British Education Singapore Summer/Autumn 2021

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Giving Back Pupil power and


community spirit


King of the



Smart teaching and learning in action

Entrepreneurship at Merchiston

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Nicola Owens 


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A welcome from Sara Sparling

13 SCHOOL NEWS What's going on in the world of education FO CUS


A new vision for Framlingham College


Gyles Brandreth's scheme to get old and young together to read poetry out loud

Pawel Kuba 


Mike Roberts Samantha Scott 


Rebecca Noonan 


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Jerrie Koleci  DIR ECTOR S

Greg Hughes, Alexandra Hunter, James Fuschillo 




How schools are teaching young people about the value of community

Sherif Shaltout

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Leading independents share their approaches to giving young people skills for tomorrow's jobs

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New and successful methods


Considering the options post-A Level


BESSA Connect's school partners


The student experience



COTTESMORE SCHOOL Buchan Hill, Pease Pottage, West Sussex RH11 9AU +44 (0)1293 520648

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We l c o m e

From the



British education is often seen as the world’s best. Every September, children from all around the world pack their bags and move continents, without their parents, in purusit of the ultimate in world class tuition, and in this magazine we focus on some of the best institutions to deliver that dream. Young people are very brave to take this big step, and it is a huge decision for their families to make. However, as Stephanie Cheah of BESSA says, boarding school life is

with fresh ideas for making learning relevant, individual and inspiring in the 21st century. Merchiston Castle School also pays a lot of attention to entrepreneurship by preparing pupils for a future that will require skills spanning everything from creativity to business insight and sheer courage, whether they are styling themselves as the next Steve Jobs or not. The inimitable Gyles Brandreth spoke to us about Poetry Together, his brilliant initiative – supported by Dukes Education – to bring old and young together for tea and poems. This is a time when many of us are looking forward to the pleasures of renewing friendships, seeing family and

“THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF KINDNESS AND PHILANTHROPIC SPIRIT AMONG OUR YOUNG PEOPLE” an excellent preparation for adulthood. She has seen countless success stories and anyone looking for an international education for their child is in good hands with her organisation. The current running through this issue is one of optimism. In the many opinions we’ve gathered from school leaders, there are exciting themes emerging centred round entrepreneurship, creativity and agility in learning choices. In that vein, it was a huge pleasure to visit Framlingham College in Suffolk to meet its Principal Louise North and find a school brimming

experiencing togetherness – and feeling grateful for all of the above. In this issue, we spoke to schools about how they develop students’ ability to consider community and wider society and understand the importance of giving back. The really good news is that there is no shortage of kindness and philanthropic spirit among our young people – and they are more than ready and able to help to make the world a better place in the years to come.

Libby Norman EDITOR

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• A B S O L U T E LY E D U C AT I O N ’ S •


Gyles Brandreth Author, broadcaster, entertainer

Gyles Brandreth is a polymath extraordinaire whose love of the spoken and written word – and remarkable ability to talk for at least a minute without repetition or deviation – is justly celebrated. In this issue, he talks to us about his lifelong love of poems and the spoken word and his initiative to pass that love on, and to build connections between young and old, through Poetry Together.

Fraser Newham

Assistant Head Academic, Merchiston Castle School

Fraser Newham joined Merchiston in 2013, as a Teacher of History and Politics, with additional responsibilities driving academic stretch, leading the Cecil Stagg Society and coordinating support for Oxbridge applicants each year; then in 2017 he was appointed to the Academic Leadership Team, as Assistant Head Academic with a focus on UCAS and the Sixth Form.

Aimee Kimbell

Principal, Riverside Nursery Schools and Little Dukes Training Academy

After studying Classical Civilisation at the University of Birmingham, Aimee Kimbell taught in Hong Kong before specialising in Early Years – and discovering the Montessori approach. In this issue she talks about the vital importance of Early Years in setting the foundations for a healthy and happy adult life.


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Affordable private education is now possible Find out more

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We l c o m e




lthough the UK Government proclaimed “Freedom Day” from all lockdown restrictions on 19 July 2021, the reality has not quite played out like this. Thankfully, some “good solid British common sense” (to quote Boris Johnson) pervades as UK boarding schools navigate this crisis with remarkable success. Whereas in some countries, students faced repeated disruption to their learning, UK boarding schools have been fully open since April 2021. Boarding schools were already providing a holistic and

taught online as lessons were live-streamed, their classrooms transformed to single screen simultaneous displays of the teacher and students on platforms such as Zoom or Teams. Throughout the last 20 months, schools have worked tirelessly to implement new systems to be Covid-safe and ensure minimal disruption. A lot of good practices remain in place: enhanced cleaning and hygiene regimes are the new norm and good ventilation of rooms have the added benefit of aiding concentration. Ask any boarder, and they will tell you that school life is almost back to normal. Whole school assemblies take place in person, meal times are no longer staggered and sports fixtures

“BOARDING SCHOOLS PROVIDE A HOLISTIC AND COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION” comprehensive educational environment for students, but during the pandemic, the stability offered by boarding and the soft skills that develop naturally from boarding life have never been more highly valued. When the World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency in early 2020, many overseas students were forced back home from boarding schools as international travel came to a grinding halt. Some sought out alternative schooling arrangements in their own countries; the 2021 annual census showed a 16% decline in non-British pupils at UK independent schools in just one year. Those who stayed on were

are scheduled in the calendar. BESSA has grown through this period. From hosting the first digital schools show to opening BESSA Connect - a free online portal for families to explore British education and connect directly with British-curriculum schools via their virtual booths - we continue our mission to make UK education easily accessible to all. Join us again in Singapore and Malaysia at BESSA 2022, and in the meantime, discover what a UK education has to offer your child at

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50 yea rs co - ed Oakham School marked a major milestone by celebrating 50 years of co-education with an event for alumni. Old Oakhamians (OOs) returned to celebrate with a chapel service and afternoon tea. The school is also celebrating 20 years of offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.

KENT COLLEGE LEAD Mark Turnbull has been appointed Head of Kent College, Canterbury and will take up his new role in January. He has been Head of Giggleswick School for the past seven years and before that was Deputy at Eastbourne College. His first teaching role was at Sevenoaks School, where he became Head of Boarding. He succeeds Dr David Lamper, who is retiring.

“Mark Turnbull joins Kent College, Canterbury next January”

Eton academies

Get muddy

Eton College has signed a partnership agreement with Star Academies to open three selective sixth form colleges. The proposal is for these to be in the Midlands and North. Some teaching will be delivered virtually by its staff, and pupils will be able to attend an Eton summer school.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is reminding families of the benefits of children getting their hands dirty this autumn. Recommended activities include sensory tests to find out your soil type, making a wormery and collecting vegetable seeds.

B AT S M A N O U T The terms 'batter' and 'batters' have been introduced to the Laws of Cricket, agreed by the MCC at Lord's to reinforce cricket as an inclusive game. Women's cricket has seen tremendous growth over the past few years – including in schools such as Sandroyd (pictured), where cricket is played co-ed.

"We should be able to acknowledge difference while being fully inclusive... the whole premise of inclusiveness is difference" CH I MAMAN DA NGOZI ADICH I E

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We are excellent. We are QE. Queen Ethelburga’s is an ‘Excellent’ rated independent day and boarding school for boys and girls (Independent Schools Inspectorate, 2019). We welcome boarders aged 6 years to 19 years.

“Pupils achieve very high standards in their GCSE, I GCSE, BTEC and A level examinations and make excellent progress across all areas of learning throughout their time in the school.” ISI 2019 In 2021, students in the academically focused College achieved 96% A* /B at A level

Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate

Thorpe Underwood hall, York, England YO26 9SS | | 01423 333330

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The Faculty, which offers a wider range of academic, creative and vocational courses, achieved 92% A*/B at A level and 75% D* /D in BTECs. 03/11/2021 14:53


APPLE SCHOOL Southbank International School’s Hampstead Campus has gained recognition as an Apple Distinguished School for the second time. The programme, recognising innovative use of technology in teaching, is by invitation only. Southbank is one of only 41 UK schools with this status.

KICK OFF In association with the Chelsea FC Foundation, Mount Kelly's Sixth Form Girls’ Performance Football Programme allows selected pupils the opportunity to reach their full potential academically and athletically with outstanding coaching, support, expertise and guidance from fully qualified staff and coaches.

M U S I C S TA R S King's Ely Year 11 student Lauren Booth achieved the highest Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) exam result in school history – a 49/50 Distinction in her ARSM Diploma flute exam. Classmate Sophie Hillier achieved 47/50 Distinction. Both Lauren and Sophie have been playing since starting taster sessions in Year 2 at King's Ely Acremont Pre-prep.

V I R T UA L T E AC H I N G Following a successful pilot, Cognita Tutoring is now launching online tuition. Lessons will be delivered by teachers via edtech learning platform CENTURY. Tailor-made sessions will be offered one-to-one or to small groups. Video feedback to parents is provided and initial subjects offered are English, Maths and Science for Year 3 through to Year 11.

Queen's Head Julian Noad has joined Queen's College, Taunton as Headmaster. Head of Oswestry School in Shropshire for the past seven years, prior to that he was Deputy at Rydal Penrhos and a teacher and housemaster at Clifton College in Bristol.

"My own role models are people who have a moral compass... Don’t confuse role models with heroes" DAN I EL CR AIG


"The notion that information is enough... that you don't have to think, you just have to get more information, gets very dangerous" E DWA R D D E B O N O

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Swim champs

HORRIS HILL A R R I VA L Horris Hill School has appointed Dr Steve Bailey as Headmaster. He joins from Westminster Under School, having previously also headed up Twyford School and taught at Winchester College. He is the Chair of the Safeguarding and Child Protection Association and a member of the Executive Committee of the Boarding Schools’ Association. Horris Hill, which sits on the Berkshire/Hampshire border, recently joined the Forfar Education group.

Two Taunton Prep School students have been selected to attend the first phase of the Swim England National Development Programme. Evie Linden and Ronan Hill, both Year 8 pupils from Taunton, will take part in online and in person training camps. The school offers swimming as part of its weekly timetable from Nursery up, with clubs and many other training opportunities.


EX AM SUCCES S Advanced Placement (AP) students at ACS International School Cobham recently celebrated their exam results, with onward destinations including University of California, Fashion Institute of Technology and Boston University. Originating in the US, AP is recognised by universities worldwide and ACS Cobham offers College Board AP courses. This year, 195 Grade 12 students took a total of 433 AP exams across 30 subjects.

Wellington College has announced an agreement with the Unison Group to establish schools in India, with the first located in Pune, Maharashtra. Wellington College International (WCI) has six schools currently in China and Thailand educating over 5,000 students. Wellington College International Pune will be a coeducational day and boarding school for ages 2-18.

M I L E PA R T N E R S The Daily Mile has entered a partnership with England Athletics and other home nations' athletics bodies. Sport ambassadors, including Olympic and Paralympic athletes, will work to inspire young people to join The Daily Mile community, which was created eight years ago by headteacher Elaine Wyllie.

Top Story

Dukes expands Dukes Education has bought landmark Kneller Hall in Twickenham and plans are already in motion to transform the former MOD music site into a state-of-the-art Senior for Radnor House. In addition, it has announced that the four popular Clapham preps and seniors within the Northwood Schools group and the 10 west London nurseries that make up The Kindergartens will join the Dukes family.

B I R T H DAY PA R T Y In September, Prince’s Gardens Preparatory School marked its first birthday with a party to thank all those who were involved in realising the vision to create a beautifully equipped school in four elegant Victorian townhouses. Cognita CEO Frank Maassen joined Prince's Gardens Headmistress Alison Melrose to lead the celebration.


"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world" ALBERT EINSTEIN

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“Exciting times lie ahead for the brilliant Wellington College” — Tatler

Coeducational | Ages 13 -18 | Boarding & Day in Crowthorne, Berkshire Wellington College nurtures a unifying culture of ambition and aspiration, creating an atmosphere which encourages each pupil to believe that anything is possible Find out more at


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PE star

AIR SUPPORT Felsted School pupils were busy over summer supporting the Air Ambulance. Toby and Tegid, both 15, were inspired to run, swim and cycle the combined distances of these Olympic events, raising over £2,500 for Essex & Herts. Meanwhile, Lucinda, 9, led a pop-up coffee and cake fundraiser for Northern Ireland, raising over £600.

Cottesmore School in West Sussex welcomed Joe Wicks, who came to visit as part of a tour to launch his children’s picture book The Burpee Bears. Cottesmore’s Pre-prep and Prep children enjoyed an energetic ‘Burpee Bear’ workout, followed by a story read by Wicks. There was also a spirited Q&A session. Principal of Pre-prep Lottie Rogerson said: “The children have been incredibly excited about meeting Joe Wicks”.

“Joe Wicks was enthusiastically greeted by Cottesmore pupils, who were all looking forward to their workout”

Phizzical boost Olympic sprinter Adam Gemili is collaborating with app myphizz, launched to combat sedentary behaviour and developed by four teachers turned entrepreneurs. Using a live leaderboard, children set their own challenges, comparing results with friends, their class and even nationally. Teachers can access a dashboard to monitor activity levels. Trialled in schools, it works across devices.

