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P 71

Comment White lies: the fibs we tell

P 82

Sir Ranulph Fiennes My school days

Hats off to summer!


Preparing your child for senior school COMPETITION

Win a luxury family holiday in Tuscany

MORE ON...   

Tutoring Shakespeare London schools


CONTENTS Issue 4 Summer 2013


holiday in A luxury on Tuscany p.75

Welcome to the summer edition of

Independent School Parent. Have you ever wondered whether your child is an introvert or an extrovert? In the Power of Quiet (p. 32), Giulia Rhodes looks at the potential of introvert children in a world that is geared towards their more shouty peers. On page 10, headmaster of Amesbury School, Nigel Taylor writes about the importance of learning the work of William Shakespeare. After last year’s triumphs at London 2012, the sailing fraternity is going great guns and nowhere more so than in our prep schools (p. 47). Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes features in School Memories (p. 82), and his recollection of his time at Eton College is full to brimming with tales of derring do and stegophily – that’s the art of climbing tall buildings to you and me! Finally, we love this issue’s School Hero, Granny Huckle, of St Faith’s Prep School, Cambridge (p. 45). Who wouldn’t have a granny at school? Seriously, who?

Above, Wells Cathedral School, Gordonstoun, Moray Wiltshire

Cover: Queen’s Gate School, London

Claudia Dudman, Editor Education



4 News Our round-up of hot topics 10 Shakespeare Nigel Taylor from Amesbury School, Surrey, examines the importance and relevance of learning Shakespeare. 19 London schools Charlotte Phillips looks at the success stories of the capital’s schools

17 Head viewpoint Headmistress of Falkner House, Anita Griggs asks: Do children really need extra tuition? 28 Time to board Harriet Edwards talks about letting her sons board at prep school 30 Playing to win Headmistress, Karen Cordon looks at competitive sports in prep schools 57 The road to nowhere Headmistress of Francis Holland School, Lucy Elphinstone, says it’s up to parents and teachers to develop the whole child

32 The power of quiet Why not to worry if your child is an introvert, says Giulia Rhodes 50 Project wild thing Filmmaker, David Bond examines children’s connection with nature 65 Book club Summer reads for your little ones 67 Travel Find family holiday inspiration in a French cultural weekend and Turkish family cruise 45 School heroes Meet Granny Huckle, volunteer assistant at St Faith’s Prep School, Cambridge 71 Little white lies Glynis Kozma explores the lies that parents tell children in order to change their behaviour 75 Competition Win a luxury family break to the Castelfalfi resort in Tuscany 79 What’s on Our round up of what to do this summer 82 School memories Sir Ranulph Fiennes reflects on his time at Eton College

25 Gardeners’ world Thalia Thompson discovers that our pre-prep and prep schools are full of budding horticulturalists 47 Sailing schools Tracy Cook writes on the serious sport of sailing in prep schools 59 Gifted and talented Thea Jourdan looks at how to tell if your child is more able than their peers Follow us... Like @ISParent us on...

Finance 61 School fees Plutus Wealth Management’s, Robert Forbes, tells us how to invest in education

In Focus

School’s out

37 Senior Schools Josephine Price looks at how to prepare for senior school

42 Bright young things Josephine Price checks out the stars from the independent schools sector

EDITORIAL Editor Claudia Dudman Art Editor Kim Colley 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 Consultant Publisher David Moncrieff 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 EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD 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 Julie Pitcher, Independent Schools Council Dr Anthony Seldon, Wellington College Heidi Salmons, The Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference Elaine Stallard, Elaine Stallard Consulting Sheila Thompson, Boarding Schools’ Association Ben Vessey, Canford School 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.



Our pick of the top parenting and education news


Global Kids FashioN WeeK

March saw the launch of the first Global Kids Fashion Week in Covent Garden, london with Jodie and Jemma Kidd in attendance (left). designers including oscar de la Renta, Roksanda ilincic, boss Kids, Fendi and Marni, were showcasing stylish kidswear on the catwalk. all proceeds from ticket sales were donated to charity partner, Kids Company.

More time for teaching Seaton House, London, has saved approximately 80% of the time spent on administration annually by using a new system called Call Parents. The Call Parents automatic notification system keeps parents updated with information such as activities, emergencies and general news.

leighton Park takes off with Miss saigon

Leighton Park, West Berkshire, thrilled audiences with their recent production of Miss Saigon, which included a helicopter and vocal training by a West End star. outstanding performances were reinforced with a close to full-size replica of “Huey” the helicopter from the original show. Claire Moore, who played Ellen in the original West End production, visited the school before Christmas to share her expertise with the cast The Leighton Park students were one of the very first casts in the UK to be granted permission to perform the Schools’ Edition of Miss Saigon.


Keble Prep School in north London is the first school to do a complete rollout of iPads in the classroom. They were the first to use apple Macs in the classroom but now they have provided every pupil with an iPad, with several year groups having their own iPads to take home with them. This initiative was overseen by Professor Steve Molyneaux, who is the head of the iPad academy; the leading provider of iPad consultancy and training for education in the UK. The school has teamed up with iomartcloud, a software solution provider, who has provided web filtering for the iPads in the school. Their filters ensure pupils can’t access any unsuitable websites.


The Savoy Hotel in London played host to the Rainbow Trust’s March fashion event with catwalk shows and silent auctions. Fashion’s leading names, from Storm Model Management and Boodles, to Matches Fashion and Marie Claire magazine, were out in force to support the fantastic event. Hosted by ITV newsreader, Mary Nightingale, (above) and Marie Claire’s Editor-in-Chief, Trish Halpin, the event raised money to support families of children with life threatening or terminal illnesses.


LIfe skILLs

AmAnzo’e: BUYInG InTo A BRAnD

Hotel brands have got their foot well and truly on the rung of the luxury residential property ladder. Over the past few years, property developers are increasingly partnering with luxury hotels in major cities and holiday locations. Aman Resorts have bought simple, yet discerning luxury to over 15 countries worldwide and, after their success in Asia, have moved West and on to the property market. The 38-suite resort and Aman Spa in the affluent area of Peloponnese in Greece, is now offering tailor-made villas with sea views and private pools. Residents will have access to the resorts amenities such as the restaurant, beach club, library, luxury boutique and nearby secluded coves on board the resort’s sailing boat, WallyOne.

Taunton Prep, somerset (right) has joined forces with three other leading independent schools to pilot a programme for 11-13 year olds. Called the Pre school Bac, it will prepare children for life as young adults. In an innovative two-year programme, the children will learn how to face academic, social, cultural and spiritual challenges. Life skills such as leadership, teamwork, critical thinking and independent learning will be addressed in the courses at Taunton Prep, The Beacon, Yately manor and moorlands school. A number of other independent schools will be joining up in september.

Black belt babysitters

Not only are Norland Nannies one of the most respected nanny agencies in the UK, they are now fully trained and equipped for whatever situation may face them around the world in 2013. In addition to their extensive training, which includes a bachelor’s degree and practical skills, prospective nannies are now trained in defensive driving courses and self-defence, turning them from babysitters into bodyguards.


British childrenswear brand, Marmalade&Mash, has a beautiful, wearable spring summer 2013 collection available for your little ones this summer. Created by London College of Fashion graduate, Naomi Langford-Archer, the brand epitomises quintessential British fashion; traditional luxury with a quirky style. See the full collection for children aged 2 to 9 years at


Coding, and learning how to code, has been at the forefront of talks on how to revamp IT classes in the UK over the last year. From after-school code clubs to bigger initiatives with companies like O2, code is entering the educational sphere with success. The ability to learn how to code (program) is invaluable in a digital age where most children will not remember a time before computers and the internet. London start-up, Decoded, is working with UK schools to teach students how to code, and also runs courses for adults such as the renowned, ‘Code in a Day’, where you can learn how to make an app in a day.


One of the highly regarded book apps of the year, which showcases The Diary of Anne Frank in digital form, has released a free 42-page education support pack for teachers. The digitally enhanced book app offers audio, video, images and animation. Readers will be able to explore Anne’s world through special features such as exclusive audio extracts by Helena Bonham Carter, when you tap on a word. The all-new education pack, which compliments the app, will highlight key historical points and activities for pupils learning about Anne and her diary, and the wider context of the Second World War and Holocaust. Penguin is offering 5 lucky readers a code to download their complimentary version of the renowned app. Enter at

Tech Camps for Kids & Teens code build create


Locations: Maidenhead | Richmond | Oxford


Technology and fun are at the core of all our camps; whether your child is seven or sixteen or somewhere in between we have a camp that will fire their imagination. All our staff are passionate about computer science ensuring an amazing summer learning experience for your child. As seen on Registered

Childcare vouchers accepted | | 01628 621215 or 01628 621216 IP_202x129.indd 1

12/04/2013 12:57


A Day & Boarding School for Boys & Girls in the heart of the Sussex Downs





If I was Head for a day...

Once school uniforms are too small, too old, too tatty; what to do with them? DW Design has been reusing discarded cashmere jumpers and designer remnants into new garments and furnishings for the last five years but they have now turned to recycling school uniforms into picnic cushions and rugs. Pieces are customised with badges and logos and finished with a waterproof or fleece backing. Perfect for summer, the British summer, that is!

Xanthe Dobbs would have a pool table and a jacuzzi in her staff room – and books about how to make lessons fun!

I would be an animal-loving Headmistress and have more pets for my pupils to look after, like chickens, horses and dogs. I would design a new adventure playground, which the pupils and teachers could help build. I see gardening as an important skill, so we’d have a vegetable garden – the children could grow produce and take them in a helicopter to Buckingham Palace to give to the Queen. If my pupils were naughty, as a punishment, I’d make them do jobs for the teachers and they would have to wear uniform every day, instead of having a day where they could wear home clothes. Top of the agenda at my assembly would be to have lots of famous people come in to talk to us, here at Sedbergh, about how they

Mr Bill Sawyer has recently taken up the headship at Yarm School, Stockton-onTees.

became successful and how we could learn to be the same. My school motto would be to treat everyone as you would like to be treated.

Cherry Trees Preparatory School and Montessori Nursery, Suffolk, has welcomed Carole Beedham as their new Head.

In the staff room, I would have a table football, darts, a pool table, a candy floss machine, a Costa Coffee shop, a Jacuzzi – and books about how to make lessons as fun as possible! If I felt the school deserved a treat I’d send everyone on a trip to a sweet shop – they could also stop off at the ice rink if they wanted to. Back at school, I’d slow down the day a little by holding lessons in a chill-out room – complete with a drinks machine, of course! Xanthe Dobbs, 9, is a Year 5 pupil at Sedbergh Junior School, Cumbria.


Educational publisher, Rising Stars, has teamed up with the renowned and ever popular Guinness World Records to launch their very own series of reading comprehension books. The series will harness the power of record-breaking stories to encourage children, and instil a passion for reading in pupils. Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief, Guinness World Records comments, “The fact that we all find the individual world records so engaging means that they are an ideal route to encourage children to develop a love of reading.” The RecordBreaking Comprehension series includes four Pupil Books for Years 3 to 6 with accompanying Teacher’s Book.

Not before tea: Nine year-old, Henry Patterson, has launched his own online sweet shop, Not Before Tea. The name came from the response he got from his mother every time he asked for sweets. The range includes themes such as Mud & Worms, and Not for Girls,

Heads on the move

Mr Clive Marriott starts as Head of Salisbury Cathedral School this September.

Wellington School, Somerset has appointed Mr Henry Price as the next Head starting in September .


The lure

of the Bard Nigel Taylor, Headmaster of Amesbury School, examines the importance and relevance of learning William Shakespeare’s work today

Why Shakespeare? “When I was at school, Shakespeare was used as a punishment, literally. You had to learn one line for every minute you were late to school. By age 11, I was a punctual child, but detested our supposedly beloved bard,” recalls Head of English at Amesbury, Pippa Probert.

Yet by the time a pupil leaves Amesbury at 13, they will have an in-depth understanding of at least two Shakespearean plays. Take George, 12, a pupil at Amesbury, and who starts at Brighton College next term. This year, he is taking his turn at playing Hamlet in the school’s production. “Last year I loved making people laugh. I


Above, pupils from Amesbury School, Surrey in their adaptation of The Comedy of Errors. Above right, pupils from Fairfield Prep School, Leics

played Dromio in The Comedy of Errors. He had zero self-confidence and thought he would never be anything more than a servant to Antipholus (of Syracuse). So he used humour to cope with that fate and all of the bad treatment he received! He’s like the pupil who gets picked on in class, and so tries to make people laugh to like him. Not that that happens here!


❝ The themes of love as in Romeo and

Juliet, jealousy as in Macbeth, betrayal as in Hamlet and friendships as in Midsummer Night’s Dream are still key to today’s generations ❞






Get past the language and into the character It is easy to forget that Shakespeare’s work was never meant to be read in a dry manner, but to be performed.

It is easy to forget that Shakespeare’s work was never meant to be read in a dry manner, but to be performed

Caroline Taylor, head of drama at Amesbury says: “First of all I like every pupil to understand what their character is going through before we start to rehearse. Entering the character’s frame of mind opens up the language on the page. We look first of all at the last word of each line within any given speech. This usually gives the actor a good idea of what the speech is all about. We have a lot of fun playing with these words to create the most accurate potted version of how their character is feeling.”

But why not other authors? “We could choose from any number of contemporary authors to study,” says Denise McCulloch, Resource Learning Manager. “They all deliver relevant and powerful fiction for young adults; fiction that is well written, has literary merit, offers lively language and tackles a plethora of thematic issues. For me, however, the long and short of it is that

without Shakespeare our language and those issues would never have been cultivated within our literary heritage in the first place. The Bard gave us the breeding ground in which to explore written creativity. He was the true pioneer in delivering complex plots with attitude. For example, Macbeth is a character who is fuelled by his wife’s jealousy and greed for greater things. It is then her malignant ambition that drives him to double cross his friends and peers in order to secure the crown for her own head. He was the one who played with words and language, he was the one whose language has stood the test of time – his phrases and sayings still embed our dialogue today. All fiction that has followed doffs the cap to Shakespeare’s plots, language and themes so it makes sense to go back to the originator and look at his work.” The themes of love as in Romeo and Juliet, jealousy as in Macbeth, betrayal as in Hamlet, friendships as in Midsummer Night’s Dream and loyalty, which features in just about every


❝ I played Portia in The Merchant of Venice when I was 13. The quality of one of the few speeches I still remember word for word! My favourite play to watch is The Tempest and my favourite to read is Macbeth ❞



Now Hamlet; the man’s a nervous wreck! He can’t make up his mind what to do. If the ghost would just give him some space, he might ‘get over it’.” George’s fellow pupil, Flora, shared the part of Adriana last year, and is Queen Gertrude in Hamlet. She’s found there is more to Gertrude than meets the eye. “We’re setting the play in 1920s America during Prohibition. Claudius is a gangster and I think that ‘Gerty’ is a REAL party animal,” says Flora, “she just doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong by marrying her husband’s brother SO soon after his death. But Hamlet certainly spoils things for her!” Such is the enthusiasm our pupils display of Shakespeare’s work.

