Education Choices Magazine - Spring 2022

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Education Choices SPRING 2022



Social Mobility at Exeter University Interview with Professor Lee Elliot Major OBE PLUS


Talks about their global approach to learning…


King’s College School, Wimbledon


Alleyn’s School

We - lleyn's


Alleyn’s offers co-educational excellence in a caring community for children aged 11-18. We offer a range of scholarships and means-tested bursaries. For more details, and to learn about life at Alleyn’s and our next Open Event dates, please visit our website. 020 8557 1500 | Townley Road, Dulwich SE22 8SU


Dear Readers, This is a very exciting edition and is packed with news and information from nursery choices to thinking about writing a personal statement for university. Special thanks to Lee Elliot Major OBE, Mrs. Jane Lunnon (Alleyn’s) and the other headteachers, writers and education experts for sharing their wise insights and expertise. Enjoy the Spring sunshine! Chloe Abbott (Founder) Email:

“If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi


Multicultural Children’s Books about PEACE 1. Can You Say Peace? by Karen Katz This book takes readers on a journey around the globe to meet different children and learn about the many different ways to say peace. 2. Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox Peace is an Offering is a warm, comforting poem about finding peace in a community of neighbours. 3. The Peace Rose by Alicia Jewell The Peace Rose encourages independent and peaceful conflict resolution in the classroom, at home, or anywhere else. 4. Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter When Wangari returns home from studying in the US, she is shocked

to see whole forests being cut down. She starts planting trees and soon inspires great change. 5. The Peace Stick by Nidhi Misra The Peace Stick is a beautiful book, inspired by the native American legend of The Talking Stick. 6. Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin “For there to be peace in the world, there must be peace in nations”. Based on the Tao Te Ching, this lyrical picture book ponders the eternal question: How can we bring peace to the world? 7. Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education by Raphaele Frier Beautifully illustrated Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education is the latest picture book about the brave girl from Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban and fought for the right for all girls to receive an education. At age 18, Malala became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work. 8. Putting Peace First: Commitments to Change the World by Eric David Dawson Using the inspiring stories of real life peacemakers, Putting Peace First highlights different aspects of peacemaking, from ‘Opening Your Heart’ to ‘Taking a Stand’. With clear, step-by-step explanations of how each peacemaker achieved their goals, this book is the perfect guide for aspiring young peacemakers. Education Choices Magazine is deeply saddened by the crisis in the Ukraine and we send our thoughts and prayers to all those affected. Please support: appeal/ukraine-crisis-appeal


03 Education Book Corner: Multicultural Children’s Books about PEACE Some book recommendations to help during tough times

06-08 Top Ten Oxford Nurseries A good place to start…

09 Readiness for every stage of learning


Preparing children for Reception

Child’s bedtime routine for a restful night’s sleep Busy Bees give their top tips

10 Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe The first food ever baked in space

11 The world’s first Muslim ballet school Working on a unique combined ballet and poetry syllabus

12 Swimming is a Lifesaving Skill Why do children need to learn to swim?

13 The houses that look like ours… Making room for working class stories

14-15 Giving your school a makeover! Delivering an independent school experience for maintained school children

16 Inspiring Fiercely Independent Girls A successful girls-only education

17 Pupils learning to sign Introducing Sign Language at Cranleigh Prep School

18 Space and Science inspire Swaffield School Looking above and beyond


20-25 Education Corner Podcast Interview Mrs. Jane Lunnon, Headmistress at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich

26-28 Education Corner Podcast Interview Mr. Joe Silvester, Headmaster at Wetherby Senior School

29-33 Education Corner Podcast Interview Mr. Dominic Oliver, Headmaster at Lancing College

SPECIAL FEATURE: 34-39 Education Corner Podcast Interview with Dr. Lee Elliot Major OBE First Professor of Social Mobility at Exeter University

40 Addressing anxiety in children How to speak to children and address their global concerns

19 The Wonders of the Night Sky: Space Science in Schools

41 The magic of writing - and of looking all around The secret to writing stories

Paving the way for future femaleinvolvement in STEM subjects

42 Using art as inspiration How can art inspire our thinking?


43-44 Choosing the best fit school for your child What should parents consider when choosing a school?

In the Spring issue... 45-46 Schools Strictly Come Dancing for the disabled Heads inspire students whilst dancing for diversity

47 Aiming High Old Reedonians help ensure current students excel beyond school

48 Technology: panaceas, problems and pragmatism


Using technology in the classroom

49 Flourishing in the Co-Curriculum


Exploring an exciting curriculum

50-51 Free Learning

Inspiring intellectual curiosity at Dulwich College


52-53 Why take the International Baccalaureate? Learning beyond the classroom

54 A world of opportunities The International Baccalaureate ensures students at Impington International College thrive

55 The benefits of joining an international school when transitioning from the US

74 Using Assistive Technology in the Classroom Supporting dyslexic students to become independent learners

Adapting to the education system in the UK

56 The Power of Partnerships Benenden celebrates its relationship with a local academy

58 All you need to know about Personal Statements

75 As Oxford’s popularity grows, so does it property market Why is Oxford so popular?

76 Thinking of making a move? Why is Oxford an increasingly popular destination for many SW London families?

Some top tips to completing your UCAS application form

77-78 A guide to living, working and studying in Oxford

59 Addressing additional learning needs

Some top tips for students

Finding the right learning support at university

60 Benefits of a legal education Learning about Law at The University of Law

61 SOAS re-imagines a new approach to African Studies

OXFORD SCHOOLS SPECIAL 66 Maintained Schools Options 67-73 Independent School Options

Introducing BA Africa and the Black Diaspora

62 Classics Outreach and Engagement at the University of Warwick


The University’s commitment to Classics

63 Street Talk

Supporting young people with mental health

64-65 Celebrating Spring Life is too short to live in black and white

Editor: Tatiana Summers Assistant Editor: Ella Barker Photography: Magazine design: Podcast Editor: With special thanks to the children at Swaffield School, Wandsworth who were exceptionally well-behaved.


TOP TEN OXFORD NURSERIES A good place to start…

Bainton Road Nursery Ofsted rating: Outstanding

Primarily for the fellows, students, lecturers, or staff of St John’s College. However, it is also open to other individuals working at the University of Oxford, and families from the local community.

Julia Durbin Day Nursery Ofsted rating: Outstanding

Located within the grounds of Churchill Hospital, it caters for children both in the local community and the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital Trust.



Little Troopers Day Nursery

The Nursery

Ofsted rating: Outstanding

Ofsted rating: Outstanding

Offers places for all three government schemes associated with the Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE): 2 years old with funded places, 3-4 years old with 15 hours per week FEEE (570-hour offer), known as ‘Universal Hours’ and 30 hours per week FEEE (1140-hour offer), known as the ‘Extended Hours’.

Located in the north of Oxford, the nursery is in a beautiful Edwardian house which includes a large garden.

Little Pioneers Nursery and Preschool Ofsted rating: Outstanding

The Pod Nursery Ofsted rating: Outstanding

Part of St Frideswide Primary School, the nursery employs the same golden rules as the School to ensure a consistency of behaviour throughout.

Located in the grounds of the John Radcliffe Hospital. They have a cultural coordinator that supports children where English is their second language. radcliffe_hospital_nursery/

Sandfield Day Nursery Ofsted rating: Outstanding

Situated in the grounds of the John Radcliffe Hospital, the nursery cares for the children of the Trust employees and local community.



Oxford Brookes University Nursery Ofsted rating: Good

Provides childcare for children aged 4 months to 5 years. Although priority is given to children of University staff and students, external children are also welcomed in their 2-5’s room.

St Thomas Day Nursery Ofsted rating: Good

It is one of Oxford’s longest-established nurseries, having been established since 1986. It is located in the city centre, yet adjoins the historic Norman church of St Thomas the Martyr.

North Hinksey Preschool and Childcare Clubs Ofsted rating: Good

Located next to North Hinksey Primary School and offer extended day care for our Preschool children between 8.00 am and 5.00pm.

TURN TO PAGES 66-73 To read the Oxford Schools Special feature



Readiness for every stage of learning Preparing children for Reception The transition from nursery to ‘big school’ can be a nervous time, for both the children and parents alike. Within The Old Station Nursery Group, we believe in fostering several skills, aptitudes, and attitudes, that not only ensure the children are ‘school ready’ but are also ready for every stage of learning. These skills are developed from the day the children start nursery, right up until the transition to school. Resilience: supported when making mistakes Endeavour: trying hard to achieve their best Attitude: believe learning is positive Desire: full of ‘wants and wishes’ Individuality: celebrating uniqueness Nurture: feeling loved and protected Excitement: excited, eager, and willing to learn Self-esteem: recognising and valuing their own worth Specialness: knowing they are special and unique

If we successfully nurture and support these vital characteristics and attributes, children will have a solid and secure foundation from which they can successfully engage in learning, with competence and confidence, throughout their nursery journey, school life and beyond. The Old Station Nursery, Bampton offers full time and part time care for 0-5 year olds and is located on the grounds of Bampton Primary School, making the transition to school seamless. It is a welcoming nursery, with a qualified and child-centred team.

Child’s bedtime routine for a restful night’s sleep Busy Bees give their top tips Something all parents can relate to is disrupted sleep. Every child goes through various stages of sleep regression in their early years for any number of reasons such as developmental changes, changes in their environment or home life, or if they are feeling unwell. Developing a positive bedtime routine can not only create an enjoyable experience for you and your child, but can also lay the foundations for a better night’s sleep (for both of you!) Here are our top tips to help your child settle to sleep: 1. Dim the Lights

Dimming the lights up to an hour before bedtime and ensuring there is only low lighting when putting them to bed could help your child settle to sleep. Children’s

body clocks are sensitive to light exposure, so minimal light such as a dim lamp or small night light can help your child’s body adjust to the bedtime routine. 2. Share a Story Together

Sharing stories together is a wonderful way to support your child with any emotions they may be feeling, while spending quality time together and winding down for bed. Connecting with characters who are experiencing similar emotions helps your child to make sense of how they are feeling, or to learn and develop both their language and imagination. 3. Talk About Feelings

Chatting with your child about their day, or what’s on their mind can help them to process the world around them and understand

any experiences or changes they might be going through. By letting them talk it out, it’s less likely to interrupt their sleep. 4. Relax…

If your child gets anxious or restless at bedtime, it may be a good idea to lay down with them and practice some relaxing breathing techniques together. Encourage them to take deep calming breaths along with you, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. A good way of getting your child to do this is to tell them they are breathing in magic through their nose, and fairy dust out through their mouth!



Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe The first food ever baked in space Ingredients

250g flour 1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 170g salted butter, melted 150g soft brown sugar 100g sugar 1 cap vanilla extract 2 Clarence Court eggs 170g chocolate chunks Method

P reheat the oven to 170�C. I n a bowl, combine the flour and bicarb and set aside. I n a separate medium sized bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and caster sugar until combined.

B eat in the vanilla extract and eggs until light and creamy. M ix in the flour and bicarbonate of soda until just blended. S tir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. P ut the dough onto the prepared baking trays, with each cookie around 4 tbsp of dough and around 8cm apart. D o not flatten the dough as this will happen naturally. B ake for 15 to 17 mins in the preheated oven, or until golden. C ool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Hello! We’re The Avenue Cookery School and we are an independent, family-run cookery school, based in Wandsworth, South West London. We love all things foodie and incorporate that love and enthusiasm into our amazing cooking courses and classes. With years of experience, our passion for teaching others to cook shines through in our relaxed and fun classes — we think you’ll feel at home as soon as you walk through our doors! All ages and abilities are welcome. TURN TO P18 AND 19 to read about space in schools


The world’s first Muslim ballet school

Working on a unique combined ballet and poetry syllabus

The company was founded upon a passion for child development, holistic wellbeing and raising the Muslim community to make a positive impact in the world. The company’s mission is to help every child to embody both Grace & Poise in the physical sense, but also to have Grace in their characters and Poise in their identity as a Muslim. G&P opened their doors in January 2019 and has since established 6 sites across London and have recently expanded into Birmingham. The company also offers ballet to poetry in curriculum within Islamic Schools. G&P start their ballet classes from 2 years old and above, with classes becoming girls only from 6 years olds plus to cater for modesty. The syllabus and

poetry has been written specially for the Academy and spoken word poetry is used rather than music. The academy has Ladies Only performances and the progress of the children is checked through annual ballet examinations. Ballet to Poetry helps the child to develop physical skills such as coordination and control. Alongside physical benefits, the spoken word poetry helps the child to develop cognitively and expressively by engaging with storytelling through movement and expression. The poetry has a natural rhythm whilst using imagery and dynamics to support movement development and explore positive messages and themes depicted in the poems. G&P has been a great success in supporting children and it is believed their way of working hugely encourages children’s confidence, imagination, creativity, physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Whilst classical ballet involves music, Grace & Poise’s unique way of exploring literature facilitates language development, critical thinking and creative expression. MAISIE ALEXANDRA BYERS

Many of our parents relocate from London, looking to settle in the area so their daughter can come to St Catherine’s. We’ve created a brief guide to help you explore the local area and consider possible places to call home. Email Sally Manhire on or call 01483 899665 and we’ll send your guide to you straight away.

Good luck with the house hunting!

St Catherine’s Prep, Bramley GSA Day & Boarding School since 1885 | 4 - 18 years Guildford GU5 0DF | | 01483 899665


Swimming is a Lifesaving Skill Why do children need to learn to swim? My name is Miss Joyce, and I am a self published author of 2 children’s books: I don’t like swimming and Swimming is great, for 5 - 9 year olds. I have been a swimming instructor for 29 years, teaching all abilities, including deaf and autistic children. Total pupils taught: 21,500, aged 3 months to 97 years old. At age 8, I learnt to swim at school. I was awarded my 10 metre certificate, soon after. I didn’t realise this childhood experience would determine my future, to become a swimming instructor. Years later, I received my first certificate teaching others how to swim. Subsequently, I devoted my life to encouraging and inspiring people, to take up this lifesaving skill. Swimming is the only sport, on the national curriculum, that can save your child’s life, and help them save someone else’s. By learning basic water safety skills, anyone can become confident and competent in water. Whilst covering lessons, I noticed pupils were always unprepared. I decided to write books to help them. My aim was to provide information, and reflect the diversity of the kids that I taught in a multicultural society, to ensure they could see themselves represented and depicted in books. Swimming is a lifesaving skill that everyone should learn. Join a centre today! CONTACT MISS JOYCE for book sales at:

Introducing Miss Joyce Who am I and what do I do? I have been teaching swimming for over 29 years and have taught over 21,500 pupils ranging from the age of 3 months to 97 years old, teaching all over the globe from the UK to Europe, East to West Africa. These pupils include state and private school children with all abilities, including deaf and autistic children. At the age of 8, I learned how to swim through school lessons in South London. I was so happy when I achieved my 10 metres certificate, so my dad framed it, but little did I know that I would become a swimming teacher myself. I really wish that I still had that certificate now, as in my 25th year of teaching, I returned to the pool where I received my first certificate, to teach others how to swim. Life really does go in circles... My favourite hobby is travelling, which has allowed me to swim in all kinds of waters. From scuba diving in the Red Sea of Egypt to swimming with dolphins in the Indian Ocean of


Mauritius. I have climbed Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, slept on the beach in St Lucia waiting for turtles to lay their eggs and, cruised the Caribbean Sea. I love getting to know the locals and making friends, learning about their culture and seeing the wildlife, and have even walked with lions in the Gambia and handled crocodiles in Spain. I use my travelling experiences to help me with my most challenging pupils, to encourage them to learn to swim so that if they are ever in a difficult situation in the water, either on holiday or at home, they can have the confidence to save a life, whether that is their own or even someone else’s. Plus, being able to swim gives you great confidence and it is a marvellous low impact sport. And now based on all my experience I am writing books to encourage children to get the most out of their swimming lessons and most of all, enjoy this lifesaving skill.


