Education Choices Magazine - Winter 2022

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Education Choices WINTER 2022 | £3.50


EDUCATION CORNER PODCAST INTERVIEWS INCLUDE: Mr. Andrew De Silva Head at The Oratory Prep School Mr. Kevin Doble Principal at Broomwood Miss. Amy Wallace Principal at Queen’s Gate and more…


A boy’s dancing dream ONE BOY’S INSPIRING JOURNEY


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FROM THE FOUNDER FROM THE FOUNDER Dear Readers, We have had a wonderful year and featured a multitude of schools and universities, alongside many experts in education and social mobility. We are looking forward to a very exciting 2023 Dearbeing Readers, and able to interview more exciting school leaders and This is a very exciting and Corner is packed with news and university experts. Ouredition Education Podcast is fast growing information from nursery choices to thinking about writing and is very popular with many parents and families, so do book a a personal university. Special to Lee slot for the statement New Year! for Thank you to all thosethanks who have supported Elliot Major OBE, Mrs. Jane Lunnon (Alleyn’s) and the Education Choices thus far - we are so grateful to you other all! headteachers, writers and education experts for sharing their Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!!! wise insights and expertise. Chloe Abbott (Founder) Enjoy the Spring sunshine! Email: Abbott (Founder)

Email: ‘The year end brings no greater pleasure than the opportunity to express your season’s “If wegreeting are to reach realwishes. peaceMay in the and good yourworld, holiday and have New Year be filled with joy!’ we shall to begin with the children.”

Charles Dickens ~ Mahatma Gandhi


Christmas StockingBooks Fillers about PEACE Multicultural Children’s 1. Can YouHow Say The Peace? Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss by Karen Katz Grinch hates This bookThe takes readers Christmas on a journey around and all things the globe festive. to meetConsequently, he hatches plot to steal differentachildren and it, but does this go to plan? learn about the many different ways to say peace. The Snow Dragon Elphinstone and 2. Peace is Abi an Offering Woodcock by AnnetteFiona LeBox Griselda Bone’s Peace is anIn Offering gloomy orphanage, is a warm, comforting daydreaming is banned, skipping is poem about finding forbidden and Christmas is well and peace in a community truly cancelled! of neighbours. But for Phoebe and her sausage dog, Herb, is it possible that magic awaits 3. The Peace Rosein the swirling, snow-filled air? by Alicia Jewell The Peace Rose The Night Before encourages Christmas – independent and Clement C. Moore peaceful conflict ‘Twas the night before resolution in the Christmas and all through the classroom, at home, or house not a creature was stirring, anywhere else. not even a mouse. On the night before Christmas, a father catches 4. Wangari’s Trees of an unexpected glimpse of St. Peace: A True Story Nicholas himself. Along with his from Africa eight reindeer, Santa is here to fill by Jeanette Winter the family’s stockings with toys. When Wangari returns home from studying in the US, she is shocked

to see whole forests being–cut The Snowman Briggs down. She Raymond starts planting trees A wordless A and soon inspires greatstory. change. little boy rushes out into the wintry day 5. The Peace Stick to build a snowman, by Nidhi Misra which comesStick aliveisin his dreams The Peace that night. book, a beautiful inspired by the Letters From Father native American Christmas – J.R.R. legend of The Talking Tolkien Stick. Every December, an envelope bearing a 6. Peace stamp from North Pole by Wendy the Anderson would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Halperin children. Inside would be a letter “For there to be inpeace strange handwriting in spidery the world, and a beautiful there must becoloured peace drawing orinsome sketches. nations”. Based on the Tao Te Ching, this lyrical Jim’s Spectacular picture book ponders the Christmas Emma eternal question: How–can we Thompson & Axel bring peace to the world? Scheffler Emma Thompson 7. Malala: Activist magically weaves the real-life for Girls’ Education tale of Jim - beloved dog of Sir by Raphaele Frier Henry Cole, who created the Beautifully first Christmas card - with a illustrated Malala: fantastically warm and heartfelt Activist for Girls’ Christmas romp! Education is the latest picture book about the brave girl from Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai up to 100 Best stood Christmas Poems Children – the Taliban andFor fought for the McGough right forRoger all girls to receive an From verses education. Attraditional age 18, Malala Christina Rossetti becameby the youngest personand William Blake tothe modern to be awarded Nobelclassics by JuliaPrize Donaldson Benjamin Peace for herand work. Zephaniah, this is a heart-warming Christmas 8. Puttinganthology. Peace First: Commitments to Lion, The Witch ChangeThe the World and the Wardrobe – by Eric David Dawson C.S. Lewis Using the inspiring Hidden beyond a stories of real life cupboard, frozen in peacemakers, eternal winter, Narnia Putting Peace First is a land of snow anddifferent pine forests, andof its highlights aspects creatures are enslaved by the peacemaking, from ‘Opening terrible White - will Aslan Your Heart’ toWitch ‘Taking a Stand’. (the lion) save them? With clear, step-by-step explanations of how each A Christmas Carol peacemaker achieved their– Charles Dickens goals, this book is the perfect This traditional Christmas guide for aspiring young tale tells the story of a peacemakers. bitter old miser named Ebenezer the is EducationScrooge Choicesand Magazine visitations by the ghost his deeply saddened by theof crisis former business partner Jacob in the Ukraine and we send our Marley, as and wellprayers as the ghosts of thoughts to all those Christmases Past, Present and Yet affected. to Come.

Please support: www.donate. EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | WI NT ER 2022 | 3

03 Education Book Corner: Christmas stories

Some Christmas stocking fillers...

06-09 Christmas is coming! Top 10 Christmas activities in London

10-11 Lighting up your Christmas The best places to visit Christmas lights in the UK

12 It’s behind you!

London pantomime and Christmas shows listing

13 Christmas time: a time for giving

Packing shoebox gifts with Operation Christmas Child

14 Why should we add yoga into our already busy curriculum? Benefits of yoga for children


15 Inspiring children to read Noah’s special story

16 Celebrating culture through Anisa’s International Day

Embracing each other and our differences

17 Getting things done

Females, fashion and forging futures

18 Love really is forever

The story behind the bestseller The Invisible String

19 Telling the tall tale of Bessie An inspirational young woman


20-25 Education Corner Podcast Interview

Mr. Andrew De Silva, The Oratory Prep School, Oxfordshire

26-31 Education Corner Podcast Interview

Mr. Kevin Doble, Broomwood Schools’ Group, Clapham

32-37 Education Corner Podcast Interview

Miss. Amy Wallace, Queen’s Gate School, Kensington


In the Winter issue... 38-41 Dreaming of dancing One boy’s inspiring journey

42 Inclusion and diversity in children’s television

Walt Disney Studios introduces first plus-size heroine

43-44 Lifting Limits

Overcoming gender stereotyping in education

45 Wellness and wellbeing in young children

Combatting the increased demand for occupational therapists

47 Partnerships at St Paul’s Girls’


Creating a brighter future for the community

48 Forging a better future

Considering COP27 and climate change at Putney High School

49 Mitigating mental illness in education

Wellbeing at Westminster School

68 47

65-67 Top attractions in South West England Things to see and do

68-69 Fishing for property in Cornwall Life in South West England

70-71 It all starts with a conversation A guiding hand transforming your home

SW ENGLAND SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES SPECIAL FEATURE: Education Choices Magazine recommended schools

50 SW Maintained School Options 51-60 Independent School Options 61-64 SW England University Listing University choices in SW England

Co-editors: Tatiana Summers, Ella Maria Assistant Editors: Emily Parsons and Rohini Bhonsle-Allemand Magazine design: Podcast Editor: Cover photography: Idney De’Almeida EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE is now available to purchase both online and paper copy. Please contact:


Christmas is coming! TOP 10 CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES IN LONDON An incredible city such as London has no shortage of activities to partake in throughout the festive season. This top 10 list contains something for everyone, so if you’re struggling to decide how to spend the Christmas holidays with your loved ones, you’re definitely in the right place!


Christmas Lights London by Night Tour

Run by Golden Tours, the Christmas Lights London by Night Tour with a live guide is the perfect festive way to spend the winter evenings when it’s already dark by 5pm. Starting near the London Eye and lasting 90 minutes, this guided bus tour will take you around the stunning sights of London adorned by twinkling Christmas lights. Catch sight of the famous starry lights of Oxford Street, the stunning colours of the London Eye, and the glowing exterior of the Harrods department store, all while getting live commentary from a friendly London tour guide who enriches the experience with their expertise.



Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Open from 10am to 10pm until January 2nd 2023, Winter Wonderland is a mustvisit Christmas event for families throughout the United Kingdom. Located in the heart of the famous Hyde Park, the popular winter extravaganza contains a multitude of activities for the whole family to enjoy. From an openair Christmas market selling treats, souvenirs, street food and toys, to an array of thrilling rides and funfair games scattered throughout, Winter Wonderland has it all. You can also skate on the UK’s largest ice rink, grab a selfie under the iconic colourful arches, or take in the panoramic sights of London from the famous Giant Wheel. The winter of 2022 also sees the introduction of the Santa Land package, where you can gain access to 4 rides for only £10!



Ice Skating at Somerset House

Skating at the scenic Somerset House has been found to be one of the London population’s favourite festive experiences. Containing a stunning 40ft Christmas tree, the magical ice rink against the backdrop of the iconic Somerset House is picture perfect and forms an essential part of the London Christmas experience for many. Contemporary music plays behind the background noise of family and friends having the time of their lives, and Hotel Chocolat provides an excellent selection of gifts if you’re still looking for that perfect present for a loved one. While wheelchair users can skate during any skate session, there are also dedicated wheelchair user sessions, and there are also more relaxed sessions on offer for neurodiverse


skaters, with lower music levels and reduced capacity. If skating isn’t really your thing, not to worry, you can still tag along with your skating friends; feel free to enjoy some cocktails and champagne in the rink-side Skate Lounge by Moët & Chandon.

Oxford Street Shopping

Oxford Street is the perfect place to be if you’re looking to do some Christmas shopping in London and want to immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit. 1.5 miles long and home to over 120 shops, from John Lewis, Primark, and Marks & Spencer to Dr. Martens, Flying Tiger, and Russell & Bromley, Oxford Street has anything you could want, making it the perfect place to buy gifts for loved ones, or even a little treat for yourself. And that’s not all! While perusing the shop windows, simply look up: 5,000 stars hang from the famous light display, illuminating your shopping experience with some magnificent Christmas sparkle. This year, the stars have been made with recycled polymer and are 75% more energy efficient, so you can appreciate the beauty of Oxford Street at Christmas knowing that these lights are completely recyclable and sustainable.


Walk around Kew Gardens

Spend an evening during the Christmas season in the iconic Kew Gardens, and see it lit up by thousands of Christmas lights. Stroll down their winter trail and take in the beauty of the evening; discover trees adorned by glittering colour, walk through tunnels of lights, and watch the twinkling reflections of the gardens in the lake. While you take in the sights, independent street vendors will be on hand to offer some excellent Christmas treats, including hot food and spiced winter beverages. Who knows, you may even spot Father Christmas somewhere along the way!

TURN TO PAGE 10 to see the best locations for Christmas lights



Volunteer with Basket Brigade UK

If you’re looking to do some good this holiday season, why not try helping out an amazing charity? Basket Brigade UK is a charitable organisation that packs food hampers and delivers them on December 23rd to people in need, acting as an incredible Christmas surprise for many families. Hundreds of volunteers band together and pack and deliver around 1,500 baskets of food, and the faces of the recipients will certainly make the whole experience and effort more than worthwhile. So, if you’re looking to spread some Christmas love by giving your time this Christmas, consider signing up to Basket Brigade UK!


Visit the Fortnum & Mason Store

If you fancy checking out a unique Christmas lights display, be sure to check out the Fortnum & Mason department store on Piccadilly. With an exterior decorated like a giant advent calendar, this storefront lights display will certainly catch your eye! And once you’ve finished gazing at it from across the street,


why not head inside? You’ll find some incredible Christmas gifts for your family and friends, ranging from unique caffeine-free tea brews (Sour Cherry and Orange is my favourite!) to extravagant coffee beans. There are also incredible hampers to pick from if you’re looking for something more grand, containing selections of wine, champagne, coffee, teas, biscuits and chocolate.

Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival

The Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival is back! It returns for another year, providing an array of Christmas entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Walk alongside the Thames to sample some excellent street food and festive beverages, and check out Jimmy’s if you’re in the mood to toast some marshmallows. Being the Southbank Centre, of course there are some fantastic shows on offer, so you can watch Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol or take the kids to see Hey Duggee: The Live Theatre Show if you fancy some easy entertainment. There’s also a stunning lights exhibition, as well as a free art display curated by Ai Weiwei, and if you’re after some more free events, you can enjoy the DJs, audio adventures, a Caribbean carnival, art sessions, and the super-cosy community lounge.


TURN TO PAGE 65 to read about activities in SW England


Attend a pantomime

Here’s a classic British Christmas tradition: the pantomime. Attending a pantomime is a sure-fire way to get the whole family into the Christmas spirit. Based on iconic tales like Cinderella, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Snow White, children and adults alike will have an incredible time cheering for the heroes, booing and hissing at the villains, and helping out the characters on stage with cries of “It’s behind you!”. The slapstick comedy will get a laugh out of any Christmas Grinch and everyone will be sure to leave the theatre filled with Christmas cheer. TURN TO PAGE 12 to see our London pantomimes and Christmas shows listing


See the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market

Of all the events on offer in Trafalgar Square throughout the year, the Christmas Market is the one many people most look forward to. With its proximity to Charing Cross Station, it is easily accessible and an incredible sight upon approach. The stalls are lined with lights, and of course the square itself houses the traditional Christmas tree gifted from Norway, which is the official London Christmas tree year after year. There are plenty of stalls where you can buy incredibly unique gifts for loved ones, such as jewellery,

tree ornaments, handcrafted goods, and knitwear. There’s also plenty of food on offer at the market, so you won’t need to worry about picking up a sandwich from the coffee shop you’ll walk past to get there! For those with a sweet tooth, there are plenty of options, like miniature pancakes, waffles and incredible-looking chocolate fountains, while for anyone looking for something a bit more savoury, there are fresh chips, sandwiches and traditional German bratwurst to really get you feeling festive.


Join an amazing team Find out more at our next open event Friday 13 January Friday 3 March


Midhurst, starting in Cowdray Woods and finishing by Cowdray Ruins. This year’s theme is inspired by peace and tranquillity, as well as the natural beauty of the woods in which the trail takes place. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Lighting up your Christmas The best places to visit Christmas lights in the UK Oxford Street, London

The iconic “A Sky Full of Stars” Oxford Street light display is back again this year! Thousands of stars hang above the 1.5 milelong street, lighting the way for Christmas shoppers with varying shades of pink, blue, purple and beyond. This year, the lights are 75% more energy efficient, as well as recyclable and sustainable. While in previous years they have been switched on 24 hours a day, this festive season they will be turned on from 3pm until 11pm, reducing energy consumption by two thirds. Kew Gardens, London

“Christmas at Kew” is a must-see spectacle. You can visit the trail between 4pm and 10pm, with the last entry to the trail at 8.20pm. The gardens are entirely decked out for the holiday season, with trees wrapped up in lights that reflect in the lakes. There are also tunnels you

can walk through formed entirely of lights, making an excellent photo opportunity if you want to remember the occasion. Blackpool, Lancashire

The switch-on event of the Blackpool Illuminations is often a frequently discussed spectacle during the festive season, with famous celebrities and large crowds gathering to watch the city light up. And it is for good reason! Entire streets are illuminated by twinkling lights, and the iconic Blackpool Tower glows in an array of colours. There is even an Illuminations Tour, where a tram will show you the sights so you don’t miss a single display. Cowdray Estate, West Sussex

The “Christmas at Cowdray” walking trail is a stunning, mile-long after-dark light trail in Cowdray Estate,


“Christmas at the Botanics 2022” lights up the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Complete with the Laser Garden, light tunnels, and giant baubles hanging over the walking trail, this is the perfect place to see some stunning lights during the holidays. Even if you’ve attended in previous years, 2022 brings some new sights to behold: twelve one metre high lilies light up the Botanics Pond; a brand new installation recreates the visual tones of the Northern Lights; and two metre UV feathers “float” in the trees. Dunham Massey, Cheshire

The Christmas at Dunham Massey light trail returns in 2022 for its sixth year. Families and friends can spend time together strolling along the trail, spotting giant glittering deer, stunning lakeside reflections, and mesmerising flames in the fire garden. Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

The “Christmas at Waddesdon” event includes a twinkling Winter

Light trail. Stroll around the Pleasure Grounds observing glittering tree canopies and giant illuminated dandelions, and watch illuminating lights dance to sequenced music on the Manor’s façade at dark. Train of Lights, Devon

The United Kingdom’s first ever steam train of lights makes its way from Paignton to Kingswear, showing a unique display that can only be viewed from the train. The decked-out steam train takes you through some stunning locations, all illuminated by a multitude of twinkling lights, and this unique experience is one you’ll certainly want to give a go. York, North Yorkshire

The Christmas lights in York are unique, in that they are actually termed

“Winter lights’’! The reason for this is that they remain on until Spring, so you’ll have plenty of time to check them out if you’re mourning the festive season once January rolls around. Sustainable LED and solar lights form the displays, including the curtain of lights

on York’s historic bar walls and the “Tree of Light ‘’ at the Eye of York, which is decked out with 1km of LED lights that change colours to mark festivals and important dates. ROHINI BHONSLE-ALLEMAND, Assistant Editor

OPEN DAYS Saturday 25th February Saturday 6th May Saturday 10th June Explore a modern co-educational day and boarding prep school for children aged 7 to 13 where individuals are nurtured and talents explored ADMISSIONS@CRANPREP.ORG WWW.CRANPREP.ORG | 01438 542051


It’s behind you! London pantomimes and Christmas shows listing A Christmas Carol

Performed at: The Old Vic, SE1 8NB Show dates: 12th November 2022 – 7th January 2023

Charles Dickens’ much-loved Christmas classic returns to The Old Vic’s stage this year, adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne and directed by The Old Vic’s Artistic Director, Matthew Warchus. Uplifting the audience and filling the room with festive spirit, this year the production will be raising money in aid of City Harvest through donations given during every performance. Cinderella

Performed at: Theatre Royal Stratford East, E15 1BN Show dates: 19th November 2022 – 7th January 2023

You’ll certainly want to experience this adaptation of this classic fairytale. Set in the ancient home of Sphynx cats, the Empress Cleopatra and pharaohs, this twist on Cinderella contains the perfect mix of comedy, original music, excellent set design, and the most magical costumes that will immerse you in the experience. Elf the Musical

Performed at: The Dominion Theatre, W1T 7AQ Show dates: 14th November 2022 – 7th January 2023

Elf tells the story of Buddy, a man who hid in Santa’s bag as a baby and was raised as an elf. After learning the truth about his origins, he heads to New York to find his birth father. Starring Simon Lipkin as Buddy, this stage adaptation of the beloved film will fill you with Christmas spirit this holiday season.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Performed at: The London Palladium, W1F 7TF Show dates: 10th December 2022 – 15th January 2023

With a star-studded cast containing the likes of Dawn French and Alexandra Burke, this brand new production of Jack and the Beanstalk takes place in London’s home of pantomime. It has brand new sets and stunning costumes, and promises to bring all the magic and spectacle you’d expect to see in a pantomime. Little Red Robin Hood

Performed at: Battersea Arts Centre, SW11 5TN Show dates: 6th December 2022 – 8th January 2023

After the capture of outlaw Robin Hood, someone has to take his place to stand up for the people; who better than a tiny girl wearing a red riding hood? This funfilled pantomime shows you that sometimes the true hero isn’t who you’d expect and it promises to be an unmissable Christmas treat. Potted Panto

Performed at: Apollo Theatre, W1D 7EZ Show dates: 17th December 2022 – 8th January 2023

This Olivier Award nominated show fits seven classic pantomimes into just 70 minutes, taking you on a magical journey through the biggest and bestloved pantomime stories. You’ll be dashing from rubbing Aladdin’s lamp, to walking the streets of Dick Whittington’s London, to ensuring that Cinderella makes it to the Ball.