Abbots Bromley School

High Street, Rugeley, Staffordshire WS15 3BW T: 01283 840232 E: W: Head Teacher: Mrs Victoria Musgrave Admissions Officer: Mrs June Leafe

Key facts

Gender / Ages: Girls 3-18, Boys 3-11 years Total pupils: 220 Type: Day and Boarding – Full, Weekly, Flexi Fees: Day from £3,790, Weekly from £5,515, Flexi Boarding from £42 Flexi rate per night (for two nights or more), Full Boarding from £6,765 per term

School Philosophy: At Abbots Bromley School, there is so much on offer to suit a wide variety of individuals. Situated in a beautiful village within easy distance of many Midlands towns, Abbots Bromley School offers a strong academic programme, excellent pastoral care and boasts a specialist on-site Dance School and Equestrian Centre. Open Days: Saturday 27th April 2013, Saturday 12th October 2013

It’s not just our teachers’ devotion, knowledge, leadership, encouragement, or their delivery of a first class education. It’s the fact that your children are their pride and joy too. Cheltenham College offers a wide range of 11+, 13+ and 16+ Scholarships. Bursaries also available.


T: 01242 265 662



Shakespeare play, are still key to today’s younger generations. By studying these themes through texts, children can examine their own responses to issues within the safety net of the character’s actions. At Amesbury, a freestyle Shakespeare hothouse is delivered over a term. Lessons are designed to be fun, accessible and engaging. The children explore the background to the man; his life and times before moving on to de-construct a selection of his plays. A number of digital elements are used to record and sound-bite the children’s work: Blogger and Facebook are firm favourites. The lessons move swiftly and at the project’s end Amesbury pupils are not afraid to “Big up the Bard”. Residential trips are made to Stratford upon Avon in Year 6 and an introduction to the school’s productions is given in Year 6 English lessons so that pupils know the play when they see it at the end of the school year.

Speaking up Exploring new accents or dialect allows the children to peel back the layers of Shakespeare’s dialogue, lose their inhibitions and take ownership of the personality traits of a character. Once a new voice is in place the acting moves on

in leaps and bounds! One pupil this year has been exploring a Geordie accent – yes, a Geordie accent in 1920s America! An adult wouldn’t even think of it. But it might work! Jack and Angus are the Gravediggers in Hamlet and searched for the right dialect to adopt for their parts. Jack has settled on Forest Gump. “I needed an American accent but it had to sound as if I have never been to school,” he said, “so I talk slowly like Tom Hanks did.” “I sounded really snooty as Adriana,” says Georgie, who shared the part in The Comedy of Errors last year. “This voice kept reminding me of how stuck up she is. I wasn’t at all surprised to know that she had such a big lesson to learn about how she treats people.”

TIpS FOr geTTIng yOur chIlD InTO ShakeSpeare you know best what your child loves, so start there: painting, music, gardening and the outdoors, theatre, travelling – Shakespeare will always provide an occasion to connect with a particular interest. take a really beautifully illustrated copy of The Complete Works and talk about them at bedtime. your child might enjoy a really good picture and story book they can read for themselves, such as Usborne’s Young Reading William Shakespeare or Usborne’s forthcoming World of Shakespeare Sticker Book. take a rhyming couplet or a short speech and experience Shakespeare’s vivid imagery, poetic sound and rhythm. Film your child speaking it on to your iPhone or camera. Watch one of the Shakespeare Animated Tales – some are available via YouTube or download a suitable Shakespeare app. (many of them are free). Support your local theatre or amateur dramatics group

Starting in March 2014, is a new

and see a production of a Shakespeare play – perhaps

national celebration to bring

outdoors with a picnic in the summer.

Shakespeare to life for millions of primary and prep school children.

Host a Shakespeare-themed birthday or tea party –

Shakespeare Week will be celebrated

where everyone comes dressed as a character from

in schools, libraries, galleries,

Shakespeare, or from Tudor times.

museums and historic sites.

(Tips from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)

Win 3 copies of Usborne’s beautiful Illustrated Stories of Shakespeare. All you have to do to enter is answer the question below and visit, WHAt WAS SHAKESPEARE’S CHRiStiAn nAmE?

Visit for more information on our READER OFFER

AWARD-Winning ACtRESS DAmE juDi DEnCH HAS PlAyED OPHEliA in hamlet, juliEt in romeo and juliet AnD lADy mACBEtH in macbeth

❝ How splendid that the Shakespeare Birthplace trust is taking the lead in encouraging children to celebrate his great legacy! Shakespeare Week should become a great and joyous national festival ❞

summer 2013 InDepenDenT SchOOl parenT 15

crediTS: corbiS; ShAkeSPere birThPlAce TrUST; illUSTrATion bY loUiSe qUirke

ShakeSpeare reaDer OFFer


Dwight School London

6 Friern Barnet Lane, London N11 3LX


Page 1

EST. 1910

YORK HOUSE SCHOOL Co-educational Preparatory Day School | 3 to 13 years

T: 020 8920 0634 E: W: Head Teacher: David Rose Admissions: Alison Miley

May Open Days

Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 3-18 years Total pupils: 432 Type: Day students with some boarding Fees: Kindergarten: termly from £2760 Reception and Yr 1: termly from £3750 Lower School: termly from: £4380 Upper School: termly: £4,860 Upper School IB Diploma (yr 12 and 13: £5,670 Entrance procedure: Open admissions policy based on an interview, previous school records

Saturday 11 May | 9.30am - 12pm Tours of the school available 9.30 - 10.00am & 11 - 11.30am. Headmaster’s talk at 10.30am.

Key facts


Thursday 9 May | 9.30am - 12pm Enjoy a tour of the school on a typical York House school day.

Bursaries available. IAPS School. Administered by Charitable Trust No. 311076

YORK HOUSE SCHOOL Sarratt Road, Rickmansworth Hertfordshire, WD3 4LW

School Philosophy: Dwight School London is one of the first schools in the UK to offer the full IB Programme. Through blending the best of a traditional curriculum with the innovative IB, Dwight students have opportunities to learn in breadth and depth and develop as well-balanced individuals.

Tel: 01923 772395 Email:

Open Days: We offer admissions all year. Tours of the school can be done via appointment with admissions staff.





Senior School Open Mornings Sat 15th June and Sat 21st Sept

Zorro’s Theme, performed by the opening batsman.

10.00 am – 12.30 pm At Eltham College, everyone is someone else. The economist is a marathon runner. The first violinist helps out at the local care home. The tennis captain designs websites. In a challenging yet caring environment, we nurture each pupil’s skills and talents. All of them. We develop well-rounded individuals.

Eltham College, Grove Park Road, Mottingham, London, SE9 4QF Telephone 020 8857 1455



Enough is enough! The rise of tutoring in response to the highly competitive nature of entry to secondary schools has reached alarming heights, says Anita Griggs


utors are the latest fashionable and seemingly indispensable accessory. Delegation is the name of the game – parents have lost confidence in their own capabilities and also seem to feel that spending money must bring better results. Agencies proliferate, all offering “experienced Oxbridge graduates” – amazing that so many have emerged from these two universities. But, experienced in what? Expertise in preparing children for exams is a rare black art requiring detailed knowledge of both how children learn and the idiosyncrasies of individual school’s exams (any idea of an entrance common to more than a couple of schools at 11+ is

❝ The concept that more exam preparation is

better than less is a fallacy; parents would not apply the same dictum to fertiliser and their gardens ❞ a fallacy). Parents never pause to think as to why an experienced teacher would have time to spare of an evening or at a weekend. Clearly a few excellent tutors may have good reason for working as they do, but in the main it will not be a career of choice. As a London prep school headteacher, I ask parents to liaise with me if they feel that they want a tutor for their daughter. If so, I then get in touch with the tutor direct to discuss their plans for the student. On several occasions, I have reported back to parents that in my opinion the tutor in question would literally be worse than useless! All too often, they go too fast or use incorrect methodology. Schools cannot of course, supervise everything; just recently a

tutor’s “help” meant that a child could no longer do a simple division sum because the tutor had overcomplicated the method and caused confusion. The proliferation of tutoring arises from the competitive nature of entry to “the best” secondary schools. The numbers sitting for grammar schools are eye wateringly high. Meanwhile, entry at 11+ to the selective secondary schools is also brutal. Statistics are deceptive as most children will sit for a number of schools but 700 sitting for 100 places is common with even more competition for the grammar schools. Independent prep schools pride themselves on the quality of their preparation for these tests but clearly there are moments when a good tutor can be a very, very useful extra, for

Will a tutor be a help or a hindrance to your child? The key is excellence not quantity of teaching

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

example, when a child has had a run of ill health. There are also many children who need more time to “get” key basics and who thrive on some one-on-one help. The concept though that more exam preparation is always better than less is a fallacy; parents would not apply the same dictum to fertiliser and their gardens! Parents should look to their child’s teachers, assess their quality, look to what their child is delivering in maths and English, compare this with sample papers and make an educated judgement as to whether a tutor will be help or hindrance. The key is excellence not quantity of teaching. It is also important to look at the practicalities of tutoring: is it an extra hour after school once a week or five times a week? If a child at a “good” school needs more time than the normal school day/year to learn what is required for an exam then either the demands of that exam is excessive for that child then, or, the school attended is not “good” enough or the exam system is faulty or the normal school day/ year too short. Children develop at different stages and a relatively immature 11 year-old cannot be magicked into delivering the intellectual sophistication required by the top academic schools. We all want to do all we can to make our children the very best that they can be, however, brilliant teaching in the classroom and a school’s understanding of your child is what is likely to determine a child’s success at 11. Before heading off to a tutor, look first to your child’s school – the gems are likely to be found within their gates. Anita Griggs is headmistress of Falkner House Girls’ School, London. For more information visit...



The Oak Tree Nursery is for children from the age of two and a half. Devonshire House is a co-educational school for children from three to thirteen years of age. Parents interested in further information or in applying for a place for a child should contact the Admissions’ Secretary.

Devonshire House School, 69 Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Hampstead, London NW3 6PD Tel: 020 7435 1916 Motivation • Inspiration • Excellence

Located in the heart of Belsize Park in Hampstead, Sarum Hall is a modern and successful school in which pupils are motivated to learn, inspired to fulfil their potential and encouraged to achieve excellence. Natural talents and enquiring minds are nurtured, allowing girls to explore new horizons with confidence. We are proud of our academic, scholarship and examination success; the foundations laid at Sarum Hall last a lifetime. Means-tested bursaries are available for a limited number of pupils. Please contact the school for further information. Headmistress: Mrs C Smith 15 Eton Avenue London NW3 3EL Tel: 020 7794 2261 Email: Charity number: 312721 Company Registration number: 0666444

Preparatory School for Girls aged 3 to 11 years




Prep and Senior Schools

london calling

Charlotte Phillips looks at the capital’s schools and the secrets of their success


hy, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford,” famously said Samuel Johnson. Add the word “education” to London, and you’ve parents’ attitude to schools in a nutshell: mums and dads will do just about anything to secure places for their children. And that means anything. Down at the tiddlers’ end of the market, there are reports of mothers interrogating other people’s three year-olds in an effort to extract hints and tips on just what went on in their pre-prep assessment. Some junior schools are even, increasingly, having to assume the mantle of out-of-hours custodians for

Above, pupils from Fairley House School, Pimlico

existing pupils who are preparing for senior exams, so great are the pressures. One even ended up calling in a revisionmad mum, keeping her there until she promised in her own blood (or at least school custard) that she would let her 11 year-old have Sundays off. And it’s not just the children who have to deal with stress. Their parents can, if anything, find it even harder to cope with. One mother is reported to have vomited during her child’s pre-prep assessment, so overwhelming was the pressure! It’s all down to an irreconcilable problem of supply and demand. Recession or no recession, there are more children chasing a static number of independent school places in the capital. In part, it’s down to demographics, with the numbers of primary school pupils at an all-time high. But whereas local

authorities are yielding to pressure and building on extra classrooms in the maintained sector, the majority of independent schools would struggle to follow suit – even if they wanted to.

Outstanding results

Who can blame them? After all, one of the reasons parents pick London schools over their maintained counterparts is the small class sizes and personalised learning that enables them to deliver exceptional results year in, year out. Pick just about any UK educational league table and out of the top 20 independent schools, a socking great percentage are in the centre or on the outskirts of our capital city. Small wonder that “parents are increasingly convinced that the best thing they can give their children is a SUMMER 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 19

first-class education and so we are finding that even in the current recession that they are making every effort to give that gift to help steer their children to a good future,” says Kathryn Pullen, headteacher of Sydenham High Junior School.

Cultural feast

And while much has been written, mostly with an over-whelming emphasis on the competition, stress and worry, the upsides of a city centre education are many. Some would argue, seemingly counter-intuitively, that learning how to accept success and failure with equal grace, in true “If” style – courtesy of Rudyard Kipling – may have its advantages. After all, points out Alex Wilson, deputy head of North London Collegiate School, one of the most successful schools of the lot, all that competition is “a way of maintaining standards – you get the very best

children to come to your school.” With extensive grounds (and even trees to climb) her school isn’t space challenged. But as other establishments, even those not blessed with lush green acres will tell you, it doesn’t really matter when on your doorstep you’ve got the biggest, most exciting playground of them all: London itself. “Going to school here is magical because it can take advantage of those wonderful things on our doorstep, the galleries, exhibitions and theatre,” says Christine Smith, headmistress of Sarum Hall School, an independent preparatory for girls aged three to 11. “We’ll see the Lichtenstein exhibition or go to the Royal Academy and see George Bellows. It’s a very vibrant place.” But it is not just the world outside the school gates that is busy broadening a child’s cultural repertoire; what happens inside the classroom is just as important. “London schools have a great


reputation and tradition and have always been popular,” says David Rose, head of school at the Dwight School, a leading international school in north London. “Parents are excited by the intercultural aspects of education and understand that their children are being prepared for a global marketplace that is likely to grow and grow.”

Raised standards

And when schools have a richness of language, customs and experiences that come, literally, with the territory, you find pupils gaining in myriad ways. At Sarum Hall School, Russian pupils “generally love doing maths, and that rubs off on the other girls, then you have others who […] come with a lot of musical experience and that livens everyone else up and raises the standard generally, because everyone else wants to emulate them,” says Christine Smith.


