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P 61

Book Club Emma Thompson’s Peter Rabbit

P 82

Caroline Charles My school days

“Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares..!”

A.A. Milne, Books, page 61


Choosing a senior school COMPETITION

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Common Entrance Creative curriculum Schools with farms


CONTENTS Issue 7 Autumn 2013

Welcome to the Autumn edition of


holiday to A family h on Marrakec page 73

Independent School Parent. A spaceship landing in the playground? Woodland fairies leaving a trail of fairy dust? Maths in Spanish? These are just a few of the activities that form part of the creative curriculum being taught in some of our schools and featured in The Wow Factor! (p. 10). At this time of year, many of you will be beginning to think of the next stage of your child’s education. In Welcome to Big School (p. 30), Andrea Johnson, head of Wychwood School , Oxford, gives some sound advice as to what to consider before you begin your search. And in Down on the Farm, (p. 19) we look at schools that have their own farms and the reason why so many pupils are, quite literally, reaching for their pitchforks!

Pupils from Sedbergh, Casterton Prep, Cumbria

Cover: Garden House School, London

Claudia Dudman, Editor Education


5 News Our round-up of hot topics 10 Creative curriculum Charlotte Phillips explores the creative curriculum, and how it can bring the classroom alive 19 Down on the farm Thalia Thompson takes a look at the increasing number of schools with farms

17 Head viewpoint Headmaster of Thomas’s, Clapham, Phil Ward, writes about a school’s responsibility to help pupils become extraordinary

30 How to choose a senior school

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Andrea Johnson head of Wychwood School, Oxford, explains how to choose a senior school 35 Common entrance Tracy Cook writes on the daunting process of entrance exams and how to crack the interview process

Finance 53 Mix and match Guilia Rhodes looks at how dipping in and out of independent education can make it more affordable

School’s out 38 Bright young things Josephine Price checks out the success stories from the independent schools sector’s alumni

In Focus


23 Prep schools We take a look what to consider, taster days and the benefits of moving from a city to a country prep school

40 Warrior or worrier? Charlotte Phillips reviews a new book which compares the coping strategies of children in stressful situations

EDITORIAL Editor Claudia Dudman Art Editors Puishun Li, Alicia Fernandes Assistant Editor Josephine Price

CNP Ltd, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ Tel (020) 7349 3700 Fax (020) 7349 3701 Email For website and subscriptions, please visit:

PUBLISHING Publisher & Managing Director Paul Dobson Deputy Managing Director Steve Ross Commercial Director Vicki Gavin Publisher Simon Temlett Subscriptions Manager Will Delmont 020 7349 3710, will.delmont@ Marketing Manager Chatty Dobson Production Printed in England by Wyndeham Heron, Essex ADVERTISING Senior Sales Executive Andy Mabbitt Sales Executives Thomas McMahon, Adam White

45 School Gate Gill Hornby shows us another side of life at the school gate in an extract of her new book, The Hive 49 Modern manners We bring you a guide to what manners matter in the modern day 61 Quiz Test your general knowledge with your children 61 Book club Our roundup of the most beautiful illustrated books 63 Skiing Mary Lussiana presents a selection of the best luxurious family-friendly ski resorts 73 Competition Win a luxury family holiday to Marrakech, Morocco 77 What’s on Our roundup of what to do with your family from half term until the Christmas holidays 82 School memories Designer Caroline Charles reflects on her time at Woldingham School, Surrey

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Chairman David Moncrieff Tor Down, Parent James Durant, UCAS Andrew Fleck, Sedbergh School Tory Gillingham, AMDIS Rachel Kerr, Girls’ Schools Association Glynis Kozma, Educational Journalist Zoe MacDougall, Teacher Heidi Salmons, The Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference Dr Anthony Seldon, Wellington College Elaine Stallard, Elaine Stallard Consulting The Rt Hon Graham Stuart MP, Chairman of the Education Select Committee Sheila Thompson, Boarding Schools’ Association Ben Vessey, Canford School David Wellesley-Wesley, Independent Schools Show Peter Young, Marketing/Brand Consultant

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 A First Eleven Guide to Independent Schools biannually. © CNP Ltd 2013. 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. All pictures by Thinkstock unless otherwise credited.


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Our pick of the top parenting and education news


Bug Storeys, the nature experience company, has a new teaching resource for schools. Following a successful trial in an Oxfordshire school, the resource will be rolled out nationwide from 2014. The concept is a bug house, comprising of drawers stuffed with leaves and twigs to create a haven for bugs, frogs and hedgehogs, enabling pupils to interact with nature. Perfect for outdoor learning.

Going global Cranleigh School, Surrey, will be expanding overseas in 2014. Cranleigh Abu Dhabi will become one of the largest school campuses in the region catering for pupils from 3 to 18-years-old. It joins the growing number of independent schools who are setting up their sister schools abroad.



In a year of tennis triumph for Scotland, one 11-year-old pupil set off to conquer Paris this summer in a prestigious tennis tournament. Jacob Fearnley (below) a pupil at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, is currently ranked as second in the whole of Great Britain. He appeared in Paris as the first ever Scot to be chosen as the UK representative for the Longines Future Tennis Aces Competition. Jacob has been playing since the age of four.

Montenegro’s first boarding school

Knightsbridge Schools International opened Montenegro’s very first prep boarding school at KSI Montenegro this September due to growing demand from the marina’s increasingly international yachting community. Situated in Porto Montenegro near Tivat, KSI Montenegro is a member of a global network of independent schools originating in Knightsbridge, London.

Canford School, Dorset, welcomed a new Headmaster this September. Ben Vessey has moved from Christ’s Hospital School in West Sussex. He will bring a wealth of experience from previous posts held at Millfield School and Dauntsey’s. Ben is also a distinguished member of this magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board.


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Our 2013 charity partner, Sparks, has a new campaign for schools, launching with a special week for schools in October. From the 21st-25th October pupils around the UK will be invited to wear blue as part of the “Wear It Blue” campaign. Sparks is a children’s medical research charity, which is dedicated to championing pioneering research into a range of conditions affecting babies, children and mums-to-be. Sign up for your fundraising pack at wearitblue

Getting stuck in!

Bredon School, Worcestershire, is the first UK school to create its very own “Mud Kitchen”. Mud pies have long been a dish of choice for children and at Bredon they now they have their very own space in which to create them. The kitchen aims to take education back to basics where children learn through imaginative play and

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National Children’s Orchestras celebrates its 35th anniversary The National Children’s Orchestras (NCO) celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. Formed in 1978 by Vivienne Price MBE, the NCO plays a major role in inspiring young people to get involved with music, working extensively with schools, music hubs and industry professionals to identify aspiring young musicians who would like to give playing in a full symphony orchestra a try.

Independent Schools Show

The Independent Schools Show returns to Battersea this year for its 7th year. The show is a great opportunity for parents to learn more about independent schools, to meet schools’ representatives and to get a taste of life in each school. Over 150 UK independent schools will be exhibiting at this year’s show on 9th and 10th November. Visitors are able to learn about day, boarding, single sex and co-educational schools, as well as getting expert advice on related issues, such as admissions procedures, scholarships, bursaries and school fee payment options.


If you think your child has a literary gift make sure they enter author Dan Freedman’s new competition, which is being run in association with Renaissance Learning. Freedman is encouraging children to write a new ending to Final Series, one of his books in the Jamie Johnson series. The winning author will win 30 copies of the book with their ending and have a character in Freedman’s next book named after them. The winner wiil also receive a visit to their school by Dan and a top football coach.


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Heads on the move

Clifton College, Bristol, has appointed Jo Newman as the headmistress of the Pre-Prep.

If I were Head for a day... Affrica Hamilton’s school would be full of talking parrots, lemonade fountains and fabulous uniforms

I would be a Headmistress who would have fun, wear fancy dress in school plays but also be strict so that people knew the boundaries. I would make school start later so that I could sleep in and watch films. My school motto would be “higher, faster, stronger”, as I was so inspired by the Olympics last year.

To punish naughty pupils, I would make them run errands for the teachers during their breaks, and if they were naughty again, I would make sure they missed their favourite lessons. Would you keep your school uniform? Yes absolutely, but I would make sure we had a really fabulous sports kit.

Top of the agenda at my assembly would be highlighting all the success achieved by my pupils. In the staff room, I would have a talking parrot, a Costa Coffee station and a big bowl of bananas for Mr Manson, the history teacher. If I felt the school deserved a treat I would give them chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, but biscuits

for my best friend Flora as they are her absolute favourite.

new begInnIngs for sedbergh!

Sedbergh Junior School, Cumbria, has relocated to a new site at Casterton in the rural Lune Valley. It has now been renamed Casterton, Sedbergh Preparatory School. The school boasts enhanced science facilities and outstanding laboratories, with teachers who bring industry experience. Balancing the academic with outdoor learning, plans are underway to create a school farm. Pupils already consult with school chefs to grow vegetables and herbs as the teachers have found that close involvement with the menu, and the opportunity to cook, encourages positive attitudes towards healthy eating. The new school opens with a roll of 80 girls and 100 boys.

What school rules would you introduce? I would have a tuck shop for all pupils, not just the boarders and I would change all the water fountains to lemonade fountains.

 Emma Hattersley will become the new head of Godolphin, Wiltshire in 2014.

Paul Norton has joined Kings Monkton School, Cardiff as the new head.

Affrica Hamilton, 9, is a pupil at Felsted School, Essex.

moroccan cooking club Whitehall School, Cambridgeshire, had an enviable summer events programme including a Moroccan Cooking Club to give pupils an exciting insight to the cuisine. Not many children under 12 can claim that they can cook a traditional tagine – but Whitehall pupils now can!

Guy Sanderson will be joining Eltham College, London in 2014 as headmaster.

Lavant House, Sussex welcomed Caroline Horton as their new head this September.


The wow factor! A creative curriculum brings subjects alive, engaging pupils and improving academic results in the process, says Charlotte Philipps


he wow factor, these days, is a phrase so well-worn that it’s in danger of becoming positively threadbare, so clichéd that it pops up in dozens of company names, from employee motivation specialists to car-valeting firms. Educationally, though, it’s well within its sell-by date, a focal point of the creative curriculum that is making school leaders, teachers, pupils and parents, too, see learning in a different way. Often, the wow factor merits, you feel, at least two exclamation marks, so exciting are the events that top and tail each term’s theme. At Blackheath High School Junior School, in South London, just about anything can happen – and does – from a spaceship landing in the playground to woodland fairies leaving a trail of fairy dust, leaves and a mysterious note behind them. Then there was the dragon’s egg that turned up (as they do) during a visit to The Tower of London, and hatched out at

school, scorching a few books in the process! Teachers know what’s coming. The children don’t. No wonder schools report a hike in concentration levels as pupils wait agog to discover what’s coming next.

A cultural delight

Angela Culley, head of the Mead School in Tunbridge Wells, and chair of the Independent Schools Association, says one of the noticeable side effects is the quality of silence as her pupils wait, breathlessly, to find out what creative delights will be served up next. “You walk into assembly and can hear a pin drop,” she says. But it’s excitement with a purpose. “Last term in Year Two we were learning about Nelson Mandela,” says Jo Donnelly, head of Key Stage One at Blackheath, who introduced the creative curriculum three years ago. “The girls were incensed by the injustice that took


Above left to right, Bilton Grange Warwickshire, Garden House School, London, Bolton School Girls’ Division, Lancashire, Casterton, Sedbergh School, Cumbria

place. The questions were endless as they struggled to understand why people were treated so harshly in South Africa.”

Creativity abounds

It’s not, of course, as if creativity were a new invention. Indeed, in a more traditional guise, it’s something the independent sector prides itself on, and with good reason. Look at any school prospectus and you’ll find endless references to creativity, from the strength of the school orchestra to fundraising campaigns to building a new performing arts centre. What the creative curriculum does, however, is something rather different, taking a central theme – like castles – and threading it through every subject. What you learn doesn’t change. It’s all about the context. At Central Newcastle High’s Junior School, for example, the history and features of the city itself form a spectacular starting point, and


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❝ At the Mead School, numerous trips and

activities make imaginative thinking part and parcel of every aspect of school life ❞ backdrop, for the lessons themselves. “It’s about giving ownership back to the teachers, finding out what their passions are and asking what they really enjoy doing,” says Angela Charlton, junior school head. For the pupils, she wanted a focus that was specific to their interests and background. Newcastle, with its culture and history, spanning everything from industry to the Romans, did just that.

Imaginitive thinking One term began with a trip to the city’s spectacular Roman walls, with pupils gripped by the pathos of imagining themselves as long ago soldiers far from

home, writing to the families they missed. Most recently, Year Five pupils converted their classrooms into a museum, working against the clock to get the exhibits ready for parents to attend the grand opening. Similarly at the Mead School, numerous trips and activities make imaginative thinking part and parcel of every aspect of school life. Even the most maths-averse child in Year Six could hardly fail to enjoy learning about speed and distance when their calculations take place on a five day study trip to the Isle of Wight as they find their way round on public transport. “While they’re there,” says Angela Culley, “the whole curriculum is done there, from

Above, King’s College School, Wimbledon

numeracy to photography.” While the creative curriculum isn’t new by a long chalk, it’s taken a while to achieve critical mass, particularly in the independent sector.

A transformative process Ros Wilson is a founding member of the creative curriculum movement. She was also formerly a senior teacher who mastered the art of blending innovative ideas with academic rigour and clear objectives before going on to write what to many remains the creative curriculum bible, a best-selling blueprint that many schools look to for inspiration.

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unfolds as the term progresses presents challenges along the way so engrossing that pupils take ownership and are empowered to manage their own learning,” says Ros Wilson. The result can be a revolution in the way children learn which, while small, isn’t necessarily quiet. Sometimes it generates a very substantial amount of noise, explains Angela Charlton. “We had an outdoor week and the most fantastic thing while sitting in my office was hearing 3-11 year olds giggling and seeing them throwing water. It was about capturing childhood again. For those sold on the idea of independent education being about academic excellence, letting creativity run amok across the subject range can smack of anarchy, bringing fun and laughter into areas of the curriculum where it has no right to be. Senior teachers, however, have a rather different perspective. Angela Culley set up the Mead School because “making connections is so much easier if it’s interesting, alive and real. I don’t deal with monkeys jumping through hoops but with lifelong learners.” For them, creativity is not only compatible with educational rigour but something that can actually boost academic results. The Mead School, which feeds to some of the nation’s most selective state grammar schools, gets ecstatic reviews from parents. Inevitably, there’s a caveat. The creative curriculum is no sinecure. To work it has to be done supremely well.

