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education Life t H e

Q u a L i t Y

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S u P P L e M e n t

F e B R u a R Y

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WeLcome the choice for where to send your child to school is a difficult and sometimes confusing period in any parent’s life. Spring is the ideal time to start thinking about and visiting schools that you are considering for your child to enter the following year. the next few months will see your diaries fill up with open days. use this time wisely and involve your child from the beginning. encourage them to come with you and get their feedback after each visit. i also suggest making ‘notes’ about any positive or negative things that your child brings up. they provide a useful insight into the way a child sees a prospective future school! this month sees the first of our three part education Life series this year. it is packed with information on local independent schools as well as the most fantastic features from prominent heads and teachers to help you prepare for the coming months. Please feel free to contact me if you would like any further information. corinne Sugar

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Enrichment versus Acceleration BY NICK HAMSHAW Head of Mathematics, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School It is 1983. George Lucas’ Return of the Jedi has completed the celebrated Star Wars Trilogy, Michael Jackson’s music video for Thriller has been unleashed on the general public and Manchester United win a replay of the FA Cup final against Brighton and Hove Albion. What better than a film event, and exciting sports result or another media release so visible to spark a common feeling of belonging to a particular era and actually being there when it happened. So what else was memorable in 1983? Well Ruth Lawrence aged 13 years joined University of Oxford, St Hughes College as one of the youngest ever Mathematics students, having topped their entrance examinations. Ruth would go on to earn a spectacular First after just two years and gain prestigious teaching positions at the Universities of Harvard, Michigan and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I am a Mathematics teacher and have enjoyed working with pupils with a wide range of abilities. Latterly I have been fortunate enough to have significant numbers of pupils who find Mathematics to be broadly accessible, and even some who have excelled sufficiently to take the subject on to Oxbridge places. The principal joy of working with these pupils has not been the speed at which they have ploughed through syllabus material or delivered examination results of the highest order. No, the most fun has been had when the pupils have allowed themselves time to fully understand the Mathematics and explore the consequences of each result in a much broader context than the syllabus demands. Competitions such as the UK Mathematics Trusts’ Mathematical Challenges, or the Hans Woyda competition certainly give most pupils more than enough challenging material. As rewarding as syllabus material can be, acceleration through the experience can be at the expense of enrichment, and there is a danger that the joy of discovering things along with your peers and having the chance to discuss them afterwards is lost.

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I regularly read books on Popular Mathematics, ranging from potted histories to those that require a little more ‘hands on’ work with algebra! If only we could persuade our more talented Mathematicians to look for the fun side of their deeply mysterious and mystifying subject then so much more could be achieved. So what is my message? Talent is one thing in Mathematics, but if it is not coupled with the opportunity to enjoy the results, to explore their consequences and to understand their place in the Mathematical Universe, then the talent is wasted. What is the point of merely being able to reproduce the great proofs of history unless you use them as a springboard to find something new of your own and to understand how this result fits into the Mathematical Big Picture? If your child is a budding Mathematician, you should encourage them to develop their talent by giving them enrichment puzzles and time to explore the Mathematical Universe, it could add up to a bright future in Mathematics.

Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls Fun, excitement and challenge: a true love of learning Open Day 1st October 2011 Juniors 10am-12.30pm Seniors 2pm-5pm Scholarships and Financial Assistance available from 11+ Independent Day School for Girls from 4-18 Aldenham Road, Elstree, Herts, WD6 3BT e: t: 020 8266 2338 Registered Charity No. 313996

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School Nurturing Excellence

An outstanding independent day school for boys aged between 5 and 18.

Open Day Saturday 1st October 2011 1–4pm (no appointment necessary)

Headmaster Peter Hamilton MA Butterfly Lane, Elstree, Hertfordshire WD6 3AF Tel: 020 8266 1700 registered charity no: 313996

0pm m-12.0 a 0 .0 0 Tours 1 ster speaks a Headm & 11.15am m 10.15a

Open Morning 18 June 2011 Aldenham School

10.00am - 12.30pm

(ages 11-18)

Entry for Boys & Girls at 11+, 13+, 16+

Aldenham Preparatory School

(ages 3-11)

Entry for Boys & Girls at 3+, 4+, 7+

An excellent all round education Aldenham School, Elstree, Herts WD6 3AJ

T 01923 858122

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PARTNERSHIPS words James Fowler, headmaster Aldenham School

at a time of coalition government when we have all been able to witness the need for parties to work closely together for the mutual benefit of the country and Parliament whilst setting aside their differences, it is indeed a salutary time for schools to examine their attitudes to partnerships. of course partnerships between schools are nothing new. For many generations there have been opportunities for schools to share facilities, or resources for the benefit of students. Yet as the competition for pupils has become intense, not least in the independent sector, there has perhaps been less inclination for schools to provide opportunities such as oxbridge interview preparation, or to share workshop or masterclass sessions with one of their rivals. Yet there is little doubt that the most significant factor to have brought partnership issues to the fore in the recent past was the insistence of the previous new Labour administration on addressing independent schools through the charity commissioners. at times it felt as if independent schools were extremely naughty school children who needed to be instructed on their responsibilities to foster closer friendships with schools in the maintained sector. the disappointment for those in the independent sector who felt the wrath of the invective aimed at them was due to the inappropriate nature of the attack in two regards. Firstly, there seemed to be little or no acknowledgement of the fact

