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Spring 2018 |










70 years of teaching children to fly Open afternoon 2 March To book in, please call the school office

Founded in 1947, Bassett House in Notting Hill is a proudly non-selective, co-educational prep school for 3 – 11 year olds. We elieve every child can learn to fly. Individual attention combined with our exciting curricular and extra-curricular activities encourage children to think fearlessly and creatively, producing excellent academic results. In the words of Mrs Philippa Cawthorne, the headmistress: ‘The spirit and enthusiasm of our pupils has to be seen to be believed.’ To arrange a visit, please call our registrar, Mrs Thalia Demetriades, on 020 8969 0313 or email

Bassett House School, 60 Bassett Road, London W10 6JP 020 8969 0313 | |




The Chelsea Magazine Company, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ Tel (020) 7349 3700 Fax (020) 7349 3701 Email EDITORIAL Editor Claudia Dudman Editorial Assistant Natalie Keeler Designer Annel Christopher PUBLISHING Publisher & Managing Director Paul Dobson Deputy Managing Director Steve Ross Finance Director Vicki Gavin Media Manager James Dobson Head of Circulation Daniel Webb 020 7349 3710 Production Printed in England by William Gibbons ADVERTISING Group Advertisement Manager Freddy Halliday Senior Sales Executives Harriet Cottrell, Andrew Mackenzie DISTRIBUTION Independent School Parent magazine is for parents of children educated in Prep and Senior independent schools across the UK. The Prep and Senior issues are published termly. Parents can subscribe for a free issue at: Independent School Parent also publishes The Guide to Independent Schools biannually to help you choose the right school. © The Chelsea Magazine Company. All rights reserved. Text and pictures are copyright restricted and must not be reproduced without permission from the publisher. The information contained in Independent School Parent magazine has been published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. All liability for loss, negligence or damage caused by reliance on the information contained within this publication is hereby excluded.


Spring 2018 |


Welcome In this new year issue, we highlight just a few of the many inspiring teaching initiatives that are taught in schools. For example, Suzie Longstaff, Head of Putney High School in London explains what happened when she gave pupils a day to “bunk off ” and learn “cool stuff ” in Tearing Up the Timetable, (page 28). Subjects explored were curiosity and the nature of consciousness, and pupils also engaged in workshops, panel debates and listened to guest experts. Brighton College’s recently opened teaching hub includes innovative tech and chairs that aid pupils’ concentration – read more in Creative Classrooms, (page 51). Fresh from his travels and after seeing how other countries teach future generations, it was Headteacher Richard Cairns who decided to implement some of the best practices he had seen in the new centre. Are you up-to-speed on your school slang and unusual sports? We look back and celebrate the history and individuality of schools in Enduring Traditions (page 12), most of which are still in use today. And don’t forget to enter our new competition, (page 74) where you can win a relaxing cottage holiday in north Cornwall, plus a Cornishware breakfast set with which to cherish your holiday memories. Enter at Good luck!









19/01/2018 16:32

COVER: Foremarke Hall, Derbyshire

Claudia Dudman, Editor

Independent School Parent,

SPRING 2018 |


Teaching Teaching children children to fly to fly

Open morning 8 March Open To book in, morning please call the school office 8 March To book in, please call the school office

very child deserves to learn to fly and reach their full potential. We are a proudly non-selective, co-educational prep school for children aged 3 – to 11 learn fly and very child deserves reach their full potential. We are a proudly We encourage children to form their own non-selective, co-educational prep school ideas and learn that their for children aged 3 – 11 years. opinions matter. We encourage children to form their own We take pride in our excellent academic ideas and learn that their results and ISI inspection reports. opinions matter. Most importantly, we create the building We take pride in our excellent academic blocks for our pupils’ success in every walk results and ISI inspection reports. of life. Most importantly, we create the building To arrange a visit please call our blocks for our pupils’ success in every walk registrar, Mrs Diana Goodeve-Docker, on of life. 020 8742 8544 or email To arrange a visit please call our registrar, Mrs Diana Goodeve-Docker, on 020 8742 8544 or email

Orchard House School, 16 Newton Grove, London W4 1LB 020 8742 8544 | | Orchard House School, 16 Newton Grove, London W4 1LB

34 32

38 64



WHAT’S INSIDE? Issue 33 Spring 2018




Our round-up of hot topics

12 20

Enduring Traditions



School in 10 Pictures


School Hero

education in such a specialised world?

Try and Try Again


Adventure of a Lifetime


Behind the Scenes

Identity Parade How are independent schools tackling the

Starting on the Right Note

The school trips that have taken pupils to new and extraordinary places Bedales Prep School, Hampshire


Escape to the Country

What you need to know if your child

Why so many families fleeing to the

wants to start learning a musical instrument

tranquility of the countryside

Tearing up the Timetable paid dividends at Putney High School


Behind the Scenes at KidZania’s Careers Fair

Rounded & Grounded

traditions at independent schools


A day to “bunk off ” and learn “cool stuff ”


When I Grow Up...

When East Meets West

Is there still a place for a well-rounded

gender identity debate?



The benefits of dual-language learning

We put the spotlight on some unusual

Why failure is a stepping stone to success



Write from the Start How to teach children to write properly

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Will artificial intelligence affect education?

Download our free app to read the magazine on your phone or tablet...

Creative Classrooms True Independence


Talking Heads

We meet Ampleforth College’s first

Ones to Watch The stars of the independent sector


Mountain Flair Explore the super-chic resort of Gstaad


A South African Adventure



Wonderful family adventures in Cape Town Win a relaxing weekend away in Cornwall




School Memories

Sompting Abbotts School, West Sussex


Royal Hospital School, Suffolk

female Associate Head, Deirdre Rowe

Brighton College’s new teaching hub


amos, , amaat am

Dates for your diary

How can you engage children with

Actor Tom Chambers fondly recalls his

current affairs without frightening them?

days at Foremarke Hall, Derbyshire

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD David Moncrieff, Chairman Colin Bell, COBIS Andrew Fleck, Sedbergh School Alison Fleming, Newton Prep Tory Gillingham, AMDIS Aileen Kane, Boarding Schools’ Association Rachel Kerr, Girls’ Schools Association Ian Mason, Independent Schools Council Sir Anthony Seldon, University of Buckingham Mark Stretton, HMC Julian Thomas, Wellington College Helen Wright, Educational consultant Ben Vessey, Canford School Sue Woodroofe, The Grammar School at Leeds Peter Young, Marketing/Brand Consultant

For website and subscriptions, please visit:

x + y2 = 4 Keep in touch with us Tweet us @ISParent

Like us on Facebook

SPRING 2018 |


Teaching Teaching children children to fly to fly

Open morning 22 February To book in, morning please call the school office Open 22 February

Prospect House is a proudly non-selective, To book in, please call the school office co-educational prep school for children aged 3 – 11 years. Prospect House is a proudly non-selective, We believe tailor-made teaching opens co-educational schoolpossibilities, for children up young mindsprep to endless aged 3 – 11 years. encouraging them to form their own ideas. We believe tailor-made teaching opens Our excellent results confirm every child up young minds to endless possibilities, can learn to fly. encouraging them to form their own ideas. We encourage high-flyers to soar, whilst Our excellent results confirm every child children who need a little extra support can learn wings to fly. for their journey. are given We high-flyers to soar, Our encourage pupils mostly call it having fun.whilst We call children who need a little extra support it being the best they can be. (Our latest areinspection given wings for their journey. ISI report sums it up perfectly.) Our pupils mostly call it having We call To arrange a visit please call ourfun. registrar, it being thePorter, best they can 8246 be. (Our Mrs Emily on 020 4897latest or ISI inspection report sums it up perfectly.) email To arrange a visit please call our registrar, Mrs Emily Porter, on 020 8246 4897 or email

Prospect House School, 75 Putney Hill, London SW15 3NT 020 8246 4897 | | Prospect House School, 75 Putney Hill, London SW15 3NT


Our pick of the top parenting and education news Left, Roedean School, East Sussex

Top of the board

The Boarding Schools’ Association has launched the world’s first professional recognition scheme for staff who work in boarding schools. To apply to become an accredited boarding practitioner, you must have worked in boarding for at least a year, while those with over seven years’ experience can apply to be recognised at the top level. Robin Fletcher, BSA Chief Executive said: “This is a significant development for individual staff, but it will also play an important role in raising standards across the boarding sector and supporting safe recruitment.” Download the application form at

Rafi was Head Chorister of Chichester Cathedral Choir until July last year HITTING THE HIGH NOTES [Lancing College, West Sussex]

GOING FOR GOLD [Millfield Prep, Somerset] 11-year-old Jack Amor has become U13 Triathle World Champion after winning Gold in the mixed GB relay at the World Championships in Viviero, Spain. The Year Seven pupil, who is now ranked number one in the World for Under 13 Triathle, had to demonstrate skills in shooting, swimming and running to gain the title. Alongside his talent for triathle, Jack has also achieved multiple national and European rankings in various events, including modern triathlon, tetrathlon, pentathlon and biathle. He later hopes to be selected for the elite training programme by GB Pentathlon.

Musical talent Rafi Bellamy Plaice has won the boys’ section of the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year competition. The 13-year-old, who is currently at Lancing College on a Music Scholarship, made it through two preliminary rounds before performing in front of a panel of judges in a special Radio 2 programme, recorded at the BBC Philharmonic Studios. Radio 2’s Young Choristers of the Year celebrates the talent of young musicians, with each winner appearing on various BBC shows throughout the year.

WELCOME, LITTLE MISS INVENTOR! The Mr. Men Little Miss universe is delighted to introduce its newest member, Little Miss Inventor, an intelligent and ingenious character with a brain full of ideas! The book will launch on 8th March to coincide with International Women’s Day and British Science Week (9th-18th March 2018). “It’s been nice to write a story that promotes a positive role model and to challenge a stereotype, if only in a small way,” says author and illustrator Adam Hargreaves.

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eft, ear our pupil Surya Patel produced a shirt that feeds the occupier cheese and crackers!

x + y2 = 4

Sch ol tweet

obotics challenge for , where pupils have to solve problems related to water by designing, building and programming robots! (Cranmore School, @Cranmore School)

That’s cracking, Gromit! [Hallfield School, Birmingham]

A cracking creative task at allfield School had ear our pupils designing their own inventions. Taking inspiration from stop-motion animation series, Wallace and Gromit’s Cracking Contraptions, pupils devised some truly fantastic inventions, with some children even taking the time to create model versions of their ideas at home!

Share your school news and tweet us @ISParent arent

PERFECT POETRY [The Falcons Preparatory School for Boys, Richmond]


A VICTORIAN ADVENTURE [Laxton Junior School, Oundle]

NEW NURSERY OPENS ITS DOORS [Newland House School, Twickenham]

Year Two pupils kick-started their Victorian topic by travelling back in time to 1891. Spending their day at Holdenby House, Northamptonshire, each child was allocated a job title, including bell boy, chamber maid and laundry runner. The children worked very hard and four pupils were even given special certificates, so that they could return to Holdenby House to start work when they turn 11!

Newland House was delighted to open their new Nursery at the start of the school year, following on the success of its recently-completed Pre-Prep building. Based within the former Pre-Prep premises in Waldegrave Park, the building boasts spacious and stimulating classrooms with direct outdoor access. Children can join the Nursery in the September following their third birthday, a year prior to them joining Reception. Find out more and read the prospectus at | SPRING 2018

Three talented poets recently dazzled judges in a highly-competitive poetry competition. Callum, Sean and Tristan produced some very impressive work for The Chiswick Young People’s Poetry Competition, and had their work placed proudly on display in the ceremony marquee. Each winner also received a certificate, goodie bag and “Poetry Award” badge.

x + y2 = 4




Wee are ambitious for our W Pre-Prep boys to do well in the 7+ and 8+ exams and we support them so that they excel academically and in every way

7+ LEAVERS 2017

Mr Huw May, Headmaster of Eaton House Belgravia Pre-Prep and Prep

Come and meet us at our Open Evenings Mr Huw May, Headmaster of Eaton House Belgravia Pre-Prep and Prep, plans to build on the excellent results of the 7+ and 8+ Pre-Prep class of 2017 who gained places at many top schools, including Westminster Under, St Paul’s Junior School and Dulwich College Junior School.

If you would like to be part of our two successful, caring and happy schools, speak to the Head of Admissions, Jennifer McEnhill, about booking an Open Evening place for the Pre-Prep or Prep on 0207 924 6000 or contact





Dulwich College Junior School



King’s College Junior School



Latymer Prep School



St. Paul’s Junior School



Westminster Cathedral Choir School



Westminster Under School



Wetherby Preparatory School






Dulwich College Junior School



Eaton House Prep



Eaton House The Manor



Garden House



King’s College Junior School



Maidwell Hall



New College Oxford (Day boy chorister)



Newton Prep



St. Paul’s Junior School



Sussex House School



The Dragon Prep



Thomas’s Battersea



Westminster Cathedral Choir School



Westminster Under School



Wetherby Preparatory School



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HEADS on the move Anne Cotton is to become the first female Head at The Portsmouth Grammar School in September 2018.

St Benedict’s goes eco-friendly [St Benedict’s School, Ealing]

A new school year saw the opening of a new Junior School building at St Benedict’s School, and this light, eco-friendly facility has already been nominated for a Royal Institute of British Architects Award. Classrooms can be opened up to provide a larger area for team-teaching and shared learning, and there’s also plenty of small, cosy spaces, perfect for quiet activities and one-to-one sessions. PLAYING WITH FIRE [The Hawthorns, Surrey] Surrey Fire and Rescue Service were welcomed by Year Two pupils at The Hawthorns School, as the children started their new topic on The Great Fire of London. To get a scale of how quickly the fire spread throughout the capital back in 1666, the children designed Tudor-style houses from cardboard boxes, before overseeing the burning of their creations with help from Godstone Station’s firefighters.

Warren Honey became the new Head of Hydesville Tower School, Walsall in September. Will Newman is the new Headteacher at Casterton Sedbergh Prep School in Cumbria. Martin Collier has joined Haileybury, Hertfordshire as the new Headmaster. Annie Lee has been appointed the role of Headmistress at Garden House School, London.

