Conference common room Volume 57 Number 1 Spring 2020
The magazine for independent schools
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Volume 57 Number 1 Spring 2020
Contents Editorial 5 In the classroom Bad habits and the power of nudging, Gary Glasspool 7 Watching videos is improving students’ exam marks, Ian Devereux 11 ‘Working without coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise’, Simon Detre 13 The future of CE: the importance of Years 7 and 8, Durell Barnes 16 ‘His mind kept an open house’, Mark Zacharias 18
Old and young and in between A crustie in action, Christopher Martin 21 Educating for environmental responsibility, Rebecca Gibbs and Gareth Turnbull-Jones 22 Swanning back, OR Houseman 23 On the move A step beyond, Tim Johnson 25 Go West, young man, Rick Clarke 28 The challenge of international headship, Chris Seal 31 A matter of diplomacy, Nicky Adams 33 20 for 2020, Tracy Shand 36 Verve, spirit and women in top jobs, Marina Gardiner Legge 37 Go Gabbitas, Vanessa Miner 38
Music Where is music going? Stephen Williams 40 Brentwood joins the accredited Steinway schools, Florian Cooper 42 Books Changing Catholic fortunes 45 David Warnes reviews The Webbs of Odstock 1466–1876 by Hugh Wright The last work of a major historian 46 John Plowright reviews A School in England: The History of Repton by Hugh Brogan 50 Detur Gloria Soli Deo Neil Boulton reviews DULWICH 400 The First Four Hundred Years 1619-2019 Hymns for our time, Nicholas Oulton 52 Goodbye Shirley, The Wartime Letters of an Oxford Schoolboy, 1939-47, 54 David Bebbington The Diary of losing Dad, Emily Bevan 56
Endpiece Kimber, Berwick Coates 58 Cover image – Royal Hospital School, see page 49
42 Spring 2020
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Editorial Editor Tom Wheare Managing Editor Jonathan Barnes Production Editor Scott James Advertising Manager Gerry Cookson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Conference & Common Room is published three times a year, in January, May and September. ISSN 0265 4458 Subscriptions: £25 for a two-year subscription, post paid; discounts for bulk orders available. Advertising and Subscription enquiries to the publishers: John Catt Educational Ltd, 15 Riduna Park, Melton, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 1QT. Tel: (01394) 389850. Fax: (01394) 386893. Email: email@example.com Managing Director Alex Sharratt Editorial Director Jonathan Barnes Opinions expressed in Conference & Common Room are not necessarily those of the publishers; likewise advertisements and editorial are printed in good faith, and their inclusion does not imply endorsement by the publishers. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recorded or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Editor and/or the publishers. Printed in England by Micropress Printers, Suffolk, IP18 6DH
The Centenary Issue of Conference (as this magazine was then known), Volume Seven, Number One, was published in February 1970. It began with a lengthy survey of ‘The Headmasters’ Conference between Two Peaces’ by Laurence Le Quesne, a Shrewsbury history teacher. In the first paragraph, he quoted a leading HMC Headmaster as writing ‘The great question of the moment for us is how the so-called Public Schools may be made more accessible to all classes without losing what is most valuable and characteristic in them.’ The author’s remark that ‘it is hard to avoid ending up with the impression that this is where you came in’ is almost as appropriate now as it was in 1970 and, indeed 1945, the date of the second peace and the rejection of the Fleming Report by the incoming Minister of Education, Ellen Wilkinson. The quotation in fact came from the report of the Conference’s Executive Committee in 1919, as the Treaty of Versailles was wrapping up the first peace and sowing the seeds of the next war. The centenary Chairman of HMC, Tom Howarth, High Master of St Paul’s, demonstrated tactical awareness, learned perhaps on Monty’s staff towards the end of the war or sharpened by that energetic and opinionated Field Marshal’s occasional contacts with his old school. The Conference was held in February 1970, together with a grand dinner, attended by the Lord Mayor of London and the Vice-Chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He began his Chairman’s address to the Conference with these words. ‘The celebration of centenaries can very easily be overdone and, as far as this Conference is concerned, the very faintest suggestion on our part of any sort of retrogressive stance as opposed to our normal posture of falling over backwards in order to move progressively forwards, would be much criticised. Fortunately, we have arranged a date later in the calendar when in the rather peculiar privacy of the Guildhall we can indulge ourselves in harmless centennial nostalgia.’ We may share Le Quesne’s sense of déjà vu as Howarth remarked ‘we have been riding one way and another a great many storms recently in this Conference’. That hasn’t changed, nor has the truth of his warning that ’What is certain, if European history is any guide, is that fantasy and sensationalism can only be indulged in on a mass scale up to a certain point beyond which you disintegrate. It is time the nation stopped feeding its young on fantasy. The best of them anyway, as we well know, are not fooled.’ They are not fooled, and the old adage ‘if youth knew, if age could’ is now turned on its head. Youth does know, and youth is letting us know that we cannot continue to stand idly by and let the planet and their future be destroyed. We might not all be able to follow Christopher Martin through the gates of simulated death to another banquet near the Guildhall, but schools are sustaining a remarkable sense of ecological awareness and activity. If journalists could shift their focus from the secondary education of some of the current crop of political leaders, now several decades in the past, and turn their attention to what all schools are doing in the present, we might be able to look forward with more hope. Things have changed, and despite facing existential challenges, independent schools are deeply involved in developing global and social awareness amongst their pupils to create a better, fairer and more sustainable future. We seem to be living in the age of Janus. Rallying cries that are now eighty years old struggle with Cassandra-like prophecies that an ever-increasing majority knows are all too true. The temptation is to look neither forward nor back, but instead to feel that we must cultivate our garden. And what has happened there in the last fifty years? The best development of all has been the admission of the Heads of girls only schools, which has brought an influx of talented leaders, staff and pupils, and taken HMC a significant step further away from the boys only, boarding only image of the past. In 1975 there were 67 Direct Grant school Heads in membership of the Conference, who were joined by others opting for independence when the grant scheme was closed, and now HMC schools are, in simple terms, more day than boarding and more than two fifths of their pupils are girls. Governmental initiatives have been increasingly frequent in all aspects of education. The hope of achieving greater accessibility, expressed by the Executive Committee in 1919, was occasionally fulfilled, as described, for instance, in Neil Boulton’s review of DULWICH 400, but the emphasis is now on partnership.
Editorial Music is an obvious and immensely fertile area, as has been shown by the Bryanston Music Conference, described by Stephen Williams. Sport and sporting resources cry out to be shared, though it is, to put it politely, ironic that the problems that maintained schools face in trying to provide sport for their pupils, as teaching staff numbers are cut and playing fields sold off, stem from a destructive austerity that seems almost vindictively applied to education budgets by those responsible for maintaining them. The number of HMC overseas members has also increased, as have ‘daughter/sister’ schools in the Middle and Far East. Nevertheless, in what might, perhaps, be called the Potting Shed, the administrative team is still remarkably compact. We have seen The Long March from Assistant Secretary to Chief Executive, (from the time when the General Secretary of SHA was officially the secretary of HMC), and a phased migration from London via Leicester to Market Harborough; from Gordon Square, conveniently
close to the Tavistock Institute, via cuckoo’s nesting with SHA in Regent Road, to The Point under the watchful eye of St Dionysius. Two other post-1970 institutions should be mentioned. AGBIS unobtrusively led the way to amalgamation by bringing together the Governing Bodies of Girls’ Schools Association (GBGSA) and the Governing Bodies Association (GBA) in 2002. Another miniscule administrative team represents the rarely celebrated but actual ‘owners’ of all these schools. And ISC, which has been through some stormy times with the constituent associations, is now well established in its objectives to promote and protect independent education. Teachers are dedicated to the education of their pupils, to their well-being, their happiness and their development. The vocation that teachers demonstrate in cultivating their gardens is of infinitely greater worth than the vapourings of a politician educated in the school of Dr Pangloss.
William Clarence acquires Conference & Common Room
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Dear Colleagues We are delighted to be able to share the news that William Clarence Education, publishers of Independent School Admissions Plus, has recently acquired Conference & Common Room from John Catt Educational. We are extremely conscious of the long and distinguished history of Conference & Common Room and its importance to readers working throughout the independent school sector. We look forward to continuing to provide insightful and thought-provoking content for the industry and to introducing a number of new initiatives over the coming years. In order to support the loyal and influential readership of both magazines, we will be merging Conference & Common Room and Independent School Admissions Plus into a new title: Independent School Management Plus. The first edition will be published in April 2020 and thereafter at the start of each new term. Independent School Management Plus will focus on the key issues of core concern to the members of a senior leadership team responsible for the successful operation of their school as a modern and forward-thinking functioning business. Building on the broad-based editorial coverage achieved by both Conference & Common Room and Independent School Admissions Plus, our new magazine will have regular sections tailored to the needs of Bursars, Registrars, and Marketing Directors, as well Heads and Governors, exploring new thinking and promoting best practice. Copies of Independent School Management Plus will be distributed to named Heads, Bursars, Admissions Registrars and other senior business managers working in these, primarily non-teaching fields of activity in every independent school in the UK; our digital edition will be available internationally. Our experienced editorial team will continue to work closely with the key professional associations serving the independent school sector and draw on the expertise of the 6
eminent editorial advisory board which supports William Clarence’s publishing activities. As Robin Fletcher of the BSA commented in the foreword to the most recent edition of Independent School Admissions Plus, ‘While politicians and journalists chatter away, British independent schools are getting on with the job they have done for decades or even centuries …’. Our objective at Independent School Management Plus is to support and promote the operation of our schools as innovative and resilient businesses for years to come, both domestically and as a key British export overseas. We are always delighted to hear the thoughts of our readers on the topics you would like to see covered. We are also keen to provide you with an opportunity to have your voices heard - if you would like to share your views and ideas please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We look forward to strengthening ties with our community of readers. Stephen Spriggs, Managing Director, William Clarence Education
In the classroom
Bad habits and the power of nudging Gary Glasspool looks EAST to help change behaviour
‘When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion’ – Dale Carnegie As teachers we are all experienced psychologists whether we recognise it or not. Much of the theory and research around modern teaching and learning practices are now well-grounded in the psychology of cognitive neuroscience. We have, as a profession, become much more open to the science of learning and are keen to learn what cognitive psychology can tell us about important processes such as memory, attention and perception. Whilst the amount of new knowledge being thrown at us can, at times, feel conflicting, overwhelming and detached, there’s little doubt in my mind that teaching has become the richer for it. But, whilst we must laud these attempts to ‘scientificate’ the classroom, it would be a shame to lose sight of the more subtle arts of behaviour change that make up much of a teacher’s day. This ‘craft’ is at the heart of what can differentiate a good teacher from a great one, and here I’d like to think about two components that can go some way to changing not only the behaviour of our students, but also the behaviour of their parents and ourselves. Much of our lives are a habit: tea making rituals; getting washed and dressed; food selection; driving and so much more besides have, for most of us, become automatic. We no longer need to divert much cognitive processing power to get
these things done. Phew! If we did, we would quickly become paralysed by the need to make thousands of decisions, many simultaneously, across a day and soon crumple. Our brains, specifically the basal ganglia, help us by creating habits which, when automatic, give our cognitive processing centres and working memory time to focus on what’s important. We all have thousands of these habit-behaviour combinations or habit loops, as Charles Duhigg calls them in his 2013 book ‘The Power of Habit’.
Reward Spring 2020
In the classroom
So far, so good. Habits seem like a useful and simple idea. So what’s the issue and how does this link to the classroom? It’s the automaticity of habits that’s the worry. If we aren’t careful, we can allow habits to govern our day and our classroom by encouraging us to become unthinking. Of course we want habits of the good kind, e.g. bringing the correct equipment, handing in prep on time, or asking questions when stuck, but we need to be wary of the naughty ones. Let me give you a personal example. I have a terrible habit of talking during silence. I will set off an activity: students will be working well in silence (cue); I then feel to be a better teacher (reward) I should add in some other nugget of knowledge or process (routine); and it completely throws them off. They were working well, perhaps at the limit of their cognitive processing, holding on by their neurological fingertips, and then I clumsily wade in with something ‘extra’ and - poof! They’re overwhelmed. It’s a habit I’ve had for years and one that I have only really addressed this year. The good news is that I can do something about it. As Duhigg notes, habits can be engineered. As teachers we know this implicitly, since much of our work at the beginning of a school year is doing exactly that. Duhigg offers us a neat example with toothpaste and the habit-forming work of Charles Hopkins. In an attempt to introduce toothpaste into America in the early 1900s, Hopkins tapped into the habit loop by identifying the following process.
(film on teeth)
(fresh breath) The film we can all feel if we run our tongue across our teeth reminded people that they may have bad breath and so they reached for the toothpaste. Sales soared and the global habit most of us perform twice a day was embedded. What Hopkins missed was that you need to crave the reward, and people really craved the tingly/foamy sensation that the toothpaste gave them. But that’s when we’re starting from scratch. What about when someone has an existing bad habit? The bad news is that we can’t get rid of the cues and people still want the reward so we
In the classroom can only really focus on the routine. Back to my example of interrupting silence. There will always be moments of silence in my classroom (cue) and I will always want to feel like a good teacher (reward) so I need to change my routine. Perhaps, instead of talking to the class, I should go to an individual that I can see is struggling, or mark a piece of work. None of this is ground breaking or what we didn’t already know, but the very nature of habits means that they creep into our practice and sometimes we need to just stop and examine them a bit more closely.
(old routine: talking. New routine: helping an individual)
(feeling of being a good teacher)
Habits also give us the opportunity for much larger and systematic change. Labelled ‘Keystone habits’, they offer us an exciting challenge. Keystone habits are those habits that have the potential to change lots of subsequent behaviours. For example, going to the gym in the morning results in us eating better, drinking more water and being more mobile during the day. The challenge in education is to find out what these keystone habits are, for both teachers and students. Perhaps if we built the habit of introducing hinge questions into every lesson then other behaviours might change, e.g. lesson planning and assessment techniques. Or we could encourage a particular form time activity, e.g.’ thunking’, which encourages the thinking skills of students for the rest of the day. There are no definite answers yet and research continues, but it’s an exciting area of development. (For those who, like the editor, are unfamiliar with ‘thunking’, a thunk is a beguiling simple question that throws open wider debate. What colour are Mondays? Is atheism a gift from God? If a Rolls Royce is hanging by a thread over a cliff which is more valuable, the thread or the Rolls Royce?) This is all very interesting but how do we change people’s routines? Surely that’s the heart of real behaviour change. Richard Thaler (Nobel Prize-winning Behavioural economist) and David Halpern (Head of the UK Government’s Behavioural Insight Team) offer us one simple, yet hard to achieve, solution - nudging. Nudging is about encouraging or influencing behaviour, but without mandating or instructing and avoiding the use of big rewards or sanctions. A recent and successful UK-based example is the 5p charge for carrier bags which has led to a 90% reduction in consumption in 4 years, or, in The Netherlands, the cheeky nudge from Schiphol Airport who painted a fly on their urinals to help their male patron’s accuracy. Nudges should be simple manipulations of your target’s environment in order to influence their behaviour, but they are notoriously tricky things to construct. David Halpern has
therefore offered us a simple mnemonic to keep in mind when constructing our own nudges – EAST.
Make it easy. People are much more likely to do something if it’s easy and low-hassle. Opt-out is much better than opt-in. Conversely, if you’re trying to discourage something, add some friction – make it a hassle to achieve. If you’re lucky enough to have a common room fruit basket, you will notice how many oranges are left at the end of the day – they’re just too much work. Bananas, on the other hand…! German motorbike theft plummeted when it became mandatory to wear a helmet – thieves couldn’t be bothered to carry one with them. In the school context, perhaps revision sessions could become opt-out.
People are drawn to that which catches their attention and is attractive. Young children are famously averse to brown bread – cut it into an animal shape however… We’ve all been nudged in our car by our current speed being flashing back at us. In classrooms, what about offering a lottery for those who hand in their prep on time?.
People are strongly influenced by what others are doing or have done. The behaviour of others augments and amplifies what we do - we see someone else taking the stairs instead of the lift, or we watch someone else pick up/drop a piece of litter. People are poor judges of what others are actually doing, so perhaps we should make true behaviour more visible as the HMRC did recently. ‘9 out of 10 people in your area with similar tax debt pay their tax on time’. For a more school-applicable nudge, ‘9 out of 10 people who are predicted the same grade as you have handed in their prep on time this term.’
Interventions are more effective before habits have formed or when behaviour has been disrupted for other reasons. We need to recognise when might be good times to use particular nudges, such as the beginning of a new school year before habits are formed, or at the move from 5th Year to 6th Form. Nudge formulation needs to be taking place well in advance of when you want to deploy it. We should be getting them ready now for September Inset. As experienced teachers, we know that our own behaviour and that of our students and colleagues is often messy, complex and contradictory. We rarely see seismic changes in behaviour, and it’s all too easy to let bad habits creep in. Re-examining habits and deploying a few nudges here and there is unlikely to be revolutionary – that’s not the point – but they are things that can help with the reality of a busy job in a busy school. Stopping to think about the processes within behaviour, indeed thinking about the psychology of those around us (and not forgetting ourselves), can only serve to improve our practice as teachers – or do I mean psychologists?. Dr Gary M. Glasspool is Head of Teaching and Learning at Churcher’s College
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In the classroom
Watching videos is improving students’ exam marks Ian Devereux describes the benefits of GCSEPod supplementary videos The pressure to perform well is just as intense for independent schools as it is in the state education sector, and even more so when you have some of the UK’s top achieving private schools on your doorstep. Founded in 1939, St Columba’s College in St. Albans, an independent Roman Catholic day school catering for 900 boys aged from four to 18, is always looking for ways of ensuring that its students thrive and excel. As Director of Studies, I decided about two years ago to look for ways of supplementing each student’s learning to make sure that they were not only comfortable and confident in their studies, but that our academic policies would also drive up their exam pass marks. After much research, I realised that the school needed supplementary online learning activities aligned to the GCSE curriculum that would provide activities for pre-lesson familiarisation, post-lesson consolidation and, of course, revision. If students have already carried out learning activities aligned to the day’s area of study before class starts, they are ready to approach the day’s work with a higher level of
confidence. The lesson can delve deeper into each skill area, with the students involved and able to contribute constructively to the lesson. If you are then able to offer them a number of online follow-up activities that consolidate the learning carried out in the class that day, perhaps as homework, it makes teachers’ lives easier and ensures that each student fully understands every aspect of the day’s lesson. Our teachers and students are always looking for high quality revision material. One of the big complaints these days is that students don’t know how to revise, so I was originally looking for a revision tool. The ideal resource should not only focus on the key learning objectives and topics to be tested at exam time, but should also cover the more complex skill areas. Recognising that to get the students to use the resource before and after class it had to be attractive to them, I looked at online resources offering the learning through short videos. Today’s students, but especially boys, live in a YouTube world, so I knew that any learning content that was easy to access and delivered through videos would be well used.
