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The beneямБts of adventure education

How polo took me from Eton to Dubai


Deciphering public school slang


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Pa g e






What’s going on in the world of education



Advertising Manager

Alan Rickman’s schooldays in pictures.



Art Director


Eleanor Doughty’s guide to public-school slang

Senior Designers








Susan Hamlyn’s top tips for the school search

Production Manager

The schools enticing parents out of London

Finance Director

Major Accounts Director

Tips on finding the right tutor



Pa to the Directors

To tutor or not to tutor?




Tom Hudson, from Eton to Dubai

Pa g e




44 FOCUS ON WESTONBIRT The Gloucestershire girls’ school going places


Pa g e



SHERIF SHALTOUT For advertising enquiries please call 020 7704 0588 or email: Subscriptions are available simply by emailing You can receive an online subscription for FREE or a postal subscriptions for 12 months, £30 respectively (to cover postage and packaging). Please email us with your preferred option and details. Part of the

It’s out with the cold showers and in with pastoral care, says Charlotte Phillips



Pa g e


Which one is right for you? asks Lisa Freedman

69 MAKING OF ME Classical actress, Eve Best

70 BOARDING FOR SEN Where to look for that extra help, by Charlotte Phillips




197-199, City Road, EC1V 1JN 020 7704 0588 Z E ST- M E D I A .CO M

Zest Media Publications Ltd. cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts and photographs. While every care is taken, prices and details are subject to change and Zest Media Publications Ltd. take no responsibility for omissions or errors. We reserve the right to publish and edit any letters. All rights reserved. @A B S OLUT E LY _ M AG S ‘A B S OLU TELY M AGAZ I N E S ’

How equine therapy can help children with SEN

78 MAKING OF ME The war artist Arabella Dorman

l a s t wo r d

95 MADDY FARRANT An overseas student at Blundell’s


The cover depicts sixth-form pupils at Westonbirt School, an independent day and boarding school for girls. Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QG, 01666880333

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THE WORLD COMES TO CHELTENHAM For over 160 years, Cheltenham Ladies’ College has been a vibrant, global academic community at the forefront of girls’ education. Every day we support and guide girls from around the world as they become self-determined, fulfilled and resilient young women. To find out more, visit or meet us at the British Boarding Schools Show, Dubai, on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th March at the Sheraton Hotel, Mall of the Emirates. For tickets and further details, visit

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ike many English children, I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton. Not just the Famous Five – whom I worshipped, physically yearning to be tomboy George – but all the Malory Towers books and St Clare’s series too. These stories of jolly japes, madcap schemes and midnight feasts left me with a strong sense that being sent away for one’s education was the most fun anyone could have ever. I didn’t go; living in London I was sent to an all-girls’ day school. My parents flirted with the idea of St Mary’s Calne in Wiltshire during my unsettled first year at Godolphin & Latymer, but I stayed put and had a fabulous time, and even managed to get a good education.

parents made those choices that shaped my life so much. And they were just sending me a few miles away. Surely deciding to send your child away to be schooled on another continent must be even harder? Well, that’s where we are here to help. As the team behind the UK’s Absolutely Education, a highly-regarded magazine about British independent schools, we are thrilled to publish our inaugural issue of British Education Dubai. This magazine offers you, an ex-pat and overseas audience, the very best in news, views and expert advice on choosing a Britsh boarding eduction for your child. We have voices of great authority: Robin Fletcher, Director of the Boardings Schools’ Association on the depth and breadth of boarding schools available; Susan Hamlyn, Director of the Good Schools Guide Advice Service with her tops tips

“A DIET OF ENID BLYTON LEFT ME WITH THE SENSE THAT BOARDING SCHOOL WAS THE MOST FUN EVER” I still secretly think I would have loved boarding school, though. Many of my close friends were boarders: Clifton College, Wycombe Abbey, St Mary's Calne, Haileybury, Bryanston were just a few of the schools they attended. If I noticed any difference between them and myself and my dayschool friends is that the ties that bind them are even stronger. If you go to a boarding school your friends are your family and those ties seem to stay incredibly strong through later life. But now I’m on the other side of the fence. A grown-up with three children and schooling decisions of my own to make, I wonder how my

on how to choose the right school and Charlotte Phillips, an expert on Special Educational Needs, on where to turn if your child has learning needs and would benefit from extra help. We have heads from some of our top prep and senior schools telling us what makes them, and their schools, tick and the boarding stories of mega-star Eve Best, artist Arabella Dorman and Etonian poloplayer and Dubai resident Tom Hudson. I hope you enjoy this issue.

Amanda Constance EDITOR

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Co-educational Boarding and Day (ages 13 – 18)


National Director of the Boarding Schools’ Association Robin Fletcher was a boarder at Rugby School and is now National Director of the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and the State Boarding Schools’ Association (SBSA). He writes about brilliant British boarding on page 23.


Founder, Anderson Consulting Sue Anderson has been working with overseas families, international students and boarding schools for the past 25 years. Having personal experience of the ex-pat life, she set up Anderson Education to help families select the best school for their child.


An excellent school offering a choice between A levels and the IB in the Sixth Form

Director, The Good Schools Guide Advice Service Susan Hamlyn has worked with the GSG for 15 years as a writer and editor. She now works full time running the Advice Service, which offers help and guidance to parents on all matters education. She shares her top tips for finding the right boarding school on page 24.

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“Boarding at Campbell is a life-changing experience. It has given me confidence, independence and friendships that will last forever.”

Welcoming and inspiring boarders from 11-18 years old. Experience the very best UK education from £4,350 a term in the safety of a stunning 100 acre woodland campus. Visit to find out more

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Founder, the Independent Schools Show David Wellesley Wesley was educated at Ashdown House and King’s Canterbury. He founded the Independent Schools Show – the world’s largest exhibition of private education. There are now shows in London, Dubai, Singapore and Istanbul.

Meet us at the


Writer, the Daily Telegraph Eleanor Doughty writes about education, social manners and the English country home. She has been described as ‘an absolute scream’, but admits this might be open to interpretation. She writes about public-school slang on page 20.

26 - 27 February 2016

Learn for Life Oakham is a great co-educational boarding and day school for 10 -18 year olds safe in the heart of rural England, yet within 2 hours of London. We have long experience of caring for children whose parents live overseas. For a conversation call our Admissions Team +44 (0)1572 758758


Master, Dulwich College Dr Joe Spence has been Master of Dulwich College, one of London’s leading boys public schools, since 2009. He was previously headmaster of Oakham School in Rutland and a Master at Eton. He argues the case against tutoring on p.34

We are a top UK IB school and offer the choice of IB or A-levels.

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WORLD-CLASS IB SCHOOL Sevenoaks is a co-educational day and boarding school for students aged 11 to 18. Just half an hour from Central London and Gatwick International Airport, our superb 100-acre campus is in the Kent countryside.

The pupils achievement and learning is exceptional Independent Schools Inspectorate

With over 1000 pupils, including international students from over 40 countries, the student body is lively, cosmopolitan and open-minded. Boarding is an important element in the school’s daily life and ethos, while our 600-year history, location and 700 day students ensure that the school remains firmly grounded in the local community. Sevenoaks admits boys and girls at 11, 13 and 16. A third of our pupils are boarders and 20 per cent are international students. Sevenoaks has a reputation for exploring new ideas and is known for an inclusive global outlook which permeates the entire education experience. We have offered the International Baccalaureate since 1978. Registered charity 1101358


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Energy Courage Integrity Flexible courses for students aged 11-18 An opportunity to live and study alongside British students A safe, accessible location in rural Cambridgeshire Exceptional support towards first class academic results and university entrance

For more information please contact: | @Kings_Ely

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COLOUR FUN Felsted went neon bright for charity

It was a first for Felsted School as they hosted one of their biggest charity events, a Neon Colour Festival in aid of two of the school’s Charity Partners, Sparkle Malawi and Volunteer Uganda. The event involved the whole school community running seven laps of a course, totalling 3.5km, with runners being painted in a new neon colour on each lap.

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TOP MARKS Antony Gormley's Angel of the North, and Gormley, below right at the art exhibition

ART HOUSE St Mary’s Calne celebrated its artistic heritage with an exhibition the 20th Century Theatre in Notting Hill entitled St Mary’s Past, Present, Future.


he show, featuring art from past and present pupils at the Wiltshire school, included a life-size elephant made of wire, wood, plaster and rope by sixth former Hannah. Renowned sculptor Sir Antony Gormley attended the opening night, awarding the Fitzwilliam-Lay Prize for best piece of work to Georgina in the Lower Sixth. Renowned artists such as Arabella Dorman and Endellion Green are Calne old girls; the creative streak is clearly still going strong.


adminton School has been classified as excellent in every category following its latest inspection with the Independent Schools Inspectorate giving the Wiltshire school a big thumbs up. The ISI highlighted Badminton’s holistic approach to education and duties above and beyond to its pastoral care, stating: “The curriculum supports effectively the school’s aims to provide an enriching and holistic educational experience in which high levels of achievement in the arts, sport and extra-curricular activities complement intellectual development, academic success and pastoral care.”

“Badminton School Has Had The Big Thumbs Up From Inspectors”



irls at St Francis’ College get a chance to show off their fashion flair and support the school’s international projects at the annual Recycled Fashion Show. The show has become a highlight in the school calendar and annually makes more than £2,000 to support the school’s charity in Uganda, The Kanyike Project. Participating girls have to make an outfit using entirely recycled materials which they then model in front of family and friends. A group of sixth-formers also get the chance to visit the Ugandan project to see the great work they are supporting.

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Buckhingham Palace by none other upils at Malvern College had a than HRH The Duke of York who has a once-in-a lifetime experience particular interest in the area. canoeing in the Arctic. As part Challenges included the of Malvern’s 150th rapids at Rocky Defile, a anniversary celebrations, notoriously deep canyon twenty-two pupils and staff The college places character carved through the red rock. launched an ambitious project at the heart of its Justin Major, Head of Outdoor to travel for three weeks by provision Pursuits and leader of this canoe down the Coppermine expedition describes the River to Kugluktuk, where it “whoop of euphoria that rang flows into the Arctic Ocean. out from the canyon walls” as all the It was the first time this journey had boats came through. been undertaken by a British school and pupils were given a briefing at


upils at St Lawrence College will stage the War of the Worlds next month. A cast of over 60 pupils at the senior school will be performing Jeff Wayne’s classic rock musical of H G Wells’s science fiction novel over two nights with a professional digital artist providing video projection. The school’s 500-seat theatre was opened three years ago by former boarding pupil, actor Alexander Siddig, best known for his role as Star Trek’s Dr Julian Bashir and, more recently, as Prince Doran Martell in ‘Game of Thrones’. Siddig praised the teachers at St Lawrence College for inspiring his career in acting.

DUBAI CALLING company with expertise on how to negotiate the competitive world of UK Higher Education has launched in the UAE. Varsity Education, a not-for-profit education company, will offer insider knowledge on how to access top UK universities to schools, students and parents in the UAE. Competition for elite UK universities is at an all time high. In 2015, more than


718,000 students vied for 532,000 places at British universities, with competition even tougher at elite institutions. Varsity Education was set up by Oxford academics to help prepare students prepare for applications to the best universities and runs residential summer courses in both Oxford and Cambridge for 15- 17 year olds. These programmes focus on fuelling academic curiosity and offering guidance to students on the applications process.

IN SHORT Wellington College has announced it will no longer participate in newspaper school league tables, following in the footsteps of other elite schools such as Eton and Winchester. "I have higher aspirations for my students than top examination results on their own," said headmaster Julian Thomas.

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Educa ng mind, body, heart & soul

For more informa on please contact Tessa Howard-Vyse, registrar@may +44 (0)1435 874659 The Old Palace, Mayeld, East Sussex TN20 6PH


An independent Catholic boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18

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family from Northern Ireland, living in Qatar have kept up the links with home by sending their son Lachlan to board at Campbell College in Belfast. Six months into boarding life and the Yr 13 pupil Lachlan has never looked back. “The term boarding school’ brings with it certain stereotypes,” said Lachlan. “Once I had a tour of Campbell I realised that my preconceptions were totally misplaced. I was able to get a real feel for the school and realised how boarding would help me to study more, but also allow me to have a great network of friends around me 24/7. It is the best of both worlds.”

“Boarding allows me to have a great network of friends 24/7”



irls at Hanford School got to think outside the box – the hat box that is – when milliner Tara O’Callaghan invited a group from the UVIth form to her studio near Salisbury, Wiltshire. Old Hanford girl, Tara, whose hats have graced the heads of stars and royals, such as Zara Phillips, took time out from preparing for Ascot to teach the girls about the techniques and materials used in millinery.

Feeling enthused, the girls went to work on their own hat-making project, ‘ Gainsborough’s Girls’, inspired by the portraits of Thomas Gainsborough.

IN SHORT Millfield school in Somerset has signed up for an anti-sportsdoping accreditation scheme, the first time a school in the UK has sought this official "clean sport" status.



ixth former Rachel Orchard (pictured above, centre) has just completed her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award at St Mary’s Shaftesbury. The award scheme is recognised by universities for the leadership, problem solving and team skills that it helps develop. To achieve the Gold award, girls must complete a variety of challenges including a four day expedition and a year of voluntary work. “Carrying D of E right the way through to Gold is a huge achievement which creates strong friendships and unforgettable life experiences that are worth all the hardship," said Orchard.

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Harrogate Ladies’ College Top UK Boarding School

Girls aged 11-18

GCSE and A Level programmes 52% secured places at Russell Group universities Safe, stable and supportive environment Extra-curricular activities and weekend trips Scholarships offered

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akham School has hit the right notes in two national choral competitions. This month, Oakham musicians are taking part in two of the biggest national school choral competitions in the UK: the semi-finals of the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year 2016 competition, and the finals of the Barnardo’s National Choral Competition. “To be selected for both these national competitions is a testimony to the outstanding quality of music at Oakham,” says Director of Music, Peter Davis. “It is a huge accolade to be recognised as one of the best senior school choirs in the UK.”


“It’s a huge accolade to be recognised as one of the best choirs in the country”


he world’s largest independent recording facility, Metropolis Studios in London, where Adele recorded her global smash, 25, is opening its iconic doors to international students this March. Metropolis also houses a campus of the Academy of Contemporary Music, which will run two six month Industry Qualifications (IQ) at the Metropolis campus in Songwriting & Artist Development and Music Production. Metropolis Studios CEO Ian Brenchley said: “These courses are particularly attractive to international students given they are only six months long, so a much more manageable length of time to study in London, one of the most exciting music destinations in the world.”


DING DONG sixth former at Harrogate Ladies’ College has achieved success in a national music competition. Nicole Brocksom’s composition of choral music set to a poem by Christina Rossetti won the Music Education Expo Composition Competition. Brocksom said: “I’m so thrilled to have won! I still can’t quite believe it. I can’t thank everyone enough for the opportunities and encouragement that I’ve been given at college to develop my musical skills.”



wall of 63 perfectly preserved servants bells has been uncovered at Westonbirt School. Girls at the Cotswolds school, which is housed in a Victorian stately home have been ringing with excitement at the find. Long serving staff members had heard rumours of bells hidden behind wood panelling in one of the lower corridors and the maintenance team uncovered the bells just before Christmas. Each bell is labelled with the room they are connected to and many are still in full working order.

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The Pilgrims’ School, Winchester Day and boarding for boys aged 4-13

“A fine school in which the musical, the sporty and the clever boy will positively flourish.” Good Schools Guide

“Like you, I do not want an ordinary education for your son; I want an exceptional school that will make the most of his one chance. At Pilgrims’, we have no intention of settling for ordinary or OK. We strive to realize every ounce of potential and value many different types of success.” Tom Burden, Headmaster

The ancient city wall runs around the boundary of our extensive playing fields; few school pitches can boast such a stunning setting.

