Education Choices Magazine Spring 2023

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Education Choices SPRING 2023 | £3.50


EDUCATION CORNER PODCAST INTERVIEWS INCLUDE: • STEM at St Catherine’s Prep, Bramley • St Dunstan’s College Junior School, SE London • EI at Dumpton School, Dorset • Partnerships at City of London School for Girls • REACH at Eltham College, SE London • Introducing London Park School Clapham and more...


Educating entrepreneurs of the future Julian Hall



Clapham’s new co-ed Senior School Opening September 2023 Now welcoming applications


Dear Readers, It has been a busy time for the Education Choices Magazine team and we are thrilled that the Education Corner Podcast is proving to be so popular with so many parents and families globally. It has also been wonderful to be able to visit so many schools over the past few months, discuss education and see some familiar faces! We were deeply saddened by the tragic events that took place at Epsom College and our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Emma Pattison’s family and friends. Have a Happy Easter! Chloe Abbott (Founder)

“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” T.S. Eliot


New Beginnings - Books for teens Tyger - S.F. Said - Age 12-15 In a strange alternate world where the British Empire never ended, a young boy called Adam uncovers something incredible in a rubbish dump in London, a tyger - which is in danger. Can they learn to use their powers before it’s too late? The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas - Age 12-19 Winner for Best Debut Goodreads Author (2017), Winner for Best Young Adult Fiction (2017) Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucía Chris Stewart - Age 12-19 No sooner had Chris Stewart set eyes on El

Valero than he handed over a check. Now all he had to do was explain to Ana, his wife, that they were the proud owners of an isolated sheep farm in the Alpujarra Mountains in Southern Spain. That was the easy part.

family - acne-ridden Margo, gun-toting Leslie, bookworm Lawrence and budding naturalist Gerry, along with their long-suffering mother and Roger the dog - take off for the island of Corfu.

I Wish You All the Best Mason Deaver - Age 12-19 Ben De Becker just came out as nonbinary, and their parents kicked them out, forcing them to move in with their estranged sister Hannah and her husband.

Every Body Looking Candice Iloh - Age 15-19 Every Body Looking is a novel in verse that tells the story of Ada, the daughter of an immigrant father and an African American mother, and her struggle to find a place for herself both in America and in her own family.

The Midnight Library Matt Haig - Age 12-16 At the stroke of midnight on her last day on earth, Nora finds herself transported to a library. There she is given the chance to undo her regrets and try out each of the other lives she might have lived. My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell - Age 12-19 Escaping the ills of the British climate, the Durrell

Clap When You Land Elizabeth Acevedo - Age 12-19 Winner for Best Young Adult Fiction (2020) Separated by distance - and Papi’s secrets - two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.


03 Education Book Corner: New Beginnings Eight books for teens

06-07 Science in spring

Woodentops Nursery are celebrating being outside

08-09 Why choose an independent primary education? Advice from Alton School

10-11 Exciting developments at Cameron Vale in Chelsea

New Headmistress Mrs. Alison Melrose appointed

12 A new beginning

Lancing Prep Worthing welcomes a new Head from September 2023

13 What are forest schools?

All you need to know about nature


14-15 The benefits of a bilingual education Creating successful futures at Kensington Wade

16 The Best Me

Teaching children about self-care

17 The Hare-Shaped Hole Learning about loss

18 What Makes Me Do the Things I Do? Developing emotional intelligence in children

19 Reading and representation


Inspiring children through literature

20-21 Spot the difference

How an understanding of neurodiversity helps us be more inclusive

EDUCATION CORNER PODCAST INTERVIEWS: 22-25 Miss Laura Whitwood, St Dunstan’s College Junior School, Catford

26-29 Mr. Christian Saenger, Dumpton School, Dorset

30-33 Mrs. Maren Kelly, St Catherine’s Prep School, Bramley

34-36 Ms. Rosie Lockyear, City of London School for Girls, London

38-41 Mrs. Suzie Longstaff and Mr. Paul Vanni, London Park School, Clapham 42-45 Julian Hall, Ultra Education


46-49 Mr. Guy Sanderson and Mr. Gideon Hammond, Eltham College, SE London

In the Spring issue... 50 What is an Ed Psych Report?

How to help support children with additional learning needs

51 Help is always there

What to do if you’re feeling low or struggling to cope

52 Empowering pupils for the future

Developing entrepreneurial, leadership and digital competency skills

54-55 Single-Sex or Co-Ed? What is best for your child?

56 Online safety guidelines

How to support children navigating social media

57 Rites for Girls

What was missing in your education?

58 Barbie: the original influencer

Inclusion and diversity in the Barbie world

59-60 Tate: What is the way forward? The importance of a gender transformative education

61 Parenting in the age of pornography Youth culture and the significance of sexual health and wellbeing

BERKSHIRE AND HAMPSHIRE SCHOOLS FOCUS Education Choices Magazine recommended schools

62 Maintained School Options 63-74 Independent School Options

82 75 Top Attractions in Berkshire and Hampshire Things to see and do

76-77 Countryside Living

House hunting in Berkshire and Hampshire

78-79 Lush Luxe

Inviting nature into your home

80 An introduction to T Levels

Staying informed on post-16 choices

81 Developing winners

Supporting aspiring tennis players of the future

82-83 Oxbridge – the glittering prizes in the age of ‘woke’ Unpacking ‘positive discrimination’

84 Scientific success

World-class centre for single crystal electron diffraction will be UK first

85 A world of music at SOAS The start of your creative journey


86 University of Exeter: Careers and your future

Helping students prepare for life after university Co-editors: Chloe Abbott and Ella Maria Assistant Editors: Emily Parsons, Rohini BhonsleAllemand and Tatiana Summers Magazine design: Podcast Editor: Cover photography: Suze Eyles, St Catherine’s School, Bramley EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE is now available to purchase both online and paper copy. Please contact:



Science in Spring Woodentops Nursery are celebrating being outside With Spring comes a host of new activities and areas for children to explore. Science Week is always a highlight of the Spring calendar at the Woodentops Nurseries. Across the week, we invite parents to come in and join their children each morning for a range of experiments led by our teachers. We then build on the children’s interests across the week to deepen their knowledge. This year, Science Week had the theme of ‘connections’ and we have been looking at this through the lens of our connection to the planet. We started the week thinking about how to look after plants, and asking the children: “What’s the difference between those that grow outside in our garden and those that grow indoors?” We looked at what causes rain using a jar, some shaving foam and blue food colouring to show the children how water droplets condense and fall to earth. We explored how to care for the animals around us by making mini bird feeders

from clay and getting our hands very sticky making delicious bird treats! Even our youngest babies were exploring physics with games that had them pushing or rolling different objects down ramps to see what happened. At Woodentops, we believe in supporting young children to be happy, confident and curious learners. This means encouraging them to have a go and try new


things, to experiment and question what might happen. These skills are so important as they progress through their education journey. As we prepare our school leavers each year, we are equipping them with the soft skills they will need in the classroom, for example how to listen to their friends and take turns, and how to use good manners to raise their hand and ask questions. Children leave us well-prepared for Reception and “big school”. Our partnership with parents is hugely important for us and a core pillar of what we offer. Parents love getting involved as much as the children do! Being a family-run nursery linked to The White House Prep, we are very fortunate that many of our staff have been with us for a number of years. By empowering staff to constantly develop how we create and shape the curriculum at Woodentops, we can give children the widest range of opportunities, resulting in curious, happy and engaging children. SARAH SANGER Principal of Woodentops Nurseries TURN TO PAGE 10 to read about Changes in Leadership


Saturday 13th May 9.30 - 11.30am Contact to register


Why choose an independent primary education? Advice from Alton School Whilst modern parents are lucky to be met with an abundance of options when it comes to choosing their child’s education, it can also be wildly overwhelming. These are some of our top reasons for considering the independent education route.

needs, but also investing time in really getting to know them: their likes, dislikes, favourite school lunch or hobbies they excel in. Like most independent schools, our average class size of 12 to 15 with one teacher and often a teaching assistant means we really know our children

Small class sizes

Educational studies show that the smaller the class size, the higher the average grade a pupil achieves. This is helped by the favourable teacher-pupil ratio, but ultimately it comes down to a teacher’s understanding of each child’s innate needs. This includes not just their academic TURN TO PAGES 54-55 to read about the benefits of single-sex or co-ed schools


and are in the best position to support them both academically and emotionally, ensuring they become the best version of themselves. Teachers

There are many restrictions placed on teachers within the state sector. In the independent sector, we have the unique opportunity to go ‘off-piste’, not restricted by the boundaries of the national curriculum. This freedom allows our team of highly qualified individuals to enthuse our pupils and explore their interests further. Nurture

Proactive pastoral provision - rather than reactive - is absolutely key to a happy school environment. Pupils need to know that they have been heard and that their opinions are


valued and appreciated. This includes celebrating individual skills and qualities, building pupil confidence and allowing them to be proud of their achievements. School community

The bond with home is vital - parents and teachers working together make for a happier child and an enjoyable experience for everyone. A good school is, by its very essence, a community with close connections between staff, pupils, parents, governors and the local community. We find that our parents really enjoy being part of our community and share with us the importance of looking outwards, whether that be singing at the local care homes, hosting community

woodland walks, fundraising for local charities or welcoming local schools to share our facilities. Longer school days and breadth of opportunity

A holistic school day ensures that the broader extra-curricular opportunities are as important as the excellent academic provision and are embedded within school hours. I’m constantly amazed at the amazing array of extracurricular activities on offer

Little stars to bright sparks Alton School is a happy co-ed Catholic School located in beautiful Hampshire where every child from 6 months to Sixth Form is a valued part of our community.

Open Day: Saturday 13 May, 10am register online

here, ranging from cricket nets, drama club, buggy-making, debating and a whole host of different sports. During the school day, the children swim, cook, learn outdoors and explore - all the time developing the important soft skills of the future - teamwork, conversation, compassion, enquiry, research, bravery and resilience. Alton School and Nursery welcomes children from six months through to Sixth Form. All pupils from Reception onwards benefit from specialist teaching in Art, Music, Drama, Computer Science, PE and Spanish. Year 6 pupils are taught by Senior School staff for all subjects. GERALDINE MOONEY Director of Lower School at Alton School


Exciting developments at Cameron Vale in Chelsea New Headmistress Mrs. Alison Melrose appointed It is a very exciting time for Cameron Vale School, Chelsea. Fresh faces for the spring include Mrs. Alison Melrose, who is being welcomed as the new Headmistress. With over 25 years of experience working in London schools, this is Mrs. Melrose’s third headship and she could not be happier: “Being part of the school community is so important to me, and Cameron Vale is such a fabulous school, a home away from home, just off the King’s Road with a hugely nurturing and caring staff.” The small class sizes (a maximum of sixteen students per class) ensure that teaching is tailored to meet the children’s needs - you can tangibly feel the progress, self-confidence and 1 0 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

development of the children’s learning. Whilst the school might be small, tucked away in a beautiful building near The Bluebird, its offer is mighty. Just this last week, there were geysers in the garden for a science experiment, a visiting artist, a walk to see the new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, an intra-schools debating competition and a whole host more. Being a local school is very important to Cameron Vale: children mostly walk or scoot to school, and there is a very active Friends of Cameron Vale PTA with regular school and social events. Cameron Vale is a true partnership between home and school to ensure that all learners flourish and grow. The old adage of “curiosity killed the cat” originated in 1598 in a play written by Ben Johnson and adapted by William Shakespeare. ‘Be curious’ is one of the five school values along with creativity, critical thinking, collaboration


resources and recyclable curiosities. Within the day, there will still be distinct rhythms, routines and rituals, such as welcome time, story time and nap time, and children will learn during each and every part of their day, whether it be a table-top activity, Forest School, sports and yoga or lunch time. Come and be curious for yourself! Mrs. Melrose would be delighted to meet you and tell you about the big plans for Cameron Vale, which include a smart new uniform, an active and engaging enrichment programme and much, much more – watch this space! courage. These five C’s are closely linked with the World Economic Forum skills for the future and are embraced across

the school. Cameron Vale’s nursery; The Chelsea Nursery, revolves around The Curiosity Approach, using open-ended TURN TO PAGES 30-33 to read about STEM learning at St Catherine’s Prep, Bramley

Nestled in the heart of Chelsea, we are one of the top independent prep schools in Central London, and with the addition of The Chelsea Nursery, we provide an outstanding education for boys and girls aged 6 months to 11 years.

056 - 1/23

Now registering for 2027

Cameron Vale School and The Chelsea Nursery

Visit our website to discover more, to book your place on one of our regular Open Mornings or to arrange a private tour of the school or nursery. 4 The Vale, London, SW3 6AH I EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S PRI NG 2023 | 11 +44(0)207 352 4040 I


A new beginning Lancing Prep Worthing welcomes a new Head from September 2023 Following the retirement of Mrs. Heather Beeby at the end of this academic year, Lancing College is pleased to announce that Mrs. Francesca Milling will lead Lancing Prep Worthing from September 2023. Mrs. Milling moves up from her role as LPW’s Deputy Head where she already plays a significant part in the leadership and smooth-running of the school. This will ensure that the transition will be seamless. She possesses a first-rate skill set and was instrumental in achieving the outcome of the outstanding ISI Inspection report from June 2022 where the school received the highest possible gradings of ‘Excellent’ across all assessment criteria. Francesca is already making her mark on the national independent education scene as a schools leader through her curriculum role in the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS). Francesca comments: “LPW enables our children to

achieve their potential, whilst thoroughly enjoying their days here; I am thrilled to be taking on the leadership of our excellent school and continuing our work together.” Paying tribute to Mrs. Beeby, who was appointed to lead the school after it became Lancing Prep Worthing in 2014, Lancing College Headmaster Dominic Oliver observes: “Over the past nine years, Heather has been a true leader with a relentless focus on what is good for the children. LPW pupils are extremely well-taught and often lead the Lancing College scholarship lists but, regardless of their particular strengths, all have been inculcated with a truly strong sense of community, responsibility and ethics. These strengths – and a great deal more – were recognised in the outstanding ISI 2022 Inspection report.” About Lancing Prep Worthing

Lancing Prep Worthing is a day school for girls and boys from two to thirteen years. Acquired by Lancing College at the beginning of January 2014, the school provides a vibrant academic education and is ambitious for the future. Their pastoral care is outstanding, with small classes and a strong community spirit. The school underwent a Focused Compliance and Educational Quality Inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in June 2022. It was judged ‘Excellent’, the highest grading possible, in every assessment criteria both for pupils’ achievement, including academic development, and pupils’ personal development. CLICK HERE to listen to Headmaster Oliver Dominic speaking about Lancing College


What are forest schools? All you need to know about nature Forest schools are education centres which focus your child at the centre of learning, using the natural environment to encourage exploration. Each child might be interested in a different aspect of nature and learning, and it is the practitioner’s job to develop this intuitive exploration, nurturing each child’s own curiosity rather than simply leading exercises. This is a holistic education approach which allows selfdevelopment for children by letting them approach risk and problem-solving at their own rate, at their own comfort level. Forest schools are usually for younger children, though there

could be benefits to teenagers spending time in the natural environment too. The key principles of a forest school include child-led learning. Rather than traditional education systems, which rely on a syllabus and teacher-led learning, forest schools encourage the curiosity and interests of your kids. The children can explore as they like, using the natural textures of the landscape to educate themselves about the world around them. Another key principle of a forest school is the respect and understanding of nature. Forest schools, as the name suggests, take place outside. The environment must be wide

The perfect place to flourish and grow Join us in Nursery and Reception to help your little one bloom

enough to encourage exploration and to enable easy monitoring, to protect the safety of your children. Education through a forest school system fosters confidence in your children. This will allow your child to develop a strong sense of self, set their own boundaries and gain a better understanding of their role in interactions with the environment. MUDDY PUDDLES Children’s outerwear brand


The benefits of a bilingual education Creating successful futures at Kensington Wade Many studies have shown that childhood is the best time to learn an additional language. To become completely fluent, learning should start before the age of ten. Being bilingual has a profound effect on the brain and provides many academic, economic and social advantages. Learning a second language boosts brain capacity in areas such as creative thinking, pattern recognition, problem-solving and multitasking. Bilingual people are more capable of separating relevant information from irrelevant information, meaning that they can focus better and be more effective thinkers and decision-makers. As a bilingual child’s brain is regularly challenged to recognise, find meaning and communicate in multiple languages, they have greater cognitive flexibility which allows them to think critically and to analyse complex information. Children who learn multiple languages tend to have stronger memories and be more cognitively creative. Research indicates that bilingual people are


even better at remembering names and directions than monolingual people! Studies indicate that pupils who have a bilingual education show greater achievements than their monolingual peers, especially in maths, reading and vocabulary. Young learners also develop greater linguistic awareness, a better understanding of their native language and increased self-esteem. Bilingual pupils are better at shifting their perspective and understanding the world from others’ points of view, allowing them to appreciate cultural differences and to be more tolerant. Knowing another language also opens doors in the future for those who wish to work abroad. Kensington Wade is a bilingual nursery and


prep school in West London for children aged 3 to 11, where half the lessons are taught in English and half in Chinese, providing full immersion in the two languages and giving children complete fluency in both. We believe that those who have a second language give themselves the best chance to embrace the world that awaits them. SUZANNE HAIGH Head of Kensington Wade

Get involved with volleyball! The Little Giants Volleyball Club In joining Little Giants Volleyball Club, you can be part of one of the biggest volleyball clubs in London. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re wanting to play competitively or just for fun! If you’re already skilled at volleyball and are looking to play on a competitive team, Little Giants Volleyball Club is home to National Women’s and Men’s teams for the Junior

and Senior Leagues, as well as U18, U16, U15 and U12 teams. If you want to train to play competitively, there are also beginners’ training sessions and competitive tournaments, both for juniors and adults. Conversely, if you just want to make some friends, let off some steam and have fun, social games are held in the mornings and evenings. The coaches and courts are also available

to hire for companies and groups. The club has various locations throughout London, based in Clapham, Battersea, Brixton, Crystal Palace, North London and Stratford, so you’ll never have to travel

far if you’re looking to play volleyball with Little Giants Volleyball Club. Instagram: @LittleGiantsVC TikTok: @LittleGiantsVC Email: littlegiantsvc@gmail. com



The Best Me Teaching children about self-care

The Best Me empowers children with the basics of self-care, instilling in them the notion that taking good care of yourself is a reward in and of itself. Cleanliness, mindfulness and sitting in the Lotus Position are a few of the many tools the author, Marvyn Harrison, passes to the reader in a book that reads like a fun-filled journey towards their best self. That “best self” not only looks out for number one, but also offers a hand to those around them, supporting them through their emotional presence and tangible actions. Inspired by his own children, as well as his own diverse community of parents on the African continent and across

the diaspora, The Best Me is a father’s best efforts to teach his children to safeguard themselves, as well as the world they live in and those they share it with. Harrison is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant and the founder of Dope Black Dads, a support group and podcast that challenges outdated stereotypes about Black fatherhood and cultivates a progressive, inclusive

community of parents. His children, Blake and Ocean, have played a crucial role in his thinking, as children do for any parents, adding impetus to the drive to deepen the familial bonds in his communities and improve outcomes amongst those marginalised by modern society. This book aims to continue in the same vein and appears to do so successfully, offering readers an engrossing option that’s sure to help them along the path to mindfulness. Put simply: the author’s aim is to make mindfulness easy for children to attain, equipping them to face the world and love themselves, and keeping them well entertained while they do it. MARVYN HARRISON Author of I Love Me and The Best Me

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The Hare-Shaped Hole Learning about loss Sometimes an idea hits you so powerfully that you have to drop everything else and get it down. That’s how it was with the concept that became The Hare-Shaped Hole, my new book that has been beautifully and sensitively illustrated by Thomas Docherty, published by Quarto on March 9th. Like many of the best ideas, it was simple: the loss of a loved one is often described as leaving a hole in someone’s life. What if that hole was actual rather than metaphorical - a real, visible, constant emptiness in the world? I’d been listening to a reading of a rhyming picture-book when the idea occurred to me, and the comforting rhythm of the verses felt like the perfect form in which to address such a difficult and complicated subject for young readers. Soon, the story began to take shape in my head: the story of Bertle the Turtle and Hertle the Hare, best friends until the end… This is an end that comes suddenly, leaving Bertle desperate to find a way to get rid of the emptiness left behind when

Hertle disappears. But, as Gerda - the kindly bear who arrives to comfort Bertle tells him, “There’s no getting rid of this hole in the air. If you take away nothing, well, nothing’s still there.” Instead, Bertle must find a way to live with the hole in his life - which, with Gerda’s help, he does. It didn’t occur to me until I saw my family’s reactions to the first

draft that I might have written something quite significant. But children are not exempt from loss: as a child, I experienced the death of grandparents and of a beloved pet. As a teacher, I once covered a class who had just suffered the unexpected death of a classmate. Twice before the age of seven, my daughter lost best friends when their families moved abroad. And, of course, family break-up brings its own kind of loss to many children. In my nearly-twenty year career as a writer, I’ve concentrated on making children laugh and teaching them that reading is fun. I believe that’s important. But the silence and concentration when I read The Hare-Shaped Hole to children, and the earnest and thoughtful questions they ask afterwards, make me wonder if this might be the most important book I’ll ever write. JOHN DOUGHERTY Author of The Hare-Shaped Hole TURN TO PAGE 51 to read about seeking help with the Samaritans



What Makes Me Do the Things I Do? Developing emotional intelligence in children What Makes Me Do the Things I Do? is my latest children’s book in a series of picture books that aim to help children develop self-awareness and a better understanding of the world of emotions and relationships. As my previous books tend to focus on helping children to develop emotional intelligence and positive mental health, it made sense to write a book about behaviour next, as emotions, thoughts and behaviour are all, of course, linked. My interest in the topics my books cover is the result of working for more than three decades in education in a variety of guises. I have worked as a mainstream primary teacher; a PSHE advisor; a teacher in a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) with children who struggle to self-regulate emotionally and behaviourally; a trainer; an educational resource writer; a director of a forest school, and provider of one-to-one support for children. Within my various roles, I have always had a very keen interest in children’s self-

esteem development, emotion and behaviour regulation, and childhood trauma. This has led me to be a fan of nonauthoritarian approaches in ‘managing’ children’s behaviour. I feel that children’s behaviour is best addressed through conversation and overcoming difficulties together rather than telling children what to do and being surprised when they don’t! What Makes Me Do the Things I Do? is in line with this approach as it explores several unhelpful behaviours that children often engage in and highlights the opposite, more helpful behaviour. It invites children to reflect


upon what is helpful about some behaviours and why we might be tempted to do the less helpful behaviour. For example, one double-page spread looks firstly at why we sometimes give up, and secondly why it’s more useful to be determined. Another two pages explore why we might lose our temper, and why staying calm nearly always leads to things turning out better. While the book can be read independently by young children, it’s also great for prompting discussions between children and the adults in their lives. It helps children (and the adults!) become more conscious about the choices they make. It also helps them to consider the impact their behaviour has on others, which in turn increases empathy. Sarah Jennings’ wonderful illustrations also provide even more detail to talk about! When I read the book to children, the conversations are often deep and highly reflective. MOLLY POTTER Author of What Makes Me Do the Things I Do?