The houses that look like ours… Making room for working class stories I grew up in a terraced house in a Welsh valley, surrounded by mountains and very close to the river. In a village which once produced copper, iron and tin, and a town which makes steel to this day. I didn’t know about class, all I knew was that my parents met in a factory, and they continued to work very hard in blue-collar jobs. We weren’t rich, but we weren’t poor, either. We know how important it is for young people to see their lives reflected back to them in the books they read, and working class children are no exception. A teacher sharing my first book, The Valley of Lost Secrets, told me that, when looking at the cover,

one child asked, ‘Who lives in the houses that look like ours?’ In an ex-mining community in a Welsh valley, that child’s connection to the setting is not a coincidence. So often adventures happen in castles or old manor houses or boarding schools – and hoorah for them – but I want to make those places budge over a bit, make room for books where ‘rows of terraced houses lead off the hill on both sides. Each street looks the same and each house has a front step that meets the pavement.’ A place just like where I grew up... LESLIE PARR, Children’s Author ​

Help a child learn to read Volunteer with Bookmark Help a child develop the reading skills and confidence they need for a fair chance in life. Read together for 30 minutes, twice a week, for six weeks. Registered Charity No. 1177681


Giving your school a makeover! Delivering a independent school experience for maintained school children

Leaders in maintained schools are well aware of the state education system’s challenges, especially when compared to the independent school system. Independent education traditionally brings benefits for the children who attend. For example, two-thirds of senior judges and half of junior ministers are independently educated, despite less than one in ten children in the UK attending independent school. Such disproportionate success could mean that children’s opportunities are given a glass ceiling at birth. The family, location, and circumstances they are born into will present far more significant barriers to entry than a child born into wealth. The situation is unjust, but there are many ways to try and fix this imbalance. Whilst we campaign for a fairer system, how can we make an impact as educators at schools like Park Lane Primary School and Nursery, part of the

Griffin Schools Trust? My role as Head of School is to make sure that every child at the school is aspirational and ambitious. We pride ourselves on creating tomorrow’s leaders – but we know that this will not happen unless we widen the horizons of our young learners. As a maintained school, within an area at the top decile of deprivation, we


could be thought to be the furthest from an independent institution you can be. However, we aim to offer the same experiences, opportunities, and self-belief that independent education offers. We take great pride in our environment and our resources. Research, such as the ‘broken windows’ theory in New York, confirms that taking pride in your community can be learnt and our young people learn that the minute they walk through the door. We are continually refurbishing and refreshing the school environment, based on the ideas of our students, using pupil voice activities. This is challenging on a state school budget, but we make it happen. Through upcycling, thrifty Facebook Marketplace purchases, and a reupholsterer who is simply magical, we have created a welcoming, inspiring, child-centred look and feel to the school. The school’s style and tone scream independent education with themed rooms, chandeliers, chesterfield seating, magnificent carpets, and beautiful art. What’s so amazing is items have cost less

than they would in the typical wholesaler most schools use. Another focus is our school uniform. We aim to instil a sense of pride in the children, and what they wear can be highly impactful. The uniform has a traditional school crest, rooted in the history of the school, black trousers or skirt, white collared shirt, tie, and blazers (the latter for Year Six only, giving them a further sense of responsibility as ‘leaders’ within the school). Now, you may be wondering how parents are supported to enable their children to look smart every day? Part of addressing the imbalance in society is providing those with lesser means the helping hand to level the playing field. Unfortunately, we are a long way from giving our parents the means which Eton children’s parents enjoy, but what we were able to do is pay for the blazers and ties and offer ‘newly new’ uniform shops. You see, the elephant in the room for state schools, both for the school and parents, is budget. Schools have only so much to play with, and parents have even less. So when a school asks for parents to pay for nice uniforms and school trips, those with less are left behind. That’s where we can remove as many barriers as possible. Is it a challenge? Yes. Is it impossible? No. Not only have we provided free blazers and ties, refurbished the school, and purchased thousands of books, we have implemented other initiatives, as part of our Griffin Promise, with no financial support requested from parents — all within our regular state school budget. Such initiatives include free

dance lessons for our Year 4 children from the Royal Ballet. This truly provides an independent school experience to children. Furthermore, we sponsor children who show natural skills in ballet, allowing them to further their education with independent lessons. Another example is free music lessons for all children. Our children play instruments such as the clarinet, ukulele, and violin and all our pupils attend free activity clubs. Language is another area in which we can instil a sense of culture and worldly knowledge that independently educated children typically benefit from more. We speak Spanish throughout the school, with weekly lessons, visits from Spanish-speaking individuals, and cultural days where the children eat Spanish food and learn about Spanish sports. We also ensure children have access to the latest learning tech. Fortuitously, we ordered a class set of VR headsets before the pandemic. As you can imagine, these came in extremely handy during the lockdown, allowing children to explore new places at a time when school trips were impossible. Even now, VR enables children to explore the deep sea and galaxies far away. As members of a family of schools, our children take part in national events, such as our annual Griffin Arts Festival, Science Symposium and Sports Festival. Opportunities to perform and compete on a

national stage really does give our pupils the confidence to take on new challenges and try new activities. It isn’t fair that children’s futures are so often determined from the moment they are born; being at a maintained school shouldn’t mean the opportunities offered to those in independent education can’t be provided to them too. The initiatives we have implemented at Park Lane Primary School and Nursery provide vital experiences to children that ensure they can rise above their station. Such experiences are essential in the primary years of a child’s education, and sending children to independent school shouldn’t be the only option to achieving this. The changes have instilled a sense of pride and passion in our students. As a result, the school feels like both an elite learning environment and a second home. This is when children are most stimulated to focus on their learning, allowing them to become the Senior Judges and Junior Ministers of tomorrow, regardless of background. ALEXANDRA LADBURY, Head of School, Park Lane Primary School and Nursery TURN TO PAGES 34 - 39 to read about social mobility at Exeter University



Inspiring Fiercely Independent Girls A successful girls-only education At Sutton High we’re proud to offer an education designed for and dedicated to the development and empowerment of successful, happy, confident and adventurous young women. There is strong evidence that a girls-only education leads to higher academic achievement but that’s only part of the story: they also develop a stronger self-confidence and better resilience. Whilst there are many outstanding co-educational schools around the country, we at Sutton High School GDST firmly believe that girls thrive in girls-only environments. Girls can often face societal pressures to conform to gender stereotypes – and in the presence of boys these pressures can seem stronger. We’re passionate about girls feeling free to make informed and unconstrained decisions in a safe

and inspiring environment. At Sutton High School, our girls do better because they feel better. Girls are known and celebrated for who they are as individuals, with an ethos of kindness and belonging that empowers them to become fiercely independent. Our values of courage, truth and joy are at the heart of everything we do, so girls achieve exceptional results because we support them to be bold when facing challenges, to have self-belief and to find joy in learning. As an all-through school, we enable our girls from their earliest steps on the learning journey in Nursery, to confidently forge their own path and stride forward in our Sixth Form. Join us for our next whole school open day on Thursday 23 June 6-8pm. BETH DAWSON, Headmistress at Sutton High School GDST





Pupils learning sign language Introducing Sign Language at Cranleigh Prep School A heightened awareness

Reflecting on Lockdown, one of Cranleigh Prep School’s pupils felt that they heard everything more distinctly than they used to. They mentioned how they listened to the bird song and pheasants’ call. The children recently discussed this in class on their return, and very soon, the conversation came around to deaf people and those with hearing loss. The children expressed how fortunate they felt they were to hear one another and converse. Sparked by this conversation and encouraged by the success of Rose Ayling-Ellis on “Strictly Come Dancing,” it was decided to introduce Sign Language to Cranleigh Prep. Quick progression

Following the online British Sign Language course, a group of 8-10 year olds are learning to communicate in sign language. The course slowly leads the class through a range of words and phrases, with a video demonstrating how the hand movement is made. With incredible speed, the children pick up this communication method easily, and their week-on-week progress is quite staggering. Along with the words, they have also been learning about the different types of people who may use sign language, how it differs from country to country, and how signing is perceived. Sharing new skills

The children have learned how to sign numbers, letters, colours, and greetings this term. Keen to share their newfound skills with a broader audience, they created an online video to teach others how to sign the words for different animals. The children love learning sign language and the opportunity to have a conversation with their hands. MRS KATE SCHUTTE, Head of English at Cranleigh Prep School


Open Morning for 11+ Entry Summer term 2022

Sixth Form Open Evening 8 June 2022 TURN TO P45-46 to read about the Dancing for the Disabled competition

Find out more & book online


Space and Science inspire children Looking above and beyond Children in Year 1 Chinchilla Class at Swaffield School in Wandsworth SW London chose British scientist and science educator Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE as the person who most inspired them in a recent history focus. As part of their studies during Black History Month, children across the school selected someone to research who they felt has made a significant contribution to the UK and the world. Year 1 Chinchilla Class discovered that during her impressive career, Maggie Aderin-Pocock has worked on the development of telescopes as

well as creating instruments in a satellite, which is in space circling the world, that helps scientists understand the impact of climate change. When asked what inspired them about Maggie, the children said: “Maggie Aderin-Pocock is resilient. She wasn’t very good at spelling but she kept on trying.” “I think she is inspiring because I want to go into space.” “She wanted to become an astronaut and she is very clever.” The children were motivated to learn that Maggie had not let obstacles stand in her way and that she encourages children to

believe that someone’s background should never be a barrier to what they aspire to be, and certainly should not get in the way of entering the amazing universe of science and space. Who knows – perhaps this focus on Maggie Aderin-Pocock will be a launch pad to some of Swaffield’s Year 1 children becoming the scientists, engineers, and astronauts of the future! Watch this space!

Swaffield School nurture, inspire, prepare

Choosing a Primary School? Find out for yourself what makes Swaffield School your first choice for your child's primary education. “Both of my children have really flourished at Swaffield. It’s given them an excellent educational foundation which has helped them secure places at Emanuel School, including an academic scholarship.” Year 5 Parent March 2022 Swaffield School St Ann's Hill Wandsworth SW18 2SA

Contact us to arrange your visit:

Tel: 020 8874 2825 Email:


The Wonders of the Night Sky: Space Science in schools Paving the way for future female-involvement in STEM subjects There can be few things more likely project consisted of a draft treaty to fire a child’s imagination than the for a system of governance for Mars. wonders of the night sky. Whether She was then invited to the USA to it’s the study of missions to Mars, present her ideas to NASA. the Moon landing, a visit to the Our focus on Engineering has planetarium, or a star-gazing event, led us to design a new, GCSE the educational outcomes can be equivalent course, on Innovation and powerful and transformative. This Entrepreneurship, which includes a is why space science in schools is module on Sustainable Engineering. so vitally important and, especially This encourages our students to so in girls’ schools, where we must be the engineers of the future who inspire more women to take up STEM create the solutions to mitigate the careers. effects of climate change and help us At King’s High in Warwick, space live a more sustainable life. science is a priority for us. We ran At King’s High around 50% of our the first ever student-led Mars leavers pursue STEM after A Levels, Eleanor Griffin, invited to NASA Project, partnering with ARISS, a including degrees in Physics with to share her A Level EPQ radio communications charity, which Space Science, Motor Engineering, culminated in a live link-up with an astronaut on Civil Engineering, and a degree apprenticeship at the International Space Station. We appointed a the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology. Space Scientist in Residence, our students took Engineering is thriving here and space science, for radio communications exams, and we built a giant many, has been the first step on a pathway to an scaffold to facilitate the live radio link with the ISS. exciting STEM career. We know that women make This was a special moment for our community up only 28% of the workforce in STEM careers and and one which a generation of our pupils will never we, for one, are working hard to bring about much forget. We are building the legacy from that event needed change. now. The study of space science is fully embedded DR. STEPHEN BURLEY, Headmaster in our curriculum in every Key Stage. As one of the first schools to introduce Engineering as a distinct subject, our Year 8 students explore the Red Planet and present on the challenges and opportunities of TURN TO PAGE 10 for the first cookies baked in space! missions to Mars. One student’s recent extended EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S PRI NG 2022 | 19



Mrs. Jane Lunnon Mrs. Jane Lunnon, first female headmistress of Alleyn’s School, Dulwich, talks about her experience as a headteacher and their global approach to learning

We were thrilled to be able to speak to Mrs. Jane Lunnon, Headmistress at Alleyn’s School, to discuss their inspiring learning environment, recognition of global affairs including gender equality, Everyone’s Invited and BLM - their active connections with local schools, and to hear how they are embracing life post the pandemic. How do you feel a year on into your role?

I feel even more energised if that’s possible. It’s just such a huge joy to run this school, it really is an honour. What makes it joyful is the unending surprise of our brilliant children. They are all so gifted and they all wear those gifts so lightly. They are so supportive of each other and fun. It’s just impossible not to feel inspired in the school. We are a connected community as staff and pupils, and it is a total joy. The lovely thing is, not that you would say this when inspectors call, is that, the inspectors came last term and they said that with bells on, they saw what we see every day. They are incredibly impressive young people doing their thing brilliantly. It is a virtuous circle of inspiration. They inspire us to further inspire them. TURN TO P40 to read about addressing anxiety in young children (related to events in the Ukraine)


You are also the first female head - how did this make you feel?

I’m standing on the shoulders of giants in terms of the incredible predecessors in retrospect. It’s funny, lots of people have asked me how it feels to be the first female head. I guess, being female doesn’t and won’t characterise my headship, but having said that, I am more aware of what a privilege it is to do this job now that I have taken it on. Being the first to do anything is always an amazing opportunity, but I don’t want people to say: Oh, Jane Lunnon, she was a great female head. I want them to say that she was a great head and she did all these lovely, amazing things in this great school. The issue is not about gender, really. It’s about our ideas and how we move into the future together. Our school was founded on possibility, it was founded on ideas, it was founded on this amazing Jacobean player named Alleyn who decided:

“The issue is not about gender, really. It’s about our ideas and how we move into the future together.”


SPECIAL FEATURE Alleyn’s School Focus


“Not only am I going to be one of the great actors of my time, but I’m also going to make a difference in education.” He was brimming with ideas and a sense of possibility and that was a sacred mission that we carried forwards, and I’m delighted to be doing that. What do you feel have been the main challenges in the past year?

I actually started in January 2021, so I started literally at the beginning of a total lockdown, which was uniquely challenging. I found myself as a new head with no one in my school. The good news is I got to find my way around the buildings very quickly, but yes, Covid is the gift that keeps on giving in terms of challenge and learning how to have adaptable thought as an ability and so on. I am so proud of this school. One of the things that made me absolutely certain that this was the place that I should be, was when, back in the end of December 2021, when for the first time the Government was saying that they wanted schools to be testing centres and then after that they wanted them to be totally locked down. I said to the staff: “We are going to pick up our entire school and we’re going to put it online. We’re going to do everything that we do and, as much as we possibly can, we’re going to do it remotely.” Everybody, as one: parents, staff and children, they all rose to that challenge. It’s not just about lessons and homework. It’s about form time and assemblies, CCF, the cocurricular clubs, Astronomy Club. It all happened online. Individual meetings with teachers. The staff were absolutely amazing and I am sure that all of our pupils certainly wouldn’t all have been there at 8:00 in the morning, looking like they were ready to go were it not for a bit of input from our parents as well to get them dressed, or at least dressed

“We’re looking for young people who are hungry for opportunity, who are curious and eager for the future and what it holds.” 22 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 202 2

on the top half. So, you know, yes, it has been a challenge, but every single element of responding to Covid has allowed the school flexibility and resilience. Enormous commitment to each other. We’ve had to design a whole new assessment process for Covid and that was a challenge. I was really clear about that. I said to the staff, we’re going to be super positive. My mantra to them: “Be super positive, don’t cheat.” We wanted to allow our children to show what they can do best, but with complete integrity so that the children earnt the results that they got. And they really did and I’m so proud of all members of staff. We also had to respond to the societal issues that have been on everybody’s mind; gender equality, diversity, inclusion, sustainability, the response to Everyone’s Invited. In that sense, to go back to your question about being the first female head, I felt that I was in the right place at the right time. Although, I was only in my first term when the Everyone’s Invited thing first emerged. The opportunity, again, to lead on a response to that national issue and to be in an environment which had been co-educational for 50 years. So truly, a kind of mutual trust and respect between our students and between genders was a real opportunity and it meant that we could have the kind of open and often difficult conversations together. Our students went off timetable and we were sitting down and just talking openly about these issues. It was an open and really warm and trusting dialogue. It’s been great being able to

SPECIAL FEATURE Everyone’s Invited and BLM

come up with responses together as a community. Coming up with our own Gender Equality Charter. This has been a document and a statement of our philosophy that has arisen from our students, from parents, from teachers and from our alumni. It really was a whole community effort. That’s fantastic, and is probably leading the way in that area as an awful lot took place in a very short space of time.

Yes, very quickly, the first thing we did was stop our pupils from having mobile phones during the school day. I really feel that this is such an important measure that if schools can take them, they should take them. These are highly addictive pieces of technology and we all know how powerful that is because we all are, one way or another, completely dependent on our phones and devices. For our kids, whose brains are still developing, it is so important that they have at least 6 hours a day when they are not connected to social media or on their mobiles. That is one really important thing that we have brought in and I feel it’s making a really big difference. Are there any other key changes that you feel that you have been able to bring to such a successful school?

We’ve done a fair bit actually. It’s funny, you’d think, with Covid and Everyone’s Invited happening that we haven’t yet got going in relation to changes. The really big area that matters enormously to the school and to me is our Partnership work and Partnership activity. We’ve been able to bring in two big elements to that: we’ve started a summer school, specifically for pupils who experienced learning loss due to Covid, especially students from schools around us and any pupils who are disadvantaged. That was supported by our pupils and our staff. They did that in the summer holidays and I, again, am unbelievably proud of that. We’ve also started the Alleyn’s Academy, which runs after school, offering top level PE Coaching and sports training, again for children from local schools who wouldn’t access it otherwise. We are over inundated, we have over 100 pupils who come and take part in that, so it’s an amazing thing and we have huge support from professional sporting organisations around us. We’ve also audited our curriculum and used TURN TO PAGES 34 - 39 to read about social mobility at Exeter University

a company called The Black Curriculum. They have run a diversity and race audit against our curriculums. It’s been a really interesting exercise that was fantastic for our Heads of Department. We also have the Gender Equality Charter, as I have already mentioned, but we’ve also started to explore. We’ve brought in ‘Bring your own device’, so students all bring in or have a device that they can use as a part of their learning. The next step is exploring ways in which we can use VR in our classrooms, which is really exciting! We have also just finished our first Multicultural Week, which is a fantastic week celebrating diversity and inclusion. We have had huge amounts of fun with dance, music, slam poetry, run by the pupils. It was fantastic! Alleyn’s has a Junior school and many children go on to join the Seniors. The key main entry point is 11 plus for the Senior school (there used to be 13 plus but that stopped about two years ago, so for seniors I imagine there is a 16 plus for Sixth form). What do you look for in children applying at 11 plus? What is it that you are looking for in a child at 11 plus?

Yes, you are right about the entry points. We do also sometimes have the occasional vacancies at unusual points, but yes, our main entry points are 11 and 16 (Sixth Form). What are we looking for? Gosh, the spirit of possibility. We are highly academic and competitive, so there is a need for a selective and competitive entry. But once that’s given, we’re looking for young people who are hungry for opportunity, who are curious and eager for the future and what it holds. You can see that really vividly in 11 year olds, that spark and that sense of right, what’s next? We also want people who really are unpretentious and grounded. I think that one of the big features, one of the


“We’re in a revolution, aren’t we? We are all in the middle of the most astonishing technical revolution, which is also, hard on its heels, a social and political revolution as well.” things I admire them for is their lightness and the humility with which they wear their talents. They really are so grounded. This is partly due to our wider social mix in comparison to most independent schools, partly because of our history, we were once a Grammar school. I think that there is a grounded and unpretentious melting pot of brilliance. We are looking for kids like that who will fit in with that mindset, being open-minded. Also, children who are ready to seize opportunity. And I think all of them have displayed such resilience haven’t they?

