East Yorkshire and Humber


Royal Alexandra & Albert School


South East


Sexey’s School


South West


Shaftesbury School


South West


St George’s School, Harpenden Academy Trust


East England


Steyning Grammar School


South East


The Duke of York’s Royal Military School


South East





The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe


South Central


The Royal School, Wolverhampton

Metropolitan Borough of Wolverhampton

West Midlands


The Thomas Adams School Shropshire


West Midlands

The Wellington Academy


South West


Wymondham College


East England


Wymondham College Prep School


East England




Shaftesbury School in Dorset is one of just 34 state boarding schools in the UK, offering high quality state boarding for approximately £4,000 per term. We offer a wide range of subjects for students from Year 7 through to Sixth Form, as well as exciting extra-curricular opportunities - everything from sports to arts and music, to Duke of Edinburgh awards. We are very proud to have many international students who choose to board with us, and this offers a diverse, multi-cultural setting which enriches the school and our local community.

DISCOVER the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, a state boarding school for boys and girls aged 7-18.

Situated in 260 acres of parkland near Reigate, Surrey, within 20 minutes from Gatwick Airport and 40 minutes from Heathrow Airport. With boarding from Year 3, children experience important continuity of education. Gatton Park, Reigate, Surrey RH2 0TD Tel: 01737 649000 @RAASchoolGatton

CEA Funding available and 10% Military Discount

Your child’s own adventure Academic excellence and fantastic opportunities in a nurturing and stable environment minutes from the A1(M)

Day, flexi, weekly and full boarding available. Girls aged 4 – 16 and boys aged 4 – 7.

Call 01845 575040

Life at a state boarding school Dr Chris Pyle Head, Lancaster Royal Grammar School England’s state boarding schools

Co-curricular opportunities are a particular

families from Europe and the Middle East

have a very special place in our

strength. After-school activities flourish in a

and boarders from Hong Kong and West

education system. They often have an

residential community with no commuting

Africa are all well represented.

‘independent’ ethos and education is

required. Many pupils play competitive

free. Boarding fees are typically around

sport against independent schools, some

a third of the cost of independent

schools offer outstanding debating and

boarding schools.

music while others, including LRGS, place a high value on thriving CCF Army, Naval and

State boarding schools come in all shapes

RAF sections as a mainstay of their outdoor

and sizes, from non-selective schools in

and leadership programmes.

rural settings to grammar schools in towns and small cities. A few are single-sex while

Academic results are a major factor for

others are co-educational. Several are

most parents in choosing a state boarding

very ancient – Lancaster Royal Grammar

school, and here too the sector punches

School (LRGS) traces its roots back to the

above its weight. ‘Value-added’ analysis

thirteenth century – while others have been

shows that our boarders tend to do even

established recently to meet demand in this

better than day pupils at GCSE, as a result

vibrant sector.

of the support and encouragement they receive from boarding staff who engage

All state boarding schools are united by

with boarders’ academic challenges during

a shared belief in the opportunities of

and outside prep times.

boarding. There is a consistent concern for

MODERN LIFE Most of our families are ‘first generation’ boarders. They may not initially have considered boarding or even been aware that exceptional state schools offer this opportunity. Boarding fits modern life for many families living with the realities of commuting, travel commitments, divided families or older siblings away at university. A mother bringing up her son on her own told me how boarding allows her to manage her growing business, while her son benefits from positive role models and support. ‘We have the best weekends ever!’ said the mother of another weekly boarder. The boarding experience changes with age. Our younger boarders are in light and airy

the wellbeing and personal development

At LRGS, two-thirds of our 170 boarders live

shared dorms of four to six. The emphasis

of the young people in our schools.

within an hour of the school, but growing

is on establishing excellent habits both in

Wraparound pastoral care creates a very

numbers are from London and elsewhere

boarding and in the classroom. Pastoral

special environment where friendships

in the UK. We have about 30 overseas

care is led by the housemaster and the

and shared activities become for many the

students, who must have EU passports or

matrons – whose days include reuniting

defining privilege of their teenage years.

right of UK residence. Bilingual or expat

pupils with lost property and supplying


toast! Evening tutors supervise prep, with young sports grads and sixth-form mentors often on hand. Plenty of summer evenings are spent chasing either a ball or each other round the fields. Junior boarding has the excitement of a secret society: boarders and day pupils are indistinguishable in school, but boarders have the key to an extra world – while many day pupils head for a long journey home. In the GCSE years, boarders normally share a dorm with one other pupil, and in the sixth form all boarders are in single rooms. Revision season sees pupils working together – but with occasional encouragement to head out for an impromptu barbecue or game of dodgeball to

STEPPING STONE TO UNIVERSITY Parents increasingly see sixth-form boarding as an excellent stepping stone to university. We encourage all our senior boarders to take on leadership positions and to engage with the local community – from planting trees to hosting our local residents’ Christmas party. State boarding is very much a shared enterprise between parents and school, and open communication with parents is the aspect that has changed most in recent years. ‘I Skype my dad twice a day,’ one overseas boarder told me recently – although most teenagers struggle to communicate quite so frequently!

relieve the pressure. You can tell a certain amount from a school’s website and reputation, but it is important to visit and meet staff and students if you can – at open days, for a tour on a normal school day, and perhaps for an evening taster session. Come and see what makes us special.

Dr Chris Pyle has been Head of Lancaster Royal Grammar School since 2012. He was stateeducated in Oxfordshire and went on to complete a degree and PhD in Geography at Cambridge University. He was previously Deputy Head at the Perse School, Cambridge.

Boarding lessons from COVID-19 Natalie Bone Head, Sherborne Prep

As teachers, we constantly look back and reflect. We learn from experience: what would we do differently next time? What went well? What are the areas for improvement? As boarding staff, we do the same, with the emphasis on the care of the child – being in loco parentis is a trusted and privileged position to hold and the children under our roof deserve the best care. COVID-19 has provided plenty of opportunity to reflect on and adapt our approach. Boarding houses have had to deal with much reduced movement of children as a result of the restrictions in international travel and the closure of schools. Although this carries with it a significantly changed environment, like all good boarding staff we enjoy a challenge! So, how have we turned this to our and the pupils’ advantage? Flexibility has been key, with staff, parents and pupils all feeling the pressure to get things right and keep everyone safe from COVID-19. The boarding house has had to become, more than ever, an oasis of calm in a rapidly changing world. The care and attention boarding staff have given pupils and their families during the pandemic has been critical. Simply put, the pandemic has brought to the boarding house a true family environment.

Traditionally when we have talked about a

the ban on fixtures or trips, creativity in

family environment in a boarding school,

devising activities on site and at times in the

we have focused on a houseparent who

absence of a full school catering provision,

delivers the family feel in the boarding

turning hands to cooking for everyone.

house and where the children in the house

Although not without its challenges, this

see each other as siblings. However, during

has allowed us to revisit what it is to be a

the pandemic this has in many cases been

boarding family; not just putting a routine in

taken a step further. Dedicated staff have

place that lets the house run smoothly but

taken on an even greater holistic role:

providing full support to each pupil.

full weekend entertainment because of


A FULL CONNECTION The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of communication, and not just ‘tick box’ communication, but a full connection with families and friends who have not been able to be present. Interestingly, in many cases those not in the boarding house have said they felt starved of their friendship groups, but the bonds boarders have developed with each other have been very strong and will surely last for years to come – the boarders will remember being part of an extended family in the darkest of times. In many ways, boarding houses are stronger because of COVID-19. We have all had to adapt at a remarkable speed. Homes have become clubs and activities, living rooms have become classrooms, bedrooms have become libraries. Parents have become teachers and siblings have become classmates. These have been testing times but also a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to our pupils and families and make a difference to their lives.

Natalie Bone is in her second Headship at Sherborne Prep having been Head at Sidcot Junior School, a houseparent and teacher of Maths at Millfield School, Head of Maths and houseparent at Millfield Prep School plus time working at Port Regis. Her degree from Reading University led to a career in finance before training to become a teacher. She has also enjoyed success in the world of dressage. Natalie is married to Matt, the Director of Art at Sherborne School, and they have two grown-up children, as well as several horses and dogs.

Caroline Kirby Head, Shebbear College

The pandemic has sent a tornado through the educational sector in the last couple of years, especially for boarding schools with international pupils. However, there have also been silver linings for boarding schools, with many positives taken from the lockdowns. These include the expansion of remote and blended online learning, living together intensively in boarding house lockdowns and communicating online with parents. I am proud of our pupils, parents and staff for embracing these new ways of working with good humour, determination and resilience. In fact, we are now a school at the forefront of digital teaching and learning and ahead of where we would have been if the pandemic had not happened. Teachers and pupils have embraced remote, live and blended learning with open arms in the last two academic years – technology and direct human interaction at its best.

HAWC, perhaps because they are isolating,

many evenings catching up on the latest

Delivering live lessons has transformed

they can click in remotely – our pupils are

government guidelines. She has ensured

our opportunities in teaching, learning and

never alone. In fact, while the boarding

the school’s measures to keep pupils safe

collaborative working across the globe.

houses were locked down, the boarders

are fully aligned with BSA guidelines and the

Pupils are accessing lessons from their

had a great time – daily updates and

National Minimum Standards for Boarding.

homes or boarding houses when isolating

fun and laughter from the houses could

She has also arranged all the travel

and when in quarantine hotels overseas.

be heard across the campus. Everyone

arrangements for boarders including flights,

In fact, teaching and learning has not gone

embraced the challenges with positivity and

transfers, quarantine and testing.

backwards – it has accelerated.

a ‘can-do’ attitude.

At Shebbear College, the social and

SAFE, HAPPY AND COMFORTABLE Our boarding staff work very closely to ensure our pupils are not only safe but also happy and comfortable. We have appointed a Compliance Manager who has managed the compliance of the school throughout the pandemic – she has spent

One of the biggest challenges for us during emotional wellbeing of our pupils continues to be at the heart of everything we do. We have a Health and Wellbeing Centre (HAWC) on campus and our experienced, caring staff support each pupil in whatever way they need. If a boarding pupil cannot get to the

the pandemic has been writing and then implementing whole school COVID-19 risk assessments to keep everyone safe. The key to successful implementation has been communication and clarity. There is no point in having a risk assessment if nobody reads it and we have spent time talking to


pupils and parents to explain why we have the protocols in place – everyone has responded superbly. Our online parent meetings via ‘School Cloud’ have been a revolutionary addition to our communication strategy to parents, especially for overseas pupils. Communicating across international borders and time differences has never been easier. Here is some feedback from a Year 7 parent: ‘Thank you for the amazing effort the school has made for home learning. When I found out we were home schooling a feeling of dread filled me – we did not have a positive experience of it at our last school. I have barely known my son has been home. He has logged on and completed all his lessons plus activities which I think is above and beyond what was expected. I wanted to say how impressed I have been with everything the school has done for this home learning and how much effort the teachers have put in, so thank you. It is so reassuring to know that my children’s education is in safe hands with staff who care and a school that is willing to make an effort to help them achieve their goals.’

Caroline Kirby became Head of Shebbear College in 2019. Before that she was Deputy Head of Le Régent College in Switzerland and Assistant Head and Senior Housemistress at Bradfield College, Berkshire. In her free time, she can be found outdoors with her husband Robert and three children (all at Shebbear College Prep School), making the most of the beautiful Devon coast and countryside.

John Browne Head, Stonyhurst College

Throughout the pandemic, Stonyhurst, like all schools and sectors, had an exciting opportunity to challenge and change traditional thinking around teaching, living, and learning. The Jesuit concept of having ‘one foot in the air’, ready for the next challenge, perhaps had never been more relevant. The journey since March 2020 has led to new understandings as schools emerge from lockdown. The challenges presented by COVID-19 have accelerated the implementation of digital strategies in educational settings. For example, all pupils from Year 5 upwards at Stonyhurst now have a school-issued device. Lessons take advantage of Microsoft OneNote and there is an increase in well-chosen digital resources and online textbooks available to pupils. The advantage for boarders is that instead of hauling around multiple folders and books at the end of term as part of their luggage, they

its parent consultations online so that every

social media events such as assemblies,

can simply pack their device in their hand

parent can attend, rather than limiting to

house competitions, masses and other

luggage and they have everything they need

those who would have traditionally had to

celebrations with the wider school

to continue their studies in the holidays. By

travel to or across the UK to attend.


learning offer during periods of lockdown

This has also improved things for busy

Part of the joy of boarding is the community

now gives schools the ability to reassure

day pupil parents, who no longer have

feel of the boarding houses, where

pupils and their parents that any potential

to make babysitting arrangements to

boarders share their lives together.

durations of quarantine or isolation will not

attend school consultations and also no

Boarders are used to the busyness of the

result in children missing out on lessons,

longer have to queue for conversations

house and having their friends ‘on tap’.

pastoral support or the community spirit

with teachers. Zoom calls have allowed

With COVID-19, boarding communities

that is so important in a boarding school.

teachers and pastoral staff to have face-

were scattered worldwide. Although

to-face conversations with parents. This is

almost all boarders returned to school, a

very useful for pastoral conversations as

number found themselves attending online

it introduces a more personal relationship

school from their own homes. Part of the

between parent and teacher. Parents are

challenge for lockdown in a boarding school

more connected now than ever because

was gathering the community together.

schools can also share online or through

Stonyhurst managed to keep the

the same token, the success of the online

CONNECTING WITH PARENTS As well as advances in technology aiding pupils in their lessons, schools now have better and more frequent communications with parents. Stonyhurst has moved all of


community connected by hosting online house competitions, or in our case line competitions, from interline MasterChef to the toilet roll challenge, interline music and quizzes that brought boarders and their families together. We have found pupils have a heightened sense of the value of community living since returning to school, no longer taking things for granted. Live Christmas parties, interline competitions and even singing practice helped ground pupils in their return to the ‘new normal’. Boarding schools now need to keep the best of the innovations while returning to the in-person schooling that makes boarding life so exciting. Throughout the pandemic, pupils and the wider school family benefited from guidance, stability, structure, commonality of purpose and anchorage to a school community from their boarding schools.

John Browne became Headmaster of Stonyhurst in 2016. Before this, he was Headmaster of St Aloysius’s College Glasgow, Deputy Headmaster of Ampleforth College and Headmaster of Westminster Cathedral Choir School. An alumnus of St Ignatius’s College Enfield, John obtained his BA (Hons) in Music from the University of Bristol and has a postgraduate LLB from City University, London, and an MBA. John is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and a Governor of St John’s Beaumont.

Out of the ordinary: realising the potential of every child Dr Joe Spence Master, Dulwich College

Deeply embedded in articles on what makes a good school you may find a short paragraph on its provision for the ordinary pupil, but that genus deserves further attention. Some of the hardest work a school has to undertake is to care for the pupils who are seen, or perceive themselves, as ‘nothing special’. Independent schools celebrate the plethora of opportunities available to their pupils but don’t always work hard enough to interrogate who is taking them up. Many a school will take too great a pride in what is achieved by the prodigies (who would have done well anywhere), and every decent school looks after its strugglers, but it’s in ‘the middle of the middle’ that there is most value to be added and most to be done. Schools are getting better at understanding the problems posed by the coasting or professedly unexceptional pupil. There are six key questions for parents to ask of a school to make sure it is alert to the issue.

Does the school have a motivational reward system? Commendations need to be accessible not only to the élite, but for the improving pupils too, with their focus on effort over attainment. Pupils must be able to feel a pride in their progress in all their enterprises – creative, sporting, charitable, adventurous and academic. And schools should not underestimate the value of a mention in assembly or in the school magazine of somebody who doesn’t usually feature in despatches. A good school will employ strong tracking systems to distinguish the real middle from the false middle (i.e. the merely indolent or disengaged) and to establish aspirational target setting as a basis for conversations between tutors and all their pupils.

How integral to the school’s ethos is good tutoring? Pupils need to be sponsored by committed tutors and be well known to their housemasters and year heads. When you visit a school check they know all their pupils well – and not just their stars or strugglers. A good tutor teases out the hopes and fears of every pupil and nudges the reluctant pupil towards engagement. A good tutor respects every pupil for who he or she is. Pupils want to feel cherished for who they are, not what the school wants them to be. The best tutors are also great role models: adults engaged in and supportive of the school and its ethos (albeit sometimes as critical friends). Form structure is important too; as many children as possible should have access to promotion on merit and there should be evidence that the school is cognisant of the danger of sink forms.


Is there a breadth of activities available to and taken up by all pupils? Parents might check up on just how many matches the lower ability teams play, how inclusive music and drama really are and how much the school’s clubs and societies engage all rather than some. I reflect on the boys at Dulwich who have found their platforms and niches at one remove from the mainstream: the boy with a love of reading who has led the book club and creative writing groups; the boy who struggles with ball sports but who in rowing has found a social life as well as a sport to enjoy; the boy who loves the theatre, not as an actor but in doing the lighting or sound. At an early age, there should be an opportunity for everyone to ‘be and do everything’. Junior school sport is judged by 100 per cent participation rather than by the win:lose ratio of A teams, while all boys in Years 3 and 4 learn to play a stringed instrument and a wind instrument. Meanwhile, at the top of the school, you might want to check school colours are awarded to those who shine in community service or the CCF as well as in sport and that the school’s senior prefects represent a cross-section of the school population. Does the school offer pupil voice opportunities to a broad crosssection of pupils? Tutors should be sending a variety of pupils to school council meetings or learning forums and sometimes sending the more reluctant, those out of their comfort zone, as representing ‘the middle voice’. It is also important to enable leadership opportunities for the non-stellar pupil – to find an alternative engagement for those disappointed not to become prefects.

of its prevailing culture. So, if there is a

wellbeing between the teachers, parents

belief that hard work and enthusiasm are at

and the pupils themselves.

the heart of success, the middle group will accept that.

How well developed is the school’s house system and what is the culture and ethos of the boarding house? A good house system, like a good housemaster or housemistress, can elicit a strong sense of community and cooperation and provide an opportunity for all to shine through a wide range of competitions (cultural as well as sporting). In a good house, strong peer relationships and the right kind of peer pressure encourage all boarders to engage and lead activity. Peer mentoring creates opportunities for boarders to learn from each other’s struggles and achievements. In a boarding setting particularly pupils can ably support each other’s learning. A key to success in a boarding house as in a school is the scope

Every child matters; every child differs. Of course, it’s inevitable some teachers will

How good is the teaching – and do the best teachers teach all the pupils? Only excellent and flexible teaching can ensure all pupils are equally challenged. The best teachers are those who can portray academic struggle as a learning opportunity, ensuring that pupils do not seek to hide in the anonymous middle ground for fear of getting things wrong. Embracing free learning rather than creating a curriculum that is wholly exam focused also ensures that middling pupils are engaged, by creating different fields in which they can be noticed. Good schools tend to have more parents’ evenings – allowing for discussion of progress and

be drawn to those who shine brightest. A school has to work hard to draw out the ‘middle of the middle’ so they can excel too, but it’s always worth the effort.

Dr Joseph Spence has been Master of Dulwich College since 2009. He was Headmaster of Oakham School from 2002, having taught history and politics at Eton College, where he was Master in College from 1992 to 2002. He jointly leads Southwark Schools Learning Partnership (SSLP), a collaboration of the senior maintained and independent schools in the borough. A trustee of the Mark Evison Foundation, Art History Link Up and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Joe is also a playwright and librettist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Schools together in partnership Independent schools have been connecting with their local communities and collaborating with state schools for many years, but it is only in recent years that we have begun to collect data which clearly demonstrates this. Thousands of mutually beneficial partnerships now exist between independent and state schools, unlocking new educational experiences for all involved. This work was reinforced in a ‘Joint Understanding’ with the Department for Education (DfE) announced by the Secretary of State in 2018. The document outlines the commitment of independent schools to voluntarily develop mutually supportive collaborations with maintained schools.

CHARITABLE STATUS A certain amount of political interest has been generated in connection with charitable status debates over the years and the media often berates fee-charging schools for the ‘tax breaks’ that come with charitable status. In fact, the allocation of bursary awards far exceeds business rates relief granted to those schools which are charities. Even schools that are not charities have taken steps to improve accessibility for families who might not otherwise be able to afford independent school fees, by providing increasing amounts of bursary assistance in recent years. In 2021, £455 million was provided in means-tested fee assistance for pupils at ISC schools. A judicial review in 2011 ruled that education is of itself a charitable activity. The trustees of schools that are charities have a duty to report to the Charity Commission their school’s work for the public benefit. This work can take the form of awarding bursaries on a means-tested basis for disadvantaged children, children on the edge of care and looked-after children, support for academies and collaborative work that provides a variety of learning and development opportunities to children who would otherwise miss out.

Julie Robinson Chief Executive, Independent Schools Council (ISC)


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“Vulnerable subjects, such as modern foreign languages, Latin, music and physics are supported by partnership work.”

It is important that trustees retain flexibility

all pupils and staff involved. It showcases

to fulfil any school’s public benefit activity

excellent examples of what is already in

according to local needs and in ways that are

place, providing insight into the value of

appropriate for the school according to its


individual capacity. Many schools do not have extensive facilities that can be shared with state schools and there are geographic and other barriers to be considered.

ENCOURAGING PARTNERSHIP ACTIVITIES BETWEEN SCHOOLS The Schools Together website, which details many excellent partnership projects between independent and state schools, was built with the express purpose of encouraging, showcasing and inspiring partnership working.

WHY WORK TOGETHER? There are economies of scale and various mutual benefits when schools join together to procure services – including the sharing of specialist teachers – and training. A visiting author or speaker can be made available to a range of pupils beyond the host school. Schools can share specific expertise and develop policies.

THE FUTURE Almost all ISC schools are engaged in partnership activities. Most are involved in sporting and academic partnerships of some kind and around half are engaged in music and drama partnerships. This is alongside the community work and charitable giving that our schools support. The ISC Census for 2020 showed 1,169 independent schools were involved in partnerships with state schools and the community. Tens of thousands of state and independent school pupils benefit from these partnerships. During the COVID-19

Vulnerable subjects, such as modern

pandemic, restrictions meant that schools

foreign languages, Latin, music and physics

had to pause many or all parts of their state

are supported by partnership work. Pupils

school partnership programmes but we

The website was launched in 2016 and

meeting each other can develop a new way

expect this work to continue to grow and

although involvement is voluntary, almost

of seeing the world. Inter-school visits can

partnerships to thrive once conditions allow

5,000 projects have been featured, showing a

allow new subject areas, sports, musical


wide range of partnership activities.

instruments and experiences to be shared, broadening the horizons of all taking part.

The projects are allocated categories such as academic, Combined Cadet Force (CCF),

Successful partnerships help to bring

drama, governance, music, sponsorship, sport

communities together in deeper

and design technology.

understanding and thereby support social cohesion. The pooling of resources enhances

It is clear from the website that many different

the overall educational offer for all schools

types of collaborations are underway involving

involved and by sharing experiences, teachers

large and smaller schools.

can benefit from effective professional development. Some schools are working

From full academy sponsorship, such

in pairs or small clusters and others are

as Harris Westminster and the London

working in large collaborative groups across

Academy of Excellence, through to arts

an area such as in York or Birmingham. These

and craft projects with local primary and

groupings develop projects over time and

special schools; from careers guidance and

forge strong links across the communities

university preparation, to inclusion in dramatic

involved. The projects grow according to

productions and sports tournaments – this

schools’ needs and strengths, building

website draws together a range of impressive

mutually supportive communities.

and exciting educational opportunities for

Julie Robinson is Chief Executive of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) – the voice of the independent education sector. In her role, Julie serves the interests of the ISC’s constituent associations and 1,300-plus member schools through conversations with the Government and in the media. The ISC brings together five associations representing headteachers, one governors’ association and one bursars’ association, along with four affiliate associations that represent boarding, Scottish, Welsh and international independent schools. Before becoming ISC Chief Executive, Julie was a teacher, housemistress and Head of Ardingly College Junior School and then Vinehall Prep School in Sussex. After these headships, she was Education and Training Director for the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS). She is governor of a state school and an independent school.


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How boarding benefits the wellbeing of pupils Genevieve Ford, Deputy Head (Pastoral) and Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), Downe House School

The word ‘wellbeing’ is used a lot in today’s culture but what does it really mean? When the Office for National Statistics (ONS) measures wellbeing it looks at an ‘individual’s feelings of satisfaction with life, whether they feel the things they do in their life are worthwhile and their positive and negative emotions.’1

FINDING A BALANCE At Downe House we are clear that for us wellbeing means balance. Our wellbeing programme is called ‘Finding Balance’. Through this programme we hope to help pupils balance academic demands against co-curricular commitments, balance time to socialise with friends and time to be alone, take advantage of a good range of activities while also finding space for reflection and calm in the day. I firmly believe that being in a boarding environment allows young people to find this balance for themselves and in this way they gain skills they need to navigate through life. In my role as Deputy Head (Pastoral) I am responsible for the welfare of all the girls at Downe House. This involves a holistic approach to pastoral care. The latest NHS 1 2

survey of the mental health of young

House, as at all good schools, there is

people in England found that ‘one in eight

nothing we want more than for pupils to

5- to 19-year-olds had at least one mental

be happy, secure and able to fulfil their

disorder when assessed in 2017.’2 No

true potential.

school can afford to ignore this statistic. When thinking about how boarding

TIME AND SPACE When talking to prospective parents thinking about a boarding education, I always highlight to them that one of the greatest benefits of full boarding is the gift of time and space. The extended day allows pupils increased access to learning, enrichment programmes, sport, fun and friendship without the stress and constraints of a commute at the beginning and end of the day. This time also allows us to know pupils well and support not only their academic progress but also their physical and mental wellbeing. At Downe

benefits pupil wellbeing it is imperative to talk about the community that these schools offer. In a boarding environment a pupil should always have adults they can talk to – it could be a member of the boarding staff, their academic tutor or teaching staff. Well-run boarding schools nurture a strong and supportive community in which teaching and boarding staff work closely together to ensure that every boarder is happy, safe, valued, involved, supported, stretched and challenged.


Modern boarding, and in turn the

to function effectively. Boarding staff are

wellbeing of pupils, is also based on

utterly committed to ensure each pupil

striking the right balance between time at

is getting enough sleep. We stress the

school and family time. The relationship

importance of healthy eating and in a

with parents is a partnership and we need

boarding environment we know whether a

to work together. It is vital for boarding

pupil is following our advice. Similarly, we

schools to liaise closely with parents to

support an active lifestyle but we can see if

foster mutual trust and to support them

pupils are stretching themselves too far on

in their relationships with their children.

the sports pitch. Lines of communication

The strength of the triangular relationship

are always open between departments.

between the child, their parents and the

The support pupils receive in a boarding

school is very important in successfully

school is not just theoretical but practical

negotiating adolescence and ultimately

and real. The aim is to furnish them with

crucial for the wellbeing of the child or

a ‘toolkit’ for life, which will allow them

young person.

to face the many challenges in the world beyond school, to prepare them for the

A boarding environment allows a school to support the wellbeing of a pupil in many real and tangible ways. Sleep is so important for all teenagers to enable them

unknown and to enable them to flourish.

Genevieve graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Theology and Religious Studies. She joined Downe House in 2004, first working as a housemistress and then as Head of Upper School before becoming Deputy Head (Pastoral) and Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). Genevieve is responsible for the residential welfare and wellbeing of nearly 600 girls and has developed the unique Downe wellbeing programme called ‘Finding Balance’, which seeks to promote self-care, healthy minds and healthy bodies.

“At Pangbourne, all Year 12 pupils take part in a ‘taking responsibility’ course and nearly all of them choose to become peer mentors.”

Teamwork, leadership and service

Thomas Garnier Headmaster, Pangbourne College

personal development.

DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S AWARD The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award provides opportunities to develop practical skills and character. The combination of volunteering, physical activities, skill-based challenges and expeditions give an allround experience which is fun, rewarding and recognises a young person’s successful journey of self-discovery and development.

At Pangbourne, our ‘challenge curriculum’

All Year 9 pupils take the Bronze Award

Taking place a little later in the year than

reflects the values and ethos of the

and many choose to go on to Silver in Year

usual, 159 participants undertook their

school, providing a range of opportunities

11 and Gold in Year 12. With each level, the

Bronze, Silver and Gold expeditions in 2021.

for all, and giving pupils the chance to

time, challenge and commitment required

learn a set of useful skills. However,

increases and this develops resilience,

providing a challenge curriculum during a

industry, teamwork and moral courage. As

global pandemic has indeed proved to be

the Award is usually completed in groups,

extremely challenging.

there is a sense of pride in shared success.

A well-rounded education which develops children mentally, physically and socially relies heavily on the strength of a school’s co-curricular programmes. This is particularly important in a boarding environment where enrichment activities provide an essential avenue for expression and

The restrictions brought about by the pandemic have presented challenges, but we firmly believe in the value of DofE Awards and we made a great effort to continue the scheme over the last two years. Instead of our normal expeditions in the New Forest and South Wales, we used our 230-acre site and the surrounding area to run the training and qualifying expeditions on campus.


