YO R I SP
R FR GU E
NURSERY • PR E-PR EP • PR EP
Helping you and your child through their school journey: • ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN YOU’RE CHOOSING A NURSERY • THE BEST AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES • DEALING WITH DYSLEXIA • HOW TO PREPARE FOR BOARDING SCHOOL • RICHARD CURTIS: MY SCHOOL DAYS • PLUS MUCH, MUCH MORE!
An all-through education for your whole family A new era of education begins... Following the opening of Eaton Square Upper School, Mayfair we are now able to offer families in central London an all-through co-educational school experience. Join us at the age of two in one of our nursery schools and stay all the way through to A-Levels at 18 years old. To book a tour of our Nursery and Preparatory Schools visit:
www.eatonsquareschool.com To book a tour of our Upper school visit:
Bonton coat £170, en.smallable.com
EDITORʼS LETTER Hello, and welcome to the spring 2018 edition of the Little London Schools Guide! As if there’s not enough to think about at the beginning of the year with all those resolutions to keep, it can also herald a busy time in the academic year with exams and assessments for those moving from prep to senior school. We have an unmissable guide to helping your child avoid exam stress (p.35) as well as an important read about finding the right senior school for your child, (p.59). For some, this can also be a time when parents start preparing their children to board for the first time, so our piece on making it a seamless transition is well worth a read (p.42). Rolling back the clock, we have an invaluable guide to the best childcare to suit your baby, from nannies and au pairs to full-time day care (p.23). For those whose children are starting out on their school journey we have put together a list of the most important questions to ask a nursery when choosing one for your toddler (p.27) and how to find the perfect prep school (p.51). We all know that pastoral care is as important as academic success, so we offer a fascinating insight into how to raise a resilient child (p.31) as well as a guide to bringing mindfulness into the family home and ultimately creating a happier, more content environment for your child, and you as parents (p.40). And to cap it all, we caught up with the ever amusing and brilliant writer and director Richard Curtis to discuss his school days and how they affected the choices he made for his own four children’s education (p.62). Happy reading!
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KATE FREUD, EDITOR
Send them back in style with the new collection from East London footwear brand Young Soles From a selection youngsoles.co.uk
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THE WHITE HOUSE P R E PA R AT O R Y S C H O O L & THE WOODENTOPS NURSERIES THE WOODENTOPS NURSERIES Babies from 6 months SW3 | SW12
THE WHITE HOUSE PREPARATORY SCHOOL 2.5-11 years Co-Educational SW12
Editor Kate Freud Managing Editor Rebecca Moore Features Editor Danielle Wilkins Editorial Assistant Annie Quinton
Creative Director Chloë Collyer Designer Natalie Dourado
Publisher Caroline Scott Finance Director Vicki Gavin Digital Media Manager James Dobson
Head of Special Projects Tristan Coates Head of Market Freddy Halliday Advertisement Manager James Waldron Sales Executives Andrew Mackenzie, Harriet Cottrell
Managing Director Paul Dobson Deputy Managing Director Steve Ross
Little London Guides are published by The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ Web: littlelondonmagazine.co.uk Tel: 020 7349 3700 | Fax: 020 7349 3701 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributed by Seymour Distribution Ltd. 2 East Poultry Avenue, London, EC1A 9PT Tel: 020 7429 4000 Fax: 020 7429 4001 | Production All Points Media. Printed in England by William Gibbons ©The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd 2018 All rights reserved.
36 COVER IMAGE: ISTOCK
NEWS Keeping you in the know WE LOVE Homework has never looked so fun with this desk design CLASS ACTS Back-to-school essentials to start the new term THE ULTIMATE EDUCATION TIMELINE Your framework of what to do, and when BABY COMES FIRST A comprehensive guide to choosing the right childcare CRACKING THE DAY CARE CODE What to look for when picking a nursery RAISING A RESILIENT CHILD The key to bringing up kids who bounce back PASSING THE TEST OF TIME Managing exam anxiety ASK THE EXPERTS Seven headteachers answer your burning questions
40 MINDFULNESS FOR PARENTS Finding your way to a calmer, happier family home 42 PREPARING TO BOARD Ensure they’re ready for anything with these tips 45 DEALING WITH DYSLEXIA How to get a diagnosis, and the next steps to take 47 AFTER-SCHOOL OVERLOAD How much extracurricular activity is too much? 51 CHOOSING A PREP SCHOOL How to make that decision 55 CAUGHT IN THE NET The politics of policing our children’s social media 56 THE GREAT HOMEWORK DEBATE Are we overloading our kids? 59 CHOOSING A SENIOR SCHOOL Preparing for the next step 62 MY SCHOOL LIFE Director Richard Curtis looks back on his classroom days
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 5
Open Morning Saturday 3 March 2018 9.30 -12.00 Learn about our creative and nurturing ethos Meet our dedicated and passionate staff Explore our two wonderful sites Wilberforce House Camp Road SW19 4UN 020 8947 6969 www.thestudyprep.co.uk Registered Charity No. 271012
We welcome enquires about our scheme of assistance with fees for girls aged 7+.
Preparatory School for girls aged four to eleven
TH E L ATE ST LE AR NING TOOL S AN D U PDATE S
OUTSIDE THE LINES
The IQ-ME colouring books from artist Johny Dar are unlike any other. The 18 images have been created using a combination of circles, triangles and squares, resulting in unique geometrical arrangements just waiting to be brought to life with colour. There are four versions, each featuring more complex designs as your skills advance. £7.95, johnydar.com
MOBILE NETWORK O2 IS WORKING WITH THE NSPCC TO HELP PARENTS EXPLORE THEIR CHILD’S DIGITAL WORLD. ITS FREE ONLINE RESOURCES EXPLAIN THE SOCIAL NETWORKS AND APPS THEY MIGHT BE USING, AND INCLUDES ADVICE ON ISSUES SUCH AS CYBERBULLYING. THERE ARE TIPS FOR SUPPORTING THEIR SKILLS, TOO, AS RESEARCH REVEALS FUTURE CAREER CHOICES FOR KIDS AGE FIVE TO 16 ARE ALL TECH-FOCUSED. O2.CO.UK/HELP/NSPCC
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 7
All eyes will be on Princess Charlotte this term as she starts nursery in the capital. The young royal will be attending Willcocks Nursery School in Kensington, where she’ll get to enjoy everything from pottery and poetry to local museum outings. Founded in 1964, and rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, the school holds both morning and afternoon sessions, with fees from £3,000 per term.
IN THE WAKE OF THE ‘FAKE NEWS’ EPIDEMIC, THE BBC HAS LAUNCHED A PROGRAMME TO HELP YOUNG PEOPLE IDENTIFY REAL STORIES. SECONDARY SCHOOLS ACROSS THE UK WILL HAVE ACCESS TO ONLINE MATERIALS AND COULD RECEIVE MENTORING FROM TOP BBC JOURNALISTS. SIGN UP YOUR SCHOOL AT BBC.CO.UK/REALNEWS
The app has been designed by curriculum expert and former headteacher Andrew Brodie
8 | LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018
The ACS International Schools group has launched a bursary programme for students from the Surrey and Greater London area. Partial and full-fee bursaries are available at its three sites in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, with entry at 11+, 13+ and 16+. Also launching this year is the Global Citizens Award, recognising young people who are making a difference to their community, with a cash prize up for grabs. Bursary application closes Monday 22 January; acs-schools.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE/PA WIRE/PA IMAGES
A NUMBERS GAME Learning your times tables doesn’t have to be boring! Let’s Do Times Tables, the new app series from Bloomsbury, challenges kids to learn their numbers with a range of interactive games and fun features. There’s six separate apps dedicated to each age group – from five to 11 – covering tables from one to 12. It’s the perfect way to practise if you’ve got SATs looming. £3.99, itunes.com
Everything baby and toddler www.hippychick.com 01278 434440
70 years of teaching children to fly Open afternoon 2 March To book in, please call the school office
Founded in 1947, Bassett House in Notting Hill is a proudly non-selective, co-educational prep school for 3 – 11 year olds. We elieve every child can learn to fly. Individual attention combined with our exciting curricular and extra-curricular activities encourage children to think fearlessly and creatively, producing excellent academic results. In the words of Mrs Philippa Cawthorne, the headmistress: ‘The spirit and enthusiasm of our pupils has to be seen to be believed.’ To arrange a visit, please call our registrar, Mrs Thalia Demetriades, on 020 8969 0313 or email email@example.com.
Bassett House School, 60 Bassett Road, London W10 6JP 020 8969 0313 | firstname.lastname@example.org | bassetths.org.uk
NEWS BAG OF TRICKS Whether you’ve got a long journey planned, or you need inspiration to keep the kids occupied on a rainy day, the travel backpacks from Plox are a great place to start. Each set contains an activity book, fabric pens, playing cards and journal, all bundled into a customisable rucksack. There are four to choose from, with not a screen in sight… From £23, plox.co.uk This holiday haul from Plox will keep children busy on long journeys
There’s double reason for celebration at Kensington Prep School this academic year. A number of events were held to mark the 20th anniversary of its arrival in Fulham, with a nomination for Independent Prep School of the Year to top it off. Granted by the TES, the winner will be announced in February. kensingtonprep.gdst.net
NEW ONLINE CONCEPT STORE TOYDROP IS HOME TO A CURATED RANGE OF ETHICAL TOYS FOR CHILDREN TO CHERISH. YOU CAN READ ABOUT WHERE AND HOW EACH ITEM WAS MADE BEFORE YOU PART WITH YOUR CASH, AND THERE’S PLENTY TO ASSIST WITH THOSE KEY DEVELOPMENT STAGES, TOO. FROM £7.50, TOYDROP.CO.UK
ROOM TO GROW
There’s a second nursery class opening at St Nicholas Prep in Kensington this January following an increase in demand from local families. The classes follow the Montessori method, which focuses on the development of the whole child. Reading, writing and numeracy are introduced, with specialist lessons in PE, music and French, and the school enjoys direct access to a large, secure outdoor oasis for little ones to play, learn and exercise. stnicholasprep.co.uk
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 11
Teaching children to fly Open morning 8 March To book in, please call the school office
very child deserves to learn to fly and reach their full potential. We are a proudly non-selective, co-educational prep school for children aged 3 â€“ 11 years. We encourage children to form their own ideas and learn that their opinions matter. We take pride in our excellent academic results and ISI inspection reports. Most importantly, we create the building blocks for our pupilsâ€™ success in every walk of life. To arrange a visit please call our registrar, Mrs Diana Goodeve-Docker, on 020 8742 8544 or email email@example.com.
Orchard House School, 16 Newton Grove, London W4 1LB 020 8742 8544 | firstname.lastname@example.org | orchardhs.org.uk
WE LOVE Combine work and play with this fun design – perfect for post-homework den building!
HOT DESKING Tap into your child’s imagination with this standout playroom centrepiece There will be no wrestling with your little ones to keep them seated come homework time with this stylish and sturdy design from Kutikai. The playhouse-meets-desk with a difference has been designed to encourage role play and fine motor development, with a chimney that acts as a secret storage space for pens and pencils, and tuck-away stools that come with handy pouches to keep their treasures inside. Kutikai playhouse desk set, £525, en.smallable.com
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 13
Teaching children to fly Open morning 22 February To book in, please call the school office
Prospect House is a proudly non-selective, co-educational prep school for children aged 3 â€“ 11 years. We believe tailor-made teaching opens up young minds to endless possibilities, encouraging them to form their own ideas. Our excellent results confirm every child can learn to fly. We encourage high-flyers to soar, whilst children who need a little extra support are given wings for their journey. Our pupils mostly call it having fun. We call it being the best they can be. (Our latest ISI inspection report sums it up perfectly.) To arrange a visit please call our registrar, Mrs Emily Porter, on 020 8246 4897 or email email@example.com.