In the classroom
The video-based learning tool GCSEPod supports all skill areas across 20 subjects from quadratic equations to Hamlet’s banishment to England. Each short video pod can be accessed in the classroom or out of school on a smartphone or tablet, meaning that students are able to watch them before, during and after school. They are also designed to be fully practicable for teachers to assign as homework or lesson preparation. Launched at St Columba’s in January 2018, this addition to the students’ learning has had a phenomenal impact at a school that was already achieving excellent results. In the 2016-2017 academic year, 44.1 per cent of GCSE students achieved A*-A grades. In the 2017-2018 academic year, this leapt to 53.5 per cent of all grades being at 9 - 7 (A*-A) and by the 2018-2019 academic year, the college’s GCSE results saw 56.6 percent of students gaining the top 9-7 grades. It goes without saying that the high quality of teaching at St Columba’s has played a big part in the exam success the students have seen. But we have had record results two years in a row, and there is no doubt in my mind that a huge part of this success can be attributed to our new way of supplementing the learning that our teachers deliver. Of course, being a maths teacher, I have been carefully tracking and calculating the students’ progress, and the residual or value-added score for many students has been especially revealing. With the learning delivered through short and engaging videos, thousands of pods have been watched over the past two years. However, looking specifically at the thirty
students who watched the most videos, the impact is even more remarkable. Their average YELLIS residual was 0.72, or in other words, these students achieved nearly three-quarters of a grade above their predictions across all subjects. For those sitting the exams in 2019, the top GCSEPod users saw YELLIS residuals in the 0.5 to 2.2 range. From the moment we subscribed to this new supplementary learning resource, I have monitored the number of Pods each student has watched and tracked this against the residual they achieved in their mock and GCSE exams. This has left me in no doubt that GCSEPod has had a significant impact on many students’ achievements and exam results. Employing tools which are an added extra to students’ learning and understanding of the subject they are being taught is crucial in any school. However, in order for independent schools to continue to be able to deliver a top quality service in which parents are willing to invest, utilising unique and innovative tools such as GCSEPod is a crucial way to add additional value to your offer to your current and prospective students. Ian Devereux is Assistant Head (Director of Studies) at St Columba’s College
In the classroom
‘Working without coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise’ Simon Detre does not see tutoring as an academic panacea
I admire Pope Francis’s style of leadership. Whatever your views on the Catholic Church might be, you must concede that as a leader, Francis is courageous and not afraid to challenge the status quo. A little over one year after becoming Pope, Francis made a speech in which he bitterly criticised his own cardinals and other high-ranking officials. He spoke of the ‘terrorism of gossip’ and ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s’. He made this speech to the very people at whom these criticisms were levelled, and apparently he was met with ‘tepid applause’.1 Ouch. I remember reading comments in the media that Francis should lock his bedroom door at night and employ a Papal food taster. I would never dream of comparing myself to Pope Francis. I do not feel courageous about this article. On the contrary, I am a little anxious, because this article is a critique of an industry in which some of my own colleagues and friends work. It is an industry which parents in every school I have worked in rate very highly, judging by the thousands of pounds some spend on it. The industry in question is worth an estimated £2 billion.2 1. P ope Francis makes scathing critique of Vatican officials in Curia speech www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/22/pope-francis-scathing-critiquevatican-officials-curia-speech 2. A n education arms race’: inside the ultra-competitive world of private tutoring www.theguardian.com/education/2018/dec/05/an-educationarms-race-inside-the-ultra-competitive-world-of-private-tutoring
This article is about tutoring. By tutoring, I do not mean situations in which a student has difficulty with a particular aspect of their schoolwork and the parents employ somebody to help. I mean situations where a child is sent for preparation for a particular exam, in addition to and distinct from their schoolwork. At my school, we most commonly encounter tutoring in preparation for the Buckinghamshire 11+ test for grammar schools. Tutoring for this test is very common. The grammar schools are excellent but are too often thought of as a panacea. Parents want their children to go to a grammar school without always considering realistically whether it would be a good fit. And so they sign up for tutoring years before the test, perhaps without appreciating what the tutoring will consist of or how it might help, and perhaps because everybody else signs up, and who will be the parent brave enough to say, in the inevitable conversations at the school gate, that they have decided not to tutor their child? What accountability do the tutors have? In my view, little or none. If the child passes the test, is this thanks to the tutor, or would they have passed anyway? Some tutors pre-assess children before accepting them, presumably because they do not want to accept children whom they fear might affect their pass rates.
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In the classroom
What happens when tutoring conflicts with schoolwork? Tutors sometimes teach via a different methodology, especially in the case of maths. This can cause confusion and loss of confidence.3 Conflicts of a more serious nature arise in cases of tutors acting as scribes in GCSE or A Level exams, writing their tutees answers for them. This exploitation of a loophole in JCQ regulations by unscrupulous practitioners jeopardises the reputation of honest tutors.4 When parents ask whether their child needs tutoring, teachers fear that if they answer yes, the parent will wonder why the school is not providing what is needed. If they say no and the child fails the test, parents may seek redress. My answer is that no child of primary school age should require significant amounts of tutoring. There is no objective research evidence to suggest that tutoring makes a worthwhile difference. I discourage parents from entering their children for tests ‘just to have a go’, not least because a failure might create a long-lasting nagging doubt. I also take the view that 13+ is a better transition point than 11+, if that is an option. Those who have the chance to remain in a prep school environment for years 7 and 8 can benefit from secure pastoral structures and opportunities to develop leadership aptitudes. It may be that later in their education, after leaving the cocoon of prep or primary school, the one-to-one support that tutoring can provide might have more value, especially in very large schools. Before engaging a tutor, parents should ask questions and seek evidence in support of the answers. Parents should not be afraid to do this: after all, you are proposing to involve this person in your child’s education and pay them a significant 3. F amily: why you should think carefully before getting your child a private tutor www.thetimes.co.uk/article/family-why-you-should-think-carefullybefore-getting-your-child-a-private-tutor-xhh20pfzk 4. C alls to close private tutor GCSE and A-level loophole www.tes.com/news/ calls-close-private-tutor-gcse-and-level-loophole
amount of money. Do they have a criminal record? Are they barred from working with children? Are they a qualified teacher? What experience do they have of teaching children of the age of your child? Which areas of the test will they focus on? How much of what they do is focused on academic learning and how much on exam technique? Have they committed to any professional standards or signed up to any code of conduct? Parents should ask for professional references and verify them. Such questions are taken care of by a market leader like Gabbitas, who will ensure that all appropriate checks have been made, including references, qualifications and all the necessary security checks. As members of The Tutors’ Association their tutors are fully compliant with its Codes of Practice. Parents also need to consider the impact of tutoring from a wellbeing perspective. Tutoring requires a significant time commitment and can have a marked effect on levels of tiredness. Children have a full day at school and may have homework too. In 2017, the 11+ Consortium of independent senior schools (formerly known as the North London Consortium) abolished their entrance tests in response to concerns about children’s mental health.5 They wanted to protect children from excessive pressure and improve wellbeing. Instead, they introduced a ‘bespoke cognitive ability’ test in response to ‘over-tutoring and the dreadful prepping towards the tests’. Pope Francis accused his officials of ‘working without coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise’. Wellintentioned parents considering tutoring for their children may wish to be wary of falling in to a similar trap. Simon Detre is Deputy Head (Academic & Digital) at The Beacon School 5. Leading girls’ schools scrap entrance exams amid mental health concerns www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/10/10/leadig-girls-schools-scrapentrance-exams-amid-mental-health
In the classroom
The future of CE: the importance of Years 7 and 8
Following the 13+ Conference chaired by Phillip Evitt, Headmaster of Highfield School, Durell Barnes describes an exciting new future for the Common Entrance exam and the ISEB Project Qualification CE is alive and well and charting a path for the future. While its role as an entrance qualification has diminished, it remains a highly valued part of the transition process between prep and senior schools. ISEB is committed to providing a range of assessments based on revised specifications which will allow prep schools to acknowledge and reward achievement in Years 7 and 8 and provide certainty for senior schools about the knowledge, skills and understanding that those joining them in Year 9 will have acquired. ISEB is unashamed of the role played by CE in preparing pupils for an understanding of the public examination experience, revising effectively and giving of their best under timed conditions, but we want to ensure that the learning process is a developmental one. This means that specifications will emphasise less the acquisition of knowledge and focus more
on its application. They will provide a framework for teaching and learning that allows individual teachers to approach subjects in their own way, so that pupils can continue to benefit from their particular expertise and enthusiasms and respond to current events and other factors such as the locations of their schools. The modernisation has arisen from a consultation process which involved both prep and senior schools, looking on the one hand at the overarching purpose of CE, and on the other at the detail of what pupils should be studying in terms of each subject. Some of the most interesting, refreshing and productive discussion has been about the aims of CE as a whole. We finalised these aims at the ISEB Board in November. Pupils who have pursued a course of study based on CE specifications and assessments will:
In the classroom
Be equipped not only for the next stage of their education but for life-long learning based on a secure foundation of subject knowledge, concepts and skills and the ability to apply what they know to new situations • Be enthusiastic learners who are open to new ideas and experiences, curious, questioning and keen to experiment • Enjoy reading and be able to communicate clearly orally and in writing • Have the confidence to think, weigh up evidence and make up their own minds, and the resilience to learn from their mistakes • Have the skills to work independently and collaboratively • Understand how subjects connect with each other • Demonstrate cultural and environmental awareness and empathy, developing an understanding of their own place in the world Bearing these aims in mind, discussions have begun about the development of individual subject specifications. The extent to which each subject will contribute to each aim will vary, but all will be influenced by the spirit of ‘less is more’—ensuring that knowledge is not prized of itself, but for how it can help pupils to progress, develop their understanding and apply what they learn to new situations. Over the coming weeks, draft specifications will begin to take shape, and, as on previous occasions when ISEB has adapted syllabi (although never on this scale), these will be put out for consultation in the spring. Building on the successful consultation last year, we expect this to include teachers from prep schools that will be using the specifications and from senior schools that will have views about appropriate preparation for study in Year 9. We also hope to hear from other interested parties and will welcome views from anyone engaged in teaching Years 7 and 8, including overseas schools and looking beyond the patron associations,
GSA, HMC and IAPS. Alongside and after the consultation, the priority will be communication with Galore Park, our partner publishers, about the provision of textbooks and on-line materials to support the new specifications. The next stage will be the preparation of specimen papers, ensuring that there is ample lead time for the first teaching to Year 7 from September 2021, with the first examination in Summer 2023. While it is right to ensure that the new specifications have requisite underpinning with teaching materials, for some enthusiasts it is a shame that the pace of updating is not faster. In one area, however, we have been able to move more rapidly, and we are excited to be piloting the ISEB Project Qualification this year with a view to introducing it more widely from September 2020. In the spirit of the Extended Project Qualification taken in many senior schools in Year 12, this will allow pupils in Years 7 and 8 to develop research skills and benefit from the opportunity to follow their own interests, undertaking research and modifying their enquiry in the light of that, with as much importance being attached to the process, the presentation of findings and the reflection on how the project developed, as on the output itself. Projects can be subject related, focussed on the creative and performing arts or sport, or arise from PSHE topics or other interests. Schools will be able to use this in lesson times, within or across subjects, as an enrichment activity, or however else they see fit. We see this as part of the preparation for lifelong learning which is an important part of prep school provision and something that will help pupils make the best of their years at senior school. We look forward to reporting on the progress of the pilots, and the other developments described here, at our Conference on The Importance of Years 7 and 8 to be held at Charterhouse on 28th April 2020. Durell Barnes is Chair of ISEB and former Deputy Director and Head of Communications at the Independent Schools Inspectorate
In the classroom
‘His mind kept an open house’ Mark Zacharias maintains the value of the humanities
To paraphrase Jane Austen’s well-worn adage, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a student in possession of a humanities A-level qualification must have been in want of either good advice or a good brain. It has become almost axiomatic that, if you want a successful career, you should be studying STEM subjects — Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths — at school. In the words of one of my tutees, people assume you’re not very clever if you didn’t opt for these courses in the 6th Form. The conventional wisdom about 21st century skills holds that students need to master the STEM subjects, and learn to code as well, because that’s where the jobs are. There is certainly evidence to suggest that students have taken this message on board: the most popular A-levels in 2018 were Maths, Biology, Psychology and Chemistry, whilst the attractiveness of traditional heavyweights such as English Literature, History and MFL continues to wane. Students appear to be selecting qualifications they believe will offer them the best chance of a defined career, material prosperity and an immediate return on university fees. All of which rather begs the question: are the humanities still relevant and worthwhile today? Though it saddens me to have to take this concern seriously, I want to argue that the humanities are actually more important now than they have ever been. 18
In 2013, Google undertook a major project (dubbed ‘Oxygen’) in which deep analysis was done of all recruitment and promotion data accumulated since the company’s emergence in 1998. Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills which, to quote The Washington Post, ‘sound more like what one gains as an English or theatre major than as a programmer’. In 2017, Forbes reported that the billionaire software developer and entrepreneur, Mark Cuban, had shared a bold prediction about the future of jobs: that within the next decade, as automation becomes common place, independent thinkers who excel in humanities disciplines will be in high demand. Cuban believes that as artificial intelligence and machine learning become more and more prominent, there will be a greater need for expertise in subjects such as English, philosophy and foreign languages. He is by no means alone in expressing such a sentiment. The Harvard Business Review recently drew attention to the increasing trend for top corporate companies to target English graduates in their recruitment strategies, and the financial industries have also stepped up their recruitment of humanities graduates. The multinational investment bank,
In the classroom Goldman Sachs, recently revealed that English students were among its second largest cohort of recruits, and that the company has begun holding special recruitment events aimed at English-related subjects at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Closer to home, Dr Paul McCombie, of Bath University’s civil engineering department, states that he has found that civil engineering students with A levels in arts and humanities ‘do significantly better than those with just maths and sciences. As well as having broader insight, they know that there is much more to analysis than mere maths, they can deal better with uncertainty, and they better understand people and their motivations.’ What makes humans so very different from machines is our ability to perform intuitive leaps, to collaborate and to create. Art, music, drama and ‘soft’ subjects such as English teach this. Britain is the global leader in the arts world, after the United States, and the creative industries are worth £92 billion to this country, more than the oil, gas, life sciences, automotive and aeronautics industries combined. In the future, if you want an interesting job you will need to become as unlike a machine as possible, proving you can be inventive, emotionally perceptive and flexible. I believe the humanities will equip you for this reality better than anything else. It was once said of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge that ‘his mind kept an open house and welcomed all comers’. In this spirit, we declare ourselves at the Stamford Endowed Schools to be ‘independent schools for independent minds’, and we aim to offer all our students an exciting and enriching academic programme, to nurture and nourish (the root meanings of the verb ‘to educate’) the young minds that sit at our desks every day. However, with the narrowing of the curriculum in recent
years, the return to linear A-levels and the push towards STEM subjects, students up and down the land are increasingly leaving school having had a limited and restricted scholarly experience, which is surely to both their and our collective detriment. But more than this, is the concern that to ignore the humanities is turn one’s back on the pool of collective wisdom that the great writers, philosophers, historians and theologians have accumulated over the centuries. The humanities help us to make moral, spiritual and intellectual sense of the world we live in, and they equip us to navigate the choppy waters of this life. We learn empathy as we engage with the thoughts and experiences of others and we are taught to think critically and ask questions. Life itself is not formulaic and monochromatic, it is messy and colourful, and to fully understand this, we should be equipped to deal with difficult ideas and uncertainties. Indeed, one only needs to turn on the news to see that we need the skills and knowledge that the humanities impart: understanding other cultures; being able to communicate effectively; realising the ramifications of history; and analysing human behaviour. In short, the humanities are more important than ever to both the individual and to global society. In light of all this, SES students must not buy into the false narrative that is being perpetuated throughout the country today. Your future is not solely dependent on you mastering STEM subjects: broad learning skills are the key to longterm, satisfying, productive careers. What helps you thrive in a changing world may well be the humanities subjects you currently eschew, which collectively can make you not just workforce ready but world ready. Mark Zacharias is Head of English at Stamford High School
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Old and young and in between
A crustie in action
Christopher Martin joins Extinction Rebellion There seemed to be nothing else for it. With science on my side, a dozen grandchildren, octogenarian status, dimly perceived guilt at my part in helping to risk the planet’s future, something needed to be done. So I joined Extinction Rebellion. XR meetings at the Malcolm X centre in Bristol got me going – well organised gatherings of perhaps 200 people of all ages. I attended training days on Non Violent Communication and Non Violent Direct Action. The importance of the Affinity group – the basic building block of XR – quickly became clear. Good vegan food was always available. There were sessions on printing T shirts and flags, making banners, the legal implications of actions, learning our rights, mutual support, respect for the police and for those inconvenienced by unlawful activity, transport and cooking arrangements - all aimed at the forthcoming rebellion in London. I declared myself arrestable, and joined a climate emergency walk around Bristol. This included a die-in when we all lay down feigning death, a pretence some of us found easier than others. Lying there under a blue sky involved no hardship: this only occurred when I felt a small hand exploring my scalp. Initial pleasure quickly turned to pain when the hand started enthusiastically removing clumps of my hair, until its owner was distracted by her father. Bristol had been allocated the Home Office, where I found myself centred for a couple of days, not 100 yards from where I had lived as a housemaster at Westminster. Pop up tents popped up and a kitchen was soon established. A people’s assembly was convened in the roadway. There were lectures from well informed people. We novices learnt the songs the veterans knew already. People shared food, stories, aspirations, and guessed at what the police reaction was likely to be. A sense of mutual appreciation permeated the crowd where age, even extreme old age, did not appear to be a handicap. The Home Secretary, perhaps wisely, made herself scarce. On the third day, the police started making arrests. Politely, and with good humour, each of us was warned that we were in breach of Section 14, and those not wishing to be arrested were invited to stand up and clear their belongings from the roadway. I did so, since our own group’s action was planned for the second week and I didn’t want to compromise it. We were slowly but inexorably kettled back down Marsham Street via Victoria Street to the Sanctuary outside the Abbey. This took several hours and felt rather sadly like a sort of retreat, even a capitulation, though morale remained remarkably high. The Red Brigade moved silently among us, a presence at once both disturbing and poignant. Everyone helped carrying all the clutter that goes with a large scale camp. I found myself carrying a collection of long bamboo poles whose function remained obscure until they arrived at Oxford Circus a few days later. And thence up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square. All this time, and for the first time in any of our lives, we enjoyed a quiet, traffic free space in the city.
