Education Choices - Autumn 2020

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education choices Autumn 2020

The key to your child’s su ccess. Providing exciting education new and update s s.

Our escape to the country

Leading Headmistress discusses the ‘new normal’ and Putney High students being agile in the face of change.

Adapting to the new normal Birmingham College Uni delivers 10,000 online learning sessions

Five top tips to survive entrance exams Reed’s School Headmaster gives parents some expert insight

From Cobham to Columbia A student account of starting university in the US in 2020

Chloe Abbott, Founder and Publishing Director Photo: Mark Weeks


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Welcome to the first edition of Education Choices magazine. Dear Readers, I am thrilled that with the help and support of many incredible people we have produced our first edition of Education Choices magazine. We hope to be able to share stories from parents, young people, schools and universities that will inspire and encourage others and give them hope that they have so many positive experiences and exciting choices available to them. We feel this is particularly important at a time when the news and impact of Covid 19 on schools, universities and education as a whole has been so devastating and sadly its effects will be felt for many years. This is a personal edition and I have been deeply touched to have the support of Mrs Suzie Longstaff (Putney High), Mrs Susan Clarke (Rowan Hill - my first school), Mr Mark Hoskins (Reeds School - another old school), Mr Neil Herrington from the Cognita group and the Mr David Ward from the Chatsworth group (and the many schools they represent). Wellington College, Lancing College, ACS and Edgeborough schools also have found time to write articles, which will be interesting to many parents. Furthermore, Mr Dan Cundy from South Bank has also shared news on UTCs and Birmingham College Uni on their online learning provision, among many other more personal accounts of concerns post A levels, returning to university and a big move to the countryside!

In January, at my networking group, I asked Patrick Barr (Breathe Print Management) if he could put a magazine together for me and he naturally said “Of course!” Then I asked Owen Williams (6redsquares) if he could put the content together and build a website, and he casually replied, “We can do that for you Chloe!” Further to that, Mr Simon Dredzen (Walton Estates) has contributed an informed article on the London property market. We also have a spectacular design page by Marie Noelle Swiderski (Galuchat Design). Finally, the amazing Mark Weeks (photographer) transformed me from an ugly duckling and shot the picture for the front cover. Although I can’t fit in the early morning networking, I love working with them and having their support in my everyday working world! I hope that you enjoy reading some informed, practical and encouraging articles and up to date educational news and information... We hope to provide the key to your child’s success!

Chloe Abbott

Founder and Publishing Director

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


In the Autumn issue... 07 The return to school at Putney High Leading Headmistress at Putney High School, Mrs Suzie Longstaff reflects on coping with this year’s challenges.

08 Adapting to the ‘new normal’ and our escape to the country Helena frankly recounts her personal experience as this Wandsworth based family decided to swap their busy London lifestyle and moved to Haslemere, Surrey.


Supporting Children with Dyslexia Prepare for Exams Supporting children through to 11 plus exams at Crown House School (part of the Chatsworth group).


Adopting an entrepreneurial approach How the entrepreneurial spirit is helping Putney High students to be agile in the face of change.


Chorister at Edgeborough rockets to success! Year 8 pupil’s debut album reaches top 10 in Classical Charts.

20 Embracing outdoor learning Staff and students of all ages at ACS International School, Egham have been taking advantage of the opportunity to learn outdoors since their return to school.

22 From Cobham to Columbia An ACS Cobham student’s account of starting univeristy in the US in 2020.

24 Clapham Mums We caught up with Rohini, editor and owner of Clapham Mums.

27 An inspiring world of education Private school group Cognita talk about academic excellence and nurturing a global perspective.

32 The ‘New Normal’ - Rowan girls continue to thrive in Claygate Headmistress, Susan Clarke, reflects on how the past 85 years have enabled them to cope with the ‘new normal’.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

34 Student life on the farm Lancing College Farm is proving to be a great asset for pupils.

38 5 top tips to survive entrance exams Mr Hoskins, Reed’s School Headmaster, gives top tips on avoiding exam stress.

40 IB or not IB - that is the question! Mr Tim Head (Deputy Director of Admissions) from Wellington College discusses the pros and cons of taking the IB versus standard GCSE’s and A levels.

42 University College Birmingham delivers 10,000 online sessions University College Birmingham have worked hard throughout lockdown providing online learning to many students.

44 Liverpool Hope University has had to adapt and react to the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr. Neil Goodwin reports on the changes implemented at Liverpool Hope University post lockdown and tells us about their own ‘Safe Zone’ app based on the NHS ‘track and trace’.

46 University Technical Colleges – the schools you’ve never heard of... Mr. Dan Cundy (Executive Principal at South Bank Academies) writes about University Technical Colleges and all that they offer young people looking for an alternative.

50 A levels during lockdown Ex Putney High student, Lauren Street, shares her fears about the future and some top tips for young people sitting exams this year.

52 Life at Exeter (Penryn) University post lockdown Student at Exeter Penryn Campus discusses returning to university post lockdown and the ‘new normal’.

57 A sense of direction Interior Designer Marie-Noelle Swiderski shares her tips on creating the perfect space.

60 Prime Central London - is this a good time to buy? Simon Dredzen of Walton Estates gives his view on the Central London property market.

63 Entrance Exam guide A guide to recent 11 plus and 13 plus exam changes at many leading independent schools in London and beyond. Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


MADE IN PUTNE Y Introducing Flo. Scholar, philosopher, meaning of life-erer. Asks the big questions. Finds equally big answers.

The return to school at Putney High As autumn 2020 brings the school community together once again (for how long, who knows?) it is wonderful to see how well our community has thrived, even through the many months apart. The indomitable Putney spirit meant that we all adapted quickly to the challenges posed by lockdown and online learning last term. We saw such enormous creativity and a great deal of good humour as students and staff got to grips with rapid change and very unfamiliar circumstances. Looking after one another and our community has always been at the heart of everything we do at Putney High School. We remained open for the children of key workers and our DT department set to work making PPE for local carers. A sense of shared responsibility, along with good physical and psychological health are fundamental blocks on which we build our happy school and the advent of Coronavirus hasn’t changed that. If anything, it has put renewed focus on the importance of wellbeing and the many ways that it must be placed front and centre in our lives.

This term we return to our classrooms and school life almost as we knew it. Our students are back on their sports pitches, in the rehearsal room and busy taking part in the myriad of co-curricular clubs which are such an important part of Putney life. We are all getting used to our “bubbles”, to navigating new one-way systems and as we come to terms with the inevitable testing and occasional quarantine, our hybrid programme of classroom and online learning is already paying dividends with advanced and innovative systems that ensure our learning can continue, uninterrupted and as successfully as ever. It never ceases to amaze me what agile problem-solvers our students and staff have proved themselves to be. It has always been our aim to give students the character and the adaptability to succeed in life and how brilliantly those attributes are coming to the fore in times of uncertainty. Whatever the future throws at us, we will be ready. Mrs Suzie Longstaff (Putney High School Headmistress) Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Helena and her family, settling in to their new home after finding new schools for their children. Photo: Mark Weeks

Adapting to the ‘new normal’ and our escape to the country This Wandsworth based family decided to swap their busy London lifestyle and moved to Haslemere, Surrey. Helena frankly recounts her personal experience as a full time working mother with three young children. She consulted CJA Educational Consultancy and successfully found schools that suited each child. This is her story about how they managed to escape despite lockdown. I would say that it was about two or three years ago that I had begun thinking about moving out of London. I had grown up in Yorkshire and was not a typical city girl


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

– mucking out my own pony and riding him across the Yorkshire Dales was how I grew up with my twin sister (I could tell you a few hairy stories, but that is not for now)! After graduating, I got my first job in London and then was promoted and began to settle into city life (alongside my twin sister) and after several years met my partner. I loved the fast pace, excitement and thrills and all that London offered. In August 2019 we began to realize that we needed to make steps towards finding schools and accommodation if we were going to move the family out. My eldest daughter was starting Year 4 and our twins were in Year 2 at a local Wandsworth

school. My husband had taken some persuading to leave, but I had finally managed to cajole him. He is German and their school system is quite different to the UK. To him the concept of independent (fee paying schools) was an anomaly – in Germany all schools are free! Nonetheless, when we began looking online and speaking to other parents we both recognized that some of the independent schools offered many exceptional facilities, extensive sports fields and opportunities that were beyond our expectations. In addition to this, my eldest daughter was beginning to lose confidence and was finding some aspects of being in a larger class more challenging, which was concerning us. Up until this point, the local school had been brilliant and many parents had sung it’s praises to us when the children were smaller - its reputation remains excellent in the Wandsworth area! Through my twin sister and her experiences with her three children finding independent schools, I had begun to realize that (within London) switching to an independent school, which has competitive and selective entrance procedures, was going to be challenging for my children. I had chosen to send the children to the local school and had wanted them to naturally develop a love for learning and knowledge but, as parents, we were quite relaxed and were not preparing them for any entrance exams. We knew we wanted to move out, BUT we could not leave London until we had a school! (Naturally, I had not even considered a nationwide pandemic at this point!). It was in September 2019 that I first spoke to Chloe Abbott (CJA Educational Consultancy) and began discussing possible schools - we were considering maintained and independent schools and a

mixture of possible locations. One of the first schools that I decided to enter my son for was Lanesborough in Surrey. A friend of mine had a son there and spoke very highly of the school and so I decided to phone Admissions. To my surprise, they told me to bring him in for the assessments the next day! (I would like to add at this point that my son had had no preparation for this test.) My husband and I both work full time and when we do get to spend time with the children we go to the park or on holiday adventures! Lanesborough required a two day assessment comprising of one afternoon and another morning… When I arrived with my son there were lots of fathers outside all talking together and discussing the senior schools they were planning to send their children to – they all seemed to know each other! I told my son to ‘be himself’ and parted. That afternoon, when I returned to pick him up I could see through the window that he was exhausted. All the other children were sat with their hands up trying to answer questions and he was at the back quiet as a mouse. My son is normally a very active and sporty child but that day he slept solidly for 4 hours in the back of the car, which he had not done since he was a baby! Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


When we got home, I asked him, How did it go? (the million dollar question). He told me that they had given him a spelling test. What did you spell? I casually asked. People. he told me. How did you spell it? P. I. P. L. he replied Anything else? I gingerly enquired. Chicken. How did you spell that darling? C.H.K. N.

My heart sank and I moved the conversation on to anything else that he had been asked to do and he proudly told me that he had also written a story about a dragon. Confidently, he told me that he thought he had done well in this because he had written four pages and all the other children only written one! After this, I didn’t really want to phone the school for feedback, or frankly to ever contact them again, but I plucked up the courage and made the call. The Headmistress was charming and very sympathetic. She explained the National 10

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

averages and that my son had only scored in the 90’s. (They usually take children scoring around 120.) She kindly gave me some areas to work on and we ended the phone call.