Two Bedford School students custom-designed Team GB Rugby 7s star Dan Bibby’s Maui-themed rugby boots worn in the final against Argentina at the Tokyo Olympics. Henry Cudjoe and Alex Edun set up ‘YBK’ (Your Best Kicks) as part of a school Business Studies project and have been running at a profit for around a year. During the final, the boots were shown in close-ups twice and pictured on social media.

Avocado smash Three years after winning a Design Museum Competition, the Avogo avocado stone tool designed by Brighton College pupils Pietro Pignatti and Matias Paz Linares continues to be a smash hit. The duo have been supported by the College’s DT department since they pitched the idea as a social entrepreneurship project.

New deputies Cumnor House Sussex has appointed Michael Matthews as Deputy Head Pastoral and Bruno Shovelton as Deputy Head Academic. They have joined the Senior Leadership Team working alongside Headmaster Fergus Llewellyn. Matthews joins from Farleigh School, where he has been Deputy Head Pastoral for the past four years. Shovelton joins from Dragon School, Oxford where he was Head of Staff Development and Appraisal.

GREEN CLASS Putney High School received a Gold Medal for its Biophilic Classroom at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This showcased part of the school’s ‘Breathe’ campaign, demonstrating the impact of plants and nature on student wellbeing. Headmistress Suzie Longstaff worked with architects, specialist suppliers and many green-fingered students and staff.

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else” J U DY G A R L A N D

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Enr ichment menu

DA I LY A R R I VA L S Benenden School has welcomed a small number of day boarders – pupils who attend daily rather than boarding – in Years 9 and 12. It marks the first time since the school opened in 1923 that it has offered anything other than full boarding. It is also the final all-girls' boarding school to move away from full board only. Headmistress Samantha Price said it was an exciting move, and a response to requests over many years from local families.

Quilting v ictor y Quilters at Hazlegrove Prep School in Somerset have enjoyed success at The Festival of Quilts with their entry, 'The World We Live In'. They entered for the first time in 2019 and came third, so this year they decided to improve and were awarded second place. Created in the school's DT classes, the quilt is now on display in the school, having been exhibited at the NEC over the summer.

S TA F F B O O S T Consilium Academies, a trust with nine schools across the north of England, has launched its Centre for Professional Learning (CFPL). Designed to provide development opportunities, notably it will be open to staff in any role, not just teachers. There will be a mixture of in-person and online training bookable at any time. Around 40 per cent of its staff work in support roles.

Q UA L I T Y M A R K Cumnor House School Kindergarten and Pre-School has been awarded an Early Years Quality Mark. This national accreditation is for settings that promote and support the development of young children in communication, language and early mathematical skills by providing investigative learning opportunities. Positive partnerships with families and effective evaluation are also required to receive the Mark, which lasts for three years before re-assessment.

DLD College London, launched its enrichment calendar with a whole-school Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) Fair. Held in the college's Grand Atrium, it gave students the opportunity to discover clubs, societies and meets – over 50 all, ranging from boxing, football and fencing to Law, Herodotus and Graphic Animation. The school, which offers on-site boarding in the heart of central London, has also given co-curricular activities a designated slot in the timetable.

NEW APPOINTMENT Aldwickbury School in Harpenden has a new Headmaster, Paul Symes. He is only the fifth Head in the boys' prep and pre-prep's 70+year history. His predecessor Vernon Hales was Head for some 18 years. Joining from Belmont Prep in London, Symes' arrival coincides with the start of a project to create a new £3.75m sports complex.

“Aldwickbury is adding a £3.75m sports complex”

A r tistic mer it The UK has been ranked the second most artistic country in Europe in a new survey – pipped to the post by the Netherlands. The survey, from creative portal Design Bundles, looked at number of art schools, colleges and universities; spending on cultural services; number of art students; value of cultural exports and popular museums. The UK scored particularly highly for cultural exports – calculated as worth €307 for every UK resident.


"You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over" RICHARD BRANSON

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A fresh

VISION British Education visits Framlingham College, a place with a reputation for delivering a well-rounded education, and now with a fresh and exciting vision for the road ahead

ABOVE Science in action at Framlingham College




hen you arrive at Framlingham College you can’t but be impressed. The imposing VictorianGothic main building is set within 85-acre grounds overlooking the town’s medieval castle. There’s excellent boarding and day provision, an outstanding record for hockey, a forward-looking and nurturing co-ed culture – even a salt tang in the air from the famous beaches a few miles up the road. It has earned the reputation of a super-reliable choice in ‘sleepy Suffolk’. While Framlingham’s recently arrived Principal Louise North is happy to celebrate the College’s strengths, she is raising its game with Vision 2025 – along the way updating perceptions about what College and county offer. Suffolk’s image in popular imagination is slow-lane picturesque but there’s more, including a rich vein of independent mindedness. London is commutable, but

so too are Cambridge and Norwich – this part of the world firmly resists becoming a satellite of the capital. International trade shaped the county’s architectural character, and lavish medieval buildings signal the prosperity that brought. Today, the county’s enterprise culture means a proliferation of small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. It has always been the haunt of creatives, from Constable to Maggi Hambling and Britten to thoroughly modern stadium-filler Ed Sheeran. The area’s – and the College’s – creative bent was the first thing that struck Louise North when she took up her post in September 2019, having moved down from Rutland, where she was Oakham’s Senior Deputy Head. She’d had a range of senior roles at other excellent rural independents, including Marlborough and Stonyhurst, before that. Nonetheless, Framlingham College and its locale feel different. “There is a creativity here that I’ve never picked up anywhere else that I’ve lived,” she says. “I don’t know whether it’s being near the sea – big skies, lots of green, Benjamin Britten, AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 25


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Aldeburgh and Snape.” One key fact about the school jumped out: some 60% of the parent body are small business owners and entrepreneurs. “That is huge,” she says. “The influence they have on their children and our community is significant. They want to be involved – to help develop our children so they are ready for the world.” Here then are two points covered off by Vision 2025. Creativity and entrepreneurship are central to Framlingham College’s mission for the years ahead. This is not blue-sky thinking – it’s big-sky thinking – maximising the existing school and regional strengths, and also focusing on areas where potential is there to be tapped. “It is about investing in people and in a culture – a vibrant learning culture I call it. Our vision is for a place where you look forward to your learning and where we celebrate overtly achievement in any sort in learning,” she says.

When she first arrived, her sense was that there was such a culture of kindness that this had led to an awkwardness around success. Achievements – be they academic, creative or sporting – were not marked in case anyone who hadn’t done so well (or tried so hard) felt left out. “There was little celebration of any sort, which I knew needed to change,” she says. “Expectations needed to be lifted. Aspiration and ambition were words that were never used.” One way that mindset was shifted was through a wholesale review of pupil assessment. This included communication to parents about progress, goals and the rest. “Kindness is at the centre of everything we do – of course it is – but also we have high expectations of ourselves and our pupils. When we combine the two, it becomes a powerful thing. So, we’ve looked


ABOVE The Sixth Form Centre offers inspiring study and collaboration spaces

at how we report; what we say in our reports; how we manage parents’ evenings.” The reform of pupil assessment includes empowering teaching staff to speak up when they see that a pupil could do better, surpass their own expectations. Other parent-teacher communication channels have been revitalised. A new Head of Careers has brought inspiring ideas and beefed-up valuable conduits such as the local parents’ Business Club. Entrepreneurial days and parent speakers are firmly in the mix of ideas presented to young people. The forwardthinking and business-savvy culture has also been reflected in the introduction of Business Studies as an option at GCSE (it’s already an A-level and BTEC choice). This dovetails perfectly with the College’s individual pathways – another cornerstone of Vision 2025. Summer 2020’s




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Year 13 cohort – North’s first – included two students who went off to Oxford and they and other universitybound students were, quite rightly, celebrated. But so too were the students who headed off to pursue filmmaking, chose world-class Swiss hospitality training or landed a plum contract in the music business. Of this last student North notes: “A bright young man, but if he had gone down the university route it would have been square peg round hole”. She says her ideas on education have evolved. “In previous schools it’s been a more linear path – A levels or IB and then straight into university. This is an opportunity for me to develop a culture of education that I believe in completely, which is that every child has their own path. We are really lucky and privileged that we can nurture them and take them on that journey.” Framlingham has distinct advantages when it comes to individual care. It is small enough (just over 650 pupils) to feel personal and it is a through school. The Prep is located just down the road at Brandeston Hall, another wonderful building set in 23 acres. It is divided into Lower and Upper Prep and also includes a



ABOVE Louise North joined as Principal in autumn 2019

state-of-the-art Early Years building. Pupils “Parents go and see the Prep and then they at the Prep access Senior facilities regularly come to see me, even though their children for lessons, events and specialist teaching. are really quite young, because they want Strengthening the links between Prep to know who’s going to be there to see their and Senior teaching is another move since child through the rest of their education.” North’s arrival. Previously the two halves of Some 90% of Framlingham Prep pupils the school operated fairly separately, but all move on to Senior years. This brings that changed with the arrival of Jonathan benefits in familiarity and coherence. “We Egan as Head of Framlingham College Prep. talk about a spine of skills, embedding that “We talk about seamless education from 3 to in everything we do from when they join 18 and that is what it has to be,” says North. the Prep school all the way through Senior She says it is important for young people’s years. So, they can collaborate when they’re attainment and self-confidence, and 3, they can collaborate when they’re it is increasingly important to 17; they can problem solve when parents seeking continuity. they’re 5, they can problem solve ABOVE The College is in a when they are 15. It’s making spectacular setting sure that in all the teaching we do, our young people are LEFT The Houses are cosy social learning those skills.” North has spaces for day pupils confidence that these are the and boarders elements that make children truly career (and life) ready. “A computer is never going to be able to empathise or be creative in the way a human brain can, so we have got to develop good human beings who leave us ready to do all of that.” The College has streamlined the path for students who progress from Prep to Senior – or join at Senior level – by dropping Common Entrance in favour of the WRAT assessment based on potential and learning style. That has the great benefit of refocusing learning in Prep years. “We’re overhauling our years 7, 8, 9. Those can be the lost years if you’re not careful. Schools and children can obsess with passing Common Entrance, then Year 9 becomes a something of a lost year before they get into GCSEs. For us, these three years are now all AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 27

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LEFT Music is a vibrant part of College life BELOW Design Technology inspires creative and business ventures


about linking the subjects through themes and getting our children to understand the context within which they’re learning.” Whatever ignites Framlingham College pupils’ passions and sparks those connections, there’s space here to make it happen. The Gothic main building has been cleverly updated over the years. Prince Albert’s statue still stands sentinel opposite the entrance (originally the school was known as ‘Albert Memorial Middle Class College for Boys’), but inside there’s an ultra-modern and light-filled central atrium known as Paul’s Court. This is where everything from break time to exhibitions to school events happens and it links through to the beautiful original chapel and galleried dining room. Music of every variety is catered for here – with a Steinway Model B in the chapel and a modern suite of recording, production and practice facilities. Musicians have had notable successes nationally and internationally, and with Snape and Sheeran just down the road, enthusiasm and participation are high. Art and Design & Technology are both strong suits and the facilities and sophistication of work are impressive. Girls, along with boys, get stuck into DT, be it on the lathes, CAM or other specialist kit. Sports facilities are also exceptional by anyone’s lights (as is Framlingham’s reputation). It’s the girls who are current U18s National Champions in hockey. It helps that their coach and College Senior

Deputy Head Susan Wessels is a former South Africa hockey captain and two-times Olympian. She is one of many role-model coaches and the school nurtures student talent in everything from tennis and golf to swimming. While there are sports Scholars (including a fair few who make it to US universities on scholarships), competitive matches happen here for every level of ability. The all-weather pitches have sophisticated video surveillance and live feed – perfect for parents who can’t make the sidelines, while students have access to analysis tools that can make all the difference to technique, teamwork and the next match-day result. This is just one example of the smart use of technology throughout Framlingham. Pupils’ own devices are used extensively and it is a Microsoft Showcase School – that technology-enabled approach was tested in North’s first school year. She says Covid brought its own challenges,

but no dimming of the Vision 2025 plan, even though her second term ended with a “crazy Easter Egg hunt” (a time-honoured College eccentricity) before virtual school kicked in. “Covid has been extraordinary for everybody, obviously, but it is what it is. We still had children who needed to be educated.” The pastoral care – the kindness – so often remarked upon here has been needed throughout this time and beyond. North remains acutely aware of the effects on pupils starved of peer-group company and the buzz of being in school. “The actual joy that you could sense when they came back to school was wonderful,” she says. One lynchpin of that pastoral care is the House system – seven in all (four for boys and three for girls) and safe, homely and nurturing spaces for day pupils and boarders alike. Every Wednesday is House Night (sporting, fun, creative) and the annual House Dinner is a dress-up event. Having boarders adds a 24/7 quality to



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ABOVE Boarders have a home from home


RIGHT Hockey success is a great tradition at Framlingham

benefit day pupils too. Many pupils take up the modern flexi and occasional boarding options offered alongside full boarding. International pupils represent some 15 per cent of the cohort, and with 19 nationalities in the mix. Among the most striking things about Framlingham College is how very co-ed it feels. The school went mixed sex early (1976) and today is pretty much an even split. “This feels more co-ed than any other school I’ve worked in. Why that is I don’t know, but I’ve had new staff say the same thing,” says North. Perhaps it is notable that Framlingham College was the first HMC co-ed to have a female Principal in Gwen Randall. Whatever the reason, the culture feels balanced. “Your gender is not an issue. In everything that we do it’s completely equal.”