Trafalgar Square felt like the end of the line. Camp was set up again, and soon took on a semi-permanent aspect. The police showed admirable restraint throughout. Some from Avon and Somerset to whom I talked were intrigued to be in the capital on duty and took photos to show their families. The one unnecessarily vindictive act was the decision to play the fountains all night and block the usual out-flow valves so that the tents would be flooded. Which they duly were. Arrests started again the following morning as the police started to clear the roads. Handing out information and apologetic leaflets, one quickly realised that tourists were keen to learn more. Disconcerted commuters were understandably much less willing to engage with us. The following week was the time for our specific action. We planned to highlight BlackRock’s dire record of investing a large part of its $6.5 trillion in deforestation and fossil fuel mining. Their UK offices, housing 5000 employees, are just behind the Bank of England. We were to set up a dining table, with cutlery, crockery and a waitress service, where four of our number would consume money under a large banner announcing, ‘When the last tree is cut down, the last fish is caught, the last river poisoned, you will find that you cannot eat money.’ Meanwhile, others of our number were to glue themselves to the front windows of their glossy headquarters. And that is what we did. Things were complicated by the fact that the main XR action had moved from Westminster to the City that very morning, accompanied by squadrons of police, a large van of whom arrived outside BlackRock at exactly the same time as we did. Fortunately, our leader’s fleetness of foot enabled her to outrun her pursuers and to glue herself onto the glass fronted entrance. There she remained while our diners joyously set about chewing, though not digesting, volumes of cash. We were soon surrounded by media, BlackRock employees on their lunch break and police reinforcements, some of whom expressed sympathy with our cause. After 90 minutes, by which time our point had been made, the police tactfully suggested we should be on our way. So we packed up and went back to Bristol. Was it a successful action? It’s for others to determine, though the fact that Aljazeera, CNBC, Youtube and much of the national and local press carried accounts of our meal suggests that it was well worthwhile. More significantly perhaps, the active New York campaign to discredit BlackRock’s record on climate change was delighted with us. And the Financial Times, in its leader, quoted a former chief executive of Unilever saying that in terms of achieving sustainable development goals, ‘the cost of inaction is rapidly becoming significantly higher than the cost of action.’ Perhaps street theatre plus arrests is a winning formula. We must bear this in mind when planning our next action. Christopher Martin was Headmaster of Bristol Cathedral School and Millfield
Old and young and in between
Educating for environmental responsibility
Rebecca Gibbs and Gareth Turnbull-Jones celebrate young environmentalists
In a time of climate crisis, where students are attending climate strikes to make a point about our failures, as adults, to protect the world they live in, schools need to ask to what extent are we supporting students to be environmentally responsible. Enabling students to make informed decisions on how to change behaviours and develop solutions to environmental issues is vital. In order for our students to develop a range of skills that will support them on their journey to be able to engage both critically and responsibly, activities at Landmark are planned with environmental responsibility in mind. This has led to some recent unexpected successes. From a young age, we look to develop an engagement with the wider world. To do this all our primary classes use a transdisciplinary model of learning. They do this by choosing a topic of learning for each term. The learning in each of the disciplines addresses the topic, contextualising their learning, enabling the students to know how their learning can be applied in the world around them. The first term’s overarching theme of learning throughout the whole of the primary is environments, with classes inquiring into the topics of rainforests, the oceans and frozen planet. Once the students progress to the secondary, the opportunities become more self-directed. Through this, students can find out what their environmental passions are. In KS3 students take part in the CREST awards, the nationally recognised scheme for STEM based project work. At Landmark, CREST is embedded within the timetable. It has given our students the freedom to manage their own time and work collaboratively in finding solutions to real world problems. Their focus, team-work and creativity has engaged them with a range of issues, but often these are environmental, such as finding ways to collect water or innovate around sustainable transport. 22
Beyond this it is important for schools to look for opportunities to widen our students’ environmental horizons. This can sometimes lead to unexpected results and new opportunities. Recent correspondence with the WWF led us to offer the online Wild Wisdom Quiz. The quiz took no time at all, was instantly marked online and rewarded the participants with certificates. We thought nothing more of it until we were invited to take our two top-scoring students to the national finals at The Living Planet Centre, WWF-UK HQ in Woking. Our students had a tour of the centre, participated in an environmental campaign workshop and went on to win the national final. Their next challenge was the global final. While participants from 5 other nations joined the quiz in India, our girls appeared via a live link-up from our science laboratory, with the rest of the school cheering them on. The questions really challenged their knowledge of biomes and solutions to environmental issues. Their confidence and knowledge of the subject matter reflected their passion for the natural world. The girls came second overall, a truly wonderful achievement summed up by Matt Larsen-Dawe, Education Manager of the event sponsor Our Planet. ‘I wanted to send a personal huge congratulations for your amazing performance in the Wild Wisdom Quiz International Final. To put your achievement in perspective, the WWQ has several rounds before the national final in India, and over 50K young people took part to compete for the chance to represent India in the final. The Colombia team that won had triumphed over more than 30K young people who competed in their national quiz competition. Your passion for nature and knowledge of the natural world shone through, clearly enabling you to make very educated choices even when it was a fact you didn’t know. You have done your school – and the UK – proud!’ The experience has inspired us all. The girls have now challenged themselves and the school to become more environmentally aware and have project ideas to engage our students from years one to eleven. This returns us to the initial question of to what extent we are supporting students to be environmentally responsible. Providing environmental learning opportunities to students has helped us to develop self-directed, environmentally aware young people. This direction of education can lead schools down unexpected avenues and enable students to become environmentally responsible leaders in their communities. Rebecca Gibbs and Gareth Turnbull-Jones Landmark International School
Old and young and in between
Swanning back OR Houseman is paddling furiously beneath the surface
The secretary of the Old Boys’ Association regularly organises reunions. He usually invites leavers from a particular era: either a specific year or, in order to ensure a larger attendance with the older Old Boys, a specific decade. A member of Common Room as well as an Old Boy himself, he gives regular detailed announcements at CR meetings in advance of these reunions, and advertises their programme alongside lists of attendees. This, he explains helpfully, means we should be able to meet all of those Old Boys whom we knew and taught. Some weeks into the Michaelmas Term he announced a forthcoming reunion for those who left between 2000 and 2005, which would take place on the Saturday of the 1st XV’s final home fixture of the term. ‘Marvellous,’ said the somewhat jaded former housemaster standing next to me while the secretary made his announcement. ‘The worst five years of my twelve in the house. I have no desire to see a single one of them ever again. Whether my team are playing at home or away that Saturday I am getting on the bus.’ This aversion to the Old Boys was probably the only view the jaded former housemaster shared with the Headmaster, who has never shown any interest in boys or the achievements of the boys who left the school before his time. (At least he has never shown any interest in positive achievements: he refers to negative incidents from the time before his own arrival with alacrity.) Old Boys are also expected to return to play in sporting fixtures, and sometimes a representative group of more elderly alumni constitutes a formal presence at occasions such as Remembrance Sunday. Occasionally one receives a polite email saying something like ‘I shall be passing through town next Tuesday and wondered whether there would be a convenient moment to pop in and say hello’. This allows the housemaster to make time to see the Old Boy if he wishes to do so, or to express apologies and regrets that an extremely busy schedule or a (hastily arranged) day away from school makes it impossible on that occasion. The Old Boy with the consideration and manners to write in advance, however, is usually, by definition, one whom one is happy to meet and share news. The unplanned visit of Old Boys can cause a number of problems, however. Recent leavers have a habit of appearing unannounced in September, presumably before university terms have started. They still remember the routines, so let themselves into the house and start fraternising with the current senior boys in a way that encourages exactly the sort of atmosphere a housemaster does not want in his house at the start of the evening. Or they walk into the housemaster’s study expecting him to drop everything and devote his full attention to them and their important visit. ‘I knew I would find you here because I remember you always hold a house assembly at this time.’ They remember the schedule of house assemblies, but they do not remember the fact that for this very reason their former housemaster is not free to talk to them. Sometimes they appear in a manner which suggests they believe the school and all its masters have had nothing whatsoever to do since the day
they left, and that we have just been waiting, spending empty days in anticipation and hope of a visit from them. There is of course another problem. An Old Boy appears in the house, in one’s study, or in the quad, and greets his former housemaster warmly and familiarly (often too familiarly); but the housemaster has no recollection whatsoever of who he is. There is a strong chance that the Old Boy is sporting a beard, has ostentatiously pierced ears, is carrying a can of lager, smoking a cigarette. He may look exactly as he did the day he left school; but was that last year or ten years ago? One can try to bluff one’s way into buying a little more time to remember. ‘Great to see you. How are you? What are you up to now?’ are questions one can ask without addressing him by name, and can sometimes produce a few clues. ‘Still in touch with the rest of the year group?’ often brings a little success as a few more names prompt associations. If all fails and one simply has to ask, one has to find a way of laughing off this initial failure to recognise someone who will probably continue to say ‘hello sir’ for the rest of his life. It is a little more embarrassing when this happens with an Old Boys’ parents. Ostensibly there has been no change in this adult relationship, so does a failure to remember their names several years later retrospectively dent the confidence they should have had in the man into whose care they had entrusted their son? As we walked away from the announcement of the imminent reunion, I explained an anxiety of my own to the former housemaster who volunteers to accompany any away team on the day of a planned Old Boys’ reunion. ‘I always worry that they are going to tell me stories of breaking out of the house to go to the pub, or worse offences. Why do they want to tell me that now? Do they think I will find it amusing to have them point out my failure to do my job properly? Are they actually trying to humiliate me?’ ‘I have an answer to that one,’ replied my colleague. ‘Last year a particularly annoying old boy turned up to talk to me. ‘You have no idea how much we used to get up to’ he told me with evident delight.’ ‘How did you reply?’ ‘I told him he had no idea how little I cared.’ I did not quite see myself using this line, even if provoked by embarrassing reminders of my failure to spot misdemeanours, but I could not help recalling it when a bearded face walked into my study, put his coat on a sofa and greeted me with a very friendly ‘hello sir’ just after I had returned to the house after the rugby
Old and young and in between match on the day of the advertised reunion. I recognised the face instantly. Its owner had been in my house, as had his brother. I could picture him, and I could picture the boys’ parents. I had liked all of them and I wanted to say ‘hello George’ but I hesitated. Was this George? Or was it George’s brother? What was his name? And which was the elder one? When did he leave? Last year? Or has he now graduated? Perhaps he has his own children now? He put his hand out to me. ‘You certainly won’t remember me, but I wanted to say hello. George D…’ he began, before I could answer any of my own questions. ‘Of course I remember you George, great to see you.’ Fortunately he did not tell stories of how much he and his friends used to get up to about which I had no idea. Instead, he related several stories of my catching them, all of which I had completely forgotten and could barely recall even when reminded by
him now, which he did with humour and evidently fond memories of his time at school. A decent boy who had grown up into a decent young man: one could almost be tempted into believing that we do a worthwhile job and that they do appreciate it. ‘Quite a few of the boys from my year are here actually, and so is my brother. He was just telling me a hilarious story about his year group walking to the pub on the corner of the High Street when you thought they were going to the gym. I think he is on his way up to say hello now.’ ‘Oh. What a shame,’ I began improvising. ‘I am just rushing out to an important meeting with the headmaster. Do pass on my apologies to your brother.’ OR Houseman is in two minds about the joys of la recherche du temps perdu
Bryanston Equestrian Centre gallops ahead
‘Having the right environment, support and encouragement is vital for any youngster looking to fulfil their potential in a particular sport without compromising the development of broader life skills and academic progress. For children looking to develop their equine skills, it’s all the more challenging because of the time commitment and pressures that come with caring for a horse,’ says Bryanston’s Head of Riding, Sophie Starr. Following extensive refurbishment and development of its equine training and performance facilities, the Bryanston Equestrian Centre has enjoyed its most successful year in equestrian pursuits with a record number of pupils, and is now looking to build on its growing reputation in this specialist area. Pupils compete at inter-school equestrian events as well as affiliated and unaffiliated events in all disciplines. ‘Our Equestrian Centre has continued to develop over the past two decades, with former pupils having gone on to considerable success at major international events and fulfilling equine careers. Today’s pupils now benefit from unprecedented access to first class facilities and expertise, including Bryanston’s dedicated Performance Sport Programme.’
Highly commended by the British Horse Society (BHS), the centre features a range of outdoor arenas for show jumping and dressage, as well as an indoor training school, cross country schooling fields and extensive hacking options around the School’s 400-acre estate. A team of BHS-qualified grooms and coaches are based at the centre, where there is also a full stable complex and bespoke care for pupils’ horses, with input from one of the world’s most respected experts in horse and rider performance analysis, Russell Guire. A dedicated Performance Development Suite has been created as part of the School’s major investment in facilities to promote sporting excellence and endeavour. This provides monitoring, insight and tailored training programmes to support the growth, conditioning and development of young sportsmen and women who excel in their chosen sport. All pupils who have chosen equestrian as their main sport are actively encouraged to embrace all other aspects of life at the School and all academic, sporting and social activities are underpinned with Bryanston’s core values of creativity, individuality, resilience and personal fulfilment.
On the move
A step beyond
Tim Johnson explains why school trips can do more for your school than just enhance learning
My father started Club Europe back in 1980, creating bespoke ski trips for students to Austria, and I’m very proud to still be here 40 years on. Our offering has increased to include school music tours, sports tours and educational trips, but our ethos remains the same: to give students enriching and engaging school travel experiences. With Brexit looming, it’s even more important now to ensure that young people maintain links with Europe’s culture, history and society. Our European trips combine support for key areas of the curriculum with this essential ingredient, so that students really learn and absorb the culture of the destination they have travelled to. Many of the trips we create take full advantage of the continent’s breadth of history and culture. Our trips feature specially arranged activities, collaborations with other schools and specialist workshops, ensuring that students get an authentic experience.
Learning Outside the Classroom has long been part of the school curriculum. It’s widely accepted by educators to support learning, engage students and offer invaluable life experiences. Now with the scope and depth of school trips expanding, could the range of extra-curricular experiences you offer your students set you apart from other schools? With the help of an increasing number of specialist agencies, who will organise every aspect of your school trip, there is a huge market out there and no limit to what you can offer your students. From dedicated CAS and STEM trips to European language and cultural tours, school trips these days can be tailor-made for each individual travelling group and targeted specifically to support one or more modules for a particular subject. So what advice and support can Heads offer their teachers about organising these trips? What kind of trips should you be considering, and how can they be used, not just to enhance learning, but to raise the profile of your school?
