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School stats

Pupils at Rugby School, Warwickshire

The Independent Schools Council brings together seven member associations of independent schools, their heads and bursars. They represent 1,374 schools in the UK. Every April the ISC publishes a census: below are some of its findings


35% ethnic diversity in ISC schools closely mirrors that of the general population with regional variation

THE PUPIL-TEACHER RATIO IS ON AVERAGE 8:7 There are 255 senior schools (where pupils are in year seven and above)


There are 106,522 new pupils. Over a quarter of these joined from the state-funded sector


Over the past months schools have been forced to adapt quickly to the unprecedented  and challenging times we have found ourselves in. 

A digital transformation has taken place which will undoubtedly have a profound and lasting impact on education for years to come.

On March 23 we moved almost seamlessly to

Guided Home Learning. Already pro cient users of Google Classroom, our teachers and pupils were prepared for this transition and so we entered a new landscape of remote teaching and learning. e IT skills of both colleagues and pupils were tested but with the tenacity of all involved, we began a successful and transformative phase in delivering our education.  

What struck us, however, throughout our period of Guided Home Learning were two  things – the adaptability and resilience of our pupils, as well the thread of creativity which shone through all of their endeavours. 

Our motto of Fear Nothing could not be more apt in these current times and the ‘can do’ approach which we instil in our pupils has really shone through. Having a growth mindset during lockdown proved to be invaluable and unlocked further potential and talents in so many of our pupils. It was not just with our pupils, however, that we saw this but also with our teachers who modelled just what can be achieved if you put your mind to it, take that risk, step out of your comfort zone and believe in what you are doing.  

Being part of the Girls’ Day School Trust gives us a treasure trove of opportunities, as  well as advantages, and never was this more true than during lockdown. e Limitless

Learning Programme, spearheaded by our sister school, Croydon High School, alongside

Lessons now have the capacity to be taught in person whilst live streamed

Creativity thrives in restricted times

Katharine Woodcock, Head of Sydenham High School GDST, discusses the impact of the pandemic on creativity and digital skills.

Trust wide and Sydenham High initiatives, helped us to remain forward thinking, innovative and above all fearless during a time of considerable challenge.   is period of uncertainty has undoubtedly revolutionised teaching and learning and given renewed vigour to the education of the whole child and the importance of skills  beyond those learnt in the classroom. Our online delivery of lessons became exciting, creative, fearless and above all inspiring which in turn allowed our pupils the opportunity to really dig deep and recognise that there are no barriers to their learning, despite being physically away from school. We had to do things di erently but this new ‘di erent’ has a orded greater creativity and we have seen some truly remarkable teaching and learning, as well as pupil outcomes. 

As a school, we never closed, remaining open to pupils of both Sydenham High and a  local primary, whose parents were key workers. We made the best use of our resources, and put the children rst. Now fully open to all, we continue to learn, to evolve, but above all to strengthen our resolve to ensure that the academic and pastoral needs of our pupils are fully met, regardless of the challenges and obstacles that might  lie ahead.

Sydenham High School is part of the Girls’ Day School Trust, a family of 25 schools, helping to shape the future of girls’ education. 11+ and 16+ application deadline for 2021 entry: 27 November 2020. sydenhamhighschool.gdst.net

Let’s talk

about it

With the new school year well under way, make sure that you have all of the tools needed to support your child’s mental health, courtesy of Bupa Global

The coronavirus pandemic has been disorientating for kids, with lockdown disrupting every aspect of normal life. Kitchens became classrooms, parents became teachers and a er-school fun paused. So it’s little wonder that Covid-19 has had a negative impact on the mental health of young people.

Your child’s mental health

According to an Oxford University study of more than 10,000 parents and carers1, kids have experienced a range of emotional di culties in lockdown. is is corroborated by research among high-net worth parents by Bupa Global that found one in four (23 per cent) saw signs of anxiety in their families during lockdown2 .

And while the summer holidays provided a welcome relief from home-schooling, children could struggle to adjust as the new academic year brings fresh educational and emotional challenges. For many, this will have been their rst time in a classroom since lockdown began, so they’ll be getting to grips with new safety precautions, as well as a new routine. However, there are steps parents can take to help their kids cope with back-to-school anxieties.

Acknowledge their frustrations

Parents will tend towards best-case-scenario responses when talking to their kids. However, Bupa Global Lead Physician Dr Naveen Puri says that open discussions are more successful:

“Parents can’t control what happens in the wider world, but they can control how they communicate with their children about the challenges they face. ough it may be di cult, kids bene t from honest conversations in an understanding environment.”

Acknowledge that a new term may be di cult to cope with, and chat through their frustrations on a daily basis. Simply knowing they have your support can make a signi cant di erence to their perspective on school.

Be mindful of your words

A 2019 study by charity Time to Change found that 73 per cent of young people want to talk about mental health but can’t nd the right words3. is means it’s vital that parents listen to any school-related concerns without judgement. Run through the conversation in your head or with a friend beforehand to ensure you feel comfortable with the topics you’re tackling so they can open up to you.

Have di cult conversations

Early intervention is key. Find a neutral space, such as an evening walk, to open up the conversation about their worries. “Be sure to give them the time and space to process the chat”, advises Dr Puri. “Let them know they can come back to you later on if needs be.”

If your child boards, share your concerns with their housemaster so they can monitor the situation until the next visit home.

Put the right support in place

Don’t be afraid to get help if your family’s struggling to cope. Bupa Global has multiple resources for those a ected by mental health issues, including its Global Virtual Care service, which provides con dential access to a worldwide, multilingual network of doctors available 24/7, enabling you or your child to speak to a specialist at any time that suits. Seeking medical advice is necessary for a child who’s su ering, but speaking to a professional yourself is also a great way to learn how to best support their needs.

To nd out how a Bupa Global health plan puts you in control of your health, search bupaglobal.com/withyou or call 0333 355 7683.