❝ London

schools give their pupils a taste of independence that surpasses their countryside-educated peers❞

It’s a phenomenon that extends into the home, as well. “The whole social scene has changed,” says Magoo Giles, head of Knightsbridge School, a thriving co-ed prep school catering for children aged three to 13. “There’s this extraordinary, now international excitement, with cultures colliding.” Conversely, one of the things London schools do extremely well is to give their pupils a taste of independence, at an age when their supposedly free-range countryside-educated peers may be far more contained, despite theoretically having a far more liberated existence. This is either because they board or because the distance from home makes a daily drive to school the only option, whereas their London counterparts don’t often encounter these restraints.

A taste of independence

While many a parent will (perfectly understandably) gasp with horror at the notion of their precious darling jostling with London’s million-plus daily commuters for breathing space and a seat on our crowded transport, others reckon it’s really rather a good thing. “Our children really like working towards independent travel,” says Michael Taylor, head of school at Fairley House, which specialises in helping pupils with specific learning difficulties. “Even some of our Year six pupils do it, helped by the older ones. Growing up in a big, vibrant city gives them that feeling of ‘I can achieve’. It makes me very proud of them.”

So if you’re sold on the notion of a London education for your children, how can you get a piece of the action without driving yourself – and the rest of the family – to distraction in the process? A new book, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing suggests that parents spend time with their children helping work out what sort of mood will help them do their best. While parents may assume that everyone needs a calm, no-stress build up to exams, their research suggests that this isn’t always the case: “Some kids may actually have a genetic variation – the COMT gene – that changes how their brains respond to stress: day-to-day, they excel, but in pressure situations, their brains have too much of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is the brain equivalent of flooding

Left, Hill House International School, Chelsea. Above, Broomwood Hall School, Battersea. Right, Fairley House, Pimlico, and far right, Hill House International School


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❝ Going

to school here is magical because it can take advantage of those wonderful things on our doorstep: the galleries, exhibitions and theatre❞ - CHriSTiNe SMiTH, headmistress of Sarum Hall School

a car’s engine with too much petrol,” says Po Bronson, one of the authors. “So in high-pressure exams, they melt down and underperform. Other kids have a different genetic allele, however, that would allow them to do their best in situations of extreme stress.” It’s also worthwhile re-thinking your attitude to schools. It is all too easy to cast them as an unknowable force on the far side of an impenetrable “them and us” barrier. Yet, as patient head teachers, given half a chance, remind parents, they are here to help, at whatever age, from kindergarten to Common Entrance. “We are an assessing school,” says Prudence Lynch, head of Ken Prep, of entrance into reception, “but it’s very much play-based activities and it is not helpful to go away and cram your child. For example, when you’re in the car, ask your child to look for the red cars or put out three forks and ask them to count out the same number of knives, so they understand matching and addition.”

Level playing field

As to tutoring, you’ll encounter a range of views. Some schools see no harm in short, sharp bursts with a specific goal in mind (if, say a previous school either can’t or won’t help with preparation for entrance exams). All, however, warn against tutor abuse, when the pain (to all) outweighs any possible gain and many, indeed, build safeguards into the assessment process. Interviews are a vital part of the North London Collegiate assessment process, while Wimbledon High has recently switched to verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests. Their website doesn’t mince its words when it comes to the reasons behind the decision, decrying the use of tutors and restructuring the exam to ensure “as level a playing field as possible”. Christopher Cleugh, head of St Benedict’s in West London, sees little sign of pressure on London school places easing any time soon. “London is the one

Above, pupils at Newland House School, Teddington Middlesex

place in the UK where property prices have grown and incomes held up. Parents see education as the way forward to ensure security for their children into the future.” He counsels parents, however, to follow their children’s lead. “You’re better to let your young people find their own way,” he says. As a parent himself, as well as a highly experienced school leader, he knows whereof he speaks: “my oldest son could hardly speak when he was four but now has a PhD in engineering.” While the path to the London school of your dreams may be anything but primrosebedecked, for most there is a happy ending. “Schools are all unique,” says Alex Wilson, deputy head at North London Collegiate School. “They all offer different things and if a school offers to a girl, it’s because they feel she will thrive there and benefit from that environment.” She also stresses that however overwhelming the competition, London schools are adept at spotting talent. “Let the girls have a go. You’ll know if they’re up to it.” summer 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 23

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29/04/2013 17:19


gardeners’ world

Our pre-prep and prep schools are full of budding horticulturalists, discovers Thalia Thompson


his month the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show reaches its 100th anniversary, with spectacular gardens and hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the very best in garden design. As well as celebrating the gold medal winners of today, the RHS is also keen to encourage the next generation of gardeners and has been running a campaign for school gardening. According to their research, gardening teaches children to think independently and gives them the ability to adapt to new challenges. It can also help them

develop a sense of confidence and encourages a healthy lifestyle. Alan Titchmarsh supports the RHS campaign adding that “Getting children gardening is vital in connecting them with nature and giving them an understanding of where their food comes from, as well as awakening their interest in plants and animals. We need to reconnect our children with the land so that they are happy to be its custodians and more appreciative of its vital role in our survival.” Of course, many prep and pre-prep schools already run thriving gardening

above, pupils from The elms School, Malvern, Worcs

The five gardening clubs at Maltman’s Green School are taking over the school grounds… one flower bed at a time ❞

clubs. We talked to three schools who believe cultivating a garden helps cultivate young minds to find out more.

The outside classroom Research shows that the use of natural materials and outdoor space can actually improve learning and understanding. Sarah Cathcart, RHS head of education and learning says, “We want teachers to think creatively and explore ways to teach lessons in the garden. It’s a very effective way of allowing children to apply what they have learnt in the classroom meaning they gain a deeper and more meaningful understanding of their subjects.” Edgbaston High School in Birmingham leases an allotment a short walk from the school’s playing fields, in Summer 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 25

Above from left, a pupil at St Margaret’s Prep School, Calne, Wilts, right, Holmwood House, Essex, below left, Orwell Park School, Suffolk

the city’s historic Guinea Gardens. When they took over the plot in 2007, it was completely overgrown with brambles and parts of it were even used as a rubbish dump. In took two years hard work from students, staff and parents to transform it into an awardwinning garden growing everything from rhubarb to rocket.

Skills for life It’s not just gardening that goes on in the allotment though. “Skills learned in real life situations are lessons children remember” says Sally Hartley, head of the prep school, Edgbaston High, before describing how the whole school uses this outdoor classroom. Even the smallest children use the plants growing in containers in the pre-prep nursery to learn about colour and the concepts of bigger and smaller. Older children, whether they’re members of gardening club or not, will visit the allotment as part of regular lessons. They might be taking part in a maths trail, measuring the circumference of the apple trees and calculating the area of the raised beds. Or they might be using it as an art resource, looking at light and colour while doing a project on Monet or learning about the garden’s place in Victorian social history.

Green gardening

Good gardening is all about respect for the natural environment so it’s an


obvious place for a school interested in sustainability to start. Maltman’s Green School in Buckinghamshire takes sustainability very seriously and was awarded Green Flag status as a sustainable school in 2010. Antonia Lee, head of geography and sustainability says that, “Gardening ties in so well with a lot of ideas behind sustainability. It’s a very real demonstration of practical involvement in sustainability that prep school aged children can get involved in.” The children have been keen gardeners at Maltman’s Green for six years now, and from fairly modest beginnings the five gardening clubs are now, as Antonia Lee puts it “taking over the school grounds, one flower bed at a time.” The list of crops that make their way from garden to plate in the school canteen is impressive, with Tuesdays being gardening club lunch days when “Gardening Club Red Onion Tart” or “Gardening Club Pea Salad” take pride of place on the menu. Practical sustainability is a feature of the gardening club at Orwell Park School in Suffolk too. They’re currently putting the finishing touches to a greenhouse built entirely from recycled water bottles. Nick Matthews head of design and technology and his technician John Haile are responsible for the design and the timber frame, but the pupils have done the rest of the work themselves. “They’ve spent hours and hours on it,” he says. ”We’ve calculated they must have used 1,500 bottles, washing them out, cutting out the bases, threading

❝ Getting children gardening is vital in connecting

them with nature and giving them an understanding of where their food comes from ❞

alan TiTchmarsh

them on to the frame and stapling or nailing them in place.”

Lessons for life As every gardener knows, not everything in the garden grows to plan and last summer’s weather was a challenge for even the most experienced horticulturalist. Dealing with projects where things sometimes go wrong and not everything is predictable can teach children important life skills. At Orwell Park, raised beds are cultivated by the gardening club with a group of three or four children taking responsibility for planning, designing and maintaining each bed. Inevitably things don’t always work out exactly as planned but this is seen as a learning experience. Sally Ford, who runs the gardening club, is on hand to offer help and advice, but believes it’s important to give children responsibility. “Children really learn from their mistakes” she says. “It might have been something that was in their control, like remembering to water frequently enough or something like the weather. Or it might be learning to work with what

we’ve got, like our sandy soil.” Facing setbacks and finding out you can deal with problems is an invaluable lesson for of course for later life.

Building Confidence Gardening also offers children another opportunity to excel and can do wonders for self confidence. At Maltman’s Green, Antonia Lee tells the story of a pupil who was underachieving – there were no specific problems, just a general lack of self esteem. She joined gardening club and blossomed. By Year 6, she was happily taking charge of groups of younger children, teaching them how to carry out tasks like tying up the raspberry canes. She ended up winning a scholarship to secondary school. “All the research shows that if you can give children confidence in one area, it has knock-on effects across the whole learning profile,” says Antonia Lee. “I actually do think she wouldn’t have won a scholarship if she hadn’t started gardening club.” Summer 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 27


Time to board Harriet Edwards explains how it felt when her son left home to board at Sandroyd School, Wiltshire


n a blue-skied September afternoon, I drove along what must be the most beautiful school run in England, along the folds of the Downs, under beech trees burnished in the late afternoon sun. Kamikaze pheasants, not content with dodging the mornings shoot, leapt in front of the car. A lazy wasp struggled in the windscreen and, feeling that all was well with the world, I guided it out with my hand. It didn't even bother to sting. I was on my way to pick up my youngest son from school. He goes to Sandroyd, a prep school that fulfils every single idea of prep schools – not least boarding, for those who want to from Year 3 and for all from Year 7. It was his first day, a momentous occasion for any mother but as he has two older brothers, this time passed without a single tear. Until that is, he burst out of his classroom, pushing through the dozen or so other faces each split with grins, shouting, “Can I board? Can I board?” I have to insert here that my early days of boarding school weren't great. It was a cold, unfriendly place with long rows of iron beds in arctic-blue painted high ceilinged dormitories. Weekends started at 3.30 on Fridays and while that might sound like heaven to some, for a six year old it meant 48 hours of unstructured wanderings. I became strangely fond of black and white films on BBC2 and have a lifelong passion for football having watched endless matches on rainy Saturday afternoons. So when my seven-year-old boy asks to board, instinct takes over – No. Not now.

Not ever. But then he looks at me with that face and I find myself saying, “OK maybe. But not tonight.” As I drive away, recognizing my two other sons’ faces in the crowd of rugby players on the school pitches, I wave frantically from the car, ignored by all of them except an indulgent teacher, and I know that my response will soon become OK but not every night. And probably only because I still need to tuck someone in and read them a story. So why do all my sons want to board? Is life at home, with parents who love them and will, if pressed, sit on the sofa with them to watch Myth Busters on a loop every night, that terrible? Is life with the cat, the hamster, the dog, a bedroom bursting with BB guns, cars,

Choosing to send your children to a boarding school isn't the beginning of the end

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

❝ The truth seems to be that boarding is –

I’m struggling to even write it, let alone say it – boarding is fun. More than fun ❞


Lego so easy to reject? While I don't know the answers – mostly because I couldn't bear to ask the questions – there is a bright and shiny reason why they and most of their friends want to board. The truth seems to be that boarding is – I'm struggling even to write it, let alone say it – boarding is fun. More than fun. “Epic night – we camped in the woods and then woke up at 4.30am so Mr Fow took us swimming.” No – that wouldn't happen at home. “We had such a great evening, all the Junior boarders had a football tournament and we won!” Again, despite my best efforts at ball skills, this couldn't happen at home. “There was a film last night and Mrs CC made loads of popcorn and then Harry and I did a dorm raid.” Even with sleepovers this doesn't happen at home. The thing is there's so much that goes on at boarding prep schools that it's nearly impossible to fit it in to a conventional school day. By the time 4.30 (6.30 after Year 4) comes round they children are exhausted after their school day but even so, day boys going home look wistfully at the crowd of friends they leave behind, especially in summer when the long evenings are full of cricket, go karts, den building and camping in the woods. You might have noticed that so far this has been mostly about me. And that's exactly what it shouldn't be about. Leaving your child in someone else's care isn't easy and driving away on the first day of term is a special kind of torture but for the most part your child will be very, very happy that you did. And once you've made that decision to drive away, to let go, you're generally secure in the knowledge that your child will stay that way. So do it, let go. Choosing to send your children to a boarding school isn't the beginning of the end. It's the end of the beginning admittedly but you've got to start somewhere.

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Playing to win Competitive games are a vital part of the curriculum, writes Karen Cordon


n the wake of the London 2012 Olympics, David Cameron pledged to bring back competitive sport to the timetable in state primary schools However, no top level Government initiative is necessary at St Margaret’s, where every child throughout the school is encouraged and enabled to participate in a sporting or physical activity every day. There are also opportunities to join in a myriad of different clubs and to compete in school teams. When I was at school, other than academia, music was my passion. Sport came lower down on my list of priorities, but that does not mean that I do not see it is a vital part of school life. Our school teams here at St Margaret’s are chosen on merit, but we try to play A, B and C teams, as fixtures permit, so as many children as possible can take part. If that is not viable, we will often take more children than are needed for a team and swap them in and out during a match or tournament. They have the desire to win and know that there will always be winners and losers, but we teach them the art of winning with humility and losing graciously. Historically, we have always had a strong academic and performing arts tradition here at St Margaret’s, but in recent years that has been extended to include sport across all disciplines, because we recognise that for some children sport provides an additional opportunity in which they can excel. It is all part of learning that we each have different talents which should be celebrated.’ Here, we try to encourage

competition, but in a gentle and caring way. Children who may not be naturally “sporty” should still feel good about themselves and be proud of their achievements.’ The school also realises that exercise in the widest sense is important in its own right and so children are able to take part in a number of activities that keep them on the move, without necessarily being part of organised sport. A cycling activity has been introduced for the Year 6 children and dance is also part of the PE timetable throughout the school. Old-fashioned games such as skipping, hop scotch and conkers are all encouraged, while a number of children use the modern trend of scooters to get to school. Running around and expending energy is very good for children. If they have spent their lunch break climbing

Above, sports at St Margaret’s Prep School Calne, Wilts

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

❝ Life itself is competitive and sport is a good

way of learning how to win and lose, as well as how to be resilient, from a young age ❞ 30 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER 2013

and swinging in the adventure playground, they are much more prepared to settle down for lessons in the afternoon. St Margaret’s shares its campus with St Mary’s, Calne and benefits from excellent sporting facilities, which include a 25m indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and acres of playing fields. The school employs specialist sports staff for both boys and girls, enabling the children to receive expert tuition in rugby, netball, hockey, swimming, football, cricket, rounders and athletics as part of the curriculum. A number of peripatetic coaches and tutors also visit the school to teach judo, tennis, ballet, yoga and jazz dance, Our main aim at St Margaret’s is to ensure that every child finds at least one sport that absorbs their interest and which they will continue to develop as they get older. For children to do well in sport they require motivation, enjoyment and focus – the school encourages these at every opportunity. Teams compete against other schools in matches. Our teams go out to perform the best they possibly can. We want to give as many children as possible the chance to play competitive sport and of course the overall objective is to win. Life itself is competitive and sport is a good way of learning how to win or lose, as well as how to be resilient, from a young age. Our pupils are fantastic advocates for this and if they lose, they pick themselves up, work hard on their skills and approach the next match with even more determination to succeed! Karen Cordon is headmistress of St Margaret’s Prep School, Calne, Wilts.