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On the move
The best advice I can give you is to plan ahead. Allow at least 12 months, if possible, to make sure that you get the best accommodation, educational centres and flights for your students. Be careful when choosing your specialist agency. Ask yourself whether they have the right accreditations and whether they come recommended. Good communication with both the school’s senior management team and with parents is key. A good operator will have a client portal and offer comprehensive support, from parent evening presentations to publicity posters and even trip ‘websites’ to support the teacher. We have just launched a new ‘intuitive’ tour management portal, My Club Europe, which enables you to do all this and more, very quickly and easily. Using various platforms, it also facilitates communication with students. What kind of school trips should you choose? With such a wealth of choice out there, the world really is your oyster. At Club Europe we specialise in unique trips and lesser-known destinations that offer that extra ingredient. Short, close to home trips, like tours of WWI battlefields in Belgium, are always popular, but you can explore further afield, for once in a lifetime cultural trips to Japan, Hong Kong or USA. Residential trips that support one subject are an excellent way to immerse students in their subject eg. a three-day Science trip to CERN in Geneva, or a five-day immersive Language trip to a specialist language centre in France, Germany or Spain. We also arrange joint trips with more than one department, such as a combined Classics and Art trip to Rome, a combined Language and Ski trip to France, or a GCSE Music and Art Trip. If your school choir is looking for a short weekend tour, we have recently established a partnership with a rehearsal space in Holland. Alternatively, we have a huge number of choir tour destinations across Europe and beyond, that give ensembles the opportunity to perform in prestigious venues such as the Madeleine in Paris and even the Basilica of St. Mark’s in Venice. How can school trips raise your school’s profile? You could add a school trip as part of the offering students get automatically as part of their fees, or perhaps consider developing a flagship school trip specifically for your school, which becomes an integral part of the curriculum for a single year group or even all students. Films can be a powerful tool. Make a film of some of your students on a school trip to show to prospective parents. It’s well worth measuring the results and the impact of your school trips on academic levels, pupil-teacher relationships and pupil
confidence. You can use this data to demonstrate the tangible benefits of your school travel programme. To get help with the planning of your school trips, speak to a specialist company, like Club Europe. They will have all the local knowledge and travel expertise you need. They will also provide an essential backstop if anything goes wrong. We are founding members of the School Travel Forum and are also members of several other UK and international school organisations. We regularly travel across the UK and beyond to meet with Head Teachers and subject leaders. We’ve worked with many of our trip leaders for years. Here are comments from two of them on their recent experience with us. James, football leader, Solefield Prep School, Kent writes about his Club Europe football tour to the Serie A football club Atalanta BC. ‘An absolutely brilliant experience for our boys, with many memories to last a lifetime. Atalanta Academy were exceptional, and tailored games to work for us too. And our tournament was a fantastic experience for our boys. Atalanta coaches dealt with our boys extremely well. As a former teacher, Clive, our tour manager, was exceptional with the students. He was absolutely first class throughout the trip. Could not recommend him highly enough. He made the trip the success that it was. His enthusiasm throughout the week as well as in organising everything beforehand was second to none!’ Andy, Head of Music, Chandlings Prep School, Oxfordshire writes about his Club Europe music tour to Lake Garda. ‘The pre-tour process was wonderful - as always! Fantastic setting, suitable rooms, superb for what we needed. A well organised, superb lifetime experience for all involved!’ Tim Johnson has enjoyed fantastic experiences with Club Europe since the age of four – and now he’s the Managing Director, his sons do the same. In between his travels he attended Dulwich College. Club Europe organise bespoke school ski trips, music tours, educational and sports tours to destinations across the world. If you would like to contact Tim Johnson or arrange a meeting with him at your school, email Tim.J@club-europe.co.uk. or find out more by visiting Club Europe’s website.
On the move
Go West, young man Rick Clarke visits America to see how the progressive schools movement is faring on the other side of the pond Four cities, ten days and eight schools from the West to the East coast of America – not to mention meetings with alumni along the way and a boarding recruitment fair in California. This was the whirlwind tour I embarked on during October half-term. My quest? To tap in to my school’s rich past through its former students and look to its future by learning from our like-minded cousins across the pond. Although progressivism was a pedagogical approach developed in Europe in the latter part of the 19th century, its reputation on this side of the Atlantic has suffered a few bumps and scrapes in recent decades. This is not how it is on the other side. The USA, land of entrepreneurs and free-thinkers who aren’t afraid of failure en route to success, continues to embrace the progressive movement. I wanted to find out more. My first stop was Chicago. Here I visited two schools - the Francis Parker School and the University of Chicago Laboratory School – two of the oldest progressive institutions in America. Their founders, Colonel Francis Parker and John Dewey, are also hailed as the architects of US progressivism. Today, these remain fine schools doing fascinating work in advancing the progressive ethos. At their heart are the same ideals we value at Frensham Heights: that learning should
be experiential and creative and, crucially, led by the child’s natural curiosity, so that he or she discovers their own passion in their own time, with teachers as facilitators of learning rather than figures of authority. To someone used to seeing children learn in rows, a typical progressive classroom in the US can come as a shock. Quite often learning doesn’t even happen in the classroom, and certainly not at a desk. Children might be lying on the floor, working in a corridor or writing on the walls. Traditional subjects overlap in a kind of 3D approach to learning, and yet teachers told me how these students will leave school with the same knowledge base as if they had been taught in a more traditional way. Importantly, however, they will be able to apply that knowledge more effectively. Not boxed in by a national curriculum and free from standardised exams like our GCSE and A level, these schools have immense intellectual freedom to develop their own timetable, from nursery up to 12th grade, the final year of school. The very nature of being progressive is to progress. I found these schools to be at the cutting edge of educational thinking, often working closely with universities to devise their dynamic cross-curricular project work.
On the move For instance, at one of the schools I visited in California, I saw outstanding examples of 12th graders working on solutions to social justice issues which concerned them: the causes of increased homelessness in their city, or what impact abortion laws are having on immigrant mothers in border towns. These are big topics, but the students, free from the constraints of preparation for national exams, take them on with zeal. There was nothing fluffy about the learning I saw. In fact, quite the opposite: there was a sense of purpose amongst students and evidence of real rigour. Teachers do lots of testing, but while in the UK this kind of data is front and centre, in the US it is used discreetly to inform teachers about an individual’s progress. As I moved on from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I realised that what I was witnessing was a playfulness about learning. Progressive schools in the USA recognise that this very playfulness is the key to keeping students engaged in learning and taking ownership of it, a message they are keen to share, as we do at Frensham until Year 8, when students step on to the treadmill of GCSEs and A levels. Whilst we approach imaginatively the content we need to teach, as all good teachers do, we are certainly, for the moment, somewhat restricted from going further off-piste. Presidio Hill school in San Francisco now has its own highly regarded teacher training facility, where graduates learn about progressive approaches to learning and go on to work in the state sector. The same is happening at Bank Street School in New York, where I visited four schools and saw Design Thinking in action. Originally developed by academics at Stanford University, and now widely taught in higher education and used by businesses to offer creative ways to solving problems, progressive schools have embraced this innovative approach to project work. Maker Spaces, as they are known, are also a familiar sight in progressive schools. Virtual reality headsets, 3D printers and carpentry tools might be found here. The idea is that children create and explore freely. Imagine five and six-yearolds with hammers and saws in a UK school? Yes, there were one or two accidents, a teacher in New York told me, but that element of risk – and failure – is a key aspect of the education they offer. Crucial to all this is the staff student ratio. Every class I saw had at least two teachers and quite often three. A progressive education might be highly-prized but it comes at a price. Whilst we agonise that boarding fees in the UK can be well over £40,000 a year, in Manhattan they can be an eye-watering £70,000. However, schools have extensive financial aid programmes and, with a commitment to inclusion, hugely diverse student intakes. But no matter how progressive your school is in the US, the only yardstick of success for parents is how well students are prepared for university. With most progressive schools doing away with SATS and Advanced Placements (APs), the traditional preparation for university entry, they have to work closely with admissions departments. In New York, academics from Columbia, Brown and Harvard are regular visitors to progressive schools, but, in a society where success continues to be measured by a university degree, many parents pay for separate entrance exam tuition. All the schools I visited are members of the Progressive Education Network, a collaborative organisation which stages conferences and enables sharing of ideas and best practice.
With our rich historical links and very similar ethos, I look forward to working with this inspirational group in the future. As I reflect on my trip, I realise that perhaps what struck me the most was the nature of relationships between staff and students. Just like at Frensham, it was warm, open and respectful everywhere I went. And what of those old Frenshamians I caught up with? All had built extraordinary lives for themselves. Coming from a school which prides itself on creative arts, it was perhaps not surprising to find that many had pursued careers in that world. But others I met were doctors, journalists, lawyers or financiers. They all spoke of the warmth of their old school and the focus on encouraging individuality which had given them confidence to pursue their dreams. Coming to the end of my first year as Head of a school with a proud tradition of being non-traditional, I feel emboldened by my visit to our cousins in the US. Some 94 years ago the three pioneering women who founded my school felt that the stifling education system of Victorian times was no longer fit for purpose. In the same way, I believe the UK’s current system, restricted by standardised exams, could well have passed its sell-by date. The workplace of the future will favour the independent thinker, the problem-solver and the risk-taker, those who have moved beyond the desk, learned outdoors, and have been creative during their school years. When it comes to educating the next generation, I am more convinced than ever that there is another way. Rick Clarke is Head of Frensham Heights
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On the move
The challenge of international headship Chris Seal reflects on three years of experiencing what comes with the territory ‘Why would you do that?’ was a question I heard directly and through inference a fair bit through the 2016/17 academic year. Although at times I resented the premise of the question, I also sometimes found it hard to come up with a satisfactory or coherent response. I’d decided around 2015/16 that I wanted to move from being a Deputy Head to Headship. I’d not thought about roles overseas, in fact I had not really thought about what was involved very much at all, an issue painfully exposed in the first two interviews I attended. The constantly smiling agent from the head hunters continued to ask me questions I had not considered, as I mumbled something about my wife doing the flowers in chapel, and pointing to the fact that I’d seen the school’s accounts on the charity commission website. Those months of dismal failure were critical to where I am now. That time gave me the opportunity to develop my vision of what leading a school was about and why I wanted to do it. Now it seems simple: I just want to offer a community
the opportunity to succeed in finding and fulfilling their potential on an individual and collective scale. These are not new words, and they are a central part of the education of many independent schools, but in the maelstrom of being a deputy in a large boarding school they are not always easy to locate, let alone fulfil. Once located, they became my authentic reason for headship - anywhere. That point is also important As a family we’ve been geographically flexible, and taken opportunities when they came. So, when Thailand loomed into view as the location of the next role on offer, my response was why not? So what is it like? Challenging is the answer, but it would be the same answer in Taunton, Twickenham or Tyneside. Headship is not easy. Over the past three years I would summarise the challenges under three categories - imagined challenges, real challenges and disruptive challenges. The imagined challenges are inevitable. How will I fit in and what do I not know? The first of these was the one that
On the move
brought the sweaty palms and butterflies into play as each first interaction was reflected upon and often ‘graded’. The latter issue was completely self-imposed. I went to Shrewsbury, Bangkok in August 2017 as Principal, a highly selective and successful school in the centre of the heaving, intense and vibrant capital of Thailand. Before this, I was the ‘pastoral deputy’, with a good line in sarcasm and able to smell a lie and/or cannabis from 100 paces. Over the year before I actually arrived, I convinced myself I’d have to know more about teaching and learning, and especially the buzzwords associated with all that. I read furiously about assessment for learning and evidence-based practice. I’m glad I did, but I also know now that, to a certain extent, this was folly. The governors and school appointed me because I had the experience to make sense of a large school and had had to develop enough people skills to make change work. They did not appoint me to deliver eduspeak. Within days of arriving in Bangkok, the real challenges began. It’s hot, sunstroke is a real thing, and it’s not nice. Nor are snakes, and they come into school, and don’t register with form tutors like our wonderfully behaved students. The Thai language is fiendishly difficult to learn; we have over 1700 students on 9 acres; and the competition in the city is growing more intense. There is also a deep and ingrained ignorance of the sector in the UK. I was part of this pre-2016, and although it makes no operational difference to the school at all, it is desperately annoying as heads of schools with 4% A* at A-Level lecture me on what good schools are. Add a nought on the end of that figure to get the percentage at Shrewsbury Bangkok 32
plus 275 activities, great sport, awesome music and stunning drama. Great schools are great schools. The final category is one at which all heads will smile wryly, I suspect. Disruptive challenges come from nowhere and can make a mess of you. In December 2017 I had: spinal fusion, bringing to an end six months of agony; complex pregnancies among staff; bereavements back in the UK; losing my guide and mentor to his own retirement; and the sinking of the school boat. Some particularly tricky disciplinary and safeguarding issues have made my three years in post interesting, to say the least. Adversity is as real as sunstroke and snakes, and equally unpleasant. However, if you make it through, it can be the very foundation on which to build your confidence and sustain your renewed sense of purpose and mission. So what have I learned? Well, the usual stuff. Trying to be something you are not is folly. Have faith in your background and what you have already learned - in this I had been incredibly lucky, I realise in hindsight. In addition, when times are tough you really do get a sense of the strength of your community, and in my personal struggles I have found support from the most unexpected sources. Finally, you can read articles like this one and gain a theoretical understanding of what you might learn, but until you actually experience something it isn’t the same. As I hope you have gathered, I thoroughly recommend headship, here or anywhere. Chris Seal is Principal of Shrewsbury Bangkok
On the move
A matter of diplomacy Nicky Adams discovers that it is never too young to learn diplomatic skills International understanding, communication and collaborative working are the essential stock in trade of the successful diplomat and, as these skills are being developed in pupils from the tender age of three at Felsted School in Essex, it’s no surprise that a steady stream of Felstedians find their calling in consulates around the globe. Under an oak tree, a huddle of six-year-olds are puzzling over how to make a tennis ball roll smoothly along a course they must build themselves from lengths of plastic drainpipe, kitchen funnels and paper party cups. It takes many unsuccessful attempts and quite a lot of enthusiastic and conflicting words of advice, but after 20 minutes there is cheering and selfcongratulation as the ball skitters around the course and drops out of the final drainpipe into a shallow muddy puddle with a satisfying splash. It may not be immediately apparent that in the woodland area surrounding Felsted Preparatory School in the north Essex countryside, these youngsters are being prepared for their future careers, particularly the Diplomatic Service, which is an increasingly popular ambition for Felsted’s school-leavers. ‘By working in teams, towards a common goal, even children of four and five are beginning to develop their skills of communication and negotiation,’ explains Simon James, head of Felsted Preparatory School. ‘They also learn that each individual has a contribution to make and a point of view to offer and that he or she should have the confidence to put that across articulately and be heard. Activities such as this, in our Forest School sessions, are superb preparation for adult life and the wide variety of careers in which our pupils will find success and fulfilment.’ Indeed, these personal skills, coupled with a knowledge of the world and opportunities to meet and chat to people from other countries and cultures, means that Felsted students are well-equipped to take up international roles that offer a chance to make a real mark. One former pupil who has certainly made the most of his Felsted education is Fergus Cochrane-Dyet OBE, most recently British High Commissioner to Zambia, who has enjoyed a 30-year career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. ‘My path to a career as a diplomat most certainly began at Felsted,’ says Fergus, who has also been High Commissioner to Liberia, Malawi, and the Seychelles, as well as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Monrovia. ‘There were so many opportunities at school to learn about the wider world,’ he remembers, ‘but a seminal moment for me came at a sixth-form lecture delivered by an anthropologist about his fieldwork among the Nuri people of northeast Afghanistan. It made a huge impression on me and opened up my mind to the prospect of travel and adventure and the chance to make a positive impact on the world.’
Only this year, the current crop of sixth-formers was left inspired and enlightened by a visit from another former Felsted student, Matthew Kirk, who spent several years as British Ambassador to Finland. He struck a chord with Felsted’s Head Boy, Peter Hipkin, who was listening intently in the audience. ‘Matthew told us that, wherever Brexit may take us, there will be many more opportunities for negotiation and co-operation in the years to come and that’s what we are being prepared for here at Felsted,’ says Peter. ‘I would like to go into the civil service or government myself, and I can see that being educated at Felsted, which places such emphasis on development of character, is so beneficial. The activities that encourage internationalism, public speaking and co-operation with people you may not be familiar with, are probably the most important.’ Meanwhile, the school’s Head Girl, Sara Faraj, cites as one of the most significant experiences of her life so far her visit to Uganda last summer. On a project arranged by one of Felsted’s charities, Teach Uganda, Sara helped teach children and renovate their school. ‘The core values of leadership, service and community are very strong at Felsted,’ she says. ‘My time in Uganda was unforgettable and has inspired me to want a career in the international community.’ Introducing even the youngest children to the world that lies beyond the school gates is a crucial part of an all-round, truly global education. The school is particularly well known for its annual Model United Nations (MUN) Conferences, which have run for the past 10 years, and regularly draw upwards of 100 senior students from the UK and abroad. This year’s Conference focused on the challenge of sustainability and was attended by students from 19 schools, with teams representing each of the member nations for debates mirroring those taking place at the actual United Nations – an insight into the positive change that can be brought about through the collaborative effort of people from all corners of the world. ‘Felsted’s Model United Nations encompasses every aspect of diplomacy, from research to public debate,’ says Abe Reeve, who left Felsted three years ago and is in the process of applying to join the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. ‘The most important aspect of MUN is the diplomatic collaboration - diplomacy, definitionally, involves collaboration. Mental flexibility is also developed and I think that certainly stems from the way discourse is handled at Felsted, be that in the school forum, MUN or the various academic societies. There is definitely a mindset of internationalism throughout the school, which was accentuated in my own experience as an International Baccalaureate student.’ 27 countries are represented in Felsted’s student body, which makes for a vibrant mix of cultural backgrounds in the classroom and also in the boarding houses. Three-quarters of
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On the move Felsted students over the age of 13 board, whether for just a couple of nights a week or full-time. ‘We are a truly international school,’ says Felsted’s headmaster Chris Townsend. ‘Learning about other cultures, to better understand and empathise with people of all nationalities with the aim of working together, is key to the Felsted ethos and
the education we offer. This really is the best preparation we can give our young people as they enter our increasingly globalised society to take up the roles that will make a positive difference in the world that will be their future.’ Nicky Adams is an experienced education journalist
Cheadle Hume to train Maths teachers As the newest member of the National Mathematics and Physics SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training), Cheadle Hume School (CHS)has been recognised as a centre of excellence for the subject. CHS is now one of eight hubs working with partner schools in their areas to deliver high quality classroom-based maths teacher training. Other independents signed up to the scheme include Charterhouse, Bolton School and Dulwich College. Recruitment onto the pioneering programme will begin in the new year, for maths trainees to begin in the classroom from September 2020. SCITT programmes are aimed both at new graduates and career changers and enable a new generation of teachers to benefit from highly practical, school-based training. NMAP SCITT is the only school-centred provider delivering dedicated mathematics and physics teacher training and has been developed in partnership with the Institute of Physics and the Mathematical Association. Trainees will spend most of their time at CHS, building their confidence and experience, with weekly academic theory sessions to support their development. They will
also work for six weeks in a contrasting second school to broaden their experience. At the end of the one year SCITT programme, trainees will receive Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), including credits towards a Masters qualification. Neil Smith, head of CHS, said: ‘We are extremely proud to become a hub for maths teacher training. As a school, we are committed to developing the next generation of teaching professionals: a cohort who will have expert subject knowledge; be confident in the classroom; and able to collaborate with colleagues throughout the school.’ Steven Norton, head of maths, said: ‘This is a great opportunity for colleagues in the maths department to teach and mentor trainees, and it will further strengthen what is already a highly successful department. In 2019, 84% of A Level candidates gained A*-B grades, whilst 100% of further maths candidates gained A*-B grades. Maths trainees at CHS will benefit from learning in school from day one alongside subject specialist mentors and practising teachers.’