Prospect House School, 75 Putney Hill, London SW15 3NT 020 8246 4897 | firstname.lastname@example.org | prospecths.org.uk
New year, new term! Prep them and dress them in this season’s stylish and studious back-to-school essentials
Cotton shirt £83, bonpoint.com
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From a selection marksandspencer.com
Lyra Groove 3-in-1 pencils £21.95, consciouscraft.uk
Leather shoes £71, youngsoles.co.uk
First Day at Bug School £6.99, waterstones.com
Cotton dress £69, rachelriley.co.uk
Leather satchel £94, zatchels.com
Falke socks £7, childrensalon.com
Linen coat £163, caramel-shop.co.uk
Kids’ umbrella £25, hunterboots.com
Cotton t-shirt £8, marksandspencer.com
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 15
Bow headband £7, pepaandcompany.com
Pine chest of drawers £249, made.com
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Ancar wool coat £122, childrensalon.com
Fisher-Price Code-A-Pillar £50, boots.com
Cotton top £41, gant.co.uk
Lined parka jacket £28, mothercare.com
Chinese exercise books (set of three) £9, hedgehogshop.co.uk
Acetate tortoiseshell frames £75, zoobug.com
Armani Junior sweater vest £90, childrensalon.com
Mini stationery kit £9, kikki-k.com
Fendi backpack £420, childrensalon.com
Quilted jacket £76, patachou.com
Non-spill water bottle £3, uk.flyingtiger.com
Scotch & Soda shirt £64, melijoe.com
Canvas pencil case £20, herschelsupplyco.co.uk
Velcro trainers £14, mothercare.com
Nylon baseball bag £39.95, molo.com
Jersey dress £27, cosstores.com
Iron-on patches £6.95, thebonniemob.com
Nidi desk £625, nubie.co.uk
Wool coat £320, mariechantal.co.uk
Crayon Rocks crayons £34.99, babipur.co.uk
Plush teddy keyring £12.90, steiff.com
16 | LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018
at Alexandra Pala ce, Battersea Park
k u . o c . e p a o g Book at or call 0845 094 9718
*Terms and conditions apply, see goape.co.uk/faqs for more details. † Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge. Participation and supervision ratios apply - please see our website.
St. Nicholas Preparatory School
23 Princes Gate, London, SW7 1PT T: 020 7 225 1277 E: email@example.com W: www.stnicholasprep.co.uk Head Teacher: Jill Walker Admissions: Clare Beckwith Key facts Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 2 years 9 months - 11 years Total pupils: 180, boys 80, girls 100 Type: Day Fees: Nursery – Termly from £3,870. Prep: Termly from £5,525 Entrance procedure: The first point of contact for prospective parents is our school Registrar, Clare Beckwith, who can be contacted on 020 7591 2631. The Registrar can advise you on forthcoming Open Mornings, arrange a private tour and discuss the needs of your child or children. Once registered with St. Nicholas your child will be invited to attend a taster session at the school. Following a successful assessment an offer will be made.
Academic Record: St. Nicholas Preparatory School achieves
excellent results year on year, which allows pupils to move on to destination schools that rank among the best in the country. 2016/17 witnessed some excellent achievements with children successfully obtaining a substantial range of offers with a vast majority receiving more than one.
Extra-Curricular: An exciting range of after-school clubs enriches our curriculum. There is a wide choice of activities to capture everyone’s interest, from jazz dance, judo, orchestra and cookery to Lego, chess, netball and swimming. Notable Achievements and Alumni: St. Nicholas Prep achieved an outstanding report from the Schools Inspection Service in March 2017 “Pupils learn well and make good progress from their different starting points. They get off to a flying start in the early years and achieve above the national expectations for this age group.” “The quality of the early years’ provision, including its leadership and management, is outstanding. Throughout the school, the quality of teaching and assessment is good. There are some excellent examples of teaching…”
Open Days: 18 January 2018 10 May 2018 9.30am – 11.00am Open Days: 18 January 2018, 10 May 2018 9.30am – 11.00am
020 7225 1277 www.stnicholasprep.co.uk
Waterproof coat £39, jojomamanbebe.co.uk
Hairbands £5, rockmekids.com
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Leather satchel £95, honeyandtoast.co.uk
Cotton sweater £32, boden.co.uk
Studio Stinky stackable crayons £9.95, birdkids.co.uk
Cotton shirt £49, gant.co.uk
Patent leather shoes £42.99, startriteshoes.com
Gucci cardigan £226, childsplayclothing.co.uk
Sequin shaker pencil case £10, mimiandlula.com
Wooden desk and chair £159.50, maisonsdumonde.com
Tartan kilt £15, next.co.uk
T-Rex bag charm £6, rockahulakids.com
Cotton backpack £54.95, molo.com
Polo Ralph Lauren shorts £55, childrensalon.com
All You Need to Know Before You Start School £9.99, waterstones.com
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 19
The ultimate ed
IF YOU ’R E U N SU R E WHAT TO DO FOR YOU R CHILD’S S GUIDE TO PL AN NING TH EIR EDUCATION AN D AVO
azing down at your toddler, school can seem a distant concept you need not concern yourself with right now, but awareness of registration dates is essential when it comes to starting their educational journey. Navigating the British education system can feel overwhelming – the independent and state sectors operate on entirely different timetables when it comes to applications and starting age, and even schools within each sector have their own policies. Working out a plan for your child’s education is not something to fester at the bottom of your to-do list. Time is of paramount importance as places for some of London’s best prep schools are first-come, first-served. Here is a timeline to guide you through the whole process, but it’s worth noting the below framework as a guide: • Pre-preparatory (pre-prep) schools cater for children aged four to seven, although there are fewer standalone pre-preps than there used to be; most are part of a prep school. • Preparatory (prep) schools admit children at the age of eight, and prepare them for senior school. Many start from age four (see above) and go until 11 or 13. • Senior schools admit children at age 11 or 13 and generally continue through to age 18. • 7+, 11+, 13+ are the milestone entrance exams used by schools denoted by the age they will be when they start. 13+ is also called the Common Entrance exam. • Grammar schools are academically orientated secondary schools within the state system with a selective intake by means of an entrance exam. Note that every school and borough is different, so check with the institutions you are interested in to avoid disappointment.
At birth/ shortly after
Some pre-prep and prep schools are firstcome, first-served, so they will require you to register your child the day they are born or very shortly after. You will also need to think about registering your child if they are attending a private nursery as London places are extremely competitive.
5+ 5= =? 3 1 6 2x2=? 0 AGE 4½-7 OR 8 If at a private school, your child will attend pre-prep. Should you be considering the 7+ (to start an independent prep school in Year 3) entrance exams usually take place early in the spring term for entry the following September. You will need to have registered at least 12 months before their start date.
Independent pre-school or kindergarten starts now.
Children can usually start in a state-run nursery from the beginning of the school term after their third birthday. State primary school applications need to be submitted in the January of the year your child is due to start school in the September, so those who turn four during the coming academic year (1 September to 31 August). Private schools that assess children will do so when the child is three. Places should be offered one year in advance of entry.
It’s time to think about which catchment area you are in for state schools. If you’re thinking of a private school, most pre-prep and prep school applications will need to be in by now.
SCHOOLING , AN D WH EN , H ER Eâ€™S OU R MY TH-BUSTING OID MISSING THOSE ALL-IM PORTANT DE ADLIN E S
State secondary school starts. Apply by 31 October of Year 6 in primary school. Some independent schools start at 11, too.
State primary education begins once your child is four.
Independent secondary school starts, day or boarding.
Age 11 or 13
Most independent schools have a Year 7 or Year 9 entry. Some have Year 6 entry for which an exam will be taken in Year 5. The 11+ exam is taken in the January of Year 6. The Common Entrance 13+ exam is taken in June of Year 8 â€“ this is preceded by a pre-test and interview in Year 6 or 7 when a firm offer has been made; the child then sits the exam for that school. Some grammar school applications need to be in before mid-July of Year 5, with exams taken in the autumn of Year 6. Many London day schools have their own exams for 13+/Year 9 entry taken in the January of Year 8. These applications must be made at least 12 months beforehand.
AGE 9-10 Register your child for their independent secondary school. Go to open days and meet heads of schools and the admissions team where possible.
When GCSE results are known, that can determine entry into sixth form or a sixth form college. Check with individual colleges for dates. For a 16+ move to a private secondary school, interviews and exams are undertaken in the autumn of Year 11.
STRUGGLING TO DECIDE ON TH E RIGHT CHILDCAR E FOR YOU R FAMILY ? H ER E’S OU R COM PR EH EN SIVE GUIDE eciding on the type of childcare that’s right for you and your little one depends on many factors – how many days and hours you need each week, and your budget, just for starters. There are myriad options available, so here are the pros, cons and costs of each, to see your child from baby days through to school age.
CHILDMINDERS Childminders are self-employed and usually take care of children within their own home. Registered with Ofsted in England, they are inspected every two years. By law, registered childminders can look after up to six children under eight
years old. Three of these can be five and under, and only one can be under 12 months. They must have completed a local authority-approved training course and a 12-hour paediatric first-aid course. Hours are agreed between the childminder and parents. How much does it cost? On average in London, it’s around £146 per week (for under-twos) for 25 hours a week*. Pros: Childminders are qualified and inspected regularly, they can provide tailored care for your child in a home environment, and there may be flexibility with drop-off and pick-up times. Cons: If your childminder is ill or away you will need a Plan B, and you may
have to subsidise additional outings and activities.
DAY NURSERIES Day nurseries offer care for children from about six weeks old to when they start school (normally around four years old). The number of children attending will vary from nursery to nursery, and many have multiple rooms to separate ages and stages. There are different types of nurseries including private, community, local authority and workplace nurseries. They are inspected by Ofsted and there are legal ratios for each child: for babies aged five weeks to two years, it’s one carer per three children; children aged
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 23
EXTRA OPTIONS Kidsitter: This genius, London-based service has a network of more than 150 trusted childcare professionals available to babysit at any time, even on short notice – no membership or booking fee required. kidsitter.co.uk Student Nannies: Linking parents who need cover in school holidays with local students who have time on their hands and fees to pay, Student Nannies founder Tracey Blake believes this is ‘a win-win situation’. studentnannies.com Koru Kids: Want a nanny but don’t need one full time? Koru Kids has families across London willing to share their top-class nannies.It’s the perfect opportunity to give your child a friend to play with, and save a bit on the cost. korukids.co.uk
NANNIES A nanny is employed by you to care for your child in your own home; they may live in or live out. Depending on what you want your nanny to do and the age of your child, they may be responsible for feeding, bathing and dressing your baby, changing nappies, or helping her use
24 | LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018
WITH AN AU PAIR, YOUR CHILD MAY ENJOY THE EXPOSURE TO ANOTHER LANGUAGE the potty, preparing meals, cleaning her room, washing and ironing her clothes, and planning activities, such as swimming, reading and social interaction, for example, going to a playgroup. Be aware that nannies aren’t required to hold a qualification in childcare, but many have a form of training or study, the most traditional being Norland Nannies. How much does it cost? The London average for a live-in nanny is £460 per week, and £478 per week for live-out. You are also responsible for their tax and national insurance. Pros: Hours are flexible depending on your needs, especially if you have a live-in nanny, but you will need a back-up plan if they are ill or on holiday. Your child may develop a strong bond with her nanny. Cons: It’s the most expensive form of childcare and nannies are not inspected unless they’re registered. You will also have to arrange back-up care and cover their tax and NI.
AU PAIRS These are generally students from outside the UK, here to study and improve their English, who live with you. You can expect them to help around the house and look after your children when needed, working about 35 hours a week over five days. However, due to their age and lack of experience, it may not be the best option if your child is under two. How much does it cost? They must be provided with a bedroom and meals, and they receive ‘pocket money’ (£85-£120 per week) rather than a wage; they are not classified as employees so they don’t need NI or tax. Pros: The ‘big sister’ role can be very beneficial to older children, and your child may enjoy the exposure to another language and culture. Cons: They are young and may have poor command of English. You need to give them time to attend their college, which may impact the hours you need them. L
PHOTOGRAPHY: ISTOCK. WORDS: GEORGINA BLASKEY. *SOURCE: WHICH.CO.UK
two to three years is one carer to four children; for children over three, it’s one carer to eight, or 13 if led by a teacher. How much does it cost? The typical cost of a full-time day nursery place is about £210 per week for a child under two. In London, the average rises to £300-£450. Pros: Staff are well trained with valid childcare qualifications, and nurseries are inspected every two to three years. If someone is ill, there should be enough staff to cover and they will stay open during the holidays. Your employer may even subsidise your fees. Best of all, there are lots of other children for your child to interact with. Cons: Drop-off and pick-up times are fixed, and staff turnover can be high. You may feel your child isn’t getting the one-to-one care other options can give, and little ones are more likely to pick up illnesses.
chinthurstschool.co.uk chinthurstschool.co.uk chinthurstschool.co.uk
Open Days 25 January, 8 March, 3rd May Outstanding 11+ Results 2017 Open Days25 25January, January, March,aged 3rd3-11 May Outstanding11+ 11+Results Results2017 2017 Co-educational school for years Outstanding Open Days 88children March, 3rd May 52 Tadworth Street, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 5QZ
Co-educational schoolfor forchildren childrenaged aged3-11 3-11years years firstname.lastname@example.org Co-educational school
52 Tadworth Street, Tadworth, Telephone 01737 812011 Surrey, KT20 5QZ 52 Tadworth Street, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 5QZ email@example.com @Chintschool facebook.com/ChinthurstSchool firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone 01737 812011 Telephone 01737 812011 @Chintschool @Chintschool
Part of the Reigate Grammar School Family Part of the Reigate Grammar School Family Part of the Reigate Grammar School Family
Open Days 25 January, 8 March, 3rd May
Outstanding 11+ Results 2017
Co-educational school for children aged 3-11 years 52 Tadworth Street, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 5QZ email@example.com Telephone 01737 812011 @Chintschool
Part of the Reigate Grammar School Family
North Bridge House Nursery, Pre-Prep & Prep Schools
North Bridge House Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep Schools provide an excellent co-ed, mixed ability educational environment, setting up happy boys and girls for the top London Seniors, year after year. 2017 data from end of Key Stage 1 placed 40% of the Pre-Prep cohort in the top 5% of the country. Prep School pupils do exceptionally well in their 11+ and 13+ Common Entrance assessments, with numerous scholarships for the top Senior Schools in London and the UK. Book an upcoming open event and find out more about 2018 entry.