Robin Hood

Performed at: Greenwich Theatre, SE10 8ES Show dates: 24th November 2022 – 8th January 2023

The citizens of Nottingham have had enough of their sheriff in this telling of Robin Hood, where the eponymous hero is here to save the day! This production is performed by the adored Greenwich Theatre Pantomime production team, who won the 2019 Offie Award for Sleeping Beauty and were nominated in 2021 for The Queen of Hearts. Rumpelstiltskin

Performed at: Park Theatre, N4 3JP Show dates: 13th December 2022 – 14th January 2023

This upside-down, re-imagined telling of Rumplestiltskin has a brand-new script written by John Savournin and new music and lyrics written by David Eaton. The perfect festive fairytale treat, this production is filled with laughs, adventure, a cast of incredible characters and wonderful music. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Performed at: Gillian Lynne Theatre, WC2B 5PW Show dates: 18th July 2022 – 8th January 2023

Starring Samantha Womack as the White Witch, the new West End production of this classic CS Lewis tale invites you to step through the wardrobe and join Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter in the kingdom of Narnia for a magical, mystical adventure this Christmas.


Christmas time: a time for giving Packing shoebox gifts with Operation Christmas Child Operation Christmas Child provides an opportunity for children and young people in the UK to give gifts to children around the world who may have never received a Christmas present before. The Samaritan’s Purse project sends shoeboxes filled with fun toys, school supplies and personal care items to share God’s love with children in need and remind them that they are special and not forgotten. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 198 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 170 countries and territories across the globe. During the early days of the Ukraine crisis, an Operation Christmas Child outreach event for refugees touched the lives of many families. “It was the most emotional event,” shared one of our local partners, “we told each child how much God loves and cares for them. When they opened the gifts, it was like the gift boxes were packed especially for them. Many families came without anything, they just managed to grab their children and run. In the gifts there were so many things they needed.” From war-torn countries to remote islands and villages in hard-to-reach locations, Operation Christmas Child delivers love, hope and joy to around 9 million children in need each year. Packing a shoebox is simple and fun, and offers a wide range

of learning opportunities. From budgeting and shopping for the items to learning about the different countries receiving the shoebox gifts, it’s a great activity to complete as a family. Some families like to have one special shopping trip to purchase the items, while others enjoy packing throughout the year, selecting a different item for their shoebox each month. If your family enjoys crafting projects like woodwork, sewing or crochet, there are also lots of great items you can make throughout the year to pack inside your shoebox gift. Card making, drawing and letter writing are also great ways to personalise your shoebox gift.

If you are tight for time, there is also the opportunity to build a shoebox online. You can choose to pack for a boy or a girl in a specific age group and select from a range of gifts. You can even personalise your shoebox gift by including a note and a photo. It takes just five to ten minutes to complete, and will give hours of joy to the precious child receiving it. WAYS TO GET INVOLVED: This year: You can build shoebox gifts online up until Christmas Eve, and Samaritan’s Purse will pack and send them for you. Visit to learn more. Next year: Pack shoebox gifts in 2023 and take them to a drop-off location near you during National Collection Week (November 13–20, 2023).



Why should we add yoga into our already busy curriculums? Benefits of yoga for children While I was working as a teacher myself, I saw a real opportunity to introduce an exercise form which was lifelong as, unfortunately, many of us don’t keep up with the sports we learn at school later on in life. Yoga is truly a lifelong form of exercise; if you can breathe, you can practise yoga. It also requires minimal equipment and can be done alone or in a group, anywhere with enough space to lay flat. Yoga builds strength, balance and coordination, and helps children to build body awareness. The benefits of yoga are not just physical though; there is an abundance of research into the mental health benefits of yoga, with particular emphasis on how the breathing techniques used in yoga can be incorporated into daily life to great effect. Yoga also creates a real sense of connectedness, which is hugely beneficial in a school environment.

When shared regularly in schools, yoga has some incredible advantages which all children can benefit from. Research has shown that yoga in schools enhances focus, attention, concentration, comprehension and memory, which leads to a positive impact on students’ academic performance (Butzer et al., 2015; Case-Smith et al., 2010). Furthermore, yoga encourages community and connectedness within the classroom and provides opportunities for reflection, patience and insight. It is important to note that these benefits were found when children practised yoga in school consistently, rather than as a one-off activity. Schools put a lot of time and financial investment into their P.E. offerings, and I know that many schools take the physical development and mental health of their students very seriously,


going far beyond the minimum expectations for these areas. Yoga can help children in Key Stage 1: “develop balance, agility and coordination, and begin to apply these to a range of activities”. Well-designed yoga plans help Key Stage 2 children: “develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance”. This enables clear progression from Key Stage 1: The curriculum also mentions that children should access: “a broad range of opportunities to extend agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others”. When properly planned, yoga allows for this development and includes both individual and partner poses as well as plenty of opportunities for collaboration and communication. Yoga can also help children identify their emotions and learn strategies to cope with any difficult and uncertain times. The breath-body connection, which is central to traditional yoga practices, provides a great opportunity for children to practise using breathing to selfregulate their emotions. Many yogic breathing techniques are invisible, meaning that children and teens can practise them whenever they feel anxious or worried, wherever they are, without anyone else knowing. Finally, yoga is very inclusive, and is often most beneficial for children who might struggle to participate in team sports. Yoga is all about how it makes you feel and not about how it looks (although you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise after scrolling on Instagram), and there are lots of variations to ensure every child can access the class and is being adequately challenged.


Inspiring children to read

Noah’s special story At first, Noah was very quiet, withdrawn and not interested. Our first session together was quiet. He only spoke when I spoke to him, he didn’t engage and he looked sad. I approached the time with him by quietly explaining why I was there. I asked him if he was okay sitting with me and looking at the books? Yes, he was okay with it, but he didn’t want to read. Our first few sessions involved simply looking at books, allowing Noah to choose whatever book he wanted. Gradually, he became more engaged and interested during our twice a week meetings. This was in January. Before our third session had finished,

he told me why he didn’t look at books—he was trusting me. I encouraged him to choose books, without any pressure, and here we are now. Noah is a different child. He eagerly awaits his time with me and is so chatty. He has a fantastic imagination, and has even talked about writing a book from his idea of “living on a cloud”. We have had wonderful conversations full of ideas, suggestions and imagination. He has really come alive, and whilst he can read well, he also now knows how to articulate what it is he wants to say. Best of all, he looks at the books and starts the book buzz himself! To see a child so engaged and brimming with ideas after such a quiet start is just amazing. I love being a Coram Beanstalk helper! If you would like to help a child like Noah become a reader, then contact us at

We are looking for volunteers! • Can you spare a few hours a week to help a local primary school inspire children to become readers? • By giving a few hours a week, you could make a real difference to how well children do at school, and in life. • We’ll train you to set children up to succeed ... sharing, talking and having fun with books to help them understand the joy of reading.

Make a difference to a child’s life, and to yours.

Can you help a child like Olivia learn to read? We are Coram Beanstalk. We create readers. Registered Charity No. 296454 (England and Wales)

“I love my sessions and feel like I am having an impact on the children’s love of reading and their self-esteem.” Find us online or call 020 7729 4087




Celebrating culture through Anisa’s International Day Embracing each other and our differences I am eight years old and standing in gym class in a line of girls and I don’t want them to see what I am trying to hide. I clench my fists and curl my toes in as much as I can. Yesterday, I ran gleefully through my house showing my mehndi off to anyone who would look at my palms and toes. The colorful and delicate vines are a deep chocolate brown and will stain my skin for a few days before they eventually fade. But today, in gym class, I wish they were already faded and gone because I am embarrassed to show that I have mehndi on my hands and feet, and I don’t want to explain why my hands and feet look different. I wish I had been as proud of my mehndi at school as I had been at home. I channeled that insecurity of looking and feeling different into my newest chapter book, Anisa’s International Day. Anisa, an artistic and spunky third-grader, is thrilled to show off her mehndi and plans to bring it into school for International Day for her friends to try on. But when her best friend doesn’t seem to like the idea or her anymore, Anisa worries she is losing a friend. Will she ever get to enjoy International Day? Anisa’s International Day appeals to younger readers. Filled with charming illustrations by Aaliya Jaleel, delicious recipes, and artistic activities, this book can be easily incorporated into the classroom. As a former second-grade teacher, I made sure to include a strong classroom setting and plenty of third-grade drama that resolves with an ‘apology of action’ in which someone has to do something kind for someone, instead of simply apologising. I am glad that my story has resonated with teachers and students thus far. Today, whenever I get an opportunity to wear mehndi or henna, I always say yes and I am not afraid to show it off. Learning about each other’s backgrounds can show us our differences, but it can also show us how similar we are. I hope that Anisa’s International Day introduces readers to my Pakistani culture and encourages all readers to celebrate their unique culture with joy and pride. REEM FARUQI, Author of Anisa’s International Day



Getting things done Females, fashion and forging futures Troublemakers in Trousers: Women and What They Wore to Get Things Done profiles 21 women from history who, for various reasons, dressed in men’s clothes. It includes a pharaoh, warriors and pirates. There’s Toni Stone, the first woman to play major league baseball. There’s Lilian Bland, who made history in 1910 as the first woman to design, build and fly her own motorpowered aircraft using bicycle handlebars, an empty whiskey bottle, and her aunt’s ear trumpet. There’s Marguerite Johnson, who, during World War II, became the first Black woman streetcar conductor. Marguerite would later change her name to Maya Angelou. The idea for the book occurred to me as I was doing research for another project and stumbled across this fact: until a 200-year-old law was revoked in 2013, women in Paris could be arrested for wearing pants in public. I then became

fascinated by the challenges so many women have faced for most of history, negotiating the world in long skirts. Of course, in certain cultures and periods of history, men have also worn (and still wear) long, dress-like garments, but where that happens it tends to make practical sense for them to do so (such as living in hot climates). Women’s fashions, very broadly speaking, have historically rarely been practical. But Troublemakers isn’t about general fashion trends. It’s much more personal. It gave me the chance to write about women I’ve long admired. Every one of them demonstrated strength and courage in the face of injustice, double standards, mockery, and life-threatening danger. Here is how my author’s note begins: “When I was in thirdgrade, I showed up at school wearing a black

and white checked pantsuit. It was the seventies, so I’m pretty sure it was one hundred percent polyester. I thought I looked extremely “dy-no-mite”. My class was going on a field trip— some sort of outdoor nature expedition—and I figured that surely the dress code for girls wouldn’t apply that day. I was wrong. The school principal called my parents. My dad had to leave work and bring me a skirt to change into. That was a pivotal moment in my life—an awakening of sorts. I became suddenly aware that double standards and dumb rules existed, and a lot of them were unfair to girls in particular.” I connected with every one of these women and I hope my readers will too. SARAH ALBEE, Author of Troublemakers in Trousers: published by Charlesbridge TURN TO PAGE 48 to read about COP27 at Putney High School



Love really is forever The story behind the bestseller The Invisible String Love. What is it? This essential question is what has propelled my book, The Invisible String, into a bestselling phenomenon. I have had a lot of time to ponder just why the book’s simple message about love struck such a chord with young and old alike from across the globe. And the answer is as simple as the message itself: love is what binds and connects us together. Love is the heartbeat of life. Love is the only thing in the end that really matters, and love transcends time and space. When I was a single working mum in the late 1990s, the story of The Invisible String was born. My son Elijah suffered painfulto-the-core separation anxiety

when I had to drop him off at pre-school each morning. It broke my heart to leave his tear-stained face with his teachers, who had to pluck his clinging, shaking body from me as he held on for dear life whenever I kissed him goodbye. One morning, what poured out of me as I held him was the story of how we had an invisible string that would connect us all day long. I mean—didn’t everyone know this? Because of this magical string, when he missed me, all that he needed to do to feel my love again was tug on his end of the string, and I would be able to feel him and tug his love right back. A never-ending dance of connections would tether us all day long until we would reunite


each evening. Voila! His tears dried. “Is there really an invisible string, Mumma?” His little voice asked me. “There sure is, and it connects our hearts forever,” I replied. This simple answer changed both of our lives in unthinkably magical ways. For the first time ever, Elijah’s separation anxiety vanished, and in its place, security, confidence and comfort washed over him. We could both breathe again, and our days were joyful instead of panicked and worried. Soon, his friends asked me to tell them too about this wondrous invisible string that connected them not only to their working parents, but to their pets that had passed, their grandparents who lived out of state, and their best friends who had moved away. The kids soaked up the message like the little love sponges that they are and were the inspiration for me to sit down and write my book, and to devote my life to spreading this message of love to the planet. Hugs and tugs! PATRICE KARST, Author of The Invisible String

Telling the tall tale of Bessie


An inspirational young woman I first came across the story of Bessie Stringfield during the month of February. Here in the United States, February is Black History Month, and a short video of her popped up on social media. The video told an abbreviated story of a young, Black woman who rode her motorcycle around the US at the age of eighteen, during the late 1920s. This was a time of segregation and Bessie defied that as she lived her life on the road on her motorbike. How did she determine where she was going? A flip of a penny. And that inspired me to tell her story. The video ended and I wanted to know more. But there wasn’t much more. Online searches all yielded the same information, which came from the same person; a motorcycle-riding journalist that Bessie told her personal story to and shared in print. So, using the little bit of information that I had, I began working on telling Bessie’s story. Anytime I do a biography on someone, I have to get the basic facts straight: where and when they were born and where they lived. At the early stages of writing, I relied on what Bessie had told the journalist. She was born in Jamaica and, around the age of five, was

brought to America by ship with her mother and father. Unfortunately, her mother died on the crossing and her father abandoned her shortly after. She was then adopted by a white woman in Boston, Massachusetts. At least, that’s what Bessie said. I would later learn otherwise as time passed and more information about Bessie became known from other sources.

With so many details in question, I decided to focus on one detail that attracted me to Bessie’s story in the first place: her pennyflip adventures. The challenges of being a young, Black woman on a motorcycle during segregation were plenty, so I wanted to show what Bessie went through. I wanted to show how she earned money, found places to sleep and get gas, and mostly, the freedom with which she lived her life. For me, Bessie was a reminder that freedom can’t be given to you, it’s there if you choose to take it. Because freedom means living your life as you choose, no matter the difficulty. Bessie’s story embodies that and will hopefully inspire others to do the same. CHARLES R. SMITH JR., Author of Bessie the Motorcycle Queen




Mr. Andrew De Silva FROM THE ORATORY PREP SCHOOL, OXFORDSHIRE Mr. Andrew De Silva speaks about the importance of child centred learning and his work as the Chair of the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools’ EDI group looking to ensure that independent schools are fully supported. He also discusses the admissions process, facilities and ethos at the school. Please tell us a little about yourself and your career to date?

Thank you so much for having me on. I feel almost grown up now, so I feel validated in many ways, but let’s see how the rest of it goes! I’m the Head of The Oratory Prep School, and this is my fifth time working at headship level. I’ve worked at three schools in the state sector and this is my second in the independent sector. Regardless, I am still very much learning, and I think that’s very important. Who am I? Firstly, I try to be as childlike as possible; there’s a wall of lego here in my office. I am a father to Florence and David, and a husband to Nicola. When I’m not doing those things, I’m also a headmaster, or, rather, a head learner at The Oratory Prep School. I have a huge love for music; I’m a singer, and I most recently sang in Winchester Cathedral. I love my singing and lego master building. 20 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2

What do you feel that you have been able to contribute to The Oratory Prep in your role as head?