On the move
20 for 2020 Tracy Shand asks what that could mean for school leaders and their schools Well, it is here! Do you remember your school development planning meetings where you said ‘By 2020’? By 2020! Did you meet all of your predictions and plans? 2020 was a ripe year for predictions by everyone. It’s a symmetrical round number and makes us think of good eyesight. But, does what you see in education match the reality of what is happening? Are you blind to the changes that need to happen in your community, or do you perhaps need to apply corrective vision in the form of strategies for change? Does your community understand what is needed to keep things going and the thinking required to make sure that happens? The flying cars predicted in the film ‘Back to the Future: Part II’ may not be visible in our skies, but could still come true after a fashion, with cars flying out of our school drives courtesy of the economy, Brexit, government policies and manifesto commitments. Did you predict our current educational landscape, the culture that you live and breathe, and the effect that it is having on your school, its future and your personal life? In 2020, some independent schools will have opened new branches overseas, some will have senior leadership teams living daily with the pressure of ways to stay open, and, sadly, some will have closed. However, with change also comes the chance to move forward. Time stops for no one, so to start your next decade strong, it is time to work on your 20 for 2020, and whatever the future holds, there is one investment that makes the difference. Investing in yourself. ‘Your life only gets better when you get better.’ (Brian Tracy) A chance for change. Are you ready?
What is 20 for 2020?
It is simple. It is about 20 goals or experiences that you want to have by the end of 2020. It is about selecting activities and having new experiences that you are happy to implement in the next year. The intention is to step away from your laptop, try new activities, increase your wellbeing, and push yourself outside your comfort zone. That’s where personal growth begins and where the magic happens. You see it everyday with the young people in your care – now think what could happen if you pass the magic to the ‘retired teenagers’ that form your professional community. 20 for 2020 starts a cycle of change at the heart of your community – human change. It is a chance for each one of your team to invest in themselves so that they can be well in your school. With the current landscape in mental health and wellbeing in education, this does not cost much within budgets and can give your community a common activity to move forward. This idea 36
can be adapted for all areas of your school and wider community. Take a moment to think about how this can be used in your school culture from the senior team to the support staff. Starting strong in 2020 is the key to success in difficult times. But what activities could you choose? Well, what activities are on your personal bucket list? Every December I take 12 post-it notes and write down 12 experiences I want to have. On 2nd January, after a Scottish new year (enough said), I take them out and place them on my new calendar. Better still, you could pick one a month to do, but you need to be careful with the timings. What activities do you want to do with your family and friends? As a senior leader, you work so many hours that at times it is difficult to get the balance right for everyone. What if your partner or your children were to write down 20 things they want to do with you in 2020? Take the list and make it happen… but make sure that it does not say watching Frozen 2 twenty times! What do you want to say on 31st December 2020? If you get stuck with this activity, just write a letter to yourself to open on this day. What do you want to be able to say? Once you’ve sorted that, just take 20 steps back to the present. You are more than a senior manager, you are a human with dreams, but sadly the job does get in the way. If this is how it is for you, how many members of your school community are in exactly the same position but without you knowing? Take action now by creating your 20 for 2020 list and lead the wellbeing change in the most important place - your life. And then pass the idea on to your community and watch the magic happen. Enjoy 2020 and the chance to see smiles, laughs and maybe a new you! Tracy Shand is the CEO of Simply Boarding
On the move
Verve, spirit and women in top jobs Marina Gardiner Legge reflects on the role of schools in preparing women for success in business Compliance is a fundamental expectation within our education system. When we think of learning in school, we might well imagine pupils sitting at desks in rows, following the rules, conforming. However, there seems to be a paradox here. As educators, we also want to encourage verve, spirit and a sense of self-belief that will empower individuals to question decisions, seek alternative solutions, and express opinions. These are hugely important character traits for everyone, but especially for women, to carry into the world beyond school, a world in which success may depend on being able to query judgments made by people in more senior positions, actively engage with conflict, negotiate pay rises, stand up for their rights. This is the 21st century and gender inequality in the workplace is still prevalent. According to recent data1, the gender pay gap is one of the most important issues facing women in the UK in 2019. Anecdotal feedback suggests that women do ask for pay rises as much as men but don’t get them. Women are still vastly under-represented in positions of power. For example, just 7% of FTSE100 company CEOs and 37% of MPs are female. However, there are numerous fine examples of great entrepreneurs and businesswomen who are excelling as leaders in international roles. The CEO of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva, is an exemplary role model, having built support across the international community to mobilise resources for poor and middle-income countries, creating better opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable people. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union throughout her tenure, and has been named by Forbes magazine the most powerful woman in the world fourteen times. In July 2019, the former Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt, set out her vision for gender equality in the UK with the publication of Gender equality at all stages: A roadmap for change2. Since then, the new minister in this post, Liz Truss, has stressed the importance of moving away from ‘identity politics’ where people are appointed as the ‘token’ woman or minority employee, saying that all individuals should be ‘allowed to succeed regardless of their gender, their sexuality, their race’. How can schools help sow the seeds for social change and level the playing field between men and women in terms of pay, attitude and aspiration? It is vital for girls to have strong female role models – women who demonstrate the qualities that sit alongside 1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/816121/issues-faced-by-women-andgirls-united-kingdom/ 2. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/penny-mordaunt-sets-out-plan-toempower-uk-women
verve and spirit: strength of character, a robust work ethic, self-confidence, self-discipline, resilience, independence and integrity. These are women who ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. At Heathfield, we run a speaker programme and invite ordinary women who are doing extraordinary things to share their experiences with our girls. Their confidence in asking questions has soared and students have been inspired by highprofile speakers such as theatrical tailor for the Royal Opera House Jay Francoise-Campbell, forensic scientist and ex-CSI Jac Reed, and space scientist Dr Suzie Imber, part of the European Space Agency Programme. Having the opportunity to share informal evening suppers with these prestigious guests helps the girls to develop self-assurance and broaden their horizons. We also invite Heathfield alumnae who have excelled in business to come back and speak to current students. Hearing about their resourcefulness and resilience in the face of challenges really resonates with students and is a powerful way to encourage them to aim high and believe in themselves. Marina Gardiner Legge is Headteacher at Heathfield
On the move
Vanessa Miner describes a full range of services that support the complete educational journey Established nearly 150 years ago in 1873, Gabbitas, originally called Gabbitas and Thring, began life as a pioneering agency recruiting teachers for top schools both here in the UK and overseas. A few years later they added tutors to their range of activities. Amongst the more illustrious tutor alumni there are several well know authors and composers including Evelyn Waugh, HG Wells, CS Lewis and Edward Elgar, plus many other outstanding figures from the arts and sciences. Over the years, Gabbitas has worked with crowned heads of Europe and celebrities of stage and screen, together with families from all walks of life looking to find the best education solutions for their children, using the independent sector. Today, whilst no longer recruiting teachers, Gabbitas provides a full range of education services from nursery to higher education, covering every stage of a childâ€™s educational journey. With offices in the Middle East, China and a Russian language desk in our London office, Gabbitas is uniquely positioned to help families in the UK and overseas find the right school for their children. After finding the right school, Gabbitas provides preparation for it through tuition, assessment, the application process and pastoral care, using our dedicated guardianship services. Help is available, too, for students applying to University, from selecting the right courses to completing the application process, so that they can make the best choices to meet their potential. Our school search services can best be broken down into three categories. There are clients for whom we provide a longterm plan to take their children through the whole journey,
advising at every stage from pre-prep through to senior school, and very often beyond to higher education choices. Our more tactical service helps families deal with the choices around specific stages in the journey such as prep, 11+, 13+, sixth form and HE choices. And, for those who need immediate help due to a change in family circumstances or a move, there is expert advice on hand from our very experienced consultants to fulfil that requirement. The internationally recognised assessment product, Ukiset, delivered by Gabbitas, identifies not only a studentâ€™s potential but helps ensure that the choice of schools matches their abilities. The Ukiset test is used around the world, helping to simplify the schools admissions process for overseas students. Our expert team of professional tutors can help students to reach the standards required if there are gaps that are identified following assessment. The Gabbitas tutors also provide invaluable subject tuition for students and has provided tutoring to everyone from the young actors in the Harry Potter films to members of the Royal Family. We only work with tutors who have a passion for education and a strong academic background, often already qualified teachers or Oxbridge graduates. In addition to our work with families, Gabbitas helps organisations deliver the best in education worldwide. We have consulted on projects in the UK and overseas to help investors, education companies, schools and senior management teams to achieve success in establishing and improving schools. We have consulted on projects in the UAE, UK and further afield.
On the move We also work with a team of highly skilled and experienced school development and improvement advisers to enhance and improve educational provision in schools on a worldwide basis. But what about British Independent Education? We are very aware of the importance of British Independent Education, not only for the pupils it serves, but also for the important part they play in the economy of this country. International students in our schools contribute £1.8 billion to the GDP, and produce not only half a billion in tax revenues, but by their fees they also support free bursaries for children across Britain. We work with families all over the world seeking British education for their children in our schools and Universities. For those who choose to keep their children closer to home, there is a burgeoning growth of new international schools that primarily follow the British education template. Over 60% of international schools around the world are British curriculum or British backed and the British education system is revered around the world for very good reason. It is considered one of the best systems of education in the world and is the bench mark for measuring the standard of education practices. A British Education is seen as a passport for life. Our independent schools are some of the academically highest
achieving schools in the world and their successful franchises overseas are reaching a new generation and providing revenue to support educating more children in their UK campuses. Our British Independent sector remains the envy of the world. Gabbitas unsurprisingly is a strong supporter of the many merits that UK independent schools offer parents with students of wide-ranging interests and abilities. Great education is never achieved by sinking towards the lowest common denominator and we are confident, as trusted education consultants, that the British independent schools we work closely with will continue not only to survive but to thrive, given the appetite that has never been stronger for our younger generations. Chairman of the Independent Schools Council in the UK, Barnaby Lenon, had this to say in a recent Times newspaper interview. ‘Independent schools provide excellence, capacity and innovation. They support science and arts subjects, which are vital to productivity; foreign languages as we enter a post-Brexit world; qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate, which provide a rounded curriculum; and through their focus on sport, 43 per cent of our new cricketing world champions.’ Vanessa Miner is the Managing Director of Gabbitas
Powerlifting prodigy Porscha Johnson, a Year 10 pupil at Bolton School Girls’ Division, has been named the GPC Under 60kg/Under 16 Powerlifting World Champion, despite taking up the sport only seven months ago. She earned the World Champion title during the half term break while representing Great Britain at an international competition in Slovakia. At 14 years old, she was not only the youngest person on team GB, but also the youngest in the whole competition. Nonetheless, she broke two World Records and two European Records on her way to the gold medal. Porscha’s introduction to Powerlifting came in April 2019. She also competes at National level in Athletics (hurdles) and velodrome cycling, and the initial idea behind Powerlifting was to strengthen her up for these sports. However, after her very first training session, her coach was so impressed with her strength that she asked if she could enter her in the British Qualifier. Her mum agreed, as long as Porscha wanted to take part. She started weight training two days a week and, just eight weeks later, she won her class in the British Qualifier and set three British records. At the British Powerlifting Championships, held in Bristol in August, she became the British Champion, setting two World Records in Squat (100kg) and Deadlift (125kg). In October, Porscha represented Great Britain at the GPC World Championships in Slovakia. Despite competing in a new category, she won Gold and set two more World records, bringing her total to an amazing four World Records, two European records and three British records across two different weights! As well as working towards her GCSEs, Porscha has continued with her other sports, winning a Bronze medal in the hurdles at the Greater Manchester Championships, and the very next day, she competed in her first Omnium at the Manchester Velodrome, where she achieved a great win in her Keiron race.
Where is music going? Stephen Williams reports on a collaborative conference on the music crisis in schools Make no mistake, serious question marks remain over the future of music education in the UK. Only through unprecedented collaboration and a genuine commitment to share best practice will it be possible to continue to help aspiring young musicians to fulfil their true potential. Following widespread financial cutbacks and a downgrading of creative subjects like music, the onus is on all schools and all professional music organisations to collaborate, share resources, learn from each other’s experiences and to champion the cause for tomorrow’s musicians and performers. It was with this crisis in mind that we arranged a special Music Education Conference, attended by over 60 music teachers from both the maintained and independent sector, as well as leaders of music hubs in the South West and national music organisations. Growing concern about the serious underfunding in music education is highlighted in the national media and by the Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music, and it was the aim of the Conference to promote the value of partnerships, and to showcase initiatives to help arrest the decline. It was fitting that Bryanston School’s Music Education Conference on the themes of Partnerships and Engagement was itself a partnership with the Dorset Music Hub and the Music Teachers Association (MTA), and it was undoubtedly an
engaging day, culminating in a lively debate and open discussion involving delegates and many of the invited speakers. Sixty delegates from far and wide enjoyed a high-octane talk from Cathy Lamb (leader of Lichfield Cathedral’s TES award-winning singing programme) on the subject of Singing in the Community and Classroom. President of MTA, Simon Toyne, led a compelling session entitled Music Teachers as Influencers, encouraging the group to consider those significant moments that define one’s career and make teaching music so rewarding. ‘At a time when there is a very real and well-publicised threat to music education, with significant falls in the number of pupils taking GCSE and A level Music, this event is the first of its kind in the region and has provided a real boost for everyone as well as a wake-up call for parents and the teaching profession as a whole. The positive impact of music on the behaviour and achievement of pupils is without question. It is clear that music education has a very influential role to play in not only developing musicianship, but also in the cognitive development of all young minds. It is extremely encouraging to witness the enthusiasm of teachers, local communities and professional music hubs to work together and add further impetus to the future development of music education in the South West – something that will be of very real benefit to the next and future generations.’
Simon also talked about his work as Executive Director of Music in 34 academy schools of the David Ross Education Trust (DRET), offering examples of the excellent work taking place in the DRET Academies. Delegates were fortunate to be hearing, some for the first time, Jimmy Rotherham’s talk about his uniquely transformative work at Feversham School, with recordings of some extraordinary lightbulb moments, which elicited spontaneous applause from the audience. Feversham Primary School, where Jimmy teaches music, is located in an impoverished area of Bradford. His unique and transformative approach is to saturate the school curriculum with music. Such an inspirational and ambitious programme has played a central role in helping the school to secure ‘outstanding’ status following many years in special measures. As Tim Garrard, Head of Partnerships for MTA, said, Simon and Jimmy’s videos are evidence of what surely has to be some of the very best music teaching in the country. After lunch Professor Robert Saxton, back at his old school, shared the fruits of many years of accumulated wisdom as a teacher of Composition at Oxford. A naturally charismatic speaker, he also gave an insight into the whys and wherefores of accessing and studying Music at Oxford. Returning to the Partnerships theme, Lisa Tregale from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s comprehensive and impressive outreach programme, Resound, outlined exactly what a professional orchestra can do to support learning in schools. Although Bridget Whyte, CEO of Music Mark, was sadly unable to join us at the last minute, Dan Somgyi and Clair McColl led delegates through her presentation about developments in the new music
curriculum and at OFSTED. And finally, writer-and-thinkeron-music par excellence, Paul Harris, kept everyone captivated as he talked about Increasing Engagement. The result of many years of detailed research and teaching, Paul helped everyone in the room to reflect on their teaching methodologies, language and beliefs. A rewarding and re-booting day ended with a broad conversation on the theme of the power of Partnerships to arrest the decline in Music Education. At a time when concerns about Music Education have made it to the BBC News at Ten, it was powerful to hear so many constructive comments and ideas from delegates. A similar Bryanston Music Education Conference is planned for 2020, incorporating links with the National Youth Choir, the Nicola Benedetti Foundation and Music Hubs from further afield. We’re delighted with the feedback from this Conference and the enthusiasm and shared commitment to provide pupils with the best possible classroom and extra-curricular music experiences. Musicians are creative and used to finding solutions. We’ve already committed to hosting a GCSE workshop with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for the Dorset Music Hub in January and there certainly seems to be an appetite for the Conference to become a regular annual event. Soundstorm (the music hub for Bournemouth and Poole), Wave Music and Arts Education have all indicated a willingness to collaborate with the Dorset Music Hub, the MTA and ourselves to build on the success of this year’s event and report on our progress at a 2020 conference. Stephen Williams is Director of Music at Bryanston
Brentwood joins the accredited Steinway schools Florian Cooper, Brentwood’s Director of Music, describes the memorable trip that started the school’s Steinway journey and the special opening concert that marked ‘Steinway Day’.