MAKE SOME NOISE! [Rendcomb College, Gloucestershire] More than 160 Year Six children from schools across Gloucestershire came together to participate in a “Body Percussion” workshop in Rendcomb College’s new Griffin Theatre. Pupils were taught basic rhythms before developing a routine that was performed to parents later that day. “It was wonderful to see the children learning new skills and developing new ideas about music,” said Rendcomb College’s Director of Music, Dr Tom Edwards.

SNAZZY STATIONERY [Farleigh School, Hampshire] Pupils in Year Four put their creative minds to work when tasked with designing pencil cases by stationery brand, Smiggle. The company was so impressed by their creations that they sent an array of goodies for every child in the year group. It’s safe to say the pupils were pretty delighted!

SPRING 2018 |


12 | SPRING 2018

From horsehair pancakes to obscure sports and sophisticated school slang, some (unusual) traditions have endured for decades at independent schools, writes Katie Hughes

SPRING 2018 |



here was a good crowd of spectators when the cook arrived to take careful aim”, wrote Westminster schoolboy Lawrence Tanner in his diary of February 1909. The result was an excellent throw “right out in the open.” Lawrence is referring to Westminster School’s “Greaze”; a Shrove Tuesday ceremony that saw the school’s cook flipping a pancake (made partly of horsehair) over a high bar, into a sea of boys below. The pupil who grabbed the biggest piece won a guinea from the Dean of Westminster Abbey. A ritual that dates back to at least the 1750s, the Greaze (in modified form) is still going strong today. And it’s just one of many enduring, often unusual, traditions seen in some of the UK’s oldest independent schools.

High days and holidays

Go to Eton College in Berkshire for the “Fourth of June” and you’ll find pupils and

14 | SPRING 2018

SCHOOL staff skipping lessons to celebrate George III’s (pictured left) birthday. Boys wearing flowered boaters and 18th century naval dress process along the river in rowing boats; standing to salute Eton, Queen and country. Complemented by cricket and picnics, all this is a fine commemoration of the monarch with whom the school had a ▶ special relationship.

Above, Greaze at Westminster is one of the more unusual traditions still in place. Below, Eton celebrates St Andrew’s Day with the Wall Game

l Since 1884, pupils at Winchester College have, historically, woken at the crack of dawn twiceyearly to don their uniforms, climb the nearby St Catherine’s Hill and take part in roll call, psalms and prayers on its slopes. The ceremony, known as Morning Hills, was set up to reinforce the school’s historic right to use the local hills. l At Cargilfield Prep School in Edinburgh, sports teams are serenaded by bagpipes as they walk on to the pitch for matches. l A Monday night tradition at Charterhouse in Surrey sees the school’s most promising pupils or “Essay Society” join the Head for an evening of essay reading on topics of their choice. So distinguished is the group that members are allowed to wear Cambridge Blue ties or scarves. l Felsted School in Essex has been “mad about music” since it was founded in the 16th century. It has upheld its tradition of an annual “house shout” for decades.

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As the weather turns colder, Eton celebrates St Andrew’s Day with the Wall Game; unique to the school and played on a narrow strip of grass alongside “a not quite straight brick wall” (the school’s words). Handling the ball or letting anything other than hands or feet touch the ground is strictly off-limits, prompting Eton to describe the game as “exceptionally exhausting and far more skilful than might appear to the uninitiated”. No wonder there hasn’t been a St Andrew’s Day goal since 1909. Among less exhausting school traditions is the Illumina Ceremony at Winchester College. This sees pupils pouring out of lessons at the end of the Christmas term to view a sea of candles lighting up the wall around the playing fields. Parents, staff and pupils sing carols by a bonfire and tuck into mince pies and punch; in-part re-enacting a ceremony that began back in 1862, celebrating the removal of the boundary wall between scholars and commoners.

“close” where William Webb-Ellis first set the scene. England’s white strip was even inherited from the school’s original unbleached cotton kit. When Ardvreck’s rifleshooting club was born over a century ago, it too established a decades-long tradition that paved the way for fame. Many a pupil from the Perthshire Prep School has been

Above left, rugby was founded by the school that bears the same name. Above right, rifleshooting has been a tradition at Ardvreck for decades

recognised in professional rifle-shooting competitions, but one former pupil has won no less than four Olympic medals when competing in the sport. Harrow’s school songs have won public acclaim of a different sort. “A unifying force in Harrow life” since the first was written in 1864, they are sung by pupils at every opportunity; from end-of-term ▶ concerts and house events, to old boy

The school’s pièce de résistance is a performance of the “Churchill Songs” at the Royal Albert Hall, which entertains members of the Royal Family (Harrow School) Right, Felsted’s annual “house shout” singing contest has been a much-loved tradition for centuries

Winning public acclaim

Some traditions extend well beyond the school gates; not least at Rugby School, which tells of the 1823 pupil who, with “a fine disregard for the rules of football, decided to take the ball in his arms and run with it.” Today, rugby is a global sport, but its roots remain at the Warwickshire school, where teams from all over the world come to kiss the turf of the hallowed

SPRING 2018 |


NOT-SOCOMMON Many independent schools have a centuries-old terminology of their own, but the origins of some words are better known than others. How many of these have you heard before?

Parents, staff and pupils sing carols by a bonfire and tuck into mince pies and punch (Winchester College) gatherings. But the school’s pièce de résistance is a regular performance of the “Churchill Songs” at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which entertains members of the Royal Family and government. And the conclusive proof of Harrow’s musical prowess is that its anthem, Forty Years On, has been adopted by a string of other schools.

Right, Harrow School’s “Churchill Songs” at the Royal Albert Hall

Above, pupils at Benenden walk through the floral archway

At Benenden, a girls’ boarding school in Kent, it’s walking through a stunning floral archway that has become a significant rite of passage for Sixth Formers bidding farewell to the school. The ceremony has evolved from a tradition dating back nearly a century, when Speech Day was held in the school hall and leavers would be allowed – for the first time in their school lives – to exit through the special “Seniors’ Door”. When Speech Day was moved to a

l “Cook-holes” refer to the kitchens at Felsted, while “beaks” are teachers at Eton, Harrow and Charterhouse, because of the beak-like mortar boards they once wore. l A “tosh” after “eccer” at Harrow is a bath or shower after games. l The “abracadabra” is Eton’s basic academic timetable. l At Charterhouse, “hashes” are lessons, while “banco” derives from the benches upon which boys used to sit while working. l Meanwhile, terms are called “Halves” at Eton and “Quarters” at Charterhouse. And, at Winchester, the year is divided into “Cloister Time”, “Short Half” and “Common Time”. l A “double” at Harrow is lines on paper set as a punishment. l Confused? Eton, Winchester and Harrow are among those offering glossaries on their websites, to help the uninitiated get up-to-speed with their unique terminology.

marquee in the grounds a decade or so ago, the floral arch was established as an updated version of the Seniors’ Door, and is now carefully crafted every summer for the occasion. Hundreds of girls have since passed through it, to mark their move into the adult world.

18 | SPRING 2018


OPEN MORNINGS Cranleigh Preparatory School, Horseshoe Lane, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8QH

Wednesday 14 March, Saturday 28 April, Wednesday 20 June 9.45am – 12noon Please contact Catherine Staples to book an appointment: 01483 542051

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SPRING 2018 |



NAOMI BARTHOLOMEW Headmistress, St Catherine’s Prep School, Bramley, Surrey


uilding resilience and helping children understand the importance of failure are hot topics amongst educationalists. We are all aware of the dangers of wrapping our children up in cotton wool, and the problems that lie ahead for those who have been sheltered from any sense of failing. The journalist Melanie Phillips wrote about the dangers of rewarding every child and the need to ensure that we recognise true success (not simply awarding prizes to everyone) in her book, All Must Have Prizes. And Matthew Syed writes in Bounce of the success that can comes through hard work, suggesting that those who spend 1,000 hours a year practising a skill will be successful. Both theories have their merits and flaws. It is common sense that we all need to fail in order to succeed. Many will know of the example of Thomas Edison, whose most memorable invention, the light bulb, purportedly took him 1,000 attempts before he developed a successful prototype. “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” a reporter asked him. “I didn’t fail 1,000 times,” Edison responded. “The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Young children are naturally curious and will be keen to experiment, so they should find joy in their LEGO tower falling to the floor and building it again. But what about in schools? This is where we need to harness this natural resilience and curiosity, and allow young people the chance to fail in order to succeed. After all, avoiding failure is clearly life-limiting and results in fewer opportunities for growth.

20 | SPRING 2018

TRY AND TRY AGAIN Naomi Bartholomew explains why children must learn to see failure as a stepping stone to success Above, pupils at St Catherine’s, Bramley compete at Sports Day

This said, we have to remember that in moments of failure there can be frustration and embarrassment. We must therefore be able to provide encouragement and support through any momentary wobbles, and give children the chance to learn from their mistakes when they face a similar challenge. This requires strong relationships and a real understanding of what makes each child tick. We can all be sensitive at any one time for a number of reasons, but we shouldn’t oversimplify it by assuming some are better at coping than others.

Here at St Catherine’s, we believe that pupils should take considered risks, be gently taken out of their comfort zones and develop a respect for their own and others’ talents. Encouragement is plentiful and wherever possible, we grab the chance to celebrate a magic moment of success, whether that be a certificate for learning to tie their shoe laces, or receiving a distinction in their Grade One violin exam. With the right blend of support and guidance, children can start to see failure as a stepping stone to success.

We must be able to provide encouragement and support through any wobbles, and give children the chance to learn from their mistakes

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SPRING 2018 |



Freelance journalist

IDENTITY PARADE A fad that’s out of control, or a reflection of a previously-unrecognised need? Either way, gender identity is big news. Elizabeth Ivens looks at how schools are tackling this sensitive and often controversial issue


ndependent schools are rightly renowned for trail-blazing, but they may be forgiven for not wishing to be continually at the forefront of the latest headlines on gender identity. Over 80 state schools already have gender-neutral policies, but it is how independent schools, particularly well-known ones with famous alumni, are handling the issue that seems to fascinate the press and the public. Some schools appear to sail through this more successfully than others, whether or not they have a reputation for being progressive. Highgate Head Adam Pettit, for example, recently found himself apologising to parents for introducing gender-neutral toilets and was publicly called “seriously misguided”. Meanwhile, Brighton College, which led the way by announcing its plans to scrap gender-based uniforms in January 2016, met a largely positive reaction with pupils backing its agenda. And the High Mistress of St Paul’s Girls’ School in London, Clarissa Farr appeared to breeze through a blaze of publicity about the school’s “gender-identity protocol”, which allows pupils to be called by boys’ names and to wear boys’ clothes if they request it. ▶

22 | SPRING 2018


Over2,000 under-18s were referred to the NHS’s transgender facility for children last year

SPRING 2018 |


Embracing the debate

Despite the sensitivity, many independent schools are clearly embracing the debate and are working hard to look at and implement inclusive policies. The Good Schools Guide, the self-styled expert on independent schools, has even announced it will now be asking schools about their transgender policies. Newly-elected President of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) and Head of all-girls’ Loughborough High School, Gwen Byrom has said she believes the subject has been in the headlines simply because: “There is now more open and [generally] enlightened debate on the topic.” She adds that at Loughborough, they already all-gender bathrooms, and that the school’s new sports facilities will also contain some all-gender changing and shower facilities. The last few years have seen a huge increase in children being referred to the NHS’s only current facility for transgender children – the Gender Identity Development Service (known as GIDS) in north London – with a six-fold increase in the numbers of three-to-18-year-olds being referred in five years. The Sunday Times recently reported that over 2,000 under-18s were referred in the last year alone. Despite the rise, many Headteachers are adamant that it is not a fad. “I don’t think it is a fashion, but a greater recognition of an underlying circumstance,” says Gwen Byrom. Meanwhile the Girls’ Schools Association she represents hit the headlines when former Government mental health Tsar Natasha Devon spoke at its conference last November, stating that she believed schools should avoid addressing pupils as “girls” or “boys” as this can reinforce gender stereotypes. The Girls’ Schools Association has clearly worked hard to look at transgender issues, an especially difficult topic for single-sex schools, and was reported to be frustrated by the negative publicity. Byrom explains: “Natasha’s point

24 | SPRING 2018

regarding the negative connotations of gendered language go far wider than the transgender debate, and touch on issues of equality. And I can only see this as a good thing.” But not all GSA members agree. Pastoral Deputy Head of St Mary’s Ascot, one of the UK’s leading all girls’ Catholic schools, Cathy Ellott, has said that St Mary’s girls preferred to be called girls. “We would not enforce this in our school, as we identify ourselves as a school for girls. We use ‘pupils’ in formal situations and documentation, and often use ‘girls’ when addressing the girls. The girls themselves have said that they prefer this.”

Individual needs

At Bedales, long-recognised as a progressive school, Senior Deputy Head

Share your thoughts on Twitter @ISParent

Spiked, have also spoken out about schools promoting transgender issues, and claim this has encouraged children to question their identity and sowed confusion in their minds. Cathy Ellott from St Mary’s Ascot agreed there was “a very real danger” of this, which is why she believed it was so important to include a focus on heterosexual intimate relationships in schools’ relationship programmes.

The majority experience

She explains: “Otherwise, there is a danger that the other sexualities are discussed and heterosexuality, which is the majority experience, is ignored rather than learned about and celebrated.” If a girl wished to transition at an allgirls’ school, the overwhelming feeling was

“I have serious concerns about medical intervention in children as part of a transitioning process” - Cathy Ellott, St Mary’s, Ascot

Louise Wilson says the school tended not to use “gendered terms” when speaking “with or about groups of students”, simply because it was a long-established co-educational school, and although it had not introduced any specific transgender policies, would always aim to meet the needs of individual students “within the ethos of the school”. The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), on the other hand, admits pupils “on legal gender”, but “it states that it is GDST policy that a trans student attending a Trust school will be allowed to remain at the school post transition, for as long as they wish to continue to be educated among girls in a predominately single-sex environment”, explained Head of the Royal High School in Bath, Jo Duncan. Experts including Chris McGovern from the Campaign for Real Education and Dr Joanna Williams, Education Editor of

that each case must be treated individually. Cathy Ellott adds: “As with all pastoral concerns about a girl, we would work very closely with the girl, her parents and where necessary other health professionals to consider what is best for the girl within a girls’ full-boarding school environment.” Nevertheless, Ellott has said she was concerned about children going through a full transition, adding: “I have serious concerns about medical intervention in children as part of a transitioning process.” Gwen Byrom agrees that each case would be treated individually, and says she is particularly impressed at how students at her school have embraced the issues. She says: “Interestingly, students are much more pragmatic than the press debate might suggest they could be – in a discussion of LGBT+ matters in school, the overriding feeling of the group I was speaking to was that a student transitioning wouldn’t be a huge issue – because that individual was ‘one of their own’ and they would support them regardless. I find that a very heartening statement!”