BELOW Prep pupils have their own space down the road at Brandeston Hall

Visit the Sixth Form Centre and once you get over the setting – a brilliant light-filled glass construction with communal workspaces, quiet study areas, comfy sofas and views down to the main school – you see preparation in action for students’ onward destinations. Calm and collegiate, it is precisely the kind of environment Sixth Formers might hope for at a hip modern workplace. And whether they aspire to university or another path, there’s no doubt that this is their space – with on-tap guidance and careers advice – and it’s empowering. For those students who are on the Sixth Form Scholars programme (and this has been overhauled to provide more “stretch” with the arrival of Alex Boyd-Williams as Head of Sixth Form), there are routes in all curriculum areas. Be they Scholars or future entrepreneurs, Vision 2025 is all about recognising that success comes in many shapes in the 21st century. “All those traditional routes are still valid, but many young people are learning a lot earlier what it is they want to do. And they can see a way to go and get it much more quickly.” For Louise North, the future is about shining a light on all those possibilities and equipping young people with the tools they need. She says that when you get a school culture right, great results follow. But, ultimately, Vision 2025 also recognises that there must be an education goal beyond exam certificates. “The end game for all of us at Framlingham College is producing young adults who are ready for their adult world – global citizens ready to take on whatever uncertainty is out there.”

At a Glance Framlingham College FOUNDED: 1864 by public subscription HEAD: Louise North, since September 2019 GENDER: Co-educational NUMBER OF PUPILS: 668 (159 in Sixth Form) DAY OR BOARDING: Day. Boarding Year 3 – Year 13 AGES: 3-18 POINTS OF ENTRY: Nursery (3), Reception (4+), Year 3 (7+), 7 (11+), 9 (13+) and 12 (16+). ADMISSIONS: Selection through entrance test, school references, interviews and reports. RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Church of England / Interdenominational FEES: Prep: Day, per term – £3,165£5,508; Boarding, per year – £16,524 (flexi/occasional available). Senior: Day, per term – from £7214; Boarding, per term – £9,267-11,226. ADDRESS: Framlingham College, College Road, Framlingham, Suffolk IP13 9EY;

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LEFT Gyles Brandreth – Poetry Together was inspired by his findings on laterlife memory and early brain development

PERFECT POETRY Gyles Brandreth talks to British Education about the Poetry Together initiative – bringing old and young together through the spoken word



yles Brandreth's way with words is legendary. Just a Minute and other much-loved radio and TV shows sit alongside books, speaking engagements, and so much more. Now, he is a man on an important mission to share a multigenerational event called Poetry Together. It all started some five years back when Gyles Brandreth was researching human memory for a radio programme. He went to speak to a professor in the Memory Lab at Cambridge University. There he found out not only that learning things by heart is excellent for the older brain, but also that babies and small children who regularly hear poems and rhymes are quicker to speak, to read and to write. The seeds were sown and, after Gyles Brandreth's programme aired, he continued

to think on. He recalled his own schooldays and the power of group poetry readings – an activity so satisfying it must be worth reviving. To get this revival off the ground meant, as he puts it: "Persuading old people in care homes and young people in schools to learn the same poem by heart and then get together and perform their poems". Brilliant, but there's more: "Over tea and cake – tea and cake's the important bit ". This, then, is his annual celebration of rhythm and rhyme. Poetry Together is now in its third year. It has been helped along by Aatif Hassan, Founder and Chairman of Dukes Education, who got behind the idea after Gyles Brandreth discussed it with him at a school prize-giving. Now Dukes Education is a high-profile supporter. There has also been a big helping hand from Dame Judi Dench. The two of them were inspired by the directive, right at the start of the pandemic, to time washing your hands to a poem but AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 33


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LEFT & BELOW HRH The Duchess of Cornwall attended the tea party held at Eaton Square Senior School

thought the nation could improve upon 'Happy Birthday'. "We did 'The Owl and the Pussy-cat' together while washing our hands. It's exactly the right length. It went viral – me and Judi Dench at her kitchen sink, with lots of spuds," says Brandreth. After people watched and downloaded, many also looked up Poetry Together and that swelled support. "We now have people across the Commonwealth and across the world. There are people from America and Canada, India and Jamaica, so Poetry Together has become international." There have been many special moments. He recalls a moving reading at the very first event when a Chelsea Pensioner and a 15-year-old pupil from a local Pimlico school read a Siegfried Sassoon war poem: "There wasn't a dry eye in the house". There was also a wonderful reading of Hilaire Belloc's 'Matilda' by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and a young group from Knightsbridge School. She'd learned the poem as a child and re-learned it for the Poetry Together Nationwide Tea Party held at Eaton Square Senior School in Mayfair (it's hoped she may attend a party this year). At that same Eaton Square Senior gathering – which brought together five schools and their care home partners – there were poems read in Welsh and Polish too. It all added

up to a truly memorable tea party. Even last year, during the very worst of lockdown times, Poetry Together participation grew – much to Gyles Brandreth's surprise. "Our hearts sank last year – we thought, 'this finishes it'. Far from it, as it turned out people wanted to perform their poems on Zoom, so we had virtual tea parties." He believes there is a rediscovery of poetry – reading it and writing it – partly because of lockdown but also because this is something that brings us so much pleasure and comfort. "There is such a great tradition of spoken poetry around the world." As a lifelong poetry lover, he'd be hardpressed to pick just one poem. After all, this is a man who met both C. S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot as a boy. Eliot even encouraged by him to memorise 'Macavity: The Mystery Cat', so that would have to be on his list, along with anything by Shakespeare and, of course, 'The Owl and the Pussy-cat'. He also has enormous fondness for Derek Mahon's 'Everything is going to be All Right'. Whatever people's poetry choices, this year's event is a golden opportunity to share them. "We have tea parties taking place all over the UK – and across the world. They

can happen anywhere and the point about Poetry Together is it is fun and it is relaxed. Language is power, and for young people especially, learning something by heart and then speaking it out loud helps with their confidence. For everyone, poetry is just generally a great and good thing."

Poetry Together events run until the end of November. A celebratory tea party with very special guests takes place during early November. Participation is free. To register and receive a Poetry Together Kit, visit



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Devonshire House Preparatory School

Outstanding prep and pre-prep in Hampstead, with its own nursery Virtual Open Morning: 8th December 2021, 10:00am GMT. To register please visit our website or contact Admissions Tel: +44 (0)20 7435 1916 Email: Website: DEVONSHIRE.indd 1

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STRONG START The Principal of Riverside Nurseries and Little Dukes Training Academy says if we get early years right everything else will look after itself


know how important early years education is. I have seen first-hand how children flourish and grow in the right surroundings, and with the right support. But a good early years education does so much more than help a child to grow in the here and now – it is sowing the seeds for the adult that this child will become. A child’s first years have an extraordinary impact on the rest of their life and the foundations of a healthy, happy adult life are laid in our nursery classrooms. Neurological research in the past few decades has proven that our experience in early childhood – from pregnancy up to five years old – has implications for our development that go far beyond our physical abilities. Indeed, investing in the early years doesn’t just make sense for parents, it is one of the best ways to ensure the long-term health, wellbeing and happiness of us all. As the Duchess of Cambridge, an early years champion, recently said: “The early years are not simply about how we raise our children. They are about the society we will become". There are various approaches to early years education – I discovered Montessori 15 years ago and my belief in its childcentred approach has strengthened ever since. I believe that Montessori not only offers the best possible outcomes for young children but that, with the right training, a Montessori guide can change a child’s future. So, I am pleased that early years

"The foundations of a healthy, happy adult life are laid in our nursery classrooms"


RIGHT Aimee Kimbell and a pupil at Riverside Nurseries

education – in no small part due to the efforts of The Duchess of Cambridge – is finally getting the attention that it deserves. From this September, the revised Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework is being introduced. The changes that have been made to this statutory framework reflect the Government’s recognition of how important early years education is. There is, for example, an emphasis on the need for a clear curriculum (which Montessori settings have). Priority has also been given to a thorough developmental assessment at two years of age to ensure early intervention occurs should any delays be found. This is particularly important, given the impact of Covid on lost learning. What's more, there is more space for professional judgements to be made, highlighting the need for the educators working with this age group to be thoroughly knowledgeable about the developmental stages and how to best support children through them. We are introducing our own changes

this autumn. Little Dukes, the nursery arm of Dukes Education, has just opened the Little Dukes Training Academy (LDTA) in south-west London. This will offer a range of early years training courses – including the first training for Montessori guides to care for children from birth up to age three. There is a very simple reason why we have opened LDTA. We want to attract and train the very best people and we want to foster and encourage educators who will establish a gold standard of early years education. We believe it is that important. By training early years educators ourselves, we ensure that we have the very best staff. More than that, we ensure the best possible nursery teaching and provision for Little Dukes – both now and in years to come. The foundations of a healthy, happy adult life are laid in our nursery classrooms. Children's futures – and our future as a society – can be shaped by what we do today. I truly believe we have the power to make that difference. AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 39


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Understanding HYPERMOBILITY Hypermobility can have a profound impact on children, but a new School Toolkit aims to raise awareness among educators so they can deliver the right support LIBBY NORMAN

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Hypermobility markers


ypermobility is a term many are familiar with – the common phrase for the most obvious manifestation used to be 'double jointed'. Many children are very supple and can appear hypermobile, but that flexible or 'bendy' body that is a distinct advantage for aspiring ballet dancers and athletes may sometimes be a marker of hypermobility syndromes – a group of conditions that can affect connective tissues throughout the body. It's important to note that hypermobility is relatively common (often estimated at around one in ten of the population) and is not of itself a cause for concern. Where it is associated with repeated pain, fatigue, and other ongoing or intermittent health issues, this may indicate Joint

Hypermobility syndrome (JHS) or EhlersDanlos syndromes, including (hEDS). These are still considered rare conditions, but some researchers suspect they may be under-recognised and reported. This is where a new School Toolkit comes in. Jane Green, an educationalist and adviser on Autism and Hypermobility Syndromes, is lead on the School Toolkit – she also has hEDS herself. Educators are the primary target because they are on the 'front line' with young people day to day, making them well-placed to spot issues and provide support. Funders of the toolkit for schools include The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Peter Harrison Foundation and The Ehlers-Danlos Support UK, and it has been developed in collaboration with the Hypermobility Syndromes Association. Flexibility of joints – including the ability to bend thumbs right back to the elbow or

Conditions and symptoms that may be an indicator of hypermobility syndromes include: Severe tiredness/lack of concentration • Persistent widespread pain • Blood pressure regulation (dizziness, sweating, fainting) • Stomach, bowel and bladder problems • Joint dislocations/frequent sprains • Frequent bruising / scarring /skin fragility.

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“THERE IS HIGHER INCIDENCE AMONG GIRLS AND THESE CONDITIONS ARE OFTEN HERITABLE” touch the ground with palms flat and knees straight – is a visible sign of hypermobility. Both thumb bending and toe touching are among tests used in assessment. But hypermobility can affect connective tissues inside the body. "People with these conditions have connective tissues that are defective, but each person can present differently, from being asymptomatic to severely disabled," says Jane Green. One of the key issues for young people with a potential diagnosis of hEDS or JHS is the sheer diversity of possible symptoms, but, says Green, there are some markers that warrant further investigation. "There are many common symptoms, including dislocations, sprains without previous trauma, pain, tiredness, dizziness, stomach issues, bowel and bladder problems, temperature issues, anxiety, clumsiness and allergies." For younger children, there can be specific challenges visible in early years. "Laxity of core muscles and ligaments

often means that it is challenging to hold a pen," says Green. "It is uncommon for many children to actually get a diagnosis at this age, so they are often left to just try and manage, as are their parents." Of course, nearly all young children have very 'bendy' bodies and all develop skills at their own pace. But useful things to know are that there is a higher recorded incidence of hypermobility syndromes among girls (often presenting most strongly from early adolescence) and that hypermobility syndromes are often heritable. Heritability means, says Green, that parents do not always see their child's issues as unusual; perhaps they experienced similar 'growing pains' themselves. She has given talks where suddenly the penny has dropped for a parent who recalls experiencing pain, fatigue or other mysterious symptoms they are now investigating in their own child. She has a profound insight into the impacts on children who don't get a timely

diagnosis, having only received her own formal diagnosis of hEDS at the age of 53. "As a long-term hEDS sufferer, I often experienced pains, including migraines, viral illnesses, and stomach issues like bloating and spasms when I was growing up," she says. "At secondary school, I failed entrance exams and I was placed in the bottom sets. I did not reach attainment levels or often attend school as I was either unwell or unmotivated, so I left early with a couple of qualifications." While she went on to have a successful career, Green says hypermobility syndromes – and particularly the absence of a diagnosis – negatively impacts lives. A key issue can be the struggle to be believed. "Sometimes, because symptoms are disbelieved, especially as they can appear ‘out of the blue’, the effects of trauma can build up from a young age." She also says this can damage the whole family, since parents or carers may be accused

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of being over-fussy or neglectful – even of intentionally harming their own child. Green suspects there are children who slip through the net completely and drop out of mainstream education. "I saw this as an Assistant Headteacher/ Lead for Autism Education," she says. "There seemed to be a lot of home-educated pupils who were autistic, neurodivergent, anxious, dyspraxic or had unspecified ‘health problems'." She suspects there's a pattern of symptoms at play across our schools that are being missed because educators have not been made aware of the markers and clues that could indicate hypermobility syndromes. This is where the School Toolkit hopes to effect change, improving school outcomes and children's wellbeing. Green says it's long overdue. "It is aimed at schools UK wide and includes information about how education staff can identify some of the most common ways symptomatic hypermobility can impact pupils’ functional and academic participation. It links to how reasonable adjustments can be made and how understanding hypermobility can affect a person’s life physically, emotionally, socially and mentally." She believes that increasing awareness among educators and SEND specialists, alongside a growing body of research – although more is needed – may also help. In particular, Green hopes we may start to gather more information on potential links or co-occurrences between symptomatic hypermobility and other conditions – from fibromyalgia to CFS/ ME to sensory processing differences. "It is not only important, but essential that pupils are supported by some knowledge, understanding and belief," says Jane Green. Effective management may mean, for instance, that children discover earlier which sports are beneficial and which may not be a good fit with

hEDS or JHS. It also means they and their teachers can find workarounds for some of the symptoms that inhibit their attendance or enjoyment of school or stop them from studying and participating at the same pace as everyone else. "Given the right support and management, children with hypermobility syndromes can go on to excel at school," she adds.