Brentwood School was delighted to announce its exciting partnership with Steinway & Sons which will see its musicians performing on the world’s finest pianos and the School joining a handful of accredited Steinway Schools. Brentwood’s young pianists will not only learn on the very best pianos in the world, but enjoy benefits including regular masterclasses with Steinway artists and the chance to perform in the recital space at Steinway Hall in London. Steinway & Sons’ name has been synonymous with the finest pianos since 1853, and a high level of traditional craftsmanship, painstaking attention to detail, and the use of premium grade materials are attributes of every instrument hand crafted in New York and Hamburg. Five of the School’s music scholars, all multiinstrumentalists and hugely committed to school music, joined the trip to the Steinway factory in Hamburg to play their part in the extraordinary opportunity to select eleven handcrafted instruments. They showed maturity, musical talent and academic prowess throughout the day. Everyone they came into contact with remarked on not just their immense performances on the piano, but on their nuanced and astute critique of the
instruments and thoughtful questions. They were a true credit to the School. Upon arrival at Steinway, the Brentwood group was given a tour of the large factory, and enjoyed an extremely detailed display of how the pianos are made, incorporating more than 12,000 single pieces in a Steinway grand, a privilege very few get to experience as the factory is not open to the public. Lunch in the Steinway Board Room was followed by the highlight of the day, the selection of Brentwood School’s four Steinway grand pianos. I hadn’t previously anticipated just how involved this process would be and how much choice we would have about the instruments that we were selecting. What was most remarkable was that the children had a huge say in the decision-making process and were guided expertly into assessing which instruments best suited the needs of the different spaces and requirements we have at school. We went through the same process to select two model A/S pianos for rehearsals and practice in the Music Department, one Model A for recital and concert use in the Memorial Hall and then our Model B for masterclass, recital, performance and accompaniment in the Wessex Auditorium. During the selection process, each student played on each piano from memory and displayed a range of styles and genres. All five performed flawlessly and there was obvious delight in the room from Steinway employees, used to hearing the very best, at the technical aptitude and also the musical interpretation of our young students. The students were encouraged to rank the pianos according to different criteria: Touch and ease to play; Tone colour and suitability to performance space; range of Tonal colours available; and to what extent they suited different repertoire. Despite every piano in the room being of flawless quality, I was amazed by how quickly the students were able to make nuanced judgments about the relative merits of each piano and how quickly they were able to aurally visualise the spaces in which the pianos would be used. In the end we have picked four pianos, each suited to its intended venue and purpose and in which the students feel real ownership. The most exciting is perhaps our Model B, which we have chosen to be suitable for the very best pianists in the world and for high level concert performance. Given our status we will now be able to invite Steinway artists to Brentwood School to give masterclasses, perform alongside our students and give recitals to the wider school community. The new pianos were unveiled at a special concert in the School’s Wessex Auditorium marking Steinway Day in a unique
Music and spine-tingling 11-piano ensemble, contributed to by notable guests and by the School’s youngest musicians, who joined these celebrated Old Brentwoods in being the first to play on some of the finest instruments in the world. Notable musicians at the concert included Matthew Jorysz (OB 2004-11), Assistant Organist at Westminster Abbey; Matt Lewis (OB 2000-07) an award-winning trombonist; and former Brentwood School Directors of Music, Mr David Pickthall MBE and Mrs Hilary Khoo. As an Old Brentwood myself, I was honoured to arrange a special rendition of the School Song, laced with a Les Miserables classic, to conclude the concert. Steinway accreditation will ensure Brentwood School’s students will have the opportunity to learn on, rehearse with, be accompanied by and perform on the very best instruments in the world, enhancing the musical growth, understanding and excellence of its students.
Headmaster Michael Bond said: ‘Whilst we feel privileged to be joining this group of Steinway Schools, I think we can say without any hint of exaggeration or conceit that the quality of our music teachers and the students who work with them is such that we believe we will enhance that list of schools. In fact, the discussions I’ve been having recently with Mr Cooper have been about what it will take for us to claim with equal certainty that we have the best Music Department in the country - a big and audacious goal perhaps, but one towards which developments such as this will allow us to work. We are putting together a long-term vision and strategy for Music and the Performing Arts that I think will put us right up there with the best in the country, and hopefully beyond. The future is incredibly bright.’ Florian Cooper read music at Durham University. As well as being an orchestrator and arranger, he teaches German.
Jacob proves safe pair of hands for England Brentwood School Fifth Year Jacob Knightbridge was back in international action over half-term representing England in their U16 fixture against Norway at St George’s Park, the English Football Association’s national centre at Burton upon Trent. The 15-year-old goalkeeper put in a superb performance with England winning the encounter 2-1. It was Jacob’s first appearance for the U16 side, having first been selected to play for England back in February in an U15 fixture against Belgium. Jacob was on the pitch for 45 minutes, but his international experience did not end there. Following the fulltime whistle, both teams seized the opportunity to get in some serious practice with a penalty shootout, which England also won, with Jacob saving a penalty. ‘There was a penalty shootout because we need practice for penalties in future football tournaments,’ explained Jacob. ‘The goal I saved was a dive to my left.’ He added: ‘It is an amazing feeling putting on the England shirt.’ Jacob, who started playing competitive football when he was five years old, is also part of the West Ham Academy, where he has been since the age of seven. As well as training with the Academy, he also plays for the School U16 team. Brentwood School has a long and illustrious history of nurturing top footballers and its alumni include Frank Lampard, the all-time leading goalscorer for Chelsea, where he
is now manager; former Millwall player and current manager Neil Harris; Elliot Lee (Luton Town); Olly Lee (Hearts); George Dobson (Sunderland) and Flynn Downes (Ipswich Town). Brentwood School has also been named one of the UK’s top 100 cricketing schools by the world’s best-selling cricketing magazine ‘The Cricketer’. Brentwood has strong links with Essex CCC and the School’s list of illustrious cricket professionals includes former Essex batsman, Brian Hardie, Ashes hero Geraint Jones, and the current incumbent, former Essex batsman Jaik Mickleburgh, who is still scoring heavily for Suffolk.
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Changing Catholic fortunes David Warnes reviews … The Webbs of Odstock 1466–1876 by Hugh Wright Downside Abbey Trust, 2019. ISBN 978 1 898 663 04 1 HMC Heads spend their retirement in enterprising and unusual ways, but recusant history was perhaps not a predictable choice for Hugh Wright, elected Chairman of HMC in 1995. A son of the Methodist Manse and an alumnus and later Chairman of Governors of John Wesley’s foundation, Kingswood, Wright reminds readers in The Webbs of Oddstock that the term recusant originally applied to all those who were penalised for failing to conform to the Elizabethan Church Settlement, including such luminaries as John Bunyan. It has, however, come principally to be used of those families who, like the Webbs, remained Roman Catholic ‘in spite of dungeon, fire and sword’, not to mention the financial penalties and the exclusion from higher education and public elected office that were the lot of all non-Anglicans from the 16th to the 19th centuries. This fascinating micro-study of the vagaries experienced by a landed gentry family in Wiltshire during that time illustrates both the shifts to which they had to resort and the role that chance played in their fortunes. John Webb (1556-1625) married as his second wife Catherine, the fourth daughter of Sir Thomas Tresham. At first, he benefited from the relatively lenient attitude that James I took towards prominent Roman Catholic families who demonstrated their loyalty. He was knighted in 1604, a year before his brother-in-law, Francis Tresham, was implicated in the Gunpowder Plot. Despite this, Webb felt confident enough to buy extensive lands on the Dorset coast, only to discover that the government was paranoid about the idea of Catholics owning land that might be a springboard for a Spanish invasion. The newly purchased estates were forfeit to the Crown. His heir, also Sir John, sought to restore the family fortunes by siding with Charles I in the War of the Three Kingdoms. He stumped up the going rate of £700 to obtain a baronetcy in 1644, but his lands were sequestrated by Parliament two years later. He was subsequently able to purchase some of them
back, and he took advantage of Cromwell’s willingness to turn a blind eye to private Catholic worship by maintaining a Jesuit chaplain at Canford. The rest of his estates were returned after the Restoration. Thereafter, the Webbs, in common with many prosperous recusant families, avoided the danger of confiscation by placing their lands in trust and enjoying them as life tenants. Inopportune marriages are a recurring theme in the Webbs’ story. Anna Maria Webb made what her father, the third baronet, considered a glittering alliance in 1712. Her husband, James Radcliffe, third Earl of Derwentwater, was later to play a leading role in the unsuccessful Jacobite Rising of 1715 and was beheaded on Tower Hill the following year. After that, her father felt it prudent to lie low on the continent for some time. The story of the Webbs illustrates the pettiness of official anti-Catholicism during the penal times. In addition to fines for non-attendance at Church of England worship and for sending children ‘beyond the sea to be educated in Popery’, Catholics were not permitted to own horses worth more than £5 and restrictions were placed on their freedom to travel. The third Baronet was exempted from some of these restrictions because, like all Catholic landowners, he was a lucrative source of tax revenue. He continued to act as patron of the Anglican living of Odstock, though he presumably never darkened the door of the parish church. Thereafter, the history of the Webb family, which Wright traces through to the 19th century, savours more of Father Faber’s ‘kindly words and virtuous life’ than of the persecution that earlier verses of his hymn memorialise. Some historians have drawn facile parallels between Brexit and the English Reformation, seeing Henry VIII as a monarch who took back control by severing links with the authority of Rome. The tabloid demonising of opponents of withdrawal from the European Union as traitors in thrall to Brussels may faintly echo the far more radical discrimination that Roman Catholics experienced in the centuries covered by Wright’s excellent study, and his book offers a timely reminder that dissent does not necessarily involve disloyalty. David Warnes is a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church
The last work of a major historian John Plowright reviews … A School in England: The History of Repton by Hugh Brogan Profile Editions, 2020 ISBN 978 1 788 164 64 1 The major reason why there’s never been an anthology of writings by Repton alumni is because so many of its most talented authors, including Christopher Isherwood, Edward Upward, Denton Welch, Roald Dahl, James Fenton and (stretching a point) Jeremy Clarkson, have all been less than effusive about their alma mater. However, Repton has now had the great good fortune to have its history written by one of the greatest modern practitioners of that art, with the 2020 posthumous publication of Hugh Brogan’s ‘A School in England: The History of Repton.’ This is not to imply that Brogan is at all dewy-eyed in examining Repton’s past, despite having been a student there himself from 1949 to 1954. Some school buildings are characterised as ‘crenellated kitsch’ and one boarding house is even said both ‘inside and out’ to have ‘a prison air’. He also quotes one Headmaster (Lynam Thomas, 1944-1961) describing the school as possessing a great reputation for cricket and soccer but as essentially a place for ‘the Beta-query-plus boy’. Nor does Brogan pull any punches when describing student misdemeanours. These range from chamber pots placed in public places; through various manifestations of pupil ‘immorality’; to full-scale riot in December 1840, when news that Headmaster Macaulay had suffered a debilitating stroke led many boys to get drunk, break into his private quarters and make a bonfire of the dying man’s furniture. Dr Pears, who presided over the school between 1854 and 1874, is presented as not only ‘the greatest of Repton’s headmasters’ but ‘perhaps her only great headmaster’, ranking alongside Arnold for Rugby, Butler for Harrow and Kennedy for Shrewsbury, whilst Pears’s predecessors and successors are assessed equally unflinchingly. H.G. Michael Clarke, for example, is judged ‘the unluckiest of all Repton Headmasters’ in having alienated his Common Room, Bursar and Governing Body, and being effectively forced to leave in
1943, despite having helped Hollywood immortalise Repton, rather than The Leys, as James Hilton’s Brookfield in MGM’s 1939 Oscar-winning ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’. Struggles between Headmasters and Housemasters, most notably under John Thorn (1961-1968) and David Jewel (1979-1987), are also aired. One might legitimately wonder whether the book’s title represents a sly dig at Repton Dubai and the other Repton offshoots overseas. Such an assumption would, in fact, be wrong. It is true that the book is very firmly focused upon the Derbyshire original, but Repton’s path in following Dulwich, Harrow, Shrewsbury and Bromsgrove in establishing satellites abroad and becoming a global brand, is not only mentioned but explained as the modern equivalent of school shops and leased premises in opening up a valuable revenue stream. One might add that the war on ignorance waged by educational institutions is of longer standing and no less global than the wars on drugs or terror. It is also worth remembering that the term ‘Britain’ was not in general use for most of Repton’s history. Indeed, the precise relevance of Brogan’s title is made clear when he expresses the view that Repton is ‘exactly representative’ of ‘the English public school system’, so that a ‘right knowledge’ of Repton’s story should not only illuminate the history of England’s public schools but ‘improve any student’s perception of England’s past’. The point is made again later when, speaking of the school under Furneaux (1882-1900), Brogan describes Repton as a ‘typical English public school … middling in size, middling in achievement; seldom giving a lead, seldom lagging in the rear. This representative quality is one of Repton’s chief claims of historical interest.’ One of the few times it did give a lead was when StephensonPeach (now best remembered for helping to develop Morgan cars) set up workshops at Repton in 1887, only shortly afterwards to be ‘lured away to launch engineering at Cheltenham and
Books Malvern.’ Repton’s history has overlapped with other schools at many points: the practice of ‘Merit Money’ was imported in the early years of Victoria’s reign from Shrewsbury; Repton’s first cricket match was with Uppingham in 1865; Dartington Hall was founded by Old Reptonian Leonard Elmhirst; no fewer than fourteen of Lynam Thomas’s staff went on to become heads elsewhere, including Dick Sale (Brentwood), Frank Fisher (Wellington College), Guy Willatt (Pocklington), Peter Rowe (Cranbrook) and William Blackshaw (Brighton College); two Repton headmasters (Burge and Thorn) and one boy (Desmond Lee) went on to be heads of Winchester (the latter via the headship of Clifton); and John Gammell’s decision to admit the first girls to Repton in 1970 was made more easily because his own daughter Hilary was already one of the first girls admitted to Marlborough’s sixth form. But ‘A School in England’ is about much more than shared practice and personnel within the relatively small world of the English public school. It is about their wider shared history and the ways in which they have both helped mould and been shaped by the outside world. The history of the school features such challenges as epidemic disease, total war and demographic change, challenges that it met with the same remarkable resilience as other contemporary institutions, the long roll call of former pupils who gave their lives for their country being remembered with pride and sorrow. Repton is certainly archetypal of those public schools which, having originally been created as a grammar school, were transformed into a predominantly fee-paying school as the original endowment proved unfit for purpose, not least in the face of rising inflation. Following the example of many other schools, Repton reconstituted itself, defeating a legal challenge to the effect that it was flouting its founder’s wishes. In the light of recent Labour party pronouncements regarding private schools, it is particularly interesting to chart, through Brogan’s pages, how politicians of an earlier era viewed independent education. Brogan passes the opportunity to explain how Repton’s former Headmaster Geoffrey Fisher, as Archbishop of Canterbury, played a decisive role in shaping the 1944 Butler Education Act, but he does show how schools like Repton, thriving in the wake of the legislation, soon faced mounting criticism from the left, and suggests that it was ‘only the preoccupation of the 1945 Labour government with the Butler Act schools, which most of the population attended and which were chronically underfunded, that stopped ministers from undertaking to abolish or take over all the public schools (though they were probably also deterred by the size and difficulty of the task).’ He also explains why the 1944 Fleming Report, which recommended the creation of state-financed bursaries or scholarships to send poor boys to boarding schools, in practice amounted to very little, with the Left viewing any state payment to public schools as objectionable, whilst the Right’s enthusiasm for the scheme dwindled as it became apparent that it was not needed to fill places. However, as Macmillan’s government became mired in scandal and the prospect of Labour returning to office became increasingly likely, Repton’s John Thorn took the initiative in wooing the school’s Governor, Labour MP George Brown. A campaign culminating in a somewhat boozy dinner at the Savoy on 15 July 1964, attended by Brown and Old Wykehamist Richard Crossman, then Shadow Education Secretary, and four headmasters with strong Repton connections, namely,
Thorn, Lee of Winchester, Frank Fisher (then at Saint Edward’s, Oxford) and Kim Taylor of Sevenoaks. The Labour men expressed no desire to legislate on the public schools and wished to keep ‘their extreme abolitionists’ quiet, whilst the headmasters successfully reassured these key members of the next administration that the institutions they represented were ‘moderate, progressive and enterprising’, specifically being desirous of making themselves available to a much wider clientele. This rather cosy consensus only really ended with New Labour’s phasing out of the assisted places scheme in 1997. When Brogan first actively considered writing Repton’s history a little earlier than this, in 1994, his own self-imposed ‘thirty-year rule’ meant that his book would finish before 1970 when girls first attended Repton. One fortuitous by-product of other projects, notably writing his magisterial biography of Alexis de Tocqueville, meant that Brogan had time to reconsider, and his penultimate chapter now deals not only with Repton admitting girls, but with the influence of women over the school’s entire history. The last chapter revisits many topics as well as focusing on Repton’s pre-school past, as a hugely important site for the history of Anglo-Saxon and Viking England. The schoolboy Brogan was president of both the school’s historical and archaeological societies, as was fitting for the son of the distinguished historian Sir Denis Brogan and his wife, the accomplished archaeologist Olwen Brogan. The author’s full name was actually Denis Hugh Vercingetorix Brogan, the Vercingetorix arising from the fact that the pregnancy which resulted in his birth was diagnosed whilst his mother was engaged in excavating the site of the Gallic chieftain’s defeat of Julius Caesar at Gergovia. Moreover, by turning his back on the immediate present and exploring Repton’s ancient past, Brogan not only evades the trap of making his book in any way resemble a marketing tool, but also provides himself with the opportunity to examine how Reptonians have looked at, and sometimes themselves uncovered, that past. In a history covering over four hundred and sixty years of an academic institution, and casting an eye over many years more, even in a volume covering more than four hundred pages, Brogan cannot afford to dwell too long on every event or personality. Had he lived longer he would, for example, certainly have said more about Graham Jones’s time as Headmaster (19872003). Nevertheless, as one would expect of an award-winning biographer, his pen portraits of a cast of hundreds are one of the book’s very many pleasures. Conventional reputations are readily revised. Brogan admits that his own earlier printed opinion of Peile (Headmaster, 1841-1854) was too harsh. Having looked more deeply into the latter’s verbal attack in front of the boys upon his First Usher, Stoddart, he now appreciates that this display of anger was wholly understandable given that his deputy was ‘an unmanageable subordinate and something of an ass.’ Brogan springs just as readily to the defence of Fisher, although, sadly, Dahl’s misleading image of him in ‘Boy’ as a sadistic flogger has probably become too deeply fixed in the public mind to be uprooted by mere facts. There may conceivably be some Reptonians unappreciative of Brogan’s labour of love. Some might feel that their particular house gets short shrift, though this is of course the story of a school as something more than a collection of houses. Others might feel that their sport has been insufficiently lauded (the number of national hockey titles certainly now exceeds the
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Books figure cited), although with an entire chapter centered upon the game and its character-forming potential, even the most obsessive cricket lover should be satisfied. More just, perhaps, would be the claim that the structure of the book is somewhat uneven, with two of the book’s eighteen chapters devoted to the four years of the Great War. Those chapters, however, reflect the richness of the school archives for that period both in terms of volume and interest, focusing on the story of two schoolmasters - David Somervell (later of Tonbridge and Benenden) and Victor Gollancz - who embarked upon initiatives (including a journal followed on the same lines at Eton) to educate the boys in what they were dying for, which not only divided the Common Room and student body but also attracted the unfavourable attention of the War Office as tending towards pacifism. Not least resonant with other schools will be the photograph of thirty-seven members of Repton’s OTC early in the war, with the accompanying information
that by its end one of those shown had been gassed, fourteen wounded and a further seven had been killed in action or died of their wounds. The sixth and easily the best history of Repton, Brogan’s last work ranks alongside the very best public school histories, including Tyerman on Harrow, Annan on Stowe and Newsome on Wellington. In short, ‘A School in England’ represents an elegant finale for a life of first-class scholarship, as entertaining as it is informative. Not least amongst its qualities is the fact that reading it will reward the general reader as much as the Reptonian. John Plowright taught at Repton for many years and is the Assisting Author of ‘A School in England: A History of Repton School’ by Hugh Brogan, published by Profile Books, 5 March 2020. Those ordering before 22 January at www.profileeditions. com/a-school-in-england can purchase a copy at £32 + p&p.