They have, yes.

Do you feel that the increased use of technology in the pandemic, aside from the use of mobile phones, has had some positive outcomes and advancement in teaching practices and student/teacher communication?

Absolutely. We’re in a revolution, aren’t we? We are all in the middle of the most astonishing technical revolution, which is also, hard on its heels, a social and political revolution as well. And with that, is the most fantastic opportunity, certainly, for our staff, for our pupils. Never again will the dog have eaten the homework, or you miss the lesson so you don’t know what was covered or whatever. There are also real things in relation to speed and pace and when you are working in a highly

academic environment, being able to cover ground quickly. Being able to immediately see the work the students have done, instead of having to wait until the next lesson. Being able to mark it or look at it almost instantly, and seeing the work the very night after you taught the lesson, seeing if the student has understood or if further explanation is needed. If something is going wrong you can address it in the very next lesson. There is a point about pace, and if you can pick up pace in teaching this allows a real breadth of room for inspiration. For parents it has also become much easier for Parents’ Evenings and so on, online. I have to say, we miss having them here and we’ve created lots of other opportunities to get parents in, but I totally appreciate that for working parents it is so much easier managing Parents’ Evenings with a glass of wine, or a bottle of wine depending on the performance of the student. We are obviously entering a new, more global community in 2022 and young people are more aware than ever before of events that are taking place around the world, I believe Russia is currently invading Ukraine as we speak, and the possible impact that they will have on their futures. I suppose, what we will come onto is the BLM movement and George Floyd. How does Alleyn’s support the children and their concerns or fears about events that they are facing including the Covid-19 pandemic?

I think that that is the question for our time actually. The answer is very broad actually, there are so many things. Above all, I think that you need to give children two things: one, you need to give them an absolute sense of their own safety in the space that they are in. So, one thing we can do, we can’t, I’m afraid, influence Putin, but as they enter the school, we want children to feel that they are safe, they are known and they are loved. How you do that is, of course, through the school.


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SPECIAL FEATURE Global Community

right; it’s about making it fun. We want to have at least a part of their day where they are just having the best time. That is what school should be. How have you addressed the BLM movement in the curriculum after the murder of George Floyd in 2020?

The attitude in classrooms, the pastoral cares, we have a house system and a year group system as well, so we have horizontal and vertical, it’s about relationships, the co-curricular programme, we have over 200 clubs running every week. We’re doing that so kids can really find their thing. We want to make them feel fulfilled, and help them to flourish and be genuinely happy. So that’s the first thing, if you’ve got to make them feel safe and nurtured. The second thing is what you’ve got in place to help them get control of their own narrative: it’s about having their own sense of agency, a sense of control over their own reality. We do that in two ways. In the summer, we are building our new Well Centre, which is really exciting! And it’s going to be a place which provides reactive support for kids, if and when the wheels fall off, it’s where our councillors will be, it’s where our nurses will be. It will be a wonderful and nurturing place. But it will also be a centre for innovative, bespoke proactive pastoral education. What I mean by that is the stuff that we do with these children, the stuff that we teach them, to try and stay in front of emotional concerns or mental health anxiety. So, in the same way that we talk about physical fitness as a way of keeping good health, this will be the home for pastoral programmes about mental fitness, to reminding children of their efficacy, their agency, their sense of gratitude, mindfulness, finding purpose through all of the service and partnership work that we do. All of those things. Making sure they are aware of how that helps to keep them healthy and to give them agency. So, yes. And, I know I said that there were only two things, but lastly, the last things are just about joy. If it’s not joyful you’re not doing it

This is a very pertinent question, especially for our school in relation to our location in South East London. We have done a number of things, started by my predecessors and continued by me. We have a Minority Students Union. This is very active and is run by our pupils, they make recommendations, they make suggestions, they are active advocates, they get speakers in and they really help all of us actually, to keep focused on what their experience is like on the ground, what are our pupils feeling. They ran a student-based webinar this time last year across our community for local state schools and local independent schools. It was an amazing opportunity for students to come together and share their experiences and make suggestions. We also have a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that is made up of staff. We’ve looked at our curriculum with the lens of minority requirements that need that kind of context. The Multicultural Week was all about having fun within that context and having speakers in. Critically, we’ve also looked at all our recruitment processes in relation to both admissions for pupils and also recruitment for staff, looking at our messaging and hoping that there are no unconscious messages coming through that would be problematic. These things won’t change overnight. 30% of our Year 7 last year were from a non-white background. We have been able to recruit. We have had some fantastic, fantastic minority ethnic applicants for teaching positions. I’ve been able to recruit a number of those this year as well. So, bit by bit we are forming a much more diverse and inclusive atmosphere. To hear more about how Alleyn’s are addressing: LGBTQIIA+, GCSE reforms, Climate Change and US and UK university applications listen to the podcast below We would like to thank Mrs. Jane Lunnon for giving up her time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST TURN TO P12 to read about Miss Joyce’s Swimming Club





“To suggest that we are looking for any recurring feature would be a slight misnomer. I think that our strength is our diversity.” KEY TOPICS: ho is Joe Silvester? W Ethos of Wetherby Senior The registration process Qualities of a Wetherby Senior boy The London location Scholarships and bursaries Support for pupils with additional learning needs University applications Benefits of a single-sex education Future of the school

Can you tell us a little about your career prior to joining Wetherby Seniors?

I am Joe Silvester, and I am still the relatively new Head of Wetherby Senior School. I came to Wetherby from Bancroft School, which is a very academically selective co-educational day school just outside of London at Woodford Green. I was the Deputy Head there and prior to being at Bancroft I spent a long time at the City of London School, the boys’ school that is not very far from here. At City of London, I was a teacher, Head of Department, Housemaster, Assistant Head, I had responsibility for the delivery of teaching and learning.

I helped with the introduction of EdTech. I was also a part of the Outside Reach and Partnership Programme. Coming here to Wetherby Senior School as an independent boys’ school in the heart of town feels to me to be a very familiar move. As the new Headmaster, I have to say that me and the school are a very good fit. I feel that we are getting on very well so far. What (if any) changes do you hope to initiate in the academic year ahead?

I think it is very much the case that there are very exciting times ahead for Wetherby. I’ve already appointed a person to be in charge


of our charity and fundraising activities. I have already appointed someone to be our Head of Service Learning; a person to work across the school in looking for opportunities to work within our local community and across a wider range of groups. It is very important to me that those two aspects of being a thoughtful and responsible citizen are folded into the kind of education that we offer here. We are in a wonderful location here in the centre of town. We are fortunate enough to have some terrific facilities both on-site and off-site. It’s really important to me, added on to that, that there is a real sense of engagement with the community.

Wetherby Senior Focus

It helps the boys form a sense of who they are and of the world that they live within. Can you tell me a little more, I’m sure parents will be keen to hear as Wetherby is one of the newer schools on the block, about the ethos that drives Wetherby Seniors?

For me, sitting at the heart of the community is a sense of kindness with what we do. We have, for the boys, in their printed material and in their material around the school, what we call our ‘values wheel’. At the heart of that wheel is effort and a sense that through one’s own hard work and endeavours, you can succeed. We also talk to the boys about: Character, Respect and Community. It is an important thread that runs for me throughout communications and

assemblies and the work that we do. That we are a community. That we have a shared endeavour. That we have a shared responsibility to one another. There are three main points of entry: 11 plus, 13 plus and 16 plus. Can you tell me and the parents listening a little about the application process?

The boys will be asked to sit the ISEB examinations. Lots of boys will sit that test in situ at their own school. But equally we are also offering hosted sessions for boys coming from abroad or private schools, or any situation that means that it would be best to sit it here. We are happy to facilitate that. We have what I think is a really thoughtful and warm interview process. I always say to parents

that it is not about a grilling; it’s about an opportunity for your son to get to know us and for us to get to know your son. Each child is unique. I think that it is really important for parents to remember that. I really want to work with them to find the right school for their child. What ideally are you looking for in a Wetherby Senior boy?

To suggest that we are looking for any recurring feature would be a slight misnomer. I think that our strength is our diversity. On the most recent open day in September, Max, the Head Boy, stood up and gave a terrific speech. It was miles better than mine and he is a far better salesman of the school than I will ever be. Max stood up and said to a very crowded room of parents that:

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Educating boys

“There is no such thing as a Wetherby boy, and that’s what’s nice. That we are cut from different kinds of cloth and are bound together in our identities by having come here.” For parents looking to send their boys here: I’m looking for a boy with an independence of mind. Someone who wants to engage. Someone who is keen to learn. But we aren’t specifically looking for sporty boys or academic boys or extraverted boys, or musical boys or artistic boys. We are actually a very broad and welcoming church. I’m aware that there are scholarships or bursaries available to children and families who may need additional financial support or for children that are gifted in Music and Art, can you tell me a little about those?

One thing that people might not necessarily know is that the school is actually a part of a larger group of schools known as the Alpha Plus Group. This Group has set up separately the Gold Charitable Standard Trust. It is that charity that provides bursarial support for people who wish to come to the school and have a life-changing experience. We currently offer scholarships into the Sixth Form on an academic basis. Looking forwards, and going beyond that, I know as I visited recently, that you had a number of applicants to US universities and that some children were considering universities in Europe. I wanted to hear a little bit more about how Wetherby Senior were supporting their children with their US applications and university applications in general?

That is a really good question and

one that I am quite proud to answer actually. We are now into our third set of leavers. We have had well in excess of 30 offers from some of the best universities over the last couple of years from Harvard, Brown, Berkeley, NYU. Someone won a sports scholarship, we’ve had a couple people go to Chicago, Notre Dame. We’ve had a really impressive breadth of American universities. We have sent boys off to European universities as well as, in the main, UK Russell Group universities. The Sixth Form is led by Ms Deedat, who works tirelessly with the boys to ensure that they are appropriately supported, and she is rapidly becoming something of an expert in European University admissions. We also work with a specialist company to support boys with the American application process, to make sure that their councillor references that are so important in the American application system really are first class. I think that the numbers of offers that the boys are receiving reflect the quality of support and revision that is on offer there. The destinations have a very compelling list for us as a school. And it speaks to me about the quality that is on offer here. Whilst Wetherby Senior is


based in Central London you do offer a wide range of sports - including the incredible Spin Studio. How do the boys access the sports facilities outside the school?

We are slightly TARDIS-like on site. You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but we have a full fitness suite and a spin studio. We are adding to that a boxing exercise studio and a yoga studio. We also offer table tennis coaching on site. So, for a compact, central London site, we have a good quality provision on site already. Locally, boys swim and climb and play basketball, badminton and Taekwondo. We also take the boys out to the Ealing Trailfinders Sports Club; this is just out at Ealing and is a professional Rugby Club. We’ve got a terrific tie in with them. We have got fantastic use of all of their facilities every afternoon. They have rugby pitches, tennis courts, football pitches, cricket pitches, cricket nets, and now a brand new indoor facility. Given our location, the boys are very well-provided for indeed. TURN TO PAGE 16 to read about developing independence in girls at Sutton High School CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST


Lancing College Focus



We know that you are an English specialist (particularly Shakespeare) and took your MPhil at St Peter’s College, Oxford, where you also became a member of the University of Oxford English Faculty and Lecturer at St Peter’s College, and you have nearly completed 10 years at Lancing College as Head. How have you seen the school develop and change in that time?

There has been dynamism and growth in a variety of ways. One is in the continued growth of the numbers of girls in the school. We’re now at just under 45% girls in the school. It has felt properly and fully co-ed for a while. In fact, the school has recently celebrated 20 years of being co-ed. We’ve actually had girls in the Sixth Form since the 1970s. We’ve got the largest ever number of girl boarders this year. We have also got a very high demand of girls who want to come and join us. We have adapted and shifted a lot in relation to the external context. We’ve spoken a lot to parents and to pupils about the changing world, their changing needs, desires and so on. There has been a lot of modernising and flexing about how the school works. We look terribly traditional. People often say we look a bit like a castle or Hogwarts on the hill. We are actually more dynamic and outward looking than that. There has been a double build of cocurricular range. There has been a honing in on, a sharpening, a brightening of our academic credentials, which have always been very strong. At the moment, for example, looking at the TURN TO P42 to read about educating children through art

“I know all of the students here. I love the fact that I know them and know them well.”



Developing global citizens

“The school is very international, as I’ve mentioned, we’re preparing people to be successful global citizens to engage with the world.”

begin to dream of being able to come and enjoy the power of being somewhere like this. It has had a fantastic impact on them individually and on the school more broadly, and I think that this programme is going to continue to grow. We have got 25 people going through that programme right now. We are pushing onto the second phase of that to bring in still more pupils. To hear more about the Foundation Programme please listen to the podcast

co-curricular timetable you can take 125 different things in a week. In my time, another Prep school has joined the family. We have also got a nursery that is open 51 weeks of the year. Theoretically, you can be a Lancing College pupil from 2 months to 18 years of age. We certainly get people coming all the way through from our Prep school. We are currently at about 600 in the College. We are going to get a tiny bit bigger, maybe about 620 in the next year or two. There is a slow evolutionary growth. We are not as big as some schools; you can’t slip through the net here. I know all of the students here. I love the fact that I know them and know them well. But I think that we are big enough, we have this beautiful site that is almost an acre per pupil, allowing space for everybody. There have been various expansions and developments of our teaching facilities. We have an equestrian centre, a swimming pool. The chapel has just been finished 3 months ago; it started in 1868 and we are quite proud that that has happened. We are very proudly diverse and cosmopolitan in terms of our range of where students come from. Just under a third of our students come from overseas. They don’t come from any one place in particular, they come from, I think, this year it’s 43 different nations. This is something that the whole community likes. There is that sense of a very British institution; one that is informed by a global perspective, and I encounter that where I teach the younger ones debating and I love that. In that, we’re all listening to one another and hearing perspectives from all around the world. We are also a more socially inclusive school because a big part of what has happened on my watch, and is continuing to develop, is our Foundationer Programme. This is for people who are here on transformational bursaries, 110% bursaries to enable people who wouldn’t even 30 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 2

I think you have mentioned some of this, but can you tell me about the overall ethos of Lancing College?

I think that it is somewhere where people come to enjoy a real community. It is a boarding school where day and flexi students gain from all that a boarding school has to offer: the full boarding day. Quite often day students end up staying well into the evening and we have to say: “Okay guys, everyone else is going to bed so you need to go home now.” Some people jump on the bus at the beginning and the end of the day and some people move between those realms. The school is very international, as I’ve mentioned, we’re preparing people to be successful global citizens to engage with the world. That ties in with something that is global, transnational. When people leave here, they leave with a competitive spirit and a desire to do interesting things: that might be to go into business, going into the arts or academic life. There are wonderful traditions here, we get loads of medics at the moment. The common thread that underpins that is that Lancing students aren’t just asking: What’s the interesting thing to do? Or the most profitable thing to do? They’re asking: What’s the right thing to do? There is a very strong ethical sense here that is voiced by the students. That is there in most schools I think, but it is something that we really deliberately nurture here, and I enjoy the debating lessons that I teach. This is a big part of that I/we really want to hear from the students. I think that it is a really powerful thing that people have - that strong sense of justice. TURN TO PAGES 43-44 for advice on preparing for 11 plus exams


Senior School & Sixth Form

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This is being pulled together in a Lancing Diploma in December. We will pull together the co-curricular, the service element of school life and the bright and sharp-honed intellectual and academic thrust for people to take responsibility for all of those elements joining together. I think that having been a purely academic person in the first part of my career in Oxford, and teaching wonderful undergraduates, the thing that attracted me, that I think is wonderful about this place, is that I think that a true education doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be narrowly one thing. It shouldn’t be all about the brain. It shouldn’t be all about getting outside and doing sport or debating societies. Whatever it should be, theatre or music, as wonderful as all those things are. It needs to be everything. When it comes to that kind of learning ethos, one of the things that we’re trying to do is to encourage people to bring it all together. Our job isn’t just about getting them great grades, even though, of course, they do, it’s about getting them to go out and face the world and enjoy the world and encounter it as a good influence in that world. To hear more about the independent learning and addressing parent needs please listen to the podcast

Thinking of parents considering schools, as Lancing College is a school that we recommend to parents very highly, what is the main point of entry to Lancing College? What steps should they be taking if they’re interested in applying?

Year 9 is our primary point of entry. There are

“I think is wonderful about this place, is that I think that a true education doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be narrowly one thing. It shouldn’t be all about the brain. It shouldn’t be all about getting outside and doing sport or debating societies. Whatever it should be, theatre or music, as wonderful as all those things are. It needs to be everything” 32 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 2

other people who join us in other years. There is a big chunk of people who come and join us in the Sixth Form, and sometimes we have places in other years too. We are currently booking ahead now for our Advanced Programme; that is our early testing programme for 2025. Our Advanced Programme aims to do what we do for our teaching and learning in an assessment. It is not just to take an ISEB Test or a CAT Test, and on the basis of that score we’ll say yay or nay. Children are not a number, they’re not machines. We don’t want to teach or assess people in that way either. They come in for a day or two, they do some activities and some written exercises. They also do a couple of interviews. We look at all of it. We assess all of it. We want to see children in the round, I want to know what they’re interested in. We want to know what they’re not interested in. What do they like doing and what would they like to explore? We get a really good flavour of people that way. To hear more about the international applications please listen to the podcast

Student voice

“The student voice is heard. Sometimes it is about politics and ethics and so on. Sometimes it’s about facilities, sometimes it is about food. It’s about the things that teenagers want to talk about and we respond.” How do you build independent learning/ thinking into the day-to-day curriculum at Lancing College?