Challenged and high-achieving, never pressurised.
www.northbridgehouse.com/open 020 7428 1520 firstname.lastname@example.org
Boarding at St Andrewâ€™s Prep will empower and inspire your child in a safe, happy and fun filled family environment Full, weekly and flexi boarding options available Please enquire about our escorted train service back to London Next open days Friday 23 and Saturday 24 February 2018 Call us on 01323 733203 or email email@example.com for further information
Cracking the day care code IT’S A BIG DECISION DU RING TH EIR E AR LY YE AR S, SO HOW DO YOU CH OOSE TH E RIGHT N U R SERY FOR YOU R CHILD, ASKS Georgina Blaskey he inaugural day your child goes to nursery is the first milestone in their education. For some children it can be an exciting journey, the prospect of which leaves them totally unfazed. For others, it can be a daunting, nerve-wracking first rung on the learning ladder. For a parent, it can be a time of adjustment and reflection, when we can explore our choices and ponder what kind of child we have and where they are best suited. In order to make this transition run smoothly, it is worth taking the time to fully investigate all options. No one knows your family’s needs as well as you so while recommendations are invaluable, nothing can replace a personal visit to work out what the right fit is. “Visit a nursery early in the day when the children are being dropped off,” advises Laura Randall, principal of Woodentops Nursery in Balham. “Ideally you will
see the children reaching out to their teachers. You want to go where your children will feel loved.” It’s worth noting that pre-school education isn’t compulsory and there are many options beyond the standard local nursery school, but what’s important is that your children are able to flourish and thrive – socially, cognitively, emotionally and physically – wherever they are. One gently alternative option is the Montessori method, developed by Italian doctor Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, now far more mainstream, with many ‘normal’ nurseries adopting some of her techniques. In a true Montessori classroom, children work largely on their own with special equipment designed to develop their sensory, numeric, language and practical skills. Handwriting and numeracy are not formally learnt, they are experienced through play, at the behest of the child.
Forest nursery schools are becoming increasingly popular as an antidote to our rapidly advancing technological lives, too. Leanna Barrett was so dismayed by the outdoor facilities in her area when looking for a nursery for her daughter, she decided to start one herself. “When visiting nurseries, I’d often be told the children went out for an hour a day and be shown a man-made spongy surface where they’d play,” Leanna recalls. “I was so disappointed, I started Little Forest Folk on Wimbledon Common. It’s an outdoor forest nursery that immerses two to five year olds in nature, helping them become creative, resilient little learners.” The concept has been very popular. “Now we have three nurseries in London, with two more opening this year, and a waiting list of more than 1,000 parents!” Making the decision about how to tackle pre-school education involves
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Children learn through play, so look for somewhere that places high value on children doing activities they enjoy
many stages, so a good place to start is location – do you want to be close to home, work or the station you commute from? Some nurseries have strong connections to junior schools so if you have your heart set on a certain school, it may be worth asking which ones they recommend. Always try to speak to other parents (you could aim to arrive when they’re dropping off and have a quick chat) and read up on the latest inspection reports. It’s always wise to visit a few to be able to make comparisons and get a clear idea of the differences between them. It may be the class size, playground facilities or staff, but the better your understanding, the more relaxed you’ll feel when September comes around. The Good Schools Guide suggests parents take time to consider the environment their child is most suited to – somewhere with a busy, purposeful setting, somewhere calm and ordered, somewhere with rules and boundaries or a place where children are free to explore and experiment. It also advises, whatever your thoughts on the type and nature of the school, when entrusting the care of your child to
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others, you should look to find a nursery that will: • Work with you and listen to your child. • Work from your child’s current development stage and needs, not from pre-conceived notions of what a two, three or four year old should do. • Seek to develop your child’s confidence. • Encourage good behaviour and cooperation. • Develop an awareness of, and sensitivity to, others and their feelings. • Be interested in the personal, social and emotional development of your child. Once you’ve decided where your child is best suited, it’s important to get them registered so you don’t miss out on that place. In some areas nursery places are oversubscribed and it’s elbows at the ready to bag that in-demand seat at the Playdoh table. Do your homework early and your preparation should make the journey easy. A final thought to remember – if it doesn’t feel right, you can always change your mind. As your children grow, your views on education may also change, so be flexible and alert to their progress and happiness. L
Attend your visit armed with queries about how each place operates. The impartial education website gettherightschool.co.uk has compiled these questions to aid your decision-making: • What resources and equipment do you have to support children’s learning? • How are activities planned and organised to meet the Early Years Foundation Stage? • Do you provide any additional help and support to under-fives with special education needs? • How many children do you have attending? • What sort of activities do the children do? • How is the average day/session organised? • How do staff manage bad behaviour? • What qualifications and experience do the staff have? • How long have you been operating? • Do you have outdoor and indoor areas for children to play and learn? • Do children have a rest during the day? • What time do sessions start and finish? • Is there a sibling policy?
IN SOME AREAS, NURSERY PLACES ARE OVERSUBSCRIBED AND IT’S ELBOWS AT THE READY
KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR – AND WHAT TO ASK
Joining the family Why your child’s education journey should start at the Berkhamsted Schools Group
hat is the best aspect of being part of a family? Maybe it’s the knowledge that your individuality is celebrated. Or it could be the ability to tap into the experience and skills other members offer. Or perhaps it’s the security you feel from always having pastoral and financial support. This is why the Berkhamsted family of schools is proud of the range of educational and care options it offers children aged five months to 18 years. From its day nursery to its renowned sixth form, the group also offers working parents an invaluable wraparound care programme that includes flexi-boarding for children in Years 7 and above. A short
30-minute commute from London, based across five sites in both Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, and Amersham, Buckinghamshire, the schools offer exemplary co-ed and girls’ prep school options, before the pupils move to the single-sex senior schools and culminate their journey in the co-ed sixth. As with all successful families, Berkhamsted has strong values which underpin all aspects of school life. These values of aiming high with integrity, being adventurous and serving others are seen in the group’s academic, creative and sporting successes and also – just as importantly – in the young people it nurtures and supports. By structuring itself as a family of six schools, the Berkhamsted Schools Group is able to combine outstanding facilities and excellence of achievement with first-class pastoral care – enjoying the advantages usually gained by both large and small schools. Berkhamsted really does offer the best of all worlds. L
Berkhamsted fosters a spirit of adventure in all its pupils, in the classroom, the theatre and on the sports pitch
OPEN DAYS Why not experience for yourself what the Berkhamsted Schools Group could offer your family at its spring open mornings?
FRIDAY 2 MARCH 2018 Day Nursery, Berkhamsted Pre-Prep and Prep 9am to 12pm firstname.lastname@example.org 01442 358001 Heatherton (Co-ed Nursery; Girls 4-11) 10am to 12pm email@example.com 01494 726433
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Open Mornings Friday 2nd February 2018 Tuesday 6th March 2018
St Catherineâ€™s Prep, Bramley GSA Day & Boarding School since 1885 | 4 - 18 years | Guildford GU5 0DF | www.stcatherines.info littlelondon01 January 2018.indd 1
Co-educational, Independent Day School in Hampton
Discover who they want to be Open Events Pre-Prep Open Morning Thursday 8th February Whole School Open Day Saturday 5th May www.twickenhamprep.co.uk
RAISING A RESILIENT CHILD TH E KEY TO BRINGING U P KIDS WH O BOU N CE BACK WH EN LIFE KN OCKS TH EM DOWN
hat do you want for your child as they grow up? A world-class swimming time? A scholarship to their next school? A degree in a frame and a corner office? These days much of society measures personal success by way of achievements gained, and the ripple effect reaches parenting circles even before kids leave primary school. The chances are, all you really want is for them to be happy. It’s a simple wish.
But it’s easy to lose sight of this basic desire and get caught up in the pressure to ‘do’ and ‘be’ your best all the time, and pass that expectation on to your children. Previous misguided parenting strategies have resulted in a generation – millennials – who struggle with many aspects of life in general. According to motivational speaker and author Simon Sinek, “Too many of them grew up subject to failed parenting strategies
where, for example, they were told that they were special – all the time. They were told they could have anything they want in life – just because they want it. They’re thrust into the real world and in an instant they find out they’re not special, their mums can’t get them a promotion, and you can’t have it just because you want it. Their self image is shattered and you have an entire generation growing up with lower self-
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REPLAN THE JOURNEY • From newborn to two years old, they are physically exploring. Let them take controlled risks, for example, climbing over furniture, pulling pans out of the cupboard, and let them fail and find a new way. • If your child is working on a puzzle and they complete it easily, give them a more challenging one. If they struggle, tell them, “You haven’t failed, we just need to replan how you’re going to finish it.” However many tries it takes, tell them you believe they will do it. • If during homework your child says, “I can’t do it!”, reply, “You can’t do it yet.” Try to understand why they think they can’t – are they scared they’ll get it wrong or won’t be able to finish? Break down the journey into more manageable chunks.