COMBINED CADET FORCE Our Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a vital element of our challenge curriculum. This is taken up in Year 10 through to the upper sixth form. It is based on a foundation of strong shared values, disciplined behaviour and selflessness towards others. Cadets develop effective communication and teamwork skills and the ability to think clearly in complex situations, solve problems, and exercise good judgement and initiative. The CCF programme has a unique appeal because it gives pupils the opportunity to do something completely different and out of their comfort zones. Although in 2021 the majority of the field days were cancelled, we restarted the CCF syllabus in September 2021 with camps, courses and practical outdoor sessions. Our CCF currently has 150 cadets throughout the four year groups involved.

LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES At Pangbourne, all Year 12 pupils take part in a ‘taking responsibility’ course and nearly all of them choose to become peer mentors. Their previous experience of DofE and CCF has laid foundations for the skills they need to lead and support others but the training in Year 12 equips them for more responsibility in their final year.

that the social bubbles required by our

We have an international partnership with

risk assessment meant that they could not

the Nabugabo Community Learning Centre

undertake these roles, and everyone felt

in Uganda, which started in 2013. Every

this loss. As we have emerged from the

term a portion of our charitable efforts goes

lockdowns we have been delighted to see

towards this, and every two years, unless

our sixth-form students re-engage with

there is a global pandemic, around 40 pupils

their younger peers, supporting them with

spend three weeks heavily involved in vital

their academic, sporting and co-curricular

local projects. This partnership experience is

activities, as well as their mental health and

a wonderful adventure for the pupils. They

wellbeing needs.

engage with a different culture, contribute to local education initiatives and explore

VOLUNTEERING AND COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS Working with local charities provides clear benefits to pupils as much as the charities involved. At Pangbourne, pupils choose a different charity each term to support, and then they fundraise, collect donations of food, books or clothes and help at fundraising events. This encourages pupils to think about the wider world and prepares them to make positive contributions to society once they leave school.

a diverse and beautiful country. In terms of personal development, exposure to the challenges faced and cultural differences is invaluable. At a time when the value of citizens’ commitment to the common good is being seen so clearly during the pandemic, there is a need for schools to put values, discipline, service and teamwork at the heart of their ethos. I once heard Professor Bart McGettrick, Emeritus Professor of Education at Glasgow University, say, ‘Time spent on

A positive outcome of the pandemic has

values is not time wasted ... It is like the

been an increase in fundraising initiatives.

tide rising: everything rises with it!’ My own

For example, a group of four Year 9 pupils

experience at Pangbourne confirms that he

used their own initiative to organise a charity

is correct.

hike. They planned and undertook a 10-mile walk, carrying rucksacks full of enough food to last a week. In doing so, they raised over £1,000 for FareShare, a national network of charitable food redistributors. In doing this

In normal circumstances, our Year 13 pupils

theydemonstrated leadership, selflessness

would be taking an active role in supporting

and initiative.

our Year 9 pupils. For us, one of the most negative impacts of the pandemic was

Thomas Garnier has been Headmaster at Pangbourne College for more than 16 years, having previously been Head of Boarding at Abingdon School and an Officer in the Royal Navy.

Supporting character development in a boarding school Young people today need first-class tuition and the finest academic qualifications to succeed, but they also need strength of character and skills such as communication, teamwork and resilience, to build happy, fulfilling and worthwhile lives. A boarding education can provide the building blocks for character and success. As the school curriculum narrows, the boarding school’s emphasis on educating the whole child provides plenty of opportunities to develop a wider set of skills and qualities. At Bloxham, our activities programme offers pupils 100 options, ranging from mainstream sports to minor ones, and from music, drama and art, to astronomy and Young Enterprise. Balancing breadth with specialism, our tutors work with pupils to help them select options which will both stimulate and challenge. They encourage pupils to give everything a go – in our view, it’s good to try new things, to persevere at acquiring new skills and to learn to laugh when you fail. Where talent and interests emerge, a boarding school can allow pupils time and resource for passions and expertise to flourish. With a flexible boarding model, it is possible to take an open approach to pursuits which naturally develop outside of school.

OUTDOOR EDUCATION In common with many boarding schools, outdoor education runs through the lifeblood of Bloxham School. First introduced in our Lower School, outdoor education increases in challenge as pupils move through their years with us. Our Year 7 and 8 pupils enjoy annual camps and the not-to-be-missed Alps trip, when they get to test their nerve white-water rafting and canyoning, building life-lasting memories on the way down.

Paul Sanderson Headmaster, Bloxham School


Over many years, boarding schools have learnt that trying new activities in a fun environment can generate excitement for learning outdoors. This in turn lays the foundations of communication, teamwork and resilience upon which young people will rely so often in the future. These skills can be further developed in more demanding environments, for example, through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) and the CCF. Schemes like these help pupils broaden their horizons, develop their leadership skills, learn to work with others, and prove to themselves they can succeed at a serious challenge.

CONTRIBUTING TO THE COMMUNITY Bloxham is a Christian foundation school. As such we value kindness and compassion, and we teach pupils the value of contributing to their community. Through our wellsupported service programme pupils volunteer at food banks, care homes and local primary schools each week, giving them a lasting experience of making a difference. One such relationship led to a beautiful collaboration, which saw a design technology A-level pupil dedicate his examined project to a local hospice. Working to the hospice director’s brief, the pupil designed and made symbols, features and artefacts to enable the hospice chapel to become a multi-faith place for worship and reflection. Now installed, they are having a moving effect on the hospice’s community. They have also shown our pupil, and indeed the whole school community, the impact they can have when they give something back.

Each year we fundraise for a variety of

to invest in their community, realise their

charities – from local causes such as

actions have consequences and learn to

Katharine House Hospice, to charities close

take responsibility. This blend of education

to the heart of our community. Fundraising

helps them grow into happy, well-adjusted

challenges have included sporting feats

young people, with the values and strength

such as triathlons and marathon distances,

of character to do something good with their

leg waxing, car washing, cake baking and


clothing sales. Experiences like these show children the importance of teamwork and determination and teach them to look beyond themselves, appreciate their good fortune and help those with less. Perhaps most importantly, boarding environments teach pupils the importance of tolerance and respect, how to work together to achieve their goals and how to live harmoniously with others. Boarders learn

Paul Sanderson has been Headmaster at Bloxham School since 2013. Before this he was Deputy Head at Gordonstoun, where he also spent three years as a Housemaster. He was an Assistant Housemaster at both Oundle and Lancaster Royal Grammar. Educated at Banbridge Academy, he studied Evolutionary Biology and Genetics at the University of St Andrews and he has a Masters in Educational Research from Cambridge University. At Bloxham, he continues to teach biology and enjoys joining outdoor excursions including climbing.

Looking after children and young people’s mental health after COVID-19

I had a heart-breaking meeting with a parent of a child yesterday. She told me a story that was five years in the making and involved almost every type of intervention you would have heard of: doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, social care, you name it, they had either spoken to them or tried it. When

David Walker Deputy Head (Pastoral and Wellbeing), Wellington College

I had a chance to reflect on it, my rather simplistic thought was: ‘How did it come to this?’.

and, at worst, unable to give effective help

WHAT IS GOING ON? Issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm and suicidal ideation have steadily increased and, although the Government has increased funding, the support available through NHS channels has not kept pace with demand. The Government paper Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing: a whole school or college approach2 cites

to those who are struggling.

research that in 2020 1 in 6 children aged

help and support, often exacerbating the

5 to 16 had a probable mental health


When I was young in the 1990s, the umbrella term ‘mental health’ was simply not on our radars; now it seems to be around every corner we turn. The same thought may ring true for others in the generation that is now either parenting or educating today’s children and young people. This can leave us feeling helpless

There has been a well-documented ‘crisis’1

disorder – up from 1 in 9 in 2017. The

in the mental health of teenagers (and

number of referrals to children and young

adults) in recent years, particularly because

people’s mental health services between

of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article

April and June 2021 increased by 134%

aims to give some practical suggestions to

since the same period in 2020, from just

parents of boarding school pupils about

over 80,000 to 190,000, and up almost

mental health issues.

100% from the same three-month period in

2019 (approximately 90,000). Public Health England have concluded that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on young people’s mental health, particularly in females and those with pre-existing mental health concerns. Additionally, there continues to be a significant problem surrounding the stigma attached to mental illness which means that people are less willing to seek

AND WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT? Schools are certainly responding to this, and parents may well be noticing an uptick of recent initiatives from school settings. Investment from the leadership of schools is certainly welcome, and it is likely that


increasing capacity and attention will help improve matters. For example, at Wellington we have created a new role called ‘Head of Student Emotional Health and Wellbeing’ and we have appointed a clinical psychologist to the position. She helps me as Deputy Pastoral to ensure that all students in need have an appropriate support plan in place. How about parents? What should they do to best support children and young people? To finish, here are my top five tips for helping children and young people who are struggling to maintain good mental health.

• Communicate throughout: Although stigma is reducing, it is still a powerful force preventing people talking about mental health. Please don’t think you will be the first parents to go to the school to tell them about an issue – you may be surprised how much experience they have. Talk to the school and share your concerns. Seek advice and guidance. Not only will you get the benefit of their expertise and help, but it will support you by feeling that you are part of a team. Once you come out the other side, tell the school what worked and what helped – they are still learning and will appreciate your feedback.

Extent of mental health crisis in England at ‘terrifying’ level’, 9 April 2021, The Guardian


Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing: a whole school or college approach, September 2021, Public Health England


Stigma and discrimination, last updated 4 October 2021, Mental Health Foundation


Don’t over-react: If your child comes to you to say things are not right (or if your child’s school has told you about it) then they need to know that you will be able to cope with this and help them get through it. If you react with shock, anger or disbelief, the message they will hear is that you are out of your depth. In those first hours and days you are not expected to have all the answers but remember the power that language has to communicate that you remain the person in their life who loves them unreservedly.

• And don’t under-react: The temptation

• ‘Friends as balloons’: It may not be your

is to explain it away – ‘it’s just a phase’, ‘it’s

child who is struggling but they may tell

not that bad’, ‘they are just jumping on a

you they are worried about a friend. They

bandwagon’. Listen, take what they say at

want to support and listen to their friend,

face value and seek professional support

but it is clearly getting them down or

to make a judgement as to the severity of

making them anxious. How can you best

the situation.

advise them? We need to state two things

• Show empathy: It may be very difficult to understand why your beautiful child has decided to self-harm. Your first thought may be one of utter disbelief and amazement – why would anyone do such a thing? But have you ever used unhealthy coping strategies? Have you ever had a hard day and then pushed yourself super-hard in the gym or had a third glass of wine in the evening? Try to understand that whatever the symptoms you are seeing, the causes will be found in the most fundamental aspects of human nature that we all experience.

clearly here – they are not mental health professionals and, secondly, if things are that bad, they should be helping their friend get the appropriate help. Their role is to do all they can to bring light and joy into the friendship. Use the analogy of a balloon: if you keep just blowing air into a balloon without ever playing with it, it will burst. Tie it off and use the balloon to have fun. As the old saying goes: ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’.

David Walker is Deputy Head (Pastoral and Wellbeing) at Wellington College in Berkshire. He has worked in both boarding and day schools and gained experience as a Head of Department and a Housemaster before moving into senior leadership eight years ago. Before his current role at Wellington, David was Head of Senior School at the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge. David keeps himself happy and well with a weekly game of football, time spent on a mountain bike, enjoying walks with his family and dog, and the occasional glass of wine.


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – making a difference to young people’s lives

Ruth Marvel CEO, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Since the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) was founded in 1956, it has helped generations of young people develop the skills, resilience and self-belief they need to overcome whatever life throws at them – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh himself described it as a ‘do-it-yourself growing up kit’.

More than six decades later, our mission

When I became CEO two years ago, I was

remains the same: to offer young people

excited to join a charity that makes such

the opportunity to follow their passions,

a huge difference to young people’s lives.

discover new talents and gain transferable

What I didn’t expect was to find myself

skills to help them for years to come, and

steering us through an unprecedented

to make a positive contribution to their


community. To date, more than 6.7 million young people in the UK have done their

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit young

DofE, and we’re positive our impact will only

people hard. We know it has affected

continue to grow.

their mental health, education and job opportunities. Research from The Prince’s

Throughout the decades, the DofE has

Trust has shown that 25 per cent of 16–25

evolved and expanded to reflect young

year olds feel ‘unable to cope with life’,

people’s changing lives. In 1958, two years

increasing to almost 40% among those not

after our creation, the Award – originally

in education, employment or training.

only open to young men – was extended to girls. In 1988, The Duke of Edinburgh’s

But these headlines are only part of the

International Award was established to

story. Time and again through the DofE’s

bring the DofE to more young people

history, young people have shown that,

globally. The International Award is now

when we give them the right tools, there

offered in 130 countries.

are no limits to what they can overcome. And the pandemic is no exception.

In 2020, a quarter of young people who completed their award faced marginalisation or barriers to participating including financial hardship or social exclusion, or required specialist support to do their DofE, such as young offenders or young people with additional needs.   It is times like these when the unique benefits of non-formal education

Sixty-five years after our foundation, the

opportunities like the DofE come to the

DofE is run all over the UK, in schools, youth

fore. It is vital that education providers

clubs. prisons, hospitals, sports clubs and

ensure students have access to the co-

fostering agencies. Our vision is a UK where

curricular learning and activities that can

every young person feels ready to step up

be a critical part of their recovery, both

to the challenges life throws at them. That’s

educationally and socially.

why we’re aiming to reach one million more young people in the UK over the next five

The DofE gives young people skills and

years – a fitting legacy for our patron, the

experiences they cannot get in a classroom

Duke of Edinburgh, whose vision helped

– an opportunity to excel and achieve

change millions of lives.

regardless of their interests, background or abilities. They can choose their own

And we’re working to tailor and expand

challenges, follow their passions and

DofE programmes, to make sure we appeal

discover new skills. It provides a chance to

to and are accessible to even more young

escape, have fun and make friends for life.

people and we continue to evolve to reflect their changing interests and lives. This year

There is clear evidence that co-

we added esports to the Skills section – an

curricular learning boosts academic

activity that’s shown to develop crucial life

achievement, improves wellbeing and

skills like strategic thinking, leadership and

contributes to young people succeeding


in employment. We know from asking our participants that the DofE gives

Those first Award holders in 1956 could

young people transferable skills such

not have dreamt of doing esports for

as teamwork, communication and

their DofE – or updating their progress

time management and develops their

on the go with the DofE smartphone app,

confidence and resilience. The DofE

as today’s participants do. But they would

remains a highly respected and widely

still recognise the heart of the DofE – a

recognised mark of achievement that

‘do-it-yourself growing-up kit’ that can help

can help a young person stand out to

young people get the most out of their

employers. We know employers see so-

lives, whoever they are and whatever they

called ‘soft skills’ as equal to, or more

choose to do.

important than, academic achievements. In the UK, more than 100 top employers,

For more information about The Duke of

including British Gas, Google, ITV and

Edinburgh’s Award go to,

Burberry, endorsed the skills and attributes

email or call

young people develop from their DofE.

01752 727400.


Since joining The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in 2019, Ruth Marvel has developed a strategy which aims to reach out to more young people and ensured they have had the support of the DofE during lockdown. The launch of DofE With a Difference has meant hundreds of thousands of young people could continue their DofE in the face of a pandemic. The introduction of the Resilience Fund also supported thousands of young people to start their DofE despite economic hardship. Before becoming the CEO at the DofE, Ruth was Acting CEO at Girlguiding and before that she was Director of Strategy and Innovation at the disability charity Scope. Ruth spent most of her early career in advocacy, research and public policy roles and she has successfully campaigned for comprehensive disability and human rights and greater investment in social care for disabled people. She has developed one of the sector’s first theories of change, set up an innovation unit, and helped design new ways to measure the social impact of charities. Ruth is passionate about social justice and she has a particular interest in advancing opportunities for young people, social innovation and the power of design thinking to solve social problems. Ruth is a Trustee of GoodGym, and a Fellow of the Clore Social Leadership Programme. She lives in London with her partner Mary and their three children.

Learning modern foreign languages at a boarding school Since its removal from the core GCSE curriculum in 2004, the number of pupils in the UK taking GCSE languages has been in decline. According to a recent survey published by the European Commission, just 38 per cent of people in the UK can speak one foreign language, well below the European Union average of 56 per cent. With A-level courses in some schools becoming unsustainable and university language courses closing, it could be said that the future of modern foreign languages in schools looks bleak. However, the benefits of learning a foreign language are plentiful. As well as the economic benefits of learning languages in terms of improved trading between countries worldwide, languages help us to meet new people, learn new skills and expand career opportunities and they make foreign travel easier. Schools therefore have a responsibility to ensure pupils understand the advantages of studying a foreign language.


Rachel Rees Deputy Head Pastoral, Monmouth School for Girls

In a boarding community where diversity is valued and different cultural backgrounds are celebrated, the study of modern foreign languages is more important than ever. It is important to ensure that pupils receive a broad linguist diet by choosing a linguistic focus and rationale upon which to base the curriculum. In UK schools, this focus is very often on Europe, with French, German and Spanish on the curriculum (although many independent schools also offer Russian, Mandarin, Arabic or Japanese). The aim is to equip pupils with a basic understanding and knowledge of the two main language systems of Europe – the Romance languages of the south and the Germanic languages of the north. It is hoped that having such a rationale will enable pupils to have a positive, enjoyable and informative experience of modern

Germany and Spain have been missing

themselves in student life in the city. The

language teaching and encourage an

from the co-curricular programme for

Oxford German Olympiad is another

awareness of the communities at large,

the last two years with the uncertainty of

popular competition that gives students

around the world, which share the target

foreign travel and the restrictions imposed

the opportunity to extend their subject

languages and cultures. French is still the

by the COVID-19 pandemic, but schools

knowledge and compete against other like-

most commonly taught language in English

can still take part in online programmes

minded linguists at a national level. These

secondary schools, although over the

and activities. At Monmouth School for

opportunities enrich students and build

last 20 years, there has been a decline in

Girls, Year 9 pupils have been taking part

confidence, giving them the chance to use

numbers taking French and German with a

in an online exchange programme with

their language in creative and imaginative

significant rise in Spanish.

a German school where they have been


sharing video podcasts to talk about

CELEBRATING CULTURE AND HISTORY Language learning celebrates the cultural traditions and history of the target language while learning about the lifestyle and issues associated with young people today. In modern foreign language departments throughout the UK, the emphasis should be on learning that extends beyond the classroom to allow full engagement and ultimately a love of the language, the country, its people and its culture. This can be achieved in a number of ways.

cultural differences involving the Christmas

Work experience abroad is also a fantastic


addition to any CV and a great way to build confidence, learn new skills and improve

It is important to enthuse and inspire

communicating in the target language. It

pupils by offering a stimulating learning

is something that certainly benefited me

environment within the classroom.

as a sixth-form student and cemented

Competitions are also a great way to

my desire to follow a career in modern

get pupils involved with language. From

languages. Taking part in such initiatives

poetry recitations and Christmas card

also develops vocabulary and a firm grasp

designing to songs and inter-schools

of grammar, enabling pupils to achieve

debating competitions, there are no

their potential in external examinations.

limits to what schools can offer pupils in language activities outside the classroom.

I am always amazed by the creativity of

The Dresden Scholarship programme is

pupils when coming up with ideas to

Visits or exchange programmes provide

an excellent initiative, where selected Year

promote languages. There is nothing

students with the opportunity to immerse

13 students are sent to the University

more satisfying than seeing pupils getting

themselves in the language and culture of

of Dresden to follow an academic

enthused and excited by something for

a country. Sadly, annual trips to France,

programme, while living and immersing

which you share a mutual love.

Here at Monmouth School for Girls, with the Year 9 German Christmas Market trips cancelled, pupils recreated the markets in our own school corridors and ran the stalls themselves, with proceeds going to charity. For European Day of Languages pupils and staff who were fluent in a second language offered a ‘blind date’ of taster lessons to promote their own language. To the delight of all those who participated, pupils interested in learning a new language were randomly allocated lessons in Turkish, Afrikaans, Arabic, Japanese and Hindu, to name but a few of the options on offer. Pupils should be taught the benefit of language learning from an early age. They need to know that all languages are valuable. The acquisition of any language can expand linguistic capability, enhance employability, enrich cultural understanding and provide a valuable resource which helps to overcome communication barriers.

Rachel Rees is Deputy Head Pastoral at Monmouth School for Girls having previously held the post of Director of Sixth Form. Before this, she taught at Langley Park School for Boys in Beckenham and The Ravensbourne School in Bromley. She has 21 years’ experience teaching modern foreign languages throughout the key stages in both state and independent schools. She is completing a MEd in Educational Leadership and Management at Buckingham University.


an independent boarding and day school for boys and girls ages 3-18


IS TO CREATE IT St Lawrence College is a thriving independent boarding and day school that provides a first class education for boys and girls from 3 to 18 years. St Lawrence College offers a seaside location on the Kent Coast with easy access to London. Boarding is central to school life and it is one of our greatest strengths. Weekly and full boarding options are available from age 7 through to 18. We strive to provide a ‘home-from-home for all’. With over 50 children whose families work in the Armed Forces, we understand the service such families need. St Lawrence College is very proud to be one of the 14 founding schools, globally, to be granted the status of a World Class High Performance Learning School. This recognition underpins our mission to nurture every individual to ensure they achieve the very best that they can, always. Pay only 10% of boarding fees for HM forces personnel T: +44 (0) 1843 572931 E: St Lawrence College, College Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7AE

Visit our website to learn more about our 2022 Open Days

Twenty-first century learning – embracing technology to drive a culture of learning

Louise Orton Senior Deputy Head (Academic), Sherborne Girls Sherborne Girls sets out to nurture

Having committed fully in 2019 to

to individual needs and allowed teachers

and inspire a vibrant community of

developing our digital strategy, all our

and pupils to interact with each other

fulfilled, inquisitive and confident

teachers were provided with a Microsoft

more effectively. It facilitated improved

young women who are thoroughly

pen-enabled device, and a training

teacher feedback, quality use of prep

prepared to enter higher education

company spent a week at the school

time, individual organisation, efficient use

and embark on their future lives,

helping every teacher enhance their

of class time, and immediate access to

with a desire to make a difference.

teaching through the use of Microsoft

resources to add interest and experiences

A fundamental part of our vision

OneNote and Teams and pen-enabled

to classroom teaching.

and aim to develop the future

technology. We appointed two digital

generation of twenty-first century

leaders, supported by eight digital

When we went into the first lockdown in

women is ensuring every pupil is

champions, to drive the digital strategy

March 2020, the school was, therefore,

comfortable and confident with

forward, and we implemented regular

well placed and prepared for the

digital technology, appreciating its

staff training sessions and one-to-one

transition from traditional to remote

importance and the opportunities it

workshops with IT professionals.

learning. Teachers and pupils felt

brings. The development of the use

comfortable and confident with the shift

of technology is fully aligned with

The move to pen-enabled devices and

and we were pleased with the positive

our five core values of curiosity,

collaborative software changed the

feedback we received from parents, pupils

courage, compassion, adaptability

impact of the education offered and at

and staff.

and spirituality.

the same time made it more adaptable


Shrewsbury School

Visit Shrewsbury The Independent School of the Year 2020 Boarding and Day School for Girls and Boys aged 13-18 01743 280 552 |

Start your journey now at: SHORTLISTED Boarding School of the Year

WINNER Independent School of the Year 2020 WINNER Community Outreach Award 2020

Shrewsbury School - BSA Magazine (125mm high x185mm wide).indd 1

04/03/2022 09:23

support. Training sessions have become

New ways of living and working have made

departmental priorities delivered at a team

it even more important for staff and pupils

or individual level.

to develop their skills of communication, collaboration and teamwork. We have

IMPROVING AND TRANSFORMING LEARNING With pupils back at school, we continued to embrace technology to drive and develop teaching and learning. A learning technologist was appointed to help us develop and refine our digital offering further, inspire staff in the use of technology and investigate new ways in which technology can be used to improve and transform learning.

Numerous areas of common ground were

discovered new ways to connect, share

agreed across departments. For example,

ideas and show support, our horizons have

on a practical level, the use of OneNote and

been broadened and we have engaged with

Teams has been optimised for assignment-

wider and more geographically dispersed

setting and feedback flow. We also

audiences. As such, our community has

addressed the challenges of collecting and

developed a deeper understanding and

storing pupil-made videos, an issue which

political, social and environmental empathy.

had been flagged by teachers in several

Our digital strategy has underpinned all

practical subject areas.

these developments and continues to be a priority as we embrace technology to drive

From a pedagogical perspective, there assessment tools for engaging pupils during live, blended or remote teaching. Pupils are encouraged to be more active participants in the feedback process, responding

We set out to shift the conversation

to personalised comments, which the

from the digital champions to heads of

teacher annotates while recording spoken

department who best understand the

explanations. We are also exploring

individual strengths and needs of their

bespoke projects such as mixed reality in

team. A whole-staff survey provided further

biology, collaborative creative writing in

clarity on individual use of technology,

English and using the model of a head to

comfort level and skill gaps, which in turn

create binaural soundscapes in drama.

helped identify and prioritise appropriate

a culture of learning.

was interest in low- or no-prep formative Louise Orton is Senior Deputy Head (Academic) at Sherborne Girls, responsible for the school’s academic life and provision. She started her teaching career as a mathematics teacher at Queen Anne’s Caversham, where she became Head of Fourth Forms. She spent a short time at Wycombe High, Wycombe Abbey and the British School of Brussels before joining Sherborne Girls. Louise is driven by the challenge of creating an innovative curriculum promoting exploration and investigation in teaching and learning and seeking opportunities to equip pupils for life in the twenty-first century.

& Boarding and adolescence Education is transformative – it

is the lens through which future opportunities are viewed and,

hopefully, it provides the ability to

enable them. A boarding education magnifies this further – being in a

Bex Tear Head, Badminton School and BSA Chair, 2021

community where learning is a way of life develops understanding through practical engagement.

At an age and stage where adolescents

Boarding pupils develop naturally through

the end of the day and leave these matters

might be pushing against parents’ guided

the range of benefits on offer – getting

behind and so they have to resolve them

activities or shying away from the potential

along with people different from themselves,

together, perhaps with the always available

embarrassment of trying something new,

taking up opportunities, problem-solving

help and support of boarding staff. These

a vibrant and busy boarding environment

and communicating effectively. Boarding

are all useful life skills. The confidence

naturally encourages curiosity in what

education is based on relationships and

boarding pupils develop stands them apart

others are doing. It creates awareness and

the values that underpin them, and this is

in a competitive workplace.

encourages young people to try activities (or

largely in a context of peers, and without

even foods) they might not otherwise have

any pre-set family expectations and

been aware of, and it generates a lifelong

hierarchy. Boarding helps engender respect,

open-mindedness. This adaptability is of

tolerance, inclusion and kindness. Boarders

high value – we live in a rapidly changing

become skilled negotiators and conciliators.

world, never more so since the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Career pathways

They know in their community they have

are no longer considered linear and the

to make a difference. They have to learn to

idea of training for a profession for life now

resolve the type of disagreements that can

seems largely redundant.

occur between adolescents as they develop their own opinions. They can’t go home at

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY A boarder takes responsibility for organising most of their daily life. Of course, the excellent boarding schools we see around the world today have fantastic systems for monitoring and supporting them. But it is in their gift to choose their activities and how they live their daily life; they arguably have far greater ownership of this than day pupils. It is inevitable that when children


are at the heart of parents’ thoughts and decision-making the parents wish to steer and oversee their offspring to ensure they are maximising their opportunities. However, this can lead to push back from an adolescent who is forming their own identity and this can result in stressful dynamics at home. Boarding schools offer a great range of opportunities and activities and they give pupils responsibility for making their own choices and for accepting that they can’t ‘do it all’. Older pupils benefit from the process of evaluating and making choices, and this is a key benefit of the kind of supported independence boarding schools can offer. Busy day pupils can spend a great deal

Boarding is a wonderful time for adolescents

I am in no doubt that boarding has a

of time travelling to and from school or

to develop as individuals. Boarding staff and

significant role to play now and in the future.

to extra activities, particularly in families

pupils know each other well, not just in the

Being able to operate in the virtual world,

with several children or commitments to

classroom but through all the co-curricular

thinking creatively, showing diversity of

schedule. Boarding makes it possible to

activities on offer, and this helps pupils

understanding and using soft skills are all

remove routine commutes, creating time

develop trust and confidence. Boarding is

important life skills that boarding schools

for activities and relaxation. Teenagers

a safe environment where young people

help pupils develop.

relying on parental transport or fitting

can find their own interests, limits, style

in with a family schedule cannot easily

and boundaries, ready for university or

develop the same skills in managing their

independent living.

autonomy. Boarding schools also have rules of engagement, such as for social media, and it is far easier to set these across a peer group than in isolation as a parent. Boarding schools have experience of every year at every stage and can helpfully use their expertise to manage issues like these.

Bex Tear studied at the University of Exeter before doing teacher training at the Institute of Education, where she also completed an MA in Educational Leadership. She recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Her studies fuel her interest in education, lifelong learning, mentoring and innovation. Before Badminton she spent several years at Wycombe Abbey where she was resident Head of Sixth Form and then Senior Deputy Head. Before that, she was at St George’s School, Ascot, where she held several academic and pastoral responsibilities. Bex is passionate about helping pupils develop a broad and balanced set of skills and interests. She has boarded herself, as have her sons, and she is a governor at two boarding schools. She is BSA Chair, 2021.