that countless partnerships between maintained schools and independent schools had existed successfully for many years without the need for government intervention to make them happen. Where two Heads had seen a common interest being served by linking together it was an entirely natural and successful course for them to take. Many primary school children across the country had already been benefitting from the use of sport or science facilities at their local independent school on a relatively informal basis. the second way in which Heads on both sides were disappointed was by the sense of being pushed down a one way street. i vividly remember the relish with which andrew adonis told the HMc conference in 2007 that he would be looking for “the dna” of independent schools to be planted in new academies. He was clearly recognising that independent schools’ success with their pupils was something that he wanted to share, but probably did not have the political support to praise it openly, or indeed a recognition that it would take far more than glossy new buildings to embed such a sense in an academy. He also did not appear to have anything for the maintained sector to offer independent schools in return. Yet those of us who have worked in successful partnerships with maintained schools know that there is an enormous amount to be gained. in aldenham’s case we have worked with three local primary schools over the past few years, in each case giving their children the opportunity

to undertake a Saturday morning programme including sports, science and art. this has also given our sixth form students the chance to develop leadership skills in running the sessions. our ccF operates in an incredibly successful partnership with Queens’ School Bushey and as i write this article pupils from both schools are competing together in a national competition for cadets at RaF Halton. We also work at the level of staff development with a number of local maintained schools and many of our staff can testify to the benefit of sharing good practice with our colleagues in the maintained sector. those of us working in schools can already see the benefit of such programmes without the iron fist of a charity commission sitting over us. Yet it has been useful to be reminded over the last few years of our responsibilities as charities, not least in requiring us to read our objects. in examining aldenham’s objects we were made well aware of our responsibilities as part of a wider educational community in Hertfordshire, and therefore we have looked to a partnership with another charity as an ideal next step. this has led to us incorporating another smaller educational charity, the St Hilda’s educational trust, into the aldenham Foundation from the beginning of this year. in this way by taking responsibility for St Hilda’s School in Bushey we hope we will have the chance to create a mutually beneficial partnership with a school which has a similar ethos to ours and which we imagine many schools will want to examine in the years ahead.

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true educational independence at Merchant Taylor School words Christopher Massi

Four hundred and fifty years ago at the height of the english Renaissance, a group of men belonging to a prominent Livery company undertook an act of great charity. inside the festering moat and city gates of London, they founded a school for street urchins. able but poor children would study alongside the sons of well to do merchants. as an act of philanthropy, it was unlike most others that came before. it was not a university to educate the elite nor was it a medieval almshouse. unlike the most ancient schools, such as Westminster, the donation was not by royal or episcopal direction, but by the burgeoning and prosperous middle class.

negotiated their way through the Reformation and counter-revolutionary forces, sometimes lending (and expelling) students for the cause. even simple educational decisions could be fraught with risk. the Haberdasher’s school debated the merits of Latin versus French instruction, a choice between a traditional education and a more commercial orientation. this was more than a choice about which book to purchase; it was a choice between a clerical religious past and an outward looking future.

Merchants, not noblemen, lit the fires and paid the masters and for the first time, schools became an agent for change.

at the same time, the first Head Master of Merchant taylors’ School, Richard Mulcaster, penned two books on education, the Positions and elementarie, which took the rather radical position that english, not Latin, was a perfectly good language for undertaking academic study and that exercise was an important component in the formation of a student. He also was among the first to champion the use of a referee during ‘footeball’, sincethe game in that era seemed to have been little more than two unruly mobs chasing a ball. in Richard Mulcaster, the academic but well-rounded student had found his – and indeed her – first champion, for Mulcaster was a prominent advocate for girls’ education, music and drama as well.

in today’s world, such a project would involve millions of pounds and quite a few committees and would probably run afoul of rival political interests. indeed, these Renaissance schools took quite a few political and educational risks. they

these and other city schools survived the Plague, the Great Fire, the Reformation and the Restoration, sometimes lagging behind change, but often as not leading change creating a new middle class and offering more avenues for

to be sure, this gift might be seen as somewhat self-interested. Street urchins are good for crime and bad for business, but London’s ancient guilds, the twelve Great Livery companies, could have left things as they were for poverty, disease and death to solve the problem as they always did. instead, the Livery companies built a revolution with books, not muskets.

economic mobility. But the 1800s offered new challenges – a more mobile population, train lines, industrial pollution and a Great War – so that by the 20th century, many city schools were in the process of moving to the shires. Some schools were secure in north London, urban, yet comfortably so. others moved all the way to open fields and fresh air. Schools began to teach english as a discrete course, not limited to teaching subjects in english. art and music gained footholds and what was 100 years earlier the study of natural Philosophy became Biology, chemistry and Physics. independent schools – being independent – to this day have less to fear from taking risks and leading the occasional academic revolution. they can and do blend the best of the past with the best for the future. independent schools offer far more opportunities to their students – boys and girls can still study traditional subjects like, Maths, Latin or Greek, French and Spanish and German, yet students can also venture further off the path with Mandarin and Japanese. they can listen to visiting lectures with internationally recognised guest speakers, take part in unrivalled work experience and career networking, pursue academic trips abroad, sing in musicals, and puzzle through the Biology olympiad. they can study in greater depth, choose among a broader range of courses, and pursue a wide number of extracurricular activities. independent schools have plenty of burnished oak and ancient traditions, but make no mistake, it is the ability to broaden the mind – it is the tradition of intellectual adventure – that sets these schools apart. So many of London’s independent schools grew out of enlightenment ideals, it should be no surprise to families that excellence and adventure abound. Risks and revolutions, the kind that broaden the mind and open the world to exploration and wonder, these are product of england’s great national heritage.

