Education Choices Magazine Summer 2024

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Education Choices



• Ben Evans, Windlesham House

• Nick Hewlett, St Dunstan’s College

• Dr. Joseph Spence, Dulwich College

• Scottish schools panel


Flexi Boarding


SURREY SCHOOLS LISTING - ECM recommended Surrey school options, university applications, countryside properties and design tips! PLUS Education Choices Awards 2024

Dear Readers,

It has been a very busy and exciting year for Education Choices Magazine and Education Corner Podcast. We are thankful to all those in education that we work with. It is wonderful to be finishing the year with our first Awards. We wish everyone a well deserved break over the summer!

Chloe Abbott (Founder)


“A garden’s beauty never lies in one flower.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

Celebrating the Paris Olympics 2024

Sport-themed books for the whole family

AGES 3-5:

The Frog OlympicsBrian Moses (Author) and Amy Husband (Illustrator)

Bring your family together with this hilariously funny tale about an army of frogs who travel from around the globe to celebrate the notorious ‘Frog Olympics’.

Splash - Claire Cashmore (Author) and Sharon Davey (Illustrator) Born without a left forearm, Claire Cashmore MBE, a Paralympic gold medallist, tells her story of never letting her disability stand in the way of her dreams.

AGES 6-8:

Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion, Simone Biles - Michelle Meadows (Author) and Ebony Glenn (Illustrator) Learn the success story of the Olympic champion, Simone Biles. Flying High tells the story of one of the world’s best gymnasts, exploring her journey from an athletic childhood to a sporting superstar.

Ancient Games – A History of Sports and GamingAvalon NuovoIris Volant (Author) and Avalon Nuovo (Illustrator)

Just in time for the Summer 2024 Olympic Games, this book acts as the perfect guide to the history of games and sports, from legends of the Aztec god of board games to Japanese sumo wrestling.

AGES 9-12:

Ghost - Jason Reynolds

Ghost is the first book in Reynold’s award winning Track series (followed by Patina, Sunny and Lu). In this inspiring tale, we follow Ghost as he confronts his past in the attempt to become the fastest sprinter at school.

The Boy who Biked the World - Alastair Humphreys (Author) and Tom MorganJones (Illustrator) In this fantastic adaptation of Alastair Humphrey’s journey around the world, this story explores the experiences of Tom as he cycles through Europe, across Africa and all the way to the tip of South Africa!

AGES 13-17:

Gravity - Sarah Deming

This novel follows the life of Gravity Doomsday Delgado as she learns how to channel the anger and stress caused by her troubled home life into boxing, setting her on a path towards the Olympics. Will she make it?

The Mamba Mentality: How I Play - Kobe Bryant

This book reveals Kobe Bryant’s personal perspective on his experiences as he navigates the world of basketball, whilst also providing us with his expert insight on his playing style and technique.


The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn’t Stop - Bill Jones

This novel tells the story of John Tarrant, the mysterious ‘Ghost Runner’ who soon became one of the greatest long-distance runners the world has ever seen.


03 Celebrating the Paris Olympics 2024

Sport-themed books for the whole family

06 Pastoral Care at Broomwood

The importance of pupil feedback

07 Chelsea in Bloom

Celebrating the summer

08 Planting Sunflowers and Welcoming Pollinators

Heathside School’s Early Years

09 Mind the Generation Gap

The power of The Together Project

10 Cally and Jimmy: Twinseperable

Embracing our Differences

12 The Power of Dreams

Letting your imagination run wild

13 Overcoming Differences

Creating a socially positive image

14 The Importance of Self-Care

Teaching children to become their own parent

15 Understanding Autism

Navigating neurodivergence through writing

16 The Wrong Shoes

Giving children hope for the future

17 Supporting Children Through Change

Helping small children discuss big worries

18 A Celebration of Sports

An Olympic-themed term at Hampton Court House

19 Are you ready for the Olympics?

How to enter the competitive sporting world

20-21 Training the Working Memory

Allowing your child to reach their fullest potential





24-27 Ben Evans

Windlesham House School, Sussex

28-31 Dr. Joseph Spence

Dulwich College, London

32-33 Let’s Talk About…

Adolescent Addiction

St Dunstan’s College, Catford

34-37 Alex Tate

St John’s School, Leatherhead

38-40 Scottish Boarding

Schools Panel

Glenalmond College, Lomond School, Belhaven Hill School, Ardvreck School

41 Personalised Learning at Queen


Giving students individual attention

42-43 A Highland Fling

Why are they a good option for your child?

44 Tonbridge School’s dedication to EDI

Widening access and increasing opportunity

45 Developing lifelong learning skills

Reimagining the library at Reed’s School

47 Creating Safer School Environments

The Everyone’s Invited movement

49 Supporting Persistently Absent Students

Tellmi’s new campaign


Education Choices Magazine’s Recommended Surrey Schools

69 Wellington College

Personal Statements and Foundation options for US universities

70-71 Advice on Buying a Home in Surrey

Striking the balance between rural and connected

72-73 Summer Breeze

“Summertime, and living is easy…”

74 Applying Across the Pond

Lessons learned from touring US colleges


75 Making University Accessible to All UCAS’ policy changes to support less advantaged pupils

76 Applying to University Overseas

Supporting international university applications

78 Showcasing your Skills

Top tips for writing a personal statement

79 School Tasking

Expanding educational opportunities

80 Sustainability at St Andrews

Highlighting the importance of collaboration

81 Blending Tradition and Innovation

A guide to Scottish universities

82 Writing a Successful Personal Statement

Advice from the University of Exeter

Founder: Chloe Abbott

Social Media and Marketing: Ella Maria

Co-Editors: Rohini Bhonsle-Allemand and Megan Payne

Assistant Editors: Izzy Reeves and Emily Parsons

Design: Peter Charles

Podcasts: Emma Charleston

Front cover photography: Laura Shimili

(featuring St John’s School, Leatherhead)

EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE is now available to purchase both online and on paper copy.

Please contact:

Pastoral Care at Broomwood

The importance of pupil feedback

Parents and teachers often say that boys and girls have different developmental needs as they approach puberty. Broomwood has a unique way of supporting children as they find their feet, emotionally, socially and academically. Our pupils start in a co-ed setting, transitioning to single-sex prep schools in Year 3. However, they come together for a range of extensive activities, including house competitions, learning opportunities and mixed residential trips. This means friendships made in Pre-Prep continue and pupils are able to experience working in different settings.

Broomwood’s pastoral care is designed to deal with the unique

needs of boys and girls. We regularly ask pupils to review how they are feeling and identify areas of concern - they participate in pupil surveys which focus on mental health and wellbeing, with the results providing insight into the challenges they face so we can provide targeted support. For example, this year some older girls expressed concerns about sleep. As a result, we held a sleep therapist workshop to help with ‘sleep hygiene’ and anxiety management. Interestingly, the boys had other concerns: they didn’t mind facing ‘consequences’ for behaviour which fell short of expectations, as long as it was ‘fair’. We gave them responsibility for drawing up appropriate

Inspiring and equipping children aged 3-13 to


The Best of Both Worlds

A happy childhood, outstanding results

Broomwood has a unique approach to education. Children start at our co-ed pre-prep, before moving on to our single sex prep schools. Beyond the classroom, they come together for a host of enrichment, sporting and creative activities. Our cohort of 103 leavers, were awarded 42 scholarships this year at 11 and 13+.

guidelines for behaviour, which has boosted their confidence and performance at school. We are proactive when planning workshops, external speakers or internal support mechanisms and reactive to the changing issues that our girls and boys face.

When our children move on at 11+ or 13+, more than half go to co-ed schools and the rest stay in the single-sex system. Either way, it is gratifying to hear feedback from their senior school staff outlining how enthusiastic and well prepared they are for life beyond Broomwood!

LOUISA McCAFFERTY Head of Broomwood Prep - Girls

Open Days

Pre-Prep, 9 October and Prep Schools, 11 October Or book a personal visit!

Chelsea in Bloom

Celebrating the summer

At Cameron Vale, we have been celebrating Chelsea in Bloom with the help of Upper School children, who spent the morning under the sunshine trimming flower stems and choosing the foliage to design a beautiful display of floral letters to hang across our frontal railings.

After that, they were treated to delicious margherita pizzas, courtesy of Pizza Express, which donated twenty-five pizzas to the school as a special treat to celebrate the children’s artistic efforts!

The Benefits of Yoga

How yoga can increase academic attainment in students

LOLA GONZALEZ Communications Manager


A two-term school-based yoga and mindfulness program designed to raise academic attainment, enhance mental resilience and improve overall behaviour was designed for KS3 boys who were identified as ‘underperforming’ in Maths and English. The program included a combination of weekly yoga sessions, MISP (Mindfulness in Schools Programme) in PE and ‘Mindful Monday’ weekly form time activities. After the two terms, the number of students reporting a lack of concentration in class dropped from 50% to 14%, students experiencing anxiety prior to examinations dropped from 28% to 15% and the percentage of boys highlighted to be of academic concern dropped from 11% to 5%. Students also reported an overall improvement in sleep quality. The findings of this research led Lauren Weston to set up Kidz4, a programme taught by experienced and passionate yoga teachers with a mission to improve happiness and wellbeing in students whilst raising academic attainment. Kidz4 is currently developing a charitable arm to offer mainstream and SEN schools with limited funding in deprived areas their high-quality, bespoke programme to vulnerable students.

LAUREN WESTON Founder of Kidz4

Planting Sunflowers and Welcoming Pollinators

Heathside School’s Early Years

At Heathside School Hampstead, summer is a time of vibrant growth and discovery, especially for its youngest learners.

This year, the school’s Early Years children are cultivating sunflowers, bringing to life a classroom lesson that extends into the great outdoors. The project is not just about planting seeds; it is an exploration of nature’s wonders and the vital role of pollinators.

The school’s young gardeners are discovering the essential work of pollinators. Teachers introduced the concept of pollination, illustrating how

these tiny creatures contribute to the growth of flowers and the production of seeds. The children are observing bees visiting flowers, collecting nectar and unwittingly spreading pollen from flower to flower.

Nadia Ward, Headteacher at Heathside, suggests that the first-hand observation of bees and butterflies busy at work is helping the children to understand the interconnectedness of nature. By understanding and protecting pollinators, the students are taking their first steps towards becoming stewards of the environment.

The children learned that, without pollinators, many of the foods we enjoy and the flowers we cherish would not exist. They also discussed ways to protect these crucial creatures by creating pollinator-friendly habitats, planting more flowers and avoiding harmful pesticides.

• Creative Arts & Crafts Sessions for adults & kids

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Mind the Generation Gap

The power of The Together Project

How many friendships do you have with an 84 year age gap?

Four-year-old Marley and 88-year-old Rosa send each other pictures and letters every month as part of national charity

The Together Project’s Crafting Connections programme. They’ve discovered they have so much in common that, in her mum’s words: “Marley was surprised to learn that Rosa was not the same age as her!”

info@happyplaceclub co uk

Britain is one of the most age-segregated countries in the world, leading to ageism, loneliness and intergenerational misunderstanding. The Together Project works to bridge the generation gap through a range of joy-filled activities that bring people together who otherwise might never meet - like Marley and Rosa. This happens in a variety of ways, from the aforementioned postal exchanges linking children of all ages to older adults, to in-person music groups

for under 5s, their parents or guardians and care home residents.

“Our lives are so much more enriched when we don’t just socialise with people like us, when we have friendships with people from different generations and walks of life”, says Louise Goulden, Founder and CEO. In a recent evaluation survey, 82% of people felt less lonely after getting involved in one of The Together Project’s programmes, with one parent describing it as: “Heartwarming to watch my son smile and put a smile on another person’s face.”


Cally and Jimmy: Twinseperable

Embracing our differences

Cally describes her brother as ‘annoying’. Of course, in reality, they are very close, sharing a twinseparable bond - it’s just that siblings often find one another irritating, don’t they? Having to compete for space, attention and recognition, and always in conflict with one another. I know I was with my brother, Andrew. He wasn’t quite my twin, but since he was just eleven months younger than me, it was almost the case, and I was always being compared to him. Imagine what it must be like for twins!

It was important for me to make Cally and Jimmy individually identifiable - they are indeed unique in many ways, and it so happens that one of Jimmy’s ‘differences’ is that he has ADHD. Whilst he is clever, imaginative, entrepreneurial and well-liked amongst his peers, he is not a conventionally high-achiever at school like Cally, and needs the support of teaching assistant Miss

Loretta to keep him on track. However, I wanted to explore further what exactly connotes ‘success’. Should it be measured by the highest grades or are there other ways of championing and playing to one’s strengths and talents? As a teacher for many years, I know that every child of every ability has potential and it has been my role to enable them to meet that, approaching and conquering challenges from whichever direction necessary. No person is better than the next, just different.

So, the adventures of Cally & Jimmy are about problems and how to overcome them, as well as family and friendship. There are four books in the series so far (with four stories in one): Twins in Trouble, Twintastic, Twins Together and Twinseparable, and though living with neurodiversity is a key theme, it doesn’t completely define the series. Having said that, there is one

particular story in Twinseparable which does have ADHD as its main focus. In Twin Business, Cally & Jimmy go to work with their Dad, an accountant, and spend the day at his office. Cally feels right at home and gets stuck straight into her data entry task, while Jimmy is not so sure. He is not confident about what he might be when he grows up and wonders where he might fit in with the world of work. That’s until he meets tech manager, Kieran, who is also a neurodivergent character, who encourages Jimmy to think of his ADHD as a “difference” rather than as a “deficit” or “disorder”.

The fourth book in the series, Cally & Jimmy: Twinseparable is published by Andersen Press, 1st August 2024, and is available for pre-order now.


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Bryanston is an award-winning co-educational boarding school for ages 3-18, with outstanding facilities, set in 400 acres of Dorset countryside.

For more information please scan the QR code, visit our website or call our Admissions Team on 01258 484 633.

The Power of Dreams

Letting your imagination run wild

From a young age, I have been obsessed with the power of storytelling. At school, I would let my imagination run wild not only in creative writing tasks, but in almost everything I told my teachers and parents too! In turn, storytelling was the only method of teaching that managed to capture my undivided attention. Such information became useful when I had my own children. I quickly found that storytelling provided me with the ability to both engage my children and teach them something at the same time. Bedtime stories from picture books have developed into fullblown explorations of characters and storylines that we cocreate ad lib. The psychological and educational benefits are palpable: they have built up confidence to share the depths of their imaginations and challenge their own vocabularies to craft

those ideas. More importantly, we have fun while doing so.

I thought it would be nice to convert some of our favourite stories into picture books. The first, Dare To Dream, is about a fish who dreams of seeing the sun but needs to overcome the allpowerful sea-chiefs in order to do so, alongside her small group of outcast friends called the misfish. Ultimately, the small fish overcomes the odds by using her storytelling powers.

The book’s message is to reassure children that they should follow their dreams by remaining their natural, playful selves. My own career journey has been one of discovering this same truth – going from a lawyer to an entrepreneur was partly about having the confidence to relax into my own personality. Adulthood has given me many things, but with it came a self-created sense of gravity

that obscured the core things, like storytelling, that made me fascinated with the world as a child.

All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to UNICEF. One of the striking things about having children is how personal the plight of other children becomes to you. My father was made a refugee when he was six months old and I often think about how easily I could have been one of those children that UNICEF seeks to help. It is estimated that there are over 43 million child refugees in the world, a number which has doubled in the past 15 years. These are heartbreaking statistics, but behind them are strong, talented children with their own stories to tell; stories that we need to hear. I hope that the book can help some of those children find their own sun one day too.

Dare To Dream is available to purchase on Amazon here. All profits will be donated to UNICEF.


To buy this book click here

Overcoming Differences

Creating a socially positive image

The idea for Giraffe and a Half popped into my head when I was walking to an illustrator meet up on the South Bank in London. I loved Giraffe straight away and was delighted when Andersen Press commissioned her story. Giraffe has three ears and six legs, she feels self-conscious about being different and worries that this makes her less worthwhile as a friend.

It was quite late in the creative process that I realised Giraffe was me. Her difference is a metaphor for mine. One of the many wonderful things about picture books is their capacity for poetic devices such as metaphor – it’s why they bring real sophistication, as well as joy, to literacy development in children.

I had a critical illness as a child and was paralysed for a month. I had to be ventilated during treatment, and this treatment badly damaged my airway. For years after I’d recovered from the illness, I had no voice at all. I had to face the world in this altered state.

All Giraffe’s feelings in the book are mine. My difference diminished my sense of self and I became self-conscious around people I didn’t know. I felt responsible for protecting them from feeling awkward around my difference. My solution was to socially withdraw. In the book, this is represented by Giraffe playing hide and seek all alone.

One day, a wise friend said: “If you said hello to them, they might talk to you.” In the book, this becomes the mantra of Bird with a Third. My friend was right and new friendships began to take off. My emotional relationship with my difference had been more of a social barrier than the difference itself. I had sent out signals that I wanted to be left alone. People needed a cue from me on how to handle my difference in a

more socially positive way. When I gave it to them, they gladly took it.

Bird’s mantra to stand “Proud and Strong and Brave and Bold” is one I want to share with other children with differences. From my own experience, I know that ongoing health issues make aspects of life very challenging. But having lovely friends doesn’t need to be one of them. I hope that reading Giraffe’s story might help children who are shy because of any difference, to feel safer in reaching out to new friends.

Giraffe and a Half by Nicola Kent is published in hardback by Andersen Press and will be out in paperback on August 1, 2024.