That’s a really good question. I suppose the thing that I’m trying to add to the school and to the families is a greater sense of listening to all people. The school has a fantastic reputation and had a fantastic head teacher before me, and I’ll do my best to try and continue from what they have done. But what I’m looking forward to bringing to the school is my slightly different faith perspective, because the school is a Catholic school and I am not a Catholic—although faith is very important to me as the son of a retired Anglican priest. I am trying to bring with me my experience in teaching, learning and assessment, and how to get the best we can, as much as possible, from the community we serve and from the children we love and hold so dear. The school motto is ‘Cor Ad Cor Loquitur’ (Heart speaks to Heart) and was given to the school by its founder St. John Henry Newman. Can you explain what this means?

That is a really good question. We are hugely blessed to have St. John Henry Newman as our founder. He adds so much weight to us as a school family, not just for those of us who have a Catholic

The Oratory Prep School, Oxfordshire

“If they have faith in themselves, they have confidence in their own skin, which, when you play that out to the Year 7 and Year 8 parts of our curriculum, which are hugely important to children in terms of developmental progress, they leave us as stronger, more confident individuals with a thirst for knowledge, having grown with us and their families.” or religious perspective, but also for those of us who have other religious perspectives or none at all. From any perspective, the motto is about empathising with others. ‘Heart speaks to Heart’ can be read in so many ways. There are religious connotations to it, but ultimately for me it is about knowing the person that we’re in front of, and making decisions based on where they are, rather than where we think they need to get to. So, it is very much a person-centric perspective, and one which we’ll live out every day in terms of what we do in our teaching, learning, and social and emotional wellbeing, because, ultimately, children are the future. We need them to empathise with us and we need to empathise with them and be as childlike as possible.

an independent school, and a school of the heritage and tradition that we have - has lots of historical trips and experiences that we are looking forward to returning to after COVID-19, so that’s one part of it, in terms of what we believe in. In terms of ethos, it’s very much child-centred and about the family. It’s about ensuring the children, regardless of whether they’re Catholic, part of another religion, or neither, the big part for us is that we want children to have faith in themselves. If they have faith in themselves, they have confidence in their own skin, which, when you play that out to the Year 7 and Year 8 parts of our curriculum, which are hugely important to children in terms of developmental progress, they leave us as stronger, more confident individuals with a thirst for knowledge, having grown with us and their families. So that’s an important part of our ethos. Values, we are currently working on. As a Catholic school, we’ll be referring to them as “Virtues”, but they include things such as curiosity and courage. I won’t give too many spoilers since we’re currently waiting on feedback from staff, but we’ll announce new virtues this time next year. So, the vision is where we’re going, and the virtues are how we get there, and I want to ensure the way we get there has family input. Oratory Prep is fundamentally a Catholic school. How do you address other religions and beliefs?

So, the school is a Catholic school, not just because of its founder but because of its links with the other Oratory Schools around the country, and its strong links with the diocese. One of the bits that’s incredibly important for us is that we’re unashamedly proud of being a Catholic school,

Can you tell us a little about the ethos and values at The Oratory Prep?

So, we are currently going through a bit of a “vision and values” time at the school, from the perspective that we are trying to showcase what we are, who we are, and where we want to go, so our vision is to find outstanding learning opportunities for the pupils in our care. When I say “opportunities”, I also mean “experiences”, because the school - as



their choices and decisions if you’re able to phrase it in a way where, not only can we bring religion into it, but we can try to make sense of that religious context in our everyday school context. Can you tell us a little about the points of entry and requirements for children and families considering applying to The Oratory Prep?

but you don’t need to be Catholic or belong to a faith to come here. As I said earlier, it’s about us empowering children to have faith in themselves, whether that’s faith in anyone else, or a higher being or high entity, that’s entirely what they choose to take from it. But in terms of religion, we absolutely do partake in, celebrate, and observe the cultural parts of all other faiths, whether that’s through RE lessons, assemblies, or other forms of collective worship. Even on our social media, we wish our Muslim members of our community happy Eid, and also on Diwali, whatever that meaning will be to our Hindu friends and family at our school. So, we’re here for all our pupils, irrespective of whether they have religion or not. We’re here for the families who have a Catholic faith, Christian faith, different faith, or none, because fundamentally, an important part of faith is that we’re here for others, even if they don’t share our beliefs. That’s an important part of what it means to be a decent human being, and we are just lucky that in our setting we can talk openly about love. Even if sometimes it’s tough love, ultimately it is love, and it really helps when you’re trying to help a child with

“So, we’re here for all our pupils, irrespective of whether they have religion or not. We’re here for the families who have a Catholic faith, Christian faith, different faith, or none, because fundamentally, an important part of faith is that we’re here for others, even if they don’t share our beliefs.” 22 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2

In terms of entry points, we start at two years old, so we have our nursery and kindergarten. We have a number of pupils joining us in the Reception class, and we have children joining us in other year groups. Essentially, we have a few gaps in certain year groups, but we encourage people who want to receive our education to join. So, there’s no formal way of putting down when to start, it’s got to be right for the child, but I would argue that the best thing to do is to get in early. What do you consider to be the benefits of attending a school like The Oratory Prep and the location in Reading?

Well, one of the highlights would be the lego behind me; that’s genuinely a highlight. From the perspective that it proves what we are: we are a child-centred school. The school is located relatively close to Reading and a number of pupils do come from Reading, but similarly, we’ve got other big areas nearby, for example, a number of our pupils come from Henley-on-Thames. In terms of the site itself, I mentioned our 65 acres, and we are blessed with our facilities: a theatre, tennis courts, huge astro turf, rugby pitches everywhere, football pitches, all sorts. So, we have a huge amount of provision from that perspective. We also have an indoor swimming pool, and I would love to tell you that it’s Olympic, but it would only be so if the Olympic pool was half the size. It’s a 25m pool with a toddler pool as well. So, from that perspective, there are many reasons to come to the school. However, as I say to the parents I see on my velvet sofas, from my perspective, what I tell them is: “Don’t come to the school for our facilities, come to the school because of the relationships that the teachers have with the children, and the tools that help those teachers impart knowledge, understanding, wisdom and skills. Yes, that’s helped by the facilities, but the real reason to come is that we can ensure your child makes social, emotional and academic progress, which is all we want from our children.” So, that’s why children should come. TURN TO PAGE 26 to read about Broomwood’s new branding


The Oratory Prep School, Oxfordshire

I have made friends for life.


Be inspired Be brilliant Be you

Prep School Perspective

You asked what the entry process looks like. Hannah is our registrar and the first port of call is to speak to her; she’s far more sensible than I am, in many ways. She will arrange a time for parents to come and see me and have a tour of the school. That may well be with their child, too, and if there is a child here, we have toys galore in my office! I’m painting a bad picture, I’m saying my office is full of toys, but there’s academic gowns and hoods on the other side. So, there’s a serious side based on pedagogy, understanding and child-centred knowledge, in terms of philosophy, education and so on from a technical perspective. Once they’ve had a meeting with myself, the child will come and have a taster day as well as an interview with me. That interview is very different as you progress through the school. For nursery and kindergarteners, there’s no interview as such, it’s just a chance for me to see them playing in their setting. There are some assessment tests, but our main thing is to look at the learning behaviours of children in the context of them as people, looking at the choices they make, and that’s more important to us in many ways.

How do you feel, in light of the many events over the past couple of years, that as a school you are embracing equality, diversity and inclusion?

That’s a really important question, especially because of where we are in the world right now. As an Asian headteacher born in Sri Lanka - I can’t show you the Sri Lankan flag I have in my lego pencil pot - I’m proud of my own heritage in this. I’m also the Chair of the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools’ EDI group,


TURN BACK TO P16 to read about Anisas’s International Day book

Chloe Abbott

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

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Diversity in headship

“We need to be the best role models for our children, and sometimes that means giving things a bit more thought before we make decisions.” so, with the support of all the heads and certainly the teaching from the other heads, we are creating our joint IAPS vision on what that looks like and how we can support schools. That’s an important part of what I feel I can offer, because there’s lots of parts we need to look at in terms of EDI - “equality, diversity and inclusion”, or “equity, diversity and inclusion” - not just for our pupils, but also for the staff who work in the schools as well, to get better representation of all our country in leadership levels. There aren’t many Asian headteachers in the country, whilst there are significant pockets in certain big cities, and there certainly aren’t many Asian headteachers or headmasters in the independent sector at preparatory levels. There are some fantastic things going on with that, but the way I look at this, when Rishi Sunak was named as Prime Minister, children found themselves now able to relate to the Prime Minister because of the colour of his skin, and it has now become more attainable for many people. Now, in reality, that’s a difficult thing to understand if you haven’t come from that background, so EDI is an important part of what we need to do. If we look at that from a school context, firstly, we’re a Catholic school, so love comes first, and one could say, “How does that work in the Catholic setting?” Well, for us, the Pope is incredibly clear about how everyone should, “Love your neighbour as yourself”, and make sure that we support everyone in our communities. So that’s absolutely what we do, irrespective of the faith perspective, but as decent human beings and citizens of the world. But what does it mean to children? Well, it comes down to role modelling the best, and part of that is what our curriculum looks like. I talked earlier about the schools that we send our pupils to, and that might be through a process of common entrance exams or whatever it may be, so, from that perspective, one could say our curriculum may be prescriptive. We are trying to decolonise aspects of

our curriculum over time, and we will do that, but of course what we don’t want to do is rush it without thinking about what we’re doing. We need to be the best role models for our children, and sometimes that means giving things a bit more thought before we make decisions. Finally, what is your vision for the future of The Oratory Prep going forwards?

Well, other than one of my members of SLT saying: “How cool would it be if we had a lego version of our school to use as a map at the reception?”, which I genuinely think would be a pretty good thing to do! My vision is to provide outstanding learning opportunities for all. To give them not just wonderful teaching, but to ensure that, socially and emotionally, our children are prepared for the next stage of learning, so that when they leave us, they leave confident in their skin and able to thrive in any educational establishment that they go on to next. So that, when they’re successful and thriving, they look back on their time with us and we would have been a small part of that journey. That’s really important to us, because education is the key to the future, and for us that’s through our children. We would like to thank the Head of The Oratory Prep School, Mr. Andrew De Silva, for giving up his time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST TURN BACK TO PAGE 16 to read about Anisa’s International Day book





Mr. Kevin Doble speaks about the recent merge of the Broomwood schools enhancing cohesion and synergy for both the children and parents. He also discusses points of entry and the importance of children being allowed to play, make mistakes and develop resilience (alongside meeting academic standards) to be able to thrive at secondary school and flourish as young people. Please tell us a little about yourself and your career to date?

Thank you for having me on! I trained as a lawyer; I did a postgraduate degree in Business Management in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was thrust into the giddy world of banking, which was not for me. So, after having endured that for a small period of time, I was lured over to England to join a prep school and coach some hockey and cricket, which I thought would be a marvellous idea for six months before I went back into a “proper job”. That was about 30 years ago. I didn’t go back, and instead was dragged through a PGCE through the Roehampton Institute—which was absolutely brilliant—focusing on secondary English. Since 26 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2

then, I have worked predominantly in the south of England, almost exclusively in prep schools. I taught A Level English for a brief period of time. It has been one heck of a ride. All the schools I’ve worked at have been boarding schools, except for the two most recent ones, so I’m very much used to what I’d call the broader “prep school experience”, but certainly in the last two schools in which I’ve worked—Shrewsbury House, where I was head for 11 years, and subsequently, here, as Principal of the Broomwood group. The schools are as close as you’re likely to get to boarding schools, without beds. So, it has been quite an eclectic journey, but I have absolutely no regrets and am very much looking forward to each new day, which is probably likely to be as unpredictable as the previous one. What do you feel you have been able to contribute, from the experiences that you’ve had, to the Broomwood schools in your role as Principal?

One of the targets I was given by Katherine Colquhoun and Sir Malcom Colquhoun was to find

Broomwood, Clapham

ways in which we can create greater cohesion between the pre-prep, Broomwood Hall Lower School, the girls’ prep school, Broomwood Hall School, and the boys’ prep school, Northcote Lodge. And, over the course of the last couple of years, we’ve gone through some very significant changes: the first of which, as I was informed on my first day of being Chief Executive, was that the schools were being sold. We were then acquired by Dukes Education, and they’ve been absolutely fantastic! We’ve had an opportunity to be able to learn from a number of hugely experienced educators, heads and administrators, among others, whose overall awareness of education

“What we’ve been given the opportunity to do is not only ensure that the schools remain relevant, but also enable them to become much more cohesive.”

has been superb. What we’ve been given the opportunity to do is not only ensure that the schools remain relevant, but also enable them to become much more cohesive. Can you explain the reasoning for changing the school group to ‘Broomwood’?

We’ve got some fantastic sites and wonderful settings; four schools with four different names— and I’m including here our Senior School, which will leave us to become part of London Park School, another Duke’s organisation, next year— five brands, six sites. All the children begin their time at Broomwood Hall Lower School with a particular uniform, and once they move on to the upper schools, their uniforms are different from one another. So, what we wanted to make certain was that we were cohesive, and the parents, too, wanted to know that these schools under the one ownership are TURN TO PAGE 70 to read Galuchat designer tips!



Working together

“So, the “B”, obviously, comes from Broomwood, while the stag comes from Northcote Lodge, and the two come together in one emblem that, in a way, symbolises and reinforces our coming together as a group of schools.”

united in their output. If they have commonalities, it makes the lives of the parents easier, and equally, we want to provide more opportunities for the boys and girls to work together more frequently. We have these two prep schools which are singlesex, but why on Earth aren’t we having them do a huge amount more together? The children can then have their cake and eat it too, they can reap all the benefits of studying at a single-sex school, and also have the chance to go on trips and complete programmes of study together, to perform in the same plays and be part of the same houses and perhaps compete at Sports Day together. So, these things have all been under consideration for several years, the culmination of which was our announcement in October that we were becoming Broomwood. The heads had been discussing this for some time and we were very pleased to announce it.

We understand there is a new boys’ prep building – can you tell us a little about this?

Broomwood have just rebranded, as you’ve been saying, and they have a logo of a stag’s head—can you explain the meaning or significance of this to the group?

Can you tell us a little about the points of entry and requirements for children and families considering applying to Broomwood?

There were a lot of conversations around this; what we wanted to do was to ensure that we retained our heritage. If you look at that stag, it quite distinctively forms a “B”. So, the “B”, obviously, comes from Broomwood, while the stag comes from Northcote Lodge, and the two come together in one emblem that, in a way, symbolises and reinforces our coming together as a group of schools. 28 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2

Our decision to bring the boys and girls into the prep schools in Year 3, in line with a decent number of prep schools, has also been announced. This new building will act as the junior section, so it will keep these boys together in classes, as they would expect in Key Stage 2, while also allowing them to be part of a dynamic school. Equally, we want to provide a back playground that is less “concrete-and-metal” and more “opportunityfor-bouncing-and-fun-without-breakage”, which, unfortunately, has not been up to par for the last couple of years, in some ways. But, yes, the new building is going to be a junior section. It’s also important to clarify that we are not increasing the size of Northcote; the size will remain exactly the same, we’re just segmenting it into six year groups as opposed to the current five.

Absolutely. We’ve seen a huge uptake in interest, particularly over the course of the last several months. The first—and by some distance, the best—way of starting the journey with us is to visit the school. Families should come along, particularly if the children are much younger, and visit our specialist Early Years centre, The Vicarage, at Broomwood Pre-Prep. As it stands, it’s a £100 registration and £50 for siblings thereafter. Reception entry, for children currently at the age of

Developing resilience

3 ½ to 4 years old, is 18 months before entry, so this usually means registering and visiting by the end of March. Pupils are then chosen via a random ballot, meaning that parents who wish for their children to join us will have their children’s names placed in a hat and drawn out, essentially. Siblings of current students take priority, as do children of Broomwood alumni. All others registered are drawn randomly by birthday quartiles, so as to try to keep the balance of age groups fairly consistent. In reality, those that really want to join us tend to end up getting a place. It’s important to understand that Reception isn’t the only time children can join us. We announced in October that children can join Little Broomwood, our new preschool class, opening in September 2023. Registration for interest has now opened, and registering would be required in the half term the year before entry. For the prep schools, as long as you’ve registered and visited by the end of November in the year before entry, you would then be invited to taster and assessment days in January before the year of entry. For every other year group, it depends on spaces being available. We are flexible and we do want to work around the family’s needs. So, if somebody is arriving mid-year, for example, we will look to

provide support and accommodate them and find the best route in. The school motto is: ‘To do your best to be your best’. Can you explain what this means?

“To be your best to do your best”, “To do your best to be your best”, either way you say it, it is about knowing who you are. It’s about having an opportunity to get stuck into all sorts of different things, irrespective of whether you might pass, fail, be exceptional or not particularly good at something at all. Children are only children once; they have this one childhood and this one opportunity to do


based schools. Can you tell us more about the importance of working and engaging with the local community, and give some examples of this, and the benefits that children and the local community are gaining?

things for the sake of it. It is the role of the school to give them the opportunity to have that access, whilst at the same time providing the scaffold to help employ those experiences into opportunities to grow, but also to demonstrate ability and understand how they’re going to get to whatever the next stage is. Can you tell us a little about the bursary provision that Broomwood offers?