❝ Pupils at St Faith’s, Cambridge, made an award

winning film in Spanish, which they not only starred in but helped to create ❞

It’s a big ask for teachers who need to be bright, sparky and dynamic.

Hard but rewarding “Teaching the creative curriculum is very hard work for the teachers but at the same time so rewarding,” says Jo Donnelly. “The children love learning and are always thirsty for more so it is definitely worth the effort.” Heads recruit accordingly. And the talent out there is pretty amazing. In her ten years as whizzy head of languages at St Faith’s School in Cambridge, Dr Heather Martin’s passion for her subject has led to Spanish replacing French as the dominant foreign language. It has also found its way across a surprisingly large number of other subjects. Pupils aged 8 and 9 recently made an award-winning film in Spanish which they not only starred in but helped to create. Fusing languages and literacy, its topic, the environment, added yet another dimension.

Breaking down barriers

While St Faith’s hasn’t signed up

Above from left, St Swithun’s, Hampshire, Bolton School Girls’ Division, Lancashire, Hill House School, London

completely to the creative curriculum, the notion of subject spread, breaking down the barriers so that they infuse each other with interest is very much in keeping with the fresh thinking and excitement promoted by the approach. And what adds to the all-round appeal is the lack of hard and fast rules. “We make it work by not signing up to it or turning it into a dogma. It’s about adapting it, basing it on something unique to you,” says Dr Martin. And she is planning more, much more. Some maths lessons are already taught in Spanish. This autumn, coinciding with the theme of exploration in the New World, humanities subjects will be introduced in Spanish by teachers so fired up by the idea that some have been taking language lessons themselves – with stunning results. Yet again, the curriculum is the subject of debate as politicians and teachers put forward heart-felt views. Creativity rocks, think its supporters. Their advice to parents is to welcome it, in every area of the curriculum. Like the lion stamp on British eggs, it’s a hallmark of quality. Find it, and you’ll find teachers – and pupils – who are raring to go. Who could argue with that? autumn 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 15


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cricket and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Goldand level •• wall Sporting excellence with on hockey, cricket school facilities • Small class sizes (around 15), enabling individual attention and support and support • 70 acre working farm and BHS approved Equestrian Centre New dedicated Sixth Form Centre for independent learning • • Separate Pre-Prep facilities, with access to all senior school facilities 70 acre acre working farm andkey BHS approved Equestrian Centre •• Sporting excellence with focus on hockey, rugby Centre and cricket 70 working farm and BHS approved Equestrian Outstanding outdoor education programme with indoor climbing • Separate PrepForm SchoolCentre facilities, with access to all senior • • • Outstanding outdoor education programme with indoor climbing wall and Newclass dedicated Sixth for independent learning • First facilities for music, art and drama New dedicated Sixth Form Centre for independent independent learning •• Duke 70 acre working farmForm and BHS approved Equestrian Centre New dedicated Sixth Centre for learning wall and of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme to Gold level school facilities Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme to Gold level • • First class facilities foroutdoor music, art and drama First class facilities forForm music, art and drama New dedicated for independent learning First class facilities for music, art and drama • Sporting excellence with key focus on hockey, rugby and cricket Scholarships and forces bursaries available •• excellence Outstanding education with indoor climbing Sporting• withSixth key focusCentre onprogramme hockey, rugby and cricket • • 70 acre working farm and BHS approved Equestrian Centre wall and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme to Gold level • Scholarships and forces bursaries available • First class facilities for music, art and drama • Scholarships and forces bursaries available Scholarships and forces bursaries available • New dedicated Sixth Form Centre for independent learning COME ALONG TO TO OUR OUR NEXT OPEN EVENT EVENT ALONG 70 COME acre working farm andNEXT BHS OPEN approved Equestrian Centre • • First class facilities for music, art and drama • Sporting excellence with key focus onEVENT hockey, rugby and cricket Scholarships and forces bursaries available SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 COME ALONG TO OUR NEXT2013 OPEN EVENT COME ALONG TO OUR NEXT OPEN Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am learning COME ALONG TO OUR NEXT OPEN EVENT • •Next Scholarships and forces bursaries available Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, from 9.30am Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am New dedicated Sixth Form Centre for independent RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 Next Open Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am • 70 acreSaturday working farm and7NEXT BHS approved Equestrian Centre Next Day: 9th March, from Information event for Year 72013 entry in 9.30am September: Information event for Year entry in September: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 COME ALONG TO7 OUR OPEN EVENT Information event for Year 7 entry in September: Information event for Year entry in September: Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am Year 7 Information Evening, Friday 11 October, 5.30pm Information event for Year entry in September: Information event for Year 77 entry in September: •Next First class facilities for music, artFOR and drama Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29independent Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am • New dedicated Sixth Form Centre for learning Contact Jessica Ash on 01889 594 265 Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm Information event for Year 7 entry in September: Information event Year 7AVAILABLE entry September: Scholarship Morning for year 7,for 9 and 12 entry in September 2014,SEPTEMBER Saturday 16 November Contact Jessica Ash onin 01889 594 265 265 Friday 11th 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm Contact Jessica on 01889 594 RECEPTION PLACES FOR Friday January, 2013, 5.30pm Information event for Year 7Ash entry in September: Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm or visit Contact Jessica Ash on 01889 01889 594 265 265 or visit Contact Jessica Ash on 594 or visit • First class facilities for music, art and drama Contact Jessica Ash on 01889 594 265 • Scholarships and forces bursaries available Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm or 01889 visit Contact Jessica Ash Ash on 01889 594 265 265 or265 visit or visit Contact Jessica on 594 visit Contact Archer on 01889 594or or visit594 Contact Jessica on 01889 265 FridayMichele 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm Contact Jessica Ash on 01889 01889 594Ash 265 or or visit visit Contact Jessica Ash on 594 265 or Contact Jessica Ashand on 01889 594 265 or visit • visit Scholarships forces bursaries available or 01889 visit Contact Jessica Ash on 594 265 or visit

COME ALONG TO OUR594 NEXT OPEN EVENT Contact Jessica Ash on 01889 265 or visit Abbotsholme School Abbotsholme School Abbotsholme School Abbotsholme School SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 9.30am COME ALONG TO OUR NEXT2013 OPEN EVENT Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, from 9.30am Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from Rocester, Uttoxeter, Rocester, Uttoxeter, Rocester, Uttoxeter, Rocester, Uttoxeter, RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 9.30am NextNext Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am Abbotsholme School Abbotsholme School Information event for Year 7 entry in September: InformationRECEPTION event for Year 7AVAILABLE entry September: Staffordshire ST14in 5BS Staffordshire ST14 5BS PLACES FOR SEPTEMBER Staffordshire ST14 5BS Staffordshire ST14 5BS Rocester, Uttoxeter, Information event forAsh Year entry in594 September: Rocester, Uttoxeter, Information event for Year 701889 entry infrom September: Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm Next Open Day: Saturday 9th 2013 9.30am Contact Jessica on7March, 265 Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm ST14 5BS Contact Jessica on 01889 594 265 Friday 11th January, 2013,Staffordshire 5.30pm Staffordshire ST14Ash 5BS 16 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT AUTUMN 2013

or event visitJessica Information Year entry Contact Ash on 018897594 265 or in visit September: orfor visit Contact Jessica Ash on 01889 594 265 or visit

Contact Jessica Ash on 01889 594 265 or visit

Abbotsholme School School Abbotsholme Uttoxeter, Rocester,Rocester, Uttoxeter,

head vIeWPoInt

Inspiring every child The central purpose of a school is to enable ordinary human beings to do extraordinary things, says Phil Ward, head of Thomas’s Clapham, London


e Machecoulais is a soft, creamy, oval cheese with washed rind. The rind is thin, slightly wrinkled and pink. Great, simple, straightforward, and wonderful on crusty French bread. I know this because it is produced in La Vendée in western France, where we spend our family summers. I know a number of headmasters who migrate and hibernate in distant corners of the French countryside as soon as the long holiday finally envelops us. And I have no doubt that they, like this headmaster, have eaten rather too much of their favourite French lunchtime indulgences during a glorious summer holiday. In my case, this unhealthy treat is always the first cheese of choice when we arrive early, every Sunday morning, at the colourful food market at St Gilles Croix de Vie. Its purchase is a serious matter, a weekly crusade we aren’t easily diverted from. Le Machecoulais is a local favourite for others, too, and neatly stacked there aren’t many for sale. It pays to get to the cheese stall, creaking under the weight of the delights on display, ahead of the pack. It’s quite a sight, the cheese stall. But what to choose from the vast selection on offer, to accompany Le Machecoulais? It’s a conundrum, and often reminds me, as it will many heads as their school year unfolds, valiantly juggling the endless challenges of a typical school year (not to mention the well-intended who generate them), of General de Gaulle’s dilemma when he shrugged this question: “How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” As I drift around our local market, I enjoy watching the stallholders putting out their offerings, unloading their vans, arranging their wares. Bountiful and beguiling though the cheese, fish and many other offerings are at our local French market, my attention is always drawn towards my favourite stall. I reckon it takes 50 minutes to set up. He

Right, year five pupils at thomas’s Clapham performing The Sinking of the Titanic and, above, Phil Ward

sells cutlery and crockery, bizarre and routine household objects, garlic crushers, mops, saucepans. At the end of the market he’s perhaps sold 30 or 40 of his stock of 1,500 items. Some people have come into buy something specific, others like me to browse and to return in triumph with another useless kitchen gadget. If the stallholder had known exactly what he was going to sell he could have laid out the stall in five minutes and spent an extra half an hour in bed. But he didn’t. As the new academic year breaks into a canter, it’s useful to remind ourselves, from time to time, that the central purpose of a school, any school for that matter, is to enable ordinary human beings to do extraordinary things, to realise in every child an inspiring life. Put another way, the only excuse for running a school like mine, and your child’s, is that we do it really well, that we put out everything on our stall. We don’t know today what it is that will make a difference to the lives of our children. Some schools foolishly believe that by focusing more or less exclusively on academic performance they are fulfilling their role as educators. Nothing could be further from the truth. At my

school, and yours, too, I hope, we begin our new school year believing that what will benefit our children is not the acquisition of knowledge but the acquiring of it. We must remind ourselves that school is a time, not a place, a time when the excellent colleagues whom we entrust to inspire the young offer endless wisdom and opportunity, some of it to be seized, some of it not. I don’t know another prep head who isn’t striving to devise as near perfect a learning, living and leading environment for each child. How? By putting out everything on our stall, because we have no real idea which items and interactions on the stall might eventually make the difference. This is the joy of being part of a wonderful school, of unleashing the energy and ambition which has been stored up over the summer, of sharing the privilege of doing all we can as heads and teachers to inspire every child. As parents, you each have dreams for your children as the new year gets underway, and their teachers will have returned refreshed, eager to nourish them. It is this partnership which should ensure your children amaze you. Don’t look away, because I am certain they will. AUTUMN 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 17

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Down on the farm Thalia Thompson explores the increasing number of schools that have their own farms


aybe it’s the influence of chefs like Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall and Jamie Oliver promoting homegrown healthy food, or, maybe it’s the drive towards sustainability. It could even be a reaction to tighter economic times, but there has been an upsurge of interest in growing your own fruit and vegetables or keeping a few chickens in the back garden in the past few years. And this isn’t just happening in homes. Figures from the School Farms Network show there’s been a big increase in the numbers of schools which have farms over the last six years, too. There are now 102 schools in England and Wales, which have their own farm and 117 more schools planning to follow suit. For some independent schools, a farm has always been a part of school life. When the educational pioneer Dr Cecil Reddie founded Abbotsholme School in

Staffordshire in 1889, involving pupils in the work of the 74-acre farm was an important part of the progressive ethos of the school. At Bredon School in Tewkesbury, the farm was established soon after the school was founded in 1962 and originally the school was practically self-sufficient. Other schools, such as Mount House School in Devon, have come to farming more recently. Work began there eight years ago to transform a dormant piece of land into a school farm, which now houses pigs, alpacas and flocks of chickens, ducks, guinea fowl and quail as well as allotments and poly tunnels full of vegetables. At the Elms School in Malvern, headmaster Alastair Thomas says, they “started off with a few pigs and it grew from there.” Today the farm is an integral part of the school with a prize

Above, The Elms, Worcestershire, with their prize-winning cattle

winning herd of Hereford cattle, as well as Gloucester old spot pigs, free range chickens and horses.

Farming on the timetable These farms are more than just buildings, land and livestock. A farm has a real effect on the atmosphere of a school and can play an important part in the pupils’ education, both in timetabled classes and lessons for life. At Abbotsholme, for example, there are timetabled subjects, where pupils get involved with running a farm. The junior school even has a pupil-run egg business with budding entrepreneurs selling eggs to parents and staff. All the younger children at Bredon spend at least an hour a week on the farm, with many signing up for further AUTUMN 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 19

â?? I believe very

much in children being outdoors, rather than sitting on computers during their free time â?ž AlASTAir THomAS, Headmaster, The Elms, malvern

From above, The Elms, Worcs, Abbotsholme, Staffordshire, and Brookham pre-prep, Hampshire


❝ It is an integral part of the school with a prize

winning herd of Hereford cattle as well as Gloucester old spot pigs, free range chickens and horses ❞

Children often feel a real sense of achievement in their work on the farm

optional extra activity sessions. There’s even a dedicated band of boarders who help before breakfast or after supper.

Outdoor classroom

A school farm is the ultimate outdoor classroom. As Ian Egginton-Metters, co-ordinator of the School Farms Network, says, “Some people learn far more through action or observation outdoors rather than in the confined space of a classroom.” So when pupils at Abbotsholme are weighing sheep to compare growth rates between pedigree and crossbreeds, they’re learning as much about applied maths as they are about animal husbandry. At Mount House, pupils have used the farm as a focus for projects about recycling and sustainable energy production. “The school farm provides a fantastic opportunity for hands-on learning” says Earl Newton, head of DT, “and pupils find the tangible evidence of their work incredibly rewarding.”