Reading and representation Inspiring children through literature I am Valerie Thompkins, the author of the children’s book, Girls Like Me, where I encourage children to explore STEM and other career fields from an early age. Girls Like Me follows the journey of a curly-haired little girl as she explores different careers, gaining the confidence to become a future history maker. I believe in highlighting stories which showcase families of all backgrounds in positive, main character roles. I am on a mission to empower children and families to explore diverse literature and develop a healthy attitude towards reading. I am a self-published author who established an audience through multiple social media platforms to sell over 10,000 books. I wanted to find a way to use my educational path and career journey to inspire others and from there, Girls Like Me was born. Girls Like Me was created to introduce children to STEM and other professions at an early age. This heartwarming picture book took social media and Amazon by storm, growing in popularity due to the uniqueness of the diverse character with brown skin and big curly hair. On page one, the character sits in bed reading a book, wearing a hair bonnet. Little girls look at the character and say: “Wow, she wears a bonnet to protect her hair at night, just like me!” Toddlers point at the astronaut and have already decided they are headed to the moon one day after discovering what an astronaut

looks like. Representation matters: all children deserve to read about people who look like them. When the idea struck me to write a children’s book, there was only one topic that came to mind: careers. Growing up as an only child, I was an avid reader. At that time, there were not many books featuring black and brown characters as protagonists. Girls Like Me allows children to experience astronauts, pilots and other roles they may not be otherwise exposed to. The job roles in the book are inspired by peers I met in college at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. For the first time in my life, I met people who spoke of becoming doctors, engineers and lawyers. One small idea turned into book tours, speaking engagements, podcast interviews, television features and a plethora of new opportunities thanks to a series of viral social media posts. I will continue to share the journey of balancing the corporate world and life as an entrepreneur. I like to remind others not to put themselves in a box, it’s never too late to pivot or follow a new dream. You can start over every single day. VALERIE THOMPKINS Author of Girls Like Me Stay tuned for Valerie’s next title: Boys Like Me. TikTok and Instagram: @authorvaleriethompkins



Spot the difference How an understanding of neurodiversity helps us be more inclusive When I was little in the 1970s, I joined the ‘Friday Club’ in the local newspaper. Each week, the Deputy Head of my primary school would set challenges for us to solve. Being the child who sat on the ‘top table’ and constantly raised his hand to answer questions in class, I was always trying to win competitions. I got hooked on puzzle books and became a big fan of ‘spot the difference’ and ‘odd one out’ brainteasers. Despite the skills I honed, I never became a detective. I did

become, like many other children back then, rather too talented at noticing when someone was a bit weird or peculiar and, I’m afraid to say, would occasionally tease others for not being ‘normal’. My classmates teased me too – looking back, I was probably bullied for being a swot – and we were rarely disciplined for making fun of other people. Fast-forward many years and the world is more respectful of individuality and the importance of inclusiveness and accessibility. This is certainly the case


regarding gender, sexuality and ethnicity, but the complexity of how our brains work and develop has perhaps meant that our neurodiversity has been less easy to comprehend and consider. Neurodiversity describes the different ways in which we all think, move, hear, see, process information and communicate with each other. We live in a neurodiverse world where social or cultural norms mean that some people are said to be ‘typical’ and others are said to be ‘divergent’. There are dominant ‘neuro-types’


and we have tended to follow their views. In truth, we are all neurodiverse and often carry traits of conditions which can be diagnosed and supported if we reach a certain threshold. Examples are dyslexia or autism, or others that are poorly named, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD) – poorly, because most people with ADHD are, in fact, attentive to everything, and because the word ‘disorder’ has negative connotations. Disorder or ‘dys’ at the start of many words used to describe special educational needs perpetuate what is known as the ‘medical model’ of disability, suggesting that something in a person is curable and inferring that what is wrong is their fault. A preferable approach is what is called the ‘social model’, focusing instead on what is causing the barrier in the first place. Another word for barrier is ‘interference’. This word is one of four in a simple formula used in coaching, suggested by the former international tennis star, Tim Gallwey: Performance = potential minus interference

The interference can be selfmade, such as a chosen attitude towards completing a task, but it is more usually the fault of something outside an individual’s control. The Russian-American

psychologist, Urie Bronfenbrenner, characterised this in his Ecological Systems Theory, showing the influence of social environments on human development. In basic terms, a child (or adult) evolves according to their interaction with their family, friends, school, work and society at large. These interactions can change over time and so an individual can discover they are more at ease in certain situations and with certain people than others. Todd Rose wrote about this as well in his book, The End of Average, wherein he proposes three principles – jaggedness, context and pathways. In turn, these explain our similarities and differences, that we have multiple forms of behaviour according to

what we are doing and where we are, and that two people rarely have the same route to success. He describes our addiction to standardisation, which began with the industrial revolution and has perpetuated ever since. Those who don’t fit the standard or ‘norm’ get excluded as the odd ones out, despite the strengths and talents they may have which aren’t always measured or celebrated. Children with behavioural problems owing to a condition that may or may not have been diagnosed are regularly denied educational opportunities when their ability to think laterally may be the very thing that provides a creative solution to an enigma. The American journalist, Harvey Blume, compared neurodiversity to biodiversity, suggesting that it “may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general”. If we want to find sustainable solutions to some of the world’s problems, we might be better served to look beyond our differences and include the ‘odd ones’ in order to benefit from a wider range of viewpoints. The book I have co-authored with Professor Amanda Kirby and Abby Osborne – Neurodiversity and Education – discusses all these arguments and more, proposing more inclusive ways of looking at teaching, learning and assessment. The focus is on what we can do, rather than what we cannot, and reflecting so that we can reduce, remove or rethink barriers to education. Let’s work together to spot the interferences and not the differences. PAUL ELLIS Teacher, trainer, writer and broadcaster at Cambridge University

Professor Abby Osbourne

Professor Amanda Kirby

Paul Ellis

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Miss Laura Whitwood FROM ST DUNSTAN’S JUNIOR SCHOOL, SE LONDON Miss Laura Whitwood speaks about the benefits of attending the Junior School, the Forder Programme, their Stuart curriculum and work that takes place with the local Lewisham community. Could you tell us about the points of entry for the Junior School for families who are considering applying?

There are three main points of entry in our Junior School. We have 3+ entry to start in the Nursery, 4+ for Reception and 7+ for Year 3. Often, parents think that these are the only potential starting points for their child, but what I would say is that they really shouldn’t rule out considering occasional place entry points for any year group across the Junior School. What do the entry assessments largely involve?

It’s different for every entry point, as you can well imagine. For a 3+ entry point, it really is a sort of play session. Parents are there with their child - we recommend that only one parent comes in with their child just because of space. The 4+ assessment is a bit more structured, because the children are a little bit older and are able to separate from their parents. The children come in in small groups and the assessment looks like a fun play session, there are stations of activities that they think are games, but one is designed to find out what they’ve done in terms of phonics, one 22 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

links to maths and counting, another is fine motor skills, all kinds of different things. The 7+ assessment day is really the same as any Prep entry point. We have the children in for a full day, and there are ‘get-to-know-you’ sessions in the morning, so they can make friends and feel comfortable in the new environment. They have a tour to try to settle them before their assessment, and then they go through some computerised assessments in English and Maths and a non-computerised assessment for us to look at their writing. Then they have lunch and a play session, and in the afternoon they go into some taster lessons to see what life at St Dunstan’s is like - it’s a really wonderful day for them! What would you say are some of the main benefits of attending St Dunstan’s Junior School?

Where do I begin? Every school might have a motto or values and sometimes they just go on the website, but for us we live and breathe our college motto, Albam Exorda. It translates to ‘Adorn the White’ and the idea behind that is that on the first day any pupils joins us here at St Dunstan’s, however old they are, they’re given a metaphorical blank shield - the St Dunstan’s shield. It’s got a tiny picture of St Dunstan in the corner and then the rest of it is totally blank. The idea behind that is that it doesn’t stay blank for long - they soon fill it with all kinds of colour, and that colour is made up

St Dunstan’s Junior School, SE London

of their unique experience and journey through St Dunstan’s. We don’t want you to ever be able to spot a St Dunstan’s pupil, other than the fact that they’re really brave, bold, true to who they are and they embrace their individuality. They love that they have differences from others across the school. I think that that is a real benefit of St Dunstan’s, as it sets the children up for a really positive future. One day, they’ll be really well-rounded adults who will feed into the world with their own skills and attributes and really feel confident being true to who they are.

three key strands: relationships, skills for the future and critical thinking. It’s taught by members of the pastoral team who invest just as much time in these lessons as they do in the English and Maths lessons, and it’s a real forward-thinking approach to teaching those vital skills for whatever the future might hold for pupils. We enable them to realise that education isn’t just about getting good results, it’s not just about English and Maths: it’s actually about them developing into globally minded, responsible citizens of the future who will contribute positively to society.

Can you give us some information on the Junior School’s Stuart Curriculum? What are the benefits of it and how does it differ from the traditional PSHE curriculum?

Could you talk to us about the Junior School’s work with the broader community in Lewisham?

The way that it is loosely set up is that it sits in

“We don’t want you to ever be able to spot a St Dunstan’s pupil, other than the fact that they’re really brave, bold, true to who they are and they embrace their individuality. They love that they have differences from others across the school.”

From a Junior School perspective, we’ve done all kinds of things in recent years. One of my favourites actually took place in the festival last year: we had a sort of community choir, with the choir here from St Dunstan’s and choirs from the local community and other state schools in Catford. It was really magical for them to have a whole day together, singing really beautifully, sharing what they’d been working on in their separate choirs just down the road, and the children loved it! They made really good friends with some of those children, and I know that

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Prep School Perspective

connections were made that then carried on outside of just that day and the festival, so that was a really wonderful opportunity. Within the Forder Programme we have children who go and visit the elderly in a local care home, and they do all kinds of things, so they have to plan in advance. It might be a card game that they’ve created, or they may have been working on an instrumental piece that they want to share; the idea is that they get to know those people and what their interests are and they can think creatively about things they can do together in that time. Could you tell us more about the Junior School’s co-curricular Forder Programme? And one particularly unique aspect of St Dunstan’s is the Forest School curriculum. Could you explain what that curriculum entails and the reasons behind its implementation?

Yes, so the Forder Programme is named after another pioneering headmaster and it is our cocurricular programme. What’s quite unique about that here at St Dunstan’s is that it’s embedded into TURN TO PAGES 76-77 to read our Berkshire/ Hampshire Property Spotlight


the weekly timetable, so there are two lessons in the week that are devoted to a co-curricular programme. Everybody has to participate in those two sessions at the very least, because, of course, life can be busy and sometimes children don’t have access to clubs after school because of logistics, so we want to make sure everybody has equal opportunity. In addition to this, there are activities happening in the morning, at lunch times and after school. Last time I did a count-up, we had just over ninety co-curricular activities taking place in just one week from Reception through to Year 6. What’s really great here at St Dunstan’s is that we don’t really find that the same children pick only the sporty activities or the artistic ones or stay within a certain bubble of the curriculum in terms of what they sign up to. They take it really seriously and try a range of activities. One of my favourite examples from quite recently, I had a chat with a group of Year 5 boys and they do all rugby outside of school and in school through the curriculum, and I was listening to their conversation and they said: “We’ve got to do something slightly different this term, what shall we go for that’s totally out there and doesn’t link to rugby at all?” and there they were, deciding that they’d go to SDC Stitchers, and they were sewing their initials into cushion covers. I just don’t think that you’d get that in every school, the confidence to go and try something totally new and step out of your comfort zone of an area that you think you’re really good at. How does the Junior School help students during the transition into the Senior School?

It’s a fine balance, actually. We’re really lucky in that we have the advantage of being a whole school, and we want to make the most of the comfort that is brought from knowing a school well and it not being a scary step up into Year 7. However, moving up to Year 7 is a really important milestone in education, and we don’t want to take away from how important that is and the change and difference that children should feel when they make that big step. So, we work really hard to try to get the balance right, and it’s sort of a tried-andtested model now that begins in Year 5 and goes on from there. We make sure we put in place several events that enable our Junior School pupils to integrate with the external pupils who join. It’s really important that we don’t have separation between those who know the College and those that are new,

so they are put into different classes and are really mixed up. There are lots of team building activities, treasure hunts, all kinds of things like that, where they can start to make connections with the new children joining the school. What are the benefits of the Junior School being part of a larger school community like St Dunstan’s College?

As a Junior School within a whole College, we benefit from that enormously, and we do take the whole College setting very seriously. We benefit from additional Senior School resources, state-of-the-art facilities, as well as the subject specialist knowledge that you get in a Senior School and the expertise that comes from that. So, our subject co-ordinators in the Junior School work very closely with the heads of subjects in the Senior School. They look at one another’s development plans, they do shared observations, and ahead of any transition point from Year 6 to Year 7 they’ll go through pupil lists for each subject and share information that they need about pupils ahead of them starting. We also look at lots of enrichment opportunities for children in the Junior School who are particularly interested in a particular area of the curriculum to go over and have a workshop or session run by the Senior School specialists. We also contact the Senior School if we’re doing a particular topic where going over there would be really beneficial to us, and that’s the same from Nursery through to Year 6. What do you envision for the future of St Dunstan’s Junior School?

For us, it’s been a real journey in terms of us moving into our new building that I’ve just mentioned, and the way in which the Woodland Classroom has evolved. Now, every classroom here in the Junior School - not just in Early Years - has a dedicated outdoor area, including a huge roof terrace for our upper Key Stage 2 pupils, and we didn’t have that in the previous building. So, our next stage, now that we are settled in this building and are used to it and love it, is to look at those spaces, seek the opinion of Pupil Council, see what they want from those outside areas, and start to grow them and evolve them. So, we’ve begun with Early Years, because it’s obviously so important to their learning, and we’re working our way through to the spaces that Year 6 have, to make sure that what we buy is meaningful, purposeful and lends itself well to the curriculum. Had we just thrown money at the outside areas at the very beginning, we never would have developed them in that way, so that’s really our next stage: to continue to grow into this building. We would like to thank the Head of the Junior School at St Dunstan’s College, Miss Laura Whitwood, for giving up her time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST CLICK HERE to listen to Head, Mr. Nick Hewlett, speak about St. Dunstan’s College


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Mr. Christian Saenger FROM DUMPTON SCHOOL, DORSET Mr. Christian Saenger speaks about life at Dumpton School, their positive mindset and approach to learning. He also discusses their recent work related to emotional intelligence and the RULER initiative, character learning, the Dumpton Way and the Dumpton Diploma. Can you tell us a little about the points of entry and requirements for children and families considering applying to Dumpton School?

We are a two to thirteen school, so we’ve got this amazing range of ages that the children can join us at, right from the word ‘go’ as a two-year-old in the nursery. The majority of children who come through Dumpton do join in the nursery at some point. But equally, children join Dumpton all the time, and can join Dumpton at any point. In terms of entry requirements, we’re sort of proudly non-selective academically, despite having a fantastic academic reputation and great outcomes. We have children of all abilities at Dumpton, and it’s our job to get the best out of every single child. Our main admissions criteria really are children’s ability to meet our school core values of being kind, looking after the people around them and aiming high, being able to get stuck in, to give it their best, and to try really hard. If children are able to do that, then Dumpton is going to be a fantastic place for them to be. 26 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

Which schools does Dumpton tend to send children to at 11 plus and 13 plus?

The majority of families are looking at us to keep their children there until 13 plus and to spring-board on to independent schools in our local area. We’ve got some fantastic Senior schools around us. Around 50% of children will end up going to Canford after Dumpton - that’s certainly the biggest school that we feed to. But, equally, schools like Bryanston, Clayesmore, Ballard, Embley and Milton Abbey are other destinations in our local area. We also send children off to boarding, and we’ve had children go to Wellington, Sherbourne and Millfield. We’ve got children looking at Winchester and Eton at the moment, so those schools are possible as well at 13 plus. A small number of families - between 10% and 20% - will look really hard at sitting the 11 plus. We’ve got some excellent grammar schools in this area, and, again, children are very successful if they go down that route. The school motto is: ‘You can because you think you can.’ Can you explain the significance of this to your school’s community?

I think that’s true of ‘You can because you think you can’. Of course, it all taps into that idea of having a growth mindset, and the powerful impact that having a positive mindset, a positive attitude to yourself, can have on your achievement, your

The Oratory Prep Dumpton School, School, Oxfordshire Dorset

attainment, your success and your happiness in life. So I think that mindset and that approach is very much, again, a part of our culture. And you can see it as you go around the school – all the children do everything at Dumpton. That self-belief, that ‘You can because you think you can’, and your progress and your future is in your hands. Dumpton School has been looking closely at emotional intelligence. How do you feel that your research-based work RULER is benefitting the children?

This is something that I am very passionate about, and I think something that as a school community we’re very passionate about as well. It actually came on the back of the COVID pandemic, when obviously all of us went through so much, such a testing time. Of course, just like mental health is hugely important for children’s futures, so is being emotionally intelligent. So is being able to understand your own emotions, read other people’s emotions. It lies at the heart of building relationships, at the heart of working in a team environment, of being a leader. Almost anything you can think of that children are going to do in their futures relies on having that strong social and emotional intelligence in order to thrive in the world. So, for all of those reasons, we have introduced a program at Dumpton called RULER, which was born out of research at Yale University into how we can build emotional literacy in children. It uses a range of strategies from an early age giving children the tools to understand their own emotions, to be able to label their own emotions, to express and talk about their own emotions, which of course is so key in terms of learning how to manage their own emotions. But

“Almost anything you can think of that children are going to do in their futures relies on having that strong social and emotional intelligence in order to thrive in the world.” equally in terms of them being able to understand how other people are feeling, really working on empathy and recognising how other people might be feeling and the things that we can do to make that better or, indeed, worse. The RULER approach has been embedded throughout the school. It’s just been such a wonderful thing to see the impact that it’s had. Firstly, I think in just changing the culture to one where children feel they really can talk about emotions. There’s that traditional, old-fashioned culture of just: “You’ll be fine, get over it, pull yourself together, stop worrying about it, stop crying, come on, get back involved.” And actually, that is the start and the tip of the iceberg of the things that can turn children into quite a big problem later on in their lives. If they’ve been told not to talk about how they’re feeling, that we’re not interested in how they’re feeling, that’s when children bottle things up. That’s when, later in life, they have difficulties. If we have a culture where children are in an environment where we all talk about our emotions, where teachers model talking about their emotions – and that’s what we all do as a staff, one of our tools is a Mood Metre, where we break emotions down into four colours, four quadrants of colour. The different quadrants mean different things, so if you’re feeling yellow, it means you’re really excited and positive and happy. Green is that you’re feeling positive, but you’re quite calm and sedate and serene. Red is that you’re feeling really negative and really cross and angry about things. Blue is a bit more of a negative, but it’s a bit of a sad feeling, a bit worried about something or anxious. For young children, they can understand that. They can understand the colour first and then the emotion words come on top of that. All the time, teachers will model to the students: “Gosh, I’m feeling a bit blue today because I’ve actually had a really difficult morning, my dog’s had to go to the vets and TURN BACK TO PAGE 18 to read about What Makes Me Do The Things I Do? and developing emotional intelligence



I’m a bit worried about it.” And again, children seeing that modelled to them by the adults, it validates their own feelings. So we’re noticing lots of benefits, we’re noticing children who can express their emotions and can express problems in a way they couldn’t before. We’re seeing huge benefits to conflict resolution – that classic example of two children who both feel they’re in the right, suddenly we’re using RULER to help them see how the other child is feeling. Again, it just completely changes the lens of the issue and allows them to empathise and reflect, rather than just think about themselves. It’s worthy of note that we are also using some of our older children to model discussing their feelings and using the RULER approach to the early years and pre-prep children. A few of our older children - certainly those of them that have had worries and concerns - have said how amazing it is to have that validated, that it’s ok to be anxious. It’s good to

talk to people. All of those things have been really important messages. As a school, Dumpton is working on ‘character’ education for the children. Can you tell us a little more about this and how it is being balanced with academic work?