We’re in the National Park, we’ve got lots of accommodation. We’re in one of the most diverse and attractive locations in the UK, we’re only about 5 miles from Brighton. We’ve got some outstanding facilities, kids who want to learn and I think it’s a very exciting place to want to come to and to bring their families to. We don’t talk about the extra-curricular here. We talk about co-curricular. These curriculums interact. Learning doesn’t stop past the exam curriculum. There are lots of new societies. There is massive creativity: there is even a Dungeons and Dragons Society. It is co-creating something that has all sorts of people involved with it. We have people re-forming and reenergising their LGBTQIA+ Society, which is a very good thing. They plan expeditions, and we have lots of prizes which we offer for independent learning. We also have regular outside speakers. At Lancing College how do pupils have a voice – how are their views heard and how do you, as staff, deal with what you learn or the things that they express?

We have a Green Group, we have student groups across the years, we have an Inclusion and Diversity Council Group with student champions on it. We have the pier supporters who are trained to an incredibly high level. We have 50 people in the Sixth Form who have been trained for about 30 hours in the skills of listening to one another; what they need to bring to their teachers and their pastoral carers and so on. The student voice is heard. Sometimes it is about politics and ethics and so on. Sometimes it’s about facilities, sometimes it is about food.

It’s about the things that teenagers want to talk about and we respond. How does Lancing College prepare children not just whilst they’re there, but for when they leave and enter a world that is more competitive and challenging than it has ever been?

We have a Leaving Lancing Programme on cooking and connecting on LinkedIn. We have our own version of it on Lancing Connected. There is self-defence, finance and budgeting and car maintenance. They often ask for different things in different years. We teach them how to make proper meals and coach them into how to find the best possible places for them, whether it’s Oxbridge or Design College. School should be, and Lancing is, fun, stimulating and inspiring. Our purpose is to prepare young people for the rest of their lives. If we’re not doing that bit then we’re not doing everything right, it’s got to be both of those bits together. We would like to thank Mr. Dominic Oliver, Headmaster at Lancing College, for giving up his time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST




Professor Lee Elliot Major OBE EXETER UNIVERSITY

Could you tell us a little about your role as Professor of Social Mobility at Exeter University and what this involves?

My role is quite unique, we think that I might have been the first Social Mobility professor in the world; there are a couple others now. What this means is that I am particularly interested in the prospects for disadvantaged learners. That might be in the early years, it might be in schools, it might be access to university, or indeed the workplace. My work focuses on really trying to improve the opportunities and outcomes for the poorest learners. I’m in the education department for learners at the University and I’m an unusual professor in that I’m very much focused on practice and policy. I do lots of research. Most of my time is spent interacting with other people, whether it’s school leaders, University vice chancellors, ministers, policymakers, even company chief executives. The constant in all of that is, how do we improve the prospects for all of the learners? It’s a very worthy goal, and I am increasingly busy with all of this.

Professor Lee Elliot Major OBE is the Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter. He is also an Honorary Professor at the UCL Institute of Education and an Associate Member of Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Lee is Britain’s first professor within this field and his work aims at improving the prospects of young and disadvantaged people. His research is dedicated to things which can have a direct impact on policy and practice, and he works with schools, universities, employers and policymakers. 3 4 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 2

What are your targets for improving social mobility at Exeter University?

Within the UK or extending that too, there could be a global application process. My work is about increasing social mobility generally for children across the country. In 2020, Exeter released an Access and Participation Plan, which is ‘committed to the principle that everyone with the potential to benefit from higher education should have equal opportunity to do so.’ Could you tell us a little more about this Plan and what it involves? What changes do you hope to see around the University?

SPECIAL FEATURE Exeter University Focus

“As a university, we want to educate and help young people from all backgrounds, so we have some ambitious targets for over the next 5-10 years as a part of the University strategy. This is mainly to try to enrol more state school students and more students from disadvantaged backgrounds.” Exeter University is an amazing university, but one of the challenges that we have had is with attracting talented young people from all backgrounds. If you look at our intake, it tends to be from quite privileged schools, whether state or private schools, so whilst we don’t want to put anyone off from applying, what we do want to do is encourage more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to come to Exeter and to give it a try. It is something that we have been thinking about TURN TO PAGES 14 -15 to read about getting the best out of maintained schools

for a long time. If you look at our admissions, they are very skewed towards a particular demographic. As a university, we want to educate and help young people from all backgrounds, so we have some ambitious targets for over the next 5-10 years as a part of the University strategy. This is mainly to try to enrol more state school students and more students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are also looking at mature students. There has been a real drop in the enrolment of mature students across the sector. One of the things that we were thinking about, is how do you help young people when they get to university as well? It’s not



just about attracting them to the University, it’s what pastoral support they might get offered once they’re actually in Exeter. Exeter is an amazing place, and it’s in one of the most beautiful parts of the world in the Southwest, but I think that some students, especially those that come from cities and different environments, can feel a bit isolated. This is a real holistic strategy. So, trying to flag up the University as somewhere that many people should come to, if it’s the sort of place they want to, and giving them the support once they’re in Exeter. So that is part of the very exciting plan for over the next 10 years. You have written a new book Good Parent Educator, do you want to tell us a little more about that?

Yes, I am really excited by this book, because it is the first book I’ve done that is dedicated to parents. I’ve done lots of books for school leaders. Lots of books that summarise the field of social mobility. We know a lot about social mobility across the world. What is interesting to me is that a lot of parents feel increasing pressure, in terms of helping their children in education, but they have got very little advice on actually how to do that. We also know for a fact that parents play a huge role in shaping young people’s outcomes. What I decided to do was to review all the research out there. I have looked at thousands of studies. It’s taken quite a long time to write this book, and I’ve come up with practical tips for parents, particularly those that are busy. I am hoping that

this will be read by parents from all backgrounds. I give them a number of, I hope, good and useful tips. For example, when they’re very young, when they’re toddlers- I know it sounds obvious, but I also know a lot of parents that don’t do this - you should spend around 20 minutes a day sharing a book with them, just listening to them or reading to them. The evidence shows that just 20 minutes a day can have a huge impact, so that when they do start school they’re not behind others. As, what we know is, when they are behind at age 5, then they often stay behind, right up until the age of 16 or 18. I’ve also got tips on what parents should do in terms of questioning schools when they’re looking at different schools, what questions to ask those teachers, all the way to how you can help children in relation to revision tips. One thing that I talk about is how the best revision technique is testing. It’s asking questions, maybe doing it with flashcards and doing actual proper tests. Getting your sons and daughters to actually do that, rather than doing the highlighting or rereading that children often do. It’s a much more effective technique… Furthermore, I talk about homework, I talk about applying to university and I even talk about the early job/career area. How you can help your children when they come back from university, in terms of developing skills like how to shine in that interview. It explores early years right through to looking for a job. It’s out now, in all good online bookstores. A lot of your research explores the current systems in place to encourage social mobility within the school system. What do you think are some of the biggest flaws with the current system at the moment? How do you think these can be solved?

Great question. I speak in many countries about this now, and a few weeks ago I was in Norway

“What is interesting to me is that a lot of parents feel increasing pressure, in terms of helping their children in education, but they have got very little advice on actually how to do that.” 36 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 2


“I am the first in my family to go into higher education, I lived on my own at 15 and a lot of my friends now are amazed at what I’m doing because of my background and where I came from.”

discussing this with school leaders. I think, for me, that my big message for schools in terms of how they can improve outcomes for all children - and I call this inclusive teaching and learning for all - the number one thing is to engage with your parents, which links to the book a bit. How do schools ensure that they’re engaging with all their parents and that the parents are helping their children? If you can get that right as a school, you can really improve outcomes, and often I find that with schools, parents are more worried about them than they are engaging with them. One thing is about developing what I call a Parent Engagement Plan, understanding your local community in much more depth. Thinking about how you utilise those parent-teacher meetings, how you communicate with parents properly. One thing is parent engagement, the second thing we know is that teaching qualities vary hugely within each school. In every school in the world there is amazing teaching going on, but schools, I have found, aren’t very good at learning from the excellent teaching that is going on within that school. Again, I think that for parents this is a really good thing to know, to ask your son or daughter, what feedback did you get? If there is no feedback being given, then that’s an issue that should be raised. TURN TO PAGE 13 to read Leslie Parr’s thoughts about making room for working class stories

All of the studies that I have been involved with suggest that you have to address the things outside school as much as inside school, so it’s early years, gaps before schools start, helping young people in the workplace, you have to do these things as well as schools. I worry that teachers are burdened with trying to solve all of society’s ills, and researchers suggest that they can only do so much. I do work with schools a lot to improve what they do, but I also like to remind teachers that they are not responsible for everything. I speak to school leaders across the world and you tend to find that these problems are quite universal. I think that the UK has some really amazing teachers, I think that there is some excellent practice in our country. In your TEDx Talk in 2019, you describe an “escalating arms race of education” in which the poorest children are increasingly illequipped to fight. This is something which we are passionate about changing. Could you expand on this for us? How have you attempted to solve this disparity in quality of education?

The great education arms race is something that I have written a lot about. I, myself, am a middle class parent now, but I wasn’t historically. I am the first in my family to go into higher education, I lived on my own at 15 and a lot of my friends now are amazed at what I’m doing because of my background and where I came from. It’s a classic story that now I have got kids, I’m doing all the things that I didn’t get given. I probably over compensate, to be honest with you. I have turned from a working class lad, into a middle class parent, no doubt about it. You can’t criticise parents for doing the best for their children, that’s not something you should stop. The problem is that if you don’t have parents supporting you, then you fall further behind.



I think that what we’ve observed most in this is private tutoring outside of school. If you look at the levels of private tutoring, you will see that that has boomed in the last 20 years in the UK and in most other countries in the world. This is fine, but, if you don’t have the money, if you don’t come from a family with those resources, then you aren’t going to keep up with all of the kids who do have that. I have been involved in lots of lobbying in the government to improve the level of tutoring for poorer children. That is crystallised in something

“At the moment, sadly, we live in a society where, if you do come from a poorer background, you are really up against it, I think, even if you have all the talent in the world.”

called the National Tutoring Programme in England, which was launched by the government as the pandemic happened. It’s a long story, as it hasn’t been implemented that well, but the whole idea was a good one. What I’m doing at the moment at Exeter is piloting a new programme, in which undergraduates volunteer to tutor local pupils, developing a model that other universities can use. This will credit the students, they will do an actual module in which they are trained with local schools, and they will get to help young pupils in the region in terms of basic literacy and numeracy. This is another way, I hope, that we can level up the playing field. There is a lot of talk at the moment in the UK about levelling up. In many ways, this is kind of what my business is about. It’s about looking at what we do in the middle classes to help our children, and trying to replicate that with children from poorer backgrounds. It means that young pupils from all backgrounds get a chance and what we all want is a fair chance.


Chloe Abbott

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SPECIAL FEATURE National Tutoring Programme

“We’re trying to reform the personal statements in an attempt to equal that playing field.”

At the moment, sadly, we live in a society where, if you do come from a poorer background, you are really up against it, I think, even if you have all the talent in the world. I think that that is a tragedy. What I hope is that a little bit of my work will help a few children to fulfil their potential. That is what it’s all about. You have warned of a clash of classes as students compete for elite university places. Could you expand on this idea for us? What is Exeter University doing to increase their diversity in terms of class, race and gender? Do you feel that there are some institutions who are leading the way in their methods to encourage social mobility?

So that was something I wrote about when there were suggestions that the number of university places would be fixed. Over recent years we’ve had an expansion of degree places, and the reason I wrote about the clash of the classes is that what we know from the evidence is that if you limit university places, then, if you have an effort to get children from a poorer background into university, then that will displace the number of children entering from a middle class background, who are trying to get the same university places. My hope would be that we can still expand university places for all. That is what you really want. There are all sorts of challenges to that, the government has in place the student loans, which students pay back eventually, but there is only so much money to

go around. I believe that we shouldn’t limit places, but at the same time, I do worry about the lack of advice and guidance. This is something I talk about in the Good Parent Educator book. I’m trying to make personal statements fairer for all pupils. Parents, teachers and tutors will help with personal statements, and we’ve found that it’s not really a reflection of these young people’s ideas or strengths. It’s more about who they’ve got around them supporting them in the process of writing those statements. It’s become a sort of game. We’re trying to reform the personal statements in an attempt to equal that playing field. I wrote into The Times, calling for a reform of all personal statements. It created a big response. I’m now working with UCAS, The Admissions Service, and the Government to try and help reform those personal statements. This is a great thing for me, as we have said, my hope to affect change. We would like to thank Professor Lee Elliot Major OBE from Exeter University for giving up his time to speak to us about his work on social mobility at Exeter University and his new book Good Parent Educator. To buy this book click here CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST TURN TO PAGES 50 - 51 to read about Free Learning at Dulwich College



Addressing anxiety in children How to speak to children and address their global concerns I noticed that my daughter was struggling to regulate and keep herself calm in the early days of lockdown. She was having nightmares and showed real anxiety about everyone getting poorly around her, and was very worried that her Dad and I might catch Covid-19. After some therapeutic parenting games, getting her to try and understand how she felt, I realised the issue mainly was that she couldn’t verbalise those feelings. They were so muddled that she couldn’t work out how she was feeling and was then becoming overwhelmed. I made up some stories to help begin those conversations, and thus Too Many Pants was born. Many children do not realise that adults have feelings also or that their own feelings are normal and okay to feel. By talking about something as silly as pants, children can begin to describe their feelings more readily: “I am wearing sleepy and grumpy pants

today” and so on. This means that adults can use the same language to explain their own emotions creating a twoway street for a great emotional understanding of one another. Using a narrative to explain is a very effective way for a child to understand something at a level which they are at. This might be at a surface level where they see the basic story, or a deeper one where they relate to their own life and situations. Either way, the pressure and potential shame is taken off of themselves, and put on to the character as it is them who you are talking about and examining. The war in


Ukraine is causing wide reaching anxiety among all ages due to the potential devastation that could occur. Hiding children from the news doesn’t help them as they will hear talk in the playground and overhear conversations at home or on the radio, so it is much healthier for them to have an appropriate explanation and a chance to identify their concerns and find a way to support them with these. They will be worrying anyway, so why not alleviate their worries and make their concerns feel validated and themselves listened to. RUTH DRURY, Author of Too Many Pants TURN TO P3 to read see our Education Book Corner stories about ‘Peace’ and support the Red Cross in Ukraine


The magic of writing and taking in our surroundings The secret to writing stories One of the most common questions I’m asked at school visits is: ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ I then go on to explain my ‘tingly moments’ – when I see, hear or read something that makes my hairs stand on end. This nearly always means there’s a story there, even if I don’t yet know what that is! Some story ideas come very quickly. The Secret Lake was inspired when we visited friends who had just moved into a ground-floor apartment that backed onto communal gardens in London’s Notting Hill. The moment I stepped out and saw the children all playing there, and heard the crack of twigs underfoot echoing against the Victorian buildings, I began wondering what would happen if those girls and boys could meet the children who had lived and played there 100 years earlier. That ‘tingly’ idea would not go away and the final story has now been enjoyed by almost half a million children! The lake was inspired by a magical pond in Richmond Park. Other stories take longer. The Tell-Me Tree was inspired after I spotted a face in the trunk of a majestic London Plane tree close to where I live. I had to wait three years before the rest of the story found its way to me! – via an overheard conversation. This rhyming picture book is now being used in UK classrooms and homes to help children share feelings through writing, drawing or conversation. Of course it’s not just stories that our observations inspire – it’s characters too. I have London Zoo’s stinky gorilla to thank for Gordon the gorilla in Henry Haynes and the Great Escape. Meanwhile, many characters in Eeek! The Runaway Alien are based on children and

over-enthusiastic dads I encountered at my sons’ weekend football club! In short, I get my ideas from all around me, and I tell children that they can too! Is there a creepy old house you pass every day? A neighbour’s odd looking cat that has something to hide? A cousin or sibling who makes you laugh? Start keeping a note of things that catch your attention – physical descriptions, dialogue, facial expressions. The chances are you can use them in a story sooner or later! KAREN INGLIS

Return to the Secret Lake (Well Said Press) – the long awaited sequel to The Secret Lake is now out! return-to-the-secret-lake/



Using art as inspiration How can art inspire our thinking? When I started writing my funny art-heist book, How to Steal the Mona Lisa, I knew I would be able to draw on my ten years’ experience working in museums and galleries. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was that the heart of the book would focus on the sad situation facing young people with an interest in the arts today. Writing the book gave me a chance to reflect on my own childhood and on how lucky I was, not only to have supportive parents who took me around to art institutions, but also to grow up at a time when the curriculum focused on creativity, when there were seemingly no limits on opting for art-based courses, and when university education was still free. I look around now and despair for children who love the arts. In this country, we have a vibrant art scene and rich cultural heritage that needs celebrating and supporting. Despite culture bringing a huge amount to the economy, there is little value placed on the arts (whether visual or performing) as a career path.

It was bad enough back when I was starting out – and at least I wasn’t saddled with a lifetime of student debt from the off. A future in the arts is increasingly becoming the preserve of those who can afford to shoulder debt and, often, who don’t need to make a decent wage. I find it particularly telling that people with power and money will send their children to public schools, often chosen for the strength of their arts offer, while these same people ensure that state schools are forced into prioritising core subjects at the expense of the arts. All children should be able to follow their calling, whatever their passion. Opportunities in the arts should be available to all. My book, while a funny art-themed caper, may help children to start asking questions about their interests and their futures and, like the main character, Mia, may be inspired to take action.