“...if we were going to have to pay fees then we wanted the best possible schools, for the children, and we were going to have to look at them whilst working full time, which is never easy!” I phoned Chloe! Sadly, I now realized this was a bit more serious than I had originally thought and if we could not get them into a local school, which would mean having a place by March somewhere in the catchment area, then we were going to have to look at the independent schools and there were entrance exams that were between November and January - only a few months away! At this point, we knew that we liked Farnham, Guildford and Haslemere and that these were also compatible with our jobs and commuting. However, if we were

going to have to pay fees then we wanted the best possible schools for the children, and we were going to have to look at them whilst working full time, which is never easy! Between October and January we had to visit schools, and look around different areas at the weekends. We wanted to try and get a feel for the culture of the school, the senior schools that they fed and needed to think about the logistics of working full time and the logistics of transport (school buses) and work. In addition to this, we spent time networking, speaking to other parents and friends of friends and also listened to Chloe’s expert advice. (We found the websites all a bit overwhelming and in some cases they felt like gimmicky marketing tools.) I was very aware that the school would shape who the children would become, particularly as both schools went through to eighteen. After several months of searching there were two schools that we really liked: Churcher’s (Petersfield/ Liphook) and St Catherine’s (Bramley). Both are excellent schools and we were happy with either option. We felt that for the twins Churcher’s was the best fit: it was mixed, very down to earth and didn’t seem to be over marketed and had an outstanding reputation. Nonetheless, life is never straight forward and the twins were both offered a place in Year 3, but

my eldest daughter was put on the waiting list. She also took the entrance exam at St Catherine’s , which we were very keen on for her, but she was put on the waiting list as the demand for places was high. Churcher’s had offered her the chance to take a further test in March but due to lockdown this never happened! We did have other options, but by now we were beaten down by the whole process… Over February half term we decided to go skiing in Italy and then were told that due to the recent outbreaks of Covid 19 we had to isolate for two weeks on our return. This was closely followed by the full national lockdown in March. We could not visit schools or properties and the clock was ticking! We knew we had to find our eldest daughter a school, find a house to rent and rent out our London home. The first piece of good news we received in this time was that St Catherine’s had a Year 5 place for our daughter which we gleefully accepted. So our ideal position had finally worked out after all this and we felt that we had the right schools that suited our children and played to their strengths. So now we needed just find our “forever” house. After what felt like an eternity, lockdown lifted in July, but to our dismay there were no properties on the market. We then realized renting would be the best option as we still weren’t certain on which area to live in, and given stamp duty, it would be a costly mistake to make getting it wrong. However, the rental houses that came on the market in Liphook were taken instantaneously as they were near the local schools, which are highly sought after. Frustrated, we waited two weeks and finally found the house we are now in with two weeks to go, which was all that was available – it’s not perfect, but we do have a large garden and some hedgehogs! With hindsight, I am pleased that we are

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


renting and getting to know the area. My mindset after two months has already changed and I would now be happy to live further away from the station than before and would also consider living in a more secluded area and not a town as I am learning to love the space and freedom! Whilst Covid 19 is still impacting our lifestyle (the twins only completed two days in their new school before they had to self isolate while we had my son tested as he had a cough), in some ways it has helped my husband and I, as we are working from home and do not have to commute. Nonetheless, we are struggling with getting to know our neighbours and meeting parents and teachers as everything is online but we hope this will improve. More importantly though, our children are all loving their new schools and have fitted in like gloves, so a happy ending so far…

Helena’s top tips From a very busy working mum and mother of three – expecting a puppy! • Plan ahead and start thinking about location and schools well in advance of any potential move • Speak to friends (word of mouth is very helpful) • Consult CJA Educational Consultancy for bespoke and specialised advice on schools • Try to keep an open mindset • Start with a broad area and then narrow down • Affordability – think about your budget • Do look at the local maintained schools (many are excellent and work with the independent schools sharing facilities), but also check the time scales you would need to work to as they are different to independent school entrance criteria • The right school really does find you! Good luck – you won’t regret it!


Chloe Abbott Educational Consultant • Introductory meeting to get to know your family and your child/children • Assessment when required to establish your child’s levels • School advice for both primary and secondary in the London area and beyond • Support and advice on suitable school choices • Booster sessions in key exam skills

Place your rising stars in our hands...

Supporting Children with Dyslexia Prepare for Exams In an increasingly pressured environment for children to achieve, it can seem a huge uphill struggle for a dyslexic child. Here at Crown House we are able to support children and provide them with essential strategies to enable them to achieve and be successful. We have staff within our early years and lower school team who are able to identify children with dyslexic tendencies at a very early stage in their education. This enables us as a school to support these children with early intervention strategies. One of the main things to remember is that very often the dyslexic child is actually a super bright visual learner. As a school we have made sure all of our classrooms are dyslexia friendly and ensure that all teaching is supported by visual cues to aid the dyslexic child. At an early stage when learning to read we use a multisensory approach where children experience touching, tracing and painting letters which

can help to create a physical memory of how certain phonics sound. Due to our lessons always being catered for the dyslexic child they are able to build up their confidence when reading and writing due to the consistency of the support. For us at Crown House it is all about using their strengths such as visual ability to support dyslexic pupils to achieve. When teaching phonics or whole word sight reading, they are always supported with a visual picture to help transfer this phonic or word to memory. This is consistent throughout school and by the time they reach Year 6, what would have been a barrier to 11 plus exams and SAT exams, is surmountable for our dyslexic students they are just as confident and well prepared as all the other pupils! Keri Dumont SENCO Crown House School

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Sinead, a Sixth Form Entrepreneur


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

The entrepreneurial approach How an ‘entrepreneurial approach’ is helping Putney High School pupils to be agile in the face of change. We are living in uncertain times and with the working and technological landscapes changing at such pace, being ready to seize an opportunity will be key to a promising future. The winners will undoubtedly be those who are agile in the face of challenge and ready to equip themselves with the skills and the mindset to succeed, which is why at Putney High School we have been adopting a very entrepreneurial approach. The job market is undergoing seismic change. Instead of just one career, tomorrow’s school leavers will probably have a portfolio of them, many of them likely to be ‘hybrid’ jobs requiring a gamut of skills from the analytic to the creative. At Putney, we know that the workplace and jobs available to our students over the course of the next decade will look radically different from today. When our new Science, Music, Drama & Debating Centre opens in autumn 2021, it will be home to a cross-curricular approach to learning that will prepare students for the world they will enter into. Our leavers could be applying to be AI Translators or VR Architects by 2030

and we want to equip them with the skills and importantly the qualities to thrive in that world. The employers of tomorrow will be looking for scientists, and machine learning specialists with digital and technical skills, but they’ll also be looking for the creative visionaries who’ll design the next sustainable buildings and the innovations that have yet to be conceived. Employers are crying out for young people with the ability to think differently and to problemsolve, so at Putney our students get to hone these valuable skills within the curriculum, through taking part in a huge range of co-curricular activities, and with the help of a forward-thinking entrepreneurship programme. Of course, we know that leadership and teamwork skills are vote winners in any business, but so is the ability to be cheerful, ready to bounce back when things don’t go according to plan. This is what we call the ‘entrepreneurial frame of mind’ and it’s a precious commodity whether you’re joining a FTSE 100 company or taking the initiative in your very Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Putney High students are thriving with the entrepreneurial approach.

first Start-up. Successful entrepreneurs share resilience, originality, and very often the ‘people’ skills: communication and intuition that help them become successful in business. These ‘soft’ skills can be just as important as an impressive CV. They are skills that many of us are born with – although they can always do with a little fine tuning. From an early age, we encourage pupils to gain confidence and to spread their intellectual wings through embracing new learning challenges. Following on from 16

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the “Opening Minds” lessons in the Junior School, the Year 7 Badge Scheme throws pupils into independently led challenges like learning the location and names of all of the countries within the continent of Africa; or in Science, conducting an experiment that involves collecting and analysing data over a couple of months. In an era when answers can be found in an instant on your phone, the understanding that some things can only be achieved through time and effort is an essential part of the learning journey which we want to instil.

The Putney Ideas Exchange (PIE) takes girls outside of the timetabled curriculum to explore challenging concepts they’ve never encountered before. Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) gets everyone thinking differently in Year 10, and in the Sixth Form, Hot Topics and LEAP lectures encourage students to journey beyond their comfort zone in preparation for the more demanding learning style of university. They learn conceptual and interpretational thinking, reasoning and problem-solving, how to hypothesize and counterhypothesize, all much sought-after skills from the tutor room to the boardroom. As founding members of ‘Start It’, the West London Schools Partnership’s entrepreneurship programme, Putney’s Year 11 join forces with other local schools to work in teams, developing essential business skills from marketing and finance to pitching and presentation, all the while focussing on fresh ideas to address pressing socio-economic needs. Our Year 9 students take part in the GDST Voicebox initiative, a series of training and collaboration days designed to develop their research and presentation skills, standing up to speak convincingly to their peers about ‘Nothing’ and harnessing their inner ‘Power Pose’ in order to develop confidence both physical and vocal.

challenge and respond to others articulately and with confidence. This kind of intellectual agility encourages young minds to ‘think outside the box’ but it is another phrase, ‘design thinking’ which is its natural evolution, capturing as it does, a more practical approach to problemsolving. A reflection of this is Putney’s creation of an entirely new role: Teacher of Design Thinking (Computer Science/ Product Design) a hybrid role to prepare students for the hybrid jobs of the future. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) all come together to solve complex problems using empathy, imagination and skill. Exploring robotics and the construction of programmable vehicles using pieces designed on computers and made using laser cutters—that is inventiveness in all its forms. This is the kind of culture that allows risktaking to really thrive. And when things don’t go to plan – as we have seen all too recently – we learn another important lesson: that failure is not a permanent condition and that from crisis comes opportunity. Learning to fail well and being ready to adapt to adversity are winning attributes, especially in these uncertain times. It takes positivity to rise above and grit and agility to achieve in the long run. Whatever the future holds, at Putney, we will be ready.

Debating is a hugely popular co-curricular activity for every Putney year group, encouraging students to develop their critical skills, tighten their arguments and importantly, to be agile in their thinking. In the earlier years, Harkness Table lessons help to develop higher cognitive skills and in Sixth Form, allow students to really push themselves far beyond the A Levels syllabus in terms of understanding, philosophical thinking, deep analysis and the ability to

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Chorister at Edgeborough rockets to success! Year 8 Edgeborough pupil Cai Tomas’s debut album reaches top 10 in Classical Charts. What an amazing 2019-2020 academic year it has been for Edgeborough’s Year 8 pupil Cai Thomas, who was not only a BBC Chorister of the Year finalist, but also whose debut album reached the Top 10 in the Classical charts. Cai is an inspirational story to other young people and he has had the opportunity to develop his talent through his school and has rocketed to success despite lockdown. Cai joined his local church choir aged 7 and immediately loved it! He sang his first solo at 9 and it was here that Edgeborough’s Director of Vocal Studies, Rob Lewis, also Director of Music at St Thomas-on-the-Bourne Church, realised his potential as a solo treble. Mr Lewis knew it was vital to find Cai a school 18

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where he could flourish academically, but also where musical standards were high, with an ethos of ‘music for all’; Cai would need support and encouragement from his school but, most importantly, his peers. Music is at the heart of Edgeborough. With over 80% of Prep school pupils singing across 5 choirs and choristers typically achieving Grades 6-8, it was an obvious choice. Cai took Edgeborough’s inaugural choral scholarship audition and secured a place in 2018. The Edgeborough choir offered Cai a myriad of new opportunities to sing both as part of the whole school choir and as a soloist, increasing his experience and local exposure, particularly through