The Importance of Self-Care

Teaching children to become their own parent

As a clinical psychologist who has worked with adults for decades, I have heard and sat with various stories ranging from heartening to horrible, every day, from many clients. That’s expected. However, something that continually surprises me and is much more common than you’d expect is that, as children, many of my clients weren’t made aware of or weren’t taught some basic self-care practices.

Wonderful Me was inspired by my clients, who had to figure out so much on their own as children. I wish that they could have had a book that would have helped them learn about things like boundaries, how to relax and the value of sleep. I also wish that they could have had caregivers learn what they might not have learned in their own childhoods. Maybe then, they could have parented my clients in a way that could have prevented at least some suffering.

I have seen the power of combining traditional forms of psychotherapy with teaching basic self-care. This work is

different from helping someone who knows what they need for their wellbeing, like going to bed on time, but isn’t doing it. There is work to be done on that, of course, but what captures my attention most is when I learn that my client doesn’t know about a basic need for their wellbeing - this part of the psychotherapy is about helping clients become better parents to themselves.

Wonderful Me has salience for children who are having a great upbringing as well, because being a parent and becoming a parent to oneself is tricky business! Wonderful Me is divided into three areas: physical, social and emotional wellbeing. The complexity of parenting is approached through self-care topics such as: nutrition, expecting respect, caring for others, asking for help, time alone and naming feelings.

Designed to stay relevant and accessible from early to late childhood, Wonderful Me can be thought of as a mini textbook to support a child during the longest

and one of the most important lessons they will encounter: learning to become their own parent. There are so many benefits for children learning this, like increasing resiliency to life’s challenges, and protecting and managing physical and mental health throughout their entire lives. Fortunately, parenting ourselves forms the foundation of a powerful pattern: if children learn the skills they need to care well for themselves as adults, they will pass them on to the next generation.

Understanding Autism

Navigating neurodivergence through writing

I’ve always known I was different, but in my family that was always celebrated. College was the first time I wondered if that difference was something more than just ‘quirky’. I learned about autism from a book and designed my own major to focus on understanding the brain, particularly autismbut even then, my thought process was more along the lines of: “I can help these autistic kids!” rather than “I’m one of these autistic kids who needs help!” As I hit my twenties, I noticed that I couldn’t keep up with ‘normal’ for the first time and had a crisis - how was everyone else able to hold fulltime jobs, clean their house, cook and see people in their spare time? I began to wonder if the reason I felt like I understood autism was because I was, in fact, autistic.

It was only during the pandemic that I really began to confront this question head-on. I began writing poems after a particularly difficult sensory day, and unearthed memories of my overstimulation in middle school. As I wrote these poems, a character, Selah, rose to the surface, who learned that she couldn’t just mask and put up with the neurotypical world around her; she needed tools to help her succeed. As I wrote, I was on the same journey as Selah, discovering my own needs and even formally getting diagnosed as autistic. Writing was healing and cathartic for me to process aspects of my experience I had suppressed. Now that Good Different is out, I’m hearing from kids and adults who

resonate with Selah’s experiences, and am blown away realizing how I am not, and have never been, alone. Those who internalize their symptomsmost often autistic females - tend to be overlooked and misdiagnosed. We’ve been told that we’re “too normal,” have “too many friends,” and “function too well” to be autistic, and have often silently struggled without the help we need as a result.

Now that I know I’m autistic, I’m excited to write neurodivergent protagonists trying to figure out how to navigate a neurotypical world. My next book, The Girl in The Wall, centres on V, an autistic girl who loves her neurospicy self - until people in her family make her feel small. She risks letting her hurt and anger overwhelm her, but in the end (with the help of a ghost) she learns how to communicate in a healthy way, forgive and heal. While I write to help myself process and understand the world around me, I’m hopeful and excited that these stories can help readers too - both neurodivergent and neurotypical.


TURN TO PAGES 24-27 to read about life at Windlesham House School, Sussex

Children Living in Poverty

Giving children hope for the future

The Wrong Shoes is a book which explores the crushing challenges facing children living in poverty. According to the Child Poverty Action Group, 4.2 million children were living in poverty in the UK in 2021/2022. That’s one in three children who are going to struggle, through no fault of their own.

When I was young, there were times when my family didn’t have much money. We lived in a caravan for a few years near the border of midWales in the shadow of the Stiperstones, a craggy series of rock formations on a nearby hilltop. I remember how cold the winters were and waking up with ice on the metal bunk beds that my brother and I slept on, ice on the thin panes of glass in the windows and on the blanket where my breath had frozen overnight. However, The Wrong Shoes is in no way autobiographical. For a start, Will lives in a more claustrophobic, urban setting than I did and doesn’t have the freedom or release of nature like I did. Also, times are just different now.

I was Will’s age in 1990 and, looking back, there was far more support available then. For example, when we moved to a nearby small town there was a strong youth care provision with subsidised activities. There was a mobile library that used to travel out to more remote areas. Crucially, there were no tuition fees when I went to university to study Graphic Design and I even received a grant, enabling me to get the start in my professional life that I needed.

Had I not had that opportunity, I very much doubt I would be writing books today. What’s required here is more support for children in this situation today, more opportunities for them to learn, develop and eventually thrive - sadly, the support framework available now is

less robust than it was when I was young.

In The Wrong Shoes, there is hope for Will and a sense that despite his financial situations, his life is slowly changing for the better. However, even though there are subtle threads of something almost approaching magic woven through Will’s story, there is no sudden ‘fairy tale’ ending to the book - just like in real life, the positive changes to Will’s situation are hard-won and gradual.

I believe that it’s important to cover topics like this in children’s books to sensitively illustrate challenging situations, because books act as both windows and mirrors. Books enable us to see into lives we have no awareness of, and they can also reflect our own situations, making us feel seen and validated. I hope that any child who reads this book and is currently struggling will take Will’s resilience, determination and hope to heart and will keep going, keep working as hard as they can to do the best that they can, despite the obvious unfairness of it all. It’s also my hope that any children who read this book and don’t have any personal experience of Will’s situation might be able to reflect upon the additional challenges that Will faces and, by extension, the situations that some of their peers will be struggling with.

To read the book click here Visit the website UK Poverty 2023

Supporting Children Through Change

Helping small children discuss big worries

I’m pretty sure I am in the majority when I say, quite wholeheartedly, I do not like change. It can feel overwhelming and, frankly, quite terrifying. That is one of the reasons I wanted to write a book that might help a child when they are facing a big change of their own. These changes could take the form of many things, such as a parent going back to work, a new sibling, moving house, the loss of a family member or, of course, starting school. We can’t completely take away the anxiety, but we can help our children to manage their feelings surrounding these events.

Here are a few suggestions for ways in which we can offer support:

1. Keep up the old routines where you can. Your child will be immensely reassured when they realise that not everything is changing and that some things will stay the same. The most important routine here is probably bedtime. Keep the same order and time for

when things happen. We all know how important sleep is and how challenges in our lives can feel insurmountable when we haven’t had enough, so helping them to get good rest means they’ll be facing the change with enough fuel in the tank.

2. Talking and acknowledging their feelings can go a long way in helping your child to accept a change, whether it’s imminent or has already happened. Explain that you understand why they are feeling sad, worried or anxious. It’s also worth remembering that this might be the first time your child has felt these emotions.

3. Give your child a heads-up on what will be happening each day so that they won’t have any undue surprises. A gentle reminder that today you’ll be returning some books to the library and then popping to the supermarket on the way home, will allow them to feel included and a little bit in control.

4. Share a book together. There are so many books out there that cover a range of subjects around change. Before you read the words, ask your child to tell you what they think might be happening: “How is Connie feeling in that picture?”, “What do you think is going to happen when they get to school?” Reading with your child is not only a wonderful bonding experience for you both, it can also empower them when they have a worry that seems to be getting too big for their boots.

Lisa Thompson is a children’s novelist born in Essex, UK. Her debut novel, The Goldfish Boy, was published in the UK and North America in 2017 and went on to become a bestseller. A stage production of The Goldfish Boy was commissioned for a short run by the Oldham Theatre Workshop. Lisa has gone on to write more best-selling novels, including The Light Jar, The Day I Was Erased and The Boy Who Fooled The World. Worry Boots is her debut picture book.

TURN TO PAGE 49 to read about supporting young people’s mental health

A Celebration of Sports

An Olympic-themed term at Hampton Court House

As the world unites for the grand spectacle of the Olympics, we at Hampton Court House are thrilled to bring the spirit of the games to our school community. This year, our entire summer term sports curriculum for Prep and Senior students is inspired by the Olympics, focusing on traditional athletic events including javelin, shot put and discus.

Courtiers will immerse themselves in the discipline and excitement of these Olympic sports, learning not only the techniques but also the values of perseverance, teamwork and sportsmanship that the Olympics embody. These activities will culminate in our eagerly

anticipated Sports Days, where the four school houses will compete in Olympicstyle tournaments. With gold, silver and bronze medals up for grabs, the competition promises to be fierce and thrilling, fostering a sense of unity and healthy rivalry among our students.

At Hampton Court House, we believe that sport is an essential part of education, fostering physical health, confidence and camaraderie. This Olympicthemed term is an exceptional opportunity for our students to engage with the historic and global significance of the Olympics while developing their

athletic skills.

We are incredibly excited to celebrate the Olympics in our own unique way and look forward to a summer term filled with energy, enthusiasm and unforgettable sporting moments. Let the games begin!

SAMUEL PARKER Marketing Manager

Are you ready for the Olympics?

How to enter the competitive sporting world

Embark on an extraordinary journey with Athletes In Schools! Picture your students racing alongside world-class sprinters, delving into exciting new sports with British Olympians or being captivated by the stories of our Paralympic Gold medalists. A day with us has the power to transform lives.

Athletes In Schools stands as the UK’s premier provider of elite professional sports personalities dedicated to inspiring, motivating and educating students nationwide. We firmly believe that direct engagement with individuals who have achieved their dreams through resilience, dedication and perseverance can ignite the spark within students to strive for greatness in their chosen paths.

Our ethos of enthusiasm, interaction and excitement permeates every aspect of the experience. While rooted in sports, our mission extends

inspiring & educating children through sports fundamental skills development team sports & individual coaching fitness challenges & fun activities

beyond the field, aiming to foster academic excellence, social growth and mental wellbeing. By encouraging children to embrace challenges, proactively pursue goals and unlock their potential, we pave the way for holistic development.

At the heart of our program lies an inspirational assembly led by our esteemed athletes. They share their personal journeys, highlighting the triumphs and tribulations they have encountered along the way. This authentic narrative resonates deeply with students, empowering them to aspire to their fullest potential.

Throughout the day, students partake in dynamic sports sessions under the guidance of GB athletes, alongside engaging workshops covering topics such as nutrition, exercise and inclusivity. Our approach is centred on flexibility and student involvement, nurturing growth through collaboration rather than imposition.

Over 96% of schools this year said they would “definitely” recommend using Athletes In Schools to friends and colleagues, with 100% of respondents reporting that the students enjoyed the experience “a lot”.

As the Paris 2024 Olympics draw closer, seize the opportunity to infuse your school with the spirit of excellence. Let British Olympians showcase their medals and kickstart the 2024-25 school year with a bang!

Secure your spot now for Autumn-Winter 2024 and enjoy an exclusive 10% discount by quoting code #EdChoices via email or through the website!

Training the Working Memory

Allowing your child to reach their fullest potential

What is working memory and how does it affect your child?

On a school day, do you find yourself guiding your child from the moment they wake up to the moment they leave the house, reminding them of every task they must complete to get ready? As a parent or carer, you may wonder why they behave this way and how you can make mornings smoother for you and your child. In this article, I share information on ‘working memory’ and how understanding and strengthening it can significantly impact your child’s academic performance.

What is working memory?

Working memory is a cognitive process that we utilise to hold and manipulate information in our minds for a short period. A typical example of working memory in action is when we mentally calculate arithmetic problems, such as 14 x 8. We might start by calculating 10 x 8 = 80, retain the result of 80, and then calculate 4 x 8 = 32. We need to recall 80 and add it to 32 to arrive at the answer of 112.

The complexity of the task directly impacts the demand on our working memory. Working memory is actively engaged in various activities, from daily tasks to lists of instructions and time-constrained activities.

Working memory is different from short-term memory because short-term memory is storage. Working memory, however, is a dynamic process of memory, attention and manipulation of information over seconds.

Working memory is subdivided into two aspects: auditory/ verbal working memory and

visual/visual-spatial memory. Individuals often show strength in one over the other.

Spotting signs of weak working memory

Working memory undergoes rapid growth in children from ages four to sixteen. The retention limits on working memory differ with age. On average, a four-year-old may manage one instruction in their working memory, while a tenyear-old can hold four pieces of information. By sixteen or seventeen years old, children typically reach their adult capacity of around six pieces of information. This capacity remains stable until age thirty-

five, after which working memory tends to decline.

Weaknesses in working memory can manifest in isolation or across multiple areas of the curriculum. Here are some key areas to consider:

Comprehension; Slow working memory leads to difficulties remembering what is heard when learning new words, making coherent new sentences, understanding and retaining phonological information later used for decoding and reading. This can affect a child’s ability to follow verbal instructions or recall general information. Reading; This is a knock-on effect from not knowing the correct phonemes at the early

stages of language development. Weak working memory may hinder a child’s ability to decode words fluently when learning to read, impacting their reading comprehension skills.

Writing; Weak working memory can be reflected in a child’s writing abilities, particularly in organising thoughts/ideas coherently and in sequence.

Spelling; The building blocks of phonics, sequence and retention all work together to allow good spelling. Children with weak working memory may struggle to retain spelling in the long term, affecting their spelling consistency.

Maths; Maths is by far the most challenging subject for children with a working memory deficit. It requires learning abstract information and moving forwards and backwards in sequence. Learning times tables and maths facts is very challenging and, despite practice, may never be fully mastered.

Working memory and neurodivergence

Those with conditions such as dyslexia, DCD (Developmental Coordination Difficulties) , ADHD, ASD, trauma, pathological demand disorder and others will all, most likely, exhibit working memory deficits, affecting emotional regulation. Children with severe working memory deficits cannot always recall facts and information at will and may

appear immature for their age. This is often accompanied by poor cognitive processing speed.

How to improve working memory

Raviv Practice London uses an evidence-based tool called Cogmed® working memory training to improve working memory, developed by Swedish neuroscientist Torkel Klingberg. This specialised clinical program, accessed online and completed over five to eight weeks, can increase working memory capacity by up to two years.

The child can decide on a five, six or eight-week course. Raviv Practice London carefully monitors the program, alongside progress meetings with the parent or carer. Importantly, Cogmed®

is an adaptive training program: it challenges the students at their ability level and calculates errors in real time.

Each student trains once a year (or more if they are diagnosed with ADHD). After every training course, they usually make at least a year of working memory progress.

What does the future hold for children completing Cogmed®? By engaging in Cogmed® working memory training, children can efficiently boost their working memory capacity, ensuring they reach their optimal potential by age sixteen.

All parents want to have stressfree mornings and by completing Cogmed®, parents will be able to relax knowing their child can cope with the demands of working to time constraints independently.

USHA PATEL Raviv Practice London

If you would

Education Choices Awards 2024

We were honoured that so many schools applied to Education Choices Awards 2024. It was humbling to see the extent of the work and effort that is taking place in so many independent schools to improve EDIB, sustainability and develop school partnerships. The competition for places was high and congratulations to the winners!

Category A Improvements in EDIB

Prep Winner: Rosemead Preparatory School

ECM maintained nomination: Honeywell School

Senior Winner: ACS International School Egham

ECM maintained nomination: Tiffin School

Category B

Developing School Partnerships

Prep Winner: Windlesham House School

ECM Maintained nomination: Queen’s Park Primary

Senior Winner: Alleyn’s School

ECM maintained nomination: Tiffin Girls’ School

Category C Bursary Support

Winner: Dulwich College

ECM maintained nomination: Kendrick School

Category D Working with Local Charities

Prep Winner: Westminster Under School

ECM maintained nomination: Hampden Gurney School

Senior Winner: Lancing College

ECM maintained nomination: Pate’s Grammar School

Category E Developing Student Voice

Prep Winner: Cameron Vale School

ECM maintained nomination: Thomas Jones Primary School

Senior Winner: St Paul’s School

ECM maintained nomination: Sutton Grammar School

Category F

Enveloping EDI in the Curriculum

Winner: Cranleigh School

Category G

Inclusive opportunities in Art and Music (throughout the school)

ECM maintained nomination: Queen Elizabeth’s School

Category H

Inclusive SEN provision

Winner: Heathside School Hampstead

ECM maintained nomination: Belleville School

Prep Winner: Eagle House School

ECM maintained nomination: Mayflower Primary School

Senior Winner: King’s College School, Wimbledon

ECM maintained nomination: Wilson’s School

Category I Diversity and Inclusion in Sport

Winner: St Dunstan’s College

ECM maintained nomination: Reading School

Category J Supporting Sustainability

Prep Winner: Sunningdale School

ECM maintained nomination: Bousfield Primary School

Senior Winner: Highgate School

ECM maintained nomination: St Olave’s Grammar School


Ben Evans


Established in 1837, Windlesham House School is the oldest prep school in the country, and was the first prep school to become coeducational in 1967. Located on a 65-acre estate on the South Downs, today, the school aims to balance its rich history and tradition with a modern outlook. Whether day or boarding, all Windlesham House pupils benefit from the school’s open-minded approach, from the nonuniform policy to the choice of over 200 co-curricular activities.