BETHANY WALKER How to Steal the Mona Lisa, was published by Scholastic UK in March and is illustrated by Jack Noel. @Bethanywwriter on Twitter and IG


Choosing the best fit school for your child What should parents consider when choosing a school? Over the past ten years competition for places from nursery, and the many points of entry through to Sixth Form, has become something that many parents face in London and beyond. This is something that when they are expecting a child many people do not realise or think about… People are usually overjoyed to be expecting their first child and after that become busy looking after toddlers or arranging child care (so they can return to work), and this takes all the energy and time that they can muster. I certainly remember the shock that I needed to find at least three possible nurseries while my first born was still in his first few months of life. I was still so sleep deprived I regularly forgot how to spell my own name and realised that I needed to complete Registration Forms for nurseries that I either did not know or had not visited. After this, having secured a nursery place the same applied to Primary school places. Needless to say, my son was not at his most compliant at the age of two and did not gain a place at one school because he refused to write his name (preferring to continue building a tower) and didn’t want to complete the tasks he was given – despite the Lego set he had been promised afterwards! Life is always unpredictable… Further to this, depending on whether parents live in the correct catchment area and get a good maintained school, or decide to go to an independent school, there are further tests to face for secondary options – depending on each individual school procedure.

The biggest hurdles (if they have not managed to pass the 7 plus or 8 plus exams), becomes the 10 plus, 11 plus and 13 plus entry, which can mean the number of places are reduced and in some cases non-existent.

revision papers and models and others do not. Researching each school’s requirements and procedures is fundamental to this process.

Entrance Exams and Procedures

It is well worth booking to attend open days and senior staff are often present to speak to you about their particular school and ethos. This can narrow down the time needed visiting individual schools and limit time taken off work. It is always good to have your child/children with you, as at reasonably early ages they often form opinions and this will impact how hard they work and their desire to do well in any tests that they sit, but with younger children be wary of too many school visits! My daughter (now twenty) recently admitted that she didn’t try in a test for one school because she just didn’t want to go there!

At the moment, many schools set their own entrance requirements. Maintained schools can vary, but tend to focus on English, Maths and/or Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning. The same applies to the many different independent schools, which each set their own papers and have developed their own entrance procedures. In many cases they do CAT/ISEB testing and these are often sat in Year 6, even if you are looking for a Year 9 place. (Be sure not to miss the deadlines for registration and consideration at many leading schools.) Some schools list recommended

Researching and visiting schools is vital




always important to be realistic in any expectation we have of our children – neither of mine were set to be scientists! Considering all the options…

Needless to say, it is also important to take into consideration whether this is the best fit school for your child: a school strong in maths and science will not suit a theatrical and artistic child. If it is very academic - will they thrive or sink in that environment? It is

The nature of demand and supply has put increasing pressure on places for children in London and increasingly beyond, and this is likely to continue. New schools are opening in response to this increased pressure, but it is always worth considering the schools that are on the outskirts, are perhaps less well known, and in some cases (if not geographically possible) then is boarding a consideration? This may lessen the stress placed on both the parents and the child, but can involve considerable expense. If you are considering grammar

school options it is worthy of note that they will have considerable applicants for limited places and property prices may be inflated in the catchment areas. Be prepared…

The more organised and prepared you are, the better the chances are of this being a scenario that is possible to manage whilst working, having a family and running a home. There are many people available who will help and advise you, but at the end of the day you know your child the best. We believe: “The right school will find you!” CHLOE ABBOTT (Educational Consultant)

EMPOWERING FUTURE LEADERS Find out more about a Surbiton High School education, by visiting Boys 4 – 11 | Girls 4 - 18 | Part of the Surbiton High School family | Tel: 020 8439 1309 | Part of United Learning


Schools Strictly Come Dancing for the disabled Heads inspire students whilst dancing for diversity “Be brave!” us head teachers tell our students. “Put yourself out of your comfort zone!”

Chief Executive Juliet Diener founded the charity in 2006. She explained: “We work with children and Well, seventeen of us are young people aged four to about to do just that as we 25 years old with varied swap our classrooms for a learning, social, sensory, and ballroom for a dazzling charity physical needs, including night of dance - Strictly Heads. complex medical conditions. Teachers from across London Dance can enrich lives, and the home counties have connect communities, and been rehearsing for months, celebrate differences, and with the vision of making polishing up their paso dobles dance possible for all. and finessing their foxtrots The teachers are doing to raise funds for the brilliant brilliantly. Despite their organisation: icandance. demanding roles, they’re so The charity celebrates committed to their lessons children and young people and rehearsals, and are with disabilities, enabling them making incredible progress. to thrive through dance and I visited a rehearsal with performance. some of our dancers from Our one-off show will take icandance and we were very place at the Park Plaza Hotel, “I am more instinctive than Westminster. Teachers have accomplished but I am discovering a impressed. It looks like the been paired up and bought their love of dancing and as the Head of a show will be incredible!” In keeping with the dancing shoes, ready to face our boys’ school it’s a powerful statement charity’s ethos, a crucial part strict panel of celebrity judges. to show men can enjoy dance too.” of Strictly Heads has been As one of the Strictly Heads encouraging our school communities to think about organisers and dancers, I have loved seeing our disability inclusion and the power of dance to bridge teachers, many of whom have never danced before, differences. throw themselves into rehearsals after a hard day’s Heads have given assemblies on the subject, Juliet work, determined to put on a great show. has been invited into schools to talk about her work We started with a few mistakes and lots of and pupils have come up with fundraising ideas. laughs. As the weeks have gone on, the dancing has In February we hosted a Youth Seminar where improved dramatically and, being a competitive students of all abilities and ages from all the bunch, the friendly rivalry between heads has participating schools enthusiastically shared ideas become more intense with each rehearsal. If we’re about what dance means to them. not quite at Rose and Giovanni’s Strictly-winning Emily, 18, an A Level student and wheelchair user standard, we will still put on a great show. The idea for Strictly Heads came when I was talking has been attending icandance classes since she was to Simon Larter-Evans, Head of St Paul’s Cathedral seven. She explained: “icandance has empowered School, and we realised we were both former dancers. me in a way nothing else could, my time there Simon studied at the Rambert Ballet and I attended has never failed to put a smile on my face. When the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art I joined I remember having a lack of confidence, (LAMDA). We thought it would be fun to form a icandance changed that. I have new friendship dance society and use it to fundraise for charity. We groups and have found a new way to communicate. encourage our students to think about diversity, so I want to thank everyone involved in Strictly Heads icandance was a natural partner in this project. because icandance is so important to us. We are so EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S PRI NG 2022 | 45



grateful for all your support.” Her fellow wheelchair dancer, Denecia, 18, told the students: “Dance is the best way to show your emotions. Dancing is like watching a movie without any words. I am so glad I found icandance. Most of the time I don’t have much energy but going to the classes makes me so happy, I can see my friends and share good vibes.” For one of our volunteers, James Davies, Head of Halliford School, Shepperton, Surrey, the evening will be particularly special. James is recovering from sepsis but that hasn’t stopped him perfecting his routine with dance partner Sarah Raffray, Head of St Augustine’s Priory, Ealing. James says: “I have been walking with a stick for two years. My PA volunteered me for Strictly Heads without me knowing. I am so glad she did. I am more instinctive than accomplished but I am discovering a love of dancing and as the Head of a boys’ school it’s a powerful statement to show men can enjoy dance too.” Strictly Heads will culminate in a dazzling display from all involved, but the journey to get to the night

will have taught all of us so much about the power of music to join people together. So, even after the final curtain falls I hope our schools will, in the spirit of Strictly, “Keeeeeeeep dancing!” Schools taking part include: Channing, DLD College, The Dominie, Francis Holland Sloane Square, Halliford, Kensington Prep, Lochinver House, Maltman’s Green, North Bridge House, Phoenix School, Prince’s Gardens Prep, St Augustine’s Priory, St Margaret’s School, Thomas’s Kensington and Wandsworth Prep. Strictly Heads will take place on Sunday, June 26, at the Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster Bridge. Tickets will be available via Ticket Tailor from March 15 To donate to icandance go to: FAITH HAGERTY, Head of More House School, Knightsbridge TURN TO P17 to read about Cranleigh Prep teaching the children sign language

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Aiming High Old Reedonians help ensure current students excel beyond school At Reed’s School we have six key aims: Building on the Andrew Reed Legacy, Providing a Nurturing Environment, Finding the Best in every Pupil, Creating a Community for Life and Preparing Pupils for the Future. Our alumni play an integral part in us achieving these aims, especially the latter one. Our structured Higher Education Programme has been developed to raise aspirations and ensure all pupils to go on to excel both at university and in the world of work. The programme starts from Year 7 and we’re able to offer a wide variety of opportunities for pupils to engage with alumni through our annual FutureCareers Fair, our FutureCareers Seminars, our FutureUni events as well as ‘offline’ connections managed by the alumni office. One key element of our Higher Education Programme is the Oxbridge application process. After specialist presentations in the Lower Sixth Form, pupils are further supported through workshops, lectures, and one-to-one support from academic


departments. In the Upper Sixth, pupils attend a rigorous interview preparation programme which is fully supported by Old Reedonians who generously help with reviewing personal statements, conducting supervised mock interviews, and offering individual advice to pupils. However, this is not just restricted to our Oxbridge applicants. We are fortunate that our alumni are very willing to give their time and expertise to inspire the next generation; indeed, our annual FutureUni Day where Fifth and Lower Sixth pupils meet and speak with some 50 recent leavers about their university and course.The comprehensive HE Programme also helps pupils explore various career paths, both traditional and unique. To assist, we run a series of FutureCareers Seminars, each focussing on a particular business area, such as: law; healthcare; AI; sustainability; drama or banking. Pupils really engage with these sessions because they are invariably led by our Old Reedonians with whom they can relate; the insights they provide are usually eye-opening and inspiring for our pupils and parents too.

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Visit the V I RT U A L OP E N D AY on our website Our Values: An education for life 01932 869001 Sandy Lane, Cobham Surrey KT11 2ES Founded 1813 Patron: HM The Queen HMC Day & Boarding School for boys 11-18 and girls 16-18


Technology: panaceas, problems and pragmatism Using technology in the classroom The touted benefits of technology are wide ranging and numerous: improved quality of instruction, classroom climate and management, metacognition and self-regulation, homework, and feedback. For example, the rapid and interleaved retrieval practice that educational software, such as Quizlet or Anki, facilitates has been shown to improve educational outcomes. These things are possible with pen and paper but technology allows you to do at a pace and scale precluded by traditional methods. These methods should be used to support, not replace, established educational techniques that are effective, such as wrote-learning and recall. Additionally, there’s the modality effect; by having different types of media, e.g. text and graphic, this allows for a deeper level of processing. Technology does not have the monopoly on this but programmes such as Nearpod, Socrative, Firefly, Prezi and PowerPoint do allow a flexibility and nuance in how we pair different forms of media and the pace we deliver them to support understanding and underpin our traditional methods. In essence, we want our classrooms to be fun, productive and engaging learning environments and we know that technology can help. It would be easy to become carried away with the potential that technology has to transform our classrooms but let us be warned that technology can act as a distraction to learning, can negatively impact social development, and effect our ability to concentrate. There are different layers to engagement: cognitive, behavioural and emotional. When all three are present we have done all we can to cultivate learning, but often engagement is more fragmented than this and technology might mask a deficit. Behavioural and emotional engagement can be secured through flashy technology; students

behave and are happy. Knowing if it has promoted cognitive engagement is far trickier and without cognitive engagement we are unlikely to observe learning. Learner needs are often messy, nebulous and transient and so matching the technology mirrors those problems. Is technology really the future? It would be hubristic to say an outright no but it would be equally foolhardy to suggest that technology is some form of panacea. To pathologise or eulogise technology is not particularly helpful. Technology is not intrinsically good or bad, it is how you use it. Remember that our best teachers are those that remain students of their own impact and this includes, more than ever, the pragmatic, judicious and impact-focussed use of ‘EdTech’. DR GARY M. GLASSPOOL, Head of Teaching and Learning, Churcher’s College

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Flourishing in the Co-Curriculum Exploring an exciting curriculum It is a rare school that does not at least make passing reference somewhere in its mission statement to educating the whole child. Never more has this uniquely independent school raison d’être been more important than in the mid-pandemic landscape. Academic achievement matters, but parents know intuitively that happy, confident, and articulate young people will only emerge from our schools through having taken part in a rich and varied co-curriculum. The Floreat Activities programme at Farringtons School in Chislehurst, Greater London, seeks to offer a hugely diverse menu of creative, sporting, more traditionally academic and wellbeing-focussed pursuits. Farringtons packages this offering for all students in Years 7-12 within the existing timetable structure of a busy London day and boarding school, ensuring a tangible sense of equal importance

being placed upon the cocurriculum. From Beekeeping to Mindfulness, Scuba Diving to Public Speaking, our aim was to create stretch and challenge for all by ensuring students are exposed to a wealth of opportunities they might not normally get outside of the school gates. Floreat, translating as “let flourish”, came about following an extensive curriculum review amid the 2020-21 Covid confusion. A new timetable structure became the catalyst for deepening the school’s provision in the co-curriculum. Undertaking a forensic analysis of the school’s core academic curriculum afforded the opportunity to examine closely the net time afforded to each subject and to eventually build greater choice of subjects into the Year Nine timetable. This key change meant that no substantial curriculum time was lost by any subject area across the school.“This was not solely about consolidating our already impressive offering of clubs, societies, sport and creative arts and wrapping them up within the timetable,” Headteacher David Jackson asserts. “This was a chance to be bold and ambitious and to give students something completely new as part of the school day.” In a situation mirrored across the country, many parents report that the challenges they continue to face in the context of the pandemic have led to a reduction in the available time for them to enrich their child’s interests beyond school. They know that their children,

now more than ever, need to be engaged in pursuits that broaden horizons, enrich souls (and let off steam!) The Farringtons Floreat programme offers a very real sense of choice and of independence to students, a chance to make mistakes and to learn from them in an environment which allows them to grow. A good co-curriculum is more than just a list of clubs and societies. A good co-curriculum is about developing the key skills of teamwork and leadership that will serve them well both at university and in the workplace. It is about building a culture in which students can acknowledge those vital and inevitable mistakes that are made along the way in finding out who they are, and something they see, alongside their academic studies, as being very much part of the learning journey. LEE GARWOOD, Assistant Head, Curriculum at Farringtons School TURN TO PAGE 58 to read about preparing to write your UCAS personal statement


Free Learning Inspiring intellectual curiosity at Dulwich College Some eight years ago Dr. Joe Spence coined a term to describe his passion for all sorts of learning beyond the curriculum, “free learning”. Free Learning has come to be seen as integral to a Dulwich education and has been embraced by pupils, teachers and parents. It’s also impacting on learning beyond Dulwich. Building skills beyond exams

How do we ensure our students cultivate interests that define them away from their public exams and help prepare them for life beyond school? Free Learning does just that by providing learning opportunities that are freely engaged in by students and teachers, driven by individual interests and that are relevant, knowledge-rich and which develop the skills our pupils will need in the future. What is Free Learning?

It is learning that extends beyond and is free from a syllabus and from examination, and that challenges pupils to think for themselves. It is fed by intellectual curiosity, often supported by the interest and enthusiasm of a teacher or peer-mentor, and it is frequently interdisciplinary in nature; it breaks through the compartmentalisation of learning that subject syllabuses can impose. It also allows the possibility of failure, from which pupils learn important lessons. It is about making connections, challenging what we know, and about learning how to avoid following the herd. Where is Free Learning experienced?