The importance of creativity The arts are often considered the poor relation to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, which are seen as vital skills in a modern economy. Indeed, some people regard the arts as a soft option. However, there is now a growing recognition of a critical need for creative thinking and visual skills within the STEM mix, and a new acronym STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Maths) is now preferred by educationalists. This development is exciting and has great potential to attract a whole new cohort of pupils who might otherwise disengage from STEM subjects. Once art and design technology is blended in with the traditional STEM subjects, a more imaginative and innovative picture emerges. STEAM has already gathered significant momentum

Victoria Rose Director of Art, Dauntsey’s

in the US, spearheaded by academics and students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), who developed a curriculum which brought together the five STEAM subjects. Their goal was to educate the

and certainly the UK has a world-class

world of academia about the importance

reputation for art and design, going back

of incorporating creative thinking and visual

centuries. But how many people have heard

learning in the classroom.

of British designer Sir Jonathan Ive? He was Chief Design Officer of Apple and he

This is not a new concept – think of the

designed the iPhone, iPad and MacBook.

Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci,

Without his design genius, Apple would

who was a master not only of art but also

essentially be an engineering company.

scientific invention. Or more recently, the

Creativity is the magic ingredient that turned

Industrial Revolution in Great Britain when

Apple into the multi-billion dollar business

art, science and engineering were close and

that it is today. Giants like Tesler, Apple and

successful companions.

Google frequently recruit individuals who

CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION Creativity and imagination can set you apart in a world where technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are taking over many roles. Indeed, few jobs in the creative industries are at risk of automation. The iterative process involved in studying creative subjects leads pupils to constantly question their work and want to improve or add and try new approaches; a valuable skill in the workplace – and in life.

have a creative rather than technical

A report published in 2019 by the Durham

The Design Council argues that good design

background. They are hired for their design

Commission on Creativity and Education

capability can boost the UK’s competitiveness

talent, innovation and problem-solving skills.

agreed that creativity is the driver of


Victoria Rose held a range of roles in the creative industry and education before she became Director of Art at Dauntsey’s. She began her career as an art director in an advertising agency, where she gained awards for advertising effectiveness and creativity. She then began her own business as a freelance artist, illustrator and designer. She has exhibited at numerous venues and as a member of the Association of Illustrators she was also selected for the Best of British Illustration awards three years in a row. Victoria has also lectured on an Art and Design Foundation course. She uses this experience at Dauntsey’s to help pupils discover their artistic talents and understand how these talents are relevant to careers in the creative industry.

economic growth and innovation, stating that

the most watched TED talks of all time the

students to take thoughtful risks, engage

our national economy has been boosted

late educationalist Sir Ken Robinson argued

in experiential learning, persist in problem-

by the success of the creative industries in

that creativity is as important as literacy and

solving, embrace collaboration and work

the past ten years. Such success will only

should be given equal status. He defined

through the creative process in order to

increase, the report continues, as long as

creativity as ‘the process of having original

produce innovative results. These are skills

we can ensure that young people are given

ideas that have value’.

for the world of work beyond the classroom and further education. These are skills for

the opportunity to experience and develop skills in art, drama, music, design, craft and

No longer should Art A level be seen as an

digital awareness – the foundation of the

easy option. Creative subjects encourage

creative industries. The report concludes that creativity is now one of the most sought after clusters of skills for all employers. Encouraging young people from as early an age as possible to engage in art and design and value these subjects as much as maths and other subjects, is a critical first step in establishing a STEAM culture in the UK. In doing so we will develop in pupils the skills of problem-solving, independent thinking, planning, development, organisation, communication and presentation. Many schools understand the opportunity offered by these subjects but there needs to be a greater investment in creativity in all schools, in all parts of the country. In one of


Teaching empathy Damian Todres Director of Drama and Head of the Creative Arts Faculty, Wells Cathedral School

Consider the experience of being

capacities that will empower them to

a boarder in the twenty-first

thrive in an unknowable future. And

century – tentatively exploring ‘who

here we come to an old idea. Aristotle’s

I am’ through the glaring lens of

concept of phronesis or ‘practical

relentless social media feeds, with

wisdom’ is an intelligence gathered

the emotional burdens of ‘always

from practical action and creativity that

on’ connectivity, commentary and

ultimately informs a person how to ‘be’

unprecedented self-comparison to

in the world. Concerned with not only

peers. Add to this the worries of

the ‘head’ (what to know) but crucially

climate change, political upheaval

also with the ‘hand’ (how to act) as well

and the arrival of a game-changing

as the ‘heart’ (how to feel), Aristotle

global pandemic. Such psychological

emphasised the significance of not only

pressures are compounded by the

‘what to know’ but also ‘how to know’.

rapid pace of technological change, where more than half of children entering primary school today will end up working in completely new jobs that don’t yet exist. How can our children and young people be better prepared to cope in such a world? Drama may hold the key. An indication of this direction of travel can be seen in a recent World Economic Forum report The Future of Jobs 2020 (https://www. The report notes that employers are prioritising creativity and emotional intelligence. These more ‘human’ skills are seen to balance the trend towards artificial intelligence and machine learning. As a result of the cultural and employment challenges facing our young learners today we may need to re-evaluate the kinds of knowledge and

EMPATHIC THINKING So how do we provide opportunities to facilitate practical wisdom and emotional intelligence in our schools? I believe that teaching and learning drama is a compelling answer. By embodying characters from other times and places, drama uses the universality of human experience to uncover shared emotional and personal connections. Drama can develop perspectives between ‘self’ and ‘other’ through its inherently social and collaborative methods of working, encouraging empathic thinking and behaviour. During the iterative process of creating a piece of drama, creativity and imagination help to provide a transformative space of possibility that supports the development of practical wisdom, kindness, healing and understanding – qualities that transfer readily to the wider life of the pupil.


With its consideration of multiple perspectives, drama explicitly teaches what many consider to be one of the most urgent capacities in education: empathy. The word ‘empathy’ originates from the German philosophical term Einfühlung (‘feeling into’) and the Greek root pathos, which translates as ‘emotion, suffering and pity’. It is now understood to mean the ability to move beyond ourselves in order to understand the feelings and experiences of others. A facility to empathise enables the skills of collaboration, complex problem-solving and cognitive flexibility needed to negotiate life in a busy boarding school, as well as developing other critical emotional intelligences necessary for adulthood in the twenty-first century. The late educationalist Ken Robinson made an urgent call for empathy as the next educational disruptor – he believed that many of the problems children face are rooted in failures of empathy. The ability to ‘feel into’ can facilitate the development of a child or young person experiencing challenges into an agile, resourceful and resilient adult. As a drama teacher, this concern with practical wisdom and empathy has led me to pursue my own research focusing on dramaturgical strategies that enable pupils to develop and deepen their foundational human capacity to imagine the world of another; a competency that may help them to adapt and thrive together in the modern world of an unknowable future. Children and young people face an unprecedented scale of challenge and by refining our approach to not only ‘what’ kind of knowledge is useful but more importantly, ‘how’ to know it, I believe we are giving them every chance to succeed in whatever landscape they find themselves in after their time with us. They deserve nothing less.

Damian Todres is Director of Drama and Head of the Creative Arts Faculty at Wells Cathedral School, winner of Independent School of the Year 2020 in the Performing Arts category. This article is drawn from his final University of Oxford MSc dissertation entitled ‘Imagining the Other’, which investigated how educators can facilitate and explicitly teach empathy.

Recognising the physical and mental value of sport Rob Kift Director of Sport, Hurst College

The physical and mental wellbeing

continue to develop when they leave

to become élite performers. And sport

of pupils is central to a boarding

school. Hurst also offers a unique

for all not only includes a school’s

school’s sports offering. Sport is a

player welfare programme, with

own pupils but also other schools and

crucial part of boarding school life.

qualified physiotherapists who triage

organisations in the local community.

It provides a healthy and active

and monitor injuries and support

With excellent facilities and a

lifestyle, promotes good physical and

rehabilitation, as well as providing

sustained programme of development,

mental wellbeing, teaches teamwork

pitch-side cover on match days. Pupils

many boarding schools have the

and leadership skills, and develops

also benefit from clinic time and

capacity to host major sporting events.

resilience, determination and many

rehabilitation during the week. This

For example, Hurst created the Sussex

other important life skills.

forms part of the college’s wellbeing

Independent School Diamond League

programme which includes strength

Athletics Programme, one of many

All independent schools aim to create

and conditioning, sports analysis and

community initiatives which have

an activity diet that engages all pupils

individual mentoring.

proved popular. The college has also forged strong links with maintained

in an enjoyable, challenging and meaningful way, through traditional team sports, individual sports and outdoor pursuits – encouraging them to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle. Through these activities pupils learn important life skills and often choose at least one sport they wish to

SPORT FOR ALL Another key element for a boarding school is the importance of sport for all. All pupils should be given equal opportunities to be involved in sport – pupils who simply want to participate just as much as pupils who are or aim

schools by hosting development days, as well as being a hub for Surrey Storm Netball South and Sussex County Cricket academies, a feeder for the Harlequins Rugby Development Programme and the base for Sussex Hockey. As with many boarding


schools, Hurst also organises and plays host to regional and national competitions and events in a variety of sports. The driving force behind a high-quality school sports programme is successful collaboration with pupils and parents as well as a constant desire to improve. Schools not only strive to establish a reputation for the quality, breadth and inclusivity of their sporting provision, but also for the passion and commitment of their staff who aim to ensure that each pupil develops a lifelong love of sport and physical activity. Hurst’s excellent staff coaching team is supported by professional coaches, who are all experts in their fields. With the unprecedented circumstances

Our autumn term began with athletics,

Hurst won the Sporting Achievement award

surrounding COVID-19 lockdown, many

cross-country events and cricket – which

in the Independent Schools of the Year

school sports departments responded to

took place throughout the winter months.

2020 Awards for our focus on recognising

the unique challenge of remote learning

We met the requirement for pupils to be

the physical and mental value of sport

by implementing alternative ways of

in year group bubbles by introducing some

and sharing the benefits with the wider

engagement to deliver a comprehensive

temporary facilities, such as a golf driving

community, including the children of key

programme, including onsite options for

range and a marquee to house aerobics

workers during lockdown.

children of key workers. This creative and

and spin classes. Although matches against

dynamic approach continued when pupils

other schools were suspended, more house

returned in September 2020 for the new

competitions and intramural fixtures were

academic year. For obvious reasons schools

introduced as an alternative and most

made it a priority for pupils to be outside

of these took place during the Saturday

in the fresh air as much as possible and

programme of sport, when external fixtures

this challenged sports departments to be

are normally played.

inventive with the options they offered, using facilities to their best advantage.

Rob Kift has been Director of Sport at Hurst College since 1995 and is also President of the Common Room. Rob joined the college in 1990 as Assistant Director of Sport. He was the first Head of Academic PE and a Housemaster for five years.

The importance of pastoral care

Andrew Russell Headmaster, St David’s College

After the turbulent past two years,

Modern families want their children to be

school production or concert. Continued

the need for excellent pastoral care

educated in a nurturing environment where

support and guidance prepares pupils for

has never been more important. Since

they can learn in a family atmosphere.

the world after they leave school. Providing

it was established in 1965, St David’s

Matrons traditionally had an important part

opportunities to grow, work as a team,

College has always placed enormous

to play in the pastoral structure of boarding

develop resilience and leadership skills, and

value in focusing on the individual and

schools and although the role – and often the

most importantly the will to never give up, will

supporting each pupil to realise the

title – has changed in many schools, there

help to carry each pupil throughout their life.

potential of their own gifts – giving them

remains a need for someone outside the

the freedom to flourish.

academic staff to provide this pastoral role.

With the shift to online learning during the

How this is achieved varies from school to

COVID-19 pandemic, the need to adapt


pastoral care provision to digital platforms

When parents are looking for the right

increased. Taking time to do fun things has

boarding school for their family, three of the

TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION Two-way communication between pastoral staff/houseparents and pupils is key. Pupils must feel comfortable enough to go to staff with any worries or concerns. Staff strive to get to know their pupils as well as possible and make themselves available to them – in the case of houseparents, this can be 24/7.

helped to engage pupils by breaking up long

its best when the pupils are at the centre

Feedback from pupils about their thoughts on

When every child feels safe in the knowledge

of everything the school does. Pastoral

pastoral care provision is critical. They are the

that they are a valued member of the

care programmes consider many different

ones who are experiencing the care and their

community, their true potential can be

elements of a pupil’s life in the school.

feelings will be important in making sure the

discovered, nurtured and given the freedom

Physical activity, social inclusion, emotional

support provides exactly what they need. This

to flourish.

support and intellectual development are

is why an open dialogue between pupils and

all key to the happiness of any child in an

staff is so important.

most important questions they usually have are: Where will my child sleep? What will they eat? Who will support them? In the past, support may have been academically focused but now more than ever there is a need for pastoral support. Pastoral care is a school commitment to

periods working at a screen. Schools have encouraged children to be active away from their screens by offering lockdown activities and challenges and encouraging them to engage in school community apps. This has helped pupils feel involved and part of the school community when learning remotely.

the wellbeing of every pupil and is always at

independent school. Happy, content children with a positive attitude are more likely to

Genuinely exceptional pastoral care is

approach their studies with focus and a

constant and permeates throughout a

willingness to learn.

pupil’s educational experience. Pastoral care can be in the classroom, part of co-curricular activities, on outdoor education expeditions or during preparations for a

Andrew Russell became Headmaster of St David’s College in 2017. After studying accounting and economics at the University of Southampton, Andrew was an accountant before becoming a teacher. He joined St David’s 29 years ago and during that time he has been Head of Maths, Head of Careers, Tryfan Housemaster, Assistant Head and Deputy Head. He was drawn to St David’s because it combines his passions – teaching and being in the outdoors.


ALL HALLOWS Preparatory School- children aged 3 - 13

Located in rural Somerset, just 15 minutes from Frome and 30 minutes from Bath. Generous Armed Forces package making for an affordable education for all your children. Outstanding opportunities across the curriculum and beyond. With happiness and wellbeing at the heart of all we do, our children are regularly achieving above and beyond expectations. Helping, every step of the way, in finding the right senior school where your child will thrive in whatever lies ahead. Discover why we are different and call Jackie Truelove on 01749 881609 for more information and to arrange a visit.


YOU HAVE THE STAGE TO PERFORM We give you the strength to be an individual


Denstone College and The Prep at Denstone College are an independent co-educational day and boarding school in Staffordshire, with an all through education from Reception through to A Levels.

If you would like to come and visit us, please contact or 01889 591415


OPEN MORNINGS: SAT 5TH MARCH & SAT 14TH MAY 2022 Vir tual and private visits are also available on a date to suit you 01761 235103

Boarding in the North of England

Jeremy Walker Head Master, St Peter’s School, York

The North of England is understandably

of history and culture along with modern

Minster to museums, ancient city walls, art

a popular choice for boarders and their

dynamism. York is a popular and dynamic

galleries and an exciting range of festivals

families. With vibrant cities, stunning

hub with a sense of history around every

and events throughout the year.

coastlines and spectacular landscapes,

corner, and with large cosmopolitan cities

the North attracts boarders from

nearby such as Leeds and Newcastle and

St Peter’s combines city living with outdoor

across the UK and beyond. This area

the beauty of Durham, there is something

space for children to grow and thrive.

of the UK is renowned for its friendly

here for everyone.

Despite being just five minutes’ walk away

communities, and a warm welcome awaits boarders who choose to call the North of England their home. There is a range of boarding options available to suit the needs of each individual child. Whether you are looking for city-centre vibrancy or rural tranquillity, you will find the perfect setting for your child in the North of England. Its cities offer an ideal blend

from the centre of York, boarders can also

HISTORIC CITY OF YORK At St Peter’s School, pupils are fortunate to have the historic city of York on their doorstep. York is frequently voted as one of the best places to live in the UK and it has a rich history with the city as we now know it dating back to the Roman period. It is the perfect place for boarders to explore on weekends, from the magnificent York

enjoy the freedom offered by the school’s 50-acre campus on the banks of the River Ouse. Beyond the cities, the North of England also offers many opportunities for adventure and exploration. From Northumberland to East Yorkshire, the stunning coastline is popular with schools as a destination for educational


Our northern schools have some of the most successful school sports teams in the country.

visits. Whitby is especially popular and pupils can regularly be found combing the coast at Flamborough Head on geography field trips. Northern England is also home to several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and three National Parks: the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and the Lake District National Park, which has recently been added to the list of UNESCO

TRANSPORT CONNECTIONS The North of England enjoys access to several international airports including Manchester, Leeds, Doncaster and Newcastle, and many schools are also well connected to London by train. York is under 2 hours by train from London while Newcastle is 3½ hours by train from London, making these cities easily accessible for UK and international boarders.

World Heritage Sites. Whether boarders are studying in cities or in the countryside, these

With so much to offer, it is hardly surprising

stunning landscapes are easily accessible on

that places at boarding schools in the


North of England have become increasingly attractive in recent years and with a large

Our northern schools have some of the

military presence it is a popular area for

most successful school sports teams in the

Service families.

country, and offer music, art and drama to the highest standard plus CCF, The

Founded in 627 AD, St Peter’s School is

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and a wide

the third oldest school in the country

range of activities and clubs. Combined

and was named The Sunday Times North

with exemplary pastoral care, this means

Independent School of the Year in 2019.

pupils can experience absolutely everything on offer at school and still have time to relax and make lifelong friendships in their boarding houses.

Jeremy Walker has been Head Master at St Peter’s since 2019. He spent his school days as a full boarder and was educated at Sherborne School and Oxford University. Previous roles have included Principal of King’s School Rochester, Headmaster of Berkhamsted Sixth and Housemaster and Head of RS and Theory of Knowledge at Ardingly College.

The popularity of prep school


Dr Trevor Richards Head, All Hallows Preparatory School In today’s rapidly changing and

The key role of a preparatory school lies in

to boarding can be hard for parents too

demanding world, where our view of

the name – to prepare. For pupils planning

and an insight into day-to-day life, via an

life is distorted by social media and

on boarding for the next stage of their

active blog or social media, reassures them

expectations of our young people are

education, prep schools can give them a

their children are engaging with others and

high, our prep boarding schools offer

priceless opportunity to board in a familiar

immersing themselves in all that is on offer.

children an oasis into which they can

environment, surrounded by their friends.


A child who started flexi-boarding in Year 5

All prep boarding schools want their

and increased this to weekly or full boarding

pupils to be in a triangle of care (child–

With the jam-packed extra-curricular

by the end of Year 8 is likely to settle far

parent–boarding staff) and this means

programmes that are part and parcel of any

more quickly into a new school, taking full

fostering a close relationship between

school offering boarding at this younger

advantage of all that is on offer, than a

families and school. Acting in loco parentis

age, children can be children and throw

child who has had little or no experience of

at All Hallows means our staff value regular

their energy into activities, hobbies and


communications and meetings with parents. These allow us to deal with any questions or

interests in the company of their friends, perhaps discovering new passions along the

For new boarders, taster days and letters

concerns before they become an issue and

way. At times, our boarding schools may be

from future classmates help to make them

to ensure our parents have total confidence

likened to holiday camps but, with a routine

feel welcomed. Keeping in touch with their

in the school.

structure in place to complete any prep or

families is so easy with modern technology

homework, and without the need to travel to

and regular video calls allow parents to

Lifelong friendships are made through

and from school on a daily basis, there is still

feel at ease about their children, helping to

the shared experiences and challenges

plenty of time left for relaxation.

replicate those end-of-day chats in the car or

that come from living in a community.

around the kitchen table, even though they

At All Hallows, pupils grow and develop

may be miles away.

emotionally, learning social skills and

A generation or two ago, it was unusual for

supporting each other along the way. These

both parents to work, whereas today the opposite is true. Parents often have long

Although mobile phones and tablets help

skills will stand them in excellent stead as

days and overnight stays away from home.

with communication, extended use of these

they move on to face new challenges at their

It is no wonder therefore that the popularity

can be isolating and so access should be

senior schools and beyond as happy, well-

of flexi or weekly boarding is on the rise.

limited to ensure children are interacting

adjusted individuals.

For ‘full’ boarders, having their various day

with each other. Set times for calling home

friends boarding regularly on a ‘flexi’ basis

can establish expectations from both sides

creates a busy and vibrant boarding house,

but flexibility over this is key and at All

making it an exciting, dynamic and energetic

Hallows, if a pupil needs to phone home, we

place to be.

do all we can to facilitate this. The transition

Dr Trevor Richards has been Head of All Hallows Preparatory School in Somerset since 2017, having been associated with the school for over 20 years. Married to Jeanna, Trevor is an educationalist and a child psychologist. He attended the University of Liverpool before gaining QTS from the University of Bath. He later took his Doctorate of Educational Psychology at the University of Bristol.

Transformation through education Christ’s Hospital: The leading independent boarding school for fee assisted places T: 01403 246 555 E: Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 0LJ Registered Charity No. 1120090

The benefits of prep school boarding

Robert Lankester Headmaster, Maidwell Hall

Say goodbye to school runs, endless testing and tutoring, mobile phones (at least in some prep schools) and chauffeuring increasingly frustrated children to endless after-school clubs. Instead, say hello to climbing trees, muddy knees and a carefree childhood.

and good mental health. However, these

disinclined to commit to anything. At

days many social factors have created

a boarding school, children can have

a world that prohibits children from

much greater independence and a sense

enjoying the benefits of this kind of

of their own responsibilities. If this can

freedom, with the result that parents

develop in a homely and comforting

feel they have to ‘helicopter’ them. A

atmosphere then the result should be

prep boarding education gives children

children learning life-enhancing skills

the independence to play with their

such as making their own decisions

friends and a freedom that helps them to

without even realising they are doing so.

Have you thought about prep school

Learning some of the harder lessons


in life in your childhood is natural and

develop and enjoy their childhood, with all the positive mental and physical health attributes this brings.

WHEN TO START BOARDING? So it’s clear there are many benefits to boarding, but when is the ideal time to start and which type of boarding should you choose?

gives you an emotional resilience that There is no doubt that a country

is beneficial later in life. For example,

Over the past 20 years there has been a

education can bring greater freedom,

decision-making – it’s very easy for

steady trend towards children boarding

space and time. We used to live in an age

parents to make all the decisions for

at a slightly older age. Children who

where children could play in the streets

their children, trying desperately to

wish to board at their senior schools

and explore with their friends, having

make life easier. Except that it doesn’t

routinely join boarding prep schools for

a level of independence that has been

– parents simply become exhausted

one year only or even a term or two.

shown to build resilience, individuality

and the children can become ‘flaky’ and

But however excellent the pastoral care


“Many prep schools now offer flexi-boarding or a transitional arrangement, allowing pupils to make a gradual change to full boarding.”

at senior schools, you cannot replicate

homesickness and it’s an emotion

the small, cosy, nurturing feel of a small prep school, which can be a softer way to settle into boarding life. Many prep schools now offer flexiboarding or a transitional arrangement, allowing pupils to make a gradual change to full boarding. This can make it easier for children to be part of the decisionmaking. However, do be aware that parttime boarding does not always offer all the benefits mentioned. So when is the right time to start boarding? The answer as always is when it suits your family’s circumstances and when your child is ready (and preferably clamouring to start!) – and in my opinion, the sooner the better.

WHAT ABOUT HOMESICKNESS? Another big question for many families

that can be felt at any age – many

is whether homesickness is an issue for

young adults experience overwhelming

children who board. There are plenty

homesickness when they leave home to

of eight-year-old full boarders and it is

go to university. Learning how to handle

remarkable how quickly they adjust. It is

emotions like these is a lifeskill that is

certainly not my experience that younger

best developed in childhood and in a kind

children are more homesick than older

and nurturing environment such as a

children. In fact, we see very little

prep boarding school.

Robert Lankester has worked in boarding schools for 30 years. Previously Housemaster and Senior Housemaster at Uppingham, he has been Headmaster at Maidwell Hall since 2001. Educated at Charterhouse and Selwyn College, Cambridge, he spent seven years in the City before making the change to teaching, which he describes as the best decision he ever made. Robert believes strongly in the benefits that boarding brings, having seen how it encourages children to be independent, live with their peers harmoniously and grow in confidence.

Why choose a boarding


prep school Rob Morse Headmaster, Aysgarth School Like many boarding prep schools,

Boarders are given the opportunity to

‘guiding’ system where older boys welcome

Aysgarth has a vast activities

manage their own lives and in this way

and support boys who are new to the

programme and the boys work hard

become stronger individuals, capable of

school. This includes writing to the new

and have a great deal of fun. Boarding

leadership and initiative. For example, at

boys during the holidays before they start,

is not for everyone, but it does have

Aysgarth play time is not always organised

making sure they know what to do and

enormous advantages and I would like

for the pupils. We create free time when

where to go when they arrive, and generally

to outline the key benefits here.

the boys are expected to manage their

mentoring them. Older boys who were

own play – making up their own games and

very homesick when they started school

rules, building dens and so on. Of course,

can be especially helpful in supporting and

staff keep an eye on them from a distance

encouraging new boys who feel homesick

but as far as possible we want pupils to

at first. The guiding system not only helps

develop the ability to manage their own

the new boys but also helps the older boys


to develop empathy.

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS Boarders also learn how to live and deal with each other for extended periods and this challenges them to develop their interpersonal skills. At Aysgarth we have a

Boarding school teachers work with the

INDEPENDENCE Independence might be the greatest gift we as parents can give to our children. Boarders are required to take responsibility for their actions and choices and, because parents are not there to shield them from the causes and effects of their actions, they will experience both success and failure in a safe and controlled environment.

children in and out of the classroom, share meals with them and often live on site. They see the children in every aspect of school life and celebrate their strengths



“Boarders learn how to live and deal with each other for extended periods and this challenges them to develop their interpersonal skills.”

and successes. There is much truth

look back on their education they

have benefited from additional

in the old adage that ‘one wins the

are more likely to remember their

academic and extra-curricular

battle outside of the classroom’

friends and their escapades rather

opportunities and so they will have

and being able to congratulate a

than their lessons (apologies to

an improved understanding of work–

boy on his sporting performance

teachers everywhere!). For example,

life balance.

on Saturday or on his singing in the

at Aysgarth a favourite game is

Chapel on Sunday, helps develop his

‘Spotlight’. In the darkness of early

The world our children will inherit

self-confidence as well as making

evening, the boys have to try to

will be very different from today’s

sure he is more focused in his lessons

escape from the school buildings into

world, and independence, creativity

on the Monday.

the grounds and as far as the cricket

and adaptability will be ever more

pavilion. Members of staff track and

important. Boarding offers the

The time day pupils spend

chase them with torches until all the

opportunity to develop these skills in

commuting is put to use in the

boys have been found!

addition to the regular curriculum, and all while having fun. Why

classroom or in the activities programme. The longer day allows us to extend academic lessons, play sports every day and increase the extra-curricular provision – in short, to offer pupils the opportunity to make enhanced progress and to have more fun!

COMMUNITY When we asked in a recent survey ‘What do you like best about the school?’ the most common answer was ‘boarding’. Academics are of course paramount, but when children

PREPARATION FOR LIFE AFTER SCHOOL Research has shown that boarding pupils are more capable of steering a successful course through the many challenges that life will throw at them. The move from secondary school to university is often easier for boarding pupils who will have already established the independence of living away from their families. Their time spent living with others will have helped them develop their interpersonal skills. They will also

wouldn’t you want to give your children this opportunity?

Rob Morse is Headmaster of Aysgarth School, an all-boys’ prep boarding school in the North of England. Before his appointment at Aysgarth, Rob was Headmaster at Perrott Hill Preparatory School and before this he held the post of Deputy Head and Housemaster at S Anselm’s. As well as teaching Geography, Rob loves the great outdoors, and is a keen sportsman and an aspiring trumpeter and guitar player. He is married to Lottie, also a teacher, and they have two children, Daisy and Harry.



Gareth Jones Headmaster, Bilton Grange

About 17 years ago, I found myself

instilling a multi-cultural awareness

standing on a large concourse at the

in our increasingly globalised society.

foot of an enormous favela in Rio de

Boarding schools arguably do this

Janeiro. Around me were concrete

better than most.

walls patterned with bullet holes and poorly built slums rising up the hill. As if I wasn’t already humbled by the poverty-stricken nature of the location itself, it was the fact that in front of where I stood were dozens of children from the favela playing makeshift drums made out of bottles and cans and teaching the mostly British children I was with how to do the same. They shared their rhythm and love of music, they taught us the dancing martial art of Capoeira, and their sheer enthusiasm and musicality broke down barriers that might otherwise have existed between children from different nations. Right there I saw that music is a universal language.