Responsibility and confidence

Farming is all about taking responsibility. Whether taking care of livestock or growing crops, it’s not a part-time commitment and the results aren’t instantaneous. But the natural affinity many children feel for

working with animals and being outdoors encourages them to persevere and teaches them that hard work pays off. Children often feel a real sense of achievement in their work on the farm. And success in one area creates confidence which spills over into others. As Alistair Thomas, headmaster at the Elms, says “It’s very important to give children opportunities in as many different fields as possible, until you find the thing which they love doing.”

The rural idyll

School farms can inspire children, help them with academic lessons and teach them practical skills. But above all, they give children a wonderful environment to learn and grow up in. Thomas says, “I believe very much in children being outdoors, rather than sitting on computers during their free time. Childhood is very short and you want it to be a very special time that they remember.” For any school, wherever it is located, having a farm on site where pupils work in harmony with the seasons, or can watch a chick hatch out of an egg, can’t help but inspire what Ian EggertonMetters calls “a sense of awe and wonder – something that every teacher wants to instil in their pupils – it genuinely is real life learning.” AUTUMN 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 21


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Prep Schools

The next step Choosing the right school is akin to buying a new home, but a taster day can help the decision process, writes Simon Smith


hoosing the right school for any family is a huge emotional and financial investment decision, perhaps even more so than buying a new home – the costs can certainly be comparable! Fortunately, at least from my experience it is rather easier to research and consider one’s next school than one’s next house. I think I spent about an hour, in total, walking around my current home before committing to its purchase. Schools however, understand

the importance of giving as much of an immersion experience as possible for prospective parents and pupils and it’s essential to embrace all such opportunities. Prospectuses, websites and open days will give a flavour of the school’s ethos, priorities and opportunities but spending a consolidated amount of time at the school perhaps 24 hours or more, once or twice, can give a much better sense of what lies ahead and crucially whether one’s child will be happy in

Top, Haileybury School, Hertfordshire, and Prebendal School, West Sussex


❝ All Heads and parents want is happy,

enthusiastic pupils walking through the gates on the first day of school ❞ that environment. At Haileybury we have many means of helping informed decisions be made and ease the transition to a child’s next school. We hope that they all, in their own way, give the child a sense that they will be happy, challenged and supported. From my observations modern children are very sharp; they form well-considered views, even in just a few hours, as to whether that school is the right one for them.

This is important because preconceived ideas about what will be the best school (location, reputation, experience of family or friends) don’t always turn out to be the case. Sampling the “product” is essential. Most, if not all schools run a variety of taster experiences for younger or older pupils, day or boarders. At Haileybury we offer three such “discover” opportunities. At activity mornings, families are invited to a


Above, Bilton Grange School, Warwickshire

discovery session at Haileybury. The carousel of activities, run by teachers, enables prospective pupils the chance to sample the school’s sporting, academic and creative opportunities while allowing parents to have a tour of the school with one of our pupils, explore the local area or enjoy a coffee in the new “Grubber” café. Lunch is included for children; is there anything more important to a prospective pupil than whether they will like the food? One recent morning involved tennis in our indoor academy, music technology and learning Japanese – although thankfully not at the same time. We also host Mothers and Daughters’ evenings/ Fathers and Sons’ evenings. They too are a perfect, informal way, to find out more


about life at Haileybury, with activities ranging from storytelling and science experiments to energetic games and fiendish quizzes. There are no tests or anything too strenuous for a Friday night where activities culminate with a hot chocolate in a boarding house. One important thread in such taster sessions is not only the pupil finding out about the school, but the school finding out about the pupil and the family. They can get to know them and help make an honest assessment whether this is the right school. An important by-product of having a taste of any of these activities is inspiring a love and/or a discovered talent for something new that they will take with them, wherever that may be, in the years that follow.

Above, Moor Park Prep School, Shropshire, Haileybury School, Hertfordshire

Finally on an individual request basis a prospective pupil can spend a day, and night, shadowing a “buddy”: attending morning chapel, lessons, participating in the seasonal games or activities, perhaps most important of all eating and socialising with potential friends and finally sleeping overnight in an appropriate boarding house. Welcome and induction days, whole year group new boarders’ nights and so on can mean that a pupil arrives in September far more au fait with the school, new friends and the maze of corridors, paths and rooms. Most new younger pupils I speak with are more worried about getting lost in Haileybury’s 500 acres than whether they will cope with Latin or not.

In short, schools appear to be way ahead of estate agents. Perhaps vendors should allow a trial 24 hours living in the house, a couple of Sunday mornings playing in the garden or an opportunity to test the cooker? All Heads and parents want is happy and enthusiastic pupils walking through the gates on the first day of school. By providing a few simple opportunities to form relationships before that moment, schools can help allay any fears and help a 7-year journey get off to the best of starts. Simon Smith is the Deputy Head at Haileybury School, Hertfordshire. For more information visit...


Country life James Womersley, head of Beaudesert Park School, Gloucestershire, offers sage advice on relocating from the city to a country prep


any parents decide to move out of London when their children approach school age. For some it might be when the children have outgrown the garden. For others, they may want to conjure the lifestyle of their own country childhood for their children. Around 70% of the parents of children at Beaudesert Park School have lived in London before moving to the Cotswolds. When we first meet them, many are juggling decisions around schools, houses and travel arrangements. So what should they be considering when making those decisions?

Getting the timing right

I always advise parents that the move should be made when it best suits the family, certainly not the school. Luckily, country schools are often much more accommodating than those in London. There are many excellent schools who may consider themselves pretty full, but who would very likely be able to find space for a family moving in nearby. Here at Beaudesert we often take children, whether alone or in sibling groups, part way through school years and even terms, if that is what best fits their family circumstances. A good school will make sure any newcomer feels part of the school community quickly and seamlessly when they join.

Where to start?

In my experience, there is no set order in which to do things. Some parents find the school first and then look for a house. Many parents new to the area, but already decided on the school, choose to rent before buying. Others find the house and are pleased there is a good school nearby. A few fortunate parents 26 INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS AUTUMN 2013

already have a weekend place in Gloucestershire, and decide to upgrade here and downsize in London, with the family consequently setting up home in the country.

Your shortlist

Once parents have pinpointed an area, and drawn up a shortlist of potential schools based on school guide listings, websites and prospectuses, it’s a question of working through the logistics. If you have a boy and a girl, are you looking for two single sex or one co-ed school? If you have children of different ages, are you looking for a school with a nursery? Do you want a small village school or something more substantial, possibly with the space and facilities to match? Clearly no school prospectus or website can ever give a family as accurate an impression as the one they get when they see, hear and feel for

fewer cars mean fewer jams. In our case, the only likely hold-up is cattle obstructing cars on the nearby common!

Family-friendly flexibility The growth of flexi-boarding has clearly helped families juggle the complexities of family life. It has proved enormously popular here at Beaudesert and it may be better for children to occasionally board with friends at school rather than trying to employ a babysitter or nanny when parents are away from home. Like us, many country schools also offer before and after-school care – crucial for parents with longer commutes to work.

Sit back and relax If this all sounds as if we are that much more relaxed in the “sticks” –

If it sounds as if we are much more relaxed in the ‘sticks’ – well, we are! ❞ ❝

themselves, so taking the time to visit the top contenders is crucial.

Consider the school run

Always test the school run from where you are likely to be living. Many country schools cater for children from a fairly large area, and so offer transport to help. For example, all 380 children here at Beaudesert live within 25 miles of the school, and we have minibuses ferrying many of them to and fro to help with family logistics. Luckily, in the country

well, we are! Quite simply, there is less pressure for all concerned in country prep schools. This is not to suggest the education is any less rigorous; we are able to prepare boys and girls for highly selective senior schools. However, what we have is more time to build the children up to move on at age 11 or 13, confident in their ability to cope with the challenge of senior school. There are many excellent country prep schools throughout the UK that provide the same great quality of education. All of us have our own niche, providing children with a hugely positive experience of prep school life.

MOVING PLACES Clockwise, Brooke Priory School, Rutland, Culford School, Suffolk and Belmont Grosvenor School, North Yorkshire


Welcome to BIG school Andrea Johnson, head of Wychwood School, Oxford, tells you all you need to know about choosing a senior school for your child


hile this may seem obvious, before you even start looking at schools, it is essential that you take some time to think about the child. As a parent you will know them to a depth that no-one else will ever have, but it is still worth taking some outside perspectives on board. Talk to their godparents, their

aunts and uncles, and other adults such as prep school teachers or pastoral staff who know them well. They will have insights that could be major factors in choosing the right school. I am old-fashioned enough to believe that children do not have sufficient insight, experience or self-knowledge to make the choice of secondary school for


Above, Wychwood School, Oxford

themselves, whether they be aged 9, 11 or 13. This decision is part of the responsibilities that come with being a parent. Children need to be managed carefully so that they agree and are enthusiastic about their secondary school but it should not be their absolute choice. Parents should also try very hard to put aside any deeply held feelings


about what they feel would be the perfect school for themselves.

Values and mission statement A good school should primarily be developing happy human beings and this is done by about ensuring adolescents understand the important values in life. Teenagers are bombarded with trivia and irrelevancies masquerading as essentials and it is harder and harder for them to make valid distinctions. They can be helped to be happy in as many ways as there are good schools, but this is what parents must look for to underpin everything that goes on in a school. Look for the mission statement and examine it carefully for priorities and emphasis. If this makes parents feel that this is somewhere where their child will be happy, check the inspection reports. Does the school fulfil its mission statement and what do the inspections say about the type of human being that

â?? Look for the mission statement

and examine it carefully for priorities and emphasis â?ž

school develops and nurtures? Never underestimate the power of happiness as children who are miserable, anxious or distracted cannot think productively and therefore cannot learn. Happiness is complex and arises in a child who has confidence, integrity, resilience, tolerance and a strong feeling of self and self-worth. If, once you have been to the school and talked to the pupils, this is what you find, then that school is worthy of serious consideration. Then, the fit between the child and the school is of paramount importance. While schools are places where children learn to adapt to people and situations outside their comfort zone, the proactive who takes part in everything and thrives on competition will need a very

Above, pupils from Godolphin School, Wiltshire

different institution to the introvert thinker who prefers their own company and to learn by observation. Almost all schools are excellent at the integration of different personality types and this is an essential part of a good education, but the ethos of a school must be one in which the personality of the child will flourish. Shy children need more nurturing and a less confrontational atmosphere than the intensely extroverted child.

The issue of affordability One of the major issues that parents must face in these days of recession is autumn 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 31


Our small groups, attentive teaching methods and respect for your daughter as an individual will allow her to focus on her unique strengths and chosen path. To attend our next Open Morning or to arrange a private visit please contact Nicola Jones on 01865 517103 or GSA independent day and boarding school for girls aged 11-18 74 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6JR


❝ The fit between

the child and the school is of paramount importance ❞

that of affordability. In practical terms, can the family finances stand the cost of school fees? These vary enormously from school to school and parents need to do a proper financial audit before setting out on the path of paying for their children’s education. Taking extras into account is essential as school bills can creep up and up as the child takes advantage of the many excellent opportunities on offer. Parents need to understand this before they embark on the journey as the sacrifices can be enormous.

Big does not mean better Parents must also consider how much emphasis they will place on the size of the school and its facilities. Many schools have priced themselves almost out of the middle-class market by investing in top-end facilities and expansion. As the head of a small school, I have very decided views on this. Small schools can never compete with large schools on quality and range of facilities on offer due to economies of scale, but I passionately believe that small schools have something much more valuable to offer. Throughout their education, children should be known, cared for and actively developed. This happens in large schools but practicality and pragmatism dictate that the depth and quality of care must be greater in a small school. In my experience, that is indeed the case. In small schools, each and every member of staff knows your son or daughter, each child’s strengths and weaknesses can be discussed with the whole staff and the school can then take concerted action accordingly, whether academically or pastorally. This leads to

a properly child-focused education. Problems of whatever nature are identified and headed off early, achievements can be praised and developed and the chance of a child being missed or over-looked is so very much less.

Co-educational or single sex? And of course there is the vexed question of co-educational or single sex education. In an era where many maintained schools are adopting the diamond model and educating teenagers in single-sex classes, this has really been answered. Boys and girls learn in different ways – any experienced teacher will explain that to you in great

Above, boys at Madgalen College School, Oxford

detail. In order to get the best out of children, it is wise to teach them separately and ensure that they socialise together. As the head of a girls’ school, writing on AS results day, I have just asked two ex-pupils who went to co-educational schools for the sixth form how they did in my (traditionally male-dominated ) subject – chemistry. They both achieved B grades. I know they would have achieved high A grades, had they remained with us. While I can obviously never verify this, the voice of experience tells the same story time and again I am certain it is accurate from looking at the grades achieved by girls of similar abilities who did remain. So, there is a great deal to consider – take all the time necessary to make this decision. The person your child will become will depend on it. autumn 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 33



Marina Dawson-Damer

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PREPARING FOR COMMON ENTRANCE Tracy Cook explains the daunting process of entrance exams and how your child can shine in the interview process


f your child is at prep school, the Common Entrance exam will be one of the most important challenges in their prep education. It is a complicated process and one parents need to think about early. “There is no doubt that they are a tough set of exams,” says Imogen Jamieson, whose son took the Common Entrance last year. “There was a lot of pressure. The work started three years before and there was just so much to learn across all his subjects. It’s like a mini set of GCSEs.”

The exam

Common Entrance is sat at age 13 by both sexes, although traditionally more commonly by boys. Run by the Independent Schools Examinations Board (ISEB), it is used by some 250 senior schools to select candidates from prep schools. But unlike 11+ entry, Common Entrance is sat for one school only. As schools can set their own pass mark, varying from 55% upwards, AUTUMN 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 35

Left, Common Entrance is taken by boys and girls at 13, Pangbourne College, Berkshire



Do as much research as you can. Talk to parents whose children have been interviewed at that school before. Think about possible question areas – what books your child has read, his favourite hobby, what interesting thing he has seen recently on TV/in magazines, what he wants to do when he grows up, etc. Keep abreast with current affairs – watch the news. Know simple facts like who is the prime minister and what is the big story of the day. Ask a friend or relative to conduct a mock interview. Avoid insincerity and over-coaching.