You can probably tell by lots of what I’ve talked about that we’re really interested in developing the whole child. Now Dumpton’s got a fantastic academic reputation. That really matters to us. Our outcomes from the academic point of view are superb. We get lots and lots of academic scholarships, we put a lot of work into it. We’ve got some fantastic teaching, we really, really care about that. I think what we haven’t been as good at doing is being as explicit about character education as we are about academic education. How much do we get them to reflect on how they’re developing their character, on areas that are real strengths and areas that they


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Developing emotional intelligence

can improve? So, we’ve introduced a framework at Dumpton called ‘The Dumpton Way’, which has got seven areas of character that we think are really important. We call them our ‘Virtues’. The children constantly are exposed to these virtues during their daily lives. Whether they’re playing sport, whether they’re in the classroom, we pick up on these virtues. Down in the Pre-Prep, the children are using metacognition when making these little characters to help them understand: “What do I need to do for this task? Do I need to be really resilient because it’s going to be tricky?” They reflect again on the character attitude as well as those academic skills that they need. We’re really excited about this as this is the first year that we’ve brought that in. Another big element of character education is that you don’t assess children in the same way as you would do academically. You don’t give them grades, you don’t say: “You’re an ‘A’ grade in empathy.” That doesn’t really help anyone, because all children are different. It’s very hard to judge and you’d waste lots of time trying to do it. What’s really, really useful – and again, all of the research around character education shows this – is to be explicit about the way that you want children to develop their character. Get them to reflect on it themselves, get them to consider how empathetic they’ve been, get them to reflect on a moment where they’ve really shown empathy. That’s a really good way of increasing that self-awareness, and that independence that children need to be able to flourish in their lives. So, it’s something we’re really excited about, and there’s lots more that we want to do. Can you tell us a little about The Dumpton Diploma, your bespoke curriculum for Year 7 and Year 8 that blends traditional learning with broader character education?

So, in Year 7 and Year 8, The Dumpton Diploma includes six different domains. One of those is their academic achievements. At Dumpton, some still do the Common Entrance, some do what we call The Dumpton Certificate, which is sort of ‘Common Entrance Lite’, really. A good, rigorous set of exams that are a little bit trimmed down to suit our needs. But as well as that, The Dumpton Diploma includes five other areas that are all linked to their all-round development. There’s an Independent Project Qualification that all the children do; their co-curricular participation, how they’ve got involved in sport and music and performing arts, all the other things they’ve done; there’s a Leadership Award, all

of our children get the chance to do some leadership activities and, again, reflecting on that, learning about that. There is a trip at the beginning of Year 8 which we call the Scotland Wilderness Adventure, and this is part of The Dumpton Diploma. The children, to achieve The Dumpton Diploma, have to survive (and I use the word ‘survive’ quite pointedly) this week in Scotland. It’s an amazing adventure school in the North West coast, which is a bit like a Bear Grylls-type experience. It’s a brilliant educational experience, even though they don’t ever have a lesson. They learn so much about themselves. So, that’s part of The Dumpton Diploma, as well as – and this is the last strand – their reflection of their character education, how they’ve seen themselves develop as people when they’ve been here. When they leave Dumpton, they’ve got this lovely record of their achievements, that are so much broader than just their hopefully brilliant set of exam results and comments from their teacher about their learning. It paints a far better picture of that incredibly broad, incredibly varied, incredibly wholesome experience that they’ve had here. So, we’re really excited about that as well, and this Year 8 cohort are the first who will receive their Dumpton Diploma on Speech Day. It will be a lovely memento for them to look at. So, that’s an exciting development as well. We would like to thank the Headmaster at Dumpton School, Mr. Christian Saenger, for giving up his time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST TURN TO PAGE 62 to read the Berkshire/Hampshire focus and ECM recommended schools





Mrs. Maren Kelly speaks about how science is an integral part of the curriculum for the Prep and Senior schools, the many STEM-based clubs they offer, the importance of teaching science to girls and recently being awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark. Would you like to begin by telling us how science is incorporated into daily life at St Catherine’s Prep and through to the Seniors?

It’s lovely to be able to talk to you today about how St Catherine’s Prep is inspiring the next generation of women scientists. In the Prep School, we have a really dedicated space called ‘The Wonder Lab’, which teaches science throughout the Prep School. The space is a really small version of a Senior School lab, with gas and electricity connection on each of the spaces within the lab. The seating spaces are around four of these different pods, which are dotted around the room, encouraging group work and discussion, which is really important and valuable when teaching science. Each year group takes all science lessons in this lab, and we are really fortunate to have some lovely outdoor space around St Catherine’s Prep School, which includes a cottage garden and little woods where we can teach practical topics such as habitat and plant life. Science is a hands-on subject, and 30 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

with many opportunities for our girls to learn about their world around them, it is lovely to have these opportunities and different spaces in and around the Prep School for this. We also have extracurricular clubs, which are a really important part of the education programme at St Catherine’s. We have a number of great STEMbased clubs on offer. In total, we have over thirty clubs on offer for the girls, with the majority running over lunchtime. Some of the new STEM provision clubs this term include an Upcycling Club, Construction Club and an Empowering Women Club, where the girls have been discussing and researching women in science. I have teamed up with the Head of IT this year, and we are offering a Pioneer of Science Club, which is a Girls’ School Association led competition, combining science with IT skills. We also have an annual Royal Society panel at our school, which, again, is teamwork between me and our Head Librarian - we are looking with the girls at the shortlisted Science Books of the Year, which have been chosen by the Royal Society. We are then discussing these with the girls and choosing our own winner. As you can see, the girls have lots of opportunities in and out of lessons to learn and to build on their love of science.

St. Catherine’s Prep, Bramley

“In science, the girls get the chance to explore, question and investigate, and, with this, understand better what their daily lives are really like. They learn teamwork, listening skills, and that we do not always have just one right answer to a question.” How critical is it to inspire the imagination and develop critical thinking and investigation skills during the prep years in science, in order to secure or retain study of sciences at senior school?

I think our science education is becoming increasingly important in our society. With the advancement of technology each year, it is really important for every child to be taught science at a young age. First and foremost, I think science is a subject that helps children understand themselves and the world around them, and teaches them about the natural world and how things work and helps them develop critical thinking and problem thinking skills. In science, the girls get the chance to explore, question and investigate, and, with this, understand better what their daily lives are really like. They learn teamwork, listening skills, and that we do not always have just one right answer to a question. Science is really important in education, and the science they receive at St Catherine’s is made enjoyable and engaging from Pre-Prep onwards. We hope that many of the girls who will study science and discover their love of science will go on to being the next generation of girls who will help cure diseases or clean the oceans, or maybe even discover a new planet. Over 60% of our current Sixth Form students study Maths or a STEM subject. Our physicists are heading to CERN this Easter, which is nothing unusual at St Catherine’s. Many of our Prep School girls go on to study a STEM subject at their chosen university, and it is so inspiring and fabulous to see for the

teachers as well as current pupils, that they may study Medicine at King’s or Natural Sciences at Durham or Computer Sciences at Southampton. How do St Cat’s girls share their love of scientific enquiry?

Throughout the years, we have various different opportunities for all of the girls to collaborate with other schools and other pupils. We are very proactive with this and are always striving to make new connections and forming new friendships and collaborations with our local pre-prep and prep schools. For example, we hosted a Science Show last year; we invited our local pre-prep and prep schools to develop their love of science. We have worked together with Tillingbourne Prep School on a project called ‘Superhero Scientist’, which had a cross-curricular theme to it. Our Head of Drama went to Tillingbourne and told the pupils about different science heroes through drama and movement, then we all enjoyed a session with the authors David Allen and Alex Sinclair, where we utilised these drama skills to bring the story of their book to life. We then continued to collaborate with them on a project making a flying machine based on Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings. These collaborations involving different subjects as well as different schools have helped enormously in building the confidence and friendship amongst the girls as well as the teachers. This year, I’ve been approached by Loseley Fields Primary School, and they have asked me to help


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STEM in the curriculum

“We hope that many of the girls who will study science and discover their love of science will go on to being the next generation of girls who will help cure diseases or clean the oceans, or maybe even discover a new planet.” them with their Science Week, so I will be going over there with our Science Mentors and will host a couple of science clubs for them in connection with this year’s Science Week topic, which is called ‘Connections’. We also have formed another collaboration with our local Prep School for boys, RGS Prep, where we have arranged to participate in their Science Week next week, and they will come to us in the Summer Term, when we will be hosting a science quiz. So, it is really important for our school to form these connections with other schools and to share our experiences and our love for science in that respect. I understand that you have recently been awarded the PSQM award. Can you tell me more about what this process entailed?

The Primary Science Quality Mark (or PSQM for short) has been a real team effort and was a valuable experience to learn more about our science provision at our school, and how we as a team of staff, a school and community could improve upon that. So, you have to do an initial self-assessment, and with that you will reach

a shared understanding of what your current position of science is at the school. That is in terms of leadership, teaching and learning. So, to achieve the highest standard of this Primary Science Quality Mark, we had to show that our school is not just committed to improving the leadership, teaching and learning at the school, but also is committed to leading professional development and learning in other schools. So, with that in mind, we have helped and provided professional development and science capital in different schools for teachers and pupils as well as for parents. There is regular media coverage about the dearth of women in scientific fields of employment and the ‘brain drain’ – how is your work now contributing to addressing this?

The recent studies have found that girls at singlesex schools were 85% more likely to take Advanced Mathematics than girls in co-ed schools, and 79% more likely to study Chemistry, 68% more likely to take Intermediate Mathematics and 47% more likely to study Physics. So, it is therefore very important to give the girls a sense of enjoyment and freedom to discover science from an early age to help them establish aspiration and a sense of ‘I can do this’. Our girls certainly have a real sense of freedom to discover their passion and follow their aspirations and it’s a real pleasure just to be a little part of that journey of this discovery. It is also really important to make sure that you link science with other STEM and non-STEM subjects together. So, I made sure that last year I established strong links between science and other subjects. For example, in DT, the girls have designed puppets, which supports their understanding of levers in the science topic. So, the links between science are really important, not just in those subjects but also in Maths and English, so they need to be securely embedded into that curriculum. Our girls have certainly got a really engaging and exciting curriculum in all of the subjects, to see that science can come alive there too. Can you tell me about future plans around STEM and science at St Catherine’s?

Yes, I recently hosted our annual 32 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

Association for Science Education). We continue as a school to work together with the Senior School. We have invited the Astro Club, which is a Senior School girls’ club, to talk to our girls about their study of the stars and the universe with their online telescope, and I am really excited that they are coming over to the Prep School. Pupils have the opportunity to participate in a huge range of different initiatives, which allows them to really witness first-hand how science affects daily lives, and hopefully inspire some to become future scientists. We would like to thank the the Science Lead at St Catherine’s Prep School, Bramley, Mrs. Maren Kelly, for giving up her time to speak to us.

Science Cluster Group Meeting for all Heads of Science from schools all around Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex. This Cluster Group Meeting has been established by me since 2015 and discusses issues which we are all facing as Heads of Science. The group has been growing steadily and I was thrilled this year that I had the support of ASE (The

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST TURN BACK TO PAGES 20-21 to read about Understanding Neurodiversity


Self-belief from St Cat’s

GSA Day & Boarding School since 1885 | 4 - 18 years | Near Guildford



Ms. Rosie Lockyear FROM CITY OF LONDON SCHOOL FOR GIRLS Ms. Rosie Lockyear speaks about the partnership work taking place at City of London School for Girls with other schools in the local community. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about City of London School for Girls?

My name is Rosie, I am the Deputy Head (Co-curricular and Partnerships). I’ve been at the school for sixteen years now, and prior to taking on this role a couple of years ago, I was Head of Sixth Form and Head of Politics at the school. My job encompasses all of the partnership work that we do as well as the co-curricular life of the school: clubs, societies, trips and everything that takes place outside of the classroom. We’re an independent girls’ school for pupils aged eleven to eighteen, situated in the heart of the Barbican in London. We opened in 1894, and the school provides an outstanding education to able students from all backgrounds, cultures and faiths. Can you outline the Partnership Programme at CLSG, giving a few examples of partnerships and how much of the student body is involved?

As a school, we’re really committed to fostering a concern for, and engagement with, the wider world, both through our charity work and through our partnership programme. We feel it is so important that our pupils develop a strong sense of social responsibility and social conscience. We 3 4 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

want them to be outward-looking and aware of the wider world when they leave the school. In terms of the work we do, perhaps our closest partnerships are through our relationship with the City of London’s family schools. This consists of one primary school, ten academies (primary and secondary) and four independent schools. We’ve worked closely with them over a number of years, but in recent years some examples would include an online reading mentors’ scheme that we hold with our Year 9, 10 and 11 pupils with some primary school pupils; EAL support for some Afghan refugees; and oracy and maths professional development workshops. Last year, we hosted our first inaugural primary summer school, and we also offer a wide range of support around university admissions, interview support and development of leadership skills. The students participate as volunteers in some cases, for example supporting the primary schools in after-school clubs, through reading schemes. They also take part in the charity and fundraising work that we do, as well as some of the industry work, along with a collection of students from the other schools. So, for example, this year we’ve co-hosted an event with Schroders, who are very close to our school geographically, and we have organised a programme for Year 9 pupils around how to build a sustainable business where they work together in mixed school groups with those other children in Year 9 from the other family of schools.

City of London School for Girls, London

“As a school, we’re really committed to fostering a concern for, and engagement with, the wider world, both through our charity work and through our partnership programme.” Why do you think partnership work is so important for the school? How is this reflected in the school’s ethos?

Our partnership philosophy is based on building relationships, dialogue and reciprocity. We have a really strongly held belief that collaborating and building sustained, impactful, meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships is central to what it means to be in the school, and to be in and of the city. So, our vision of seeking to inspire pupils to find their space to pioneer is integral to our partnership programme. Our pupils find a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration when engaging in partnership work; they’re seeking to make a difference and make their own way in the world. This programme helps them to do that. So through partnership work, we have a mechanism through which we can truly find our students’ space to pioneer. Can you give any examples of how student leadership and partnerships are linked at the school? Are there any student-led initiatives?

A lot of our student-run clubs within the school have recently started to build links with other schools, sharing ideas and good practice. They are collaborating naturally around their own interests and shaping what they want to cover within their societies. We also have a number of students who

have set up volunteer programmes, for example those who act as reading mentors, and in our first primary summer school that we hosted last summer, we had a number of student volunteers who helped to lead sessions across those three days. Which partnership has been the most impactful?

Over the last three years we’ve developed a Partnership Forum, which has been led and constructed by our superb director of partnerships, who works jointly with us and our brother school, City of London School. We’ve created a termly Partnership Forum for key staff from across our network to come together to share best practice and make connections with other schools. So, it’s now really well attended and has become a very naturally evolving process, and as a group we’ve come to better understand the needs of the other schools, and how the power of coming together can be mutually beneficial. Out of that has come the primary summer school, our reading mentor scheme, and a whole host of other workshops around sustainability and EDI. We get requests through that forum, which hopefully is a signal that people really respect and value the partnership work that takes place. How do you measure the impact of your partnership work?

It’s quite varied. The main way is through constant conversations with the people who take part in it, whether that be staff, students or parents, and their impression of the work that we do, and, of course, TURN TO PAGES 78-79 to read our Lifestyle and Living Spring Tips




Springboard and continue with our work that we do with industry partners. I’ve already mentioned Schroders, and for a number of years we’ve also worked with Linklaters, the law firm, around developing communication skills in our pupils and also enabling them to better understand how to access careers in the city, particularly in the leadership and legal profession. What tips would you give to other schools that are just beginning to build their partnership programme?

our connections and our relationships with the other schools. We’re always evaluating. What do you think are the key aspects of a meaningful partnership?

It’s got to be useful for everybody taking part in it, it’s got to be a really committed collaboration, and therefore with that kind of outlook we can learn from each other, we can make changes and we can make them meaningful. How do you see the Partnership Programme developing further at City of London School for Girls?

It’s been an absolute joy to do everything face-toface in person, to have groups of students working together on a joint cause in the same room. We’ve decided to keep some of our offers remote, because it works better in terms of widening our geographical reach. One thing we’re really looking forward to re-developing this year is an event which we’ve previously run on a much smaller scale, which is a Leadership Day for Year 12 pupils, whereby they come together with some external coaches to develop their leadership skills. This is a really challenging day where they’re taken out of their comfort zones and work together with people they’ve never met before across the family of schools, and they take part in a treasure hunt at the end of the day. We’re really looking forward to that event. We also have plans in place to develop a Robotics Club, with one of our teachers from CLSG leading it with two other primary schools. The hope there is that they will build a robot and enter competitions, and hopefully win some of them as well. We’re also hopefully going to partner with Royal 36 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

I think the key thing is to not be afraid to reach out to other schools, or to industry. I think you’d be surprised at how many people out there are keen to partner. As I’ve mentioned, it has to be mutually beneficial and impactful. I think it’s also just not being afraid of making mistakes as well, being prepared to learn from the events that you’ve organised, to see how they work, to reflect on what works best. But, really, the key thing is building relationships and having an open and honest dialogue around what is most impactful for the students that we are here to support. Have you had feedback from the students about the partnership work that they’re taking part in, and perhaps how they feel it’s impacting their education as a whole?

I think they’re much more aware, for a start, that we have this network - the family of schools and the partner schools that we have - which I don’t think they necessarily were a few years ago. Quite a lot of the pupils that I support with running clubs and societies are knocking on my door, saying: “Can we invite students from this other school?” They are responding in droves to the volunteering opportunities that I send their way, and it’s something that the parents have fed back to us in terms of that it’s really valuable to them that their daughters are going to be leaving school aware of that wider world around them. We would like to thank the Deputy Head of City of London School for Girls, Ms. Rosie Lockyear, for giving up her time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST TURN BACK TO PAGES 22-25 to read about the work taking place working with the local community at St Dunstan’s Junior School

Being at Lancing has allowed me to be my best self.