From the earliest age, we are comforted by music. As we progress through early developmental milestones, music is often used to integrate learning skills with a fun, enjoyable experience. Learning a musical instrument and singing in a choir should be part of every child’s education. It gives children a window into a creative world that is part of what makes us human. Creativity brings a sense of freedom. Rules are often obsolete when we are being creative and we have permission to take risks and try new things. When we take the time and energy to develop new ideas, we learn to understand, trust and respect ourselves which, in turn, leads to better expression

UK boarding schools offer a safe

and articulation of our thoughts. And

and well-equipped home that is far

as a result we often become more

removed from that favela but there is

confident, less stressed and more

a connection in the way that children

adaptable when problems come along

from different backgrounds come

that require a solution.

TIME FOR MUSIC Boarding schools understand all this and place great importance on music, offering instrumental and singing lessons, ensembles, orchestras, bands and many different performance opportunities. Sometimes there is so much on offer that a boarding pupil can struggle to choose. But a key benefit of boarding school life is the time it provides for many activities including, of course, music. Learning a musical instrument takes dedication and regular practice. For day pupils this will often be done at home squeezed in between homework, food, travel and other co-curricular activities. Children who board gain an advantage here. They don’t need to build in time for commuting or preparing meals. Their routine can be planned to allow time for practice and this will often be aided by dedicated support from the music department, enabling progress to be maintained and monitored. But boarding offers much more than

together in schools and a realisation

this. Ensembles and choirs can be

that music is so important for

timetabled to rehearse during boarding


time and there will also be time for pupils

100 per cent of the fees. Pupils do

to be creative, form their own ensembles,

not have to board to be part of this

compose their own music and prepare

programme but those who do will find the

performances together. All this enriches

chorister programme will dovetail with the

the house spirit and because everyone

full range of activities that all our pupils

is doing it together, music is valued by


everyone and becomes part of daily life rather than perhaps a solitary activity at

Pupils who board and embrace the musical

home House concerts, entertainments and

opportunities on offer in their schools

performances are eagerly anticipated and

will be enriched by greater confidence,

enjoyed by all.

independence and a creative spirit which can last a lifetime. So, as they say at the

MUSIC IS FOR EVERYONE Here at Bilton Grange, music is for everyone, not confined to the music school. Everyone sings with enthusiasm in school assemblies and there are ensembles, bands, an orchestra and musical dramatic performances. In 2022 we are also launching a new chorister programme which will see two new choirs – one for boys and another for girls. These auditioned choirs will rehearse and sing on four days a week but will have no commitments at the weekends. They will sing Evensong and the Eucharist in both Bilton Grange and Rugby School chapels alongside professional adult singers. This programme is supported by scholarships and means-tested bursaries up to

carnival in Rio, ‘abrace a musica’ (embrace the music).

As an English and History graduate, Gareth Jones began his teaching career at The Dragon where senior roles included Director of Sport, Director of the Extended Curriculum and Housemaster. He was Head of St Andrew’s Prep, Eastbourne for six years. Music and the performing arts flourished during his tenure there. Since September 2021, he has been Head of Bilton Grange Prep which is now part of the Rugby Schools Group.

Outdoor learning – ‘rewilding’ pupils Outdoor learning enriches learning experiences and gives children and young people the opportunity to connect with nature. The potential of outdoor learning to improve academic outcomes has been long recognised

Will Frost Head of Geography and Outdoor Learning, Salisbury Cathedral School

by the government. In 2006 it signed a manifesto from the Council for Learning

The psychological benefits of spending time

conducted outside in ‘nature’s classroom’.

Outside the Classroom (LOtC) stating:

in nature are numerous. Observing plants,

Even though ‘outdoor learning’ has its own

‘We strongly support the educational

trees, water and creatures is naturally mindful

sessions on the timetable, the end goal is a

case for learning outside the classroom.

and calming.3 In this environment children

cultural shift that sees all our staff thinking,

If all young people were given these

are more able to access their subconscious

‘I wonder if I could take this lesson outside?’.

opportunities, we believe it would make

knowledge and understanding as well as

a significant contribution to raising

their conscious minds. It’s not surprising that

Before becoming a teacher, I worked for


often children and young people who have

the National Trust for ten years. An early

been deemed to be having difficulties with

experience opened my eyes to the power of

Two years later, Ofsted, the schools’

their learning positively shine in a different,

nature to bring out the best in people. Each

inspection service, commissioned a report

outdoor environment.4

week I collected a group of young jobseekers who had to participate in volunteering to

called Learning Outside the Classroom, how far should you go? The report found that ‘learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.’ It also stated that outdoor learning is most successful when it is an ‘integral element of long-term curriculum planning’.2

NATURE’S CLASSROOM One of the many benefits of boarding at a prep school is the wealth of experiences on offer both inside and outside the classroom and often the additional benefit of beautiful outdoor space to explore. At Salisbury Cathedral School (SCS) I have been campaigning for more lessons to be

remain eligible for benefits. Many of the young people involved had known drug and alcohol problems and I was unsure about how much they would benefit from the planned outdoor rehabilitation programme. I’ve never been so happy to be so completely wrong. After a tiring day cutting back invasive Peadar Maxwell, child psychologist, quoted from 4 1 2 3


rhododendrons, my young team came to

Rewilding is an increasingly mainstream

on their skin. The more they do this, the

life with an amazing sense of purpose. The

environmental movement committed to

stronger, more confident, healthy and happy

time outside in nature, camaraderie and all

reversing the destruction of the natural world

they will become. At SCS we are lucky to have

the fresh air and exercise were the most

by doing (almost) nothing. It is the reverse

27 acres of green space, including a lake,

tremendous tonic for all and by the end of

of conventional conservation policy. There

trees, lawns and pitches in the heart of the

the day no one wanted to stop!

is no box-ticking, no target-driven initiatives.

city, and the beautiful campus is ideal for

Instead, land is given back to nature. Rivers

connecting pupils with nature every day.

As I progressed in my career at the National

are re-wiggled, scrub areas are left to grow,

Trust, I found my job slowly changed from

verges are planted with native wildflowers

Rewilding our children is not all play though.

being outside with others and became more

and herbivores have been reintroduced to

Whether it’s creating history timelines on

office-based and target-driven. It was the

create dynamic habitats through natural seed

the school driveway or demonstrating

memory of how those young jobseekers


population pyramids by the cricket pitch, our pupils thrive when they are learning

blossomed in the fresh air that led me to teaching, with a strong focus on taking children out into nature. I joined SCS in 2020 with the aim of leaving the place (SCS) better than I found it and working to ensure all pupils have the opportunity to learn, have memorable experiences and make meaningful friendships outdoors. Working together with the rest of the school staff, I hope to rewild both the pupils and their school environment.

OPEN TO EVERYONE The beauty of rewilding is that it’s open to everyone. You can rewild anything from a window box to the whole world. At SCS, we are starting small by keeping everything we cut. It is a bit of a culture shock as the reality of rewilding can be quite messy with all the bugs that thrive – garden waste can stimulate a biodiversity of insects very quickly. Tree trimmings make pretend swords and are great for den-building. These toys from nature bring simple joy to our pupils. There is much enthusiasm throughout the school community for rewilding. In 2020 our Year 8s created videos to inspire everyone to rewild their gardens as one of many challenges for SCS’s first Green Week. The concept of rewilding has been expanded to also reflect the importance of reconnecting children with nature. To connect with nature, children need to be outdoors in natural environments as much as possible. They need to play outside in woodlands, roll down hills and climb trees. They need to get wet and muddy and feel the wind, rain and sun

in new and different environments. SCS is also committed to ensuring future field trips provide opportunity for pupils to get involved, for example by keeping data on wildlife, litterpicking or planting trees or hedges. If they revisit the same destination in the future, they will have a sense of pride knowing they have contributed.

Will Frost joined Salisbury Cathedral School (SCS) in September 2020 from Windlesham House School. As Head of Geography and Outdoor Learning, Will introduced the first ever SCS Green Week in 2020 and is continually increasing the amount of outdoor learning for every pupil. Before teaching, Will worked for the National Trust and was a contributor to the ‘50 Things to Do Before You’re 11’ scheme, designed to encourage children out into nature. He has also volunteered as a guide at the Knepp Estate, known for its very successful rewilding project, the ‘Great Landscape Experiment’.

Olly Langton Headmaster, Belhaven Hill School

Using robotics, 3D printing and computing in a prep school

The ability to understand twenty-first century technology is the first step to being able to control the creative power of computers. There is no doubt that prep schools must meet this challenge head on if we are to fulfill a leading role as educators of the next generation. The perception that this challenge involves the adoption of a completely new set of skills needs to change. In fact, much of what we can learn from computational thinking has been championed by prep schools for generations: resilience, perseverance, dedication, focus, and accuracy. The challenge with computing education is that we do not know what the technology will be when our pupils leave formal education in a decade’s time. What we do know is that almost all roles will use technology, so knowing how technology works will be an essential prerequisite for a successful career. Key to our pupils’ success will be an understanding of computational thinking and developing a lifelong interest in computing. The Raspberry Pi Foundation explains that

excellent pastoral care and nurturing

rather than abstract form. To achieve this,

‘computational thinking is solving a problem

communities, small class sizes and

here at Belhaven Hill, we have invested in

by breaking it down into its individual parts

dedicated staff, they can provide the perfect

Spheros, Micro:bits and Raspberry Pis.

and building an algorithm to solve the

opportunity to experiment and ‘fail safely’. The younger pupils use the Sphero robots,

problem’. This area of computer science encourages children to be creative. Prep

To develop computational thinking, children

spherical robots which can be programmed

schools provide the ideal environment in

need regular access to physical computing

on iPads using a block-based programming

which to develop creativity. With their

so that they can see the results in tangible

language. Creating routes for the Sphero


to navigate provides the opportunity for

We have recently invested in a 3D printer

Prep schools need to encourage failure

problem-solving and gives children a feeling

which has created real excitement among

to a greater degree than has previously

of mastery through ‘live’ experience. The

the pupils. They have used it to produce

been allowed. The ‘fear of failure’ inculcated

pupils can also make the Sphero robots

chess set pieces, a new trophy for the

in part by the exam culture of modern

communicate with each other, allowing the

school’s stop-motion animation competition,

schooling, must be addressed as a first step

development of simple communication

and to make other familiar items. This

in removing the shackles from our pupils’

protocols, as well as responding to events

has already created a legacy in which the

progress. An immersive approach to the

such as crashing into a wall! This ability to

children see themselves as engineers.

adoption of technology for staff and pupils, forced upon us by successive lockdowns, has

break a task down into its composite parts

components such as a Servo.

‘DIGITAL MAKERS’ Our goal is to create a cohort of ‘digital makers’ who can design bespoke parts for a project, connect them to a programmable device and use them to solve a problem. Pupils might construct a chariot to connect to a Sphero so that a favourite teddy can be transported around a dorm; or they might programme a Micro:bit to create a selfopening bin for a visually impaired relative at home.

Physical computing offers children

Prep schools can be the perfect environment

the opportunity to be creative with

for the trial and error approach to working

their solutions to problems. Alongside

with computers. Our children need these

programming, children can be introduced

digital skills to achieve a greater level of

to other skills such as soldering, computer-

proficiency in all aspects of their education.

lies at the heart of computational thinking. Older pupils at Belhaven Hill use their iPads to program Micro:bits. These are microcontroller boards specifically designed to teach children physical computing. Pupils use a similar block-based language to the Sphero to program the Micro:bits’ onboard components (such as buttons, compasses and LED screens) and can also add

aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).

produced a significant increase in the pace of progress. Now is the time to forge ahead and prepare our children for the challenges they will confront at the next stage of their education and in the wider world beyond. Robotics, 3D printing and computing definitely need to be part of a modern prep school’s curriculum.

Olly Langton joined Belhaven Hill School as Headmaster in 2020 having taught at Ludgrove (2005–7) and Radley (2007–20). He is married to Rosie and together they ran a boarding house at Radley for seven years before moving to Belhaven. They are joined by their three children, Alexander (now at Belhaven), Cleo and Lettie, and their Labrador, Nelson.

It takes a village school to raise a child ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ But in our ever-changing landscape, it now appears that it also takes a school to raise a child. Nowhere is this more evident than in a boarding school. With the alarming statistics of children being diagnosed with depression at a young age, and resilience and wellbeing becoming the new ‘watch words’ in schools, there is a great need for all schools

Regan Schreiber Head of Boarding and PSHE teacher, Hazlegrove Prep School

to be aware of the role they play in the life of a child. Childhood is precious and every child should be nurtured, especially while at school. Nowadays, raising a child can no longer just be the job of the ‘village’ – parents, extended family and friends. Schools therefore need to shoulder even more of the responsibility in helping to raise children. The modern ‘village’ now has the family and the school at its very heart.

EXCEPTIONAL PASTORAL CARE When you are looking for the right boarding school for your children, I urge you to look beyond the outstanding facilities, the superbly equipped classrooms and the extensive playing fields, although of course these are important. What really matters is how the school will deliver exceptional pastoral care and what this really means

for your child. John Newman once said that teaching requires a moral dimension otherwise it is cold and arctic. Never has this been more relevant than today. Teachers have always had many roles – storytellers, educators, coaches, carers and others too many to mention – but a priority for me is being a ‘parent’ and role model.


My philosophy, which has always guided

their children as partners in this exciting

this and have accepted the challenge (and

me in teaching and indeed in leading

journey. This healthy communication must

indeed the privilege) of helping parents

the boarding at Hazlegrove, is that every

exist between children and staff too. Pupils

raise their children. So when choosing

child should be ‘parented’ every day.

must believe they have a voice and that

a boarding school, make sure you meet

By this I mean children should not get

the staff really listen. They will be looking

the staff, who will be those all-important

through a day without an adult asking

to the adults for guidance, support, advice

role models for your children, who will

them how they are feeling and digging a

and a sense of belonging.

be responsible for a significant part of raising them to adulthood and who will

little below the surface in order to get to know the child better and help the child

Boarding school teachers have always

share (and reinforce) your values, helping

feel appreciated and cared for. Staff –

had an enormous responsibility in looking

your children become the best versions of

including administrative staff, domestic

after children and that responsibility

themselves. You need to imagine seeing

staff, grounds staff, matrons as well as

includes making sure pupils are learning

your child there – happy and cared for.

teachers – all have a key role to play in

valuable life lessons, from being able to tie

Let’s start raising our children together!

raising the pupils.

shoelaces, to riding a bicycle and having good table manners. At Hazlegrove we

Communication and trust are key.

believe there is more to teaching than

Schools must ensure they have created

merely delivering lessons. Teachers need

an environment that encourages adults

to help children build self-confidence

to talk freely and warmly about children.

and a sense of self-belief, foster an

Staff and parents need to embrace the

appreciation and tolerance for others,

challenge and work together for the sake

facilitate friendships, help discover new

of the children. Teachers and parents can

talent and find out what makes their

no longer just wave to each other from

‘tails wag’, as well as reinforcing the

the car park or the street, they need to

importance of self-control and self-

meet face-to-face (or online) and celebrate

respect. At Hazlegrove, we are ready for

Regan is Head of Boarding and PSHE Co-ordinator at Hazlegrove in Somerset where there are around 90 full-time boarders. He and his wife Gail are houseparents to the senior boys and live in the boarding house with their children and their dogs, Toast and Toffee. One of their children attends Hazlegrove while the other two have moved from Hazlegrove to senior boarding school in Taunton. Before joining Hazlegrove in 2016, Regan and Gail spent ten years as houseparents in a full boarding prep school in East Sussex.

Responsibility versus maturity

– when to introduce more freedom to prep school boarders Every parent hopes their child will grow up to be a success – a happy and

Paddy Moss Headmaster, Dean Close Preparatory School

fulfilled adult who makes considered choices and who appreciates the value of being of service to others. Many schools promise to provide the opportunities to achieve this, particularly through boarding provision. Boarding is no longer popular simply

not quite ready to take their next steps?

child is important in order to offer

as a necessity for travelling or busy

The key is for houseparents and house

the appropriate concessions. Giving

parents – it is a lifestyle choice for

tutors to really know each individual pupil

responsibility to a young person can have

parents who recognise and value the

very well and to work with parents through

immense benefits for all involved and can

benefits of it.

understanding their different parenting

offer opportunities to learn and develop new



lessons learnt from being educated away

Equally important is monitoring the choices

The first question to consider when

from home – teamwork through living with

each child makes as they navigate their

giving responsibility is: ‘Are they ready?’

others, taking care of one’s own physical and

school journey, being there to celebrate their

Professionals who work in boarding schools

emotional needs with support from staff,

successes and offering compassion and

are very experienced in knowing when to

taking responsibility for self-organisation

guidance when they make mistakes.

allow their charges to draw close and when

There are many values to be gained and

both of academic and co-curricular activities. These are all qualities a child can develop at a nurturing boarding school. Offering an age-appropriate level of independence is of great value. So how do schools manage to give enough freedom for those who are mature enough, while holding on a little more tightly to those who are

to loosen up.

‘HOUSE RULES’ A clear set of ‘house rules’ acts as an invaluable safety net. These can give more freedom for older boarders, that younger boarders can aspire to, and a clear understanding that these levels of freedom are earned, based on the houseparents’ judgement. Again, knowing the individual

While supervision levels are never relaxed, as a boarder gains greater maturity, so expectations of appropriate behaviour and responsibility increase. Examples of increased freedoms in a school such as Dean Close can be found in downtime and during more routine school time. For


“Giving responsibility to a young person can have immense benefits for all involved and can offer opportunities to learn and develop new skills.”

example, in the run-up to examinations,

younger pupils can also visit their favourite

dedicated staff sit with younger boarders

haunts but remain under the watchful gaze

guiding them through their revision

of a gap-year student. Just as parents expect

homework, while older prep school

more involvement of children in helping with

pupils are expected to have created their

the household chores, so boarders benefit

own revision timetable and to prepare

from taking responsibility for organising

independently for the challenges of the

their boarding house. Rotas for keeping the

exam hall.

games room tidy or helping matron with the nightly toasted sandwiches are opportunities

OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSEQUENCES During the lovely long summer evenings, older pupils at Dean Close enjoy playing traditional wide games in the woodland area where they can run off their pent-up energy, but they are fully aware of the consequences if they stray too far from their team or return to the boarding house past curfew. These opportunities to be close to ‘home’ but at the same time out of sight, provide invaluable lessons – creating their own fun, being aware of the time and looking out for others.

for children to serve and they gain great satisfaction from this. While away from home, children have to make choices and decisions uncoached by parents, the consequences of which should always be seen as a learning experience. Whether it is a good choice that leads to a positive result or a less considered one which should never be repeated, a child learns through this process. They understand they have the ability and freedom to take responsibility and build up

Boarding schools fortunate to be located

resilience if a situation does not go their

in, or in close walking distance of, a town

way, taking their first steps to becoming well-

can also allow their pupils some supervised

rounded and happy individuals. The road

freedom off site. While it might be suitable

can be more rocky for some than others, but

to allow older prep school pupils to do their

a good school will always recognise the value

Christmas shopping in town in small groups,

of the journey.

an annual treat they all look forward to,

Paddy Moss is Headmaster of Dean Close Preparatory School. Paddy joined Dean Close in 2015 from Kenya, having spent nine years as Headmaster of a premier British-curriculum preparatory boarding school. A Canadian by birth but brought up in the west of England, Paddy studied Geography and Economics (SOAS, London University) before embarking on a career as a teacher in several boarding and day prep schools, in the UK and abroad, where he was also a member of many of the senior management teams. He is a highly experienced sports coach with a passion for outdoor activities and scouting. He and his wife, a maths and PE teacher, have three daughters at Dean Close.

King’s is more than Christmas Yvette Day Head and Master over the Choristers, King’s College School, Cambridge

In the fifteenth century, King’s Choristers were provided with meals and clothing, and eight pence a week for their board. Things have certainly changed since then!

Today King’s Choristers are recognised all

College School, which grew from the

over the world, perhaps largely due to the

foundations provided by King Henry VI, and

iconic Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

is just across the river and a few minutes’

which is broadcast live from King’s College

walk from King’s College Chapel, where they

Chapel on Christmas Eve. But that moment

sing in services throughout the year. It is a

at 3pm on 24 December, when the world

life of full immersion – as well as going to

tunes in as they prepare for Christmas, is

school here, for much of the time they live

a fleeting glimpse of an experience that is

here too.

so much bigger and life changing for the children who sing in the choir. We really

Just as singing is very much at our heart, so

don’t sing carols all the time. At King’s

too is boarding. The fact that choristers at

College School we provide children with

King’s board informs the way we look at all

a lifestyle that supports and encourages

aspects of possibility and opportunity for


all pupils in the school. In my experience, I believe this to be the real strength of

There is no doubting that choristers have

boarding. Boarding empowers (and trusts)

an unparalleled musical education steeped

children to pursue their talents and goals to

in tradition. They are educated at King’s

the highest levels of excellence. For pupils


who are not part of the boarding house, the same expectations apply. The school day is long and purposeful, creative and varied. Children learn to be organised and to work to targets and they are encouraged to have a voice! For King’s Choristers there is a very welldefined daily schedule. As with any highlevel pursuit in sport, instrumental study, dance, or art, rigorous preparation, practice and attention to detail in the development

HOME FROM HOME At King’s College School we seek to create a home-from-home environment in which all pupils are safe, happy and able to flourish in both work and play. There is help on hand with prep sessions as well as with music practice, and a wide range of activities is on offer to fill free time. The extensive school grounds and facilities can be enjoyed when the school quietens at the end of the working day – the summer months are punctuated by barbeques and evening swims.

process underpin success. The magic that is beamed to the world on Christmas Eve does

Choristers from King’s may go on to Eton,

not happen without years of training.

Harrow, King’s Ely, The Leys, Oundle, Rugby, Uppingham and Winchester, among

The boarding experience offers support

others. Some go on to attend day schools.

in developing a child’s sense of ownership

Whichever route they take, at 13 they already

of their own learning and life experience.

know so much about themselves and how

Of course there must be scaffolding: care,

the part they play in a community really does

kindness, trust, challenge, support and

affect their own experience of life, with the

understanding. Staff are always around

add-on that they have also been part of a

toshare the joys and occasional struggles of

pretty extraordinary team!

life – or just for a chat at the end of the day.

In a career that has involved working in boarding schools both in the UK and abroad, and with children between the ages of 3 and 18, Yvette Day has an extensive understanding of the sector. She was educated first in South Africa and went on to complete postgraduate studies and a law conversion course in this country. She has taught at the Diocesan College (Cape Town), Milton Abbey (Dorset), St George’s School, Windsor Castle, Eton, and The Chorister School (Durham). Since 2018 she has been Head and Master over the Choristers at King’s College School, Cambridge.

Preparing pupils for the transition to senior schools

The crucial process of transitioning from prep school to senior school has seen significant changes over recent years, with a

Simone Mitchell, Deputy Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, Swanbourne House School

more bespoke, nurturing start earlier. It used to start about 18

was a tense wait for Common

months before a pupil left us, now the

Entrance results taken in June for

preparation starts four years before

September entry, with the anxiety of

they will set foot in a senior school.

waiting for a place to be confirmed.

At Swanbourne House, we know it’s

This is a very positive development for

Now, it is very rare for a senior school

an evolving and creative process, with

families and schools. Indeed, when I’m

not to give an unconditional offer.

no ‘catch-all’ approach. A personal

asked what can be the biggest pitfall in

This development benefits pupils,

approach is rightly expected by families,

the process, I often say timing.

allowing prep schools time to create

and tailored approach sought by families.

a tailored approach to their learning,

and creating a robust, specific path for the child to their chosen senior school

All senior schools publish details of

preparing pupils so they can thrive

can be a challenging process, but one

their registration process on their

in their senior school. Starting the

that reaps significant rewards.

website well in advance – my advice

process early gives schools and

to families would always be to check

parents an opportunity to plan

If I could point to one significant change

the dates and don’t assume all

accordingly for the child.

in the transition process over recent

schools will have the same timings

years, it’s seeing the whole process

and process. In years gone by, there


PERSONAL TUTOR Having the academic and pastoral contact of a personal tutor, who can work with the child on a daily basis and across a number of years, will help them shape their progress and get them ready for their next step. This close relationship is vital to making sure we know what we need to do for each child to ensure they are ready for the next part of their school journey. An important part of this is preparing them for the tests and assessments they will take for their senior school entry. In Year 6 pupils start taking senior school tests, so through the whole of Year 5 we offer them assistance in verbal and nonverbal reasoning testing, and prepare them for maths and English assessments. This preparation also includes practice interviews with members of the Senior Leadership Team.

early and keep the conversation going. This is vital in choosing the right senior school for each child and ensuring a smooth and successful transition. You may want a day or a boarding place, co-ed or single-sex, or a school in a particular part of the country or that’s important to your family. Your prep school will know your child well and be able to offer tailored advice, with a knowledge of the character of the different senior schools. They will also know children similar to your son or daughter and at which schools they have thrived. Finally, visit the senior schools you have in mind to soak up the ambience and atmosphere (perhaps without your child on the first visit). I liken choosing a school to buying a house. Different houses may have the right facilities, be in the right

At Swanbourne we have also created a

traits and skills they need to thrive in their

place and have all you need on paper,

programme of enriching co-curricular

senior school.

however until you see it you can’t get a sense of all those things you can’t put into

activities to help develop confidence, foster self-management skills and build resilience. From an early age, pupils are taken on fun and challenging outdoor trips that help them develop that important ‘can-do’ attitude while also learning to work as an individual, thrive as part of a team, reflect on their successes and failures and nurture self-belief. A varied Saturday Enrichment Programme brings out new skills and abilities through engaging and challenging activities such as performance car design, fashion and merchandising, clay pigeon shooting,

FLEXI-BOARDING Most pupils board at their senior school, so giving exposure to boarding at their prep school is important. At Swanbourne, we encourage families to take advantage of our flexi-boarding option if the pupil isn’t already boarding. Flexi-boarding gives pupils the opportunity to stay a few nights a week at our boarding house, building up their experience, learning the routines and nuances of boarding, and helping them to have a smoother transition into senior school.

bushcraft and language learning. These experiences encourage a desire to take

One of the most important pieces of

on new challenges, helping children to

advice I’d give to parents is to start

develop the self-belief and the character

communicating with your prep school

words, the feeling it gives you that this is the right place. Good luck! Simone qualified as an English teacher in 1996 from Exeter University and has worked in the independent school sector since 2001. Following three years’ teaching in Japan, she has worked for three senior schools in the UK in a variety of roles including English teacher and Head of English. Simone sits as part of the Senior Leadership Team at Swanbourne House School as Deputy Head, Director of Teaching and Learning, and she oversees the transition of pupils to senior school. Simone undertook a Masters Degree in Education at the University of Buckingham in Educational Leadership. She is an External Tutor for the University of Buckingham and lectures on PGCE courses.

The importance of a creative education One of the great strengths of a boarding school education has always been the range of experiences on offer to children and young people lucky enough to board.

Stefan Anderson Principal, Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

Photo credit: Gentle Visions


Photo credit: Gentle Visions

Photo credit: Gentle Visions

Academic education has always been at the core of the curriculum and for this reason activities such as sport, music, drama and art used to be referred to as ‘extra-curricular’. But it is significant that most schools now call them ‘co-curricular’, reflecting their growing importance and relevance to schools, pupils and parents. This can only be a good thing and it is widely viewed in this country and throughout the world as one of the great strengths of a British boarding school education. I usually visit Hong Kong and Singapore every year and have done so for more than 15 years. During that period I have seen a significant growth in the importance parents and schools in that part of the world place particularly on the creative arts as part of a holistic education rather than the traditionally narrow focus on academic

Photo credit: Brian O’Carroll

COMPANY ETHOS The communal living of a boarding school is reflected in and complemented by the team spirit (or ‘company ethos’ as it is known in the acting world) essential to so many performing disciplines. Orchestras, choirs, drama productions, dance shows require cooperation, interaction, and mutual support. They often bring together boys and girls from different houses and year groups. Rehearsals require hard work and discipline but also offer a valuable form of social interaction. There is a shared purpose to put on the best performance possible and that will only be the case if the efforts of every individual pupil contribute to the greater whole. That in itself is a terrific lesson for children and young people to learn: the importance of working together and of community both at school and beyond.

learning to the exclusion of all else. I am thrilled to see how the independent What better place to offer a wide

boarding sector increasingly promotes

range of the performing arts than at a

the creative arts. The first boarding school

boarding school? Tring Park is one of

I taught at, some 30 years ago, had very

nine independent specialist academic

good music but the school truly excelled at

and performing arts schools in the UK

sport. I would not have believed then that

belonging to the Department for Education’s

it would ever have dance studios and offer

Music and Dance Scheme (MDS). It is

GCSE Dance. It does now and so do many

no coincidence that all nine schools are

other traditionally sporty boarding schools.

boarding schools. Whether at an MDS

Speaking of sport, if you have ever watched

school or a more mainstream boarding

a first-class ballet dancer you will realise that

school, children are living in their home

she or he is in fact an élite athlete.

away from home. This means there is the time available to offer music, drama,

Most, though not all, pupils at MDS schools

and dance lessons. Rehearsals and

wish to go on to a career in the performing

performances can take place in the evenings

arts. Most pupils in more conventional

and at weekends. The time pressures in

boarding schools do not go on to a

a day school mean the performing arts

performing career, although a significant

(and sport) are most often the first things

proportion of the best-known actors

squeezed out of the timetable.

and musicians do in fact come from the independent sector.