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The power of quiet A new book celebrates the unique potential of introvert children in a world geared towards extroverts, writes Giulia Rhodes


f you have ever cajoled your child to try out for a school team, or implored them to speak up in class occasionally, you may feel anxious – frustrated even – that they are simply too quiet to get the best out of life. While parents of extroverts probably fret about how to get their children to occasionally slow down, keep quiet and listen, those of introverts fear them being left out socially, emotionally or academically. However, according to a new book, parents should worry a lot less and focus instead on nurturing their children’s considerable strengths. Susan Cain, the American author of Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, believes passionately that introversion or extroversion is merely one element of who we are – and that the world needs both.

They are not alone Cain’s views have struck a chord with many parents and teachers. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard, and a former Wall Street lawyer, Cain is an out and proud introvert. Her crusade for the rights of the quiet (a third to a half of the population according to researchers) in schools and offices that, she claims, are so heavily geared towards extroverts has turned her into a bestselling author and, ironically, a feted public speaker. She, along with the other role models she cites (Gandhi for example), is proof that a

quiet, introverted child can excel. One of the main barriers to success and happiness, she believes, is that parents and teachers sometimes unwittingly convince a perfectly fulfilled but reserved child that their personality is somehow wrong.

Look a little deeper If a child holds back from new experiences or favours solitary hobbies Cain advises a concerned parent to, “step back from their own preferences and see what the world looks like to their quiet child”. Introversion, she insists, is not something that needs to be cured. It is not necessarily the same as unhappiness, loneliness or even shyness – although these can of course co-exist. Catrina Young, Deputy Headteacher at The Dixie Grammar School in Leicestershire agrees. Experience as a parent, as well a teacher, has shown her that reservedness need not necessarily be a problem. “My 12-year-old son is extremely quiet, but not at all lacking in confidence. He enjoys all the opportunities of school – trips, clubs and so on – but does it all very quietly. He likes his own company. “I worried all through prep school. He told me he spent lunchtime alone and my blood ran cold, but I now realise that this is because I am an extrovert. Actually he needed that time to himself.” As Head of pastoral care in her school she is careful to distinguish between


A third to a half of the population are introverts according to research


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TOP TIPS ON HOW TO HELP YOUR QUIET CHILD Work with your child on their reaction to new situations and people. Open up opportunities but don’t force them. Praise their progress. Don’t let them hear you label them shy. They will believe it is beyond their control and somehow shameful. If someone else comments, say that is simply your child’s style. Always prepare your child for new experiences. Arrive a bit early for parties, meet new teachers in advance, make sure he or she knows the layout of a new place. Teach simple social strategies – smile, posture, making eye contact.

With introversion comes many strengths: loyalty, persistence, sensitivity and originality ❞

Reassure your child it is fine to

take time to gather your thoughts before speaking, even if everyone else jumps in. Don’t worry if your child isn’t the most popular child in the class.

children who generally prefer to listen than to speak out, and those who long to join in but don’t know how. “We want a mix of personalities. We work with all children to help them participate, express their opinions and listen to others. We have to prepare them for life, but with a shy child we go about it differently. They might work with a partner so they can give their views but not in front of the whole class. Or we might suggest they get involved backstage in the school play.” Often, says Young, a quiet child will gradually involve themselves more or find a niche, like music, through which they can develop confidence.

Being popular is not defined by how many friends your child has, but by the quality of friendships

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Respect their limits

Cain agrees that children need to be exposed to new experiences and people, but that the child must dictate the pace of change. The conflict must remain an internal one – never one between parent and child. “Respect their limits, even when they seem extreme,” she says. Forcing a child into public speaking before he or she is ready – and risking a bad experience – can damage their self-esteem and put them off for life. Encourage them to see that occasionally putting themselves outside their comfort zone is worthwhile in the pursuit of something they really want – an exam or an interview, for example. Kate Simpson, whose 10-year-old son Max is at a London prep school, has seen this gradual approach work well. She is now anxious to find a senior school with the same supportive ethos. “I want him to feel he is doing well. An alpha male, super-competitive environment, which might suit many of his classmates, would not be right.” Max’s current teachers spotted that he remained silent in group discussions – something Kate says even happens at home with his more self-assured

Children only need a few close friends. Solo hobbies – like painting or music – can lead to meeting like-minded children.

younger siblings. “He tends to think his opinion won’t be valid in a group,” she says. Last year, he was given a big part in the school play to boost his confidence. “He was thrilled to be asked, then terrified as it approached, but it went well, thankfully, and he felt great. For him it was easier than an uncontrolled group discussion. He knew exactly what he was expected to say and when.” While Kate wishes Max would “stand up for himself a bit more”, she is also very aware that his quietness has helped make him an excellent listener and caring confidant to his small close circle of friends. “I wouldn’t want to change his personality,” she says. Like Cain, Kate realises that with introversion can come many strengths. Cain lists restraint, loyalty, persistence, sensitivity and originality. “Help [your child] make peace with new situations and new people,” she pleads, “but otherwise let them be themselves.”



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Senior Schools


Preparation is key in making the move to senior school a seamless experience, writes Josephine Price


he move to senior school can vary from moving buildings on your child’s present campus to them moving away to an altogether different school, and for those who board, it means leaving home. No matter how little the disruption is, all pupils will need the time to adapt. Whether the transition age is 11 or 13, many of the challenges and changes will be similar. By now, key decisions will have been made and it is merely a matter of a few months before children head off to their chosen schools. Balancing the introduction to an adult style of life, they are about to be part of, and keeping children content in order for them to savour the excitement is vital.

How different will senior school be for my child? Senior schools will shape your child and their future. It will help form their character and enable them to gain qualifications that will set them up for life. Senior schools offer children the

chance to grow and develop in a nurturing environment that will offer them unforgettable experiences and opportunities, both in and out of the classroom. However, there will be lots of changes to digest, noticeably in terms of facilities, grounds, class sizes, teaching style and getting use to the prospect of boarding, if they are first-timers.

How do schools prepare your child? Today, many prep and primary schools have initiatives in place to help pupils with the transition to senior school. At The Downs Malvern, Worcestershire, classes change in Years 5 and 6 to a more collegiate system, whereby specialists in certain fields teach pupils. They get used to moving around the school, meeting different teachers, carrying their own books, working out their timetables and getting to their lessons on time. Often pupils need a lot of stamina to get through the first few weeks of traversing the school. “The main difference pupils can expect to encounter will be the sheer size of a



senior school compared to their prep or primary school,” says Alastair Cook, Head at The Downs Malvern. Taking responsibility for day-to-day school life can also be a shock to the system, at first. Moyra Rowney of Godolphin School, Wiltshire, says: “It is now the girl’s responsibility to make sure that she has packed the right books, her flute on a Wednesday, lacrosse stick on Thursday and swimming costume on a Tuesday. Many senior schools invite pupils on a range of activities prior to starting their school as they seek to get them involved, making the September start as easy as possible. For example, Prior’s Field School, Surrey, invites music scholars to join the school for the Summer concert to get used to playing with the current girls, staff and parents. Haileybury School, Hertfordshire, invites prospective pupils to their “Boys night out” and “Girls night out”. They ask pupils to bring their parents along for an evening of fun followed by a taster boarding night in the year before they

come to the school. Nigel Williams, Head at Leighton Park School, Berkshire, says: “Becoming a part of the new school community as soon as you have accepted a place is a great way to alleviate some of those first-day nerves.”

Previous page, Haileybury School, Hertfordshire, above, girls at Haberdashers’ Monmouth

How can they prepare in the summer holidays? The approaching summer break offers ample time to fully prepare for the new start. Simon Smith, Deputy Head of Academic at Haileybury School Hertfordshire, says: “My advice to new starters at any age group is to get reading; whatever you enjoy and as much of it as possible!” He also advises those pupils to try to keep up their languages throughout the summer holiday. “Languages, and indeed maths, tend to be most readily forgotten as they are skills-based subjects,” he adds. A more personal style of preparation

❝ Becoming part of the new school community

once you have accepted a place is a great way to alleviate some of those first-day nerves ❞ 38 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT summer 2013

can also be beneficial. Jon Gray, Headmaster at York House School, Hertfordshire, says: “A full and honest appraisal of current strengths and weaknesses allows realistic and positive target setting. It is also possible to slightly ‘re-invent’ oneself by leaving one or two characteristics or old habits behind – to some extent.” Loss of leadership and responsibility can also be a tough change to adjust to. At the end of prep or primary school, pupils are often in prefect or other leadership roles, which will be left behind when they change schools. However, it can be a great time to relish in the opportunities that being the youngest once again brings.

What can you do to help? Parents will need to prepare themselves for the change too. Having played a monumental role in discussing and selecting the right school, and attending open days, their child is now in complete control of what they make of their chosen senior school. “Parents need to be both optimistic and realistic, while remembering what it felt like when they first went to senior school,” said Andrea Johnson, Head of Wychwood School, Oxfordshire.


Home from home Bev Roberts, housemistress at St Mary’s School, Shaftesbury advises on how you can prepare your child for boarding


housemistress’s role is a very special one with many parts to play; I am responsible for the happiness and welfare of 40 girls aged 13-17 that live in my house. I have the special and unique insight into watching them grow and develop into happy and confident young people. Each boarding house at St Mary’s has its own special character but girls can freely go in and out of each other’s houses to socialise. When it comes to house events for sport or drama, then everyone puts on their house colours, waves their house flag and the competitive nature comes out in us all!

I am supported by two house assistants and, with the help of my House Captain and sixth form prefects, we create a very caring environment. It is important that all boarders learn to live with each other in a peaceful, considerate and respectful way. One of the most important aspects of my role is to ensure we create a warm, happy and friendly atmosphere. My house assistants do a fantastic job in cheering girls up and making them laugh if they are sad; they keep everyone busy with a myriad of activities to help them stay focused and they then share the ups and downs of the day with them.

❝Every new girl at St Mary’s, whether

they are a boarder or a day girl is given a ‘guardian angel’ who will be there to guide you every step of the way ❞

Take lots of posters and photographs to decorate your room; it is also nice to have your own duvet cover (2 sets, with name tags!) and of course, teddies and blankets are most welcome. St Mary’s is a full boarding school. This means that there is a very genuine buzz of activity over the weekends, as well as a real sense of community. No one is ever left alone and no one has the time to get homesick, due to all the activities, weekend matches and trips that are organised. We have three exeat weekends in the autumn term and two in the spring and summer, one either side of half term; when you can go home on a Friday afternoon and are not back until Sunday evening. Girls are allowed out with their families after matches on a Saturday for tea, or for lunch any Sunday after chapel. Girls can have regular contact with their parents, all girls now have access to mobile phones and email. We have introduced Skype recently, which is great, especially for those whose parents live overseas.

Above, a warm, friendly atmosphere is crucial to a successful boarding house

Top Tips

How to be A boArder 1. Practise going for a sleepover at the school before you go there. We have taster days and nights so you know what to expect. 2. Make your room homely. Bring teddies, photos and things you love from home. 3. don’t call home too often in the first few weeks. 4. Keep busy in your free-time. Take part in clubs and other activities, so you are always occupied. 5. remember other people are in the same boat, so talk to friends and people around you before you head off for school. They have all been through it and you soon get used to it and start enjoying it.

summer 2013 iNDEpENDENT sCHooL paRENT 39

crediTS: BeaudeSerT park School, gloS

Going off to boarding school can be a daunting experience, especially if it is your first time away from home; but you quickly establish a routine and, with a busy timetable and lots of friends around you, you soon find that you are so busy having fun that you don’t worry about what you might be missing at home. Like most schools, we run a huge variety of after-school clubs and activities at the weekends. There is never a dull moment: we have zumba classes, water polo club, badminton, cookery and photography clubs to choose from as well as many more. Every new girl at St Mary’s, whether you are a boarder or day girl is given a “guardian angel” who will be there to guide you every step of the way and help you settle into life at school. Our older new girls are given “big sisters” so that even they shadow someone until they know the routine and where things are. It is important when you go off to boarding school for the first time that you make your dorm as homely as possible.

Best in class When it comes to making children better, The Portland Hospital has the highest levels of paediatric expertise and the most advanced technology in the UK. Discover how your child can benefit from the country’s leading experts in children’s health today. Story by Stacey Jackson


ommon sense tells you that, if your child gets ill, the best person to treat them is a leading paediatric consultant experienced in their condition. Our dedicated children’s unit is home to the largest group of private paediatricians in the UK, covering over 40 different clinical specialties. They are among the best in the world at diagnosing and treating both common and complex childhood conditions from birth to age 18. Using the very latest technologies, they treat over 40,000 children each year, ranging from routine check-ups to extremely rare and complex cases. Many of our consultants hold senior posts at leading NHS trust hospitals such as Great Ormond Street and University College Hospital. They’re supported by a team of experienced children’s health professionals, including specialist children’s nurses and play specialists.

We don’t treat any adult patients in our children’s unit, so your child’s hospital experience will be completely tailored to their needs. We find that this can relieve your child’s anxiety about visiting hospital and help them to make a speedy recovery. When you’re thinking about private care for your child, safety will of course be an important consideration. Do bear in mind that some private hospitals don’t offer any on-site critical care facilities. Our children’s unit is fully equipped with the latest medical technology and facilities. Should the need arise, we have a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a Special Care Baby Unit staffed by a dedicated team of critical care experts. You’ll be pleased to know that you won’t need to join a queue for this exceptional service. Whether you want to come tomorrow or you’d like to book during the school holidays, our convenient and rapid appointments give your child the care they need at a time that suits your family and your lifestyle.