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WE RESCUE OUR CHILDREN, SO THEY HAVE NO EXPERIENCE OF KNOWING IF THEY CAN COPE qualities gives them the core sense that ‘I’m OK’. It’s an approach which helps mould a more resilient child who is not afraid of failure, of learning from mistakes and moving forward. Alicia believes we can help arm our children by relinquishing control. “If a child has lost their jumper at school and is upset, it’s tempting as a parent to go straight in and start looking for it. But all that tells the child is, ‘I don’t think you can do this’. We rescue our kids, so they have no experience of knowing if they can cope when things don’t go to plan. Let them go in and ask the cleaner or classroom assistant if they’ve seen their jumper.” Replanning the journey when things don’t work out first time requires patience and perseverance, and encouraging certain activities can help
develop these soft skills. Horse riding, for example, involves taking risks, being responsible for your horse, coping with failure and huge resilience – if you fall off that horse, you will need to get back on it. Similarly, martial arts requires discipline, working with others and picking yourself up. “Understanding the journey to both winning and losing gives a child information to move forward, it teaches patience, to keep going and bounce back from adversity,” says Alicia. What lies ahead for our children? That we cannot predict. But as parents we can strive to be their role models through demonstrating perseverance, belief in ourselves, by making mistakes and dealing with them intelligently. Pop those life skills in their backpack and they’ll enjoy life’s journey, whatever they do. L
PHOTOGRAPHY: ISTOCK. WORDS: GEORGINA BLASKEY
esteem – through no fault of their own.” Parents enjoy praising their children and that still has its place, but how you praise is critical. According to Alicia Drummond, counsellor and parenting coach, we should, “Attach the praise to the action not the child. Our children are heavily invested in our expectations so to motivate them you should focus on what they get right.” Alicia refers to these remarks as ‘positive strokes’. For example, “You hung your coat up without me asking, that’s really helpful” – in that way you are noticing what they got right and rewarding that by commenting on it, but you are not labelling your child. If you label your child as being, in this case, helpful, they will feel inadequate when they are not being helpful. “By pointing out the abilities they have, they can put those in their metaphorical backpack and remind themselves what they are capable of,” Alicia says. “They don’t always have to be helpful – they haven’t been pigeonholed as the helpful one – but they know they can do it because they’ve done it.” This backpack full of abilities and
I N D EPEN D EN T DAY S CHO OL FOR G I RL S AG ED 4 TO 18 — Queen’s Gate School offers girls a warm, supportive environment where individuality is nurtured, academic standards are high and a broad-based curriculum ensures a well-rounded education. A range of scholarships and means-tested bursaries are available to assist girls to join us and parents are welcome to visit us throughout the year. Details of Open Events for entry to the Junior and Senior Schools are available on our website. For a prospectus or to arrange a visit, please contact the Registrar, Miss Isabel Carey: — firstname.lastname@example.org · 020 7594 4982 queensgate.org.uk/admissions
Queen’s Gate School, 131–133 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LE
An Extra Year 3 Class From September 2017
‘Excellent’ - ISIAnInspection 20163 Class From September 2017 Extra Year
An Extra Year 3 Class From September 2017
OPEN MORNING Wednesday 3 May OPENOpen MORNING Days 14 Mar and 16 May OPEN MORNING Junior School of Wednesday 3 May Wednesday 3 May
Co-ed School for children aged 3-11 Reigate St Mary’s School Chart lane, Reigate St Mary’s School, Chart Lane, Reigate, RH2 7RN 01737 244880 Reigate RH2 7RN 01737244880 email@example.com ofﬁce@reigatestmarys.org
Reigate@RSMPrepSchool St Mary’s School Chart lane, Reigate RH2 7RN 01737244880 ofﬁce@reigatestmarys.org
Junior School of
Reigate St Mary’s School Chart lane, Reigate RH2 7RN 01737244880 ofﬁce@reigatestmarys.org
Junior School of
“Full Marks for Pastoral Care” Good Schools Guide
Pease Pottage, West Sussex, RH11 9AU T: 01293 520648 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.cottesmoreschool.com Head Teacher: Tom Rogerson Admissions: Lottie Rogerson COTTESMORE SCHOOL 12X2_TATLER_0816.indd 1 E: email@example.com Key facts
“A First-Rate Education” ISI Report 2014
Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 4-13 years Total pupils: 150, boys 100, girls 50 Type: Day, Boarding Fees: Pre Prep: Day from £3,381 to £4,163, Prep: Day from £5,845, Full Boarding from £8,873. Entrance procedure: Interview, previous school reports and maths and English assessment
School Philosophy: Cottesmore is a country boarding prep school for boys and girls in West Sussex, less than an hour from London. We provide a train service to London Victoria Station, which is popular with London ‘S.W.’ families. Cottesmore has been preparing children for major public schools since 1894 and continues to provide excellent preparation for senior boarding schools who share Cottesmore’s belief in nurturing a rounded, dynamic individual. Academic Record: 100% success rate at Common Entrance 2017 to
schools such as Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Wellington. “Quisque pro ingenio” is Cottesmore’s unofficial motto: “Everyone has a talent”. Cottesmore will find and nurture each child’s talent and help the individual grow strong in the light of his or her own success. Cottesmore is a school where children are taught to have faith in their own ability in a caring, confidence-inspiring environment. Cottesmore pupils are typically bright-eyed, confident without being arrogant, and academically driven. ‘They are happy, confident children,’ says the head of a famous senior school.
Extra-Curricular: Cottesmore excels at ‘modern’ boarding. Its huge range of sports (33 at last count), hobbies and activities supplement a diverse academic curriculum. The drama, music and arts programmes are equally purposeful and vibrant.
“Staggeringly Beautiful Grounds” Tatler Schools Guide
Notable Achievements and Alumni: 100% success rate at Common Entrance 2017 to schools such as Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Wellington.
For more information call Mrs Caroline Lukic Tel: 01428 728000 www.highfieldschool.org.uk | Liphook, Hampshire GU30 7LQ
Little London Handbook 1.indd 1
Unbeaten 1st football season 2015. Unbeaten Colts A football and cricket season 2015/16. Unbeaten U11 netball season 2015/16. Open Morning: 24 February 10am to 12pm
Passing the test of time Jessica Andrews, H E AD OF YE AR 5 AN D 6 AT MAR LBOROUGH HOUSE SCHOOL, ON HOW TO MANAGE E X AM ANXIE T Y reparation for formal tests is, at some stage, an essential part of every child’s educational journey. Unfair as it may sometimes seem, we all know that exam success can secure a first choice of school, point to a specialist area of study, define a career path and even save you money on school fees! All parents want the very best for their children, so as a mother and teacher, I understand that test preparation is regarded as a very big deal. Government figures report that 10 per cent of children aged five to 16 have been diagnosed with a mental health problem, and no doubt the pressure of formal exams has played its part in that statistic. Pre-testing in Year 6 for senior school entry at 13 is becoming more and more common and this can further add to the pressure pupils are already under. Happily for some children, being formally assessed can be a walk in the park, but for others, the fear of failure can prompt tears at bedtime, poor sleep and eating patterns and high levels of anxiety as they carry the weight of their and their family’s aspirations on their shoulders. Parents have a large part to play in helping to alleviate children’s anxieties by firstly having a realistic view of their child’s ability. A strong teacher/parent relationship is central to developing an understanding of how a child learns best, so tailored revision plans can play to their strengths. Teachers also know how certain tests are designed and can advise parents on where extra effort needs to be directed. For example, experience of computer-based testing is ideal preparation for pre-tests at Year 6, and as the English paper for the 11+ examination is so reliant on a child’s vocabulary, encouraging children to read as much as possible and learn just a few new words each week can pay dividends on exam day. In the lead up to 13+, common questions parents ask include, ‘What else are you doing to prepare my child?’ and
WHEN CHILDREN ARE HAPPY, THEY ARE CAPABLE OF SO MUCH MORE IN THE CLASSROOM ‘Should we get a tutor?’ Yet experience has taught us that many senior schools find this level of preparation unhelpful, as what they really need is to be able to make an honest assessment of a child’s ability – the real ‘them’ on paper, so they can accurately judge whether their school will be the right fit for that child. For any test, little and often is the best approach to revision. Support is at hand with some amazing apps, which often prove a more engaging way of learning than studying from textbooks alone. There are also programmes parents can subscribe to which offer online practice for the pre-tests, SATS and 11+. But time away from books is also time well spent. Getting enough sleep, eating well and
taking time out to play all help in the development of a healthy, active mind. As a teacher, I see first hand that when children are happy, they are capable of so much more in the classroom. As a final thought, remember that it’s not the end of the world if a child fails to make the grade, for as important as exams are, they are poor indicators of the so-called ‘soft skills’ every child will need in life. Teaching approaches that consider diplomacy, resilience, creativity and pragmatism to have equal status to simply knowing what the right answers are, I believe, preparing children for more than a set of impressive exam results – they are also preparing children to pass the test of time. L
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ASK THE EXPERTS Educating our children poses all sorts of questions. Here, we put some of yours to the professionals
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE TYPICAL LENGTH OF A SCHOOL DAY AT INDEPENDENT PREPS? When parents ask questions about the length of the school day, it’s often that they are hoping it will accommodate their work demands, and this is quite understandable. At Reigate St Mary’s we run a breakfast club which starts at 7.30am, and the last elective is run until 5.30pm, so there are plenty of hours for pupils to be engaged in purposeful activities. However, from the school’s perspective it is about what we fit into these hours which really matters. Einstein once said, ‘When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you are sitting on a red hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That is relativity.’ We love it when the days seem to fly by and when children aren’t quite ready to leave come 5.30pm. We ensure our children’s days are packed with exciting, challenging and engaging activities from computer programming to karate, choral singing to the rather over-subscribed maths club. Any good school should constantly review what it does, and I think it is worth noting the top 10 skills needed in the workplace by 2020 as suggested by the World Economic Forum report in 2015. These include complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management and emotional intelligence. If during our action-packed days we can make sure we are also developing these skills in our pupils, then they are hours well spent indeed. Marcus Culverwell, headteacher at Reigate St Mary’s
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WHAT IS THE GIRLS’ DAY SCHOOL TRUST, AND HOW CAN IT BENEFIT MY DAUGHTER’S EDUCATION? Founded in 1872, the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) is the UK’s leading network of independent girls’ schools, with 23 schools and two academies throughout England and Wales. The GDST’s schools and academies have a long history of pioneering innovation in the education of girls, and we’re proud at Croydon High to be part of this. Our girls thrive in a happy atmosphere free of gender stereotyping, experiencing unrivalled expertise in the teaching of girls developed by the GDST over many decades. We strive to support the girls to become the best version of themselves. There is no ideal they need to model themselves on, no set formula for their passions; just an expectation that they approach learning opportunities with curiosity and commitment. Croydon High girls and their GDST sisters enjoy a first-class education and on average outperform peers in state and independent schools. They are also part of a network of 75,000 alumnae who remain part of the family long after they leave school, often offering support through mentoring and work experience. The benefits of GDST collaboration are huge for staff, students and alumnae. No other group of schools runs as many or as broad a range of joint activities designed to inspire and support every member of the community. Sophie Bradshaw, headteacher at Croydon High Junior School
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE INCLUSION OF OUTDOOR EDUCATION? The recent revelation that today’s generation of children spend less time outdoors than prisoners shows that outdoor education needs to form a fundamental part of the school day. And with good reason, too – the benefits are endless. From increased enthusiasm and engagement to higher levels of concentration and the development of interpersonal skills, getting out of the classroom and into the field is a brilliant way to stimulate learning for children. There are lots of ways schools can implement outdoor activity, both as part of the academic timetable and through extracurricular clubs. Examples include walking buses to and from school, taking lessons like science, art and drama outside, to adopting class pets and starting a school vegetable patch. At The Lyceum – as with many central London schools – we lack our own private outdoor space so instead, we take advantage of the facilities around us. One day we might be exploring nature in Bunhill Fields, another doing sports in the Honourable Artillery Ground. We offer tennis and swimming at the Barbican and go ice skating in the winter at Broadgate. All these activities ensure our children get the best possible outdoor education, despite our building’s limitations. Vanessa Bingham, headteacher at The Lyceum School
Outdoor education forms a vital part of The Lyceum Schoolâ€™s academic curriculum
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ADVICE An inspiring environment that offers a personalised learning experience is vital for a child’s mental and physical wellbeing
WHAT SHOULD WE, AS PARENTS, BE LOOKING FOR IN TERMS OF PASTORAL CARE AT PREP STAGE? Pastoral care is an essential part of your child’s development. Often smaller schools are more proactive with regards to pastoral care, thanks to a higher staffto-pupil ratio and personalised support. Using a hands-on approach within small classes enables teachers to really get to know each pupil, and also importantly, their parents, as well as understanding each child’s interests and behaviours in order to get the best from them. Wraparound care in today’s busy world is vital. Often parents work full time and childcare can be a concern, particularly in school holidays. Look for a school that caters for different family needs as well as a varied provision of care for your child. If the school is local, see what extra support is available both during and outside of school hours. If it is further afield, or your child is boarding, look for a homely environment that offers personalised learning around the clock. When looking around a school, observe classrooms during teaching hours. Do children look happy? Are older children interacting positively with younger children? Is their learning environment inspiring? How much emphasise does the school put on nutrition, health and exercise? These are all vital for mental and physical wellbeing. Having space to play outdoors, exercise and develop through learning both in and out of the classroom is key to creating a healthy environment for children to reach their full potential. Richard Evans, headteacher at Great Ballard School
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CO-EDUCATIONAL LEARNING AT PRE-PREP LEVEL? Plato, the Greek philosopher, was an advocate of co-education. He believed it helped in the development of the personality of men and women and created a feeling of comradeship between them. In our increasingly interconnected world, it’s important that we properly equip our children with the appropriate life skills to take beyond the classroom, into happy and fulfilled lives. Confident interaction between boys and girls is an essential part of this. Co-education reflects reality and ensures children feel confident to express their views to someone of the opposite sex. Educating boys and girls together from an early
age ensures children grow up with the right attitude towards each other and friendships develop in a very natural way. A common misconception is that girls and boys have competing learning styles. There is no such thing as a ‘pink’ or ‘blue’ brain and from the beginning at Chinthurst, we treat every child as an individual. There is no place for gender stereotypes within a modern school setting and we provide an environment in our Early Years which is full of diverse beliefs, pursuits and backgrounds. Our teachers are well prepared to develop and support all learning styles whatever the gender. It is lovely to be able to educate brothers and sisters together and our families are the cornerstone of a caring community which benefits all our children. Cathy Trundle, headteacher at Chinthurst School
Richard Evans Great Ballard School
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Sophie Bradshaw Croydon High School
Cathy Trundle Chinthurst School
Marcus Culverwell Reigate St Mary’s
Vanessa Bingham The Lyceum School
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR LONDON LOCATION?