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A London school in the country Merchant Taylors’ School

Do you want the best for your son? Next Open Morning May 14th 2011 10.00 – 12.30 Guided tours (last tour 11.30) The Head Master speaks at 12.15 MTS coaches from Beaconsfield, Ealing, Harpenden, Harrow, Mill Hill, Radlett, Stanmore MTS is adjacent to Moor Park (Metropolitan line) Finchley Road to MTS: 20 minutes Amersham to MTS: 20 minutes

• A traditional boys’ education • A `Top Ten’ boys’ school • ‘An outstanding school’: 2008 School Inspection • Civilised, friendly & unpressured • Unique tutorial system • Inspirational teaching • Small class sizes • Magnificent sports fields • Superb facilities set in 250 acres • Respect for all faith traditions • Easy access by tube and coach • You are welcome to visit us any time Please contact the Admissions Secretary, Penny Wright +44(0)1923 845514 Merchant Taylors’ School Northwood Middlesex HA6 2HT

Celebrating 450 years of excellence, integrity and distinction since 1561

Happiness, Confidence, Success


Wednesday 16 March 2011 - Early Morning

For boys and girls aged 3-13 • Excellent academic standards • Small class sizes • Scholarships available • Nursery • Fabulous facilities in 26 acres • Breakfast / after-school clubs OPEN MORNING

Saturday, 12th March 2011

T: 01707 602500 E: Shepherd’s Way n Brookmans Park n Hatfield n AL9 6NS Queenswood is a registered charity (311060) dedicated to girls’ education

Our children are at a successful school where they have the best possible chance of reaching their potential through the care and commitment of its wonderful staff.

SCHOLARSHIP DAY Monday, 21st March 2011

To view, contact:

01442 256143

email London Road, Hemel Hempstead HP1 2RF

LOCHINVER HOUSE SCHOOL Heath Road, Potters Bar, Herts EN6 1LW Tel: 01707 653064 Fax: 01707 620030 Independent Preparatory School for Boys aged 4-13

Independent Day School for Girls 3-16 & Boys 3-5


OPEN MORNINGS 10.00 am - 12 noon

9th February 2010 25th May 2010 A Creche is available for toddlers and babies over 4 months

You are warmly invited to our School on

Saturday 12 March 2011 10.00am - 12.00noon (last tours begin at 11.30am) no appointment necessary

• Excellent academic standards & results • Wide range of extra-curricular activities

• Breakfast and after school care available • Small class sizes

Working Open Morning - Friday 28 January Come and see our Nursery and Infants at work and play. Please telephone to book your place

Bunkers Lane, Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire HP3 8RP E:

T: 01442 240 333 F: 01442 269 981

For an all round education that will be exciting, challenging and stimulating Please come along on the day or telephone the Registrar, Mrs Anne Meir, for more information. Direct Line: 01707 620036 email: Lochinver House School: a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England: Company Number 4374254 Registered Office as above. Registered Charity No. 1091045

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Direction In uncertain times Parents in this economic climate have some difficult decisions regarding the education of their children. The news is full of gloomy prospects for State schools, with ring-fenced money for sport removed and overall budget cuts demanded by a Government that is determined to drastically redress the deficit. However, when these cuts start to reduce front-line services there is one certainty; class sizes will increase and the opportunities for extra-curricular will further diminish. It is now, more than ever that parents should give thought to the alternatives. Independent education is not a cheap option, but at Westbrook Hay Prep School, we think we give full value. With class sizes on average half of those seen in State primary schools, the opportunity for individual attention and teaching means that every child can have the best start to their education. Coupled with fantastic facilities and specialist teaching, the advantages that a private education can bring are many and varied. With a commitment to providing a diverse

and exciting experience for children, the extensive opportunities for sport, music, drama and art means that going to school is not a ceaseless grind and it is little wonder than children learn with a smile on their faces. When to embark on this journey is very much a personal choice. Some parents will want to take advantage of a splendid Nursery to start their children’s education. Others will wait until Reception, when school becomes full-time (although beware the waiting list if you haven’t signed up early). For some it will come later, perhaps into Year 2 or 3 and for those that stay in the Primary school system it may be to explore the advantages that life in Year 7 can bring, if the State school allocation does not bring you what you want. Investing in your children’s future is one of the best things parents can do, so come and see what Westbrook Hay has to offer you and your children.


Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire Day & Boarding Preparatory School for boys aged 5 - 13 years

OPEN MORNING SATURDAY 19TH MARCH 2011 Telephone us on: Hemel Hempstead 01442 251712 Bursaries are available to boys Years 3 to 6. Bene agere ac Laetari: good results, good manners, good fun

Parent friendly flexible pick up and drop off Registered Charity Number 311061

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Looking to the future the


King Alfred School (KAS) was established in 1898 by local parents who wanted an alternative to what was on offer in the educational world. It has remained true to its founding principles and is a small, independent, co-educational, non denominational day school, embracing a wide range of abilities and years (4 – 18). KAS is an informal school – there is no school uniform and all are on first name basis - a


friendly community where the emphasis, both academically and socially, is on discovering and maximising the potential of each child. The Fives Court Building is an exciting new building project, currently under construction in the Lower School area of the school. It is the culmination of several years of planning and brainstorming as to what the school might need to meet its needs for the next 25 years.