Edgeborough’s Music Outreach programme (community singing/ collaborating with other schools). Past highlights of the choir include a performance of the St Matthew Passion at St John’s, Smith Square with the London Handel Players and performing a world premiere by Will Todd. Touring with Edgeborough’s International Choir also developed Cai’s experience abroad. In no time at all, Cai’s confidence and local reputation rocketed. Cai’s new confidence and success led him to be a finalist in the 2019 BBC Chorister of the Year – one of only four boys nominated in the UK. In addition, Cai was discovered at an external concert and approached by the music industry to record an album. In August 2019, Cai’s family kick-started a campaign to raise the needed £29,000 for the album. In part thanks to Edgeborough, Cai’s voice was well known locally and the community rallied together. By September 2019 his target was met. From January to July 2020, Cai racked up some very impressive achievements: • Recorded his debut album ‘Seren’ • Featured regularly on numerous TV/ radio stations (e.g. ITV, BBC, Scala FM, Classic FM) • Reached over 2 million hits on social media, 1.1 million alone for ‘Lascia chio pianga’ • Sang with world famous artists such as Karl Jenkins • Released Seren, March 2020 (3 weeks in top 10 Classical Music Charts) • Achieved ‘Album of the Week’ by both Scala Radio and Classic FM • During lockdown, recorded a single remotely with a renowned pianist to bring hope in difficult times

“Cai’s example has been invaluable to those with other raw talents waiting in the wings.” Headmaster, Dan Thornburn Edgeborough was delighted to support Cai on his journey. The school prides itself in finding and nurturing a passion or talent in every pupil and boasts notable successes across many fields; climbing, sport, art and now music. Without the structure and support from Edgeborough, it is hard to see how this success would have happened. Hard for anyone to achieve, let alone a 12 year old boy treble, Edgeborough created a bespoke package of learning/pastoral care to ensure Cai was well supported whilst away recording. Cai loved school – being with his friends and doing well academically as well as enjoying sport were hugely important, providing essential balance for him. In September, Cai was announced a finalist for ‘Rising Star of the Year’ at the Independent Schools of the Year 2020 Awards. (Winner to be announced 8 October). The impact on the school has been overwhelming: it has bought tremendous joy to many and showcased the school’s music department talent, providing a catalyst for regular collaborative projects regionally, nationally and internationally. Cai’s example has been invaluable to those with other raw talents waiting in the wings. Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Students at ACS International School Egham embrace outdoor learning in the new normal

Students take part in an outdoor English literature class. Inset: An outdoor drama class practising puppetry.

Staff and students of all ages at ACS International School Egham have been taking advantage of the opportunity to learn outdoors since the return to school. From drama classes with puppets and English literature lessons, to sports that would normally take place indoors, ACS Egham has worked hard to expand its outdoor learning offering to benefit both the wellbeing and physical safety of its students. Experiential learning forms a key part of ACS Egham’s mission to create and deliver educational programmes that inspire students to grow as global citizens and open-minded individuals. The outdoor education programme enhances both academic and social-emotional development for students and ACS Egham will continue to develop creative ways to implement this programme as the school year progresses. At ACS International School Egham, the old blends seamlessly with the new. 20

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Our beautiful grounds and buildings in 20 acres of countryside give the school a village feel, while our cutting-edge dedicated International Baccalaureate (IB) centre allows for a truly modern learning experience. Just 25 miles from London, we’re home to 600 students, aged 4 to 18, and 160 expert faculty and staff, from around the world. The school’s global outlook informs our curriculum, building on the very best of international education standards, and providing our students with a worldclass education that is fit for the 21st century. Our students become serviceoriented, globally-minded world citizens with inquisitive minds and a real sense of personal responsibility – ready for a future full of opportunities. ACS Egham is the only school in the UK to offer all four IB programmes.


THE WORLD NEEDS NEW THINKING. GET READY. COME AND SEE OUR SAFE, SPACIOUS CAMPUS. The world has turned upside down but we continue to offer a world class international education that builds each child’s resilience, creativity, self-belief and social connections. Now more than ever we ready our students for a world that demands a new kind of learning – and a new kind of citizen. • • • •

Girls and boys aged 2–18 International Baccalaureate (IB) Advanced Placement Programme (AP) Safe door to door busing from London and surrounding areas


From Cobham to Columbia Simon Ogundare, recent ACS International School Cobham graduate, talks about starting university in the US in 2020. When I was in my final year at school and thinking ahead to this summer and what it would be like to receive my International Baccalaureate (IB) results, and hence moving onto university, I knew it would be an uncertain and anxious time – little did I know there would be a global pandemic to contend with too! I studied the IB’s Diploma Programme (DP) at ACS International School Cobham and with exams cancelled this year it was a strange situation when my friends and I received our results in July. I was very fortunate in that I already had an unconditional offer to pursue the Pre-Med track at Columbia University in New York, so the situation was a bit less stressful for me, though I know many of my friends found it a challenging time. With everything happening with coronavirus, despite my unconditional offer, I was of course worried that my university place may be delayed, but Columbia was keen to get the semester going, and I feel like I’ve been kept in the loop as things have developed. Originally, the plan was to have all students on campus this semester when we started, however, the university let us know before we arrived that apart from students who 22

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

are unable to use Zoom due to health reasons unfortunately we will be remote learning for the time being – likely until the beginning of next year. This was a little disappointing as I know learning remotely can feel isolating at times, but it’s good that the university is clearly prioritising our health and I feel lucky that I can still get started with my higher education – albeit not in the way originally imagined! Though I am not on campus in Columbia, I am still living in Manhattan and the logistics of getting here was one of my main worries once I had graduated from ACS Cobham. After school finished, my family and I went to Nigeria to see my dad for the summer, so I was travelling to the US from there. I was a bit worried about travel and flights but everything was relatively straightforward in the end and I arrived in Manhattan on 1 August with no issues (apart from the two-week isolation period). Moving to a different country for higher education is a common track for ACS Cobham graduates, and it’s been good having others – including my twin sister – in the same boat as a support network. Columbia has also really gone above

and beyond to support new students. Over the summer the university ran a variety of virtual induction events and we had a very robust online orientation programme as we couldn’t be on campus this year. There were lots of activities set up to help us to get to know the lecturers I would be working with, but which also helped me connect with other students. One of my favourite events that the university ran later in the summer was an academic resources fair where you could virtually drop into some of the departments and ask about research opportunities, join mailing lists and do all the usual things you do at these fairs, just without all the free pens! It was a little tough to do as it was all online as opposed to being in person, but I think it stood out to me because you actually got to meet people a bit more personally (just over a screen). Besides that, Columbia has been running a number of virtual social events like virtual dance parties.

“Being in New York compared to Surrey is quite different; my family usually visits Manhattan in the summer and for holidays and it’s abundantly clear when you arrive how much quieter it is than usual.”

about studying Neuroscience as a major which is really exciting. It’s also been great to have the opportunity to get involved in some university societies despite everything that’s happening. Because I am so interested in Neuroscience, I recently went through an interview process and secured a position on the organising board for the Columbia Neuroscience Society. Everything’s going ahead virtually and we’re currently looking at setting up a neuroscience mental health orientated event which is so important right now. Being in New York compared to Surrey is quite different; my family usually visits Manhattan in the summer and for holidays and it’s abundantly clear when you arrive how much quieter it is than usual. This isn’t something I should have been so surprised at, but as Cobham has always been quiet, the change was not as palpable there! No matter where you are in the world, it’s no secret that university life is going to be different in 2020, but it’s all manageable, and I’m grateful for all the support systems I have in place to make this weird year a bit easier. My sister is here with me which really helps with the loneliness that comes with online learning. I’m also finding strategies to deal with the immense amount of screen-time – it can be straining sometimes so I’m just trying to spend as much time off-screen as I can. It’s not easy, but we’re all in this together and I’m sure we will come out the other side much more resilient and adaptable to change, which, at the end of the day, is really one of the my main reasons we go to university in the first place.

Classes are now up and running and so far it’s all going well with my studies. I am on the Pre-Med track and I’m thinking

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Clapham Mums We caught up with Rohini, editor and owner of Clapham Mums. Clapham mums is an online magazine that provides introductions and reviews for local services, shops, schools, events, playgroups, classes, and restaurants in Clapham, Battersea, Balham and surrounding areas. What is your background? I am from India originally, but I have lived overseas from when I was 17; I spent 6 years in Singapore with a year in Bristol for my Masters, then moved to New York after I met my husband. I lived in New York for 7 years before moving to Londonmaybe I have a moving 7-year itch. I have a background in Economics, I spent 2 years in tax consulting and 6 years in credit card risk management so a world away from writing! I am a mum of two little girls, a four year old and 1.5 year old. What made you decide to become Editor of Clapham Mums? It was a completely unplanned move! I decided not to go back to my job and I was trying to find a different role in finance that I enjoyed and which gave me flexibility. Midway through the interview process, I found out I was pregnant. As I tried to wrap my head around that, I had a miscarriage. I took a breather to think about what I wanted to do next when I came across Meg’s post about the 24

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

editor role at Clapham Mums. I used to follow the site to find things to do in the neighbourhood. Blogging was always a hobby and the idea of running my own site seemed exciting, so I jumped in! In many ways, Clapham Mums saved me by finding me at the right time! What do you enjoy about running your own online community-based magazine? I love the connection you make with your readers and businesses. I helped the playgroup I take my daughter to by writing a little post about them and putting them on our event calendar. Whenever we go by, she talks about the new people who came thanks to the post. It is extremely fulfilling and you see the impact you make to the places in your community! I am trying to partner with some of the amazing charities that operate in our neighbourhood. How do you know CJA Educational Consultancy? We are so lucky to have had Chloe as our partner for 2 years. One feedback we get from our readers (especially those who have moved from overseas) is the school process is daunting and having a partner like Chloe is a great asset to have on our membership programme. Chloe has been kind enough to write great content on this topic for us on how to choose the right school.

Rohini, editor and owner of Clapham Mums Search for Clapham Mums on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Prepared for everything.

Prepared. For discovery. Places available for September 2021 at the preparatory school designed for the future. Our new school in the heart of Kensington, for children aged 3 - 11 years, features high tech science labs and a Maker Space, as well as an exceptional environment for your child to grow in the arts, music, sport and drama. It’s also the only central London preparatory school offering two acres of private gardens. Visit Call our admissions team on 020 7591 4620 or email:

Prince's Gardens Preparatory School is part of the Cognita Schools Group.

An inspiring world of education Cognita is a global private schools group headquartered in the UK that owns and operates 78 schools across Asia, Europe and Latin America. There are 40 schools in the UK located across London and the South East of England, as well as in other English regions and South Wales, offering a variety of metropolitan and rural locations. The UK schools offer a diversity of price points, age ranges and entry requirements and are united by a clear focus on academic excellence, character development, a global perspective and British values. Wellbeing of students and staff is also a top priority. All Cognita schools are as individual as their students, but all share one common purpose: to create an inspiring world of education. This is achieved by sharing expertise, insights and best practice across the global family and by collaborating to develop rich learning environments in every school.