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YOUNGTHINGS Up-and-coming stars from the independent school sector, by Josephine Price Danielle Harwarden, 23

Hannah Webb, 22




Some people are born to fly, and Danielle Harwarden is looking beyond the skies as she joins the race to get into space. Inspired by work experience at NASA in Houston, Texas, Danielle has now entered the Lynx competition to send a Briton into space. She is currently placed at around 200 out of thousands of people, and is a strong contender in the male-dominated competition. During her studies at the University of Sheffield Danielle was a member of the Yorkshire Universitities’ Air Squadron where she learnt to fly and undertook many adventurous training and leadership exercises. In her third year of university she was promoted to Deputy Senior Student with the rank of Acting Pilot Officer. The fact that Bolton School is a girls’ school helped Danielle: “We were encouraged to study what we enjoyed and there was no emphasis on traditionally ‘male’ or ‘female’ subjects.”

Ultimate Frisbee competitor, Ultimate Frisbee is an up-and-coming sport, which features a childhood-favourite toy and often involves some spectacular dives! a brief encounter with a Norwegian classmate’s Frisbee in 2006 ignited an intense enthusiasm in Hannah who has been dedicated about the sport ever since. at university, Hannah joined the Frisbee team and in 2012, she trialled for the GB under 23s team and was selected to play Ultimate Frisbee in Toronto at the world Championships.

alasdair Blackwell, 26


amPleFORTH COlleGe, NORTH YORkSHIRe after years as a sought-after web developer, alasdair teamed up with fellow industry gurus to found Decoded. The coding company has a simple promise: to teach anyone to code in a day. at school he was never taught to code and so took it upon himself to learn by building websites for the theatre society at Nottingham University. His experience ignited his passion about the need to teach code in schools, and he has spoken far and wide on the topic, in the national press and at TeDxObserver. Decoded is now is branching out around the world and providing the support and training needed to embed coding across the curriculum.

Joe Launchbury, 22

Rugby player,

CHRIST’S HOSPITal, weST SUSSex From joining London Wasps in his gap year to playing in the recent Six Nations for England, Joe has had a successful few years on the rugby pitch. Sport was a major focus for him at school and has remained a passion to this day. Joe won Aviva’s Player of the Month in November with the Wasps and was voted England’s Player of the Series for the Autumn Internationals. He gained his first cap with England in 2012 and he now has 9 England caps and he remains top of his game and proud to be so: “To represent your country in a packed Twickenham stadium is the dream of every rugby player and I feel honoured and humbled.” 42 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT Summer 2013

school’s out

Sarah Brook, 23

Founder of Sparkle Malawi charity, Felsted school, essex A gap year in Africa inspired Felsted pupil, Sarah Brook, to found her own charity, Sparkle Malawi, during her time at university. She was moved by the scenes she experienced during her time in Malawi and wanted to help the orphans she encountered there. During her studies at Exeter university, Sarah created a programme to care for a group of 20 street orphans and recruited a board of trustees to oversee the project. Sparkle Malawi opened in 2012 and now cares for 356 children between the ages of 0-7. Ninety five per cent of these children suffer from HIV, so Sarah’s next plans are to provide monthly visits from a doctor who will deliver lifesaving vaccinations.

George Blagden,


oundle school, northamptonshire

Oundle pupil, George Blagden, left school at 18 to train as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, whose glittering alumni include Daniel Craig, Orlando Bloom and Ewan McGregor. The comprehensive training he received there, encompassing everything from Shakespeare to Restoration comedy, paid off as he most recently starred in the award-winning film adaptation of Les Misérables as Grantaire, as part of the ABC revolutionary student club alongside Eddie Redmayne. Les Misérables is now simply one to add to the impressive list of films he has appeared in, such as Wrath of the Titans and The Philosophers.

For more information visit...



Bilton Grange Preparatory School

Rugby Road, Dunchurch, Warwickshire CV22 6QU

T: 01788 810217 E: W: E: Head Teacher: Peter Kirk Admissions: Mrs Rebecca Bantoft

Key facts

Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 4-13 years Total pupils: 317, boys 191, girls 126 Type: Day, Flexi, Weekly and Full Boarding Fees: Pre-Prep: Day fee from ÂŁ2,970, Flexi Boarding from ÂŁ45 per night Prep: Day fee from ÂŁ5,055, Flexi Boarding from ÂŁ45 per night Full and Weekly Boarding from ÂŁ7,180 per term Entrance procedure: Contact the Registrar for details. Bursary and scholarships are also available.

School Philosophy: In idyllic surroundings just outside Rugby, with good links to London and the North, Bilton Grange is one of the UK’s leading prep schools. Children grow to become confident, rounded individuals who enjoy success without pressure and continue to do well when they go on to Senior School. Open Days: 11th May 2013 and October 2013

I N D E P E N D E N T B O A R D I N G & D AY S C H O O L FOR GIRLS AND BOYS AGED 11-18 Academic rigour and outstanding co-curricular provision are at the heart of Haileybury, providing a truly all-round education. Our pupils leave as confident, tolerant and ambitious individuals who can make a difference in the world beyond school.

• Superb pastoral care and excellent facilities • Flexi-boarding available in Lower School (Years 7 & 8) • A choice of the IB Diploma or A Levels in the Sixth Form • Scholarships available at 11+, 13+ and 16+ OPEN MORNINGS Saturday 18 May for 13+ or 16+ entry; Thursday 23 May for 11+ entry To discuss Admissions, Scholarships, or to attend an Open Morning, you are warmly invited to contact the Registrar, Iona Hutchinson Tel: 01992 706353 Email: Haileybury, Hertford, Hertfordshire SG13 7NU

@HaileyburyUK Registered Charity No. 310013




Granny Huckle As surrogate granny to 126 children, Pat Huckle has her work cut out at St Faith’s Prep School, Cambridge…


’m a surrogate granny to 126 children aged between seven and nine at St Faith’s prep school in Cambridge. I’ve worked part-time at the school for nearly 20 years as part of the pastoral care team, which is responsible for making the children feel safe, secure and happy in the school environment. My official job title at St Faith’s is Volunteer Assistant, but this doesn’t really sum up everything that I do. No two days are ever the same for me, which is exactly how I like it. One day I could be helping with a cake sale to raise money for charity whereas the next I’ll be assisting with a classroom activity. As well as listening to the children read every day, my main responsibility is to work with Year 3 and 4 children to ease the transition from pre-prep to prep school for them by providing a sympathetic listening ear and talking to them about any concerns they may have about their new setting. When they start prep school, I help with the little things they need to know, making sure they are familiar with their new routines and that they know their way around the “big school”. I try to help them adapt to difficult changes by giving them a feeling of continuity and confidence in their new setting. Those children who haven’t come through our Pre Prep can find the first few days daunting. I am available to give them an extra helping hand, by giving them some one-to-one time and by walking them around the school so that it all becomes more familiar. When the children were asked to describe my role I was both thrilled and surprised with what they had to say: “I’m never afraid to tell her things as she always understands, she’s a role model, if you fall over in the playground

Granny Huckle (right) is a Volunteer Assistant and resident granny at St Faith’s prep, Cambridge

I genuinely love coming into school each week and have no plans to retire anytime soon! ❞

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

she will always come over and check you are alright, she sits with you when you are reading and helps you with words if you get them wrong, she is always there for us if we need her.” Because I’m like their granny, the children find me very approachable. They will open up and talk to me about things going on in their lives in a way that they wouldn’t do with a teacher, and they know that I will always always tell them the truth. I’m there for the small and the big things that life throws at the children. For example, when a child was unsettled at the beginning of the year I took him out of the classroom for several mornings that week and we just sat together and talked. He really opened up

to me and eventually he felt confident enough to return to his lessons. I’m also a trained bereavement counsellor and was able to help and comfort a pupil whose mother sadly died last year. At St Faith’s we believe that children who feel safe, secure and happy are those who are best able to learn and I’m proud and fortunate to work for a school which has this ethos. It sounds like a cliché, but we really are like one big happy family. Parents are delighted that the school actually has an official granny! I genuinely love coming into school each week and have no plans to retire any time soon! For more information visit...


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SAILING Left, prep school pupils at Windermere School, Cumbria take to the lakes


Ships ahoy! With five Olympic medal wins last year, sailing is seen as a serious school sport – and nowhere more so than in our prep schools, writes Tracy Cook

his May, around 50 prep schools are taking part in the IAPS National Sailing Regatta, to be held on the Olympic course at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPSNA). Over 200 children will compete in two categories – under 11s and under 13s, in 52 dinghies supplied by SailLaser especially for the event. And in previous years, five times Olympic medal sailor Sir Ben Ainslie has even awarded the winners’ trophies. “It’s a brilliant, big sporting event in a super location. And it’s got bigger since we started it four years ago,” says Mark McCloskey, IAPS Coordinator for Sailing and Year Five teacher at Leweston Prep School in Dorset. “The first year we had 20 schools entering. This year there are over 200 children from 50 schools. Each school can only send a team of two in each age group so as many schools as possible can enter. “Like the Olympics, we find the Regatta generates more enthusiasm for the sport. Once a school has come along and done quite well, the Head will often buy more boats or enable more sailing courses to happen. And parents come on board with the idea too.” Last November also saw the launch of the first IAPS Inland Sailing Regatta and there are plans to repeat it this year. Organised by the Dragon School’s Master in Charge of Sailing, Angus Nicholson, it was held at Oxford Sailing Club on the Farmoor Reservoir, with over 38 schools taking part. “It’s another opportunity for children to compete. Sailing inland is safer, but it’s different to sailing at sea,” says Nicholson. “At sea there are bigger waves, different things to contend with and you need different skills and techniques.” To learn these, children as young as


seven are being encouraged to don wetsuits, raise their mainsail and launch into a fair wind. At Leweston Prep School, children sail at the WPSNA from Year Five and are able to rapidly pass Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Youth qualifications. “If children are really keen in year six, we also run holiday courses and by the end of the year they can be starting Intermediate Racing,” says McCloskey. “But our aim is to encourage all children to have a go.” Up in the Lake District at Windermere School, pupils are lucky enough to have their own boathouse, Hodge Howe, on the waterfront below the school. From Year Three onwards, as part of the curriculum and the school’s own Adventure Award scheme, children sail for three hours each week in the summer and autumn terms. “It’s a great experience for them – being out of their comfort zone, squeezing into wetsuits, getting cold, learning outside the classroom,” says Sarah Brierley, Head of Adventure. “We put the seven year-olds in Laser Bugs. They are small little boats, like bathtubs,

that they can easily manage. They love it. At that age, they have no fear, just a sense of excitement. ” “They like falling in at that age,” agrees Nicholson, “in fact, if they like falling in, they tend to do quite well.” From Year Four, the Dragon School offers sailing as an after-school club twice a week in the summer term, progressing from beginners up to team racing. “Initially, we take children out in two person Picos – that’s basically a bullet proof boat, functional and sturdy for training. After a term’s sailing, they have learnt boat handling, setting up rigging and sailing round courses. It gives them a real sense of achievement.” Nicholson believes sailing offers excellent opportunities for personal development. “It gives children really good experience of working as a team and puts them in control at an age when perhaps they don’t have much control over things in their life. When they are in the boat, they are on their own, steering, taking decisions. It gives them ownership early on and most of them relish it.” Other schools are keen to offer sailing


❝ It’s a great experience

for them – being out of their comfort zone, squeezing into wetsuits, getting cold, learning outside the classroom ❞


Calling all young sailors! Ne

as an alternative to conventional sports. At University College School Junior Branch, Year Six boys spend three days sailing as part of their Enrichment Curriculum after summer exams. Despite being London based, University College have a good track record at sailing, training at the Welsh Harp reservoir in Brent and winning the IAPS National Sailing Regatta in 2010 and 2011. “But it’s not about winning,” says Headmaster Kevin Douglas. “If you win, it’s fantastic, of course, but it’s about giving opportunity. We do all the traditional sports like cricket and hockey, but we also want to offer something different for boys who are not interested in those. And with sailing, it can become a passion for life, especially when you start at this age.” But learning to sail isn’t all about competing. For a really extraordinary experience, Year Six pupils at Parkside School in Surrey are offered the chance to sail a two-mast 72ft yacht, the John Laing, with the Ocean Youth Trust. The boys, usually novice sailors, crew the boat alongside six qualified

volunteers, including the school’s Head of Geography, Hamish Lochhead. “It’s a fantastic experience. The boys are absolutely part of the ship’s crew and have to work as a team to hoist sails, keep watch and help with the navigation,” he says. “Whether we’re sailing round the Isle of Wight or heading down the Channel, they have to learn to cope in unfamiliar and challenging situations, whether the wind whips up, or it gets very cold, or dark. They learn a lot about planning and thinking things through, compromise and negotiation, learning from mistakes and learning how to communicate with others.” “Henrik absolutely loved it,” says his mother, Susanne Jensen. “The boys did everything from steering the tiller as they sailed at night, to practicing manoverboard drills. And he had to help cook a meal for 18 people – and even clean the loos. He came back more confident and longing to sail again.” So whether it’s crewing a yacht, or dashing for the finish line, more prep schools than ever are on course to produce a whole new generation of sailors.

From left, pupils from Wellesley House, Kent, Ben Hutton-Penman of New Hall School, Essex. Top, Windermere School, Cumbria, Hodge Howe boathouse on the waterfront

w BBC film, Swallows and Amazons, is lookin g for extras. Visit independent for full details

FIND OuT mOrE: Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy Royal Yachting Association Ocean Youth Trust IAPS National Sailing Regatta default_s.asp?eventid=156226 UK Sailing Academy British Schools Dinghy Racing Association


the great outDoors

Wild things In his documentary, Project Wild Thing, David Bond explores how a generation of children is fascinated by screens but are strangers to the natural world


’m a father of two. Like any parent, I worry about my brood. Do they get enough Vitamin C? Are they OK at school? Is their childhood happy? They are 4 and 6. So what makes them happy? Honestly? They are most excited by the consumption of television, or the iPad, or of any screen – certainly more than hanging out with me. I know because I have tried the alternatives on them: chocolate cake, cameras, the zoo, parties. I’m making a feature-length documentary film for cinema called Project Wild Thing about children and their connection (or lack of connection) to nature. So I get to experiment on my kids. Or at least that is my excuse. In my own childhood, watching TV was low on the preference list when I got home from school. I wanted to drop off my bags and run straight back outside to play with friends. There is a tempting argument, partly responsible for the massive rise in time spent on screens in schools, that says that technology is good for expanding children’s brains and preparing them for the future. I agree in some respects. But, like much of my generation, I had very little IT training at school, and seem to get on fine with technology. So is a childhood with increasing screen time and rapidly decreasing nature time ideal? I was shocked to discover while making the film that my children’s generation is going to be the first in human history to have a lower life expectancy than their parents. The reason is the rise in obesity, in mental health issues and in attention deficit problems. It is hard to ignore the link to a more static lifestyle. Outside, I see a change in them almost immediately. At first they look sullenly at me as if to say: “What the hell are we doing here? The cartoons are on!” (They are always on – thanks BBC iPlayer...). Then, 30 seconds later, they become carefree. Their eyes focus away from the dreaded 30 centimetre zone that screens occupy, and, literally, they broaden their horizons. They become engrossed in the world around them. They relax. They become less stiff, less intense.