We are very keen to make certain that our families are able to have some consistency and continuity in the journey that they take with their children, and the last several years have demonstrated to us that security and consistency in our lives is something we cannot take for granted. Our bursarial support extends to families whose children are at our school but for whom life has become a bit tough, where some opportunities which previously may have been available are no longer there. What we want to do is protect the children’s journey by supporting the parents in whichever ways we can, to ensure that education is uninterrupted. As a school you work closely with the local community and other SW London-

We are so lucky to be in an environment that is so vibrant and eclectic. We want the children to understand and recognise that they are citizens of their community and that they will benefit enormously from engagement within it. We’ve got to balance this, of course, against extraordinarily busy lives and lifestyles that are, at times, incessant in terms of scheduling, priorities, and commitments. But we have to make time to be part of our community, and we do this through engineering a wide range of activities and projects to give children access and exposure to our community. For example, at the moment we work very loosely with St George’s Hospital, where we are looking to, as a school community, raise funds to brighten up the children’s wards, which are in an extraordinarily sad state of disrepair. By contributing to this overhaul of such an important space, the children develop an empathy for those who are forced into spending a great deal of time there. We work with Little Village, gathering and sorting out donations to make certain that those who are less fortunate than us have access to things that we sometimes take for granted. We work closely with Wandsworth Common in ensuring that the extraordinary greenspace right next to our schools remains clean and pristine; we pick up litter, we look after aspects of that common to keep it clean and spritely. We visit local care homes helping with Harvest Festival donations. We visit local churches in the same way, particularly at Christmas, to provide voice and good spirit. We have a whole raft of different ways in which we want to not only be aware of what happens within our community but become a part of it. We don’t want to become the school that’s behind closed


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Looking to the future

“We don’t want to become the school that’s behind closed doors. And, ever increasingly now, we want to become engaged and very much a visible part of what is one of the most fantastically eclectic and vibrant areas of London, even of England.” doors. And, ever increasingly now, we want to become engaged and very much a visible part of what is one of the most fantastically eclectic and vibrant areas of London, even of England. Finally, what is your vision for the future of the Broomwood schools going forwards?

As I mentioned before, Broomwood is going to be a “proper” prep school model, and I’m going to use this word “proper” in a pretty definitive way. Children will arrive at the Little Broomwood, our nursery, at a young age, around 3½ to 4, and they will move on from our schools at either 11 or 13. For me, the most important thing is that they have a “proper” prep school experience. I spoke earlier about how important it is that we provide opportunities for children to engage with a myriad of different skills and educational access points; we want them to enjoy discovery. We want them to be able to understand and recognise the absolute value of academic preparation, the necessity for developing skills, the fundamental value of cognitive growth and maturity, but we don’t want that to be at the expense of them being children. We want them to also learn and recognise how important it is to learn how to be creative, to learn how to be empathetic, to be able to have a go at things that may not necessarily have material benefit right now, but in experiencing them and trying them out, perhaps provide triggers for all sorts of other interests and skills which otherwise would never have been discovered. So, in short, we want them to be able to play, and to be able to fail. I know that sounds nuts coming from a school leader, but without learning how to fail in an environment that is caring and conducive to that educational journey, how are we going to expect them to be able to tolerate the

extraordinary bouncing around and, at times, debilitating terrors of adult life? So, it’s equipping them with that mindset to have a go, which I mentioned earlier, but also making certain that within this fantastically well-structured academic preparation and celebration, this acceleration of intellectual and cognitive skill, that they are also given a chance to be children. To play, to scream and laugh and be able to recognise that, actually, life is great! Life isn’t about the next day, life isn’t always about developing the skills that will present you as some form of valued individual in years to come, life is about now. Sometimes it is about stopping and staring, sometimes it is about doing things that are completely useless and irrelevant, but all those things go into making us the characters who, in due course, are best positioned and best able to live life, not just endure it and prepare for the next stage. To all the mums, dads, and others out there: come and have a look around Broomwood. You can hear older people like me prattling on about bits and pieces all the time, but the best people to hear from are the children. Just listen to them talking, they’re the ones that are the greatest ambassadors; they will tell you as it is. We would like to thank the Principal of the Broomwood schools group, Mr. Kevin Doble, for giving up his time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST TURN BACK TO PAGE 19 to read about Bessie the Motorcycle Queen




Miss. Amy Wallace FROM QUEEN’S GATE SCHOOL, KENSINGTON Miss. Amy Wallace speaks about the benefits of attending an all girls’ school in Kensington, her new role as Principal, their ethos of ‘kindness and courtesy’, spirit of individuality and her vision for the school going forwards. To begin, we understand that you took over as Principal in September, but you have had a variety of different roles and responsibilities in schools prior to this post. Would you like to tell us a little bit about them?

I have spent my whole career in girls’ education. I started as a fresh-faced NQT at Wycombe Abbey, having already done a year there as a resident tutor. I’ve just been committed to girls’ education ever since. I think we offer the girls in our care a real step up and some real specialist support, and I think we’re a very important part of the sector. I have spent the last ten years in through schools from ages 4 to 18, and when I was starting to think about headship, I was really committed to following that theme. I think working in a through school is really special: one minute, you’re over in the Junior School doing an assembly - with 4 year olds hugging your legs at the end - and then the next thing you know, you’re talking to an 18 year old about her university applications and what she’s thinking about for the next stages of her life. So, you get such a rich, diverse experience as an educator - it’s a very special thing. We also get the opportunity to think about themes that go all the way up, themes that can be relevant to a 4 year old and an 18 year old. But, also, we can consider how we can ensure our learning, and particularly our personal development, is really coherent. So, we’ll talk to our parents in Year 5 about device use and mobile phones using our experiences of Year 9 and Year 10. I think that offers something really special and really unique to those parents, 32 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2

The Oratory Queen’s Prep Gate School, School, Oxfordshire Kensington

getting that constant consistency, those strands that run through. I was also really excited to be coming to a school that had such clear values. Both of my last schools have been faith schools, where values obviously absolutely sing through, and it’s wonderful to be in a school again where values are in the centre of who we are: kindness, courtesy and thinking of others. That was really important to me. So, I’m still slightly in the kind of “pinch myself” territory that I’m actually here and that I’m actually leading this school. How do you feel that the experience you’ve had to date is going to help you with your insight and vision going forwards?

I’ve been at some varying schools in terms of academic intake. Here, we have a relatively broad intake, so it’s really interesting for me to think about the techniques and the approaches I saw at my last schools in terms of how we get the best for each girl. But it’s also interesting to think about how, in a broad intake, we make sure that every girl feels valued. For example, those girls for whom that ‘B’ was an absolutely epic achievement and we’re so excited for them, and with the pressure schools are under for academic results, how do we make sure they feel just as valued and celebrated as the girls who’ve got the ‘A’s and the ‘A*’s? Can you tell us a little about the ethos and values at Queen’s Gate?

I think the first thing that’s really stood out is that we really are about the ‘individual’ here. You see it instantly from the fact that we don’t have a uniform—the girls can decide for themselves how they want to dress each day. They do have a dress code which is reasonably light-touch. It was a very new thing for me to come to a school without a uniform: when I first heard about it, I thought: “Oh, that’s a little bit bohemian compared to my background.” But I really love it! I love seeing their

“I think the first thing that’s really stood out is that we really are about the ‘individual’ here. You see it instantly from the fact that we don’t have a uniform—the girls can decide for themselves how they want to dress each day.”

little personalities come through in how they’re dressing, and I love that they can think about what they are comfortable in, what they feel confident in. I think it’s really good preparation for adult life, and we make those choices, particularly as women, all the time - we’re thinking about what the right fashion code or dress code is right now. But that individuality, it also goes to things like the fact that we get to know our girls really well. Our size is perfect, we very quickly build up those really close, affectionate but professional interactions. It is something I’ve seen in other schools this size and was one of the things I really wanted to retain as I became Principal: that size, that contact, getting to know girls one-on-one, that chat you have with a girl as you walk from the Tube and she’s been on your train, getting to know about who she is and what her interests are. Our individuality also goes into our academic provision. We are somewhat unusual in our GCSEs, in that we only do separate sciences (most schools these days complete the Double Award Science with a bit of all three, or you’re doing your Biology, Chemistry, and Physics). We let our girls pick two out of the three, and if they don’t want to do one of the three sciences at GCSE, then that’s fine and they can fit in another language, another humanity. They can really build their own individual portfolio. That was a latitude I benefited from at school - there was one science that I was quite happy to leave behind at the end of Year 9, and that gave me the chance to be more individual in the portfolio of subjects I took forward. We match that at A Level - we offer 28 different subjects and



EDUCATION CORNER PODCAST Benefits of central London learning

build the timetable around the girls’ choices. We don’t have blocks. We get their choices in, we do this impossible sudoku, or somebody far cleverer than me gets to do that each year. So, we really are about the individual girl, what’s best for her, what’s her potential, not thinking: “Here’s the mark that everybody’s got to meet, and if you’re not meeting it, you’re not good enough.” We’re also a very aspirational school, and I prefer the words “aspirational”, “ambitious”, because that links to that individuality. It’s: “What is your personal best?”, though I always borrow a phrase I heard used by the former Newnham College Director of Studies in Law, who, when told by somebody: “I did my best”, responded “You don’t know what your best is yet.” That’s something I’m really taking forward as I’ve joined, this idea that we’re aspirational, we’re aiming for the very top, but everybody’s “very top” will look different. Everyone’s top and dream is equally valid and worth celebrating and aiming for. I think the thing that’s underpinning all of this is that we’re just a really happy place. There’s a real light-hearted camaraderie, we go up and down our stairs in our building—which are always a little bit taxing when you first get here, you don’t want to be 3 4 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2

on the bottom floor and realise you’re meant to be on the top, because that’s a long way! But the girls love it and really value it. It’s something they speak about when they’re talking about open day speeches and what their memories of the school will be once they finish. So, we’re just a really happy school. The girls meet you with a real genuine warmth; we’re a really good team as a staff, always backing each other up and looking after each other. As I say to parents, I think that happiness is really important because happy girls are the most likely to overachieve, whether that’s academically or personally. Happy girls are the ones that put themselves out there and apply for that top university, they’ll go and do that audition for the part they think they’re not going to get, because they’re doing so from a place of safety and security, and they know they’ll be alright if it doesn’t work. Happy girls can throw themselves into their studies and will just thrive. So, we start from that point: “How can we make sure that the girls are happy? What do the girls need right now? How can we make something more fun?” I think that’s what TURN TO PAGE 49 to read about mental health and wellbeing at Westminster School

Single-sex education

really underpins our ethos here, and it makes it a really fun place to be! Being in Kensington, you have a very diverse and international intake of students. How do you celebrate this as a school?

Although we have mostly English students, we have a significant group of girls who come from European, Chinese, Indian, or Middle-Eastern backgrounds; the list is endless. We really love the fact that it brings us lots of different mindsets, lots of different traditions, lots of different ways of doing things. Just the other week, we had some girls visiting and they were talking about applying for our Sixth Form, and they were talking about the difference between Saudi weddings and English weddings. Those conversations are then something that our girls learn from. In this day and age, I don’t see that our girls are ever going to be working in industries where they’re not going to be working with people from other countries, not going to be working in industries where they’re not going to be travelling overseas. We are a global citizenry, and I think what we’re giving our girls is some beautiful preparation, so they can be confident in that context, as well as respectful, sensitive and interested, and they can see that that diversity is something to be really proud of and enjoy. Can you tell us a little about the different points of entry and requirements for children and families considering applying to Queen’s Gate?

academic level - we are a broad academic intake, but it’s still important to us to know that they will be comfortable within our context, because all of our Junior School girls automatically get an offer to the Senior School. On the very rare occasion we do have somebody - maybe somebody who’s come through from 4+ - whose progress leads us to think that she’ll be better off somewhere else - and it really is about “I don’t know if you’re going to get as much out of us as you could at another school”, then we’re going to have that conversation. All of our girls in Year 5 and 6 will all get an automatic offer to join the Senior School. That’s something we’ve changed this year; it’s always been unofficial and we’ve now said, “Look, let’s just make this official.” We love our girls in the Junior School, they’re Queen’s Gate girls, we want to be keeping them through and maintain that consistency for them. They will still take the 11+. We are a Consortium school with online assessments through Atom Learning. Our existing girls take that because that information is really helpful for us in terms of identifying where they’re at academically, and what help they’re going to need, what their sets are going to be in Year 7, so they can make a terrific start working in groups that proceed at the right pace for them. For our 11+, we also have an interview, so all external and internal candidates will be interviewed. Though the offer is automatic for our internal students, we want them to have that experience because we know they find it really rewarding

Being a through school, we have multiple points of entry. One of our main points is 4+, which involves a very light-hearted assessment— parents come in, they meet with our Head of the Junior School, we meet their daughter. It’s really important for us to get to know the girls and for them to be visiting straight away, because that helps us get to know them really well. We also have entries at 7+, which is a slightly different process. It consists of, again, interviews, and I believe we have one paper there, just to see how the girl is performing academically. We do want to, at that stage, make sure we feel comfortable that the girl is going to be able to thrive at our


Bursary provision

“We’ve just launched a new fundraising campaign called “Window to her future” linked to a beautiful stained-glass window we were gifted. We had its grand opening this week and we thought: “What a perfect metaphor for what bursaries offer.” that they get their moment with me or one of my colleagues in the Senior School. We carry out the interviews in January and the assessment is taken in December. If they’re coming from outside, girls can either take it with us or at their primary school. We know lots of them will be more comfortable doing it in a place where they feel familiar, so that’s something we really support. They then come and interview with us in January, and something I’ve been really clear about is that we will interview all girls. We don’t top-slice based on the assessment, they will all get an interview, and when we interview, we do so without exam results in front of us. The team interviewing the student will not have seen how they have performed academically. It’s really important to me that we’re not just thinking about academic aptitude, because there might be a girl who just had a bad day at the office. It’s one day in December, and maybe she felt nervous. These are little girls, they’re only 10 years old and we should really bear that in mind. But it might be that she’s not brilliant at Maths - maybe that’s not her strength - but when we get her in our interview room, whether it’s the way she talks about her friends or if we see a little bit of sass, or that little spark and we think: “Wow, you are going to be such a great leader!”, or, “You’re going to be the girl that, when there’s an upset in the class and there’s somebody who needs comfort and care, you’re going to be the first one on the scene looking after her, and your character is going to contribute as much to our school, probably more so than just the raw academic ability, actually.” So, that’s why we will interview without their results in front of us. I don’t want anyone to think “She’s lovely, but...”. I just want them to be coming out of the interview rooms going: “Oh my god, this girl, she’s gorgeous, the way 36 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2

she talked about her art - she’s just so interested, we have to take her” and not in any way be hesitant to take her in because of her academics. So, we’ll do that in January and give out our offers in line with the timings that we agree with all the other GSA schools. We also have a small entry point at Sixth Form. Most of our girls choose to stay on from Upper 5 to Sixth Form, which is fabulous. We know that some schools have to slightly compete to retain students from Year 11. We are keeping the bulk of our girls, but we do have a small entry point there. Those girls come in - we had them in the other week, actually and take a couple of papers in subjects they want to study at A Level, and again we will interview all of them. So, that’s our Sixth Form entry. We do occasionally have places in other year groups, and there we do our own papers—Maths and English, usually. Again, those girls come in and have an interview with me and I get to know a bit more about them. So, if a family is looking for a place in Year 8 or 9, for example, it’s always worth giving us a call. So, we’d always encourage parents to get in touch if it’s between our main entry points. How do children benefit from attending a Kensington school?

I think some of the advantages we’ve got are things like having museums on

Entrance requirements

our doorstep, which is an obvious one. We have girls going off and visiting different bits of the Natural History Museum as a weekly co-curricular club. How many schools can offer visits to these absolutely world-class, world-famous museums as a weekly club? That’s incredible! Can you also tell us a little about the bursary provision that Queen’s Gate offers?

Absolutely. I am personally hugely committed to bursary provision, and also the fact that, as a school, we think about what the experience is like for our bursary girls. So, for example, if we’ve got a school trip, maybe a small European trip that’s a little bit more expensive, ensuring we’ve got that paid for by instalments, because that makes it more financially accessible. Or even regarding things like our sports kit, we’re not having names printed on the back because the minute you’ve got a name printed on a piece of kit, it can never go into a second-hand uniform shop, it can never be bought at a cheaper price by families that are going to need that facility to enjoy being here. It’s also desperately unsustainable, because it then has to go in the bin after the student no longer needs it. So, I’m really committed to making sure that, not only do we offer the bursaries, but those girls have a fair experience while they are here. And that commitment is personal because I was a bursary girl myself, I went through private secondary school on a significant academic bursary. I know it changed my life - it always feels a little overblown and I’m not somebody who’s given to hyperbole in that way, but it did absolutely change my life. So, I know how important this is, and I know what this means for families. When my registrar calls up families in February and March to say: “You’ve got the bursary”, I know why the parents burst into tears on the phone, because they are so happy! In terms of how we run our bursary provision, most of it is at 11+. It’s means-tested and we have all the details laid out nice and clearly on our website. Families complete that form, but they only do it once they’ve been offered a place - they don’t need to disclose any financial information until then. It is then reviewed annually. It is only right that we make sure that bursary money is going where it is needed most. We do tell families to get their application forms in on time, because once I’ve allocated the bursaries provision each year - once the bursar and I have completed that process - we may not always have the money left to offer one to somebody applying late.

I hope one of the things I’ll be able to see whilst I’m here is continuing to increase our bursary provision. We’ve just launched a new fundraising campaign called “Window to her future” linked to a beautiful stained-glass window we were gifted. We had its grand opening this week and we thought: “What a perfect metaphor for what bursaries offer.” So, we have named our new campaign after that window, and we’re really looking forward to seeing how we can, hopefully, do some fundraising to increase what we’re able to offer to families who otherwise wouldn’t get all the wonderful benefits of what we can offer here. We would like to thank the Principal of Queen’s Gate School, Miss Amy Wallace, for giving up her time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST TURN TO PAGE 62 to read about life at Exeter University


SPECIAL FEATURE A boy’s dancing dream!