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Brief your child about the school so they don’t ask an obvious/stupid question (ie. “Can I join the swimming team?” if the school has no pool). Encourage them to smile, be polite and make eye contact. Dress appropriately, possibly school uniform, so your child is comfortable. Take something into the interview that gives them a chance to demonstrate their interests. On the day, don’t stress your child with last minute instructions – you don’t want a child on the brink of tears when they go into the interview.

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choosing the right school is key and relies heavily on the advice of prep school heads, who have longstanding relationships with senior schools. “Common Entrance is an important focus for pupils, a terminal exam that gives momentum and progress for prep schools,” says Alex Peterken, headmaster of Cheltenham College. “Senior schools like it because it helps them understand where the pupils are, so they can provide an appropriate setting for them.”

“Old school”

But while many schools are happy with the exam, introduced in 1904, there has been criticism that it is old fashioned and based too much on factual regurgitation. “It does need updating urgently and the ISEB are listening to what schools are saying,” says Peterken. Paul Brewster, headmaster of The Beacon prep school, Buckinghamshire agrees. He is working with six prep schools to trial a Prep School Baccalaureate. “We think there has to be a better way to assess children. It works

over two years, building a profile of each pupil. It also assesses their learning skills, such as teamwork, or ability to work independently and so on.”

The Pre-test

But the road to Common Entrance is not straightforward. As the exam is sat in the summer before the September of entry, if a child fails, they can be left without a place. To avoid this and to help selection at an earlier stage, senior schools, like Eton and Wellington, have introduced a Pre-test held when a child is 10 or 11-years-old. If the child passes this, they are offered a place conditional on them passing the Common Entrance. Many senior schools are now also relying on the Pre-test and set their own exams which usually include English, Maths and Reasoning. This has led to children having to sit exams for several schools at different times of the year. Now the ISEB are responding by introducing a standardised Common Pre-test which pupils can sit once, online, at their own schools. Prospective



1. “Scientists believe that a huge asteroid collided with Earth.” Which word in this sentence is a preposition? Answer: “with” is a preposition because it shows how the asteroid is related in relation to the earth. 2. What type of words are these? terrible wondrous colossal fossilized A Common nouns B Verbs C Pronouns D Adjectives E Collective nouns Answer: These words are examples of adjectives because they are used to describe nouns


1. Which of the following calculations gives the answer 13.5? A (17 ÷ 2) + (3 + 3) B (1 + 8) x (6 – 4) C (4 x 5) – (3.5 x 2) D (13 + 6) – (11÷ 2) E 4.5 + 3 + 1.5 + 4 Answer: D (13=6) – (11÷2) = 19 – 5.5 = 13.5

2. A taxi charges £3.00 for the first 2 minutes of a journey, then 20p for every 30 seconds after that. How much would a 6.5 minute journey cost? Answer: £4.80

3. Give another word or phrase that means the same as these words as they are used in the text: “bizarre” (line 13) “ecstatic” (line 42) Answer: Various answers possible Eg. “bizarre” means ‘unusual’ or extraordinary’ Eg. “ecstatic” means ‘delighted,’ ‘very happy’ or ‘joyful’

senior schools will have access to the results and be able to offer places accordingly. “Pre-testing is very unfair on prep schools and young candidates,” says Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College. “It means prep schools are having to prepare young people for all manner of tests at Years Six and Seven and it is destabilizing to continuity of learning.”

revealing part of the whole process,” says Paul Green, Deputy Head of Admissions at Epsom College. “We are trying to find out whether the child will fit the school, what they are like and whether they think out of the box.”

Preparation and individuality

Usually held just after the pre-test, the interview format varies from school to school. Some schools, like Wellington, ask children to bring a meaningful object in to talk about while Epsom College ask boys to describe a picture or poem as an ice-breaker. Preparation is key says Woody Webster, co-director of Bright Young Things, who tutor for Common Entrance. “Interviews are really trying to find out about the intelligence, inquisitiveness and curiosity of a child, not just what they know. For example, you can be sure you will be asked about the last book you’ve read, but the child needs to be able to explain not just that he liked it, but why he liked it. Preparing ahead can turn a 2D answer into a 3D one. There’s a lot at stake here.” But Paul Green cautions against over-preparation. “We want to see individuality, not children reading from a prepared script. My most important tip is for children to be themselves.”

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Left to right, Sherborne School for Girls, Dorset, and Stonyhurst College, Lancashire

Interviews and the art of conversation But for some parents, the interview is the most dreaded part of the process. After all, most parents feel more responsible for their child’s social graces than they do their long multiplication. “The worst thing is you don’t know what to expect,” says one mother, whose son was successfully interviewed for Reed’s School, Surrey. “Most 11-yearolds are not used to talking formally to adults.” “The interview is the most helpful and



YOUNGTHINGS Up-and-coming stars from the independent school sector, by Josephine Price Lily James, 24


TRING PaRk ScHOOl , HeRTfORdSHIRe lily James started performing at the Tring Park School for the Performing arts before going on to the Guildhall School for Music and drama. She has appeared in The Wrath of the Titans where she played alongside Hollywood names such as Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, liam Neeson and Ralph fiennes and her TV credits include Downton Abbey, Just William and Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

Alexis Housden, 27

Menswear designer BedaleS ScHOOl, HaMPSHIRe alexis Housden’s name was whispered excitedly at london Graduate Week earlier this year as his menswear collection created quite a stir in the industry. after leaving Bedales, alexis studied at the london college of fashion and this year won the the collection of the Year at the end of year show. He has now secured backing and studio space from london

Kirsty Schneeberger, 28

college of fashion itself and is embarking on his own fashion label. He also hopes to

Environmental lawyer

take on the role of creative director in a


been selected to be represented at the

Having been awarded an MBE aged 25 for her services to environmental conservation, Kirsty has definitely got the groundwork in for a stellar career. Kirsty is a campaigner for sustainable development and intergenerational equity and has participated in the UK Youth Climate Coalition. She has worked with a list of renowned NGOs in both environmental law and sustainable development policies. Her career path was inspired by her university years in Sydney, Australia where she was first exposed to environmental politics. In the future she would like to work with community groups on cases which will help to protect the environment for future generations. 38 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL PARENT

fashion house in the future. alexis has also Young People’s Fashion Festival in london’s V&a Museum in October.

Roma Agrawal, 29

Structural engineer NORTH lONdON cOlleGIaTe ScHOOl, lONdON Roma has one big talking point on her CV, after spending the last six years working on the tallest building in Western Europe, The Shard with WSP Group. Since leaving North London Collegiate School, London, Roma has worked on bridges, skyscrapers and sculptures with award-winning architects. In 2011 her work was recognised and commended as she was awarded the ‘Young Structural Engineer of the Year’ prize. In her spare time she promotes engineering, scientific and technical careers to young people, especially women, in the UK and abroad. With a BA from the University of Oxford and a MSc from Imperial College, Roma is soaring to new heights.

School’S out

Bertie Gregory, 20

Wildlife photographer bradfield college, reading Bertie is an award-winning wildlife photographer who is currently studying Zoology at Bristol University but is also taking charge of his future career on the side. Bertie is a Young Champion of the 2020 Vision project which is the biggest nature photography project in the UK. The project aims to inspire people around the world to understand the link between healthy living and the environment. He is working for them to capture images of wildlife in urban settings. In addition, he is also creating his own documentary called West Coast Adventure which can be found on YouTube. He spends his summer on Vancouver Island, Canada where he enjoys taking photos of bears, whales and eagles. His passion for photography began when he was given an underwater camera when he was 12 years old. He has always been interested in wildlife and aged 12, with a camera in hand, his two passions began to


merge together.

Stuart Broad, 27

England cricketer oakham School, rutland

At school Stuart excelled at rugby and hockey alongside cricket but Oakham School encouraged him to focus his talents and cricket won his vote. He has excelled since school, initially with a one-day international appearance and quickly progressing on to international test cricket. He has been tipped as a future England captain.

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Warrior or worrier? A new book examines how children cope differently in stressful and competitive situations, writes Charlotte phillips

The pressure’s on With the right amount, we hit pressure points with just enough get up and go (or, in the case of exams, sit down and write) to do ourselves justice.

Around 25% of people – the warriors – are naturally blessed with a hard working form of the COMT gene. Like a crack team of cleaners, it clears out excess dopamine quickly and efficiently. Another 25% – the worriers – have a slower, lazier version. Stopping frequently for what you’d imagine is the enzyme’s equivalent of a fag and coffee, it leaves loads of the stuff swilling about, making the worriers feel over-stressed and panicky – not the feeling you want when you’re just about to sit a vital exam or take a driving test.

“Warrior” children relish the challenge of a competitive, situation, whereas the “worriers” tend to struggle

It’s down to evolution It’s down, as these things often are, to evolution. When early man wanted someone to do something quickly about that sabre-toothed tiger, a warrior was your man. Worriers, on the other hand, were the deep thinkers who could be relied on to maximise their group’s long-term chances of survival by thinking ahead. While sabre-toothed tigers may be thin on the ground these days, it’s a description that will strike a chord with many parents. Take Tracy Mellors who has a son and older daughter, both at selective schools. GCSES and A levels are looming, desks strewn with cue cards, while over-stuffed files spill their contents on to the dinner table. Her offspring mutter dates as they clean their teeth; test each other on narrative techniques at tea time and are past masters in the art of paring down a whole text book to a brief summary. Where they differ is in how they cope on the day. While her daughter wouldn’t

XX INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT autumn 2013 40 2012

imAge: CORBiS


icture the scene: the mother to be, the tense but happy partner and the consultant obstetrician’s first words. “It’s twins, Mr and Mrs Smith. And they’re both going to be worriers.” Yes, just when you thought parents had enough to think about when it comes to bringing up their kids, there’s another new conundrum to add to the pile. It comes courtesy of Top Dog: The Science of Winning or Losing, an engagingly-written new book by bestselling US authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman who have sifted through hundreds of scientific studies to bring us the latest thinking on competition and stress. Some of us are warriors, they say, who are good at all or nothing high stakes situations like exams, when doing well on the day is all that counts. Others, the worriers, can crumble under pressure. It’s all down, apparently, to our genes – specifically, to one little gene, snappily entitled COMT, an industrious little beast with the vital role of clearing up dopamine, the chemical that lights up our brain’s reward centre like a Christmas tree (and can be triggered by a whole range of treats, including alcohol – one of the reasons that your first glass of wine of the day is so pleasurable). It’s also implicated in ADHD.


Some of us are warriors, who are good at all or nothing high stakes situations like exams ❞




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Doing well on the day is all that counts. Others, the worriers, can crumble under pressure ❞ ❝

go as far as saying she enjoyed the exams Tracy has noticed a certain gladiatorial spring to her step as the trials approach. “She seems to walk taller,” she says. “It’s as if she feels she’s preparing to go into battle, with the whole world watching – and is looking forward to it.” With her son, however, it’s a very different matter. Though the more academic of the two, whose natural home is towards the top of the top set, he finds the stress far harder to deal with. As a result, his sister, staying cool, calm and collected in the exam hall, often does much better than predicted. He, meanwhile, can struggle to remember to put his own name at the top of the paper, let alone muster the information into a coherent, well-argued essay.

image: corbis

Too slick to be true? Warriors and worriers may sound just a little too slick to be true. Families in Taiwan, however, could tell you otherwise. There, children in the ninth grade sit an exam competitive enough to make your eyes bleed. Pass it and you go on to senior school. Fail, as six out of ten do, and your formal education is finished. Researchers there found by unscrambling the genetic code of 800 students sitting the exam, warriors have the competitive edge, scoring about eight per cent higher than the worrier contingent. So what difference does all this actually make when it comes to your own child’s future prospects? On balance, think the experts, not that much, which should come as a relief to any parent terrified that their genetic inheritance has given their child something else to blame them for. For a start, schools, staffed as they are with clever people who understand children, have known that their pupils cope differently with stress for many years and – surprise, surprise – are really rather good at coming up with solutions for the problem.

“Do we see these different types? Absolutely, yes,” says Mark Bishop, headmaster of Trinity School in South London. However, he adds reassuringly, “both school and home can do a huge amount to mitigate against any genetic predisposition to stress.” The book’s authors talk about stress inoculation, where over time, repeated exposure to anxiety-triggering events can make them less fearful. While Mark Bishop agrees, he also feels that helping children to understand why they’re feeling the way they do and what thoughts and feelings lie behind it is vital. So committed is he to the whole issue of mental wellbeing that the subject has recently been added to the curriculum.

It’s not clear cut And, as Jo Heywood, headmistress at Heathfield School, Ascot, and a scientist with a degree in medicinal chemistry points out, while the concept of warriors and worriers is “really interesting, it’s not as clear cut as that and I think it’s wrong to even to consider that it is.” Her pupils agree, to the point where they have come up with their own third category – waverers. “If we are about to sit an exam that has a finite amount of information to learn and we’ve learned it and we’re feeling great about our learning, then we’ll go in there and we’ll be like warriors. But when it’s a subject where there’s not a finite amount of information to learn such as languages where you can keep learning and find more words and vocabulary, we tend to be worriers because it’s harder to know if we have done enough,” say the girls.

Revision all the way Her advice is that pupils revise so thoroughly that the information is etched on pupils’ long-term memory. Unlike its short-term equivalent, as

Helping children to understand why they’re feeling the way they do and what thoughts and feelings lie behind it is vital

anyone whose mind has gone completely blank under stress can testify, it tends to hold up better under stress than its short term equivalent. As to how much time it’s worth spending on deciding how you’d tackle a sabre-toothed tiger; not much, is the advice – or at least, not yet. “The neuropsychology and biochemistry of learning and related academic achievement is at a very early stage and research in this area must be viewed with scepticism,” says chartered psychologist Dr Kairen Cullen. And of course there’s a practical issue, too. One day, no doubt, every good school will offer genetic profiling along with cello lessons and golf as standard extras. Until then, deciding whether we’re warriors, worriers or, courtesy of the girls at Heathfield School, waverers, is just one more thing to worry about. Top Dog: The Science of Winning or Losing by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman is published by Ebury Press and is priced at £20.00.