TRANSFERABLE SKILLS Why do I think that all young people should have experience of the performing arts regardless of their career aspirations? In addition to the team spirit and feeling of collaborating together for the greater good, there is a multitude of transferable skills which will benefit your child: confidence and poise in both social and career situations, creativity, self-expression but also selfdiscipline, and the ability to speak easily in front of an audience (or in a business meeting!). Performances can sometimes go wrong, an actor forgetting a line for example, so I should add to the list the ability to improvise at no notice, keeping calm under pressure and flexibility! Those are all useful attributes and skills whatever career or, increasingly, careers your child will have. Just as importantly, your child will have a great deal of fun in the process. One of my ex-pupils told me recently that at the age of 45 he still remembers every moment of a choral concert he sang in, as a 15 year old, at Notre-Dame in Paris. What a wonderful memory to cherish for life.

Stefan Anderson has been Principal of Tring Park School for the Performing Arts since 2002. He was previously Director of Music at the King’s School, Canterbury, and before that Assistant Director of Music at Wellington College. His musical specialism is choral conducting. Stefan is also a former representative of the Independent Schools Association (ISA) on the BSA Executive Committee.

The benefits of BOYS-ONLY boarding John Moule Warden, Radley College I am not a single-sex zealot. That

or that boarding is outdated. And heaven

might seem odd coming from the

forbid that one might think single-sex and

Warden of Radley College, one of the

boarding might be the right option. Surely

great bastions of boys-only boarding,

not? Won’t the boys – in my school’s case –

but it’s true. I get a little fed up with

turn out to be emotionally deprived, socially

evangelical statements, backed

inept and some sort of boorish rugby

up by supposedly incontrovertible


statistics, that girls do better in this environment, boys in that. We all

So I become an advocate for the sort of

know we can find the statistics we

school I happen to lead. Fortunately, this is

want. What really matters is whether

not difficult for me.

a school is good or not: there are excellent co-educational schools


and I know which of these I would

In the classroom – my experience is that:

once you have defined and verified ‘good’ – different criteria can apply – is whether your child will be happy: if they are, they are much more likely to succeed. On exactly the same grounds, however, I am also irritated when people presume that somehow single-sex might be invalid as a form of education in the ‘modern world’

years of male under-achievement compared to their female peers is negated. Culture – ironically, in a boys’ school, boys are much more likely to play the violin or the flute, be happy singing, painting and acting and, importantly, they will be happy with their peers doing the same. I suggest a counter-tenor is much more likely to be admired in a single-sex school than in a

mediocre single-sex schools and

recommend. And what matters next,

• the very real danger in early teenage

• a competitive approach that might not work for girls can be used – as appropriate – much more easily to incentivise and drive boys forward in their learning

• the speed and level of emotional development is much more even and this allows more effective discussion

• materials can be tailored to boys including the texts and topics studied

co-educational one. Good single-sex education widens the definition of what is acceptably ‘male’. Spare time – I look out of my window and see countless boys throwing or kicking a ball around – playing. One of the great sadnesses of recent decades is accelerated ‘maturity’ and the loss of innocence. I would not be as bold as to say that an all-boys’ boarding school can eradicate this but it can temper it.


The boarding community – the depth of relationships and strength of friendships are the great hidden benefits of boarding. When done well, a boarding education breeds the sort of community in which successes and failures are shared and learned from. The elongated week in which ‘school’ happens is hugely invaluable. Is that better when it is single-sex? Possibly not. Is it easier to create and maintain? Certainly. Image – boys care about their image in front of each other, of course. But I think they care more when there are girls around. I remember when I was a housemaster in a co-educational environment there was a boy who was always behind because of the time

LINKS WITH ALL-GIRLS’ SCHOOLS Of course, even in a world where the advent of social media guarantees more contact with the opposite sex – a point in itself to combat the stereotype – it is important to make sure we are not some sort of female-free zone. There needs to be natural and meaningful interaction with girls in school time. Not the slightly outdated Saturday night ‘dance’ alone; there should be cultural and academic events as well as social, and the social events should be varied and civilised. At Radley, we have links with lots of schools: drama, music, societies, conferences, debating, curriculum cooperation, and leadership training are a few examples of joint ventures which work.

spent grooming himself. He left his room – already late – and without fail he would take

A final point is somewhat prosaic. Every

one last look at his reflection in the panel

single penny of our school fees is spent on

around his door handle. I like to think that is

boys – developing expertise, facilities, and

less likely in my school.

opportunities for boys. It does not take an economist to tell us that this is more efficient, presuming, of course, that boys and girls are different – which they are.

Boys need to be educated well. Good education is built on core values, and seeks to develop a rounded, civilised citizen for life beyond school. Someone who cares about things and for things, about people and for people; someone who is able to engage with the world in which they live. Please don’t tell me that it can’t happen in an all-boys’ boarding school. As long as it’s a good one, that is.

John Moule has been Warden of Radley College since September 2014, and was Head Master of Bedford School from 2008 to 2014. Before Bedford, he was Head of History and Senior Housemaster at Stowe. He is a former scholar of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and would list his interests as avid sports spectating (armchair and otherwise), reading (theology, political biography and P G Wodehouse), directing plays, and playing golf and real tennis badly.

Jo Cameron Principal, Queenswood School


What does a bespoke education actually mean?

Almost all independent schools

There will be greater support for children

proudly assert that they offer a

with special educational needs, and further

‘bespoke education’. As the Principal

opportunities to stretch the gifted and

of a girls’ boarding and day school, I


am often asked what this means in practice. Small class sizes are of course a crucial factor. Many parents are justifiably alarmed by the ever-increasing class sizes in state schools. An article in the June 2019 edition of Schools Week revealed that the number of classes of over 30 (some as high as 35) has almost doubled in five years. So it’s no wonder that the considerably smaller class sizes in independent schools are a real attraction. Consider just how far-reaching those benefits are. In an average class of around 15, a child will receive twice as much individual attention from the teacher, who will soon develop an understanding of how he or she learns best.

Independent schools generally place

considerably greater emphasis on the

creative arts. At a time when curriculum time for subjects such as music, drama

and dance is being squeezed nationally,

TAILORED TO PUPILS’ INTERESTS AND PASSIONS Freedom from the constraints of the National Curriculum in the independent sector means that at Key Stage 3, the range of subjects on offer – and the schemes of work and syllabuses delivered within those subjects – can be tailored to the genuine interests and passions of the pupils themselves. The range of modern foreign and classical languages taught in independent schools is a case in point – while language learning is in decline in the state sector, Japanese, Arabic, Latin and Ancient Greek are all thriving in private schools.

and no provision for the arts is made in

the Department for Education’s EBacc (the

set of eight recommended GCSE subjects), pupils at independent schools are very

fortunate to enjoy the advantages of an

education that values creativity, originality and resourcefulness. Boarding pupils are

especially able to enjoy all the activities and

opportunities on offer during the school day and in the evenings and weekends.

A CREATIVE EDUCATION Beyond the sheer satisfaction of selfexpression, a creative education offers many benefits to pupils. Research has shown that regular and sustained participation in musical activities stimulates the brain to



form new neural networks, and leads to

philanthropists. They might even put

better working memory (vital for mental

themselves forward for the prestigious

arithmetic and reading comprehension),

annual Global Young Leaders Conference in

improved linguistic ability, and improvements

the USA.

in attention span, emotional resilience, empathy and self-confidence. Likewise, studying drama and dance helps young people to improvise, think laterally, and become adaptable problem-solvers. Drama students grow into confident and articulate public speakers and working collaboratively on performance projects encourages engagement with others’ viewpoints, and helps to develop qualities such as compassion and tolerance. These

INDIVIDUAL LEARNING STYLES At the heart of a bespoke education is a recognition that each pupil develops at their own pace, and in their own learning style. For example, while kinaesthetic learners favour practical and hands-on experience, auditory-musical learners benefit from mnemonics, rhythms and background sounds. Increasingly, independent schools are working to differentiate their teaching methods to suit individual learners.

Ultimately, every pupil deserves to be recognised as an individual. A bespoke education responds and reacts to the

skills and qualities are highly prized by At Queenswood, we have recently

needs of each child, nurturing their

established a Personalised Learning Centre

unique potential, fostering independence,

As pupils progress, the degree of

– a central hub where all learners can

and allowing them to discover their own

personalisation increases still further. They

congregate. Senior academic scholars meet

strengths and passions in a safe and

are able to take advantage of the extensive

here for one-to-one and group sessions, to

supportive environment.

resources available – including, crucially, the

explore options for stretch and challenge

wide-ranging expertise of the teaching staff

and to discuss current affairs. Some pupils

– to conduct their own research projects

use it as a drop-in centre to seek advice

or take up elective courses. For example,

on planning study and revision schedules,

in the sixth form at Queenswood, girls are

play flashcard games to boost working

able to augment their A-level studies with

memory, discuss recommendations for

seminars on topics such as personal finance,

non-fiction reading with staff and peers, or

forensic psychology, philosophy and politics,

for structured tutorials to address specific

and to attend lectures from prominent

learning issues.


authors, politicians, entrepreneurs and

Jo Cameron has been Principal of Queenswood, a boarding and day school for girls, since 2016. A graduate of the University of Surrey (St Mary’s College) with an honours degree in Environmental Science, for the past 20 years Jo has worked almost exclusively in girls’ schools. Beyond the classroom and in her spare time, Jo is a keen sportswoman, with a passion for hockey, running and equestrianism. She is married with two sons.

Promoting good mental health in boarding schools

Dr Felicia Kirk Headmistress, St Mary’s Calne Times have changed across

environment today is positive for the mental

know the children in loco parentis and,

society – very much for the

health of both girls and boys.

between them, they have a huge range of

better – when it comes to talking

experience of the problems they can face. What do we mean by ‘mental health’ though?

We also have nurses on hand day and

Some conditions clearly qualify – such as

night, school counsellors, and direct access

clinical depression, anorexia and other forms

to other mental health practitioners. Many

of self-harm – but should we also include,

boarding schools, including St Mary’s Calne,

for example, feelings of homesickness that

also offer bespoke wellbeing programmes

many children have in the early stages of

covering many areas such as emotional

their time at boarding school (and not just in

health, positive relationships, social media,

the first term, by the way), or anxiety about

mindfulness, self-esteem and resilience.

with challenges that would once

exams? The lines are not easy to draw and

At St Mary’s, the wellbeing programme

have made working life almost

indeed it’s possible for bigger problems to

is supplemented by a series of talks and


develop from something that could have

workshops. All in all, if there is a problem,

been dealt with sooner, or for a superficial

it’s hard to imagine that a child would

worry to mask a deeper one. But it’s also

have better access to help in another

Nevertheless, there is still reluctance to

important not to ‘medicalise’ feelings that


talk about mental health issues (or special

are entirely natural when a girl or boy is

efforts would not be needed) and it would

experiencing them for the first time.

about mental health issues. No serious employer, the Services included, is without a programme to encourage employees to be open about their experiences, and there are many great examples of individuals dealing successfully

Where boarding schools can make the difference for most of our students,

be surprising if school leaders – especially leaders of girls’ schools – weren’t also

Ultimately the best approach is a balanced

however, is in the day-to-day lifestyle that we

reluctant. National statistics show that girls

one. Achieving that is easier said than done

offer before anything goes wrong. We work

are somewhat more likely to have mental

of course but, in my experience, this is

hard to establish a culture across the school

health problems than boys. It would be easy

where boarding schools can really help.

that maximises the chances of identifying problems but also minimises the chances

to jump to the conclusion that these must be worse when children are away from home and feeling a lot of pressure to do well inside and outside the classroom. Happily this is just not the case. In practice there are many reasons why a good boarding school

WELLBEING PROGRAMMES First, all our staff are trained to consider these issues and to spot when something might be going wrong. Housemasters and mistresses in particular really get to

of them arising. As I said earlier, some of the feelings pupils have are just part of normal life and being in a supportive and understanding environment will be enough to get them through them.


Well-run boarding schools and boarding

often connected with mental health issues,

houses are, by nature, organised and

and the more we can do to make it an area

structured environments. In my experience,

of positive interest for girls in particular, the

this in itself helps pupils to be productive


and constructive and provides a sense of belonging and security. When parents

So, for me, a healthy culture in our boarding

in Service families are overseas for long

schools is the key – one in which staff can

periods it can be very reassuring for a child

recognise issues quickly and use their skills

to have this ‘boarding family’ on hand. The

to deal with them effectively, but also one

tutor system at St Mary’s Calne, for example,

where these issues are not the main focus.

means a pupil’s tutor stays with them as they

Schools that strike the right balance on

move up through the school.

mental health encourage children to do their best, grasp opportunities and achieve as

Another important aspect of mental health

much as they can but do this in the context

(and one that is important to many Service

of a warm and supportive environment

families) is physical wellbeing – in fact the

where every child is understood and

two go hand in hand. Boarding schools today

genuinely valued as an individual.

offer an unrivalled range of opportunities for sporting and other outdoor activities, with the highest quality of coaching and support. This is equally true for girls and for boys. Many girls’ schools are committed to addressing the problem across society of girls dropping sport and becoming physically inactive early in life. Many boarding schools also provide great food (some things do change!) and, along with it, advice and education on nutrition. Eating is still too

Dr Kirk is the Headmistress of St Mary’s Calne, Wiltshire. Dr Kirk was educated in Maryland, USA and has a BA Summa Cum Laude in French and Latin (University of Maryland), an MA in French Studies with Latin (Brown University, Rhode Island) and a PhD in Romance Languages and Literature. Dr Kirk has more than 20 years’ experience in leadership positions in independent boarding and day schools. She was previously Head of Sixth Form at Ipswich High School for Girls, and before this she was Director of Higher Education at Wycombe Abbey School. Having also taught in co-ed schools, Dr Kirk is passionate about the advantages an all-girls’ education can offer. Indeed, in 2015 Dr Kirk was awarded the Girls’ Schools Association’s ‘Sheila Cooper Award’ in recognition of her significant contribution to the GSA. She is also a member of HMC. Dr Kirk is a keen equestrian and enjoys recreational riding, as well as playing tennis.

Girls and STEAM subjects The UK CEO of Siemens, Carl Ennis, told delegates at the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) annual

Olivera Raraty Headmistress, Malvern St James Girls’ School

conference in 2021 that fighting climate change ‘will need the broadest, brightest and boldest minds and will be a struggle without a fully cross-sectional and gender-equal cohort of scientists, engineers and technologists. Inevitably, scientists and engineers will be at the heart of dealing with the challenge. And diverse teams are more likely to reach scientific breakthrough.’ Each year the UK needs 203,000 people

encourages more girls to consider a branch

the opportunities they offer for a range of

of engineering as a career that will be a

highly successful and adventurous careers.

positive aspect of the global crisis we all

Many girls do not have a chance to see


what these careers look like or to hear the list of exciting, unexpected answers to the

Women account for just 24 per cent of

question ‘What do engineers actually do?’.

the UK’s workforce in engineering, science and technology (while 51 per cent of the

Girls in girls’ schools are more likely to study

working-age population are female) with

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering

only 12 per cent of them in engineering

and Maths) subjects at A level. In fact, they

(Women into Science and Engineering

are nearly three times more likely to take


maths and physics. But, more widely, when

with Level 3+ engineering skills to meet

it comes to choosing university courses,

demand. This generation of teenagers is

I believe one of the reasons for these sorry

perhaps the most committed to protecting

statistics is a lack of female role models.

the planet. The interest in COP26 – and

Another is a widespread lack of information,

This may be because of the binary nature

the attendant activism – was evidence of

even a false perception, about the nature

of the decision-making aged 15 concerning

that. If contributing to the planet’s survival

of the jobs available in those sectors and

A-level subject choice. This is an unrealistic

many girls are rejecting science options.


which resembles real life much more than the strict division of subjects in the traditional curriculum. It could be argued that in a girls’ school, it is easier to encourage pupils to take an interest in STEM subjects because there is no gender stereotyping. Younger girls see the older ones as STEM subject approach to learning – the truly inquisitive

mentors and they see the usefulness, as

and bright child will have a wide range of

well as the fun, of participating in national

interests and will have understood how

STEM challenges and Olympiads and in

subject boundaries blur. An all-round

the excitement of research. The Malvern

education does not encourage pupils to

Festival of Innovation, which takes place

‘drop’ subjects.

virtually on our school’s doorstep, is a treasure trove of opportunities – our

CREATIVE AND CRITICAL More than ever, the world needs creative and critical thinkers who can demonstrate technical and mathematical skills, digital literacy and scientific knowledge. But an engineer who has studied product design or art will be bringing to their technical and scientific work not only an aesthetic appreciation but also a creative approach grounded in experimental thinking and design or concept development from start to finish. The combination of STEM and Arts subjects (STEAM) is often where innovation is forged.

Years 7 and 8 won competitions for their design and building of cars in both the Bloodhound and Mazak challenges. We have added entrepreneurship to our Year 10 programme and have also increased our links not only with universities but with business and industry so that the girls have as many opportunities

MINI-ENGINEERS Children are naturally mini-engineers. Just watch them building and tinkering and notice how creative they are about solving problems. Formal education doesn’t allow them the scope to make the most of these natural attributes so it is important for schools to try to find creative ways for young children’s inborn curiosity to be nurtured and have practical outlets. Our own prep girls, aged 4 to 11, have undertaken a Mini Young Enterprise Challenge as well as a STEAM club where they have programmed robots and created circuits to light up a dolls’ house. They also take part in National Science and Engineering Week where the whole school goes off curriculum to enjoy workshops and all kinds of scientific challenges. These all provide excellent platforms for building self-confidence. It’s crucial to keep those hands-on experiences through senior school so that children’s natural enthusiasm for finding out how things work is not switched off.

as possible to see and hear about the world of work for which they are preparing.

Education needs to be increasingly

We organise off-curriculum, out-of-school

outward-looking, taking place beyond

activities such as local work experience

the classroom to make the necessary

sessions and job placements for girls in

connection with real life and to understand

Year 11 and above, visits to careers fairs,

the application, not just the theory, of

Employers have made it clear that,

tours of local factories and a trip to RAF

‘subjects’. The application of science in all

whatever the sector, they are placing

Cosford for our Year 9 pupils. And at

its wonders needs to be embedded in the

greater emphasis on emotional intelligence

the other end of the school, we have a

curriculum. The the thrill of problem-solving

in their recruitment: young people who are

team of six sixth-form pupils participating

– with those exciting eureka moments –

both self-aware and socially aware, and

in a CREST research project where

needs to happen across the whole of the

who can work collaboratively. Potential

they are carrying out a series of novel

school experience, whatever subject you

leaders no longer have to demonstrate

chemical reactions in school to synthesise

are learning.

their mastery of command and control;

intermediates for potential use in the

rather they need to show how best they

pharmaceutical industry.

can engage with their colleagues. In my

Schools need to be more adventurous about demonstrating to pupils, all pupils,

view, study and appreciation of the arts

We are also lucky to have successful

just how many careers STEM offers in

help to develop creative, analytical and

alumnae who are happy to come back to

terms of intellectual excitement, personal

critical thinking but also deepen our

their old school to talk about their own

fulfilment, and social and environmental

understanding of human emotions and

careers. This offers the chance for the



pupils to hear and ask questions about a wide range of experiences. It is impossible

If we can do that, with conviction and

Here at Malvern St James, we have more

for teachers to provide these first-hand

ambition, I am confident we will witness a

girls than at any time studying STEM


growth in the number of women opting for

subjects at A level, and more girls going on

a career in STEM, especially if that choice

to read STEM subjects at university. But

As we watch the march of artificial

has been supported by the fundamentals

they are doing so with a background and

intelligence (AI) across every aspect of our

of a STEAM education. The arts have a place

continuing interest and involvement in arts.

lives, the excitement offered by school

in a civilised life, in a career that makes a

For example, they are combining physics

computing departments and the interest

difference. They are not an extra.

and maths with art or design technology,

in coding continue to grow. Computing is

or biology and chemistry with psychology

a subject that defies subject definition and

and music.

is an excellent example of creative and critical thinking without boundaries. The

I am wholeheartedly committed to this

National Cyber Security Agency is doing

approach. This is why we have recently

excellent work in encouraging girls into the

appointed a Head of STEAM, a new post

cyber sector with their Cyberfirst and Cyber

which encourages a multi-disciplinary

Discovery programmes.

approach to teaching and learning and

Olivera Raraty became Headmistress of Malvern St James Girls’ School in September 2016. Previously she was Deputy Head (Academic) at Notting Hill and Ealing High School in London and enjoyed a long career at Wycombe Abbey School as Head of History and Politics and Assistant Director of Studies.

Making sure girls learn to love physics at school

Evidence from international studies, supported in part by research in the UK, has found that just a few key elements affect pupils’ attitudes to physics. It is up to us, the teaching profession, to ignite and develop a passion for physics in today’s learners. The research concludes that the key to learning is how students see themselves in relation to the subject, now and in the future – their ‘physics self-concept’ if you like. Pupils’ experience of school

Dorothy MacGinty Headmistress, Kilgraston School

physics and a personally supportive physics teacher is also vital.

Undoubtedly, and thankfully, global

continues to inspire and educate in

30 per cent of pupils who progress to

interest in the subject is increasing

his field, engaging young astronomers

study Higher Physics are girls.

and physics is now a ‘regular’ on


mainstream media. For example, the BBC radio series The Life Scientific, presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili, is a ‘go-to’ programme for sciencehungry teenagers. Comedian Dara Ó Briain has a degree in theoretical physics and regularly adds a technical (and humorous) perspective to science programmes. Of course, Professor Brian Cox, the energetic particle physicist,

This kind of learning environment can

ENGAGING EARLY It’s all about engaging pupils early in their learning journey. At Kilgraston, our Head of Physics had personal experience of studying physics at school, as one of just three girls in a class of 20. This sort of ratio of boys to girls persisted into her early teaching career at co-ed high schools in Scotland where even now only

be intimidating and offputting for some girls and unfortunately the ratio can be self-perpetuating, with physics getting a reputation for being more suited to boys. However, in a predominantly or all-girl arena such as a single-sex school, girls feel free to let their natural curiosity reign, where questioning is encouraged. There should be no such thing as a ‘silly question’.


ENCOURAGING GIRLS Qualities that are often inherent in girls, such as attention to detail and diligence, are extremely important to being a good physicist. Girls’ curiosity about the natural world must always be encouraged. This allows them to recognise that science is a process in which they are continually learning and building upon their understanding of how things work, helping to see physics as important and relevant to their own lives. Traditional textbooks tend to introduce concepts such as forces through different types of vehicle. At Kilgraston physics is taught instead by understanding velocity and force through sports, such as hockey and tennis, to which all pupils can relate.

Then several years ago, the new SQA

undergraduate STEAM courses at universities

Curriculum for Excellence courses were

including St Andrews, Edinburgh and

implemented. A challenge for teachers

Durham. For the 2021 entry, we had 25 per

and students alike, this change introduced

cent of girls applying for Engineering degrees

concepts developed in the last century,

and 64 per cent for STEAM undergraduate

some strange and fantastic, such as the particle nature of light, the standard model of fundamental particles and Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity (for which the discovery of gravitational waves in 2015 was confirmation). Suddenly, a modern and positive take on traditional routes was presented.

g courses, including Aeronautical Engineering

at Queen’s in Belfast, Biomedical Engineering at Imperial, Actuarial Science at Kent

and Cardiff, Engineering at Sheffield and Environmental Science at Newcastle.

The enthusiasm is definitely there, but we must continue to deliver the subject in a life-engaging manner.

It is also very important to take learning out of the classroom. Travel restrictions permitting, Kilgraston makes an annual visit

Physics is the basis of all other science (after

to CERN (European Organization for Nuclear

all, the heart pumps blood as a result of

Research) on the Swiss-French border, home

pressure and chemical bonds are the result

of the Large Hadron Collider and where

of the electric field between the particles

many new particles, including the Higgs

that make up the atom). The subject’s

Boson, were discovered. This allows pupils

fundamental nature makes it so appealing. It

to see for themselves how new discoveries

can be used to explain everything from the

are made and to experience the fabulous

humble metal particles in a school desk to

collaboration between scientists of both

the origins and structure of the universe.

sexes and from all over the world. Torness

The Scottish examination system of Highers

nuclear power station in East Lothian is also

and Advanced Highers has always delivered

visited by pupils every year.

content designed to give students the basic laws of physics. Little had changed from

The national average percentage for female

the time of Isaac Newton! Concepts such as

students graduating from STEAM subjects

Newton’s Laws of Motion, the principles of

in the UK is under 25 per cent. As a small

conservation of energy and their applications,

school, Kilgraston has high numbers

both ancient (e.g. how we see) and modern

choosing science subjects and continuing

(e.g. mobile phone communication) were a

with them to an advanced level. In 2020, 56

tried and tested route.

per cent of Kilgraston leavers progressed to

Dorothy MacGinty has been Headmistress of Kilgraston since 2015. Before this she was Headmistress of St Francis’ College in Hertfordshire for six years. As a passionate advocate of single-sex education, Dorothy was Chair of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) Professional Development Committee from 2013 to 2015. She is Chair of the GSA Scottish Region, a member of GSA Council and a Director of GSA. As a member of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), she has travelled throughout England to make annual assessments of boarding and integrated schools.

Boarding as preparation for twenty-first century life

2020 really pushed us to our limits, and perhaps even beyond. When you were desperately trying to keep your business afloat or tearing your hair out at ever-changing social and travel

Lisa Kerr Principal, Gordonstoun

restrictions, I wonder, what skills did you call upon? I suspect your strength of character and resilience were just

was a true pioneer in this regard. The

compassion. Over the years this has been

as important as your intellectual

Gordonstoun motto, ‘Plus est en vous’ or

inaccurately depicted as a tough regime of

knowledge. We all had to dig deep.

’There is more in you’, is as relevant today

cross-country running and cold showers.

as it was when the visionary educationalist,

But the reality is that pupils learn teamwork

Dr Kurt Hahn, founded the school in 1934.

on our ocean-going sail training vessel,

UK boarding schools are renowned for

develop resilience on expeditions into

the standard of education they provide, but the events of 2020 demonstrated the

Hahn’s vision was that young people

the Highlands and grow a strong sense of

importance of the broad range of skills we

needed to be challenged in order to

service to the community by volunteering

teach. The word ‘character education’ has

develop the skills they would need for life,

to be lifeguards or members of the

become over-used but Gordonstoun

such as resilience, responsibility and



UK boarding schools offer opportunities that many children can only dream of. And they develop skills which they can draw upon as they face life’s ups and downs. Young people need to understand that life is not plain sailing. How many of us faltered in our response when faced with the enormous challenges of the coronavirus pandemic? But failing at one aspect of life does not make you a failure. Presenting young people with challenges helps them

THE IMPORTANCE OF CHALLENGE HRH The Duke of Edinburgh recognised the importance of challenge. After his time at Gordonstoun, he first considered the idea of a national programme to support young people’s development in 1954 at the request of Kurt Hahn. The Gordonstoun School award was eventually developed into the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award and it now gives hundreds of thousands of children around the world an opportunity to take on life-changing challenges.

I can tell you from personal experience that, when you are the crew of a sailing boat in the middle of a gale on the West Coast of Scotland, there is no time to update your profile and little point in worrying about your appearance! The deep and meaningful friendships made during these experiences last a lifetime, not just for the duration of a few ‘likes’. There will always be tests of character, whether personal or professional. The

learn that moments of weakness are normal and that they need to support each

The pandemic has shown us that we can

pandemic has shown us that society

other to reach the best outcome. Our Head

take nothing for granted – that everything

needs leaders who are not only confident

of Senior School, who is a member of our

we rely upon can be turned upside down

but also resilient and compassionate. If a

volunteer Fire Service, works alongside

in a heartbeat. Our young people are

disproportionate number of tomorrow’s

pupils responding to emergency calls and

also facing an online world where they

influential individuals come from a boarding

recalls how, on several occasions, pupils

need to navigate the positives and pitfalls

school background, it will be because we

have kept him going through a long night

of social media. Boarding schools are

know how to bring out the best in each and

pumping flood water out of homes or

receiving increasing numbers of inquiries

every child, equipping them with the skills

fighting hill fires. He has the benefit of

from parents who want their children to

to navigate an uncertain world.

experience but they have youthful energy

escape from the pressures of the ‘always

and their joint skills make a winning

on’ culture and have a ‘real childhood’. As


well as providing real rather than virtual experiences, boarding schools show young

The lessons learned during these

people how to control their digital lives

experiences outside the classroom are

rather than letting their digital lives control

invaluable. Boarding schools are expert in


raising children and they understand that a good all-round education pays dividends for the rest of someone’s life.

With a degree in music, a 20-year career in media and business and ten years on the Gordonstoun Board of Governors, Lisa became the school’s first female Principal in 2017. She has three children, all at the school, represents the county of Moray at events as one of its Deputy Lord Lieutenants, conducts a local choir and occasionally joins the school orchestra when they are short of a cellist.