I’M RESEARCHING NURSERIES AT THE MOMENT, WHAT DO I NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR?
A spin around the London Eye, investigating dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum and watching the Horse Guards Parade – and all back in time for lunch? This is what makes The White House Prep School’s location in Clapham, South West London, so versatile. Before children even have time to get bored on the coach, they are immersed into a new world which enriches their learning. Our curriculum is supported by these trips and is something we start in our Kindergarten class, who visit London Zoo and the Polka Theatre, to Year 6 pupils visiting Giacometti at the Tate Modern on their first day back. Whether it’s science or Shakespeare, temples or the Tate, there is no stone unturned in London. This is also excellent for children in Years 4 to 6 who want to start building their 11+ portfolio and are able to take specialist trips to art galleries and museums to further their learning. The White House is nestled amongst a number of the best secondary schools in London, with pupils going on to JAGS, Dulwich College, Streatham & Clapham Alleyns and Whitgift School to name but a few. And Dulwich College Sixth Form class visit throughout the school year to show off their reptile and amphibian display in a thrilling science lesson. With all the excitement, the school’s location between Clapham and Balham stations retains a strong village feel, and parents and children alike love the family ethos of the school, even within the hustle and bustle of London. Tony Lewis, headteacher at The White House Prep School
The first piece of advice I give to parents is to look around. Don’t fixate on one nursery to the exclusion of all else. You may have a preference but you will lose nothing by comparing several. Inspection reports, The Good Schools Guide and talking to other parents are useful starting points. But there is no substitute for visiting in person. Ask yourself, do the children look happy? Children who aren’t engaged, who aren’t motivated or playing well together will not be happy and won’t learn. There will likely be tears, especially in the first few days, but children should rapidly settle down and look forward to going. Equally important is the attitude of staff. Do they greet you naturally or
Christine McLelland North Bridge House
do you suspect it’s a performance? Do they celebrate the individual child, or are they more concerned to boast about the academic performance of the school? Ultimately, it’s a question of trust: are the staff caring and confident enough to do the best for your child? If not, walk away. Finally, look at the facilities. Do you think your child will be secure? Does the nursery cook food on the premises and what is it like? Is the equipment well maintained? What are the play areas like? A word of warning, too, do not be distracted by state-of-the-art classrooms and tech such as iPads. Technology is not a proxy for teaching and shiny new buildings are no substitute for a good education. A school is made by the people in it, and parents would be wise to look to them first and last. Christine McLelland, headteacher at North Bridge House Nursery School
North Bridge House Nursery School
Tony Lewis The White House School
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Mindfulness for parents FIN DING YOU R WAY TO A CALM ER , HAPPIER FAMILY AN D SELF COU LD BE E ASIER THAN YOU MIGHT THIN K – NO SILEN CE OR CHANTING R EQUIR ED, SAYS AUTHOR Amber Hatch
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS? When we are mindful, we experience life as it is actually happening. We can watch where our thoughts are going, rather than be swept along with them. We are also more aware of our feelings, whether they are joy, sadness, contentedness or anger. And when we are being mindful, it is easier to choose whether or not to act on those feelings.
HOW CAN IT HELP US PARENT? Parents often need to learn new techniques to rise to the challenges of family life, and this is especially true in the first few years. Among other things, mindfulness can help us to stay calm in a crisis; feel more connected to our children; be patient; throw ourselves into an activity; not say something we might regret and keep a sense of perspective. Being around children is like living with the volume turned up. Everything is more extreme and children can court the full range of human emotions each and
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every day. Parents may be vomited on, screamed at, poked in the eye, woken up several times in the night; they will have to tear apart children who are trying to bite each other; they will hear ‘I want that lolly’ 27 times; they will be humiliated in the supermarket; they will hear ‘I hate you’ and ‘I love you’ in the same minute; they will, at times, need to do everything one-handed; they will need to read the same story six times in a row; they will have to rescue a child who is gagging; comfort one who is crying, soothe one who is terrified of the dark; they will have to navigate through perpetual noise and chaos and mess, perhaps all in the course of a single day. Mindfulness can help parents to cope with all of that.
MINDFULNESS IN CHILDREN Young children live very much in the present moment. When engaged in an activity they are absorbed by it, presumably not distracted by thoughts about the past or future, or by a running
commentary. They often approach the world with a freshness, examining objects around them – a spoon, an insect, a crack in the pavement – with curiosity and wonder. As children grow, their language increases and they begin to conceptualise much more. Instead of seeing the world as disjointed incidences to be wondered at, they start to make connections, creating a bigger picture, which gets more complex each day. That characteristic fresh-eyed wonder begins to be replaced with notions of familiarity and categorisation. They begin to be more absorbed by their inner worlds of fantasy and imagination. Thoughts come hand in hand with language, and their minds – which no longer need to make sense of their immediate surroundings – are more occupied with the past and the future. As their brains develop and move toward a more adult mind, their ability to raise mindfulness grows, and also their need for it. L
HOW TO BE A MINDFUL PARENT Attaching mindfulness to an activity – such as bedtime reading with your child – gives you a chance to practise focusing your mind on the present moment
Attach mindfulness to an activity: Ideally, we would be trying to be mindful all the time, but sometimes it’s worth earmarking a certain activity for special mindful attention. It doesn’t matter what you choose – it could be hanging out the washing or walking up the stairs or reading to your child. Keep this as a regular mindfulness activity, so that you practise every single time you do it. You get many of the benefits of formal sitting (though perhaps not with the same depth of relaxation), yet you can do it while carrying on with your daily business. Make time for play: Earmarking special times for being together is a wonderful way to protect those times for reconnection. It may be that we need to actually schedule in certain times in the day – perhaps at bathtime. Alternatively, look out for opportunities to seize as and when they come along. Keep shopping fun: If you have to go to the shops together, reduce the sensory overload by slowing down the task, perhaps by taking time to mindfully explore the aisles – noting all the different smells and colours. Work out strategies in advance: When we are confronted with a new or tricky situation, the need to act quickly may make it hard to choose the best course of action in that moment. Later, however, see the incident as a learning opportunity. Rather than getting caught up in regret, this is a chance to handle the situation differently next time.
Find ways to empower your child: Look out for campaigns you think would interest them and help them to come up with ways to support that cause. Children can raise money through bake sales or sponsorship, or they could write a letter to a politician. Mindfulness for Parents by Amber Hatch (£9.99, Watkins) is out now.
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 41
PREPARING TO BOARD Mark Tomset t, H E AD OF BOAR DING AT ST AN DR EW ’S PR EP, E ASTBOU R N E, SHAR E S HIS TIPS FOR PL AN NING AH E AD
oarding at school offers children the chance to grow as individuals, both socially and emotionally. It also offers uninterrupted access to the school’s extracurricular activities, use of the wonderful facilities, a readymade second family and, of course, fabulous academic learning. But it is a big step for a child to move away so it makes sense to prepare them in order to be primed and ready to maximise on the experience. Here are my top tips on how to prepare your child for the big move:
THE FINER DETAILS
The items that might make new boarding life a little easier
WHAT TO PACK
In the weeks before you drop your child off for their first night, spend some time looking at the school’s boarding booklet and website together, to help them gather as much information as possible. Look at a map of the school site and locate where the different facilities are; review the evening and extracurricular activities on offer and talk through the school’s sport, music, art and drama options. If your child is to be a full boarder, review the weekend routine in advance and check what activities are going to be laid on for them on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sew-in name tapes £2.99, gbnametapes.co.uk
Cotton pyjama set £30, boden.co.uk Mossman tuck box £60, tuckonline.com
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Master Lock padlock £5.67, homebase.co.uk
Lustro shoe shine kit £1, poundland.co.uk
FRIENDSHIP A few sleepovers prior to starting school might help your child become accustomed to sharing their room
THE BEDROOM Sharing a bedroom means more noise and more kit. Therefore, you might like to organise a few sleepovers (with the lights out!) to help your child become accustomed to sharing room space and to be tolerant of other children in their room. Your child’s current school might also offer flexi-boarding which could provide a stepping stone to weekly or full-time boarding. And, when it comes to décor, encourage your child to collate a few photographs and small items to personalise the area around their bed to make them feel comfortable and more ‘at home’.
THE ROUTINE From wake up to lights out, your child will follow a routine which will make life comfortable and easy for them, but it will be even easier if they are well prepared. Find the boarders’ routine in the boarding booklet and talk it through with your child. Do they know how to make their bed and can they change the duvet cover? Can they pack their own school bag? Routines help children flourish and provide them with practical skills for their lives ahead.
Great Little Trading Co cotton duvet cover and pillowcase set £38, johnlewis.com
A familiar face is often all a child needs to relax. We suggest you make contact with the new school to see if there are any children living nearby, or from your child’s current school, who will be going to the new school too. If so, make contact with their parents and invite their child over in the run-up to the start of term so they can keep a look out for each other. Who knows, they might become lifelong friends.
HOMESICKNESS It happens to all of us, young and old – so do explain to your child that there may be times when they miss their family, home, friends and pets, and that this is perfectly normal. When you drop your child off for their first night, we recommend you do not hang around too long and leave with the minimum amount of fuss. In order to help children settle, some schools have a minimum contact policy for the first few weeks. Others are more flexible. The key point is that every child is different. Generally, children like to know when they can next speak to or Skype home, so create a schedule which they can look forward to. You will always be able to contact your child’s housemaster or housemistress for updates on your child’s progress.
MOST IMPORTANTLY… Tell your child that you have chosen this school because you believe that they will be safe and happy there, that they will make friends aplenty and that every member of staff is there to help and support them. L
Egyptian cotton towel set £54.99, hamptonandastley.com Hydrocotton robe £32, thewhitecompany.com Personalised hairbrush £25, rockandruddle.co.uk
Suede slippers £35, landsend.co.uk
Coat hangers (pack of eight) £1, wilko.com
Laminated cotton wash bag £9, tyrrellkatz.co.uk
Inspiring Curiosity Albert Einstein claimed he had no special talents, just that he was passionately curious. We can’t all be Einsteins, but at Croydon High we provide the spark that ignites lifelong curiosity and love of learning. Whatever stage of that journey your daughter is on, Croydon High Junior School will provide plenty to inspire her. Come in for a Taster Morning, meet our Head Sophie Bradshaw and find out more about the school that everyone is talking about. Call 020 8260 7508 for more details about forthcoming events including an exciting Creative Writing afternoon for girls in Year 2 on Saturday February 24th.
THE CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
N AT U RDEVELOPMENT A L L A S T I N G S O L U T I O NCENTRE S THE CHILD
N AT U R A L L A S T I N G S O L U T I O N S
THE CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTRE When Something Isn’t Quite Right...
N AT U R A L L A S T I N G S O L U T I O N S When Something Isn’t Quite Right...
You may not have heard of RRS (Retained Reflex Syndrome) before, but you may find that you recognise some thehave symptoms in your Children may Syndrome) beIsn’t bright, yet underachieving or lacking in concentration. You mayofnot heard of RRSchild. (Retained Reflex before, but you may find that you recognise When Something Quite Right... writing tricky? Do trouble putting ideas down on paper and not enjoyorreading for some ofIs the symptoms in they yourhave child. Children may be bright, yet underachieving lacking inpleasure? concentration. You may not have heard of RRS (Retained Reflex Syndrome) before, but you may find that you recognise Perhaps they are suffering from low self-esteem or frustration and are emotionally/socially immature?
Issome writing tricky? Do they have trouble putting ideas down on paper and not enjoy reading for pleasure? of the symptoms in your child. Children may be bright, yet underachieving or lacking in concentration. Does this sound familiar? Perhaps theytricky? are suffering low self-esteem or frustration and and are not emotionally/socially immature? Is writing Do they from have trouble putting ideas down on paper enjoy reading for pleasure? Perhaps they are suffering from low self-esteem orCentre, frustration and are in emotionally/socially immature? At The Child Development established 1995, Does this sound familiar? we provide solutions to enable Doesnatural this sound familiar?