Grow with us at Royal Hospital School Suffolk’s Royal Hospital School is planting a tree for every new pupil joining the school over the next seven years and challenging other schools to do the same. Launched on November 9th, 2019, the tree planting is part of its new Grow with Us campaign, which also includes a range of initiatives aimed at sustainability and promoting well-being. Scientists have stated that if 1 trillion trees were to be planted in the next few years, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere would be reduced by 25%, down to levels the world has not witnessed for at least a century. RHS hopes its example will encourage other schools to do something similar. If every school in the world, of which there are 3 million, planted 200 trees a year over the next seven years, that would add over 4 billion trees to the total. The school is committed to a range of environmental and sustainable projects, no longer buying single-use plastic bottles, but instead providing every pupil with a refillable, stainless steel water bottle. It has stopped the use of non-biodegradable items at its events, and replaced 80% of the cleaning chemicals used in the school, using instead a filter to turn water into an effective cleaning alternative - aqueous ozone. Whilst being totally benign, it returns to water after 24 hours, leaving zero chemical waste. Commenting on Grow with Us, RHS headmaster, Simon Lockyer said: ‘We are fortunate to live and work in a beautiful part of Suffolk and our pupils are constantly seeking and suggesting ways that will protect both the local ecosystems and global environment. They are environmentally conscious and recognise that through their collective individual actions they can make a difference.’ The trees being planted at RHS feature a mix of native species, including silver birch, rowan, wild cherry and oak. Every year, planting will begin towards the end of November, coinciding with National Tree Week. In spring 2020, the school is introducing honey bees and hopes to have at least six hives in place in the grounds by the end of the year. Tree blossom is a critical food source for bees, providing them with the nutrient-rich pollen and nectar they use to make honey. RHS is also giving everyone who attends one of its events, such as Open Days, bee and butterfly-friendly wildflower seeds to create their own wildlife haven.
Detur Gloria Soli Deo Neil Boulton reviews…
DULWICH 400 The First Four Hundred Years 1619-2019 Edited by Jan Piggott and Nick Black ISBN 997800953949373 This celebratory volume marks the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Edward Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift. Appropriately, each current pupil of Dulwich College received a copy in Founder’s Week 2019. It is an impressive production. God’s Gift is apposite, for a remarkable run of good fortune has been a feature of this story. Edward Alleyn (1566-1626) made money through his own efforts, first as an actor sufficiently celebrated to be the star of the pageant in 1604 (delayed a year by plague) to welcome James VI and I to London. More cannily, he managed theatres and the evidently lucrative Bankside bear-pit, and bought the post of King’s Chief Master of the Royal Game of Bears, Bulls and Mastiff Dogs. He was good with property and by 1614 had consolidated ownership of the whole Dulwich estate, having acquired the manor in 1605 from a city goldsmith in financial trouble. Alleyn had no children from either of his marriages, so the whole lot underpinned his charity. His networking was impressive. Inigo Jones was said to have been the architect of the original College and Chapel, consecrated in 1616 by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1619 Francis Bacon’s unwillingness to support, as Lord Chancellor, a grant of Letters Patent to protect the endowment, was overcome by Alleyn’s persistence. Whilst Alleyn’s educational intentions were not entirely fruitful for the first 250 years, that was not uncommon for similar charitable foundations. The statutes required the Masters and Wardens to be of ‘the Founder’s blood or surname’ – apparently if more than one Allen/Alleyn was in contention, lots were drawn. Despite this, the charity prospered quietly, biding its time, until God’s Gift kicked in with a vengeance in the 19th century. People unconnected with Dulwich are at least likely to be aware of the Picture Gallery. How this, the first public picture gallery in England, came about, almost beggars belief. Noel Desenfans and his adopted son Francis Bourgeois dealt 50
in pictures and, in 1790, were commissioned to supply the King of Poland with a collection to promote the fine arts. Before this could get to Poland, the country was abolished. Pitt’s government was offered it but declined, and Bourgeois then offered it to the College, apparently on the basis that the country air would be good for the paintings. For good measure, another ‘starchitect’, Sir John Soane, friend of Desenfans and Bourgeois, designed the gallery for no fee; and Desenfans’ widow paid a significant part of the construction cost for the gallery, with its mausoleum in which all three benefactors were buried. Subsequently the Picture Gallery became a separate entity, though its location, despite the efforts of a V1 flying bomb in 1944, makes it still a key part of God’s Gift. There was a downside: the Picture Gallery has the distinction of being broken into with monotonous regularity. It usually has a Rembrandt, recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the most frequently stolen artwork in the world. Indeed, whilst I was reviewing DULWICH 400, the Gallery was running the exhibition Rembrandt’s Light and another attempted theft was foiled by the ‘Flying Squad’ (surely in this day and age the Flying Squad has retired?). Suburbanisation had a dramatic impact on the value of the estate. Housing development helped the College finances, but the icing on the cake was the siting of the 1854 Crystal Palace on Sydenham Hill. Paxton’s Palace had to be accessed and this needed no fewer than four railway lines. The compensation paid to the College was tremendous. Sir Charles Barry Senior was College Surveyor and Charles Barry Junior succeeded his father. Together they oversaw the development of the Dulwich Estate. At this point, refoundation occurred. Alleyn’s educational intentions took effect and Barry designed a grand New College sited in view of passing trains, which cannot have harmed recruitment. The story becomes apparently conventional: a succession of legendary Masters; the inculcation of ethos and spirit; growth of the pupil body, games and alumni; and the upward march to a pre-1914 Golden Age. In reality there were plenty of struggles. Alfred Carver, the first to shape the New
Books College, regarded the Chairman of Governors as a particular opponent, communicated only in writing with his Deputy in the 1870s, had no staff meetings, and appointed an Art Master five years before a Mathematics specialist. He favoured a rather liberal curriculum and school plays. Arthur Gilkes, identified as the College’s greatest Master, consolidated: games became more central, art more marginal and the school play ceased (lawn tennis was banned too). But under Gilkes the College was an enormously successful gainer of awards at Oxford & Cambridge, attracted boarders from the Empire, and, presciently, took pupils paid for by the LCC. There were celebrated Old Alleynians in profusion. Ernest Shackleton, PG Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler are probably best known, but G.E. Moore OM was also said to have been heavily influenced by Gilkes. In the period after the First World War, Gilkes’ free pupils became an issue: the Governors wanted fewer, the staff favoured more, the Alleyn Club possibly none. And in 1940 the beneficent effect of God’s Gift reversed as the College sat beneath the Luftwaffe’s flight path. Christopher Gilkes (son of) became Master in 1941, rode the storm - there was much war damage – and rescued the situation through the well-known Dulwich Experiment. Local authorities paid for 90% of pupils, and there were 1100 by 1949. Post war, DULWICH 400 becomes slightly triumphal: a brilliant academy; inspirational teachers; the first Computer
Centre in any public school (recorded twice p141, probably in error); former pupils and their achievements (which are exceptionally wide-ranging). New building produces a theatre at last and most recently the Laboratory, designed to bridge the arts/science divide. Art, Drama, CCF have their highlights. Sport at Dulwich can be taken in its own right as a history of the public school phenomenon: not much initially, then organised by boys themselves; recast as the basis of the house system, teams and fierce competition; the rise of professionalism and, currently, the health of the individual. The Captain of the Golf Club in 1982 has recently attracted some attention. In amongst all this are hints of continuing challenge: the end of Assisted Places, keeping pace with curriculum changes, moving to 55 minute lessons, global ventures through the Dulwich Commonwealth of Schools. In 1995 the College of God’s Gift was abolished as part of the restructuring of the Dulwich Foundation. Bookending DULWICH 400 is a contribution from the current Master and Chairman of Governors. Unlike some of their respective predecessors, they are clearly of the same mind. Both Foreword and Afterword take a modest line, and sketch interesting goals, looking to the future with all its potential hazards. Neil Boulton was Director of Studies at Bryanston
Olga becomes Mount Kelly boat Mount Kelly are delighted to announce that having partnered with Sailing Tectona, the Plymouth-based sail-training Community Interest Company, Olga is now officially the Mount Kelly boat. Olga is a 56 foot cutter, and one of the most significant boats on the National Historic Ships Register. Built in Porthleven, Cornwall, in 1909, she was named after the daughter of her first owner, Henry Edmunds. Founded by an admiral in 1877 for ‘the sons of naval officers and other gentlemen’, within striking distance of Plymouth Sound, and with an enviable reputation for excellence in outdoor pursuits, it is entirely appropriate for Mount Kelly to be adding offshore sailing to our extra-curricular programme. Olga boasts none of the winches, rolling-reefing sails, powered windlasses or other technology that one would find on a modern sailing yacht. In order to sail her, everyone needs to pull on the same end of the rope – both literally and metaphorically – and this means she is the ideal environment in which to develop the skills and qualities that lie at the heart of Mount Kelly’s ethos: teamwork, leadership, resilience, tolerance, self-confidence and courage. There is also a growing body of evidence linking outdoor education to improved educational outcomes, and time at sea at a young age is an ideal introduction to a career in the maritime industries. Olga will sit at the heart of our extra-curricular programme. This tremendously exciting initiative demonstrates our commitment to the School’s purpose, and offers our pupils opportunities and experiences which just might come to define their lives. Nor is the opportunity to sail Olga the preserve solely of Mount Kelleians. As part of our growing relationship with Tavistock College, their pupils will also be able to join and form crews.
Hymns for our time Nicholas Oulton identifies a lively survivor in the evolving world of hymn books In 1903, an anonymous committee of the Headmasters’ Conference (as it then was) produced a book of 350 hymns with the unapologetic title of The Public School Hymn Book. This was for the special use of the schools – mainly boarding schools and all of them for boys only – which the Conference then represented. How times have changed! In 1919, as many of these schools were looking to commemorate the countless thousands of their war dead, wiped out by the butchery of what was to be called the Great War, a second edition was published. This book had over 400 hymns, including many which had become popular since the publication of The English Hymnal in 1906, and for it the revisers ‘removed anything which they felt showed weakness or false sentiment’. One shudders to think, as we recall the long, long lists of names on the rolls of honour in the school chapels, how they might have defined those terms. With what looks like an uncanny ability to foresee impending disaster, work began on a third edition in 1937 which, not surprisingly, had to be postponed until after the second great war to ravage Europe and the world. In 1949 this third edition was published, with the music edited by Dr C. S. Lang, formerly of Christ’s Hospital, supported and advised by Ralph Vaughan Williams. 100 hymns from the second edition were dropped, and 230 added, bringing the total in the new book up to 550 hymns (with just under 500 tunes). A corrected version of this third edition was issued in 1959, but by this time there were calls for a much more radical revision. Accordingly, a new Committee was established under Derek Wigram, Headmaster of Monkton Combe, George Snow, Headmaster of Ardingly (and later Bishop of Whitby), and the Directors of Music at Charterhouse and Malvern. The Committee was given the opportunity to rethink the book, and ‘to eliminate whatever seemed less than Christian’. The Committee also sought to remember the importance of bridging the gap between schools and church, on the basis that it rightly viewed with suspicion ‘anything that tends to encourage a separate “school religion”’. The result was the fourth edition, which was published in 1964 under the name of Hymns for Church and School. Holding this volume today in my office, surrounded by shelves of hymn books, published for hundreds of independent schools over the past 35 years or more, I am struck by the huge changes which have occurred in education and religion since Hymns for Church and School was first published. HMC is no longer confined to Headmasters. Its schools are no longer for boys only, and those who board are in the minority. But what of the changes in the area of religion in general, and hymn singing in particular? The priority given to Christian worship in the past in independent schools can be seen, in microcosm, by the quality of the contributors to the successive editions of their hymn
book. C. S. Lang, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Erik Routley – these are giants in the field of English hymnody, and HMC was able, in commissioning its hymn book, to turn to them for their guidance and scholarship. The immensely wide-ranging introduction to Hymns for Church and School written by Erik Routley provides a historical survey of hymns and their tunes from the earliest Christian hymns to the 20th century. Of the ground-breaking work of Robert Bridges and Ralph Vaughan Williams in this field, Routley writes ‘The aim of both these reformers was to liberate hymns from what might be called the “tyranny of the second-rate.”’ Indeed, it was a distinction of the 20th century that recognized poets (Bridges, G. K. Chesterton) and internationally acclaimed musicians (Parry, Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Holst, John Ireland) were prepared to devote themselves to hymn writing. And while hymn singing was experiencing this revival, the public schools were making their own distinct mark. Contributions from a former Headmaster of Eton, Dr C.A. Alington, and from H. Montagu Butler of Harrow, Sir Frank Fletcher of Marlborough and Charterhouse, H. C. A. Gaunt of Malvern and Donald Hughes of Rydal all feature in Hymns for Church and School. Directors of Music, too, feature strongly: J. H. Alden (Bradfield), Alexander Brent Smith (Lancing), Sir Percy Buck (Harrow), H. A. Dyer (Bromsgrove), Sir George Dyson (Marlborough, Wellington, Winchester), W. H. Ferguson (Lancing), Thomas Fielden (Hurstpierpoint, Fettes, Charterhouse), Walter Greatorex (Gresham’s), Brian Head (King’s, Rochester), C. S. Lang (Christ’s Hospital), Henry Ley (Radley, Eton), W. K. Stanton (St Edward’s, Wellington), E. T. Sweeting (Winchester), Sir Reginald Thatcher (Charterhouse, Harrow), and Sydney Watson (Radley, Winchester, Eton). The singing of hymns, then, was part of the very fabric of our schools in the 20th century. For some, this was nothing new. The famous hymns ‘Awake my soul, and with the sun’ and ‘Glory to thee, my God, this night’ of Bishop Thomas Ken (1637-1711) were written specifically for Winchester College. At Christ’s Hospital, since 1610 or earlier, there was a tradition of singing each year a specially-written ‘Easter Hymn’ in metre, and Ken’s hymns appeared in a Manual of Prayers for the Use of Scholars in 1695. No doubt many other schools can point to a similar tradition. So what of our own times? As worshippers increasingly turn to a new range of hymns and songs, and the trend to commission bespoke collections has increased, Gresham Books has seen the publication of hundreds of books for schools which contain the great hymns of a previous age alongside popular compositions of the more recent past. But the fact that Old Tonbridgian, Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith’s great hymn based on the Magnificat, Tell out my soul, was written two years too late to be included in Hymns for Church and School tells its own story about how long it has been since that book was published.
Books HMC did not sit on its hands in this regard, and a muchneeded supplement was published in 1985 entitled Praise and Thanksgiving. This collection of 77 hymns was overseen by a committee chaired by the Headmaster of Lancing, Ian Beer, and was edited by Robert Gower, Precentor of Radley, and William Llewelyn, Director of Music at Charterhouse. It did, of course, contain ‘Tell out my soul’, but not ‘Shine, Jesus, shine’, which was written two years later. It is not surprising then, that we are looking afresh at the revisions required to bring a fifth edition of this great enterprise to a new audience.
It may be that Bernard Trafford was right when, writing in the TES last April, he conceded (reluctantly) that most (state) schools struggled to support the singing of Christian hymns in a multi-racial world. But for those schools still committed to their Christian foundations and ethos, what better way to start (or end) the day than by joining in communal song? Nicholas Oulton read History at Oriel College, Oxford and is the founder of the education publishers Galore Park
Anna helps England U17s to victory in Euros Anna Phillips, a Y12 student at Bolton School, joined up with the England Women’s U17 Squad at the UEFA Phase 1 Euro Qualifiers held in Bosnia over Half-Term. Whilst in Bosnia and Herzegovina the squad won all 3 games, scoring 10 goals and conceding only one. The first game, against Croatia, saw a final score of 2-0 to England, the second match was against the hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina, the final score being 4-0 to England, and then the final game against Belgium ended in a 4-1 win. Anna played in the first two games and, according to the FA Education Co-ordinator ‘should be proud of the contribution she made to the overall squad success during this campaign’. Throughout the 11 day event, in addition to the football training, matches, preparation and review meetings, there were formal education sessions, which included a presentation about match fixing, led by a FIFA representative, to provide information, raise awareness and eradicate this problem at every level of the game. Anna also had some other learning experiences. The squad visited the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo, which featured the experiences of children who lived through the war in Bosnia, with a collection of diaries, toys, photographs, items of clothing and other objects donated by war survivors, accompanied by first person recollections.