The Cognita Education Cognita schools deliver academic excellence Cognita schools provide a uniquely global education that goes beyond examinations and grades to develop all-round academic excellence. Students are equipped with confidence and resourcefulness to prepare them to grow, thrive and find success in a fast-changing world. The English and Welsh National Curricula provide broadly based, age-appropriate courses of study, designed to build towards GCSE and A level qualifications. Compulsory subjects include English, mathematics, science, ICT, physical education, geography, history, music, art & design, design & technology, modern foreign languages and citizenship. The International Baccalaureate is also offered at Southbank International School, London’s leading IB World school. Cognita students have progressed to over half of the world’s top 100 universities. Cognita schools develop character Equipping students with the confidence and resourcefulness to prepare them to grow, thrive and find success in a fastchanging world is as important as the academics. Cognita schools incorporate Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


IBREAK THE MOULD Welcome to a genuine melting pot of cultures and languages. Of students who demonstrate outstanding levels of creativity, individuality, collaboration and personal expression. At Southbank, breaking the mould is not the exception. It’s the norm. Places for 2021 entry are understandably strictly limited Apply today at

trips, excursions and other programmes to build critical life skills and broaden the educational experience of all students. This includes residential, back-to-nature Bushcraft trips into the wild and off-grid experiences at Cuffley Camp that teach teamwork, resilience and self-confidence. A focus on developing character enables students to understand the broader picture, solve problems creatively, become virtuous leaders, think critically, respect community heritage, be comfortable with change, develop an understanding of self and an appreciation of others and their communities. Cognita schools nurture a global perspective Cognita’s global family of schools provides a platform for the continual exchange of ideas and inspiration. Global and school 28

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

leaders are constantly developing new ways to connect people within the global community, to deepen learning and build global perspective for everyone. Global school exchanges and joint expeditions from across the Cognita world enrich students’ learning and build their global perspective. Recent activities in this area include the Cognita Home Games, Global Be Well Day, Christmas Around the World, Global Pen Pals, World Environment Day and Chile-UK student exchanges. Cognita schools teach British Values Cognita’s schools in the UK are rooted in British heritage, history and culture and teach British values. There is a particularly strong focus on mutual respect for, and tolerance of, those with different faiths and beliefs and those without faith.

How has Cognita responded to Covid-19? Cognita has always encouraged the sharing of best practice among school leaders and teachers and this has accelerated since the advent of the pandemic. Covid-19 hit Cognita’s schools in Asia a couple of months before the UK went into lockdown and important lessons on high quality online learning, adding value in an online world and wellbeing were quickly disseminated to the UK schools.

“The technology is an engine of education, but it’s the quality of the teacher’s guidance, motivation, feedback and interaction that are the allimportant wheels.” Cognita’s Digital Learning Advisor for Europe, Andy Perryer, was instrumental in helping the UK schools make the move online when the UK government closed school sites in March. This involved developing teacher support networks across the group as well as making sure IT systems like Firefly and Seesaw were in place. Since school sites have reopened, Cognita’s commitment to educational technology has only intensified. Children from Year 3 and upwards at all Cognita schools in the UK are now being issued with their own one-to-one devices. But the story of the last few months is not just about the wonders of technology, but rather the value of good teachers who are flexible, adaptable and committed. ‘Evidence has shown that just giving children digital devices and software leads nowhere,’ says Andy. ‘The technology is an engine of education, but it’s the quality of the teacher’s guidance, motivation,

feedback and interaction that are the allimportant wheels.’ Cognita senior schools were particularly conscious of the need to continue delivering added value after the cancellation of GCSE and A level exams. The Inspiring Futures programme for Year 11 and 13 students was the UK schools’ response, incorporating career planning, communication skills and A level/university taster sessions, along with optional credits in skills such as creativity, emotional intelligence and leadership. As per the group’s advances with education technology, Cognita intend to make the Inspiring Futures programme a core part of every Cognita UK senior school in the future. ‘This is an opportunity to accelerate our thinking and make some bold decisions around the curriculum,’ says David Baldwin, Cognita Director of Education in the UK. The virus has presented students, parents and teachers with new challenges, not least the need for families to study and work alongside each other for extended periods of time. Cognita’s Group Director of Wellbeing, Beth Kerr, helped the Cognita global community navigate their route through these hurdles and find ways of supporting each other. Beth’s response was informed by the group’s Be Well Charter - which focusses on sleep, diet, exercise, connecting with others, engagement in fulfilling activities and helping others – and resulted in the production of a large variety of resources for families and educators. These resources, openly available on Cognita’s website, ranged from guidance for families on ‘how to talk to your child about coronavirus’ and ‘how to make screen time and technology work for you and your family’ to online teaching tips and advice for teachers.

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Cognita also launched a podcast series during the pandemic. ‘Challenging Education’ looked at the big questions facing global education at the time and explored how established practice can be challenged to achieve better outcomes and wellbeing for students and educators alike. The series included contributions from leading educationalist and Chair of Cognita’s Education Advisory Board, Sir Kevan Collins, on education after lockdown, as well as child psychology expert Professor Tanya Byron, who addressed issues around the reopening of schools in June.

How to get in touch with Cognita schools in London Southbank International School, Hampstead, Kensington and Westminster Southbank offers world-class teaching in a dynamic and exciting multi-national environment that’s perfect for preparing your child for university, their career, and the rest of their life. As well as offering an internationally recognised qualification through the International Baccalaureate, our supportive community and outstanding extra-curricular programme will significantly build your child’s confidence and skills during their time with us. +44 (0)20 7243 3803 North Bridge House, Hampstead, West Hampstead, Regent’s Park and Canonbury North Bridge House offers an independent, mixed ability co-education, challenging and inspiring girls and boys throughout every stage of their school career. Across six North London sites, from ages 2 - 18 years, we are on a constant journey of getting to know and understand every pupil as a unique and rounded individual. We understand that success is not 30

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

only defined by outstanding academic achievement, but also by every pupil finding a direction in life that truly reflects their unique talents and personality. It is our specialist expertise that ensures every pupil finds and realises their true academic and personal potential – so they are set on a clear journey, to find their True North. 020 7428 1520 admissionsenquiries@northbridgehouse. com Prince’s Gardens Preparatory School, Kensington Prince’s Gardens Preparatory School is a new independent school in the heart of Kensington, for children aged 3 – 11 years. The school features high tech science labs and a Maker space, as well as an exceptional environment for children to grow in the arts, music, sport and drama. It’s also the only central London preparatory school offering two acres of private gardens. 0207 591 4620


Create that

moment for your family 07890 987860

The ‘New Normal’ Rowan girls continue to thrive in Claygate British prep schools have been in existence since the 1830s and during this time the exceptional staff who work at them across the country have been on hand to support children and families through any crisis. We take great pride in knowing that our teams of staff and pupils can adapt and be flexible, moving forward with a sense of purpose, fortitude and pride. At Rowan Preparatory School we first opened our doors to girls in 1936, with tartan kilts and sporrans, finished off with a scarf in their House colour, they were ready for a lifelong love of learning. Although the sporrans might be a thing of the past, the girls’ readiness to embrace exciting learning opportunities and to develop close and lasting friendships is as prevalent in our school as it ever was. Whilst 85 years of dynamic and creative learning experiences seem to have flown 32

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

by, our ethos and values very much remain at the heart of everything at Rowan. This is what affords us the opportunity to reshape our provision with the current guidelines in mind, to deliver the very best educational experience for our girls throughout these most exceptional times. We have embraced new technology to ensure fluidity between remote and in-school learning and prioritised the fostering and

nurturing of relationships and looking after the girls’ wellbeing at a time when this has never been more important. What, at first, seemed a little daunting for staff and girls (who, after all, value time learning together both in and out of the classroom above all else) is now second nature, with girls linking into lessons from home or using technology to facilitate a live music concert across the whole school. From this extraordinary time, benefits have emerged to celebrate and adopt going forward. Whenever we approach change at Rowan, we always put the girls at the centre of our thinking. When I walk through the corridors and hear happy girls, learning purposefully in the classrooms, I know that one-way systems in corridors, staggered lunches and bubbles are not detracting from their enjoyment of learning. As a school, we work together,

adapting and acclimatising to the demands of the times, whilst keeping our traditions and values at the core of our decision making. There is a ‘new normal’ in our schools, but we stand tall and work together, giving the children in our care the freedom to explore, be intellectually curious and enjoy the world around them. Mrs Susan Clarke (Headmistress Rowan Hill Preparatory)


We look forward to welcoming you for individual tours of the school. Virtual events and live Q&A sessions also available to book via our website.

Contact us to arrange a visit An outstanding independent day prep school for girls aged 2-11 Claygate, Surrey.

Call: 01372 462627 Email: Register online: : @Rowan_Prep

Pupils on the Lancing College Farm

Student life on the farm For pupils at Lancing College, the farm has proven to be a valuable asset for learning. Lancing College, situated just an hour from London, is set within 550 acres of the South Downs National Park and features the largest school Chapel in the world. This amazing space with majestic views enables a broad co-curricular programme to support and challenge the brightest academics. Nestled amongst its Hogwarts-looking flint buildings is the College Farm, a working farm set on 70 acres of grass and woodland. Education is the foremost of the Farm’s activities, while conservation and animal welfare are at the heart of its foundations. Here, students get to


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

experience a wide range of activities that stretch beyond farming. The Farm is used as a co-curricular activity and is open to any pupil with an interest. Alternately pupils will witness the Farm being firmly integrated with the academic side of life at the College, providing opportunities to take subjects such as Biology, Geography and Business Studies out of the classroom and into a practical situation in the field. The College has a specialist Medical and Veterinary group which is annually preparing some 5-6 pupils to enter these

Boarding Houses are close to the Farm and pupils can be amongst the animals on a regular basis; one of the Boarding Houses has a pet sheep!

professions. For those students interested in rural activities or animal care, the Farm is an ideal place to learn with ‘hands on’ activities combined with classroom learning. The syllabus for Biology students is especially relevant to the work of the Farm – a connection which is supported by the Head of Department. Under the expert guidance of Farm Manager Jon Hutcheon, pupils learn about modern farming methods as well as traditional activities such as hedge-laying, coppicing and green wood-working. There is a selection of small animals for those interested in veterinary care and animal husbandry. Sheep, pigs and poultry are all managed and produced in line with traditional and current farming practice, including rearing and health care. The

“We absolutely relish the chance to light the fires of inquiry in young hearts; Lancing students are pushed to think and to explore, and they enjoy great success in the academic sphere. It is important to us, too, that learning at Lancing is broad as well as deep, and we encourage the development of the whole person – be that in sport, the arts, or a multitude of other areas. In short, we support and challenge everyone in a truly rounded way.” Dominic Oliver, Head Master

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Feeding time on the farm! Inset: The Hogwarts-style flint buildings of the college.

There is an emphasis on game and conservation management, including a programme dedicated to the reintroduction of the grey partridge. In 2019 the Farm ran a conservation project with the aim to protect butterfly species such as the rapidly declining White-letter Hairstreak. This involved planting hundreds of elm trees around the school estate with the support of Lancing students as well as other local groups. Other conservation activities include species monitoring and bird ringing. Through various stewardship and woodland grant schemes, the Farm maintains links with organisations such


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

as Natural England and the Forestry Commission, and it works closely with the South Downs National Park Authority to manage the woodland, ditches, ponds and rivers adjacent to the Farm and the College, replanting hedges and monitoring the wildlife. The Farm is a member of the NFU and LEAF, and takes part in Open Farm Sunday, a national initiative for local communities. At other times of the year the Farm hosts educational visits for local schools and provides work placements for agricultural students.

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5 top tips to survive entrance exams In the run up to the Entrance Exam season Mr. Mark Hoskins, Headmaster of Reed’s School in Cobham, gives us his 5 top tips for parents preparing for this potentially stressful time. We are now entering that challenging time of year for some children (and parents) - the season of entrance exams to senior schools.

is your most important role. Evidence has shown that children who sleep well before they learn and sleep well after they learn are more effective learners.

I believe, as a parent, it’s important to allow your child to focus on their own revision strategies, tailored to them and based on their strengths and weaknesses in order to be confident that they will achieve their best.