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In my own childhood, when I got home from school, I’d run straight outside to play with my friends ❞


Nature, in its infinitely resolute glory, from the exquisite soft down of dewy lichen, to the Armageddon of a proper storm, lifts them up where they belong, where the eagles cry, on a mountain high, to quote singer Joe Cocker. These thoughts, apart from being embarrassingly hippyish (I’m a rationalist, and proud of it) were at the beginning of my decision to make the documentary, Project Wild Thing. I wanted to find some answers. But first, what are the right questions? I settled on these: is nature really good for you? How? In its absence, in a blind choice, why don’t children love nature as much as television? Yet when they get dumped in it, why are they so happy? Project Wild Thing is my attempt to dive deeply into this question. When I started, all I wanted was to see what would happen if my children went outside more. Then I realised that the only way to do that is to get them to love it. I mean really love it – and to get me to love it too (after all, I still outrank them). I looked at the things children love and demand. They are all shiny and most importantly, constantly marketed. Marketing seemed like the best way to try to get kids to love nature as much as cartoons and iPad games. So I appointed myself the Marketing Director for Nature, launched a nationwide campaign and have spent the last year in my new role. Along the way I’ve learnt a lot about marketing, and discovered some

surprising truths about how we sell to children. But as I’ve gone on, I’ve realised that I don’t have the deep marketing pockets of Nintendo or Coke. And if I did – would it be right to just copy what they are doing? Maybe nature is the one thing that we should not advertise. So if we can’t advertise it, how do we make our kids love it? I’ve met some very interesting people along the way. Jaak Panksepp is a neuroscientist who discovered that rats laugh when tickled: he explained how important play is for children. Outdoor play is an inherent part of becoming responsible and understanding our place in society. Bob Hughes, a play expert, talked about the importance of unstructured free play. If all the toys that children play with have outcomes that are predetermined by adults – like a robot that turns into a car – how will children evolve to become more inventive and creative than previous generations? Agnes Nairn co-authored a recent UNICEF report that judges the UK harshly as a difficult place to bring up happy children. She says, “There is no evil marketeer sitting in a boardroom, stroking a white cat and plotting how to monopolise children’s brains.” Rather, she says, the whole system incentivizes the production of addictive content. The UNICEF comparative report concludes that what children love most is spending time with their families, outdoors. It

Previous page and above, unstructured free play helps children hone their inventive and creative skills

For more information please follow us on Twitter: projectwildthing. com, wearewildthing

seems that parents often do not have the time to go outdoors and play, in a non-directive way, with their children. Are we too busy trying to have the best house, the newest car, the most popular trainers? Do we spend too much time working and not enough time enjoying life? Perhaps the problem is not just about children going outdoors but also about how we live our lives today. We are stressed and tired. We are a nation of worriers. Perhaps I am not helping by writing all of this down… Making the outdoors fun, mysterious, challenging and most of all interesting, is the key to getting children to go out. If they understand it and care for it – and realise the potential for danger and exploration, they are likely to love it. I see my job as allowing them to have adventures and give them the freedom to challenge themselves. Children are naturally curious and they need to be allowed to be curious. Childhood needs to be muddy, messy, carefree, playful and undirected. Project Wild Thing will premiere at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival on 12th June and shortly afterwards in cinemas nationwide. A campaign is being launched in association with the National Trust, the RSPB, the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, Channel 4, Britdoc, Play England and more. And we want to bring other, similar campaigns under one umbrella. We want to make it easier for parents, and more enjoyable for children to be outside, doing what is good for them. So this film, we believe, is the start of something big!



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trading communities Schoolstrader is an online peer-to-peer marketplace where users can trade advice, fridges and even cockerels, writes Josephine Price


hickens, ski chalets and second-hand pianos. There are not many websites where you can buy all three without having to leave your computer screen, but this is exactly what Neil Canetty-Clarke has created with his website, Schoolstrader. Schoolstrader, the free community trading website, launched in 2006. It began with three schools in East Sussex and now covers all the 30,000 school communities throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Schools link communities and Schoolstrader has benefited from this relationship to create an online community of peers. It has pioneered community trading and it has fared well in the media: it has featured as a Daily Telegraph top 50 website and as one of The Sunday Times’ top 10 websites. The concept is simple. It is an online marketplace where users can register for free and trade items, advice and experiences. The site is small and local, which garners a sense of trust, but the site delivers on a national level, too, which is where its success lies. Canetty-Clarke acknowledges that Schoolstrader was “my wife’s idea”. Back in 2006, the couple lamented the non-existence of a marketplace where parents at their children’s school could trade items with each other. This can be especially prevalent in rural areas where meetings at the school gates can seem like a chance affair. “The internet just seemed the obvious place,” says CanettyClarke and so they began. The website started with the independent schools sector. From Eton and Harrow, to Stowe and Malvern College, they have now launched with well over half of the independent schools in the sector but they are keen to

Schoolstrader, the website and online community launched in 2006

continue and work with them all. Recruiting and connecting with local schools and selling ads to local businesses; the model seems simple but the success of the simplicity is how easily it can be replicated throughout the country and potentially further. “We have thought about European expansion,” says Canetty-Clarke. Schools can reap the benefits of the online community of parents by promoting their open days, PTA events and job vacancies. Rockport School in Northern Ireland has even recruited gap year students from the site and has given it glowing testimonials as a result. Feedback from the site has informed the Schoolstrader team that there are three aspects which are vital to its

success: being free, community-based and creating trust. Parents can now rejoice in being able to turn to one website for their needs, saving both money and time. It is funded by advertising from companies such as Waitrose, Camp America which keeps the site free for parents but allows such companies to interact directly with their customer base. Parents also have the chance to get more involved as the site hires local “agents” across the UK to help with promotion. Agents encourage local people to use the site and help connect with local businesses to offer them advertising opportunities. The site is extremely user-friendly with all advertisements divided up into sections such as farming, furniture and books. Favourite items that sell are relatively standard, such as tuition, musical instruments and school uniform. However, the website has played host to the more bizarre adverts such as canal boats, free cockerels, Harley Davidsons and old floorboards. Two donkeys that appeared on the site just before Christmas particularly appealed to Canetty-Clarke, who is constantly amazed by the variety of ads , including free items like pianos appearing on the site. He has noticed how several houses have now been sold through the site, as parents realise that by using the Schoolstrader platform they can avoid hefty estate agent fees. From other websites such as Freecycle and eBay it is evident that peer-to-peer trading is taking off and Schoolstrader is taking the UK school community with it. For more information, or simply to get trading, visit


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The road to nowhere Schools and parents have a mutual responsibility to develop the whole child, not just to ensure they achieve great grades, says Lucy Elphinstone


he bags of confection hanging on their numbered rails behind the glass all look inviting. Which to choose? In the end, you opt for the Jelly Babies, those brightly coloured, delicious cherubs. You pop your money in the slot, type in the code and out they come. The process is easy, the product reliable. A generation ago, the vending machine method of independent education was standard: parents dropped their child off on the first day, slipped the cheque to the Bursar, and, hey presto, picked up the child some years later, all packaged and ready for Life. With the stratospheric rise in school fees and the collapse of our financial systems, this approach is

❝ The joy of childhood is devoured

by the need to perform and achieve ❞ common once more. Anxieties over the quality of some state school provision have forced many parents to make sacrifices to secure an independent education for their child. “The most important investment we’ll ever make”, they say, the very phrase suggesting an economic transaction. And day schools have seen a surge in demand. Competition for places has destroyed the sense of an easy purchase and for some parents the response has been to throw more money at it – bring in the tutors, send the child on revision courses - anything so that the child can enter the exam factory and come out on the conveyor belt, having passed quality control. But very often this happens without the real abilities, needs and wishes of the child being considered. And it is usually examination league tables – measuring narrow academic data without context – which determine

the choice, rather than spiritual, moral, creative and social values and skills. But while some parents might abnegate responsibility for their child’s education, others fret over it to an unhealthy degree. These “helicopter” parents hover over their child’s every activity, demanding excellence. The joy of childhood is devoured by the need to perform and achieve. Throw into this scene the influence of “celebrity-culture” and you have a toxic situation. Exhausted, pressurised and stressed, the cheerful child turns into a tortured teenager likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, eating disorders and anger. Horrified by the fragility and dependence of their children, parents and schools turn to the experts. Psychotherapists, counsellors and PSHE programmes all seek to address the problems. The frequent response to a child’s erratic behaviour is to expect the

Above, pupils from Francis Holland School, London

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

school to sort it. But the real answer is a partnership between parents and schools from the earliest stage. Parents of my age, often the product of liberal 60s and 70s parenting, can feel at a loss as to how to introduce boundaries – when the very word seems antithetical to freedom and self-expression. But the traditional ground of a clear moral and spiritual framework is being increasingly reclaimed. Family life should offer clear rules of behaviour, sharing of domestic tasks, a safe, non-judgmental place to confide, laughter and fun, but empathy in defeat or sorrow, encouragement in aspiration, a sense of mutual respect and courtesy, family meals and shared experiences. As in the family, so in the school. Every child must know that his or her value isn’t dependent on achievement – or looks, status or fame. Unconditional love is vital and this brings us to my final point. At our school, it is not only academic intelligence, which is prized. We also celebrate creative, musical and spatial intelligence; we recognise that the world of work demands not just geeks who are good at exams, but people who think outside the box, who are flexible, tenacious, unorthodox and intuitive. Emotional intelligence – the ability to empathise, communicate, make connections, cope with stress, work in a team and lead – is the main quality sought by employers. So let us see our child’s education as a partnership in nurturing a precious young life, and seek a school with a clear moral vision, a community for whom the journey, not the destination, is the goal. Lucy Elphinstone is Headmistress of Francis Holland School, Sloane Square, London. For more information visit...



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Gifted and talented Thea Jourdan asks: how do you know if your child is more able than their peers?


s a mum of three small children – the oldest just mastering reading and the youngest still wearing nappies – I haven’t really thought too much about whether they are gifted and talented. I still feel grateful if they can pull up their own socks. Anyway, it’s really too soon to call if a child has high learning potential – or is it? According to the Potential Plus UK (formerly known as the National Association for Gifted and Talented Children) a child can start showing remarkable potential when still in nursery. Gifted and talented children are not necessarily the ones who sit quietly at the front and count to 100 before their peers, however. They are more likely ask lots of questions and be very curious and they can get bored easily if they are not being stimulated. In the state school system, a national programme dedicated to identify gifted and talented children was abolished in 2007. But since last year the Government has launched a watered-down version of the scheme to help pupils who are academically more able. But what about children in the private system – like my offspring? Janette Wallis, senior editor at The Good Schools Guide, says that most prep schools have a stated aim to maximise academic, artistic and sporting ability in their pupils. “You could say that this is the prep schools’ raison d’etre.” Despite frantic competition for places at some top London preps, most preparatory schools are non-selective. Even formidable players like Hill House International Junior School, which has

over 1,000 pupils at six locations in London and wins sheaves of scholarships to top independent secondary schools each year, operates a first-come firstserved basis. But almost as soon as a child enters a school, a process of winnowing begins. “This can take a variety of forms but it generally means streaming or putting children in sets according to ability,” explains Wallis. “More traditional prep schools tend to opt for streaming, but on a flexible basis so a child can move up or down within the system. Bigger prep schools often decide to put children in sets according to subjects instead.” Aysgarth School in North Yorkshire – a prep school for boys who go on to the country’s top public schools including Eton, Harrow and Ampleforth – prides itself on a broad curriculum to develop intellectual curiosity. Boys are given regular academic reviews and put in groups “to enable them to develop at an appropriate rate.” They are taught by subject specialists after the first year and class sizes are small – typically 10-12. Most prep schools also offer scholarship streams for those children deemed suitable for these awards. Some prep schools move children up a year who academically excel or develop specialist skills in art and music for example. Mary James, 43, mother to six year-old Seth, is keen for him to attend Aldro School for Boys in Godalming, Surrey. Seth is already showing prowess in maths and has been pushed up a year at his state school. Seth is labelled geeky at his present school, but at Aldro he will be along side many other high achievers. For most children, good prep schools should offer opportunities to A GIFTED CHILD WILL TEND TO: develop their abilities to the full,”  Develop speech and vocabulary early says Janette  Ask lots of questions and be very curious Wallis. “That’s  Read early what parents are  Learn quickly paying for at the  Have a good memory end of the day, and  Be good at puzzles that is what they  Enjoy problem-solving and reasoning can expect.”

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How to pay tHe scHool fees

It’s good to start early when investing in your child’s education, writes Robert Forbes of Plutus Wealth Management

School fees planning Effective school fees planning is the art of making the necessary, but painful, a little less painful. The question is always how best can I utilise the money I have to meet the demands of both now and the future, and how can I be more certain that there won’t be a shortfall.

Bucket strategy

In the finance world, we call this liability driven investing but I prefer to call it “bucket investing”. The concept is very straightforward; the school fees that are payable in the next three years form one bucket, fees for year four and five form another, and so on and so forth until your

children leave for university. Each bucket is a separate account and each has a different level of investment risk. So for school fees that are payable until the end of 2015, we, at Plutus Wealth Management, would take no risk at all. We exchange the potential for growth for certainty because the certainty is the most important thing with so short a time to when the bills are payable. Bucket 2 is for 2016 and 2017 fees. We can make a good estimation of what the fees will be in those years and we’ll hold a portfolio that, if you imagine risk being on a scale of 1 to 10, is at the lower end, say 3 or 4. That means that you’re likely to get a return above what you would get in a bank account. Bucket 3 is for 2018-2020. We would be taking risk that is 5 or 6 on the scale,

Below, pupils from King’s College, Wimbledon

and crucially as the years go by reducing that risk so that it starts to look like bucket 2 and then bucket 1 as we get closer and closer to the payment dates. Bucket 4 holds all the money for 2021 and onwards. This is where the highest level of risk is taken. This is a very simple strategy and what it achieves is remarkable; the parents are in much more control over their planning and can see where there’s a shortfall and where there isn’t, and can act accordingly. Traditionally people have money in investments and ISAs that form a single pot and from there the regular school fees are payable. But this doesn’t answer the key questions like: is the money going to run out or what happens if the investment values fall? In short, is it all going to be ok?

❝ This is a very simple strategy but what it

achieves it remarkable; the parents are in much more control over their planning ❞


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It is really important to review progress of your fees planning. It only takes a couple of hours a year to stay on top of it ❞ ❝

ISAs, JISAs and tax Both parents should always utilise their ISA allowances (£11,520 with up to half in a cash ISA and the balance in an investment ISA), and additional investments should be held in the lower tax payer’s name. With further spare cash up to £3,600 can be held in junior ISAs in the child’s name where they will have access to it from age 18, perhaps as part of the university fees planning.