OPEN MORNINGS SATURDAY 24 FEBRUARY & SATURDAY 21 APRIL 2018 An independent boarding and day school for boys and girls aged 11-18 Christ’s Hospital provides more financially supported places than any other school in the independent boarding sector and has done for over 460 years. Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 0LJ | 01403 246555 |

Registered Charity No. 1120090


Come and see what Stowe has to offer at one of our Open Mornings!

Stowe is an independent co-educational boarding and day school inspiring pupils aged between 13 and 18. 01280 818205 26 | SPRING 2018



housands of pupils begin learning instruments at school, and while this can often signify the start of an exciting journey, it tends to be as much of a learning curve for parents as it is for children. Even if you've never possessed any musical talent yourself, there's still plenty you can do to support your child to ensure they reap all the benefits of their music lessons.


Professional musician and teacher

Buying an instrument

There is nothing more frustrating for a teacher than an enthusiastic pupil turning up to their first lesson with an unsuitable instrument. Although usually well intentioned, this can really hinder a child’s progress, not to mention the unnecessary financial cost to parents. There are so many good-quality instruments available in all shapes and sizes – from quarter-size violins to plastic trombones and miniature flutes. The market really is a minefield unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. The best approach is to talk to the music teacher first. Most are more than happy to offer recommendations and advice, and may also suggest purchasing books or items that will help your child get started. If they are growing up fast or you're unsure about making the financial commitment to a new instrument, many shops and schools also offer affordable rental schemes.

Even occasionally sitting with your child while they practise, checking they are following their teacher’s notes and learning the right things, will go a long way.

Practise makes perfect

Put on a show

Most independent schools offer 10 30-minute lessons per term, which equates to 15 hours per year. Therefore, regular practice outside of lessons is crucial if your child is to progress and stay motivated. Little and often is better than a frantic hour the night before a lesson. Ideally, even beginners should practise a little every day, but even three 20-minute practice sessions per week can make the world of difference. Avoid forcing your child to practise, and instead provide encouragement and praise.

STARTING ON THE RIGHT NOTE What do you need to know if your child wants to start learning a musical instrument? Michael Pearce advises...

If a student only gets their instrument out once a week for their lesson, it will be difficult for them to really understand music within its wider context. Playing with others, performing to an audience, and learning from fellow musicians is really where the joy of music lies. Most schools offer numerous ensembles, performance opportunities and trips to watch professional concerts. Playing in front of friends or family at home is also a great way for children to

Above, practising little and often will ensure your child progresses and stays motivated

familiarise themselves with performing to an audience. Even if this merely consists of playing Twinkle Twinkle to your family dog, the more they can perform, the better! Outside of school, there are many after-school clubs and camps available, where children engage with music outside of lessons. Watching professional or amateur musicians can also really inspire and motivate young children, so do look out for any concerts happening in your local area. And if listening to your child practise makes you wish you had learned an instrument, it’s never too late to start!

SPRING 2018 |




Headmistress, Putney High School, London



hildren’s curiosity about life – in all its aspects – is something to be treasured and encouraged, and yet with exam pressures and the like, it can be so easy for them to get bogged down with learning, rather than truly excited about it. Academic attainment is of course a key element of life at Putney High School, but debate, discussion and innovative thinking should all be vital ingredients in every teacher’s toolkit – especially if we are to avoid a one-dimensional, “teaching to the test” approach.

A love of learning

At Putney, the spirit of ambition is heavily underpinned by a love of learning. Being open to new ideas and learning to think independently are key aspects of that. Yes, our students are bright and ambitious, but we also encourage them to be intellectually curious and interested in examining the world from a wider viewpoint. This is why Putney took the step of offering the whole Senior School an opportunity to “bunk off ” the usual timetable, in favour of a day of learning what can only be described as “cool stuff ”.

28 | SPRING 2018

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This was not about absorbing knowledge with the aim of passing an exam, but purely for the sake of discovering something new. Entitled “PIE2”, the event formed part of our Putney Ideas Exchange programme, which is an innovative learning experience that pushes the boundaries of thought and confines of the curriculum. All students and staff were free to indulge their curiosities for an entire day, to engage in learning in a way that was new and exciting. And it wasn’t just Putney High that benefitted – keen to encourage as many students as possible to get involved, we invited two local schools, Ark Putney and The Priory C of E, to join us.

Puzzles for the mind

So, what exactly did we learn? Dr Susan Blackmore, lecturer, broadcaster and expert on parapsychology and evolutionary theory began the morning by asking the packed assembly to think about the nature of consciousness. She asked questions like “where in the brain is the self?” and “does a woodlouse have an awareness of what it is like being a woodlouse?” Tough but intriguing challenges for first thing on a Monday morning, and certainly thoughts to puzzle


When Suzie Longstaff gave her pupils a day to “bunk off ” and learn “cool stuff ”, it reaped rewards aplenty

even the least curious mind! Following this was a session from Suzi Digby OBE, conductor, music entrepreneur and educationalist, who championed the musical pattern approach to learning. She reassured a rapt audience that while the path through life can sometimes seem an uncertain one, an essential part of the journey is about “discovering who you are, and following your instincts to do what you are really passionate about.” The pursuit of curiosity being an end in itself and the key to making that discovery. As the day progressed, the pupils were

treated to an array of workshops, panel debates and other guest experts from worlds as diverse as arts leadership, cyber security, humanitarian charities and investment banking. All the action was live-streamed, and there were also opportunities for students to submit questions via a video booth, as well as a host of activities online. Head of Learning and Enrichment, Pippa Wadey, who organised the event said, “We wanted to cater to the interests and strengths of all our students, and present a series of inspirational industry

Above, pupils were delighted to indulge their curiosities for an entire day

leaders who will introduce them to a range of challenging ideas.”

Broadening horizons

Where the rigours of the current education system regularly require students to choose, focus and specialise, PIE2 was a tonic – actively encouraging pupils to broaden their horizons and examine the world from a wider viewpoint; to become genuinely original thinkers, inquisitive and intellectually curious beyond the confines of the syllabus. These are the qualities that will

give our children the edge to succeed in their future learning and life experiences, and the confidence they will need to embark in a brave new world. When polymath, Bobby Seagull of University Challenge fame, ended the day by reminding us to “be the best version of ourselves” and to strive to broaden our knowledge, we knew he was right. PIE2 was one day that gave us all that opportunity; a chance to face unanswerable questions and to explore ideas we might never have encountered before. We look forward to many more!

SPRING 2018 |


Channing School

The Bank, Highgate, London N6 5HF

T: 020 83402328 E: W: Head Teacher: Mrs B M Elliott Admissions: Mrs M McHarg E:

Key facts

Gender / Ages: girls, 4-18 years Total pupils: 920 Type: Day Fees: Junior School – £5,600 per term. Senior – £6,155 per term Typical class size: Prep – 24, Senior – 24, Sixth Form – 8 Entrance procedure: Channing School is a member of the North London Independent Girls’ Schools Consortium and follows its agreed Code of Practice for entry.

School Philosophy: At Channing, anything and everything is possible. Pupils just have to be prepared to embrace the Channing spirit of enthusiasm, endeavour and excellence. We appreciate that everyone is different and at Channing we value that individuality. Founded on principles of tolerance and respect for the individual, it is important to us that, in a changing world of uncertainty and pressure, Channing provides an oasis of calm purpose. A place where pupils will be encouraged to think for themselves, keep an open mind and follow their passions. Academic Record: We are very proud of our continued success at A Level and GCSE and the fact that Channing is consistently ranked amongst the top 50 Independent schools in the country. The majority of our students go on to some of the most prestigious universities in the UK and abroad, having been supported and guided by our bespoke university application programme. Extra-curricular: We pride ourselves on turning out confident, well-rounded young adults and our Co-Curricular programme is an essential part of that process. Our Music, Art and Drama departments are busy places full of exciting opportunities, whilst our lunchtime and after-school clubs provide the chance to try something new. There are numerous clubs in The Junior School including Music, Ballet, Arts & Craft, Cookery, Chess, Book Club, Gardening, Maths Challenge, Netball and Gymnastics. Notable Achievements and Alumni: The Quality of pupils’ achievements and learning is exceptional’. Channing was rated at the highest level in all areas inspected by ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) in April 2015. See for the school’s 2018 Open Days

30 | SPRING 2018



Handwriting specialist, Wycliffe Prep School, Gloucestershire


THE START Julie Palmer explains why learning to write correctly at an early age is so important


n this age of technology, you could be excused for thinking that the future of handwriting is limited. But the plain fact is that until SATs and GCSEs are completed electronically, all children at some point in their school life will have to complete exams or assessments by hand, and they will need to be able to write properly.

Reading and writing

When learning or using a language, there are four aspects you should know about: listening and reading (input) and speaking and writing (output). We use all four in equal measure in school and in many types of business. The two components of output need to be easily understood by others, and legible handwriting is one of those methods. The connection between hand and brain in writing is well documented. Despite a precarious spellcheck, for many, learning spellings through handwriting integrates visual and tactile information. We need to help children develop fine motor skills, to use their fingers to grip and use a pencil,

but they won’t learn how to do this correctly unless we teach them. By squeezing a pencil between the forefinger fingerprint and thumbprint, resting the pencil length on the “comfy cushion” between both, the brain engages with what the hand is doing.

HOW TO WRITE l Teach your child to hold a pencil properly. l Use colouring and dot-to-dot to improve pencil control. l Build up their core strength and balancing skills. l Make concentric circles in sand or by squirting water from a bottle on to an outside wall. l Julie Palmer’s book The Write Path is available on Amazon. It has helpful stories to teach children letter shapes, as well as handwriting pages using a joined-up script.

Above, in the digital age, it is more important than ever to learn how to write properly

In America in 2014, researchers asked half a group of students to take lecture notes by hand and the other half to take notes on their laptops. When the students were interviewed, the “hand writers” remembered far more information than the “typists”, showing that the neural circuit in the brain had been activated by the physical engagement of writing.

Core strength

So, how can you help your youngsters with their writing? Colouring books, tracing and dot-to-dot books are great for pencil control without thinking about words or how to spell them. Take your children outside, build up their core strength and check their balance. Hours of sitting in the classroom requires an upper-body strength, or your child will end up flopping across their desk. Try to enthuse your children about mastering the art of handwriting – or you might just find they become the next generation who sign their names as an X, just like in days of yore!

SPRING 2018 |



Assistant Head, Wells Cathedral School, Somerset

THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION Simon Balderson writes on how the rise of artificial intelligence will affect education


t is almost impossible to avoid reports in the media about artificial intelligence (AI) at the moment, discussing the impact that automation will have on all our lives. Some public figures, including Stephen Hawking, predict a dystopian future where humanity is wiped out by intelligent robots. Others, meanwhile, anticipate an era in which mankind is freed from the need to complete boring tasks, aided by intelligent robot assistants. There is no doubt that AI is beginning to encroach upon our lives, whether it is Amazon’s Alexa controlling our homes, or automated chatbots answering our queries online. But what about education? Will AI realistically have any impact on the way in which we teach and learn?

Classrooms of the future

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, envisages a future where teachers are reduced to little more than classroom assistants, while students get everything they need from automated learning environments.

32 | SPRING 2018

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Others, such as Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design at UCL Knowledge Lab, sees computers acting as “super assistants”, while teachers still retain their role in charge of the lesson. The tools most likely to produce a radical change in teaching and learning are known as “adaptive learning systems”, which respond to the individual progress of each pupil. While still in their infancy, they are improving fast, with the ability to collect vast amounts of data on each pupil – from how long it takes for them to answer a question, to whether they changed their mind while answering. Based on this data, they can then deliver a personalised experience for each child, which is tailored to their exact needs.

The start of a new era

Given the huge changes ahead, schools will need to adapt radically. While some may be tempted to reduce costs by

employing non-specialist staff, those who embrace AI may find the role of teachers adapting to be closer to that of a mentor, guiding children through their education. Independent schools have always focused on developing skills beyond the basic academic curriculum, including character education, teamwork and communication – all of which equip pupils with the skills identified as critical for the modern era. It is perhaps reassuring, therefore, that the skills independent schools have always valued continue to be critical for children’s future successes. In May 2018, Wells Cathedral School is hosting a conference to explore all of these issues from a practical, social and ethical perspective. Schools who take the lead on this have a chance to shape the future of education at what is an exciting time for us all. Will robots replace teachers? In my view, yes, at least in their current form. Is that a bad thing? Maybe not!

ose oe race ay find t e role o teachers adaptin to e closer to t at o a entor uidin c ildren t rou education


SPRING 2018 |



Headteacher, Kensington Wade, London



magine the following scenario: you are a parent who is considering sending your child to Kensington Wade – Europe’s first dual-language EnglishChinese immersion Prep School. Will this environment be confusing for your child? How will you know they will hit the right levels of attainment? Will other subjects be dropped to learn Chinese? And how will you support your child if you don’t speak the language? These are reasonable questions that I face each day from prospective parents. But do they have anything to

34 | SPRING 2018

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be worried about? The answer is categorically “no”. Receiving a duallanguage immersion education is the opposite – it’s a massive advantage, and on many levels.