F U R T H E R A DV I C E Access the School Toolkit at To find out more about hypermobility visit Ehlers-Danlos Support UK and Hypermobility Syndromes Association

About hypermobility syndromes Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are a group of heritable disorders of connective tissues, of which hEDS is by far the most common. Prevalence of hEDS has been estimated at 1 in 5,000, however some research suggests it remains under-reported. There is no specific genetic test for hEDS, so diagnosis is via medical examination. Joint hypermobility syndrome is a term used to cover a range of symptomatic hypermobility conditions. These include hEDS, and also cEDS, Stickler and Marfan syndromes.



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Future success

A Year 6 curriculum delivering skills for future success also fosters curiosity for the journey into Key Stage 3 and beyond, says the Head of Middle School at Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate (QE)


t Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate (QE), our mission is for all members of our community to aspire to the Hill Standard: ‘To be the best that I can with the gifts that I have’. At King’s Magna, the middle school of QE’s four-school model, we harness this through an innovative curriculum. This has been designed to support the transition between primary education at Chapter House, our Preparatory school, and the demands of GCSEs and beyond in our two senior schools. In a difference from the traditional school model, where children stay in primary education until the end of Year 6, here at QE students join King’s Magna in Year 6 and stay with us until Year 9. Many

“Students are ready for a challenge, so our curriculum is designed by subject specialists and primary age teachers”

students using SAT testing. Students are instead assessed formally at three points during the year using standardised and moderated 'common evaluation tasks'. These track progress and identify what they could do to improve further. This allows us to focus on delivering those skills that the students need to be successful in Key Stage 3 and beyond. The breadth of opportunities in King’s Magna from Year 6 ABOVE is varied, standing Pupils at QE Middle School alongside the school King’s Magna curriculum. Students have access to over 100 clubs, as well as a varied trip programme. Our co-curricular activities students are ready for a new challenge at span five key categories: Creativity, Culture, the end of Year 5, so we have developed Community, Leadership and Health and a curriculum for this transitional year, Exercise. Students are challenged to with content designed in partnership take advantage of these opportunities, between secondary school subject which lead towards the King’s Magna specialists and primary age teachers. Enrichment Award. Participation in 10 The core curriculum consists of English, different activities from across the different maths, science, personal development, categories leads to the coveted Gold history and geography. In addition, students Enrichment Award at the end of each year. have specialist teaching in art, music, This all-encompassing, holistic approach drama, computing, design technology, to developing the whole student, which is languages and PE. They personalise at the heart of everything we their curriculum with two do here at QE, is designed to optional enrichment options ensure a creative, vibrant and within the timetabled day, caring school environment covering areas of the creative throughout King’s Magna. arts and sport beyond the We see it as vitally traditional curriculum. The important to equip our whole approach is designed to students with the skills and foster curiosity, also placing knowledge they need to emphasis on skills for future move seamlessly on to our success, such as critical STEVEN TURNER College or Faculty at the end thinking, collaboration, digital Head of Year 9, also ensuring they skills and entrepreneurship. King's Magna Middle can grow into their teenage Importantly, we have decided School, QE years with confidence. not to assess our Year 6 AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 45


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T BACK Supporting community is a key element of school life, giving young people the opportunity to learn about their own place in the world. Five schools tell us how they develop a culture of giving back

he spirit of giving is a strong element of life at Berkhamsted, the family of six schools for pupils aged 3 to 18. There are regular whole school events such as MUFTI days and Christmas services. “Students make suggestions for charities and we oversee this to get a good diversity of causes,” says the school’s Community Services Co-ordinator Kathryn Tomlin. She works closely with School Chaplain Jane Markby and there is a lot of input from young people too. “Each House has a charity to support and they raise funds and awareness,” says Jane Markby “This is determined by the students in that house. Individuals might want to raise funds for a charity special to them and school supports them in this.”

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Berkhamsted sees huge value in this style of action. “It impacts positively on mental health to think of others,” says Kathryn Tomlin. Then there is the “steep learning curve” of organisational and communication skills developed, along with an awareness of big-picture issues. “Our annual shoebox appeals allows for a really practical way of showing they care,” adds Jane Markby. “Organising or buying the components for the boxes and wrapping them up is a great activity that is really relished – by the Sixth Form in particular.” Many students are already volunteering outside school – for instance for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – and around a quarter of Sixth Formers make a regular commitment, with others dedicating time for short-term and one-off events. “Our approach is that volunteering is as valuable as academic study – promoted as part of the school value of serving others,” says Kathryn Tomlin. And there are a whole host of causes supported by Berkhamsted’s Sixth Formers, from a ‘play a thon’ of live music on the high street in aid of mental health charities to sleeping out in support of a local night shelter. For other year groups, there are opportunities too. One of the most high-profile and warmly received is the annual senior citizens’ tea party. With 200 guests and 100 plus student volunteers, it’s a wonderful opportunity to mingle with another generation. The inter-house bake-off for this party produces “outstanding” baking talent, says Kathryn Tomlin, while the party is hugely enjoyed by pupils. “They love talking to the senior citizens – even those who are apprehensive at first come away having had a great afternoon.”



ituated in the Dorset countryside, Clayesmore offers a through education for pupils aged 2-18. Here, there is a strong sense of the importance of making a difference. The LEX programme – the school’s initiative to provide a rounded education – has a ‘Service & Contribution’ pillar with Social Action Group module. This tasks students to look for needs in the community, country or globally that can be addressed through fundraising or organising a campaign. In the Sixth Form, ACE (Action, Community, Environment) forms part of the co-curricular programme and encourages students to get involved with volunteering and

fundraising for the local community. An active group of students who are passionate about social enterprise have formed the Charity Committee to identify worthy causes and raise funds to support them. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and CCF also deliver community support as an intrinsic part of their activities. The school say that pupils are taught early on in the Prep school that charitable giving and volunteering are an important part of being a valuable and global citizen. Pupils in turn relish the opportunity to help and many initiatives end up being pupil-led, rather than school-led. The sense of making a difference and being empowered to help in tangible ways becomes a valuable lesson. Clayesmore pupils take away the understanding that they don’t need to accept the status quo and be a passive bystander, but can make a real difference by taking action.

RIGHT Pupils at Clayesmore

FACI N G PAG E Berkhamsted’s annual senior citizens tea party is a highlight

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“It is humbling for the children when they realise how much they take for granted – such as having a safe bed indoors at night”


ABOVE Broader volunteering activities are a mainstay at Cranleigh

BELOW Running for charity at Cranleigh



t Cranleigh, a day and boarding school for pupils aged 13 to 18, there is plenty of opportunity for young people to develop their social awareness. “Our eight boarding Houses choose a different charity to support each year and the pupils have a choice in that,” says Bex Barker, Housemistress of South House. This becomes an opportunity for them to learn more in the process. “Choosing and learning all about the cause, via visits and activities, helps the pupils to get invested in the areas they are supporting. It’s incredibly important that they really understand the cause and get actively involved in supporting it, rather than just donating money,” adds Bex Barker. She says that Cranleigh places extra value on these initiatives – even beyond the positive impact on the

causes supported – for the way they build young people’s inner strength and insight. “Pupils are helped to recognise their privilege and live lives of service to ensure they give back. Supporting good causes at school is a big part of that, and actively volunteering helps them to gain a better understanding.” These opportunities are varied. Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a strong element within the school, but there are also initiatives such as its Voluntary Action on Wednesday afternoons. Here, pupils work with, for example, local charities and primary schools. Bex Barker adds that Cranleigh pupils are always quick to offer their help. This is a prosperous part of the country, making it all the more important to the school that young people look beyond local horizons. “It is humbling for pupils when they realise how much they take for granted – such as having enough toilets at school, a safe bed indoors at night,” she adds. “And it is also empowering for them to be part of the solution to these challenges.”


t St Edmund’s School, there is a strong tradition of giving back – as rooted as the school’s long history and close affiliations with Canterbury Cathedral. This begins in pupils’ younger years. “We support charities through our House System,” says Head of Junior School Andrew De Silva. “Through the House system the children play a central role in deciding which charities will be supported and the form this will take. In recent years the school community has donated money to good causes including the Pilgrims Hospice, Kent Air Ambulance and Kent Animal Rescue.” There is no shortage of fundraising ideas, either. In recent years these have included raffles and book fairs, but also the less conventional whole school talent shows. “We are also fortunate to have such an amazing group of parents and guardians to

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LEFT The spirit of giving is embedded at St Edmund’s

BELOW The strong House system at St Edmund’s gives children agency in causes they support

support our efforts; in particular, our St Edmund’s Associations (PTA),” adds Andrew De Silva. Even in the last academic year, they raised in excess of £10,000. The spirit of giving is integral to the school’s educational approach. “We have a duty to ensure that our pupils support those in need, not just because of the fundamental importance of being global citizens, but also as these events develop a range of transferable skills,” says Andrew De Silva. “Enabling our pupils to actively support others through charitable giving encourages a connection to the community,” This fits in with the school’s holistic approach to education, in which thinking and learning skills are supported by the development of young people’s emotional intelligence. “Providing opportunities for our pupils to support charitable organisations is a catalyst to foster these traits, particularly empathy, teamwork and resilience.” So important is this element that St Edmund’s Junior School is enhancing its giving back opportunities still further through the curriculum.



One of the school’s most recent fundraising efforts was for the local St Christopher’s Hospice. The whole school decided to collectively run 1,000 km in a day. The fundraising target of £1,000 was achieved even before they began running, so they decided to up the ante by doubling the monetary target. From 7.30am that morning staff and parents were out on the Astroturf in the pouring rain and had smashed 100 km by the time registration was finished. Head Katharine Woodcock was one of those who managed 10km even before starting her day. By the end of it, pupils and staff had managed 1,505 km collectively and raised over £3,000 for the hospice. It was even recognised on JustGiving as one of the top 5% of fundraisers that month. Pride in the achievement of everybody helps to cement shared values of giving back – students, staff and families were all out together in the pouring rain. The school actively encourages students to participate in initiatives that embrace community and wider society. From the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – a mainstay of school charitable work – to the school’s bespoke Active Citizens Programme for sixth formers, pupils undertake

t Sydenham High School GDST, the aim is to ensure that pupils develop a strong moral compass as well as academic strength. Underpinning this is an approach that instils a clear sense of global responsibility. “This is a school that prides itself on being part of the local community and as a result pupils feel that it is vital that they give back and help towards local causes as often as they can,” says Sydenham High School Headmistress Katharine Woodcock. “More often than not, the school’s charitable contributions and direction are initiated and led by the pupils themselves. This not only inherently makes pupils more involved but expands the scope and possibilities of what they can do with the support of the school.” AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 49

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“Pupils are all involved in voting for how funds will be spent and are also able to pitch to the Trustees on behalf of a chosen charity”

volunteering as part of these projects. While local is vital to Sydenham High School’s giving back activities and fundraisers, pupils and staff also look much further afield and Katharine Woodcock says it’s vital to give young people a global perspective. One such global initiative is focused round a biannual trip to Sydenham’s sister school in Nepal. The whole-school community have helped with rebuilding the school after the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake – working alongside their chosen charity In Your Hands – and continue to support the school through different activities. “I look at the pupils here and feel so positive about their ability not only to cope with whatever the future holds but also to actively engage with current affairs and issues that are important to them and the world,” says Katharine Woodcock. “They are future confident, possess a true sense of self, recognise only too clearly what is right and wrong and are open minded, switched on and genuinely care,” she adds.