On the school’s website, you say: ‘We are proud of our rich heritage and tradition whilst embracing innovation and change’ - could you explain what this means and tell us more about the ethos and values at Windlesham House? Whilst we enjoy our traditions and value the heritage of the school, we also understand that schools need to be forward-thinking and innovative and our history allows us to do that. We value every child as an individual and want them to retain their individuality throughout their time at Windlesham. At the same time, we understand that community is an important part of school lifewe’re a day and boarding school, so our community is strong. A lot of our staff live on site, which means that the school has a special atmospherewe’re literally always here, open 24/7. I think the children understand that it’s a home as well as a school, it has a heart, is family-oriented and

isn’t just a soulless institution. Our values emphasise that we want children to have as many different experiences as possible because we’re building their characters and social skills. That starts from the very youngest age: from the children going into forest school and falling over in the mud and picking themselves up. Learning to be resilient, independent, curious and really enjoying everything around them, being able to ask questions and have awe and wonder that continues all the way through school.

At the heart of that is kindness and respect. We want our children to be kind and our code of conduct is simply: respect. I think if you have a school that is kind and respectful, you have a strong, cohesive community of pupils, staff, parents and family members who ensure that the experience is enjoyable for everyone. We want children to have fun: they come to Windlesham, skip into school in the morning, they have a busy, full day with lots of fun and enjoyment. Happy children learn, feel safe and secure and they form lifelong memories while they’re at Windlesham.

Windlesham House also offers an ‘extended curriculum’, which includes subjects such as Philosophy, Ethics and Mandarin. What made you choose to offer this ‘extended curriculum’ and what impact do you see it has on the students?

The idea of a total curriculum is so important at

“There’s nothing traditional about our approach to educating children; we want to be forward thinking and we need to prepare them for a world that is rapidly changing, so we need to understand what that means, which our Diploma allows us to do.”

the prep school age. Parents often ask me: “What do you specialise in?” I think, if we specialised in anything, we would be doing ourselves and our children an injustice. Every element of our curriculum is tailored to ensure that we’re able to develop the skills we think our children need for the 21st century, whether that is in our taught curriculum, Geography, History, RS, Ethics and Philosophy or the languages. It ensures that children aren’t sitting there thinking: “I don’t get the opportunity to do that. I’ve not had the opportunity to do Pottery, or Graphics, or Art or Design Technology or Food Technology.” All of those are built into our curriculum. Within our Computing curriculum, not only are we teaching children how to use computers and touch type, but we’re also teaching coding, Lego robotics and web design. Within Music, we’re not just going through the motions, teaching them the national curriculum - we go far beyond with our marimba room and use of digital technology. That continues right through the school. It means that, when children leave us, they have a greater choice of subjects when they arrive at their senior schools - they’ve had that breadth and opportunity and nothing fazes

them. They’re risk takers, they’re confident, they have great communication skills and that comes from our new Windlesham Diploma, which we introduced a year ago. Instead of just preparing children to pass exams as Common Entrance has done for many years, our Diploma has been carefully designed and allows us to teach entrepreneurship, leadership and financial literacy. We’re extending the curriculum even further with useful skills that we know aren’t taught in the traditional curriculum. There’s nothing traditional about our approach to educating children; we want to be forward thinking and we need to prepare them for a world that is rapidly changing, so we need to understand what that means, which our Diploma allows us to do. Within our taught curriculum, our cocurricular opportunities, our Windlesham Diploma and our Saturday morning diploma enrichment activities, we are not only adding value, but teaching far beyond the traditional confines of a prep school education.

At Windlesham House, you take a less traditional approach. On our recent visit, we saw your new classrooms with low tables and

Windlesham House School, Sussex

seats on the floor, and you also don’t have a school uniform - what impacted the decision to take this alternative approach and what effect do you see it having on students?

I’ll talk about our flexible classrooms first. We introduced one-to-one iPads 8-10 years ago, and so our digital learning and our digital strategy has been very forward-thinking. The way we teach our children and individualise the curriculum for them has also been a very big part of what we do. But the form and function of a classroom hasn’t changed for hundreds of years, regardless of if those chairs and tables are in groups or rows. I was at Harrow the other day, looking at the form three room, with Byron’s name scribbled in the wall. Whilst that’s an unusual room, in many classrooms you will see the similarity. We haven’t really embraced the notion that sitting at the same desk and at the same chair is the right place for children. We tailor the curriculum, we provide different work for them, we differentiate at the very basic level, but the

“There’s learning everywhere, learning is happening, children are happy and it has been the best thing that we could have done.”

classroom is the same. We expect a child to sit in a chair at a desk and be comfortable and able to work at their optimum level, which of course they can’t. So, for us, it was a matter of looking at the classroom and thinking: “We have this technology, we can have interactive screens, we can mirror work from iPads all around the room. We think working walls are the best thing that we can possibly do for children to see the learning around the classroom, for them to be able to track their learning journey from lesson to lesson. What else can we do?”

So, we took quite a radical approach. We removed the tables and chairs and replaced them with furniture that allows children to choose where they will be most comfortable for their learning. That could be at a writing bar, on a stool, it could be at a long table where the teacher can sit and work with the children, it could be sitting on a cushion on the floor in front of a coffee table - there are various choices within our classrooms, which give the children a lot more comfort. They ensure the teacher has more flexibility to move around, there’s more space, the children are much calmer. Most importantly, the outcomes for the children have been transformational; they instantly recognize that they are comfortable in that space. Some children may need a little help choosing which place is best for them, but within five or ten minutes of being in a new, flexible classroom, the children are engaged, on task and collaborating, there’s that lovely buzz of learning in the classroom. The teacher is comfortable and not squashed behind tables or moving around chairs. We’ve removed the teacher’s desk at the front, so there is no ‘front’ of the classroom anymore, the classroom is very much in the round. There’s learning everywhere, learning is happening, children are happy and it has been the best thing that we could have done.

One of the Year 4 classes fed back to us and they said it allows them to be more connected to

the teacher because the teacher can move around more, sit with them, offer help and help tackle more tricky work. For those words to come out of the mouths of eight-year-olds says an awful lot. It says that they really do recognize the benefits, as we all do. So, that’s our flexible - not alternative - classroom. I see them eventually being implemented everywhere, because I don’t think anyone can walk into a classroom like that and think it’s the wrong thing to do.

We do have a dress code, which allows children to have that sense of belonging and understand that they are coming to school. But, in a similar vein to our flexible classrooms, children are comfortable; they can run around at break times without the risk of hanging themselves on their ties or losing their caps. We don’t have to go around saying: “Please pull your socks up!” or “Do your tie up.” every five minutes. It means that the school is a very comfortable, happy place to be. Our approach isn’t alternative, it’s innovative, forwardthinking and child-centred. It ensures that every decision we make benefits the children in some way, benefits their outcomes, their experience of school and the progress they make. That’s at the forefront of everything we do: “Are children happy? Are they making progress? Is it raising their outcomes?” If it does, we continue with it and if it doesn’t, we’ll change it.

That’s the only way to go, really. It was very impressive. Having walked around and seen the flexible classrooms myself, you could see the active and interactive learning that was taking place.

I think ‘active’ and ‘interactive’ are great words - that’s what we want. Active learning is so important because it means that it’s happening and

interactive learning involves collaborating, making sure that the classroom is a vibrant place to be. That way, children learn best. I’m glad you spotted that as a visitor to the school.

What are your plans or hopes for the future of Windlesham House?

Windlesham’s a busy school and it will continue to be a busy school. Most importantly, we’re constantly reassessing our provision and how our children learn, to make sure we are providing them with what they need. Who knows where that will go, because the future is changing so quickly. We’ll continue to build on everything that we’ve put in place: our Diploma for Years 7 and 8; our wholeschool sporting program; our total curriculum; all of that is constantly being reassessed to make sure it’s fit for purpose - we’re always tweaking it wherever necessary. So, we’ll continue to ensure that Windlesham is a very special school, that we welcome visitors as we would anyone coming to our own homes, that the children have that freedom and space to be children, that they also cherish their opportunities and that we continue to focus on providing as many different experiences as we possibly can.

Windlesham has been around since 1837, we intend to be around an awful lot longer and doing what we do as well as we can.

We would like to thank Ben Evans, Headmaster at Windlesham House School, for giving up his time to speak to us.


Dr. Joseph Spence


Dr. Joseph Spence talks to us about bursaries and philanthropy at Dulwich College and reflects on his tenure at the school, having announced his Summer 2025 retirement after over 30 years of working in education.

On your website, it says: ‘Our ethos at Dulwich is one of equality, and our values are founded in respect and support for others alongside inspired teaching, genuine scholarship and Free Learning in and beyond the classroom’. Can you tell us a little about the ethos and values at Dulwich?

It took a long while before I dared to talk about our ethos and values that explicitly because I’m so conscious of how one can trip up, and I’m conscious of the fact that ethos and values can sometimes seem to be some obviously good words that are thrown together. The first part of our ethos and values is equity, respect and service, and I’m confident to just keep it at that because that’s stemmed from the social revolution of recent years: how we faced up to the challenges of Black Lives Matter and Everyone’s Invited, and questions of gender and sexual politics. In what we learned through those and how we repositioned ourselves in light of them, it struck me that those are the things that

should matter: a sense of equity, the sense that all are equal and all deserve to be treated equally. If you are here, whether as a staff member - from operational staff to teaching staff - or a child, you should feel that you’re equally valued.

I’ve just been doing an interview with a very interesting young person looking for a certain award.

In the midst of it, he said:

“I’m going in for this because I’ve never been top at anything.” I told him: “Look, we are finding you your niche, we’re finding your platform, we’re finding an area where you can come to the fore and lead.”

Respect is just something I demand of people, and I think every headmaster should have it as their central tenet: are we seen as people who respect everyone we work and interact with? We must lead with that, otherwise our institution won’t. I’m convinced that, in schools like ours, what you do for yourselves and for others makes the difference between you and others in competitive university or job applications - that’s something I’m constantly telling our pupils and parents.

To me, the way you can do that is through giving those second lines of ‘Free Learning’. You don’t just do it through the syllabus, you do it in what you offer your pupils beyond the syllabus. For a long

Dulwich College, London

time, we’ve been resisting demands from various people who have been asking why we don’t state more about who we are, what we are and what we stand for - I’d say I’m only comfortable doing that once it’s something we know we have to stand by. When I first addressed our staff and pupils about our values, I was keen to stress that they aren’t things we’re claiming to be the best at, they’re our objectives - we’re aiming to be better in these areas.

Could you tell us about the work that has been taking place on the bursary provision at Dulwich College?

I’m now coming to the end of a formal career in headship, including 16 years at Dulwich College, and nothing will please me more about my legacy than the fact that, in my time at Dulwich, we’ve doubled: the amount we spend on bursaries, the number of bursaries provided and the amount of means-tested free places given. Now, we face the challenges of the potential for VAT on school fees and the loss of business rate relief. I would love a needs-blind Dulwich and I believe there will be a needs-blind sector before long, I think that’s the way things are going.

To me, there is a sense that fees are now reaching such a level where we could offer a sliding scale of fees to allow more children to

“ The first part of our ethos and values is equity, respect and service, and I’m confident to just keep it at that because that’s stemmed from the social revolution of recent years: how we faced up to the challenges of Black Lives Matter and Everyone’s Invited, and questions of gender and sexual politics.”

access educational opportunities. Yes, prices will rise with schools having to work within the 20% tax on fees for parents choosing independent education, but then we can look creatively at that. The other thing that has struck me in recent years is that schools like ours have to become less feedependent. The fact that we have had parents who can afford these fees has meant that schools have been able to continually raise fees above the rate of inflation for many, many years. Many schools have been very sensitive as soon as things have, economically, turned against the interest of, most notably, parents working in the financial sector.

So, I believe the future of fees might be modelled around a sliding scale of ‘pay what you can’. It will probably need more schools to become more commercially minded and to think about things like the international market; it’ll lead to a lot more zero financing to make sure costs are being cut where possible, but that’s my sense of where we’re going.

So, I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved, but I also hope that we can achieve more and continue to be absolutely focused on a needs-blind Dulwich, going back to its foundational roots. But, in the interim, I’m wondering if these other things I’ve talked about are more likely to evolve.

On your website you say: ‘At the heart of our Founder’s mission is philanthropy and it is our ambition that 50% of our pupils will, in the future, be in receipt of financial assistance in the form of either scholarships or bursaries’. Do you have anything further to add to this from what we’ve already discussed?

We’re up to about 35% on bursaries and scholarships, but I wouldn’t want to overdo that. We’re reducing the scholarship pot and raising the bursary pot. At the moment, we spend £4.8 million a year on bursaries - we want to sustain that and be careful as we look to the future, identifying where we can move to develop further.

In your Head’s Welcome, you also state: ‘We are alert to the changing nature of work’. How do you see work changing for future generations and what is Dulwich doing to prepare your pupils for this?

I’ve been a real advocate of ‘careers education’ for

“We open our careers fairs to the wider network of Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnership of 14 state schools and 4 independent schools. We do that because our kids have to know who the competition is, and how brilliant children are from all these different backgrounds, and how you have to go back to what you do for yourself and prove that you’ve done it.”

a long time. It’s such a dull phrase, isn’t it? It sort of takes the lifeblood out of what we’re talking about. I’m far happier talking about preparation for the world of work. We love networking here, and I love the fact that, from a very young age, we constantly put our pupils in the presence of others - often very young people - who are working. I’m not a great fan of the word ‘relatable’ but I must admit, I’ve watched it happen; it’s not finding the high court judge to give a talk to the kids who want to be lawyers, it’s finding someone who is 25 years old, who has just taken up their first job - they talk about how recently they were in the pupils’ positions and how they got to where they are now. What excites me is how many different paths there are into the world of work. Here, networking tends to be inclusive, rather than exclusively for the children of Dulwich. We open our careers fairs to the wider network of Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnership of 14 state schools and 4 independent schools. We do that because our kids have to know who the competition is, and how brilliant children are from all these different backgrounds, and how you have to go back to what you do for yourself and prove that you’ve done it. What you do for others will be the keynote - I’d relate that to the world of work as much as I would to the world of learning.

We found an interview you gave to The Dulwich Society Journal in Winter 2009, not long after you joined the school. They stated: ‘He arrives in Dulwich at a somewhat difficult time for independent schools. The state of the economy is making life more difficult for

fee-paying parents who are already stretched financially. Low interest rates on investments make the further provision of scholarships and bursaries more problematic. The public’s confidence in the A Level system is shaky.’ I think it’s slightly ironic that, as we sit here in 2024, we’re probably in a similar situation. How do you feel that you dealt with those challenges? Do you feel that that’s going to influence decisions that you make, even in your final year at Dulwich College? Isn’t that interesting? We tend to look back at 2009 and the early 2010s as quite an amazing Halcyon period, the recovery from crashes of 2008, even though they were still reverberating into 2011/12. Actually, if you think of everything that’s happened since 2016, those years look like a golden age, really. I don’t usually believe in golden ages, but you’d look back to that and say: “We’ve never had it so good.” I think we have, again, hit a moment of crisis: the financial pressures on the sector are probably more challenging than they’ve ever been. For those of us who’ve been around for 30 years, the challenges that have threatened the independent sector at times are probably more real right now than ever before.

Early in my career as a headmaster, there was Susie Leather’s challenge from the Charity Commission on the charitable status of independent schools. No one thought that was the greatest challenge we’d face, but it was dealt with legally and never quite went away. I think

the financial challenges we have now will always be there - I sense we’re moving towards what will happen next and that’s where I dare to talk about things like a sliding scale of fees. My current vision is that, after we’ve had the imposition of the 20% and school fees, business rate relief will disappear. If we have a Prime Minister by then, it’s likely to be Keir Starmer in a Labour government saying: “There, we did that to you as a sector, we believed we had a right to do it to win back the Treasury money to invest in education.” My argument will be: “Well, that’s great, isn’t it? Because now we can draw a line. Now you’ve left us as high feepaying charities who can be penalised in the way that you’ve done. But surely the future now lies in looking at a single national system of education, which includes state providers and many other providers, too. What about the Multi Academy Trusts from Lord Harris’s academies? You’re saying you need partners to provide the National Education you want to provide, well, isn’t it time to take the independent schools into that too, and therefore, to look for things held by bodies like Springboard?” Looking particularly at the needs of looked-after children and children from more impoverished backgrounds, and giving them the opportunity to get into independent schools, which can provide them with the additional support needed to change the current outcome where only 1% of them attend university. Post-Dulwich, I think that’s where a lot of my work will be. I’m looking forward to lobbying towards that future, which does away with what Andrew Adonis always talked about, the ‘Berlin Wall’ between the state and independent sectors - it was actually disappearing in the early years of the millennium and has been recreated for political purposes, I think. I don’t think it’s as great a wall as people think it is, I think there are many ways to break through it and break it down, and to look to a future where every educational provider in this country - faith schools, special schools, independent schools, academies and state schools - can work together to determine what education is necessary for UK PLC to punch above its weight in the world, as it should be doing.

We would like to thank Dr. Joseph Spence, the Master at Dulwich College, for giving up his time to speak to us.


Let’s Talk About Adolescent Addiction


“Young people have always taken risks. They have always wanted to drift into behaviours and actions that engender the risk of addictive habits…Today is different, the landscape has changed…and the challenges and threats are greater than they have ever been in the past.”

Nick Hewlett, Head at St Dunstan’s College

On the 5th of June, the Education Choices Team were fortunate enough to attend a conference on adolescent addiction at Mansion House, hosted by Nick Hewlett, Head at St Dunstan’s College.

Nick Hewlett opened the event by demonstrating the challenges faced by the education sector as a result of the rapid development of technology and drugs:

“Our current curriculum lacks the imagination and agility to respond to the realities and societal challenges that are faced by pupils today, and consequently struggle to equip them with the tools and skills that they need to navigate the current world.”