Dreaming of dancing

My dance career started at the tender age of three. In 2009, I watched Diversity perform and win Britain’s Got Talent, and said to my parents: “I want to do that and meet them.” On starting in Reception at Christ Church Primary School, Chelsea, I attended an after-school street dance class taught by Damien Anyasi, where he encouraged me to just move to the music. Damien prompted my parents to access street dance classes in Battersea. A school friend of mine told me of classes run by a group called Scariofunk. At Scariofunk I was extremely nervous at first, but the instructor, Conrad Senior, encouraged and managed to bring the performer in me to the surface. Within dance, it’s about being able to perform in shows or dance at competitions, and at Scariofunk they wanted to showcase the dancers in their summer show. This was the 38 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2

first time that I had performed on stage in front of an audience. At the show, one of the other dance teachers, Angelica Gayle (AKA Jelly), recommended to my parents that I should go to one of her friend’s dance crews, CocoJam. At CocoJam, I was introduced to the incredible Jade Hackett - I call her my dance mum. Not only is Jade an amazing dancer, performer and choreographer in her own right, she is an amazing person who has not only mentored, encouraged and inspired me to fulfil my dreams through dance, but also taught me important life skills. The advice that Jade gave me at such a young age has helped shape me into the person I am today, and for that I am so thankful. My time at CocoJam was so enjoyable. We trained hard, but the end results were amazing. Jade is so creative in the way she teaches and wanted us all to share her


One boy’s inspiring journey


vision. The opportunities that Jade presented to her young dancers, including myself, “Ebitis ipsundiore were incredible; from shows, earciis experum competitions and trips to Lithuania, where CocoJam quam aborpossimi, won first place in the team, simil eumquiae. Atus and I got 2nd place in my solo (to name a few). It was rem vent. Quis et such an experience. Jade was platuscius am eos always thinking ahead, and ostiasit qui alique” used to keep explaining about the vision of hip-hop theatre. Through Jade, many doors were opened with other dance companies and choreographers. I continued my training at CocoJam, but I also had the privilege of “ I was lucky enough to perform on stage at training, dancing and being the British Summer Time at Hyde Park in part of the productions by front of 75,000 people dancing for Justin Boy Blue Entertainment and Avant Garde. Both of these Bieber. To me, this was a dream come true companies have taken street for a then 10 year old boy from Battersea dance to another level in their own unique way. For Boy Blue winning a YouTube competition” Entertainment I danced at the Barbican Centre for the 10 year anniversary of their critically acclaimed teachers attached to both companies, coupled show, Pied Piper. Whereas with Avant Garde, with the fantastic dancers I was training with on a I initially was involved in a performance called regular basis. The House, performed at the Queen’s House, There was one person at a particular company Greenwich, and then became a member of the who had as much belief in me at such a tender company aged 10. At both Boy Blue Entertainment age as Jade Hackett, and that individual was and Avant Garde I gained so much knowledge of Tony Adigun, the creative force behind Avant different styles, ways of moving and performing. Garde. Tony was such an inspiration for me, This was down to the experience and quality of he challenged me in all aspects of my dance, movement and performing to take it to another level. Tony teaches in a way that is out of the box and pushes the dancers to find their inner creativity and fuses hip-hop with contemporary to create magic. I performed in one particular performance of Avant Garde’s adult company called Daer Skoob, when during the piece books were involved and I had to catch a book. Who does this in hip-hop? The genius: Tony Adigun, my dad in dance. In 2017, I was lucky enough to perform on stage at British Summer Time Hyde Park, dancing for Justin Bieber in front of 75,000 people. To me, this was a dream come true for a then 10 year old boy from Battersea winning a YouTube competition. I have also performed in front of TURN TO PAGE 47 to read about Disney’s first Prince William and The Mayor of London. I plus-size heroine




continued my training with dance, and in 2019, once again through Jade Hackett, she encouraged me to audition for an upcoming show called Tales of a Turntable which was created by ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company. The show was to be performed over a two week period at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank. I had watched Jade Hackett perform in ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company shows and was in awe. My thoughts were: “I would like to do this.” Time for the audition. I was nervous, but I took inspiration from the experience I had through the teachers who believed in me and inspired me, and yes, I got in. I was part of the ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company. The training for the show was fun and tiring but worthwhile when you see the reaction of the audience after every show. I joined the ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company when I was 12, and I am now 16, and this has been one of the most enjoyable times I have had in dance. I train every Saturday for 6 hours: 3 hours in the morning with ZYC (this is the youth company), and then 3 hours in the afternoon with ZAD (this is the academy of dance). At ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, the opportunities to perform are endless. In my time there, my eyes are opened to the potential in all aspects of dance from performing, choreography


and developing as a person. This is achieved by the individuals that Kate Prince has within her company structure. As I have mentioned, we perform at ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, and in October 2022, I had the opportunity to perform on stage at Sadlers Well Theatre with the adult company in the show, Mixtape, celebrating 20 years of ZooNation: The Kate Prince company. This was such an experience to share the stage with the original members of the company and with the new generation, including myself. I loved being able to re-do the shows I had previously watched and also performed in. Each year, auditions are held for the company and we have to attend. In 2021, I lost my place, but I still carried on training with ZAD in the afternoons. I was at a low point and was considering my future with dance in general. One of the creative directors of ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company stepped in, the main man being Bradley Charles. Over the last year, Bradley has been a mentor, not just helping with dance, but aspects of daily life which has helped me focus once again on dance, plus my future goals. Bradley has encouraged me to push myself to attain my aspirations, maximise my skills and be myself whilst dancing, for which I am eternally grateful. It was time to re-audition for ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company in 2022. I was very apprehensive, but I had lots of encouragement from people attached to the company, and my parents, who have always supported me. Yes, I got in. ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company not only teaches, improves and develops your dance, but I have found that they are much more than that. I have had the support, encouragement and belief that I can once again fulfil my dreams and aspirations. Would I have thought,





back in 2009, watching Diversity on Britain’s Got Talent, that I would be living my dream? The gratitude I have for all the teachers I have had and the other dancers that I have performed with is everlasting, but I have to give special thanks to a number of people and dance companies. I will start with Damien Anyasi who saw something in me at a young age; Conrad Senior, who just didn’t unlock the shy little boy, but also put some of the first street dance competitions on in London; Jelly, who saw a determined young boy and then passed him on to my dance mum, Jade Hackett, not just an inspiration on dance but my life! A big thanks

“I was part of the ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company. The training for the show was fun and tiring but worthwhile when you see the reaction of the audience after every show.”

to Boy Blue Entertainment and Avant Garde. Tony Adigun, who inspired me and welcomed me to his visions on performing, Diversity for showing me the way. I have met the boys on many occasions and have danced at their studios. Once again, I would like to thank one particular person who encouraged me to experience hip-hop theatre, and that is my dance mum Jade Hackett, as I am now in the place I am happiest, ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company. My future goals include: getting into The Brit School for Sixth Form, performing in major shows, going on tours as a performer, doing hip-hop theatre and progressing into the adult ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company so I can inspire the next generation. OLIVER STEWART, Aged 16



Inclusion and diversity in children’s television Walt Disney Studios introduces first plus-size heroine Walt Disney Animation Studios have featured their first ever plus-size protagonist in the short film Reflect, which was released in September this year. Six minutes long, the short was released as part of the Short Circuit experimental film series on the streaming service Disney+. The film follows its young protagonist, a ballet dancer called Bianca, as she struggles with her appearance. She becomes self-conscious as other ballet students enter the room and as she tries to follow her teacher’s directions. But Bianca’s anxieties get the better of her, and the mirror swallows her up,

transporting her into a fantasy world in which she quickly becomes lost and has to battle her reflection by dancing. Bianca’s experience in the short seems to be an apt metaphor for body dysmorphia. According to the NHS, body dysmorphia is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about imperfections in their appearance that are usually unnoticeable to others. It most commonly occurs amongst teenagers and young adults. In a feature at the beginning of the film, the director, Hillary Bradfield, explains that dancing felt like an appropriate mode to approach this subject form: “It’s


a part of the craft to be looking at your posture and checking things in the mirror, so it just seemed like a really good way to put her in that environment where she has to look at herself and she doesn’t want to.” By the end of the short film, Bianca has overcome her feelings of negativity and self-doubt and is able to find her way back to reality, dancing freely as a result. Bradfield hopes the film will help people to: “feel more positively about themselves and how they look, and feel okay about the tough parts of their journey.” Bradfield also worked as the animation story artist on Encanto, another Walt Disney Studios film that was released last year. It was praised for its strong female lead and cultural diversity in its depiction of a large, extended Colombian family. Both Reflect and Encanto can be seen as a reflection of Disney’s ‘Stories Matter’ initiative, which began in 2020 and saw Disney vow to strive to “consciously, purposefully and relentlessly champion the spectrum of voices and perspectives in our world.” The release of the short film triggered a large media response. Many have praised the story’s positive representation and its inspiring messaging; however, others believe the gesture is too little, too late. Perhaps, in the future, a plus-sized protagonist will be able to stand as the heroine of a full-length feature film. But, for now, Bianca’s story is undoubtedly a step in the right direction and, hopefully, Disney’s efforts towards creating more diverse and inclusive media representations are continued. EMILY PARSONS, Assistant Editor TURN TO PAGE 47 to read about school partnerships at St Paul’s Girls’ School


Lifting Limits Overcoming gender stereotyping in education

The charity Lifting Limits has a mission to challenge gender stereotyping and promote gender equality, in and through education. “By the time they reach secondary school, children often have entrenched views about gender norms. It is therefore important that children are educated about gender equality in primary school.” (Women and Equalities Committee, 2016) From a young age, children can be bombarded with gender stereotypes through colour schemes, toys, books, media and even family compliments. This ‘gender wallpaper’ can send messages to children about the “right” ways to be boys and girls, with children’s choices potentially limited. Children could be steered in different directions that may be reflected in later life, such as in career choices, pay, mental health, and certain behaviours and expectations.

Research shows that, even with the best intentions, schools can unthinkingly exacerbate stereotypes with examples within the curriculum and language used in teaching, as well as in books, routines and assumptions. Lifting Limits supports schools to examine how gender stereotypes may be perpetuated or challenged in education environments. “I now see things completely differently when it comes to gender and what we do as a school.” This is a quote from a teacher that received training from us recently, highlighting that staff awareness and reflective practice is key in supporting gender equality in education. Our programme of training and resources has reached nearly 2,000 primary and early years educators and over 12,000 children. Pupils are equipped to demand a more genderequal world and are given

ample opportunities to see all genders in non-stereotypical roles. Support is also given around engaging families in these conversations, and they are provided with practical suggestions of ways forward. We are a national charity with bold aspirations to work with a growing number of schools and early years settings in the state and independent sector. One school that has recently partnered with Lifting Limits is Falcons School for Girls in South West London, educating boys and girls in the Nursery and then catering for girls from 4 to 11 years old in the Prep School. The school is led by headmistress Sara WilliamsRyan, who is a passionate advocate for gender equality and building on foundations of excellent practice. Sara explains more about her school’s involvement with Lifting Limits: “Whilst we all agree that girls and boys are equal, the subjects they choose in school, the careers they aspire to, their sense of self, their behaviours towards one another, and their ability to articulate their emotions are often shaped and restricted by gender stereotyping. These messages and assumptions about a child’s interests, likes, dislikes and characteristics risk becoming self-fulfilling as the child picks up from those around them what is seen as ‘normal’ or ‘appropriate’ according to their gender. I wanted to ensure that, as a school, we were not unwittingly perpetuating these messages through our curriculum, our language, or our environment. Working with Lifting Limits, who are as passionate about gender



equality as we are, has enabled us to reflect on our offering and make changes where we felt they were needed. Guided by Kirsty Ruthven from Lifting Limits, we have worked – and continue to work – with staff and parents on the ways in which we can stop gender stereotypes limiting our pupils’ choices, aspirations, behaviour and even achievement, in education and society. We consider sport a key platform for driving this change and are proud to sponsor our local football team, Barnes FC, as part of our commitment to striving for equality on the sports fields and beyond.” Taking on an exciting new role from April 2023, Sara will also be leading Falcons Pre-Preparatory School in Chiswick, a school for boys aged 2 to 7 years old, where she will bring her passion about gender equality to a school already very aware of its importance. The work of Lifting Limits is not only focused on women and girls, but is increasingly involved in the lives of boys and men and ideas around masculinity. Lifting Limits is the implementation partner in the UK for the Global Boyhood Initiative (GBI), an

international programme promoting healthy boyhood from an early age, co-founded and coordinated by Equimundo and the Kering Foundation. Based on the understanding that gender equality cannot be achieved without involving boys, it aims to create longterm, systemic change across a range of environments. It seeks to equip adults with the tools and resources to support boys aged 4 to 13 to share emotions in positive ways, accept and connect with others, stand up

and speak out against inequality, and break free from gender stereotypes. Project Lead for the GBI in the UK and Senior Fellow at Equimundo, David Bartlett, explains more: “From sexual harassment and gender-based violence to the gender pay gap and relationship breakdown, the attitudes and behaviour of boys and men are hugely influential. So, we need to raise a generation of boys who are able to build and sustain healthy, respectful, caring relationships with people of all genders, and not be influenced by restrictive gender stereotypes.” David co-authors the “State of the UK Boys Report”, a firstof-its-kind research review which analyses UK and international evidence and interviews experts in the field. In partnership with Lifting Limits, the GBI is also running a new UK pilot curriculum. Aimed at children of all genders aged 7 to 11, the pilot will focus on developing positive masculine identities and challenging limiting gender stereotypes. KIRSTY RUTHVEN, Head of Education at Lifting Limits



Wellness and wellbeing in young children Combatting the increased demand for occupational therapists Some children and young people have had a pretty rough time over the past couple of years, with the consequences of missed opportunities for social interaction and physical development only now becoming apparent. We know that young people can become disillusioned and disengaged when they struggle with things their peers appear to be able to manage easily, like riding a bike or tying their shoelaces. However, making small adjustments to ensure success can foster self-efficacy and build a young person’s confidence to try new things. The Royal College of Occupational Therapists spoke to nearly 350 occupational therapists and found unmistakable evidence of a rising demand and not enough staff to meet this need. 85% of occupational therapists reported that demand for their services had increased since July 2021, with 65% saying that children are presenting more complex physical, learning and mental health needs. Whilst we continue to engage with the government, and in light of the increased demand, RCOT identified some small, positive steps that people can take to overcome challenges and help lift up their everyday life. I’m delighted to share some of these with you now:

If a child is struggling to use scissors, use ‘thumbs up’ as a reminder of the correct holding position, and practice snipping straws or narrow strips of paper before attempting to cut forwards along a line. If children feel anxious or overwhelmed by having too much to do, break tasks down into manageable chunks. Help them prioritise tasks and decide how much time is needed for each. Being able to tick items off as they are completed will encourage a sense of achievement in children. Having a list also helps to reduce the worry that something important may be forgotten. When teaching

a child to tie their shoelaces, tie two different coloured laces together. This makes it easier to give instructions and for the child to identify each lace, so they can see one lace wrapping over the other when they practise. Of course, some children will need more personalised help to master activities they want and need to carry out in their daily lives. But simple OT Life Hacks such as these serve as an excellent starting point, and can help build children’s confidence and motivation to tackle new challenges as they progress through life. DR. SALLY PAYNE, children’s occupational therapist TURN BACK TO PAGE 38 to read about a boy’s dancing dream!