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The school gate Beware of the sting of the school-gate queen bee: every school has one, writes author Gill Hornby in her new book, The Hive

First day of term 8.45 A.M. DROP-OFF There was Bea, standing over the other side, in the shade of the big beech tree. Rachel, clearly waiting in the wrong place as usual, moved to go and join her and then stopped short. Uh-oh. She could read the signs even from that distance: taut, watchful, smiling . . . Bea was building up to one of her Big Announcements. The playground was so noisy and frenzied – it always was the busiest morning of the school year – that a normal person might have to shout, bellow even, to attract everyone’s attention. But not Bea. She would never raise her voice around school, especially after the bell had rung. Anyway, there was no need. She just picked her moment, cleared her long hair from each side of her face as if parting the curtains on a stage, gave a little cough and began: “Welcome back, welcome back. Hope your summer was amazing.” And at once the chaotic back-to-school clatter dropped to a placid, steady hum. The groups that were scattered about, catching up after the long break, all stopped and turned around. Those who were standing alone, anxious about the first day in a new class, forgot their nerves and stared. “Now then, everyone. Listen up. Please.” Bea held up her enormous bunch of keys, gave them a sharp rattle and smiled some more. “I have been asked…” she paused, “by the new head…” the words ruffled through the gathering crowd, “to pick a team.” She was on tiptoes, but there really was no need. Beatrice Stuart was tallest of them all by far.

Rachel, sinking back against the sun-trap wall of the pre-fab classroom, looked on and smiled. Here we go again, she thought. New year, new project. What was Bea going to rope her in for now? She watched as the keenos swarmed to the tree and clustered round. Their display of communal enthusiasm left her with little choice but to stay put, right there, keep her distance. She could sit this one out, surely. She was bound to hear all about it from Bea later. She would wait here. They would be walking out together in a minute. They always did. The Tarmac in the playground needed restoration and was already tacky from the unusual morning heat. Rachel had to keep peeling up the sole of her shoe to stop it sticking. While August had been dank and dark, the summer had bounced back buzzing and full of beans for the start of the new school year. It was funny, she thought, how the seasons seemed to take the holidays off, too. The last few Christmases had been warm and wet. Only in the Easter term had winter eventually shown up, buried them all and shut the school completely. And now here they all were, after a month of fleeces and cagoules and more Simpsons than was good for them, back

for the autumn and sweltering. Perhaps it wasn’t just schools that came alive according to the academic calendar: it was a pattern to suit the whole of the natural world. Rachel tried to tune in to Bea’s little rally without actually moving, but she could only hear snippets. There was something about the fabulous new headmaster. And the latest savage cuts. And, guess what, some fund-raising. Of course. Yet more fund-raising. She shifted her weight on to the other hip and tuned out again. She watched idly as a tractor measured out lines on a field beyond the games pitch, gazed up at an aeroplane drawing a perfect curve in a sky the colour of Quink. Christ, it was hot. What was she doing wearing jeans? This weather was doing nothing to help her general feeling of listlessness. Unlike, apparently, the rest of nature, Rachel had no back-to-school bounce. She was, of course, buzzless. Bean-free. She’d had to drag herself up the hill to get here this morning – Sisyphus and his wretched rock rolled into one. But still, after a holiday like that one, even Rachel was, if not quite glad, definitely relieved to be back. She always did like this school, and

❝ To see Bea surrounded by women – outlining

plans, issuing commands, thinking big, rearranging a few mountains – was to see a creature in its element ❞



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even from the murky puddle at the bottom of her own little well of misery, she could see that today it looked pretty much like paradise. St Ambrose Church Primary teetered on a hill, clinging to the edge of its market town, enjoying the view of the luscious green belt while it could, before the inevitable retail park came along to ruin it. Rachel loved its mock-ecclesiastical architecture, its arched front door and sloping roof – so resonant of the splendid 19th-century

rEaDEr OFFEr If you would like to receive a complimentary copy of The Hive, we have several to give away to a few lucky readers. Please visit our website for details. Visit for more information on our READER OFFER

❝ Rachel could read the signs even from that

distance: taut, watchful, smiling . . . Bea was building up to one of her Big Announcements ❞ social values that had brought it into existence. She could lose herself for hours in the different shapes thrown above the playground by the puzzled branches of the old beech tree, under which the children played in the day and their parents were assembling now. And of course she liked the people. OK: most of the people. St Ambrose, after all, was famous for its people. It was known throughout the county for its one-big-happy-family schtick. They all looked out for one another at St Ambrose; prided themselves on it. Well, some of them did. And Rachel had always, instinctively, made a point of having as little to do with that lot, thank you very much, as was politely possible. Still keeping her distance, she watched

them all over there, one-big-happyfamily-ing round Bea, raising their hands to volunteer for something or other, jittery with excitement. Rachel shook her head: frankly, she despaired sometimes, she really did. But, at the same time, she did think Bea was amazing; it was impressive, really, to give people some thankless task of joy-quenching tedium and make them feel truly thankful. To see her surrounded by women – outlining plans, issuing commands, thinking big, rearranging a few mountains – was to really see a creature in its element. The Hive by Gill Hornby is published by Little, Brown, priced £12.99.


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A world~class education in the heart of Bristol

Badminton nurtures intellectual curiosity and challenges enquiring minds in a supportive community. Our girls’ enthusiasm for the arts, sport and their many activities keeps the School vibrant – come and see for yourself!

Open Mornings held in October, March and May Badminton School, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. BS9 3BA 784928_CLS_Cottesmore 29/2/12 784928_CLS_Cottesmore 29/2/12 12:39 Page 1


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Cottesmore School · Buchan Hill · Pease Pottage · West Sussex · RH11 9AU 01293 520648 48 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT AUTUMN 2013


Modern manners Independent School Parent brings you our very own guide to what manners to teach your children in the modern age


he English, as a nation, love their manners. Fact. Around the world we are known for our fumbling politesse with different codes of conduct for a plethora of situations. In our modern world, fresh conundrums have been thrown into discussion as technology has introduced a whole new anxiety about what, and when, is appropriate, and who should be teaching these lessons. Earlier this year, Elizabeth Truss, an Education Minister, complained at the lack of manners taught in nurseries. However, the ‘modern’ dilemma with

technology exists as it is no longer the elders who can teach the youth the ways of the world. In the digital age it is the younger generation who are understanding the new codes and setting the bar. However manners, traditional or modern, are as important as ever. According to William of Wykeham, ‘manners makyth man’, but in 2013 what manners are we to follow and why? Independent School Parent takes a look at what manners we should expect children to know at different stages of their school life to avoid any modern etiquette dilemmas:

Nursery (2-4)

• Saying hello and goodbye Once your little ones are chattering away, making sure they say hello and goodbye to people is essential for a good first impression. • Please and thank you The simplest of lessons should be one of the first that your child should learn, and should be insisted upon by adults. • Waiting your turn Taking turns, whether it is in games or conversations, is a lesson best learned early. As they say, patience is a virtue.


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Worcester Road, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B61 7DU T: 01527 579679 W: Head Teacher: Chris Edwards MA (Oxon) Admissions: Rachel Scannell E:

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Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 3-18 years Total pupils: 1615, boys 910, girls 705 Type: Day, Weekly Boarding and Full Boarding Fees: Nursery: Day from £2,200 Pre-Prep: Day from £2,100 - £2,480 Prep: Day from £3,295 - £4,300, Weekly Boarding from £4,800 - £5,810, Full Boarding from £4,800 - £5,810 per term Senior: Day £4,725, Weekly Boarding £6,585, Full Boarding £8,990 per term Typical class size: Prep – 20, Senior – 16, Sixth Form – 2-12 Faith: Anglican Motto: Deo Regi Vicino (God, King and Neighbour) Entrance procedure: Entrance Test and Interview

School Philosophy: Ancient but as contemporary as tomorrow, Bromsgrove’s scope is staggering: from A level to the International Baccalaureate, day to boarding, the arts to sport, pupils can soar. Utterly dedicated to the individual pupil, despite its size, Bromsgrove shuns public school drones and instead looks to produce creative citizens with a strong moral compass and a dash of pizzazz to boot. The Good Schools Guide says that Bromsgrove “inhabits the academic stratosphere� and lauds our titanic extra curricular programme as one of the finest it has seen, while the Tatler’s Good School Guide called us a “Great school with a fantastically global perspective�. Friendly, engaging and – despite its ranking - not driven by league tables, Bromsgrove is a local, national and international centre of learning. Academic Record: Bromsgrove achieves outstanding results at both A level and IB Diploma. Over 98% of Sixth Form leavers continue to world class universities with the majority going to the Russell Group of Research universities. Extra-curricular: The Extra-curricular life of the School is hugely important with activities sessions every afternoon and on Saturday mornings. Pupils are encouraged to reach their highest possible level at sport, music, drama, debating, CCF and in numerous other areas. Notable Achievements and Alumni: Alumni include: Lord Digby Jones of Birmingham, A E Housman, Poet. Lucilla Wright England Hockey team Olympics and Commonwealth games. Olivia Safe Opera singer. Andy Goode England Rugby. Ben Foden England Rugby. Open Days: 13+ & 16+ Saturday 5th October Prep School (Years 3 – 8) Saturday 12th October Sixth Form Saturday 9th November




















Tours every Saturday morning during term-time by appointment 0118 964 4516 • admissions@bradďŹ • www.bradďŹ










































LuxuryOsustainable C B family A holidays R inN Pembrokeshire


Renew yourself and the planet at these delightful 5-star cottages 01348 831781


❝ In an age of texting, Twitter and all

things digital, the thank-you letter is as meaningful and necessary as ever ❞ Pre-Prep (4-7)

Prep (7-13)

• Understand friendships and the importance of sharing Once at school and making friends, it is important that your child understands why they need to do this and why they should value their friends.

• Be able to answer a phone and take a message Being able to rely on your child to answer the phone politely and relay messages to you is a feat to be proud of.

• Talk to adults Talking to adults ensures your child will keep safe and be understood and respected by their elders.

• Be able to sit through a meal with adults Being able to progress from the ‘kid’s table’ to being able to enjoy a meal with adults is an exciting step for children.

• Understand healthy eating As childhood obseity is on the rise, it is never too early to teach good habits and the importance of being healthy.

• Write thank you letters In an age of texting, Twitter and all things digital, the thank you letter is as meaningful and necessary as ever.

• Understand table manners From which sets of cutlery to use, and when to start eating, a child with good table manners is always welcomed back to a friend’s house.

• Understanding social media Social media will not necessarily be part of your child’s life yet but understanding cyber safety and what social media is for can never start too early.

COMPETITION With almost 250 years of expertise, Debrett’s is uniquely placed to share its knowledge of etiquette and British style. For your chance to win one of five copies of Debrett’s A-Z of Modern Manners , just answer the simple question: What year was Debrett’s established? Visit for more information on how to enter our COMPETITION



‘Dauntsey’s is ... Fab’ The Good Schools Guide

Boarding and Day School Co-educational · 11–18

Open Morning Saturday 12th October Please book online

West Lavington Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 4HE

Cobham Hall

Independent Boarding and Day School for Girls aged 11 to 18 in Kent, near London, A2/M2 & M25

Because every experience is a lesson...

OPEN MORNINGS: Saturday 5th October 2013 | Saturday 22nd March 2014 | Tel. 01474 823371 52 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT AUTUMN 2013


Mix and match Dipping in and out of independent education is a way of making it affordable, writes Giulia Rhodes


his September, seven- yearold Joshua is, like many other children, settling into a new school. He has moved from his local state primary to a wellregarded London prep school – a transfer for which his parents have been planning and saving for years. They are one of a growing number of families choosing to switch between the state and independent sectors in a bid to stretch their education budget as far as possible. For Joshua’s mother Sarah this pick-and-mix approach seems ideal. “We could not afford independent school all the way through for our two boys, so we want to focus the money on senior school where we feel the extra resources, activities and academic drive will make the most difference,” she says. However, when she began researching independent secondary provision in their area of south London, Sarah became concerned that competition for places was so fierce her boys might lose out.

Sooner rather than later “We thought moving them earlier gave a better chance of places at senior schools we really wanted and that the process might be gentler as the gap between state and independent expectations would be smaller,” she adds. With average fees at Sarah’s south London prep options above £4,000 per term (The Independent School Council’s latest figures cite the average independent fees as £4, 765 a term), the savings she has already made by having her sons do three years in the state

sector is significant, but, she says, it was not the only consideration. “We liked the relaxed feel of the local primary for the early years. I loved the idea of being able to walk to school together in a few minutes and of the boys making very local friends and getting a real sense of their community.” According to Jim Stearns, headmaster of Shoreham College, Sussex, an independent school for children aged three-16, moving into the private senior sector is common. His school goes from

Parents are mixing and matching private education according to their family finances

one very small nursery class through to two Year 4 classes and three Year 7 classes.

Not up to scratch… “We have an increasing number of families who feel their child is not being stretched enough in the later primary years - but the main concerns are about secondary. All the state options in our area are huge, and there are inevitably issues with behaviour and discipline and


Outstanding boarding in the heart of York 01904 527 300 Clifton St Olave’s St Peter’s 3–8 8–13 13–18 Registered Charity Number: 1141329



children who are in that lost middle ability-wise.” Stearns reports parents are also looking for the sports and creative facilities the private sector can offer. “We are very ambitious in sport, music and drama – the so-called extracurricular activities which are so important for building confidence and allowing everyone to find their individual strength.”

Invest in a prep school for a good state secondary In areas of the country with state grammar schools the switch is often reversed – with parents funding prep schooling in order to help children secure the most selective state secondary places. Angela Culley, head teacher of The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells sees around 50% of her Year 6 leavers go into Kent’s state grammar system. “In the last five years we have seen people dip in and out of the system much more readily. Many are choosing to invest in prep school but sometimes it is just for the last few years so that they can save on fees.” Yet although Culley is proud of the Mead’s success rate in winning coveted grammar school places, she is adamant this must not drive primary education. “Every child deserves a childhood and to feel success regardless of their innate academic ability and secondary destination. We want to create passionate lifelong learners with good study skills, confidence and self esteem – who will thrive when they get to their new schools. Of course I feel investing in the grounding is the way to do this. You need a solid base to build on.”

Preparation is key

The key is to prepare children without narrowing the focus too much towards the tests. More important, she says, is careful streaming in Key Stage Two to ensure all pupils are working to their potential, small teaching groups and regular progress checks so that teachers and parents are aware of how each child is doing and whether grammar school is the right and realistic option. While Culley’s school is used to preparing children for competitive selective school places, parents

❝ Parents are also looking for the sports and

creative facilities the private sector can offer ❞ transferring their children into the independent sector often seek extra support. Sarah employed a tutor to help prepare Joshua for entrance tests and to identify any gaps as his teachers had no experience of the process.