Nick’s introduction was followed by a talk by Professor Adam R. Winstock, a Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist, who is also the founder of the Global

Drug Survey and the Staying Safe programme. Adam aptly touched upon the additional vulnerability of people with ADHD and ASD, in whom the risk of substance abuse is more than doubled. He warned that there is simply not enough education on the effects of substances such as cannabis, ketamine, cocaine or even alcohol.

In this modern world, Adam stated: “You can get cocaine faster than a pizza.”

There is no doubt that addiction has a direct effect on the neurological and physical health of adolescents, and whilst we can do what we can to prevent addiction, new resources and substances are eternally being added to the market. Zoe Shuttleworth is the director of It Happens Education, a company with a team of RSHE specialists who travel to schools across the

UK in order to teach students about relationships, sex and health. Thinking in line with Adam, Zoe further demonstrated the problem with substance abuse in the UK, exploring both the misconceptions around vaping and the problems with product regulation, whereby a vape pen that claims to be ‘nicotine free’ may actually not be, or may even contain opioids. The market is not properly regulated and the longterm damages are unknown. These ideas were further explored by Helena Conibear, CEO and Founder of the TALK ABOUT Trust, which aims to intervene early and raise the age of onset drinking from thirteen to eighteen, along with other addictions to substances such as vape pens and cannabis - 88% of adolescents approach the charity for cannabis addiction, and it is noteworthy that vaping addictions have now surpassed problems with drinking. Furthermore, Helena explored the four personality types which can lead to addiction: hopelessness, sensation-seeking, impulsiveness and anxiety. When dealing with such challenges, teachers and parents are encouraged to take a holistic approach, creating safe spaces for teenagers in which they feel they can openly speak about

“Our current curriculum lacks the imagination and agility to respond to the realities and societal challenges that are faced by pupils today, and consequently struggle to equip them with the tools and skills that they need to navigate the current world.”

their experiences.

Alicia Drummond, Founder of The Wellbeing Hub, turned our attention to another form of addiction: gaming. As it stands, there are 37.7 million gamers in the UK whereby, for every 10 British people, 1.8 spend 6 or more hours gaming. Alicia further brought our attention to the additional risks of addiction for people with ADHD or ASD, and stressed the importance of educating parents on the psychology behind gaming and how to monitor its use in their children. In this modern world, most children start gaming before the age of five, and there is only one centre for internet and gaming addictions in the whole of the UK: The National Centre of Internet and Gaming Addictions. With the rapid advancements of

TURN BACK TO PAGE 14 to read about Wonderful Me

AI, more support needs to become accessible, and more research performed.

This cannot be stressed enough, and the impact of addiction on personal lives was humbly brought to our attention by Patrick Foster, who is the Director of GAM-Ed and a survivor of a pathological gaming addiction. In a recent study, it was revealed that 40% of young people aged 1117 had participated in a gambling activity in the last twelve months. Patrick demonstrated the ways in which the games children play are designed to simulate gambling, with artificial slot-machines and risk-taking systems which could lead to more serious habits further down the line.

Asha Fowells, Head of Education and Engagement for the DSM Foundation, rounded off the day with a thorough breakdown on how to approach these problems from the

perspective of an educator. In her talk, Fowells stressed the importance of acceptance and open conversation.

These are issues to be spoken about now, not tomorrow, and as Nick Hewlett stated:

“If we don’t start taking these issues seriously, we risk entering a vicious cycle in time, whereby mental health issues that aren’t well documented will trigger addictive behaviours that will trigger further problems in the mental health crisis. It is in everybody’s interest to take this seriously.”

We would like to thank Nick Hewlett, Head at St Dunstan’s College, for giving up his time to speak to us.



Alex Tate


St John’s School, Leatherhead is a leading co-educational, independent day and boarding school in Surrey for pupils aged 11 to 17. The school encourages high standards, both intellectually and emotionally, to prepare pupils to thrive in a complex world, delivering an outstanding education experience and the 21st century, the school’s house system and flexible boarding philosophy are central to the school.

What are the main entry points for children and families considering St John’s?

We have three main entry points: going into Year 7, we take in between 90-96 pupils and they join us for two years; that’s topped up with around 45 pupils joining in Year 9, or Fourth Form, as we call it - a lot of those will be from the prep schools. Then, at 16 plus, we take another 30-35 pupils in. Generally speaking, we’ve got year groups of about 138-145 pupils, from Year 7 up to the Upper Sixth when they leave.

On the school’s website, you emphasise Kindness as the most important value of the school’s community, and The Five Principles of Kindness: respect, inclusion, support,

empathy and service. How do these values impact life at the school?

The value of kindness and its principles were actually selected by the pupils before I arrived, but I agree with them wholeheartedly. The idea of kindness is something that resonates really strongly with our families, I think. What I like about the idea of kindness is that you can’t argue against being kind, and it has such a positive impact on so many parts of the community. Our values are embedded into daily life, they underpin how we think, how we interact and how we behave. You can stop a pupil here and ask about the values and they’ll tell you that kindness is fundamental. For example, when we’re issuing merits or rewards, we link them to kindness. Even when a child makes a mistake and we have to issue sanctions, they’re often linked to kindness - I think it resonates more with a child who’s made a mistake when you talk to them about how that behaviour is unkind. It’s much more powerful and more educational than a simple sanction, and so it really makes a difference to them. It’s reinforced all the time through assemblies and through other means and, if you visit us, it’s something you can just see, we live and breathe.

That’s wonderful. I’ve visited recently and had a wonderful tour of the school - you offer a rather modern approach to boarding that is quite unique to St John’s School, Leatherhead - your flexi boarding. What are St John’s offering to parents and how does it work? Why did the school choose to offer it?

In our recent surveys, flexible boarding came out as something our parents are most attracted to. Over the years, we’ve moved to weekly boarding and in the last 20 years we’ve moved to day with flexi boarding. It means that you can join St John’s as a weekly boarder, you can arrive on a Sunday evening and go home on a Friday, but there are also a variety of other options.

We have ‘flexi’, which can be one, two or three nights a week, then we have ad hoc, which means you could do one night one week and one night the next week to fit around parental schedules or family travel plans, for example. About 30% of our 850 pupils are regularly boarding and about 15% do ad hoc. Four of our ten houses are boarding houses, so if you are going to be a regular boarder, we will try to place you in that house, but you could be in one of the day houses and pop over to the boarding house in the evening when you decide to board to spend your nights there. It’s quite unique and it’s a model I see being copied elsewhere. However, it’s also quite challenging for House staff, because as you can imagine, having 160 children on Wednesday night, 180 on Thursday night, lower numbers on a Monday and Tuesday - that peak and trough is hard for us to manage. But the children get all the benefits of full boarding. In the evenings, they’re still using the facilities like the swimming pool and the astros, but they’re also getting the academic support and prep that they would get in a normal boarding

environment. It’s a caring, supportive community and anyone is welcome to join boarding whenever they want. Likewise, we want people to try and dip their toe in - we find flexi boarding is very attractive to our busy families that may not want to completely commit to that full, weekly Saturday boarding.

So, I would imagine this is probably a win-win. In the survey, parents said to us that often the children go home and say: “I’d really like to try a couple of days.” Perhaps that’s testament to what they think they’d gain from the benefits of boarding with us.

You also offer boarding to Lower School students. How does boarding differ for younger pupils? How are they and their families supported?

We have a specific Lower School area in the school, so rather than being in one of the houses, there’s a Lower School area with a specific member of staff looking after them. There are slightly more pupils in each room as we want them to be socialising more with one another, and of course, they have a slightly earlier bedtime, but they have

“It’s a caring, supportive community and anyone is welcome to join boarding whenever they want. Likewise, we want people to try and dip their toe in - we find flexi boarding is very attractive to our busy families that may not want to completely commit to that full, weekly Saturday boarding.” »
John’s School, Leatherhead

all the activities and access to the facilities that the others use. We’ve tried to put on a few more organised activities, we want them to get into the routine of boarding and enjoy it. One of the other benefits is that they enjoy mingling with the older pupils at breakfast and dinners, so it’s becoming increasingly popular. It’s about getting them into the routine and enjoying staying away from home for an evening or two a week.

All your sports facilities are onsite. Sport is a very big part of life at St John’s, could you tell us about what sports you offer and the different facilities?

We’re very fortunate to have some fantastic facilities. Again, our families talk about the convenience of having those facilities onsite. Onsite, we’ve got our two astros, hardcores, the Sports Centre, a brand new swimming pool and a state-ofthe-art gym and dance studio, which our pupils have access to. We also work with our local community so they can use the facilities. We’re really lucky to have that, as it means in the school day you can quickly switch from your academic lessons to

“We’re very proud of our academics, but we’re not a hothouse, we’re an all-round education. I always say to pupils and parents when they arrive: “Don’t leave here with any regrets that you didn’t try things.”

playing hockey or kicking a ball. We offer a huge range of sports and our main sports are football, rugby, cricket, netball, hockey, swimming and tennis. There’s more choice as you move up the school, so we also offer athletics, cross country, water polo, squash, badminton, rounders, yoga, golf, climbing, shooting and sailing - basically, if you want to kick it, run it or do it, we will offer it. That’s reflected in our numbers: about 92% of our pupils represented the school last year competitively. I love going to watch my netball E-team, they’re fantastic and they benefit as much as the A-team.

What effect does this emphasis on cocurricular activities have on your students and the school community?

We’re very proud of our academics, but we’re not a hothouse, we’re an all-round education. I always say to pupils and parents when they arrive: “Don’t leave here with any regrets that you didn’t try things.” Like many schools, we’ve got so many things on offer, particularly in co-curricular areas. We want children to try to find that hobby, that interest that could stick with them for the rest of their lives.

Our Performing Arts Department has grown enormously over the past few years. On average, we have about 47 performances, 32 arts clubs, 4,000 peripatetic LAMDA and music lessons happening. I think about 40% of our pupils will be doing some form of performing arts and that’s really high when you consider that it’s voluntary. What I really like is that there’s no stereotypes between performing arts or sports, I love the fact that my first 15 prop or my first 11 girls hockey goalkeeper is also singing in the Sweeney Todd musical performance or in the choir because that means they’re willing to get involved. We make children attend activities

TURN TO PAGES 58-68 for ECM Surrey Senior School Choices

A hidden secret

and clubs because we want to expose them to as many opportunities as possible so that they can choose that more as they go up the school.

A big focus of our magazine is EDIB; how do you implement this at St John’s School and support pupils who may be struggling with things like mental health or neurodiversity? It’s probably one of the most important things that we’re doing. I’m very proud of the fact that we have a neurodiverse pupil population. As educators, I think we need to increasingly be considering the fact that everyone in society is neurodiverse. The idea of ‘neuro-norm’ is slightly bizarre, the more you think about it, but we seek to support our pupils through extensive academic support, whether it’s trained SENCos or teaching assistants. We have a dedicated pupil mental health lead who focuses on running sessions for pupils and webinars for parents, for example, on social media, mental health, exam anxiety, exam stress and - my favourite - food and mood. There’s these sessions where parents can drop in and we can also talk to the parents. They also lead our ‘mighty minds’ group, which supports pupils in developing their resilience and emotional awareness. There’s also a group called ‘Free Being Me’, which supports some of our girls, particularly in Year 8, to develop healthy body image, self-esteem and confidence. So, we’ve got that going on regarding mental health and support, in addition to the PSHE programs and inclassroom education.

I think the most important thing, though, is the things that are pupil-led, such as peer mentoring programs. Our Lower Sixth, our 17 year olds, are allocated a pupil and trained on how to look after other pupils, basic safeguarding and peer support, and they’ve had a lot of success in identifying where

our pupils need help so that we can intervene. With regards to EDI, it’s about the pupils. We have an EDI lead, we have undertaken surveys, but the most important thing is the pupil EDI group, because they’re the ones who are discussing the issues of equality, diversity and inclusion that are important to them - that means we can work with them to react and support. Perhaps the two most powerful assemblies that we’ve had this year - far more powerful and impactful to the pupils than mine - was a recent one where pupils and staff stood up and talked about their neurodiversity and how it was their superpower, as well as one where the EDI group stood up to talk about diversity and inclusivity and how we can make a difference in the community. When you’ve got pupils willing to stand up and do that, you know you’ve got something right going on in your community. There’s always going to be more that we can do, but if we can listen to our parents, talk to our pupils and educate them, we’re heading in the right direction.

What are your plans or hopes for the future of St John’s?

The most important thing for me, as Head, is that there’s no room for complacency. We’ve always got to be looking at providing an innovative, modern and exciting education, particularly with education developing so rapidly. We need to be sure that we’re providing an education that equips pupils with a character to embrace the challenges of the wider world - we have to be equipping children for jobs that haven’t been created yet. Yes, part of that includes academic results, because that’s what will get them through the turnstiles - to use the analogy of the London Underground - but which station they go to will be a result of their emotional intelligence, resilience, communication skills and happiness, which we need to provide them with. We need to develop the ambitious, inclusive community where they’re going to thrive. Most importantly, I want to ensure that we are offering the unique education specific to St John’s - the one that our parents tell us is down-toearth, unpretentious and inclusive.

We would like to thank Alex Tate, Head at St John’s School, Leatherhead for giving up his time to speak to us.


Mark Mortimer


Claire Chisolm


Olly Langton


Ali Kinge


A panel discussion between Heads from different schools across Scotland to discuss Scottish education and the choices available.

In speaking to our guests, who represent a variety of schools across Scotland, it is clear that the unique Scottish landscape and setting of each school is one of the most appealing traits: “I dare anyone to come here and not be blown away by the countryside, by the space, by the colour. Yes, it rains a lot and it’s dark in the winter, but it is also the most magnificent place.” Mark Mortimer commented. All of our guests emphasise the natural landscape as central to the life and appeal of their schools. Ali Kinge, Headmistress at Ardvreck, described the importance of the school’s mountainous setting and noted: “Skiing plays a huge part in our curriculum [...] if we see that there is a big dump of snow, we might just say, ‘right,

we’re not having lessons tomorrow, let’s get in the minibuses.’ And we’ll all go skiing for the day, which is a fabulous opportunity for the children”.

Both Claire Chisholm, Principal at Lomond School, and Olly Langton, Headmaster at Belhaven Hill School, were keen to add that this wonderful environment extends beyond the natural world and into the relationships between schools. “Everybody’s got their own unique geographical setting and identity,” stated Claire Chisholm, “we really have a tight network, we share ideas, we share good practice, and we collaborate well and help each other out.” Olly Langton summarised: “To have the freedom to do that is a real blessing and something

“We’ve really taken what makes us special as a school: our culture and our traditions and our heritage and we’ve embedded that into our curriculum. We’re really proud of that.”
Claire Chisolm

that’s, I think, increasingly rare in the world of education.”

Scottish culture is also a significant part of the unique experience these schools offer. “It’s much more than just tartan and ceilidhs and Burns suppers,” asserted Claire Chisolm, “although we do have all of those things at Lomond and we love them.” Ali Kinge is also very fond of Scottish culture and keen to incorporate it into school life at Ardvreck: “Every week here we have ‘kilt Thursday’ at Ardvreck so they all wear their clan kilt. They’re exceedingly proud of their heritage. I absolutely love it. It’s very, very special.”

Claire Chisolm believes that Scottish culture extends beyond these stereotypes and stated: “Scots are warm and friendly people. [...] We’re outward facing, we’re keen to be connected globally.” She is proud to incorporate this into modern, multicultural school life and stated: “We’ve really taken what makes us special as a school: our culture and our traditions and our heritage and we’ve embedded that into our curriculum. We’re really proud of that.”

Despite these many differences, there are also many areas where Scottish and English schools are similar. Mark Mortimer stated: “We exist to develop people who are going to help make the world a better place, and I don’t think that’s any different from any schools throughout the length and breadth of the UK.” Olly Langton also emphasises the importance of connections and partnerships across the UK and globally, whilst remaining proudly Scottish and commented: “We do attract children from England; we have boarders from all over the UK, we have some coming from Sussex, we have some coming from London, from Hampshire, 10% are from France and Spain, but the vast majority are from Scotland.”

It is not only in terms of Scotland’s rich and

Benefits of being in Scotland

proud heritage that these schools differ from English schools. Many aspects of Scotland’s academic system are also different, such as exams and qualifications. Many Scottish schools offer Scottish Highers, a qualification equivalent to A Levels. The schools we spoke to offer a combination of Highers, GCSEs, A Levels and the International Baccalaureate. Mark Mortimer noted: “All of those are valued both at the Scottish universities and at the universities further afield.”

Amongst the benefits of Scottish education is: “If you’re living in Scotland, you get a free higher education.” explained Mark Mortimer. Several Scottish universities are amongst the most highlyrespected and sought-after in the world. However, pupils from these schools do not only attend Scottish universities, he observed: “We send a good number to Glasgow University, to Edinburgh University, to Dundee University, to St. Andrews University, amongst others, but also a lot to the Russell Group universities throughout the rest of the UK. Increasingly, pupils want to go overseas [...] that is becoming increasingly common.” In this, it is clear that Scottish schools are succeeding in their goal of offering excellent global education, whilst

Belhaven Hill School
Lomond School

Outdoor learning

retaining the traditions of which they’re so proud. Scottish schools are not exempt from the concern over potential VAT increases if Labour win the General Election, however, they have also been planning as best they can for this possibility. “We have been planning for it for quite some time through diversification of income streams. So hopefully, we won’t have to burden the parents with the cost of the fee rise.” stated Ali Kinge. At Ardvreck, alternative income streams - such as a nursery funded by the local authority, international summer camps and outdoor residential experiences - have helped to support the rising costs for independent schools. Moreover, Olly Langton is mindful that this is not the first challenge to face these schools in recent years and commented: “It’s not just VAT that we’ve had to manage, there have been cost rises over the last five years that have made this a significant challenge for us and for our parents. [...] Schools are resilient, we’ll do what we can.”