Nestled between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, the beautiful and venerable buildings that surround us are an ever-present reminder of history and tradition. | 01962 854189 | Untitled-3 1

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CLASS ACT Latymer Upper remembers Alan Rickman


ollowing the death of Alan Rickman in January this year, his old school, Latymer Upper in London, released these fabulous pictures of the actor from his time at the school. Rickman joined the school on a scholarship in 1956 and became an enthusiastic drama student, as these pictures show. Rickman remained hugely supportive of the school throughout his successful career and was due to visit the month he died. Headmaster David Goodhew said he was, “An inspiring Latymerian who will be much missed.�

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WHAT’S IN A NAME? A lot, it turns out. The traditional jargon at our top establishments can be jaw-droppingly confusing ELEANOR DOUGHTY


hey say that no man is an island, but the public school system is a nation state of its own. It even has its own language, complete with various dialects that are liable to confuse and alienate. If you’re in the process of choosing a school, you’ll be used to poring through swathes of tedious marketing buzzwords reading prospectuses. It’s granted that you’ll need a jargon buster for that, the business of selling a £30,000-a- year school to the general public. But have you considered your child and the new language

they’ll have to learn? And we don’t mean Mandarin. What Common Entrance fails to prepare your little James and Annabels for is the exclusive lingo spoken by pupils at their first choice schools. Public school slang. But alas, there’s no one-size-fits-all for this curious attachment of our British education system – every school is different. Each have, to a greater or lesser extent, their own traditions. Whether it be lower year groups eating lunch first – for bonkers reasons that defy all other – or not walking over Green Court unless you’re a ‘purple’ (a prefect) as at the King’s School in Canterbury, there’s plenty of stuff for your darling to learn when they first start out. Some things are obvious. At Harrow, the ‘ducker’ is the swimming pool and the uniform ‘greyers’ and ‘bluers’, for the dark blue jacket and grey trousers. Others, not so much. At Eton, if you’re interested in sport then you’re either a wet or a dry bob: wet for rowing, dry for cricket. ‘Slack bobs’ are boys who do neither. At Harrow the top athletes belong to ‘the Phil’ – the Philathletic Club and they may wear a black bow tie. More commonly known, and nonschool specific, is the ‘beak’ – a teacher. The Harrow ‘Guild’ is a group of senior boys with particular artistic excellence. They have a distinctive maroon and

“What Common Entrance will fail to prepare your children for is public school slang”

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those from St Paul’s are deliciously named Old Paulines, and if you went to Westminster, you’re an Old Wet. An Old Gower is the former pupil of University College School in Hampstead and if you’re an Old Roffensian then you went to the King’s School in Rochester. Once upon a time, Wykehamists had to take Notions to test new boys’ familiarity with the school and its many customs. Nowadays, no one will ask if you’ve passed or not. But if they do, keep it vague – or, as a Wykehamist might say – nihil-ad-rem. And there’s another spot of jargon: they made that phrase up. Of course they did.


A prefect at King’s Canterbury

The Phil Harrow’s Philathletic Club. These top atheletes may wear a black bow-tie.

The Guild Senior Harrow boys of artistic excellence Above

silver striped bow tie and may wear a maroon waistcoat with their tails, while ‘Pop’ are Eton’s ‘Purples’ - prefects at prefects who get to wear King’s Canterbury snazzy waistcoats and Far L eft the only ones allowed to The iconic Harrow straw hat sit on ‘Pop Wall’. It isn’t just colloquial terms of not-quite endearment for school property and fellow pupils that can provide some puzzlement to new pupils, but the actual formula of each school. For the new boy or girl arriving at Marlborough College, ‘Shell’ is year 9. ‘Remove’ comes next, and ‘Hundred’ is year 11. At Winchester, years 9 and 10 are ‘Junior Part’ (JP) and Middle Part (MP) while year 11 is ‘V Book’, and years 12 and 13 ‘VI Book 2’ and ‘VI Book 1’ respectively. With regard to school terms, some creativity is involved. At Eton, each of the three terms is a ‘half’ – Harrow pupils in their straw hats Left

Michaelmas Half, Lent Half, Summer Half – not allowing for maths to be important, while Charterhouse’s are named as Quarters. The Oration Quarter (OQ) is the winter term, the Long Quarter (LQ) is the confusingly shorter spring term up to Easter, and the Cricket Quarter (CQ) is the summer term. At Winchester College, they take it a step further with Cloister Time, Short Half and Common Time, to denote terms one to three. Outside school and beyond its walls, the lingo of clubmanship goes on. While ‘Old Etonian’ (OE) might be in regular and obvious usage, some slightly less known labels might need some decoding. So then: current and former Winchester pupils are Wykehamists, after William of Wykeham, the school’s founder, and those who went to Charterhouse are Old Carthusians. If you want to wind up the London schoolboys,

Ducker The former outdoor swimming pool at Harrow

Bluers The blue jacket in Harrow’s school uniform

Greyers The grey trousers in Harrow’s school uniform

Eccer Any form of games at Harrow

We t b o b /d r y b o b Rowers and cricketers at Eton

Slack Bob

A pupil who does neither

Po p

Eton’s prefects, allowed to sit on Pop wall

Shell Year 9 at Marlborough

Remove Year 8 at Marlborough

V Book

Year 11 at Winchester

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Ackworth School A foundation for life Ellie Williamson started playing netball in junior school. Since then she has followed the England Netball Pathway and is now in the Regional Academy. Ellie trains 4 or 5 nights a week and has high level netball matches most weekends. She represents Yorkshire and has a chance of playing Super League netball in England. Ellie does this and still gets top grades across the board!

Sam Todd is one of our elite squash players. He became the first British player to win the British Junior Open since another famous Old Scholar, James Willstrop won the title in 2002. Sam is the leading squash player for his age in the world. This season he has already won the British Under 13 Closed, US Open and British Junior Open.

At the age of 9 Lucas Culff appeared in a television commercial for the show ‘I’m a Celebrity...Get me out of here’. Last year he performed in the musical, Carousel, as one of the Snow Children. He has also had a role as a child in the hit series, Emmerdale, for many years. His first speaking role was in Downton Abbey, the most watched television drama show in the world.

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BRITISH It’s a brilliant time to be a boarder, says the Director of the Boarding Schools’ Association ROBIN FLETCHER


estminster Abbey

and Canterbury Cathedral are two of the most famous and iconic church buildings in England, known to visitors from all corners of the globe. What is probably less known is that these centres of both worship and tourism share their sites with highly regarded and ancient British boarding establishments, Westminster School and King’s School. These two examples, one in the heart of London the other in the ‘garden of England’ that is Kent, illustrate the amazing diversity that characterises the boarding sector in the UK. Britain has more than 450 independent British boarding schools and 38 state boarding schools. Although many schools are located in the south of England, the spread of boarding schools offers parents and pupils the chance to experience the contrasting topography of the British Isles. From Gordonstoun on the edge of the Cairngorm mountains, just a few miles south of John O’Groats in Scotland, to Fettes with it imposing Gothic edifice in

“It is no wild claim to say there is a boarding school to suit every kind of student” Edinburgh to the south of England and towns such as Bruton in Somerset where a small town with fewer than 3,000 souls supports three boarding schools, including one state and one just for girls. One of the great beauties of choosing a boarding school is that it offers geographical choice, a far cry from the restriction of having to live in the catchment

The BSA Guide to UK Boarding Schools is a great place to start your primary research, laying out the boarding landscape and giving you the facts, figures and contact details you’ll need on your journey. Then, of course, there are websites and prospectuses of those schools that catch your eye, all of which are just a few clicks away. But relying on digital research is a dangerous path to walk because we cannot decide what’s best for our children’s future on the basis of the internet alone. The real research happens when you visit your chosen school or target shortlist to see what they are like in the flesh. . And what to look for? If given the choice, or you are pushed for time, head for the boarding houses, for that is where your child will study, sleep, make their friends and live their lives when they are away from home. There is no substitute for seeing the ‘dorms’, testing out the house piano, having a chat with matron and the house cleaner, and meeting the house area of your local day school. We don’t really master or house mistress and their spouse. know how many of the parents of the UK’s 75,000 This is what lies at the heart of a great boarding boarders actually choose schools on the basis school, and, if it feels right the moment you step of geography, although it may be a factor to be through the door of a boarding house, then trust considered. It is no wild claim to say there is a your instinct and proceed. Parental sixth sense boarding school to suit every kind of student. is a great gift and it’s one of those important moments in life when your ‘gut n choosing a boarding feeling’ won’t let you down. school what are most Boarding education pretty important criteria to well started in the UK, consider? Academic hundreds of years ago, and results, pupil mix, British boarding schools lead class size, facilities, the world in the quality of what co-curricular activity, ethos, they provide. Giving any child values, the reputation of the the chance to experience life head, setting, cost, admissions at a British boarding school policy? Each of these factors is an amazing thing and a lifevaries from school to school R O B I N F L E TC H E R changing opportunity. Good and parents will need to weigh National Director luck – you won’t regret it for a up which one or ones are most Boarding Schools’ Association second. important for their child.


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ON E How do you start the search for the perfect school? The Director of the Good Schools Guide Advice Service offers her top tips S U S A N H A M LY N



t’s what everyone wants. A beautiful, safe school with excellent teaching, comfortable accommodation, high standards of discipline and pastoral care and, at the end of it all, outstanding results. The UK is full of good schools which attract families from all over the world. But how do you ensure that the school you choose will be the right one?

Ask questions hen you visit schools, you may be wowed by the space, the facilities and the opportunities for both learning and fun. But ask questions. How many full boarders are they? This matters as you don’t want a school that empties at weekends. And, if it is co-ed, is there a good balance between boys and girls? W

Visit as many schools as you can - and not just on Open Days. he more schools you see the more you will know what you want and don’t want for your child. Look at the pupils - could they be your child’s friends? Look at the parents - could they be your friends? Look at the interaction between children and teachers. Is there a friendliness tempered by mutual respect or do the children flatten themselves against the wall if a teacher looms ahead in the corridor? T

Inform yourselves o your research. Start with the schools’ own websites but remember they are all about advertising. Read the reviews on The Good Schools Guide website. These are written by parents for parents and no school can pay to be included. D

Visit as many school as you can and ask questions


Do you like the head? o you like the house staff? Can you entrust your child to their care? Are they people you could confidently call if you were worried? Remember you won’t be there if your child crashes into the normal ups and downs of adolescence. Do you trust these people to be on the look-out? Will they act promptly and sensitively if the need arises? D

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How well is the school set up for international boarders? ow far is it from an airport that flies to and from where you are? Does that airport have at least one flight a day? What arrangements does the school make for collecting children from and delivering them to airports? Do they have storage space for trunks and other equipment your child might need? Is their internet strong and reliable so that you can use Skype, Facetime etc without hitting an outage? Will you have email addresses of all key staff?

Making your mind up: boys at Horris Hill prep school



How is the school’s security? his may be a serious concern to you. What barriers are there before an outsider can enter the school’s premises? What is the supervision like around the school campus and, especially, in the boarding houses. How does the school vet its teachers and others who work on site? Don’t be afraid to ask. T



Ask Remember there is no ‘one’ right school he schools included in The Good Schools Guide are good - they would not be in The Guide if they weren’t. The vast majority of children will settle well, learn well and achieve highly in any of them. Do not become fixated on one school. Settle on around three that feel right. T

Choose a school that is right for your child not for someone else’s. f your child is academically driven, always reading and wanting to discuss the latest advance in quantum theory then head for a school with a high academic bar and a strong showing in entry to top universities. But if he’s happier on the sports field, loves his computer games and is a social butterfly, be realistic and choose a school in which he will be enthused, learn to love learning and helped to reach his potential. If he’s unhappy, out of his depth and feels a failure, he won’t learn and you won’t be around to pick up his pieces. I

Do not go to an education agent unless you can be sure that they take no money from any school they suggest to you any agents take commission from schools they recommend so they work with a small portfolio of schools with which they have an arrangement and they won’t recommend other schools which might be better for your child. M

Don’t fall for a school’s name or reputation on’t choose a school just because it’s famous or socially superior. The best school is only the best school if it is the best school for your child. D

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U K G B t u rosv oard s o eno ing n r H Sc 26 ou ho & se H ols E 27 ote xhi Fe l D bitio br uba n ua i

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A friendly and spirited community “Dauntsey’s is noted for its unpretentious and friendly atmosphere. Our pupils come from many different schools and arrive at Dauntsey’s eager to make new friends and ready for a challenge.” — Registrar, Joanna Sagers

Boarding & Day School Co-educational 11-18 Wiltshire, Southern England, SN10 4HE - 150 km from London T. +44 1380 814500 Absolutely Education 1Dubai.indd 1 DAUNTSEYS.indd

19/01/2016 11:28:42 19/01/2016 15:17




Scaling the heights Tom Burden, Headmaster of The Pilgrims’ School on the benefits of a chorister education for all


ony Blair was a pupil at The Chorister School, Durham Cathedral, though not a chorister; Alastair Cook, England cricket captain, was a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral School in London; Jon Snow, Channel 4 news presenter, attended The Pilgrims’ School, choir school of Winchester Cathedral, as a chorister. Look down a list of people in almost any walk of life and you will find that many attended or chose to educate their children in a choir school, even if they were not themselves professional choristers. There is no doubt that choir schools are fantastic for children with a musical flair, and indeed for a gifted singer there is arguably no better musical education. In addition to providing music taught to the highest level, a choir school is a 'normal' school, offering the choristers the full breadth and depth of curriculum, as well as sporting and other opportunities. Academic lessons, music tuition, sport, activities, and essential ‘time out’ are arranged to fit around the choristers’ various singing commitments. But what if you are not a chorister? At The Pilgrims’ School, we have 38 boys who sing for two professional choirs, Winchester Cathedral Choristers and Winchester College Quiristers, but also a further 200 boys who belong to neither foundation. Importantly, however, every child at a choir school has the distinct advantage of access to a first-rate musical education. Music is a norm of school life. Crucially, the choice that sometimes seems to exist in schools between sport or music is not an issue:

“Alastair Cook says the chorister life taught him discipline”

even the sportiest of children can manage to be both a committed sportsman and a musician – Captain of Cricket and Head Chorister, even. I regularly see our boys racing back from the adjacent sports fields to take part in a music practice or concert. Academic standards in choir schools are high. The correlation between practice and performance, between endeavour and results, is witnessed daily and, given

school affects the whole institution. The self-discipline and motivation of the musician spills over into other aspects of schooling: elite ceases to be a dirty word; commitment becomes the norm. Often closely associated with a cathedral, many choir schools enjoy the unique advantage of a secure, idyllic location. The Pilgrims’ School is one such school: nestled in the historic Cathedral Close, we have the medieval city on our front doorstep and a back door opening onto water meadows and extensive fields. the demanding schedule of choristers, there Like other church schools, choir schools is little sympathy for the claims of a nonhave long been celebrated as having strong chorister that he is too busy to complete his pastoral care and solid discipline. Manners work to the highest standard. The culture is are important. Teamwork and mutual one of enthusiasm and opt-in participation. respect are vital. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one Choir schools are complex, lively, cultured percent inspiration and ninetyplaces with an outstanding nine percent perspiration”, record of success in many fields. and Alastair Cook is clear that Uniquely, they provide one of the chorister life taught him the most treasured of British discipline and concentration institutions: sacred choral – transferable skills, I would music. But never forget that imagine, that are useful when muddy knees are hidden behind an Australian fast bowler the cassocks. And alongside the is thundering towards you. choristers are a larger number Having a particular and easily of boys and girls who benefit TO M B U R D E N identifiable sphere of excellence, Headmaster, The Pilgrims' School from the same culture and excel a gold standard, within a in their own chosen fields.

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CALL OF THE WILD The prep schools that are luring parents and pupils away from town ELEANOR DOUGHTY


oing to school in the English countryside has been deliciously romanticised in literature by the scrapes and japes of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers. For a little taste of boarding out of town, your children need look no further than their bookcase. But making the decision between schooling in town, where you are, or in the country where everything else is, can be tricky. ‘London has everything we could ever need!’ you exclaim at dinner parties, trying to convince yourself and your counties friends that city living is for you. As the narrative in education turns increasingly towards cultivating character, some of the countryside’s most beloved prep schools are having a renaissance. Whichever county you choose – as ultimately you will pick playing fields over Wandsworth Common – you are assured of a very English education. And if there’s something that all of these prep schools have in common, it’s that – in spades.