RIGHT Social enterprise at Dragon School, Oxford

BELOW Sydenham High School’s sister school in Nepal



t Dragon School in Oxford, there’s a core mission is to inspire a sense of social and environmental responsibility, right from Reception through to Year 8. Philanthropy is a key part of learning, with a framework of activities, spanning partnerships with local schools, charity activity, presentations and fundraising events. “Pupil voice is essential in ensuring the children are invested in projects. Whether it is through voting to support a chosen charity, suggesting ideas for fundraising events, communicating their experiences with the rest of the school through assemblies or making decisions in meetings about social and environmental issues,” says Director of Social and Environmental Impact Ellie King. In the younger years, Changemaker Champions are elected to be spokespersons for their form, and as they move further up, elected Environmental Ambassadors identify, select and support causes each year. The Dragon Christmas Charity Sale is a major annual fundraiser that also becomes an opportunity for fun and ingenious philanthropic

endeavour. It raises thousands each year. Stalls are run by children and families and pupils are all involved in voting for how the funds will be spent. The many opportunities to be active in charitable initiatives are integral to QUEST, the school’s Saturday morning enrichment programme. Children create cards, letters and small gifts to send to seriously ill children across the UK, in association with the charity PostPals. There are also local and wider community causes, and also a Parent Volunteer Programme, supporting reading, speech and language, maths and music skills in local schools. In 2020 the school developed a partnership with local charity Oxford Mutual Aid. Every Friday Dragon’s Chef James Blackwell and his team in the school kitchen make 250 nutritious, reheatable and tasty meals to be delivered to households across the city. Children and families also support this cause by visiting the local foodbank to help prepare parcels, as well as collecting and wrapping presents for Christmas. With all these activities, the spirit of giving back is fostered for the long term. “Our hope is that we can inspire our Young Dragons to grow up as active citizens who recognise their responsibility and the positive contribution they can make to local, national and global causes,” says Dragon School Head Emma Goldsmith.

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Where every pupil creates their own story.

With our ambitious learning culture, a focus on every individual and a breadth and blend of opportunities, we help every child to discover and develop their talents to create their own life-story. Our size, structure and ethos mean that our entire focus is on understanding, guiding and inspiring each child individually – so they can find their own voice, their confidence, self-belief and aspiration, discover their own talents, challenge themselves to achieve more than they thought possible and reach their full potential. There is no typical Framlinghamian, no singular path that we take: we are academics, actors, musicians, expeditioners, sports people, innovators, scientists, ruminators, decision makers, story tellers, teammates, artists, fun lovers, nurturers and thought provokers. Often we are many things within one. But, we are all individual with our own story.

Scan the QR code to see our film, ‘Let’s See Who You Are’. Call us on 01728 723789 or email

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The days of silos for subjects are over, and schools are finding new ways to deliver STEM and creative subjects and take learning further – from real-world skills in CAD to generating brilliant business ideas. British Education catches up with five leading independents to find out how

Brighton College

BELOW Real-world exhibit at Brighton College’s new School of Science and Sport


ith recent accolades including ‘School of the Decade’ from The Sunday Times and ‘Top in STEM’ from The Week, Brighton College is focused on delivering exceptional facilities as well as teaching. Long known for its inspired work in developing creative skills, it has added the new School of Science and Sport – a futuristic and bold design by Dutch firm OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), led by principal architect Ellen van Loon. The futuristic design is all about light, cutting-edge energy conservation technology and 21st-century teaching and learning spaces. The school says one aim of the building was to move subject teaching away from the silo mentality – students enjoy the inside track on sports activities, but also brilliant views to other departments. This new building joins the recently added Yeoh Building, with its Creative Learning Centre, and the new Music School offering state-of-the-art recording facilities and large recital hall. Science and technology facilities in the School of Science and Sport

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RIGHT Learning through discovery at Cumnor House Sussex

include 18 university-standard labs, breakout spaces for shared research, discussion and workshops and a cinema-style auditorium where students and their teachers can hook up to science departments across the globe. As a break from science and tech, pupils can head to the gym or sports hall, take a swim or take a turn round the running track. Facilities at Brighton Collee are designed to inspire self-directed learning – also replicating the kind of approaches pupils can expect when they head on to university or further study – but this is also a learning hub for the local area so that students can engage with partner schools to share resources, learning and ideas. Brighton College is also rich in ‘club culture’, with 100 plus societies and meets for students to share ideas in STEM, Arts and creativity. With everything from coding, dissection and robotics cubs to DT and art activities, these extracurricular and enrichment activities take place in designated activity slots, enabling individual passions and interests to thrive both inside and outside the curriculum.

Cumnor House Sussex


t Cumnor House Sussex, the approach to STEM is broad and designed to inspire, with subjects integrated into wider teaching and learning. The annual Science Week forms a highlight of the school calendar for everyone. Another hotly anticipated event is the Year 8 summer project. This has seen a wealth of brilliant STEM-focused admissions, including self-built computers, upcycled furniture and animations. The school emphasises 21st-century key skills. For instance, coding is introduced in Year 3, while engineering, scientific concepts and computational thinking start in Preprep – initially introduced through play and developed as children build skills and understanding. The STEM building, The Peake,

“The Year 8 summer project has seen a wealth of brilliant STEM-focused admissions, including self-built computers, upcycled furniture and animations” opened in 2017. This houses three science labs and a dedicated Design Technology workshop to enable children to start to imagine, invent and prototype. It is not only used by the school’s pupils, but also by primary school pupils and teachers in the local area. Bespoke, carefully designed and a hive of activity, it’s the place where children are taught the innovation process. They gain sophisticated creative and ‘maker’ skills in a fun and inspiring way – growing in confidence along the way – as they are taught about resistant materials, graphics, electronics and computer aided design and manufacture using a laser. The team here work with the children to foster real enthusiasm and a ‘can-do’ attitude. “We try to work with real life problems and make projects as relevant as possible for today’s world, with an element of sustainability in mind. Innovation and intuitive thinking are crucial to our approach, but

we don’t lose sight of traditional skills. We run an open-door policy and pupils can access the department whenever staff are available,” says Head of Design Technology Tori Bramly. A new project-based learning module for Year 7 and Year 8 pupils involves group work where they take on challenges through the process of action, inquiry and reflection. Children are encouraged to work through real-life scenarios – many with a marketing, fundraising and communications angle. Technical exploration happens all year round, but a highlight is the school’s annual go-kart project. This requires teamwork to build a working kart, putting scientific and mathematical knowledge to the test and culminating in a competitive race. This June’s meet saw Cumnor take the fastest kart around Goodwood at their Green Power Event. The go-kart project is now being more closely integrated with the science curriculum, and with a new Rocket Car Challenge as a precursor event. AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 55


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Mayfield School


t Mayfield School in East Sussex, there is a strong emphasis on developing skills that will set girls on the right path into careers – be they budding entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists or creatives. “All girls enjoy regular talks from old girls who run their own businesses, the Year 12 students enjoy a series of practical workshops from Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge each spring, and Year 8 pupils take part in an annual Mayfield Young Entrepreneur Challenge,” says Amanda Glubb, Mayfield’s Head of Careers. The Mayfield Young Entrepreneur Challenge is a highlight, running over five weeks. It’s inspiring and demanding, as business groups of up to eight girls are loaned £10 as initial start-up capital. They then have to decide what product or service to offer – undertaking research for their market or audience – create a logo, plan a sales and marketing campaign, and manage the finances. Every person in the group contributes to the company, whether through designing packaging, sales and marketing, or keeping track of costs and sales on a spreadsheet. At the end of the five weeks, the loan is repaid and the profit is distributed among the ‘business owners’, often with a donation also being made to a charity of their choice. Another area where Mayfield is seeking to give its students an edge

ABOVE Mayfield School robotics BELOW Mayfield gives students innovation challenges

is the Year 9 subject called Innovate. It has been introduced to raise girls’ awareness of a variety of different technologies and develop appreciation of how they could be deployed in an ethical and purposeful way. Over the course of the academic year, girls complete three projects. The first is a prototype electronic device that could, even in a small way, help to tackle the challenges presented by climate change or environmental disaster. After learning how to use BBC Micro:bit and an array of external sensors/outputs, they choose their problem and find an innovative solution. “Girls have impressed staff with their completed projects which demonstrate both creativity and ingenuity in reaching solutions to real-world problems. Previous projects have included automatic forest fire detection systems, sea level/ temperature monitoring stations, a clean-up station for turtles caught in oil-spills and even a robotic ‘fish’ designed to ‘eat’ plastic waste in the ocean,” says David Warren, Mayfield

School Head of History and Innovation Coordinator. The second Innovate project is designed to encourage a creative response to a real-world issue and is focused around using 3D design and manufacturing to produce a device to help somebody with a disability. The final project centres around robotics and driverless car technology. Once again, girls are encouraged to be independent in completing each challenge, with the more confident using text-based Python language in their work. “Girls have certainly enjoyed this fresh approach to technology in the classroom and in the future, it is hoped that the Innovate curriculum can be brought into the Lower School,” says David Warren. Girls in Year 7 and 8 already have the option to join Junior Tech Club where previous designs have included the creation of mini drones and robots. There’s also an active school STEM club with Raspberry Pi micro-computers so pupils can develop their own brilliant projects and technical innovations.

“Girls have impressed staff with their completed projects which demonstrate both creativity and ingenuity in reaching solutions to real-world problems”


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ABOVE Getting stuck in to DT challenges at Northwood Schools

Northwood Schools


t Northwood Schools – which consists of Broomwood Hall Lower and Upper, Northcote Lodge and Northwood Senior – there’s an approach right from the start that instils the skills for creative problem solving and entrepreneurship. Located in leafy south-west London (and now part of Dukes Education), the four schools’ benefit from space and excellent technology resources. At prep level, every pupil has their own iPad and at senior level individual laptops enable independent working and research. Even Northwood’s pre-prep children are regular users of technology to problem solve, code and create. Film school starts at age 6, with children having the opportunity to create their own movies using using stop start animation. There is also creative use of tech to help children get a creative edge. For instance, at Northcote Lodge VR headsets have transported boys from the comfort of their classrooms to

“Design helps us to build resilience, problem-solving skills and teamwork – some of the critical skills that employers look for in all workplaces” the Jurassic period, Everest Basecamp and a funfair roller-coaster ride. Play can also help develop technical and creative skills – Northwood is a past regional winner of Lego League. There’s also an annual science fair where boys come up with an original question or invention, undertake scientific enquiry and then deliver a presentation about their findings. CAD is introduced early on, with Tinkercad used to help children develop concepts, prototypes and models. Scientific questioning is also developed throughout the curriculum and through clubs. One of the most popular at Northwood Senior is Dissection Club – enabling pupils as young as 11 and 12 to actively learn how to dissect and see for themselves how things work. As

with science, computing and IT skills are developed to give young people confidence in programming and then developing and testing their ideas. “Everything we do is about developing the skills to be an entrepreneur,” says Adele Crabtree, Director of the Arts at Broomwood Hall and Head of DT at Northwood Senior. “Design helps to build resilience, problem-solving skills and teamwork – some of the critical skills that employers look for in all workplaces, not just design workplaces,” she adds. The emphasis at the school goes beyond ‘maker doer’ approaches to consider the whole landscape of innovation and technical thinking. “We ensure that pupils understand the importance of using Design to explore ideas – not just produce results.” AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 57


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innovation setting, including running effective meetings and conflict management. The dedicated careers advice and support means that students here are encouraged to ‘think outside the box’. They are given plenty of expert advice on both university and other options – including sponsored degrees, degree apprenticeships and other training programmes that are becoming increasingly important options to consider. A strong network of alumni, parents and supporters are on hand to give advice on careers in STEM, preparing for interview and developing a strong CV. QAS girls currently at university also lend their support, coming back to give talks and the inside track on what to expect. There are also STEM and careers trips and a full programme of external guest speakers, including university lecturers, authors and mathematicians. Queen Anne’s has a strong track record in developing students who go on to careers with a technical or innovation focus. As well as helping to develop career-ready skills at Sixth Form, the school also ensures students have the opportunity to compete in rewarding (and CV enhancing) events throughout their education, including the UKMT Intermediate Mathematical Challenge and the British Biology Olympiad.