Further to this, Claire Chishom is mindful not to focus only on the hardships facing these schools,

and to continue to highlight their many strengths and noted: “I think it’s really important for the sector to think about using our powers for good, as we always have done, and to continue to share those advantages that our young people have.” In her opinion, these include: “The excellent work that we do within our local communities, as a contributor to the experiences of thousands of young people across Scotland, as an employer of thousands, as an attraction for foreign investment into our country and as a blueprint for the kind of bespoke educational and pastoral support and experience that I would wish for every child to have.”

One of the primary concerns for parents is that these fee increases may impact the bursaries and other financial support available, which could have a huge impact on the sector as a spokesperson from the Scottish Council of Independent Schools told TFN in 2023: “Almost 3,000 children are in receipt of bursaries at Scotland’s independent schools.” Despite the concern about this, schools remain optimistic and determined not to sacrifice the work they do to support their students and communities. “Schools are now talking to each other much more collaboratively than they ever were before.” noted Mark Mortimer and Olly Langton echoed that this is the same at Belhaven Hill School and stated: “We’re going to come together as a group of prep schools, and make sure that on a particular day, in the school year, maybe every term, every prep school in Scotland is doing something for its local community, but we’re pooling our resources to make sure that that is achievable.”

Overall, despite the challenges facing independent schools across Scotland, our speakers are keen to preserve the culture and traditions that make Scottish education so special, and continue to pride themselves in their community and support one another. “What we’ve got here is something magical and magnificent!” observed Mark Mortimer: “We need to continue to fight the corner for boarding, fight the corner for Scotland. [...] I’ll finish where I started: I’ve only been here 16 months, I’ve been blown away by what’s on offer here.”

We would like to thank our Scottish schools panel for giving up their time to speak to us.

Ardvreck School
Glenalmond School

Personalised Learning at Queen Ethelburga’s

Giving students individual attention

Set in 220 acres of beautiful countryside between Harrogate and York, Queen Ethelburga’s is an awardwinning day and boarding school (BSA Innovation, 2022) that welcomes girls and boys aged from 3 months to 19 years and boarders from Year 3.

By offering the full educational journey across four smaller schools, students receive individual attention and the Collegiate maintains consistent emphasis on growing students into resilient, caring, compassionate and confident adults, with their ethos of “To be the best that I can with the gifts that I have” underpinning everything.

After Year 9, students are given

the choice to progress on to either QE Faculty or QE College. The College offers the traditional academic GCSE and A Level pathway, whilst the Faculty offers BTECs alongside these, catering to all talents and aspirations and encouraging students to recognise and embrace their passions and strengths. Both routes are known nationally and globally for their consistently high-ranking academic performance, with QE College placing 2nd in The Sunday Times Parent Power 2023 national school league table for A Levels and 17th for all-round Academic Performance.

QE takes pride in offering over 100 clubs onsite, making full use of its exceptional facilities with over 30 acres of professional grass and 3G artificial pitches, a 25m swimming pool and a 314-seat professional theatre. The 2023 ISI inspection said: “Pupils feel that their opinions matter and that leaders are alert to their welfare needs, which promotes their selfesteem.”

A Highland Fling

Why are Scottish schools a good option for your child?

What does a ‘good’ education look like?

A value-based sense of purpose, academic excellence and ambition, a well-rounded educational philosophy with an equal emphasis on sport, music, art, drama and other co-curricular activities. High quality facilities, a sense of community, a diverse pupil body, first-class pastoral care, a rich history, a bold and innovative approach. These are things that all good schools share.

What does boarding in Scotland offer?

We are all prisoners of our own experience and thus all have our own views about the purpose, scope and philosophy of education that we want for our children. At the same time, of course, parents know their children better than anyone, and so must consider the right environment that best fits their children. An environment certainly worth considering for an excellent boarding

experience is Scotland. There are many beautiful parts of Britain, but I dare anyone to not be blown away by the magnificent splendour of Perthshire, the very heart of Scotland. Glenalmond College occupies 300 acres of it and we are surrounded by an incredible, unspoilt landscape of mountains, glens, lochs and rivers. There is open space: the air is pure, the colours amazing and the wildlife superb. The Almond River that runs through the school - and gives us our name - is full of salmon and we share our grounds with an abundance of red squirrels and deer. We have

our own historic golf course and golf academy. At the same time, the College is only an hour from Edinburgh Airport and the city of Perth is just twenty minutes away. There are daily direct trains between London and Perth and a regular overnight sleeper.

It is no surprise that scientific research has shown a significant correlation between the amount of time spent in nature during childhood and the quality of mental health, self-esteem and physical activity as an adult - the countryside and environment matter here and there is a strong connection to it. The location of the school was carefully and deliberately chosen by our founder, the famous Prime Minister, William Gladstone, in 1847. As a school community, we regard ourselves as custodians of the natural world and that is one of the reasons why outdoor learning is at the heart of a Glenalmond education. In sixth form, alongside A Levels and the Scottish equivalent, Highers, pupils have the option of a BTEC qualification in Countryside Management, which involves working with local farmers and estates.

The outdoor learning programme is thorough: like many schools, we have our own outdoor classrooms, a cadet force (CCF) and a strong Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Unlike many schools, we have our own mountain bike trails and rifle range on-site and a weekly programme of climbing, canoeing, sailing, open water swimming, hill walking, archery, clay pigeon shooting, first aid and conservation. Younger pupils also have dedicated ‘adventure days’ each term. All these activities are on our doorstep; weekend trips for boarders in the

winter include ice-climbing and mountaineering, often in deep snow. Not your usual boarders’ Sunday visit to a cinema or shopping centre (although I can reassure readers that Scotland has those, too).

These opportunities and experiences help develop the Glenalmond Spirit, something we cherish. It’s about resilience, determination, a willingness to seek out adventure, to give new things a try, to give 100%, to get stuck in and to have fun. It’s not

just about going up mountains - that same spirit is also important in the classroom or in the boarding house. Here, it is ‘cool to try’.

Lastly, there is the richness of Scottish traditions and history to enjoy. We are proud of our heritage and Scotland’s contribution to the world. The Band of the Pipes & Drums plays an important part in the life of the College, kilts and kilted skirts are worn regularly by the pupils, all of whom learn to reel (Scottish country dancing) while they’re here. Burns Night and St Andrew’s Day are also celebrated in style and with gusto, while the Piper’s Lament in chapel on Remembrance Sunday, played by the Pipe Major while slowly walking out of the building, is a spine-tingling moment.

The journey from any of the

London airports to my office can be done in 2½ hours. Please come and visit; if nothing else, you’ll have a lovely day out in the countryside and we will have great coffee.

MARK MORTIMER Warden, Glenalmond College

TURN BACK TO PAGES 38-40 to read more about Scottish Schools


• Introductory meeting to get to know your family and your child/children

• Assessment when required to establish your child’s levels

• School advice for both primary and secondary in the London area and beyond

• Support and advice on suitable school choices

• Booster sessions in key exam skills

Tonbridge School has a strong commitment to widening access and strongly believes that diversity opens minds. A key part of the school’s ethos is to ensure that any academically able and intellectually curious boy has the opportunity to benefit from a Tonbridge education, regardless of his background or financial situation.

significant financial support from its current figure of 68 to 100 by the time of its 475th anniversary in 2028. The annual Giving Day event has raised in excess of £1.5 million during the past three years, and these proceeds form a major part of the School’s Foundation Award bursary scheme.

Tonbridge has a dedicated Foundation Awards Manager, Mrs. Ros Griffiths, whose role is to support Foundation boys and their families navigate the application process. Ros said: “We are immensely proud of the boys who have received Foundation Awards. We run a Foundation Society for all of these boys and encourage them to share experiences and celebrate their successes.

The school’s aim is to increase the number of students on

Tonbridge School’s dedication to EDI FROM A FINE MIND TO A GOOD HEART

their time with us and have every opportunity to enjoy school life to the full.

Widening access and increasing opportunity TURN BACK TO PAGES 28-31 to read

“Our dedicated programme of investment and support means that these exceptional boys are well looked after throughout

“Income should not be a barrier to the world-class, well-rounded education we offer, and we welcome parents from all financial and social backgrounds to consider Tonbridge for their sons.”

To find out more, please contact Ros at

NICK ELLWOOD Head of Communications

In the most recent A-levels, 80 per cent of all grades awarded to Tonbridge boys were at A* or A. Meanwhile, our latest Giving Day raised a spectacular £525,000, which will go directly to supporting our Foundation Awards programme: widening access, creating opportunities and raising the level of achievement for all.

As one of the UK’s leading boarding and day schools, we are looking for bright boys from whatever life background. Come and see how we forge the connection between the intellectual and the human.

Developing lifelong learning skills

Reimagining the library at Reed’s School

At Reed’s School we continually evolve our approach to teaching, particularly the essential skills needed to learn, retain and apply information independently. We know that developing good study skills allows pupils to improve their academic performance, manage their time more efficiently and reduce anxiety levels. These skills are also transferable to life after school; significant attributes to acquire for lifelong success. Having refined these essential skills in my prior role in Academic Support, the Library has been repurposed into an area that teaches pupils how to learn, as well as bringing it into the 21st century by providing spaces

to work collaboratively and independently, with a host of digital resources alongside traditional printed ones.

Pupils have a range of learning approaches to use, signposted in a programme called ‘Revision Hacks’, presented as a set of cards that are concise, colourful and easy to use. They’re available in printed format as well as via an

app which all pupils have on their iPads, alongside a dedicated Study Skills lesson each week to help them find out which of the 25 skills work for them.

An exhibition space in the Library reinforces these skills using images, sound and textures to bring each ‘skill’ to life and make them relatable. Our commitment to nurturing lifelong learning skills at Reed’s will enhance the academic performance of our pupils and equip them with invaluable tools for success beyond the classroom.

CATHY HORTON Head of Library, Reed’s School

‘Excellent in every category’ ISI INSPECTION March 2022

01932 869001

Sandy Lane, Cobham Surrey KT11 2ES

Founded 1813

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

beyond a school

Creating Safer School Environments

The Everyone’s Invited movement

At Everyone’s Invited, we are committed to combating rape culture and sexual violence. Founded in June 2020 by Soma Sara, our charity and online movement provides survivors with a safe and anonymous platform to share their experiences or stories of sexual violence.

In this academic year, Everyone’s Invited has delivered 245 sessions and worked with over 25,000 students and 4,899 staff members.

The importance of our movement

Our mission is critical in addressing the alarming statistics revealed in the 2021 Ofsted report, which stated that 40% of 13-15 year olds in England and Wales have experienced unwanted touching, indicating the pervasive nature of sexual harassment amongst young people. Additionally, 90% of girls and 50% of boys reported receiving explicit pictures or videos they did not want to see. These figures highlight the prevalence of rape culture, where consent is often misunderstood or ignored.

A lack of proper education and awareness around consent and sexual boundaries has contributed to a culture where inappropriate behaviour is normalised. At Everyone’s Invited, we believe a significant shift in attitudes toward sexual violence is necessary to create safer school environments for all.

The role of preventative education

Prevention is at the heart of our efforts. We aim to prevent the issues we have uncovered through our testimonies by focusing on prevention education. Our EI Education programme is designed

to empower communities to promote healthy relationships, sexual wellbeing and to tackle rape culture. We take a personal, empathetic and non-judgemental approach, presenting the facts and encouraging pupils to think critically about the world around them. We recognise the importance of a holistic approach, one that not only involves educators and students but parents and staff as well. By advocating for schools to embrace a comprehensive strategy, where parents and teachers are actively involved, we foster an environment where everyone is invested in cultivating a culture of respect and safety.

Our education program includes interactive and informative talks and workshops for pupils, staff and parents. By offering these resources and integrating our programme within schools, we equip young people with the knowledge and skills to recognise and challenge harmful sexual behaviour.

According to a survey conducted by the NSPCC, 90% of young people who received comprehensive education on

healthy relationships and consent reported feeling more confident in recognising and responding to abusive behaviours. Likewise, in the USA, evidence found by Jon Yates (Head of the Youth Endowment Fund) highlighted that placing youth workers within schools to run workshops and training sessions on healthy relationships reduced violence against girls by 17%. Access to this type of education is therefore crucial in preventing future incidents of sexual violence, making it an essential component of our work. It is through these preventative measures that we hope to foster a culture of respect, inclusivity, consent and empathy. Everyone’s Invited is a pivotal force in the fight against sexual violence in educational settings. . Speaking to students about trauma responses, barriers to reporting and stereotypes around victims and perpetrators are some examples of the many ways we face rape culture head-on. By collaborating with schools and promoting a deeper understanding of consent and respectful behaviour, we aim to bring about long-term cultural change, ensuring that every student can learn and grow in a safe and nurturing environment. Our approach is not one-sizefits-all; we understand that every school has unique dynamics and challenges. That’s why we work closely with staff to develop personalised strategies that address their concerns and priorities. Our goal is to empower educators, students and parents alike.

Friday 20 September 2024

Saturday 19 October 2024 Upcoming Open Events

Dulwich Prep London provides an outstanding Values-led education for boys aged 3 to 13 with a co -educational nursery.

We offer a wide range of opportunities to nurture independent thinkers who go on to be thoughtful citizens of the world, equipped with a strong moral compass and the ability to adapt to our rapidly changing environment.

Our Early Years site is home to our Nursery and Reception classes. They are housed in an award -winning building with five acres of woodland and playing fields. We are now offering tours for 2024 entry at 9.15am every Thursday (term-time). We look forward to meeting you soon.

Contact our Admissions team on 020 8766 5525 or email

Supporting Persistently Absent Students

Tellmi’s new campaign

Students who miss more than 10% of school are defined as ‘persistently absent’. Before the pandemic, just under 5% of school children were persistently absent. By 2023, that figure had jumped to 21.1%.

Persistent absenteeism affects the least advantaged young people in society. Young people who are eligible for free school meals, who live in disadvantaged areas, who have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and those in exam-critical years are the students most likely to be absent from school. Supporting these young people should be a priority because the consequences of persistent absenteeism last a lifetime: missing school leads to lower levels of achievement in all aspects of life, but it also increases the likelihood of a young person having poor mental health. Of course, poor mental health is one of the primary reasons that young people miss school in the first place.

There is increasing recognition of the connection between poor mental health and persistent absenteeism, but it is difficult for schools to support children who don’t turn up. To help tackle this problem, Tellmi, the digital mental health service, has launched a campaign to provide specific support to young people who are persistently absent. Tellmi is a safe, anonymous, age-banded peer support app which encourages young people to help themselves by helping each other. All posts and replies are pre-moderated and risk-assessed by humans, and counsellors respond directly to high-risk posts.

Tellmi has been incredibly successful at reaching hardto-engage young people and we are now turning our attention to those who are persistently absent. Any school in a commissioned area can now order special absentee packs to send to students who are missing school. The bright yellow envelopes contain an engaging range of booklets, activities

and stickers that show them how they can use Tellmi to talk about anything bothering them and access a huge range of tools and resources designed to build resilience and improve mental wellbeing. The packs ensure that young people who are persistently absent have 365-day access to mental health support.

Aldro School

Aldro School, nestled in Shackleford, welcomes 230 children aged 7 to 13, and offers both day and boarding options. A modern curriculum prepares students for leading senior schools, complemented by vibrant campus life. Small classes ensure academic excellence, while a strong pastoral model fosters wellbeing and community.

Amesbury School

Amesbury School offers a co-educational environment for children aged 2 to 13. Teaching a progressive curriculum with traditional values, the school aims to ensure every child enjoys their school years, having their interests and talents nurtured. The sense of community and belonging within its 34-acre rural setting from both staff and children is evident. The school offers the Pre-Senior Baccalaureate programme and has digital learning fully embedded in the curriculum, being one of the few schools throughout the country to have achieved the Microsoft Showcase School status.

Barfield Prep School

Barfield is a coeducational preparatory school for children aged 2 to 11. Barfield aims to give their pupils a complete educational experience, with outstanding academic teaching in an excellent pastoral setting, and to prepare them fully for the senior school of their choice. The school operates on the central belief that their children should be happy and positively

challenged in what they do. All year groups make full use of the extensive 12-acre grounds and facilities for swimming, Forest Schools and Barfield’s very own outdoor adventure company 3Peaks. Barfield students go on to many senior schools, with many achieving scholarships for academic, music, art or sporting excellence.

Barrow Hills School

Barrow Hills School, catering to ages 2 to 13, offers a balanced education emphasising academic success and values of compassion, curiosity and connection. Known for its welcoming community and family atmosphere, the school prioritises pastoral care, nurturing students’ individual growth. Specialised teaching from Nursery onwards fosters achievement in art, music, science and more, alongside outdoor exploration in its 30-acre grounds.

‘Looking for a prep school with excellent pastoral care, an emphasis on personal development AND strong academic results? Well, hello Barrow Hills School.’

Muddy Stilettos , February ‘24

A Co-Educational Prep School and Nursery for ages 2 - 13


Bishopsgate School

Bishopsgate School is a coeducational preparatory day school for children aged 3 to 13. Set on 30 acres of the Crown Estate next to Windsor Great Park, the school offers a vibrant and supportive environment. Bishopsgate focuses on nurturing childhood, academic excellence and personal development through a broad curriculum, extracurricular activities and exceptional pastoral care. The school prepares students for life at senior school and beyond, fostering independence, leadership and a love of learning.