“Some of the countryside’s most beloved prep schools are having a renaissance”

100 children stay at school over the weekend. The facilities are brilliant, the pupils have the run of the countryside, plus there’s a new sports hall on the cards. The dream team of Richard and Rachel Foster have balanced high achievement with superb pastoral care, Windlesham is rightly proud of its warm family atmosphere. And with pupils who are friendly, confident and well-mannered, what more could you wish for?




indlesham manages to combine academic excellence – leavers go on to a dizzying array of top schools including Eton, Bryanston, Oundle, Stowe and Brighton – with a happy-go-lucky informality. Nestled in 65 glorious acres of South Downs countryside in West Sussex, it’s a co-educational day and boarding school for children aged 4-13 and lies within easy reach of the Brighton, Horsham and Chichester districts, just over an hour from central London and close to Gatwick and Heathrow Airports. It’s still a very traditional boarding school – no flexi boarding here - more than




20 miles away in Berkshire, a mile outside Wokingham, is Ludgrove, the prep school alma mater of Princes William and Harry. One of the remaining all-boys, all-boarding preparatory schools left in the UK, Ludgrove is also nonselective. “We believe seven year olds are too young to test,” says Sophie Barber, wife of headmaster Simon. “We like to see a good mix of abilities and talents when they turn up each September.” It works: the destinations list is packed full of the best schools in the country, with over 70 per cent of the 185 boys going on to all-boys full boarding schools:

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Beaudesert pupils running across Minchinhampton Common

Eton, Harrow and Radley. Other popular leavers’ schools are really the rest of the south of England: Winchester, Sherborne, Marlborough, Stowe, Tonbridge and Wellington, which is just across the fields. Boys have a “magical five years of childhood” at Ludgrove, Sophie Barber says, and “if they are given free time, they always know exactly what to do with it”. This is helped by the 120 acres of grounds in which boys can make camps, and the 9-hole golf course. With endless sports pitches, and courts for squash, fives and tennis, an indoor pool, plus a music department and theatre, boys have everything at their fingertips. Ludgrove attracts mostly British parents, with about 40 per cent based in London, less than an hour away. They are ambitious, but “equally determined that boys have a proper childhood,” Sophie Barber says.




he oldest boys prep school in the country, Woodcote House School, in Windlesham, Surrey, has been owned by the Paterson family since 1931. “We are the antithesis of the London day school,” deputy headmaster Andrew Monk says. Woodcote runs a bus service to town, collecting boys from south west London at 7.30am and dropping them back after Prep, much to the delight of parents. There’s a ‘graduated’ approach to boarding too, which allows families to sign up for small numbers of nights per week each term. Parents choose the family-run school to “preserve the innocence” of their sons, Monk says, and with just over 100 pupils, it’s all-inclusive too: “being a big fish in a small pond means guaranteed selection for

teams, roles in school plays, and positions of responsibility”. And old-fashioned values matter; courtesy towards others and high standards of personal conduct are part of the school ethos. The parent body is an “eclectic mix”, coming from London, local Surrey villages and as far as Scotland and overseas. When boys start, their families are invited in for a chat with headmaster Henry Knight, for an initial discussion regarding senior schools. “This individual advice is reflected in the schools boys go on to,” Monk says, and this year’s leavers chose the who’s-who of public schools, including Eton, Harrow and Radley, Bradfield, Charterhouse and Sherborne. The school motto is “live to learn and learn to live”, which, Monk says, sums them up nicely. “We tend to do things our own way rather than feeling the pressure to change what is a hugely successful formula.”

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Above left Boys at Ludgrove




ottesmore School, four miles from Crawley is a “traditional Sussex prep school,” headmaster Tom Rogerson says. Co-ed, with both day and boarding pupils, the motto is ‘be kind – work hard – have fun’, a good suggestion to all children. Cottesmorians are happy and carefree, Mr Rogerson says, and quite romantically, “they have the freedom and the space to fish, play tennis, build a den or read a book lying on velvety green lawns or in the oak-panelled library.” The school’s real selling point is its “proximity to ‘civilisation’,” ex-Londoner Mr Rogerson says. Less than an hour from the capital, it is the closest co-ed boarding prep school to south west London; the school provides a popular train service to Victoria station. Parents come from all over, and have straightforward ambitions for their children: “they want them to get into a major public school, and to receive a rigorous, broad and creative education,” Mr Rogerson says. Last year pupils went on to a happy mixture of schools – Eton, Radley

Womersley says. The non-selective co-ed, Above 430-strong prep school Getting sporty at has high expectations Cottesmore of its pupils, but not Left without good reason – A pupil at Woodcote House recently, children have Below gone up to the fairly Windlesham house local Marlborough and Cheltenham Colleges, Eton and Radley, taking bags of scholarships with them. Beaudesert is a healthy London expat zone, with around 70 per cent of parents having lived in London before the slower pace of the Cotswolds. “There is less pressure for all concerned at country prep schools,” Mr Womersley says. “We have more time to build the children up to move on at age and Harrow a given, plus Downe House, 13, confident in their ability to cope with the Cheltenham Ladies, and Benenden. challenge of senior school life.” There’s plenty “The children at Cottesmore make of physical space too; the school stands in lifelong friendships,” Rogerson says. “It is 30 acres of beautiful grounds high up in the a privilege to be educated at Cottesmore, Cotswolds with magnificent views over the with the ‘children first’ attitude of the whole surrounding countryside. There is masses of environment.” space, including two dedicated Forest School areas for learning about the outdoors. “When BEST FOR… you compare that freedom to London preps THE GREAT OUTDOORS having to bus children to Hyde Park at break t Beaudesert Park Preparatory times, you can see why a country school School in Gloucestershire, 10 might appeal,” Mr Womersley says. minutes from Stroud, pupils are “Academic achievement is important,” he “very happy”, says headmaster says, “but so is helping children become wellJames Womersley. And parents are too – rounded individuals equipped with the life finding the school’s approach to childhood skills they need to live happy, fulfilling lives.” particularly appealing. “We feel strongly At Beaudesert, that is exactly what you get that children should be allowed the – a slice of the good life. freedom to really enjoy being children,” Mr


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 Education with heart and soul  Academic ambition  Choice of IB and A Levels  Friendly community

 Excellent pastoral care  Lively weekend programme for boarders  Beautiful countryside location  Less than 15 minutes from Gatwick Airport WORTH SCHOOL.indd 1

03/02/2016 10:54

‘Boarders feel safe and well cared for’ ISI report, October 2014

Taunton School is a co-educational, non-selective independent school set in a spacious 56 acre campus in Somerset, surrounded by beautiful South West England coast and countryside. •

Vibrant boarding community from 7-18 years

An IB World School with a choice of A Levels, IB or BTEC at Sixth Form

Extensive subject choice & option combinations

High expectations of effort and achievement in every area of school life

International intake brings energy, diversity and broad minded ethos

Performance Sport Programme and state of the art facilities

Huge co-curricular programme including CCF, Duke of Edinburgh, music, dance, drama

Focus on wellbeing and excellent pastoral care

A thriving International School offering an intensive one-year GCSE/Pre-IB course with over 23 subject choices, including Design & Technology

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Contact us! Contact Admissions to discuss your future at Taunton School. +44 (0) 1823 703700 04/02/2016 17:17


T U TOR T R A IL Getting extra academic help for your child can seem as overwhelming as finding the right school. Here’s where to start JASMINE ROBERTSON


to know you and understand how the whole family is placed. “It is important to get an idea of the personality of the child,” says Stephen Spriggs, “because all too often, even parents will ignore it.” Agencies will devise a bespoke tutoring plan and a shortlist of possible schools. Spriggs says: “ It’s about having a partner in the process. It is not about someone ringing us up and we give them a place at Eton.”

xtra support can be invaluable for a child who needs help academically or has missed school through illness. For international families with children in the British education system, a tutor can be invaluable for getting a pupil’s English up to speed, exam preparation, or making up for differences in the curriculum. Lucy Cawkwell of tutor agency Osborne Cawkwell says: “A tutor who can tell a child what school is like, particularly boarding, will provide emotional support as well as preparing them academically.” E

HOW DO WE AVOID PUTTING TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON OUR CHILD? he key is finding the balance between hothousing and giving support,” says Charles Bonas. “We might start at 5 or 6 to prepare a child for 7+ but often that’s too young, it all depends on the child.” T

AT WHAT AGE SHOULD TUTORING START? utors often prepare children for specific exams: the 7+, the 11+ and the 13+ or Common Entrance. Tutors will also be called on for GCSE, A-Levels (or IB) and Oxbridge examinations. As Charles Bonas, of blue-chip agency Bonas MacFarlane says: “Everybody needs tuition because the schools system is so competitive and tutoring gives you a clear advantage. To get into the top senior and independent schools – particularly in London – gets more difficult every year.” T

HOW LONG BEFORE EXAMS SHOULD TUTORING BEGIN? wo years before the 11+ is the ideal. “This makes it a more relaxed process,” says Stephen Spriggs, managing director of William Clarence Education. “It means we have time to cement good learning habits.” As a minimum, tutoring should start no less than six months before the 11+ exams. T

HOW DO I FIND A TOP-NOTCH TUTOR? alk to people who have been through T the process. Interview owners of several top agencies. Question the agencies’


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“Everyone needs tuition because the schools system is so competitive” safeguarding protocols. Can you trust them with your child’s education? Ask for parent references and follow them up. Talk money. And meet the tutor without your child.

HOW DO I KNOW THE TUTOR WILL BE UP TO SCRATCH? n agency is as only as good as its O tutors. Some will have a small number of professional tutors, others a vast database of contacts, from jobbing graduates to career tutors.


ll good agencies will want to meet you and your child. They will want to get

WHAT ABOUT ONLINE TUITION? nline tuition is a booming business and companies vary hugely. There is a big difference between reputable agencies relying on Skype for overseas students and tuition agencies that only exist online. Many are good, some not so; it is a largely unregulated market. The obvious bonus is that it’s much cheaper. Lucy Cawkwell says: “You can’t beat one-toone teaching but our specialist tutors who teach via Skype are able to engage with the pupil and create that relationship virtually.” O

BE REALISTIC on’t push your child towards a school where they won’t make the academic standard. Take advice from your agency. Don’t be attracted by only the starriest schools. “There are so many fantastic ones that are less well-known,” says Charles Bonas. Stephen Spriggs cautions: “Getting your child into a particular school is one thing, them staying there and being happy is another.” D

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CHARLES BONAS Man a g in g D ire c t or, B on a s Ma cFarl an e


any teachers blame tutoring companies for pushing unnecessary tutoring on already pressurised children. Some criticism has become fabulously vitriolic: at a debate on tutoring at Thomas’s Preparatory School in Battersea, an Eton housemaster referred to tutoring company owners as 'unethical carpet baggers'. Beaks and dons have always dropped effete scorn from the shelter of their ivory towers onto the tradesmen at the gate. So is this the standard priggish, intellectual superiority, or legitimate concern? Many children are exposed to over tutoring by overly competitive parents. Tutors do vary massively in quality. Nevertheless, the young tutoring companies are generally beneficial. We have given inquisitive children access to thousands of inspiring graduates. Most tutoring is good; it works, particularly for those children who are understreched at school, underperform or attend underperforming schools.

The really ‘bad’ over tutoring is the cramming of children as young as six in school entry test techniques. This is entirely the fault of the oversubscribed schools, with their narrowly competitive academic selection criteria. Their faddish psychometric testing is particularly concerning. Just as the tests favour children who can process quickly, they discriminate against the slower thinkers, who are often thinking slowly because their thoughts are deep and creative. Hiring a tutor to improve these nonverbal and verbal reasoning techniques is deeply depressing. But the urge of parents to seek competitive advantages for their children is a deep seated evolutionary spirit. Parents will not stop hiring tutors,

so schools should work with us not against us. But the schools response is that tutoring is unwelcome because they provide all the instruction necessary; if we cannot improve a child's attainment level, a tutor cannot. This mantra is obsolete. Parents now want tailormade education for their children because they understand the value of supplementing school with individualised, accessible learning in the home. This is actually a positive return to basics, not a revolution in learning. Until the 19th century, tutors worked in partnership with schools. Wealthy families tutored girls at home and sent their sons up to public school with a tutor, because going ‘up to school’ was about socialisng more than learning. Highly selective schools should stop blaming well meaning tutoring companies for their flawed admissions policies. Instead they should examine the undue pressure they place on children and respect our contributions to many thousands of children.



10/02/2016 15:59



DR JOE SPENCE Ma st e r, D ulwi c h Coll e ge


t is too little realised how easily tutoring can undermine the work of good schools if it is not properly focused and undertaken in conjunction with what a school, as well as a parent, sees as in the best interests of the pupil. A parent-school contract is based on trust and third parties can damage that trust irrevocably. I have witnessed too many cases where pupils have received contradictory guidance from tutor and teacher, to everyone’s disbenefit. Sometimes a pupil is tempted to play tutor, home and school off against each other; sometimes he simply ends up more confused than he was. Good learning goes on within the social setting a school provides and that this has been the case since Socrates gathered his friends to debate knotty questions. We in schools are all Socrates’ children. It is at school we learn to socialise and while we socialise we learn. A good education goes on in and beyond the classroom. In the best schools one’s teacher is often so much more than one’s

subject guide. The best pupilteacher relationships are formed when pupil meets teacher out of the classroom: when he finds that his so strict French teacher is a fantastic and relaxed soccer coach; when he finds himself sitting next to his history teacher in the chapel choir. The social world of school can never be replicated by the tutor, however able and subject-savvy that person may be. Young people need to be encouraged to keep everything in perspective and, however much a pupil might be struggling in the classroom, he must carry on representing the school in games and acting in the school or house play. Good learning, like a good childhood, needs space, downtime, evenings of rest, free weekends, a

time to vegetate, holidays and play. There is a danger that the overtutored child quickly loses the freedom and space so important to learning. The poet W.B. Yeats said “Education is about lighting fires, not filling buckets”. Schools take that dictum very seriously. Implicit in tutoring is that you can always push for a little bit more, like the athlete on supplements. Good learning is, to quote Yeats again, about “the fascination of what’s difficult”. It is about striving to unravel misunderstandings at your own pace; it is about deep understanding rather than rote learning. The over-tutored child can grow up never to realise that. Tutoring can work. A short sharp dose of tutoring to deal with a particular problem is a very good thing. One should see good tutoring as the educational equivalent of a dose of Penicillin: if you overuse Penicillin it becomes less effective. There’s a holy trinity in a good educational relationship: pupil, parent and teacher. Three is not too many in a good educational bed, four just might be.



09/02/2016 11:49





To arrange an individual tour of the school please call admissions 01903 874042 | visit Windlesham House School, Washington, West Sussex, RH20 4AY

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19/01/2016 13:39:50 04/02/2016 10:04




Get it right Giles Tollit, Headmaster of Horris Hill, on why it pays to choose a good prep school


traditional British education offering full boarding, weekends crammed with activities, a large peer group and a clear road ahead to top senior schools - these are just some of the advantages of choosing a top British boarding prep school. The transition from primary to secondary schooling is crucial – get it right and the British prep school proves an attractive option for those looking at top senior schools such as Eton, Winchester, Radley and Marlborough; get it wrong and these hopes could be dashed. The prep school must have a good track record - Horris Hill has a long tradition of sending boys to the best public schools and almost all its boys secure places at senior schools with competitive intakes. A school (and the head) must know what each senior school expects, how they interview and be able to advise parents on the ‘best fit’ for their son. Advice about senior schools is something all families should receive regularly - we always offer to take boys to their interviews if the family is unable to. Boys who have been in schools abroad are often worried about whether they will be behind academically. At Horris Hill we rarely find this is the case, although exposure to some languages and topics in history, for example, may have been limited. In many schools this can see a boy placed in a lower set or stream but we do not operate that system. We place a boy in a form and every term we review and will move him up (never down or sideways) when he is ready to make progress at a pace that matches his learning.