Be inspired Be brilliant Be you



Mrs. Suzie Longstaff Mr. Paul Vanni AND HEAD


Mrs. Suzie Longstaff, Principal of London Park Schools from Easter 2023, and the newly appointed Head, Mr. Paul Vanni, speak about the new London Park School Clapham that will run through to GCSEs and is based in two buildings overlooking Clapham Common, with all the benefits and outdoor space this brings. They will also be absorbing Northwood Senior School and are going to open a Sixth Form partner school, London Park Sixth Form, in Belgravia in September 2024/5. On the London Park School website, it states: ‘London Park School Clapham offers the best of both worlds. The nurturing feel of a small school, with the opportunities, experiences and expertise of a larger one.’ Would you like 38 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

to expand on this? Paul: We are a new school, a small school. Within

the context of the London Park Schools group, I see it as a family of schools. We are the founding cornerstone of that, but there is more out there. Within the context of our Clapham school, when we are full, we will have a maximum of 260 students (twenty per form). Everyone will know one another, we will very much have that local family, that genuine community feel to us. We will be entirely able to provide a level of support that is entirely commensurate with that. As part of this larger group of schools, we are able to leverage some of the benefits of numbers, of scale. I think that this is particularly relevant when it comes to some of the co-curricular experiences that we will be able to offer our students. For example, we will

SPECIAL FEATURE Introducing London Park School Clapham

have our own choir, we will have our own concerts, we will be putting on our own plays and have our own sports fixtures. There are currently assessments and admissions taking place and you are preparing to begin the first academic intake in September. Can you tell us a little about the sort of qualities that you are looking for in children that will be joining London Park School? Suzie: Yes, and Paul can talk more about

the admissions process, but I just wanted to say that I think that this is such an exciting opportunity in London to have a group of local London schools. There is no particular student that we are looking for at London Park School. We are looking for children who are inquisitive, who want to embrace education and all that a school has got to offer, of which we can offer them loads, because the one thing I am passionate about is that they have access to opportunities, not only through the curriculum, but also through the co-curricular. The admissions process is about finding out more about the types of children who would be interested in coming to London Park School. Paul: If I can flip the question very briefly to touch

upon the process, so that you can get a sense of the type of child that we are looking for here. When we invite students in, rather than getting them to sit down to undertake a number of papers in Maths, Chemistry, Non-Verbal Reasoning etc., we have a really exciting group of tasks that the students work through in small groups. A couple of them are Maths-based, a couple of them are English comprehension-based, a couple of them involve students undertaking science practicals to come to conclusions about the scenario that

“It is really important to us that our students will be growing up to exist in this changing world, and to play a part in it. Therefore, sustainability and the environment have to play a key part in the education that we offer.”

has been set before them. At the end of the hour and a half of undertaking these tasks, which they do collaboratively, they sit down and hypothesise about who has committed a crime. Here, there is a scenario: a crime has been committed and there has been a series of possible suspects. A student has recently described it as a “Cluedo morning”, which I thought was quite funny. What this means is that we are looking for students who have a can-do approach to problem-solving, who can demonstrate a degree of mental agility, who can work together as a team. For us, it is not so much about whether they have got the right answer or not, it is about how they have reached that answer. We want to know those students who are going to thrive in a small school environment, where there is a strong sense of community, and who are going to be able to work as a team, to be able to apply those problem-solving skills. Those are the kinds of students that we are looking for. We understand that LPS will be co-curricular and that you will have key areas of focus such as ‘sustainability’ and ‘entrepreneurship’. Your website states that: ‘Sustainability will be at the centre of school life, teaching sustainability in and out of the classroom.’ Can you tell us a little more about this? Suzie: Yes. We know that the world is changing,

and it is really important to families in London and in the wider world (and to us as well) that we are educating students for the future. It is really important to us that our students will TURN TO PAGES 42-45 to read about Entrepreneurship in Education



Sustainability and entrepreneurship

be growing up to exist in this changing world, and to play a part in it. Therefore, sustainability and the environment have to play a key part in the education that we offer. We are going to be doing that in ways that are fun and innovative. Yes, it is going to be embedded throughout the curriculum, but also, we are going to send our students on a tour ship in Spain, where they will learn about marine conservation. They will get to learn about the environment up mountains in the UK and wider abroad. They will embrace urban farms. We almost thought about getting an urban farm, but perhaps that is a little bit in the future. Paul is going to be developing a Social Entrepreneurship Programme at the school, where our students will get the chance to play a part in their local community. This is really, really important to us all today - to be inclusive. To understand the community we live in and to play a part in it. This is where entrepreneurship comes in, because we want our students to be changemakers in the future. We want to equip them with the skills to do that, and that will be embedded throughout the curriculum.

preparation and life skills as a whole, taking a whole child approach, looking towards the future through these different focuses? Suzie: Yes, that is absolutely fundamental

to everything we do. That is the purpose of education, that is the stage one most important thing. Paul will be able to explain that a little bit more, that context about Clapham. Paul: Yes, absolutely. You have hit the nail on

the head really. Academic success is important, and results are important, but they just open doorways, and they signal pathways. What we now need to be doing is providing our young learners of today with the skills that they need to walk through those doorways and traverse those pathways. The world around us is changing at such an unbelievably fast rate that what we really need to be doing is equipping them with skills, to enable them to be agile thinkers, to be able to respond quickly to scenarios, to equip them with the resilience that they need. It is important

I’m imagining that with this focus on sustainability and entrepreneurship, that to some level there is also going to be a focus on not just their academics, and academic success, which is obviously key and paramount, but also, to some extent,

“We want our students to be powerful agents of change. Changemakers is the word that we use. It is about soft skills, but it is also about real world knowledge and understanding from the curriculum.” 40 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

Dukes Young Learner Programme

that we give them the opportunities that we are talking about here in terms of entrepreneurship, in terms of understanding the world and issues surrounding sustainability. We want our students to be powerful agents of change. Changemakers is the word that we use. It is about soft skills, but it is also about real world knowledge and understanding from the curriculum. Financial literacy will come through the curriculum through PSHE. Public speaking will come through elements of the co-curriculum. Debating, for example, problem-solving. What we are looking to do is to draw those different strands together. To enable different students to understand subjects, different disciplines within schools; they’re not just taught in silos. The silos are linked. It’s about that connectivity, which, for them, I think if we get it right, it should open their minds and really enable them to see their potential to make change. Alongside the academic curriculum, we have got the Dukes Young Leadership Programme. This is a Dukes thing that is going to be introduced in 2023. We are talking about a programme which looks to instil dispositions, humility, courage and compassion in our young learners. Learning leadership through service entrepreneurship and adventure, that is what we are really about here. Can you tell us a little more about the Dukes Young Leadership Programme? Is this something that they take throughout the school, or is it something that is catered towards the older students? Is it your version of a Duke of Edinburgh? Paul: D of E is a part of the parcel of it. Whereas

D of E in most schools is optional and runs for a period of time (my own children have just done it), our leadership programme will be embedded in the school curriculum, and will run through the five years of London Park School Clapham. It is a genuinely meaningful experience, which progressively builds on our learnt experiences and moments to ensure that by the end of that journey, we’ve got students who really feel that they have experienced something worthwhile, and that they are able to be those changemakers that I spoke about a moment ago. Suzie, just one last question. There is also going to be a partner school, London Park Sixth Form in Belgravia, that opens in September 2024. For those with older

children, is London Park Clapham going to feed through to this second part, so that there is a Sixth Form for the parents with children who are going on to do A Levels? Suzie: Yes, and as I say, you know where my

heart lies, Chloe. I love the Sixth Form part of the school. This is where we are helping students to choose the next stage of their lives. It is an absolute privilege and delight to be able to do that. It is so much fun. We’d all like to live our lives again through the destinations where students are going to. Yes, there is going to be a Sixth Form which we will feed the Clapham students into. As you know me, the Sixth Form will be a huge focus, because we want it to be vibrant and spirited. We want it to offer a wide breadth of subjects, opportunities, outstanding teaching and learning, and also huge support for the next stage, whatever that is these days. Who knows, whether it be higher education, going abroad to the US, going to Art College for example, or apprenticeships. The world is changing, and we are going to be there to support the students on their journey. So yes, watch this space, it is going to be amazing. I’m not over-promising either, it really will be! We would like to thank the future Principal, Mrs. Suzie Longstaff, and Head, Mr. Paul Vanni, at London Park School Clapham for giving up their time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST TURN TO PAGE 49 to read about Every Name Matters at Eltham College, SE London





Julian Hall speaks about his work as the founder and CEO of Ultra Education, which primarily works with children and young people, regardless of their background or social standing, to enable them to have access to essential entrepreneurial education. He also founded AskUltra, which offers AI-powered chatbot tuition for children, and has written three books including Entrepreneur to Ultrapreneur. Can you tell us a little about the work that you do in primary and secondary schools?

Of course! The work we’re implementing in schools today has become a number of different programmes. Sometimes, we go in and reinforce an area of learning that’s already happening, for example, we might go in and take over PSHE, or Design and Technology, or Literacy, or it could be an area of enrichment, or an after-school club. Usually, we use entrepreneurial skills and development as a tool in schools to plug gaps or teach it as a topic on its own. For example, when students are signing up for Business Studies, they think that it will help them to start a business, but actually it doesn’t – that’s not what Business Studies is about, it’s about studying other businesses. And often, those businesses are so grand and lofty, and have been around for so many decades, that as a student, you can’t really pull 42 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

anything useful or actionable from that study. So, now we go in and deliver what a student would expect to be Business Studies - things like how to set up a business - we go in and deliver these dedicated lessons, programmes and workshops. It takes that form, or rather a teacher might think that it is actually a really good way to get learning outcomes for some of their other lessons. Whether it’s Maths, English or even History, there’s ways we can angle entrepreneurship to serve a number of different subjects and help teachers achieve other learning outcomes. So, again, we used it in a multifaceted way which keeps the work interesting for us and shows the diversity of approach that you can take with entrepreneurial education. I’m assuming you go into both maintained and independent schools?

Yes, we do.

Why do you think that ‘entrepreneurship’ is so important as a part of education? For example, do you think it should be a subject that can be taken through to GCSE?

Entrepreneurship is important in education because it’s a part of real life. The vast majority of the UK economy is based on small to medium-sized enterprises. They’re on our high streets, mobile

Ultra Education

phones, we buy from them, they employ millions of people and they form parts of our communities and ecosystems. But, knowing how to do that isn’t accessible until adult life, and so we’re missing out a massive chunk of opportunity in helping children and young people to understand how they can set up their own businesses if it’s not in education. It’s such an essential part of, whether it’s the UK economy, or part of how you consider what your career could be without discussing that. It just feels like a huge chunk of real life that’s missing. This second thing was kind of wrapped up

“So, what enterprise and entrepreneurial education does, is that it helps to bridge the gap between what you’re learning today and how it could be applied in the working world, whether that’s working for someone else or working for yourself.”

in a 2014 report called “Enterprise for All”, published by Lord Young and a group of enterprise educators, which coined this idea of a “fourth ‘r’”. So you’ve got reading, writing, arithmetic and relevance, which says that enterprise and entrepreneurship and the education behind it is a really good way to make core academics relevant. I’m sure there’s a student sitting in class right now thinking: “How is this relevant to my life?” No matter what the topic is, I’m sure someone’s sitting there right now thinking that. So, what enterprise and entrepreneurial education does, is that it helps to bridge the gap between what you’re learning today and how it could be applied in the working world, whether that’s working for someone else or working for yourself. The reason why that’s important is because we know that there’s a skills gap in the UK, which is essentially the gap between the skillset young people leave education with, whether that’s sixth form, college or university, and what employers are looking for. Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial TURN TO PAGE 59 to read about Gendered Transformative Education at Alleyn’s School



Sustainability and entrepreneurship

“We want to be in a world where effective entrepreneurial education is available and accessible for children everywhere, whether they’re in a state school, independent school, primary school, a PRU, an alternative provision, or a home-school.” education helps fill that gap really nicely because you get to learn about businesses and about what it is to set one up and run one, and all the things that go around that, which then helps to make that transition into the working world a lot easier. It could be argued that, as well as entrepreneurship, it’s life skills in general that form part of that skills gap; things like how to change a tyre, how to cope when you run out of petrol, how to budget weekly. It all becomes a big part of the gap between doing English, Maths and Science and real life.

Yes, absolutely, and I think that’s where you find individuals like myself will differentiate between entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial skill set, an entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurship is more about the exercise of starting your own business and all the rest of it, but an entrepreneurial mindset and skill set can be applied to life in general, so I think you’re absolutely right.

On the Ultra Education website it states that the work that you do is focused on those from black and ethnic minority communities and those for whom the existing education system does not deliver – why do you think this is the case?

As an example, I was born and raised in Brent, North West London, and both of my parents are from the Caribbean. Statistically, boys of Caribbean heritage born in Brent are academically some of the lowest performing in the country, and this has been the case for a while. Given that I’m that demographic, but I have probably increased my life chances by ten or twenty times, then what is it that I’ve done that’s been different? I believe the difference was my experience with entrepreneurship. I believe it gave me a mindset and a skill set that essentially helped to increase my life chances. Unfortunately, that statistic still rages on, it’s decades old, it’s still the issue now, and there are lots of other underrepresented communities and individuals who are maybe neurodiverse. We all know the statistics, even if you want to start a business or have a rockstar career, if you’re female, you get less than 1% of VC funding, you’re not going to be on boards, all of this stuff, these are barriers that we have in society. For us, the focus is on helping those individuals through race, gender, or other barriers to circumvent them, it just so happens that entrepreneurship is a really good way of doing that. There are other ways too, but entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking and skill sets can help you to either leap over those barriers and overcome them or to pick yourself up if you fall prey to them.


We have met at the House of Lords a couple of times discussing ‘Entrepreneurship in Education’. How do you think that schools and universities can support young people further to develop and take the risks that entrepreneurship requires?

I think there’s still a level of understanding needed, by education in general, to see where entrepreneurship sits. There is still a disconnection between what it means to be an entrepreneur or be 44 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

Dukes Young Learner Programme

in business and education – they seem to still clash a lot. Very forwardthinking schools, like Putney High School, will identify that there is a core relationship between the two, and that there is an essential need for their students to understand it. Loads of other schools do recognise it, but don’t necessarily have the capacity and resources, someone that can be dedicated to it, or the funding to pay for programmes and so on. So, from the point of view of the Department for Education, they would say – and have said to me in the recent past – that schools and teachers are given enough room and autonomy within the national curriculum to teach this, and that they are encouraged to teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship in lessons like PSHE. My response to that is that teachers and schools aren’t measured on that, so they aren’t going to perform well on it. Those subjects are still very badly resourced, so if teachers don’t know how to teach it and there aren’t enough resources, then they’re not going to be able to do it. I also think that a more subtle, yet still important dynamic, particularly in lower income areas, is that if the teachers don’t believe the students can do it then they probably won’t teach it. If the teachers have a low expectation of student outcomes, then they’ll teach to that level. So, I think that examples of entrepreneurs who don’t come from middle-class backgrounds, enabling the realisation that entrepreneurship can be accessed by anyone, is needed to open the eyes of teachers so they can see that it’s possible too. Just because someone’s not born in the “right” postcode, doesn’t mean that they don’t have the capability to start their own business. Finally, what is your vision for the future of entrepreneurship in education going forwards?

I remember when I was asked this question a few years back, and at the time my answer was that entrepreneurship would be on the curriculum, and the interviewer said, “If entrepreneurship is on the curriculum, then you’d be out of a job, wouldn’t you?”, and I said, “I’m an entrepreneur, I’m sure I can figure something else out.”

Now my response wouldn’t necessarily be that entrepreneurship is just on the curriculum, but that, as our mission statement is, we want to be in a world where effective entrepreneurial education is available and accessible for children everywhere, whether they’re in a state school, independent school, primary school, a PRU, an alternative provision, or a home-school. If a child wants to learn Spanish or Maths, there’s so many resources out there that they can pick up, most subjects are widely available and extremely well-resourced, there’s stuff you can pick up from school, YouTube, the internet, etc., but you can’t say the same for entrepreneurship or financial literacy. If you’re ten or fifteen years old and you want to learn about entrepreneurship, then you can’t just reach out and grab a resource, it’s not as easy to do. That, for me, would be our vision: for that child or young person who wakes up one day, and goes, “You know what? I’ve got an idea for a business” or “I’ve been running a business but I need to find out how I can grow my team, learn about marketing, know whether I should pivot”, they would know where to go to, or there’d be a quick search they can make and they could pull the information they needed to carry on with their journey. Or even just the advice. Within the grown-up entrepreneurial community, there are places you can go to get advice. But if you’re a student, where would you go to get advice? The same ecosystem exists, and I think having that there available to them would be of huge value. We would like to thank Julian Hall, CEO of Ultra Education, for giving up his time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST






Mr. Guy Sanderson speaks about Eltham College’s history and some of the changes and challenges the school has addressed in the past ten years and Mr. Gideon Hammond speaks about how the college is addressing equality, diversity and inclusion and their recent ‘Every Name Matters’ initiative. Can you tell us a little about the history and aims of Eltham College? Guy: Thank you very much indeed for this

chance to talk to you, it’s great to be here. Eltham College has been here in the corner of South East London for 180 years – we’ve just celebrated 46 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

our anniversary this year, so it feels great to be talking about our heritage and what we’re doing this year. We were set up as a school for the sons of missionaries, back in the Victorian day when missionaries went out across the globe, and you may have heard of some of our famous boys like Eric Liddell, who competed in the 1912 Olympics. We’ve changed a great deal since then: we’re much larger, more academically focused, we are now coeducational - whereas in Eric Liddell’s day we were an all-boys’ school - and we’ve moved just down the road from Blackheath to Mottingham, with a large set of playing fields behind the school.

Eltham College, SE London

You have been overseeing significant change to the school over the past few years – the school has grown and is turning fully coeducational. How is that going? Guy: We’ve grown a little, we are probably at our

optimal size now. I wanted to keep the school small and community-focused, so for us that means year groups of around 120 students. I don’t want to be in one of those schools where people get lost in the crowd, where it’s too big and people don’t know people’s names – that really matters, so we’ve grown a little bit, but we’re at that kind of size. Co-ed has gone incredibly well; it’s been really well-received in the local area. After four years, the Junior School is now fully co-educational, 5050 in almost every year group, and in the Senior School, girls comprise at least a third of each year group, apart from the two that are still filling through and are still all-boys. In two years’ time, the school will be fully co-educational, with year groups that are roughly 50-50. What’s been wonderful has been seeing that, as girls have joined different points of the school, it’s been encouraging seeing the way in which boys and girls have integrated so smoothly and seamlessly, the way the girls have risen to the standard the boys have achieved in the school already. For example, in sport, boys have consistently been local county champions in Kent in three different sports, and after just three years in co-education, the girls are already matching them in netball, which is not a bad achievement for a co-educational school after just three years, so we’ve been beating a lot of all-girls’ schools in Kent at one of their favourite sports. So, it’s gone really well, and obviously you’d expect from music, drama, academically, it’s been pretty smooth and seamless as well; we’re really delighted!

“I still very much want to be a school that serves the local area, where students can get to know each other and families remain connected.” community and focusing on things like the work that Gideon is doing in terms of outreach and making sure that we serve the local community, rather than becoming a school that’s aloof and remote from everybody else. You place great emphasis on ‘community’ at Eltham. Can you explain more about what this means at Eltham, the importance of working and engaging with the local community and some examples of the benefits it is bringing? Guy: Community matters to us; we look at it in

two ways. One is the internal community, and what it means for students, staff and parents to be supporting and working with each other, and for that I’m really keen that Eltham College doesn’t become a trans-London school, where students are


What do you feel are the opportunities and challenges facing independent schools in 2023 and beyond? Guy: The opportunities are still exactly as they’ve

always been, and that is to provide a great, rich education, pastorally, academically, co-curricular, but you won’t have to go far in reading a newspaper headline to see that the headwinds are strong. However, I think most independent schools are rising to the challenge, and we’re doing that in a way where most of us stay true to our roots. So for us, that means staying locally based in the TURN BACK TO PAGE 16 to read about The Best Me by Marvyn Harrison


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

drawn from every corner of London. I still very much want to be a school that serves the local area, where students can get to know each other and families remain connected. I’ve got three children of my own, one of them was at a different school before we went co-ed, and having to drive half an hour outside of our normal area – so she was driving an hour everyday to get to school and back – and her friends were on the other side of London; it doesn’t work as a community. We stay true to the area we’re in, and that means that students go out and serve that community, so there’s a big outreach programme for Sixth Form students to go and serve in local care homes and schools and give back to the community that way. We’ve also started a big bursary programme, and that’s very much aimed at local students who can’t afford places at schools, and mindful of that, we’re trying to make sure that the school is welcoming to people of all differences, backgrounds, and Gideon’s work on that has been instrumental in making sure the school is fit for the 21st century. Eltham College has a diverse intake of students – how do you celebrate this as a college? Gideon: Eltham College indeed has a broad pupil

body from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including Black, Asian, many parts of continental Europe and across the UK. With that said, we think it’s really important to embed relational discussions so that we can best get on with each other. This is from our wellbeing curriculum, led by Mrs. Nicola Bilsby, where we focus on Eltham College’s five R’s: respect, relationships, responsibility, resilience and readiness. The idea behind this is that if we can put those at the centre of what we do, then our actions are based on thought and reflection, which keeps us balanced for daily life and helps us engage with each other in a much more positive way. Of course, we also have our pastoral team, which we combine together to encourage students to be respectful to each other, to ensure that we’re fostering a society that is one of positivity.