Danes Hill School

Danes Hill is a co-educational nursery, pre-prep and prep school situated within 55 acres of landscaped grounds, becoming one of the last remaining 13+ schools of its kind in Surrey.

They want children to enjoy their childhood for as long as possible, whilst also developing and progressing within a stimulating environment that offers opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

Cumnor House School

Originally founded in 1931, Cumnor House School consists of four independent schools for both boys and girls aged between 2 and 13, with four campuses located on the outskirts of Croydon. The school encourages all students to aspire to be the best they can be, helping children to identify and build on their strengths, both academic and co-curricular, and to challenge themselves with high expectations.

The school encourages pupils to become confident, articulate individuals by providing them with a broad and comprehensive range of skills and values, as well as a desire and independent ability to further themselves in the school’s vibrant community.

The school’s values are passion, courage, growth

Edgeborough School

and respect. Danes Hill believes that if children are happy, they flourish, reach their full potential and carry a love of learning with them for the rest of their lives.

Performing arts, languages and sport are at the heart of the school’s strengths, with students achieving great success in sporting competitions as well as their academic results. The school is divided into four houses and inter-house competition in sporting, artistic and academic spheres is encouraged. Children are expected to have the fullest possible involvement in school life and the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues affecting pupils’ wellbeing.

Edgeborough School is a co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 2 to 13 years old situated in the beautiful countryside just outside Farnham. The school’s ethos is that happy children thrive in a warm, kind environment where opportunities are abundant. Edgeborough prides itself on finding talent in each child that is recognised, nurtured and developed to create motivated, confident, independent learners. Kindness, happiness and respect for others are at the heart of everything. Emphasising a happy, family atmosphere, Edgeborough fosters all-round development and a balanced, first-class education.

Feltonfleet School

Feltonfleet offer co-ed education from ages 3 to 13, providing a well-rounded education, and pride themselves on their strong pastoral care which supports students throughout their time at the school. Parents and pupils endorse their motto, ‘Where individuals really matter’, praising their emphasis on individual pupils’ needs and identity. The school offers 28 extra-curricular clubs and activities to support this, alongside a strong academic curriculum. They are currently working on a 5-year strategic plan to set out their priorities for the future of Feltonfleet.

Laleham Lea School

Laleham Lea School have always firmly believed in putting the child at the centre of everything they do and this forms the solid foundation from which their students thrive. As a Catholic school, Gospel values are at the forefront of their daily routine and flow through all that they do. Their high academic expectations, coupled with outstanding pastoral care, help to give each and every student the best possible start to a happy and successful school life.

Longacre School

Longacre School is a coeducational school for children aged 2 to 11. Located just five miles south of Guildford in the village of Shamley Green, children have woods to explore, time to enjoy the fresh air and are encouraged to get muddy. Despite being an all-embracing school, pupils consistently gain entry to a wide range of prestigious senior schools, such as Epsom College, The Royal Grammar School, Guildford High, St Catherine’s and Reigate Grammar School.

Milbourne Lodge School

Milbourne Lodge School is a co-educational nursery, pre-prep and prep school for pupils aged 4 to 13. They offer a strong, valuesbased education, promoting their pastoral care and emphasising their preparation of well-rounded children ready to take on the next stages of their education and life.

The school maintains unique traditions while also able to embrace modernity and individual students’ needs through a broad programme of wrap-around care and extracurriculars. Their tranquil

location, surrounded by greenery, allows students to engage with their surroundings and foster a connection with nature to enhance their wellbeing.

Renowned for its academic excellence, Milbourne Lodge students consistently achieve above the national average for both English and Maths, sending pupils to leading senior schools such as St Paul’s School, Winchester College, Eton College and Epsom College.

A parent commented that:

“Milbourne is a nurturing school and really prepares the children for their entrance exams. It realistically prepares them and that’s key. We love the teachers and vibe of the school.”


Parkside School

Parkside School is an independent preparatory school in Cobham, Surrey, boasting 45 acres of land which allows for the provision of a wide range of sporting and extra-curricular activities to enrich the curriculum. Encouraging empathy and an understanding of the value of traditional skills, mixed with developing an innovative mindset to prepare for the ever-changing future, is what lies at the heart of Parkside School. A rigorous and successful pre-test programme ensures first choice Senior School places and scholarships are achieved. The innovative curriculum is delivered creatively in all subjects including Forest School, drama and art from the co-ed Nursery through to Year 8.

Ripley Court School

Ripley Court School is a co-educational nursery and prep school for children aged 3 to 11. With extensive playing fields, its own Forest School and an indoor swimming pool, the school is an idyllic environment for educating its pupils. They pride themselves on having a warm, family atmosphere where exceptional pastoral care is at the heart of everything they do. Pupils are inspired and encouraged to reach their full potential through a broad curriculum, weekly enrichment programme and a wealth of extracurricular activities, with many Year 6 pupils obtaining scholarships to their chosen secondary schools.

Rokeby School

Rokeby School is an independent preparatory school for boys located in Kingston, Surrey. The school adopts a highly individualised approach to learning and education, helping each boy to find the academic and cocurricular paths at which he excels, and aiming to give all students the very best start to their academic journeys.

Are you interested in a place for Reception 2025?

Start your Rokeby journey now by contacting Admissions to book a visit: admissions@rokeby org uk

Muddy Stilettos

Rowan Preparatory School

Rowan Preparatory School is an outstanding all-girls’ school in Claygate for pupils aged 2 to 11. The school is a vibrant, friendly and nurturing community where girls are encouraged to be themselves and cultivate a lifelong love of learning.

With traditional values and a forward-thinking approach to education, Rowan offers a broad and adventurous curriculum full of exciting opportunities. Wellbeing is at the heart of everything they do, with the school offering weekly social, emotional and wellbeing lessons as part of the academic curriculum.

Rowan pupils also enjoy the use of specialist teaching spaces, such as a dedicated Engineering and Technology workshop, to broaden their learning beyond the National Curriculum.

Shrewsbury House School

Shrewsbury House School is an outstanding independent prep school for boys aged 7 to 13 located in Surbiton, Surrey. With a superb academic record, committed staff, small class sizes and dedicated pastoral care, every boy has the opportunity to fulfil his potential. Shrewsbury House School has a national reputation for success in scholarships and awards to top day and boarding senior schools at 13+. The coeducational Pre-Prep school for pupils aged 2 to 7 allows students to lay their foundations for life, not just academically, but socially and emotionally too. The majority of Pre-Prep pupils typically progress up to the Prep School.

Games and sports are offered to pupils most days throughout the week, and the girls often head to Oaken Lane or Hinchley Wood Sports Grounds to take part in activities such as cricket, netball, hockey, football and athletics. Outdoor learning also has a key role in the curriculum, with girls visiting the school’s 23-acre woodland each week for a range of enrichment activities.

St Ives School

Seaton House

Seaton House, based in Sutton, is a small school with a family environment putting wellbeing at the heart of everything they do. The exceptional team of staff encourage girls to develop initiative, independence, resilience and confidence. Seaton House is second in the ‘Sunday Times Top 100 Prep Schools’, and girls leave to attend the very best schools in the area. Their most recent ISI inspection found the school ‘Excellent’ across all areas. Fees are very competitive and fifteen hours Early Years funding can be accepted in Nursery.

St Ives School Haslemere is an independent prep school for boys and girls aged between 2 and 11. The school works hard to maintain a fun, supportive environment for all students, where the individual talents and progress of each child is celebrated. Class sizes are small with excellent teacher-to-pupil ratios and outstanding pastoral care.

The Hawthorns School

The Hawthorns School is a thriving nursery and prep school set within 35 idyllic acres of country estate in Bletchingley, Surrey, just 30 mins from London by train. Open for adventure 50 weeks of the year, this day school for girls and boys aged 6 months to 13 years supports busy parents by offering flexible nursery provision and wraparound care for term-time schooling from 7.15am to 6.00pm, as well as school holiday clubs. In a happy, family atmosphere, each child is given every opportunity to realise their potential through academic achievement and by engaging in an exceptional breadth of activities which build their confidence and character.

Poor literacy. End of story.

Children who struggle with reading are more likely to fall behind.

Being unable to read well at primary school, doesn’t just hold a child back in the classroom or at college. It can influence everything from their job prospects to their mental health and wellbeing. You can help change a child’s life story by giving just an hour of your week.

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1 hour a week

Hazelwood School

Drawing on their rich history and surrounded by inspiring school grounds, Hazelwood School takes pride in their educational and pastoral excellence. The school aims to open minds through building curiosity, open hearts by teaching compassion, and foster courage in how pupils use their learning. Pupils are encouraged to thrive in an increasingly complex world and become changemakers, not only at their senior school of choice, but also in their lives beyond formal education. Students join the school as unique individuals and leave as confident young people, comfortable in their identity and ready to face the world with compassion, courage and respect. Hazelwood’s staff team expertly nurture this growth with their unwavering belief in the potential of every child in their care.


We offer a world class international education that builds each child’s resilience, creativity, self-belief and knowledge.

We ready our students for a world that demands a new kind of learning – and a new kind of citizen.

• Girls and boys aged 2–18

• Day and boarding

• International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement Programme (AP)

• Bursaries available at all UK schools for students aged 11+ 13+ and 16+

• Door to door busing from London and surrounding areas



ACS International School Cobham

ACS promotes their culture of global citizenship and academic excellence, saying: “Our diversity is our distinction. We ready our students to communicate effectively across borders, behave appropriately across cultures and empathise with each individual across a project team. The global constituency at ACS Cobham is an education itself.” With a vibrant community of 1,300 students aged 2 to 18 from over 80 nationalities, and guided by 300 expert educators, ACS Cobham cultivates an environment where every child can realise their full potential and excel in their unique talents.

Box Hill School

Located in the beautiful Surrey Hills, Box Hill School is a co-educational day and boarding school catering for pupils aged 11 to 18. Their focus is on achieving the best academic outcome for each student, and their ethos of holistic education develops life-long skills which they see in their students as they develop into confident, resilient and wellrounded young men and women. The school follows the national curriculum in the lower and middle schools and offers a diverse range of GCSEs and (I)GCSEs. In the Sixth Form, they run two academic programmes: the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and A Levels.

Charterhouse School

Charterhouse is a co-educational day and boarding school in Godalming for pupils aged 13 to 18. Boasting a strong academic foundation, the school is committed to ensuring each child performs to their own academic potential, supporting each individual every step of the way. Their FutureU activities are a central element of the Charterhouse experience, aimed at ensuring that pupils develop the transferable skills, knowledge, experiences and mindset required to thrive throughout their later lives. The Sixth Form professional qualification in Applied Entrepreneurship is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

Caterham School

Caterham School is a leading coeducational day and boarding school that supports and encourages pupils to grow as confident and responsible young people, ready for education and life in every direction. Caterham offers full and weekly boarding and pupils have access to over 35 different clubs and activities, held in the school’s extensive 200-acre grounds. Whether boarding or day, pupils are fully integrated into the school, with Caterham being the first UK school to be awarded the National Children’s Bureau Wellbeing Award. They are one of just a few UK schools who dedicate weekly timetabled lessons to a range of wellbeing topics.

City of London Freemen’s School

City of London Freemen’s School is a co-educational private school for day and boarding pupils aged 7 to 18, located in Ashtead Park. City of London Freemen’s School was set up to look after the orphaned children of Freemen of the City, with its founding ethos based around community - that remains at the forefront almost 170 years later. As well as committing to a charitable, co-educational, broad education, the school has also continuously admitted boarders alongside day pupils and they remain an integral part of the school.

Cranleigh School

Cranleigh School is a co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 13 to 18. The school provides a breathtaking range of opportunities in a school small enough for everyone to know and support each other. Pupils lead busy lives, exceeding academic and sporting expectations, whilst also preparing for life beyond the school’s beautiful, rural location.

Alongside Cranleigh’s broad academic curriculum, the school has also developed a unique enrichment programme called Cranleigh Thinking, which is designed to stretch students beyond exam syllabuses and foster an innate intellectual curiosity.

Cranleigh Thinking makes up just one of the three pillars of the Cranleigh vision. The other two are Cranleigh Being, which is about who we are and how we are in the world, putting welfare at the heart of everything, and Cranleigh Giving, which is thinking of others besides ourselves.

Cranleigh aims to provide young people with the strength to succeed; the wisdom to make informed choices; resilience in the face of failure or difficulty; and the insight to recognise their privilege and to shape the future culture of the world through lives of service and leadership.

Cranmore School

Cranmore School is an independent day school offering co-education for children aged 2 and up. The boys then move on to single-sex education at the senior school site, where they have access to an exceptional education without the stress of 11+ and 13+ transfer exams, whilst girls move on to the sister school, St Teresa’s. From 2025, the Sixth Form at St Teresa’s will become coeducational with the Cranmore boys.

The school has a Catholic foundation and is committed to the teachings of the Gospel, to help all children fulfill their potential by fostering their individual talents and providing for their needs within its caring Christian community. They welcome families from all faiths and beliefs.

Pupils at Cranmore are able to enjoy a wide range of extra-curricular activities, with the opportunity to make full use of the outstanding facilities and external coaches at hand to enhance their interests in sport, music and drama. The available clubs include options ranging from cross country, cricket, fencing and judo, to chess, board games, touch typing and music tech. Through various pursuits, pupils develop self-reliance, leadership skills and a strong sense of responsibility.

Cranmore received the highest possible rating of ‘Excellent’ in their most recent ISI inspection report.

Epsom College

Epsom College is a co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 11 to 18, awarded Independent School of the Year for 2022-2023.

The school operates a six-day week, with each day ending at 6pm, allowing pupils to dedicate time to their studies and extracurricular passions, as well as receive individualised attention from staff.

The school was founded in 1853 as a benevolent institution which provided a boarding school education for sons of poor or deceased members of the medical profession. Epsom College’s values of kindness, ambition and integrity therefore act as an important reminder of the school’s philanthropic roots.

In the latest set of league tables, the Department for Education placed Epsom College in the top 1% nationally. Epsom College believes that preparing pupils for life beyond the school gates isn’t just an added luxury - it’s essential.

Frensham Heights School

Frensham Heights School, for students from Year 9 to Year 11, supports young people as they navigate the personally and academically tricky GCSE years. With a focus on students’ individuality, happiness and potential, the school adopts a more informal setting with smaller class sizes to ensure that all pupils feel supported by their teachers and peers. Frensham Heights follows the GCSE curriculum and assessment processes, placing emphasis not only on exam results but also on fostering students’ creativity, problemsolving and resilience that prepares them for life beyond the school.

Located in 72 acres of grounds, Epsom College offers 150 clubs, activities and societies to pupils. From Year 9, all pupils, whether day or boarding, belong to one of thirteen Houses. Each House is a physical building where pupils meet, relax, eat and form a tight-knit community of friends, peers and staff. The school believes that children learn as much from each other as from adults, and as much outside the classroom as inside.

Guildford High School

Guildford High School is an independent day school for girls aged 4 to 18. Named the ‘Independent School of the Year 2024’ by The Sunday Times, the school is in the process of re-developing much of their site, building new state-of-theart facilities with dedicated teaching, seminar and independent study spaces optimised for a range of subjects. The school’s core aims are to inspire confidence, resilience, responsibility and positivity in their students so that they may maximise their potential and become confident, capable young adults. The school offers over 70 different clubs and activities, as well as interhouse activities designed to promote team-building and resilience.

Hurtwood House

Hurtwood House is an independent, co-educational Sixth Form and boarding school for students aged 15 to 19 located in Dorking, Surrey. Boasting drama, film, art, textiles, dance and music departments of international renown, Hurtwood offers an inclusive and creative space which prepares students for the transition from school to university.

Hampton Court House

Hampton Court House is a co-educational day school for pupils aged 2 to 18, with the majority of pupils choosing to complete their entire educational journey with the school. They believe that children need guided freedom in order to develop their independence and the confidence to use their voice. Staff and pupils alike are addressed on a first-name basis and pupils do not wear uniforms, cultivating a truly warm and welcoming community.

The school offers a progressive and broad curriculum, including early or accelerated A Level French (optional), cross-curricular studies and extra-curriculars such as Forest School and a wide range of clubs and trips. With strong ties to the French education system, Hampton Court House offers FLAM (Français Langue Maternelle) and DELF (French Studies Diploma), which go beyond the typical modern languages qualifications to provide a comprehensive cultural and linguistic education.

In Sixth Form, students have the opportunity to take part in The Future Researchers Programme, which was specially designed to allow Year 12 students to be trained in academic research and authoring skills in partnership with Nebula Research. Participating students have their work published and are provided with an individual reference from the professor leading their work, significantly enhancing their academic prospects in higher education.

King Edward’s Witley

King Edward’s Witley is a vibrant boarding and day school for pupils aged 11 to 18 from different academic, social, economic and cultural backgrounds who reflect the real world. They aim to provide the best possible preparation for what is to follow in adult life by combining traditional values of excellence, breadth of opportunity and a high level of pastoral care with a broad, forward-thinking curriculum. They are a community where all individuals can thrive and pupils grow together in an atmosphere of cooperation, mutual respect and independence of thought.

Kingston Grammar School

Kingston Grammar School is a selective independent coeducational day school for students aged 11 to 18, located in Kingston-uponThames in Surrey.

The school adopts the motto: ‘Work well & be happy’ in all that they do, encouraging personal ambition and the development of a social conscience within each pupil, with the school’s aims underpinned by their core values: aspiration, respect and engagement.