Chris Hillman Deputy Head Academic, Godolphin School

What do we mean by a boarder’s progress and how do schools measure it? Progress is one of those words we see a

In its most basic sense, progress is the

progress in the wider sense are likely to have

lot in education – you’ll read it in your

difference between a boarder’s starting

contributed to this effect. Outside the rather

son or daughter’s reports, on school

point and where their journey leads at the

narrow definition of progress in academic

websites and in inspection reports, and

end. In an academic sense, this is often

terms, it is more challenging to measure

there are even league tables for some

the difference between, for example, the

progress in such a quantitative way.

schools based on average academic

GCSE grades that their baseline tests, or

progress in selected GCSEs. But is this

raw ability, might suggest they are heading

Most boarding schools consider the pastoral

the only type of progress, and is it

towards and those they actually achieve

progress and the personal and spiritual

reasonable to attempt to measure this

on results day. Such progress is relatively

development of pupils to be as much a


easy to measure and report on – it is often

priority as their academic development.

quoted as fractions of a whole GCSE grade

Development of so-called ‘soft skills’ is valued

At Godolphin, through our ‘Policy for

compared to where the boarder would be

highly by employers and it is crucial to any

Progress’ we consider progress in a number

expected to be. Schools often term this

successful education to nurture these skills

of broad areas. Academic is of course

sort of progress ‘value added’, a rather

just as much as academic skills.

included but we also focus on personal and

impersonal phrase which hides the stories

pastoral progress, co-curricular progress and

behind each and every grade obtained in

We have a mental health plan to ensure

staff development (by setting a culture of

public examinations.

that each girl is receiving the education she needs to be able to progress positively. A key

everyone progressing and learning, we find this rubs off on the pupils too).

A study of the GCSE results at Godolphin

tenet of this plan is that we have very small

showed that our boarders made more

tutor groups of around 10 pupils. The tutors

academic progress compared to day pupils.

who look after these relatively small groups

The opportunities available to boarders to

of pupils are the focus of the provision of


pastoral care. Tutors meet their tutees daily and also meet frequently with each other and with boarding staff and other senior staff. Their work is coordinated by Heads of Year and the Head of Sixth Form. Academic and pastoral staff meet regularly to discuss pupils who need support and to put in place any support needed. Pastoral progress is difficult to quantify but it can be broadly measured by a combination of professional judgement and pupil selfreflection. Our PSHCEE programme and Elizabeth Godolphin Award Programme in the prep and sixth form are the cornerstones of our provision to encourage personal development. This includes inviting outside specialist speakers who give talks or workshops to the girls, staff and parents as well as sessions run by staff. All pupils attend these sessions but boarders find them especially valuable as they result in the sort of developmental and relationship

commendations are awarded for particularly

curricular clubs to progress in a certain

progress that comes from building

outstanding progress in any field.

area. Through shared experiences with fellow boarders, they gradually become

resilience, learning to lead, and developing Spiritual progress is important for boarding

more independent and able to look after

pupils and is, by its nature, impossible to

themselves and to work and live with others.

The Godolphin Learning Programme is

quantify. We consider it in terms of how

Although our digital strategy undoubtedly

an additional provision offering a diversity

the girls have grown in their understanding

impacts academic progress, it also provides

and breadth in co-curricular activities that

of how to cope when life throws things at

the medium through which pupils learn

include cultural appreciation, mindfulness,

them, and the extent to which they have

digital life skills of efficient, effective and

critical thinking, digital literacy, Bright

developed a sense of mutual respect,

organised working, another benefit of

Futures, library skills and a range of other

wonder and appreciation of the world

considering progress in the round.

topics that extend and progress pupils

around them. As a school we have strong

beyond the curriculum.

links to the diocese of Salisbury and the

Successful boarding schools play a vital

provision of spiritual learning is monitored

role in shaping a pupil’s progress towards

by the school chaplain, tutors and teachers

adulthood. The relationships developed

of relevant subjects.

with other boarders throughout their time

tolerance and mutual respect.

CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES For a boarder to be mentally healthy and for them to continue to progress as a person they need to participate in a range of co-curricular activities, from peer mentoring, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), CCF to cookery, Model United Nations and kickboxing. Boarders find these sessions very accessible as they live onsite and so can replace travel time with these activities without impinging on time needed to complete their academic work and enjoy the boarding family environment.

at school make their progress all the more Progress in these broader areas is non-

palpable as they leave sixth form to navigate

linear – there are the inevitable kinks

their own way in the world.

and twists encountered along the way. How we teach pupils to respond to those unexpected challenges sets the tone for mapping their progress. A newly arrived boarder setting out on their journey may feel a little homesick and need some help to settle into school life. Outstanding pastoral care, knowing the boarders and a good dollop of humour and patience makes

At Godolphin, tutors monitor the

the difference here. A boarder may find

involvement and success of pupils

some subjects easier than others, and this

and this information is shared with

balance may change, or they may need

parents. Commendations and Head’s

encouragement to participate in extra-

After reading Physics at university and gaining a PhD in 2002, Chris began working in the state sector at Queen Elizabeth’s School in Dorset, initially as a Physics teacher, and later as Head of Physics, and subsequently as Second in Science. Chris moved to work in the science department at Godolphin School in 2012, and began the role of Deputy Head Academic in 2019.

Boarding School

Educational provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities

The Equality Act 2010 has made significant

day-to-day activities. (In employment this

changes to the law on discrimination as

definition has been the subject of voluminous

it affects pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and in particular the extension of duties on schools to include the provision of auxiliary aids and services, which came into place on 1 September 2012. Further

litigation.) The definition of disability covers a broad spectrum of impairments. Disabilities may include physical conditions that affect the body, such as epilepsy or hearing impairments,

guidance can be found in the Equality

learning and behavioural difficulties, such

and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

as dyslexia and autism, and mental health

Technical Guidance on ‘Reasonable

conditions, like depression.

Adjustments for Disabled Pupils – Guidance for Schools in England’ at www.

There are specific exclusions for substance

dependency, seasonal allergies, and tendencies


to steal, start fires or physically/sexually abuse.


However, in 2018, the Upper Tribunal in C&C v The Governing Body of a School confirmed

Although securing support for pupils with SEND

that the exception for those with a tendency to

via an EHC (Education, Health and Care) Plan

physical abuse towards others will not apply to

(formerly a Statement) remains an enormous

children in education who have a recognised

challenge for many families, the intention of

condition that is more likely to result in such a

legislation over recent years has been to make


schools much more welcoming and accessible to children with SEND. As a matter of public policy this is clearly a good thing and as a matter of practice there is no doubt schools have made huge progress – which is not to say they could not do even more in future. Parents

REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS As for employees, schools have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils.

Where something a school does places

should always seek to work with (not against)

a pupil with SEND at a substantial

schools in addressing their child’s needs. In my

disadvantage compared to other pupils, the

experience, there is little a school finds more

school must take reasonable steps to try and

unhelpful than parents not being transparent

avoid that disadvantage.

about this. In the end, everyone is united in

Schools are under a duty to provide ‘auxiliary

seeking to ensure children’s needs are met and

aids and services’ as part of the duty to

their best interests are promoted.

make reasonable adjustments and as such are prohibited from charging fees for

This article sets out a summary of the law

auxiliary aids and services which constitute

relating to educational provision for pupils with

reasonable adjustments. Failure to make

SEND. For more information, including the

reasonable adjustments free of charge

SEND Code of Practice and SEND: guide for

amounts to disability discrimination and

parent and carers, go to

cannot be justified.


Schools are not required to remove or alter physical features (such as historic buildings) in

DISABILITY The definition of disability for pupils is the same as for disability discrimination in employment. In brief, a pupil with SEND has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial, long-term and adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal

order to comply. Instead, schools have a duty to plan better access for pupils with disabilities generally, including in relation to the physical environment of the school.

David Smellie Partner, Farrer & Co SCOPE The Equality Act requires schools to make reasonable adjustments in connection with:

• • • • •

admissions the provision of education access to benefits, services and facilities exclusions, and/or subjecting the pupil to any other detriment.

TRIGGERS The duty to make reasonable adjustments is only triggered when a pupil suffers a ‘substantial disadvantage’. This is defined as anything more than minor or trivial, and would include for example, having to put in extra time/effort to do something, inconvenience, indignity, discomfort, loss of opportunity and/or diminished progress. WHAT IS AN ‘AUXILIARY AID OR SERVICE’? The EHRC guidance states that an auxiliary aid is ‘anything that provides additional support or assistance to a disabled pupil’ and gives the following examples:

• • • • • • • • • • •

a piece of equipment a sign language interpreter, lip-speaker or deaf-blind communicator extra staff assistance electronic or manual note-taking induction loop or infra-red broadcast system videophones audio-visual fire alarms readers assistance with guiding an adapted keyboard specialised computer software.

CONSEQUENCES The inclusion of ‘auxiliary aids and services’ within the duty to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with SEND has clear consequences for independent schools. One obvious area is the provision of learning support for pupils with special educational needs, which is sometimes subject to an additional fee, in much the same way as music lessons. Essentially, if a pupil with SEND is ‘disabled’ for the purposes of the Act and the support provided for his or her SEND is an ‘auxiliary aid or service’, the school is not permitted to charge for the learning support if it is a reasonable adjustment.


WHAT IS A ‘REASONABLE ADJUSTMENT’? There are no hard and fast rules about what constitutes a reasonable adjustment, since it will vary in any given situation, and the decision ultimately rests with the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (formerly the Special Educational Needs and Disability in Schools Tribunal or ‘SENDIST’). Sometimes adjustments will be suggested by external advisors such as the child’s doctor or an educational psychologist. In other cases, parents may request a change on behalf of their child. Schools should also themselves consider whether there is an adjustment that might overcome a substantial disadvantage suffered by a pupil. Once the potential adjustment has been identified, the school has to decide whether or not it is reasonable taking into account the following factors set out in the EHRC guidelines:

• • • • •

whether it would overcome the substantial disadvantage

• • •

still allowed to apply a ‘permitted form of selection’ (i.e. an entry test) although they will

CLAIMS OF DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION Parents of a child (note not the child him or herself) can bring a claim of disability discrimination against a school. There is a time limit of six months from the date when the parents think the discrimination occurred. Such claims are heard by the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).

financial and other costs of making the

discrimination it will not be able to award financial compensation. It could order any other

whether it will be provided under an EHC

remedy, such as:

been refused (this is certainly the case in

the school’s resources and the availability of

state schools, and case law indicates that

financial or other assistance

the Tribunal also has the power to order

health and safety requirements

restatement to a private school in certain

the need to maintain academic, musical,


training for staff, extra tuition, review or


alteration of policies or relocation of facilities.

expected to make adjustments that are not reasonable. As well as considering reasonable adjustments for particular individual pupils with SEND, schools also have an anticipatory duty to consider potential adjustments which may be needed for pupils with SEND generally as it is likely any school will have a pupil with SEND at some point. However, schools are not obliged to anticipate and make adjustments for every imaginable


PLANNING DUTIES Schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010 sets out the accessibility arrangements schools must implement for pupils with SEND. These are also known as schools’ ‘planning duties’. An independent school is obliged to draw up accessibility plans to improve access to education over time. Such plans should concentrate on three specific areas:

• • •

making reasonable adjustments such as

the interests of other pupils (and prospective

the adjustment is reasonable. Schools are not


admitting a disabled pupil who had previously

local authority

be. The only question therefore is whether


in particular cases.


be justified, whereas under the old law it could


completed on a computer rather than by hand

If the Tribunal upholds a claim of unlawful

Failure to make a reasonable adjustment cannot


tests, for example, by allowing them to be

the effect of the disability on the pupil

sporting and other standards

Go to:

need to make reasonable adjustments to such

practicability of the adjustment

(Education, Health and Care) Plan from the

EXCEPTIONS There are some exceptions. Schools are: • not required to remove or alter physical features to comply with the reasonable adjustments duty (although their duties in connection with Accessibility Plans remain unchanged and are contained in Schedule 10 of the Act)

increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the curriculum physical improvements to improve access to education and associated services availability of accessible information for disabled pupils.

disability and need only consider general reasonable adjustments, such as being prepared

Independent schools are required to prepare

to introduce large-font exam papers for pupils

these plans in writing, and implement them

with a visual impairment even though there are

as necessary. Accessibility plans are subject

no such pupils currently admitted to the school.

to review as part of an Ofsted inspection. The

Such a strategic and wider view of the school’s

Department for Education’s ‘Guidance on

approach to planning for pupils with SEND links

Statutory policies for schools and academy trusts’

closely with its planning duties.

states these should be reviewed every three years.

A prospective pupil with moderate learning difficulties applies for entry to a school but fails the entrance examination. His parents argue for a reduced pass mark in his case. However, the school is not satisfied the pupil has sufficient literacy skills to benefit from the education on offer. In these circumstances it may be reasonable for the school not to adjust its entry requirements to accommodate the pupil. The parents of a prospective pupil with dyslexia claim he should be allowed extra time and the use of a personal computer during his entry examinations. However, there is no evidence to sustain this claim. It may be reasonable for the school to reject this request. If evidence supported the claim, it is likely it would be reasonable to allow this. A sixth-form pupil who has been diagnosed with dyslexia finds it difficult to read long texts and ideally would like all his books on audio tape. However his A-level courses have very long reading lists which change every year, and the school deems it impractical to provide every book in tape form. This is likely to be deemed reasonable provided the school has researched other ways for him to access the reading list. A pupil with learning difficulties finds it difficult to follow the more theoretical parts of classroom teaching and her parents ask that teachers go very slowly over the parts she finds difficult to make sure she has understood them. However, the slow pace of delivery would prevent the other pupils finishing the syllabus and put their grades at risk. It is likely to be reasonable for the school not to make this adjustment, although other alternatives should be considered, such as extra tuition outside classroom hours, as might be offered to any other struggling pupil. A small school has little experience of pupils with SEND and is considering admitting a pupil with a rare syndrome involving moderate learning difficulties, poor muscle tone and speech and language difficulties. The Head consults the child’s parents and a local voluntary organisation and devises a series of short staff training events drawing on available expertise. This is likely to be a reasonable adjustment. A secondary school has a special unit for children with special educational needs and disabilities including pupils with a visual impairment. The school is already equipped for providing enlarged text and braille versions of documents. When working in the unit children are always provided with information in a range of formats before the lesson. This is rarely the case when the same children are working in the mainstream classes in the school. Not providing the information in time is likely to be a failure to make reasonable adjustments, leaving pupils with SEND at a disadvantage.

David has an extensive schools practice and is widely acknowledged as one of the leading schools lawyers in the UK. He specialises in child protection, safeguarding, pupil disciplinary matters, SEND and schools-related employment issues for a client base that includes many of the UK’s best-known schools.

Special educational needs provision in boarding schools

Sally Moore Head of Learning Support, Fulneck School When it comes to education, parents want the best for their children but this may be even more important for parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). According to The Children and Families Act 2014, Section 20, ‘A child or young person has SEN if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for SEN provision to be made for him or her’. This includes dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism. Problems associated with these conditions can lead to issues with schoolwork, personal organisation, relationships with adults, developing and maintaining friendships or sensory and physical needs. Fulneck School is one of the only CReSTeD schools based in the north of England.

The Equality Act 2010 and its definition

with access to equipment and resources

of disability has given pupils who have

designed specifically for pupils with SEND.

significant difficulty in reading and

In most cases teaching takes place in small

understanding the written word, as well

classes which allows the maximum amount

as other impairments, the right to have

of time to be allocated to each individual,

appropriate arrangements for them to

who in turn is able to learn at his or her

demonstrate their abilities. The SEN Code

own pace.

of Practice 2014 and the introduction of Education and Health Care plans also mean that parents have greater freedom of choice in regard to their child’s education and some authorities fund additional specialist support in an independent school. The benefits of choosing a boarding school for children with SEND include the dedicated support which is readily available for each pupil, depending on their individual needs. This extends to additional opportunities for more focused one-to-one

USING TECHNOLOGY Advancements in technology have greatly improved the education provision for children with SEND by helping to break down several barriers to learning. Equipment such as voice-activated software, reading pens, text readers and software to assist in the development of reading and mathematical skills are likely to feature strongly in the package of services available to pupils, as is the emphasis on developing typing and touch typing techniques.

tuition when required. Fulneck School is an independent boarding In specialist schools tailored curricula

and day school with a dedicated learning

are delivered by highly trained teachers

support unit (LSU) providing continuity


of teaching and support from Year 2 to Year 13. The school has met the criteria of The Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD) continually since 1996 and is approved under Category LSC (Learning Support Centre) as a school offering a learning support unit, with specialist staff and

pupils a choice of fully inclusive

appreciation of the environment, teaching

teachers who can accommodate pupils’

co-curricular clubs and activities which help

methods and whether these will suit them.

needs in the classroom. The aim of the LSU

them develop new interests and boost self-

It is also important to meet the Principal

at Fulneck is to identify individual special


and understand the ethos of the school and its attitudes to SEND.

needs and to provide teaching programmes and strategies to allow every student access

An extension to mentoring and continual

to the curriculum at a level commensurate

assessment is the strong pastoral care that

All schools are different and it is anything

with their intellectual ability. Tuition is in

will be evident in most boarding schools,

but the case that one type fits all. But

small groups or one-to-one delivered by

in addition to a qualified nurse(s) who

making the correct choice from the many

experienced and specialist teachers using

can liaise with healthcare professionals

options available and the whole boarding

a range of multi-sensory teaching methods

regarding the implementation of Education

school experience can be very rewarding

and technology.

and Health Care Plans and who can support

for pupils with SEND and can give them a

the wide range of pupils’ needs.

chance to really flourish and exceed their

MONITORING AND MENTORING In boarding schools pupils with SEND can also be continually assessed, monitored and mentored outside the classroom which can lead to improvements in social interaction and confidence. By the very nature of a boarding school environment, teachers and support staff can monitor the behavioural patterns of children at close quarters. This includes how they play, socialise and manage the many challenges of daily life. Boarding schools also offer

potential. Of course choosing the right school is a critical decision with far-reaching consequences and one that requires thorough research. Parents should request detailed information about a schools’ SEND provision and gain a clear understanding of which conditions they specifically cater for and how. Visiting the school and meeting the SEND team is an important part of that process, allowing potential parents and pupils the opportunity to gain a true

Sally began her teaching career as a VSO volunteer teaching English in Kiribati. She has taught in many different countries and once spent a summer teaching flying trapeze at an American summer camp. Sally joined Fulneck School as Head of Learning Support in 2019. She loves the family feel of the school and the way the adults know the children so well. In the learning support unit she is able to implement learning in the best way to suit each individual pupil.


What is CReSTeD and how does it help boarding families?

Brendan Wignall Headmaster, Ellesmere College and Chair, CReSTeD

The Council for the Registration of

dyspraxia, dyscalculia, attention deficit

more SpLD and cover all levels of provision

Schools Teaching Dyslexic pupils

disorder (ADD), as well as pragmatic and

and both state and independent provision.

(CReSTeD) is a charity set up in 1989

semantic language difficulties.

The vast majority of schools on the Register

with the aim of helping parents and

are mainstream, offering a wide range of

those who advise them to choose

The CReSTeD Council includes

teaching styles, environment and facilities.

schools for children with Specific

representatives from a wide area of SpLD

The Register is free of charge to parents.

Learning Difficulties (SpLD). It is

provision including Dyslexia Action, the

a valuable resource for parents,

British Dyslexia Association, Helen Arkell

educational advisers and schools and

Dyslexia Centre, the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust

acts as a source of information for

and schools.

parents. The main SpLD is dyslexia but there is a general recognition that dyslexia rarely exists in isolation – the latest research demonstrates a high level of co-occurrence with other difficulties. These include

THE REGISTER CReSTeD publishes annually and maintains a list of schools and centres accredited for their SpLD provision – this is called the Register. The schools and centres listed in the Register provide for pupils with one or

SpLD provision is divided into six broad

categories. Of these, five are for schools:

Dyslexia Specialist Provision (DSP)

schools established primarily to teach pupils with Dyslexia

• Learning Support Centre (LSC) schools offer a designated unit that provides specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis, according to need


Without doubt it is the best decision we as a family have made and after and getting the best start in life possible. Currently stationed for their future we are immensely proud and grateful for what the in Cyprus, this can bring extra concerns with distance and travel; school is offering both Jordan and Rhys. We will never stop being a however the school understands and supports the children even SERVICE BOARDING SCHOOLS • SPRING / SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS / 143 close-knit family2022 despite the separation, but we knowAND thatDISABILITIES Queen more to ensure they remain active yetPARENTS' in contactGUIDE with TO parents. Victoria is helping towards their future, and providing the stability Providing Skype has been a godsend. The friends that they have and ever-lasting friendship that they have been seeking. ■ made already I know will remain for life, and that is also evident

• Maintained Schools (MS) local authority schools able


to demonstrate an effective

Every school and centre on the

system for identifying pupils

CReSTeD Register has been

with dyslexia

independently verified for

• Specialist Provision (SPS)

SpLD provision by CReSTeD

schools are specifically

consultants (not the case in all

established to teach pupils

other lists).

Council ffor or tthe he R egistration of Council Registration Schools Teachi ng Dysl exic pupi ls Schools Teaching Dyslexic pupils

W e give give you We IInformation nformation & C hoice Choice

with dyslexia and other related specific learning

The first stage of registration


is for the school to complete

• Withdrawal System (WS) schools help dyslexic pupils by withdrawing them from appropriately selected lessons for specialist tuition and one is for centres:

• Teaching Centre (TC) designated centre providing specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis, according to need. The categories provide guidance on the type of provision given by a school. One category should not be seen as ‘better’ than another. Children have different requirements and personalities and the categories are a way of helping match each child to the type of provision at the school or centre. A report from an educational psychologist or a specialist teacher who holds an Assessment Practising Certificate should offer parents guidance as to the level of provision their child requires. For example, a child at the severe end of the dyslexia spectrum may require a Dyslexia Specialist Provision school whereas a child with only some slowness in spelling skills may be suitably provided for in a school from the Withdrawal System category. The Register includes a checklist to help parents decide whether a school or centre can meet their child’s educational needs in relation to SpLD. It also provides a geographical index of schools.

O ur advice advice is is independent independent Our b ut well well informed informed but

the CReSTeD registration form and to provide supporting

Choosing a school is one of the biggest decisions you make for your child and it is not easy

documentation, such as policies for dyslexia. This form covers staff development, admission policy, organisation

You need all the help you can get

of the school week, specific arrangements for SpLD pupils,

Our Register is available to download from our website:

examination results for the whole school and for SpLD pupils in particular, resources www. .crested.or t d

and a list of parents’ names so

All the e information informat you need is right there there.

that the consultant may check parents’ feelings about the school or centre. The criteria include the provision of relevant and high

Contact CReSTeD via email: Registered charity charity no. 1052103 Registered Council for fo or the the Registration Registration of S chools Teac hing D yslexic P upils Council Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils

quality information technology resources, Joint Council for

Qualifications (JCQ)-approved March 2015 training qualifications for

teachers, awareness of the needs of dyslexic pupils on the part of non-specialist staff, and arrangements to obtain and provide special provision for

with the SpLD provision in Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding Schools 35 accordance with the criteria

set by CReSTeD. This enables CReSTeD to retain the school’s details in the Register without the need for an extra visit.


CReSTeD Council initiates

During a visit to a school or

cause for concern about a

centre, the consultant checks whether this information is

‘responsive’ visits if it has any particular school.

accurate and ensures the


school or centre meets the

The CReSTeD website www.

criteria set by CReSTeD Council contains all the

for the particular category.

information in the Register. It is updated as new information

Schools and centres are

is received, or new schools

visited on a three-year cycle,

approved, and contains links to

with possible earlier visits if

the websites of all registered

there are substantial changes,

schools and centres as well

which should always be swiftly

as to other websites that may

communicated to CReSTeD. If

be of assistance to parents

the Head of a CReSTeD school

of children with one or more

changes, the school must


inform CReSTeD and the new Head must confirm that the

For further information email

school intends to continue

Brendan Wignall has been Headmaster of Ellesmere College since 1996 and is Chair of CReSTeD. After teaching English at Oakham and Christ’s Hospital, he became Head of English and Registrar of Denstone College. His main interests are his family, Ellesmere, Liverpool FC, gardening and culture in the broadest sense (excluding only country music!).

Provision in the independent sector for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities Pupils with SEND continue to be very well educated within the independent sector and this is undoubtedly one of the sector’s strengths. Many parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities take them out of the maintained sector because the class sizes are too big and they feel there is not enough individual support. The independent sector offers a range of choice not available within the maintained sector. Specialist Provision Schools (SPS) are approved for specific learning difficulties, with associated language difficulties, such as dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dyslexia Specialist Provision Schools (DSP) are established primarily to teach pupils with dyslexia. There are also mainstream boarding schools with designated units or centres providing specialist tuition on a small group or individual basis. In January 2015, 66,026 pupils (33,311 boarders) were identified as having SEND. The most common SEND is dyslexia (321,169) followed by information processing (9,053), dyspraxia (5,459), gross and fine motor skills (3,720) and Asperger’s syndrome (3,597). The table below lists independent boarding schools on the CReSTeD Register providing support for pupils with SEND.

Independent boarding schools on the CReSTeD Register providing support for pupils with SEND Specialist Provision Schools (SPS) are approved for specific learning difficulties, and associated language difficulties, dyspraxia and ADHD. Category





Appleford School



More House School



St David’s College


Dyslexia Specialist Provision Schools (DSP) are established primarily to teach pupils with dyslexia. Category





Bredon School



Bruern Abbey School

Chesterton, Oxfordshire


Frewen College


Some mainstream boarding schools have a designated unit or centre providing specialist tuition. School



Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School

Barnardiston, Suffolk

Bedstone College

Bucknell, Shropshire

Bethany School

Cranbrook, Kent

Brockhurst & Marlston House Schools

Newbury, Berkshire

Clayesmore Preparatory School

Blandford Forum, Dorset

Clayesmore School

Blandford Forum, Dorset

Cobham Hall School

Cobham, Kent

Ellesmere College

Ellesmere, Shropshire

Finborough School

Stowmarket, Suffolk

Fulneck School

Leeds, West Yorkshire

Hazlegrove Preparatory School

Yeovil, Somerset

Kingham Hill School

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

King’s School

Bruton, Somerset

Kingsley School

Bideford, Devon

Kingswood House School

Epsom, Surrey

Lime House School

Carlisle, Cumbria

Millfield School

Street, Somerset

Millfield Preparatory School

Glastonbury, Somerset

Sidcot School

Winscombe, North Somerset

Slindon College

Arundel, Sussex

Tettenhall College

Wolverhampton, West Midlands

Walhampton School

Lymington, Hampshire

Wycliffe College Preparatory School

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

Wycliffe College

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire


GCSEs and IGCSEs in a changed curricular landscape

Charlie Hammel Deputy Head Academic, St Swithun’s School, Winchester

Any parent considering a boarding school

many years independent schools perceived a

of IGCSEs. Assessment is linear, with exams at

for their child at 11+ or 13+ entry is certain

number of advantages in IGCSEs:

the end of the two-year course, and other forms

to discover that changes to the main curriculum options at ages 14–16 (Years 10 and 11) – GCSEs and IGCSEs – will become relevant for their son or daughter in the coming years.

• greater emphasis on breadth and depth of knowledge, in addition to cultivation of skills

• a higher degree of academic rigour • more insulation from political change • the opportunity to devote more curricular

time to teaching than to formal assessments

This is an exciting stage of education because it

• the chance for pupils to mature intellectually

of assessment, including controlled assessment, have been removed or significantly reduced. These changes are already being reflected in IGCSEs. They have been adjusted to reflect additional content in the new GCSEs, and most domestic IGCSEs have adopted the new 9–1 grading system. There would appear to be a

is when most pupils have their first opportunity

with less interruption over a two-year

convergence taking place. A series of studies

to begin selecting some subject options and


published in 2019 has shown that the two qualifications are broadly comparable, although

determining their own academic programme. As it also leads to formal qualifications in the

More than 84 per cent of leading independent

individual examination boards continue to

shape of (I)GCSEs, an understanding of what

schools now offer a mixture of GCSEs and

refine IGCSE grading on a subject-by-subject

schools offer currently and how that is likely to

IGCSEs. This is the approach we have adopted

basis in order to align the assessment as

be affected by recent changes to the curricular

at St Swithun’s, where each subject department

closely as possible to that of GCSEs, an effort

landscape is useful.

has autonomy to select the course offering the

supported by independent schools and their

most appropriate blend of academic rigour,

membership associations.