An equal split

Let’s be clear what dual-language immersion education actually means. It is not a vast number of extra foreign language lessons. Our current Early Years timetable is exactly the same as a similar class in any other Prep School, the difference being that for half of each day, the teaching is in Chinese. So, is Kensington Wade purely for mother-tongue Chinese

Children are immersed in this unique environment from an early age

As Europe’s first English-Chinese Prep School opens its doors, Jo Wallace explains why learning in two languages is better than one speakers? Not at all – these children are in fact the minority, and over half of our first cohort spoke no Chinese at all when they first started. Set out as identically as possible are our two Early Years’ classrooms, but while one is typically English, the other has labels and reading books in Chinese. We support role play with Chinese tea sets and Chinese dressing-up clothes, with calligraphy brushes alongside crayons, and next to the usual percussion set lie an array of Chinese musical instruments. And because children are immersed in this environment from an early age, they accept it as normal. Kensington Wade is first and foremost a British Prep School and that is my


Left, both the Chinese and English classrooms are practically identical

background, having previously been Head of Putney High Junior School for six years. However, a trip to China before the school opened and discussions with Chinese colleagues have both helped me, as Headteacher, to incorporate the best of Chinese teaching practice.

Establishing a curriculum At the National Chinese Language Conference in the USA, I consulted with professionals who have been offering this type of education for 35 years. And, following this, I was able to select a Chinese reading scheme that not only tracks progress, just as you would expect from any UK programme, but also

Above and above right, children are introduced to traditional tools and instruments

incorporates a karaoke-style app so non-Chinese-speaking parents can hear the correct pronunciation. This is great fun and especially helpful for homework. In the coming decades, dual-language education won’t be a case of “why bother?”, but a “must-have”. Scientific research shows bilingualism not only gives social and cultural advantages, but an extra gear in linguistic and cognitive ability. Language mixing has its own grammar, giving children a broader vocabulary and enabling them to be more communicative. These educational advantages will clearly enhance a child’s chances of getting into the best Senior Schools. And beyond school, possessing additional language skills also

assists with negotiating skills, prioritising and decision-making, as it facilitates seeing things from the perspective of others. On a recent visit to Kensington Wade, world-leading Advertising Chief Executive Sir Martin Sorrell, stated that “the only languages you need in the 21st century are Chinese and coding”. This is a call-to-arms for British people to overcome poor performance in learning a vital foreign language such as Chinese, as well as a reflection on a future world where China will play an increasingly important role. As Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”

SPRING 2018 |








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anford’s vision is: “To inspire young people to embrace their learning in all its forms, and to use their educational experience to make a real difference to their own lives and the lives of others.” It is my view that to fulfil this vision, a well-rounded education is and will remain relevant to our pupils who live in an increasingly complex world. A diverse and rich education underpins each individual’s ability to adapt to change, regardless of whatever specialisation occurs. Recorded in the Washington Post, a 2013 study from the University of Oxford has predicted that future technology could displace nearly half of American jobs, and even jobs in finance, law and medicine don’t offer the steady career paths they once did. History has shown such predictions to be exaggerated, of course, and in the long race between education and technology, education typically wins. But past performance might not be indicative of future results in this next wave of automation. So, education must be relevant for the fifth job, not just the first.

Social skills matter too

The jobs growing the most are those that require high social skills as well as analytical skills, according to David Deming, an associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University. In a global information economy, we need an education system with multiple pathways and approaches, to ensure employment opportunities for workers at all skill levels and with varied backgrounds. Google, one of the most successful companies in the world, doesn’t recruit its employees simply because of their degrees. It looks for leadership, an ability to learn and to be flexible all the time, to solve problems, think creatively and critically, as the company’s recruitment profile states:

BEN VESSEY Headmaster, Canford School, Dorset

ROUNDED & GROUNDED Is there still a place for a well-rounded education in an increasingly specialised world? Ben Vessey investigates

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“We’re always looking for people who can bring new perspectives and experiences. If you’re looking for a place that values your curiosity, passion and desire to learn, if you’re seeking colleagues who are big thinkers eager to take on fresh challenges as a team, then you’re a future Googler.”

Today’s essential skills

Creativity, problem-solving and criticalthinking are essential skills in today’s workplace, and all the signs are they remain central to tomorrow’s. One of the major reasons why independent schools are so successful is that they devote resources to the

development of the whole child, to unlock and build up the intellectual, physical, creative and emotional skills and awareness that are so critical in life. Creativity should be encouraged, promoted and celebrated by society and within schools, which must have the will and wherewithal to provide the wide range of opportunities to do this. Whatever the industry, whether it’s medical, science, engineering, academic research, technology, business, entrepreneurial; they all require creative thinkers to progress. We want our young people to reach for the stars, fulfil their dreams and make a real difference.

One of the reasons schools are so successful is that they devote resources to the whole child, to build up the creative skills that are so critical

SPRING 2018 |



OF A LIFETIME Forget dull trips to the local museum – these pupils have travelled to some truly extraordinary places, writes Natalie Keeler

Right, pupils prepare to walk behind the Seljalandsfoss waterfall

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The pupils and staff found Iceland’s landscape stunning

Iceland reenfield c ool

Centre, students marvel at the bottom of the Kerio Crater. Right, the group enjoying Reykjavik

o in

Greenfield School’s trip to Iceland proved the perfect vehicle for challenging the pupils’ enthusiasm for all things geographical. Before they had even left the UK, a study day organised by Head of Geography, Sophie Pullen saw the children learn about concepts that would be covered on their four-day adventure. Children from Years Four, Five and Six prepared scrapbooks to use as learning and reflection journals on the trip. And seeing the wonderful spectacles Iceland has to offer on the interactive whiteboard certainly proved enough to excite the pupils as they arrived at Gatwick Airport on a very early, cold morning. “When we landed in Iceland, we found that the landscape was like that of another planet,” said David Brown, Deputy Head of Greenfield School. “Swathes of nothingness and barren unfertile land soon gave way to the most spectacular features of nature on Earth.” First of all, they visited Saga Museum, where they learned about Iceland’s history – from its first population in the ninth century, through the Viking period to the present day. It was off to Iceland’s famous south shore tour on day two, where children were treated to the brute force of two towering waterfalls; the Seljalandsfoss waterfall proving the most popular, as they were able to go behind it to see its magnificence up close. Next up was a trip to the Black Beach, which was formed from the erosion of cooled lava. This was followed by a visit to the edge of a 600ft deep glacier, which provided a prime opportunity for a talk about the effects of global warming. On day three, the group ventured on the Golden Circle tour to learn about how Iceland harnesses the benefits of renewable energy. They also visited a crater that formed after a volcano collapsed into itself, got soaked by Iceland’s biggest geyser and took a hike between the American and Asian tectonic plates in the stunning national park. Day four saw the group head to the Blue Lagoon. “This proved extremely popular with the children, who were delighted to bathe in water heated by magma under the ground,” adds Mr Brown. “Many of us took advantage of a silica gel face mask, which allegedly boasts amazing skin rejuvenating properties. Unfortunately, none of the ▶ teachers left looking ten years younger!”

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Latymer Upper School, London

Some students learnt bushcraft skills in Sussex for Activities Week

Activities Week

Right, pupils took a river cruise in Bruges as part of their “Best of Belgium” trip

For the past 60 years, the summer term at Latymer Upper School has marked one of the pupils’ most eagerly anticipated events – Activities Week. This extraordinary annual tradition sees the entire school community (except those sitting exams) decamp to the far corners of the UK and Europe for a week of challenging activities. With over 30 trips on offer, there are so many exciting adventures to be had, skills to be honed and new interests to be sparked. Those who love the great outdoors are spoilt for choice, with outward bound trips in Devon and Snowdonia on offer, as well as hiking in the Alps or the Peak District, cycling in France and horse-riding in Gredos. Pupils have even been swim trekking in Lithuania, scuba diving in Brighton, sailing in Scotland and surfing in Cornwall. For creative-types, there’s cookery or writing workshops, plus scripting, producing and performing a pantomime to primary schools. Culture vultures can travel further afield to the birthplace of drama, Athens, where they enjoy the classics performed in ancient amphitheatres. Acting workshops in London’s theatres and opera houses, or visits to the many fantastic museums in the capital, are a few of the options available for those wishing to stay closer to home. Activities Week continues to give our pupils exciting new experiences, and school alumni often quote this week as being one of their most cherished school memories – a special annual event that has helped widen their horizons, both literally and figuratively.

Norwich School, Norfolk

Norwich School’s month-long trip to Borneo saw pupils immersed in the vibrant Sabah culture; learning Malay, trying their hand at local cooking and craft, and working together to complete conservation projects. “On our first night, we were welcomed by the chief of Bongkud village and given a presentation of traditional tribal song, music and dancing,” says Hollie Williams, teacher and group leader. “The pupils then worked hard to learn the dialect and practise songs, drumming and bamboodance. They later performed in front of the chief, camp staff and a crowd of local villagers by way of thanks for their wonderful hospitality.” The group moved around several different camps and their projects were diverse: they taught English and maths to kindergartners, laid concrete for the village’s market square and planted trees along the banks of the Kinabatangan River. The pupils also encountered plenty of spectacular wildlife, including orangutans, hornbills and crocodiles, aiding in the conservation of their habitats by clearing four-foot-high grass with machetes, before planting over 120 new trees to help rejuvenate the forest. There was also a five-day jungle trek, where the pupils were pushed to their limits during gruelling hikes through the muddy rainforest, cooking meals on open fires, carrying equipment and sleeping in hammocks they had pitched themselves. They finished the week on the Gaya Islands, snorkelling along the coral reefs and zip-wiring between islands. “The pupils gained so much from the experience”, adds Hollie Williams. “From practical skills, working as a team, and witnessing the beauty of the country and the burden these communities face, it was clear that it was a highly-rewarding experience they will never forget.” ▶

The girls pushed through the thick jungle interior on their trek

Right, children from Bongkud village joined the team to learn English


SPRING 2018 |



Open Mornings Tues 30 Jan & Sat 3 Feb Sat 12, Fri 18 & Sat 19 May at 11am

...making the most of childhood in the South-West A leading day and boarding prep school for children aged 2½ to 13 in Somerset For more information or to arrange a visit just call Sarah-Jane on 01963 442606,

42 | SPRING 2018


The group marvelled at the spectacular landscape of Nepal

Haileybury, Hertford

The group treks towards the village of Ngawal up in the Manang Region


Above, the group pose for a photo on the Thorong Pass. Left, crossing a stream on the low elevation region in the forests heading to Chame

Last October, 11 Haileybury pupils spent 10 days trekking in the Annapurna region of the Himalayas. The purpose of the trip was to enjoy the spectacular scenery and rich culture of Nepal, while taking on the challenge of the Annapurna Circuit. Widely regarded as one of the premier trekking trails in the world, the circuit led the Lower Sixth pupils around the magnificent Annapurna mountain range. They travelled from Besisahar to Muktinath, staying in local guest houses along the way, also enjoying one cultural day sightseeing in Kathmandu. One particular highlight was the challenge of hiking up and over the Thorong La Pass, a mountain pass which stands at 5,416 metres above sea level. Another aim of the expedition was one of personal development. The pupils were responsible for the success and leadership of the trip; it was primarily directed and led by them with staff there to offer support and feedback. On their return to Haileybury, all of the pupils were presented with Certificates of Achievement by the Master, Martin Collier. Pupil Caitlin McCabe said: “Nepal was a once-in-alifetime experience that I will treasure for years to come. Although at times it was tough to stay positive after long trekking days and sleeping in less than luxurious conditions, the feeling once we reached the summit of the Thorong La Pass is a completely indescribable sense of achievement. It only gave me the chance to separate myself from normal day-to-day life, but also reminded me just how lucky I am to have the opportunities that I do.” “The trip to Nepal was the most challenging thing I have ever had to do,” adds pupil Lottie Korn. “But it was also the most rewarding. This adventure opened my eyes to a culture completely different from our own, and Nepal itself is the most beautiful country I have ever visited. Visiting Kathmandu and completing the Thorong La Pass were my two highlights and for me they made the whole trip worthwhile.”

SPRING 2018 |



PUPIL PERSPECTIVE Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst, Hampshire

When Colin Baty wanted to understand school life as experienced by his pupils, he simply became one of them!


o learn that I was to be the next Head of Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst, for the beginning of the autumn term in 2017 was very exciting for me. I had taught at Dunhurst previously, and I knew that I was returning to a special responsibility. When I was interviewed for the role, I discovered that the school didn’t want a Head who was content to simply occupy their office, and that

Right, from classwork to music lessons, pupils at Bedales are kept busy throughout the school day

was more than fine by me. I like to be part of what is going on, and to encourage an expectation among staff and pupils that I will be present and curious about what they are doing. One of my first priorities was to reacquaint myself with the culture of the school, and to try to understand the school day as experienced by our children – from the lessons to the break times, and indeed every other detail. So, I decided to shadow my pupils every Monday for a whole half term. Each week I would join a different

Left, pupils participate in overnight camping at Dunhurst

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year group and be one of the pupils, attending all their classes, enjoying break times and everything else that they did.

A caring community

I came away with various impressions. The first was that the demands on the children are significant, and they get a lot out of it. At the end of each day I was completely exhausted. On any particular day, I might find myself hurrying from classwork, to PE, to outdoor work, to drama or music. I also found that our pupils are incredibly kind, thoughtful and accommodating. Nothing was too much trouble for them when it came to making sure that I knew where I was going next. I am not entirely surprised, of course; at Bedales we invest a great deal in the idea that we are a community and that we look out for each other. Nonetheless, I can think of other educational contexts in which the sudden appearance of the Head in the classroom would have met with a different response!


Right, children who attend Dunhurst get study periods to complete independent work

Next, I was struck by how incredibly receptive our pupils are to learning, and how able and willing they are to concentrate. And what an extraordinary learning environment I found in our classes at Dunhurst. I have seen enough “chalk and talk” to last me a lifetime, but there was very little of that here. Rather, the lessons are varied and fun, and the ways in which our teachers involve pupils is exemplary. I like to think that I’m a good teacher, but I came away from my pupil-shadowing experience in no doubt that I have plenty to learn from members of our staff. I also picked up plenty from my fellow pupils, who were generous in sharing their brilliant ideas.