At The Child Development Centre, established in 1995, all children to enjoy their life and At The we Child Development established provide natural Centre, solutions to enablein 1995, fulfil their potential. we natural solutions to enable allprovide children to enjoy their life and The Child Development Centre all children to enjoy their life and fulfil their potential. 020 7223 4321 London fulfil their potential. More info at www.thechildcentre.com
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Dealing with dyslexia HOW TO GE T A DIAGNOSIS, AN D TH E N E X T STEPS TO TAKE s your child slow to learn to read, write, spell or learn their times tables compared to their peers? Are they bright in every other way, but something isn’t quite right? According to the British Dyslexia Association, 10 per cent of the British population are dyslexic; four per cent severely so. This means that, in a class of 30, three pupils will be dyslexic. Many are never diagnosed or, if they are, it may be much later in life. Remaining undiagnosed means a child is at risk of developing low self-esteem and not fulfilling their potential.
WORDS: GLYNIS KOZMA. PHOTOGRAPHY: ISTOCK
COMMON SIGNS Markers for dyslexia in pre-school children include persistently jumbled phrases, difficulty remembering rhymes, slow speech development, forgetting names of common objects, difficulties with putting shoes on the correct feet and getting dressed. Older children may leave letters out of words, write letters and numbers in a reverse image, transpose letters in words ( such as ‘was’ for ‘saw’), and have problems learning their times tables, days of the week and spellings. Many dyslexic children in school can learn their spellings for the weekly test, but have forgotten those words a week later. Don’t try to diagnose your child from these lists – they are simply a guide. Family history is also an important factor: if anyone else in the family has similar difficulties, it will increase the likelihood. In state schools, children are tested on their phonic ability in Year One. A low score may be relevant and alert you to some further assessment.
WHAT TO DO NEXT Educational psychologist Teresa Bliss advises: “Below the age of seven, dyslexia assessment is unreliable. A child needs to be given time to learn. Don’t have your child assessed solely on family history of
WHERE TO GET HELP BRITISH DYSLEXIA ASSOCIATION dyslexia – wait and see if they develop any of the signs.” Your child can be assessed by an educational psychologist or a teacher trained in assessing dyslexics. You can find an educational psychologist through the charity Dyslexia Action or through The British Psychological Society, while a specialist teacher can be found through Patoss, the professional association for special needs teachers. The costs range from around £300 for a teacher’s assessment to £500 for an educational psychologist. Specialist teaching is always the best option, either during or after school. If your child is severely dyslexic, there are a handful of schools in the UK exclusively for dyslexic children. With correct intervention, many dyslexics become high achievers. Building your child’s confidence is vital and it’s key for them to know that dyslexia is not linked to intelligence. There is plenty of support available, but early diagnosis is key to success and self-confidence. L
Offers testing and the latest advice. bdadyslexia.org.uk
DYSLEXIA ACTION Provides assessment and tuition. dyslexiaaction.org.uk
INDEPENDENT PARENTAL SPECIAL EDUCATION ADVICE An independent charity for parents of children with special needs. ipsea.org.uk
THE BRITISH PSYCHOLOGICAL SOCIETY For a directory of chartered psychologists. bps.org.uk
PATOSS For teachers of students with learning disabilities. patoss-dyslexia.org
DYSLEXIC SCHOOLS A list of schools that cater to dyslexic students. dyslexicschools.co.uk
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 45
Claremont Fan Court School An independent co-educational school for pupils aged 2½ to 18 years
Pre-Preparatory and Nursery School Children join the Pre-Nursery class in the term they turn three. Please come and visit us. To arrange an appointment, telephone 01372 463695 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Claremont Fan Court School Claremont Drive Esher Surrey KT10 9LY www.claremontfancourt.co.uk
Join us for our Open Activity Morning Saturday 10th March 9.30am-12.30pm
A co-educational day and boarding prep school for children aged 2½-13 near Chichester, West Sussex. Wraparound care and tailored learning in stunning rural surroundings.
DISCOVER MORE AT WWW.GREATBALLARD.CO.UK C O N N E C T W I T H Discover US more at www.greatballard.co.uk
AS PAR ENTS BOOK TH EIR CHILDR EN IN FOR MOR E AN D MOR E AF TER-SCHOOL CLU BS, AR E WE IN DANGER OF OVER SCH EDU LING TH EM? Rhiane Kirkby FIN DS OUT or many parents, the return to school after the holidays means once again juggling drop-offs and pick-ups, as well as factoring in a weekly activity timetable. “In my day, there was only swimming, ballet, football, cubs and brownies,” reminisces one grandma. “Now it’s gone completely crazy.” Take a look at Annabel’s diary and you may be inclined to agree. Her children do a total of 13 different out-of-school activities each week. As a consequence they rarely eat their evening meal at home and usually do their homework in the car. And even though organising this schedule appears to be a full time job, Annabel still finds the time to work as a lawyer and battle a long daily commute. “I’m really not a tiger mum,” explains Annabel. “In fact, I’m not competitive at all. I rarely watch my kids doing any of their activities as I’m usually working on
my laptop.” So, you may ask, why does she put herself through this gruelling schedule? “In the old days, kids would come home and go running around in the street – that just doesn’t happen anymore, but they still need to burn off energy. Most of the activities we do are physical and that’s my choice, but I never make them do anything they don’t enjoy.” When asked whether she feels her children are missing out on time with family or the chance to unwind after school, Annabel is quick to defend. “Childhood is about having fun and that’s what my kids are doing. They’re with their friends every night and we sit down to family meals at the weekend. They go straight to sleep when they go to bed and I really believe they’re doing better academically because they’re burning up all that energy.” Interestingly, a new study into the link between participation in after-school
activities and academic attainment supports Annabel’s belief. The research by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at University College London concluded that primary school children who take part in clubs achieve more academically and have better social, emotional and behavioural skills than those who don’t. Annabel’s schedule may sound extreme, but she’s definitely not alone. Joanne’s two boys do eight different activities each week and she also volunteers to run one of their groups. “I don’t feel pressured by others,” she says, “but I do put pressure on myself. They love the things they do – they’d be devastated if I stopped them.” Michelle, on the other hand, admits she does feel the need to conform. “Children should be allowed to play and run around the park or playground, but if everyone else has tennis lessons from the age of four, football from five,
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 47
RUNNING HEAD Organised sport is a great way to boost physical, social and emotional development – but how much is too much?
LOOKING TO SIGN UP? CLUB PETIT PIERROT Little ones have the chance to learn French through play and games in these multisensory classes. Founded almost 25 years ago, sessions are run by French natives in various venues across the capital. clubpetitpierrot.co.uk
THE LITTLE LONDON MUSIC SCHOOL A great opportunity to introduce your child to a world of music. Classes are divided by age group, where kids can enjoy opera-quality music, learn about a variety of instruments, and sing and clap along. thelittlelondonmusicschool.com
swimming at six and is a proficient ballet dancer at seven, you feel like you are denying your child an opportunity.” Primary school teacher Laura points out that children need downtime too. “I think my two do the right amount of activities – two or three a week. I appreciate that’s on the low side, but I believe it’s important for your child to get bored. If they are constantly being ferried from one activity to the other, they will never stop and work out what they really want to do.” That’s something author India Knight agrees with: “I spent hours being bored as a child, something I consider extremely character forming. But not any more. The generation we’ve raised are lost without the slew of extracurricular activities their parents have organised for them.”
48 | LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018
So is it true to say that parents are actually fuelling this craze? “Fear of missing out is rampant,” says parenting coach Judy Reith. “We must be willing to accommodate our children’s passions, and far better to be doing something stimulating than sitting at home with games consoles, but we must not worry about what other families are doing.” While experts agree that exhausting your children by pushing them into too many things or putting pressure on them to succeed can have serious consequences, few can argue the benefits of having the right balance of activities. And with only 21 per cent of boys and 16 per cent of girls aged five to 15 doing the recommended daily amount of exercise, after-school clubs are perhaps more vital than ever before. L
PLAYBALL Watch as your kids learn the basics of sport, balance and coordination. There’s a wide variety of sporting activities to try; from tennis, football and cricket to baseball and volleyball. playballlondon.com
THE AVENUE COOKERY SCHOOL Children can learn how to cook a variety of dishes at this cookery school in Wandsworth. Best of all, they can take home their creations at the end of each session to share with the family. theavenuecookeryschool.com
MINI ARTISTS AT DODO STUDIOS Suitable for ages six and upwards, budding artists can flex their creative muscles at Dodo Studios in Dulwich. They’ll get to create their own masterpieces, while learning about different art movements and mediums. miniartists.co.uk
CHILDREN WHO TAKE PART IN CLUBS HAVE BETTER SOCIAL AND BEHAVIOURAL SKILLS
SCHOLARS OF 2017
OPEN MORNINGS Cranleigh Preparatory School, Horseshoe Lane, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8QH www.cranprep.org
Wednesday 14 March, Saturday 28 April, Wednesday 20 June 9.45am â€“ 12noon Please contact Catherine Staples to book an appointment: 01483 542051 email@example.com
B8056 CPS 135x190mmL.indd 1
Redcli e School dedicated to growing excellence
Discover how Oliver developed his passion for adventure... isit redcli eschool.com
Redcli e School - educating boys and girls from rising to 11 To arrange your tour contact Henrietta Corbett on 020 7352 9247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Manor, Stoke D’Abernon, Surrey KT11 3PX T: 01932 862 749 E: email@example.com W: www.parkside-school.co.uk Head Teacher: Mr M Beach Admissions: Mrs Alison Scott Key facts Gender / Ages: Co-ed Nursery 2-4 years, Boys 4-13 years Total pupils: 307, boys 284, girls 23. Type: Day. Fees: Nursery – Daily from 1 morning £455 – 5 full days £3,614. Pre Prep: Termly: £4,055. Prep: Termly Year 3 - Year 8 £5,428. Entrance procedure: The first point of contact for prospective parents is our School Registrar, Alison Scott, who can be contacted on telephone number 01932 862749. The Registrar can advise you of our forthcoming Open Mornings, arrange a personal tour of the school if you would like, and discuss the needs of your child or children. In line with other schools, and as part of a new initiative at Parkside, we are introducing an assessment day for all boys entering the school into Year 3. Once your child is registered with Parkside, your son will receive an invitation to this event. Your son will be informally assessed in Maths and English and take part in small group activities.
School Philosophy: Parkside aims to develop the whole child through
the care, guidance and support of all staff members and the building of close links in a three way partnership between school, pupil and the home. Parkside encourages pupils to explore, discover and develop their particular skills and talents to the full whether in the academic field, sport, art or music and to find the fulfilment and selfesteem necessary to enhance their lives. The school aims to develop the values of respect, tolerance and compassion whilst encouraging self-reliance and independence. Parkside prepares pupils for their future schools and life in the wider world by developing them as well-rounded individuals, comfortable with their peers, elders and themselves, able to appreciate their talents, eager to realise their potential and confident in meeting new challenges.
Academic Record: The Common Entrance results in 2017 were excellent with all boys passing to their first choice school, and an abundance of A and B grades. Boys at Parkside go on to a variety of destination schools such as St John’s Leatherhead, Worth, Wellington College, Reed’s School, Cranleigh and Charterhouse just to name a few.
The Little London Music School Introducing your child to the joy of music Classically based music classes for babies, toddlers and children under 5, tailored to each stage of your child’s development, designed to prepare them for learning an instrument. Taught by professional singers, accompanied by live orchestral instruments.
Notable Achievements and Alumni: Parkside School was judged ‘Excellent’ in all ISI inspection categories in March 2016. Parkside’s whole ethos is based around valuing and developing the individual child to be the best they can be academically, socially and emotionally. As our inspection report shows we are true to our ethos and our pupils are gaining the attributes that will put them in a strong position, in the future, to take their place in a rapidly evolving society and a challenging global job market.