We understand one of the key roles you are playing at the school is addressing issues around Equality and Diversity, Anti-racism and working with the school’s wider pastoral team. Can you tell us a little more about this work that is taking place? Gideon: Certainly. I think, central to all that we do

at Eltham College, we respect and understand that the pupils drive change, so the pupil voice is really important to us. We have a wide range of specific initiatives that include not only discussions from teachers to pupils in form time, but we have pupil leadership through our Pride Society, FemSoc, Afro-Caribbean Soc, Equality Committee - which is a broad committee for whole-school change - and we have the Changemakers society, and this is in addition to the work of our Wellbeing Programme. The Afro-Caribbean Society is not just for pupils of Afro-Caribbean heritage – it focuses on discussions, issues and celebrations from that underrepresented group of society. The thing we’re certainly proudest of this year is our celebration of Black History Month, which was ‘Black History Two Weeks’ in our school because of half term. Over those two weeks, we had an amazing representation of culture, understanding and interest in AfroCaribbean values, heritage and lifestyle. We had a talk almost every day, I believe we had nine in total. We had Ansel Wong CBE come in, who was central to Black History Month in the UK, and we also had a food celebration in the second week, which was a hit amongst all the children, so that was really positive. Our ‘Teaching Insight Programme’ is also something we are really proud of. It’s in its second year now, and it’s an opportunity for the school to attract more people into teaching, especially candidates from historically underrepresented groups, since as a school we recognise the importance of diversity of all types and the value it brings to the school, particularly in the rolemodelling for our pupils. So, it’s just pieces of the diversity and equality puzzle that Eltham College can help to solve and contribute to. We work closely with a number of organisations to reach out to the

“The ‘Every Name Matters’ initiative is essentially a way of understanding and respecting people’s individuality through their name and celebrating that as much as possible, as well as taking some of the weight off children who had to continuously go through the process of correcting people.” 48 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

Every Name Matters

teachers, most notably ACEN, the Afro-Caribbean Education Network, and our marketing team also communicates about it on TES, through our own website, through LinkedIn, Twitter, any sort of outlet, we try to get it out there. The ‘Halo Code’ is an external body. Their goal, and what they’re encouraging schools to do, is support students and staff in wearing their natural afro hair, which has previously been recognised as an issue for Black individuals in professional environments and schools. So, we’ve signed up to say that, at Eltham College, we are a school that recognises differences and celebrates them, even through the expression of hair. You have introduced one particular measure – phonetic pronunciation of students’ names. Can you tell us more about that initiative and the difference it has made to students and staff? Gideon: I think it’s best to start by answering

this question with a quote from Dale Carnegie

in How to Win Friends and Influence People. He says: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” I think that imbues and encapsulates the sense of belonging we are trying to achieve at the school. Our ‘Every Name Matters’ initiative launched last year and was in response to results from the Flair Impact survey which we commissioned to understand sentiments of racial equity at the College. In discussions with pupils, we found that the name mispronunciation led to some students feeling insecure or even inferior. So, we formed a working group of teachers and support staff to design and implement a system to tackle this. We compiled a list of student names and their phonetic spellings which were then, rather fortuitously, retro-fitted to a module on our school’s information management system. To date, we have over 300 names on the register, at both the Junior and Senior Schools, so that when teachers mark the register they can pronounce each student’s name correctly, they have that prompt right there to change behaviours. In addition to these phonetic spellings, we asked students to speak their own name into a voice recorder. The audio files are now exclusive to teachers, and are readily available on the staff intranet for easy access and limitless re-listens. So, instead of having our pupils constantly having to go into class, get their name mispronounced, and having to say “No, it’s X, not Y”, it’s now possible for staff to take some of that weight. The ‘Every Name Matters’ initiative is essentially a way of understanding and respecting people’s individuality through their name and celebrating that as much as possible, as well as taking some of the weight off children who had to continuously go through the process of correcting people. Proudly, it’s part of our admissions process now, so at the earliest engagement with the school, we are getting children’s names pronounced correctly, which has made a big difference. We would like to thank the Headmaster at Eltham College, Mr. Guy Sanderson, and their Lead on REACH, Mr. Gideon Hammond, for giving up their time to speak to us. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST TURN BACK TO PAGE 19 to read about Girls Like Me by Valerie Thompkins



What is an Ed Psych Report? How to help support children with additional learning needs understanding of their child’s learning abilities and potential. The assessment process and subsequent findings help to build up a picture of the child’s strengths and areas in need of support. Two weeks after the assessment, parents will be sent a comprehensive and holistic report which will ultimately guide teachers on how to help provide a child with the tools to fulfil their potential – both in the classroom and in exams. I always recommend that once parents receive the report and send it to the school, they arrange a meeting a couple of weeks later to discuss ways forward, or what Educational Psychologists call ‘Plan, Do, Review’.

Usually, parents are provided with a list of psychologists to contact by the school. For most, this is the first time they will have ever heard of an Educational Psychologist and it can feel like a minefield to navigate. Many parents are apprehensive about what an Educational Psychology assessment entails. Their biggest concern is whether their already anxious child will want to engage in anything that involves testing. This is where the Educational Psychologist’s ‘child whispering’ skills come into play. In my experience, the Educational Psychologists I work with are not only very experienced, but have spent years working with children with a range of needs and anxieties. They are well versed in quickly putting a child at ease and making the assessment fun and accessible. The assessment is made up of widely used standardised tests, which measure performance relative to other pupils of the same age taking the same test. It measures a child’s ability in reading, writing, spelling, maths and cognition. Nowadays, most Educational Psychologists in a private practice carry out assessments on iPads, which makes the whole process much more enjoyable for both parties. What happens after my child has been assessed?

Once your child has been assessed, parents will have a consultation with the Educational Psychologist, who will explain the findings. This is a collaborative conversation and an opportunity for parents to ask questions and get a deeper 50 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

Why might my child need to be assessed if they are sitting the 11 plus or GCSEs?

Children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia may be affected in the way they learn and process information at school. They are often entitled to what is known as Access Arrangements, set out by the Joint Council for Qualifications. Not all children need an SpLD diagnosis to receive Access Arrangements. If they achieve below average scores in certain areas, they may qualify for certain allowances in exams like extra time, a laptop or a reader. This can make all the difference, as it would be unfair to expect a child who has a slow processing speed to compete on an equal par with those that do not. Of key importance to note is that the SENCo or Learning Support Coordinator at your child’s school is ultimately responsible for deciding and supporting the Access Arrangements application, particularly for GCSEs. So, I always recommend that parents talk to the SENCo first, before booking your child in for an assessment. If you would like to find out more or have any concerns about your child’s learning, I am always open to an in confidence, no obligation chat. MELANIE THAM Practice Manager at Educational Potential


Help is always there

There are lots of things you can do to help yourself:

What to do if you’re feeling low or struggling to cope It’s okay. It’s common to feel this way. You’re not alone in feeling like this. Many people struggle to cope at one point or another, and going through a range of emotions is normal. You can contact Samaritans at any time, or you might also want to speak to someone else you trust, such as a family member, your GP or arranging to see a counsellor. When people are going through a tough time, they often experience negative thoughts about themselves and feel like they have no-one to turn to. Even if you don’t have family or friends close by, you are never alone. Samaritans volunteers are here

for you every day of the year, round the clock. Some people find comfort in remembering these feelings may not last forever. Everyone feels low at some point in their lives and if you’re struggling to cope, it may be difficult to see beyond your current situation. Talking about how you’re feeling can help put things into perspective and help you to feel more positive about the future.

M ake time for yourself, relax and do things you enjoy E at healthily and get plenty of sleep and exercise Spend time with people you love T alk about your problems with people you trust B e proud of what you’re good at, as well as aware of what you struggle with P ay attention to what you’re feeling If you’ve stopped doing things you usually love, you’re tearful, not eating or sleeping properly, drifting from people close to you, taking alcohol or drugs to cope or self-harming, you can talk to a Samaritan, or someone you trust.

Contact Samaritans free – day or night, 365 days a year Call free on

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Empowering pupils for the future Developing entrepreneurial, leadership and digital competency skills At Reed’s School, we’re fully aware that the world is changing at an ever-increasing rate, so it’s vital that we continue to reflect on what we do, how we do it, and that we anticipate the skills and attributes our pupils will need in the future. One of the main objectives of our Five-Year Strategy is to prepare pupils for the future. We want pupils who leave Reed’s to have a growth mind-set, so that they view new challenges as opportunities, not obstacles. This will require self-confidence, selfbelief and a strong emphasis on personal attributes and values. The advent of Artificial Intelligence and exponential changes in computing power means that our pupils will need to possess excellent interpersonal skills as well as being adaptable, confident and competent with new and emerging technologies. Developing pupils’ entrepreneurial, leadership

and digital competency skills are key to achieving this objective. The curiosity of our pupils and their capacity to reflect not just on what they were learning, but how they were learning, was remarked upon by ISI in its inspection of Reed’s last year. There have been many exciting developments in our provision for educating our pupils in the principles of entrepreneurship and enterprise, as well as other areas beyond the curriculum to prepare them for the future. Under the leadership of Ed


Marsh, Head of Economics and Business, pupils throughout the School are learning the principles of enterprise and financial competency. The A Level subjects of Economics and Business have enjoyed an increase in pupil uptake, with a considerable number going on to businessrelated Higher Education courses. These traditional pathways are complemented by the School’s first BTEC course in Enterprise which was launched last September. Much of the work for this is practical, involving research and building relationships with local businesses in the area, which allows for a thorough understanding of the issues involved in starting a business and fostering innovation in a corporate setting. Sixth Form participation in the Young Enterprise charity has also been invigorated in the past couple of years, with pupil-led companies launching products ranging from studyskills resources to dog treats! Meanwhile, Third Form (Year 9) entrepreneurs created their own products for the School’s Christmas Fair last year. These boys learnt about the importance of market positioning and how to pitch a brand, having completed vital research on their target market and potential competitors. At the Christmas Fair, they had a successful afternoon with each team making around £100 selling House beanies, Christmas baubles, AirPod cases and self-styled chilli sauce. During the Spring Term, boys in The Close (Years 7 & 8) spent an afternoon competing to make innovative and sustainable products in an Enterprise Festival Challenge which was led by Sixth Form entrepreneurs. We are also working in partnership with the local


branch of investment company, Killik & Co, to develop resources and opportunities introducing education in personal finance to different year groups, promoting financial literacy, planning as a family and responsible investing. Many of these initiatives are part of our extensive Sixth Form Elective Programme that allows pupils to gain breadth beyond their A Levels. Along with the BTEC in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, there are also options to study for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which teaches high-level skills such as planning, critical analysis, independent research and presentation; Language for Business, which focuses on TURN BACK TO PAGES 42-45 to read about Ultra Education and their work with children teaching entrepreneurship

specific language skills such as how to communicate within a business environment and the vocabulary needed to participate in the world of finance; Politics AS Level to ensure our young people have the opportunity to grasp how our political constitution works in the UK, and Coding, which is a very useful skill for those wishing to study maths or a science-related subject at university. Pupils also enjoy many other extra-curricular opportunities which broaden their education. Leadership is learnt through formal leadership training sessions, as well as partaking in the Duke of Edinburgh Award and Combined Cadet Force (CCF). Toastmasters Club, the Debating Society and Model United Nations teach public speaking skills and how to communicate well.

A regular series of thoughtprovoking lectures are given by speakers from commerce and industry for all pupils. For example, recently, pupils heard from an Alumni and serial entrepreneur, whose recent business sold for over £150 million, on what it takes to launch a successful start-up. These are complemented by FutureCareers Seminars with a wealth of speakers from our community of parents and former pupils who provide insights into various fields of work to aid careermaking decisions. JON ROSS Deputy Head of Curriculum www.reeds.

Our Values: An Education for Life

Independent Schools Inspectorate - 2022

For further information:

t: 01932 869001 | w: | e: Sandy Lane | Cobham | Surrey | KT11 2ES


Putney High

Single-Sex or Co-Ed? What is best for your child? Single-sex schools are an important component of Britain’s renowned education system, with the prestige of many worldfamous institutions attracting students from all over the globe. Today, around 12% of government-funded schools are single-sex, with independent single-sex schools making up just 6% of schools in England. However, there are many who don’t believe that singlesex schools are appropriate in our modern age. With the growing prominence of gender inclusivity efforts, the division of students according to the traditional gender binary model has led some to claim that single-sex education may be a little outdated. Many also feel as though these schools perhaps hark back to a more patriarchal time in our history, in which boys and girls were taught different subjects in separate spaces, potentially lessening the opportunities available for women in the wider world. However, it cannot be denied

that single-sex schools – girls’ schools in particular – seem to dominate the independent schools league tables for GCSE and A Level performance. Despite girls’ schools making up just 13% of the independent sector, they often fill up to half of the top 30 places in the Sunday Times Independent Schools league tables. Putney High School GDST is one such girls’ school. Putney High states: “Girls’ schools are overwhelmingly among the


highest academic performing schools in the country, so clearly, they must be doing something right.” They believe that: “Certainly, when it comes to academic achievement, with fewer distractions and an environment where they feel nurtured and supported, girls feel empowered to discover their passions and to excel in whatever they choose.” Helen Carrington, Head of Physics at Putney High School, also speaks up as to the benefits of a singlesex environment on the intake of students in STEM subjects, which are traditionally thought to be male-dominated fields: “We don’t have the problem of getting students to take STEM, or speak up in lessons, or achieve good grades – so we can focus on their enjoyment and enchantment with the subjects themselves.” Similarly, St Catherine’s School, Bramley praises the benefits of a girls-only environment in terms of physical education and extracurriculars: “It is widely proven that physical exercise is critical to young people’s physical and emotional wellbeing, and that participation supports academic achievement. Over 70% of girls aged 11 to 18 represent St Catherine’s in a sports team.

Eltham College

These statistics bely Women in Sport’s 2022 analysis of the national picture of 1.3 million girls dropping sport due to fear of being judged and because they lack confidence. Team sports give our girls critical life skills such as discipline, leadership, teamwork and resilience.” These leadership values are particularly emphasised at St Catherine’s and they state: “In a girls’ only school, there is no forced selection of one Head Boy and one Head Girl, one male Science Prefect and one female Science Prefect. All our girls take leadership roles as Prefects or Subject Mentors and deliver them in their way, be that collaboratively, authoritatively or creatively. The young women at St Catherine’s are catalysts for change.” Many criticisms of single-sex schools, however, often arise from the idea that students will be socially disadvantaged in terms of their ability to communicate with colleagues of another gender in future workplaces, but many single-sex schools have strong links and partnerships that seek to prevent this. St Paul’s School, London, is one such boys’ school. The High Master, Sally-Anne Huang, explains how they are: “Uniquely placed,” as they “work so closely with St Paul’s Girls’ School and provide ‘the best of both worlds’ – the specialist nature of a singlesex environment, with a thorough programme of both academic and co-curricular activities, where the two schools work together and pupils make friends and meet as equals. It’s an exciting offer for families to see the highest performing boys’ school in the country partnering with the highest performing girls’ school.” Therefore,



St Paul’s Boys’

many single-sex schools offer some of the same benefits associated with mixed gender ones. Mr. Stuart Turner, Deputy Head of the co-educational Emanuel School, London, believes that students of all genders at Emanuel: “thrive by sharing fresh perspectives with one another.” Emanuel has also established “a number of pupil voice groups in recent years that allow pupils to explore matters of diversity at a variety of levels”, which allows them “to ensure that all pupils feel valued and appreciated at the school.” For instance, ‘The Bridge’ is their gender equality group, whilst ‘The Athena Society’ is an academic discussion and debate group that focuses upon feminist matters. So, gender inclusion is certainly possible in either a single-sex or co-educational environment. Furthermore, Mr. Guy Sanderson, Headmaster of Eltham College, echoes this sentiment: “The world is full of men and women living together and working together in all sorts of roles. As it is the world

that young boys and girls will themselves grow into, it seems very natural for school to be a place that helps nurture and inspire young minds, and helps them learn together, collaborate and compete with one another, and laugh and play together with equal access and opportunities to develop their potential as individuals, irrespective of gender.” A lot of research has taken place and the results so far seem to suggest that differences in outcomes have less to do with the division of gender and is more a product of the culture of aspiration and support that successful schools develop and instil within their pupils, giving them the confidence to take risks and aim high. When deciding whether to choose single-sex or co-ed for your child, it is best to consider the schools that are available and visit them well in advance. Every child is different and therefore it is important to consider their personality, interests and the schools that are the best fit for them. EMILY PARSONS Assistant Editor TURN TO PAGES 82-83 to read about the Oxbridge application selection process



Online Safety Guidelines How to support children navigating social media At Lifting Limits, we have been supporting schools and parents around the impact of influencers and how to safely navigate the online world, including the provision of guidance for schools and parents around challenging misogynistic and sexist narratives. Below are eight ways adults can support children: 1. Take time to talk

Talk regularly and positively about the internet with children, starting these conversations at an early age. 2. Support children to separate fact from fiction

Promote critical thinking and encourage children to ask, “What is the purpose of this video? What might it be encouraging me to do?” Explain that videos are often carefully choreographed and edited to give a false impression of reality. 3. Take it all seriously

Influencers’ content is usually aimed at teenagers and young adults, however, negative and harmful messaging can sometimes reach younger children online. It is important to take all of this content seriously, even something that might be said as ‘fun’. Approach any incidents in a developmentally appropriate way for the child, reminding them that things meant as a joke can still be upsetting and inappropriate. 4. Challenge gender stereotypes

A rigid belief in gender roles and harmful stereotypes are promoted and normalised by some online influencers. If

children are exposed to one viewpoint and one type of role model, they are more likely to subscribe to fixed and potentially harmful views around gender roles as they grow. 5. Remember appropriate age limits for online platforms

Despite much younger children having access to these sites, most platforms are not suitable for children until they are at least 13 years old. Discuss why these age limits are in place and the responsibilities that social media companies hold around the safety of its users. 6. Explain how social media platforms work

The algorithms embedded in various platforms are designed to make you click - they will encourage emotion-driven, exciting content that will entice more screen time by promoting videos similar to those already watched. Help children to block certain words or phrases that are not supporting them in feeling positive. Remind children that if they ever see anything that they are unsure or concerned about, they should always seek out a


trusted adult for support in the real world. 7. Share that everyone can be affected negatively

Everyone can suffer because of harmful messaging from some online influencers. Misogyny (an ingrained prejudice against women) and sexism can be common themes in some videos, which are obviously damaging for girls and women. However, boys and men and those of other genders are equally vulnerable to narratives around unhealthy masculinities and the inappropriate role models some videos expose them to. 8. Think about your family’s online world

It is easy for adults not to follow online wellbeing techniques themselves. Do you actively seek out positive content whilst online? Do you set limits for yourself on social media and on your devices? Think about your own mental health and model positive habits for your child. KIRSTY RUTHVEN Head of Education at Lifting Limits


Rites for Girls What was missing in your education? “I learned about tectonic plate movements, but not about how to manage my big feelings. I learned how to multiply fractions, but not how to find my voice.” What if you’d had the experience of belonging to a group of girls where you didn’t have to change anything about yourself to fit in, because you were accepted exactly as you were? What difference would that have made to your life? At Rites for Girls, that’s what we offer young women. Girls’ Net provides guidance and camaraderie through times of challenge to small groups of same-age girls (aged eight to eighteen) in weekly online sessions over six weeks. Our mentors offer tools for coping well and the girls access their inner resources whilst also realising that they’re not alone (and can support each other). Girls Journeying Together groups offer a year of in-person monthly support for pre-teen girls as they practise being true to themselves, learn about puberty, share their hopes and fears, make the transition from primary to secondary school and help each other into their teens.

We support girls to emerge from adolescence stronger than they went in, working to prevent the high rates of anxiety, selfharm and low esteem. We train women to facilitate Girls Journeying Together and Girls’ Net groups, supporting the girls and their mothers. Facilitators become ‘the woman they needed at eleven’ and are provided with meaningful work that fits around other commitments, enabling them to serve in a diverse range of cultures and bring back the power of community in a way that appeals to today’s girls. From Daughter to Woman: Parenting girls safely through their teens by our founder, Kim McCabe, is a practical book for parents of girls

aged eight to eighteen, bringing back the joy of parenting a preteen into and through her teens. The Rites for Girls CIC mission is to change the world one girl at a time, by making the lives of young women safer, kinder and better supported. Join us! TURN TO PAGE 61 to read about Internet Safety




Barbie dolls

the female form into one of objectification. Early attempts to increase The original influencer representation in the Barbie, such On March 9th 1959, Mattel launched as Christie, a Black doll released in the first Barbie doll in New York 1968, have been largely superseded City. Today, Barbie remains one of by imagery of a doll who is white, the most iconic and popular toys in slim, blonde-haired and blue-eyed. contemporary culture. The doll, typically for children Inspiration for the original between the ages of 9 and 12, very doll came from mother and quickly obtained a stronghold on entrepreneur Ruth Handler. children’s cultural imagination Ruth believed the creation of the around female beauty standards. Barbie could work as a source of Parents have consistently inspiration for young girls who expressed outrage and fear over wanted to achieve goals beyond the power of the doll on young the categories of mother, wife girls, with several studies showing or caregiver, represented by the the doll’s negative impact on selfmajority of female-targeted toys at esteem. the time. Mattel has since taken steps However, Barbie diverged off to increase the diversity and this path of redefining womanhood inclusivity of its dolls. In 2015, and became synonymous with Barbie introduced three new body a vacuous form of unrealistic types: curvy, tall and petite, and in and unattainable beauty: turning 2019, dolls reflecting permanent

physical disabilities have been added—including a doll with a wheelchair and prosthetic leg. As of today, there are over 35 skin tones, over 94 hairstyles and 9 body types. Beyond Barbie herself, Mattel continues to take an active stance against racism, using its global status to educate children about racial injustice and discrimination. Not only does the company ensure that one in five dolls developed by the brand are Black, but have also developed the Barbie Vlogger platform to speak openly about racism. TATIANA SUMMERS Co-Editor

Unleashed This is unmistakably

Discover more at An independent School for boys aged 4 - 11 and girls aged 4 - 18 | Surbiton High School is part of United Learning.