Within academic lesson time, in its simplest form it might be a teacher embracing the natural interest of the class, and extending knowledge and thought beyond the syllabus. In Chemistry, for example, the teacher may be encouraged through pupil questioning to discuss 2-D proton NMR, rather than the simple high-resolution spectra presented on the syllabus. Too often in our classrooms pupils are told that their questions are interesting but not relevant; sometimes allowing time for those “red herring” questions can reap 50 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 2

Recently I asked every member of my SMT “What does Free Learning mean to you?” From all the excellent responses the one that particularly resonated identified that Free Learning is where individual interest and passion is fuelled, links are made beyond the curriculum and a deeper understanding is achieved, not just of the world but of ourselves.

massive intellectual rewards. Embedded within the timetable at Dulwich is A Level Plus in Year 12 where pupils can choose from over 25 courses ranging from Astrophysics to 21st century Geopolitics. In Year 13 pupils elect to study one of 28 Liberal Studies courses which include topics such as Film and Feminism and Post-War Modernism, and teaching is shared with local schools, JAGS and Sydenham High GDST. These courses are designed by teachers, led by their interests and expertise, and provide an undergraduate-like depth of knowledge. Beyond the classroom a vibrant union of over 60 societies provides extensive opportunities; in Poultry Society pupils consider the sustainable production of meat and learn about farming; in LGBT+ Society pupils question prejudice and explore the history of LGBT+ rights. The STEAM societies, such as Engineering, Art and the Literary Society, host external speakers and prepare students for national and international competitions. Pupils are encouraged to establish their own societies if their interests are not served; recent additions include Dismantling Society and BrewSoc (for Upper School pupils only). These societies offer pupils an opportunity to lead, develop communication skills, to connect with professionals outside school, and to learn from each other. The talks and workshops of annual Symposia raise student


aspirations and give students access to a diverse network of academics and professionals who happily become role models and mentors. Free Learning Weeks give pupils time and space to consider important issues facing our world. Our most recent was the third DC IAM (Dulwich College Identity Awareness Month) which was given the title Here/ Hear. Pupils explored how physical spaces and places contribute to our identity, our sense of self and of belonging. They did this through engaging in sewing workshops; a talk from Sir Nick Partridge (former CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust); poetry competitions and talks on famous LGBT+ scientists on Alan Turing Day. Dulwich Digital Week saw tech entrepreneurs visit the College and deliver workshops on coding and data manipulation, startups and the use of big data, and Eco Week included a ‘Drowning in Plastic’ dance project and the creation of biodegradable plastics. These weeks also involve lesson hijacks where whole year groups are encouraged to consider a concept - Time, Space, Power - in subject contexts. A wide range of outings and expeditions supports all this, along with competitions and our weekly virtual lecture series Thinking About…, run out

of the College by pupils of the Southwark Schools Learning Partnership, which invites leaders in their fields to tackle the issues - academic, political and vocational - that are exercising them. Skills for Life

Employers need graduates with problem solving and practical skills; people who can communicate well and demonstrate leadership qualities, as well as make connections, be intellectually curious and have polymathic tendencies. By engaging in culturallyrelevant, knowledge-rich activities, pupils develop independence and resilience, they become creative and learn to lead. Free learners will contribute greatly to their communities over the next generation. Only free learning pupils will be able to address the challenges in relation to the environment and to race, class, gender and sexuality that their generation faces. DR. JOE SPENCE, The Master, Dulwich College TURN TO P56 to read about the Partnership Programme at Benenden

Help with School Fees Bursaries and Scholarships

Over 35% of boys are supported with financial awards at Dulwich College

We would warmly welcome applications from academically minded boys. Please contact the Registrar on 020 8299 9263


Why take the International Baccalaureate? Learning beyond the classroom

The IB mission statement: The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. At King’s we have been delivering the IB Diploma Programme for twenty years, and this has had a significant educational impact throughout the school. As a school we are challenged to consider wider international perspectives, to take ourselves out of our comfort zones in considering, and delivering, the Theory of Knowledge course, and to stretch ourselves in supporting students in some wonderfully obscure extended essays. The IB Diploma is an invigorating and

inspiring experience. The IB Diploma programme, by its nature, engenders in students organisation, critical thinking, reflective thought and a broadening of the mind. It is no coincidence that almost every education system around the world offers more breadth in the sixth form curriculum than the national system of England and Wales. The Diploma is a renaissance education for a 21st Century of world citizens, and a superb preparation for university and a life of learning beyond. Currently, around 40% of pupils at King’s pursue the IB route, below the course is detailed: The IB students will study six academic subjects, three at High Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL) and a core of three additional components. The three HL subjects are, broadly speaking, equivalent to A Level courses in terms of intellectual challenge. These HL subjects provide the depth of knowledge that universities are keen to


see in specific subject areas. Combined with the three SL subjects, the IBDP inculcates a broad range of skills. The SL subjects whilst developing skills have significantly less content than HL courses, fewer lessons and less homework. The six academic subjects are anchored by the core of the diploma programme. The core incorporates Theory of Knowledge, the extended essay, and the Creativity, Activity, Service (or CAS) programme. Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a particularly distinguishing feature of the IB diploma. It is a course that ponders philosophical and epistemological questions from a personal perspective. It goes to the heart of all of our knowledge, regardless of subject specifics, and at the same time provides a transdisciplinary bridge between areas of knowledge, encouraging us to compare and contrast what ‘knowing’ is in our subjects, developing high level debating and critical thinking skills. The extended essay is a 4000word piece of academic writing. The essay allows students to pursue an area of their own particular academic interest, helping them to develop the research and writing skills they will find essential for university, and gives them a wonderful opportunity for genuine independent learning. The Creativity, Activity, Service (or CAS) programme is also part of the core of the Diploma. The CAS programme is a recognition of the value of co-curricular activities, and it serves to encourage students to reflect on their own development

beyond the classroom, and our role in the wider community. King’s has a strong history with our IB results. One of the most successful schools in the world, we have averaged over 40 points for many years. The worldwide average point score is typically about 30. In 2019, the last time conventional examinations were sat, King’s IB students averaged 40.7 points. More than three quarters of students scored 39 points or more – enough to meet almost any offer from any university including Oxford. Only Cambridge regularly asks for scores over 40 points. The core differences between the IB programme and A Level

is the A Level programme is more focussed on three or four subjects that normally reflect the direction students are likely to take after their time at school. The IB programme is a more holistic approach requiring students to study a broader range of subjects and consider the links between them. Both qualifications are widely accepted for entry into universities worldwide. Feedback from King’s students:

“By studying the IB I have been able to pursue my interests in subjects that lie outside my chosen university degree (medicine). Not only has this made my learning extremely enjoyable, as each day is so varied, but it has also allowed

me to develop my knowledge and skills in areas that I otherwise would not have pursued at A Level, such as essay writing and oral work in English which is paramount to many university interviews, degrees and later careers.” Alissia “The IBDP is an amazing education, I just have so many fantastic things to say - it is about shaping students into bright, curious, and vibrant individuals. The coursework projects have enabled me to make my own choices about exploring personal interests in all my subjects.” Ketan PAUL LLOYD, Director of IB TURN TO P60 if you are thinking about studying Law at university

“An inclusive, vibrant and friendly school.” KING’S MIDDLE SCHOOL PUPIL

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A world of opportunities The International Baccalaureate ensures students at Impington International College thrive In February, a record number of students from Impington International College, Cambridge, secured conditional offers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. Overall, 10 percent of our International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) students received offers to read History, Linguistics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and English and Classics from September. Applying to study at an Oxbridge university can be a daunting process for students. For this reason, we offer a dedicated preparation programme to our students who wish to apply to the University of Cambridge or Oxford University. This includes comprehensive academic tutoring, interview preparation and personalised guidance from their Sixth Form Lead Tutor. One of our students, Greg M., who received an offer to read History at Merton College, the University of Oxford, recently shared with me: “From the admissions test to the written

work to the interview, I felt assisted by the College during every step. I am incredibly excited to study History in such a historic place, with people who share my same passion.” I like to describe the IB as our trump card because it gives students access to a world respected programme of education that broadens their horizons; it is tailored to give students the best chance at achieving their goals. So, it is no surprise that 95 percent of our students receive offers from their


first-choice university. We have been offering the IB for more than 30 years now. Through the DP, students must study six subjects; at the College, students can choose from 35 subjects to form their Diploma. This is in addition to the DP Core, which comprises Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the extended essay, which is designed to enable students to develop skills preferred by universities, such as independence and inquiry. As a state-maintained college, I believe we are truly levelling the playing field, because our class sizes are so small. This ensures high contact time with teachers and means that our students flourish academically and socially so they can progress confidently into their next stages of learning and life. We are hugely proud to be providing a world class education to our students, and that is something we will continue to do so that all our students have the best life chances, regardless of their background, and can achieve their dreams. LEANNE GIBBONS, Head of Programme CP and Progressions Coordinator, Impington International College TURN TO P61 if you are interested in African Studies at SOAS

The benefits of joining an international school when transitioning from the US Adapting to the education system in the UK Transitioning to the UK from the US poses some unique challenges for young people, especially considering the differences between the two national education systems. It is therefore important for parents to consider schools based on their curriculum’s international transferability. At Southbank International School, we believe that schools which offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum provide the best platform to ensure a seamless transition. The IB is taught at over 5000 schools around the world and, as a globally recognised education system, it ensures minimal disruption for children when transitioning from one country to another. With a broader range of subjects studied instead of the three traditionally studied at A Level, for example, students are able to develop a more well-rounded knowledge base and experience. What’s more, the IB Diploma Program (IBDP) is recognised in US colleges, with the breadth of the program being wellsuited to the college system where students are able to study a wider

variety of subjects. At our school, like with many international schools, we have specialised US college counsellors to help students with those applications. Our IB Diploma students all take part in organised Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) activities throughout their time at the school, which provides a refreshing counterbalance to studies, helping students connect with life outside of school and developing skills which will serve them well for the rest of their lives. As part of this, we place a high level of importance on charity and community service, all of which are beneficial to US college applications, as these are all activities that university admissions managers are looking for in applications. One of the main anxieties that students from the US and their families often feel is around

the misperception that the US academic standards are more rigorous than that of the UK, particularly when it comes to maths. There is also a concern among parents that, should they return to the US, their child will find the transition back to the US system difficult. IB international schools can help to ease this process, by providing a similar academic experience to students and ensuring they are equipped with the right skills and capabilities for a smooth transition should they return. Above all, the IB is designed to nurture inquisitive minds, to foster independent learning and to instil self-belief, giving students the courage to take risks. It is these skills which best equip young people with the tools to flourish in the real world.



The Power of Partnerships Benenden celebrates its relationship with a local academy What makes a great school? It is a question on many people’s minds: parents, pupils, teachers and government ministers all seek an answer to this elusive question. At Benenden School we have realised that one essential ingredient in that unique recipe for a great school is partnerships. Benenden is an all-girls boarding school in Kent, providing a complete education for 550 boarders. A few miles up the road, a failing comprehensive in Ashford was under threat of being closed due to a whole range of factors. Serving a potentially challenging community with hitherto low expectations and no Sixth Form, let alone university entrants, Christchurch School was deemed to be failing in its challenge to realise the potential of the community. Benenden was one of four sponsors which supported the school’s rebirth as The John Wallis Church of England

Academy. Under the inspirational leadership of John McParland and with the energetic guidance of four sponsors, Benenden included, John Wallis began a meteoric rise from failing school to school of choice for the town, with a thriving Sixth Form, large numbers of university entrants and frequent applicants to Oxbridge. Benenden has played – and continues to play – a key role in that transformation with Charles Covell chairing both


Benenden School Council and the governing body of the academy for several years. Peer mentoring of the academy’s Year 11 students quickly became a fixture of the relationship which grew and grew. Collaborations emerged organically across academic departments, leadership, cocurricular activities, teacher training and finance. Joint Geography field trips, a shared trip to the Large Hadron Collider and a burgeoning Combined Cadet Force were just some of the highlights. Departmental opportunities flourished and what began as Benenden sponsoring the new school soon morphed into a partnership of equals defined by the reciprocal benefit enjoyed by all. While many schools engage in marquee events to fulfil outreach ambitions, this was a genuine relationship based on trust and a mutual vision of the betterment of all. Covid brought new challenges and the use of Microsoft Teams and technical collaboration allowed for mentoring to continue, and for the academy to offer virtual lessons well beyond the reach of many comparable schools. The experience acted as a catalyst for Benenden to engage in an ever-increasing outwardlooking model; volunteering programmes ambitiously overcame the logistical challenges of being a rural school to reach out to an ever-growing range of venues. The partnership with John Wallis has added far more than we can have imagined, and we cannot wait to see what comes next. The principal lesson learnt was that reciprocal partnerships are a key factor in what makes a great school. ALFRED NICOL

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All you need to know about Personal Statements Some top tips to completing your UCAS

TOP TIPS: 1. It says ‘PERSONAL’ for a reason - make it about you. You are selling yourself!

The key to this is to use specific language or link to particular social/historical/scientific contexts that will indicate that you know exactly what you are talking about (and not bluffing)! For example, if examining an author’s literary technique one could say: “[AUTHOR’S NAME] use of declarative sentences and unsophisticated lexis that was rich with symbolism in [NAME OF BOOK ETC.] enabled me to …”

2. Be specific.

4. Hobbies and interests

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a brief personal summary in an essay form that is written by an applicant when applying to a college, university or graduate school. How long are they?

4,000 characters (47 lines).

For example, don’t just say: “I read books on History” or “I read books on World War I.” Instead: N ame the exact book/article/ podcast and author/speaker. R efer to a specific element/ theme/ argument/ perspective that the “book” addresses or tackles. E ngage with it and state your opinion on it. Here are some prompters to get you started: -D o you agree or disagree with a specific argument? Why do you like /dislike it? What limitations might it have? - H ow did it impact you? Has it developed your interest in a topic? Has it prompted you to research another topic or conduct any further reading? If so, why? - D oes it complement or contradict anything else that you’ve come across? How? -W hat did you learn from it? 3. Demonstrate your knowledge

Anyone can say that they are good at a certain subject or are able to use a certain technique, so it is important that you can prove it.

This is a great way of showing a bit more of your personality that may have been slightly more difficult to reflect in earlier paragraphs. However, this does not mean you should list all the hobbies or interests that you have. You must be selective with which ones you choose to discuss. We suggest the following: M ake a rough list of them all. T hink: -W hat skills have they helped you to develop? For example, confidence, rhythm, teamwork, public speaking -W hat achievements have you gained? For example, examinations and grades, performances (drama, dance etc.), medals and awards -H ow important or unique is each one? - I F they can, how can you relate them to your studies? 5. Work and work experience

This is another chance to showcase to the reader what you have done outside of the classroom. Again, be careful not to list these unnecessarily. B e specific: Where did you work? How long? What did you do?


W hat skills did you learn? Did you learn anything about yourself? For example, did it spark any interests? W as there anything in particular that has stuck with you? 6. First paragraph

All opening paragraphs are different. Primarily, one should address the course or subject. You may also wish to briefly summarise why you are interested in it, or what makes you want to study it. This may be as a result of a personal experience, a current event, or due to a source of inspiration. Try to make these first few lines as engaging and unique as possible as this is the first thing that will be read. You need to stand out! 7. Last paragraph

This is less of a paragraph and more one or two lines to neatly round off your statement. Relate back to the course and perhaps reference something about the university itself. Expressing excitement and interest is best. Ultimately, this is a short and concise piece of writing. It is not easy and you should not expect to get it written in one sitting, or have it completed after one draft. Keep re-reading and editing. Ask teachers, family and friends to help; you never know what ideas they might have, and they may pick up on any spelling or grammar mistakes that you may have overlooked. Good luck! TATIANA SUMMERS, Editor Please contact CJA Educational Consultancy for further tips


Addressing additional learning needs Finding the right learning support at university I was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 10 and through most of my school years it was ignored, which in turn made it much harder to achieve the grades that my peers were getting. Due to my dyslexia, it took me much longer to read and absorb important scholarly materials, and I wasn’t getting extra time in exams, which further limited my chances of getting higher grades throughout my GCSEs, and in particular, when I had multiple subjects and coursework to complete. However, since leaving the independent school system and joining Exeter University, my dyslexia has been taken much more seriously. Initially, this required me getting re-tested for my dyslexia, and through Exeter’s ‘Accessibility’ team I was given a choice of four or five local Educational Psychologists who could re-diagnose me. Once I selected a psychologist, I was able to get re-tested within a month. The test included being asked to

read certain words, and a few different problemsolving tasks including reconfiguring certain shapes to form boxes or 3D shapes. Once the test had been completed, by the next month I had received my results, which the Exeter AccessAbility team then used as a basis for my ILP. This ‘Individual Learning Plan’ attributed to me 25% extra time in exams and meant that referencing and spelling could not be marked down in my essays. It also meant if I needed to extend my essay deadlines, due to my dyslexia, I could. This meant that I had additional time to complete the background reading and to be able to digest it properly and was not under pressure to complete my essays and coursework. It goes without saying that with this additional support it has massively helped me to be able to achieve my maximum potential at university and this has been reflected in my grades. However, it should also

be mentioned that the team at Exeter can also test for Dyspraxia, ADHD and many other disabilities that may impact your grades or ability to achieve your full potential whilst studying at Exeter University. It is also worthy of note that ILP’s will always be different and are specifically tailored to each student’s individual learning needs. Now I’m in my third year at Exeter Penryn and so far, my experience at the University of Exeter has been amazing! In my view, the Accessibility team has been wonderful too! They have always been extremely quick to respond to any questions or concerns that I had throughout the re-diagnosis of my dyslexia, and even through the last two years of lockdowns. Moreover, I was also assigned a Dyslexia Officer, who you are allowed to choose and they will help assist you in anything dyslexia related: including help with essays, such as creating plans and helping you put together your arguments in an ordered way. There are also officers assigned to be able to help and accommodate every disability. It has been a life-changing experience and I do not regret seeking their help and support. Thank you! JOE BARKER, Exeter Penryn student Please go to: www.studyhub.fxplus. for further information. TURN TO P74 to read about supporting Dyslexia at the Unicorn School, Oxford



Benefits of a legal education Learning about Law at The University of Law Law is an incredible foundation to start your career from, whether that be in law or another field. It is a discipline that teaches students profound problem solving and analytical skills, in addition to developing wider commercial and communication skills. These are really attractive skills in a graduate job market and employers recognise the value of a law degree. I have seen many students come through The University of Law (ULaw) over the years, and whilst many have gone on to work as solicitors or barristers, there are many who have secured successful careers in other industries; examples being HR, recruitment, procurement, sales, journalism, public relations, social work, to name but a few.

defined entry criteria, however recent years have seen much change. Law firms now recognise the value of diversity in their people and the benefit this brings to the culture of an organisation and its clients. Promoting diversity is now at the forefront of law firm recruitment and there are many initiatives to attract and support those from less represented backgrounds

Changing Legal Landscape

Law was once a very traditional profession with a particularly 6 0 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 2

entering the profession. Within law firms there are now many established networks for LGBTQ+, BAME and disability, with many of these engaging members both internally and externally. Representation and visibility has been key to achieving inclusive spaces within law and it’s been incredible to see the emergence of individuals from the profession who have been active in sharing their stories and driving change. The future for law is bright, diversity now has a prominent place in law with representation and allyship that is making it a much more attractive and accessible destination for our next generation of talent. Legal Education

Law is a real innovator in the higher education space. Built around a learning model that sees students taught in small workshop groups in modern facilities located in the heart of cities and their business districts, creates an environment that is professional, yet at the same time very supportive and friendly. ULaw tutors come from professional backgrounds, many having been solicitors and barristers, and this brings a special expertise to the classrooms. Our students learn the law and how it works in practice from the moment they arrive with us and it is very evident that this is something that they enjoy. Alongside vocational teaching, students are supported with various employability initiatives – providing them with a head start as they prepare to successfully navigate the evergrowing legal landscape. MATTHEW TOMLINSON, Dean of The University of Law