Open Days: Friday 2nd February and 11th May 2018
James Dale-Adcock AN D Sarah Awwad OF CR AN LEIGH PR EPAR ATORY SCHOOL DISCUSS H OW TO MAKE THAT ALL-IM PORTANT DECISION FOR YOU R CHILD’S FUTU R E
he chances are, you’ll visit several schools before choosing ‘the one’ and at a time when cost dominates many of the decisions we make, it’s not surprising that when it comes to choosing the right prep school, one of the first questions parents ask themselves is, ‘Does the school represent good value for money?’ Of course, schools do need to make themselves competitive financially but it’s important to stack up the ‘cost’ of opportunity, not just in terms of facilities and provision
on an academic and co-curricular level, but also in terms of the end-game in regards to senior school choice. It may seem a long way off, but it will help your decision-making to find out where the majority of a prep school’s pupils end up at senior school. As you start to look for the right school, you will inherently be looking
for a place that shares your core values; often you will want your children to have the experiences you yourself had as a child, so it’s not unusual to see parents return to the schools of their own childhoods. Do remember that, although a school may have a long-lasting ethos, it is not the same school it was when you went there as a child. A healthy
LITTLE LONDON GUIDES | SPRING 2018 | 51
staff turnover, with new staff bringing new ideas, is good for schools and the character of the place ultimately resides within its people. So remind yourselves you are choosing for your child and not from your own memories. The decision over whether to board, and at what age, is individual to families and their lifestyle choices. But boarding trends are changing and there is now a range of options from weekly to flexible, which may even alter as a child moves through the school. Spend time really investigating the boarding ethos of a school, including how well it will prepare your child for boarding at senior school and how well integrated day pupils are. Class sizes and the provision of extra academic support are also crucial. You will need to feel that your child will be supported where needed and given the best opportunities to succeed. Sixteen to eighteen is probably the ideal class size at prep school. Any lower may result in a poor gender dynamic and any higher reduces the dedicated time a teacher can spend with a pupil. Do also ask about the under layer of support schools may offer in terms of teaching assistants or small group assistance. Different prep schools’ approach to academics will also vary, some will ensure prep is completed within the working day, enabling children to relax during family time, and others set prep for completion at home. Each approach will suit different families but do ask about the school’s view and whether it changes
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THE CHOICE WILL OFTEN COME DOWN TO THE WAY A SCHOOL MAKES YOUR CHILD FEEL as the child moves through the school. Most parents will want a school that will produce a ‘well-rounded’ individual who has been provided with as many opportunities as possible to shine. Many schools will declare a wide breadth of co-curricular opportunities, but do dig a bit deeper. Does it truly provide ‘sport for all’, and what is its philosophy if not? The difference in quality and depth of coaching can vary markedly. You may feel encouraged by schools with favourable sibling policies; it can certainly make practical sense to send all of your children to the same school. The choice becomes even more appealing if that prep school has excellent links with senior schools; it may be reassuring to send your children somewhere that will see them through compulsory education.
Question the policies and make sure you are well aware of the admissions journey so there are no surprises later; and do remember that not all your children are the same. If they really would thrive as individuals at different schools then that may also be something to consider. At the end of the day, the question it all boils down to is: ‘Will my child be happy here?’ Only you can answer that and the choice will often come down to the way a school makes you and your child feel when you visit. It’s helpful if a school is prepared to spend time advising you, especially if it offers taster days. Overall, prep schools that are caring and nurturing, that have strong leadership with profound core values, that put the child at the centre of everything, cannot go far wrong. L
Kensington Prep School is an award-winning school in Fulham for girls aged 4-11. We have some of the best facilities of any prep school in London and win praise for our nurturing approach, rich curriculum and outstanding academic results.
OUR PAST ... YOUR FUTURE
Register now for 4+ entry for September 2019.
The quality of the pupilsâ€™ achievements and learning is
ISI Inspection Report, May 2015
Shortlisted for Independent Prep School of the Year 2018
596 Fulham Road London SW6 5PA Phone: 020 7731 9300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.kensingtonprep.gdst.net
INDEPENDENT, CO-EDUCATIONAL PREPARATORY DAY SCHOOL | AGES 3-13
www.gabbitas.com TUTORING SCHOOL & UNIVERSITY SEARCH CAREERS ADVICE & COURSES
EXCELLENT IN ALL AREAS School Tours: Junior School tours are on Tuesday and Wednesday at 9.00am Senior School tours are on Wednesday at 9.00am
STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES & GUARDIANSHIP HOLIDAY SCHOOLS
By Appointment 020 7590 9000 67 Pont Street, London SW1X 0BD | www.knightsbridgeschool.com | email@example.com
Gabbitas Educational Consultants is registered in England No. 2920466. Part of The Prospects Group.
+44 (0) 20 7734 0161 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Forest Preparatory School
Pre-Prep & Nursery School East Horsley, Surrey KT24 6NS
Visit us on our
London E17 3PY T: 020 8520 1744 E: email@example.com W: www.forest.org.uk Head Teacher: Mr James Sanderson Admissions: Registrar: Mrs Sally Martin Key facts
Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 4-11 years Total pupils: 272, boys 136, girls 136 Type: Day Fees: Pre Prep: Day from £4,200 per term, Prep: Year 3 £4,480 per term, Years 4-6 £4,820 per term. Entrance procedure: Please see our website for details.
School Philosophy: Forest is a humane, open-minded school for children aged 4-18, where the pupils’ all-round personal development is outstanding and academic attainment is high. It is London’s only diamond structure school and is, above all, a happy school which understands the rich inter-relationship between the curricular, the co-curricular and the pastoral. We benefit from a tremendous location: on the very edge of northeast London, a city school surrounded by ancient forest, safe but not secluded, and within a diverse, dynamic community. There is boldness in the School’s character, a readiness to be forwardthinking and adaptable, with pride in what we are and excitement for what lies ahead.
Friday 2nd March 2018 at 9.15am Wednesday 25th April 2018 at 9.15am Saturday 12th May 2018 at 2.00pm Friday 18th May at 9.15am AN INDEPENDENT PRE-PREP & NURSERY SPECIALISING IN EDUCATING CHILDREN FROM 2-7 01483 282329 www.gleneskschool.co.uk ‘Outstanding in all areas’ SIS Inspection – March 2017
Most pupils transfer from Forest Prep School to the Senior School at 11+ and many are awarded top academic, music or sport scholarships.
Academic Record: Senior School Academic Results 2017. GCSE:
77% of pupils achieved at least 5 A* or A grades. HPQ: 87% of pupils were awarded an A* or A grade. A Level: 70% of pupils were awarded A*, A or B grades. EPQ: 76% of pupils were awarded at least an A grade.
Extra-Curricular: Forest offers extra-curricular opportunities in sport, music and drama and has an enormous selection of clubs and activities for pupils in Reception to Year 6. These take place before School, at lunchtimes and at the end of the School day. Notable Achievements and Alumni: WW2 Spitfire pilot and author, Geoffrey Wellum DFC. The Rt. Hon. Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Immigration. Former England Cricket Captain, Nasser Hussain. Essex CCC wicket-keeper James Foster is Forest’s current cricket professional. Actors, Paapa Essiedu, Ella Purnell, Nicola Walker, Adam Woodyatt.
Registration for 4+ (2018), 7+ and 11+ Entry
Headmaster ’s Tours: Call us to arrange a visit
Open Days: Summer Open Evening, Monday 25 June Open Day, Saturday 22 September 2018
Caught in the net OU R CHILDR EN AR E GROWING U P IN AN AGE OF SOCIAL M EDIA E XCE SS, BUT HOW CAN WE AS PAR ENTS POLICE IT ? he need for parents to be vigilant about internet safety is known, but as the world of social media is increasingly being accessed by children still in primary school, a new list of issues has arisen. According to a recent study by Internet Matters, 43 per cent of children aged between 10 and 13 now use social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and 86 per cent of children aged seven to 11 use some kind of online communication, often without their parents’ knowledge. Indeed, the NSPCC is urging parents to make online awareness as much a priority as road safety, as its recent survey showed that less than a fifth of parents discussed this important topic with their eight to 13 year olds. However, it can seem like uncharted waters for many mums and dads who may not even have social media accounts themselves, let alone know how to navigate the many complex issues around their children’s use. For example, many adults are unaware that sites like Facebook and Instagram require users to be aged 13 and over. But these restrictions are easily overcome by anyone with a phone or an iPad who can
WORDS: MORAG TURNER. PHOTOGRAPHY: ISTOCK
CHILDNET’S TOP FIVE TIPS Be aware of the T&Cs. It’s not illegal for a child under the age of 13 to have a social media account but these rules are put in place by sites to protect children. Make sure your kids know not to post things such as the name of their school or photos of street signs. Turn off location services so they can’t be pin-pointed. Become their ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ to keep track of what they’re posting and who is contacting them. Monitor their screen time and agree a time when all devices will be switched off. Make sure you lead by example. Talk to your child about social media. Explain your concerns and help them understand how to use it positively. For more information, visit childnet.com and nspcc.org.uk.
simply enter false information. While this isn’t illegal, it is against the site’s terms and conditions, and if discovered these underage profiles will be deleted. And it’s not just a tech-savvy few. A recent survey by the BBC’s Newsround found that more than three-quarters of children at primary-leaving age were using at least one social media network. Once on these sites, children are exposed to images and text posted by adult users all over the world. Around 70 million photos are shared on Instagram every day, many of which will be unsuitable for little eyes. Grooming or contact from strangers is, of course, every parent’s worst fear, but it’s not just safety issues and inappropriate content that they need to worry about – often the most immediate threat children face comes from bullying and peer pressure. Childline has seen an 88 per cent increase in counselling about online bullying over the past five years, with calls coming from children as young as seven years old. Ultimately parents must decide for themselves how and when their child can access social media but, crucially, they must also remember that they always have the right to simply say ‘no’. L
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The GREAT homework DEBATE AR E WE OVER LOADING OU R CHILDR EN WITH WOR K WH EN TH EY SHOU LD BE ENJOYING DOWNTIM E? Georgina Blaskey FIN DS OUT oes homework actually make a difference to how children improve academically? For busy parents and school-weary kids, when the end of the day comes, homework time can be the final straw for everyone. In the privacy of kitchens across the land, exercise books get flung across the table, eyes roll at the thought of another comprehension, and an arts and crafts assignment is like a red rag to most mothers come 5pm. At the school gates,
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homework is a bone of contention with ‘pushy’ parents wanting more, and handsoff parents wanting downtime for their kids. After a day of listening and learning at school, is there any brain space left for yet another task? Many argue that regular, well-planned homework has its place. It can develop good work habits and self discipline as well as encourage skills and attitudes that help children improve their educational performance. Crucially, it can help
parents to gain an insight into their child’s schoolwork and their ability, and create a platform for children and parents to interact. It can provide opportunities for individualised work and offer the chance to use resources not found in school, such as home computers, libraries and museums. But the key is setting homework that is relevant and well planned, and for many teachers already stretched with their jam-packed day and marking demands, homework can
*SOURCE: THE TELEGRAPH, DO YOU HELP YOUR CHILDREN WITH HOMEWORK?, MARCH 2014. PHOTOGRAPHY: ISTOCK
Well-planned homework can have its place – for those studying towards exams, revision is essential
sometimes be an afterthought. For those studying towards 11+, it’s essential to spend time revising. A group of 10 year olds I spoke to felt that homework at this point was a good idea to consolidate what they’re doing during the day and make sure they’ve really grasped a new maths concept or French verb conjugation, for example. But for those just starting on their school journey, it can feel like overkill. With Scandinavian children not embarking on formal education until the age of seven, it seems bizarre that children in the UK are coming home with 20-question worksheets every night. Recently, American ‘homework guru’ Harris Cooper of Duke University said, “There is no evidence that any amount of homework improves the academic performance of elementary [aged four to 11] students.” A recent study by the professor of education and policy maker at Pennsylvania State University, Gerald K LeTendre, found, “Empirical studies have linked excessive homework to sleep disruption, indicating a negative relationship between the amount of homework, perceived stress and physical health. For primary school students, even 30 minutes of homework a night, if combined with other sources of academic stress, can have a negative impact. Researchers in China have linked homework of two or more hours per night with sleep disruption. Even though some cultures may normalise long periods of studying for primary-age children, there is no evidence to support that this level of homework has academic benefits. Also, when parents and
WHEN YOU HAVE A CHILD WHO STRUGGLES, IT’S ALL TOO EASY TO WADE IN – DON’T! children conflict over homework, and strong negative emotions are created, homework can actually have a negative association with academic achievement.” So we’re back to the exercise book being flung across the kitchen table in clear defiance (at one point a regular occurrence in my home for a frustrated and exhausted seven year old. Interestingly, now she’s older her approach is the opposite and I find myself calling time on her studying when she’s happy to carry on). When you have a child who struggles with their homework, it’s all too easy to wade in and offer to help. Don’t! A study by the organisers of the Bett educational technology trade show found that in one in six families, it is the mothers and fathers who do all the homework. A tenth of parents who took part said it saved stress if they did the work
themselves, although not all of them admitted to doing so regularly. A quarter said they had to stop themselves from completing all the exercises.* Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “The question is, what are these parents trying to prove? Homework is not a formal test, so why sacrifice their children’s learning in an attempt to make their children look good?” As with many parenting issues, it’s about balance. Children who excel at school can find homework boring, and children who are struggling in class can find it a burden. A sensible strategy is to enforce the basics – reading every day, common spellings and times tables when appropriate – and avoid taking over and doing the work yourself, even if it does give you a bit of a thrill when they (read ‘you’) get awarded top marks! L
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8 Dallington Street, London EC1V 0BW T: 020 7251 2284 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: dallingtonschool.co.uk Head Teacher: Mogg Hercules Admissions: Maria-Luisa Marchini Key facts Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 3-11 years Total pupils: 127, boys 75, girls 52 Type: Day Fees: Nursery (Foundation Stage 1 – Age 3 to 4) £3,326. Nursery (Foundation Stage 2 – Age 4 to 5) £3,425. Transition (Year 1 – Age 5 to 6) £3,693. Transition (Year 2 – Age 6 to 7) £3,832. Middle School (Year 3 & 4 – Age 7 to 9) £4,054 Middle School (Year 5 & 6 – Age 9 to 11) £4,210 Entrance procedure: Dallington School has a non-selective entry policy, we work on a first come first served basis and take children from 3-11 years old. There is no entry exam or formal test for our school. Most children join our School at three and four years of age. Once a place is secured in either Lower or Upper Nursery, children automatically progress through our School until Year 6.