“Horris Hill houses almost all its staff on site -a rare thing for a prep school”

and international parents in the loop with We believe in full boarding school because a vibrant website and informative parent it offers pupils more extracurricular time to portal used for weekend news, sports explore and develop their talents. Finding results and much more. Getting your son to a school with a large proportion of its pupils and from school can often add yet another staying in at weekends is vital. Horris Hill worry to the parents living and working houses almost all its staff on site – a rare abroad. A quarter of boys at Horris Hill thing for a prep school – which means we travel overseas to get home; Horris Hill is 45 offer a wide range of trips and events in the minutes from Heathrow, and 35 minutes from evenings and weekends. We can also offer Southampton airport, which serves many something that other schools find hard: free European destinations. time. Boys at Horris Hill can With many families living simply spend time with their so far away, Horris Hill friends, as they would at home. does not have the extensive Excellent communication parental events calendar of with parents eases the issue a predominantly day or flexi of distance for families based boarding school. We therefore abroad. In this day and age hold our plays and concerts at there is no excuse not to be the start of the longer breaks, able to communicate quickly when the maximum number of and easily with your child, or G I L E S TO L L I T parents will come to the school their teachers. A school must Headmaster of Horris Hill to collect their son. work hard to keep its ex pat

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Opening September 2016 Come and join us at Kent College Dubai • British school ethos in the heart of Dubai • A perfect partnership • For all children from age 3 to 18 • Registration is now open

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19/01/2016 09:15




New school ties Carmella Jodrell, Head of Kent College Dubai Junior School, on its September opening


am delighted to be part of the Kent College Canterbury heritage and represent Kent College Dubai. Kent College Canterbury was founded in 1885 and has been classed as an outstanding school in every recent inspection, so there is no doubt that excellence really is a habit at Kent College Canterbury and will continue to be so in Dubai. Kent College Dubai will be run in partnership with Kent College Canterbury and is a second campus of the original school. There will be many similarities between the two campuses, however, the important thing to remember is that we are not a franchise of Canterbury, we are a second campus. Parents must know that the vision is to offer the same quality of provision in Dubai that students receive in the UK. Ideally, we would like to maintain as much as possible from the organisation and structure of Kent College Canterbury, even down to the uniform design – perhaps with more lightweight fabric though. Temperatures in the UK can require quite a high wool count, which is definitely not recommended (or needed) for the Dubai heat!

“Kent College Dubai will be like Canterbury but with lightweight uniforms!” There is a very careful and well-thought out plan for school growth. Although not all classes are expected to be filled in the first year, all year groups have been allowed to open in all phases of the school, apart from the 2nd years of the two public exam phases – Year 11 and Year 13. At maximum capacity,

Dubai and have, so far, been able to appoint from an excellent field of candidates. Staff at the Canterbury campus have been extremely helpful in the ordering of resources and are now in regular contact with the senior leadership team to prepare for the opening in September. We are pleased to inform you that pupil registration for Kent College Dubai is now open. Kent College Dubai’s website is now live and can be accessed at www.


Kent College Dubai will A pupil at Kent have approximately College Canterbury 2,200 students enrolled Right from Foundation Stage Pupils at Kent 1 to Year 13. We are College Dubai will wear similar, committed to quality lighter, uniforms and in support of this, we do not intend to have classes with any more than 20 students, maintaining a generous teacher student ratio. The new campus will spread over 400,000sq ft and will deliver the Early We are all very excited and are looking Years Foundation Stage Framework, which forward to welcoming all our new parents leads into the English National Curriculum and students in September 2016. Kent College for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. This is followed has the benefit of 130 years of experience by iGCSEs in Years 10 and 11 and then in educating young people and prides itself options to complete either A-levels or the on being a caring place and a school which International Baccalaureate Diploma. Kent can positively strengthen the College Dubai will ensure community which it serves. that statutory requirements, Students will be encouraged to including Arabic and Islamic contribute to school development studies, are maintained at the and progress, and know that same standards. In addition to with the right attitude and the curriculum provision, Kent support, they can grow as people. College Dubai will offer a very We take the responsibility of broad and challenging range preparing future citizens very of after-school activities to seriously, and we know that by support creative, sporting, and CARMELLA ensuring good development of academic interests. JODRELL Head of Kent College Dubai character, very good academic We have been thrilled by the Junior School results will follow. level of interest in Kent College

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Meet the big names of British education The British Boarding Schools Show will return to Dubai in March 2016. The Show provides families living in the Gulf region privileged access to the Heads of some of Britain’s most distinguished schools. At the British Boarding Schools Show we understand that choosing the right school for your child is both emotionally and financially demanding. Meet with Dubai parents whose children are already at school in the UK and attend seminars on achieving successful transfers into the UK system. PLUS new this year, specialist advice on USA/UK university entrance.

Sheraton Hotel, Mall of the Emirates

Friday 18 March 12:00 - 17:00 Saturday 19 March 12:00 - 17:00


02/02/2016 12:45


02/02/2016 01/02/2016 12:45 17:38

The M A K ING of Me


much is expected.” I think with the privilege of attending the school comes a responsibility to be the best you can be.

Q Where did you go to school and when? A Eton College (1994-1999).

What sort of school was it? I don’t think it’s the school that many think it is. Despite common perceptions, within the school it is surprisingly egalitarian and no-one really cares about people’s background. Popularity was not based on wealth and titles but rather character and the way you carried yourself. Success was measured not just on exam results. Q

Q What was your proudest achievement? A It will be very un-cool to admit it, but I was proud of being made a prefect. Election into the Eton Society ('Pop') is by the boys (a tradition dating back to Gladstone) and affords quite a number of privileges (such as being able to go to the pub and the chance to strut around in a waistcoat). My grandfather is one of the oldest living Poppers (93 years old) and I enjoyed telling him the news that I had been elected.


Did you love it or hate it? I must say that I really enjoyed it, even more so with hindsight. I made some great, loyal friends who are all doing interesting things. We have recently had a 15year reunion and it brought back a lot of good memories. Q


Q What did you like most about the school? A I think it instilled a genuine belief that anything is possible if you work hard and apply yourself, and that there are unlimited opportunities in life. Sometimes that confidence is mistaken for arrogance, but I think that the self-belief that is ingrained in each boy is a distinguishing feature. In the oldest part of the school there are busts of all the previous OE Prime Ministers – I remember being shown these as a 13 year old and being told with a wink that there are a few gaps for the future…

Q Who was your favourite – or most influential – teacher? A The most memorable was Andrew Robinson. He was my tutor and a Boris-Johnson-type history teacher with a penchant for Hob Nob biscuits. He brought the subject alive, and I particularly remember going to visit the battlefields of WW1 in his slightly beaten up car, which entrenched a love of the subject that I took on to university. Q What was the particular ethos of your school? A A previous headmaster said: “Of him to whom much has been given,

Q What is your most vivid memory of your time there? A This will be a gratuitous namedrop... in my last year our house play was Cabaret. I had been a chorister at prep school and secretly enjoyed musicals, and it went down as one of the best house plays there had ever been, sadly not due to my part, but a certain Eddie Redmayne who stole the show…

Were you too cool for school? I think at certain times I probably thought I was quite cool, although we created a Boy Band there that was purposely anti-cool. While some boys were “finding themselves” with grunge and hard rock, we decided to create an East 17/Take That-style Q



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parody band (where we just mimed) and went around the girls' schools nearby. Playing the Valentine’s Day ball at St Mary’s Ascot in 1999 was a particular highlight! Q Would you send your own children there? A Currently I only have two girls, so it would need to go co-ed (which I doubt it will), but definitely if I have a boy. Five generations of my family have gone there, so it would be good to keep the tradition going.

Above The British Polo Day team with his Highness Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al Nahyan Left Tom Hudson playing polo

What effect did your schooling have on your character? Did it change you? A Without opening the whole ‘nature vs nurture’ debate, I do think that I learned some valuable life lessons there in a pretty safe environment. I have found many aspects of Eton to be a microcosm for later life. Selfreliance was something that the school ingrained from the outset, which was valuable preparation for the future. Q

What did you do afterwards? A I signed up for a Gap Year Commission, which involved going to Sandhurst for initial training after which I joined the Royal Dragoon Guards, based in Munster, Germany. With hindsight it was a great experience, but I must admit that when I was sleep deprived on exercise in freezing Aldershot, I was slightly envious of my mates enjoying themselves on a beach in Thailand. Q

Q Did you ever imagine you would set up British Polo Day? A Funnily enough, Eton played a key role in the formation of British Polo Day. In 2008, I was posted to Dubai

with my then law firm, Linklaters. Being in close proximity to India, I was invited through the Old Etonian Association (OEA) to go to the OEA Subcontinental Dinner in India to play Elephant Polo. It was a great experience with over 100 OEs from 18 – 80 all there, all with fascinating stories doing various things. Interestingly, I met many other OEs who had all recently moved to the Middle East, and so I decided to set up the OEA Middle East chapter. I then had to organize something to base it around, so I turned to our old adversaries: Harrow, and built a weekend itinerary around a polo match. HRH Prince Rashid of Jordan was captain of the Jordanian Polo Team and also an Old Harrovian, and the polo really took on a life of its own. Prince Rashid also went to Cambridge so we decided to hold an Oxbridge match too. Along with an old friend – Ed Olver – who was Adjutant of the Household Cavalry at the time and involved in a project in Abu Dhabi, we flew out the British Army Polo team. British Polo Day was born, creating a platform for expatriates and locals alike to get together. We now hold 10 different British Polo Days annually celebrating the heritage and traditions of the game and the best of British in a network

that spans the World. We are also proud to have raised almost $2m for good causes in less than 5 years. What do you think matters most about schooling today? A For me, it is all the soft elements of the school experience that I think really matter: discovering what you are good at; building friendships, dealing with people, ingraining good habits. I don’t think I can remember much detail of what I was taught, but my approach to problem-solving and to life itself was all incubated there in a way I can only truly appreciate now. Q

What are you doing now? I am still a lawyer in Dubai working for a government entity. I enjoy Dubai – it is a cauldron of people and ideas. Having studied Arabic and the Arab culture at Eton, I enjoy working alongside Emiratis. Q


What are your plans for the future? A I always keep my options open, seizing opportunity and taking every year as it comes, while also trying to continue learning and experiencing everything life has to offer. Q

How would you sum up your school days in five words? A A great preparation for life. Q

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It might look like something out of Downton Abbey – but Westonbirt is a thoroughly modern school, as Absolutely Education discovers A M A N D A C O N S TA N C E


small but perfectly formed stately home, 200 acres of grass parkland and sports fields, masses of fresh air and a couple of handsome princes around the corner: welcome to Westonbirt School. “We are very lucky”, admits headmistress Natasha Dangerfield. “We are in the heart of proper England and blessed with an amazing environment.” Westonbirt is near the town of Tetbury, in the idyllic Cotswolds. Prince Charles really does live round the corner – Harry and William grew up at his Highgrove home – Badminton House, with its famous Horse Trials is nearby, as is Beaufort polo and the world-famous Westonbirt Arboretum backs on to the school’s glorious grounds. It’s no surprise that the school attracts pupils from all over the world; a child from the UAE, for example, would revel in the freedom to be outdoors. “We have lots of green grass,” says Dangerfield. “Our natural space is one of our most important features, the girls can go outside, be safe and enjoy our wonderful healthy air.” And she’s not wrong. On a freezing cold January day the girls in our photo shoot are happy to run and jump for the cameras, tumbling out of the door like long-legged

puppies. They parade for the photographer artlessly and unselfconsciously. None of them has a coat on and they couldn’t be less bothered. When I express concern about them getting cold, marketing manager Lucy just laughs. "God, don’t worry,’ she says, ‘they stay out for hours on the lax pitch and don’t feel a thing." Watching the girls excited and laughing, there is a strong sense that this is how girlhood should be: there’s a palpable sense of happiness and children at ease in their skins here. These girls are all pupils at this independent boarding and day school for 220 girls aged 11-18; there is a neighbouring prep as well. It is housed in a grandly imposing honey-coloured Jacobean-style Victorian manor originally built as the country seat of the Holford family. Dangerfield believes the historic school building and grounds have a beneficial effect on the girls’ wellbeing. “This heritage quality house provides a fabulous setting for a modern education,” she says. Not only is there amazing space, but the house itself is inspiring to Westonbirt pupils. “Growing up in a house from an age when good manners, respect, courtesy and kindness were expected rubs off on the girls,” she says. Dangerfield is big on manners. “The principles you need to survive in the world haven’t changed much since this house was built.” Westonbirt might be fully teched-up, an

“Prince Charles lives just around the corner”

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iPad school with blanket WiFi and all the mod cons, but as Dangerfield says wryly: “The modern technological world still needs manners.” The school's comparatively small size is an advantage in this regard. “We are a small, nurturing environment which allows us to support and develop these values,” says Dangerfield. And it’s not only the teachers who get involved. “Everyone supports character development here,” says Dangerfield. ‘Friends, other pupils, all the staff, we are an integral community.” “We are like a family,” agrees Patricia Stevenson, the school's director of admissions. “It’s a happy place and everyone has to get on”. The result, says Stevenson,

Above The 19th century building was the home of the Holford family Right A school production of the Wizard of Oz Left Fifth formers playing on the school lawn

is: “our girls have an inner confidence, but not an arrogance.” The classes are also small, 15-20 on average but for GCSE and A-Level subjects there can be as little as seven or eight pupils. Stevenson says this means there’s “lots of attention for the girls in the middle of the academic spectrum”. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges for new pupils, particularly those from overseas. “Any child will find moving into a rural environment difficult, unless they have stepped straight off the farm themselves,” says Dangerfield. She thinks there are parallels between life at an English rural boarding school and life on a compound in Dubai. “It’s quite similar here because you can’t walk out of here to get some milk, just as you can’t walk out of your house in Dubai.” “We are not surrounded by fast cars,

designer shops and new technology as you are in the UAE,” says Dangerfield. Instead, school life is relatively quiet and focused, allowing the girls to concentrate on their work. “It also gives the girls space to understand who they are and realise that they have to stand on their own two feet,” says Dangerfield. And despite being in a rural corner of the Cotswolds, “We have a very international demographic," says Dangerfield, "and this is

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results. They need communications skills, good manners and wellrounded characters.” There is no shortage of things to inspire at Westonbirt. The school has just hosted a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) day which included a visit from the British Women’s Aeronautical Champion and an inter-house reading competition with old-girlturned-successful-author Corinna Turner.

“Our natural space is one of our most important features”

Above Westonbirt girls having fun during the photoshoot Left Sixth-former Emily Brooks Right Headmistress Natasha Dangerfield

hugely important for the girls, because this is the reality of the world that they are going to work in.” There is also a great stability that comes with being a full-time boarder, and this can be particularly beneficial for international students. “Many ex-pat parents want the consistency that we can provide,” says Dangerfield. Ex-pat lifestyles can be very disruptive. “To know that your daughter will be in the same place for the next five years or so can be a huge plus,” says Dangerfield.

Not that life at Westonbirt is boring. Indeed there’s a real buzz about the school these days. Much of this is due to headmistress Natasha Dangerfield. Since joining Westonbirt three years ago, she has, by all accounts, picked the school up by the scruff of the neck and given it a good shake. Or as she puts it: “I’ve shaken things up and dragged it into the 21st century.” Westonbirt used to have a bit of a reputation as a nice place for smart but not awfully bright girls. Not any more. Academic results are on the up – 52% of Westonbirt girls achieved A*-A grades in their GCSEs last year and 95% of sixth-formers went to their first choice of university. But more than this, Dangerfield – a warm, dynamic and personable tour de force – wants to inspire each and every one of her pupils to be the best they can be. And for her, this means more than just exam results. “Girls need to be resilient, they need to leave school with more than a pocketful of exam

And there’s an endless list of extra-curricular activities. As well as a wide range of music, drama and sports there are some very English activities on offer such as lacrosse, polo and a Leith’s cookery class which are all very popular with overseas and local students. And the joy of it, says Dangerfield, “is it’s right here and so much more accessible than in the UAE”. And for those really itching for the bright light, modern life is on the doorstep. “Bath is a cool place to be,” says Dangerfield. Sixth-formers have the option of an evening out there – plus there are trips to Oxford and London for all the girls. “It may be a 19th century building but the girls aren’t stuck in the 19th century,” says Dangerfield. “And whether we want to or not, we have to keep up.” With a head with this much chutzpah at the helm, I have no doubt this small jewel of a school will do just that.