EVOLVING QUALIFICATIONS International GCSEs (IGCSEs) are longestablished qualifications, originally developed as equivalent to GCSEs for international schools. Their structure has remained essentially ‘linear’, which means assessment takes place by examination at the end of the two-year course. By contrast, before 2015 GCSEs had evolved differently and become more ‘modular’, with courses subdivided into relatively discrete units. This ‘modularisation’ was matched by more piecemeal assessment, with opportunities to complete coursework (or ‘controlled assessment’) and take some examination papers throughout the course. Recent reforms to GCSEs in England have reversed that trend by introducing new, linear GCSE courses graded on a numerical 9–1 scale, while those in Wales and Northern Ireland retain the A* to G grading system.

accessibility and progression to further study at A level. Some schools prefer either GCSEs or IGCSEs exclusively. Both qualifications are respected, valued and understood by universities and employers. There are advantages to a mixed economy of GCSEs and IGCSEs. In the examination period, IGCSE papers tend to both begin and end a couple of weeks earlier than GCSEs. So in a demanding time for Year 11 pupils,

ADVICE FOR PARENTS AND PUPILS Parents and pupils should feel able to ask informed questions about the (I)GCSE courses offered by a school, and the school should be able to explain how it has responded to curricular changes and the rationale for the combination of courses it offers. More specific questions can be posed, often on a subject level, about how each course helps to meet the needs and interests of pupils at that school.

those studying for a mixture of the two can find that their examinations are spread over a

Just as it is important to be aware of past trends

slightly longer time period, which can help in

and recent reforms, in making subject choices

managing final revision and preparation. There

pupils are always best advised to play to their

are positives for schools as well. The surge

own strengths and select the subjects they find

in popularity of IGCSEs over the last decade,

most interesting and enjoyable. The finer details

recent reforms to GCSEs and corresponding

of structure of any (I)GCSE course should not be a

revisions to IGCSEs mean that for most subjects

deciding factor because after all the qualification

schools are increasingly able to choose from

itself only lends a structure, albeit an important

several up-to-date linear specifications.

one, for pupils’ learning at this level.

Over the past decade independent boarding schools, and independent schools generally, have helped drive a proliferation of IGCSEs within the UK. In 2017 IGCSEs reached a peak at over 48 per cent of examinations taken by Year 11 pupils in independent schools, a percentage that had more than quadrupled since 2010, when IGCSEs made up only 11 per cent of entries. This figure has declined slightly alongside the introduction of the new 9–1 GCSEs but remained buoyant at 45 per cent in 2019. Over

NATIONAL REFORMS The introduction of linear GCSEs, with the stated aim of making them more rigorous, has sparked renewed interest in the choice between IGCSEs and GCSEs and comparability of the qualifications. The first of these new examinations were taken in summer 2017 in English language, English literature and mathematics, and all subjects were reformed by summer 2019. In practice, the new GCSEs have taken on many characteristic features

Charlie Hammel has been Deputy Head Academic at St Swithun’s School, Winchester, since 2014. He was previously Head of History at King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham. Before that he was Head of Scholars at Warwick School, where he taught History, Politics and Latin. He read History and Medieval Studies at Princeton University and completed a postgraduate Master’s in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews before embarking on a teaching career in independent schools.

Sixth form – future ready, set, go! Rhiannon Wilkinson Head, Ashville College The sixth-form years are great

effects of climate change? Will the

opportunities and career advice. Sixth

fun but they are also of crucial

phenomenal pace of technology

form should provide the tools young

importance. They are about getting

improve our lives for the better or

people need to flourish, no matter

pupils exam ready, university ready,

present new moral and societal

where their passions lie.

career ready – in short, ‘future

challenges? Will we be prepared for

ready’ – building strong academic

future pandemics?

foundations and developing the

I have often said high quality English boarding education is the best in the

personal characteristics and

The role of the sixth form should

world, and parents are fortunate to

social skills for future success and

not be to create an ‘exam factory’.

have their pick of so many exceptional

fulfilment, no matter what lies

It is to provide a happy, purposeful

schools. But choosing one from many,


environment in which young people

particularly for families who are not

transition from adolescence to

in the UK, can be challenging. So what

We only need to ask ourselves the

adulthood, emerging as confident

should you look for in a boarding sixth

current big questions to understand

young people ready to face the


why gaining good results is not the

world. They can only do this if their

only goal of post-16 education. Will

sixth form offers enough choice of

we have discovered and implemented

courses, academic enrichment routes,

ways to stop or even reverse the

co-curricular activities, leadership


HIGH LEVELS OF ACADEMIC CHALLENGE AND RIGOUR It is important to choose a school with a strong academic culture, focused on driving up standards and results and never standing still. The proportion of pupils gaining admission to Russell Group universities should be high. Look for a good and varied range of courses, particularly A levels, including traditional subjects and your child’s intended degree-specific subjects, and BTECs. Some schools offer a range of complementary qualifications that help to open doors and stand your child out from the crowd. For example, at Ashville we offer the highly flexible OCR Cambridge Technicals in Performing Arts. We also offer courses for pupils who wish to study in the US. We are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to support pupils in gaining the High School Diploma and we offer Advanced Placement courses to give college applicants an extra edge. This year for the first time we have offered A levels in Classical Civilisation and Government and Politics. OXBRIDGE, COMPETITIVE AND INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION SUPPORT Sixth form is a time to aim high. If your child is set on Oxbridge, studying medicine or going to university overseas, the sixth form you are considering should demonstrate it is able to help them on that trajectory – the rest, of course, is up to the individual child and their hard work and commitment. At Ashville we offer a bespoke programme for pupils aspiring to Oxford or Cambridge, and for medicine, veterinary science or dentistry courses. We often involve our alumni and other members of the community in mock interviews. ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT AVENUES Increasingly, sixth forms are offering an engaging and meaningful programme of academic enrichment. The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) was created by exam boards in collaboration with leading UK universities. It is an AS level qualification, with the possibility of achieving an A* grade. Cambridge University says: ‘We welcome the EPQ and would encourage applicants to take one as it will help to develop independent study and research skills valuable for higher education.’ The Archbishop of York Leadership Award is another qualification

geared to individuals’ interests, skills

when they are happy. The activities sixth-

and future aspirations. It is also highly

formers pursue should also be relevant

regarded by the UK’s leading universities.

to their future and to the advancement

These pupil-led qualifications can be taken

of technology and how this transforms

alongside A levels, earn UCAS points and

jobs. At Ashville we are developing the

enable pupils to make their voices heard at

co-curricular experience to reflect the

a young age.

World Economic Forum’s ‘top 10 job skills of tomorrow’ by offering activities such

POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY Ambitious pupils are keen to take on extra challenges and broaden their horizons. Good sixth forms offer a wide range of opportunities, from prefect positions and house captains to more informal roles, all of which enable pupils to develop skills such as public speaking and communication. More formal leadership roles, such as the Red Tie Prefects at Ashville, involve a formal application and interview process, emulating a university or apprenticeship. A TAILORED CO-CURRICULAR PROGRAMME Good schools recognise the major benefits of co-curricular activities for health and attainment – pupils learn best

as coding, leadership and enterprise. Having a ‘future ready’ focus will ensure sixth-formers leave with not only the right qualifications but also the in-demand skills they need to thrive in the rapidly evolving global marketplace.

Rhiannon Wilkinson is the eleventh and first female Head of Ashville College. Her career includes a Headship at Wycombe Abbey and teaching and senior positions in schools in the UK, Hong Kong and Brunei. Most recently, Rhiannon was the founding Head of Whittle School Shenzhen which opened simultaneously alongside its sister school Whittle School Washington DC. Between 2009 and 2013 she was the Principal of Harrogate Ladies’ College. She studied Modern History at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, before undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) at Bath University.

Sixth-form programmes – the choice


Students entering the sixth form have a range of options as shown below. Most schools offer a combination. The Cambridge Pre-U is being withdrawn. The last entry is 2021 with last examinations in 2023 (last resit June 2024). We have therefore removed this qualification from the table. A level

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma


AQA Baccalaureate

Who is it for?

16 to 19 year olds

16 to 19 year olds

16 to 19 year olds

16 to 19 year olds

What can you study?

Most students study three or four A levels.

Six subjects (three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level). All students must study literature, a foreign language, a humanities subject, a natural science and mathematics.

Level 3 qualifications, Extended Certificate equivalent to 1 A level, Diploma to 2 A levels and Extended Diploma to 3 A levels. Certificate is equivalent to 1 AS level.

Three A-level subjects in any academic discipline.

How does it work?

The linear A level was introduced with first examination in 2017. Students can take a freestanding AS level but it no longer forms part of the A level. The A level is assessed after two years of study.

Over two years, in addition to their six subjects, students complete a 4,000-word Extended Essay and a Theory of Knowledge course, and participate in the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme. All exams are taken at the end of the second year of study, there are no modules. Conceived as a holistic integral programme bound by a clear philosophy.

BTECS are offered across 16 sectors and comprise core and optional units. The courses are assessed internally and externally and some modules can be retaken. Assignments can include exams, essays, research and investigative projects, and experiments and fieldwork.

In addition to their three A levels, students complete an Extended Project Qualification that aims to make them responsible for their own learning; achieve breadth through an AS level in Critical Thinking, Citizenship, General Studies, Science in society or World development; and undertake enrichment activities outside the curriculum such as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

What is it worth?

The table below shows the UCAS tariff points awarded for linear A levels.

The table below shows the UCAS tariff points awarded for the IB Certificate in Higher Level. Certificates in Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge also attract UCAS tariff points when the certificates have been taken individually.

95% of universities accept BTECs, but acceptance may be course-dependent. Grading is from Distinction*, Distinction, Merit, Pass. UCAS points for double grades for Diplomas (and triple grades for Extended Diplomas) are calculated from the points for single grades.

Maximum 216 UCAS tariff points for three A* A levels, grade A* Extended Project (28 points) and a standalone AS level at grade A (20 points).


Tariff points














Tariff points

Extended Certificate

Tariff Diploma points

Tariff points

Extended Diploma

Tariff points

























































Where can you study it?

Schools and FE colleges.

115 schools and colleges in the UK offer the IB Diploma.

Schools and colleges – some students study across two institutions or alongside employment or an apprenticeship.

UK schools which believe A levels are not, in themselves, sufficient preparation for university.


Still the best-known sixthform qualification in the UK, and taken by the largest number of students as their means of entry into higher education. Some schools offer the Extended Project Qualification in addition to A levels.

Internationally recognised and valued. Heavier class-based workload than A levels and more independent learning. The percentage of candidates achieving the different grades has remained constant over the years.

BTECS are highly regarded, offering a well-proven route into employment, training and university. Modular assessment, focus on skills and opportunities for work experience make them an attractive complement to A levels as well as a very useful standalone qualification. They are becoming more popular in schools, usually alongside one or two A levels. Sports Science and Business Studies are popular.

AQA Baccalaureate is derived in large part from the spirit of the IB Diploma Programme: depth, some breadth, thinking and research skills, and co-curricular experience.

To find out more, go to



About 50 per cent of residential boarders at Gordon’s are from Service families. As Bursar at

Gordon’s, I have seen some trends

for parents claiming the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA)

and from these I make three key observations.

1 NEED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANISATION The ‘window’ for submitting each term’s CEA claim is short and parents need to be ready with the following term’s invoice. Schools should be able and willing to prepare the termly invoices for CEA parents in advance of the main bulk and send it to you electronically or have it accessible through a finance portal, which is helpful, as it is available wherever you are. There are of course valid reasons for missing the ‘window’ such as change of posting, but if this happens be sure to communicate this delay to the school’s Bursar or Finance Office and advise them of the revised payment date. It is important for parents – Forces and civilian – to keep Bursars advised. 2 AFFORDABILITY When parents are selecting a boarding school they take numerous factors into consideration from proximity to family to help with emergencies and exeats, to the sports played and quality of the accommodation. Cost is obviously a factor, even for parents able to claim CEA, and there should be careful consideration of ‘value of money’. Some schools, but by no means all, offer a discount to Forces families. You will also need to contact the school’s Finance Office to ask what you can expect to pay in ‘extras’ each term as these can mount up for a full boarder, especially when participating in weekend activities. At Gordon’s I have always aimed to be as inclusive as possible in terms of not charging extra for costs that would be applicable to every boarder but some schools may charge for every extra. 3 CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES First, when CEA is refused for whatever reason, parents must engage with their unit Admin Office as any case put forward will have input from their unit specialists if it is to have any chance of success. Parents will be able to access the Services support networks and


Entitlement to CEA – the Bursar’s view Susan Meikle Bursar, Gordon’s School

organisations such as the Children’s

be approved as you are most likely to be

Education Advisory Service (CEAS)

earning again; you may be claiming your

( while

pension and you will have a lump sum.

the unit is able to provide the military perspective such as future postings and welfare issues. Second, I have an increasing number of conversations with parents who are considering or have already decided to leave military service before they originally planned to and who will therefore lose the CEA. My main message on this is to think ahead and to

The school’s Bursar will want to try to help maintain stability for a Service pupil to complete a key stage of education, particularly GCSEs and A levels, but may not have the school resources to do so. You will need to keep this in mind when considering a career change and have a Plan B in the event that there has to be a change of school.

communicate with the school’s Bursar. You may plan to settle close to your

Susan Meikle is School Bursar for

child’s school and assume they will just

Gordon’s School, a state boarding school

be able to transfer to a day place – check

in Surrey and national memorial to

that this is feasible. For example, at

General Gordon of Khartoum. Susan is

Gordon’s it is not an automatic transfer from boarding to day status. Before assuming that the school will provide a (means-tested) bursary to help your child complete a stage of education, check on sources of possible financial assistance. It is important not to assume that your application for financial assistance will

also Secretary to The Gordon Foundation, a separate charity that supports Gordon’s School. Before joining Gordon’s in 2012, Susan had been Bursar for three independent boarding schools and worked for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity for two years. She started working life after university in hotel and institutional management.

£ Paying the fees:

a major financial commitment David Woodgate Chief Executive, Independent Schools’ Bursars Association (ISBA)

Paying school fees is a major financial commitment for parents and is not to be undertaken lightly. Apart from a mortgage it is probably the largest expenditure parents can make. The opportunity to spread the payment load is limited as most schools require settlement of the previous term’s fees before allowing a pupil to return for the next term. Consequently, new cars and holidays often have to take a back seat and both parents may need to work to cover even the basic fee. Independent education is therefore, by any standards, a large financial commitment. KEY ADVICE • Start planning early – it is a major financial commitment. •

Talk with the school about what exactly the financial commitment will be, including ‘extras’. It is also worth discovering whether staged payment schemes are available and how to access both scholarship and bursary funding.

Be aware that each school has different funds available to assist parents and that if one school cannot help, another school might be able to. However, don’t forget that the most important thing is to find the right school for your child rather than the one offering the best discount. Don’t be shy – schools need pupils, and heads and bursars will always be happy to talk with prospective parents, not only about the academic and pastoral aspects of their school but the financial ones as well.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS All schools will send prospective parents a copy of the school’s terms and conditions and ask them to sign an acceptance form agreeing to them. This is in effect a contract between the parent and the school in which certain arrangements are set out – one of which covers the payment of fees. School fees are normally due for payment on the first day of term. However, most schools offer the opportunity for staged payments of the annual fees over 10 or 12 months either arranged by the school or through a third party broker. How a family pays the fees will, no doubt, have been the subject of a considerable amount of planning and preparation. In addition to family funds, there are two key sources of finance: •

government and charities

the school.

GOVERNMENT AND CHARITIES The Government plays its part in two ways. First, for Service families, there is an already well-established system whereby the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) may be claimed for qualifying individuals. Second, there are schools founded by the Military – the Queen Victoria School, Dunblane, The Duke of York’s Royal Military School, Dover (now an Academy) and the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook. Alternatively, there are some state boarding schools where fees (or part of them) are covered by the Government, including Cranbrook, Gordon’s and Sexey’s.

THE SCHOOL When a parent applies to send a child to an independent school, there will usually be a selection procedure. When filling in the application form, there is a page asking whether parents are seeking assistance in paying the fees. After the selection process is complete, the school may offer the family a place for their child with a discount on the normal fees. This can be: • A scholarship – many schools may offer a scholarship to a particularly talented child for a period of education – perhaps the twoyear GCSE or A-level study period. Such scholarships could involve a percentage reduction in the fees, but this is unlikely to exceed 20 per cent of the full fees and is often less. A bursary – it is possible that a school • would like to offer a place to the child and, noting the previously completed request for financial assistance, may then ask the parents to fill in a meanstesting form and, based on this, offer a percentage reduction in the fees. In particularly deserving cases, this could be as much as a 100 per cent reduction. Once a child is established and settled in a school, if the family circumstances change and the expected income is no longer there, it is important for the family to talk with the school. Many schools have hardship funds and these may be able to help a family keep a child at the school at least to the end of an academic year and perhaps to the end of a stage in education.

There are a number of charities that will help families in need. Some are specific to certain professions and others are more widely available. Full details of financial help provided can be found via the Educational Trusts Forum’ (ETF) at the Independent Schools Council (ISC). For more information go to www.

Before becoming Chief Executive of the Independent Schools’ Bursar Association (ISBA), David Woodgate was the group strategy consultant to the Institute of Public Accountants (Australia). He has previously held the post of Chief Executive of the Institute of Financial Accountants as well as heading up the Institute of Administrative Management.



? “Parents are looking at a good education as an investment with a high potential long-term return.”

– where do they go? Parents contemplating school bills have often found them difficult to fathom. Increases in school fees have several causes. These include the salaries and employee benefits for academic and administrative staff. Schools must also maintain

Andrew Ashton Bursar, Radley College

buildings and facilities and absorb increases in the costs of books, materials and utilities. Even schools with endowments and trust fund investments have rarely found income

expand, to avoid affecting their character

Parents are looking at a good education

matching inflation.

and tradition. Schools that have changed

as an investment with a high potential

to co-education have tested their ability

long-term return. They place the highest

These are all survival factors, but schools

to cope with extra numbers and the

emphasis on academic results and

wish to maintain and improve standards.

changes which accompany them. Pupils

character education. Before choosing a

This means attracting bright children,

require provision for academic interests

school for their child they want to know if

good teachers and providing facilities

and recreational and social pursuits. Many

individual tutoring is available, the numbers

which answer the needs of the decade.

schools have maintained numbers by

of pupils per class, examination results,

At the same time most, but by no means

expanding their preparatory and pre-prep

positions in the various league tables, and

all, schools try to avoid the temptation to


if teachers are easily accessible.

They ask about information technology, bullying, health and hygiene, drugs, and the boarding houses. The importance of A levels and the International Baccalaureate leading to entry to a good university, and a demanding degree course, has never been greater, particularly as universities have had their share of financial cuts and are more competitive, and for many careers a second degree now has to be seriously considered.

A BALANCING ACT Schools will attempt to balance the materialistic with the vocational, pointing out that today’s teenagers may well have 10 to 12 different jobs in their lifetime as they adapt to change and increased mobility. There is therefore an emphasis on matching the talents of the individual with a wide range of facilities and opportunities. These in turn lead to the provision of recreational facilities, sixth-form centres, information technology units and craft and design centres. Administrative systems need to be technologically up to date. The teaching staff also require IT, updated laboratories, resource centres, and equipment and materials to stay ahead in their disciplines. There will be criticism if the minority subjects are not offered, and there must be a proper emphasis on music and art. All this is costly.

TOTAL COSTS The total costs of five years’ boarding education from 13 to 18 could amount to anything from £150,000 (or around 40 per cent of this in a state boarding school) to more than £200,000. In boarding schools, on average, about 55 per cent of that amount will be staff costs – good staff are after all the most valuable resource in any school. After that, about 18 per cent goes on premises costs – by their very nature, boarding schools have a lot of buildings that need ongoing maintenance. The next biggest categories of cost (all typically around 5 per cent of the total) are teaching resources, food and utility costs. After adding the various other cost categories such as IT, laundry, medical, professional charges, and general expenses, together with the cost of scholarships and bursaries, there is not much left for further development, which is normally left to fundraising. Schools with endowment income are fortunate, as are those with well-established traditions and reputations. Location also helps and schools within easy reach of airports, motorways, intercity rail services or parental homes have advantages over those in more remote areas, attractive though their locations may be. That said, staff costs will inevitably be higher for schools in the south-east of England. Travel costs to and from school are unavoidable extras not always considered, nor are the costs of uniform, clothing, equipment for leisure activities, field trips, holidays and exeats, and everything connected with applications and interviews

for the next stage in the education process. The next stage is, of course, in many people’s eyes a degree course, where travel expenses, living expenses, costs of books and equipment and tuition fees have to be funded. In short, it is important for every parent to realise and appreciate the full extent of the investment they are making. Yet an investment it is, and, in retrospect, the most important decision any parent can make on behalf of their children.

FURTHER INFORMATION SFIA School Fees Planning Tel: 0845 4583690

Andrew Ashton was educated at Newcastle Royal Grammar School and studied Chemistry at University College, Oxford. He joined Barclays Bank, where he qualified as an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers. He worked for 15 years in a number of positions including as a management consultant in the financial services sector, Andrew became Bursar at Radley College in 2008. He is responsible for the financial and operational aspects of the College and the management of the non-teaching staff. Andrew has been a governor of a number of state and independent schools, and currently serves on the governing body of Shiplake College. A keen follower of cricket, an occasionally active runner, and an enthusiastic real tennis player, Andrew is married to Jillian and has one son.


Schools offering special awards for children of personnel serving in the Armed Forces The ISBI website ( lists about 200 schools offering grants and awards for children of families in the Armed Forces. This list has been compiled from the Independent Schools Yearbook and from information provided by schools. For full information, contact the schools direct, particularly for information on their definition of ‘generous’, and how discounts and percentages are applied to fees – there is no common interpretation. Abberley Hall – Service bursaries available Abbotsholme School – HM Forces bursaries available Adcote School, Shropshire – bursaries are available for children from Armed Services families Appleford School – MoD pays SENA

Bishop’s Stortford College (and Prep School) –financial support is available to children of serving members of the Armed Forces Bloxham School – generous support is offered to children of Armed Forces parents Blundell’s School – awards available to the sons and daughters of serving members of the Armed Forces Box Hill School – 20% discount to sons and daughters of Armed Forces personnel; when used in conjunction with the CEA, the member of the Armed Forces will only have to pay the 10% contribution on the discounted fee Brambletye School – offers generous discounts of 15% for children of those in the Armed Services Bredon School – offers a 10% discount on fees for service families

Ashford School – discounts are offered from the boarding fees of children of forces personnel

Bromsgrove School and Preparatory School – generous Armed Forces bursaries are available, 20% discount Years 9–13

Ashville College – Armed Forces boarding allowance

Bruton School for Girls – 10% discount to full boarders with a parent serving in HM Forces

Aysgarth School – Armed Forces discounts

Barnard Castle – Service bursaries awarded

Buckswood School, East Sussex – international school offering boarding and day pupil placements; Service bursaries available for all Armed Forces families; scholarship opportunities based on individual child; ages 11–18

Bearwood College – special fees package available for HM Forces

Burgess Hill Girls – offers very generous financial awards for Armed Services families

Beeston Hall School – offers very generous financial awards to Armed Services families as well as scholarships and bursaries

Cambridge Arts & Sciences – HM Forces families receive a 10% discount on parental contribution to fees

Bedford School – means-tested Access Award & Scholarship system offered in recognition of academic, music or sporting potential to talented boys, irrespective of background

Canford School – Canford offers a 10% fee remission for children of current serving families applying for a boarding place. Scholarships and means tested bursary awards may be offered in addition to this subject to individual financial circumstances. Please visit prospective-parents/admissions/hm-forcesfamilies for more information.

Badminton School, Bristol – 20% discounts for children of Service personnel

Bedstone College – Forces discounts available Bethany School – members of HM Forces receive a 10% discount on the published fees Bilton Grange Preparatory School – generous fee remissions offered to the children of HM Forces personnel

Cargilfield School, Edinburgh – fee concessions for children of members of the Armed Forces Casterton School – offers very generous financial awards for Armed Services families

Caterham School – bursaries for the sons and daughters of Armed Forces personnel Chafyn Grove School – 10% discount for all new day children of Armed Forces parents Cheltenham College – generous Forces discounts available Christ’s College Brecon – 10% bursaries are available for sons and daughters of personnel serving in the Armed Forces Clayesmore School – generous Forces bursaries and fee remissions; full range of academic, music, sports, art, design technology, all-rounder and sixth-form scholarships available Clifton College – Birdwood Award for sons and daughters of serving members of HM Forces awarded on the results of the entrance scholarship exam; 20% discounts for Service families Cobham Hall – 20% fee discount for Service families Cranleigh School – additional consideration may be given to sons or daughters of members of the Armed Forces Culford School – Forces allowance available to parents who are serving members of the Armed Forces Dean Close Cheltenham Senior, Preparatory and Pre-preparatory School – offer a 20% discount to the children of Armed Forces personnel, plus bursaries where circumstances allow; sibling discounts are also available Dean Close St Johns – offers a 20% discount to the children of Armed Forces personnel; when used in conjunction with the CEA, the member of the Armed Forces will only have to pay a 10% contribution on the boarding fee Denstone College – bursaries available for the sons and daughters of Armed Forces Dover College – Service bursaries are automatically awarded; members of HM Armed Forces who are eligible for the CEA allowance pay a parental contribution of 10% of the full boarding fee Duke of Kent School, Ewhurst – special discounts are available for Armed Service boarders to supplement the CEA

Dulwich College – 20% remission on boarding fees for full or weekly boarders – to supplement the CEA – for children of personnel serving in the Armed Forces

Gordonstoun School – bursaries available for children of serving Armed Forces families

Durham School – special bursaries are available for the children of Service families, on top of the CEA(Board) allowance

Gresham’s School – HM Forces bursaries available on top of the CEA

Eastbourne College – 10% off boarding for Service children Farleigh School – 15% discount for full or weekly boarders of Service families Farlington School – this discount is designed to attract members of the regular Armed Forces of the United Kingdom who may be eligible for Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA); this discount does not apply to members of the reserve Armed Forces, even if actively serving; a discount of 10% of the tuition fee (but not boarding fees) is offered; this award is discontinued for the term following the last date that an individual is an active member of the regular Armed Forces; in appropriate circumstances, a pupil may also qualify for a bursary or scholarship Farringtons School – 25% discounts Felsted School – special bursaries for children of those in the Armed Services Fettes College – one scholarship is available annually for sons and daughters of regular officers in HM Forces; bursaries are available that automatically provide a 12.5% reduction in the fees Finborough School, Suffolk – bursaries are available for families of military personnel Foremarke Hall, Repton Prep School – means-tested bursaries are available to Forces families Framlingham College – special bursaries available for the sons and daughters of HM Forces Frewen College – generous Service bursaries Giggleswick School – Forces bursaries are available for all children of HM Forces entering either the Junior or the Senior School – 10% in the Junior School and 20% in the Senior School Glenalmond College – bursaries available for the children of serving Armed Forces families Godolphin School – HM Forces discounts available Godstowe Preparatory School – offers a 10% remission to Armed Forces families

Kingham Hill School – generous Armed Forces bursaries for sons and daughters of UK Service personnel

Gosfield School – Service bursaries available

Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls – Service bursaries are available for the daughters of serving members of HM Armed Forces eligible for the CEA, guaranteeing no more than the minimum of 10% of fees is payable by the parents Haileybury – specially founded scholarships and bursaries awarded as they fall vacant Hampshire Collegiate School – offers an HM Forces discount Handcross Park School – generous awards are available for the sons and daughters of Armed Forces and Diplomatic Service families Hanford School – offers generous financial bursaries for Armed Forces families Hazlegrove School – support is available to parents who are serving members of the Armed Forces Heathfield School, Ascot – Forces bursaries available Hethersett Old Hall School – bursaries available to daughters of HM Forces personnel who satisfy the requirements of the entrance exam Horris Hill School – 10% fee discount for HM Forces children in receipt of CEA; bursaries also available Howell’s School – exclusive for Service families – fees fixed at CEA plus 10% and £500 per term contribution towards extras and enrichment lessons (riding, drama, music, etc.) Hurstpierpoint College – limited number of external bursaries available for the children of serving members of the Armed Forces Kent College Canterbury – awards system for the children of HM Forces whereby the parents pay a set fee, normally 10% of the inclusive fee Kent College Pembury – offers 20% discount on fees for Armed Forces personnel King Edward’s School Witley – 10% discounts for the sons and daughters of Armed Forces personnel

King’s Bruton – 20% Forces allowance is available to parents who are serving members of the Armed Forces King’s School Canterbury – bursaries are available for the children of Service families King’s School Ely – discount to boarding children eligible for CEA so that the parental contribution is limited to 10% of the boarding fees King’s School Rochester – Armed Services personnel are allowed a 20% reduction in tuition fees for the first two years, 10% for the next two years King’s School Taunton (and King’s Hall) – reduced fees for Service families Kingsley School, Bideford – awards a bursary to families who are eligible for Continuity of Education Allowance so that the parents pay 10% of the full fees Kingswood School – HM Forces families receive a reduction in boarding fees of 20% for each child King William’s College, Isle of Man – a generous reduction is allowed for service members of the Armed Forces Kirkham Grammar School – HM Forces discounts and bursaries available zz Knighton House School – MoD discounts Leweston Preparatory School – offers further discounts on boarding fees for daughters of serving military personnel Licensed Victuallers’ School – up to 20% discount on fees to HM Forces personnel Lime House School – Armed Forces bursaries are available Llandovery College – Armed Forces bursaries available; Service families pay no more than 10% of fees Lockers Park School – bursaries available to boys in Years 3–6 Longridge Towers School, Northumberland – offers bursaries to members of HM Forces who are in receipt of the CEA (boarding), so that parents pay only 10% of the gross fees, the minimum required by the CEA scheme