Tate: What is the way forward? The importance of a gender transformative education The arrest of Andrew Tate, social media’s most prominent misogynist influencer, has reignited gender debates. Detained in Romania late last year, Andrew Tate’s high-profile case and output have given us real cause to question how far lessons have been learnt after incidents of shocking violence towards women, past and present. Rightly, it is the influence that Tate and other similar figures hold over some young men that concerns us most, and which leaves us trying to understand why many still engage with this insidious content despite the best efforts of schools and other organisations across the country. Challenging Unhealthy Behaviour

Influencers like Tate are poster boys for disenfranchised men

who feel under attack and are an expression of masculinity in crisis. The backlash they represent illustrates how overdue and necessary it has been to reassess outdated modes of masculinity. Why is challenging unhealthy and abusive behaviour so divisive? The answer, as so many others have already argued, is because it is so embedded in society’s gendered values. Deconstructing these have left many feeling uncertain at best, and under attack at worst. So, what is the way forward from this? Pathway for Progress

As adults, we must reflect on how we have been shaped and affected by our backgrounds and society. We may all have played an active part in perpetuating outdated and gendered ideas

and been victim to them too. Reflecting on this has required a good deal of soul searching and, as one might expect at any point of real societal change, left many questioning what to think and feel. Realistically, this work will never be ‘done’ or ‘finished’; as daunting as that sounds, perhaps it gives us scope to accept we are all still learning, as much as it is a caution that we all have a lot to learn. As parents we need to apply empathy to our children. Many young people don’t agree with or even watch videos by the likes of Tate, but if they do and if they agree with some of what he has to say, how should we react? I think we can find the answer in the positive comments to those videos. These young people feel ‘lost’, that for them Tate is ‘the hero we all NEEDED’ [sic]. Influencers have become voices in the wilderness of adolescence, guiding through the dimly contemplated paths of what it means to be a ‘grown-up’. An influencer’s brand relies on them picking a message and sticking to it; in this case, it has resulted in a toxic but powerfully persuasive simplification of the way forward for young men coming into adulthood. The Values We Live

What does ‘being an adult’ mean after all? I feel that for young people this is not just a crisis of value, but a crisis of understanding value. These influencers speak most strongly to those who feel cast aside by society in part for not living up to an ideal perpetuated through media platforms. A significant part of Tate’s allure is the glamour of his online image. This belies the fact that, while he may have a lot of money and TURN BACK TO PAGE 57 to read about Rites for Girls



some backswanky cars, citing his personal philosophy as the root of his ‘success’, he lived in an industrial estate and his hubris was brought down by a poorlyjudged pizza delivery. Rather than signifying our social worth through material things, we need to show these young men that the values we live by are a stronger indicator of a ‘successful’ life than the ‘value’ we have. Educating Ourselves

Finally, as teachers we must continue to strive to become better educated about misogynist subculture. This means being aware of the lexicon of incel culture and how misogynists have adopted the language of the Wachowski sisters’ 1999 film The Matrix to communicate their ideology. What might seem like an innocent cultural reference in

the midst of a maths lesson could have a darker significance, giving an early indication of a child’s steps towards radicalisation. Or, less obscurely, how familiar are we with the opus of these influencers? Do we have the knowledge and resources to facilitate both the punitive and restorative work which will help bring about cultural change? My guess is that not all of us do. Ultimately, we are trying to affect cultural change. It isn’t happening overnight and it won’t. The way forward is going to require patience and acceptance that there will be setbacks and

new challenges to overcome. But we will work continuously and collaboratively in the hope we can eventually overcome it. WILL HOWELL-HARTE Head of PSHE at Alleyn’s School


For children aged 11 - 18

We offer a range of scholarships and means-tested bursaries. 020 8557 1500 • Townley Road, Dulwich, London, SE22 8SU


Parenting in the age of pornography Youth culture and the significance of sexual health and wellbeing Children as young as nine are now being exposed to online pornography, according to a new report released in January this year by the Children’s Commissioner for England. Dame Rachel de Souza speaks of being “deeply concerned about the normalisation of sexual violence in online pornography, and the role that this plays in shaping children’s understanding of sex and relationships”. With 91% of 11-year-olds owning a smartphone as of 2022, pornography is more accessible to young children than ever before. The social media site Twitter is found to be the primary source of pornography for young people – ranking above dedicated pornography websites – which is especially disturbing given that thirteen is the minimum age for sign-up on the platform. The report shows that, on average, children first see pornography at the age of just thirteen. At age nine, 10% of children have been exposed, 27% at age eleven and 50% by age thirteen. Even more worryingly, 79% of the young people surveyed reported having seen violent pornography before the age of eighteen. Dame Rachel talks of how she “will never forget the girl who told me about her first kiss with her boyfriend, aged twelve, who strangled her. He had seen it in pornography and thought it was normal.” Pornography is an industry that thrives on setting unrealistic standards, and many experts warn that it should not be a source of sex education for children and young adults. Young boys in particular are

“The adult content which parents may have accessed in their youth could be considered ‘quaint’ in comparison to today’s world of online pornography”

shown to be affected by this rise in access to pornography, as 21% of the surveyed males aged 16-21 admitted to viewing pornographic content at least once a day in the two weeks leading up to the study. This was in comparison to just 7% of girls. Not to mention that, due to the personal and embarrassing nature of this study, the Children’s Commissioner warns that the statistics gathered are very likely to be an underestimate of the truth. Consuming pornography with an unhealthy frequency is considered by some medical professionals to be best considered as an addiction, given its very real potential for harm. For instance, the report finds that increased pornography consumption correlates with an increase in harmful and violent attitudes towards women and girls: committing acts of sexual coercion and aggression; engaging in casual and risky sex; as well as having lower self-esteem and body image.

Dame Rachel particularly wanted to emphasise the fact that “the adult content which parents may have accessed in their youth could be considered ‘quaint’ in comparison to today’s world of online pornography”, as it is found that parents are often unaware of the ease with which this content can be accessed online. One study by the BBFC found that 75% of parents believed their child had not encountered pornography. Of those children, over half of them had. The report had some advice to offer parents who may be concerned about their children, including: H aving age-appropriate conversations about pornography, preferably before the child receives their first phone K eeping up-to-date with new technology and trends K nowing where to go for external support if you are concerned about your child E nsuring that your child knows they can ask for advice and support without judgement should they come across something upsetting online The National Crime Agency (NCA) also produces a lot of resources designed to help parents approach these conversations with their child, through their #AskTheAwkward initiative. EMILY PARSONS Assistant Editor TURN BACK TO PAGE 56 to read about steps to ensure children are using the internet safely



Popular maintained and grammar schools for parents in Berkshire and Hampshire PRIMARY SCHOOLS SCHOOL HEADTEACHER WEBSITE Birch Copse Primary School Mr. J Micklewhite Caversham Primary School Mrs. Ruth Perry Compton C.E. Primary School Mrs. Sharon Annetts Elvetham Heath Primary School Mrs. Megan Robinson Emmer Green Primary School Mrs. Tonia Crossman Enborne C.E. Primary School Mr. Tristan Whiteman Four Marks Church of Mrs. Veronica Stoodley www.fourmarksprimary. England Primary School Harrison Primary School Mrs. Sara Gmitrowicz Holy Family Catholic Mrs. Sara Benn Primary School Holy Trinity CofE Primary Miss. Anna Smith School, Cookham Otterbourne Church of Mr. Martin Geraghty England Primary School Red Barn Community Ms. Sam Way www.redbarnprimaryschool. Primary School Redlands Primary School Mr. Kevin Harcombe St Francis Church of England Mrs. Dawn Harrison Primary School St Luke’s Church of England Mrs. Rachel Goplen Primary School St Mary Bourne Primary School Mrs. Jacqueline Hopkins Theale C.E. Primary School Mrs. Catherine Morley Waltham St Lawrence Mrs. Li-Juan Ellerton Primary School Wellington Community Mrs. Catherine Miller Primary School Westwood Farm Infant School Mrs. Geraldine Ross www.westwoodfarmschools.

LOCATION Wittenham Avenue, Reading, RG31 5LN Hemdean Road, Reading, RG4 7RA School Road, Newbury, RG20 6QU The Key, Fleet, GU51 1DP Grove Road, Reading, RG4 8LN Enborne, Newbury, RG20 0JU Five Lanes End, Alton, GU34 5AS Harrison Road, Fareham, PO16 7EQ High Street, Slough, SL3 8NF School Lane, Maidenhead, SL6 9QJ Main Road, Otterbourne, Winchester, SO21 2EQ Linden Lea, Fareham, PO16 8HJ Redlands Lane, Fareham, PO16 0UD Pilgrims Close, Eastleigh, SO53 4ST West Beams. Road, Lymington, SO41 6AE School Lane, Andover, SP11 6AU Englefield Road, Reading, RG7 5AS School Road, Reading, RG10 0NU Alexandra Road, Aldershot, GU11 1QJ Fullbrook Crescent, Reading, RG31 6RY

SECONDARY SCHOOLS SCHOOL HEADTEACHER WEBSITE LOCATION Crofton School Mr. Simon Harrison Marks Road, Fareham, PO14 2AT Henry Beaufort School Miss. Susan Hearle Priors Dean Road, Winchester, SO22 6JJ Herschel Grammar School Ms. Joanne Rockall Northampton Avenue, Slough, SL1 3BW Kendrick School Ms. Christine Kattirtzi London Road, Reading, RG1 5BN Kings’ School Dr. James Adams Romsey Road, Winchester, SO22 5PN Langley Grammar School Mr. John Constable Reddington Drive, Langley, SL3 7QS Purbrook Park School Mr. Paul Foxley Park Avenue, Waterlooville, PO7 5DS Reading School Mr. Ashley Robson Erleigh Road, Reading, RG1 5LW St Bernard’s Catholic Mr. Paul Kassapian 1 Langley Road, Slough, SL3 7AF Grammar School Testbourne Community Mr. Jon Beck Micheldever Road, Whitchurch, RG28 7JF School The Downs School Mr. Chris Prosser Manor Crescent, Newbury, RG20 6AD Upton Court Grammar Mr. Mark Pritchard Lascelles Road, Slough, SL3 7PR School Warblington School Mr. Mike Hartnell Southleigh Road, Havant, PO9 2RR Yateley School Mr. Paul German School Lane, Yateley, GU46 6NW



EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE RECOMMENDED SCHOOLS Beech Lodge School Located in Maidenhead, Beech Lodge School is a small special school for children aged between 7 and 19 with emotional and social difficulties. The school offers a nurturing and innovative approach to education for those requiring an individually tailored learning environment, helping them to build life skills and social skills. Access is available to therapeutic and specialist interventions, as well as further educational tools which enable students to achieve their maximum potential.

Bradfield College Bradfield College provides an outstanding education for life, equipping the young people in its care to flourish personally and professionally and be a force for good in the world. From the boarding house, games field and chemistry lab to the debating chamber and Greek theatre, its pupils grow in confidence and resilience. Through living in a diverse community and through outreach partnerships beyond it, they become more openminded and develop communication skills. Through wholehearted curricular and cocurricular engagement, Bradfieldians learn the importance of enjoying learning, of physical and mental wellbeing and of creativity, whilst developing their powers of inquiry and innovation.

Brockhurst and Marlston House Schools The Brockhurst and Marlston House Schools are twin schools that share the same estate in Newbury, Berkshire. Brockhurst is an all-boys’ establishment, while Marlston House is an all-girls’ establishment. This unique setup offers a unique education for its students, who get to experience the benefits of both single-sex and co-educational school experiences: classes are small and single-sex, while extra-curricular activities are shared for children aged between 3 and 13. The school also has a facility based in South West France, which is an 18th Century chateau.

Cheam School Cheam School is a co-educational day and boarding school for pupils between the ages of 3 and 13. It aims to offer a bright learning environment which enables its pupils to grow and thrive, bringing happiness, confidence and emotional intelligence with them into their futures. Occupying 85 stunning acres of countryside in Headley, the school is one of the oldest preparatory schools in the country.

Downe House School Downe House is an independent all-girls’ school located in Thatcham, Berkshire. Offering a unique, all-round education, Downe House encourages its students to reach their highest academic results - reflected in excellent examination results at all levels - whilst also developing social and personal skills. The school’s active Creative Arts Faculty ensures a wide range of extra-curricular activities are on offer. Downe House is also strong in music, sports and drama.



Eagle House School Founded in 1820, Eagle House is one of the country’s oldest preparatory schools, located in Sandhurst, Berkshire. The school has around 120 pupils in its Pre-Prep and Nursery, and over 230 pupils in the Prep School. Many Year 8 pupils from Eagle House are awarded scholarships from their choice of senior school, and the school takes pride in its excellent academic record.

Eton College Eton College, located in Windsor, is an independent all-boys’ boarding school for around 1,350 pupils aged between 13 and 18, which aims to provide the best all-round education possible to prepare young people for success and happiness as they move into adulthood. Eton hosts a dynamic range of educational activities and possesses an expanding network of educational partnerships. Eton also has a Learning Support Centre for boys with disabilities and special educational needs.

Heathfield School Heathfield School is a dynamic all-girls’ day and boarding school located in Ascot, Berkshire. Their focus is ‘Girls First’, which is why exceptional opportunities are created for pupils both inside and outside the classroom. Heathfield puts happiness and well being high on its list of priorities, and that’s part of why pupils’ academic success is so outstanding: in 2022, 100% of A Level students confirmed places at their first-choice destination.

Highfield Preparatory School Highfield Preparatory School is an outstanding independent preparatory school for boys aged 3 to 7 years old and girls aged 3 to 11 years old. Highfield’s community is a small, close-knit family, which nurtures children to develop into compassionate, resilient and confident individuals who are ready to take on the world. The school delivers specialist teaching to small classes that form a kind, caring and nurturing education environment.

Horris Hill Horris Hill is a school based near Newbury, Berkshire, which aims to provide its students with an excellent education tailored to each individual, encouraging academic ambition. Offering a plethora of experiences across the academics, sports and the arts, the school wants to ensure that every child is able to discover their skills and passions, and is happy and confident throughout their education. Horris Hill promotes kindness, courage, respect and resilience in its community, and focuses on the benefits of good manners, good humour, having the spirit to succeed, and hard work.



Lambrook Set within a picturesque 43 acres of grounds in East Berkshire, Lambrook is an independent co-educational school for students aged between 3 and 13 years old. Founded in 1860, the school has around 450 students, and provides them with a vast array of educational opportunities while maintaining high academic standards. Lambrook is known for developing its students to be well-rounded, independent, creative individuals who move forward to leading independent senior schools throughout the country.

Leighton Park School Leighton Park School, located in Reading, Berkshire, is a co-educational day and boarding school for students from over twenty different countries aged between 11 and 18 years old. The school’s distinctive ethos, which is based upon Quaker values, enables students’ outstanding academic achievement and pastoral care. The site’s stunning location provides an enriching learning environment for students, where they can live, breathe, study, learn, grow and mature in an oasis of calm, while still being close to Reading town centre.

Long Close School As Slough’s leading independent school, Long Close School provides an outstanding education for its students. It is a co-educational school for children aged between 2 and 16 years, and has a reputation for outstanding academic results. The school is proud of its nurturing environment and the diverse range of opportunities that are offered to students. Long Close School encourages students to reach their full potential and inspires them to be the very best they can be.

LVS Ascot LVS Ascot is an independent co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 4 to 18. The award-winning school enables students to exceed their personal expectations by providing a rounded education, balancing academic excellence with co-curricular activities such as sports, performing and other creative opportunities. The spacious 26-acre site houses four boarding houses, as well as all the facilities for the Infant & Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form.

Our Lady’s Preparatory School Located in Crowthorne, Berkshire, Our Lady’s Preparatory School is a family school that is home to a supportive, committed and vibrant community, where every pupil is inspired to reach their full potential and be the best they can be - this is reflected in the school’s motto, ‘Deus Meus et Omnia’ (My God and My All), which also highlights its Roman Catholic foundation. As a school community, Our Lady’s strives to create, deliver and live its supportive and caring ethos. The school describes its students as one of its most unique attributes - Our Lady’s pupils are proud of their school and are able to blossom and be themselves.



Papplewick Papplewick is an independent day, weekly and full boarding preparatory school for boys aged between 6 and 13 years old. With around 210 pupils, the school celebrates individuality and provides a broad range of both academic and extra-curricular activities for students. Small class sizes ensure each individual is seen, and the benefits of this are evident: in the last three years, 33 Papplewick students have received scholarships to major public schools.

Queen Anne’s School Queen Anne’s is known for its outstanding ‘value added’: a broad, balanced curriculum to GCSE, including Computing and Dance; an exciting range of traditional and new subjects in Sixth Form, ranging from Psychology and Sociology to Media and Music Technology; outstanding careers and university guidance for UK and overseas institutions including Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. Known for its performing arts, the school also boasts an extensive co-curricular programme. Sports such as lacrosse, tennis and swimming feature highly both in academic and co-curricular PE. Head of School, Ms. Purves, believes in providing an environment where girls can thrive academically and holistically to provide a brilliant launchpad for life.

St. Bernard’s Prep School St. Bernard’s Preparatory School teaches children self-belief, encouraging them to pursue their passions. They challenge every child, celebrating achievements, pausing to reflect on progress and then asking them to reach for more. St. Bernard’s are also proud of their academic success - The Sunday Times ranked it as England’s 7th best prep school - a place where all talents are valued and nurtured. The school produces well-rounded, literate conversationalists, providing a solid foundation for life. They believe in kindness, respect and understanding, celebrating their similarities and differences with equal vigour. Great teaching, great children, great results - a great school!

St Gabriel’s School St Gabriel’s is a co-educational day school which encourages its students to reach their fullest potential by providing them with an inspiring and balanced education. Academic rigour is combined with a strong sense of community as well as a vast breadth of opportunity. An incremental approach is being used to ensure a smooth transition into a fully co-educational school in 2026: in September 2022, boys were welcomed into Year 7, and as of September 2024, boys will be welcomed into Year 9 and the Sixth Form.

St George’s School, Ascot St George’s is an all-girls’ day and boarding school located in Ascot, Berkshire, which prides itself on the cohesion and balance between its boarding and day community. Each individual student is looked after as a top priority, with every girl being allocated a personal tutor who encourages her to reach her maximum potential and celebrate her success, and oversees her wellbeing, both academic and pastoral. A unique area of St George’s is the extended day: for all students, lessons finish at 4pm, and are followed by an hour of clubs to ensure all students have opportunities to try new activities and make different friends. TURN BACK TO PAGE 62 to see the suggested maintained school options 66 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3


St George’s School, Windsor St George’s School in Windsor is a co-educational day and boarding choir school which possesses a heritage dating back to 1348. The school takes pride in its nurturing and kind community, and has a pioneering vision coupled with a determination to do things differently. With around 350 students aged between 3 and 13, St George’s prepares them for the opportunities that await them beyond prep school, ensuring that learning is ambitious and rigorous yet also enjoyable.

St. Mary’s School St. Mary’s is an all-girls’ Roman Catholic boarding school located in Ascot, Berkshire, for ages 11 to 18. With only around 380 pupils, the school houses a caring, warm community which aims to help each student reach their full potential. The St. Mary’s experience is exciting and vibrant, and the school is proud of its tradition of academic excellence as well as its array of co-curricular activities on offer. Though they are a full boarding school, there are a few places available for day pupils living nearby.

St Piran’s School St Piran’s School is an independent co-educational school for children from ages 2 to 13 years located in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The school delivers a well-balanced, all-round education to its students, providing access to a vast array of opportunities combined with leadership skills and social skills. Renowned for its welcoming atmosphere and motivated students, St Piran’s aims to offer an excellent academic education while also maintaining students’ creativity and additional skills in areas like music, drama and sport. Although the school might have 200 years of history behind it, St Piran’s ensures it is always looking to the future.

The Marist School Located in Ascot, The Marist School is an all-girls’ Catholic school for pupils aged between 2 and 18, with a co-ed nursery for ages 2 to 4. The school has four phases: Early Years (Nursery and Reception), Preparatory, Senior and Sixth Form – some students remain with the school throughout, while others join at various stages. Rated ‘Excellent’ in all areas by the ISI in 2021, The Marist School believes education goes beyond acquiring knowledge, it is about developing students’ curiosity and character, creating a vibrant environment for learning.

Upton House School Founded in 1936, Upton House School is an independent co-educational school for students aged between 2 and 11 years old. The school’s small class sizes ensure each child can benefit from the specialist teachers from nursery-age upwards. Upton House delivers a broad, inclusive curriculum and believes wholeheartedly in the importance of learning through fun, inspiring children to develop their own individual talents and help others. The school prepares all children for their future in education and enhances their awareness of the world they live in.