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Full English Jo Heywood, Headmistress of Heathfield School on why traditional boarding is best


uch has been written about the growth of British boarding schools abroad with more and more satellite sites springing up globally, but I believe international parents who opt for ‘a British education abroad’ will really miss out. A true British education can really only be fully experienced at a British boarding school in the UK. Setting up an international school under the banner of a British boarding school can only ever be a clever branding and marketing exercise. Any school like this will never have the flavour, character and culture of the original British school. International students have traditionally come to the UK for the British full boarding school experience – a 24/7 mix of challenging academic work, music, sport, drama and

“International students come to the UK for the 24/7 boarding experience”

Heathfield School in Ascot

this deliberately to preserve what we see as art and a host of extra curricular activities a perfect mix for everyone. Too many British which we offer seven days a week. They also schools have made the mistake of taking too come to mix with British students and fellow many international students and losing the international students. In return, British essence of what made them attractive to students truly benefit from mixing with international students in the first place. children from around the globe. As a girls’ only boarding school, we are These days, fewer and fewer schools in passionate about opening up opportunities the UK actually offer this experience to for girls in what might previously have been international students. A growing number seen as male dominated subjects and male are setting up schools abroad while others dominated careers. are responding to trends and changing their In a world where the education of girls boarding model to offer flexible boarding. is under threat more than ever globally, I Many international parents who buy believe a British boarding school for girls into a UK boarding school are increasingly can offer international students not just the disappointed to find that their children are obvious advantages of an exemplary academic the only ones left at school at the weekends education with a myriad of extra-curricular while their British counterparts head home. opportunities but something This can be lonely and soulintangible: the freedom to destroying for them. And it grow and develop and fulfil defeats the point of coming to potential in a safe and nurturing the UK to meet and mix with environment. British students and other At Heathfield, we are proud to nationalities. have third generation students Ironically, even though we from some international families. offer a traditional boarding We look forward to welcoming experience, we actually have JO many more and giving them a a relatively low percentage of H E Y WO O D taste of a 21st century education at overseas students compared to Headmistress, Heathfield School a British girls’ boarding school. many other schools, but we do

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REBOOT British boarding schools have had a 21st century makeover. It’s out with the cold showers and in with en suites and tip top pastoral care CHARLOT TE PHILLIPS


here’s a great welcome at boarding schools across the country for expat pupils. Over the past decade, millions of pounds have been invested in transforming every aspect of the boarding experience, turning schools not just into homes but virtual hotels from home. Out go cold baths and a one beige-fits-all default paint colour. In come pristine (and, increasingly, en suite) bathrooms and an ontrend design aesthetic with colour schemes that aren’t so much created as curated. Nostalgia may be a wonderful thing but thank heavens boarding schools have got it firmly under control, retaining the bits that add to the experience and ditching, or revamping, everything else. Roedean, with its magnificent clifftop setting overlooking the sea (no wonder it’s rumoured to be the inspiration for Enid Blyton’s best selling school stories) is a case in point. Iconic? It practically invented the word. But while it may scream tradition, the school hasn’t let that get in the way of a topto-toe reimagining of its boarding houses, costing £9 million and hugely appreciated by its pupils, who include a substantial overseas contingent.

In the Old Dining Room, the high ceiling is softened with an array of dashingly modern drop down lights, while carefully chosen contemporary furniture adds to the welcoming feel, extending to natty bespoke wardrobes and cupboards in boarders’ bedrooms. Bathrooms, too, have been done up to the nines, boasting smart monochrome tiles and supersize showerheads. It’s a happy fusion of Victorian high-minded ideals with 21st century notions of comfort. And looks count. We underestimate children’s sense of their surroundings at our peril. Just because they don’t always articulate their feelings doesn’t mean they don’t have a lively appreciation of beautiful buildings and settings. Living full time within them as part of a boarding community can undoubtedly enhance the experience. At King’s School in Canterbury you can close your eyes every night surrounded by hundreds of years of architectural wonders – and we do mean hundreds. Indeed, the history of the school is told in the house names. If medieval is your thing, for example, there’s Meister Omers – a boys’ boarding house that dates back to the 13th century building, with wonders apiece, enthuses marketing coordinator Kieran Orwin. ‘It’s amazing,’ he says. ‘There’s everything you’d expect – with high ceilings, stonework, vast paintings – far bigger than anything you’d have at home.’

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Above Pupils at Millfield School in Somerset Left The junior boarding house at Dauntsey's Far Right A Mayfield pupil

Of course, when you have a school that’s this jam-packed with history, making any change, no matter how small, can be a fraught process. ‘We only have to find a teaspoon on the lawn and we’ll have the Timewatch team in,’ says Orwin. History is also woven into day to life at Mayfield School in Sussex. Well, when one of your buildings was a residence for a succession of Archbishops of Canterbury in the 14th and 15th centuries, it’s pretty much unavoidable. But here, it’s not just the human residents who enjoy high standards of accommodation. While it’s not compulsory to bring your own horse to Mayfield, many pupils do, drawn by the stabling (24 places for horses, all must have equine mod cons on tap) as well as the fantastic countryside that’s within easy cantering range. For overseas pupils, riding or just taking part in outside sports in our temperate climate can be a revelation, says Tessa Howard-Vyse, director of external relations, who meets families from all over the world.

“It’s all on-trend design aesthetics with colour schemes that aren’t so much created as curated”

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‘If they’re living in hot countries, the amount of time they can spend outside can be restricted – and when it’s very hot, it’s just not a pleasure.’ Pupils, as a result, are enthusiastic joiners in, revelling in opportunities that includes the school’s world renowned choral programme – pupils sing at Westminster, St Pauls and the Vatican and the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme for older pupils. It’s all part of preparation for life, says the school – being part of the world as well as a member of a secure, well-run community.

Right The new dining room at Roedean Left Ballet at Millfield Below Choral scholars at Mayfield

Buildings and extra curricular activities alone, however, do not the boarding experience make. At Dauntsey’s, a co-ed independent for 11-18 year olds, there are four modern boarding houses, for pupils aged from year 10 upwards. Younger pupils, however, share the oldest accommodation, a former Victorian manor house. Girls and boys have separate dormitories but eat and play together, says the school – helping children to stay children that bit longer as a result. Underpinning boarding life is exceptional pastoral care. No pupil with a problem, big or small, could fail to be reassured by a list of pledges written by housemother Ann Jackson. They include include, among other things, remembering everyone’s birthday, checking under beds after screenings of monster films and – best of all – running an emergency spider removal service. (No arachnids, the school stresses, are harmed in the the process). That wraparound support is an equally important component of the boarding experience at Millfield. With well over 1,000 pupils (including 250 expat pupils) it’s one

“Boarders at Dauntsey’s in Wiltshire benefit from an ‘emergency spider removal service”

of the bigger boarding schools around – and, as a youthful 80-year old, one of the newest, relatively speaking. Many families choose the school because of its renowned reputation for sport. But everyone, sporty or non-sporty, benefits from the sheer joie de vivre that comes from Millfield’s carefully thought out, sparky boarding experience designed to appeal to every age group (the school takes full boarders from age 7). Older pupils may build a Caterham kit car (and get to drive it, too). Younger ones love birthday sleepovers or piling in, dressed in onesies, for weekend movie nights. With so many full boarders, the school is packed on

Saturdays and Sundays so there’s no chance that overseas pupils are going to feel anything other than part of the crowd. Pupils testify that here, too, it’s the little touches that count. Annabelle Lowes, whose family lives in Dubai, started in the sixth form in autumn 2015. She was thrilled with the way the school offered not just one pair of helping hands but a waving forest of them, together with bonding activities for the 36 girls in the same boarding house by day - including a trip to a local manor house – and room to room visits by house parents each evening to check for cases of boarding blues. A term on and Annabelle reports that her house has become a tight community that feels ‘like another home in England,’ – a place to unwind with a hot chocolate on a squashy sofa. ‘As a first time boarder, I was nervous about self-discipline and organisation without the help of my parents – but Millfield has been brilliant.’

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When considering your child’s future, schooling is a big consideration. At Loretto, we believe that shouldn’t be taken too literally. Although small in size, our uniquely rounded approach to education offers big opportunities to every one of our pupils, irrespective of age, outlook or background. That’s helped Lorettonians go forward with confidence in life – in mind, body and spirit – since 1827.


A coeducational boarding and day school for boys and girls aged 0-18. To discover more about how we’re ambitious for all, visit E: T: 00 44 131 653 4455 Scholarships and means-tested bursaries up to 105% of the fees available. Loretto School, Linkfield Road, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland EH21 7RE

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A HELPING HAND Choosing a boarding school is difficult enough when you live in the UK. When you live overseas, it makes selecting and visiting schools a huge task.


or those parents with little experience of boarding schools it can be a daunting prospect; most rely on friends and family for help and advice. Each child is different and each school is different. With a little help from the experts you can find that perfect place where your child will blossom and grow to his or her full potential. I know exactly how it feels; I lived overseas for many years, moving frequently due to my husband’s work and having four children, all with very different needs and aspirations, this makes finding the right school a very challenging task. Ask yourself, would a single sex school or a co-ed school best suit my child, a highly selective school or one more suitable for the ‘all-rounder’, has your child got a special talent in music, drama or sport, one of mine was a natural sportsman and

“GIVE YOURSELF TWO YEARS: RESEARCH AND VISIT SCHOOLS AND GET THE FAMILY READY” went on to do a degree on Sports Science, finding a school that can stretch and develop these talents is important. Let’s be honest, not all of our children are outstanding Grade A students, selecting a school that will ensure that every child achieves their best is vital for happy successful children and parents. I always say that I want these children to be top of the pile not struggling at the bottom of the class.


ur job as education consultants is to identify and match your child’s individual talents, skills and aspirations to a school that will challenge, encourage and develop. We work on behalf of the family, to offer free help and guidance in the selection of the ‘best’

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that to the child and family requirements. The British boarding school system is first class, we have a wide range of schools welcoming students from around the world from different cultures, languages and religions. We have schools that cater for children with Special Needs either mild or severe, Dyslexia, ADHD, a range of medical

school for their child. The education of each and every child is one of the most important decisions we make, time spent in early exploration and research is wise. Families living overseas are looking for reassurance that their children are in a happy, safe, secure environment. Working closely with the team at Anderson Education, the boarding school specialists, ensures free help and advice and peace of mind. We recommend early planning, allow at least 18 months to two years, conditions - learning and physical this gives you time to do your research, difficulties and for those who require visit schools and prepare the family for the intensive English language provision, we change, don’t underestimate the emotional have specialist language courses either impact that having your child living a seven at full time boarding schools or residential hour flight away has on everyone. The other summer camps. point we stress is to involve your child One final point, have copies of the in the process from the very beginning; child’s school reports available, and inform many children are excited about the idea of their present school of your boarding school, especially after intentions; the principal will be having read Harry Potter! required to supply a reference. The school location is another We wish you every success point to keep in mind: would on this exciting journey, an you be looking for a school near investment well worth your family and friends? What areas time and money. of the UK would you consider? Please remember … we are We have visited over 350 there to help you every step of boarding school across the UK; the way and are always available when we visit we are looking SUE ANDERSON to answer your questions. Make for what is special and unique Education Consultant sure you contact us. about each school and match


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Boarding at its best

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03/02/2016 15:38




No Limits

Katy Ricks, Head of Sevenoaks, on why her school created its own exam qualifications


any teachers and students find GCSEs uninspiring and lacking in rigour. What a shame to limit the curiosity and inventiveness of the young mind! GCSEs are a poor preparation for university and the workplace, which seek breadth, versatility and a global outlook. Recent political debate about whether there is a need to test students at all at the age of 16, given that the majority now remain at school until the age of 18, has only fuelled the discontent with these outdated courses. At Sevenoaks, we have approached the discussion through our long and exhilarating experience of the IB Diploma Programme. As a result, we have created our own Middle School curriculum through which students work towards our own UCAS-recognised examinations: Sevenoaks School Certificates. Sevenoaks is not the only school to create its own qualifications (Bedales and Malvern are two others), nor the first to seek an alternative to GCSE. But as one of the first schools to adopt the IB, embrace internationalism and to teach technology (all between 40 and 60 years ago), Sevenoaks has never shied away from curriculum innovation. The Sevenoaks School Certificate launched in 2010. Our students take them at the end of Year 11 along with IGCSE

“As one of the first schools to adopt the IB, we have never shied away from innovation”

exams, and can choose from Art and Art History, Drama, Music and Music History, Classical Civilisations, Robotics and Visual Communication (Technology), as well as a compulsory English Literature course. Freedom to construct these courses ourselves has meant that we can introduce exciting, and distinctive elements designed to elicit a strong sense of personal engagement from students. For example, music students

and creative thinking about real questions, about current affairs, about ethical perspectives. These courses (Systems of Belief, Critical Perspectives, and 10 Ideas that Changed the World) are unique to Sevenoaks, and prepare students for the IB Theory of Knowledge. We encourage students to have opinions, to debate, and to feel confident in their argument while understanding the perspective of others – all vital qualities of mind, whatever path they choose. As one of our U6 students recently said: "I think that in other schools the bare minimum is to learn the syllabus. At Sevenoaks the compile a dossier of public performances, bare minimum includes all this personal as well as personal compositions and drama development and intellectual discussion." students work towards devised group We are proud of our ambitious and challenging productions in addition to an individual curriculum at Sevenoaks. We have built a research project. balanced, broad education, with depth and In addition, each places emphasis on the an element of choice. We favour enrichment notion of learning independently. In part, over acceleration. We don’t this is through an element of encourage either taking exams individual choice; for example, early or taking exams during not only can students select spare time; subjects are not to be particular courses within a rushed through or ticked off, but given faculty area, but within explored and reflected upon. each course they are invited to The education we provide pursue certain areas in which teaches students to learn, to they feel a particular interest. think, to debate and develop Connecting our courses is principles: inner qualities they another innovation: a core that K AT Y R I C K S will take with them to university all students study. These are Head, Sevenoaks School and into the wider world. courses that promote critical

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SINGLE MINDED Co-education is fast becoming the norm in Britiain, but some of the most famous schools still educate girls and boys separately. So which way is best? LISA FREEDMAN


ton is England’s most famous school. It has educated 19 prime ministers and the future King of England. Most strikingly, however, it remains a single-sex school. And, it is certainly not alone among the country’s most renowned schools. Winchester and Harrow, Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Wycombe Abbey, St Paul’s and North London Collegiate – all of which deliver top exam results and outstanding success in Oxbridge and Ivy League applications - keep their pupils in careful gender segregation. Which, of course, means that parents approaching that critical run up to secondary school not only have to consider the calibre of the head, the number of pupils in each dorm and the range of modern languages on offer, but will want to think carefully about the question of single sex versus co-education. Today, in both the state and private sector, co-education has become the norm, and

many families, particularly those with more than one child, prefer it for practical reasons (one school to fetch and carry from, one set of term dates) as well as psychological ones. Parents of sons tend to believe that the presence of girls can ‘soften the edges’; while those with daughters covet the lavish facilities of the former boys-only schools. In some ways, the notion of single-sex education can seem quaintly out of date, but

to express themselves intellectually, emotionally and creatively without feeling self-conscious.’ Single-sex girls’ schools have been particularly badly affected by the drive to coeducation, seeing a radical reduction in their numbers. Those that continue to flourish argue forcefully they still have a significant role to play. ‘An all-girls school can create a can-do attitude,’ says Emma Hattersley, head of Godolphin School in Salisbury, founded in the 18th century and now educating 425 girls from 3-18. ‘Girls feel they can try everything and not be stereotyped. They can like science and maths, do Lego and robotics, play a brass instrument or be aggressive in sport without worrying how they’re perceived.’ In an all-girls school, of course, every subject is a ‘girl’s’ subject and nowhere is this more striking than in the case of A-Level science. Last summer only 21 per cent of those taking physics, for example, were female, but, of their number, an unusually high proportion attended single-sex independent schools. Research carried out

“Single-sex education helps prolong childhood in a healthy way” the prestige of the schools which remain divided, and their outstanding outcomes, ensure the debate continues. Few heads, however, are now dogmatic about the division. ‘We never pretend that single-sex schooling is the only successful way of educating someone,’ says Jim Hawkins, headmaster of Harrow. ‘To some degree, however, we believe it helps prolong childhood in a healthy way, enabling children

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A pupil at boys-only Harrow School

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by The Girls’ Schools Association has shown that pupils at their schools are three times more likely than girls countrywide to favour this subject. ‘Our top choices at A-Level are the sciences, maths and geography,’ confirms Emma Hattersley. ‘I’m not sure that would happen in a co-ed school.’ Girls’-school heads maintain, too, that, at a time when pay disparity and the glass ceiling remain firmly in place, their schools are the ones best equipped to furnish pupils with the attitude and aspirations necessary to succeed in the world of work. ‘We offer more opportunities for leadership roles and also have a valuable alumnae networking programme.’ Champions of co-education, on the other hand, tend to believe that segregation is, at best, unnecessary. ‘The world is co-ed and we feel schools should reflect that,’ says Keith Budge, head of Bedales School in Hampshire, a school which has offered co-educational boarding for more than 100 years. ‘Of course, you have to ensure that the systems and values are in place to co-exist sensibly, but young men and young women can learn a great deal from each other.’ There are certainly plenty of parents who share his view, and businesswoman Ione Hooper is someone who made co-education a priority: ‘I moved my daughter from a single-sex school at 11 to one that was co-ed. It seemed far less cliquey and pressured over small things. Single sex is such a false divide.’ Artificial separation or not, it is generally accepted that, boys mature later than girls and that each sex may benefit from a specific classroom approach. The disparity is often greatest at the beginning of secondary school, when girls seem to shoot three feet above their male counterparts and need little prompting to work diligently. ‘I’ve taught in both co-ed and all-girls’ schools,’ says Emma Hattersley. ‘In my experience, girls tend to defer to the boys, while those at an all-girls school learn to stand up for themselves and not worry about what someone wants them to say.’