Children who move from a state primary to a private senior school is common

Demand is high

Mylene Curtis, managing director of Fleet Tutors says demand for support in applying for independent places is high. “Tutoring isn’t a long-term commitment and increasingly parents are being very strategic about education. In many ways though, parents are more aware than ever of the value of an excellent education.” For many of her clients, accessing the independent sector later is an achievable compromise. “The selective private

What’s your view? Discuss on Twitter... @ISParent

schools operate about two years beyond the expected National Curriculum levels so you need to make sure children are writing and reading really well and have good maths skills. For a bright child in a good primary and well–supported by their parents, this is not usually a problem and a good tutor can spot any gaps and help build organisational and study skills.” For Sarah the experience has been less stressful than she feared. “It definitely seems worth it now. My main concern was not to worry Joshua. We kept reassuring him that it was just about finding the right school for him – wherever that was.” For more information visit...


King Henry VIII Prep School

Perrott Perrott Hill Perrott Hill Hill

Time and space for a full education Time and space for a full education Time and space for a full education | T: 024 7627 1307

A wonderful, friendly school providing a first class foundation for life. Boys and girls welcomed from 3 years of age. Continuous education to 18 years of age through the Senior School.

Open Morning: Saturday 12th October Autumn Term Open Mornings Friday 11th and Saturday 12th October 2013 Please contact the school for information regarding Scholarships for 2014

King Henry VIII School, Warwick Road, Coventry CV3 6AQ

Perrott Hill, North Perrott, Crewkerne, Somerset, TA18 7SL Visit us at or call us on 01460 72051

A leading co-educational day school, since 1545

Catholic Day and Boarding School for girls aged 11 to 18

• Experience teaching the IB Diploma for over 30 years

• Scholarships and bursaries available • Multilingualism: up to 9 languages taught

• Exclusive pre-IB Middle Years Programme • Nurture and support: girls gain excellent results

• Internationalism: over 40 nationalities, yet one shared mission

• Places achieved at top Universities worldwide

• All faiths welcome

Please contact: Tel: 020 8949 0571 George Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 7PE.


SCHool Hero

[ Meet tHe… ]

Science supremo No one day is ever the same for Colin Hough, science teacher at Bolton School Boys’ Division, Lancashire


hen I left university at 21 with a degree in Biological Sciences, I thought I had finished with education and if anybody mentioned teaching the answer was a definite, “No, never!” So what happened to change my mind? I secured a 12-month position at a zoo working in the education department, researching animals and giving guided tours. I found that I enjoyed imparting information, and my enthusiasm for the understanding of animals to others. Twelve months later I was studying for a Post Graduate Certificate of Education. I started teaching in the independent sector as the National Curriculum came into schools. It was enjoyable teaching in an environment where children are keen to learn. I was able to go beyond the curriculum, to take the learning experiences to a level that enthused the children, encouraging them to ask questions about the world around them. I have been a science teacher now for 25 years and it is a joy to talk about a subject that interests and fascinates me every day of my working life. As always in teaching, no day/week/month/year is ever the same and this is probably the main reason why I enjoy teaching so much; the start of every academic year is always a journey into the unknown with new pupils and new challenges. Science is always in the news and the pupils I teach love to ask questions about developments in the news – there is no sitting back on your laurels with inquisitive 7-11 year old Bolton School pupils in the building! Science is brought alive in the classroom by encouraging an environment of learning through

Science is brought alive by encouraging an environment of learning through interest, says Colin Hough (above)

interest, stimulating the boys’ curiosity in the world around them, encouraging critical and creative thinking while applying scientific understanding. I can still walk out of a classroom with that glowing feeling when a lesson has resulted in a “light bulb moment” for a pupil who has understood a particularly difficult concept or has answered a question to a level well beyond his years. I love it when pupils leave my classroom talking about what just happened, so I am always looking for “wow” science. I am fortunate to have a specialist science room with wipe clean surfaces in which I have deliberately shunned carpet… 8 year olds and compost don’t mix well with carpet fibres! Being on the second floor of our school, we can carry out gravity

experiments by throwing things out of the window and we get a useful breeze through the room for when I build a mini bonfire in a tin tray. Coupled with science is technology and so I have made sure I am up there with the technological advances in education. We have recently set up blogs and I have found our science one a useful tool for encouraging pupils to think more about science throughout the week and their holidays. I have moved away from setting written homework sheets to setting extended investigative challenges at home using the blog as a tool, encouraging the boys to bring the findings into school and talk about things through the medium of blogging. It has been a great success with hits from all over the world, including other schools. AUTUMN 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 57

Open Morning Wednesday 16th October 10 am – 12 noon A Co-educational Day, Weekly/Flexi Boarding Prep School, 7-13 years. Set in 40 acres of stunning Surrey countryside, less than 50 minutes from London. Entry points at 7+ and 11+ and intervening years if places available. For further information please contact Fiona Bundock Tel: 01483 542051 Email: Cranleigh Preparatory School, Horseshoe Lane, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8QH

Hatherop Castle School

B7329_CPS_129x202L 2.indd 1

Situated near Cirencester in acres of beautiful parkland, Hatherop School is a Nursery and Prep School offering a co-educational education to children aged 2 to 13. Boarding packages are available.

Begin your BIG adventure with


12/09/2013 17:26


Celebrating 65 years at Hatherop Castle and 20 years as a Prep school Every day is an Open Day at Hatherop Castle School so if you are passing come in and see the school in action or put the following dates in your diary:

Open Mornings

Friday 18th October 2013 Tuesday 19th November - Nursery and Reception Please contact the Admissions Registrar on 01285 750206 for further details

Hatherop, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 3NB 01285 750206 58 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT AUTUMN 2013

activityelephant rainforest


discovery morocco

tribe jungle hiking learning zip-wire

europe kayaking culture thailand nature dolphin cycling costa rica snorkel fun Small Groups & Bespoke Holidays

0845 051 4567


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Independent Day School for Girls from 4 to 18 years Independent Day School for Girls from 4 to 18 years Independent Day School for Girls from 4 to 18 years ENTRY Independent DaySEPTEMBER School for Girls from 42014 to 18 years Independent DaySEPTEMBER School for Girls from 42014 to 18 years ENTRY ENTRY Independent DaySEPTEMBER School for Girls from 42014 to 18 years For a prospectus. or to visit the School, please ENTRY SEPTEMBER 2014 For a prospectus. or toJanette visit the School, please ENTRY SEPTEMBER 2014 contact the Registrar, Micklewright, on For a prospectus. or toJanette visit the School, please ENTRY SEPTEMBER 2014 contact the Registrar, Micklewright, on 0207 594 4982 or email

For a prospectus. or toJanette visit the School, please contact the Registrar, Micklewright, on 0207 594 4982 or email For a prospectus. or to visit the School, please contact the Registrar, Janette Micklewright, on 0207 594 4982 or email For a prospectus. or toJanette visit the School, please contact thewebsite Registrar, Micklewright, on Events Please see our for details of Open 0207 594 4982 or email contact the Registrar, Janette Micklewright, on Events Please see our website for details Open 0207 594 4982 or email for 2014 entry into the Senior and of Junior Please see our website for details of OpenSchools. Events 0207 594 4982 or email

for 2014see entry the Senior and of Junior Please ourinto website for details OpenSchools. Events for 2014see entry into the Senior and of Junior Please our website for details OpenSchools. Events for 2014see entry into the Senior and of Junior Schools. Please our website for details Open Events for 2014 entry into the Senior and Junior Schools. 133 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LE Schools. for 2014 entry into the Senior and Junior 133 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LE 133 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LE 133 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LE 133 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LE 133 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LE

Which school combines a relaxed atmosphere with outstanding exam results?


Queen’s College combines a friendly, relaxed atmosphere with a real sense of purpose and a passion for learning. Pupils have access to a broad and interesting curriculum, taught by an outstandingly committed staff. Which is why Queen’s is ranked as the top academic school in Taunton, achieving the best exam results over the past ten years. Junior School (3-11 years) Open Morning Friday 4 October 2013, 9.30am to 12 noon. Senior School (11-18 years) Open Morning Saturday 5 October 2013, 9.30am to 12 noon.

- We’re the answer For further information, contact: • 01823 340830 • 60 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT AUTUMN 2013


Beautiful books

Illustrated reading for your little ones...



Hardback, £12.99, out October 2013, Penguin, 5-8 years old

A beautifully illustrated Christmas tale will get you prepared for the holiday season. Beatrix Potter’s creation, Peter Rabbit, sets off with Benjamin Bunny and William across the Lake District in an entertaining magical adventure. Written by Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson and illustrated by Eleanor Taylor, this is set to become a new childhood favourite.

Do you speak English, Moon? By Francesca Simon and Ben Cort

The stories of Winnie the Pooh By A. A. Milne

Three Little Owls By Emanuele Luzzati, John Yeoman and Quentin Blake

Hardback, £14.99, out now, 5+

Hardback, £11.99, out now, 3+

Hardback, £9.99, out now, 3+

Egmont Publishing

Tate Publishing

Orion Children’s Books

If you haven’t yet introduced your child to the

This rhyming Christmas story takes us around

The renowned Horrid Henry author has

wonderful world of Winnie the Pooh, this

the world on Christmas day with three little

released another book with talented illustrator,

book is the one to do it with. Published this

owls. The charming poetic tale is illustrated by

Ben Cort. This enchanting bedtime story

year, this anniversary edition of A. A. Milne’s

British favourite Quentin Blake and translated

follows one boy who talks to the moon at

first stories tells the tale of Pooh and his forest

from Italian into English by John Yeoman. The

night. They share their stories and their

friends, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga and Roo.

beautiful images and delightful characters in

favourite things before they settle down to

E. H. Shepard’s beautiful illustrations

this festive adventure tale are sure to be a hit

sleep. A great book for difficult sleepers!

throughout the book bring the stories to life.

with any young reader.



Skiing in Norway Find out why this Scandinavian country is fast becoming one of the most popular ski destinations for young families... NOrway – CLOSEr THaN yOu THINk! Within 1 hour 45 minutes from most major UK airports you will find yourself landing at one of Norway’s superefficient airports – upon exiting the terminal building, you are met by the fresh, invigorating Scandinavian winter air. The transfer to your chosen resort through winter wonderland scenery and alongside vast frozen lakes creates the backdrop for an idyllic family holiday. Skiing in Norway is something special: quiet slopes, no queuing for lifts and a warm, friendly atmosphere-making skiing with children especially easy. After a day on the slopes, energy levels permitting, why not try night skiing (on flood lit- slopes) to experience skiing the Scandinavian way!

Norway is the ideal skiing destination for children of all ages looking to start out in the sport, improve upon their current skills or build confidence FUN – is the key


Trysil resort is the largest ski centre in Norway and has a reputation for outstanding quality both on and off the slopes. The resort boasts two large children’s ski areas as well as adventure slopes through forest trails. The resort of Hemsedal is widely regarded as the “Scandinavian Alps” with high peaks and great skiing for all abilities. The children’s area is the largest in Northern Europe with a wide variety of fun activity slopes and easy to use lifts, all designed with the youngest skiers in mind. Accommodation in the ski resorts is of the highest quality and ranges from spa hotels and rustic log cabins to luxury apartments and catered chalets, all

located with ski-in-ski-out access. After a fun-filled day on the slopes your home from home awaits you. As well as amazing skiing, great accommodation and a wonderful resort atmosphere, the resorts of Trysil and Hemsedal also offer a snow guarantee from November until the end of April.

CLaSS-LEaDINg SkI INSTruCTION Ski school is an important part of a child’s skiing experience and Norway has some of the best ski schools and instructors in the world. A specially designed programme called funSki Academy for 4-15 year-olds operates in the resorts of Hemsedal and Trysil and

provides a positive, fun and rewarding experience in small groups of up to seven children. FunSki Academy is available for all levels and abilities from beginners through to advanced skiers, with the main emphasis on FUN.


Childcare facilities in resort are exceptional and cater for infants from 6 months to children of 8 years-old, with both indoor and outdoor activities to keep the youngest members of the family entertained. Nannies are also on hand to support parents during the day and provide baby sitting in the evenings. Nannies are available free of charge via skiNorway as part of a holiday package.

NorwegiaN Family Ski SpecialiStS | 020 7199 6010 62 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT autumn 2013


The great escape Mary Lussiana presents a roundup of some of the best luxurious family-friendly ski destinations‌

Skiing makes for an exhilarating holiday for the whole family

Ref: ISP001



Handpic ked chale ts with c care, self hild-catering apartmen and hote ts ls in famil y friendly resorts a cross the Alps. We make skiing wit h childre fun, stres n s fr Flexible c ee and memorab le. hildcare ensures whole fa th e m ily gets th your time e most fr in the mo untains. om


www.skif .uk 0845 64 437 64 Twitte

r: @skifam ille Facebook facebook.c om/family skiing




f you’re a chalet enthusiast, you will find a good choice at Snowchateaux (, who specialise in ski-in-ski-out chalets in France, or Ski Olympic (, who offer fully catered lodges across the Alps. Meanwhile, these hotels (and one lodge) below, will give you everything you could wish for. Wonderful skiing, and for the perfect end to an exhilarating day, seriously good food and wine – not to mention their own special brand of service.