School fees inflation is a stubborn beast. Each year fees increase over and above the general rate of inflation and there are plenty of good reasons as to why that’s the case and will continue to do so. It’s vital in the planning that you take into account inflation – in simple terms if fees inflation is 4 per cent then investing in cash won’t cut the mustard but investing in a range of big solid blue chip companies probably will because each year these big companies pay a dividend that should match the price rises. If inflation is higher, say 8 per

cent, then you’ll need to consider taking some more risk just to keep up with the rising costs.

Property and remortgaging It’s always best to use savings and investments to pay the fees but if that simply isn’t possible then you could consider remortgaging. With interest rates low, and set to be low for the foreseeable future increasing your mortgage to pay for each year’s fees isn’t a huge problem, but you need to stay in control of the costs and look to pay off the additional debt as soon as possible. Never re-mortgage too much and never release cash for the purpose of investing – it’s a recipe for disaster.

Further ahead We’ll always analyse the possibilities for university. For some it will be possible to plan the finances so that full tuition fees and costs of living have been saved for, whilst for others it’s a case of concentrating on the school fees in the knowledge that there are student loan options available for your children when the time comes.

Reviewing process Finally, it is really important to review progress of your fees planning. It only takes a couple of hours a year to stay on top of it. Taking the time to address it means tactical decisions can be made in tandem with your adviser to either eke out better returns or reduce risk. Robert Forbes is an independent financial planner at Plutus Wealth Management. SUMMER 2013 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ParENT 63





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Choose a family holiday to remember Explore Europe’s secret corners, at your own pace and in your own way, with the Slow Holiday people…


nntravel have been around for almost to mention the occasional donkey and 30 years, and have carved out an plenty of opportunities for splashing enviable reputation as the UK’s around in the water – our new collection leading provider of self-guided, gently of family holidays was born.” active holidays amid the timeless regions Freedom as a family of Europe and beyond. An Inntravel holiday has no fixed It wasn’t until recently, however, that itineraries, no groups to hold you back they started to offer family holidays, as and no luggage to weigh you down. They General Manager, Karl Watson, explains: are all about gentle activity and having “Our holidays were mainly being enjoyed fun, and there are many by couples and small groups “What a refreshing different choices: walk or of friends, and the feedback change – a family cycle from village to village, was fantastic, so we hadn’t holiday where we while your luggage is really thought of tailoring could do our own transported ahead; or, if you them to families. But we got thing, in our own prefer more flexibility, then more and more enquiries time, just as we opt for one of their familyfrom independently-minded wanted! There was a friendly hotels in Europe, families who wanted to ‘get range of activities for from where you can enjoy a active together’ on holiday, the kids, and we fell in variety of different activities and who wanted to take love with the region as the mood takes you. things at their own pace immediately.” Similarly, there is a without having to fit in with hand-picked selection of groups, timetabled events or family-friendly self-catering properties; or kids’ clubs. So it got us thinking, and we even a family holiday on the “quiet side of realised that many of our destinations the mountain” during winter, where amid Europe’s unspoiled corners are charming villages provide many different absolutely perfect for families! So, with a ways to enjoy the snow. tweak here and a new hotel there – not

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Step back in time

A family cruise to the classical civilization of Ancient Greece and Rome left Andrew Wilson wanting more…


e’ve been to the southern coast of Turkey on an archaeological family cruise aboard a Turkish gulet with Peter Sommer Travels three times now. Our very first, way back in 2006, was along the beautiful Lycian shore, from Göcek to Fethiye. It perfectly married the freedom and relaxation that one requires from a holiday, but also gave a certain structure to the day as you learnt something new about the history of the area you are visiting. If your idea of escorted tours conjures up images of dry lectures and ageing crowds, then think again! Our lively trip along Turkey’s turquoise coast inspired both the younger and slightly older members on board. With an archaeologist-cum-guide who was a dab hand at bringing stories to life, we visited ancient burial sites riddled with 2,500 year old tombs, Byzantine and Ottoman castles and monumental Patara – the birthplace of St. Nicholas (Santa Claus/Father Christmas). There was time to snorkel over sunken harbours, swim in beautiful bays, and

“What a refreshing change – a family holiday where we could do our own thing, in our time, just as we wanted! There was a range of activities for the kids, and we fell in love with the region!”

climb rocky cliffs, too. What was so idyllic about it is that the villages and small towns that one encounters along the way are bereft of huge crowds due to their relative inaccessibility by car – one of the tiny hamlets and ancient cities we visited, Simena, an extraordinarily picturesque spot, could only be reached by sea or on foot. The party on our boat, a traditional wooden gulet, consisted of my wife, Emma, and our three children, Jo, Kate and Anna, ranging from 8 to 14 years of age, together with a few other families. The friendly crew left us to our own devices in the mornings – we’d wake and often have a swim in the bay where we’d anchored and spend the next few hours breakfasting, reading and sunbathing on deck. As soon as the midday sun had cooled, we’d go ashore with our expert which would take us to our ancient city of the day. Our archaeologist tour leader would then delight in regaling us with tales of bloodthirsty ancient battles and leave us groaning at his rather dubious insight into the personal hygiene of the ancient

Greeks or Romans! We’d have the pleasure of visiting well-documented sites such as Xanthus, which Brutus besieged after murdering Julius Caesar. Gemiler Island, a tiny speck in the Mediterranean Sea, decked out with a series of Byzantine churches floored with mosaics with their columns and decorations lying asunder on the ground; and Patara, a beautiful site, with a vast theatre, colonnaded streets, its temples and baths now lying empty and forlorn, but gradually being rediscovered by archaeologists working under the bright sun. All in all, the perfect family trip.

Cruising Western LyCia – FamiLy tour Sat 20th July–Sat 27th July £2,195 GBP per person £2,080 GBP per child under 12 Peter Sommer Travels

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• Founded in 1645 Cheam is one of the oldest Prep Schools in the country • Founded in 1645 Cheam is one of the oldest Prep Schools in the country • Founded in 1645 Cheam is one of the oldest Prep Schools in the country • Set in 100 acres of beautiful countryside, for sporty, outdoor loving, energetic types • Set in 100 acres of beautiful countryside, for sporty, outdoor loving, energetic types • Set in 100 acres of beautiful countryside, for sporty, outdoor loving, energetic types • Cheam is the perfect school for children to spend their formative years • Cheam is the perfect school for children to spend their formative years • Cheam is the perfect school for children to spend their formative years • Outstanding academic performance – 68 scholarships in the last 5 years • Outstanding academic performance – 68 scholarships in the last 5 years • Outstanding academic performance – 68 scholarships in the last 5 years • Very strong sport, music, drama and an exhaustive list of extra-curricular activities Very strong sport, music, drama and an exhaustive list of extra-curricular activities • • Very strong sport, music, drama and an exhaustive list of extra-curricular activities

• Co-Ed day and boarding from 3-13 (Weekly or Flexi boarding available from age 8) Co-Ed day and boarding from 3-13 (Weekly or Flexi boarding available from age 8) • • Co-Ed day and boarding from 3-13 (Weekly or Flexi boarding available from age 8) Tel: 01635 268242 Cheam School, Headley, Newbury, Berkshire RG19 8LD Email:Email: Web: Web: Tel: 01635 Tel: 268242 01635 268242 Cheam School, Headley, Newbury, Berkshire RG19 8LD Cheam School, Headley, Newbury, Berkshire RG19 8LD

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Weekend à Paris A cultural trip to France gives her children all they could ask for, even a stay in their favourite hotel, the Mandarin Oriental, says Mary Lussiana


ou might think I am a mother cast in Asian tiger mould, if I told you that I take my youngest children to museums in the holidays, but in truth it is they who request it, proving beyond doubt that the old dictum, the grass is always greener on the other side, is accurate. For we live in the culturally bereft Algarve and thus spend our holidays exploring cultural destinations. Last Summer, after much discussion we opted for Rome – for my son to go to the Coliseum and to Gladiator school, something I thoroughly recommend for all 10-year-old boys – so this summer it was Paris for them both to see the glories of Versailles, and for my daughter to soak up the art at the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin. This request from my daughter was, I strongly suspect, prompted as much by her love of crêpes, as by her passion for art, but then, when in France, the two go nicely hand in hand. Having decided on that, it was down to me to pick the place to lay our heads at night. Of course, the downside of being a travel writer is that my children care ENORMOUSLY where they stay. Luckily enough, I knew that Mandarin

Oriental had recently opened its doors in Paris and they are such little fans. So, off we went… What a success it was. We swam in the beautiful spa, breakfasted in the outside courtyard, on crêpes – of course – and then strode out to enrich ourselves with culture. The hotel, on rue Saint-Honoré is brilliantly placed to walk everywhere and walk we did. First up was the Louvre, where the crowds were such that we quickly decided to concentrate on just a few rooms. Unfortunately, due to the diversity of interests, these seemed to be a long way from each other. Youngest son wanted to see the limestone Scribe Squatting while middle daughter wanted to see the Italian paintings, with of course the famous Mona Lisa, and I felt that when in France we should pay homage to the French paintings of Ingres and Fragonard, Chardin and Poussin before the “must see” sculptures of Michelangelo and Canova, on the ground floor. Exhausted, we fell on a steak-frites lunch, in a brasserie on a Parisian pavement before we hit Musée d’Orsay and the Impressionists, where pleasingly, there were far less people. The next day was Notre Dame and the

Home to art, crêpes and magnificent palaces, France makes for an ideal cultural, family trip

impressive Musée Rodin. We studied The Kiss and the powerful Hand of God, sculpted in marble, which we all agreed reminded us in some ways of Michelangelo’s Captives in Florence. An ice-cream in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower completed our few days of Parisian culture and we fled the head of the capital for the cool of Versailles. Basing ourselves at Les Etangs de Corot, the little hamlet where artist Corot lived, and which now houses a charming hotel and Caudalie Spa, we ate sumptuous fare on a thatched 19thcentury terrace, among gardens overflowing with rambling roses. The scale and splendour of the Palace of Versailles the next day, could not fail to impress the children, from the Hall of Mirrors to the Grand Trianon, to Le Nôtre’s gardens, where we picnicked, courtesy of the hotel, among the marble statues before returning to watch the cool silent darkness fall over the lake at the hotel. It was a wonderfully bucolic end to a few days of capital culture. Mary Lussiana stayed in the Mandarin Oriental, and Les Etangs de Corot,


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Little white lies Most parents tells lies to their children to try to change their behaviour, writes Glynis Kozma


f the wind changes direction your face will stay like that.” A warning I often heard from my parents whenever I scowled at them. They weren’t alone in using white lies to try to control my behaviour. Research published in the International Journal of Psychology reveals that 84% of parents in the United States lie to their children in order to influence behaviour, what they eat, and demands for treats and toys. Lying often starts with the tooth fairy and Father Christmas. Is this harmful? Mother, Anna Holmes, has a seven-yearold son. “I think the tooth fairy and Father Christmas are more about creating magic

❝ I think the tooth fairy and Father

Christmas are more about creating magic than lying ❞

than lying. I asked my son if he was annoyed when he discovered they weren’t real; he wasn’t at all. But he did say that he feels annoyed when some adults assume he still believes.” I had a hard job convincing my son that Father Christmas even existed despite the fact he had just visited his nursery. “He’s not real,” he announced. “I could see his false beard.” Oh dear. “There is more than one Father Christmas,” I explained, weaving another web of deceit. There is no end to the white lies parents tell. “I tell my son he can’t have biscuits because they contain nuts,” Emily said. “Is he allergic to nuts?” her friend queried. “No, but I make sure he thinks he is!” One mother told her child, “I can’t hear when it’s dark, so shout for Dad if you need anyone during the night.” I asked Teresa Bliss, educational psychologist, what she thought of parents

telling lies. “Children are lied to by adults around the globe across all cultures. Children hold onto lies like the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas because they enjoy the magic. I’ve known a parent who refused to lie about these and later on her children told her she should have not been so principled. A child I once taught was about to go to Pakistan for some months and the day before she went she tried very hard to pull out a loose tooth because, she told me, the tooth fairy doesn’t visit Pakistan.” Bliss described how her own daughter suddenly stopped eating bread. “I eventually found out why. An older relative had tried to encourage her to eat the crusts, “to make your hair curl.” What do parents lie about? Bliss explained, “With young children who want to watch a programme on television, parents will often tell them it’s not on. This

Research has shown that 84% of parents lie to children

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

is a lazy way to avoid confrontation. Before too long the child will be able to read and use the remote control. So a parent is postponing having to say no. Another frequent lie is that children who misbehave will be taken away, or the parent will call the police. These are not a good lies. Children need to have secure boundaries; parents who resort to these types of lies undermine their authority, which can be frightening for a child.” Children look to their parents as role models. They hear us saying, “If the phone’s for me I’m busy, so say I’m not here.” But are there good lies and bad lies? Bliss says, “Life is not black and white, and we can’t pretend to children that it is. White lies help us manage our lives. Plato introduced the concept of the ‘noble lie’ where it was acceptable for the elite to lie to pursue an agenda for social harmony. If children don’t see how lies work in society they risk being naive and not understanding how others might manipulate them.” Acceptable lies often inlude praising your child's artwork from school where Daddy looks more like a spider! Although recent research suggests that lying to children may damage family relationships, it depends on what kinds of lies are told. Using lies to control your child’s behaviour, as an easy way to temporarily keep the peace, is not advisable because as your child matures they will see the lies for what they are and your authority will be diminished. Children need to learn that white lies can sometimes exist to manage relationships. As Anna Holmes explained, “I want my son to know that if any future wife asks, ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ he gives the right answer!” For more information visit...