Built on the site of two old fives courts, it will contain a new staff room, library, all our learning support facilities, an IT suite, an art room, an auditorium and a multi-purpose room. These facilities will be shared across the whole of King Alfred School. The design of the building is in keeping with our policy of using sustainable materials and will be an extremely attractive addition to our school environment.

Leading Independent Day School for Girls aged 11-18


Sports Tour to South Africa, Autumn 2010.


11+ Open Events 2011 25TH March, 23RD June, 1ST July To reserve a place please contact the Registrar, Mrs Sandy Bailey. Academic and Music scholarships. Bursaries up to 100% fees.

Clarence Gate London NW1 6XR

020 7723 0176 Reg. Charity No 312745

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Beechwood Park School for the Best Possible Start If you are looking for the school to give your child the best possible start, then do visit Beechwood Park, the day and boarding school for girls and boys aged 4 - 13 years. Many join from the nearby Beechwood Montessori Nursery which takes children from 2½ years. The Montessori (at Little Cheverells) has recently been extended and refurbished. Amongst the older children, weekly boarding is increasingly popular; trial and flexi-boarding are available to enable pupils to experience its benefits. Beechwood offers a broad, balanced curriculum producing an excellent record of exam success and last year 17 scholarships were awarded to leavers who went on to a wide range of senior schools. “Just as important as impressive academic results, are the pupils’ many extra-curricular achievements and the enjoyment and benefit they derive from participating,” says Headmaster, Patrick Atkinson.

The school benefits from a uniquely beautiful and inspiring rural setting; sports facilities are superb; the variety of sports on offer means there is something for everyone. All children, not just the athletically gifted, have access to the best coaching and festivals of sport. The creative arts flourish too. About 50 children are currently rehearsing for a production of The BFG to be staged in March. Music provision is excellent; 300 individual instrumental and singing lessons take place each week. There are four choirs and the number of ensembles has recently increased to 17. A wide-ranging extra-curricular programme, visiting speakers, frequent trips and excursions all add to the culturally-rich environment for Beechwood’s pupils. Sebright Bursaries are available for entry in Year 7. The school, which

is well served by school buses from several locations, is situated just outside Markyate. The Headmaster is always eager to talk to parents personally to discuss how their child’s needs can be met at Beechwood Park. “Do please come and see for yourself. No words can adequately convey the experience of spending school-days in this idyllic setting.”


Friday, February 18th 9.30am - 12 noon Headmaster’s presentation at 11am Please view the website: www.beechwoodpark. or telephone the Registrar on 01582 840333 for a prospectus, an appointment or for more information about the Beechwood Park Montessori nursery, bursaries for senior children or to register for the Open Morning.


A day and weekly boarding school for girls and boys aged 2½ to 13 years

Please do come and visit Beechwood Park School Markyate Hertfordshire AL3 8AW Telephone: 01582 840333 Email:

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skills for Life the ability to think independently and to evaluate information critically are key learning skills that equip children for life beyond school. at St. Helen’s, girls are encouraged to take an active involvement in their learning and to question things both inside and outside the classroom.

active Learning Weeks are a regular feature of the curriculum, enabling girls to work individually, and as part of a team, to produce pieces of work that they can be really proud of by taking control of their learning and becoming part of the decisionmaking process.

Students are asked not just to complete tasks but to research, present, debate, guess and prove, with classroom learning punctuated by independent learning tasks that encourage students to explore new ideas, to think outside the box and to discover the joys of learning. By becoming actively involved, the girls develop the confidence to use their abilities, tackle difficult challenges, and to make mistakes which they can learn from. in the Sixth Form, girls can choose to study a Levels or the international Baccalaureate

(iB) diploma. the iB places emphasis on developing the skills needed for university and beyond, focusing on independent research, critical thinking and active involvement in the community. all students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning through effective planning of their study time and a critical approach to their studies. through this continued emphasis on independent, active learning, upon leaving school, each girl is confident, self-reliant and independent, ready to take their place in the adult world.

Open Morning Wednesday 22nd June 2011 10.30am - 12.30pm Our staff and pupils are delighted to welcome all prospective Senior School (11+) pupils and parents. (Last school tours leave at 11.30am) By appointment only - please contact the Admissions Secretary

• International Baccalaureate and A Levels offered • 93% of A Levels passed at grades A* to B • Impressive range of extra-curricular activities • Focus on the individual • Bursaries available • Scholarships offered: academic, art, music and sport at 11+ • 20 acre parkland site

St. Helen’s is adjacent to Northwood station (Metropolitan Line), 30 minutes from Baker Street, and coaches are available from many locations, including Barnet, Radlett and St. Albans.

An independent day school for girls aged 3 to 18

St. Helen’s School Eastbury Road Northwood Middlesex HA6 3AS Tel: 01923 843230

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Our definitive guide to help you make all the right choices for your children there are 2,500+ independent schools in the uK which are independent of local or central government control. independent schools offer a wealth of facilities and high teaching standards that enable students to achieve great results year after year. independent schools are in the unique position to provide a truly bespoke education for your child.