2) Manage your child’s use of technology in the revision stage

The key is to remain calm, and to that end there are a number of ways parents can help smooth the process: 1) Show support for your child’s well-being Children will be feeling the pressure, whether they show it or not, so you need to step aside and be positive and supportive – making sure they eat well, hydrate, take exercise and get good sleep 38

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

There is no right or wrong amount of use of technology, but you can help by limiting the amount of time spent researching non-essential revision and testing material as this can become a prevarication strategy. Help your child decide a limit on the volume of material that is going to be revised whether its practice papers, on-line quizzes and so forth. Then, turn off the technology for some of the time during revision periods – this will limit interruptions too. 3) Build revision around practice papers Revision and self-testing of knowledge based on practice questions is vital.

Current schools should also be able to help with revision material. Many senior schools are asking pupils to take the ISEB (Independent School Examinations Board) Common Pre-Test this year and they have plenty of useful resources on their website. 4) Make sure you see revision as a marathon, not a sprint Try not to allow your child to use up all their reserves of energy in the weeks running up to the examinations. They need to pace themselves if they are sitting a number of entrance examinations spread over several weeks - it’s important to enter the last one in the same tip-top condition as the first. The ISEB Common Pre-Test, which many schools are opting for this year will mean children only have to take one exam, will definitely help in this regard! Once the exams have started, be prepared to pick your child up and dust them down emotionally, focusing on the positives,


rather than dwelling on the negatives. 5) Plan revision in small chunks Think of an hour as made up of three twenty minute blocks and encourage your child to break up their revision into these smaller chunks. Each 20 minute session should focus on an individual subject/ topic. This approach allows revision to be more productive as it aids concentration, offers variety and maintains frequency. However, it works better if these topics are revisited again in the subsequent few days. I’ll close with going back to the first point, it is numbered 1 for a reason: feed them, support them and nurture them. There are so many great schools to choose from it’s my experience that the right school will find your son or daughter. Ignore the dinner part chat (now on House Party or Zoom) and choose the school where your child will be happy – happy children thrive!

‘Excellent in every category’ LAST ISI INSPECTION

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27 | Education Choices Magazine

HMC Day & Boarding School for boys 11-18 and girls 16-18

Autumn 2020

IB or not IB – that is the question! Wellington College’s Deputy Director of Admissions, Tim Head, looks at the differences between International Baccalaureate and traditional A-levels. Ten years ago Wellington College offered its Sixth Form students the choice of either studying for the IB Diploma or the traditional A-level programme. In that first year 37 pupils from a cohort of 220 took up the challenge: by 2020 130 pupils out of 240 elected for the IB. In that same period the average IB score of a Wellington pupil rose from 35.1 to 40.2, the maximum possible being 45. An obvious success story, for sure, but what is it about the International Baccalaureate that makes it such a popular choice for young people these days – and what are the key differences between it and A-levels? The most obvious one is the amount of subjects that students study: while those opting for A-levels study three subjects, most often chosen from roughly the same area of the curriculum (Maths, Physics, Chemistry, for example, or History, Politics and Economics), the IB diploma requires students to study six subjects. Depth and specialism is provided by the three subjects taken at Higher Level, breadth and range catered for by the three subjects taken at Standard Level.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Within those six subjects the IB student must study Maths, English, a Science, a Language and a Humanity. In addition the student will complete an Extended Essay that combines two subjects of their choice (think mini-dissertation), an assessed course in Theory of Knowledge and take part in the Community, Activity and Service Programme, which allows the student to get involved in a whole range of valuable activities outside the classroom; while not formally assessed CAS is carefully monitored and reviewed and does much to get students to think beyond themselves. Taken all in all, the IB Diploma provides a balanced, international and socially engaged education for the whole person, producing students who are very much more than the individual sum of their parts. It also requires the student to be both committed and organised: at times there can be a lot of plates that need to be kept spinning! On the surface it seems therefore that the IB is not an ideal choice for any student wanting an easy life, so what is it that makes it an increasingly popular choice

at a school like Wellington which now sees roughly 50% of its Sixth Formers opting for it? Many enjoy the wide open nature of the curriculum: it is not just that they might feel that 16 is too young to narrow their educational gaze, but also they enjoy the emphasis the IB places on independent study and the development of critical thinking. There are good practical reasons as well: over the last 20 years or so there has been no IB grade inflation world-wide so the qualification is increasingly seen by UK, US and European Universities as genuinely ‘gold standard’. Consequently universities make generous offers to IB candidates, as they recognise the rigour involved with the course: they know that an IB score of 38

means they have a good student on their hands, and that anything over 40 probably means a great one. But most importantly students choose the course because deep down young people enjoy being busy, they enjoy engaging with the life of the mind and they enjoy the fact that learning doesn’t end the moment they leave the classroom. Studying for the IB helps break down artificial barriers between subjects, encourages diversity of thought and allows for important connections to be made. Without being ridiculously stereotypical it helps humanities students apply logic and produces scientists who think and feel. The international and outward looking nature of the IB has much to offer, and perhaps is a qualification that does more than most to equip the leaders of tomorrow with independence of thought and a desire to make the world a better place.

WELCOME TO WELLINGTON “Outward-facing and modern. A leader in the world of education.” - TATLER SCHOOLS GUIDE @WellingtonCollege @WellingtonUK

Adapting to the new normal University College Birmingham delivers 10,000 online sessions University College Birmingham has revealed it has delivered 10,000 online learning sessions since lockdown in March. The university, which has now welcomed back its further and higher education students, has pulled out all the stops to provide the highest quality online lectures and conferences through to personal 1-2-1s and group seminars. It has also delivered eight interactive, virtual open days, with inspirational taster activities and guest speakers from across the world.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Paul Doherty, executive director for Engagement, Employability and E-Resources at the University, said the response to the need for online teaching had been incredible and a robust system was in place for the new semester. “We adapted to online learning really rapidly,” he said. “We’d been developing our virtual learning environment, Canvas, through our Digital Innovation for Creativity in Education centre (DICE) for a while, but it was amazing to see staff step up to the plate in terms of the sudden online delivery expectations. “In the main, this semester, we will continue to deliver lectures, seminars and tutorials online through Canvas and the

likes of Big Blue Button to keep numbers on campus down. Students have been offered the choice and around 25 per cent, mostly on business courses, have opted to learn purely online. “However, we do have a high level of practical skills development with workshops and clinics built into our courses and the majority of students have chosen a mix of online and face-to-face learning to get the full experience. We have worked hard to ensure we can balance the two safely and effectively.” Much of the face-to-face teaching will take place at University College Birmingham’s practical training facilities for real-life work experience. These include a new, state-of-the-art Human Performance Centre for sports

students and six-bed ward for nursing and physiotherapy students at the new Moss House, a bank of industry-designed training kitchens, Food Science and Innovation Suite and new Aviation and Tourism and Prosthetics suites at Summer Row and a new Financial Trading Centre at McIntyre House. Further education students will continue to train at facilities at Richmond House, with some teaching at McIntyre House this semester. For more on University College Birmingham, which offers a wide range of highly-specialised college and degree courses, visit

Liverpool Hope University has had to adapt and react to the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. For Dr Penny Haughan, Pro Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Learning at Hope, the safety of students and staff remains the utmost priority, with a range of measures in place to ensure social distancing and reduce the risk of infection. Yet in some ways the pandemic has also offered up the chance to take stock, to reexamine practices, and to analyse performance. And through finding innovative new ways to adapt, the University wants to improve the overall student experience. Like many other universities in the UK, Hope has moved teaching online for the vast majority of students - except in cases where access to specialist teaching areas, such as laboratories and performance spaces, was required. Libraries and other important resources, such as canteens and open air sports facilities, have been kept open while one-way systems have been adopted across campus to aid social distancing. Students have been allocated to residential and learning ‘bubbles’, limiting interaction 44

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with others and to protect the Hope family. Meanwhile the University also requires all students to sign a ‘Student Commitment Declaration’, which binds them to a range of commitments including following Covid-19 social distancing rules, not organising or attending on or off-campus parties and wearing a face covering when in public areas. Dr Penny Haughan explains: “We want students to have the best possible experience during their time at Hope. Yes, the pandemic has thrown up challenges that we never expected to face in 2020. But we also have to view the situation as something of opportunity to take stock, reexamine some of the ways we engage with students, and to ultimately improve methods by finding innovative new ways to teach.” “Of course, we’re committed to providing face-to-face teaching wherever and whenever it is appropriate and Government restrictions allow. But we also strongly believe that online lectures, seminars and tutorials are just as valuable as classroombased study when delivered effectively.”

Furthermore she stated, “To illustrate this fact, many of our academics are reporting increased levels of student engagement through online classes and we’ll continue to adapt and pioneer new initiatives as we move with what is a rapidly-changing environment in higher education.” Maintaining clear communication channels with students has also been paramount - as has offering pastoral and academic support through the Student Support and Wellbeing team. Earlier this year, Liverpool Hope University launched its own track and trace initiative - the ‘SafeZone’ app - as a campusbased complement to the NHS Test and Trace app. There’s also a ‘Covid-19 Alert Status’



system, designed to communicate the local Covid-19 situation to students and staff on a daily basis, via email, text on via screens on campus, so that safeguarding measures can potentially be put in place. In a recent letter to all students Dr Haughan reassured students: “Rest assured that we will do everything we can to support you. Continuing with your studies is one way that you can move your life forward in this period and I would encourage you to maintain a work pattern during these unusual times we are living in. I am so pleased to see so many of you using this time to immerse yourselves in your studies. I would strongly encourage you to continue to engage with your tutors and deepen your academic experience.” Neil Goodwin Senior Journalist and Writer, Liverpool Hope University

University Technical Colleges – the schools you’ve never heard of...


In recent times, with our focus sharpened by Covid, we’ve all been looking critically at the world around us, including our education system. Why are we the only major jurisdiction with compulsory exams at 16? Is it right for all students to aspire to go to university? Are schools really able to prepare my child for the future world of work?

facilities and opportunities. It will come as a surprise to some that there is a network of nearly 50 University Technical Colleges across the country doing just that. It certainly came as a surprise to all the staff at my previous school on my departure to become founding Principal at South Bank UTC: not one had heard of UTCs despite working in education.