Loretto School – bursaries are available to sons and daughters of Armed Forces personnel Loughborough Grammar School – 25% boarding fee remission to sons of HM Forces Lucton School – bursaries available for Service children Ludgrove – Armed Forces bursaries are available

New Hall School – HM Forces discounts Norman Court Preparatory School – discounts available on boarding fees for serving members of HM Forces Ockbrook School – children of members of HM Forces receive generous discounts on published fees Old Buckenham Hall School – 10% discount for children of Service personnel

Malsis School – Service bursaries offered Malvern College – Service discounts Malvern St James – discounts available for Armed Forces Maidwell Hall – generous Service bursaries available Merchiston Castle School – 10% remission is given to sons of serving members of HM Forces Millfield – members of the Armed Forces are entitled to a military discount and may apply for additional bursaries where appropriate Mill Hill School – HM Forces discounts and bursaries available. Moffats School – fees tailored for the advantage of Service families Moira House Girls School, Eastbourne – members of HM Forces who are eligible for the CEA pay a contribution of 10% of the full fee Monkton Prep and Monkton Senior School – bursaries available for Armed Service families of up to 20% Monmouth School – Service bursaries are available for the sons of serving members of HM Armed Forces eligible for the CEA, guaranteeing no more than the minimum of 10% of fees is payable by the parents Moorland School – generous Forces bursaries Mount Kelly – HM Forces discounts are for children of all serving parents (not only those in receipt of CEA); 10% discount for Year 3 to Year 13 or a 20% discount for full boarders from Year 9 to Year 13 Mount St Mary’s College – bursaries are available for children from Service families Mowden Hall School – Forces discount of 20%

Orwell Park School – Armed Forces bursaries available

Rendcomb College – scholarships are available for Forces personnel Repton School – means-tested bursaries are available to Forces families Riddlesworth Hall Preparatory School – bursaries for daughters of Service personnel Rishworth School – Service discounts available Rossall School – Service bursaries are awarded for the children of members of HM Armed Forces and may be up to 30% of the basic fee

Oswestry School – generous awards are available for children of Service personnel (when the child is in full-time education)

Royal Masonic School for Girls – discounts available for Forces families

Packwood Haugh School, Shropshire – boarding fees discounted by 50% on the difference between the termly rate and the CEA

Rydal Penrhos School – bursaries for sons and daughters of serving members of the Armed Forces

Perrott Hill – generous bursaries for the Armed Forces

Ryde School – Forces bursaries

Pipers Corner School – bursaries available for the daughters of Service personnel Pocklington School – discounts available for the children of Service personnel Polam Hall – 10% Forces discount Port Regis School – experience in dealing with HM Service families (approx 15% of pupils), offers special discounts to children of HM Service families

Rye St Antony – discounts are offered for children of Service personnel SABIS International School UK – generous bursaries and sibling discount available for Forces families S. Anselm’s Preparatory School – discounts are available for Forces families St Andrews Eastbourne – 20% off boarding for Service children

Princess Helena College – bursaries available for daughters of Armed Forces personnel

St Bees School – 20% discount for boarders from service families; all weekend activities included in boarding fees

Prior Park College – HM Forces bursaries are available of up to 20% of fees

St David’s College Wales – Service discounts, scholarships and bursaries are available

Prior’s Field School – fees for pupils who have a parent serving in the Armed Forces are 10% of the total boarding fee plus the boarding schools allowance

St Edmund’s College Ware – reductions offered to sons and daughters of serving members of the Armed Forces

Queen Anne’s, Caversham – HM Forces personnel in receipt of CEA pay only 10% of boarding fee Queen’s College Taunton – Forces families receiving CEA pay only 10% of boarding fees; financial help for talented pupils

St Edmund’s School Canterbury – bursaries and fee concessions are granted to the children of members of the Armed Forces St Edward’s Oxford – bursaries for the children of serving RAF personnel St Felix School – allowance for Forces families

Queen Ethelburga’s College – 20% remission on boarding fees only available for the children of serving members of the Armed Forces

St Francis’ College – discounts are offered to the daughters of Service families in addition to the CEA(Board) allowance

Queen Mary’s School, Thirsk – special bursaries for children of those in the Armed Forces

St Hugh’s School, Woodhall Spa – bursaries for the children of Service personnel

Moyles Court School – special Forces discounts New Eccles Hall School – offers very generous financial awards for Armed Services families

Ratcliffe College – members of HM Forces receive a 10% discount in the published fees

St John’s College Southsea – fee discount to military families who receive CEA funding; military discount of 10% provided for military families who do not qualify for CEA funding St Lawrence College, Ramsgate – children of serving members of HM Forces will be considered for bursaries, parents pay the Service Boarding Allowance plus 10% of the main boarding and tuition fees St Olave’s School York, Prep School to St Peter’s School – automatic discount for Forces families; means-tested bursaries available up to 100% of tuition fees St Peter’s School, York – automatic discount for HM Forces families; music awards; honorary subject scholarships; means-tested bursaries available up to 100% of tuition fees Seaford College – bursaries are available to pupils whose parents are in the Armed Forces

Taverham Hall Preparatory School – discounts are available for the sons and daughters of HM Forces

Wellington College, Berkshire – places reserved for the children of deceased officers, who apply to be Foundationers

Terrington Hall School – automatic 10% discount for Armed Services personnel; further means-tested bursaries available

Wellington School, Somerset – generous bursaries are awarded to the sons and daughters of serving members of the Armed Forces

Tettenhall College – reduction in fees for the children of members of HM Forces The Downs, Malvern College Prep School – generous assistance given to full-time serving members of HM Forces The Elms School, Worcester – bursaries are available for sons and daughters of Armed Services personnel The Leys School – special consideration is given to the sons and daughters of members of HM Forces

Sedbergh School – generous Forces bursaries

The Oratory School – Armed Forces bursaries available

Shebbear College – discounts available for the children of HM Forces personnel

The Read School – generous bursaries and a range of scholarships; over 100 years of CCF

Sherborne Prep School – offers generous financial awards for Armed Services families

The Royal High School Bath – 10% discount for boarders

Sherborne School – Raban Exhibition up to 10% of fees for the sons of serving or ex-service officers; Nutting Exhibition up to 10% of fees for the sons of RN Officers; exhibitions for the sons of serving or ex-Service Officers

The Royal Hospital School – discounts are available for children from Armed Services families

Slindon College, West Sussex – some bursaries/discounts available for Armed Forces families Stamford Endowed Schools – discounts for Service families Stonar School – HM Forces bursaries available on top of the CEA for boarding places, at 10% and 20% per annum for the Senior and Prep School respectively Stonyhurst College and Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall – discounts of 20% available for sons and daughters of serving members of HM Forces Stover School – offers very generous financial discounts for Armed Forces children Talbot Heath School – offers financial awards for Armed Services families Taunton School – Forces families with children aged 7–18 years receiving Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) pay no more than 10% of boarding fees at Taunton Preparatory School or Taunton School

The Royal Masonic School for Girls – discounts for full time serving members of HM Forces The Royal School Hampstead – bursaries available for children of Armed Forces personnel The Royal School Haslemere – HM Forces bursaries are available for Service families (5–15%, depending on circumstance)

Wellow House School – discounted fees for children of HM Forces personnel. West Hill Park School – bursaries are available for sons and daughters of Armed Services personnel Westonbirt School – offers a very generous discount to the families of UK Armed Services personnel and members of the UK Diplomatic Services Windermere School – discounted to full boarding school allowance Windlesham House School – Armed Forces bursaries are available Woldingham School – offers special discounts for daughters of serving members of HM Forces Woodhouse Grove School – special assistance to boarders who are sons and daughters of serving members of HM Forces Worksop College – special bursaries for children of those in the Armed Forces. Wrekin College – special bursaries are available for sons and daughters of serving members of the Armed Forces Wychwood School – generous discounts for daughters of HM Forces, plus additional bursaries where appropriate Wycliffe College – school fees fixed at CEA + 10% of the school fees

Tonbridge School – bursaries are available for the children of Service families on top of the CEA(Board) allowance Trent College – discounts are available for children from Armed Services families Warminster School – generous Forces discounts Wells Cathedral School, Somerset – generous financial discounts offered to the sons and daughters of serving members of the Armed Forces Wellesley House School – automatic 15% Forces discount

All the information listed is contained in either the Independent Schools Yearbook or this Guide. If there are any omissions or amendments, please email Neil Rust at




Naval Families Federation (NFF)

Choir Schools’ Association (CSA)

Independent Association of Prep Schools


Army Families Federation (AFF)

Music and Dance Scheme Independent Schools Association (ISA) RAF Families Federation

Independent Schools Council (ISC)


British Dyslexia Association (BDA)

Society of Heads

OTHER USEFUL CONTACTS Department for Education (DfE) Dyslexia Action BSA State Boarding Forum

Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD)

Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA)


Independent Schools Show

Independent Schools’ Bursars Association Welsh Independent Schools Council (WISC) Disability Rights UK


Scottish Council of Independent Schools SSAFA


certified-guardian-scheme/ BSA Certified Agents British Council Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) Email:

Inspiring Futures

RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS INFORMATION UK National Information Centre for global qualifications and skills (UK ENIC)

Independent Schools Examinations Board (ISEB)

Methodist Independent Schools Trust Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference


International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)

Woodard Schools


Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Association of Governing Bodies of


Independent Schools (AGBIS) Educational Trusts’ Forum Council of British International Schools


Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation

Girls’ Schools Association (GSA)

(Royal SpringBoard)

Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC)

Boarding schools in this issue, by county Name of school


Telephone Type



BATH & NORTH EAST SOMERSET Kingswood Senior & Prep School

Lansdown, Bath BA1 5RG

01225 734210

Bo(7-18), D, M, 9 months-18

The Royal High School Bath

Lansdown Road, Bath BA5 5SZ

01225 313877

Bo(10-18), D, G, 3-18

Brockhurst & Marlston House Schools

Marlston, Hermitage, Newbury, Berkshire RG18 9UL

01635 200293

Bo, D, M, 2-13

Cheam School

Headley, Newbury, Berkshire, RG19 8LD

01635 268242

Bo (8-13), D, M, 3-13

Downe House

Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire RG18 9JJ

01635 200286

Bo, D, G, 11- 18

Horris Hill School

Newtown, Newbury, Berks. RG20 9DJ

01635 40594

Bo, D, B, 4-13

Leighton Park School

Shinfield Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 7ED

0118 987 9600

Bo, D, M, 11-18

LVS Ascot

London Road, Ascot , Berkshire, SL5 8DR

01344 882770

Bo, D, M, 4-18

Pangbourne College

Pangbourne, Reading, RG8 8LA

0118 984 2101

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Queen Anne’s School

6 Henley Road, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire, RG4 6DX

0118 918 7300

Bo, D, G, 11-18

Sunningdale School

Sunningdale, Berkshire SL5 9PY

01344 620159

Bo, D, B, 7-13

Badminton School

Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. BS9 3BA

0117 905 5271

Bo(9-18), D, G, 3-18

Clifton College

Guthrie Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3EZ

0117 315 7000

Bo, D, M, 2-18

01753 649300

Bo, D, B, 7-13

Back cover





Crown Lane, Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire SL2 3SL


The Old Palace, Palace Green, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB7 4EW

01353 660707

Bo(8-18), D, M, 2-18

The Leys School

Trumpington Road, Cambridge CB2 7AD

01223 508900

Bo(11-18) D (11-18), M

Casterton, Sedbergh Preparatory School

Casterton, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, LA6 2SG

015242 79200

Bo, D, M, 3 to 13

Dallam School

Milnthorpe, Cumbria, LA7 7DD

01539 565966

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Sedbergh School

Cumbria, LA10 5HG

015396 20535

Bo, D, M, 13-18

Repton, Derbyshire DE65 6FH

01283 559222

Bo, D, M, 3-18

Kingsley School

Northdown Road, Bideford EX39 3LY

01237 426200

Bo(8-18), D, M, 0-18

Plymouth College

Ford Park Road, Plymouth, Devon

01752 505100

Bo(11-18), D, M, 3-18

Shebbear College

Shebbear, Beaworthy, Devon. EX21 5HJ

01409 282000

Bo(8-18), D, M, 4-18

West Buckland School

West Buckland, Barnstaple EX32 0SX

01598 760000

Bo(11-18), D, B, G, M, 3-18

Leweston School

Sherborne, Dorset DT9 6EN

01963 211015

Bo, D, M, 7-18

Milton Abbey School

Milton Abbey, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 0BZ

01258 880484

Bo(13-18), D, M


Shaftesbury School

Salisbury Road, Shaftesbury SP7 8ER

01747 854498

Bo, D, M, 11-18


Sherborne Girls

Bradford Road, Sherborne DT9 3QN

01935 818224

Bo, D, G, 11-18

Sherborne School

Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3AP

01935 810403

Bo, D, B, 13-18

Talbot Heath School

Rothesay Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH4 9NJ

01202 761881

Bo(8-18), D, Girls, 3-18

Bede’s Preparatory School

Duke’s Drive, Eastbourne, BN20 7XL

01323 734222

Bo(8-13), D(0-13), M, 0-13

Bede’s Senior School

Upper Dicker, Hailsham, BN27 3QH

01323 843252

Bo, D, M, SN, 13-18

Brighton College

Eastern Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 0AL

01273 704 200

Bo, D, M, 3-18

Claremont School

Bodiam , East Sussex TN27 7PW

01580 830396

Bo, D, M, 3 months-18

Eastbourne College

Old Wish Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4JY

01323 452323

Bo, D, M, 13-18

Frewen College

Rye Road, Northiam, East Sussex TN31 6NL

01797 252494

Bo, D, M, 7-18


Mayfield School

The Old Palace, Mayfield, East Sussex

01435 874600

Bo, D, G, 11-18


Roedean School

Roedean Way, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 5RQ

01273 667500

Bo, D, G, 11-18

St Andrew’s Prep

Meads Street, Eastbourne BN20 7RP

01323 733203

Bo(8-13), D, M, 9 months-13




EAST SUSSEX KEY Bo = Boarding school B = Boys only D = Day school G = Girls only M = Mixed SN = Special Needs


Name of school


Telephone Type


Felsted, Essex CM6 3LL

01371 822600

Bo, D , M, 4-18


ESSEX Felsted School


Shelburne Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. GL51 6HE

01242 258044

Bo, D , M, 13-18

Dean Close Preparatory School

Lansdown Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. GL51 6QS

01242 258001

Bo, D, M, 2-13

Wycliffe College

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire GL10 2JQ

01453 822432

Bo, D, M, 13-18

Wycliffe Preparatory Schoool

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire GL10 2LD

01453 820470

Bo, D, M, 2-13

HAMPSHIRE Boundary Oak School

Roche Court, Wickham Road, Fareham, Hampshire PO17 5BL

01329 280955

Bo, D, M, 2-16

Forres Sandle Manor School

Station Road, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, SP6 1NS

01425 653181

Bo(7-13), D, M, 3-13

Sherfield School

South Dr, Sherfield on Loddon, Hook RG27 0HU

01256 884800

Bo, D, M, 3 months-18

St John’s College

Grove Road South, Southsea, Hampshire PO5 3QW

02392 815118

Bo, D , M, 4-18

St Swithun’s School

Alresford Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 1HA

01962 835700

Bo, D, G, 11-18

West Hill Park

St Margarets Lane, Titchfield, Hampshire. PO14 4BS

01329 842356

Bo(7-13), D, M, 2-13

HERTFORDSHIRE Bishop’s Stortford College

Maze Green Road, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 2PJ

01279 838575

Bo(7-18), D, M, 4-18


Hailey Lane, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 7NU

01992 706200

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Princess Helena College

School Lane, Preston, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG4 7RT

01462 432100

Bo, D, M, 11-18


Shepherd’s Way, Brookman’s Park, Hatfield,

01707 602500

Bo, D, G, 11 - 18

01582 716277

Bo, D, M, 11-18

01442 824255

Bo, D, M, 8 -19

01624 820400

Bo(11-18), D , M, 4-18

Queen’s Road, Ryde. PO33 3BE

01983 562229

Bo(9 -18), D, M, 3-18

Hertfordshire AL9 6NS St George’s School

Sun Lane, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 4TD

Tring Park School for the Performing Arts Tring Park, Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 5LX

ISLE OF MAN King William’s College

Castletown, Isle of Man IM9 1TP


KENT Bethany School

Curtisden Green, Goudhurst, Cranbrook TN17 1LB

01580 211273

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Cranbrook School

Waterloo Road, Cranbrook, Kent. TN17 3JD

01580 711800

Bo(13-18), D(11-18), M, 11-18

Duke of York’s Royal Military School

Dover, Kent CT15 5EQ

01304 245023

Bo, M, 11-18

Farringtons School

Perry Street, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6LR

020 8467 0256

Bo(11-18), D, M, 3-18

St Edmund’s School Canterbury

St Thomas Hill, Canterbury, Kent CT2 8HU

01227 475601

Bo (11-18), D, M, 3-18

St Lawrence College

College Road, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 7AE

01843 808080

Bo, D, M, 3-18

Sutton Valence School

North Street, Sutton Valence, Kent ME17 3HL

01622 845200

Bo(11-18), D, M, 3-18

The King’s School, Canterbury

Lattergate, The Precincts, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2ES

01227 595501

Bo, D, M, 13-18

Lancaster Royal Grammar School

East Road, Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 3EF

01524 580632

Bo, D, B(11-16), M(16-18)

Rossall School

Broadway, Fleetwood FY7 8JW

01253 774201

Bo (7-18), D (2-18), M (2-18)

Stonyhurst College and

Nr Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9PZ

01254 827073

Bo(7-18), D, M, 3-18

Nottingham Road, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire LE65 1DT 01530 413748

Bo, D, M, 14-19

DLD College London

199 Westminster Bridge Road SE1 7FX

(0) 20 7935 8411

Bo, D, M, 14-19

Westminster School

Little Dean’s Yard, London, SW1P 3PF

020 7963 1003

Bo, D, B(13-18), G(16-18),




Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall



M(16-18) 13-18 KEY Bo = Boarding school B = Boys only D = Day school G = Girls only M = Mixed SN = Special Needs

Name of school


Telephone Type



MONMOUTHSHIRE Monmouth School for Girls

Monmouth, Monmouthshire. NP25 5XT

01600 711104

Bo, D, G, 11-18


Monmouth School for Boys

Monmouth, Monmouthshire NP25 3XP

01600 710433

Bo, D, B, 11-18


Monmouth Prep School

Monmouth, Monmouthshire NP25 3NG

01600 715930

Bo, D, M, 3-11


Golf Links Road, Wymondham, Norfolk, NR18 9SZ

01953 609000

Bo, D, M, 11-18

01661 842147

Bo, D, M, 3-13

0115 849 4949

Bo, D, M, 0-18

NORFOLK Wymondham College


Newton, Stocksfield, Northumberland NE43 7TP

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE Trent College Independent School

Derby Road, Long Eaton, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG10 4AD

OXFORDSHIRE Bloxham School

Bloxham, Near Banbury, Oxfordshire OX15 4PE

01295 724301

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Burford School

Cheltenham Road, Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4PL

01993 823303

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Cothill House

Cothill, Oxfordshire, OX13 6JL

01865 390 800

Bo, B, 8-13

Dragon School

Bardwell Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6SS

01865 315405

Bo(8-13), D, M, 4-13

Kingham Hill School

Kingham, Chipping Norton , Oxfordshire, OX7 6TH

01608 658999

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Shiplake College

Henley-on-Thames , Oxfordshire, RG9 4BW

0118 940 2455

Bo, D, B, G,(16-18), 11-18

Tudor Hall

Wykham Park, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16 9UR

01295 756259

Bo, D, G, 11-18

Bridge St, Brecon, Powys

01874 615440

Bo, D, M, 7-18

Fettes College

Carrington Rd, Edinburgh EH4 1QX

0131 311 6744

Bo, D, M, 7-18

Strathallan School

Forgandenny, Perth PH2 9EG

01738 812546

Bo, D, M, 8-18

Adcote School

Little Ness, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 2JY

01939 260 202

Bo, D, G, 7 - 18

Bedstone College

Bucknell, Shropshire SY7 0BG

01547 530961

Bo (9-18), D,M 4-18


Shrewsbury School

The Schools, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. SY3 7BA

01743 280552

Bo, D, M, 13 -18


Wrekin College

Wellington, Shropshire. TF1 3BH

01952 265603

Bo, D, M, 11 -18

All Hallows Preparatory School

Cranmore Hall, East Cranmore, BA4 4SF

01749 881600

Bo(7-13), D, M, 3-13


Downside School

Stratton-on-the-Fosse, nr Bath, Somerset, BA3 4RJ

01761 235103

Bo, D, M, 11-18


Hazlegrove Preparatory School

Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JA

01963 440314

Bo, D, M, 2½-13


Richard Huish College

South Road, Taunton, Somerset UK TA1 3DZ

01823 320800

Bo, D, M, 16-18


King’s Hall School

Kingston Road, Taunton, Somerset TA2 8AA

01823 285928

Bo, D, M, 2-13

Queen’s College

Trull Road, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4QS

01823 340830

Bo(7-18), D(0-18), M(0-18), 0-18

Richard Huish College

South Road, Taunton, Somerset UK TA1 3DZ

01823 320800

Bo, D, M, 16-18


Sexey’s School

Cole Road, Bruton, Somerset. BA10 0DF


Bo(11-18), D(11-18), M, 11-18


Taunton School

Staplegrove Road, Taunton, Somerset

01823 703703

Bo(7-18), D, M, 0-18

Wells Cathedral School

The Liberty, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2ST

01749 834200

Bo, D, M, 2-18

Abbotsholme School

Rocester, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire ST14 5BS

01889 590217

Bo, D, M, 2-18

Denstone College

Denstone, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire ST14 5HN

01889 590484

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Orwell Park School

Nacton, Ipswich, Suffolk. IP10 0ER

01473 659225

Bo, D, M, 3-13

Royal Hospital School

Holbrook, Ipswich, Suffolk IP9 2RX

01473 326136

Bo, D, M, 11-18


POWYS Christ College Brecon




STAFFORDSHIRE SUFFOLK KEY Bo = Boarding school B = Boys only D = Day school G = Girls only M = Mixed SN = Special Needs



Name of school


Telephone Type



SURREY ACS Cobham International School

Portsmouth Road, Cobham KT11 1BL

01932 869744

Bo(12-18), D, M, 2-18

City of London Freemen’s School

Ashtead Park, Surrey KT21 1ET

01372 822423

Bo(13-18), D, M, 7-18

Feltonfleet School

Byfleet Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1DR

01932 862264

Bo(7-13), D, M, 3-13

Frensham Heights

Frensham Heights Road, Rowledge, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 4EA 01252 792561

Bo(11-18), D, M, 3-18

Gordon’s School

West End, Woking, Surrey GU24 9PT

01276 858084

Bo, D, M, 11-18

King Edward’s Witley

Godalming, Surrey, GU8 5SG

01428 686700

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Royal Alexandra and Albert School

Gatton Park, Reigate, Surrey RH2 0TD

01737 649000

Bo, D, M, 7-18

St Catherine’s School

Station Road, Bramley, Guildford, Surrey GU5 0DF

01483 893363

Bo(11-18), D , G, 11-18

Woldingham School

Marden Park, Woldingham, Surrey CR3 7YA

01883 349431

Bo, D , G, 11-18

Peakes Lane, Denbigh, North Wales LL16 3EN

01745 472201

Bo, D, M, 7-18

Bilton Grange Preparatory School

Dunchurch, Rugby, Warwickshire

01788 810217

Bo, D, M, 3-13

Warwick School

Myton Road, Warwick , CV34 6PP

01926 776400

Bo (13-18), D, B, 7-18

Penn Road, Wolverhampton. WV3 0EG

01902 341230

Bo(11-18), D, M 4-18

Ardingly College

Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 6SQ

01444 893000

Bo, D, M, 2-18

Christ’s Hospital

Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 0YP

01403 246555

Bo, M, 11-18

Slindon College

Top Road, Slindon, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 0RH

01243 814320

Bo, D, B, 8 - 18

Steyning Grammar School

Church Street, Steyning, West Sussex BN44 3LB

01903 817601

Bo(13-18) , M



WALES Myddelton College

WARWICKSHIRE WEST MIDLANDS The Royal School Wolverhampton



WILTSHIRE Dauntsey’s

West Lavington Devizes SN10 4HE

01380 814500

Bo, D, M, 11-18

Marlborough College

Bath Road, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 1PA

01672 892300

Bo, M, 13-18

Inside front cover

Stonar School

Stonar School, Cottles Park, Atworth, Wiltshire SN12 8NT

01225 701741

Bo, D, M. 3-18


St Mary’s Calne

Curzon Street, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 0DF

01249 857200

Bo, D, G, 11-18


The Wellington Academy

Tidworth, Wiltshire SP11 9RR

01264 405060

Bo, D, M, 11-18

WORCESTERSHIRE Abberley Hall School

Worcester WR6 6DD

01299 896275

Bo(7-13), D , M, 2-13

Bromsgrove School

Worcester Road, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. B61 7DU

01527 579679

Bo, D, M, 7-18

Malvern St James Girls’ School

15 Avenue Road, Great Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3BA

01684 584625

Bo, D, G, 4-18

The Downs Malvern

Brockhill Road, Colwall. WR13 6EY

01684 544108

Bo, D, M, 3-13

Ackworth School

Pontefract Rd, Ackworth, Pontefract WF7 7LT

01977 233600

Bo, D, M, 2-18

Ashville College

Green Lane, Harrogate, Yorkshire, HG2 9JP

01423 566358

Bo(7-18), D(2-18), M(2-18)

Aysgarth School

Newton-le-Willows, Bedale, DL8 1TF

01677 450240

Bo(8-13), D, B(8-13), M(3-8), 3-13

Giggleswick School

Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 0DE

01729 893000

Bo, D, M, 2-18

Rishworth School

Oldham Road, Rishworth , Sowerby Bridge,

01422 822217

Bo, D, M, 3-18



Yorkshire, HX6 4QA Scarborough College

Filey Road, Scarborough, Yorkshire YO11 3BA

01723 360620

Bo, D, M, 3-18

St Peter’s School

York, YO30 6AB

01904 527300

Bo, D, M, 2-18

Queen Mary’s School

Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, Thirsk. YO7 3BZ

01845 575000

Bo(8-16), D, G(3-16), B(3-7), 3-16

These are paid listings and not every BSA school is shown. To advertise, please contact Neil Rust, Head of Commercial, BSA Group, on +44 (0)207 798 1580, or email KEY Bo = Boarding school B = Boys only D = Day school G = Girls only M = Mixed SN = Special Needs


Learn  Create  Explore

Discounts available for boarding Forces families • Strong and caring school community

limited availability

• Outstanding academic results • Vibrant Music, Drama and Creative Arts • Sports for all: range of activities at all levels and links to Professional clubs • Day school with boarding at its heart. Flexi boarding and extended days available for busy families • Home away from Home Boarding community • City location with +100 acre rural site

Book your tour on our website. A warm welcome awaits An Independent Co-educational Boarding & Day School for pupils aged 9 months - 18 years

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Articles inside

Schools offering special awards for children of personnel serving in the Armed Forces

pages 155-158

Fees – where do they go?

pages 153-154

Paying the fees: a major financial commitment

page 152

Entitlement to CEA – the Bursar’s view

page 151

Sixth-form programmes – the choice

page 150

Sixth form – future ready, set, go

pages 148-149

Educational provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities

pages 140-141

Girls and STEAM subjects

pages 132-133

Promoting good mental health in boarding schools

pages 130-131

What does a bespoke education actually mean?

pages 128-129

The benefits of boys-only boarding

pages 126-127

The benefits of prep school boarding

pages 106-107

Preparing pupils for the transition to senior schools

pages 122-123

The importance of a creative education

pages 124-125

It takes a village school to raise a child

pages 116-119

King’s is more than Christmas

pages 120-121

The importance of pastoral care

pages 100-101

Recognising the physical and mental value of sport

pages 98-99

How boarding benefits the wellbeing of pupils

pages 74-75

Schools together in partnership

pages 70-73

Teaching empathy

pages 96-97

Life at a state boarding school

pages 60-61

The importance of creativity

pages 94-95

Sixth-form boarding

pages 56-57

Choosing state boarding

pages 54-55

The benefits of state boarding

pages 50-51

What provision do state boarding schools make for the needs of children from Service families?

pages 48-49

Queen Victoria School, Dunblane (Scotland

page 41

The Royal Hospital School reinforces a values-driven education

pages 44-45

The Duke of York's Royal Military School

pages 42-43

Boarding at Gordon's School

pages 46-47

Faith in our schools

page 39

Education in Scotland

pages 18-19

School visits: questions and answers

pages 36-38

Continuity of Education Allowance for Service children

pages 16-17

Turning minimum standards into excellence

pages 34-35

What makes a good boarding school?

pages 22-25

What about boarding schools?

pages 20-21

Ofsted inspection of boarding schools

pages 30-31

Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools

pages 26-29
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