Free of the national curriculum, prep schools can differentiate their curricula according to what they think best prepares children for their later education. Most prep school children will be learning a foreign language from the very first year, and don’t be surprised to see subjects like Latin, Philosophy and Physics in the classroom, with cricket, rugby and tennis all on offer during games.

choosing the right school for your child is an important decision that takes plenty of time and research. there are a wide range of independent schools specialising in different age groups and needs.

as children reach the end of their time at prep school, most will look to the common entrance exam as their gateway into the senior schools. it is during this transition process that senior schools are also looking for talented pupils for scholarships and other awards, so the very able students may be asked to attend further examinations/recitals/ matches &c, depending on where their particular strengths lie.

PRe-PRePARAtORy SchOOlS (AgeS 2 yeARS - 7 yeARS) Pre-preparatory schools - also called nursery schools or kindergartens correspond to nursery and infants stages in local authority schools. in prepreparatory schools children are taught to read, write, develop numeracy and learn to play. Pre-prep schools are often attached to specific junior schools.Preprep school is the first time most children will experience education, as opposed to the daycare provided by kindergartons. children will have to learn the basics of mathematics, science and english, and a host of other subjects. outside the classroom, many of the children will be having their first proper experience with team sports, music and/ or choral tuition, and the arts. PRePARAtORy SchOOlS (AgeS 7 yeARS -11+ OR 13 yeARS) Preparatory or prep schools, have a full range of subjects leading to admission to senior schools at 11+ or through the 13+ common entrance their name implies, the preparatory schools are focused primarily on preparing boys and girls for their senior education, and the important public exams that come with it.

in the state system, children are tested by the Government Sats, however many schools in the independent sector will have their own internal methods of measuring the performance of the children. there are around 499 prep schools in the independent association of Prep Schools, one of our constituent Head’s associations, collectively educating over 134,000 children. SeniOR SchOOlS (AgeS 11 yeARS -18 yeARS) Most of the pupils in independent education are in senior school, educating over 350,000 senior school students in almost eight hundred schools. independent Senior Schools offer approaches to education, subjects, facilities and sports unparalleled in the state sector – students can study History of art, Government, Russian and Japanese, and try their hands at astronomy, ceramics or equestrianism. they could be on their school judo or sailing team, and take trips all over the world. Whatever your child’s particular strengths, passions and interests, there is almost certainly a school which can offer the chance to try all of them.

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e d u c at i o n and illnesses ranging from those who need just a little extra help to those with a statement of special educational needs under the Education Act 1996 for whom a mainstream setting is appropriate. In all cases schools are concerned that children are helped to develop to the best of their ability and that they do not suffer academically because of their special needs.

Standards in the independent sector are high. There are very few senior schools which don’t require prospective students to sit an entrance exam (either the 11+ or, commonly, the schools own admission test), often accompanied by an interview with the Head or senior staff. If a child coming to the school from a different prep school, they will expect a report on his or her progress and attainment form the previous school. The transition from prep to senior school is a major step in itself. Pupils are generally given more rights and responsibilities than they had at prep school or junior school, and younger children may have to get used to older children with prefect responsibilities. There are also typically far more students in senior schools than prep schools, which will of course take a little getting used to. Exams taken at senior school have a much greater influence on the course of your life than they ever did before. At 16 pupils will take their GCSEs (or increasingly commonly their IGCSEs), before going on to take either A-levels, the International Baccalaureate or the Pre-U in the sixth form. Universities look at grades both predicted and achieved in deciding whether or not to offer places, and for the more popular or academically demanding courses, are increasingly looking at earlier qualifications too. Thankfully, academic standards in the independent sector are the highest in the country. Senior school should be an incredibly enjoyable time for pupils of all ages (and in all schools – state and independent), where children make friends for the rest of their lives, discover the sorts of things they really enjoy doing, and gain the skills, qualifications and they need to take them where

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they want to go, be that on to Higher Education or otherwise. These schools offer three years of general studies followed by two years for GCSE and two years for AS/A2 or the International Baccalaureate. Schools which admit pupils at 11+ sometimes have a lower school for children aged 11-13. There may be a special entrance examination to the upper school at 13. Sixth Form (Age 16 years +) The sixth form educates 17- and 18-year-olds, and is a crucially important time in education. Pupils will be taking important exams – many with a view to university courses - be they AS/A-levels, the International Baccalaureate, Pre-U or more vocational qualifications such as the GNVQ. At the same time pupils have the chance to take on more senior positions within the school itself, often becoming team or society captains, prefects, editing the school magazine, or even becoming head boy or girl. Many schools have committees made up of sixth-formers which meet regularly with the head teacher and other staff to get involved with school policy and running the sixth-form communal areas. Many sixth-formers are also involved in a “buddy system”, where those new to the senior school are paired up with someone who knows it well and is more experienced, offering their experience and wisdom in getting to grips with independent education. Special Educational Needs Your child may have a particular talent or a special educational need or both. Independent schools admit children with additional needs, disabilities