In many other major economies, such as Germany and South Korea, young people are able to access specialist schooling aged 14 in their chosen career area, be it engineering or computing for example, and benefit from enhanced teaching,

All 48 UTCs, set up by former Education Secretary, Lord Baker, are sponsored by a local university and a range of businesses, and have a specialist offer linked to a skills shortage in their area. For example engineering UTCs linked to Silverstone

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Autumn 2020

and Heathrow or TV production at MediaCity. They all share similar DNA – university and industry partners add value to a traditional curriculum by inputting expertise, facilities, projects, work experience and more. Students are able to gain high value academic and technical qualifications as well as experiences and skills which make them highly employable. UTCs secure excellent destinations, not just into university but into higher level apprenticeships with major employers such as Rolls Royce. Boris Johnson made a major speech on skills and technical education recently. In it he outlined what many a government has tried to do for decades: ‘We’ve got to end the pointless, nonsensical gulf that has been fixed for generations – more than 100 years – between the so-called academic and the so-called practical varieties of education.’ UTCs aim to bridge this gap. Gillian Keegan, Minister for Skills, meanwhile, recently said, ‘University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are

well positioned to support the skills needs of local economies, placing employers at the heart of designing their specialist curriculum… There are over 500 employers involved in the 48 open UTCs, including leading names such as JCB, Network Rail, Toyota, Siemens and the Royal Navy, helping to create 30,000 opportunities for young people to train as the engineers, technicians and scientists of the future. UTCs will continue to play a role in building the skills capabilities the country needs now and in the future following COVID-19.’ Our own UTC, South Bank UTC is based on a new, purpose-built campus on Brixton Hill. Our twin specialisms are in engineering and health, with a leadingedge curriculum co-designed with our partners in higher education and industry. Our industry sponsors include King’s College and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trusts, two of south London’s biggest employers. We admit students at the start of Year 10 to follow a full programme of

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


GCSEs, or into Year 12 onto A levels or technical qualifications. Our curriculum is designed to equip students with the qualifications, skills and experiences they are seeking for their chosen pathways. Our health curriculum prepares students for future careers in nursing, midwifery, healthcare science and allied health professional roles. As we’re part of the LSBU Group, our students are able to benefit from access into degrees and apprenticeships at London South Bank University and then on to careers in our sponsor NHS Trusts and more widely. Benefiting from industry standard kit including 3D printers, plasma cutting, CNC machines and simulated health technology, we are able to teach our students with head, hand and heart. Engineering students at South Bank 48

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UTC are supported into their future pathways through employer-led projects. These are authentic experiences of the workplace, co-designed and delivered with our sponsors. For example a wheelchair project with King’s College NHS trust had students designing, prototyping and 3D printing a customised wheelchair joystick for patients with restricted mobility. This real-life project gives South Bank UTC students valuable exposure and enhances their CVs. The employer projects give students experience in areas often not found in a traditional A level or GCSE programme – teamwork, leadership, pitching for example; the very areas in high demand from employers. Our students as a result are year after year securing excellent destinations into university, apprenticeships or employment. UTCs are not ‘local’ schools in the traditional sense, in that their catchment areas are much larger. South Bank UTC is based in Lambeth but draws students from all across London and in some cases beyond. There are a number of other UTCs in commutable distance: Global Academy (digital and broadcast media), Heathrow UTC (engineering, particularly aviation), Sir Simon Milton Westminster UTC (engineering, particularly rail) and more within the M25. More on University Technical Colleges here.

So now you can tell others about the schools they’ve never heard of, yet… More on South Bank UTC, including how to book onto a virtual open event here.

It all starts with a good idea. Your partner for Web Design and Google Advertising. Visit us online today

A levels in lockdown – will my results be taken seriously? Ex-Putney High student Lauren Street shares her fears about the future and some top tips for young people sitting exams this year. I completed my A’levels this summer and had to finish my courses in lockdown, which was a very strange experience. There were a lot of mixed emotions when my exams were cancelled. For me I mostly felt sad to have my Year 13 cut short and nervous about my grades. Many people have said to me, “You must be so happy your exams are cancelled!” I personally disagree. I had worked hard all year and was having an upward progression in many of my subjects, after struggling in Year 12, so I felt that what my teachers saw of me was not my true potential. I was relieved not to go through the pain of the intense revision before the exams, but in the long run I would have preferred to have sat them. The underlying stress of knowing that grades that determine your future were being based off an algorithm did get to me, and the feeling of uncertainty about my future is something I will not quickly forget. In March, when lockdown began, we were unsure if the exams were going to be rescheduled or totally cancelled, so my school suggested that we keep revising and learning our courses as if our exams were approaching. I tried to adapt the 50

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revision plan that I had made whilst at school to fit around my new schedule at home, but with no real motivation I struggled to sustain the levels of work that I was getting done before lockdown. I allowed myself to be distracted easily and found myself using social media more than usual, which in turn took a toll on my mental health. I realised how important extra-curricular activities are and noticed how the lack of sport and socialising negatively impacted my focus and made me feel stagnant. I felt that even if I was doing my work to a high standard, my days were unproductive because there was no fun and I didn’t move away from my desk all day. I am sure that many students will agree with me when I say that all of my days began to blur into one and my memory and focus began to deteriorate. To try and combat this lack of productivity, I started doing exercise videos which I know many other people my age also did to try and get fit for the summer. (At that point I thought that by summer life would be back to normal, little did I know!) It was helpful as it added some structure to my days because I had to plan times for my runs and workouts around my lessons. The need to feel productive made me exercise

excessively in an unhealthy and obsessive way, because I no longer had school work to make me feel productive. As quickly as I got fit, I lost my fitness too. I burnt out from putting too much pressure on myself to do runs and workouts every single day, and after a few months the workout music stressed me out (I think if I heard that music now I would have a heart attack!). Overall, I found online learning challenging but there were some major positives. As I didn’t have to commute to school every day, I got enough sleep for my body and mind to feel refreshed and ready for the day, which was a rare occurrence at school. I didn’t feel groggy in lessons and hence I was able to apply myself better. My teachers tried their best to do engaging activities like quizzes to keep us interested, which I greatly appreciated. Furthermore, my eating

Tips for staying focused when working from home Change your surroundings regularly Switch rooms or go to the library to keep your brain engaged. This can also help to connect the information you are learning to a specific place, which I found helped me to recall knowledge in exams. Do more than watching Netflix at lunch Eat lunch outside by walking to a park or sitting in a garden if you have one. I found exercise helpful and would recommend doing some walking or running to tire out your body. But don’t go crazy with exercise, once or twice a week is plenty! If you can incorporate exercise into your routine it becomes more bearable to do.

habits were also healthier, as I could eat little snacks throughout the day to keep myself alert and stop the pre-lunch slump that I would always have at school. I wish the best of luck to the new Y13 students who are still facing uncertainty about what will happen this summer and whether their exams will take place or be delayed. It is a stressful year under normal circumstances and so much depends on these exams and your grades that will affect your future. Many students will be returning to online learning when self isolating and if another lockdown occurs in your area then everyone will be online. I have some fear for the future, that my A Levels will not be taken seriously and they may seem undeserved to employers. As a result, in my gap year off I am trying to gain experience in the working world to make myself a more desirable candidate before going to Newcastle university to study Zoology next September, which is something I look forward to...

Get dressed in the morning every day This tip may sound odd but it is easy to just sit in your pyjamas all day feeling sluggish if you have no real life people to see. I tried to put effort into my appearance and noticed that on the days that I did my makeup and got ready, I had a more enjoyable and productive day. Talk to your friends my friends and I tried to call most evenings to keep each other sane and to talk to someone outside of our families. It gave me something to look forward to and some greatly needed structure! Talking about things that are bothering you can also help to relieve stress from school, so if you are struggling please reach out to someone if you can!

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Life at Exeter (Penryn) University post lockdown We arrived back on the 21st September and for me it was a bit of a shock! First of all, the bustling and thriving university campus, that I had first arrived at a year ago, was now a ghost town. All that I was left with was the odd smoker, sat outside the café with a cigarette and coffee in hand. However, the biggest change was when I went inside. The main university buildings had been fitted with new one way lanes running along every corridor and staircase. Furthermore, once you arrived in the lecture or seminar rooms - after waiting in a queue for what felt like eternity - you then had to social distance with at least two seats apart and upon arrival you were handed a disinfectant wipe to wash your table with. Obvious rules were also in place, such as wearing a mask at all times indoors, which as far as I could see everyone complied with. Unsurprisingly, as time has passed, in seminars this rule has become a slight issue as depending on the 52

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thickness and type of mask, sometimes lecturers and student’s voices can be muffled, making it quite hard to make out what they are saying. Although this may not be a major change for first year students, who spent the last of their school year and A’ levels working online, for all other university students, moving to almost 90% of lectures and seminars online has been a major change. At times it has been very temperamental with the site crashing at least twice in the first two weeks (it was not used to being used by all ten thousand students, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week). In fact, most lecturers have said to me that these first two weeks were more about adapting and trialling the new systems in comparison to past years – it is a ‘new normal’. A further issue has been that information can be slower at reaching the full student cohort; instead of the lecturer telling you everything you have to know for the first term, a lot of that information is

now online and requires you to search for it, which made the first few seminars more interesting with some people not knowing which readings they had to do, or completing the wrong tasks for the week! Sadly, for first year students they never got any Fresher’s events and parties that I remember so well from last year and all the bonding and socialising that we did. To make matters worse, if any one of them catches Covid-19 in their halls they have to quarantine the entire block, which I imagine is extremely boring and devastatingly disappointing, considering all the hype and fun students normally have in their first year at Penryn! Nonetheless,

everyone is being very upbeat and positive and anything is better than going back into lockdown... We all feel that there has been the general lack of support from the government towards university students. We are disappointed that the university experience we all worked so hard for is being compromised by Covid 19 and it is not cheap! Nonetheless, we are all glad to be back even if it is the ‘new normal’ and Exeter Penryn is the hidden secret of the Exeter University campus choices – to date we can all still go and surf and swim on the beaches in Falmouth in our bubbles! It is well worth an online visit if you are making your university choices now. Student Exeter (Penryn) University

Interior design by Marie Noelle, Galuchat Design 54

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A sense of direction Leading interior designer, Marie Noelle Swiderski, shares her infinite wisdom and some suggestions to help with designer’s block and choosing a focus for each room as a first step towards your designer dreams. A blank canvas can generate anxiety, even for those who think they know what they want to say. Choosing from too many options is always rather daunting. When it comes to deciding on a design direction for this room or that or, worse, for an entire home, it is hardly surprising to encounter ‘designer’s block’! How can we make design decisions that privilege one style rather than another, without feeling we are closing certain doors we may have wanted to explore almost as much as the winners? First and foremost, it is essential to have done your homework. This means you have had a good look at websites, magazines and books, shops, your friends’ (and enemies’!) interiors, hotels and restaurants, where you have spotted elements of décor you noticed, you liked and you remembered. This gives them staying power and, in your own home, they will need it. Now, granted, this is when trouble begins, as you may find that you have gathered much too much material, none of which seems to possibly have anything in common. Not to worry. It may be that you are looking to style more than one space, in which case there could be opportunities to work several of the

directions that may emanate from your selection into the décor. Or it may be that you want a distinctly cohesive interior, in which case it will indeed be crucial to define one main path. This does not preclude, however, that this path have variations, as you move from one area to the next. And your designer is there to guide you in this. Practically, how can we make sense of too many gorgeous options? I find it always helps to identify one strong feature in any given room or space. Whether it is an accessory, a colour, a piece of furniture or wall finish, impact and true love are essential. You need to feel that you have a winner – not necessarily that your friends (or enemies) will think you do, but hopefully the other users of the space will. If they don’t, which not only can but is likely to happen, you can either overrule or welcome their feedback and contribution, to that or another space, with their item of choice – so it feels like a collaboration and an exciting shared result. Indeed, from that element of choice, your focal point, the whole design scheme will be developed.

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Let us imagine you have a beautiful blown Murano glass lamp base. Your heart beats faster whenever you catch a glimpse of it. It seems only natural that it should be trusted to guide a whole room scheme by the quiet authority of its inherent perfection; the room setting will then act as a jewellery box for it. The lamp shade, wall colour, upholstery and cushion fabrics, flooring, curtains, and inevitably furniture frames, artwork, switch and socket plates, will all conspire to support, nay celebrate, the object of desire that is the lamp base in question. This does not mean that the

whole room is now one colour and all blends into a landscape of subtle hues of the same shades. Not necessarily, and perhaps even on the contrary. If the lamp base is a deep, ox-blood red for example, you could opt for an all-neutral room with accents of the chosen colour, to truly give the red a stage. However, I could easily visualize a warm palette of pristine cream, elegant taupe and mysterious chocolate, or even prune, with hints of silver or platinum. Echoes of the dramatic red could be found in a pin-striped or piped


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

cushion, the leading edge of the curtains, or streaks within the artwork or rug. Thus enriching the backdrop, giving the red focus, dimension and depth, as it evolves from one chromatic neighbour to the next.