SOAS re-imagines a new approach to African Studies Introducing BA Africa and the Black Diaspora SOAS University of London has launched a new undergraduate programme, BA Africa and the Black Diaspora. This degree programme signals an innovative new approach to re-imagining Africa and the Black Diaspora as part of SOAS’s broader social justice and equality agenda. The new BA programme will enable students to engage with Africa on the global stage by acquiring substantive knowledge of historical and topical issues that are related to the continent. Students will also get the opportunity to engage with their own understanding of important

contemporary themes including migration, colonialism, economic change, climate change and popular culture. Dr. Wayne Dooling, Chair, Centre of African Studies comments: “In the context of global developments of the last few years – the resurgence of democratic movements on the African continent, Black Lives Matter, and the Covid-19 pandemic, to name but a few – it is abundantly clear that the study of the histories and cultures of Africans and people of African descent have a vital role to play in understanding the present and

Where everything connects Discover the range of exciting undergraduate degree programmes available to study either online or at our vibrant central London campus.

addressing contemporary issues.” The possibility of combining the study of languages with a host of disciplines – from Politics to Anthropology; Economics to International Relations - makes this programme on Africa and the African Diaspora truly unique. Dr. Ida Hadjivayanis, Lecturer in Swahili explains: “If you are interested in becoming a global changemaker, if you are interested in Africa and its diasporas, this is the programme for you.” TURN TO P3 for multicultural books about ‘Peace’


Classics Outreach and Engagement at the University of Warwick The University’s commitment to Classics Outreach and engagement lie firmly at the heart of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. Our annual Ancient Drama Festival www.warwick. has brought the ancient world to life for thousands of school children and members of the public since its inception over a decade ago, and in 2018 the Warwick Classics Network [WCN] www.warwick. was created by Prof Michael Scott to co-ordinate the outreach and engagement activities of the Department. WCN

The WCN supports the teaching of Classics across the country. Its teaching resources have been viewed over a quarter of a million times, and with the support of the charity Classics for All, the WCN has raised the number of State Secondaries in Coventry teaching Classics from 18% to 45%. The WCN Research Fellow, Dr Paul Grigsby, is also a Fellow of the Warwick Institute of Engagement, which supports public and community engagement initiatives across the University. Roman Coventry

In 2020 the WCN introduced the Roman Coventry and Warwickshire Project wcn/romancoventry/ to bring Coventry and Warwickshire’s Roman past to every school in Coventry, offering equal opportunities to all

pupils irrespective of background. Working in tandem with local museums, the WCN has created a suite of teaching resources and is developing student-led projects aimed specifically at engaging the local community, including ‘lessons-in-a-box’ activities using 3D printed copies of artefacts from Lunt Roman Fort, a travelling Roman Cookery workshop, and workshops on diversity in Roman Britain. Our students form a key part of our engagement activities, an experience which they embrace. As MA student Rebecca Preedy comments, “I’ve felt so fortunate getting involved in the public engagement aspect of Classics at Warwick. Last year I began a Roman time capsule project as part of the Roman Coventry and Warwickshire Project,


which has been such a rewarding experience! I’m so pleased to play a part in helping get young people into Classics and Ancient History.” FAB and Antiquity Room

In 2022 we moved into our new Faculty of Arts Building (FAB) with its state-of-the-art Antiquities Room. These new facilities will provide exciting opportunities for engagement and widening participation, complementing our annual outreach events like the A. G. Leventis Ancient Worlds Day. With a new module ‘Public Engagement in Classics’ introduced in January 2022, our commitment to engagement and widening participation is only set to grow in the coming years. TURN TO P77-78 to read about student life at Oxford


Street Talk Supporting young people with mental health Street Talk is an up and coming completely free, confidential and anonymous mental health support service for young people. We plan on offering a helpline that is open between the hours of 6pm - Midnight, 365 days a year. At Street Talk, our purpose is to ensure that every young person has access to the support they need, free of charge.

Oscar Slacke, the founder of Street Talk, set out on a mission to support young people like himself after struggling with Anxiety and Depression throughout his teen years and into early adulthood. More men in the UK have died by suicide in the past year than all British soldiers in all wars since 1945*. Street Talk was set up to tackle those numbers and implement a functional system in which young people could talk to other young people about their mental health. When you call Street Talk, you will be greeted by a highly trained volunteer who will listen to you and encourage you to talk about whatever it is that is on your mind. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to help someone. But if our users need further help, we will refer them onto the relevant support systems and even pay for their counselling if need be. After a successful operational year, we answered countless calls from young people across the UK. We now plan on expanding our team and increasing our capabilities going forward. This, however, means our lines are currently closed whilst we get to work. Oscar believes that each of us are remarkable creatures and we all have something to offer the world. No one should be denied that opportunity. STREET TALK Helpline number: 0333 242 3957 OSCAR SLACKE, Founder of Street Talk



Celebrating Spring Life is too short to live in black and white

Quoting Claude Monet, I could say for myself “colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” This Spring is rejuvenating in Nature and also in the recent lifting of the constraints on our daily lives, present for the past couple of years. We now turn to the outside, big, wide world – we can start travelling again, planning visits to friends and family, outings, parties, picnics and concerts – even Her Majesty is fine-tuning unprecedented celebrations we can all look forward to. And none of that will be done in half-measures! Where does that leave us with regards to interiors; our homes, offices and all the places we retreat to when – exhausted, as we have lost the habit of being out so

much! – Do we need to recharge? I will tell you: we want JOY. We want colour. We want boldness. Life is made to be lived – in colour, with contrast, textures, shapes and details. In essence, we want our inner trepidation and excitement to spill over into our décor. It is time to go for it and be maximalist! In all the projects we have undertaken at Galuchat in the last few months, would it be an elegant Victorian terraced house in Islington, a sun-drenched modern villa in Nice or a sprawling rustic chalet in the French Alps, we are creating a distinct transition, from serene neutrals, quiet elegance and restrained refinement – and fear not, these will always have a special place in our hearts and that of our homes, to fierce patterns,


“We want our inner trepidation and excitement to spill over into our décor. It is time to go for it and be maximalist!” wild colours and bold materials. We are creating interiors that bring an irresistible smile to our lips, making us want to eat our jelly beans without sorting them by colour, by the handful! How can we look at our interiors, with everything they are and everything they are not, and create the same result? Bear with me as we deconstruct an approach, no matter what we are starting with. Enter my long-standing love affair with colour: it is to interiors what spices are to cooking. We want lots of it, just the right amount. A rich variety, yet complementary. In a maximalist, joy-inducing room, we want to layer colours, in variations and dégradés (from deep scarlet to baby’s bottom pink maybe) but also in complements (red and green, for example) and in contrasts (red and green and bright yellow, why not?), all in balance – by creating a hierarchy between them. How about tackling the pattern next? Superimposing patterns calls for a couple of principles. When mixing and matching, I find it is good to keep a dominant

theme – say, geometrics – and have that take pride of place, with a few outsiders – florals or animal prints – to throw off the balance. It is also good to play around with scale – a maxi motif next to an intricately detailed design. So that altogether they compose a variation. Now onto materials and textures… As in all things, and even though maximalism is very

much a trend that calls for a ‘more is more’ approach, I find we can and must create order and balance within apparent chaos. And we do that with contrasting and complementing. If most of the room is all plush and furry, bouclés, chenilles and velvets, for example, I would introduce a very polished wood floor, a giant slab of stone for a coffee table top or a luscious leather main sofa. What next? Once you have created your juxtaposition of colours, patterns, textures and materials, you will want to dress the room. A gallery of photos on your palm leaf wallpaper? A collection of masks on your mantelpiece? Vases and bottles in varying shades and sizes along window sills? Vibrant, exotic, retro yet timeless taxidermy? Intricate latticework of birdcages? Funky patchwork throw? Now, if you know anything

about me, you will be surprised that I have not mentioned lighting yet. And yes, there is always a place for good, nay the best lighting possible and in successful joyful, rich, extravagant, bold rooms all the more. Light will be the finishing touch that will add rhythm to the space, focusing in turn on low or high, floor or wall, curtains or cushions or plant or art. Sounds tricky? Maximalism, like joy, is all about freedom and there are no set rules to that: embrace your taste, your whims and your fun side. As Oscar Wilde would tell you better than I can: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” MARIE NOELLE TURN TO P75 to read about the Oxford property market



SOME LEADING MAINTAINED SCHOOL OPTIONS PRIMARY SCHOOLS SCHOOL HEADTEACHER WEBSITE Appleton Church of England Mrs Amy Carnell Primary School Bledington Primary School Ms Jill Kewley Brize Norton Primary School Ms Anna Fairhurst Buckland Church of England Ms Louise Warren Primary School Combe CofE Primary School Mrs Rachel Joannou Didcot Primary Academy Ms Alison Ashcroft Dr Radcliffe’s Church of Frances Brown England Primary School Holy Trinity Catholic School, Mrs Lorna Buchanan Chipping Norton Kingham Primary School Mr Nicholas Prockter Ladygrove Park Primary School Andrew Markham Longcot and Fernham Church Mrs Claire Mellor of England Primary School Longford Park Primary School Miss Julie Hiddleston Longworth Primary School Mr Neil Wilson Mulberry Bush School Mrs Jessica Hooper (Special School) St Andrew’s Church of Mrs Annette Mashru England Primary School St John the Evangelist Mr Mark Smith CofE VA Primary School Stockham Primary School Mrs Ruth Burbank The Batt Church of England Ms Charlie Barwell Primary School The Hendreds Church of Mr James Veness England School Thomas Reade Primary School Mr John Serle William Morris Primary School Miss Julie Hiddleston Windmill Primary School Mrs Lynn Knapp Woodstock Church of Mr Christian McGuinness England Primary School

LOCATION Abingdon Chipping Norton Brize Norton Faringdon Witney Didcot Bicester Chipping Norton Kingham Didcot Faringdon Banbury Abingdon Witney Chinnor Carterton Wantage Witney Wantage Abingdon Banbury Headington Woodstock

SECONDARY SCHOOLS SCHOOL Bartholomew School Didcot Girls’ School Fitzwaryn School (Special School ages 3-19) Frank Wise School ) (Special School, ages 2-19) Lord Williams’ School Swalcliffe Park School Cio (Special School, ages 10-19)

HEADTEACHER WEBSITE Mr Craig Thomas Ms Georgina Littler Mrs Stephanie Coneboy

LOCATION Oxon Didcot Wantage

Ms Heidi Dennison


Mr Jon Ryder Mr Rob Piner

Thame Banbury

The Iffley Academy

Mr Tom Procter-Legg


Iffley Turn

TURN TO PAGES 6 - 9 to read about nursery options in Oxford 66 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 2

ALL are rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.


Abingdon Preparatory School Abingdon Prep is a happy, friendly independent day school for boys aged 4 to 13. We foster a culture of exciting opportunity and seek to inspire a life-long love of learning. Our high academic standards, broad curriculum and ‘Other Half’ extra-curricular programme enable our boys to make the most of their time with us. True to the School’s founding values, we provide a nurturing community in which boys gain confidence and develop their potential. Boys flourish at Abingdon Prep and happy boys make very good learners. Prep Main Entry Points: at 4 and 7 (assessed).

Abingdon School Abingdon is a leading independent day and boarding school for boys aged 11-18 (full and weekly boarding from 13). Abingdon enjoys the very best in academic standards, music, sport and the arts in a caring and supportive environment where students are motivated to succeed. We aim to teach and develop the resources, skills and resilience that students need to feel confident in embracing their future. Students are encouraged to seize opportunities and to appreciate their responsibilities to each other and to society; and we promote a culture of mutual respect and equality, and we celebrate diversity. Senior School Main Entry Points at 11, 13 and 16 (School’s own exam; or transfer process from Abingdon Prep School).

Bloxham School For further information, please visit:


Bruern Abbey School Bruern Abbey School is distinct from other schools as they focus their attention on boys with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. The school has a unique offering to boys, aged 8 to 16, and covers Common Entrance exams, GCSEs and other nationally recognised qualifications. Alongside the timetable there is a full and varied sports programme with co-curricular offerings to enhance the school experience. At the heart of what Bruern Abbey School stands for is the mission to offer bespoke and expert teaching coupled with a broad appreciation of the values of an all-round education. Boys can decide to be a day pupil or boarder.

Carrdus School Carrdus School is an independent co-educational day prep school for children aged 3-11. Situated just outside Banbury, Oxfordshire, our school offers academic rigour with adventure, and our aim is to give every child a happy and confident start to school life. Carrdus was graded ‘Excellent in all areas’ following the 2019 inspection, conducted by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). The Carrdus Pathway is the beating heart of the school and instils a range of attributes in every child. Confidence, Imagination, Resilience, Independence, Aspiration and Empathy are embedded in every lesson, resulting in our curious young minds to discover and thrive.

Chandlings Preparatory School Would you like your children to ride a pony to start the day? Or go pond dipping to see nature close-up, practice in the ballet studio, or do science experiments on the tennis courts? At Chandlings Prep School, you don’t just learn in the classroom. Learning happens everywhere. We educate boys and girls aged 2-11 within 60 acres of beautiful grounds just five miles from Oxford. Indoors or outside our children are always learning. They practise team-building on the low-rope course or cooking in the food tech room. They’re creating in the DT room and acting in the mini-amphitheatre. Children are happy here and 100% (2020) of our leavers got into their first choice of highly acclaimed secondary schools.

Cherwell School For further information, please visit:

Christ Church Cathedral School Founded by Henry VIII, Christ Church Cathedral School Oxford, has a thriving co-ed Nursery and Prep School for boys aged 3 - 13. With specialist teachers in all areas of the curriculum, our school prepares pupils for entry and scholarships to local independent schools and major boarding schools. Our grounds on Christ Church College Meadows gives plenty of opportunities for Woodland School, Games, and Outdoor Activities. The School is acclaimed for its musical achievements and supplying choristers to Christ Church College’s internationally-renowned choir. A safe and happy School with a family atmosphere - we take care in getting to know our boys as individuals.

Cothill House For further information, please visit:

Cranford House For further information, please visit:



Dragon School Dragon School is one of the leading Prep schools in the UK educating boys and girls from 4-13 years old. It is a vibrant, happy and aspirational school; promoting a love of learning, breadth of opportunity, and a strong sense of community and fun. The Prep sits proudly amid stunning playing fields in North Oxford on the banks of the River Cherwell, and the Pre-Prep is in the heart of Summertown. Leavers go on to a wide variety of senior schools with a third typically gaining academic and/or specialist awards. Full, weekly and flexi boarding options are available, and Dragon QUEST is a broad, exciting enrichment programme on Saturday mornings. Main points of entry for day places are Reception and Years 3 and 4 and boarders can join in Years 4-7.

d’Overbroeck’s For further information, please visit:

Emmanuel Christian School Oxford For further information, please visit:

Headington School Situated a mile from Oxford city centre, Headington School, a day and boarding school for girls, occupies a secluded 23-acre site. Headington School is a selective school with outstanding academic results at GCSE and A Level and is among the top performing schools in the UK, benefiting from top-calibre teaching staff and academic and extracurricular choice. With key entry points at 11, 13 and 16, Headington also offers flexible boarding options, superlative facilities and an exciting programme of extra-curricular activities. Headington prepares girls for the future, whatever it may hold, and helps them explore and develop the core values of creativity, confidence, collaboration, compassion, courage and curiosity.

Discover the Dragon An extraordinary Pre-Prep and Prep School in Oxford where boys and girls discover and develop their talents inside the classroom and beyond. Open days are the best opportunitiy to get a feel for the spirit of the Dragon. join us on: • Saturday 19 March - Virtual • Friday 13 May - Pre-Prep • Saturday 14 May - Prep To book your place please contact the Admissions team on 01865 315 405 or

Dragon School, Bardwell Road, Oxford, OX2 6SS


Kingham Hill School For further information, please visit:

LVS Oxford For further information, please visit:

Magdalen College School For further information, please visit:

Manor Preparatory School “To challenge, cherish and inspire”. Situated in Abingdon, the Manor Preparatory School is an independent co-educational day school that welcomes children aged 2-11. The Manor’s most recent ISI Inspection saw the school receive the highest possible rating of ‘Excellent’ in all areas. Inspectors commented that: “Pupils approach every day with an overwhelming passion to learn and develop.” This is in part due to the exceptionally caring and invigorating tone of the school, where laughter is an essential part of the school day. Every child is encouraged to push themselves to new challenges and fulfil their potential, resulting in outstanding results academically, on the sports field, and in the creative and performing arts.

Moulsford Boys’ Preparatory School Moulsford is a thriving independent Prep School of 370 boys aged 4 - 13 years, set in picturesque grounds on the banks of the River Thames in South Oxfordshire. We aim for our boys to receive the broadest possible education, while remembering that they will learn best when happy and settled. Our down-to-earth, family-focussed approach embraces the fact that boys of this age should be having fun at the same time as learning. Boys progress, many with scholarship awards, to leading senior independent day and boarding schools. Extra-curricular opportunities include judo, fencing, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing, kayaking, clay pigeon shooting, and photography. A brand new state-of-the-art Pre-Prep building opens in September 2022.

New College School For further information, please visit:

Our Lady’s Abingdon School What makes Our Lady’s Abingdon different? Research shows that between 7 - 8 years, children develop the attitudes, abilities and relationships that help them succeed in education. For a taste of OLA we invite children in Years 2 - 3 and 5 to try a range of activities, meet our teachers and make new friends at our school. Small class sizes allow children to receive individual attention, and our fun and innovative learning ensures they are fully engaged and achieving excellent academic results. Our outstanding system of pastoral care is at the centre of everything we do. Each child is a unique person, with talents to be nurtured.

Oxford High School GDST Oxford High School GDST is an energetic and diverse day school for girls aged 4 to 18 years, where each student is empowered to be whoever they want to be. Those who find their way here are curious, outward-looking and sparky; they delight in learning and questioning, they care about the world in which we live in, and are fearless in the pursuit of their passions. Our vision is for a pioneering and student-led education, and each pupil is immensely supported to go beyond academics, in self, and pastorally to equip them with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to succeed in whatever path they forge for themselves.