Our Values: An Education for Life

Independent Schools Inspectorate - 2022

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Partnerships at St Paul’s Girls’ Creating a brighter future for the community Partnerships are now firmly established as a part of life at St Paul’s Girls’ School. Not only do these projects allow us to engage with the communities around us in a meaningful way, but they also give our students and staff opportunities to develop their own skills and broaden their experience beyond the confines of our school. The more mutually valuable a project is, the more chance it has to become a longterm success. The fact that we are always overwhelmed with responses from all parts of the school when asking for volunteers shows that pupils value these activities and that younger pupils are just as keen as the older ones. We are particularly passionate about older pupils mentoring younger ones as this has so many benefits to everyone involved, especially when our pupils are trained. For example, during last year’s ‘Jupiter Project’, a dedicated group of around 15 Paulinas and four staff worked with over 50 primary school children across six workshops, leading to a superb final performance featuring 100 primary pupils playing and singing alongside 25 of our own musicians. This kind of longer-term work is what the best partnerships are all about

and I saw first-hand how the confidence of both mentors and mentees developed. This year we have started Primary Hub, which is an ambitious project with 40 Paulinas from Year 10 working with 40 primary pupils weekly throughout the year in a variety of ways, from literacy and numeracy to playing games and reading. It is early days, but you only need to spend a short time in the dining room on a Wednesday evening to see how engaged everyone is in their tasks. Among our more regular programmes, our students visit local primary schools to teach French, German and Latin, and we welcome secondary schools to SPGS for engineering and coding workshops. We host our annual ‘Living Library’ with neighbouring Year 5 children, and we had nearly 70 students from eight local schools competing in the ‘Panathlon Challenge’ in our Sports Hall, a fantastic sporting opportunity alongside our weekly basketball lessons. We now also

have 11 state and independent schools united under the ‘West London Partnership’ umbrella we founded, and we continue to offer dedicated higher education advice. We will open our Careers Forum for the first time to all our partnership schools. Partnership work can be challenging, but the rewards are broad and deep. We now want to go further and have significant ambitions for the future. The opening of the Rosalind Franklin building, a space for design and innovation, has been designed with partnership use in mind. This will allow us to expand further, alongside a significant investment in staff in the coming years, so that we can maximise the opportunities for our students as well as the communities around us. This is what they are demanding of us, and we look forward to a bright future as a connected part of our community in west London and beyond. LEIGH O’HARA, Deputy Head and Director of Partnerships



Forging a better future Considering COP27 and climate change at Putney High School As the world reflects on the impact of COP27, a Putney sixth form student who attended the last summit, Ananya, wrote in a letter to the UN: “Although significant progress was made, I believe so much more could, and should, have been achieved.” These words are taken from her winning entry in the University of Manchester’s “Words for your World” letter competition: “Tighter regulations by governments, improved disclosure by corporations and more transparent reporting should reduce ‘greenwashing’, and compel companies to make real changes, running their business more sustainably.” So, what can businesses, and for that matter, schools, do to make a difference? At this year’s summit, three Year 9 students, Darcey, Sana and Sophie, formed part of a youth presentation showcasing innovative climate initiatives. Their ‘Natural Nourishment’ app prototype, developed through the Lumi project, aims to reduce deforestation by addressing the use of palm oil in school lunches across the country. By connecting school leaders with palm oil free suppliers and educating students about palm oil free food alternatives, they hope to drastically reduce its use. There is no shortage of eco-warriors at Putney High School. Our whole community knows that fundamentally, “It

Starts with Me” and from our youngest junior “allotmenteers” to our sixth form eco-reps, everyone is engaged in making small, positive changes, which collectively promote change. Our annual “BREATHE week” sees junior and senior pupils rolling up their sleeves to take part in litter-picks, treeplanting, ‘plastic hackathons’, or the myriad of workshops and projects designed to help us save electricity and reduce paper and food waste. Over the course of the week, the data we collect proves the measurable impact these projects have on reducing pollution, energy usage, and the school’s carbon footprint more broadly. Putney families join us in our efforts to fight pollution. Walking, scooting, and using public transport to get to school are now the preferred


methods of travel, so much so that we are among the top 10% of London schools to have been awarded a TFL gold accreditation. But it doesn’t end there. Our smaller initiatives are also providing fuel for bigger ideas. Every day, our design thinkers, Young Enterprise start-ups, and aspiring engineers are busy in the D.T. room and Putney’s new Innovation Centre, prototype testing and building the sustainable ideas that could one day have a positive impact on their futures. From our RHS gold medalwinning Biophilic Classroom design to student-designed apps for recycling school uniform, and the appointment of our first “Ecologist in Residence”, Putney’s commitment to environment, clean energy, and a sustainable future is fully ingrained in the fabric of the school and in the ambitions of a generation determined to protect their planet.


Mitigating mental illness in education Wellbeing at Westminster School Every pupil’s voice is important, and we always want to hear directly from them how we can make school life even better, to ultimately help us make each individual’s experience the best it can be. At Westminster School, we hold regular pupil voice surveys, which have told us that pupils in public exam years would like to understand more about mental health and how they might best navigate the times in which they will experience greater pressure. With that in mind, we have developed our RSHE and wellbeing curriculum to help empower pupils with strategies to mitigate stresses caused by the anticipation of exams. All Westminster pupils receive weekly RSHE and wellbeing lessons, with themes of mental health revisited on several occasions throughout their time with us. Our aim is to make these lessons as interactive, enjoyable and interesting as possible and to encourage pupils to consider and learn about their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them. As just one example, Year 11 GCSE pupils have lessons dedicated to being able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy coping strategies to promote emotional wellbeing, signposting them towards extra support when needed, including our in-house counselling team. We also have lessons dedicated to understanding how long-term memory and retrieval might be linked, helping pupils to identify helpful learning techniques and apply theories of learning to create plans and guides for future revision and studying. Through exploring how to integrate healthy day-to-day routines, looking at the intrinsic link between physical health and wellbeing with a deep dive into the impacts that poor sleep can have on memory and our ability to focus, we hope to help pupils to find ways to manage the more demanding periods of their school life.

Pupils are encouraged to keep a food diary for a week to calculate their sugar intake, leading to collaborative pupil-led discussions on the science underpinning the effects food can have on our emotions. By looking to promote good habits from when pupils join the school in Year 9 or in Year 12, and encouraging an open dialogue, we hope that they will build a steady base on which to lean on during more difficult times, which for many of our pupils is around exam time. For A Level pupils, lessons on managing stress fall a few weeks before examinations, helping them to develop problem-solving techniques, so that they can take ownership of their responses to stress and react to challenges in a positive and helpful way. Pupils evaluate different mental health theories, exploring elements of positive psychology to identify and challenge any limiting beliefs that they hold about themselves, acknowledging the importance of a growth mindset over a fixed mindset, and comparing this school of thought to how Stoic Principles can be applied to overcome life’s challenges. MISS EMMA BLAKEMORE, Teacher of Geography and Head of Wellbeing TURN BACK TO PAGE 20 to read about life at The Oratory Prep School



Popular maintained schools choices for SW England parents PRIMARY SCHOOLS SCHOOL HEADTEACHER WEBSITE Berkley Church of England Suzanne Thompson www. First School Canada Hill Community Delphine Knott Primary School Cerne Abbas CofE VC First School Catherine Cresswell Curry Mallet Church of England Nicola Stoddart Primary School Feniton Church of England Colin Butler Primary School Hampreston Church of England Tim Williams Voluntary Aided First School Horrabridge Primary John Clarke www.horrabridge-primary. & Nursery School Kilmington Primary School Lee White Marwood School Alun Dobson Meare Village Primary School Sandra Leggett Rushcombe First School Caroline Mahon South Petherton Church of Shan Weston England Infants and Pre School South Petherton Junior School Catherine Walker www.southpetherton-jun. St George’s Church of England Jill Farndale School, Bourton Sturminster Marshall First School Nina Charman Swimbridge Church of England Angela Fleming Primary School The Grove School Hilary Priest Trull Church of England VA Karen Wedlake Primary School West Pennard Church of England Anthony Wheat Primary School Winterbourne Valley Church of Rachel Horne England Aided First School

LOCATION Berkley Street, Frome, BA11 5JH Abbotsridge Drive, Newton Abbot, TQ12 6YS Duck Street, Dorchester, DT2 7LA Lower Street, Taunton, TA3 6TA Station Road, Honiton, EX14 3EA Hampreston Village, Wimborne, BH21 7LX Walkhampton Road, Yelverton, PL20 7SZ Whitford Road, Axminster, EX13 7RG Whiddon, Barnstaple, EX31 4HF St Mary’s Road, Glastonbury, BA6 9SP Hanham Road, Wimborne, BH21 3PX Church Path, South Petherton, TA13 5DY Hayes End, South Petherton, TA13 5AG Church Track, Gillingham, SP8 5BN 78 High Street, Wimborne, BH21 4AY Barnstaple Hill, Barnstaple, EX32 0PJ The Grove, Totnes, TQ9 5ED Church Road, Taunton, TA3 7JZ Church Lane, Glastonbury, BA6 8NT Winterbourne Abbas, Dorchester, DT2 9LW

SECONDARY SCHOOLS SCHOOL HEADTEACHER WEBSITE Beaminster School Keith Hales Cullompton Community College Jennifer Leach Ferndown Upper School Philip Jones Frome Community College Emma Reynolds Gillingham School Paul Nicholson Lytchett Minster School Andrew Mead Sidmouth College Sarah Parsons South Molton Community David Lewis College St Peter’s Church of England Phil Randall Aided School Sturminster Newton Jason Davis High School The Woodroffe School Daniel Watts Tiverton High School Sammy Crook Wadham School Richard Burgas West Moors Middle School Deborah Craddock 50 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2

LOCATION Newtown, Beaminster, DT8 3EP Exeter Road, Cullompton, EX15 1DX Cherry Grove, Ferndown, BH22 9EY Bath Road, Frome, BA11 2HQ Hardings Lane, Gillingham, SP8 4QP Post Green Road, Poole, BH16 6JD Primley Road, Sidmouth, EX10 9LG Old Alswear Road, South Molton, EX36 4LA Quarry Lane, Exeter, EX2 5AP Bath Road, Sturminster Newton, DT10 1DT Uplyme Road, Lyme Regis, DT7 3LX Bolham Road, Tiverton, EX16 6SQ Yeovil Road, Crewkerne, TA18 7NT Heathfield Way, Ferndown, BH22 0DA


EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE RECOMMENDED SCHOOLS Bath Academy Bath Academy is an independent college and language school located near the famous Jane Austen Centre. It specialises in tailored and personalised education for its students, offering tutorial support in academic and English language courses. It aims to meet the needs of each individual student and help them fulfil their academic potential in whatever they choose to pursue. Students attend the Academy from various backgrounds and cultures, and all are able to carve out their own academic journey, receiving the best chance to apply to high quality universities. This year was a record year for the school, with a record number of students offered places at their chosen destinations.

Blundell’s School and Prep School Blundell’s School is an independent co-educational day and boarding school located in Tiverton, Devon. Regardless of whether a student starts at their Pre-Prep or Sixth Form, Blundell’s ensures that every pupil gets the complete “Blundell’s Experience”. They possess a strong academic ethos whilst also maintaining traditional values of family life, viewing education as a means of developing students into young men and women who are prepared to make a meaningful difference within their communities. The school motto, ‘Non Sibi’, encourages three values: courtesy, selflessness and empathy, which enables students to go on to enjoy lives of consequence and fulfilment.

Bryanston School Bryanston School is a co-educational day and boarding school for students aged 3 to 18. Renowned for its success in creative thinking, Bryanston fosters an inspiring, open-minded culture, and strives to help children find and pursue their individual passions. Every child at Bryanston reaches their fullest academic potential and is given the opportunity to become the very best they can be. The school promises that the education they provide will give their students confidence, strength, purpose, and a mind prepared for anything.

Canford School One of the few remaining full boarding schools for pupils aged 13 to 18, and with strong academic results (including 41% A, 75% A*/A at A Level 2022), Canford equips Upper Sixth leavers for bright futures, whatever their chosen pathway. “Making a difference” is central to the school’s ethos, and pupils are encouraged to work hard and support both their peers and beyond in the wider community, following four core values: Humble Ambition, Gracious Leadership, Courageous Attitude and Purposeful Engagement. Ultimately, their aim is for every pupil to “Explore, Express and Excel” within a dynamic, caring, and inspirational school environment.

Castle Court School Castle Court School is a co-educational preparatory school for students aged between 2 and 13, located near the village of Corfe Mullen in Dorset. Students at Castle Court are intellectually curious and possess a deep capacity for critical thinking, and the outstanding pastoral and tutor team are dedicated to honouring each child’s unique abilities and talents. Students are given numerous opportunities to connect with the world around them, and are equipped with the necessary tools to succeed well beyond their time at Castle Court. In their recent ISI inspection, the school was rated ‘Excellent’ across all areas, or ‘Compliant’. EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | WI NT ER 2022 | 51


Chard School Chard School is a small independent school for children aged 4 to 11 with an excellent academic record. It is situated in Chard, close to the meeting point of Somerset, Devon and Dorset. Their pupils are happy and motivated learners who truly benefit from the individual tuition our small class sizes can give them, and who also have the opportunity to become involved in the many artistic, musical, and sporting activities on offer. As an intentionally small school, their guiding principle is to find the most effective teaching approach for each and every child, and to instill a sense of fun and discovery into the learning process.

Clayesmore School and Prep School From students aged 8 in the Prep School to aged 18 in the Sixth Form, Clayesmore School is a co-educational day and boarding school in Dorset committed to becoming a sustainable centre for educational excellence. They believe that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is limiting, meaning the promotion of kindness, integrity and equality are vital to their school’s community. With the Prep school on the same site, the transition is seamless.

Downside School Founded in 1617, Downside School is a leading co-educational Catholic boarding and day school for pupils aged between 11 and 18, located in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Radstock. As a Catholic and Benedictine school, Downside’s vision is to inspire service in the world, and to be a bright light in education. The school’s aims include: being uncompromising in pursuit of academic excellence, developing students’ characters and confidence not only through academics but also through sport and various co-curricular activities on offer, and maintaining a positive school environment and culture of love, humility, integrity and leadership through service.

Dumpton School People often remark that there is something special about Dumpton. Their smiling, purposeful pupils clearly live by the school motto: “You can because you think you can”; a quick look at the array of academic and co-curricular achievements is testament to that. The beautiful surroundings and impressive facilities create an excellent environment for children to learn, and a committed, caring staff work hard to ensure that every child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. But it is the tangible sense of the positive culture amongst pupils, staff and parents - a culture built around strong relationships and the two school values of “Be Kind” and “Aim High” - that really shines through.

Exeter School Founded in 1633, Exeter School is a selective co-educational school for pupils aged between 7 and 18. The school aims to uphold high standards of academic teaching, pastoral care and pupil conduct within a safe, tolerant, and friendly environment, and ensures that every student is supported in developing their academic, personal and physical potential. It prides itself on the wide range of activities offered for all students, such as swimming, indoor shooting, art and music, which enables them to deliver excellence in both a wide range of subject areas and their own personal interests.



Hanford School Hanford School is a leading independent all-girls’ boarding and day school in Dorset for 7 to 13 year olds. They believe girls are best prepared for their senior schools and adult lives when they are free to develop in their own time and enjoy as diverse and carefree an environment as possible. Their pupils learn to be independent, confident in who they are, curious, inquisitive and creative; once they finish with us, they are absolutely ready to move on and excel at the senior school of their choice. By means of their inspiring and adventurous education, they achieve impressive results year after year, not only in the classroom, but also on the pitch and in any passions they choose to pursue.

Hazlegrove Prep School Hazlegrove Preparatory School is a non-selective, co-educational school in Sparkford, Somerset. The school welcomes children from ages 2 to 7 in the Pre-Prep and 7 to 13 in the Prep School, and encourages individuality, compassion and kindness in its students. Housing state-of-the-art facilities such as the Teaching and Learning Centre, a sports hall, an indoor swimming pool, and a theatre, Hazlegrove provides many different opportunities and experiences for students and prides itself on its all-round excellence, with students winning awards in various disciplines.

Highgate Hill House School Highgate Hill House School is a co-educational special school in Whitstone, Devon, for children aged between 5 and 16 with Special Educational Needs. Highgate Hill House School takes a holistic approach to education, taking into account students’ academic capabilities as well as social, emotional and sensory needs, which are brought together to form an overall picture of the individual. The school’s highly skilled staff are dedicated to creating a supportive, safe environment for students, which will enable them to thrive in all aspects of their school lives.

King Edward’s School Recognised as Bath’s oldest school, founded in 1552, King Edward’s School is an independent, co-educational day school for pupils aged between 3 and 18 years. King Edward’s is a family of three schools, and the pre-prep, junior and senior sections all maintain an inspiring, supportive environment for the whole school community. Students are encouraged and nurtured to live up to their full potential, so that they can live happy, successful and fulfilled lives both in education and beyond it.

King’s College, Taunton King’s provides day and boarding education for boys and girls aged 2 to 18. It comprises King’s Prep for children from nursery to Year 8, and King’s College Senior School from Year 9 to Sixth Form. The schools are situated on separate sites in the heart of the Somerset countryside and combine traditional values with state-of-the-art facilities. With a long-established boarding tradition, all pupils belong to a boarding house, making their house their home. As well as academic excellence, the breadth of sport and other cocurricular activities are unparalleled for a school of King’s size. 11+, 13+ and 16+ scholarships are available.



King’s School and Nursery King’s School and Nursery is a co-educational independent school based in Plymouth, Devon, for students from nursery up to 11 years old. The school has a warm and nurturing nature, and throughout there is a familial atmosphere with a strong sense of community. A focus is placed on developing students’ individual personalities and teaching them to possess thoughtfulness for others and good manners. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, while increasing their self-discipline, maturity and self-confidence.

Kingswood School Founded in 1748 by John Wesley, Kingswood School is an independent, co-educational day and boarding school in Bath, Somerset. It strives to ignite the potential of every student, caring for them on an individual basis and nurturing each student’s talents and skill sets with an inclusive, caring community and outstanding pastoral care. The Prep School teaches students from ages 9 months to 11 years, and the Senior School teaches ages 11 to 18 years. Both offer a holistic education, encouraging pupils to develop high levels of personal motivation and self-assurance. A positive environment is maintained at Kingswood, where pupils are able to consistently achieve excellent academic results as they progress well beyond their natural potential.

Leweston School Leweston School is a day and boarding school near Sherborne, Dorset. It consists of a Nursery, Prep School, Senior School and Sixth Form. The school prides itself on its vibrant and engaging community, where children are encouraged to act and think independently and to try every opportunity offered to them so they can discover and nurture their personal talents and passions. At Leweston, success is celebrated, whilst mistakes are treated as windows to new experiences which enable students to discover who they are and what they can achieve. This discovery process allows the school to ensure it is bringing out the best in every student, helping them to achieve highly and exceed expectations.

Millfield School and Prep School Millfield is a leading co-educational boarding and day school for ages 2 to 18 across both their Prep and Senior school, set in 240 acres of Somerset countryside. The school offers a diverse range of subjects, sports, creative arts and activities, supported by outstanding facilities. These include an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an equestrian centre, indoor golf and cricket centres, and a 350-seat concert hall. The school’s aim is to ensure every child can discover their brilliance across all aspects of school life. Students and staff live by the school values: Be Kind, Be Authentic, Be Disruptors, Be Curious and Be Brilliant.