Right, pupils learn a number of disciplines. Above right, new Head of Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, Colin Baty

Changes for the better

Although I knew the children and was more than familiar with the curriculum, prior to my shadowing exercise, I was a stranger when it came to the minute-byminute experience of being at school. I am pleased to report that any newcomer can expect to be very well looked after by both school and pupils. But we can always do more, and we’re currently in the process of implementing a few tweaks. One is around the transitions between classes – we need to make it easier for our pupils to switch from one to another, and I am struck that I would never have

Our pupils are incredibly kind, thoughtful and accommodating. Nothing was too much trouble for them when it came to making sure I knew where I was going next

identified this as a priority had I not spent time wrestling with the challenges myself. I’m delighted that the school that I lead is one that I would like to have attended as a child. The experience has been as instructive as it has been fun, and I’m going to do it again. Now that I think about it, I’d rather like to do it every day! ISP

SPRING 2018 |


The Hawthorns is a thriving independent school in Bletchingley, Surrey, for girls and boys aged 2 to 13 years

Please join us for our forthcoming

Open Morning at 9am on Friday 16th March

A school for life

Call us to discuss late admissions throughout the year

Where childhood is more rewarding

01883 743048

• Escorted train to/from London Victoria on Friday and Sunday • 6 miles from Gatwick • ‘Excellent’ pastoral care and boarding (ISI, 2015) • Average of 60% of Year 8 leavers awarded scholarships to over 20+ top senior schools every year

“Boarding has given my children opportunities in all areas that they never had at their last school” (Year 8, 2017)

Busy at school during the week and home for the weekends - the best of both worlds! An independent day and boarding prep school for boys and girls aged between 2-13 years offering an excellent all round education and with a nursery open 48 weeks a year.


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Open Mornings

Saturday, 3 February Saturday, 12 May

10.00am - 12 noon

Every day is an Open Day



e went to see Cottesmore School, West Sussex because our friends, who also live in London, had recommended it so strongly. Jules, our dear eldest son, is a bright boy, but he’s like a spaniel puppy who needs exercising several times a day and thrives in green, spacious environments. My husband and I felt that we could no longer offer him what he needed in London, but we didn’t want to move away because we both still love city life. We needed the school to be co-educational, warm-hearted, academic, spacious, under an hour away and a proper boarding school. Cottesmore School ticked every box and we’ve never looked back. Jules has just started his third year and has loved every minute of it. When he returned for the weekend after his first 10 days, even in such short space of time he had become a different person – still the same Jules that we know and love, but a version more confident, more attentive and above all, he seemed to be more considerate and tidier around the house. Jules comes back from Cottesmore exhausted – he fits so much in to his week: acting, music, as well as the usual academics and sports matches. He has even been helping friends with their garden, but the school encourages

A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER A boarding school parent reveals why the decision to send her children to Cottesmore School is one she’ll never regret

Share your thoughts on Twitter @ISParent

pupils to give everything a go. Even more shockingly, as a family of tone-deaf musical non-starters, he is in the chapel choir. Jules is down for Eton – we are realistic but hopeful, and the Public-School preparation at Cottesmore is excellent. Matilda, our daughter who is eight, joined Jules at Cottesmore this term. She says she has been homesick a couple of times, but we haven’t heard from her for a few days, which, now that I am a

“seasoned boarding school mum”, I know is a good thing. So far, we have noted the experience to be transformative, and it has helped us become closer as a family, rather than the intuitive assumption of the opposite. There are so many amazing schools out there, but we can certainly recommend Cottesmore. To find out more, call 01293 520648, email or visit our website,

SPRING 2018 |



MARK WHITE Headmaster, Hazlegrove Prep School, Somerset

ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY Congestion and competition for school places are just some of the reasons more families are fleeing to the tranquility of the countryside


imagine many of us who have lived and worked in congested parts of the UK have, at one time or another, fantasised about escaping to the country. Just picture avoiding all that pollution and crowded tube trains, all that talk about schools and where your offspring are destined for, and ditching it in favour of something different. One thing I have learnt after a quarter of a century in state and independent schools, both Senior and Prep, is that childhood is in danger of being eroded. Schools face the pressure of matching up to or being better than the rival school next door, through selection of pupils, results and facilities. This is ever more the

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Above, Hazlegrove Prep is set within 200 acres of stunning countryside

case, particularly in densely populated areas of the country. Elsewhere, this intensity is less pronounced. This allows schools to be less uniform and to nurture what is truly important. The purpose of a school is much more than simply the outcome, but about getting children to understand who they are and what they want to be. To be at ease with yourself and the world around you, you need to be in an environment that celebrates the true wonder of childhood. Outdoor education is an example of this, and rural schools are very well placed to bring out the instincts of survival and making sense of the environment around us. At Hazlegrove, set in 200 acres of

Somerset parkland and woods, there is ample opportunity from Reception to Year Eight to do everything from den building, woodcraft, outdoor navigation, kayaking and shelter building. Children learn how to respect their surroundings and ensure careful stewardship of what we have. When the Prep School door closes shut at the end of Year Eight, it is the memories that children hang on to when they leave that are important. The other day, two old boys of Hazlegrove, who had not been back since the 1940s, returned for a visit. One of them spotted his rugby team photo in my study, and they both said that in those days when the bell went at the end of break, children emerged from trees all around the estate like firemen being summoned to their engines as they slid down the trees. “We had such fun!� they said. Rural schools can prepare children for wherever they are destined in the future, but the beautiful world around them can become part of their soul too.

More than just a school‌.. a place where children reach their potential

A co-educational country prep school taking children from 3 months to 13 years in a beautiful setting, combining outstanding academic and extra-curricular success, with a culture of kindness.

Boarding Tasters Available - More Affordable* Pre-Prep Fees - Same Outstanding* Provision * Moor Park has reduced Pre-Prep fees from September 2018. EYFS Outstanding in ALL Areas (ISI May 2016)

Moor Park - Richards Castle - Ludlow Shropshire - SY8 4DZ 01584 876 061


Senior Schools’ Exhibition Saturday 24th February Open Morning Saturday 10th March

Register at Red Rice, Andover, Hampshire, SP11 7PW REGISTERED CHARITY NO. 1157842

50 | SPRING 2018



alk through Brighton College’s new Creative Learning Centre, and you’ll see a vast, rounded-gabled penthouse classroom in which pupils sit on wheeled chair-anddesk combinations, moving around the space for group work and spinning to face the teacher as she walks around the room. As these chairs are designed to gently rock – an attribute proven to enhance concentration – some children may be lightly swaying backwards as they listen intently to their lesson.

Introducing the hub

This is Brighton College’s new experimental teaching hub, and where the school’s new Head of Creative Learning Thomas Godber is implementing new teaching practices that he and other staff have discovered on their global travels. The kernel of the idea came when Headteacher Richard Cairns went travelling and saw how other nationalities taught their future generations. He returned having cherry-picked some of the best practices he had seen, and decided that a new building for the 21st century should be designed, providing a space for innovative teaching ideas. The building opened its doors in September and has already proved an enormous hit. “The pupils have quickly got used to the new flexibility created by the innovative furniture,” says Deputy Headmistress Jo-Anne Riley. “They can work in teams, pairs or alone, and can quickly switch between formats by simply turning their body or desk. As the teacher moves around the room, pupils can easily track them and turn their attention to a pupil or group to give feedback.” The ability to move as a teacher does mean pupils focus much better, as the

CREATIVE CLASSROOMS Innovative tech and chairs that aid concentration are at the core of Brighton College’s teaching hub, says Dinah Hatch Above, wheeled chairs enable pupils to move around the classroom easily

lesson is divided into sections of “work”, punctuated with changes of position that help them to reset their concentration.

Record, rewind, replay

Another feature of the experimental classroom is the new recording and sound technology fitted into the building, which allows pupils and teachers to watch back the lesson in which they just participated. This is helpful on many levels, not least for post-class teaching evaluation. Teachers can review how their lesson went, and for pupils, perhaps the most exciting use of the recording equipment comes when they are taking the school’s presentation skills classes. Some years ago, Mr Cairns noticed

when listening to pupils in morning chapel that they were often nervous about speaking in public. So, he employed former Hollywood-actor-turned-teacher Basher Savage to devise a course on how to project ideas to people confidently. This course is now taught in the experimental classroom, with pupils able to watch back and critique their own performances. It’s still early days, but Mr Godber is confident that this teaching space is doing its job. “This is a classroom that has lots of pedagogical ideas in it, which we have seen in use effectively elsewhere. But what I want to see is that pupils love every lesson they are in. That’s why this building is so good – the children are constantly challenged.”

“What I want to see is that pupils love every lesson they are in. That’s why this building is so good – the children are constantly challenged.”

SPRING 2018 |



WELCOME TO THE SCHOOL FOR ADVENTUROUS MINDS EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES PRE-PREP & NURSERY OPEN MORNING WEDNESDAY 7 MARCH, 09.00-12.00 JUNIOR SCHOOL OPEN MORNING THURSDAY 8 MARCH, 09.30-12.00 Please register at or call 01225 820 399 St Mary's ad ISP Feb 2018 129mm h x 99mm w_Layout 1 09/01/2018 17:16 Page 1


Inspiring intellectually brave, morally sound and confident young people

Happy girls are high achievers. A flying start to learning for girls and boys aged 3-4 in our purpose-built Kindergarten. Excellent academic results and opportunities for the arts, music, sport and adventure at our Lower School for girls 4-11 and Senior School for girls 11-16.

St Mary’s Colchester

Come along to our Spring 2018 Open Days: Lower School & Kindergarten Saturday 17 March, 9.30-11.00 Senior School Tuesday 27 February, 10.30-12.00 & Saturday 3 March, 10.00-12.00 For more information: 01206 216420

52 | SPRING 2018

To hear our story visit

Co-educational Catholic school with Nursery, Prep, Senior and Sixth Form. Welcoming boys in Year 7 and 12 from September 2018.


Friday 9 March: 9:30-12:00


Saturday 28 April: 10:00-13:00 Visit to register


STUART DOUCH Headmaster, Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School, West Sussex

Stuart Douch explains why truly independent schools have more freedom in preparing children for the educational path ahead



arents looking to enrol their children in our Prep School always ask: “What about Senior Schools?” But we always tell them not to worry – not because it isn’t an important question – but because our answer will only be clear once we have got to know their child properly. At Sompting Abbotts, we are resolutely independent – not a feeder school, and not part of any other larger partnership outside the IAPS and ISC, which these days makes us quite atypical. But what do we mean when we call ourselves “independent”? The dictionary definition explains it as something “free from outside control”, and “not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.” We fit both definitions. Like every independent school, we are free to be creative with our curriculum and unfettered by bureaucracy. But this also means we march to no-one’s agenda, other than the one that matters: that of our pupils.

Above, the approach at Sompting Abbotts Prep School is entirely childfocused

As Headmaster, I don’t feel any pressure in helping parents choose a “destination school” for their children. Instead, we have strong rapports with many Senior Schools and take an individually-tailored approach. Our children go on to a range of leading schools, mostly independent ones but also in the state sector, and the Scholarship Honours’ Boards on the walls of our assembly hall are witness to this.

A family atmosphere

I passionately believe that ours is truly a child-focused approach; you’ll find no hothouse atmosphere here. We nurture every child’s individual talents, and work with them and their families to get them to where they want to be. Our family-run school is now in the hands of its third generation, and that pedigree means a lot to us. Some feeder schools also refer to themselves as belonging to a “family” – for which the word can be exchanged for “corporation”. But here, our family are the owners who

open the doors to you, and we’re invariably accompanied by the school Labradors. It feels like a large family home, and it makes our community real and accessible.

Not missing out

What’s more, we do not lose out by being resolutely independent. Our children are still valued when they apply via Common Entrance or Common Academic Scholarship, or indeed when incorporated as part of an arts or sports award. Nor do we lack rigour for being small. Our dedication to the children is proven not because of the number of buildings we own or the size of our sports hall. As a former pupil of the school, I am living proof that this style of education works. It allowed me to develop my own identity and tread my own path in life, and perhaps there’s scope to suggest a truly independent school fosters a spirit of differentiation. I see it as a privilege to return to the school and continue this tradition of true independence.

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TALKING HEADS How can we keep children engaged with and informed about current affairs, without confusing or alarming them? Christopher Wilson

David Bell

Lockers Park, Herts

Woodlands Schools Great

At Lockers Park, we regularly discuss current events with our pupils. All boarders start their day by watching the news with the Housemaster, and teachers often select news items to form the basis of discussions. Understanding what’s going on and how to cope with complex news is important in today’s “always-on” society. One way we have found of giving pupils some control is by encouraging them to consider ways they can help. When one pupil spoke of his despair at seeing refugees fleeing while on holiday, out sprang our Syria Appeal, which resulted in donated items for Syrian refugees and raised awareness of the issue.

Warley, Brentwood

Children are more resilient than we give them credit for, so we must fight the temptation to wrap them up in cotton wool and address issues head on. Having taught Upper Junior children for much of my career, I can testify that when children have questions about the “big scary world out there”, they are mature and thoughtful – often a world away from the kneejerk reactions of some adults. In an age of coverage of terrorism, Brexit and Trump, we might actually find that some of the most rational voices come from within our own classrooms, if we are open-minded enough to accept the answers.

Prep School boys at Lockers Park, Herts

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Below, pupils at Woodlands School Great Warley, Brentwood, Essex

Kate Millichamp Shrewsbury High Prep School

After a year of events that have caused uncertainty and insecurity, I think that we would all like to shield our children away from worldwide atrocities. However, that is probably the least effective form of action. Providing factual, easy to digest and non-judgmental information, avoiding conjecture and being honest empowers children to effectively risk assess their own part in today’s society. What they really need is a safe environment in which to ask questions, lead conversations, confront their worries and challenge their thoughts in order to effectively process them.

Reinforcing the school’s values is a priority at Kingswood House

Tania Botting

Duncan Murphy

Greenfield School,

Kingswood House School,

Woking, Surrey

Epsom, Surrey

Using open questions to ascertain understanding and encourage discussion enables the teachers to identify any misconceptions, and address them. When a school openly discusses current affairs with their pupils, they become more relaxed about sharing their thoughts, opinions and concerns in school. Parents should trust that the school’s handling of the more challenging headlines will be appropriate for the children, and that the classroom is a secure platform for pupils to ask questions, raise any concerns and seek reassurance from their teachers.

I believe teachers should use difficult subject matter as an opportunity to reinforce their school’s core values. When the Paris terrorist attacks occurred in 2015, I was unsure whether to draw attention to them in my assembly the next morning. I decided to display the now iconic “Peace” image of the Eiffel Tower and asked: “What does this image represent and why is it important?” Despite my prior concern, I was heartened to find that, with little guidance, the children were able to articulate why the image was symbolic and why the school’s shared values were so relevant.