Marymount International School London

Marymount International School London is an independent, Catholic, all-girls’ school which seeks to empower young women to be ‘firm in faith, vibrant in hope, rooted in love and one in service’. At Marymount, students flourish, building confidence, spirituality, leadership skills and a strong sense of self. Emphasising holistic development, the school encourages critical thinking and collaboration, and celebrates diversity among its community of over forty nationalities. Additionally, the school’s garden campus offers a tranquil setting for learning and growth, where graduates emerge as global citizens, equipped to make a positive impact on the world.

More House School is an all-boys’ school for pupils aged 8 to 18 with specific learning and language difficulties and associated conditions. Boys at More House receive strong specialist support and achieve as highly as, if not above, the national average at GCSE, A Level and BTEC. More House offers full and weekly boarding or day places. The core aim of the school is to support pupils to gain the confidence they need to achieve their full potential, both academically and in other aspects of life. The school promotes the moral teachings of Catholicism, but teaches tolerance and understanding of other faiths and cultural beliefs, promoting freedom of expression and personal choice.

Catering to 500 pupils, many of whom arrive lacking confidence, the school fosters academic, creative and social achievements through a diverse curriculum and enriching extracurricular activities. By nurturing self-confidence and independence, More House equips students to excel academically and pursue ambitious paths,

More House School Notre Dame School

Notre Dame School is an independent Roman Catholic school, co-educational for students aged 2 to 7 and all-girls for ages 7 to 18. They emphasise personal, moral and spiritual development based on Gospel values, however there is no faith-based entry requirement.

whether through university, industry-based learning or further education.

More House provides a supportive community where each boy can thrive. Prospective visitors are encouraged to explore the school’s website and experience its transformative environment firsthand.

The school is truly dedicated to academic rigour, high standards of personal behaviour, outstanding pastoral care, high quality teaching and every other aspect of a fully rounded, creative and inclusive education. They believe that a faithbased education promotes family values, nurture, outreach and compassion for pupils, utilising the 400-year tradition of the Company of Mary Our Lady in instilling in girls an awareness and care for the wider world.

Rated ‘Excellent’ by its latest ISI report, the school encourages pupils to be creative problem solvers and use their imaginations for creativity. Their pupil-centred humanities curriculum is particularly strong, alongside their drama, art, music, sport and languages departments.

There is an emphasis on learning behaviours to help children take responsibility for their own learning, as confidence to ‘have a go’ at something new or challenging, resilience and sustained effort are all very good indicators of academic success. The whole experience at Notre Dame is balanced to generate happy, relaxed and enthusiastic children.

Empowering Young Women

Prior’s Field was founded in 1902 on the principles of allgirls’ education. Our focus has always been on achieving success in the classroom and embracing opportunities and happiness outside it. Our aim to empower young women to be leaders is more important than ever in 2024 and beyond; it is proven that an all-girls’ education offers major benefits in bridging the skills gap and fostering academic and personal growth.

Academically, girls in singlesex independent schools outperform their counterparts in co-educational schools. Recent analysis showed that girls at single-sex schools achieved 10% higher GCSE grades than those of girls in co-ed schools. One area which highlights this significantly is the enhanced focus on STEM

subjects. The Department for Education (DfE) data speaks for itself: girls at single-sex schools are almost three times more likely to take Further Maths and over two times more likely to take Physics and Computing at A Level compared to girls in coed schools.

Outside the classroom, participation in sport is an area in which all-girls’ schools benefit significantly. With tailored sports programmes, girls are

bucking the trend when it comes to traditional ‘boys’ sports. At an all-girls’ school, girls are five times more likely to play cricket than at co-ed schools and here at Prior’s Field, a quarter of all students play with a 210% yearon-year increase over two years.

In a world where men still hold over 90% of C-Suite executive roles and a FTSE 100 CEO is more likely to be called Steve or Stephen than to be female, single-sex education promotes the development of essential leadership skills. We provide tailored enrichment to develop leadership, collaboration and decision making. We see our girls become bold and brilliant women, determined to make their mark on the modern world.

ZOE IRELAND, Head Designate



Reed’s is a successful HMC independent day and boarding school, providing an education for boys aged between 11 and 18, with a co-educational Sixth Form. This structure allows boys to develop and mature in

an environment where they participate in all aspects of school life without being distracted or stereotyped, whilst the co-educational Sixth Form helps to establish a community that prepares all pupils for their

Reigate Grammar School

Reigate Grammar School is a co-educational school for pupils aged 11 to 18 that prides itself on helping children reach their full potential. Each child has their unique blend of talents, skills, aspirations and abilities. Appreciating and developing these qualities on the journey from childhood to young adulthood is a privilege and a responsibility that the school takes seriously. Reigate Grammar enables academic outcomes that open doors of opportunity and extracurricular experiences that create pathways to success.

Built on relationships rather than rigid rules, the school fosters a positive, respectful and intellectually stimulating atmosphere. Life at Reigate Grammar is a blend of challenge, excitement, hard work and fulfilment. United by optimism, the school’s dedicated team of teachers believe in the young people they

transition to university and life beyond Reed’s.

Set amongst 40 acres in Cobham, the school offers huge advantages for day pupils, such as wrap-around care and outstanding pastoral support, allowing every child to be known and valued. They believe that all children are unique with a distinct blend of talents and interests, which the school provides the opportunities to explore.

Their values-driven education equips pupils with excellent academic qualifications and the interpersonal skills they’ll need for the future; it ensures that when they leave they will possess a strong moral compass and a desire to go into the world and improve it.

teach, empowering them to exceed their own expectations time and time again.

Following the recent inspection in February 2023, the ISI has judged Reigate Grammar School to be ‘Excellent in All Areas’ for Education Quality, which includes supporting pupils’ achievement in and beyond the classroom and supporting their personal development.


Royal Grammar School

The Royal Grammar School

Guildford is an academically selective independent day school for boys aged 11 to 18. In their warm and purposeful environment, they ensure that every individual is seen and heard, and foster values of inclusivity, scholarship, integrity, respect, courage and collaboration in everything they do. RGS collaborate with peers from local girls’ schools in drama, music and expeditions, and take part in a General Studies programme together in Sixth Form. Students are provided a safe and nurturing space to develop their individuality, engage in healthy competition and emerge from the school as modest yet confident individuals.

Sir William Perkins’s School

SWPS is an academically selective independent day school for girls aged 11 to 18 in Chertsey. They aim to build confidence, integrity and excellence in a caring, innovative and happy community. The school has a Christian foundation, but their diverse community welcomes pupils from all faiths. With a diverse co-curricular programme, including numerous lunchtime and after-school clubs, students leave in Year 13 with determination and clearly defined ambition, ready to make their mark on the world.

St Catherine’s School, Bramley

St Catherine’s is an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 4 to 18. They believe that self-esteem and self-belief are critical for girls to maximise their potential, not only as an individual but how they impact the world around them. The school is academically selective, but places emphasis on success both inside and outside the classroom, with state-of-theart facilities for both academic and extracurricular activities allowing the provision of experiences, opportunities and support to build confidence and


Nestled in the picturesque Surrey Hills, St Catherine’s School is a beacon of academic excellence and holistic development. With a rich history dating back to 1885, this Church

St John’s School, Leatherhead

of England institution combines tradition with innovation, providing first-rate education. From its well-established boarding facilities to its state-ofthe-art campus, St Catherine’s offers a nurturing environment where girls flourish academically, culturally and athletically.

One parent stated of St Catherine’s: “If you’re looking for a highly ranked, well established, impeccably led girls’ school in Surrey which fosters all areas of your daughter’s education, St Catherine’s should be right at the top of your shortlist”.

St John’s School in Leatherhead is a leading co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 11 to 17. Surrounded by beautiful architecture and an impressive range of facilities, students are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to realise their ambitions. The school encourages high standards, both intellectually and emotionally, to prepare pupils to thrive in a complex world, delivering an outstanding educational experience in the 21st century. St John’s house system and flexible boarding philosophy are central to the school: ‘Fostering fun, friendship and strong relationships that flourish far beyond our walls.’

Surbiton High School

Surbiton High School is a leading academic independent HMC school consisting of the Boys’ Preparatory School, Girls’ Preparatory School, the Senior School and the Sixth Form. The small class sizes, subjectspecialist teaching and nurturing environment all support the school’s ability to feed their pupils’ minds with a bespoke and innovative curriculum. Surbiton cares passionately about students’ character development and happiness, and their ‘Charter for Wellbeing and Learning Habits’ are embedded throughout the school to ensure that pupils leave as grounded, well-rounded individuals.

Tormead School

Sutton High School

Sutton High School GDST is an independent day school for girls aged 3 to 18. A vibrant and diverse setting, pupils are proud to be part of an energetic and forward-thinking community. At the heart of the school’s offer are the values of courage, truth and joy. Sutton High School inspires and nurtures individuality, placing enormous emphasis on both self-respect and respect for others. They know that girls do better when they feel better, so their wellbeing is the school’s central focus. Students leave the school having forged their own path, with support from passionate and dedicated staff who are committed to their pupils’ success.

TASIS The American School in England

TASIS, in Thorpe, is part of a family of international schools, welcoming students from all over the world to an educational community which aims to foster a passion for excellence along with mutual respect and understanding. From age 13, pupils can board in a diverse community of over 200 pupils of over 30 nationalities. Offering the internationally recognised International Baccalaureate and American Advanced Placement (AP) qualifications, students from TASIS leave the school ready academically and personally prepared to succeed in whatever their desired field may be.

Tormead is an academically selective, independent day school in Guildford for girls aged 4 to 18. Tormead’s ethos of an all-round education, focusing on the needs of individuals and allowing them to flourish both intellectually and creatively, lies at the heart of its academic success. Sport provides a diverse range of options, underpinned by a sport-for-all philosophy with well-developed music, drama and art departments and a wealth of extracurricular opportunities and enrichment. As an Apple Distinguished School, Tormead uses iPads in lessons to aid and deepen students’ learning within the school’s small class settings. At Tormead, the commitment to academic excellence is evidenced by strong examination results and a supportive learning environment facilitated by dedicated and qualified staff. Beyond academic achievements, the school measures success by the happiness of its pupils and the accomplishments of its alumnae. Equipped with

state-of-the-art facilities and a forward-thinking digital strategy, Tormead ensures a holistic education that nurtures intellectual curiosity and personal growth. Prospective families are invited to experience the Tormead community firsthand during Open Morning events, where they can witness the school’s dedication to inspiring the next generation of girls.

One parent stated: “Tormead has been wonderful for my girls, in the Prep and in the Senior School.”


The Royal School

Woldingham School

Woldingham School is one of the UK’s leading boarding and day schools for girls aged 11 to 18. Set within 700 acres of beautiful Surrey countryside, yet remarkably accessible from London, Gatwick and Heathrow, Woldingham provides an inspiring and safe place for students to become confident, compassionate and courageous young women.

As one of the UK’s oldest girls’ schools, Woldingham is proud to be a pioneer for women’s education. It was also England’s first school to join the Sacred Heart Network, an association of Catholic independent schools, though Woldingham warmly welcomes students of all faiths and beliefs.

The Royal School is a co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 10 to 18, set in a beautiful 26-acre site in Haslemere. The school’s secure campus provides a calm and inspiring setting where pupils benefit from all that nature has to offer. Pupils leave the school grounded, knowing what it means to be a good human being, not fearing the unknown and, ultimately, preparing to live a fulfilled life. The school’s small and close-knit community means that every member of staff knows and cares for every pupil.

The school’s house system promotes a spirit of community among girls of different ages and staff, facilitating a busy programme of competitions throughout the academic year.

This Autumn, Woldingham will be opening a new Sixth Form Centre and library, adding to an already outstanding set of facilities on offer to students. This includes an Adventure and Outdoor Education Centre, which was opened in Spring 2022. Pupils are encouraged to balance study with activity, with over 100 clubs and activities to choose from.

TURN TO PAGES 74-81 to learn more about university options and applications

Wellington College

Personal Statements and Foundation options for US universities

Attending a US university is an increasingly attractive option for UK students. Academic excellence, outstanding extra-curricular programmes, scholarship opportunities and greater curriculum flexibility are all reasons for students to consider stateside; throw in enhanced international job prospects and an exciting and glamourous student lifestyle, and the appeal is plain to see.

Foundation courses are popular: they guarantee progression to a wide range of undergraduate programmes such as Business, Economics and Psychology, while giving students the chance to build skills and knowledge before deciding which degree course to follow.

However, wanting to go and actually winning places at prestigious US universities are very different

matters. Honing your Activities List and preparing your Supplemental Essays, backed by an outstanding Personal Statement, are vital prerequisites for success. At Wellington, we have seen an explosion of interest and call on the very best advisors to help support our students. We run our schools programme in partnership with A-List, who are experts in US admissions consulting and SAT/ACT preparation. It is often the Personal Statement and Supplemental Essays that Sixth Form students need the most help with. Unlike UK Personal Statements, American universities are looking for more than just academic interest; they want to see genuine confidence and wide, exciting ranges of co-curricular interests and personal attributes. The story each student tells in their application must be authentic and compelling. In short, the statements have to be memorable and stand out.

Advice on Buying a Home in Surrey

Striking the balance between rural and connected

Surrey has long been a desirable place to live for those looking to enjoy a beautiful, semi-rural location while still having easy access to London. The county offers a perfect balance of peaceful villages, historic towns, stunning countryside including the Surrey Hills and modern amenities and infrastructure.

Knight Frank’s South East New Homes team specialises in the latest new build developments across the Surrey region.

Headed by Laura Hackney with Lucy Clifton and Cameron Shields, they work closely with top UK developers to market an exceptional range of new properties. From luxury apartments and penthouses to secure gated communities and spacious family homes, they cover new homes spanning all budgets and lifestyles. Whether you are an investor seeking a prime buyto-let, a professional looking for a low-maintenance modern property near transport links or a family prioritising good schools, they will find your ideal Surrey new build.

What makes Surrey such an appealing place to purchase a new home? For starters, its proximity

to London combined with excellent road and rail connections makes it an ideal commuter base. Many of Surrey’s towns such as Guildford, Cobham, Horsley and Cranleigh have access to direct train lines which can whisk you to the capital in under an hour.

Despite this easy city access, Surrey remains a wonderfully green and semi-rural county. Pretty villages, green spaces like the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and historic attractions including stately homes and gardens allow buyers to enjoy all the amenities of modern living while still being surrounded by the stunning English countryside.

Surrey is also renowned for its outstanding schools, with

both state and private schools favoured by families. Combined with relatively lower property prices compared to London, it’s no surprise the county attracts those wanting more space and value for their money.

Alfold Gardens, Horsham Road, Cranleigh, GU6

Click here for details

Prices start from £715,000

Situated on the Surrey border in a semi-rural location, Alfold Gardens is ideal for those who are looking for a country living home while obtaining the benefits of nearby market towns and excellent transport links to Central London. Each home at Alfold Gardens is specified and detailed for the ultimate contemporary living, while providing the highest standards of energy efficiency. Only the most carefully selected materials and finishes are used to create a luxurious setting for modern living with superior features. State-of-the-art lighting is designed to be individually customised in each space to create an unique ambience for any occasion.

The homes at Alfold Gardens boast sustainable and eco-friendly living, equipped with air source

Alfold Gardens
Alfold Gardens, Horsham

heat pumps, underfloor heating and electric vehicle charging points, providing optimal energy efficiency and helping to reduce your carbon footprint.

Atherfield, Park View Road, Woldingham, Surrey, CR3

Click here for details

Prices start from £3,000,000

Atherfield is a collection of four stunning five-bedroom detached houses, located in a peaceful enclave in the heart of Woldingham. Situated in an area of exceptional natural beauty on the North Downs, these homes are designed with impeccable style and understated luxury.

Atherfield is a unique plot and build opportunity, allowing buyers to bespoke their homes. Two options are available to the potential purchaser: a fully finished home or a plot and build option, whereby the buyers work closely with the developer to make custom internal choices and create a wonderful, bespoke home to the exacting needs of the purchaser.

Magna Carta Park, Englefield Green, Surrey, TW20

Click here for details

Prices from £950,000

Magna Carta Park is a collection of beautifully designed houses and apartments nestled within 57 acres of woodland, greenery and gardens, with access to extensive amenities, including tennis courts,

a golf practice course, a bespoke concierge and 24-hour security. This is a timeless blend of classic and contemporary elegance, designed by Julian Bicknell and Associates, with exquisitely designed spaces by celebrated interior designer, Louise Bradley. The classically elegant architecture takes inspiration from the 17th century to the present day, with all the exceptional standards expected of a home delivered by Royalton Residences.

The Courtyard, off Ockham Road North, West Horsley, Surrey, KT24

Click here for details

Prices from £1,475,000

Conveniently positioned on the outskirts of both West and East Horsley villages, The Courtyard is within easy reach of a number

of local villages and towns, along with quick access to major road and rail networks, ensuring an idyllic balance of ‘town and country’.

Sympathetically designed to complement the surroundings, these expertly designed new homes are built to Runnymede’s customary high standard to include a high level of specification, private garden, garaging and/or private parking. Set behind a walled entrance, the four homes occupy a private courtyard setting, which is neighbour to a substantial private residence. The variety of layouts and differing scale of these living spaces will appeal to various lifestyle needs. Externally, the barn-inspired homes present classic combinations of red brick and the rich tones of shiplap/ weatherboarding, providing a desirable rural curb appeal. The use of full height and split-level windows, in a range of differing formats and scale, gives a contemporary edge.

Magna Carta Park
The Courtyard

Summer Breeze

Summertime, and living is easy…

Whether you will spend your summer working, travelling, on holiday or being quiet, sedentary and restorative, let’s look at how best to embrace the season and make the most of it in our homes. This is a time to be appreciative of everything you’ve achieved during the year, be it with academic, professional, family and/or

otherworldly pursuits. Acknowledge all that you undertook and completed, all that was projected, whatever stage it is at now. Be grateful and reward yourself for a job well done, for taking action, creating possibilities, for being resilient, creative, determined and perfectly imperfect.