Sunningdale School Sunningdale School is a family-owned prep school for boys aged 8 to 13 that provides an exceptional educational experience. With a focus on the happiness and wellbeing of its pupils, the

school offers outstanding pastoral care and high academic standards that bring out the best in every boy. Sunningdale boys are curious, engaged and not afraid to take risks, resulting in excellent academic achievements and entrance to the best senior schools in the country. The school also offers a wide range of sports, music and other

activities that promote personal growth and wellroundedness. Sunningdale is located close to London and Heathrow, making it an ideal choice for families looking for a first-class education in a perfect setting. Sunningdale School have also recently rolled out various initiatives, involving wellbeing (installation of a HappyorNot feedback machine where pupils can anonymously express their feelings; drop-in sessions offered by the school counsellor; tracking of changes in weekly effort grades so any sudden differences are noted and investigated) and preparation for senior school assessments (individualised approach to ISEB preparation based on weekly practice and mock test performances;


Wellington College Wellington College, located in Crowthorne, Berkshire, is an excellent co-educational day and boarding school which seeks to enable its 1,200 students, aged between 13 and 18, to help serve and shape a better world. Life at Wellington College is underpinned by its key values: kindness, courage, respect, integrity and responsibility. With both A Levels and the International Baccalaureate on offer for students, academic expectations are high, and the school’s sporting excellence has an international reputation. Curriculum and pedagogy

are both ‘live’ at Wellington College: their curriculum strives to stimulate intellectual curiosity and develop students’ subject mastery. The curriculum at Wellington College is currently undergoing changes to ensure it effectively educates the pupils. Each subject taught at Wellington is being


encouraged to develop a stand-alone course to be taught within the GCSE scheme of work, to ensure that not all learning is equated with assessment. For example, pupil biologists will learn about modern resistant bacteria and associated necessary drug design. Unique to Wellington, these courses will establish links within

substantial preparation for second stage assessments and interviews, tailor-made for the schools applied to; detailed feedback given following assessments to assist future cohorts). Significant student achievements in the past year include: Academic scholarships to Eton and The Oratory School Various prizes awarded, including: Common Entrance Clay Prize to Harrow, Common Entrance Maths Prize to Uppingham, and prize winner in the SATIPS General Knowledge Challenge Sports scholarships to Stowe and St Edward’s Music scholarships to various institutions including Eton, Harrow and The Oratory School Undefeated squash and rugby teams

and between subjects, making sure the curriculum narrative is structured and connected. In addition, ‘Fragments’ is an academic extension course being offered as an alternative to the Higher Project Qualification for all Year 10 pupils. It will allow pupils to study interesting and important topics that they may otherwise never encounter. Each course is loosely themed and may flit between areas of art, literature, technology, history, philosophy, music, architecture and so on, making connections between seemingly disparate areas of the formal curriculum while also providing a freedom to the learning in the knowledge that there will be no formal assessment.

TURN BACK TO PAGES 8-9 to read about choosing an independent prep school by Alton School



Churcher’s College Churcher’s College is an independent day school for girls and boys aged 3 to 18, offering an inspiring education with opportunities for pupils to flourish and grow both inside and outside the classroom. Excellent examination results are clearly important, but equal significance is placed on the development of selfesteem, moral values and leadership. This enables children to become responsible and selfless citizens ready to succeed in the world. Just one hour from London, the school is located on two beautiful countryside campus sites in Hampshire. The Junior


St Swithun’s School St Swithun’s is a leading independent boarding and day school for girls aged 3 to 18 with a co-educational nursery, set in 45 acres overlooking the Hampshire Downs on the outskirts of Winchester. Founded in 1884, the school promotes quirky fun whilst providing modern academic, sporting, creative and recreational opportunities. St Swithun’s vision is a world where the students see possibilities, not barriers. Their belief is that it’s not just about learning lessons, but learning who they are without fear of failure, censure or outdated attitudes about what

School and Nursery is nestled in leafy Liphook, only ten minutes from the Senior School and Sixth Form in Petersfield. Both boast generous on-site playing fields and unrivalled facilities. In their November 2022 inspection by the Independent Schools

Inspectorate (ISI), Churcher’s College Junior School and Nursery were rated ‘Excellent’ in all areas, with the ISI writing: “The quality of the pupils’ personal development … academic and other activities is excellent.” Ffion Robinson, Head of Churcher’s College Junior

young women can aspire to. St Swithun’s School is currently celebrating after achieving the School Mental Health Award, delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. The school was awarded Gold Standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision. This outstanding provision includes: The bespoke and unique Positive Education programme led by clinical psychologist Dr. O’Connor and Mr. Yates, which focuses on feeling good, doing good and functioning well using an evidence-based approach

to wellbeing, character development and enhancement of academic achievement. Access to a bespoke wellbeing website and The Wellbeing Hub, which provides resources and

School and Nursery, stated: “It is incredibly rewarding to be graded as an excellent school in all areas. We always aim to develop happy and successful learners and therefore to receive this independent endorsement, that the children really do benefit from the opportunities and support to progress, is wonderful.” In response to their success in the inspection, Churcher’s will be offering two form entry across the Infant Department (Reception to Year 2) from September 2023, to match that of Year 3 and above. In addition to this, a new uniform is being introduced. The full ISI report can be found on the Churcher’s College website.

advice to pupils, parents and staff. A course for parents which strengthens the link between school and home alongside parent talks, the parent portal and the hub.



Alton School Alton School is an independent co-ed Catholic School and Nursery for children from 6 months to Sixth Form, located in Hampshire, just off the A31. Pupils benefit from an inclusive and nurturing environment where learning sits at the centre of everything. Relationships with teachers, small classes and individual approaches to each child ensure that everyone enjoys learning and makes excellent academic progress throughout their education.

Ballard School Ballard is an award-winning, independent, co-educational day school for pupils aged 2-16 set within 34 acres between the New Forest and the Solent on the Hampshire and Dorset border. With fantastic facilities, strong results, a sense of community and an exceptional educational ethos, it is rated ‘Excellent and Outstanding’ by ISI (the highest accolade any school can achieve) and is included in the Good Schools Guide. This year, over 40% of pupils gained a top GCSE grade (7-9), double the national average. Ballard also offers a full range of sports teams, orchestras and productions, all to a remarkably high standard.

Bedales Prep School and Bedales School Bedales is a co-educational day and boarding school for students aged 3 to 18 years. Founded as a humane alternative to the authoritarian regimes typical of late-Victorian public schools, Bedales maintains its free-thinking and welcoming environment even today. There are no uniforms, and staff and pupils address each other by their first names, demonstrating the priority given to individuality within the school community. The capacity of students to think independently and creatively is undoubtedly what has led so many of them to achieve strong A Level grades and attend a range of top universities.

Boundary Oak School Boundary Oak School is an independent co-educational school for ages 2 to 16 with boarding facilities for 11 to 16. Set in the heart of Hampshire, nestled in 30 acres of quintessentially English countryside is a school that provides innovative and tailored education through the broadest curriculum possible. This, combined with the outdoor facilities, provides pupils with the space to develop passions for learning, a capacity for independent thinking and to be happy and successful in all aspects of school life. The family ethos, the warmth of the school’s community and its beautiful rural setting makes for a special school experience; a canvas which can only inspire.

Brockwood Park School An international boarding school for students aged 14 to 19, Brockwood Park is a small and intimate community with students and staff attending from more than twenty-five different countries. The size means a high staff-to-student ratio, with around seventy pupils attending the school in total. The school’s central purpose aligns with the holistic teachings of its founder, the philosopher Krishnamurti, valuing freedom from conditioning and inquiries into life as a whole. As the only school of its kind in Europe, Brockwood Park has been praised for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of their students. TURN TO PAGE 75 to read about activities in Berkshire and Hampshire 70 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3


Daneshill School Daneshill is a co-educational prep school for children aged 2 to 13. Firmly believing that children must be happy and confident in their relationships in order to truly thrive, the school is focused on instilling strong values alongside skills such as team work, resilience and having a growth mindset. The school is set in 100 acres of countryside with an array of impressive sports facilities, including an indoor swimming pool. One afternoon a week, the senior pupils take part in an ‘Adventure, Leadership and Service’ programme of activities, involving activities such as sailing, indoor skiing and skydiving, as well as workshop sessions with guest speakers on topics such as ‘image in the media’.

Ditcham Park School A co-educational day school for boys and girls aged 3 to 16 years, Ditcham Park School is a friendly, happy school where “every child is known and valued”. Their small class sizes, strong pastoral care, and opportunities for personal development in sport, arts and outdoor activities all serve to instil self-confidence within students, and allow them to achieve excellent academic qualifications. The school also develops strong links with parents and the local community.

Durlston Court School Durlston Court is an incredibly happy school, with children arriving each day to a positive, nurturing atmosphere with so many chances for them to shine. They make exceptional progress in their learning and have a huge amount of fun doing so. Children are able to join the school at any point. The quality of the relationship between the staff and children is what makes Durlston such a very special place to learn and grow. The small class sizes and ‘family feel’ ensure that the school knows every child - Durlston children are treated as individuals and are welcomed, challenged, motivated and supported in all that they do.

Farleigh School Farleigh School is a leading co-educational IAPS Catholic boarding and day Prep School of 460 children aged 3 to 13, situated in seventy acres of parkland in the Test Valley of Hampshire, just over an hour from London. Boarding and day pupils alike benefit from excellent pastoral care, supported by a large number of resident staff. The school’s Catholic ethos forms the foundation of care for which Farleigh is well known, while welcoming children of all denominations, or none. The school has an excellent academic and sporting reputation, sending pupils to all the major senior schools via Common Entrance and 13+ scholarships.

Highfield and Brookham Schools Highfield and Brookham Schools are co-educational day and boarding Pre-prep and Prep Schools for children aged 2 to 13. Their outstanding academic ambition is exemplified by the ninety-six scholarships pupils have achieved over the last six years to a range of top senior schools. As their grounds are within the South Downs National Park, the school has an impressive range of facilities on offer to pupils: fifteen natural grass pitches, four tennis and netball courts, a nine-hole golf course, squash court, cross-country course and an indoor swimming pool.



King Edward VI School King Edward’s is a leading independent day school in Hampshire with a long and distinguished history, stretching back more than 465 years. Whilst proud of its outstanding academic provision, it is also a community which places every child at the heart of all that it does, seeking to develop in its students the skills and character strengths to allow them to thrive in the twenty-first century. King Edward’s ensures it supports and nurtures its pupils so they are able to flourish and exceed all their expectations in every aspect of their lives, from learning and interests to emotional development and relationships.

Kingscourt Kingscourt Preparatory School and Nursery believe that young children’s education plays a significant role in shaping an amazing childhood. Located in the village of Catherington in the idyllic Hampshire countryside, Kingscourt offers the opportunity for children to learn both inside and outside the classroom. The school is surrounded by 25 acres of walled gardens and private playing fields, allowing its pupils to thrive in a peaceful countryside setting. The excellent range of extracurricular clubs on offer include: painting, fencing and horse-riding, allowing children to pursue a variety of passions and interests.

Lord Wandsworth College An inspiring learning environment for boarding and day pupils, Lord Wandsworth College is a co-educational school welcoming students between the ages of 11 to 18. Situated within a 1200 acre campus of hills and wooded valleys, the school also won the Independent School of the Year Award for Student Wellbeing in 2020. Values like fairness, generosity, courage, creativity, perseverance and curiosity are taught deliberately in every lesson. It is no wonder, then, that students leave the school with the desire to make a positive difference in the world and leave a legacy for the years to come.

Meoncross School Meoncross is a co-educational day school with a strong familial ethos, nurturing students in their educational journey from the age of three in the Nursery, to sixteen in the Upper School. Wellbeing is a particular priority, as every child benefits from the school’s holistic approach and attention to individuality. Academic achievement at all key stages exceeds that of the national average, and their 2022 GCSE results placed the school 10th in The Times Parent Power Guide for 2023.

Portsmouth Grammar School For boys and girls aged 2½ to 18, Portsmouth Grammar School is committed to inspiring their pupils to enjoy learning and be fully prepared for the changing world that lies ahead. Curiosity, creativity, courage, compassion and collaboration are all at the core of school life, and have been for the 300 years since the school’s founding. With all pupils on a single site, there is a family community united by educational excellence as well as a culture of aspiration and engagement. The school also works in purposeful partnerships with the wider community.



Portsmouth High School GDST Portsmouth High School welcomes girls from aged 3 to 18 years. With an enviable reputation for academic success, each girl is helped to build vital confidence and leadership skills to prepare her for her bright future. Students are also part of a vibrant and thriving environment for creative arts, music and sports – many have performed at prestigious concert venues everywhere from Italy to New York. The school’s learning environment is free from gender stereotyping, too, as pupils are just as likely to choose sciences and mathematics as arts based subjects.

Rookwood School Rookwood is a nurturing and vibrant non-selective co-educational boarding school for pupils from 2 to 18 years. They believe every child is unique and take great pride in their ability to develop the individual, supporting and guiding every pupil to bring out their best with outstanding results. Rookwood has an impressive range of amenities including a state-of-the-art sports hall, an outdoor swimming pool, excellent art and science facilities and a boarding provision which has been praised as “Excellent” by the ISI.

Salesian College Salesian College is a Catholic grammar school for boys aged 11 to 18 years with a coeducational Sixth Form. The Salesian Difference involves the school in the role of a home, where students feel secure and supported; a playground, where students form strong and long-lasting friendships; a school, where students achieve their full academic, cultural and sporting potential; and a church, where Christian values are present in daily life. With a 100% pass rate at both GCSE and A Level, as well as extensive extra-curricular facilities, Salesian College is dedicated to fostering an inspiring and uplifting community.

Sherborne House School Sherborne House is a co-educational day school for students aged 6 months to 11 years. Aiming to be the ‘golden thread’ running throughout their pupils’ lives, the school prides itself on its ability to produce capable and inspired individuals who can go on to write their own extraordinary story. The school’s excellent pastoral care and relationship with parents allows students to develop a lifelong love of learning and provide a solid foundation for life.

Sherfield School Sherfield School is a co-educational day and boarding school for students from ages 3 months to 18 years. As children progress through the warm and nurturing school environment, they will develop rigorous academic skills alongside world-class sports, arts and music programmes. The school motto ‘ad vitam paramus’ (‘we prepare for life’) embodies the central values and aims, as pupils are helped to thrive and always endeavour to reach their full potential. Students leave the school ready to contribute meaningfully to society and the wider world.



St Neot’s Preparatory School St Neot’s is a non-selective, co-educational day school in rural North East Hampshire, close to the Surrey and Berkshire borders. It has been part of the Lord Wandworth Family of Schools since 2021. Set in seventy acres of woodland, St Neot’s is a school with a focus on the outdoors and a commitment to having fun combined with family values and community at the heart. St Neot’s is popular with parents living in and around the Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey commuter belt. Pupils come from a wide 15-mile catchment area, including Hook, Yateley, Wokingham, Basingstoke, Reading, Camberley and Fleet.

St Nicholas’ School St Nicholas’ is a junior and senior day school for girls aged 3 to 16, with a co-educational nursery and infant school including boys aged 3 to 7. Children are inspired to learn and grow at their own pace, fostering a lifelong love of learning within a warm and welcoming community. Helping students to succeed is considered just as important as helping them learn to deal with failure, and students are supported with an excellent framework of pastoral care and wellbeing. With St Nicholas being the patron saint of children, an education at the school ensures a happy childhood.

Stroud School Stroud, King Edward VI Preparatory School is an exciting preparatory school where boys and girls thrive in its unique family environment. When visiting, expect to meet children who are kind, respectful and happy. With an ISI Excellent rating, it is the feeder school for King Edward VI School, Southampton, and offers the all-important foundations to a successful onward journey. Set in twenty-two acres of beautiful rural Hampshire, it is a school with a strong academic record, fantastic sports facilities and links to strong academic secondary schools. Stroud’s curriculum achieves the highest academic standard without compromising the key skills its children need to be successful in the workplace and generally in life.

The King’s School Located in Eastleigh, Hampshire, The King’s School has its Primary and Senior Schools - for ages 4 to 11 and 12 to 16 respectively - on one site, viewing itself as a complete family. As a school, The King’s School believes that childhood is something to be valued and treasured, and it enables children to develop a strong sense of identity and look confidently into the future while feeling secure in who they are. The King’s School houses a unique environment for its pupils, where they are able to grow both academically and spiritually, providing a high quality education in a loving, safe Christian environment.

Winchester College As one of the world’s most famous and distinguished schools, Winchester College is a boarding school for boys aged 13 to 18, with a co-educational Sixth Form offering places for day pupils too. It is also one of the country’s oldest surviving schools, with a truly unique wealth of archive resources for students to access. The academic pace is fast and fulfilling, and Winchester has a well-deserved reputation for academic success. The pastoral care for every student is undertaken by their Housemaster or Housemistress, ensuring that each child has access to an extended team for support and to help them explore all that the school has to offer. 74 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3


Top Attractions in Berkshire and Hampshire Things to See and Do National Trust Basildon Park

Basildon Park is a beautiful 18th century country house estate, lovingly restored from ruin in the 1950s. Today, visitors can roam the lavishly re-created rooms of the mansion, as well as the extensive garden grounds. Windsor Castle

The home of 40 monarchs since being built by William the Conqueror over 1000 years ago, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. You can visit the State Apartments, where official visits by Heads of State from other countries take place, as well as the rooms used by historic British Kings and Queens. St George’s Chapel is also on-site, where eleven monarchs - including Queen Elizabeth II - have been laid to rest. oxfordshire-buckinghamshireberkshire/basildon-park

Ascot Racecourse

With an extensive 200-year history, Ascot is a famous site for thoroughbred horse racing. It is home to the prestigious Royal Ascot event in the summer, during which every day begins with a Royal Procession as members of the royal family arrive to the fanfare of the national anthem. Truly, it is not an occasion to be missed!

New Forest National Park

A children’s theme park and young family resort destination, Legoland has something for everyone to enjoy. There are over 55 rides and attractions, two fully-themed resort hotels and over 80 million Lego bricks, all set in 150 acres of parkland.

Situated in the village of Beaulieu at the heart of the New Forest, the National Motor Museum displays a world-famous collection of 285 motor vehicles alongside many related memorabilia. It tells the story of motoring in Britain, ranging from classic cars and F1 racers to the racing car that inspired Ian Fleming’s novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Once a royal hunting ground in the 12th century AD, the New Forest is home to a rare mixture of habitats and wildlife. Wild horses, cows and deer are just some of the animals you might come across during a leisurely stroll or an active hike. There are also paths well suited for cycling, if you would prefer to take in the stunning landscape by bike. Legoland Windsor Resort

National Motor Museum

Highclere Castle

You may recognise this breathtaking architecture from a certain famous television series. As the home of the set of Downton Abbey, many of the state rooms included in the filming of the show are open for exploration by visitors. The building’s extensive history doesn’t end there, though: it was converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers in the First World War, and also acted as a home to children evacuated from London during the Second World War. Highclere Castle is also the current home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. EMILY PARSONS Assistant Editor



Park House, Kintbury, Berkshire. Coming soon. Guide TBC

Countryside Living House hunting in Berkshire and Hampshire The Berkshire and Hampshire area is simply a wonderful place to live, with excellent schooling, good communications and beautiful stretches of countryside being just some of the compelling reasons to buy a property there. Hampshire has too many beautiful and desirable villages to name them all, but an example is the popular and thriving village of Overton, a large and attractive village set on the famous River Test, with a station and access to the Waterloo Line. Interestingly, it still produces banknotes for the Bank of England and others, and is the home to Bombay Sapphire. It has four pubs and a Norman period church, St Mary’s. Basingstoke lies a little further to the South. It is the largest town in Hampshire and was once an old market town, having been extended in the 1960s. It has a number of pavement cafes and bistros, as well as one of the South’s best shopping centres, Festival Place. There are also

outstanding leisure facilities for children. Beyond this is the bustling cathedral city of Winchester, set on the edge of the beautiful South Downs National Park. The South Downs has some incredible paths, ideal for walking, riding or cycling. The South coast has some delightful beaches, ports, coastal walks and, of course, access to the sea. In turn, Berkshire has the magnificent Berkshire Downs to boast about, which is an idyllic spot with almost inexhaustible options for lovers of the outdoors. Newbury, with its large open market square and famous castle ruins, is a bustling market town suffused in history. But what you might not know is that Newbury is home to a fresh and energetic vibe, stoked by some excellent shopping, a


sparkling array of dining options and a thriving café culture. If that wasn’t enough, it provides easy access to some outstanding schools, great leisure facilities and abundant footpaths. With both Reading and Oxford within striking distance, Newbury is well-connected to some of London’s fastest rail-links and is well positioned for both the M4 and A34. On a smaller scale, situated on the banks of the River Kennet, lies Hungerford, which offers market town living at its finest with its desirable setting and attractive architecture. Bordered by the rolling downlands on one side and the magnificent Berkshire Downs on the other, it’s rather a hidden secret to those in the know. With its market square and numerous pubs, this bustling market town also has a rich history. Unknown to many is that the contemporary Hungerford is home to a fresh and energetic feel, thanks to great independent shopping and a plethora of nearby dining options, from excellent gastro pubs to Michelin restaurants and numerous cafés. In addition to this, its locality to outstanding schools, great leisure facilities and access to wonderful country walks means the town is fast becoming West Berkshire’s most soughtafter small town. With both Andover and Newbury close by, Hungerford is well-connected to some of London’s fastest rail-links and is well positioned for road


communications providing access to London, the North and the M5 to the West. There are also a number of excellent state and independent schools in the area. The Country House Department is a specialist country house estate agency, created to provide our clients with the very best levels of service, with the premise very much being a low volume, high service offering. Since launching in June 2020, The Country House Department has sold in excess of £175m worth of property. In this time, they have achieved, on average, 100.9% of the guide prices quoted. They specialise at the top end of the market, with the average sale price for properties they have sold being in excess of £2,000,000, 20% of which has been sold off-market. The team is composed of senior professionals who have previously worked at Savills, Knight Frank or Strutt & Parker, and wanted to pursue their passion for selling top quality homes and providing the undivided attention and care that they deserve. Leading the way with a refreshing and modern approach to selling homes, The Country