Goodbye Shirley, The Wartime Letters of an Oxford Schoolboy, 1939–47 David Bebbington describes how and why his book about an Oxford schoolboy during the Second World War, Goodbye Shirley, came to be written. During the research and writing of my first book, Mister Brownrigg’s Boys, Magdalen College School and the Great War, I contacted Michael Hickey, the esteemed military historian and an old boy of Magdalen College School (MCS), with the hope that he would be willing to have a look at the first drafts of the introductory chapters. Michael immediately showed great excitement and enthusiasm that someone should be showing such interest in his old school and its history. This was a huge relief to me, since I had been slightly wary of the old chorister who had the Army rank of Colonel and was a highly regarded military historian and author. With Michael’s full endorsement, I was able to tap into a link between the school and The Great War that I didn’t realise existed. Michael’s grandfather and great uncle had both been at the school in the 1880s and 1890s and knew many of those from MCS that served during The Great War. Michael’s father had also been at the school, from 1907 to 1914, and had himself served during the war, being wounded on the Somme. The Old Boy club and school network was very strong, and I found that Michael had stories of many of the boys and men I was writing about. These had been passed down to him from his grandfather and father and from other old boys of the school. The school that Michael inhabited in the 1940s had changed relatively little since his grandfather’s day, and he enthusiastically shared his memories of Oxford and the school’s rituals and routines. On my penultimate visit to see Michael, shortly before his death in November 2013, I climbed the stairs to his bedroom, to which, by this time, he had been restricted due to his deteriorating health. Still enthusiastic and wanting to answer my questions, it was evident that he had something else occupying his mind. ‘I want to show you something.’ he said, tapping a black box file that lay on his bed beside him. ‘You must promise me that you will do something with them, publish them, then deposit them in the school archive.’ With a gulp, I agreed, although I didn’t know exactly what was in the box. Upon opening the file, Michael revealed a muddle of letters which he described as ‘in a bit of a mess’. This treasure trove was a collection of nearly all of the letters Michael had written and sent home to his parents in Stafford during his eight years of boarding at MCS in Oxford. Over the subsequent years, the
hundred letters had become mixed and muddled. Only twentyone had a full date on them, most had only the day of the week, and many had no date at all, not even a year. Before entrusting the letters to me, Michael had belatedly tried to scrawl his best guess of a date, school term or year on some of the letters. Alas, time plays cruel tricks with the precision of memory and many of Michael’s guesses were a long way off and misleading. I like to think that it was Michael’s way of testing my thoroughness in research, dangling a tempting and easy timestamp on some letters that would come back to embarrass me if I didn’t do a thorough job. It had always been Michael’s intention to publish the letters in some form, to tell a story of Oxford and the school during the Second World War via the words captured in the letters written at the time. But time itself had caught up with him and I was being presented with a rare opportunity to write about a subject I was fascinated with, and a place that I was passionate about. I was honoured and excited that Michael recognised in me a way of seeing his final project to fruition. The Second World War shaped the world more than any other event of the 20th Century and as such it is a subject that continues to hold a fascination for many people today.
Seventy-four years since its conclusion, the stories of the sixyear struggle are remembered in books and films that have become part of British culture. Most of these are portrayals of war on the fighting fronts, of battles and of leaders. Stories of the struggle on the home front have become more common, but a story through the eyes of a schoolboy is special. As a boarder in Oxford, Michael had written home to his parents in Stafford during the entirety of the war and for the subsequent two years of peace time. The letters paint a picture of life governed by wartime procedure and rationing, and give a view of a city and University at the heart of the intelligence race during the war. Being a chorister at Magdalen College, he was also unknowingly documenting the rituals of chorister life within a five-hundredyear-old institution during a period of national crisis. I knew immediately what I wanted to achieve with the book and how I was going to do it. Michael’s letters themselves take you on a journey through his childhood to young manhood during the monumental years of the 1940s. Initially preoccupied with Dinky Toys and fishing, Michael’s character visibly matures. From navigating his first kiss, trying his first cigarette and gradually becoming more aware that he is getting closer to losing the protection of schoolboy life, Michael slowly realises that he will soon be set free into a grown-up world. By buttressing Michael’s observations of the city and the events alluded to in his letters with local Oxford newspaper reports and the major events of the time, a sense of the atmosphere and a timeline of the war from a schoolboy’s perspective is portrayed. In addition, I made sure I watched every film, listened to every piece of music, visited every location and watched footage of any event mentioned in his letters that was available via the British Pathé film archive. Why the title Goodbye Shirley? Born in 1929 and baptised Shirley Michael Wright Hickey, Michael was given the first name of Shirley after his godfather, Shirley Timmis. Until the 1930s the name Shirley had been borne by men and women alike, but following the fame of the child starlet Shirley Temple and her Hollywood films in the 1930s, it became a firmly feminine name. With a perceived girl’s name, Michael was vulnerable to mickey-taking and had a hard time at school. Famously, the British wrestler ‘Big Daddy’, born Shirley Crabtree in 1928, also
had to contend with schoolboy ribbing with his schoolmates calling him Shirley Temple. Seizing the opportunity to reinvent himself on starting at MCS, Michael adopted his second name as his signature name in his letters to his parents, only using Shirley out of respect when writing to his uncle. After a term and a half at the school, and having grown in confidence and being much surer of himself, Michael reverted to signing his name as Shirley, respecting his parents’ choice of first name for him. In 1946, with the war now over, Michael entered the last five terms of his school education and geared himself for the wider world. As if starting afresh, like much of the country after six years of war, Michael finally says goodbye to Shirley for good and henceforth only signs and introduces himself as Michael. Indeed, his widow, Bridget, was not aware that he was known as Shirley for the majority of his school years. Having taken approximately five years to write, or more accurately to construct Goodbye Shirley, I would advise anyone considering writing a book or doing a similar project, to make sure to choose a subject you are passionate about. While researching the letters, Goodbye Shirley took me on a journey through the years of the 1940s that was entertaining, educational and rewarding. To do any subject justice will entail time and patience, and it will essentially become your hobby for several years. Immerse yourself fully in its research and writing, live it, breathe it and keep your eye on what you want to achieve. Recognise when you have exhausted the research collections and obtained all the information and images to achieve your goal of a book that will stand the test of time. If you enjoy the research and construction process, like any hobby or pastime, it will probably lead you to search for your next writing project even before your first is published. With determination, there is a book in everybody. Choosing the right topic or area to research and write about will bring the unforeseen rewards of making many people happy, both during the journey of the research and with the finished book. David Bebbington teaches chemistry at Magdalen College School, Oxford and is passionate about the school’s history and that of the two World Wars.
The Diary of losing Dad
Emily Bevan tells some of the story behind her book In 1988 when I was just six years old, we arrived at Shiplake College. Apparently, on my first day at the local primary school I proudly announced to everyone who would listen that ‘MY DAD IS THE HEADMASTER OF SHIPLAKE COLLEGE’. I was - and always have been, enormously proud of him. Dad was my hero, who I observed carefully, thus picking up strange habits for a 6 year old, including answering the phone with ‘Emily Bevan speaking how can I help you’, and beginning letters with ‘I am writing to inform you that I would like to come to your party’. It was a bit strange, having a father who was a headmaster, because for me, he was just ‘Dad’. The man who loved marmite and peanut butter sandwiches, was intensely accident prone, and sent us birthday cards from the dog. Growing up in a school was incredible in many respects. Where our friends had tree houses in their back garden, we had a sports hall, a cricket pitch, three rugby fields, a swimming pool, a river and an athletics track. This of course, seemed completely normal because I didn’t know otherwise. But looking back, it was, in some respects, unconventional. As an awkward teenager, learning to ballroom dance with a group of boys, none of my friends had their father standing at the side of the room, giving her the thumbs up. Nor were they made to drive 45 minutes down the M40 when they wanted to ‘pop out to the cinema’ lest their father be seen eating popcorn, wearing levis and ordering a deep pan pepperoni pizza. I also remember meeting one of Dad’s ‘new friends’ at a school concert - who was a very nice lady, with a comfortable shoulder, which I promptly fell asleep on. I doubt many other people had this first experience of meeting their future headmistress. When I think of Dad at Shiplake, I picture him in his study, a spectacular view of the river Thames behind him, the comforting smell of Alta Rica coffee and photocopying in the air. He often had his dictaphone on his desk, which he spoke into VE-RY CLEAR-LY AND CARE-FUL-LY. I savour those memories of him, when he was fit and well and bounding with energy, because for a long time they were a little out of reach. They had been overwhelmed by more recent images of Dad in the hospital. Dad who was tired and distracted, Dad who was critically ill and trying to recover from a devastating stroke, caused by an undetected secondary cancer, which left him paralysed down his left side. During the period of Dad’s illness, I had an overwhelming urge to write. I kept journals and notebooks in which I would scribble down anecdotes, observations and little poems or fragments of verse. I was trying to ensure that I didn’t forget anything; each detail was precious. But I was also trying to process what was happening. To make sense of something which made no sense. These notebooks were my ‘friendly pages’ into which I would unburden the contents of my heart.
Dad passed away on 12th January 2014 leaving a huge hole in all of our lives. His courage and strength in the face of his situation was nothing short of extraordinary. And we were all so grateful that his wonderful sense of humour remained intact to the end. After Dad’s death, my way of coping was to keep as busy as possible. I threw myself into my work as an actor, and was lucky to be kept busy with a number of juicy TV roles including a BBC biblical drama called The Ark, and JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy in which I played the grieving wife of Rory Kinnear. It was three and a half years later, in the summer of 2017, when I finally returned to my notebooks, and the idea for ‘The Diary of Losing Dad’ was born. My boyfriend at the time (now husband) was taking a three month sabbatical from work, and persuaded me to join him on a backpacking adventure around India. It turned out to be an incredibly restorative and life affirming trip, where for the first time in a long time, I slowed down and relaxed. (We also got engaged!) When we came back to the UK, I was in a much more content and reflective place than I had been in years, looking forward to the future, and I felt a desire to go back and process the painful chapter that had come before, and to somehow find peace and freedom around it. For the first time, I actively sought out literature and podcasts about grief. I found huge comfort in listening to Cariad Lloyd’s ‘Griefcast’ and started to read as much as I could around the subject. Surprisingly, I didn’t find much that really resonated with me and my experience, and this became a motivating factor in telling my own story. The process of writing quickly became all consuming. I started by typing up the notebooks I had kept, piecing them together in chronological order, and then going through emails, text messages, and old diaries to try and fill in any gaps that arose. By returning to those old notebooks, diaries and poems, I was forced to look grief in the face and take ownership of my experience. I laughed a lot and, inevitably, cried a lot. But there was something immensely cathartic and powerful about piecing together a narrative from all of those fragments, and in trying to make something beautiful out of something deeply painful. I felt much much lighter as a result. Once I had finished my first draft, I shared my manuscript with a few trusted friends, and with their encouragement, decided to approach some literary agents. In general, agents will ask you to send the first 30 pages of your book, and a covering letter detailing, amongst other things, why you are the person to write this book. What connects you to your material? Why does this book need to exist? I had also heard about the crowdfunding publisher ‘Unbound’ after picking up one of their new releases in my local bookshop. I loved the book and was immediately drawn to their ethos, which is to ‘disrupt publishing with fresh ideas that don’t fit the mould’. I sent a submission through their
Books website, and was thrilled when I received an email from one of their commissioning editors, Joelle, asking me to come in for a meeting. As a first-time writer, with no previous experience and a poetic memoir about death under my belt, I was certainly a risk. But I am immensely grateful that they have seen my potential and have given me this opportunity to work with them to achieve our mutual goal of getting the book published. At the time of writing this article I have raised 70% of my funding target, so I still have a little way to go. Crowdfunding a book involves a high level of dedication and creativity. To keep my percentage creeping up, I must actively promote my idea through emails, social networks - and magazines! The ‘pledge’ levels for my book include offers to send homemade brownies in the post, write personalised comic
poems, sign photos of myself as a zombie, art prints, and even tickets to a poetry and music event. I am also offering a talk to schools. I am hopeful that with time and a little more effort I shall reach my goal, and I am excited that one day soon, I may be able to walk into my local bookshop and hold my own book in my hands. In the meantime, I shall follow Dad’s advice to do my best, and then a bit more. Emily Bevan spent her childhood by the River Severn and the River Thames. As part of her crowdfunding campaign Emily is visiting schools to talk about grief, writing as a form of therapy, poetry and acting. Visit https://unbound.com/books/diary
Berwick Coates would like to tell you about Kimber Kimber was one of those boys who, round about thirteen, started to grow out of his wrists and ankles. He shot up. And his energy shot up with it. There was suddenly so much of him, and wherever he happened to be – like a school desk – the space available for him suddenly seemed so inadequate. He was restless; he was a fidget; he was forever turning round; he couldn`t bear to miss looking at whatever sound attracted his Jodrell Bank ears. He was not a bad lad. True, not one of your great intellects. They could have drained brains like Kimber`s out of England till the cows came home, and the nation`s genius bank would not have been diminished by more than half a per cent. Nor did he have what one might call a thirst for knowledge. Most of his resources in a classroom were devoted to keeping his backside in some kind of proximity to the seat of his desk and his front facing forwards. Sitting still must have been agony for him. But he was not antagonistic. He did not plan mayhem before the teacher came into the room. He was not a smart-arse who was always on the look-out for a chance to win a verbal duel with authority. He did not inject disruptive comment into the proceedings; he did not spoil sensitive moments which the teacher had laboured for half the lesson to set up; he did not spend time thinking up awkward questions. He was a cheerful, self-deprecating, over-limbed lad who had no intellectual pretensions whatever, and who regarded school as just something you got by as you got by everything else. There was no malice in him. So why was he such a pain? Well, of course he wasn`t a pain to anybody else; he was only a pain to a teacher. And it was because he was such a pain to a teacher that the rest of the class found him a source of entertainment; anything which made Sir go bananas must be a hoot. So – to repeat – why was he such a pain? Well, think for a moment of what teachers constantly demand – peace and quiet, bowed heads, the heavy breathing of total concentration on the task in hand, the scratch of twentyfive or thirty pens and pencils moving in beaverish unison, interrupted only by the rasp of a pencil-sharpener or the rustle of yet another page of the exercise book being turned over. But teachers are not satisfied even with that; they want similar silence when equipment is being given out, books are being distributed, cupboards and drawers are being closed, and pupils are being paired off with each other. There is not a single movement in a classroom which can be done to the teacher`s satisfaction if the slightest murmur intrudes. ‘Quietly!’ It`s the only adverb they know. To these aspirations, therefore, Kimber was total anathema. He was a walking virus to the computer programme of the lesson. Turning round involved talking, of course. Kimber was a sociable soul; he wanted to know how his mates were getting on; what they thought of the problem in front of them (like him, not much); how long they thought it would take; whether the rest of it would
be set for homework; how they could get out of doing homework altogether; what was school lunch going to be today; had they noticed that Sir`s shoelace was undone, and that, with any luck, he might trip over – good for a laugh any time; had they seen the latest episode of Doctor Who; and did they know the one about the gym mistress, the hockey stick, and the pink garter. What about the teacher`s sense of order? Surely he could control his class, couldn`t he? There was such a thing as verbal correction. True. And turning wrath on to a single boy – pour encourager les autres? True again. Punishments, sanctions, detentions, keeping in, deprivation of privileges – was this list not enough for the most querulous of teachers? Normally, yes. But then most classes did not contain a Kimber. You could impose the most draconian of penalties, and it would not limit his activities for more than a few minutes. After that, he would start again. It was not that he had any contempt, even disrespect, for the teacher; he probably quite liked him. I repeat, he was a sociable soul, with no malice. He just forgot. Or rather he suddenly thought of something else that simply had to be said to the boy behind or beside or in front of him, and its urgency drove all other thoughts out of his head (there was not room for very many at the best of times). Threats could be dire, frantic, bloodcurdling, bonechilling, or diabolically inspired. He was impervious beyond total deafness. I developed a theory about Kimber. I reckoned that if you went into the room with a six-gun strapped to your hip and said, ‘The next boy to talk – I will shoot him,’ and a boy talked – and you shot him – Kimber would be talking five minutes later. What happened to him? I have no idea. Probably went into some business or other which demanded camaraderie and resource, and there are plenty of those. Success does not depend solely upon academic laurels in school – perhaps fortunately for the anonymous majority. Lack of academic glory would never have held back Kimber; with his hail-fellow-well-mettery, he would have made ten times what the average schoolmaster earned. And he might well have sent his son to his old school, come in on parents` evening, hobnobbed cheerily with his old teacher, and freely admitted that he had been a pain in the neck. And the teacher would also have had to admit something: that, though it is easy to be driven right up the wall by the Kimbers of this world, it is difficult to remain really cross with them. Berwick Coates is the Archivist at West Buckland School and author of fourteen books including Starkeye and Co – Life at a Grammar School in the 1940s (The History Press); West Buckland School (Halsgrove Publishing 2000); West Buckland – The Diary of and Edwardian School (Ryelands Publishing 2008); and The Natural History of a Country School (Woodfield Publishing) www.berwickcoates.com
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