Above A pupil at Godolphin School in Salisbury Right Younger pupils at Godolphin School Bottom Co-ed pupils at Dunannie, Bedales pre-prep





SINGLE SEX Better role models for girls No subject is dominated by one sex Different learning styles can be targete d Girls’-only schools are often cheaper

C O ˜ E D U C AT I O N A more life-like environment Less bullying Pupils are better prepared to handle university Easier arrangements for families with more than one child

Some schools are in the fortunate position of being able to satisfy both the social benefits of co-education and a classroom that caters to the specific requirements of each sex. These schools work along lines known as ‘the diamond model’, a system in which boys and girls are educated together in the early years, study separately on the same site between 7 (or 11) and 16, and are then re-united at A Level. Brentwood in Essex and Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire are two schools which operate in this manner. ‘I really enjoyed not having boys in the classroom when I was younger,’ says a Berkhamsted sixth former. ‘We got much more done and it was less embarrassing to put your hand up. But it was good having boys around for trips and activities. It seemed to reduce some of the more extreme forms of meanness I’ve seen with friends at all-girls schools.’ In the end, there can be no perfect solution and the fundamental question for every parent must remain: ‘Will my child be happy?’ ‘It’s all about whether it’s the right fit,’ says Emma Hattersley. ‘It’s a bit like buying a house; you walk in and know at once whether it’s what you’re looking for.’

LI S A F R E E D M A N runs the education advisory service At The School Gates,

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11/02/2016 09:15

We’re letting you into a little secret... Wells Cathedral School:

an ancient 3-18 co-educational day and boarding school set in the heart of England’s most beautiful Cathedral city with an internationally-renowned specialist music faculty. Wells, in the county of Somerset, is a haven where every student can thrive and flourish, whatever their interests and talents. Just two hours from Heathrow Airport.

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13/01/2016 11:53

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01/02/2016 14:32




Full STEAM ahead Eve Jardine-Young, Principal of Cheltenham Ladies' College on inspiring young scientists


s a generation, we are witnessing incredible developments in fields such as quantum biology, astrophysics, medicine, materials science and the digital world. Boundaries between the traditional academic disciplines are becoming less defined, bringing us greater scope for imagination and innovation. Addressing the global challenges of our time will require intellectual agility, creativity and strong communication skills as well as a clear understanding of scientific theory. For the past 20 years I have witnessed an exciting journey for schools as the digital revolution and a more integrated approach to innovation and design has gathered momentum. There is a great deal to be excited about as regards future employment opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) and many are responding to this challenge with enthusiasm, seeing a future with new and currently unimagined jobs. Nationally, girls have tended to opt out of science subjects, but the number of classes being taught at CLC continues to rise, including a majority of sixth form pupils

“A majority of Sixth Form pupils at CLC are taking maths or science” taking Maths or Science. As with all teaching, STEAM subjects should nurture curiosity, creativity and self-confidence. It was with these principles in mind, that CLC launched a new Engineering, Enterprise and Technology (EET) Department in September, which teaches the girls business awareness, design, coding, and problem-solving, to enable them to develop real confidence and skills in these areas.

that saw 17 girls help to rehabilitate, track Academic studies suggest that girls benefit and release orphaned orangutans in Borneo, from strong and early advice dispensed by becoming the first school group ever to reach careers advisers and teachers. Therefore, it the remote release site. is important to ensure that schools provide Alongside creative teaching and the the tools and opportunities necessary for co-curricular enrichment opportunities girls to make an informed choice regarding of STEAM subjects, there is no substitute furthering their studies in science. For for accessing female role models who are example, girls learn Engineering from the passionate about what they do. CLC is age of 11 at CLC, which teaches programming, blessed with inspirational alumnae who are soldering, designing, experimenting and generous with their advice and wisdom. testing to destruction, as well as using 3D These include Dame Mary Archer, who printing, computer-aided design (CAD), laser has won awards for her work on renewable cutters and traditional tools. energy and Dr Clare Marx, the first woman In addition to inspired and challenging in 400 years to be appointed President of the teaching, the opportunities to enjoy a Royal College of Surgeons. wide variety of co-curricular The opportunities in enrichment opportunities will innovation, design, science and be a feature in many schools. A technology have never been so commitment to science through exciting for schools. The shared such opportunities gives girls encouragement, joy and passion an unprecedented opportunity that comes from the exchanges to explore the physical and and mutual inspiration that natural world around them. crackle between pupils, role At CLC, these have included models, parents, teachers educating girls about equations E V E JA R D I N E and an online community of of motion using combustible YO U N G Principal, Cheltenham fellow enthusiasts, means that we gases, a trip to NASA’s Kennedy Ladies’ College are all enjoying the adventure. Space Centre and an expedition

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Head of Thornton College, Mrs Jo Storey

Thornton College is situated on the Buckinghamshire/ Northamptonshire border and educates just under 400 girls aged 2 ½ to 18. Children of all faiths and of none are welcome. Thornton is well known for its exceptional pastoral care, outstanding academic achievement and high expectations of all its pupils. It is one of the top performing non selective schools in the UK. Pupils respect one another, value the community spirit, have fun learning and accomplish great things. They are extremely well educated both inside and outside of the classroom and grow up with confidence and a strong sense of humility. For further details and to request a prospectus visit the school website


03/02/2016 15:44




Broad minds Lee Glaser, Headmaster of Taunton School, on the benefits of the IB Diploma


ong considered by many to be the gold standard of world education, in recent years the International Baccalaureate Diploma has become increasingly well understood and

admired in the UK. The IB's growing attractiveness is part of a sea change in attitudes to sixth form education, whereby increasing numbers of young people are choosing to nurture a broad range of skills into their late teens, in preparation for university and job applications. As well as the upswing in interest among students and parents, admissions tutors at university have become increasingly positive about the IB. They recognise that IB students are handsomely equipped to thrive in Higher Education. In a recent survey, they rated the IB better than A-level at encouraging independent study, developing workplace skills, nurturing an open mind and selfmanagement. For proof of this change in attitude, consider how UCAS points offers for IB candidates have dropped over the last few years. For example, Birmingham University previously demanded 35 or 36 IB points for undergraduate entry, but for 2016 its standard offer will be 32 points, while the standard offer at UCL is now 34 IB points. This change also recognises that, while A-level grades have been rising, IB grades have remained consistent year-on-year. The IB Diploma offers depth as well as breadth. Students take six subjects, three

“IB students are handsomely equipped to thrive at university�

at Higher Level and three at Standard Level, which must include a science, maths, a second language, a humanity and a literature course in their native language. Students also have to complete a 4,000-word essay on a topic of their choice, a course of critical thinking called Theory of Knowledge, and a personal development programme entitled Community, Activity and Service. Clearly, universities see much in the IB which chimes with the type of approach students will need as undergraduates. Independent research skills are fostered by the extended Above essay. Theory of Knowledge aims to create Similarly, IB Taunton’s current open and inquiring minds, with students students are Head Boy, Liam not just thinking around their subjects, but Travers, and Head highly regarded Girl, Hera Bradly, seeing the links between them. as applicants to are both studying for Lastly, IB courses all highlight the study medicine or the IB real-world application of the material veterinary science they cover, and urge students to use as their success in their knowledge and skills to work the Diploma indicates an aptitude for collaboratively to solve common problems, communication and languages as well as just as they will have to do in higher science. education and in the real world. On the other hand, students specialising Even students whose talents appear in the humanities and social science will to lie very definitely in one sphere or benefit from having a sound grasp of another at age 16 can benefit from having numeracy and statistics. Even those whose a broader education up to 18. STEM strength is in the arts and literature have (science, technology, engineering and found that continuing maths and science is maths) students still have highly beneficial at university to write essays and develop and in later life, whenever a arguments to pass their exams. sharp analytical approach is Even after graduation, they will required. have to write reports and work Taunton School is the only with colleagues from different school in Taunton to offer IB countries with different first at Sixth Form, alongside A languages. Levels and BTEC. Thus for STEM students, the A number of Sixth Form ability to communicate, write Scholarships are available, as MR LEE GLASER coherently and use appropriate well as one 100% Award for a Headmaster of Taunton School analysis is extremely important. young person choosing IB.

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A co-educational boarding and day school for ages 4-18

Continuity of education from 4 to 18 in small classes Family atmosphere with individual pastoral care High quality education in an inspiring location Comprehensive enrichment programme Excellent facilities & diverse after school programme Full and exciting weekend activities programme



04/02/2016 15:49

The M A K ING of Me




Q Where did you go to school and when? A Wycombe Abbey during the Eighties.

A I’d been in three W11 Operas (a children's opera company in Notting Hill) before I went to boarding school so I already had a love of performing in my bones. And there were endless music and drama camps in the school holidays - happy days in rain-soaked Welsh fields.

Did you love it or hate it? I was very homesick till O-Levels, then I loved the sixth-form. Q


What was your favourite subject or activity there? A English, drama, singing. Q

Q Who was your favourite – or most influential - teacher? A Mrs Wilmott and Mrs Garrett inspirational teachers who introduced me to Shakespeare.

Were you too cool for school? Not remotely. I was a bluestocking, too square to care. I was a school prefect, though a fairly rubbish one. Q


Q What beliefs do you think that particular school instilled in you? A At the end of every term our head mistress Miss Lancaster read out St Paul's Letter to the Philippians: “ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

What was your proudest achievement? A Leaving a bucket of cigarette stubs under my bed and not getting caught.

Q Would you send your own children there? A To spend that much time in nature and away from London - yes. I loved the grace and decency and discipline that our headmistress embodied and encouraged. I also loved the all-female environment which can be so nurturing and empowering for young women, without the complications that the masculine energy brings with it.


Q What is your most vivid memory of your time there? A Our headmistress saying “Do sit down” at school assemblies in the manner of the Queen asking us to tea.

What effect do you think your schooling had on your character? Did it change you? A I don't feel we can be changed fundamentally - only our attention can be directed down different paths at different times in our lives. Wycombe certainly focused my attention on academic work; more importantly it gave me the permission and confidence to do the other things I wanted to do. Whether acting in or directing plays, conducting choirs or editing magazines - I felt pretty fearless in many ways. I look back on that confidence with gratitude and admiration. Q

Q Did you become involved in acting while you were there? A Yes - though being tall I was most often cast in the boys roles. I became a master at tying bow ties. Q Was there anything else that shaped the performer in you at the time?

How did it influence the rest of your life and career? A It instilled in me what might now be called good old fashioned British values - decency, honour, hard work, good manners, respect for others, responsibility, modesty; also a deep love of language and literature, nature and music. It gave me some truly great friends - strong, beautiful, intelligent women. Anyone I meet now who is/was a Wycombe Abbey girl feels like a sister. Q

What are you doing now? I’m an actor and director working mainly in classical theatre and I'm setting up my own theatre company. Q



Q How would you sum up your schooldays in five words? A “Whatsoever things are of goodreport.”

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THE BEST START Sending any child to boarding school is a tough decision, even tougher if they have learning needs. But get it right and it could be the making of them CHARLOT TE PHILLIPS


arents think long and hard before sending their children to boarding school. Those whose children have learning needs tend to think longer, and harder, than most. Once their child settles in to the perfect school, however, their sometimes dazzling progress is a worthwhile payoff for all that heart-searching. Tom, who has Asperger’s, has been at a specialist boarding school for the past three years. His mother, Angela*, says boarding wasn’t her first choice. ‘I looked at all the other possible options.’ Now, though, she’s delighted with her decision. Tom, she says, has blossomed in ways that she would have found impossible to imagine, even completing – and enjoying – his first work placement. Supporting children with learning needs isn’t, of course, unique to UK schools but it is something they have a talent for doing well boarding schools in particular. While helping pupils achieve their academic goals is important, the boarding experience is about far more than that. For parents like Angela, what also matters is the way her son is being prepared for adult life, acquiring vital coping skills along the way. What helps is that so much of the full boarding school experience could have been developed with special needs in mind.

Take routine. Children with learning needs often struggle to organise themselves. Unsurprisingly, they tend to fare better if their home environment runs like clockwork. And while some families have a Mary Poppins clone at the helm and are brilliant at nth degree organisation, others, though teeming with warmth and love, teeter on the brink of chaos. It doesn’t take much – a last minute meeting for a busy working parent; a sibling who needs collecting – and suddenly the system is at breaking point and a child who relies on certainty can feel the universe is rocking on its axis.

at boarding school when it’s just part of the process – something you do because everyone else is doing it, too. It’s all helped along by the extended day. Pupils with learning needs often thrive in boarding schools’ gentler-paced environments, where there’s time for everything and plenty of built in breathing space. Everything may stop for tea but goes straight on again afterwards with a cornucopia of enticing evening activities from music and sport to drama. It gives children with learning needs the opportunity to move beyond the ‘must learn’ to the ‘might enjoy’. With a bit of encouragement, they may well discover a talent for something they’d never otherwise have tried. A stretch day also means more time to fit learning support round favourite subjects. And because in many schools, boarding staff are also teachers, they’re experts at transferring tried and tested techniques from classroom to boarding house if a pupil is struggling. It’s something of a speciality at Bethany School in Kent. Here, if a visual timetable helps a dyslexic pupil absorb information in the classroom, it’s logical to create another version in the boarding house to help the same child get to grips with the evening routine. Perhaps the most important aspect of boarding school life, however, is helping children with learning needs master the art of friendship, with the help of well trained

“The routine of boarding school life can really help children with learning needs” At boarding schools, in contrast, little short of an earthquake can stop lessons, meals and bedtimes happening exactly to time, day in, day out. And knowing the rhythm of each day’s structure, from when you brush your teeth to exactly how long you’ve got before bedtime can be exceptionally comforting. With the routine comes a painless acquisition of the conventions. Children who at home may have to be propelled into discarding dirty clothes, washing their hair or changing into the correct outfit for sport or Sunday best are far more amenable

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pastoral teams acting as part mentors, part chaperones. It’s not that they don’t want to have friends, parents point out. They just don’t know how. At More House, a specialist school for dyslexic pupils in Frensham, Surrey, staff from the learning support unit are on hand not just at lunchtimes but after school, too, effectively coaching children in companionship, encouraging them to try new things and talk to new people. The ‘things’ in question – going swimming or playing a computer game with other children, may not sound demanding. But for children who have been bullied, or whose academic ability is light Top years ahead of their social Boys at More House communication skills, in conversation learning how to strike up Above a conversation can make Pupils in the science lab at Bethany School a huge difference to their happiness. Left Boarding staff can also Musicians at More House guide pupils through the nuances of social contact. More House runs a black tie dinner for sixth form boys. It’s not just a much-anticipated treat but a first hand way of learning the dark art of social chit chat. ‘Sitting at a table and making polite conversation is a

skill that everyone is expected to be able to do – but being able to fake an interest in someone else can be incredibly difficult for some boys,’ points out headmaster Jonathan Hetherington. In addition to unpicking the subtleties of face-to-face conversations, there’s the minefield of smart phone etiquette. Bernadette John, SEN director of The Good Schools Guide, praises a school for autistic pupils where boarding staff ‘gently teach the girls that if they’ve texted a boy 20 times with no response, it’s time to back off.’ It characterises a shift in understanding about learning needs, coupled with better support and a far greater openness about how they’re discussed. One school’s SEN policy spells out the need for a civilized and compassionate approach. School is there to be enjoyed, not endured and that means seeing every pupil as an individual, not a condition. It’s a message that every good boarding school working with SEN pupils has taken to heart – with life-enhancing results. ‘When he was little, my son didn’t want to grow up,’ says Angela. ‘I think he had a sense of the difficulties he’d experience even though was so young. Now his boarding school has helped him to understand what it’s all about – and he wants to be useful.’ *Name and some other details changed.