The secret of any successful, coherent design, is layering. Whether the feature you are wanting to enhance leads the room style into a specific colour, era or ethnic style direction, it will always be essential that all elements be in harmony, but on different levels. This does not mean there is no contrast, as that can be another avenue to bringing attention to your pivotal element. It also does not mean that the room needs to be bare, nor indeed too busy, with nothing to compete with your focal point or too much to surround it. There needs to be a hierarchy in impact for the room to be balanced, rather than a cacophony of loud beauty or a reverent, but desolate silence around it. Once you have agreed with yourself what the absolute monarch of the room is, at a glance, take in the room and how you have set the scene. Is there too much? is there too little? Is there enough emptiness to let features, colours and details play their role? Is your element of focus taking over, with nothing as counterpoint to even out the forces? You will know if it feels just right. Once you feel it has settled as you intended it to – as a magnet, a guide and a lovely wink to you every time you enter, let it rule and the rest of the room will settle to breathe respectfully around it.

Prime Central London (‘PCL’) Market - is this a good time to buy? Since the end of lockdown, many prospective purchasers and home buyers are wondering whether this is a good time to buy property in central London or whether they should hold on and wait for potential price falls. On the one hand, the length of the the Covid-19 pandemic, the outcome of the Brexit negotiations on a trade deal and the time it will take for the economy to recover from a sharp recession are all unclear. On the flip side, international buyers benefit from a very favourable sterling exchange rate, there is a relatively short supply of good period property and interest rates are at historic lows which makes buying properties very affordable compared to rents in London which remain relatively high. In addition, the values of properties have corrected over the many years of the Brexit saga and increased stamp duties levied on purchasers. Since December 2014 and the introduction of higher rates of stamp duty there followed 5 years of price declines in the central London market. 58

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In terms of exactly what is happening in the market, in July and August the number of properties going under offer in the prime areas was a 9% increase compared to July last year and PCL prices have shown an annual growth of 1.6% (Source Lonres). In the wider market Zoopla has reported that UK house prices have shown growth of over 2 percent per annum.

Demand for properties under £1 million has also been increasing due to the Stamp Duty Holiday on the first £500,000 of value leading to saving of £15,000 for home purchasers. This ends on 1st April next year when the government is also introducing a 2 percent stamp duty surcharge on foreign buyers making two good reasons for buyers to consider purchasing now and save a significant amount of stamp duty.

Whilst no investor or buyer wishes to “catch a falling knife� timing the bottom of the market is a hazardous exercise and long term PCL property has always been a very good and safe investment with prices generally doubling every 10 years for many decades. Whilst these rates of returns are unlikely to continue in future decades, London remains a safe haven for many foreigners, a leading international finance and cultural capital and a centre for education excellence. This is likely to ensure that values will continue to grow over the long terms albeit more slowly than in the past. Simon Dredzen Property Investor

Simon Dredzen is a property investor and the owner of Walton Estates a boutique estate agency in Chelsea advising both buyers and seller in prime central London for many decades.

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


School entrance exam guide Alleyn’s School

Bradfield College



Interview: • 26/01/2021

Pre-assessment: • All candidates will be asked to take the ISEB (Independent Schools’ Examination Board) Common PreTest in their Prep School between November and February of Year 6.

Examination: • 08/01/2021 • ‘We are sending regular and targeted information to parents via our usual School/home communication channels. Parents/guardians should therefore refer to their Alleyn’s Post for specific information related to their child’ - Alleyn’s Website.

• Pupils who are not at a Prep School will be invited to take the test at Bradfield Interview: • Admissions Interview (20-30 minutes). This aims to understand how well your child will fit into Bradfield and what she or he will be able to contribute to the academic life of the College. • Pupils are asked to bring a piece of recent academic work of their choice with them to the interview, which will act as a starting point for discussion. • Housemistress or Housemaster Interview – (0-30 minutes) Examination: • Candidates will participate in an online problem solving challenge – (20 minutes). • This challenge, which will be similar to those found in the TV show ‘The Crystal Maze’, will allow us to assess our applicants more broadly whilst providing a fun and engaging environment. • Amongst the characteristics which we will be considering are interpersonal skills, resilience, innovation, and reflection.

Brighton College

Caterham School



Pre-assessment: • Admissions for 13+ starts in Year 6 with the ISEB Common Pre-Test assessments.

Interview: • Friday 13, Monday 16, Wednesday 18, Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 November 2020

Interview: • 13-14/01/2021

Examination: • Saturday 9 January 2021

Examination: • 09/01/2021


Cheltenham Ladies’ College



Pre-assessment: • Applicants sit the ISEB Common Pre-test to Charterhouse in the Autumn Term of Year 6.

Pre-assessment: • Girls who are registered for Year 7 in 2021 will be invited to participate in a group virtual session.

• This tests childrens’ Mathematics, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

• These sessions last an hour and provide an opportunity for us to get to know the applicants better and give the girls an opportunity to find out more about CLC.

• The results are reviewed alongside a reference from their Prep School. Interview: • If children are successful in their preassessments they will be invited to the Interview and Activity Afternoon. • This involves an informal interview and a selection of activities, which have been designed to give the children the chance to show their abilities.

Examination: • Those who are successful in the virtual group session will be invited to take our entrance exams, in January 2021 • The exam tests the girls’ ability English, Maths and Verbal Reasoning. • They can sit the papers at College, at her own school or with a private invigilator that has been approved by the College. For further details contact the school at:

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


City of London School

City of London School for Girls



Pre-assessment: • ISEB pre-test

Interview: • Pupils successful in the exam to be invited to City for an enhanced interview session in the week starting 18 January

Interview: • If a pupil performs well in the ISEB they will be invited for an interview, in the Spring Term of Year 6. Examination: • Candidates who perform well in the Pre-test will be invited to the school for written assessments in Mathematics and English in the Spring Term

• A remote interview plan will be implemented if it is not possible to welcome pupils onto the school site at this point. Examination: • Pupils will go to City to sit a socially distanced, one-hour computer-based test, assessing numerical, verbal and non-verbal skills in the week starting 23 November • Covid-19 regulations permitting, City aim to meet parents

Downe House

Eltham College



Interview: • Every girl who takes part in the Downe House Assessment Day has an interview with the Headmistress.

Interview: • Interviews will be conducted in a group environment

Examination: • Each applicant completes a challenging academic test on the Downe House Assessment day. • Offers are usually conditional on satisfactory results being achieved in the Common Entrance examinations. • They also request a report from your daughter’s current Headteacher prior to this assessment.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

• Each child will be asked to complete a short form to inform the school more about themselves in terms of their interests and hobbies. Examination: • External candidates for Year 7 2021 will be assessed in small, socially distanced groups of no more than 5 students. • The examination will be a computer adaptive verbal and non-verbal reasoning assessment as well as a written English paper.

Emanuel School

Epsom College



Interview: • Over Zoom from 2nd November

Examination: • Autumn interviews

Examination: • In school/split groups

Examination: • ISEB pre-test

• Saturday 9th January • Friday 15th January

Eton College

Francis Holland Sloane Square



Interview: • Conditional Place candidates meet a selection of House Masters with a view to finding a suitable boarding house during the first and second terms of UK School Year 7

Interview: • Candidates who are successful in the examination will be invited to an interview

Examination: • All boys sit the ISEB Common PreTests during October or November, either at their current school or at an agreed centre. They will also request a Head Teacher’s report covering a boy’s academic strengths, interests and character

Examination: • London Consortium Exam Friday 8 January 2021

• They will offer boys who are successful at Stage 2 a Conditional Place, confirmed by passing King’s Scholarship, Common Entrance or Eton Entrance examinations at age 12/13 in UK School Year 8.

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020



Godolphin and Latymer

Guildford High



Interview: • Candidates who are successful in the examination will be invited to an interview

Interview: • Each applicant will have a short 10 minute interview with one of our staff.

Examination: • ISEB pre-test on or before 12th December and children can sit it at G and L on 11th December 2020. (They will not be sitting the 11 plus Consortium exams)

Examination: • 8th January for 11+ exam

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

• Two one-hour papers in English (comprehension and creative writing) and Mathematics.

Haberdashers Aske




Interview: Friday 22 January – Tuesday 2 February 2021

Interview: • All pupils will be part of an extended interview process with a member of the senior academic staff.

Examination: Thursday 17 December 2020

• Going to ask pupils to submit one piece of work about which they are particularly proud. Examination: • This work should have been completed in the last six months and could take the form of a piece of creative writing, an essay, an artistic portfolio, book review, science project write up or similar. • The pupils should be prepared to talk about the process of completing the work itself: in some senses, the ability to reflect on the learning process is as important a part of the assessment process as the work itself. • All pupils will be asked to submit a 5 minute presentation on a topic of their choice. • This should be delivered directly to the camera and should not include any special effects or the like. • Pupils should look to show us a little about themselves such as their interests and their thinking during this presentation. • Whilst the subject is of the pupil’s own choice, it is worth stating that this is part of the academic assessment so pupils should consider the content with that in mind.

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Hampton School




Examination: • All boys applying to join Hampton will be required to sit the ISEB pretest during Autumn Term 2020


• They will consider reports and references from primary and prep schools in conjunction with ISEB pre-test results • Pupils applying to Hampton should sit the test no later than Saturday 5 December • If the pupil wants to sit the exams at Hampton the dates are as follows Saturday 28 November & Saturday 5 December

• ISEB pre test by 7th December • Children can sit at Harrodian on 5th December if they cannot take the test at their own school. 13+ Examination: • Registered applicants will be able to sit the Pre-Test at their current Prep school and we have requested that schools administer the test to pupils no later than Monday 9 November 2020. Interviews at Harrodian will now be held a week later on Friday 20 November 2020.

Highgate School

Ibstock Place School



Interview: • Monday 18 – Friday 22 January 2020

Interview: TBD

• A significant proportion of candidates are invited back for activities and interviews. • This consists of a group interview and taster lessons Examination: • Monday 7 December 2020 • Candidates sit tests at Highgate,

Examination: • All external candidates are invited for a computer-based test and a onehour written Reasoning Paper (verbal and nonverbal) on either Monday 4 January or Tuesday 5 January 2021. • Social distancing, face coverings and sanitisation will be in operation for the protection of all during these assessments. • On the basis of the candidate’s performance on these assessments, he or she may subsequently be invited to attend Learning Workshops on Saturday 16 January 2021.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

James Allen’s Girls’ School

King’s College School, Wimbledon



Tour of the school: • Inviting all candidates to attend individual visits to JAGS to meet with staff in the second half of the Autumn term.

Interview: • After the ISEB, along with school reports, headteacher references, and any other information Kings will contact those whom we will invite to interview next term.

Interview: • Each visit will consist of a oneon-one interview with a Senior Leadership Team member. Examination: • Candidates will do a small creative writing task. • In addition to this, pupils will be invited to sit the Independent Schools’ Examination Board’s (ISEB) Common pre-test, which consists of online multiple-choice papers in Mathematics, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

• It may be that the interviews can be held in person at King’s during January and February 2021, but if not they will be conducted remotely. Examination: • ISEB pre-test. • All boys who need to sit the exam at King’s are invited into the school for a morning or afternoon session on either Saturday 21st November or Saturday 28th November. • These sessions will be allocated to boys who indicate they need to take the test at King’s according to geographical and school groupings.