LEFT & BELOW Queen Anne’s School focuses on innovative technical approaches

Queen Anne’s School


aversham day and boarding girls’ senior Queen Anne’s School has a strong reputation for sciences and technical learning, and it is also a Microsoft Showcase School – this is the third year running it has received the award. The school incorporates extensive digital teaching and learning in its approach. “We developed the infrastructure, pedagogy and skills to embark on our 1:1 scheme in 2019 after having supported bring-your-own-device

for some time. Since then, the school has grown from strengthto-strength with digital thinking at the forefront. The Queen Anne’s staff have shown great dedication to continuing their journey as digital educators over the last 18 months, with 24 teachers having achieved Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert status,” says Assistant Head - Digital Thomas Lange. This, of course, proved to be a boon during remote schooling, when Queen Anne’s was able to carry on smoothly thanks to its technical capacity. At Sixth Form level, Queen Anne’s offers a bespoke professional-standard leadership programme that focuses on emotional intelligence and covers essential areas in any business or

“At Sixth Form level, Queen Anne’s offers a professional-standard leadership programme that focuses on emotional intelligence” AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 59


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A parents' guide to

ONLINE SCHOOLS Online schools are not new, but Covid has encouraged many families to take another look. Here's our guide to key players


he Good Schools Guide reported that Google searches using the term ‘online school’ rose by over 600% between summer 2019 and 2020. Online schools are nothing new, but two things have thrust them into the spotlight recently: first is Covid, and second is the enabling power of technology (and better connectivity in our homes). Improved technology makes online schooling a viable possibility for many more families. Traditionally, families choose an online school for specific reasons. There are families outside the UK who still want their child to benefit from the British system. For others, there is a physical/time constraint – their child is an elite sportsperson, actor or musician, for instance. The third group choose

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“There are elite young athletes and performers, children of families outside the UK and students who just do better at an online school”

LEFT Online school is now an interactive 'whole school' experience

research and planning, both for technology and approach. The school offers a specified syllabus of Pearson Edexcel International A-level courses in Maths, Further Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Economics and Spanish. There’s also the opportunity to take the EPQ. The ‘super-curriculum’ programme includes taught electives on a wide range of subjects. ENTRY: Sixth Form, so typically 16-18 APPLICATION PROCESS: Three stage,

this option because their child is unable or reluctant to attend physical school for health/wellbeing reasons or simply does much better with a different mode of learning. Whatever the reason, there are some excellent and well-established specialists in the mix. Here’s a round-up of four key players.

Harrow School Online


hallowed British school, Harrow School Online brings together the traditions and academic might behind its name, using online teaching approaches. It is focusing for now on sixth-form learning. Harrow Online’s first co-ed cohort started in September 2020, but the school has been a long time in

beginning with application form and written personal statement, plus proof of English proficiency level if not first language. There is an entrance test and academic interview in each subject applied for. The final stage is an interview with the Principal. FEES: Typically £5,250 per term for full-time enrolment. Bursaries and scholarships available. Includes exam fees. GOOD TO KNOW: Pupils study from home at a time and pace that suits them, joining live lessons with teachers, in small class sizes with peers across the world. The school operates within the structure of a complete school programme, with Houses, extracurricular activities and a Success Coach to help keep pupils on track. Expectations are high and so is support for Harrow School Online students – for both character development and grades. Exams take place in approved Pearson Edexcel test centres worldwide. IT SAYS: “We bring the Harrow experience to our pupils in their homes, developing the motivation, skills and determination of our pupils through an education that involves high levels of academic achievement, a diverse range of co-curricular opportunities and a House system that support pupils in their online education.” MORE INFORMATION:



stablished in 2005 (making it a pioneer of online school), InterHigh offers live and recorded lessons taught by experienced UK teachers and following independent school standards. Its model of delivery and technology are designed to foster students’ involvement in new concepts and it places great store on immersive, experiential learning and what it describes as 21stcentury skills – including empathy, resilience, international mindedness and digital literacy. This is done via subject teaching and extracurricular curriculum, plus its masterclass recordings with subject-matter experts.

ENTRY: Ages 7 – 19. Non-selective and with rolling admissions. Spoken and written English essential as that’s the language of instruction. APPLICATION PROCESS: Online registration form, with enrolment typically within 48 hours. Rolling and annual contracts available. Also offers ‘Learning on Demand’ bespoke programmes and a summer programme. FEES: Typically £2,750-£5,750 annual fee, depending on age and subjects taken. Excludes exam fees. GOOD TO KNOW: There are progression talks in the year leading up to GCSE and A levels. Support offered through one-to-one tutoring and tutor groups. In 2019, of the InterHigh graduates who applied to university, 47% went to Russell Group Universities. Next year InterHigh launches a ‘virtual campus’ with further enhancements to tried and tested social elements that enhance the student experience. IT SAYS: “InterHigh celebrates the career paths and learning journeys of each student and recognises that each student is as unique as the career and learning journey they choose.” MORE INFORMATION:

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Developing Remarkable People Since 1541

A Day and Boarding School offering outstanding academic teaching and pastoral care Boys • Girls • Sixth 30 mins from London Euston 40 mins from London Heathrow BERKHAMSTED.indd 1

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Minerva’s Virtual Academy


ounded by Minerva Tutors, the homeschooling and tutor agency, Minerva’s Virtual Academy opened its virtual doors in October 2020 for secondary students up to 16. In 2022 a sixth form will open to teach A levels. Pupils here follow the British curriculum, learning at their own pace through a mixture of live group lessons, one-to-one sessions and online modules – all with the support of a personal mentor. They join after-school clubs and attend weekly assemblies. Every pupil joins at least one club and there are termly virtual talks by inspirational speakers for parents and pupils, plus optional in-person meet ups.

ENTRY: Secondary level for

Pearson Online Academy UK

virtual meeting with the admissions team and access for a trial of the platform. The next stage is enrolment, which includes a virtual meeting with the Head of Education FEES: Typically £6,500 per year, with monthly or termly plans available. Excludes exam fees. GOOD TO KNOW: Pupils attend live subject lessons, giving them the chance to work collaboratively with their peers. World Changer Projects are led by tutors with special interests and experiences or with external organisations. Weekly Assemblies are about celebrating successes and sharing stories. Weekly wellbeing sessions are designed to develop resilience and mindfulness. IT SAYS: “Our school is built upon four pillars: Virtual Learning Platform, Mentoring, Collaborative Learning and Community. This allows us to deliver a highly effective, personalised education. Our class sizes are limited to 20 pupils.”


giant in the education field, Pearson Online Academy UK brings a wealth of wisdom to the fields of both edtech and pedagogy for online learning. Its educational programmes have been specifically designed for digital learning and combine independent study and LiveLesson sessions. It is designed for ambitious students who want a high-quality personalised British education that can fit around their lifestyle. Exams take place in approved Pearson Edexcel test centres worldwide.

ENTRY: Secondary level for ages 14-18. APPLICATION PROCESS: Applications

ages 12-16. 16+ from 2022. APPLICATION PROCESS: Online

‘register interest’ form prior to a


ABOVE Coaching and personal tutors help students stay engaged

are accepted throughout the school year via an online application form, with dedicated admissions advisors to help with the admissions process. Applicants have an ‘Admissions account’ to upload documents. Upon approval, students receive their offer letter and enrolment is complete. FEES: Typically £5,950 per academic year, with fees paid in advance of each term. Excludes exam fees. GOOD TO KNOW: The Academy prepares students for Pearson Edexcel International GCSE and A levels, which are accepted worldwide. There’s a high degree of interactivity between pupils and teachers and everyone has a Success Coach, who helps develop academic, personal and social skills through fortnightly one-to-one coaching sessions and small group workshops. The school schedule also includes support for college and test preparation and career planning. IT SAYS: “Our students are as unique as their physical location, with many of them coming to us with needs and expectations beyond what their local school provides. Some of our students travel a lot, others are athletes or performers who need flexibility to pursue their craft , and others come to us looking for more challenging courses.” MORE INFORMATION:

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ABOVE In the library at Merchiston Castle

The Next

GAMECHANGER The Assistant Head Academic at Merchiston Castle School reflects on the value of Entrepreneurial Education – both for developing broad skills and for finding the next Steve Jobs

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raditionally, entrepreneurial life stories tend to stress the role of hard knocks over school study on the road to success. Think Steve Jobs in the '70s, dropping out of Reed College in his first year to seek enlightenment in the ashrams of South Asia, before returning to California – initially, they say, still in his kaftan and beads – to found Apple in his parents' garage. Yet university-level and, increasingly, school-level Entrepreneurial Education is now seen as a key strategy to prepare the next generation for the challenges ahead. There are compelling political and economic grounds for this: across the world, as economies transform, governments have identified entrepreneurship's stress on problem-solving, creative thinking and a can-do mindset as a way to prepare young people to perform and – better yet – create jobs that do not yet exist. As an internationally facing boarding school with strong links to global business, here at Merchiston Castle School we have been particularly keen to build this aspect of our offering. Taught in school as an academic discipline with a rich experiential element, Entrepreneurship

BELOW Pupil at Merchiston Castle School

ABOVE Studying Entrepreneurship

“Our learners are acquiring transferable problem-solving skills which they can apply across their learning and lives” has quickly grown into one of our most popular Sixth Form options, where pupils can earn an A-level equivalent BTEC qualification over two years. The course is lively, stretching and fun to teach. Units of study include the Entrepreneurial Mindset, Strategies to Raise Finance, Devising a Marketing Plan for a new product and Enterprise Leadership skills. The programme also requires learners to model entrepreneurial skills through their work while learning, with the support of their teachers, how to engage responsibly with project risk. To research the Entrepreneurial Mindset, for example, learners are grouped according to their individual interest. This year we have teams focusing on property and finance, sports management and luxury products. Each group has approached relevant entrepreneurs from our extensive alumni body, asking them to be case studies. We have been blown away by the generosity of these individuals with their time and it is great to see the satisfaction the pupils derive from the real-world aspects of this process. And of course, throughout, our learners are also acquiring transferable problemsolving skills which they can apply across their learning and lives, whether that means taking an iterative approach to

their academic studies and next-step progressions or driving the development of a growth mindset more broadly, At Merchiston, we see Entrepreneurial Education as an exciting and important field for school leaders to consider, both in developing our young people and fostering positive attitudes to entrepreneurship. As we think of the challenges of our day – rebuilding after the pandemic, innovating our way beyond the Climate Crisis or, here in the UK, levelling up and forging a path post-EU – it is a safe bet that this field will only continue to grow. The next Steve Jobs, in other words, might not be quite so quick to swap his books for his backpack.

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Business BRAINS Oakham School Headmaster Henry Price discusses why entrepreneurship is on the rise and explores how the school is responding to this trend


ith the wealth of opportunities that we offer our pupils both inside and outside the classroom, we are always seeking new and innovative ways to equip our girls and boys with the skills to succeed in life, whatever career path they may choose. In a year that sees us celebrate 20 years of offering the IB Diploma alongside A levels, providing a strong academic education for our pupils remains at the heart of everything we do. However, as we witness a rise in entrepreneurship across the country, we recognise this as an opportunity to nurture new skills in our pupils that may help them after leaving school or university. Despite the barriers of the pandemic and the closed high streets across the UK, 2020 was termed the ‘Year of the Start-Ups’ with 770,000 new businesses being formed (May 2021 data from Tyl). Entrepreneurs used various methods to make and sell their products during lockdown and made a good contribution to the UK economy. We have recently launched the Freddie Groome Enterprise Activity, which is in memory of late Old Oakhamian Freddie and encapsulates his joy and passion for enterprise. Generously supported by Freddie’s father, John Groome, the new programme is available to Year 12 students and will see them work together to set up

“What all entrepreneurs have in common is the drive and passion to succeed and these are qualities that we strive to nurture”

ABOVE Pupils at Oakham School

and run a small business. Throughout the that we strive to nurture in our pupils. scheme, pupils will demonstrate a range We encourage our pupils to show courage of enterprising skills such as teamwork, and contribution from the earliest age by communication and leadership. The offering them a range of experiences to course will finish with a market to sell the help them discover where their interests products that each business makes, as well lie. The Freddie Groome Enterprise as an awards ceremony on Speech Day. Activity will be a welcome addition to our A great number of Oakham School alumni range of enrichment opportunities. have already gone on to set up successful Additionally, when they leave us, our businesses, a recent example being pupils have access to our careers Hub, which PrOganic, a mobile milkmaid service run by gives them the chance to be mentored by Jess Armitage. After leaving Oakham, Jess other former pupils using the Old Oakhamian studied Business Management (OO) Club Network. This has at Reading University and helped many of our alumni to now has a highly successful acquire the necessary skills to business providing Rutland make it in their chosen fields. residents with delicious Most importantly, our aim fresh, organic, pasteurised, is to ensure that by the time unhomogenised milk vended they leave us, Oakhamians are into reusable glass bottles. well rounded and confident What I believe all young adults, equipped with entrepreneurs have in common the vital abilities and values HENRY PRICE is the drive and passion to succeed at university, Headmaster to succeed in their chosen in the world of work, and Oakham School field and these are qualities in their wider lives. AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 67


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PAT H WAYS With the conventional pathways of gap year and/or university altered by the pandemic, what about other options? We look at some CV-enhancing possibilities


chool students have been short-changed by the pandemic. It is, arguably, even harder for those about to embark upon the traditional journey – that mind-expanding gap year or well-lit path into the pleasurable whirlwind of university study and social life. This is complicated by the question of finances, since the past 18 months have made some of us question whether university offers ‘bang for buck’. Some students have decided to defer, while others about to embark on A levels are considering if this will be enough to get them where they want to go – especially since graduate jobs are not as available (or as stable), as they used to be, and the burden of student debt is high. Challenges are also opportunities and we’ve considered some alternative options for 16+ and 18+ students that can provide new skills (or top up your CV), bring fresh career options – and deliver cultural exchange and adventure.