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10/02/2016 12:00

HORSING AROUND Equine Therapy is increasingly being used to help pupil with SEN, discovers Absolutely Education A M A N D A C O N S TA N C E


arking about with horses at school might have seemed to be the sole preserve of smart girls at British public schools with hair as glossy as their pony’s manes, but horses are clip clopping into schools in surprising places. Equine therapy, or more specifically Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is an established practice in the US that is gaining popularity here in the UK. EAL aims to enable children to achieve educational goals by interacting with horses, particularly pupils who find it hard to engage with mainstream schooling such as those with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Its sister therapy, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) uses similar, often one-on-one techniques to help and heal many groups of people, such as traumatised children,

sufferers of PTSD and recovering addicts. They are even using it for treatments at the Priory. In Hyde Park last year, you may have noticed a group of children having fun with some large horses. As part of National Anti-Bullying Week, groups of London school pupils aged between 12-15 years old were able to work with shire horses, alongside EAL therapist Dr Andreas Liefooghe. “Humans can learn a lot from watching horses,” says Dr Andreas Liefooghe. “There is a tendency in a herd of horses to stick together, whereas in human groups, there tends to be fragmentation in subgroups and cliques. The first task all students face is how to create a mixed human-horse herd… so the group has to manage to integrate them despite their differences.” The main aim of the programme was to teach teenagers cooperative group work and inclusion rather than competition and exclusion.

Above Rosie Edwards works with SEN pupils in north London

“Horses are like a mirror, they reflect the behaviours around them”

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“Equine Therapy is proving valuable for children with autism”

Many of the children had never come into contact with a horse before and learnt to interact with the horses through touch, observing their behaviour and responses and learning how to communicate with the animals in non-verbal ways – learning valuable lessons about themselves and teamwork along the way. EAL is proving particularly valuable for children with SEN issues such as ADHD, autism and attachment disorders. By participating in carefully tailored activities with horses, children with SEN can learn

about themselves and others: processing and discussing feelings and behaviour patterns they may struggle to articulate. Treatments can be as simple: gentle, introductory sensory techniques, such as grooming or petting a horse, or even decorating it with paint. The use of paint is particularly effective for children who can’t bear to touch fur or skin (a common autistic trait), as the paint acts a barrier. The benefits of sensory work are profound, as it involves the use of fine motor skills, verbal

communication and social interaction. The reason EAL works so well, says Rosie Edwards, who runs the charity Learning Through Horses in north London, is that “Horses are like a mirror – they reflect the behaviours around them whether it’s excitement, anger, joy or sadness.” As prey animals, horses switch easily to fight or flight mode; they are extremely sensitive to human emotion. Edwards offers EAL courses for pupils in London schools and is currently working with SEN pupils from St Augustine’s in Kilburn. Working with six pupils at a time, she teaches them the basics of horsewhispering – training horses using just your body language. This requires “fine tuned” control and observation techniques, says Edwards and helps pupils develop fine motor and communication skills and confidence. Most importantly, “in order to train horses, students must get control of their own emotions”. Edwards says she sees the difference EAL makes right in front of her eyes. “Most pupils are referred to us because of challenging behaviour but we see very little of it here. The horses just have that impact,” she says. “Plus the threat of getting kicked in the head is a little more real” she laughs. Edwards also notes that pupils renowned for non-attendance never miss a day at her stables because they love it so much. This motivation can itself reap rewards. Last year, Edwards ran a programme aimed at getting young people back into employment. She now receives regular email requests for job references from those pupils who have made successful job applications. “That gives me massive gratification,” she says.

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Scottish Charity SCO06123 Picture © Tatler & Hugo Burnand

Discover Discover Glenalmond College, a school with an unsurpassed tradition of helping each pupil make the most of their personal journey. A school which encourages each child to reach their academic potential and develop their individual abilities to the full in a range of artistic, sporting, social and adventure activities.

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02/02/2016 09:26




Risky business Mark Lascelles, Head Master of Dauntsey’s on the importance of adventure education


ime and again I hear universities and employers say that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between applicants who have the same top grades. No matter how many changes the government makes to the A-Level curriculum, academic results can only tell you so much because people are, of course, about more than grades on a piece of paper. Schools must therefore fully equip young adults with the necessary life skills to ensure they stand out from the crowd and set them up for life beyond the classroom. Understanding risk and not shying away from it is an important life skill. Pupils can develop this through being exposed to it in the security of a school environment. Dauntsey’s has a strong emphasis on adventure; such is our commitment, I appointed a dedicated Head of Adventure, Sam Moore, to bring together our many activities. Sam embodies Dauntsey’s attitude to adventure education. He believes passionately that it plays a vital role in preparing children for life, never more so than in today’s ever changing world where they live in an increasingly risk-free environment. Sam has developed a programme of adventure activities for pupils, split into two areas: High Adventure takes the form of longer-haul trips, activities and experiences that involve relatively small numbers of pupils participating at a high level, normally with a high staff to pupil ratio. Typically this type of adventure will require time and dedication from the pupils and they will have to achieve specific skills and competence at a

“I have appointed a dedicated head of adventure at Dauntsey’s”

given activity to allow them to access remote or challenging environments. Examples of High Adventure might be taking part in the Devizes to Westminster canoe race, racing our tall ship, Jolie Brise in the Tall Ships race or a joint expedition with Marlborough College to Kilimanjaro. Accessible Adventure takes the form of programmes where large numbers of pupils have short experiences that serve as an introduction to

Above Dauntsey’s tall ship the Jolie Brise

seeing pupils learning to be as concerned Left Pupils making for others as for a camp fire themselves and – most importantly – to be able to admit and then correct their mistakes. Equally, the more confident ones learn to follow leadership and are then able to provide better adventure and to various activities. These leadership when needed. serve both as education experiences in Developing these traits can take their own right and as a gateway to High courage. Exploration inevitably involves a Adventure for those that enjoy them and find few wrong turns, so we work to build the them rewarding. confidence needed to tackle things pupils An example of Accessible Adventure is may not believe they can do, safe in the learning to kayak on the Kennet and Avon knowledge that we are here to help find a canal, camping in the school grounds, or a way around an obstacle. As a result, pupils’ night hike on Salisbury Plain. confidence and self-esteem rise The results are remarkable. dramatically as they discover Pupils who joined us as what can be achieved, often relatively quiet, cautious under challenging conditions – types, grow in confidence and and this pays great dividends are willing to take on new back in the classroom in terms experiences. Those who you of academic progress. would not immediately view In short, what you learn as “the outdoors type” can outside the classroom can demonstrate great resilience have a profound effect on the MARK LASCELLES and good humour in the face of development of your character Head Master, Dauntsey's adversity. I particularly enjoy and your entire future.

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Set in 70 acres of beautiful countryside yet conveniently located close to major air, railway and motorway networks, the students at Woodhouse Grove benefit from being in the countryside with the advantage of having major cities on their doorstep. The school is serviced by the recently opened Apperley Bridge train station giving pupils direct access to Leeds and beyond within 10 minutes. Our boarders enjoy modern, well equipped boarding houses, a secure and caring environment, a 'home from home' atmosphere, and an ever changing list of activities which contribute to the enjoyment of being a boarder at the Grove. To see an up to date list of weekly activities please visit our website.

It is our aim to unlock the potential of each individual by offering every pupil life-changing opportunities and an environment in which academic excellence is promoted through learning and shared experiences. We want our pupils to experience an outstanding, all-round and full education at the heart of which are the academic qualifications of which they are fully capable. Every individual child in this School counts; we ask nothing more from them than that they have the courage to be, not ordinary, but extraordinary and to strive to do their very best. We want them all to be confident and proud of their academic achievements and to believe that there is no glass ceiling to their academic attainment.


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Dare to be different Dr Graham Hawley, Headmaster of Loretto School, on the importance of standing out from the crowd


t was Coco Chanel who once said: “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” Never has this been truer than within the independent school sector, where there is now so much choice for prospective parents. For the staff in a school, who may have been there for years and know the school’s ethos well, it might be glaringly obvious as to what makes their school unique; but the external audience may take a lot more convincing as to why a school is compellingly different and therefore worth the fees. Schools will sing the praises of their ‘delightful children’. My experience has taught me that all children, given the right environment, are delightful, particularly when ‘on show’. Small class sizes, a friendly atmosphere, wonderful facilities etc is, quite simply, no longer enough. These qualities should be taken as read. Loretto School, just outside Edinburgh, is something of a pioneer when it comes to being different. Founded in 1827, it is Scotland’s oldest extant boarding school but with the founding of the Loretto Golf

“Loretto has carved out a unique niche with the founding of its golf academy” Academy in 2002, it carved a unique niche among independent boarding schools in the UK. The Academy offers pupils an exceptional opportunity to develop their sporting talent in tandem with a first-class, all-round education. Golf is as integral a part of Scotland today as it was back in the 15th century when the game of ‘gowf’, as it was known in those days, was banned by Parliament under King James

that age as it is important that young golfers II as a distraction from military training. get off on the right footing. Maybe we will Loretto School occupies 85 acres to the east see a Rory McIlroy or Sandy Lyle come from of Scotland’s capital city and is a gateway to Loretto.” some of the world’s finest links courses in the When it first opened in 13 years ago, the area of East Lothian known as ‘Scotland’s Loretto Golf Academy involved six pupils. Golf Coast’. The school’s superb location 260 out of the school’s total of 600 pupils next to the world’s oldest playing course – now participate in golf each week and Musselburgh Links – made the foundation of the school boasts the leading school golf a Golf Academy an obvious step to take. programme in Europe. Perhaps in riposte to critics who cite Working closely with the Scottish Golf Scotland’s dark winter evenings and wet Union, Loretto Golf Academy has ensured weather; last September, Loretto opened a that it remains at the cutting edge of schools’ new state-of-the-art Indoor Golf Centre. golf. It has continued to develop an unrivalled Officially opened by Sam Torrance, the programme of golf for aspiring golfers former Ryder Cup captain, the facility has including one-to-one tutoring been transformed into an sessions, professional coaching indoor golfing oasis, where in strength and conditioning pupils taking part in Loretto and sport psychology. Golf Academy’s successful golf The goal for many Loretto programme will be able to hone golfers is to attend an American their short-game skills on a University when they leave. sizeable putting and chipping Loretto has worked closely area complete with a bunker with ProdreamUSA since 2005 and also use separate putting DR GRAHAM to ensure their players get the and swing studios. H AW L E Y best possible advice during this Sam Torrance said: “It’s great Headmaster, Loretto School important transition. that they are starting them at

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The M A K ING of Me



Where did you go to school and when? A St Mary’s Calne 1986-91 and then Bedales 1991-93 Q

Q What sort of school was it? What was its ethos? A Calne was an all girls’ academic school with an emphasis on discipline and academic achievement.

were part of an old and defunct system. I crept back to bed terrified - sadly our dormitory was still warm the next morning! Were you too cool for school? I definitely thought I was! I was an out and out rebel and when I got bored of my studies and couldn’t escape to the art room, I would spend much of my time plotting my next adventure or escapade. Q


Did you love it or hate it? I struggled with the discipline but I loved the academic and artistic opportunities Calne offered us, and made many friends for life. Q


Q Would you send your own children there? A Certainly not my son (although I am sure he would think he’d gone to heaven!). It would depend on my daughter’s character, but I would prefer to send my children to a co-ed school as I feel this is a more healthy preparation for the real world.

What did you like most about the school? A The art room. Q

Q Who was your favourite – or most influential – teacher? A Mr Topley – my art teacher.

What was the particular ethos of your school? A To prepare academic, ambitious and well rounded girls to engage with the modern world in a meaningful way. Q

Q What was your proudest achievement? A Being the first person to be allowed to use oil paint in the art school. Q What was the most trouble you got into? A When I thought it would be fun to set the fire alarm off during the

Governors’ annual conference and dinner. While I thought it a brilliant heist, the staff and their guests were not very happy. Q What is your most vivid memory of your time there? A During a very cold winter, I took it upon myself to try and get us all sent home by bringing down the entire school’s central heating system. I broke into the gardener’s hut to get equipment to break the ancient Victorian pipes under the school’s foundations, only on going down in the middle of the night to do the deed did I realise that the pipes

Q What effect did your schooling have on your character? Did it change you? A Of course, you are at school during some of your most formative years. It taught me a love of reading, learning and an academic discipline for which I remain eternally grateful. Q How did it influence the person you are today? Did you ever imagine as a schoolgirl that you’d be a famous artist? A I certainly don’t see myself as famous, but ever since I was 8, I was determined to be a self-supporting artist engaged in work that addresses the world we live in. I made some of my


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closest friends at school, which marked the beginning of a fascination with, and love of people, and has led me to be the portrait painter I am today. What are you doing now? As a war artist, I am preparing for a number of exhibitions around today’s refugee crisis and my work from Afghanistan, as well as a major exhibition of my portrait paintings. Q




What are your plans for the future? A As a portrait painter and war artist, my real interest lies in people – in what makes us human, and in the human face of conflict and its consequences. Nowhere have I been more overwhelmed by the repercussions of war than in the refugee crisis today, so that is my primary focus now as well as some very exciting portrait commissions. I go to where my work takes me. Q

03 01 An oil portarit of Chica Lowson 02 The Old Schoolmaster 03 An oil portrait of The Hon Hugo Grimston 04 A charcoal portrait of Kitty Matthews

Q How would you sum up your school days in five words? A Learning, laughter, naughtiness, rebellion, discovery.

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SHOW TIME Finding the right school is daunting, but the British Boarding Schools Show is a good place to start D AV I D W E L L E S L E Y W E S L E Y


lumni of British independent schools are good at being successful. Many of them win places at the top universities in Britain, the USA and Europe, and go on to forge highly successful careers. Parents from across the globe send their children to British boarding schools and because of this there are leaders, eminent thinkers and entrepreneurs in every country in the world who are alumni of UK schools. However there are over 2,400 private schools within the British Isles. Finding the one that will suit your child is a daunting task. British private education is unique because it takes a holistic approach to learning and personal growth, seeking to educate “the whole child”. Schools balance academic teaching with sports, the arts and extracurriculum activities. Living together also provides plenty of leadership opportunities. This whole child approach ensures that all pupils have the ability to succeed wherever their strengths may lie. However each school puts a different weight on these strands, and for this reason it is essential to choose a school with your child’s character and strengths in mind. There are a number of useful topics that parents can raise with schools that will help you determine whether a school will suit your child. How big is the school and

how is the boarding organised? Ask about the entry requirements and the fees, which usually increase as the child gets older. It is important to understand which curriculum a school follows and what subjects it offers. You should ask whether the pupils are ‘set’ according to ability in academic subjects, sports or music. How does the school stretch the more able and support those who are struggling? If your child already displays an aptitude in a particular area, enquire how this will be encouraged and developed. If they are keen to explore and try new activities, will they have the opportunity? Deciding between single sex and coeducation is a very personal decision and

“There are more than 2,400 private schools in the UK. Finding the right one is daunting” there are advantages for both types of school. Boys thrive with fewer distractions and putting them into a single sex environment has proven to benefit their learning ability. Similarly, many girls find it easier to study in an all-girls environment, especially in their mid-teens. However life is not single sex, and co-educational schools argue that working

through some of the challenges provides a great basis for future success. A key factor to consider as an overseas parent is what the split is between boarding and day pupils at the particular school. If boarders are a minority, how does the school make sure they do not feel like a minority? How many children come from overseas, and how many are in school at weekend? Your child needs to feel confident and settled. For parents not resident in the UK getting answers to their questions can involve a great deal of web-research and time-consuming and costly travel. The British Boarding Schools Show, which returns to Dubai in March 2016, provides parents with another way to get questions answered. At the show parents can meet and compare a variety of leading British

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boarding, single sex and co-educational schools from all over the UK. Whether you are thinking about the future, or need to make a decision imminently, the show will enable you to explore different approaches to education and make informed choices based on your child’s particular needs, interests and aptitudes. Alongside enabling parents to meet schools, we organise seminars at the show which address common questions. This year the seminars focus on four topics: why the UK has continued to lead on the world stage in its approach to private education; the different curriculum options available at sixth form; how to break into the US college and university system; when is the right time to move your child into the UK system. We look forward to welcoming you.