Kingston Grammar

Lady Eleanor Holles



Interview: • Invited to interview if pupils are successful at interview

Interview: • 26th, 27th & 28th January 2021

Examination: • There will only be two entrance examinations in Maths and English. • They have removed the Verbal Reasoning paper from the assessments which will reduce by a third the examination time.

• Those who are successful in the exam will be invited for interview Examination: • They have decided to remove the Maths and English papers for the December 2020 entrance assessments. • Candidates will sit papers in: • Non-Verbal Reasoning (30 minutes) • Verbal Reasoning (30 minutes) • Problem solving paper (15 minutes)

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Lancing College

Latymer Upper School



Interview: • Pupils should sit the ISEB Pre-Test at their school.

Interview: • For selected applicants

• Will be running the Experience Day selection process (January 2021) differently with an online assessment followed by two interviews with staff.

• Will happen in January 2021 Examination: • ISEB pre-test. • Sit the test no later than the 5th of December • Any candidates unable to sit the test in their own school can come to Latymer Upper School on Wednesday 25 November or Saturday 5 December. • Reference from the prep school is also considered.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Magdalen College School

Magdalen College School



Interview: • Candidates are invited back for an interview on the basis of their performance in the entry tests.

Interview: • Candidates are invited back for an interview on the basis of their performance in the entry tests.

• They will be asked to read and comment on a short passage and to bring in an object to talk about.

• The interview lasts about half an hour.

• Occasionally they may be given a few short Maths questions.

• Candidates will be given the opportunity to talk about a particular object or subject of their choice.

• They will also be asked about hobbies and extracurricular activities.

• They will also be given a passage or a poem to read aloud and discuss

• The interview lasts about 30 minutes Examination: • Boys take tests in English, Maths and Verbal Reasoning. • The English test lasts one hour and comprises two composition questions, one fiction and one non-fiction. • The Maths paper is also an hour long and is based on the National Curriculum up to and including Year 5. • The Verbal Reasoning test lasts 45 minutes and there will be an opportunity to work through sample questions before the test starts.

Examination: • Boys take tests in English, Maths and Verbal Reasoning. • Papers are largely based on the Key Stage 3 curriculum. The English paper (1 hour 30 minutes) consists of an extended test in comprehension and a composition. • The Maths paper is an hour long and the use of a calculator is permitted. • The Verbal Reasoning test lasts 45 minutes and there will be an opportunity to work through sample questions before the test starts.

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Marlborough College

Merchant Taylor’s School



Interview: • On admissions day applicants do an interview with a housemaster or housemistress, an interview with a boarding house tutor and some informal group activities.

Interview: • Individual interview

Examination: • To sit Common Entrance Examinations in the summer term of Year 8.

• After the interview, they give feedback and discuss the candidate’s performance with his current school.

• On admissions day applicants complete two short writing tasks (no preparation required)

Examination: • Merchant Taylor request a report direct from your son’s current school.

• Merchant Taylors’ examinations in English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and a choice of French, German or Spanish. • Held over two days at the end of January at Merchant Taylors’. • Tuesday 5th January 2021

North London Collegiate School

Northwood School for Girls



Interview: • January 2021

Examination: • The pupils will sit a bespoke cognitive ability test of 70 minutes, incorporating mathematics, verbal and non-verbal questions.

Examination: • 10/11 of January 2021

• The questions will be mainly multiple choice. • An interview and a reference from current school.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Oundle School

Oxford High



Interview: • All pupils sitting papers are interviewed.

Interview: • Every girl who attends the Year 7 Admissions Day is invited to take part in a virtual interview in the following week with the Head and other senior members of staff.

Examination: • All applicants take an online Cognitive Abilities Test in November of Year 6. • For all pupils other than those from the Laxton Junior School, the next step is entrance papers in Mathematics, English and Science by written examination in January 2021

• To help the girls feel at ease, they are asked to bring a familiar object that is of interest to them to discuss at the virtual interview. • The choice of object is not assessed. Examination: • The Year 7 exam comprises papers in English, Mathematics, and Reasoning (verbal and non-verbal)

Putney High School

Roedean School



Interview: • They select applicants for an interview, which will take place in January.

Interview: • You will be given the opportunity to discuss any of the challenges you participate in at a later date during interview (see below for info on challenges)

• We very much hope to be able to hold the interviews in school but if this is not possible, we will organise them virtually. Examination: • ISEB pre-test • Sit the test no later than the 7th of December • Will consider school reports and references • Those candidates unable to sit the test in their own school will be invited to Putney High School on Saturday 28th November

Examination: • Roedean have prepared a programme of virtual challenges for those applying for Years 7-9 2021 entry. • If you have enquired or registered for a Year 7-9 2021 entry place, Roedean will invite you to take part in these challenges. • Saturday 9 January 2021 • You do not need to take part in all the challenges (though you are welcome to), just one or two that interest you.

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Reed’s School

Royal Grammar School Guildford

11 +


Interview: • All applicants will be interviewed by Zoom on Monday 4th January or Tuesday 5th January 2021. The interview will consist of questions about hobbies, interests and may also include some academic questions of a general nature.

Interview: • These interviews will take place, hopefully in person or if not remotely, in January and the early part of February 2021.

Examination: • ISEB pre -test to be sat before 5th December and tests at Reed’s will be available to children that cannot sit the test at their own school on Saturday 28th November and 5th December 13+ Interview: • All applicants will be interviewed by Zoom on Monday 4th January or Tuesday 5th January 2021. The interview will consist of questions about hobbies, interests and may also include some academic questions of a general nature. Examination: • All applicants for entry at 13+ in 2023 will sit the online ISEB Common Pre-Tests by Saturday 5th December 2020.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Examination: • ISEB pre-test


Sherborne Girls



Interview: • 6 January 2021

Interview: • There will be an interview for those successful in the examination.

• Following the exams, 160 candidates will be shortlisted and invited to take part in a group interview on Saturday 23 January. • Candidates will arrive 30 minutes before their 40 minute interview.

Examination: • Entry can be via the Common Entrance or the Sherborne Girls Entrance Examination.

• They will be collected immediately after the end of their interview. • Candidates will be asked to wear a mask, and will be given hand sanitiser on arrival. Examination: • 6 January 2021 • English, a Maths and a Verbal Reasoning test. • Candidates should arrive wearing a mask and will be given hand sanitiser on arrival. • They will be seated in the examination hall (which will be thoroughly cleaned before each session) at a safe distance from each other.

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


Sherborne School

South Hampstead High



Interview: • On the assessment day, boys will have an interview with a senior member of our academic staff and undertake a group task.

Interview: • At the end of January

Examination: • All boys registered for Year 9 entry are tested in January of Year 7 at one of the Assessment Days. • The boys sit online tests and will complete a piece of creative writing. • They look at a boy’s performance in each of these areas, along with a confidential reference from the boy’s current school.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Examination: • South Hampstead will assess candidates through a 70 minute cognitive ability test on Friday 8th January.


St Albans High School for Girls



Stowe will be updating the website soon, as they have changed their admissions process.

Interview: • The interviews are conversations in small groups led by two senior members of staff.

Interview: • An interview occurs Examination: • The ISEB Common Pre-Tests are to be taken alongside a common entrance examination • Day pupils - October/November of Year 6

• No preparation is required. • Interview sessions are a relaxed and enjoyable experience, with students taking part in stimulating group activities. Examination: • Using the Common pre-test.

• Boarding pupils - October/ November of Year 7 • Common Entrance. • Please note, Stowe do not accept Level 1 Common Entrance. • If taking Stowe’s own Entry Papers a minimum pass mark of 50% in Maths, English and Science is required • Stowe also ask for a satisfactory report from the candidate’s present school.

St Catherine’s Bramley

St Mary’s Ascot



Examination: • 11+ Entrance Examination Date – Tuesday 5th January 2021.

Interview: • Monday 25th Jan Examination: • Monday 25th Jan • English, Mathematics and a general paper (which could include: graded spelling; non-verbal puzzles; listening skills)

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


St Paul’s School

St Paul’s Girls School



Interview: • Candidates that are selected for interview in mid January.

Interview: • Following success in the entrance examinations, girls are invited for an interview.

• The interviews occur on the week starting the 18th of January. Examination: • ISEB online pretest on the 7th December. • Part B exams 5th January.

• These will most likely take place remotely on Zoom or another similar platform and will focus on the student’s academic potential through interaction with stimulus material. Examination: • On Wednesday 25 November 2020, all candidates will complete an on-screen time-limited cognitive ability test covering verbal ability, mathematics ability and non-verbal ability to identify potential. • Successful candidates from the computer assessment will be invited to sit the entrance examinations in English, Mathematics and Comprehension. • Students will sit a shortened version of the normal examinations with 40 minute long papers.


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Surbiton High

The Haberdashers Aske School



Interview: • The ‘Getting to Know You’ virtual conversations will take place throughout November and December and will be bookable shortly after registrations close on 2 November. These sessions will be on a 1:1 basis and will be led by a member of the School’s Senior Leadership Team.

Examination: • Candidates take an entrance examination on Thursday 7 January consisting of written papers in english, mathematics, science (Chemistry, Physics and Biology), general humanities (this is a sourcebased not a syllabus-based paper), French and Latin (for those boys who have studied Latin).

Examination: • Your daughter will sit the virtual Entrance Examination on Tuesday 5 January 2021. Candidates will need access to two devices, either a laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile phone to be able to sit the exam. If this cannot be facilitated at home or in their own school, they will endeavour to provide this facility within the Surbiton High School building. The Entrance Examination will comprise two papers: English and Mathematics.

• Spanish and German assessments are also available.

Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


The Perse School

Thomas’ Senior



Interview: • All candidates will have a short informal interview with a Perse teacher.

Interview: • Candidates are informally interviewed, produce a short creative writing piece and sit an online test.

Examination: • 16th January 2021

Examination: • Pre test examination day in January.

• The entrance test consists of papers in Maths, English and Verbal Reasoning.

Tiffin School

Trinity School



Stage 1 test: • October 15th

Examination: • ISEB pre-test

Stage 2 test: • 21st November

• Children can sit at Trinity on 5th/12th December if they cannot take the test at their own school.

Tormead Guildford

Tudor Hall School


All admissions procedures including interview and examination took place in October of 2020. Please get in contact with the school for more information.

Interview: • Early January Examination: • ISEB common pre-tests • Can be sat at Tormead on the 28th December


Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020

Wimbledon High

Whitgift School


All interviews: Between 6th - 27th Jan 2021

Interview: • ISEB results will be used to shortlist girls to be invited to attend a small group session online with senior school staff. Examination: • ISEB common pre-test

10+ Examination: • 14th Dec 2020 (am/pm sessions) • Tests English and Maths 11+ Examination: • ISEB pre - test • Children can sit at Whitgift on 5th/12th December if they cannot take the test at their own school. 13+ Examination: • 9th Jan 2021 exams will be held in English, Maths and Science

Withington Girls School

Wellington College



Interview: • Those successful in the exam are invited back to interview in late January/ early February.

Interview: • Two interviews for those who have been selected for this stage. These will be over Microsoft Teams.

Examination: • Friday 8th January.

Examination: • ISEB at schools as normal and references from schools. Some pupils will be able to come into Wellington individually to do it if needed.

Westminster School

Wycombe Abbey School

Contact school directly

Contact school directly

All details listed are subject to change due to Covid 19 restrictions. Education Choices Magazine | Autumn 2020


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