ONLINE LEARNING At one time online schools were largely the preserve of UK students living abroad, elite athletes or young actors and musicians. But with so much of 2020 schooling delivered

remotely, many more students have discovered that this is a style of learning that works for them. Rapid evolution of technology and major investment from key education players are helping online move mainstream, making this a definite option for young people who want a different route. Pearson Online Academy UK Global has been designed to be flexible and its combination of sophisticated tech and long-established education expertise make it a good option for both GCSE and A levels. Courses prepare students for Pearson Edexcel International exams, which take place at dedicated test centres in the UK and worldwide. While the majority of enrolment takes place for students aged 14-18, there is the option for students who are slightly older to enrol. Teaching and learning are personalised – just like admissions – so Pearson Online Academy UK Global will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis. There’s plenty of flexibility. For instance, students taking (or about to embark on) their A levels can study an extra subject here. This is useful for those who want to be stretched, to take a subject not offered by their school or who want to keep options open with an extra qualification. Similarly, the 18+ student who has decided on a change of direction and wants an

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LEFT Studying online is a convenient route to top up your skills and boost your CV

additional ‘top up’ GCSE or A level to smooth the path to the next level of study can choose to get that qualification here. Students who are fully enrolled at Pearson Online Academy UK Global for GCSE or A-level study benefit from lots of extras – for instance, a Success Coach for fortnightly one-to-one coaching sessions and small group workshops and guidance on university preparation and careers planning. Fees are very competitive for independent schooling (from £5,950 full-time per academic year, excluding exam fees). While a single A level or GCSE doesn’t provide all the immersive extras of full time (with fees adjusted accordingly), there is still personalised approach and you’ll have a dedicated admissions advisor on hand to provide one-to-one

guidance and help you find the right path. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Harrow School Online also offers a route for students looking for an alternative to traditional ‘physical’ school, and with the bonus of British qualifications gained from an independent with a worldwide reputation. The online school’s first cohort joined in 2020 and its academic programme

is specialist, with A levels in Maths, Further Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Economics and Spanish. There’s also the opportunity to take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). For fulltime students, classes and added value include a ‘super-curriculum’ programme of electives, plus academic competitions, guest lectures and additional academic

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RIGHT Gap year adventures are still out there – you can even earn UCAS points

study options. In other words, this is an academic programme that includes lots of mind-expanding and CV-enhancing stuff. Full-time students are expected to commit at least 25 hours a week to study – but many will do a lot more as the programme is designed to foster individual study skills and a love of learning. The typical timetable blends fixed timetabled lessons (6-10 pupils typically in a class) with flexible self-study, homework, electives and extracurricular. Harrow School Online pupils have houses – just like pupils at the school – so the social and enrichment elements are present too. There’s lots of one-to-one time and students have a Career Coach to advise them. Full-time fees are typically £5,250 a term full-time, including exams. Part-time students are generally studying or having individual tuition elsewhere and then study one or two A levels. It’s ideal if you, for instance, want to take a fourth A level and benefit from the expertise of the school’s teaching. It’s also pretty international – a bonus for anyone who loves cultural exchange opportunities. For applicants to all courses, there’s a three-stage process and the school considers each application on merit. It is worth noting that gaining qualifications from Harrow School Online or Pearson Online Academy UK Global – or via online teaching generally – is, by default, a way to stand out from the crowd. For one thing, it shows ‘gumption’ to plot this alternative route. It also shows selfmotivation, determination and discipline – all vital for successful achievement at university and likely to mark you out to employers as a candidate to consider.

GAP YEAR LEARNING The pandemic has been a disaster for students planning gap year adventures – or so you might think. In fact, the opportunities are still out there for students willing to think outside the box, take a risk and look to the long term. There’s certainly an incentive for many students to go for a gap year rather than head straight to university in the current uncertain climate. “Covid pushed a lot of students into an ‘accidental’ gap year, since the idea of starting a university experience via Zoom wasn’t particularly appealing for many recent school graduates,” says Alia Pialtos, COO at gap year review and information site Go Overseas and Board Member of the Gap Year Association. Brian Schofield, Head of Upper Sixth at Hurst College, has suggested that in the future students will need to treat university more like work (see page 131), and the same could be said of gap years. While future employers might appreciate your independent spirit, travel in and of itself is not particularly unusual these days – so not a USP on anyone’s CV. Where it comes into its own is in giving you pause between school and the next stage, while also adding useful skills. The

“Around 118,000 people in England are studying for a first degree through an FE college – around a quarter of those are under 21” trick here is in defining what it is you want to do and why you want to do it, says Alia Pialtos of Go Overseas. “The most impactful gap years have always had a strong sense of intentionality, even if the intention is to explore the world through travel! While defining the value of taking a gap year can be a very personal process, gap years have been significant drivers for value creation in regards to soft skills – intercultural communication, resilience, creativity, confidence, problem solving, etc.” Add in an element of paid work or unpaid volunteering – or gaining a

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ABOVE Volunteering gap years can give you career skills

particular qualification – and the gap year morphs into something rather more “impactful” and potentially useful for careers. For instance, Alia Pialtos says that au pair jobs and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualifications have remained popular throughout the pandemic among young people. TEFL is a good example, as qualifications can be used abroad, in the UK at a language school or teaching English online. Pialtos adds that limited travel opportunities have made young people seek both domestic and virtual gap year options over the past 18 months or so. Looking slightly longer term, there’s no doubt that borders are starting to open up and many of the more traditional areas of gap year activity will start to flourish again. Projects Abroad, a long-established social enterprise and organiser of international volunteering and internships, is busy planning its 2022 schedule of opportunities in 25 countries – and if you can’t go to the destination you planned, there’s a full refund policy. It’s also running trips right now, and for countries with Red List restrictions, students get exemption to travel for volunteer work. Volunteering and internship opportunities, run for students from 15+ through university and include specialist areas such as veterinary, medicine & healthcare and engineering. These can be valuable CV builders, helping prove resourcefulness, interest and aptitude for specific pathways. There’s even a new

RIGHT FE colleges offer a huge range of courses

International Diploma in Volunteering available through Projects Abroad that can earn you 16 UCAS points.

COLLEGE OPPORTUNITIES Further Education (FE) colleges are often neglected in the search for places – or courses – to add the right qualifications and experience. This is an opportunity missed, since there are over 230 colleges in England alone (this includes sixth form, art and land-based colleges). There are opportunities to study or (subject to vetting) retake GCSEs and A levels, take BTECs, apprenticeships and other vocational courses. Part-time and evening courses may be offered too, useful if you want to ‘shoehorn’ in an additional qualification to boost your CV or chances of being selected onto a university

course. FE colleges also offer higher qualifications. In fact, the Association of Colleges says that around 118,000 people are studying for a first degree through an FE college – around a quarter of those are under 21. Prices for college degrees can reduce your student debt burden (typical costs can be around £5,500 PA). Some FE colleges have specific strengths in areas such as art, music production, vocational medical qualifications, engineering, film and photography. There is a diversity among the student cohort at colleges – age, stage and background. If you like the idea of an educational setting where you will be mixing with people returning to learning, overseas students and your own age group, this option is worth exploring. UCAS is a good starting point on courses and pathways and, if you’re looking at local colleges seek out opinions from current/ recent students, speak to careers advisors and take a look at recent Ofsted reports.

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The forward-thinking independent school creating caring, ambitious and well-educated boys and girls.

“My entire family fell in love with Queen’s. The school is simply beautiful with a huge range of facilities. The staff are so helpful and friendly and are always keen to answer any questions or worries we may have.”

Extensive range of co-curricular activities

Caring and supportive community

Strong academic results

Excellent boarding accommodation

Exciting boarding programme of activities and excursions

No compulsory exeats

Outstanding creative and performing arts

570 seat theatre – the largest in the region

Contact our friendly admissions team +44 (0)1823 340830 NURSERY • PRE-PREP • PREP • SENIOR • SIXTH FORM


Find out more at 9 months - 18 years Co-educational • Day & Boarding

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Bright sparks

The Head Master of Dauntsey’s discusses the importance of both class and extra-curricular in igniting children’s passions and developing strengths for future life


n estimated 65% of children entering primary schools today will work in jobs that don’t currently exist, according to the Universities UK report ‘Solving Future Skills Challenges’. It follows, therefore, that schools should not just equip children with exam certificates, but also life skills which enable them to embrace new opportunities and be resilient when their chosen path doesn’t unfold quite as they had planned. A significant part of developing those skills is helping each pupil find an interest or a talent where they can excel, and a good school will see this as its mission. Teachers can easily identify the more confident pupils, the sporty ones, the maths

“Teachers can easily identify the confident pupils, but it’s just as important to identify the ones who have not yet discovered their ‘spark’”

ABOVE Pupils at Dauntsey’s

geniuses, the musical ones who sing as they or dinghy sailing. They develop teamwork pass along the corridors, and those who are and leadership skills, whilst stretching first to volunteer or ask a question. But it’s themselves mentally as well as physically. equally important to identify the quieter The activities themselves are only part ones who are more cautious and have not of the picture. Everyone works with people yet discovered their ‘spark’. On the sports outside their normal social circle, creating field, these pupils may not be selected for the new teams and forming new relationships. top teams. On stage, they may not be picked Group dynamics change and the results can for a leading role. In social situations, some be surprising to both pupils and teachers. may find themselves on the edge. Any good After a few sessions, vital life skills such as school should seek to ensure that every pupil communication, co-operation, listening to has the opportunity to develop and shine. others, sensitivity and tolerance of different It’s not all about achievements in the ideas are learnt and new friends made. classroom, although for some a particular Working with others towards a common subject – or teacher – will provide that goal teaches young people how a team lightbulb moment. Extra-curricular operates, how to lead and how to follow. A activities can play a vital good school will educate their role. Our pioneering pupils, but an excellent school ‘Moonrakers’ adventure will develop the whole person education programme for all – helping each individual find Third Formers (Year 9) has somewhere or something in a far-reaching impact. Pupils which they can excel. Finding spend an afternoon a week on that spark helps each boy outdoor activities throughout and girl develop a deeper the year. They might be understanding of how they kayaking, learning self-defence function and this, in turn, MARK LASCELLES or orienteering, mountain brings greater self-esteem and a Head Master Dauntsey’s biking, cooking outdoors, renewed energy and confidence crossing a river, rock climbing in their own abilities. AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 73

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UK Education experts BESSA CONNECT British Education and Schools Show Asia

BESSA has grown throughout the recent period of change. From hosting the first digital schools show to opening BESSA Connect, a free online portal for families to explore British education and connect directly with British-curriculum schools via their virtual booths, we continue our mission to make UK education easily accessible to all. Join us again in Singapore and Malaysia at BESSA 2022, and in the meantime, be our guest to discover what a UK education has to offer your child at Here are some of the schools that we work with.


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Bishop’s Stortford College Head Kathy Crewe-Read Location Bishop’s Stortford,

Hertfordshire About Bishop’s Stortford College is one of the UK’s top performing independent co-educational day and boarding schools and is consistently among the top 100 independent schools in the country. As three schools in one, the College is large enough to provide an exceptional range of opportunities, while each section is small enough for pupils to be known, valued and nurtured as individuals. The infectious enthusiasm, imagination and dedication of College staff, in partnership with parents, enables pupils to grow into happy, wellrounded, skillful and caring young people equipped and ready for the adventures and opportunities life has to offer. Pupils can, and do, pursue high academic standards whilst enjoying and succeeding, in many other interests.

Brighton College

Head Richard Cairns Location Brighton, East Sussex About Brighton College is one of the country’s leading independent schools for girls and boys aged 3-18. The College regularly achieves the best A-level and GCSE results of any co-educational school in the UK, whilst ensuring children enjoy a wealth of extracurricular opportunities. Renowned for its focus on kindness, the College also excels in art, music, dance, drama and sporting achievements. Recently named ‘England’s Independent School of the Year 2019’ by The Sunday Times, the second time in a decade it has won this prestigious award, Brighton College has also been called ‘Britain’s most forward-thinking school’ and ‘Top in Britain for STEM’ by The Week.

Bromsgrove School Head Peter Clague Location Bromsgrove,

Worcestershire About Bromsgrove is one of the oldest but most forward-thinking of Britain’s great schools. Flair, discipline and academic rigour all play their part: so too does a Sixth Form curriculum of great breadth, offering a choice to pupils of A levels


Downe House School

A modern first-class all-round education that prepares them for life or the IB Diploma and the School has just introduced the one-year University of London International Foundation Programme. Equally strong in the Arts and Sciences, Bromsgrove’s high league table position is a result of the breadth of its offer. Whether a student wishes to be a musician or a mathematician, Bromsgrove’s standards and expectations will guide and support them to success at the highest level.

Cheltenham College Head Mrs Nicola Huggett Location Cheltenham,

Gloucestershire About Cheltenham College has been educating young people since 1841. Bestowed with stunning

buildings and set in the heart of one of England’s most vibrant spa towns, boys and girls are provided with a modern first-class all-round education that prepares them for life. Pupils are inspired to achieve high academic standards, leaving with exam results they can be proud of. They flourish under the guidance of dedicated teachers who are leaders in their subject fields. The pastoral care at College is something that everyone takes pride in. This is the foundation which enables pupils to gain confidence in themselves. Opportunities provided outside of the classroom are second to none. This is a busy school offering outstanding provision within sport, creative arts and outdoor education. Pupils are able to develop a range of interests that will last them a lifetime.