Below, Eaton House Belgravia Pre-Prep School, London

Huw May Eaton House Belgravia Pre-Prep and Prep School, London

News can be stressful for children, especially if they sense it is a source of stress to us. If your child sees something upsetting, it is okay to discuss it, but make sure it doesn’t impact their routine. This way, they will grasp that although distressing events happen, these events do not have to directly affect their daily life. Talk about the positive side of current affairs, such as voting or charity work, so children understand they have the power to affect change in the world around them as a positive response to upsetting events. Encourage a balanced view – it’s not all doom and gloom after all!

Shrewsbury High Prep School encourages children to confront their concerns

SPRING 2018 |



Traditional values and progressive education in the heart of the Sussex countryside to future-proof the magic of childhood

Open Afternoon: Friday 2nd March 2018 Taster Day for all ages: Thursday 15th March 2018

Knowledge, creativity, curiosity, agility, determination and insight. These are the qualities we inspire in children at Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School. Our independent day school near Worthing welcomes children aged 2-13. We’re a family-owned school inside the South Downs National Park, with 30 acres of grounds, a heated swimming pool and excellent sports facilities. The school gives pupils a magical childhood while developing their full academic potential and nurturing different talents. It has a strong record of scholarship achievements to leading senior schools such as Lancing, Brighton and Hurst.

What are the costs? Less than you might think. About the same as the cost of annual day nursery care. We have flexible payment plans too.

What do you receive? An outstanding ‘rounded’ education;

small class sizes (max 15); beautiful grounds for forest school, nature activities and sports; many extra curricular choices, including, arts, music and drama; top-notch computer literacy; free wrap-around care (8am4.30pm for ages 2-7; 7.30am-6pm for ages 7-13).

Sompting Abbotts Early Years Nursery: Ages 2 - 4 Accepts WSCC’s Free Entitlement of 30 hours 30 acres of beautiful grounds, woodland and forest-school activities Walled garden with adventure playground Close to Steyning, Worthing, Brighton, Lancing and Shoreham

Is it worth the money?

Healthy home-cooked lunches

Sompting Abbotts achieves 100% success in the Common Entrance; 95% for scholarship entrance. Pupils have a happy childhood and develop strong confidence and soft skills that will be invaluable asset to their lives ahead.

Open 8.30am to 3.15pm. Free wraparound care: 8am – 4.30pm

Any extras for parents? Lots of social activities. Free wraparound care. Use of school pool, grounds and tennis courts in the holidays.

Specialist staff in Early Years Foundation education. Ofsted registered Specialist staff in Early Years Foundation educationenvironment Emphasis on child-led learning and free play ”The best outdoor learning and play facilities for nursery children in Sussex”

Bursaries/financial assistance may be awarded to suitable applicants in cases of genuine financial need. Church Lane, Sompting, West Sussex BN15 0AZ Tel: 01903 235 960 Fax: 01903 210 045 Email:



DR GER GRAUS OBE Global Director of Education for KidZania

t was Michelle Obama who said, “young people, particularly our girls, need to understand that doctors and scientists are something that anyone can become, no matter how much money your family has, where you come from, or whether you are a man or a woman.” Wise words from the former First Lady – however, children can really only aspire to what they know exists.

Take charge of the future

KidZania London is a place where children aged four to 14 can experience the world of work through role-play. As the UK’s first educational entertainment attraction, young people are invited to explore more than 60 real-life professions, and a significant number of our school visits are by those whose socio-economic contexts are more challenging than most. “Futures awareness” is an important part of what we want to teach young people, empowering them to take charge of their own aspirations. So, in January, we decided to host a three-day event for children of all ages, where industry professionals ran a series of talks, providing a valuable insight into a host of different careers. The fair enabled children to connect with all kinds of industry professionals and, above all, be inspired! Speakers from across a range of brands offered a chance to discover what a “day in the life of ” looked like, including British Airways, Al Jazeera, Global Radio, the Metropolitan Police and the Women’s Engineering Society.

Tomorrow’s world

Over the last year, KidZania has also been working to identify the influence of children’s contexts over their choices of


KidZania’s careers fair aimed to empower children to take charge of their aspirations, says Dr Ger Graus activities. We focused on 330,000 children aged four to 14, analysing data from school visits to KidZania in the UK and Mexico. We combined this with local and government statistics regarding affluence, education, health and social conditions, and the research evidenced what many of us anticipated: l Stereotypes are set from age four and don’t really change thereafter. l Behaviours are significantly influenced by socio-economic contexts. l The gender gap is alive and well. l Girls engage with activities

“Futures awareness” is an important part of what we teach young people, empowering them to take charge of their own aspirations

Above, children can experience more than 60 real-life professions at KidZania London

recommended for younger children, while boys engage with activities recommended for older children. l There is little difference in children’s behaviours between the UK and Mexico. If our collective responsibility is about tomorrow being a little better than today, we must concede that we have a big task on our hands. The key to igniting social mobility is positive and realistic experiences that empower children, enable them to join the dots, to aspire and write their own narrative of what is possible. It is these experiences that help them to understand that to succeed, you must work for it. With initiatives like KidZania’s careers fair, we hope we can open the eyes of every child to the world of opportunities available.

SPRING 2018 |


The school embraces mobile technology, and is an accredited Apple Regional Training Centre.

Sixth Form pupils do the “Nelson Walk” from their House, named after former school governor, Lord Horatio Nelson.

The school was fo un as it prepared boys ded in 1712 to “improve navigation” for life at sea, man th y went on to becom rough education, and e explorers and pion eers


The traditional values of loyalty, commitment, courage, respect, service and integrity have underpinned the school’s aims and philosophy from the very beginning.

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As a result of its maritime heritage, Royal Hospital School has become the number one school in the UK for sailing in terms of provision and opportunity.

Discovery, exploration and challenge have been the bedrock of an RHS education for more than 300 years.

HMS Pickle marks Armistice Day, 11th November, at the Royal Hospital School.

Pupils are encouraged to embrace personal challenges and tackle life’s obstacles with confidence.

Pupils perform at prestigious venues across the world, including St Paul’s Cathedral and St James’ Palace.

The talented Corps of Drums is pupil-led and taught, and is in high demand for ceremonial displays.

SPRING 2018 |


Outstanding Outstanding boarding boarding andand dayday school school for boys for boys andand girls, girls, 4 to413 to years 13 years

Independent ● Co-educational ● 2-11 years

The TheDragon DragonSchool, School,Oxford Oxford

“Exceptional” “Exceptional”

“The“The quality quality of children’s of children’s achievement achievement and and learning learning is exceptional” is exceptional” Independent Independent Schools Schools Inspectorate Inspectorate Inspection Inspection Report Report

OPEN MORNING WEDNESDAY 14th MARCH 2018 9.30am-11am 3+ and 4+ informal assessment mornings available all through January and February 2018 Please contact us for more information

Rosemead Preparatory School and Nursery 020 8670 5865

Thurlow Park Road

YouYou areare warmly warmly invited invited to attend to attend Dragon Dragon School School OPEN OPEN MORNINGS MORNINGS ForFor DayDay andand Boarding Boarding Children Children heldheld throughout throughout the the year, year, at both at both the the Prep Prep andand Pre-Prep Pre-Prep sites sites TO TO BOOK BOOK A PLACE A PLACE OROR ARRANGE ARRANGE A VISIT A VISIT Please Please contact contact thethe Admissions Admissions Team Team T: +44(0)1865 T: +44(0)1865 315405 315405 E: E: Dragon Dragon School, School, Oxford Oxford


Dragon Dragon School School Oxford Oxford

Spring Open Mornings

Junior School Fri 2 March

Senior School Sat 3 March

Rendcomb College is an independent, co-ed day and boarding school, Junior School and Nursery for ages 3 to 18 01285 832306 Rendcomb College, Cirencester GL7 7HA

60 | SPRING 2018

Your adventure starts here





t was following my Master’s degree in music at Trinity College Dublin that I got into teaching. I started my career at a terrific Prep School in Hampstead, and even though I was teaching lots of different subjects, it was here that my passion for music (and teaching it in particular) really reignited. And so, I went to train as a Secondary School music teacher. Music is such a wonderful subject, and pupils always seem to be so full of fun and energy during lessons – it’s truly contagious. I’m now in my fifth year working at Ampleforth College, and my role is something of which I’m very proud. The fact that I’m the first female Associate Head at the school is significant – I feel I have an opportunity to affect change and shape the future of this unique place. It’s a privilege to work here, and I intend to make the school the best it can be for the students and staff alike. I have a very varied remit here at Ampleforth. As well as supporting our Headmaster, Fr


The first female Associate Head at Ampleforth College, North Yorkshire explains how she hopes to shape students’ lives

Tweet us @ISParent

Wulstan, student well-being, leadership and motivation are all key focuses of mine. My background is academic, but my role spans both academic and pastoral. When students feel good about themselves and are living healthy and balanced lives, they thrive academically, and I see this as the ongoing priority of my work. Our pupils are actively

It’s a privilege to work here, and I intend to make the school the best it can be or t e students and sta ali e

involved in school development planning, and this year I have started working with Sixth Form students to set their own academic targets and work out how they can achieve them. My job is to help them believe that they can achieve their highest aspirations, but to make those aspirations real and evidence-based. I find it so rewarding when I can see my work come to fruition. It’s great when I see that something I’ve done or said has made a positive difference to a pupil, a parent, a member of staff or the improvement of the College.

I am a very down-to-earth person, which I think is useful as Associate Head, as who I am doesn’t get in the way of my relationship with the students. The emphasis is always on them and the parents I work with. I think people can be, and usually are, very honest with me and that really helps in a school setting, because if you can get to the heart of an issue quickly, you have more time available to sort it. This year marks 15 years of girls at Ampleforth, and strong female leadership is key in supporting our Headmaster to make the College a place with an increasingly distinctive and progressive culture, rooted in our strong Benedictine values. It would be easy to say that social media or exam pressures are the most pressing issue in education today, but the fact is that those pressures are always likely to be there. We recognise the need to develop self-esteem and resilience, so our pupils are aware that they already have the secure foundation and knowledge they need to deal with all of life’s challenges. This is part of what we call a “Compass for Life” at Ampleforth – the sense that we teach our students both academic and life skills, and don’t simply prepare them to pass exams.

SPRING 2018 |


1 Madeleine Gale, 14 Fencer Brentwood School, Essex

Fourteen-year-old Madeleine (also known as Maddy) became one of the youngest winners ever to collect the Young Sports Personality of the Year trophy at the prestigious Brentwood Sports and Health Awards in November 2017. This fantastic achievement joins a multitude of other accolades for the young fencer, who has also been Essex and Eastern Region Champion and has won Silver and Bronze medals in competitions across the UK. She also finished 38th out of 180 in the Under 14 World Class International Tournament, which was the second best British result in the competition. Maddy has fenced Foil since the age of seven and trains on average 12 hours a week. She even fits in another two hours of training per week to focus on her strength and conditioning. “Maddy is very dedicated to her sport,” says her coach, Christiaan Galesloot. “I have no doubt that she will continue to represent her school, region, England and Great Britain in a fantastic manner.”

2 Keira Slater, 13 Model Myddleton College, Denbigh

Keira became the face of TP Toys at the age of four, and was later offered a contract with top modelling agency, Urban Angels. Since then, she has been lucky enough to model for brands such as Aldi, Littlewoods, Tesco and Hoseasons, and was asked to participate in a 60s-style Mods shoot for top photographer Brian O’Hanlon. Keira has also attended Stagecoach for the last 10 years, where she is taught singing, dancing and acting. She is currently working towards her Level Four Musical Theatre exam, and has performed on the stage in such productions as Annie, Jane Eyre and The Sound of Music. However, Keira’s true passion is television, and she has loved filming for the likes of Hollyoaks and CBBC’s Rocket Island via her agency The Drama Mob Management, owned by Coronation Street actress Tina O’Brien.

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We catch up with the stars of the independent school sector



3 Archie Clark, 8 Karting Champion Grace Dieu Manor School, Leicestershire


Archie only started karting in May 2016, but recently achieved success in his first full championship. Winning the national title, he picked up first place in the MSA’s British Bambino Kart Championship, and looks set to follow in his footsteps of his late grandfather, rally legend Roger Clark MBE. Archie has now graduated from Bambino to Cadet racing, which involves using a faster and bigger kart in a class for eight-to-13-year-olds, where he’s already won a novice trophy at this level. Inspired by Lewis Hamilton, Archie’s biggest dream is to get into Formula 1.

4 Lily Harwood, 15

Violinist Queenswood School, Hertfordshire A violinist since the age of seven, Lily was recently given a place in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, which is considered “the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers”. As one of the 164 musicians selected from 700 applicants, she is now looking forward to appearing with the orchestra at the BBC Proms. “I have been to the Royal Albert Hall before, but never thought I’d be on the stage and working with world famous conductors,” said Lily. “I have GCSEs this year, so will be working hard to fit it all in!”

5 Jensen Weir, 15

Footballer The Grange School, Cheshire



Jensen made his professional football debut as Wigan Athletic’s youngest ever player, in the team’s Checkatrade Trophy match against Accrington Stanley. As the son of former Hearts and Rangers defender David Weir, Jensen is more accustomed to playing for Wigan at under 18 level, and is also the captain of the Scotland U16 side. “Making his pro debut at such a young age is an outstanding achievement,” says Neil Cusik, Head of Football at The Grange School. “It has been a very exciting couple of months for Jensen!”

SPRING 2018 |


Mountain FLAIR Claudia Dudman finds that in the super-chic resort of Gstaad, a plethora of alpine activities goes hand-in-hand with a down-to-earth charm

WINTER SPORTS GALORE Visitors can enjoy up to 200 kilometres of ski slopes in the holiday region of Gstaad

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Left, The Palace hotel is located just above the village of Gstaad



t is said that schools like Institut Le Rosey, The John F Kennedy and the Gstaad International Schools laid the foundations that established the Swiss resort of Gstaad as a luxury holiday destination. With fees at Le Rosey coming in at a whopping £80,000 per year, this elite boarding school has educated everyone from Prince Rainier III of Monaco, to his Highness the Aga Khan. As a result, Gstaad has welcomed its fair share of the rich and famous, who have collectively made it a popular hotspot for high society and the jet set. Indeed, the likes of Roger Moore, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Bernie Ecclestone, Valentino and Madonna have all visited or made it for a time, their home. And yet, in spite of all of this, it has remained unspoilt, genuinely alpine and down-to-earth.