Oxford International College For further information, please visit:

Oxford Montessori School For further information, please visit:

Oxford Sixth Form College For further information, please visit:

Radley College For further information, please visit:

Rupert House Located in the heart of the beautiful riverside town of Henley-on-Thames, Rupert House is a happy and high-achieving prep school for boys and girls aged 3 to 11. From the moment children arrive they are encouraged to adopt a Growth Mindset, learning the values of creativity, respect, courage and resilience that will enable them to stand tall in the world. Pupils develop their own individual pathway and are inspired to reach their full potential within our supportive, caring and nurturing environment. In 2021, 100% pupils were offered places at all the independent schools they applied for, with many achieving academic, sports, art and music scholarships.

Rye St Antony School Rye St Antony School is an independent day and boarding school for girls aged 3 to 18 years and boys aged 3 to 11. Rated ‘Excellent’ by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, Rye now boasts 91 years of outstanding education and exceptional pastoral care. We offer an ambitious and exciting school experience, all from the heart of Oxford, and are committed to giving every child every opportunity available to become who they want to be. Our inspiring staff work with each individual pupil to ignite their curiosity for learning and to build their confidence to take on new challenges.

Shiplake College Shiplake College is a thriving independent boarding and day school situated on the banks of the river near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. From September 2023 girls will be welcomed into Year 7 to be part of an already established co-educational environment in the Sixth Form. Flexi, weekly and full boarding available as well as an extensive daily bus service. Every pupil is placed at the heart of Shiplake life and the College’s ethos is underpinned by the three Is – Inclusive, Individual and Inspirational.

Sibford School Sibford School offers an inclusive ethos where the individual really matters. Small class sizes and knowing each pupil well means individuals are supported and encouraged to achieve their aspirations. Two boarding houses offer full, weekly and flexi-boarding packages and, with no Saturday lessons, pupils can enjoy boarding activities and weekend pursuits. Sibford’s Sixth Form (refurbishment Summer 2022) offers A Level and vocational subjects, a supportive careers department, excellent sporting facilities and a wide ranging extra-curricular program. Underlying all of this is a community guided by Quaker principles: equality, peace, integrity and stewardship.



St Clare’s St Clare’s, Oxford is an independent, co-educational day and boarding college located in Oxford. We have been offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma for over 40 years, longer than any other school or college in England. We are also an IB World School. Students from over 45 countries study at St Clare’s. The atmosphere is informal and friendly, with an equal emphasis on hard work and developing personal responsibility. Our average point score is 39 (world average 33) and we are ranked highly for results. Our students regularly gain the maximum 45 points placing them in the top 1% of students globally.

St Edward’s School Oxford For further information, please visit:

St Helen and St Katharine St Helen and St Katharine is a leading independent day school for girls aged 9–18 with enquiring minds, based in Abingdon, six miles south of Oxford. We support every student to get where she wants to go. No matter if you have known you want to be an astronaut since you were six or see your future as an empty path ready to be filled with ideas, there is space at St Helen’s for every kind of ambition and every kind of girl. Opening in 2022, our brand new Sixth Form Centre will provide students with the space and opportunity to grow their academic and extracurricular interests in readiness for their future.

St Hugh’s Preparatory School For further information, please visit:

St John’s Priory School St John’s Priory School is an ‘EXCELLENT’ rated small and successful co-educational day prep school and Nursery for boys and girls from 3 – 11 years. Set in the heart of Banbury town, SJP offers a tradition of academic excellence through a vibrant all-round education. Our Family First approach ensures a nurturing environment and offers flexible before and after school provision. Small class sizes enable the children to develop into adventurous, confident and engaging learners and our teachers to tailor the curriculum to the individual needs of each child. We strive to provide opportunities for all children to flourish and to develop their individual talents. Whether through music, art, sport or academia, there really is something for everyone!

St. Mary’s Preparatory School For further information, please visit:

Summer Fields School Summer Fields School is a boarding and day school for boys aged 4-13 and is set in more than 70 acres of stunning grounds. With highly dedicated staff and a variety of co-curricular activities, pupils are encouraged to not only thrive academically, but also widen and develop their passions, skills and interests. As a result, Summer Fields has an outstanding record of winning awards and scholarships to top public schools like Eton, Harrow, Radley, Stowe and Winchester, among others.



The Oratory Preparatory School For further information, please visit:

The Oratory School For further information, please visit:

The Unicorn School The Unicorn School is a specialist, independent day school for children, aged 7-16 years, who have Specific Learning Differences; dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia, and those who need support with Speech, Language & Communication. We are a small, nurturing school and we offer education up to GCSE. We help pupils to build self-confidence, and our unique approach bridges the gap between our pupils’ current performance and their potential achievement. Our goal is for every child to flourish, leaving with the confidence to learn, the appetite for study, and the desire to continue to succeed in their education and beyond.

Tudor Hall Tudor Hall is an independent day and boarding school for girls aged 11-18. Tudor Hall is nestled within the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside. Individuality is encouraged and valued, resulting in strong, ambitious, and determined young adults. A plethora of diverse co-curricular opportunities complement the academic provision allowing each girl to find something that can become their passion. Whether a day pupil or boarder, each Tudor Hall student is immersed into a world of possibilities and opportunities, enabling them to grow personally and academically. Tudor Hall students live by the school motto ‘Habeo ut Dem’ (I have, that I may give’), and are ready to embark on the challenges of modern society.

Windrush Valley School “Excellence starts here… Windrush Valley School located in Oxfordshire prides itself on providing an inspiring and stimulating curriculum for children aged 3 – 11. Ranked in the top 25 Independent Prep Schools in England by the Sunday Times, and the only one in Oxfordshire, its high standard of education combined with nurturing and supportive teaching allows the children to build their self-esteem and independence that they can rely on for the rest of their lives. This affordable school offers small class sizes which enables a positive learning environment where children are challenged to achieve their full potential socially, academically and emotionally to become resourceful innovators and leaders of the future.”

Wychwood School Oxford Wychwood School is a day and boarding school for girls aged 11-18. The girls achieve academic excellence through creativity of thought and leave school with the wisdom and courage to find their place and space in the world. Wychwood focuses on innovation, collaboration, creativity and life skills to deliver added value to all its pupils. The girls have every opportunity for success across academics, music, the arts, drama, sports and beyond. The highly dedicated staff empower all girls to discover their passion and skills while providing first class education. Entry at years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12.



Using Assistive Technology in the Classroom Supporting dyslexic students to become independent learners There are a multitude of benefits to having good access to ICT in the classroom but, for our pupils none more so than the opportunity to use assistive technology. The Unicorn School is a school for dyslexic pupils and, for us, giving the pupils the skills to be independent learners is really important. Since moving to Microsoft in September 2019 we have subsequently introduced one to one devices across the school. The majority of these devices are Surface Go’s which are easy for the pupils to manage but importantly also have digital inking capability. Immersive Reader

Immersive Reader is an amazing tool which allows pupils to access texts independently in the way that works for them. They can have the

Book now:

text read to them and it has a multitude of voices they can choose from – including local accents! It will split words into syllables and can also identify parts of speech. For pupils who want to read themselves but need less visual distraction, you can highlight 1, 3 or 5 lines of text at a time. Since introducing Immersive Reader in school we have seen pupils be enabled to tackle texts independently that previously would have been inaccessible to them. Dictate

Many of our pupils have very good oral skills and verbally are able to express themselves really well. However, when it comes to getting their ideas down on paper they struggle for a number of reasons – poor working memory, and poor handwriting to name but two. Dictate removes these barriers for pupils as they can speak their answers and it will convert it into text. Pupils can then use Immersive Reader to read back their answers allowing them to be totally independent and increasing their confidence considerably. Collections

Organisational skills are often challenging for our pupils and finding websites they have successfully used previously can be really tricky. Collections in Microsoft Edge allows pupils to bookmark websites into folders for easy access. They can also just drag a paragraph or picture from a site rather than select the whole webpage, but in doing so it keeps the source site available so they can find the webpage again.

Fun, innovative learning!

Staff as well as pupils have benefited from these amazing tools and the effect at school has been really positive. SALLIE GREENHALGH, Academic & Digital Lead TURN TO P59 to read about SEN support available at university

Years 2–3 Taster Day: 11 May


As Oxford’s popularity grows, so does it property market Why is Oxford so popular?

The Great Barn, Chalgrove, Oxfordshire on the market with Carter Jonas for £1,650,000

Over the past two years, the Oxford property market has demonstrated significant growth. During March 2020 to July 2021, the main peak of the pandemic, Carter Jonas saw house prices in Oxford grow 10%, and 12% in the wider Oxfordshire area. However, Carter Jonas also found that detached homes saw the most price growth during the pandemic at 12.9% in Oxford, and at a remarkable 13.8% in Oxfordshire. This was largely due to a surge of families who became attracted to the high standard of education across the county and the city of Oxford itself. A large percentage of these buyers came

Mount House, Oxford – a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment on the market with Carter Jonas for £749,500

from further afield across the UK, as they recognised the strength of an investment in the area; although the excellent academia is a clear draw, many buyers also recognise the fun and active lifestyle the region can offer a family. Simon McConnell, Partner and Head of Residential Sales at Carter Jonas in Oxford comments, “We had so much interest from Londoners during the heat of the pandemic. The villages surrounding the city were where most of our clients were looking for their new homes. Their main motivation for moving to Oxford was a desire for a change in lifestyle for their families. As many buyers have adapted to a flexible style of working, they now no longer need to be in their London offices a large amount of the week. Characterful and charming cottages were most in demand for these buyers, as many moving from city to country wanted to embrace a new life in the English countryside. The most sought-

after properties here were usually priced over £500,000. North Oxford is also very popular with families due to its amazing nearby schools, and the streets in Central North Oxford always receive a high amount of interest. The Edwardian and Victorian architecture coupled with the sought-after catchment area location, places a premium on any property in this district of the city. Here, properties will sell for at least £3,000,000 and the competition can be fierce. Over the past year we have seen bidding wars on some properties with the total number of offers going into double figures, and many properties selling for 10-25% over asking price.” CARTER JONAS – Oxford



Thinking of making a move? Why is Oxford an increasingly popular destination for many SW London families? “I wonder if anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is like an opera.” WB Yeats A spider’s web T here are a wide range of maintained and

independent primary and secondary schools to choose from. T here are many day school options, but also excellent boarding schools, if required. These schools are described as a perfect mix of academic and sporty, and there is a school that would suit each individual’s needs. C hildren have more space and freedom. C ountryside pursuits and healthier lifestyle. P arents can work in London and commute easily. T here are excellent transport links within Oxford and beyond including pedestrian, bikes, buses, tube (to London), trains and there is also Heathrow Airport nearby. C hildren in London increasingly have to travel further to get to schools and the traffic is often congested making for longer days on top of their academic work. S afety was something that they felt was a consideration with reported muggings and knife crime over past years in London. I ndependence for the children – they can walk to and from school and if not catch a bus home. F acilities: there are cinemas, theatres, shopping centres (including the Westgate Centre). E xcursions to London are possible to access the museums and many cultural benefits within a day.

Where to live?

This would really depend on the schools that the children attend and whether a family would prefer to live in the centre or in the surrounding area. A word of warning, traffic in the centre can be heavy in peak periods and this is something that is worth consideration. Prices in Oxford match London house prices and therefore there is not necessarily a financial advantage, but you are likely to get a larger property with more green space nearby by relocating. 76


1. Spend time in Oxford and get to know the town. 2. V isit the schools and attend Open Days well

in advance of considering any move. (Do book spaces in advance as they often are filled quite quickly.) 3. E nsure that your children have secured a place at your schools of choice before renting or buying a property, if you are considering independent school options, and you will need a suitable postcode in the correct catchment area before being considered for places at maintained school options. 4. I t may be worth considering renting for the first six months to become more familiar with the local area and where you may prefer to live long term. 5. L iaise with the local estate agents and build a relationship – many properties are not advertised on Rightmove as people do not wish to leave a digital footprint and therefore there may be properties available that are not always advertised. Suggested property advice: Rentals: Finders Keepers – rentals tend to fall in line with the academic year Estate agents: Penny and Sinclair – they have a very good local knowledge Education Choices were thrilled to be able to speak to a long-standing client about their reasons for moving away from SW London and relocating in Oxford and are very thankful for their valuable contribution. TURN TO PAGES 6 - 9 to read about nurseries in Oxford


NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF… Nightclubs: The Bridge: “A classic, with a

great outdoor area.” – Oxford Brookes Student O2: The favourite location for concerts or special nights out, such as Halloween, as it features the best acts. It is also the spot for Oxford Brookes’ Sports Night. ATIK: With four dance rooms, five bars, and a chill-out room, it’s got something for everyone. Bars: The Varsity Club (known

A guide to living, working, and studying in Oxford Some top tips for students FACTS ABOUT OXFORD: O xford has been an established town since the 9th Century. T he University of Oxford was established in the 12th Century. It is around 1,110 years old! Alumni include: 28 UK Prime Ministers, 20 Archbishops of Canterbury, 12 saints, 27 Nobel laureates, 50 Nobel Prize winners and Sir Stephen Hawking. O xford escaped many bombings during the Second World War, meaning that it is therefore a wonderful place to witness old English architecture. L ewis Carroll’s inspiration for his protagonist ‘Alice’ from Alice in Wonderland was named after a real girl, Alice Liddell, the daughter of a Dean in Oxford. T he Great Hall at Christ Church was used as inspiration for the Hogwarts dining hall in the Harry Potter films. The staircase leading up to the hall was actually used in several scenes in the films.

Where do students live? B oth universities offer first

year accommodation, in or around campus. I n second and third year, students usually choose to ‘live out’ and rent housing. The student hotspots are Cowley or Headington. F or Oxford students, the colleges that initially offer the first-year accommodation, will offer at least one further year of accommodation (or even for the whole duration of your degree). However, like Oxford Brookes students, you can choose to ‘live out’. Oxford has a selection of privatelyrented houses and flats available.

colloquially as TVC): Has a rooftop bar overlooking Oxford which, as you can imagine, is particularly nice in the summer months. The Alchemist: Based at the top of Westgate, this bar won’t disappoint with its array of funky drinks with names such as ‘Beach Please’, ‘Cherry Poppins’, and ‘Cereal Killer’. The Mad Hatter’s Speakeasy Cocktail Bar: An eccentric

venue with live music and Wonderland-themed drinks. The Bar’s karaoke nights are a firm favourite for Oxford students. Pubs and restaurants: The City Arms: Karaoke nights

every Thursday.

The Cowley Retreat: Oxford

Brookes’ central pub featuring live music and a decked terrace for BBQs.




TOP ACTIVITIES TO DO IN OXFORD: 1. Punting on the River Thames: Hollywood star, Elizabeth “This is 100% something Taylor were among the everyone should do, whether famous few. you get a guide or ‘take the 4. A stroll through Oxford’s plunge’ and risk doing it Botanic Gardens or Christ yourself!” – Oxford Brookes Church Meadow. Student 5. Port Meadow: As a Site of 2. May Day Morning: This is a Special Scientific Interest massive day in Oxford… Clubs (SSSI), this is a superb summer stay open later and everyone spot for picturesque picnics in goes out into the streets at the warm weather. around 6 a.m. after partying. 6. Blenheim Palace: The Oxford students jump into the birthplace of Winston river! Churchill, this is a gorgeous 3. Take a trip to Turf Tavern: country house worth visiting. A variety of visitors have 7. Bodleian Library/Radcliffe wined and dined at this pub. Camera building: A great place The Harry Potter cast visited to research and read. during filming, Stephen 8. Escape Room in Westgate. Hawking was a regular, and 9. Junkyard Golf Club.


The Rusty Bicycle: “Home of the

best pizzas ever!” – Oxford Brookes Student Quod: A fancy restaurant for some fine dining. Victors: The perfect place to celebrate a birthday. Gees: A place to enjoy a Mediterranean menu in a cosy conservatory. Parks: Oxford University Parks: Oxford

students’ hangout. South Park: Oxford Brookes students’ hangout with “the best sunsets over the whole of Oxford.” – Oxford Brookes Student TATIANA SUMMERS, Editor

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Articles inside

A guide to living, working and studying in Oxford

pages 71-72

As Oxford’s popularity grows so does it property market

page 69

Independent School Options

pages 61-67

Using Assistive Technology in the Classroom

page 68

Thinking of making a move?

page 70

Maintained Schools Options

page 60

Celebrating Spring

pages 58-59

Street Talk

page 57

Classics Outreach and Engagement at the University of Warwick

page 56

SOAS re-imagines a new approach to African Studies

page 55

Benefits of a legal education

page 54

Addressing additional learning needs

page 53

The benefits of joining an international school when transitioning from the US

page 49

All you need to know about Personal Statements

page 52

A world of opportunities

page 48

Why take the International Baccalaureate?

pages 46-47

The Power of Partnerships

pages 50-51

Free Learning

pages 44-45

Aiming High

page 41

Flourishing in the Co-Curriculum

page 43

Schools Strictly Come Dancing for the disabled

pages 39-40

Using art as inspiration

page 36

The magic of writing - and of looking all around

page 35

Education Corner Podcast Interview with Dr. Lee Elliot Major OBE

pages 28-33

Addressing anxiety in children

page 34

Education Corner Podcast Interview

pages 23-27

Education Corner Podcast Interview

pages 20-22

Inspiring Fiercely Independent Girls

page 10

Giving your school a makeover

pages 8-9

The houses that look like ours

page 7

Pupils learning to sign

page 11

Space and Science inspire Swaffield School

page 12

Readiness for every stage of learning

page 3
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