Manor Farmhouse, Benham Park, Berkshire. Under offer. Guide £2.5m

Whitehall House, Ashford Hill, Hampshire. Available. Guide price £2.5m (further land available)

House Department combines captivating and innovative marketing with sound and experienced advice, as well as a fair and transparent fee structure. Nick Loweth and Liz McLean are both highly experienced agents, forthright and pragmatic negotiators, that live in the surrounding area and are well regarded for their focused energy and drive in achieving the very best for their clients. Between them, they have 55 years of local knowledge and expertise in the prime property markets of West

Berkshire, North East Wiltshire, North Hampshire and South Oxfordshire, areas in which they both live and have brought up families. “Our area has so much to offer,” says Nick Loweth “the prime drivers are connectivity (M4, M3, Paddington and Waterloo commutes etc.), excellent choices of schooling, both prep and secondary, such as Elstree, Cheam, Brockhurst & Marlston House, Downe House, Bradfield and Wellington to name but a few, as well as some truly beautiful rolling countryside. I love the fact that you can have lunch in a proper rural pub, yet be in town an hour or so later.” Liz McLean comments, “I myself live in a beautiful Hampshire village with a great pub, wonderful countryside and access to some excellent schools. It makes it very easy to sell a location that I personally love so much!” NICK LOWETH Property Agent TURN BACK TO PAGES 68-69 to read the Berkshire and Hampshire School Spotlights



Lush Luxe Inviting nature into your home The sun is courageously stretching over my desk this morning: spring is around the corner! However, beyond the power of intention and hope, we have found a more concrete way to carry us forward, and currently our designs have a common thread: nature. Increasingly, research shows that nature has a plethora of beneficial effects on our wellbeing. By surrounding ourselves with what is fancily called ‘biophilic design’, we now know without a doubt how we can extend the benefits of such interactions and environments into our living and working spaces. This can happen in a myriad of ways. 78 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

Whether it is outside, taking a soothing walk in a park, or inside, surrounding ourselves with plants, we enjoy renewed, fresh, better air, overall balance in health and improved sleep. Having a greenhouse or conservatory is not always available nor essential – we can create a plant corner in a well-lit and airy space or pepper our space with a variety of plant types, sizes and shapes, to complement our décor. I particularly love the idea of a mini, self-contained private jungle in the corner of a room to attract the eye and conjure fantasies of adventure and escape. Lacking green thumbs is not an issue, as there are so many options to choose from: low maintenance or succulent plants, air plants or even preserved plants. If live plants are definitely off the table, consider natural patterns and images as a way of bringing the outside in without worrying about maintenance. You can choose beautiful images of lush greenery or awe-inspiring natural scenes to hang on your walls. You can also choose paint colours that call nature to mind – deep greens, bright yellows, rich ochres and sienna and everything in between – for walls and ceilings! You can also be bolder and commit to the delights of an organic and/or panoramic wallpaper, setting the scene for diving into a landscape or texture; foliage, greenery, waves and ridges. Such exotic or mesmerising patterns can also be the new envelope for furniture and accessories. Allowed to surround ourselves with such open



vistas, perspectives, depths, heights, swirls and branches, we can take a step back and regroup. In turn, we suffer from less stress, anger and anxiety, navigating life’s hurdles with more poise and equanimity. In a more subtle integration of such principles, we can make a conscious effort of being more

discerning about the materials we fill our spaces with. Investing in calm, warm, intricately veined wood or richly patterned stone is for the longterm. The timeless quality of such natural materials instils serenity and solidity into our spaces – well-appreciated values in our uncertain times. Choosing porcelain tiles made from recycled materials, furniture made from repurposed oceanrescued plastics, upholstery fabrics and paints devoid of toxic elements in their composition, production process or treatment, is an engagement that has substance and intention. We enjoy improved concentration, motivation and productivity, whether at home or in an office setting, when we are settled in an environment that follows design principles aligned with our own values, we are at peace. By using materials with longevity and integrity, or indeed by recycling and upcycling, and by reducing our carbon footprint, we in turn feed our engagement towards our own wellbeing, as well as that of those around us and ultimately the planet, providing a well-needed awareness and pride that we all contribute in our own unique ways. So this spring, as we look at how to instil soul and substance into our interior spaces, and indeed how to generate joy and happiness within them and ourselves, let us turn to the basic, elemental forces of nature in all their diversity, to remind ourselves that we are made for each other. MARIE-NOËLLE SWIDERSKI Galuchat Design TURN BACK TO PAGES 38-41 to read about the new London Park School Clapham



An introduction to T Levels Staying informed on post-16 choices There is a wide array of choices on offer to young people when they finish their GCSEs, which can feel overwhelming both for parents and for the young people themselves. It’s important for students to consider what they’re passionate about, what they’re good at and how the qualification they choose to study can aid their long-term ambitions. For parents, it’s about staying up-to-date and open to the various routes on offer. There are many resources available that can help young people make an informed decision. For example, most schools will offer some version of careers advice for students, but it’s also worth remembering places like the National Careers Service (NCS). Their trained advisers can provide advice about all the post-16 and post18 choices and can be accessed

by anyone over sixteen, whether they’re in full-time education or not. Aside from outside advice and guidance, parents and carers often have an influence over the path a young person takes, so it’s important to stay clued up on the various routes available so that useful discussions can be had with them. From T Levels to A Levels, apprenticeships to Higher Technical Qualifications, being aware of what each route has to offer is important to help young people make an informed and supported choice about their future. One of the routes available is T Levels. This is the newest post-16 qualification on offer and is available for students aged sixteen to nineteen years old. T Levels are broadly equivalent

in size to three A Levels and focus on technical and vocational skills, combining study with an industry placement so that young people gain valuable work experience in their chosen sector. These pioneering new qualifications have been designed in collaboration with leading employers to provide the skills that businesses across the country need. The subject areas on offer reflect some of the top growth areas such as digital skills, health and construction. T Levels offer various opportunities upon completion, from going straight into skilled employment, to enrolling for an apprenticeship or going on to study in higher education. Completing a T Level is just one of the choices available after GCSEs. For young people who would prefer to earn while they are learning and want to work alongside experienced professionals, an apprenticeship may be the right choice. Meanwhile, those who are eighteen or over and would like a practical, employer-led study programme may want to look at HTQs. RAY LE-TAROUILLY Career Adviser at the National Careers Service explore-your-education-and-trainingchoices/t-levels



Developing winners Supporting aspiring tennis players of the future

From Emma Raducanu’s historical 2021 US Open win, to tennis legend Andy Murray making it to two ATP finals in 2022, it’s been an exciting few years for British tennis - the success has seen a huge surge in both interest and participation in the sport as a result. New figures from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have captured the growth, with over 3.5 million children playing tennis in 2022 and an extra 328,000 children playing tennis in schools. This success should not be understated. Having overcome reduced access to sport due to the pandemic, thousands of pupils are now benefiting from the unique skills that participation in sports brings, boosting both their physical and mental health while fostering vital soft skills for life. At Loughborough Schools Foundation, we’ve been at the heart of the action thanks to Loughborough Amherst School’s ongoing partnership with the LTA

and Loughborough University. Loughborough University is one of two National Academies for tennis, designed to nurture fourteen to eighteen year olds who demonstrate the greatest future potential in the sport. As part of our relationship, we provide education, boarding and pastoral provision for national academy players. This year will mark the fourth year of our partnership, with further significant growth expected this year. So far, we’ve seen brilliant wins from our students, both on the court and in the classroom, with the entire foundation benefitting as a result. Across the Foundation, we’ve been particularly committed to encouraging female inclusion in sport, an area which has not been adequately represented nationwide for far too long. In light of this, it’s been rewarding to see our female tennis players excelling, swiftly developing their performance with assistance from our talented coaches and

healthy competition with their teammates. While these achievements alone are impressive, equally so is our students’ academic progress off the court. The initial challenge the team faced was how to best accommodate a group of students travelling across the country in a high-intensity environment to ensure they had the best quality of education. Learning from what works best in practice, the end result we’ve produced is a carefully curated one-to-one programme, tailored to each individual student and their busy timetables. Every player is allocated one specialist teacher, who works with them remotely and flexibly - even making the occasional courtside appearance. As our programme grows, we hope to see even more benefits for all our pupils, in addition to some future sports stars on our courts. JO HACKETT Director of Sport at Loughborough Schools Foundation www.lboro.



Oxbridge - the glittering prizes in the age of ‘woke’ Unpacking ‘positive discrimination’ Life was comfortable for some back in the 1960s and 70s. If you went to the right fee-paying school and were male, the odds of gaining a place at Oxbridge were stacked in your favour. Back then, two-thirds of all Oxbridge undergraduates were privately educated. Despite the eleven-plus grammar school route for bright children from the state sector, a 1966 survey by the LSE found that grammar school students were generally ‘reluctant’ to apply to Oxford and Cambridge. Even as late as 2000, almost half of Oxbridge’s students came from the 7% of privatelyeducated pupils. In part, this oft-cited statistic reflected the scandal that the provision between the independent sector and very many state schools was wider in the mid-1990s than at any time since the war. Since then, two things have happened. The first is that the

Blair government stuck to its vision and invested ambitiously in schools; notwithstanding current funding issues, there is no doubt that outcomes today are vastly improved across the sector. The

Oxford University


second is that society has asked itself uncomfortable questions about equality, diversity and inclusion. It was only a matter of time before Oxford and Cambridge found themselves in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. For example, it emerged that some colleges had failed, year on year, to admit a single black British student. Notwithstanding the tireless outreach ambition of individual colleges such as Mansfield, Oxford, both universities had an image problem when seen through a ‘woke’ lens. Today, much has changed and the result is that Oxbridge now has a far higher representation of stateeducated pupils, even if some admission tutors baulk at the phrase ‘positive discrimination’. The landscape is far more nuanced, though, than some media outlets would have one believe. Some selective state schools in leafy catchment areas rival or outperform their counterparts in the independent sector. Even in the toughest areas, some economically and educationally disadvantaged students can and do perform exceptionally well; Oxbridge


Cambridge University

“Even in the toughest areas, some economically and educationally disadvantaged students can and do perform exceptionally well”

colleges are now ‘contextualising’ applications from these students. How precisely this is done is somewhat arcane and critics are calling for greater clarity about the process. But few would deny that it is fair, at least, to ask the question: who is the more able student, the privately-educated pupil who scores all 9s, or the teenager from a disadvantaged background who scores 8s, but is also a carer and on free school meals? A further factor, too often ignored, is that many independent schools play a significant role in facilitating social mobility, with bursaries of up to 100% in a good number of cases. Of those who do pay fees, very many parents make tremendous sacrifices to send their children to an independent school. Some leave independent education at 16+ to take their A Levels at a state sixth form college. Conversely, some leave

their state school to take A Levels at a private sixth form. It is thus not always clear what is meant by a ‘state school pupil’. Today, roughly 70% of all Oxbridge places are won by pupils deemed to be ‘state educated’. Given the speed of change, it is no surprise that parents at feepaying schools are up in arms at the perceived injustice of their child’s school obtaining fewer Oxbridge places year on year, not least when this affects their own child. Yet acceptance rates overall remain broadly the same, whether the applications come from the state or the independent sector. The difference is that both universities have vigorously encouraged more state school pupils to apply, through extensive outreach work, ‘taster days’ and the like. And it has worked - never before have the universities seen such high numbers applying from the state sector. Alicia Luba, Director of Oxbridge Applications at Dukes Education, is adamant that the admissions process remains meritocratic; she insists that neither Oxford nor Cambridge is discriminating against candidates

simply because they attend independent schools. “But what has changed,” she says, “is that some borderline candidates who used to get in ten years ago are no longer doing so”. The data confirms this - whilst Eton might in the past have expected up to 100 Oxbridge offers, in 2021 the school received just 48. Other independent schools have experienced a similar decline in Oxbridge places, but some claim this is offset and explained by a growing trend for their strongest students to study in the US. One HMC head sums up, “They’ve shifted the goalposts and it’s pushing students away”. Even so, Oxford and Cambridge still take a disproportionately high number of pupils from the independent sector, when considered alongside other top universities. The consequence of widening access is that competition for places is now fiercer than ever, especially when high-achieving international students are taken into account; that they are also high-paying makes them understandably attractive to the universities. For independent schools, the good news is that the worst of the pain is now over. It is now for schools, teachers and parents to adjust to a new order. A fairer one. GUY HOLLOWAY is the co-founder and former headmaster of a 3-18 independent school in London. Today Guy works as an educational consultant; he recently started a YouTube Channel, Confessions of a Headmaster. TURN BACK TO PAGES 54-55 to read about choosing between single-sex and co-ed schools



David Walker

Scientific success World-class centre for single crystal electron diffraction will be UK first A new centre based jointly at the University of Southampton and the University of Warwick will draw on expertise from two world-class universities and become a game changer for chemical industries, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and electronics. The National Electron Diffraction Facility, part of the National Crystallography Service

Simon Coles of UoS, Richard Beanland of UoW.

(NCS), will be the first in the UK and the first national facility in the world. Using electrons instead of conventional X-ray crystallography, scientists will be able to investigate and determine the structure of much smaller crystals than previously possible. This will enable the design of new and improved materials in several economically important areas including batteries, catalysts, energy storage materials, solar cells, pharmaceuticals and more, speeding up work on the green transition. Thanks to a £3.2 million research grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and support from global market leader Rigaku, the centre of excellence for electron diffraction will be open for academic and commercial partners in July 2023. Dr. David Walker is Facility Manager of the X-ray Diffraction Research Technology Platform and project lead at the University of Warwick. He led Warwick


to success in a prestigious award and was keen to ensure the facility provided posts for research technical professionals, who will provide the dedicated expertise to underpin the effective sharing of this groundbreaking technology. He said: “This exciting new instrument will enable us to study many crystalline materials that previously were difficult or impossible to grow into suitably sized crystals to be measured by the gold standard X-ray diffraction techniques. This will revolutionise our understanding of the structure of many economically important materials.” Simon Coles, Professor of Structural Chemistry and project lead for the University of Southampton site, said: “Historically, the NCS has really pushed the boundaries of what is possible by X-ray crystallography. In a tremendously exciting development, we will massively expand the technique through partnering with Warwick and Rigaku to create an integrated electron diffraction facility. By using electrons rather than X-rays, this new facility takes us to a world where we can transform structural analysis by moving from studying microcrystals to nanocrystals.” TURN BACK TO PAGES 30-33 to read about girls learning about STEM at St Catherine’s School, Bramley


A world of music at SOAS The start of your creative journey Students do not have to travel very far around the SOAS campus before they encounter music in some form or another, whether it be one of the regular concerts held at the university, an impromptu student ensemble on the front steps of the main college building, or an academic class studying K-Pop. If you want to know the difference between a djembe and a kora, or if you want to try your hand at playing the Javanese gamelan and the Zimbabwean mbira, then SOAS may be the place for you. The Department of Music at SOAS University of London

has an international reputation for providing a platform for musicians, industry specialists and researchers from around the world. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), SOAS Music was ranked first in the UK for research impact. SOAS has the only music department in the UK devoted to the study of world music, and it is possible to study ethnomusicology and a broad range of Asian and African musical cultures alongside practical skills such as podcasting, sound recording and presenting. Undergraduates can combine a BA Music degree with a variety of

other humanities-based subjects, including languages, anthropology, history, development studies and world philosophies. Notable alumni of SOAS include Mercury Prize-nominated musician Nick Mulvey; singersongwriter Poppy Ajudha; record producer, singer and drummer Georgia; and Hip-Hop artist and political campaigner Lowkey.

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


University of Exeter: Careers and your future Helping students prepare for life after university One of the main reasons for going to university, in addition to studying a subject you are passionate about, is to get a great job after graduating. At the University of Exeter, 92% of graduates are in or due to start employment or further study fifteen months after graduation.* At Exeter University, our programmes include opportunities to spend time in industry in the UK and abroad, and modules on employability are included in all of our degree programmes. Careers support starts from the moment you register at Exeter, throughout the duration of your studies, to graduation and beyond, for as long as it is needed. Career Zones, which are physical hubs at the Streatham and Penryn campuses, and are also available digitally, provide help with all stages of career planning. From helping a student find which sector they

are interested in, or the career options linked to a particular degree, advice and guidance is provided to match skills and interests to a suitable career. Our team of experts run a comprehensive programme of events to prepare you to compete in the job market, from helping to develop entrepreneurship skills to supporting applications and interview practice. They have strong links with hundreds of international, national and regional employers that they invite to give talks, attend careers fairs or offer internships and work experience. The Career Zone has partnered with Handshake, a career development platform which allows students and graduates to discover employers and opportunities, submit applications and book places at careers fairs and other events. Recognising that everything

TURN BACK TO PAGES 52-53 to read about Entrepreneurialism and Digital Literacy at Reed’s School, Cobham 86 | EDUCATION CHOICES MAGAZINE | S P R I N G 2 02 3

you do socially, academically and in the workplace can make you more employable, CV-enhancing opportunities such as foreign language courses, work and study abroad, volunteering and parttime work are also available. The Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award are designed to recognise these extra-curricular achievements. They will help students develop the skills and attributes that graduate employers are looking for and also give students the confidence to demonstrate them. Economics graduate Emily said, “The Career Zone has offered me great support in my applications and confidence in my interview techniques throughout my time at Exeter. In the first year, I attended a lot of CV, cover letter and career development events run through the Career Zone with companies themselves coming in, which I went on to apply to. With sponsored events and fairs, it was a great way to start developing my networking skills as well as get a flavour for the variety of roles on offer after my undergraduate study. As well as external applications, I also completed the Exeter Award and became a Career Zone Information Assistant in my third year to become more involved with the support the Career Zone offers to students.” RACHEL CAUNTER Marketing at Exeter Penryn Campus

*based on full-time, first degree, UK domiciled graduates, HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20


Discover University for Parents and Supporters Our online Discover University platform provides information, advice and guidance for prospective students, parents/guardians, teachers and advisers about studying at university.

We also run regular webinars, specifically aimed at parents and supporters, covering a range of topics such as:

We understand how important it is for parents and supporters to be well-equipped to support their young person’s journey to higher education. Our dedicated Discover University webpages and social media feeds will provide the key information needed at each stage of the journey.

• Student Finance

• Preparation for University • Support for Results Day • Support Services for Students Sign up for our free webinars aimed at parents/supporters: applying/accessexeter/parents



Follow us for regular updates, links to events and resources:

• Accommodation




Articles inside

Discover University for Parents and Supporters

page 87

University of Exeter: Careers and your future

page 86

A world of music at SOAS

page 85

Scientific success

page 84

Developing winners

pages 81-83

An introduction to T Levels

page 80

Things to See and Do

pages 75-79

St Neot’s Preparatory School

page 74

King Edward VI School

pages 72-73

St Swithun’s School

pages 69-71


pages 63-69

Parenting in the age of pornography

page 61

Rites for Girls

pages 57-60

Online Safety Guidelines

page 56

Single-Sex or Co-Ed?

pages 54-55

Empowering pupils for the future

pages 52-53

Help is always there

page 51

What is an Ed Psych Report?

page 50

Mr. Guy Sanderson

pages 46-49

Julian Hall

pages 42-45

Mr. Paul Vanni Mrs. Suzie Longstaff

pages 38-42


pages 36-38

Ms. Rosie Lockyear

pages 34-35

Mrs. Maren Kelly

pages 30-34

Mr. Christian Saenger

pages 26-30

Miss Laura Whitwood

pages 22-26

Spot the difference

pages 20-22

Reading and representation

page 19

What Makes Me Do the Things I Do?

page 18

The Hare-Shaped Hole

page 17

Reading programmes for your pupils

page 16

The Best Me

page 16

Get involved with volleyball!

page 15

The benefits of a bilingual education

pages 14-15

What are forest schools?

page 13

A new beginning

page 12

Exciting developments at Cameron Vale in Chelsea

pages 10-11

Little stars to bright sparks

page 9

Why choose an independent primary education?

pages 8-9

New Beginnings - Books for teens

pages 3-7
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