Milton Abbey School Milton Abbey School is a day and boarding school located in Milton Abbas, Dorset. To prepare students for life beyond school, an extensive range of both traditional and vocational qualifications are on offer, from Biology and Economics to Equine Management and Film & TV Production. As well as learning curriculum content, students are taught to develop self-belief, positive attitudes and healthy habits for success throughout life. The small size of the school ensures that children are known by staff on an individual level, so effective and personalised targets are set for each child. Each student has access to excellent pastoral care, and can benefit from inspiration, challenge and encouragement from the incredible team of staff. TURN BACK TO PAGE 18 to read about An Invisible String 54 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2


The New School




Good Schools Guide, 2022 01392 307080


Traditional co-educational day and boarding school in the heart of the Somerset countryside Nursery to Year 8 King’s Hall is a wonderful place for childhood. Its fantastic 50 acres gives every child the room they need to grow and explore at their own, individual pace. Children are able to take part in Forest School, riding lessons at the school’s off-site Equestrian Centre, archery, ballet, rugby, football, tennis, cricket, tae-kwon-do, hockey, fencing, cookery, multi-sports, outdoor adventure and more. Pre-Prep Open Morning 14 February, 10am - 12pm

General Open Morning 17 March, 10am - 12.30pm EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | WI NT ER 2022 | 55

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Monkton Combe School Monkton Combe School is an independent day and boarding school located in the village of Monkton Combe, near Bath, Somerset. It is a member of the Rugby Group of independent boarding schools, and offers both boarding and day options for students aged between 2 and 18 years. The school culture maintains self-confidence underpinned by humility, ensuring that students have integrity and are able to celebrate any failures by gaining the ability to reflect on their mistakes. Students are also encouraged to service the school community and beyond.

Park School Park School is one of the United Kingdom’s longest running alternative primary schools, welcoming children from any and all cultural backgrounds. The school fosters a holistic learning environment, focused on nurturing and developing all aspects of its students’ lives, including their social and emotional resilience, their physical, intellectual, and spiritual self, and their sense of wellbeing. Children are taught self-respect, respect of others, and respect of the world around them, and Park School aims to encourage its students to grow into caring, compassionate and confident members of society.

Plymouth College Plymouth College is a co-educational independent school that aims to educate, enrich and empower its students. A liberal, progressive, dynamic, and adventurous environment has been created, and each child is emotionally and intellectually stimulated through the utilisation of holistic education. Students are empowered to become champions and leaders of their favourite activities, causes, subjects and the school’s values. In 2022, 76% of Plymouth College A Level students achieved A*-C grades.

Prior Park College Prior Park College is a co-educational Roman Catholic day and boarding school, located on a hill overlooking the city of Bath. Prior Park seeks to inspire children and teach them to think critically, enabling them to shape their own future and communicate effectively. The school offers a broad and balanced curriculum, to ensure that students are able to pursue their personal interests and also gain the qualifications they need to access the next stage of their education. Many students from Prior Park go on to study at their first-choice university, which for many includes Oxford, Cambridge, other Russell Group Universities, and medical school, while other students are encouraged to consider more vocational routes through tertiary education.

Queen’s College Queen’s College is an independent co-educational school located in Taunton, Somerset. The school is committed to fulfilling the potential of each individual, and each staff member cares deeply about the personal education journey of each child. Students are nurtured to reach their full potential, and a community of mutual respect and positivity encourages students to take informed risks and make mistakes, and teaches them to learn in an empowered and supportive way.



Sands School Sands School is an alternative independent school for students aged 11 to 17 years old. Providing innovative education since 1987, this school ensures its teaching is child-centred through the implementation of small class sizes and a democratic ethos, which promotes mutual respect, self-directed learning, and trust among students. At Sands School, students are taught to think and choose for themselves, and are trusted to make key decisions about both their education and the daily running of the school. Students and staff work together to ensure Sands is a unique and enjoyable place to partake in study, work and play.

Shebbear College Shebbear College is an independent day and boarding school for students aged between 4 and 18 years old, founded by the Bible Christian Society in 1829. Graded “Excellent” in all areas of its 2021 ISI Inspection, the school maintains a busy community filled with academic purpose, outdoor adventure, creative discovery, and a wide range of cocurricular activities. The rural campus is 85 acres, containing high-quality facilities such as a music centre, art studios, hockey and football pitches, rugby fields, and outdoor tennis and netball courts, as well as a Sports Hall.

Sherborne Girls’ School Sherborne Girls’ School is an all-girls’ independent day and boarding school for students aged between 11 and 18 years old. The school is committed to providing every student in its community with an excellent education that will help her choose her own path and succeed in life. The environment is a friendly and compassionate one which nurtures every girl’s talents, interests and strengths. Diverse opportunities are also on offer within both academic study and extracurricular activities, helping students to become kind, spiritually mature, inquisitive and aspirational.

Sherborne International School Sherborne International School is a co-educational independent school for students from over 30 countries aged between 8 and 17 years old. It offers world-leading short course programmes, providing students with the opportunity to transform their English language skills whilst at the same time being introduced to British culture and the education system. The combination of small classes, highly qualified staff, and world-class facilities ensures students receive an incredible education; this is reinforced by the results of the ISI inspection, in which Sherborne International was judged to be “Excellent” in every category.

Sherborne Preparatory School Sherborne Preparatory School is a non-selective, co-educational school in Sherborne, Dorset, welcoming children into the Pre-Prep from ages 3 to 7, and the Prep School from ages 7 to 13. As a school, they believe wholeheartedly in children being children, encouraging curiosity and inquisitiveness from their students. They aim to promote excellent work ethic through fostering passion, initiative, and a joy of learning, while helping children uncover and develop their own personalities and talents.



Sherborne School Sherborne School is an all-boys’ boarding school located in north west Dorset. They are committed to providing students with an education that is shaped for the 21st century, creating the time and space to nurture their students’ individuality and prepare them for the future. All students are given the opportunity to pursue both academic study and a wide range of extracurricular interests, including art, music, drama and sport. Achievements within all areas, both academic and beyond, are celebrated by the entire school community.

St John’s School St John’s School is an independent day and boarding school located in Sidmouth, Devon. Students are aged between 2 and 18, and attend their studies on a stunning campus which overlooks the sea. The campus has excellent facilities, including playing fields, tennis courts, an indoor sports hall, and an adventure playground. St John’s prides itself on its warm and happy atmosphere, housing a community which maintains a safe and caring environment for all. Students are encouraged to ask questions and be curious about the world, and small class sizes ensure that staff can get to know students on an individual level and help them reach their full potential.

St Joseph’s School St Joseph’s School is a happy, caring, and vibrant community which gives its students, aged between 4 and 16, a high-quality education. The school also provides resources for students to become confident and decisive, with the motivation and ability to reach their full potential. The whole school aims to nurture every child as an individual, valuing both academic achievement and extracurriculars equally. Pupils are given the encouragement to become competent individuals who are fully prepared for life beyond school.

St Martin’s School St Martin’s School has a strong ethos of love and care within a Christian community, and places a strong emphasis on ensuring pupils build secure relationships in which they can flourish and thrive. Each child is treated as an individual, with their uniqueness cherished and supported thoroughly. As a Church of England school, St Martin’s welcomes families of all faiths and none, believing that diversity enriches the school community and prepares children for the diverse world that they are living in.

St Petroc’s Early Years St Petroc’s Early Years provides a high-class education for boys and girls aged 3 months to 4 years old. It is one of the most popular schools in the area of Bude and is only a short walk from the stunning North Cornwall coastline. Their aim is to surround students with a positive environment, enabling them to grow up into confident and balanced children who are prepared for their journey through school and beyond.



Sunninghill Preparatory School Sunninghill Preparatory School is an independent school for pupils aged between 2 years, 9 months and 13 years old, located in the heart of Dorchester, Devon. The school is organised into three areas: Nursery and Reception, Junior Prep, and Senior Prep; there are dedicated aims for each area of the school, ensuring that each age group has its own set of goals that fits their needs at that stage in their education. Sunninghill Preparatory is passionate about ensuring pupils are equipped to be their best selves by nurturing and challenging them to possess both skills and ambition. Small class sizes in both the Junior Prep and Senior Prep enable the focus to be placed on individual pupils, ensuring their personal needs are met and they are equipped to thrive.

Talbot Heath School Talbot Heath is a Church of England School founded in 1886, for girls aged 3 to 18. They offer a holistic education which is focused on preparing students for life beyond school, teaching them to be creative thinkers, digitally proficient, adaptable, resilient, and capable of working both collaboratively and independently. Talbot Heath believes pupils should be competent in all areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics). Students are actively encouraged to think and dream big, and the school provides a variety of opportunities which enable students to work on projects that they enjoy, from robotics to art installations to baking.

Talbot House Prep School Talbot House Preparatory School aims to nurture, challenge, and encourage its pupils to be the best they can be. The school takes pride in the quality education it provides and the happy, successful environment that is maintained within the school community. Talbot House wishes for its students to come in each day wanting to learn and having the motivation to do their best, and the small class sizes ensure that children get the personalised help they need to succeed; this is supported by the dedicated staff who are committed to helping the pupils reach their full potential as individuals.

The Maynard School The Maynard School is the leading independent day school for girls aged between 4 and 16, located in the city of Exeter. It is the second oldest girls’ school in the United Kingdom, having been founded in 1658. As a selective school, it is a top academic school, and students consistently achieve outstanding public examination results, placing The Maynard School as one of the highest performing schools in the South West. Furthermore, the school has built up an outstanding reputation for excellence in the Arts, Sport and Music, and the extra-curricular programme has been carefully designed to strengthen useful attributes, including independence, awareness and self-confidence.

Totnes Progressive School Totnes Progressive School is an independent school for children aged between 11 and 16 years. The school’s small classes, positive ethos of “Love, Acceptance, Respect and Safety”, bespoke activities program, and focus on nurturing relationships give students confidence and the support to genuinely enjoy their learning and reach their full potential. GCSE courses are started in Year 9 in order to give students the time to fully explore the subject content without the time constraints of the traditional GCSE syllabus timetable of two years.



Trinity School Trinity School prides itself on its commitment to excellence, both in academic and personal development. Its students are courageous and confident in their abilities, possess a strong passion for learning, and have curiosity about the wider world; they are encouraged to develop a personal vision, to show leadership and responsibility, and to service their community. In the most recent ISI inspection, the school’s pastoral care was rated “Excellent”, and Trinity School ensures that it works closely with families, generating a warm, familial atmosphere within the school community.

Truro High School Winner of ‘Small Independent School of the Year’ in 2020, Truro High School fuels ambitious young girls - regardless of whether they are a day student or boarder - from the prep school all the way through to their Sixth Form. Particular focus is placed upon nurturing students into independent learners, who will sustain a lifelong intellectual curiosity throughout their time at the school and beyond. Pupils are frequently stretched and challenged beyond the curriculum, and are given the opportunity to take part in a variety of academic enrichment opportunities, as well as professional training qualifications and enterprise projects.

Truro School Truro School is the largest co-educational independent school in Cornwall, educating over 1,050 students from pre-prep through to sixth form. This day and boarding school is situated across two campuses: one houses the Prep School, located next to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, and the other houses the Senior School, located within 40 acres of open spaces and sports fields overlooking Truro and its famous Cathedral. The school has high academic standards for its students, who have access to excellent pastoral support, high-quality facilities, and a range of co-curricular activities.

Wellington School Wellington School is a co-educational independent day and boarding school located in Wellington, Somerset, for students aged between 3 and 18 years old. The school’s overall ethos rests on three pillars: building outstanding relationships formed by core values like kindness, inclusivity, trust and tolerance; the pursuit of excellence in everything that is attempted; and a genuine love for learning and education. Every single day at Wellington School is shaped by passion, imagination and excitement. Beyond the classroom, children attend Forest School once a week, where they are exposed to age-appropriate challenges, scenarios, and elements of risk in a controlled environment, building up self-esteem, confidence, independence and resilience.

Wells Cathedral School Wells Cathedral School is a co-educational independent school located in Wells, Somerset. One of five specialist musical schools for school-aged children in the United Kingdom, the school houses an accepting community where being friends with others possessing extraordinary talent is the norm. Their motto, ‘Esto Quod Es’ (“Be What You Are”), represents the school’s core philosophy which shapes each pupil’s individual experience. Wells prides itself on producing well-rounded pupils who go on to be successful individuals within society.

West Buckland School West Buckland is a co-educational day and boarding school for students aged between 3 and 18, located on a stunning rural campus in Barnstaple. The school believes that academic excellence opens doors in pupils’ futures, and as a school they teach students to challenge their knowledge and develop as accomplished and well-rounded members of society who will have real impact. Pupils are encouraged to develop belief in their own abilities, make good judgements, and take risks.



Falmouth University: 120 years of creative excellence A meeting place for creativity and tech Since its beginnings in 1902 as Falmouth School of Art, Falmouth University has forged its way through wars, governments, a technology revolution and a global pandemic. Committed to harnessing the power of creativity and technology to forge the future of industry, Falmouth challenges its students to think differently and break the mould. Since being granted University status in 2012, we’ve expanded our course portfolio to reflect the rapidly changing world, received an outstanding result in the Research Excellence Framework and celebrated the many successes of our students, staff and graduates. However, one thing remains steadfastly unchanged. Throughout these tumultuous and uncertain times, we’ve continued to be a beacon for creative excellence. Our alumni are currently exhibiting at Tate Britain, reporting for national news networks, working on major film productions and in international games studios and running their own successful enterprises. Falmouth has always been forward focussed and has moved with the times. From the early adoption of photography and cinematography, now to the use of AI and immersive technologies, we’re helping our students add value in industry. While

digital technology becomes increasingly dominant in our daily lives, creativity and communication are some of the most sought-after skills, necessary to fuel the so-called fourth industrial revolution and to bring ideas to life. Alongside Falmouth’s talented team of researcher-practitioners, Falmouth students have devised virtual experiences to support the launch of the UK’s first satellite and rocket into space, interviewed British astronaut Tim Peake, and hacked brand new solutions to address the agricultural labour shortage at the University’s first robotic hackathon. The grand challenges of our age will only be solved with an injection of creativity. From connecting isolated communities, driving environmental behaviour change, tackling ageing societies and harnessing AI and data, students and researchers at Falmouth are working across disciplinary boundaries to find new solutions. Students are not only learning deep specialist skills, they’re also working in multi-disciplinary teams to solve real-world problems, so they’re employable from the moment they graduate. For us, employability and future success is founded not only in subjectspecific skills, but also the confidence and the know-how to launch new

business enterprises. Indeed, graduates passing through Falmouth are more likely than their contemporaries, from even the most established of business schools in the UK, to set up their own businesses, with one report identifying Falmouth as one of the top five institutions for producing business founders. We’re a community who thinks through making and makes through thinking, from a broad range of perspectives. As we celebrate the 120 years of our past, we look ahead with creativity beating through all that we do – knowing that we are the changemakers, transformers, visionaries, dreamers, storytellers and creative leaders of tomorrow. This year, the Sunday Times Good University Guide listed us as the Number One Arts University in the UK. Coupled with Falmouth’s lush location in coastal Cornwall (where it’s possible to attend a lecture in the morning and swim or surf during your lunch break), it’s not hard to see why Falmouth’s world-class facilities, industrypractising lecturers and vibrant and inclusive community are a magnet for the creative and the curious around the globe. Join us on an upcoming Open Day to see for yourself how Falmouth can launch your career. MANDY LEE JANDRELL, Director of the Falmouth School of Art



Why Exeter University? Runner-up in the 2023 Times and Sunday Times University of the Year, the University of Exeter offers a Russell Group experience in a beautiful part of the world. With campuses in Devon and Cornwall, the University is rare in that it combines academic and research reputation with outstanding student experience and quality of life. A mix of modern and historic buildings that are set in stunning grounds, Streatham and St Luke’s campuses are near the centre of Exeter, a cathedral city on the River Exe. You don’t need to venture far to be in the heart of Dartmoor National Park or the seaside resort of Exmouth. Sophie, studying MSc Management at Streatham Campus says, “I think there is a lifestyle that you get when studying at Exeter that you don’t get anywhere else. There is a tremendous sense of community and so many fantastic opportunities on offer to you in regards to your studies and extracurricular activities.” The University’s two campuses in Cornwall, Penryn and Truro, offer a more personal student experience: students are able to get to know each other quickly and have a close relationship with academics. Located in the county with the UK’s longest coastline: both are near to local beaches, which offer a variety of sporting activities, fun and relaxation. Falmouth boasts an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars and has a laid-back vibe that attracts people away from the cities. Harry, BSc Environmental Science student at

Penryn Campus, shares: “The most enjoyable aspect of my course is how personal it is. As Penryn is a small campus, you very quickly become familiarised with your peers and lecturers, and this leads to a relaxed yet engaging atmosphere in lectures and practicals. Another bonus of my course is the focus on field-based learning. Within the first two months, I had already been on my first residential trip to the south-west of Cornwall. Since then, I’ve undertaken numerous field days as well as a week-long residential trip in the Isles of Scilly at the end of my second year.” The University is a popular choice with more than 30,000 students from 130 countries, ranking in the top 25 universities for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey. In terms of graduate outcomes, 89% of graduates are in or due to start employment or further study 15 months after graduation. FIND OUT MORE about the range of programmes we offer at all levels, watch our campus tour videos, take a virtual tour by campus or by subject, chat online to current students and get a taste of what student life is like at TURN TO PAGE 68 to read about the property market in SW England


*Based on full-time, first-degree, UK-domiciled graduates, HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey

The advantages of taking a degree in the South West of England

University of Plymouth Taking a degree by the sea Founded over 150 years ago, the University of Plymouth is one of UK’s top 25 universities for teaching quality, and has strong research credentials, placing in the top 25% of the world’s universities ranked by number of research citations in 2021. Over 96% of graduates are in some form of employment or further study within 15 months of graduating. Situated in a coastal city between Devon and Cornwall, it is no surprise that the university has an excellent international reputation for its marine institution, placing 4th in the world. The university offers 180

undergraduate courses in total, as well as 90 postgraduate courses. In the first year of study, many courses involve a “Plymouth Plus” module: this allows students from different disciplines to work alongside each other and develop important skills like communication,

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

problem solving and teamwork. Developing these abilities are vital in appealing to employers upon graduation. In terms of student life, Plymouth is also attractive in that it is ranked as one of the safest places in the UK for a night out. The campus is central yet never too far away from sprawling sea views, as well as being only a short distance away from Dartmoor National Park.