Additionally, some of the best specialist schools in the country for pupils with dyslexia, dyspraxia and associated difficulties are ISC schools. However, at the moment there are very few ISC member “special schools” specialising in physical disabilities or autistic spectrum and related disorders. Independent specialist schools may accept pupils with or without a statement of SEN. Full lists of approved special schools including independent schools, in your area, should be available from your local authority. Additionally, if your child has special educational needs, you can to check what support schools in your area can offer and discuss your child’s requirements with the head of your preferred schools before making your decision. Boarding Schools Most children in the independent sector are day pupils. They often come from a wider geographical area than those at state day schools. Sometimes the children live 15 or 20 miles away. If day schooling would best suit your child, you need to make a list of schools within reasonable travelling distance from your home. Consider rail and bus links and if you like the look of a school, but it seems difficult to get to, check whether it runs its own bus service, as many do. If not, there may be other parents in your area with whom you could share the travel. But you may want to consider the benefits of a boarding school education; don’t dismiss it just because it is unfamiliar to you. You have a wider choice of schools and you avoid the trouble and expense of daily travel. Boarding schools will not suit every child, but it is fun and most children enjoy living away from home during term-time. Many children have a mixture of day and boarding experience - often in the same school. Don’t be put off by stereotypical images of boarding school favoured by the media or reminiscences of those who boarded many years ago. See modern boarding schools for yourself: you will soon understand why they are so popular with today’s boarders. Weekly or flexible boarding has become a popular option in recent years. Children go home each weekend and this often suits families where both parents have jobs. It might even be an improvement on the limited ‘quality time’ parents are able to provide during a busy working week. Most parents choose boarding schools within an

e d u c at i o n hour’s journey from their homes; if they are likely to be moved abroad or to another part of the country, they might choose boarding schools near relatives or close friends. To help you with choosing a boarding school for you child try putting together a list of the boarding schools which might be suitable. Your child could start as a day pupil but enjoy the flexibility of being able to convert to boarding later. Many day children, particularly in preparatory schools, take the opportunity to be occasional boarders for a few nights a year. Visiting the independent schools of your choice The most important way to find out about private schools is simply by visiting them. Most private schools have open days for prospective parents, but do ask to make an appointment to visit on a normal working day. Amongst the important things you should look out for are: The children How do they look and behave? How do they interact with one another, with their teachers, and with you, the visitor? Do you have a chance to speak to them yourself? The head How does the head deal with your questions? Does he or she show an interest in YOUR child? Pastoral care Do the arrangements for looking after your child’s health and welfare satisfy you? Discipline Is discipline stricter or more relaxed than you would expect? Don’t be afraid to ask any questions when you visit, the head will be happy to provide any information you need to help you make your choice. Questions you may want to ask could include: Special needs Does the school have facilities and suitably qualified and experienced staff to look after any special needs your child may have? Is there a programme for gifted and talented children or special provision for those with physical disabilities? Curriculum Is it broad and balanced? Will your child have an adequate range of

options? Are there specialist teachers? The staff How well qualified are they? Is there reasonable staff stability? Do the teachers stay long in post? Extra activities Does the school offer an exciting extra-curricular activities programme that will stimulate your child’s interest? If you are considering boarding school, you will want to know what activities the school provides for children in the evening and at weekends. Where next? If you are looking at a preparatory school and have a specific senior school in mind, ask where the majority of pupils go to for their senior education. Exam results Although academic success if important, don’t be tempted to go just for private schools which are high in the “league tables”. Exam performance reflects a private school’s academic policies and a high-flying private school might not suit your child’s needs. Once you have requested a prospectus, called the admissions department, attended the school’s open day and decided that the school is right for your child it is time to apply for a place.I t is always a good idea to check the school entry requirements for the proposed independent school. Many independent schools will require you to register your child. This does not secure a place; it merely indicates that you wish your child to be considered for a place. There is usually a registration fee to cover administration costs, which is non-refundable. After you have registered, the school will inform you of any interview and/or examination dates. You will only be given a formal offer of a place after your child has been successful in whatever selection process has taken place, whether it is selection on a first-come-first-served basis or a competitive selection. Accepting an offer of a place is legally binding; make sure that you read all the conditions that apply. In particular, you should be aware that to withdraw a pupil usually requires a full term’s notice in writing, and sometimes two.

The independent sector is successful because of the flexibility its independence affords it. This means that you can choose a school that matches your child, effectively giving your child a bespoke education. Use the reviews, school league tables and websites but remember that none of these can even come close to experiencing the school for yourself. There are around 2500 independent schools in England, but the educational provision of only half of them is inspected directly by Ofsted. These schools are known as the ‘nonassociation schools’. For Ofsted, the process of inspection of independent schools is similar to that for maintained schools: inspectors gather evidence through observation of teaching and learning, and analyse a range of other information to assess how well the school is performing. All schools will be inspected at least once in a six-year period, and they result in a published report. Ofsted also inspects the welfare of boarders in all independent schools under the Care Standards Act 2000 having regard to the National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools or Residential Special Schools, as appropriate. This is an integral part of the inspection of the whole school. Please note, however, that Ofsted’s social care inspectors also inspect residential special schools annually. These inspections continue as before when not part of the whole school inspection. Education isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair and thankfully independent schools come in all shapes and sizes. The independent sector gives parents the opportunity to choose a school that is right for their child. Whether it is the breadth and flexibility of the curriculum that appeals or perhaps the extra curricular activities, you can be assured that your child will receive a well rounded education helping them to achieve their full potential.