Something for everyone

The town, which is ringed by mountains, sits at an altitude of between 1,000 to 1,400 metres in the municipality of Saanen, within the German-speaking canton of Bern in southwestern Switzerland. Thirty

per cent of visitors to the resort are families, and with such a vast and diverse range of leisure activities on offer all year round, just about every interest is or can be catered for. And what’s more, over a thousand cultural and sporting events take place each year.

A home-away-from-home

The village has a handful of five-star hotels. I stayed at the Grand Bellevue, which is conveniently situated in the village and run by British-Swiss husband and wife Daniel and Davia Koetser. Contemporary and metropolitan in feel, with its House of Hackney fabrics and wallpaper – along with bespoke Chesterfield and George Smith sofas – its English eccentricity makes it a slight home-away-from-home, and I loved it. The second hotel I visited was The Palace. Where the Grand Bellevue is contemporary, the Palace is traditional with a fairy-tale exterior, old-style charm and the type of service that keeps the guests coming back year after year. It first opened in 1913, and is still run by the Scherz family who founded it. Perched up above the town, the hotel has a large drawing room with ▶

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Left, the Peak Walk by Tissot demonstrates the best of Swiss engineering

“Gstaad soon had its fair share of the rich and famous, who made it a popular hotspot for high society and the jet set”

staggering views looking out on to the Alps. And it is clearly the place to see, as well as to be seen in.

A fairy tale landscape

A half-hour drive away, with a gentle climb up behind the village of Saanen, is Sparenmoos. This moorland is so breathtaking to look at that you feel as though you’ve been dropped right into the middle of a David Attenborough documentary. For as far as the eye can see lies an enormous expanse of snow-clad nothingness, albeit with the odd solitary pine tree breaking your view. All you can hear are icy brooks bubbling away and the sounds of winter wildlife. This spot is also perfect territory for cross-country skiing, tobogganing, hiking, winter-biking and snowshoeing, the latter being one of the more unusual winter sports I have tried my hand at. In essence, snowshoeing is another form of hiking, where you attach your boots to a snow shoe to help you walk on top of the snow. You then climb up (the difficult part) and snowshoe down (the fun part) the snowy hills, giving you a fairly invigorating workout as you enjoy the scenery around you. It’s great

66 | SPRING 2018

fun and the buzz of adrenaline you experience leaves you feeling invigorated for several hours afterwards. Our guide, Bernhard, who was local to the area, was great at pointing out the surrounding mountains, as well as identifying local nature and helping me initially as I acclimatised to this strangest of sports. He and his colleague Simon often have as their

Places to Eat & Drink Chubut at The Park Hotel: A Michelin star Argentine restaurant with a delicious sharing-plate menu. Megu at Alpina Gstaad: If it’s “the bling factor” you’re after, this place is for you. Even Madonna has stayed here, and guests can enjoy a pre-dinner drink while taking in the Tracey Emin artwork. Sip on a Bellevue Smash in the bar at the Grand Bellevue, with stylish interiors by House of Holland.

Top right, actress Elizabeth Taylor and her husband Richard Burton in Gstaad. Right, the slide up at Glacier 3000

charge, pupils from Le Rosey, Gstaad’s smartest and perhaps the world’s most expensive school. In the summer they told me they take the students in search of an adventure up a mountain and to a safe place where tents ▶ are pitched for the night.

Snow-covered moorland in Sparenmoos

There’s more fun for everyone We look after the childcare with flexible or seamless all-day options, so you can enjoy your skiing!

01483 345 033







“This moorland is so breathtaking to look at, you feel as if you have been dropped right into the middle of a David Attenborough documentary.” Up, up and away

It’s another world up at the Glacier Pillon 3000 (that’s 3,000 metres high). From the top of the resort’s very own glacier, you will see 24 summits over 4,000 metres, including Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and the Bernese Alps. Take the cable car up and prepared to be wowed by the stunning vistas as you ascend. You don’t even have to ski once you’ve arrived, as you can choose to sit and people-watch while enjoying the scenery at Refuge l’Espace, a tiny restaurant – and I mean tiny – (we sat inside and watched the chef prepare our meal a mere five metres away from our table) – which sits right on the Quille du Diable. Its unique location and menu, which specialises in regional delicacies, make it a well-visited spot. And while you’re up at the Glacier, check out the Peak Walk by Tissot, which is a feat in Swiss engineering as the first bridge, made of stainless steel, to connect two mountain peaks.

What memories are made of

On our last night in the village of Launen, just six kilometres outside of Gstaad, we took a horse and carriage ride under a moonlit sky. As the mountains faded into the enveloping darkness, and snuggled under blankets to keep warm, we drove, for about an hour, to MattenstüebliBeizli – a chalet-come-restaurant

68 | SPRING 2018

Above left, guests can choose from a plethora of activities. Above right, fat biking is a great way of keeping fit

Gstaad’s fairytale-like scenery has visitors coming back year after year

situated just by Launensee and run by local farmer Veronika Brand. Seated in her diminuitive front room (there are only three tables, each covered with red and white gingham tablecloths), we hungrily tucked into simmenthal beef and dried cheese, followed by a fondue while sipping on Lindenblütun (black tea with lemon, mint and lime) served in pretty blue jugs. The food was accompanied by a delicious Swiss white wine, Epesses 2015 from Lavaux. On our return to Launen, feeling full and satisfied, our guide pointed out The Bear and other constellations as we gently rode back alongside the lake to town. It was an evening to remember.

For reservations at The Gstaad Palace,, and Grand Bellevue, Find out more at,

it’sss Braziliant!

Explore the Amazona in Cromer Amazona Zoo Rainforest logo

outdoor play

Under 4’s go FREE

South American Animal Adventure

Animal Adventure

Braziliant value: Admission still at 2014 prices!!

stay with us at check website for opening times

Providing a first class education We provide all children with a broad and balanced curriculum which focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer and learner. The curriculum comprises four connected themes of knowledge, skills, preparation for life and personal, social and emotional development. Visit St. Michael’s on our open mornings: Friday, 2nd March 10.30am – 12 noon & Saturday, 3rd March 10.30a.m – 12.30 p.m 198 Hadleigh Road Leigh-on-Sea Essex SS9 2LP 01702 478719

South American Animal Adventure

Hall Road, Cromer NR27 9JG Tel. 01263 510741


ies s ub n in er Cl ru urs so N al ls & o ho Sc

LIttle house of science is a place to learn, experiment, explore & Play from 3-11 YEARS

Age adjusted classes


Chelsea, SW3 & SW10 • High St Kensington, W8 South Kensington, SW7 • Notting Hill, W11 • Putney, SW15 Brook Green, W6 • Swiss Cottage, NW3 • Wimbledon SW19 Contact us for Little Maths (2-4yrs) & Little Discovery (6-24months) Classes e: • • t: 0800 092 1062

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Where learning goes hand in hand with discovery countryside. Two hours from London, an hour from the Cotswolds and Birmingham Airport.

Co-education Boarding & Day Prep School for 2-13 year olds, based in 90 acres of Worcestershire Co-education Boarding & Day Prep School for countryside. Two hours from London, 2-13 year olds, based in 90 acres of Worcestershire an hour from the Cotswolds and Birmingham Airport. countryside. Two hours from London, an hour from the Cotswolds and Birmingham Airport.

Open Morning – Saturday 24th February 10.15am

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From January 2018 the outstanding early years provision at Greenwich Steiner School will welcome a small group of three year old children into Rosebuds. This unique new provision has been designed to meet the needs of the young child in a sensorially gentle, seasonal, rhythmical and home like environment. Rosebuds will slowly introduce the children to many aspects of kindergarten life without the hurly burly of

older children and the larger group size of a full kindergarten. Children will experience the making and eating of meals together, seasonal songs, ring times, crafts and festivals at a pace which is suited to them. Within this warm and loving environment the children will be nurtured and prepared for their next big step: the transition into kindergarten. Rosebuds will run from Monday to Friday 9.15am to 1.15pm.

ion or to make an app rmat lica tio 020 8858 4404 np th e r le u e n e w r f g ichstein @ as s n o i r ersc e miss d h Fo a o ol. il: a or m e g. uk or

fo r in


Worcester, WR6 6DD T: 01299 896275 Worcester, WR6 6DD T: 01299 896275


A pre-kindergarten for three year olds


Worcester, WR6 6DD T: 01299 896275

Where learning Where learning goes hand inPrephand Co-education Boarding & Day School for goes hand in hand with discovery 2-13 year olds, based in 90 acres of Worcestershire with discovery

We are delighted to announce a new early years initiative for Greenwich Steiner School


Penguins of Stony Point Penguin Colony in Betty’s Bay

A South African



Justin Wateridge, Managing Director of Steppes Travel recalls taking a wonderful family trip to Cape Town

yes wide, my seven-year-old son gushed over the freebie that South African Airways had left on his seat: “Wow. There is so much cool stuff – eye masks, socks and glue.” His inability to identify a miniature tube of toothpaste, notwithstanding, the omens for this family holiday to Cape Town were good and, indeed, it was an unforgettable experience.

A busy arrival

Already by mid-afternoon on the day of our arrival we – two adults, two girls and two boys – were pedalling through the city with our guide Skizo in charge of the little cavalcade. That evening was taken up with Camps

The glorious view of Cape Town as the plane came in to land

Bay market – trinket heaven for Anna and Isabel, our 10 and 12-year-old girls, and a chance for Charlie and Benedict to run amok, as only seven-year-old boys can. The next morning, we walked along Cape Town’s waterfront and toured Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. The tour guide, a former prisoner, and the acting “inmate” were excellent and kept the children in rapt attention.

Magic mountain, awesome animals

Back from Robben Island, we set off for the iconic, flat-topped Table Mountain, taking the cable car up as the clouds began rolling in from the sea. On its horizontal “summit” the children roamed with gay abandon. The following day, we headed into the Winelands, where we adults enjoyed a tasting at the Spier Wine Estate then ▶

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took the children to a couple of animal sanctuaries – first the Cheetah Outreach then Eagle Encounters where, along with watching displays by magnificent birds of prey, they got to hold baby tortoises and pythons. Best was being in a cage with owls flying around – very Harry Potter.

Happy feet, smiley faces

So far, Cape Town had been a delight, despite a wind that whipped the sea into such a swell that swimming with sea lions was ruled out. And, heading east along the coast on the Cape Whale Route towards Hermanus, I worried that the wind would ruin things further. However, at Gordon’s Bay, the children giggled as the surf challenged their footing and windtormented sand pricked their legs. Even when we went to see the penguins of Stony Point Penguin Colony in Betty’s Bay the

Benedict enjoys his very own Harry Potter moment at the Eagle Encounters centre

saw a sight for sore eyes – a pod of whales “breaching” – leaping out of the water and slapping back into the waves. Our destination the next day was Camp Jubalani in Kapama Private Game Reserve on the edge of Kruger National Park. It is renowned for its herd of 14 elephants and the children loved interacting with them, gorging on elephant facts.

The children got to hold baby tortoises and pythons. Best was being in a cage with owls flying around – very Harry Potter

A spiritual experience

wind couldn’t dent the children’s wonderment at getting so close to creatures they’d only seen in Happy Feet. We then drove into Hermanus, which is a famous haunt of southern right whales, and checked into the charming Marine Hotel. Out on the shore in the evening, the children surf-jumped and one of my abiding images is of the girls standing, arms aloft, in defiance of the crashing waves only to scatter laughing in the spray.

A whale of a time

The next morning, the wind was replaced by bright sunshine and from the hotel we

72 | SPRING 2018

I had two key highlights, the first being the darting and notching of a rhino. The children were given roles in the process – Anna was to place a blanket over its eyes, the boys stuffed socks in its ears as muffs and Isabel was in charge of monitoring the rhino’s respiration. It was an almost spiritual experience to subdue such a prehistoric and vulnerable animal. For my eldest daughter, Isabel, it was all too much; tears streamed down her cheeks. My second highlight was my children’s

The gang heading out on safari

Left, we all had a job to do during the Rhino darting, above, the Table Mountain cable car

response to our adventure. They were emotionally and intellectually energised and Isabel was so moved by what she had seen she wanted to help African wildlife. “Daddy, how can I make a difference?” she asked. Our guide Kevin interjected: “You have, just by coming here. ISP

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North Cornwall offers miles of stunning coastal paths and golden sandy beaches




A RELAXING COTTAGE HOLIDAY IN NORTH CORNWALL Enjoy a family breakfast with charming Cornish kitchenware

74 | SPRING 2018


ohn Bray Cornish Holidays has been providing selfcatering holidays on the north Cornwall coast for over 45 years. With over 300 properties on their books, including cosy cottages, contemporary beachside apartments and large clifftop houses, you’re sure to find your perfect holiday retreat. Many are also pet-friendly, so you can even holiday with your dog! It’s easy to see why north Cornwall remains so popular with families and couples alike. A designated area of outstanding natural beauty, it offers miles of coastal paths, some of the best surfing and sailing around, and truly


Marvel at the views from the comfort of your own beachside apartment

breathtaking views, making it ideal for adrenaline junkies and intrepid walkers. Families adore the wide stretches of fine golden sand for traditional bucketand-spade holidays, riding bikes along the sheltered Camel Estuary, along with a wealth of historical attractions, galleries and beaches to discover. Gourmets will love the pubs, cafes and fine restaurants just waiting to be savoured in Rock, Padstow, Polzeath and Port Isaac, including Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Paul Ainsworth. John Bray Cornish Holidays has now teamed up with iconic ceramics brand Cornishware, to offer readers the chance to win a relaxing cottage break in their popular coastal locations on the stunning north Cornwall coast.