Studying in Bath University Options University 0f Bath

Ranked amongst the top 10 UK universities, the University of Bath is also known for its historical setting in a UNESCO World Heritage city, one of only three in the world. The campus is placed atop a hill, offering beautiful views of the city. Three-quarters of the accommodation offered

to first year undergraduate students are based in this campus, whilst the rest are located within the city centre. Postgraduate students can also be provided accommodation by the university. Every one of the courses on offer provides the opportunity to undertake a work placement or study abroad initiative. A number of degree apprenticeships are also available, combining the development of vocational skills with academic study. With Bristol just a 15-minute train journey

away, and London only 90 minutes away, students are never short of things to explore during their time living near campus. However, the city itself is also a treasure trove of sights, including: The Jane Austen Centre and

the beautiful Roman Baths, after which the city was named. The University of Bath was also one of the first universities in the country to be awarded a national police-approved security award.


Bath Spa University

Offering a variety of unique and inspiring courses, Bath Spa has something for everyone, though its primary focus lies with arts and humanities subjects. Students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level are able to choose from traditional courses such as Law or Psychology, but also have the opportunity to enrol in less traditional subjects like Creative Writing, Ballet, Children’s Publishing, Wildlife Conservation, and even Gaming. Many of the aforementioned courses also involve a professional placement year. Bath Spa has also been awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark - the first university in the South West and the fifth in the UK to receive such recognition. Their Students’ Union has over 70 societies, which students can get involved in and meet like-minded people. Accommodation for students is found across several locations in the city, as well as the main Newton Park Campus. The university is home to just 7,500 students from more than 40 different countries their small cohort sizes mean the campus is a welcoming and friendly environment with a strong sense of community.


Top Attractions in South West England Things to see and do South West England is home to a treasure-trove of sights and landmarks, with activities for the whole family to enjoy. Mostly known for its beaches and seaside amenities, as well as stunning sea views, there will never be a dull day should you wish to venture out for a visit. THE ROMAN BATHS

The Roman Baths are an absolute must-see should you ever find yourself in their aptly named city: a visit to Bath will allow you to explore the ancient Roman ruins of their great religious spa. People of Roman Britain came from all over to worship the goddess Sulis Minerva here and relax in the water

heated by natural thermal springs. The City of Bath itself is a World Heritage Site, rich in culture and history. It is also the location in which a lot of popular historical dramas are filmed – a walking tour of the locations used for the filming of the Netflix TV show Bridgerton, for example, can easily be found online! SALISBURY CATHEDRAL

Home of the tallest spire in Britain (about 404 feet tall), this cathedral also holds one of only four original 1215 copies of the Magna Carta. This famous document - which was the first of its kind to establish that the king was, in fact, not above the law -

is exhibited, with plenty of information for you to learn about its origins and influence over our society even today. Its beautiful interior also houses the oldest working mechanical clock in the world. Throughout the year, a variety of musical performances and events take place within the Cathedral, so it’s worth checking their calendar to see what’s on. STONEHENGE

This iconic British monument is truly incredible to see in-person. As one of the world’s most famous places, the stone circle is a mysterious testament to human ability and genius. Though it was thought to be completed roughly 3500 years ago, no one knows quite when, why or how it was constructed – there have been many theories from human




tickets for the online price at the tills. Students and senior tickets are discounted, with under 3s allowed in free of charge. ADRENALIN QUARRY

sacrifice to astronomy. There is a small charge to be able to visit, and visitors are unable to walk through the stones themselves. Stonehenge is open every day of the year apart from Christmas Day. SOUTH WEST COAST PATH

This takes hikers (both casual and serious alike) along a stunning coastal footpath about 1014 kilometres (630 miles) long. From Minehead in Somerset, the path winds around Devon and Cornwall before eventually culminating at Poole Harbour in Dorset. Its total cumulative height is apparently four times the height of Mount Everest! It also passes through two world heritage sites: the Dorset and East Devon Coast (more famously known as the Jurassic Coast). Looked after by a charity aptly known as the South West Coast Path Association, the path can be easily navigated through the use of the many resources their website offers. This includes a ‘52-day itinerary’, in which they split the monstrous journey up into more manageable chunks and routes based on a more leisurely speed of walking. But don’t feel that you have to complete the whole thing if you’re only passing through for a short trip! The views are enough for some visitors, and

you can easily tackle the path with the rest of the family with walks as long or as short as you wish. BOURNEMOUTH BEACH

Recently ranked as the most child-friendly beach for families in England by Twinkl, Bournemouth Beach is a beautiful staple of the English coast. Complete with beach-front shops and restaurants, a lazy day can be spent strolling up and down the sand or playing in the waves – though there may only be a select few weeks in the summer when the water is warm enough for a dip! PAIGNTON ZOO

As one of the country’s top zoos since it first opened its doors to the public in 1923, Paignton Zoo is now run by the Wild Planet Trust charity. They are committed to protecting endangered species of animals and plants alike, promoting education and sustainability above all else at the heart of their mission. The zoo is home to nearly 4000 animals, and sprawls over 80 acres of land. It is recommended to buy tickets online in advance of visiting via their website, as visitors will not be able to buy


A unique, action-packed activity for more adventurous families, this is not a day out for the faint of heart. Their slogan, “throwing people off cliffs since 2009”, is a reference to their zip wire, which starts at the top of the quarry’s cliff and has you flying out over their lake. Other activities available include a giant swing, an aquapark, go-karting and axe throwing. Age limits vary for each activity, but both “The Zip” and the giant swing are available for visitors of all ages (provided they meet the minimum weight requirements). There is no entry fee to take in the sights of the stunning quarry – a pay per ride operation is in place instead. EDEN PROJECT

This Cornwall attraction can easily be recognised by its iconic white domes, often given the title of ‘the Eighth Wonder of the World’. Each of the domes encompass a different tropical biome roughly the size of 30 football pitches. The Rainforest Biome is particularly impressive as the world’s largest greenhouse. Its 30-acre outdoor garden is not to be missed either, though. Kids will without a doubt be kept entertained by the variety of play areas and hidden trails for them to run around and explore.


A fascinating and family-friendly day out, the Eden Project is unmatched in terms of its educational value. The plants and exhibitions on display are constantly changing year by year as well as season by season too, so you can visit again and again and still be just as awe-struck as your very first time. A definite must-see! DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK

A beautiful natural space, the park has one request: “Leave no trace. Give nature space.” Committed to the protection of natural wildlife, the sprawling hills and dense greenery cover 47,400 hectares and are free to enter, with no opening or closing times. Horses are allowed to roam freely and can usually be seen grazing in large groups. But be careful and don’t try approaching them – they can bite! Visitors can wild camp in designated areas and can even wild swim in its rivers, provided they are not on private land. The wide, open spaces are perfect for hiking or leisurely strolls to take in the views.

The city walls are not to be missed either – around 70% of the original walls are still standing, parts of which are almost 2000 years old. A self-guided trail can easily be picked up from the city’s Visitor Information centre, complete with activities and puzzles for children to explore along the way. BABBACOMBE MODEL VILLAGE

This is truly a unique attraction – found across four acres of gardens in Torquay, Babbacombe Model Village creates a miniature village complete with over 400 models of buildings ranging from well-known monuments such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to small restaurants and neighbourhoods. Its inhabitants are made up of 13,000 miniature people, who can be found scattered across the village going about their daily lives. The model railway that loops around the gardens makes sure that these people can get where they need to go on time! The award-winning village is overflowing with details that can be overlooked with just a cursory glance, so it’s advised that you allow plenty of time to appreciate the attraction to its full value. Children are also able to pick up a ‘spotter sheet’ upon arrival, which they can use to record what

they’ve discovered along the way. LAND’S END AND PENZANCE

Appropriately named, this tourist attraction is the Westernmost place in the UK’s mainland. The area is particularly popular with rock climbers, as its stunning views and cliff rocks certainly lend themselves to a variety of physical activities. Its iconic signpost can be found pointing visitors in the direction of places such as New York and John O’Groats (a Scottish village and the most North Eastern place in Britain). About a 20-minute drive away from Land’s End is the town of Penzance. The historic port town is the most Westerly major town in the UK and is famous for its history with pirates. Small independent shops can be found tucked away along some of its winding cobbled streets. Besides an essential walk along the town’s coastline and beaches, The Minack Theatre is also worth a visit if you’re in the area. The famous open-air theatre, about 7.5 miles from Penzance, is carved into the cliff-side and still accommodates a thriving theatre scene from May to September every year. EMILY PARSONS, Assistant Editor


Exeter is a city rich with history and culture. Its West Quarter or cobbled Gandy Street especially are a chocolate box of small independent shops, cafes and bars for you to peruse. Surrounded by miles of countryside, the city is also home to ancient monuments such as its Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic structure which dates back to the 11th century. Its ribbed ceiling in particular is impressive to behold. EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | WI NT ER 2022 | 67


Gilly Cottage, Lamorna Cove, Penzance

double bedrooms, 2 reception rooms, a private terraced rear courtyard and a front garden bordering Lamorna valley stream, which trickles over boulders to the beach and sea. The nearest schools are only a short drive away. Nearest Schools: M ousehole Primary - Ofsted, Good N ewlyn School - Ofsted, Good H umphry Davy Penzance Ofsted, Good


Fishing for property in Cornwall Life in South West England Living in Cornwall is a dream for so many people, particularly in the summer. The long, sunny days of the school holidays, golden sandy beaches, and clear blue water, are just a few of the many highlights of the coast. But as we head towards winter and Christmas, now is as good a time as any to make that decision to buy a home. Cornwall is much quieter after September, the beaches are more serene, the pubs and restaurants are calmer, and the Cornish “mizzle” is much more frequent. At Lillicrap Chilcott, we have all types of property on our website, from cosy cottages and countryside estates to coastal houses with dramatic sea views perched atop cliffs. We handle the sale of all types of houses in every location throughout Cornwall. Our office is based in the city of Truro, and we have a 27-strong sales team. Between us, we have almost

400 total years of experience selling houses in Cornwall. Mousehole/Porthcurno

For many buyers looking for that special home, finding a property near an excellent school is the number one requirement. The picturesque little Lamorna Cove sits at the foot of a wooded valley between Mousehole and Porthcurno. To one side of the cove is a stout quay and slipway, while behind the beach is a peppering of granite cottages. Lamorna is the sort of place which wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Poldark, something not lost on the producers of the original 1970s TV series, who did, in fact, film here. Priced at offers over £750,000 is this gorgeous end terrace, granite double-fronted cottage with 4 spacious Malpas


If you have a love of sailing and want to be close to a large choice of restaurants, cafés and schools, then Falmouth is a thriving town to live in. Nestled on the coast, Falmouth is famous for its deep natural harbour and stunning beaches like Swanpool and Gyllyngvase, and it’s plain to see why property is always in demand here. Set in a wonderful waterside location within an exclusive gated marina development is a beautifully cared-for 4 bedroomed, three-storey midterrace waterside home with a marina berth. What a fantastic chance for children to learn to sail and have their own small craft moored outside the house. Nearest Schools: K ing Charles Primary Ofsted, Good F almouth Primary Academy Ofsted, Good


If you prefer the city life, then Truro has a large selection of

7 St Smithwick Way, Falmouth

P enair School - Ofsted, Good R ichard Lander - Ofsted, Good A rchbishop Benson Primary Ofsted, Good

schools, both private and public. Truro Cathedral was the first Anglican cathedral to be built on a new site in England since Salisbury Cathedral in 1220. It was built on the site of the 16thcentury parish church of St. Mary the Virgin, a building in the Perpendicular style with a spire that’s 39 metres tall. Truro has a market on the Piazza every week, and the newly refurbished Hall for Cornwall Theatre brings the West End to the south-west. With its many bars and restaurants, boutique shops, and cobbled streets, the city has something to offer every day. A lovely walk will take you three kilometres from the city, via Boscawen Park, which has a cricket ground, duck pond, and tennis courts, on to the village of Malpas. Right on the river is the locally famous Heron Inn pub. You can enjoy the views down the river and watch the small ferry dropping visitors from Falmouth while enjoying some lunch and a glass of wine. Built in 2008, this spacious, beautifully maintained and appointed 4 bedroomed detached home enjoys broad frontage, a gated driveway, and an elevated outlook in this highly regarded and convenient location just moments from the city centre and its facilities.

Wherever you are in Cornwall, you are never far from a beach or the south-west coastal path, and considering this, there is no question as to why Cornwall’s half a million residents will welcome five million visitors over the summer holidays. Contact us today and let us be your eyes and ears on the best that Cornwall has to offer. Nearest Schools: T ruro School - ISI Excellent Truro High School for Girls Winner, Good Schools Guide; Small Independent School of the Year 2020. Instagram: @lillicrapchilcott TURN BACK TO PAGES 50-60 to see our SW England Maintained and Independent Schools

150 Treffry Road, Truro

Truro Cathedral



It all starts with a conversation

A guiding hand transforming your home

I have been working in design for a long time. I have worked on several continents, in different climates, on varying scales and budgets and for very different clients, with unique lives and likes and dislikes. I understand, more than ever, that our role is one of guidance. Experience, skills, creativity and, ultimately, listening are at the service of our clients to reach a desired outcome that is not just structural, functional or aesthetic. Interior architecture and design are truly about transforming your life, yours, there are key steps that we follow to reach the through the transformation we bring to your space. It desired outcome of a joyful, functional and stylish is about aligning your values, current circumstances home. They all start with a conversation. Of course, and aspirations with the features and possibilities the minute I walk into a space, I can identify points of your home, despite, or along with, its challenges that could benefit from some focus and attention, in and limitations. Over the years, I have found that the my opinion, but I am not you and it is not my space. clients who most benefit are those who recognise So, first and foremost, we walk around (or look at that they have reached a milestone, are undergoing plans and photos, if consulting remotely) and ask a transition or significant life change. This calls for questions – lots of them. We listen to the answers transformation: something new, different, fresh and and to what is said - and what is not said, implied, freeing. In the past year alone, we have worked on just bubbling at the surface, screaming for attention. defining properties following a relocation, a divorce Ones that you are not sure you can, should or are or a loss, before the arrival of a baby or after the kids allowed to say, because you would be asking for had left. too much, it wouldn’t be reasonable, it isn’t really It could be about rediscovering a space you have necessary – but it would be nice to have… been seeing for years and cannot see anymore, for This lets us into your life, your loves and your its familiarity, warts and all. Or hates, your pet peeves and your “These conversations about redefining an old space to suit weaknesses. Do you cook a lot? Do a new life, because you are so aware you entertain a lot? Do you love are about you – your of its pain points, its frustrating reading in bed? Do you exercise when lifestyle, your values limitations, its immutable challenges everyone is still asleep? Do you work and it is time to move on. It can also, and aspirations. What all hours yet want to feel connected of course, be about defining a new makes you tick, dream, to the rest of the household space to suit that new life or new activities? Do you want to practise smile and breathe phase – because you are ready. your putting or play an instrument more freely?” Irrespective of which scenario is or opera super loud? And what else? 70 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | W I N T E R 2 02 2


And who else? And when and how? Allowing us to identify pain points together, we outline specific scenarios that drive you crazy, make your life miserable or just not as comfortable, efficient or simple as it could be. To restore practical aspects of circulation or storage in the space – to put the laundry or groceries away, or the admin files, or the kids’ arts and crafts ‘stuff’ when not in use. To add to what is missing, in terms of lighting options, durable materials or flexible solutions to add versatility to a space – so it can be bright and functional, or moody and cosy: a gym, an office, a gourmet kitchen... We can then also reveal focal points that got lost in translation, over time, misuse or plain busyness. It can be beautiful features that have given over to daily life, were never installed for lack of time or confidence in how or where. It can be about your home’s strengths and weaknesses – something to underline and shine light on or something on the

contrary to camouflage, minimise, repurpose so it doesn’t take over and spoil comfort, space or flow. These conversations are about you – your lifestyle, your values and aspirations. What makes you tick, dream, smile and breathe more freely? The guidance process is the road map that allows us, together, to manage your expectations and make all of the above a reality. A gradual unveiling of many compromises you have accepted, or put up with – perhaps because there was no time, no budget, no urgency, no certainty as to where to start, not enough confidence to empower you to make it happen. Ultimately, it is what gives you permission to live your best life, to be your best self, within your best space. MARIE-NOELLE SWIDERSKI, Galuchat Design TURN BACK TO PAGE 32 to read about life at Queen’s Gate, Kensington





Articles inside

It all starts with a conversation

pages 70-71

Top attractions in South West England

pages 65-67

SW England University Listing

pages 61-64

Independent School Options

pages 51-60

Mitigating mental illness in education

page 49

Partnerships at St Paul’s Girls’

page 47

Forging a better future

page 48

Wellness and wellbeing in young children

pages 45-46

Inclusion and diversity in children’s television

page 42

Dreaming of dancing

pages 38-41

Education Corner Podcast Interview

pages 20-25

Lifting Limits

pages 43-44

Education Corner Podcast Interview

pages 32-37

Education Corner Podcast Interview

pages 26-31

Telling the tall tale of Bessie

page 19

Love really is forever

page 18

Why should we add yoga into our already busy curriculum?

page 14

Education Book Corner Christmas stories

pages 3-5

Getting things done

page 17

Celebrating culture through

page 16

Christmas is coming

pages 6-9

Christmas time a time for giving

page 13

Inspiring children to read

page 15

It’s behind you

page 12
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