Take stock of everything your home has done for you and with you during this full-on year: providing shelter and respite, space to reflect, to entertain, to cook, eat, drink and be merry, to have heated debates and passionate arguments, whispered sweet nothings, loving heart-to-hearts, fierce competitive games and reluctant-but-necessary cleanups.

In preparation for these transition months to the new ‘school’ year, why not ask yourself what you want to create for yourself and your home. Is it time to clear physical and mental space - sorting out old files, textbooks, homework, science projects gone wrong, obsolete remnants of past deadlines? As we perhaps no longer need to be doing exercise, accounts, ironing and homework in the same room, could the multi-purpose tasking of some rooms be lightened, restoring some focus, calm and coherence to their atmosphere, use and fill of space? Or could it be time to install some much-needed new

storage and hiding solutions for the extra functions when not in use? Could it be that moving up to kindergarten, elementary, middle, secondary or even soon-to-be university, warrant a reinvention of your child(ren)’s bedroom? Are you also in need of a refresh of your own personal scenery?

As with every change of season, I invite you to dedicate an hour or so to walk around your home. Take stock of each room as if you were visiting the space for the first time. It has been waiting for you. See what is jarring, out of place or redundant, ready to be let go of, repurposed, recycled, donated. See what space is not made the most of, used at its best or welcoming, for overcrowding, lack of clear purpose, or neglect. Sensitively yet firmly, take action. Remove and package the items destined for a new life. Clean and restore the pieces given a new lease on life -

reupholster, recover, repaint. Move and reinvent what can be transformed by being relocated. Less is usually more and if you are tackling this, you might as well do it wholeheartedly and with gusto - you can always add or reinstate if needed.

Once that wind of change has passed through the spaces, take stock again. See how the room breathes and what it is calling for. Warmth - a bright lamp with a lovely shade, a touch of colour with fresh paint, a throw, some cushions? I believe in having a fresh set for the Autumn and Winter months, and one for the Spring and Summer, in the same way you approach and turn your wardrobe around - you will be surprised at the effect.

Life - bring the outdoors in with flowers, a plant or a tree, some candles or a diffuser with natural scents - fresh cut grass, flowers, sea breeze? Comfort - an additional armchair or footstool, a compact side table - for computer, whodunnit, coffee, wine glass - a different intensity light bulb, sheer curtains to soften the brightness and flow in the wind?

As the saying goes: ‘A change is as good as a holiday’. We all know the wonders of a fresh haircut, outfit or even new route to get to work. Refreshing your home will allow you to see it anew and add a… Summer in your step.

Applying Across the Pond

Lessons learned from touring US colleges

One of the things I love the most about higher education is how dynamic it is. Every year, there are major new trends, subtle shifts in preferences, government initiatives and the global ebb and flow of the changing currents. Within the independent sector we are seeing a rise in the number of students applying for courses at US universities (or ‘colleges’). As those in the trusted position of helping to guide and advise pupils in one of the most important decisions of their academic lives, we have a duty to stay as informed and up-to-date as possible. This is why I spent Easter week exploring a sample of the educational delights of the US Eastern Seaboard. There were three key takeaways that stood out to me, which I wanted to share in the hope that they might be useful to others in similar positions.

1. The US is seriously competitive. Average Ivy League acceptance rates stand at around 3.5%, depending on which data you use.

Throughout my visit, the lecture halls and tours were filled with prospective students and their families, all eager to learn what makes an applicant the best ‘fit’ for a particular college. So, encourage students to be ambitious and celebrate their successes wherever they occur, but ensure they realise that applying to US universities requires commitment and dedication.

2. Understand what differentiates each college. US colleges make it very clear that they want students who will be a good fit for their institution and they are extremely proud of what sets them apart. Spend time and effort researching where you apply. Suggestions that I encountered included following the college on social media, listening to their student-run podcasts, reaching out to and arranging calls with current students, and examining what they deem important for students in today’s day and age. Ultimately, these institutions want to see what students are like as individualshow and what they have chosen to engage with will provide clear evidence of that.

and super-curricular activities, all while keeping up with the demands of being seventeen or eighteen years old and in their final year of school. My advice is to start early and tick off components one at a time to avoid feeling too overwhelmed.

3. Be organised, especially if you are also making a UK application. To give themselves the best chance of success, students will need impressive test scores, admissions essays, a range of extracurricular

It has never been easier for students to apply for university overseas and the dizzying array of global opportunities can understandably feel incredibly daunting. Helping students navigate this is more important than ever, but it continues to be the greatest privilege.

Yale University
Harvard library

Making University Accessible to All

UCAS’ policy changes to support less advantaged pupils

UCAS’ recent announcements are a welcome step in widening access to university for less advantaged young people.

Over the past 25 years, the number of young people attending university has surged, reaching a milestone in 2017 when half of all young adults pursued higher education by age 30. Despite this progress, a stark divide persists for poorer students, especially at highly-selective institutions. A university degree remains the most reliable pathway to social mobility for less advantaged/ underrepresented young people, yet in England, only 19.1% of eighteen-year-olds eligible for free school meals attend university, compared to 36.4% of their peers.

Earlier this month, UCAS announced new measures for potential students in a bid to close the gap for low-income families. As part of this, they scrapped the admissions application fee of £28.50 for students who are in receipt of free school meals. While this fee may seem modest, for many poorer families, it can represent a significant barrier.

It also symbolises the daunting perceived financial commitment of university, deterring many who might otherwise aspire to higher education.

It is crucial that young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to see university as a viable option. This is why, at the Sutton Trust, we run a range of programmes to support young people from less advantaged backgrounds in accessing leading universities and careers. Our UK Summer Schools allow sixth form students to experience life at a leading university, take part in academic taster sessions and social activities and connect with peers from similar backgrounds.

These experiences significantly boost students’ confidence, especially when applying to competitive universities they might have previously deemed out of reach. UCAS’ new policies further support this, including plans to display offer rates and historical grades of successful

applicants alongside formal entry requirements. This transparency aims to inspire more ambitious applications and demystify the process for those lacking guidance from family and friends who have experienced higher education.

Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing cost of living crisis and inadequate maintenance support, UCAS’ efforts to enhance transparency and encourage applications from less advantaged young people are commendable. These steps represent a critical move towards making university a real possibility for all.

TURN BACK TO PAGE 44 to read about the Foundation Awards at Tonbridge School

Applying to University Overseas

Supporting international university applications

Lancing College is highly successful at preparing students for the next phase of their studies, be that in the UK or around the world. As well as the best UK universities, students in recent years have attended universities and colleges in the US, Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada. Candidates looking for overseas universities are supported by a team of experts led by our Deputy Head, Dr. John Herbert, supported by the Head of Sixth Form and the Overseas University Co-ordinator.

In the last five years, over thirty pupils have secured places at overseas universities including: Penn State University, US Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US Dartmouth College, US Pomona College, US Carleton College, US University of Michigan, US Northeastern University, US McMaster University, Canada University College Dublin, Ireland

University of Tokyo, Japan

Esade University, Barcelona, Spain

University of Toronto, Canada

University of Queensland, Australia

Amsterdam University, Netherlands

IE University, Madrid/Business and Law, Spain

Polimoda Fashion School, Florence, Italy

University of Hong Kong

McGill University, Canada Trinity College, Dublin

US Applications:

The US offers a wide range of highquality colleges; the application process is complex and requires a concerted effort on behalf of students, working alongside experts within Lancing and wider as required. Typically, 6-7 pupils from Lancing receive offers from US colleges each year.

Lancing supports pupils through: Introduction to US/other overseas applications in the Fifth

and Sixth Form.

Specialist guidance for course and college selection by experienced college counsellors. One-to-one support from tutors and with members of staff on application completion who have guided students to successful applications in the past.

Guidance from subject and US college specialists on submitting work and providing tuition for interviews.

Experience in assisting pupils to compete for and gain specialist scholarships including sports scholarships.

Provision of an on-site SAT centre at the College.

SAT guidance, preparation and support both in-house and in partnership with a specialist SAT preparation course.

Relationships with agents who can provide yet further support if this is required.

Showcasing your Skills

Top tips for writing a personal statement

The UCAS personal statement is a great opportunity to showcase to a university your character, passions and enthusiasms. Writing one may seem like a daunting task, but by staying calm and following a few simple steps, it can be easier than you think.

Jaydeep Mukherjee, Undergraduate Admissions Officer at SOAS University of London, has read more personal statements than most, and he offers some top tips to follow when filling in your own personal statement. Do:

Be yourself. This is the best

way to determine whether a university is the right fit for you. Demonstrate your commitment and enthusiasm for your chosen subject and why you want to carry on learning. This could include wider reading or research that you’ve done outside of class. Highlight any relevant work experience related to your chosen course.

Share insights into your hobbies and interests to provide a holistic view of who you are. Check, check and re-check

your application thoroughly. It shouldn’t contain any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. If possible, get someone else to check it through. It’s easy to miss errors when you’ve worked on something for a long time, and a fresh set of eyes can make all the difference.


Rely on clichés; be original and genuine in your expression. Tell us your entire life story. Focus on why we should choose you for the programme. Plagiarise! Originality is key, and UCAS rigorously checks for plagiarism.

Repeat information already found in your application; use this opportunity to reveal new aspects of yourself.

ANDREW OSMOND Marketing Officer

School Tasking

Expanding educational opportunities

Dr. Ali Struthers, an Associate Professor in the School of Law at the University of Warwick, has been nominated by the Department for Education for her exceptional services to education. Recently, she attended the prestigious Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her significant contributions.

Dr. Struthers is the creator of ‘School Tasking,’ an innovative widening participation initiative that introduces law lessons to primary schools in lower-income areas. Supported by Alex Horne, the official creator of Channel 4’s Taskmaster, ‘School Tasking’ aims to inspire young minds and expand their educational opportunities

through engaging, interactive sessions.

Originally a local project, ‘School Tasking’ has grown significantly and is now adopted by over 30 higher education institutions across the UK and Ireland. The programme has reached over 2,000 children, providing them with valuable insights into the legal world and its importance in everyday life.

Taskmaster’s Alex Horne said: “After receiving my honorary doctorate for working on this project with Ali, it’s about time she gets some recognition for her commitment to widening participation as well as her love of Taskmaster. The success of

the project is thanks to Ali’s fun approach to education and her passion and commitment to the project. It’s such a brilliant way to get children excited about learning and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it.”

BRON MILLS Communications Officer

Sustainability at St Andrews

Highlighting the importance of collaboration

University, student and community-led initiatives in St Andrews combine to make the town a bustling hub for sustainability action.

The Scottish university is striving for sustainability at all levels, from ‘Sustainability Representatives’ in halls to an institution-wide goal of ‘net zero by 2035’. The new ‘Eden Campus’ for low-carbon technology research and the promotion of local biodiversity - through tree planting and ‘meadow making’ projects - mark significant steps towards this goal.

Sustainability is becoming a major part of curricula at St Andrews. The new ‘Sustainable Development’ degree, the first of its kind in the UK, covers policy, anthropology, ecology and geography, straddling the arts and sciences. Incorporating sustainability in curricula is not limited to environmentally focused modules: the university’s ‘Golden Dandelion Award’ recognises modules from the

schools of Business, Classics and Music for their coverage of sustainability.

Being bordered by countryside and coastline gives St Andrews students many opportunities to experience nature, though it doesn’t provide much nightlifeto compensate, an active student community offers countless societies and events. There are many student-led sustainability projects, from sustainable entrepreneurship groups to second-hand fashion, activism, gardening and beach cleaning groups; there is something for every taste. Also, this year the Student Union’s Environment Subcommittee introduced a ‘Sustainable Events Checklist’, encouraging all societies to consider their environmental impact, for example when selecting transport for a trip or decor for a ball.

Action towards sustainability in St Andrews strengthens connections between the ‘town and gown’. The ‘Transition’ group, composed of students and locals, manages allotments, offers cycling classes, has a second-hand bike

pool and runs the ‘St AndReuse’ system where graduating students can donate items for others to take for free.

With numerous groups and projects, sustainability action in St Andrews can sometimes feel disconnected. To address this, the Environment Subcommittee’s ‘Green Week’ in January unites students and the community through shared sustainability concerns. “Our goal this year was to collaborate with student societies, community organisations, and local businesses to make the events as inclusive as possible,” says the Environment Officer.

Sustainability efforts in St Andrews continue to grow and gain momentum, offering students innumerable opportunities to collaborate meaningfully with each other and the community.

To find out more about sustainability at St Andrews, visit: and for transition:

BELLA ROBERTS St Andrews University alumnus

Blending Tradition and Innovation

A guide to Scottish universities

Scotland is home to some of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world, offering a rich choice of world-class options for higher education. Unique to the Scottish undergraduate degree programmes is their four-year duration, rather than the traditional three in England, allowing for a broader and more in-depth exploration of subjects. We’ve compiled a short list of some of the top universities that Scotland has to offer, each one blending historical significance with modern academic excellence.

University of Edinburgh

With a rich history of worldrenown for its research output and academic rigour, the University of Edinburgh was established in 1583 and is home to some of the world’s most important collections of art, natural history, manuscripts and more. Students are able to enjoy the vibrant cultural scene of Scotland’s capital, whilst also being surrounded by history at every corner.

University of St Andrews

With seven centuries of history linking the students with the coastal town, this ancient-yetmodern university is a truly unique location to study. The institution was Scotland’s first university

and is the third-oldest in the English-speaking world, meaning it is steeped in traditions still enjoyed by current students year after year. St Andrews was also named the top university in the UK again this year by the Guardian University Guide 2024.

University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow was named the Scottish University of the Year by the Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024. Students are taught by dedicated and passionate academics in a flexible and innovative learning environment, supplemented by the opportunity for students to access the university’s twelve-storey library, which houses one of the largest collections in Europe.

University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen was ranked 12th in the UK in the Guardian University Guide

2024. The beautiful buildings of Old Aberdeen date back to the 15th century and the university balances its commitment to the wider region with its multimillion-pound investments in its student and research facilities.

Heriot-Watt University

Last year, Heriot Watt University was ranked 1st in Scotland and 4th in the UK for graduate employability by the Graduate Outcomes Survey. It boasts three campus sites, the first of which is in Edinburgh, the second is positioned at the Scottish borders, which houses world-class design and production facilities for textiles and fashion, whilst the final campus is in Orkney, where students can access extensive natural resources and connections to the marine industry.

University of Glasgow
University of St Andrews

Writing a Successful Personal Statement

Advice from the University of Exeter

The personal statement is a young person’s opportunity to explain why they want to study a particular course, as well as what will make them a good student. They’ll need to demonstrate their enthusiasm, subject knowledge and any relevant skills.

Things to consider when writing a personal statement

You write just one statement for up to five UCAS choices, so don’t mention a specific university or college by name.

There is a limit of 4,000 characters (47 lines), so keep your statement concise and to the point. We suggest that 70-80% of your personal statement is focused on the subject(s) that you are applying for.

Use recent examples of achievements and accomplishments and tell universities what you have gained/learned from doing them. Some higher education providers may use the personal statement

as the basis for an interview, so be prepared to answer questions on it.

Thinking about motivation

When writing your personal statement, it is important to focus on the subjects you are applying to, so carefully consider your reasons for applying. Universities will want to know why you have selected the subject you wish to study with them. Perhaps you are motivated by your passion for the subject, or perhaps it relates to future career ambitions. The rainbow diagram below offers a structure for drafting the personal statement. Your chosen subject is the core: everything you discuss in the personal statement should link back to what you want to study and why. The first ‘layer’ is about particular areas of that subject that interest you, which can then be further developed in the second layer, where you consider why you have chosen those particular areas of interest. What fascinates you about a particular

period of history, for example? What additional research have you done and what did you think about it? The third and final layer requires you to consider additional relevant experience that you have gained and can relate to the subject(s) you are applying for. Using this rainbow diagram or simply writing notes for each heading will help to pin down the relevant knowledge, interests and experiences that need to be included in the personal statement and will also enable you to effectively include the additional research that you have undertaken.

Thinking about skills

Research the chosen subject(s) and providers

Research the admissions policy for each university you are applying to, as this will provide you with key information about how they process applications and use personal statements

Write what comes naturally

Ensure that the statement flows and has a logical structure

Check that it’s free from grammar and spelling mistakes

Proofread DON’T

Include misleading information

Include jokes, cliches or overused famous quotations from others


Use bullet points or lists

Leave it until the last minute

Submit the statement without checking it

Alongside the academic content and motivation for study, discussing relevant transferable skills is another important part of the personal statement as it helps to ascertain your suitability for the courses to which you are applying. Alongside previous and current studies, hobbies, volunteering and work experience can all be used as examples of transferable skills. In order to select the most appropriate examples to include in the personal statement, ask yourself the following questions: What was the activity? What transferable skills did you gain from the experience and can you provide specific examples? How do these skills link to your chosen subject?

Discover University:

Advice for parents and supporters:

Discover University in Exeter and Cornwall

The University of Exeter is ranked in the top 15 of UK universities and in the top 10 in the Russell Group for student satisfaction.

Our Discover University website has a range of activites and resources designed to support your journey to higher education, including:

l Bookable events including our Discover University virtual conferences

l Advice on how to explore your chosen subject

l Essay competitions to strengthen your supercurricular activies

l Subject Q&A panels

l Higher Education Jargon Buster

l Advice on your application and personal statement

l Advice and insights from our Student Ambassadors

Visit our website to find out more:

To find out more about visiting our campuses either virtually or in person, visit:

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