Above, properties include self-catering facilities, so you can come and go as you please. Above right, Port Isaac

The winner will receive a £250 John Bray holiday voucher, plus a Cornishware breakfast set as a lasting memory of their Cornish holiday. The Cornishware brand, which has been a design classic since its launch in 1924, boasts a range of kitchenware that’s inspired by the white crested waves and blue skies of Cornwall. With everything from mugs and teapots, to aprons and tableware on offer, each item is available in the iconic Cornish blue, as well as Buttercup Yellow, Summer Rose and many more varieties. To browse the latest Cornishware products, visit And to book your next trip to north Cornwall with John Bray Cornish Holidays, visit

HOW TO ENTER For your chance to win a £250 John Bray holiday voucher, plus a Cornishware breakfast set, answer the question below and enter it on the link by 25th February 2018 at: Q: How many holiday cottages do John Bray Cornish Holidays have on their books? A Over 50 B Over 100 C Over 300 Terms and conditions: Entry is only open to residents in the UK. The prize must be redeemed before Wednesday 31st October 2018 and is subject to availability at the time of booking. The prize is non-transferable and non-refundable. For full T&Cs, visit

SPRING 2018 |


Bringing out ‘‘ the best in boys’’

A day in the life of Aldro... come and see for yourself

Magical memories, Learning for life

Open Morning 3 March at 10.30am

• OPEN MORNING • Saturday 3rd March 2018 •11:00am–12:30pm

Co-educational Boarding and Day Preparatory School, near Rugby

If you would like to attend an Open Morning / Afternoon, request a prospectus, or arrange an individual tour, please contact the Admissions Office on 01483 813535 or email:

Aldro, Lombard Street, Shackleford, Godalming, Surrey GU8 6AS

Feltonfleet School


HANFORD traditionally modern or call Karen on 01258 860219

76 | SPRING 2018

Byfleet Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1DR

T: 01932 862 264 E: W: Head Teacher: Mrs Shelley Lance BD, PGCE Admissions: Mrs Jackie Williams E:

Key facts

Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 3-13 years Total pupils: 402, boys 219, girls 183 Type: Day, Weekly, Flexi Boarding Fees: Nursery £2,035 (mornings), Reception to Year 2 £3,800, Main School Day £5,580, Boarding £6,780 termly. Entrance procedure: Early registration is recommended for Nursery and Pre-Prep. Main entry points to the Prep School are 7+ (Year 3) and 11+ (Year 7) but places are sometimes available at other points. Entry to the Prep School is by assessment.

School Philosophy: High quality teaching, excellent pastoral care and outstanding facilities underpin the unique and nurturing family atmosphere at Feltonfleet, where every child is encouraged to attain high standards in their learning, develop confidence in their abilities and adopt a positive attitude towards learning, living and leading. Recent developments include our new state of the art performing arts centre and theatre. The school’s ISI Inspection Report highlights the school’s excellence in all areas of educational provision. Open Days: Friday 23rd February, Friday 4th May 2018 or please contact the Registrar to arrange a private visit.

CALENDAR Our round-up of events nationwide this spring

UNTIL 15 Apr

31-15 Mar-Apr SUPER-COOL SCIENCE [Edinburgh] Edinburgh Science Festival is back with a bang, delivering fun and imaginative performances, talks, screenings and exhibitions at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre. Get hands-on with cutting-edge science via interactive events and workshops, with the chance to learn about everything from spacecraft to robotics to the inner workings of the human body. Prices for each event vary.

Seventy years of style [London]

Motor heads and car enthusiasts can speed their way through 70 years of glamour, passion and design innovation at Ferrari: Under the Skin, which gives visitors a thrilling behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s most iconic car brands. Explore the design process, famous clientele and how the luxury manufacturer has changed over the decades, with rare cars and memorabilia on display to the public for the first time. Tickets £18. SILLY OLD BEAR!

ADVENTURERS, ASSEMBLE! [Gozo, Malta] The Gozo Island Explorer trip from Activities Abroad offers extraordinary natural beauty, with huge scope for activities and education on land and at sea. Aquatic action includes sea kayaking and visits to the astonishing blue lagoon. Or, if it’s thrilling adventures on land that you’re after, check out the rock-climbing and abseiling facilities. From £1,505 per adult and £1,395 per child. Find out more at

ARE YOU THERE, MR OCTOPUS? [Birmingham] Did you know that the Giant Pacific Octopus is one of the smartest sea creatures in the animal kingdom? You can get closer than ever before to these remarkable mollusks in the Octopus Hideout exhibit at Sea Life Birmingham! Admission is included with a Sea Life Birmingham entry ticket. Tickets from £12.75.


[London] If you were one of the many swept up by the emotional rollercoaster that was Goodbye Christopher Robin last year, a trip to the V&A this spring will certainly be up your street. Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic brings to life the tale behind Milne’s and Shepard’s creative partnership, with the chance to view sketches, letters and photographs. Tickets £8.


SPRING 2018 |


Cheaper entry

Schools can receive exhibition entry at a discounted rate. Visit

UNTIL 15 Apr



That’s wicked!


[West Yorkshire]

If traditional art galleries don’t enthuse your children, digiPlaySpace definitely will! This interactive exhibit offers the chance to build robots, use stop-motion animation and make your own dance videos. And using state-of-the-art technology, visitors can get hands-on with some of the most creative uses of digital equipment through a variety of games and activities. Child from £5.25, adult £12.95.


[Liverpool] Come face-to-face with some of the world’s finest treasures as part of an extraordinary exhibit at Liverpool World Museum. Spanning almost 1,000 years, China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors reveals the struggles of the Chinese nation while giving an insight into ancient Chinese lifestyle. Visitors can also check out a life-size terracotta horse, as well as other beautifully-crafted objects from the Emperor’s burial complex. Child £5.50, adult £14.50.


2 Apr

THE MAGIC OF MODIGLIANI [London] Best known for his unique pictorial style, Modigliani produced some of the most memorable art works of the 20th century, and now visitors to the Tate Modern can see these paintings as part of a one-of-akind exhibition. Child under 12 free, adult £19.70.

78 | SPRING 2018



[London] Discover the surprising story behind our iconic mail system at The Postal Museum, where you can ride the underground railway through the hidden tunnels beneath the capital’s bustling streets. Sorted! The Postal Play Space is also the perfect spot for under eights, featuring a mini-town with streets, buildings, slides and chutes. Child from £7.25, adult £14.50.

[Cardiff] Wriggle! is a brand-new exhibit at National Museum Cardiff, where you can find out about the world’s most weird and wonderful worms – including the bone-eating snot flower, which lives on whale carcasses at the bottom of the sea! Guests can also explore an earthworm’s habitat in “The Wriggloo”. Admission is free.


1June June

DEVONSHIRE HOUSE SCHOOL 2 Arkwright Road, Hampstead, NW3 6AE KNIGHTSBRIDGE SCHOOL “Keep Studying, Keep Sporting, Keep Striving”


School Tours Junior School tours are on Tuesday and Wednesday at 9.00am

Senior School tours are on Wednesday at 9.00am

By Appointment 020 7590 9000 67 Pont Street, London SW1X 0BD |

A co-educational IAPS Prep and Pre-Prep School for children from 3 to 13 with its own Oak Tree Nursery for children from 2½ to 3½ OPEN MORNINGS Wednesday 2nd May 2018 Thursday 3rd May 2018 For more information contact Admissions: 020 7435 1916


Hawkesdown House School

For boys aged 3 to 8 years

Queen’s Gate offers girls a warm, supportive environment where individuality is nurtured, academic standards are high and a broad-based curriculum ensures a well-rounded education.

Endeavour Courage Truth

For a prospectus or to arrange a visit, please contact the Registrar, Miss Isabel Carey: · 020 7594 4982 Queen’s Gate Junior School, 125–126 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LJ

27 Edge Street, Kensington, London W8 7PN Telephone: 0207 727 9090 Email:

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An academically An academically challenging education challenging education for girls from Nursery for girls from Nursery to Sixth Form to Sixth Form

60% of all A Level grades at A*/A in 2017 60% of all A Level grades at A*/A in 2017 Find out more at our FindOPEN out more at our EVENTS OPEN EVENTS 14 March 14 21 March June 21 June 020 8225 3001 020 8225 3001

“A thriving School with historic links to Harrow School, which provides a well-rounded, well-grounded education in a welcoming atmosphere” The Good Schools Guide 2016

OPEN EVENING Tuesday 15th May 2018, 5.00pm - 7.00pm You are invited to Open Evening at The John Lyon School










For entry into the School at age 11, 13 and into the Sixth Form. This is a ticketed event, admission only by online registration at: The evening will include a tour of the School and an address from the Head.

BOOK YOUR PLACE 01273 704200 | BRIGHTONCOLLEGE.ORG.UK 80 | SPRING 2018 BC ISP Prep Spring 129x99mm Ad - BCO 5361.indd 1

15/01/2018 16:41

Free Gift

Guests to the afternoon tea receive a free Hamleys teddy bear to take home.

25-15 Mar-Apr




If you’re in the market for a teddy bears’ picnic with a touch of class, look no further than The Langham’s Children’s Afternoon Tea. Based in Regent Street’s Grand Hotel, this charming feast comprises Carousel Cup Cake Swirls and Cookie Monster Macaroons, alongside Jigsaw Sandwiches for children to tear apart. £27.50 per child.

PUPPETRY MASTERCLASS [Edinburgh] Scotland’s Puppet Animation Festival will return in 2018 for its 35th anniversary, with a diverse programme of puppet-making and stop-motion animation workshops, puppet theatre and animated films. As a champion of visual theatre, the festival brings together quality puppetry and animation to audiences all across Scotland, with over 100 events at multiple venues.

MAMMA MIA! LAUGHS FOR THE LITTLE ONES A MAZE THROUGH THE AGES [Warwick] Get lost in time at Warwick Castle’s Horrible Histories Maze! Take the path towards the Terrifying Tudors, where you might find yourself thrown into the stocks, or if it’s the Slimy Stuarts who fascinate you, follow the fuse towards the barrel maze and discover the gunpowder before it explodes!

[Nationwide] If most comedies have you hitting the mute button whenever your child is present, you’ll be relieved to discover that Comedy Club 4 Kids has all the laughs without the rude bits. Perfect for children over six, the club tours different venues all over the UK. Tickets from £6.

UNTIL 29 Apr

[London] Fans of Swedish pop sensation ABBA will be enthralled by the latest addition to Southbank Centre’s Nordic Matters series. ABBA: Super Troupers invites guests on a musical journey through 1970s Britain, exploring the music, lyrics and lives of one of the world’s most iconic bands, with an opportunity to view never-before-seen items from ABBA’s archive. Prices start from £15.

SUMMER SPRING 2018 2014 |





impression of the school?

Coming from a small village aged 10 to Foremarke Hall, little was known about life beyond Parwich. I remember my first day, arriving at this huge tree-lined estate with a lake and pillars on the Hall front like those in Rome, the assembly hall being our meeting place with parents in tow. I stood by the big open fire place, holding back the tears! Were you a day boy or boarder?

I was only to be a weekly boarder at first, but later that year I asked Mum and Dad if I could board full-time. We were having too much fun playing in the school grounds to go home. Did you ever get homesick?

Yes, so I visited the Headmaster, Mr Theobald, who suggested I go out, draw a picture and bring it back to him. I decided to draw the Hall and those pillars from the bottom of the drive. Impressed by my work, Mr Theobald handed it to the art teacher, and later it ended up being printed on to the school mug. My love of art was born and the art school became my new friend. After those first five days, I was running towards the football pitch when I recognised our family car pulling up. I was so over the moon when I realised that my Dad had come to watch me play. Any cherished moments?

I played left-back and nearing the final whistle, I somehow


played rugby, overseen by Mr Mills, in the freezing cold, and then gradually thawed out in the Chaggers showers trying to prolong the experience for as long as possible.

your first | SPRING 2018

When I was growing up, I wanted to be…

An actor. And it was all thanks to Mr Levesley who would spend many a patient hour directing the school plays, and giving me the bug for a career on the stage after landing the title role of “Dracula” in Dracula Spectacula.


CHAMBERS The actor and 2008 Strictly Come Dancing winner Tom Chambers recalls his days at Foremarke Hall, Repton Prep School, Derbyshire managed to score a goal. The whistle blew and having scored the winning goal, I was carried off the pitch on the shoulders of my Alexander House teammates. From that moment, I was invited to play football during morning break under the trees next to Front Square. I had made my mark and found friendship! Where was your favourite hangout?

Visiting the tuck-shop and sneaking off to eat sweets in the woods near the “out of bounds” old summerhouse in Burdett wood was a definite favourite. I love reminiscing the countless

hours we spent playing table tennis before prep in the library. Letter writing on Sunday afternoons and the thrill of getting letters back during the week was also something I looked forward to. Were you an all-star sports captain or outside field lingerer?

I made it into the school teams and spent countless hours trying to impress Mr Hawtree for the football 1st XI. I also

Share your school memories @ISParent

Any nicknames?

Dearest Archie with his thick glasses, who used to help with the dishes, coined my nickname “teelyceely”, inspired by Top Cat. What did you learn about yourself at school?

It was the making of us as young people, learning to grow with a level of confidence, to work as a team and strive to reach our personal goals. It was the perfect springboard into understanding how to get the best out of ourselves. It highlighted the importance of relationships versus personal achievement, being grateful and being able to adapt in different circumstances.


E Tom is currently IT starring as “Bobby” in the musical Crazy For You, touring the country until

“I got the bug for a career on the stage after landing the role of ‘Dracula’ in ‘Dracula Spectacula’.”



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‘It’s impossible to resist the happiness of this place.’ ‘It’s impossible to resist the(The happiness ofGuide this 2017) place.’ Good Schools (The Good Schools Guide 2017)

WWW.HANDCROSSPARKSCHOOL.CO.UK Handcross, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 6HF

Not too big, Not too small, Just right.

The perfect size school to unlock the potential in every child We have an enviable record of Kent grammar school entry success over the past 10 years, a 100% CE pass rate and each year our pupils win scholarships to many leading independent senior schools.

Arrange a visit and see for yourself why ‘Some children really do skip between lessons here’ Good Schools Guide 2016

MARLBOROUGH HOUSE SCHOOL Hawkhurst, Cranbrook, Kent TN18 4PY 01580 753555

Independent School Parent Spring Prep 2018  
Independent School Parent Spring Prep 2018