february issue | 15

“e best A-level results of any co-educational school in England” Daily Mail 2010

Best GCSE results in Sussex 2010 e Times 2010

Best A-level results in Sussex 2010 Financial Times 2010

College Open Morning (11+, 13+, 16+) Saturday 7th May 2011 - 9.30-12 noon Pre-Prep & Prep School Open Morning (3+, 8+) Saturday 14th May 2011 - 9.30-12 noon 52 Minutes from London Victoria by Train Day, Weekly and Full Boarding




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DEVONSHIRE HOUSE PREPARATORY SCHOOL 2 Arkwright Road, Hampstead, NW3 6AE A co-educational IAPS Prep and Pre-Prep School for Children from 3 – 13 with its own OAK TREE NURSERY for children from 2 to 3

OPEN MORNINGS Wednesday, 13th October 2010 Thursday, 14th October 2010 Wednesday, 19th January 2011 Initial entry is usually into the Oak Tree Nursery at 2, Pre Reception at age 3, or Reception at Age 4. There is a small intake at 7 and 8+ into Years 3 and 4 and there are occasionally vacancies for other age groups. Academic / Music scholarships are available for children aged 7 or 8. For more information contact the Admissions’ Secretary: 020 7435 1916

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Email: Email: Email: To arrange visit or for more information To arrange visit for more To arrange visit or more information To arrange aaaaaavisit information arrange aavisit visitor orfor formore moreinformation information visit or for more information To arrange visit or more information To arrange or for more information please call: 020 7352 To arrange a visit or for more information please call: 020 7352 7077 please call: 7352 arrange aaacall: visit or for more information please 020 7352 7077 please call: 020 7352 visit or for information To To arrange To arrange a visit or for more more information information please call: 020 7352 please call: 020 7352 7077 visit or for more information please call: 020 7352 7077 To arrange avisit visit or for more information please call: 020 7352 7077 ToTo arrange a or for more information a visit or for more information arrange a visit or for more information please call: 020 7352 7077 please call: 020 7352 7077 please call: call: 020020 7352 7077 7077 please 7352 7077 please call: 020 7352 please call: 020 7077 please call: 020 7352 7352 7077 7077 please call: 020 7077

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Dump the junk teaching our children to eat unprocessed food is essential to a healthy and happy life

Enjoying good health now and in the future comes from good habits and food choices. Therefore, healthy eating for kids is essential. Children who are trained to eat healthy foods at an early age are more likely to choose healthy food for a lifetime.

children to have more control over their own health and to lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. They need to know about the effects that food has on their health, they need to know that they have the power to make wise choices and that they can contribute to the prevention of disease.

As parents we provide the role model for our children. Therefore, if we want our children to develop healthy eating habits we need to start with ourselves. If both parents enjoy eating nutritious foods, the chances are that their children will copy their good food habits.

Creating a nutritional home is the first step to ensure the wellbeing of children. Kids will eventually see that consistent daily food choices mean healthy bodies and a happy life. As children grow up they will develop an attitude of wellbeing.

Educating ourselves regarding good nutrition is a major part of good parenting. We can help

Children seem to be the target group for the promotion of junk foods. Processed foods, promoted to children via TV advertising, offer

free toys or use cartoon characters to ensure kids pester their parents to buy these foods and food companies continually use these tactics to promote sales of their products. These processed foods include baked foods, snacks, chocolate, burgers, pizzas, cookies and carbonated drinks. Processed foods contain high levels of saturated fat, refined flour, sugar and salt which contribute to an unhealthy diet and are detrimental to a child’s health. Modern foods are produced with artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. Filling up on processed and overcooked foods that provide little nutritional benefits can lead to discomfort, depression

f e b r u a r y i s s u e | |1 7 FEbruAry IssuE 3

E d u C ATI o n e d u c at i o n

Top Tips To inspire your children To become healThier - Take kids shopping

and let them select nutritious foods. - let your children help out in the kitchen and let them wash fruits and vegetables.

- use simple recipes and

Processed foods, promoted to children via TV advertising, offer free toys or use cartoon characters to ensure kids pester their parents to buy these foods

allow them to follow instructions alongside you. encourage children to make simple fruit and vegetable dishes (for example: raw vegetable sticks, fruit kebabs, fruit salads, healthy dips, juices, dairy-free milkshakes and desserts).

- demonstrate the positive and ultimately diseases that affect our society today.

sugar and sweeteners: dental cavities; diabetes; hyperactivity; mood swings; tantrums; aggression

Processed foods and chemical additives have upset our entire chemistry, resulting in health complications, food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies, for example:

When we begin to realise the health risks associated with these processed foods and food additives we start to eliminate them and opt for more wholesome alternatives that taste delicious and do not put our health at risk.

saturated fat: obesity; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; fatigue; learning disturbances salt: high blood pressure; water retention; kidney stones refined flour: immune deficiency; low energy; chronic fatigue; parasites Artificial flavourings and colourings: allergies; skin reactions; eczema; asthma

body and brain functions are influenced by a wide range of nutrients. For good health and optimum mind power a child needs a variety of foods. The body needs carbohydrates, protein and fat, as well as vitamins, minerals, enzymes and water. nature has given us a wide variety of plant foods that are rich in nutritional content. unprocessed food is the key to health and longevity.

value of antioxidants in fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts and how they contribute to good health — energy boosters and mood elevators.

- introduce new food every week; have taste-test samples.