Far L eft Playing hockey at Epsom College Above The quad at Marlborough College Left In the lab at Mayfield

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“You learn to speak your mind about what you believe in.” Hebe, Bedales student

13 –18 | Weekly boarding | 1 hour from London To book a place on an open morning or to arrange an individual visit, please contact Janie Jarman, Registrar. T 01730 711 733 E

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“A very special place to grow up in” Good Schools Guide

Inspiring girls from 11 –18 GODOLPHIN.indd 1

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HA N F OR D Independent boarding & day school for girls aged 7 to 13

An Independent Co-educational Day & Boarding School for 3–18 years situated in South-East England

“...if we had daughters we’d send them here” Tatler 2016

Cherishing childhood

Boarding from 7 to 18 years Outstanding opportunities for all pupils academically, in sport and in the arts

Valuing individuality

Excellent pastoral care with full weekend programme for boarders 45 acres of stunning grounds with exceptional modern facilities Ideally situated on the Kent Coast with fast, direct rail link to London

Nurturing talent

T: 01843 572931 E:

To arrange a visit please call Karen on 01258 860219 email

College Road, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 7AE


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“Top Scottish Boarding School 2015” and

“Top 50 Co-Educational Boarding School by A Levels 2015”

Scottish boarding school for boys and girls aged 9 – 18 For more information or to arrange a personal visit please contact: Felicity Legge, Admissions Secretary T: 01738 815 003 E:

Forgandenny, Perth, PH2 9EG Registered in Scotland as a charity number SC008903 STRATHALLAN.indd 1

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Traditional values delivering outstanding academic results Scholarship Opportunities into Years 7 and 9 Academic, Art, Sport, Music and Performing Arts TAUNTON

An education for life 01823 340830


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One of the country’s leading day and boarding schools The Good Schools Guide says

“The standard and range of sports is outstanding.” “A very wide range of activities on offer.” and “Bromsgrove inhabits the academic stratosphere” Outstanding results at IB Diploma and A level. Huge investment in boarding facilities. Boarding from age 7. Over 500 full time boarders. Heart of England location with easy access to the Midlands motorway network. Set in 100 acres of beautiful tree-lined parkland. Indvidual visits welcome. Co-educational, Day and Boarding. 1630 pupils aged 7 - 18 Telephone: 01527 579679 email: BROMSGROVE.indd 1

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Outstanding education at one of the UK’s leading co-ed boarding schools Less than one hour from Leeds Bradford International Airport Clifton St Olave’s St Peter’s 01904 527300 3–8 8–13 13–18 Registered Charity Number: 1141329

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11:37 21/01/2016 09:10

The Autumn Edition of


Out in early October

Don’t miss the opportunity for your school to reach this exclusive audience. Call Andy Mabbitt on +44 (0)203 3975282 or e-mail

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...inspiring independent minds

Outstanding boarding school for girls aged 11-18 Fantastic team sports Friendships for life Excellent results – a top 100 Independent School

T: +44 1747 857111

A top 20 Independent Girls Boarding School



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• • • •




WHY WYMONDHAM COLLEGE... Ofsted "Outstanding" in both Education and Boarding inspections World Class School Award 2015 Highest performing state school in Eastern England 2015 Great value boarding fees at just under £10,000 per year | |01953 609000 | Find us on facebook & twitter | Get in touch to find out about our open days or guided tours.


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Catholic Day and Boarding School for girls aged 11 to 18 • Experience teaching the IB Diploma for over 35 years • Exclusive pre-IB Middle Years Programme • Nurture and support: girls gain excellent results • Places achieved at top Universities worldwide

• Scholarships and bursaries available • Multilingualism: up to 9 languages taught • Internationalism: over 40 nationalities, yet one shared mission • All faiths welcome

Please contact: Tel: 020 8949 0571 George Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 7PE. MARYMOUNT INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL.indd 1

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WELCOME TO BADMINTON Nestled in the leafy outskirts of the university city of Bristol, Badminton’s international day and boarding community is vibrant, with its holistic approach to education enriching the lives of girls aged 3-18. Contact us to find out more.


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An all-round education for girls aged 3 - 18 - Outstanding academic results, enabling our girls to attend the top universities of their choice. - The Sunday Times highest performing independent school in Scotland for Intermediate 2, Highers and Advanced Highers. - Specialist teachers, small class sizes and motivated pupils help to ensure our girls gain excellent results. - Wide range of co-curricular activities that develop students’ wider interests and skills. - Outstanding modern facilities including Scotland‘s only school equestrian centre, £1million science centre, theatre, all-weather pitches, tennis courts and a 25m indoor Swimming Pool. - Scotland’s only CReSTeD accredited school. - Direct links to Edinburgh and Glasgow airport. - English Language School (

Kilgraston School, Bridge of Earn, Perth, PH2 9BQ Tel: +44 (0)1738 812257 Email: Kilgraston School Trust is a charity. Scottish Charity Number SC029664


Week 2 3rd July 9th July

Week 3 10th July 16th July

Week 4 17th July 23rd July



Kilgraston School, Bridge of Earn, Perth, PH2 9BQ Telephone: +44 (0) 1738 812257 Email:


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Stamford Endowed Schools

BOARDING Boarders receive excellent support “from staff which is greatly enhanced by the warm and positive relationships which exist between them.

In the recent ISI Inspection Report we were rated as ‘excellent’.

For more information on our Schools please call

+44 (0)1780 750311

or email Visit


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All Boys’ Independent Catholic Boarding & Day School (11-18 years).

INCLUSIVE • INDIVIDUAL • INSPIRATIONAL Thriving and friendly independent HMC school Boarding (full, weekly, flexi) and day 450 boys aged 11-18 and girls aged 16-18 Overlooking the river near Henley-on-Thames Outstanding pastoral care and academic value-added

40 Minutes from Heathrow Easy access to Reading, M4 and M40 and London

For more information email the Registrar on: Tel: 01491 683501

A full ISI inspection judged Shiplake College as EXCELLENT across every inspection category


WEEKLY SHOW ROUNDS SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE The Oratory School, Woodcote, South Oxfordshire RG8 0PJ

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School Search

Specialist consultants for children with learning difficulties. Dyslexia ● ●



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‘“What a wonderfully nurturing and exciting environment you have created at St Mary’s. I can see why the girls thrive in such a lovely place.” Prospective parent



Asperger’s Syndrome

and other complex learning difficulties.

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE Let us help you find your way and the best school for your child. Telephone +44 (0) 1728 687 964 or mobile 07754 756726

Open Days 2016 7 May, 8 October & 12th November th



For more information please call +44 (0)1249 857200, email: or visit

St Mary’s Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 0DF

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You can’t predict the future, but we can equip your daughter to be ‘future ready’! We are a thriving and supportive girls school with outstanding examination results. Our pupils leave as confident young ladies with life skills ready for today’s global environment. To find out more please contact admissions on + 44 1462 670511 or e-mail

St. Francis’ College

Independent boarding and day school, for girls aged 3 – 18 years

Broadway, Letchworth Garden City Hertfordshire, SG6 3PJ 30 minutes north of London


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Senior School (11 - 18) Boarding and Day

First-class education in a fantastic rural location, easily accessible by road, rail and air.

Please email or ring +44 (0)1884 252543 for more information.

Tiverton • Devon • EX16 4DN • UK • BLUNDELLS.indd 1

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MAKING THE MOVE Surrey is the perfect county in which to buy a property with great transport links to London and excellent schools nearby E LY S I A A G N E W


t’s no secret that in the current market, the difference between what you can sell in London and what you can buy in the country is very attractive to buyers, particularly to those looking for a family home with more space. For many families with children, while a country home may seem appealing in terms of space, lifestyle and what you can get for your money, its proximity to a well established school could be the deciding factor. Research carried out by estate agents Hamptons International, shows that average property prices within a two mile radius of an independent school have outperformed the national average. They said: “The UK is recognised over the quality of its education. For many overseas parents with children studying in the UK, this is a catalyst to investing in property - be this a student flat or larger family home. “The UK’s stable legal and political system, together with an economy that is growing some three times faster than the Eurozone, makes the UK an attractive proposition to many overseas investors.” The city-to-country market is urging buyers to start thinking about their move

“THE UK’S SCHOOLS ARE A CATALYST FOR INVESTING IN PROPERTY” sooner if a child is set to start school in September. At one time, spring would leave plenty of time for buyers to secure a home in time for the beginning of term, but with more families making the move to the countryside, buyers who are looking for a home within an easy commute to the most impressive schools, should start looking now. And buyers should make sure they are looking in the right areas, says Mark Parkinson, co-founder of the buying agency Middleton Advisors: “We advise clients who are interested in buying properties close to their children’s school to make sure they buy in the right area. The position of the house is the one thing you cannot change. Too many buyers get carried away by the way the property is presented rather than looking at

the wider area. Particularly outside London it is easy to get it wrong and a good buying agent should be able to use their knowledge to prevent their client from making a mistake. “In London there are many pitfalls to beware- two new underground High Speed railways are being constructed under London over the next ten years which will result in lots of disruption under properties and on the ground as these works take place- ultimately though, it will increase the appeal of these areas where stations are planned. "Investing successfully in London or the country depends on what you want to achieve - maximising the amount of space you get for your money or what will have the best capital growth? These two factors rarely go together and when they do, the properties attract competitive bidding so I am bound to say it helps to have someone in your corner!” Finding the perfect combination of all of the above is difficult. Surrey is one of the South of England’s most stunning counties, and is the perfect countryside location for luxury homes, top rated schools and its proximity to the city. Comprising acres of green space, family homes with land, and award winning golf courses and spas, the Surrey lifestyle has something to suit everyone.

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01 Recently sold by Curchods in Surrey 02 Currently on the market through Hamptons International - Guide Price £1,100,000

Moving from the city or abroad, country living may feel like a retreat in itself, but if you’re hoping to jet off for business or for a holiday, Heathrow and Gatwick airports are both under an hour's drive away. Surrey is renowned for its fine selection of independent schools, from the ACS International School, Notre Dame School and Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobham, Claremont Fan Court School in Esher, Danes Hill School in Oxshott, to Cranmore School in West Horsley, St George’s College in Weybridge, St Catherine’s in Bramley and Charterhouse in Godalming.

Surrey has everything from one bedroom apartments and luxury flats, to state-of-theart new builds and period conversions. With something for everyone in terms of lifestyle and property range, Surrey is guaranteed to have what you and your family are looking for. For those who live abroad or spend a large amount of time outside the country, buying in Surrey is still an option. The long term equity growth is well assured, so rental options are just as strong as the sales market at the moment. A long-lived family home or simply an investment for the future, Surrey is the perfect spot for a country retreat away from the city, but close enough to access its many amenities and transport links. There is no doubt about it, Surrey is one of the country’s leading counties. It’s the perfect retreat from the city. Buyers will experience the luxury of space and style and can admire the picturesque countryside. With its lifestyle opportunities and most importantly, its proximity to some of the best schools in the country, Surrey is the stand-out location to purchase your next home. · · ·

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LEADING THE WAY Allow us to introduce Mr Mortimer, our Headmaster. His passion for education is only matched by his love of sport – a keen rower, he’s twice rowed the Atlantic. At Warminster we don’t only choose the best teachers to educate our pupils – we choose the most interesting ones. Collectively, our staff have walked the beat as a Special Constable, played World-class rugby, led expeditions, directed West End musicals, surfed at a national level and climbed Kilimanjaro. Individually, we are diverse in our interests, driven in our passions and determined to work together to do things a little differently. If you are too, then get in touch.

01985 210160

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Millfield and Millfield Prep would be delighted to invite you to a personal visit find out more at

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Doctor Guitarist Hockey Player


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Q Did you feel very different from other students there? A Yes, I definitely felt unique. I had mostly grown up in the Middle East, so wasn’t very familiar with the UK at all, but at the same time we were all in the same boat, so we would bond over activities and common interests; for example I made a lot of friends by playing hockey, even though this was something I had not previously played.

Q What did it feel like living Saudi Arabia and coming to England for school? A Life in Saudi Arabia and in England is poles apart, but I loved having the contrast between the two. I think whenever anyone moves to a different country, you are excited but nervous at the same time, everything is (quite literally) foreign to you, but when you’ve immersed yourself in a completely different environment, you get entirely occupied with a new array of activities and any nervous feelings disappear. Q What were your first impressions of Blundell’s? Was it how you imagined it would be? A Arriving at Blundell’s was an utterly surreal experience for me; one thing that made such a big impact for me initially was how beautiful all of the school buildings were, set in gorgeous countryside. On arrival, everyone was friendly, especially the older pupils and the staff.

How long did it take you to settle in? It took me a few weeks to settle in obviously it is a very big change for anyone, moving to a different continent yet alone in a new school away from home. However, the school made it as easy as possible to transition by keeping us occupied all of the time, not just with work but also with various activities, which was such a good way to make friends and memories; honestly some of my best (and most hilarious) memories are from my first two years at Blundell’s. There is also a buddy system, so when you arrive you are introduced to an older pupil, who you can Q


Tell us about the friends you made. Did they help you settle in? A Over the years I have made so many wonderful friends at Blundell’s, from the UK and other countries; I see them as friends for life. Living with each other, they become your family away from home, so we all helped each other settle in and with everything else through our lives at Blundell’s. Q

“The beauty of the buildings at Blundell’s had a big impact on me” go to whenever for any questions or problems you have - I really appreciated this, as it is extremely useful to get first hand advice from someone who has just been through the year. What I found more challenging at first was actually how busy it was - there was a lot less on at my previous school, so it took me a while to get used to, but I really enjoyed it.

Q What were your favourite subjects at school? A My favourite subjects at school were definitely French and chemistry. I adore travelling, so naturally I love learning new languages and exploring different cultures. Also the way that languages were taught made it particularly engaging, as it included a lot of vocal conversation, so it was a break from a subject such as maths.

What were your greatest achievements ? My greatest achievements at school would have to be winning best chair for the senior public speaking in year 12 and year 13, designing the senior carol service cover one year, and being social secretary for the chemistry society. Q


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Q What do you think Blundell’s gave you that a school in Saudi couldn’t? A Blundell’s gave me numerous opportunities to try different activities that I wasn’t able to do in Saudi. These include things like fencing, coasteering, zorbing and many more. Then there is also the whole boarding experience, which is tremendous fun and gives you so much independence. Q Did you like being in rural Devon or are you more of a city girl? A Overall, I would have to admit that I am more of a city girl - but I was lucky enough to experience both the countryside and then a more urban life in Saudi. Devon is an absolutely beautiful and peaceful place, yet there is still plenty going on there, so you definitely won’t get bored.

How do you think you had changed when you finished at Blundell’s? A I was a completely different person when I left Blundells. Having been a full boarder since the age of 11, I definitely gained a lot of independence. In addition to this, I feel that as a house monitor and as the chemistry social secretary I gained responsibility and organisational skills. I think overall I left as a more confident person in my abilities; having obtained a very broad education and having tried so many new things, I was keen to go and explore what the rest of the world has to offer. Q

What did you do in holiday times? During the holidays, for the most part I would venture back to Saudi and reunite with all of my other friends, a fair few also went to boarding school abroad, too. Back in the Middle East we really appreciated some warmth so we would spend our time at the beach or quad biking in the desert! I would stay with my friends from Blundell's during the shorter holidays, most of the time in the UK but also I made some other international friends, so I have been to stay in Berlin, too, which was a superb experience.

Above Music and sport at Blundell’s Left Maddy Farrant



“I formed such strong friendships I didn’t have time to miss my parents”

Q As a full-time boarder did you get lonely? Did you find it hard not having your parents close as other pupils did? A No! You are completely surrounded by so many other students - it was strange not having my parents around at first, but when you live with other students, you form such strong friendships and have brilliant pastoral care that you aren’t lacking in support at all. In fact, I would say that the day students were jealous of the boarders socialising with their friends in the evening!

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