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FOR PARENTS, TEACHERS, LECTURERS AND STUDENTS The Sunday Times Festival of Education is aimed at everyone interested and involved in education, be they parents, teachers, lecturers or students. The Festival will cut through the jargon to provide you with sound and accessible advice about the key issues involved in education. We have brought together a vast range of speakers – all experts in their fields – to stimulate debate and answer your questions about schools, universities…and beyond. Just some of the discussions and interactive sessions for parents and students include:


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facilities • outdoor education programme with indoor climbing • Separate Prep School facilities, with access to all senior and support • Outstanding outdoor education programme with indoor climbing wall and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme to Gold level school facilities Outstandingwith outdoor education programme with indoor climbing • Sporting• key focus on hockey, rugby and cricket • excellence Individual academic excellence and achievement wall and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme to Gold level wall and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme to Gold level • Individual academic excellence and achievement Separate Prep School facilities, withon access to all senior Outstanding outdoor education programme with indoor climbing excellence with key focus hockey, rugby and cricket • • • Sporting 70 acre• farm and BHS approved Equestrian Centre •working Small class sizes (around 15), enabling individual attention Sporting excellence with key key focus focus onScheme hockey,torugby rugby and 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 workingSixth farm Form and BHS approved Equestrian learning Centre New dedicated Centre for independent • •Separate Prep School facilities, with access to all senior school facilities • 70 acre working farm and BHS approved Equestrian Centre • Sporting excellence with key focus on hockey, rugby and cricket 70 acre working farm and programme BHS approvedwith Equestrian Centre • Outstanding outdoor education programme with indoor climbing wall and Outstanding outdoor education indoor climbing • Separate PrepForm SchoolCentre facilities,for with access to all senior • • • First Newclass dedicated Sixth independent learning facilities for music, art and drama • New dedicated Sixth Form Centre for independent learning • 70 acre working farm and BHS approved Equestrian Centre New dedicated Sixth Form Centre for independent learning wall and Duke 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 • Scholarships and forces bursaries available •• excellence Outstanding education with indoor climbing • Sporting excellence with key focus on hockey, rugby and cricket Sporting• withSixth key focusCentre onprogramme hockey, rugby and cricket • 70 acre working farm and BHS approved Equestrian Centre and Duke ofbursaries Edinburgh’s Award Scheme to Gold level Scholarships and forces bursaries available •• wall First classforces facilities for music, art and drama • Scholarships and 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 Sporting excellence with key focus onEVENT hockey, rugby and cricket • Scholarships and forces bursaries available • First class facilities for music, art and drama SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 COME ALONG TO OUR NEXT OPEN EVENT COME ALONG TO OUR NEXT OPEN Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, March, 2013 from 9.30am learning COME ALONG TO OUR NEXT OPEN EVENT Next Open Day: Saturday 9th 2013 from 9.30am Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am • New dedicated Sixth Form Centre for independent • Next Scholarships and forces bursaries available RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 from 9.30am • 70 acre working farm and BHS approved Equestrian Centre Open Day: Saturday 9th March, from Information event for Year 72013 entry in 9.30am September: Information event for 7 entry September: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29in COME ALONG TO7 OUR NEXT OPEN EVENT Information event for Year 7Year entry infrom 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 Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, 2013 9.30am Information event for Year 7 entry in September: Information event for Year 7 entry in September: •Next First class facilities for music, art and drama Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 Next Open Day: Saturday 9th March, from 9.30am •January, New dedicated Sixth Form Centre independent Contact Jessica Ash on 01889 594 265 Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm Friday 11th 2013, 5.30pm Information event for 72013 infor September: Day: Saturday 21st September from 9.30am learning Information event for Year 7Year entry in September: Contact Jessica Ash onentry 01889 594 265 FridayOpen 11th January, January, 2013, 5.30pm Contact Jessica on 01889 594 265 RECEPTION PLACES AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER Friday 11th 2013, 5.30pm Information event for Year 7Ash entry in September: or visit Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm 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, Information event forAsh Year entry in594 September: Rocester, Uttoxeter, Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm Information event for Year 7Uttoxeter, entry in from September: Next Open Day: Saturday 9th 2013 Contact Jessica on7March, 01889 265 9.30am Friday 11th January, 2013, 5.30pm ST14 5BS Contact Jessica on 01889 594 265 Friday 11th January, 2013,Staffordshire 5.30pm Staffordshire ST14Ash 5BS

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 JessicaSCHOOL Ash on 01889 594 sUMMER 265 or visit 74 Contact INDEPENDENT ParENT 2013

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

Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 11-18 years Total pupils: 480 Type: Day, Weekly Boarding, Flexi Boarding, Full Boarding Fees: Senior: Daily £5,253-£6,184, Weekly Boarding £7,056-£8,290, Flexi Boarding £38.87–£45.50/night, Full Boarding £8,024-£9,438 Entrance procedure: Years 7-10 - Entrance tests which take place in the January preceding September entry. Sixth Form - No entrance tests, interview by the Head of Sixth Form or a senior member of staff. International students - Entrance tests at their current school, or through an agent, and interview (via Skype)

School Philosophy: For over 100 years the values of peace, integrity, equality and simplicity have guided the students and community of Leighton Park School. Our ethos promotes high academic standards, a richly diverse extra-curricular programme and an emphasis on mutual respect, individual responsibility and integrity. Open Days: 14th May, 11th June. Annual Open Morning on 5th October 2013

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WINa Family Holiday

at luxury Tuscan resort, Castelfalfi Independent School Parent has teamed up with the beautiful Castelfalfi Estate in Tuscany to offer our lucky readers a two-night family break


oasting a prime location in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, the Castelfalfi Estate offers all who visit a slice of the quintessential dolce vita. The residential and lifestyle development, which lies just 45 minutes from Pisa and an hour from Florence, has just opened its inaugural hotel, La Tabaccaia, and in celebration, is offering the readers of Independent School Parent magazine a chance to stay in this charming property. Each of the 31 traditional rooms in La Tabaccaia evokes the beauty of the hotel’s surroundings, and have been painstakingly restored and preserved from the building’s time as a tobacco factory, featuring restored beams and intricately tiled ceilings. The chic furnishings meanwhile, are a modern reflection of the building’s past and provide luxurious comfort as well as an attractive décor. The lucky winners of the two-night trip, which includes accommodation in two adjoining rooms and breakfast, will not only have the chance to experience the new hotel, but will also be able to make the most of the wealth of facilities on offer at the wider estate. Unlimited access will be granted to Castelfalfi’s impressive 18 and 9-hole golf courses, while the whole family will be able to enjoy a guided tour of the Castelfalfi Nature Reserve with the estate’s gamekeeper Giovanni Gallerini. Sumptuous Tuscan food can be enjoyed in Castelfalfi’s traditional trattoria, which serves the estate’s very own selection of wine and olive oil.

How to enter: For your chance to win just answer the following question: Q What is the name of Castelfalfi’s Tuscan hotel?

Terms & Conditions: Accommodation for two nights in two adjoining rooms on a B&B basis. Subject to availability excluding July and August. For full terms visit For more information on the resort visit / Competition closes 15/07/2013.


129x99_Layout 1 25/04/2013 14:02 Page 1

A world~class education in the heart of Bristol

Open Mornings held in October and May

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! To find out more, contact our Admissions team on 0117 905 5271 or email

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Outstanding examination results Excellent transport links

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What’s on?


Our roundup of events to look out for this summer…



2012 was a great year for summer celebrations, and thanks once again to our Royal Family, it looks like there are more to come. The Coronation Festival, which spans over four days, will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. This event will bring together over 200 companies who hold Royal Warrants of Appointment to promote the very best of British innovation, excellence and industry through trade and craft. Bring the family along for a rare day of fun for all in the beautiful Buckingham Palace Gardens. Tickets from £30 at




The UK’s biggest heritage event is back for its 19th year. Heritage Open Days offers you the chance to explore some of the unique venues that are usually either closed to the public or charge admission fees. Past venues have included the Marks & Spencer archive, National Trust properties and the Kielder Observatory (below), so expect a whole range of one-off experiences. All events are free; you simply need to register, as some smaller venues may need to be booked in advance,

Originally inspired by the Bracknell Jazz Festival in the 1970s, the Larmer Tree festival has grown in strength, size and splendour since 1990. Voted “Best Family Festival”, and more importantly ‘Best Toilets” in the UK Festival Awards recently, Larmer Tree has made its mark on the UK festival map. This family festival is packed full of comedy, workshops, live music, theatre, food stalls over five-days in the picturesque Larmer Tree Gardens on the Rushmore Estate. One lucky family of four could be in with a chance of winning a ticket. To enter, visit


Play real


Make sure you hit the top spot in party organising this summer with the help of The Boxed Party Company. The Boxed Party Company has created themed party boxes, which contain everything from party invitations and table settings to thank you cards and handmade bunting to take the stress out of any children’s party. They’ve even got party games, helpful hints and itineraries to match to make sure the big day goes down without a hitch giving parents more time to enjoy the party with their children. Choose from themes such as Vintage, Teddy Bear Picnic and Dinosaurs,

One of the world’s greatest football clubs is giving away its secrets to British youth this summer. The Real Madrid Foundation is bringing its coaches over to the University of Oxford this summer to offer its first class coaching school to youngsters. Set in the stunning surroundings of Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford, the one-week, residential courses are available to boys and girls between 11 and 17. The programme mixes pitch-based work, classroom and practical exercises to train children of any ability. Play Real have teamed up with Independent School Parent since its successful launch to offer five of our readers one Real Madrid Foundation football kit each. Visit independentschoolparent/win to enter,

rHs CHelsea FloWer sHoW

After 100 years in bloom, the RHS Chelsea Flower show celebrates its centenary this year so make sure you get a ticket to see this horticultural extravaganza,

West Bay CluB

Whisk your family away to the Isle of Wight this summer. The West Bay Club is a collection of luxury self-catering cottages with an extensive programme of activities for children. Plan your perfect UK getaway on the picturesque island which boasts 30 miles of seashore,



Bats at the ready

Budding cricketers can enjoy popular two-day summer coaching classes this summer, available for children aged 8-17 years. Vastly experienced MCC coaches teach all disciplines of cricket, in the specialist facilities at Lord’s Cricket Ground, the home of Cricket. Courses run from 11th July–13th August 2013. It is essential that he/she is actively interested in the game as these courses are not for total beginners,

Get aWay from it all….

If it’s a completely unique holiday destination you’re after this summer, then why not try staying in The Treehouse or The Railway Cottage, which are just two of the exciting properties that Lavender Hill Holidays has on its books. Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Railway Cottage is a single storey stone cottage, which sleeps up to six and is modernised to the highest standards. Prices start from £460. The Treehouse is a simply stunning treetop location with an idyllic outlook and fantastic gardens. As well as the use of a wooden private hot tub, guests staying at the Treehouse have use of an 35ft x 15 ft indoor heated pool every afternoon all year round – prices from £625. Find out more about these unique properties at


POLKa THEaTrE, wIMbLEDON 27 aPrIL-17 auguST Polka Theatre in Wimbledon has teamed up with BBC Worldwide for a brand new adventure on stage this summer. Based on the well-loved BBC television series by Lauren Child, the Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play is for children aged four to seven. The production premiered in December 2012 at the Sydney Opera House, Australia and, after international success, has worked its way back to Wimbledon to bring young audiences a playful story about friendship and adventure,


Kids WeeK 2013

Kids Week will be celebrating its 13th year this year. After the success of last year, where it not only won “Best Cultural Attraction” at the London Lifestyle Awards, but also sold over 129,000 tickets for performances spanning 39 shows across the whole of August, Kids Week is back for 2013. The programme is run by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), is supported by Ticketmaster and it offers children free tickets to top London shows. Children can also take part in a fantastic range of free activities and events on stage and backstage at many of the West End’s iconic venues with the cast and crew of their shows. To find out which venues are participating, visit

15-18TH May 2013 OLyMPIa, KENSINgTON

spirit of summer fair

The Spirit of Summer Fair, in association with House & Garden magazine, is a beautiful blend of established talent and Britain’s newest creative brands. Experience quintessential English summer style showcased in this stunning collection of home, garden and holiday pieces. Stock up your summer wardrobe in the 300 stylish boutiques. There are adorable children’s brands galore, but if you decide to leave them at home, make sure to check out Mosimann’s Summer Restaurant and the Champagne and Pimms bar to finish off your summer’s day out,



School memories

Explorer, author and record-breaking fundraiser Sir Ranulph Fiennes hated his first two years at Eton College, until he learnt how to box…

How would you describe your public school days? I didn’t like my first two years at Eton because I was “pretty”, and small, so I stood out. I was verbally bullied at school: having 3 elder sisters, a mother, an aunt, but no male figure in the family meant that I was spoilt rotten, and never had to fight back. My life changed, however, when I learnt how to box, thanks to my teacher Reg Hoblyn. I loved it and I never looked back. Until she died a few years ago, I always sent a Christmas card to his widow. I was very happy during my last three years at Eton – I adored it. Did you find making friends easy? No, I didn’t. But the art of stegophily (how to climb tall buildings at night) meant that I bonded with a group of five other boys – the late actor, Christopher Cazenove, being one of them, and Jeremy Deedes, the son of legendary journalist Bill Deedes, was also a member of this illustrious group. I had no head for heights and suffered from vertigo but the beauty of climbing at night is that the thrill of danger is present without the full visual impact of the drop below.

Which teacher still means a lot to you to this day? Dave Callender instilled in me a love of languages, namely French and German. He was not a housemaster, but I was “up to” (taught by) him between the ages of 15-17. He also taught me how to précis and how to love writing. I have penned over 20 books and it is mainly down to Dave and his teaching that I have been able to master it. I think he did a great job. He was a famous oarsman and Master of Boats at Eton.


How would you describe your prep school days? When I first arrived at Sandroyd in Wiltshire, from South Africa where my family had been living, I must have seemed exotic with my African accent. As a result, I was the centre of attention and gained quite a lot of street cred. I learnt how to fit in by telling tales of the jungle: I used to tell my stories on a Saturday evening after our weekly chocolate bars were given out. I would charge a square of chocolate from each listener.

Who was your “climbing” best friend? Michael Denny. During one of our night-time climbing sessions on School Hall, he hurt his ankle and was threatened with expulsion unless he revealed who his fellow climber was. But he never let on. What piece of advice would you give your school-age self? I would spend time working much, much harder at school in order to get my A levels. Without those, there was no way I was going to get into RMA Sandhurst and fulfil my dream of becoming the Commanding Officer of my late father’s regiment, the Royal Scots Greys. What was your favourite lesson? French. I was taught it by David Cornwall, otherwise known as the writer, John le Carré.

Sir Ranulph’s expeditions have raised over £14million for UK charities

What did you want to be when you grew up? My dream was to follow in my late father’s footsteps and become the Commanding Officer of the Royal Scots Greys. What’s your view? Discuss on Twitter... @ISParent

❝ I learnt to listen more than I speak. After

all, God gave me two ears and one mouth ❞ 82 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL PARENT SUMMER 2013

Any pranks? It was the summer after I’d left Eton and it was 4th June – when the school holds its annual speech day and celebrations. We had decided to watch the procession of boats, which is when the best rowers stand up one by and lift their oars and salute the parents who have gathered to watch. My friends and I had borrowed aqualungs and managed to overturn five of the boats during the night-time procession. I had to surface because of a malfunction of my equipment. Dave Callender, the Master of Boats, gave chase but luckily my identity was never revealed because I was still wearing my mask.

What qualities did you learn at school that have stood you in good stead? I learnt to try not to be aggressive if I was angry and to listen more than I speak. After all, God gave me two ears and one mouth. Keep up-to-date with Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ latest expedition at For more information visit...

Each one an epic adventure. What will your daughterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s story be?

+44 (0)1923 725354 The Royal Masonic School for Girls Rickmansworth Hertfordshire WD3 4HF Registered Charity No. 276784

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ISP Summer Prep Edition 2013  

ISP Summer Prep Edition 2013

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