- discuss with them how

you are going to eliminate junk foods and substitute with nutritious dishes.

- praise your children for their contribution — children will learn to develop confidence in their abilities. - raising healthy children does not need to be time-consuming. daily smoothies and juices are a fantastic source of nutrients when you have little time to prepare food. Juicing at home is the key to giving the entire family a radiant and energetic life.

18 | february issue 4 | FEbruAry IssuE





An innovative and nurturing day nursery and nursery school taking children from 21/2 months to 5 years, set in a beautiful garden site at Hyde Park.


Independent Catholic Preparatory School IAPS member, Girls aged 3 - 11, Boys 3 - 7 OPEN MORNING Thursday 24 March 2011 Refreshments and a musical welcome 9.20 am Head Teacher’s welcome Tours of the School from 10.00 am

KEEPING THE MUSIC ALIVE Being a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral is the experience of a lifetime — 100% tuition fees for all choristers — Assistance with boarding fees available — One of the top prep schools in the country — The finest musical education — An amazing start to life If your son is aged 6–9 and shows musical promise, do get in touch.Visits and informal auditions can be arranged at any time. For more information please contact: Clare Morgan, St Paul’s Cathedral School Secretary 020 7248 5156 ·

You are assured a warm welcome at our family-orientated, purpose-built school, close to Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park. We offer a rich and varied learning experience, with excellent examination results and a wide range of extra-curricular activities.

e duc at i o n e d u c at i o n

Fairley house school fairley house, described in the sunday times as ‘the Gold standard’. is london’s leading day school for children with specific learning difficulties. fairley house school was founded 28 years ago by daphne hamilton fairley, a speech and language therapist. at that time she was teaching dyslexics at home and she knew that what was needed was a school for dyslexic children. the school was officially opened by princess alexandra in 1982 with 20 pupils, and today that number has increased to 164. We offer an education almost unique in that educational psychologists, with speech, language and occupational therapists are integrated into the school curriculum. We enjoy a central london location with excellent facilities such as a science laboratory, art room and outdoor play space.

6 | FEbruAry IssuE

learning difficulties benefit form learning in a multisensory way. the negative side of dyslexia is so often emphasised but what of the strengths? We bring out pupils’ creativity and the wonderful visual sense that many dyslexics possess if properly nurtured. our exciting displays of art work and design technology projects are a feature of the school.

fairley house addresses the difficulties of children between 5 and 14 with dyslexia and dyspraxia. children’s learning styles have often not been catered for in their previous school, leading to failure and loss of confidence, but fairley house offers them a ‘level playing field’ where everyone has similar difficulties. children receive a rich, stimulating educational experience integrated with therapy and specialist teaching. teaching is multi-sensory and children learn science, spelling, Geography and history through interesting, hands-on activities. there is a staff: pupil ratio of 1: 3.5. the average stay is two to three years after which children return to mainstream schooling with a new ‘can do’ attitude. our teaching is different. children with specific

a full range of sport is available at fairley house school, including touch rugby, football, netball, hockey and cricket. We use battersea park as well as the queen mother’s sports hall and swimming pool. We play fixtures against other schools and our after school clubs include sailing and fencing. at fairley house our intention is to provide your son or daughter with an educational experience which rivals that of any mainstream independent school. We aim to develop children’s confidence and self-esteem, enabling their talent and enthusiasm to grow and shine. We emphasise the development of the whole child, helping him or her to gain confidence and self-esteem through an encouraging and nurturing ethos. the children have opportunities to develop sound academic and social skills and to become independent. at fairley house, everyone succeeds.


Sarum Hall School PREPARATORY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS AGED 3 TO 11 YEARS Sarum Hall School is an independent preparatory school for girls aged 3 to 11 years in the heart of Belsize Park in Hampstead, northwest London. We are a happy, thriving and successful school with a positive, caring and imaginative learning environment that gives our girls the very best start in life. We pride ourselves on identifying and developing to the full the natural talents and po-

Sarum Hall School Headmistress Mrs C Smith

tential of each individual pupil and preparing them all for a full, happy and productive life.

15 Eton Avenue London NW3 3EL

Means-tested bursaries are available for a limited number of pupils. Please

Phone: 020 7794 2261 E-mail: Ravenstone quarter

University College School

contact the school for more information.


11:17 AM

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University College School is a leading London day school providing pupils the Freedom to Learn.

A fully co-educational school in the heart of South Kensington

w w w. u c s . o r g . u k UCS is a registered charity (no. 312748) founded to promote education.




The Manor, Stoke d’Abernon, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3PX © Copyright Parkside 2006

Limited number of bursaries available

Tel: 01932 862 749

ng ni 11 or 20

Our learning style, sports facilities, science, art, music and performance specialities are all aimed at investing in your son’s future. Academic excellence in a boy’s own setting; that’s why many parents speak of Parkside as being the best investment you will ever make for your son.

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we invest in your

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HOLIDAY COURSES EASTER & SUMMER 11th-15th April 18th July - 5th August

various courses in acting and musical theatre we have something for everyone from Westend week, audition technique, create a play in a week, actors school, musical theatre school and many more

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The Highest Academically Ranked Performing Arts School


school tours available by appointment throughout term time please contact the school secretary to book

applications still open for 2011 entry for more information visit

Education Life Feb 2011  

Education Life Feb 2011