Le Grand BeLLevue, switzerLand Originally built in 1912, as a cure house and spa, Le Grand Bellevue was bought last year by a Swiss hotelier couple, who married in Gstaad and spent their first night at the hotel they now own. Having lavished their business expertise and design skills on the hotel, it will open on the 13th December providing an Art Deco bar with sophisticated cocktails and a restaurant – Leonard’s – where Michelin-starred chef, Urs Gschwend, will deliver his refined bistro-style cuisine. Traditionalists should head to Le Petit Chalet, in the hotel grounds, which will serve hearty Swiss mountain dishes. With just 57 rooms and a bold, eclectic style, a huge 2,500sq metre spa with a Himalayan salt inhalation grotto, a yoga and pilates studio, a large swimming pool and the feel of a country house amidst the mountains, this is somewhere for guaranteed R&R. Contact:

ChevaL BLanC, CourCheveL, FranCe If you win the lottery, the first thing you should do is book here, for nowhere – and I mean nowhere – is quite so indulgently spoiling as this hotel. The rooms come with their own hammams, a mini bar filled with Krug, Dom Perignon, Veuve Cliquot, or Belvedere Vodka, if bubbles aren’t your thing. Log fires blaze in the bar, accompanied by jazz, bowls of truffled cashew nuts and glasses of crisp cocktails. There is a Guerlain spa which will take 10 years off your feet and your face. Then there is the food. At The White, take the Tasting Menu or indulge in the Foie Gras Burger. At 1947, the 2 star Michelin restaurant, under the auspices of chef Yannick Alleno, try the bouillon of gold flakes, after all if you have won the lottery you can afford to. For the children, there is husky mushing and the best snowman kit you will have ever seen. Contact:

FLoCons de seL, MeGève, FranCe If you want to savour the mountains, nowhere could be better than this 3 star Michelin restaurant with rooms. Think dishes of roasted pigeon, slightly smoked with conifer, a trolley groaning with gourmet mountain cheeses or a meringue filled with iced milk from the mountain pastures. Go foraging in the forests with the chef, take a cookery class or treat yourself to a spa treatment where the aromas of Megève pine trees and mountain flowers will revitalise you. As for the skiing – Megève speaks for itself. Contact: With guaranteed unparrelled luxury, you’ll almost forget you came here to ski. From top, Cheval Blanc, France and Le Grand Bellevue, Switzerland.

AlpineAnswers No one knows luxury ski holidays like us!

CONNOISSEUR TRAVEL Providing family holidays for discerning travellers since 1994

Experience your own unique tailor made worldw id luxury family e holiday

The smart way to book a ski holiday We’ve been visiting and reviewing resorts, chalets and hotels in the Alps covering those we consider to be excellent value for money right up to the most hip and cool for twenty years now. We only choose our favourites, and we share the same insider knowledge we’d give our best friends with you. Feel free to browse our portfolio on-line and send us a brief , or simply just give us a call. For more information visit our website: Or simply call us on:

020 7801 1080

Tel: 01403 272143 • ABTA No.D4050

All travel is covered by fully bonded ABTA/ATOL tour operators.



San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, doLoMiteS, itaLY This 16th-century hunting lodge, perched at 1,200 metres overlooking three different valleys, has been turned into an ultra-desirable mountain retreat by one of Italy’s most respected fashion duo. Stefano and Giorgia Barbini fell in love with the crumbling, historic property and decided to turn their back on their hectic life (Stefano was CEO for Italy and France at fashion house Escada, and Giorgia was the retail director for Escada Italy) to restore it. With passion, determination and aesthetic skill, they have created a unique 4-bedroom property with all the luxurious touches to meet the demands of today’s high-end traveller such as heli-pads, outdoor whirlpools and private golf course, all without compromising on the heritage of the building. Old beams jostle with elaborate carvings and the entrance hall boasts a vaulted Renaissance ceiling. Fully staffed, with Giorgia the resident chef and Stefano in charge of the wine cellar, with its 1,500 bottles of South Tyrolean wines, you are seriously well looked after. Available for exclusive rental from €2,400 per day based on 2 guests with the price increasing by €100 per additional adult or €50 Euros per additional child. Inclusive of breakfast, tea, dinner, non-alcoholic drinks and one daily private transfer to the slopes. Contact:

roSa aLpina, doLoMiteS, itaLY

This family run hotel in the UNESCO World Heritage Dolomite mountain range exudes charm and a hugely welcoming atmosphere from the heart of its small traditional Ladin village. The 2 star Michelin St Hubertus Restaurant, with just nine tables, is a place of pilgrimage for gourmands. Here, you can feast on char from the clear mountain rivers or ravioli with liquid goat’s cheese, paired by some of the finest wines from South Tyrol. But just as much an important part of culinary life at Rosa Alpina, are the superb homemade pizzas and famous fondues. The 51 bedrooms vary in style and size but many have open fireplaces, wooden floors and a cosy mountain décor which pulls you back year after year. Contact:

HaMeau aLbert 1er, CHaMonix, FranCe Five generations of the same family have devoted their passion to this wonderful hotel, which sits beneath the Chamonix mountains. Twenty one contemporary rooms lie within the main building, but my favourite is the neighbouring section, La Ferme, which was recreated from 15 former alpine farms and now comprises 12 luxurious chalet rooms full of character. The 2 star Michelin Albert 1er restaurant should not be missed, nor should a chat with one of France’s leading sommeliers – Christian Martray – who presides over a cellar which holds almost 19,000 bottles, and yet will still find exactly the right choice for you. Outside, Chamonix offers a multitude of stunning slopes for all levels. Contact: Clockwise from top left, San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, Dolomites, family holiday in Gstaad, San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, Rosa Alpina, Dolomites, San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge

Founded in 1989, The Tutors Group is Britain’s premier education consultancy, private tuition agency and bespoke schooling provider. Our consultancy service delivers sound independent advice to parents on all aspects of education. Philip Fawkes

Keith Pusey

Victoria Udall

Senior Advisor & Education Consultant

Senior Education Consultant

Director of Higher Education

Philip Fawkes has been a Headmaster of five schools over 25 years, the most recent of which was Bruern Abbey, a unique preparatory school preparing bright children with learning difficulties for mainstream education. In this capacity, he has prepared many pupils for schools such as Winchester College, Rugby, Charterhouse and Tonbridge. Philip is one of the UK’s leading experts in working with children with special educational needs.

Keith Pusey was a Head of Department at Wellington College, and at Winchester College where he subsequently became Academic Deputy Head and Registrar (Director of Admissions). An an experienced examiner and ISI inspector, he has had the opportunity to look at the work of many of the leading schools in the UK, providing valuable insight when helping parents select appropriate schools for their children.

Victoria Udall is our Director of Higher Education. Whilst studying Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University, Victoria discovered a passion for educational psychology. During her subsequent time at law school, and while working as a family barrister, she mentored students through their university applications before joining The Tutors Group. Victoria is an expert in the UCAS and Oxbridge applications process.

Rupert Syme

Kate Cullinan

Education Consultant & MD

Education Consultant & School Director

Rupert Syme has been providing academic assessments and educational advice for the past 11 years. Rupert’s areas of expertise include comprehensive assessments and school selection as well as the provision of strategic advice to parents and contingency planning for children who, for one reason or another, are not succeeding in their current school. During this time, Rupert has visited and continues to work with the top UK day and boarding schools, resulting in the successful placement of hundreds of our clients’ children.

Kate Cullinan manages Blythe Hall School, our bespoke one-to-one educational environment. Kate focuses on educational transitions and onward placements into schools, sixth form colleges, and universities, particularly focusing on more complex situations where education has been disrupted due to illness, relocation, or the breakdown of current schooling arrangements. Her highly detailed and rapid-response approach ensures that the next educational step is absolutely right for the individual student.

Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child. Get it right and you will have a happy, confident and fulfilled young person. Get it wrong and in some cases the reverse can be true. Rupert Syme

Education Consultant & Managing Director The Tutors Group / Blythe Hall School


Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7602 2012


Blythe Hall, 100 Blythe Road, London W14 0HB


Choosing the right school rupert Syme, educational consultant at The Tutors Group, explores what to consider when choosing a school and what sources to be wary of


his is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child. Choices in education require thought and consideration. Get it right and you will have a happy, confident and fulfilled young person who at eighteen will be ready to launch into a job or university. Get it wrong and in some cases the reverse can be true. We advise parents to treat the following sources of information with caution:

• Your friends’ advice

We know you trust your friends. However just because a school is brilliant for their children, it does not mean it will be any good for yours. • Your alma mater

Daddy went to Eton and so little Sam is going too. However, remember that schools change over time and the profile of an Eton candidate now is dramatically different from 25 years ago.

• Open days

School cleaned to within an inch of their lives, teddy bears brought in in bulk, salad bar dusted off and teachers and children ordered to smile. Form 4B (or “The Terrible Fourth”) have mysteriously disappeared on a geography field trip. • Current head teacher

Can be helpful, experienced and have all the right knowledge and contacts. For a boarding school education, you are investing around £250,000 per child of net earnings. For this, it would be reasonable to expect your child to be happy, confident, nurtured, encouraged, have their needs met and to perform at the best of their ability. Good advice and forward planning will help this become a reality for the whole family. For independent advice and academic assessments from an expert consultant, contact The Tutors Group.

Choices in education require thought and consideration

wHaT TO CONSIDEr Start planning early. draw up a list of at least six schools, including one in the ‘second tier’ as a backup. Get your child assessed by an independent educational consultant. involve your child from the start and respect their opinions. do you really like and respect the housemaster/mistress? they will be responsible for your child. do you like the students you meet? talk to as many current parents as you find. are there taster days on offer? trust your instinct. . once you have a shortlist of two schools, keep visiting by going to concerts, plays and sports days.

the tutorS Group – 020 7602 2012 – www.thetutorSGroup.Com


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young minds

Space to think, room to grow, opportunity to excel.


• Catholic Benedictine school for ages 11–18 • High academic standards • International Baccalaureate and A Levels in the Sixth Form • ‘Outstanding’ pastoral care (Ofsted, 2011) • Extensive wider curriculum and performing arts programme • Scholarships and bursaries available



Please book in advance with the Registrar. All Open Days run from 10.00 am – 12.45 pm. Worth School, Paddockhurst Road, Turners Hill, West Sussex RH10 4SD

Telephone: 01342 710200 Email:

Catholic Benedictine 11-18 Co-Educational Boarding and Day School

Holiday Cornwall Self catering waterside and country properties in stunning holiday locations

Telephone 01326 250278 Web

An inspiring education Founded in1890, Leighton Park is an independent, coeducational boarding and day school for ages 11-18. Based on Quaker values, our creative curriculum inspires students to become lifelong learners. 72 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT AUTUMN 2013


WINa family holiday in Morocco Independent School Parent has teamed up with the stunning Mosaic Palais Aziza & Spa in Marrakech, Morocco to offer one family a luxury five-night holiday


t only a four-hour flight from the UK, Marrakech is the perfect destination for some late winter sun. The historic Moroccan city is a vibrant myriad of tastes, markets and cultures, ideal as a holiday to entertain the entire family. Explore the kaleidoscope souks and the food stalls or take a trip out of town to the Atlas Mountains. Or simply enjoy taking in the surroundings of your hotel, because when you are staying at the Mosaic Palais Aziza & Spa hotel, you simply won’t want to leave. The hotel is offering one lucky reader of Independent School Parent the chance to win a family luxury holiday. Opened in 2012, the Mosaic Palais Aziza & Spa is a luxurious haven in the Palmaraie area, which is a ten-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of the city’s Medina. Wander through the jasmine-and-rose scented gardens and take advantage of your private pool and babysitting services to ensure yourself a luxury family holiday, that we’re sure you are in need of.

Your prize includes: A five-night stay in the Royal Villa with private pool for a family of four on a bed-andbreakfast basis.

How to enter: For your chance to win, simply answer the following question on our website (independentschoolparent. com/win): Q What city is the hotel in? Terms & Conditions: For full terms visit For more information on the resort visit Competition closes 29th November 2013.


WHITGIFT OPEN EVENING TUESDAY 8 OCTOBER 2013 4.00pm–8.00pm One of Britain’s finest independent schools for boys – now with boarding places at age 13+

For further information or to arrange a visit, please contact us: Whitgift School, Haling Park, South Croydon, CR2 6YT t

020 8688 9222 | e |

Whitgift. An outstanding education.

QUAINTON HALL SCHOOL & NURSERY Hindes Road, Harrow HA1 1RX IAPS/Church of England

Boys 2½ - 13

QUAINTON HALL & NURSERY GirlsSCHOOL 2½ - 11 Hindes Road, Harrow HA1 1RX IAPS/Church of England

WE EXTEND A WARM WELCOME TO PROSPECTIVE Boys Boys2½ 2½ --1313 PARENTS AND THEIR CHILDREN Girls2½ 2½ --1111 Girls Excellent Academic Results WE EXTEND• A WARM WELCOME TO PROSPECTIVE •  Exceptionally broad curriculum AND THEIR CHILDREN TO OUR WEPARENTS EXTEND A WARM WELCOME •  Extensive extra-curricular activitiesTO PROSPECTIVE

AND THEIR •  Wide variety of team sports CHILDREN • PARENTS Excellent Academic Results •  Outstanding facilities including an indoor pool • Exceptionally broad curriculum Excellent Academic •  An open and friendlyResults school community • Extensive extra-curriculum activities •  Secure after school care Exceptionally broad curriculum • Wide varietyextra-curricular of team Sports •  Extensive activities • Outstanding including an indoor pool •  Wide varietyfacilities of team sports Outstanding facilities including indoor pool • An• open and friendly school an community Further details from the Admissions' Secretary: 020 8427 1304 •  An open and friendly school community • Breakfast & After School care •  Secure after school care

Further details from the Admissions’ Secretary: 020 8427 1304 Walsingham College (Affiliated Schools) Charity No. 312638 Advice on helping your daughter begin boarding school confident and ready to take on new responsibilities and challenges.

Walsingham College (Affiliated Schools) Charity No. 312638

Further details from the Admissions' Secretary: 020 8427 1304 Walsingham College (Affiliated Schools) Charity No. 312638

74 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT AUTUMN 2013 Prep-your-daughter129x99 1

11/09/2013 15:01

What’s on?


Our roundup of events from half term until the Christmas holidays




diCkensian Christmas at Blenheim PalaCe Blenheim Palace opens its doors this winter to welcome families in for a traditional dickensian Christmas. the courtyards will be transformed into a magical marketplace as the Christmas Craft fair opens from the 15th to the 17th november. over 130 British designers will be selling their contemporary crafts, perfect for Christmas presents. Families can enjoy a festive trail and children can visit santa’s grotto and the Children’s shop, which will be full of pocket-money priced toys. take a step back in time to a Victorian Christmas.




Free Birds This festive-themed film will entertain the whole family this holiday season. The film tells the story of two turkeys who travel back in time to get turkey off the Christmas menu for good! This cracker, with Owen Wilson, is sure to be a hit. Out 29th November.