School Philosophy: School motto: ‘Value your own worth and understand the differences in others.’ At Dallington, our children address teachers by their first names and do not wear a uniform. We offer a curriculum which is broad and balanced. We provide for each child a happy, secure and stimulating environment that promotes discovery and values a love of learning. We encourage our children to become confident and enthusiastic learners. Our children work and play together in a co-operative, supportive way and great emphasis is placed on nurturing the development of the powers of reasoning and reflective, critical thinking.
Academic Record: We are delighted to confirm that we have never been unsuccessful in placing a child in a setting that matches their skills and abilities.
Extra-Curricular: Term time Clubs – Yoga, Irish Dance Club, Dallington Football Club Training, Little Musketeers, Ukulele Club, Art Club, Kodály Club, Young Explorers (Science), Rock Band Club, Mindful Chess. Holiday Clubs - Art Workshop, Science Time, Toymaking Workshop. Notable Achievements and Alumni: Places offered to our
candidates in 2017 were: The King Alfred School, Hampstead, St Christopher School, Letchworth (2 plus 1 Academic Scholarship), Forest School (Music Scholarship), North Bridge House School (Music Scholarship), City of London School for Girls (Music Scholarship), Highgate School (Music Scholarship), Camden School for Girls, Portland Place (6), North London Collegiate and St Paul’s Cathedral School Mogg Hercules – Ted Wragg Lifetime Achievement Award (with Distinction) 2009. Dido (Singer), Emily Lloyd (Actress), Jojo Moyes (Novelist & Journalist), Catherine Webb (Author). Personal tours of our nursery and school are given each day of the week, except Wednesday, with up to 3 families together. There are no tours in the first and last week of each term. Next Open Evening: Thursday 3rd May 2018 from 6-8 pm
Open Morning dates: February OpenWednesday Morning May dates: 2 (Doors open February 9.30)
(Doors open 9.30)
Preparatory and Pre-Preparatory School
24 Lyndhurst Gardens, Hampstead, London NW3 5NW Telephone: 0207 435 4936Pre-Preparatory Email: email@example.com Preparatory and School www.lyndhursthouse.co.uk 24 Lyndhurst Gardens, Hampstead, London NW3 5NW Telephone: 0207 435 4936 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.lyndhursthouse.co.uk
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OurOur branches: Our branches: branches: Hampstead Hampstead Hampstead Garden Garden Garden Suburb Suburb Suburb Our Hampstead Garden Suburb Our branches: branches: Garden Suburb • Belsize • Belsize •Hampstead Park Belsize Park • Holland Park • Holland • Holland ParkPark Park •• Belsize Park •• Holland Belsize Park Holland Park Contact Contact Contact us today us today usPark today Contact us today Contact us today email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 8 St8James’s St 8James’s St James’s Gardens Gardens Gardens W11W11 4RB W11 4RB 4RB 8 8 St St James’s James’s Gardens Gardens W11 W11 4RB 4RB
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Developing Self-Esteem & Independence Stimulating Curriculum
Choosing a senior school Fiona McKenzie, SENIOR EDUCATION CON SU LTANT AT GABBITAS EDUCATION , ON H OW TO MAKE TH E CHOICE
s your child heads in to Year 5, your attention will no doubt turn to exploring their options for senior school. You may well find yourself trawling through brochures and websites that will be keen to emphasise the attributes of the school, but often barely go beyond the surface. On top of this, you will probably be receiving input from relatives and friends, all of whom will have strong opinions on which school they would recommend. But the most important aspect to remember is
that you are trying to choose a school that is right for your child. So where do you start?
THE ESSENTIALS We would recommend your first stop should be talking to your child’s current teachers. They will know your child’s strengths and will be able to share their professional opinions to recommend schools that might be well suited. Consider as a family which aspects of a school are most important to you
and draw up a list of ‘non negotiables’. This is anything you deem important for your child and may include academic standards, a particular extracurricular activity or pastoral support. In addition, it is important to consider at this stage your preference of curriculum all the way up to post-16. You don’t want to be caught out later on if your child is actually more suited to IB over A-levels, for example. Decide your priorities for your child and then start to draw up a list of schools that fit the bill.
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OL O H C S E HE L T B S A I T P W HO PING ADA DENTS? TU S T DEVELO N E I SIL E R D N A
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON YOUR TERM-TIME VISIT This is a chance to really discover what the school is all about. What type of school is it and does it fit your priorities? What are its core values? What is the learning environment like? Does it encourage the development of softer skills such as emotional intelligence and resilience? What does pastoral support and discipline look like? What are the facilities like and what’s included in the extracurricular programme? This is your opportunity to have all your questions answered. Make sure you have a list prepared in advance and
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remember; you are the customer and this is your opportunity to ensure you make the right investment.
TALK TO STUDENTS AND STAFF A visit is your opportunity to observe and chat to staff and students. Do the children look happy and engaged? Expect to meet students and ask them what their favourite thing about the school is or even better, what hasn’t impressed them! Do the same with the staff, challenge them on staff turnover rate or their thoughts on leadership in the school. Overall, take this opportunity to find out what makes the school special. This is your chance to hear first-hand what the culture looks and feels like.
THINK LONG TERM It is particularly important to consider how the school will prepare your child for higher education and the workplace. In a time where it is hard to predict which jobs will even exist, what is the school doing to prepare students for these unknown professions and develop individuals who are adaptable, enquiring and resilient? How is it ensuring its students are adept in
a global environment and accessing a global education? This is also a perfect opportunity to dig deeper into where the students exit to and how they will be supported in the next phase of education, training or employment.
THE FINAL DETAILS It’s important you leave the visit with key information about applying and, vitally, ensure you know your deadlines. Also, make sure you have transparent details on fees and scholarships or bursaries so there are no surprises later down the line.
EXTRA HELP Inevitably this can be a daunting time for parents. Using the services of a good education consultancy can help to relieve much of the workload and ensure decisions are made in an objective way. A good education consultancy can use assessment tools to help find out your child’s potential and match schools accordingly, and also help prepare them for interviews and entrance exams. It can also support you as your child progresses on their education journey by keeping you informed of possible opportunities and challenges. L
Open days are a great opportunity to visit the school. Although they are ‘show’ events, they should give you a flavour of the school, a sense of its ethos and culture, and whether it feels like a good fit. It is also a chance to see other families looking around, as you may well end up on the touch line with them in future years! Following on from open days, draw up a shortlist of four or five of your favourite schools and arrange to visit them on a normal working day during term-time.
Hawkesdown House School
Headley, Newbury RG19 8LD T: 01635 268242 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.cheamschool.com Head Teacher: Mr Martin Harris Admissions: Mrs Amanda Arkwright E: email@example.com Key facts
Gender / Ages: boys and girls, 3-13 years Total pupils: 400, boys 222, girls 178 Type: Day, Flexi, Full Boarding Fees: Pre Prep: Day from £3,845, Prep: Day from £6,340, flexi from £7,540. full boarding from £8,905 per term Entrance procedure: A year group subject to availability.
School Philosophy: Cheam strives for excellence in all its activities, something that the HM is particularly proud of. “There is something for everyone here, so every child can succeed in something thus increasing their self-esteem”. Cheam’s extra-curricular list is exhaustive and ensures every child can pursue their talents and interests to the full. Open Days: No Open Days as Individual Tours of the school and meeting the Headmaster are arranged via contacting the Registrar
The Mall is a successful independent prep school for boys age 4+ in Twickenham From 2019 we will become an 11+ school and boys will leave at the end of Year 6
For boys aged 3 to 8 years Endeavour Courage Truth
27 Edge Street, Kensington, London W8 7PN Telephone: 0207 727 9090 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hawkesdown.co.uk
An outstanding education for girls aged 3-18 Register for Open Events at www.suttonhigh.gdst.net
Non-selective entry into Reception (4+) Entry into our expanded Year 3 (7+) is based on assessment Popular destinations include: Hampton, KCS Wimbledon, St Paul’s & Reed’s Minibuses from: Richmond, Kew, Chiswick and Kingston
Spring OPEN MORNINGS Tuesday 20 February 9.00am
Wednesday 14 March 9.00am
“We are very happy as we have found an amazing environment for our son where he is encouraged and motivated.” Reception parent
Bringing out the best in every boy
185 Hampton Road, Twickenham TW2 5NQ • 0208 614 1082 email@example.com • www.themallschool.org.uk
55 Cheam Road, Sutton, Surrey SM1 2AX T. 020 8225 3001 E. firstname.lastname@example.org
MY SCHOOL LIFE Richard Curtis TH E WRITER , DIR EC TOR AN D FATH ER OF FOU R ON HIS OWN SCHOOL DAYS, AN D TH E WOR DS OF WISDOM H E GIVE S HIS CHILDR EN What was school life like for you? I feel hugely lucky that I can honestly say those school years were, on the whole, happy. That said – as throughout the rest of my life – I wish I’d worked a little less hard and fooled around a little more.
day schools in Manila and Stockholm, then to boarding school in Ascot before ending up at Harrow. Did this influence what you chose for your own children? Retrospectively, I can’t understand how I was allowed to miss seven whole years at home with my family. As a parent myself now, we couldn’t take losing our kids for that long, so they all went to London day schools. They leave so soon anyway.
What subject did you enjoy the most? Definitely English. I always loved the books and poems – so much so that I rather wore myself out when I was studying and have read very little since.
What advice for life would you have given to yourself when you were school age? Gosh. Such a huge question! Relish the laughing bits. Don’t worry – you’ll grow. Don’t eat the fish. And no one is ever going to ask you how many O-levels you got.
What is your earliest school memory? It’s my first memory of all, and extremely traumatic. My mother took my sisters into school in Manila, the Philippines, and the headmistress spotted me, aged three, and said, “What about him too?” And I was left there, abandoned, that very day.
Did you go to boarding school or day school? We lived all over the world when I was a child, so when I was younger I went to
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Acting was the ori ginal plan for this English an d poetr y fan
What does 2018 have in store for you? School-wise, for the kids, lots of thinking about what Charlie, my sixteen year old, should do for A-levels. Lifewise, a new movie – but will it be as good as Where Eagles Dare starring Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton, my absolute favourite film at school? I doubt it very much. L Richard started his school life in Manila
PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES
Did you always want to be a writer? No, when I was younger I wanted to be an actor. I gave what was felt to be a very touching Hermione in The Winter’s Tale at age 13, but perhaps my talent was more for wearing wigs than it was for actual acting, so I ended up doing the writing thing.
And what words of wisdom do you give to your children? I tell my children, the things you do outside of the classroom, they might not just be a hobby, they might be a sign of what you should actuallly do. Most people I know from school were doing so much of what they’re doing today back then, like writing or making films.
WHICH IS THE MOST ICONIC HOTEL IN THE UK? #Siblingrivalry
CHEWTON GLEN, HAMPSHIRE
CLIVEDEN HOUSE, BERKSHIRE
THE LYGON ARMS, COTSWOLDS
11 CADOGAN GARDENS, LONDON
City reach, Village location, Country life.
‘Pretzel' the Nursery chicken
‘Some children really do skip between lessons here…’ The Good Schools Guide
A high quality education with a truly individual focus
MARLBOROUGH HOUSE SCHOOL Hawkhurst, Cranbrook, Kent TN18 4PY 01580 753555