1 SEpTEmbER – 15 DEcEmbER ]

three generation holidays




les petits à Paris

Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris hotel in the French capital is turning its attention to the younger guests with its “Le Petit Royal” programme which offers children the chance to take classes in pizza making, DJing, and go off on treasure hunts around the city while you enjoy your stay.

the ideal bolt-hole to escape and explore the swiss alps, gstaad is an alpine playground suitable for all ages. Until the 15th december 2013, this scenic resort in the Bern Canton is offering a ‘three generations Package” for holiday-makers in search of an affordable break with the extended family. the package, where parents pay 100%, grandparents pay 50% and children under 16 stay for free, is a great way to get the family together for a muchneeded break. AUTUMN 2013 INDEpENDENT ScHOOL pARENT 75

SKI WHISTLER luxury with the

❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

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11.9m of annual snowfall No 1 resort in North America Superb for families of all abilities and ages Ski – Snowmobile – Tubing – Ziptrek – fun for all!


020 8776 8709 r be n cto noo h O 00 8t 2. y1 -1 ida m Fr .30a 9


Ipswich High School for Girls aged 3-18

Meet our new Head, Ms Oona Carlin at our OOLS INDEPENDENT SCHE INSPECTORAT

Whole School Open Mornings Saturday 5th October 2013, 9.30am - 1pm, Head’s speech 9.45am Friday 22nd November 2013, 10am - 1pm, Head’s speech 10.15am

Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire t: 01453 837318 e: w: 76 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT AUTUMN 2013

For further information please contact our Registrar on 01473 201034 | | Woolverstone, Suffolk IP9 1AZ

Comprehensive coach service across Essex and Suffolk

life [ LONDON

4 December- 6 JaNuary


The NuTcracker Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker has been a festive favourite since its inception in St Petersburg in 1892 and this winter, this classic production is gracing the Royal Opera House, courtesy of choreographer Peter Wright. Make sure your children get to see this magical piece where Christmas really does come to life through its enchanting characters.


30TH OcTOber- 3rD NOvember

[ marraKeSH ]



couNTry liviNg chriSTmaS fair

for home inspiration, gift ideas and more festive treats, make a trip to the country living christmas fair this autumn. hundreds of exhibitors gather together under the roof of the Business design centre in islington, to bring you the best in craftsmanship and quality for the festive season. find unique christmas gifts and decorations or get involved in the lifestyle Theatre where you can learn how to make the perfect christmas wreath, get your gift wrapping on trend or get some christmas entertaining tips from the experts at leith’s School of cookery. get your ticket with our special price of £12 for readers by quoting clX 132.

[ bIrmINGHam ]

Star-studded Snow White No festive season is complete without a family pantomime trip. Head to Birmingham to see this star-studded interpretation of the classic fairy tale, Snow White. Running from the 19th December until Feb 2014.

[ baTH

27 SepTember6 OcTOber ]

childreN’S liTeraTure feSTival

We’ve gone morocco mad this issue and we want to share another gem with you. The Zam Zam hotel is a small boutique hotel in marrakech’s vibrant medina. english couple, emma and marcus, travelled the world in search of the perfect location to set up their home from home and finally settled on marrakech. here they have created a unique hotel and spa which has been lovingly restored into the ideal escape to retreat, relax and rejuvenate. rooms start at £110 per night.

Sponsored by The Telegraph newspaper and working with a variety of local independent schools and authors, the festival is the largest dedicated children’s book festival in the uk, and presents over 80 public, ticketed events and a programme of events in local schools. uk/literature

autumn 2013 INDepeNDeNT ScHOOL pareNT 77

Year-roundfamily family beach holidays Year-round beachsailing sailing holidays Year-round family beach sailing holidays Half Board and Sailing £693 per per person from £620 perfrom person week per week*

from £620family per person Year-round beachorper sailing holidays callweek 020 8090 4978 or call 020 8090 4978

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Family run online store for children specialising in wooden toys and furniture. Excellent products excellent customer service. 78 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT AUTUMN 2013





reader eveNt

Thursday 5th December Select Collection boutique in Mayfair, London 18:30 - 20:30 Come and join the Independent School Parent team for our first reader event in the heart of Mayfair. We are inviting 15 readers to meet the team for an evening of champagne, pampering, holiday-planning, and of course, independent school discussions. The evening will be hosted by luxury tour operator Select Collection in its travel boutique and QMS Medicosmetics will be providing mini hand treatments for guests. To be in with a chance of attending, simply visit our website and register your details here for your ticket:





Year of Natural ScotlaNd 2013

come and celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty throughout 2013. from stunning natural and historic landscapes, art inspired by nature, surprising wildlife and delicious food and drink, you can find nature right on your doorstep. don’t miss the chance to experience the great Scottish outdoors for yourself, join in the celebrations with a packed programme of events and discover insider tips from across the country during the Year of Natural Scotland.



Horrible Histories: Spies Get behind-the-scenes of the spy world with the Horrible Histories exhibition where you can learn all about the spies of the second world war and their secrets. The exhibition takes place at the Imperial War Museum. There are nationwide events being held also to discover more about this fascinating period of history. autumn 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 79


TURKEY, GREECE & ITALY “It was everything we dreamed it would be and more. Relaxing, educational, a gorgeous boat, the most delicious food, beautiful scenery... Now my two boys want to be archaeologists when they grow up. It was THE educational experience of a lifetime!” Rochelle Benning


If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise..... Log burners, cosy beds, fire pits, great food, and plenty of adventure. 01626 824666 Tel: 01600 888 220

Ind Schools Ad.indd 1

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London’s leading day school for specific learning difficulties t: 020 7976 5456

...and all of a sudden, nothing is impossible. FAIRLEY HOUSE 129mm (H) x 202mm (W) Independent School Parent 10 JULY 2013.indd 1


10/07/2013 15:43

A co-educational day Preparatory School from age 3 to 13 A co-educational day Preparatory School from age 3 to 13

A School from from age age 3 3 to to 13 13 A co-educational co-educational day day Preparatory Preparatory School

Open Morning

Open Saturday 16th Morning November 2013

Open Morning

th Saturday November 2013 Join us from1610.00am to 12.30pm

Join us from 10.00am to 12.30pm th Saturday 16 2013 Saturday 16th November November 2013 StJoin Ippolyts, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG4 7JX us from 10.00am to 12.30pm 12.30pm Join us from 10.00am to

St Ippolyts, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG4 7JX Telephone: 01462 432009, Email: Telephone: 01462 432009, Email:

St SG4 7JX 7JX St Ippolyts, Ippolyts, Hitchin, Hitchin, Hertfordshire Hertfordshire SG4

Telephone: 01462 432009, Email: Telephone: Email: Day01462 and 432009, boarding for girls aged 7-13

Pre-prep for girls and boys aged 3-7

Knighton House School •

Excellent scholarship results “Girl heaven� - Tatler School Guide 2013 Set in 30 acres of glorious Dorset countryside Encouraging independence and individuality Where the outdoors is part of learning

• • • •

Open Morning Saturday October Open Morning Saturday 5th 5th October 2013 2013 9.30am until midday Queen Mary’s School, Baldersby Park, Thirsk Queen Mary’s School, Baldersby Park, Thirsk

Open Day Sat 12th October 10.30am-12.30pm Tel: 01258 452065 Knighton House School, Durweston, Dorset DT11 0PY

Queen Mary’s School, Baldersby Park, Thirsk 9.30am until midday Scholarship examinations will take Scholarship examinations will take place in November.5th October 2013 Saturday place in November. 9.30am until midday

For further information please contact: For information please Missfurther Melanie Chapman, Headcontact: of Admissions Miss Melanie Chapman, Head of Admissions and Marketing 01845 575040 and Marketing 01845 575040 email: Scholarship examinations will take email: place in website November. or visit our or visit our website For further information please contact: A School of the Woodard Corporation A School ofCharity the Woodard Corporation Registered No: 1098410 Miss Melanie Chapman, Head of Admissions Registered Charity No: 1098410 and Marketing 01845 575040 email: Outstanding Girls Day and Boarding School with mixed Pre Prep

Outstanding Girls Day and Boarding School with mixed Pre Prep or visit our website

A School of the Woodard Corporation Registered Charity No: 1098410 AUTUMN 2013



Outstanding Girls Day and Boarding School with mixed Pre Prep


School memories British fashion designer, Caroline Charles OBE, looks back on her time at Woldingham School, Surrey I was a frequent winner of the school art prize and I once received a book in recognition of outstanding talent.

maths classes when I 11 years old due to being too inquisitive and questioning the different topics on the syllabus.

Where was your favourite lunchtime hangout? There was not much hanging out in my time but when it was particularly cold the only place we would dare venture and congregate for a gossip were the scalding hot radiators! I imagine present-day pupils would have more freedom.

Were you an all-star sports captain or outside field lingerer? I was in the top first teams for tennis and netball.

Which teacher stays with you to this day? There were a number but the most memorable was Dr Waldale, the piano teacher. There were only two males in the whole school, the other being the window cleaner!

Describe your school in three words A classic convent school. Did you customise your uniform? Yes! I would have liked to have been more experimental with the uniform but the rules were very strict. I could only customize small pieces. Were you a stalwart of the detention room or teacher’s pet? I was often in detention and was punished further as I had to leave classes due to asking too many inquisitive questions, especially in maths lessons!

Caroline Charles celebrates 50 years in fashion this year with a new book and an Autumn/Winter 13 collection

What’s your view? Discuss on Twitter... @ISParent

What achievement were you most proud of at school?

Let’s talk school food: only fit for the slops pail or worthy of a Michelin star? The more fortunate girls had frequent Harrods deliveries of food and the less fortunate ones had to make do with handouts and Marmite, which were very ordinary. We had to improvise with what we had and found Marmite made great cocktails ! Best prank? We were lucky enough to be given a hamper once and decided to make a night of it with a party and midnight feast around the school swimming pool. Would you rather double maths or an afternoon of art? Definitely art! I was asked to leave the

❝ We had to improvise with what we had

and found that Marmite made great cocktails ❞ 82 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL PARENT AUTUMN 2013

Homework: all done by Friday night or left until Monday? There was always a specific scheduled time to do homework and I was responsible myself for ensuring it was done without any parental supervision. Team player or out for yourself? Always a team player, which is still an important company ethos at Caroline Charles today. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a… I always wanted to be a dress designer and relished every copy of Harpers & Queen that I could read as they were difficult to come by. Dior was of particular inspiration. I have always made my own clothes and enjoyed being creative with cut and design. Finally, what piece of advice would you give your school-age self? In the later years I have enjoyed literature and read constantly across a wide variety of books. Looking back now, I would definitely have made more of English and history and been more conscientious. It is a great achievement to have now been able to write a book of my own called 50 years of Fashion, which I will be discussing at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and next year at the V&A Museum in London.

For more information visit...

A co-educational day and boarding school




One One of of the the top top independent independent co-educational schools co-educational schools One of the top independent in England in England co-educational schools in England We strive to ensure the personal development of Entrance is selective at all ages. The closing date for We strive to ensure the personal development of Entrance is selective at all ages. The closing date for every pupil so they can achieve their full potential receipt of applications for 2014 entrants aged 11+ and every pupil so they can achieve their full potential receipt of applications for 2014 entrants aged 11+ and academically and socially in preparation for their life 13+ is 8 November 2013. Examinations are in January. academically and socially in preparation for their life 13+ is 8 November 2013. Examinations are in January. at university and beyond. We believe that a signifi Sixth Form areages. also welcome. We strive to ensure the personal development of cant Entrance is applications selective at all closing date for at university and beyond. We believe that a signifi cant Sixth Form applications are also The welcome. contributor to meeting ambition topotential offer an every pupil so they canthis achieve theiris receipt of applications for and 2014are entrants aged 11+ and contributor to meeting this ambition isfull to offer an Scholarships are available based on assessment. Scholarships are available and are based on assessment. excellent all-round education in an inspirational academically and socially in preparation for their life 13+ is 8 November 2013. Examinations in January. excellent all-round education in an inspirational Families who may be eligible for financialare assistance Families who may be eligible for fi nancial assistance learning environment. at university and beyond. We believe that a significant Sixth applications arefor also welcome. learning environment. shouldForm contact the Registrar a Bursary application form. should contact the Registrar for a Bursary application form. contributor to meeting this ambition is to offer an Regular Forces are also available. Scholarships areBursaries available and are based on assessment. Regular Forces Bursaries are also available. Excellent A-level results enable to progress excellent education in all an pupils inspirational Excellent all-round A-level results enable all pupils to progress Families who eligiblefrom for fithe nancial The school is may just 5be minutes M25assistance (J6). to university with 85% going to one in the top tier. learning environment. The school is just 5 minutes from the M25 (J6). to university with 85% going to one in the top tier. should contact the Registrar for a Bursary application form. run coach services from Sevenoaks, We have a beautiful 80-acre campus and this, combined We run coach services from Sevenoaks, We have a beautiful 80-acre campus and this, combined We Regular Forces Bursaries are also available. East Grinstead, Crawley Down, Reigate, Edenbridge, with extensive modern enables offer a Excellent A-level resultsfacilities, enable all pupilsus toto progress East Grinstead, Crawley Down, Reigate, Edenbridge, with extensive modern facilities, enables us to offer a Westerham, and the Purley. wide range ofwith sports and co-curricular The school isOxted, just 5 Tadworth minutes from M25 (J6). to university 85% going to one in activities. the top tier. Westerham, Oxted, Tadworth and Purley. wide range of sports and co-curricular activities. We have a beautiful 80-acre campus and this, combined We run coach services from Sevenoaks, East Grinstead, Crawley Down, Reigate, Edenbridge, with extensive modern facilities, report enables us offer a Read Read our our ISI ISI inspection inspection report on on Westerham, Oxted, Tadworth and Purley. wide range of sports and co-curricular activities.

To To request request further further details details or or to to arrange arrange a a visit visit please please contact contact the the Registrar. Registrar. Tel: 01883 335058 Email: Tel: 01883 Email: Read our335058 ISI inspection report on Caterham School, Harestone Valley Caterham School, Harestone Valley Road, Road, Caterham Caterham Surrey Surrey CR3 CR3 6YA 6YA To request further details or to arrange a visit please contact the Registrar. Tel: 01883 335058 Email:





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Independent School Parent Prep Autumn 2013  
Independent School Parent Prep Autumn 2013