Head Emma McKendrick Location Berkshire About Innovative yet traditional,

academic but with exceptional cocurricular opportunities, this is an all-girls’ day and boarding school with a family-friendly approach. Downe House values, challenges, supports and educates every girl as an individual. With only girls in the classroom, in the science labs, on stage and in the sports field, both intellectual and physical confidence can grow without any stereotyping or gender-weighted expectations. Being a Downe House girl means much more than a set of outstanding academic results but of course they matter, and they are immensely proud of consistently impressive exam results. In 2021, 84% of the grades achieved were A*-A (or equivalent) at A Level; at GCSE, 89% of grades were at 9-7 and 71% were graded 9-8. However, the school places equal importance on equipping every girl with a well-established work ethic and a core set of traditional values, skill and beliefs that will allow her to flourish in today’s rapidly changing world.

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day pupils. Academic rigour and outstanding co-curricular provision are at the heart of the school. Pupils enjoy exceptional opportunities and a truly all-round education which enables them to discover enduring passions and talents. A key part of the school’s philosophy is empowering each child to follow their passions and build self-confidence. Pupils benefit from professional sports coaching from the likes of former Wales rugby captain Michael Owen and ex-England international netballer Dani McFarlane. There is a packed co-curricular programme spanning core sports, scuba diving, African drumming, beekeeping and more.


Eastbourne College

Head Tom Lawson Location Eastbourne, East Sussex

The school knows that only happy, well-supported children truly flourish About Set in a stunning location

between the sea and the South Downs, Eastbourne College offers a full education that is so much more than the excellent academic results the boys and girls achieve year after year. Pupils are given every opportunity to achieve their very best – whether it be in the academic classroom, the creative arts departments, or on the sports field. They thrive in this welcoming and purposeful environment and develop into highly able individuals who leave prepared to live fulfilled, positive lives; able to work with others; self-confident, resilient individuals who show initiative and leadership. Academically, pupils achieve superb results. The ten-year rolling average A*-B at A level is 78.2% and each year many leavers gain places at Oxford, Cambridge and other Russell Group universities.

Fettes College

Head Helen Harrison Location Edinburgh, Scotland About Fettes is uniquely situated

in private, extensive grounds close to the heart of Edinburgh and enjoys a reputation as one of the UK’s pre-eminent boarding schools for boys and girls aged 7-18. It is a full-boarding school with 70% of pupils boarding full time and 30% day (no flexi or weekly boarding). Each boarding house is a caring community of students and staff

designed to be a real home-fromhome. The school knows that only happy, well-supported children truly flourish. Life at Fettes is founded on strong family values: individuality is appreciated, cultures are embraced and unique talents are celebrated. The school is able to assist international families requiring Tier 4 Visas via Newland Chase Education.


Head Principal: Lisa Kerr

Headmaster: Richard Devey Location Elgin, Moray, Scotland About As well as preparing students

for exams, Gordonstoun prepares them for life. The school’s uniquely broad curriculum encourages every student to fulfil their potential academically, and also as human beings. Gordonstoun follows the English GCSE and A-Level curriculum and students go on to Universities and Colleges all over the world to study a diverse range of subjects. The school’s location in the north of Scotland provides the background for Gordonstoun’s world-beating outdoor education

programme. Through expeditions and sail training voyages, students gain experience in leadership and team building. Their outlook is broadened, their ability to consider the needs of others developed, and they gain resilience – life skills which complement the school’s commitment to academic excellence. For over 40 years, GISS has been providing a safe and happy environment for students aged 8-16 from over 35 countries, to come together to learn, have fun and make friends. With an excellent staffing ratio of one staff to two children, parents and children can be completely confident that their expectations will be met.


Head Martin Collier Location Hertford Heath,

Hertfordshire; About Haileybury is an independent, co-educational boarding school, located in 500 acres of beautiful Hertfordshire countryside. Spectacular grounds are home to outstanding facilities, excellent teaching and superb pastoral care for its community of boarding and

Head Mrs Caroline Jordan Location Oxford; About Headington School is a

leading day and boarding school for girls aged three to 18, set in 23 acres just a mile from Oxford city centre. A major refurbishment and extension of the Sixth Form Centre was completed in early 2019. Other facilities include an award-winning library, complete with sonic chairs where girls can listen to music or lectures without disturbing their neighbours and interactive tables for group working, a state-of-theart Music School, a purpose-built 240-seat Theatre, a light and airy Art School and a spacious Dance and Fitness Centre, which features a fully-equipped gym, training rooms and a large dance studio. There is a strong academic focus, especially in the Sixth Form, with girls consistently obtaining top results at A Level and specialist programmes are offered for Medicine and Veterinary Science, Architecture and Law. At A Level and GCSE, the School performs exceptionally well, with a third of all GCSEs this year graded at the new highest ‘9’ level, while over half of A Levels were A*-A. An education at Headington prepares girls for every aspect of life. Headington girls are intellectually curious, emotionally confident, kind and considerate.


Head Mr Jonathan Anderson Location Edinburgh, Scotland About Merchiston is one of the

UK’s leading boarding schools, and a member of the World Leading Schools Association (the only school in Scotland), offering the English curriculum, but with a

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Sedbergh School


Head Dan Harrison (Senior School)

Will Newman (Prep) Location Sedbergh, Cumbria About Established in 1525, Sedbergh

global, outward-looking dimension. Over 65% of pupils board and a full boarding programme is provided, seven days a week. Merchiston is a remarkable school where boys make lifelong friends and community connections, while excelling far beyond their expected results and being prepared to leave ready for the world. Committed to leading students towards ‘personal excellence’, the School’s exceptional academic performance over a significant number of years, demonstrates that our boys, as a cohort, are consistently amongst the highest achieving boys in Scotland. Maths, Further Maths, Science and Technology (including Electronics) are particular strengths, although Humanities and the Arts are also excellent.

Radley College

Head John Moule Location Abingdon, Oxford About Radley College is a full

boarding school for 690 boys aged 13-18, set on a beautiful 800-acre estate, just three miles from Oxford. It was founded in 1847 by the Reverend William Sewell, fellow of Exeter College. The school believes strongly in the pursuit of excellence both inside and outside the classroom, and on encouraging boys to develop their talents and discover new interests. As an unashamedly full boarding environment, Radley defines itself by its caring community where all, staff and boys alike, are passionate about what they do, and are dedicated to it. A Radley education is about academic ambition, learning to live with others and preparation for the world beyond its gates. Above all,

it is about the core values that will underpin success in all its forms throughout a Radleian’s life: as leaders, citizens and human beings.

is one of the few remaining full boarding schools in the UK; 98% of pupils board in nine Boarding Houses (3 girls’, 6 boys’). Pupils benefit from exceptional pastoral care and the opportunity for everyone to achieve their potential whether their talents are academic, sporting or artistic. Each pupil has a dedicated tutor who is responsible for their academic and pastoral development. Highly unusually these days, Sedbergh retains the traditional in-house dining providing a family-style atmosphere.Sedbergh is widely recognised as one of the leading sport schools in the UK and offers 35 sports including sailing, rugby, tennis, hockey, cricket,

netball, athletics, cross country, fives, football, squash, swimming, mountain biking, horse riding, fell walking and climbing. Music is also a very important part of life at Sedbergh and the School has three orchestras, five choirs, a swing band, brass band, and numerous ensembles. In addition to providing an outstanding academic education, Sedbergh also prepares its pupils for life. Good manners and respect are enforced during the ‘family style’ meal times and throughout the School day, and the co-educational and multi-national mix of pupils contributes an important social dimension to all pupils’ education, providing the opportunity for pupils to learn and practise rules of etiquette, obtain social graces and develop a natural, pleasant confidence in a variety of social settings.

Rugby School

Head Peter Green Location Rugby, Warwickshire About Rugby School pupils flourish in a supportive community, both spiritually and socially aware, that challenges learners, develops resilience and encourages intellectual risk-taking. The school teaches tolerance and respect with as much dedication as academic subjects, because at Rugby, the whole person is the whole point. Much copied but never bettered, Rugby initiated the ‘House’ system 200 years ago, resulting in a genuine and uncompromised care plan which supports every single student. Girls and boys enjoy a proper ‘home from home’ experience here. Pupils at Rugby have the benefit of fantastic educational facilities and highly qualified staff. They learn what is needed to prepare fully for public examinations but, more than that, they develop a love of learning which stays with them long after they have left the School. Rugby sets high expectations of pupils not only in terms of their work ethic but also in terms of their intellectual ambition. Pupils aim high and university success is proof of this.Famous alumni are authors, poets, actors, playwrights including Lewis Carroll, Rupert Brooke, Neville Chamberlain, Anthony Horowitz, Robert Hardy, Will Butler-Adams, Isabel Wolff and Polly Stenham. Not forgetting William Webb Ellis, originator of the game of rugby football.

Pupils develop a love of learning which stays with them long after they have left the school


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St Swithun’s School

A vision of holistic education as demonstrated through a diverse range of activities Sevenoaks School Head Mr Jesse Elzinga Location Sevenoaks, Kent About Sevenoaks (founded in 1432)

is a co-educational day and boarding school for students aged 11 to 18. Academic excellence is delivered by a broad, balanced programme of study and exciting teaching. Strengthened by wise pastoral care and the inclusive influences of the International Baccalaureate, Sevenoaks students work hard to extend themselves far beyond the core curriculum. Over half of students attend one of the UK’s top ten universities, with approximately 20% receiving offers from Oxford and Cambridge annually. Students have access to world-class facilities for their studies but also their co-curricular pursuits, including sport, music, drama and art, a huge range of clubs and societies, and a well-established community service programme.

Shrewsbury School

Head Leo Winkley Location Shrewsbury, Shropshire About Shrewsbury School is a

co-educational boarding school with approximately 800 pupils aged 13-18, founded in 1552. The school is committed to strong academic standards and the highest level of pastoral care, believing in a vision of holistic education as demonstrated through a diverse range of activities, sports and societies. As Charles Darwin’s former school, mathematics and the sciences form the largest sixth form subjects. Nearly all leavers go on to university, with large numbers going to the top universities in the UK. There is a highly qualified, dedicated team to advise pupils on universities and careers, and the school stages a regular series of conferences showcasing UK, US, and European universities.

Head Jane Gandee Location Winchester, Hampshire About Compassion, integrity, and a

quiet sense of self-confidence St Swithun’s School is a renowned independent day, weekly and full-boarding school for girls set in 45 acres overlooking the Hampshire Downs, only 50 minutes by train from London. It offers excellent teaching, sporting and recreational facilities. The school has a long-standing reputation for academic rigour and success. Girls are prepared for public examinations and higher education in a stimulating environment in which they develop intellectual curiosity, independence of mind and the ability to take responsibility for their own learning. St Swithun’s offers a comprehensive careers and higher education support service throughout the school years. Its Oxbridge preparation is part of a whole-school academic enrichment programme providing additional challenge and stimulation. St Swithun’s describes itself as an ‘appropriately academic’ school, celebrating intellectual curiosity and the life of the mind, but not to the exclusion of all else. They expect their pupils to develop individual passions and through them to acquire a range of skills and characteristics.

Stowe School

Head Dr Anthony Wallersteiner Location Stowe, Buckingham About Stowe was founded to be a disruptive presence in education. At its foundation in 1923, the School became a positive force in an education system that was rigid, unquestioning and often unkind. Stowe was founded to question the received wisdom and to raise generations who would question rather than accept and make a positive difference. Almost 100 years later, Stowe’s founding ethos remains as powerful as it was then. However, the world the pupils are entering after Stowe is very different to the one that those first boys entered back in the 1920s. Stowe wants to prepare pupils to go into the world and to question. To make a positive impact on the world that they live in. To do this, the school fully equips Stoics with the skills that will not only help them flourish but will also help them make a genuine difference. While the academic provision continues to strengthen and improve, the skills that future generations will need in the volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous world they will enter are far wider than the skills needed to get through exams. These skills will include: analytical thinking and innovation; active learning and learning strategies;

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complex problem solving; creativity; originality and initiative; technology, design and programming; creative thinking and analysis; leadership and social influence; and, emotional intelligence.


Tonbridge School Head James Priory Location Tonbridge, Kent About Tonbridge School is one of

the leading boys’ boarding schools in the country and highly respected internationally. It aims to provide a caring and enlightened environment in which the talents of each individual flourish. We encourage boys to be creative, tolerant and to strive for academic, sporting and cultural excellence. Respect for tradition and an openness to innovation are equally valued. An extensive and continuous building programme has ensured academic, cultural, sporting and domestic facilities of an exceptionally high standard. In 2016 the state of the art Smythe Library was completed and March 2019 saw the launch of the new £20m Barton Science Centre. Combined with outstanding Design, Technology and Engineering facilities, this makes Tonbridge one of the foremost schools for STEM subjects in the UK. These facilities operate alongside the E.M. Forster Theatre, a £10m Sports Centre and the newly refurbished Big School Gallery Space which places the Arts at the very centre of school life. Examination results are consistently outstanding. In 2018 nearly two thirds of all grades were

either A*, A or their Pre-U equivalent, and the ‘average’ set of results for a Tonbridge leaver in 2018 was A*AA. A well-established house system at the heart of the school fosters a strong sense of belonging and the supportive environment in which pupils flourish. Tonbridgians should, then, enter into the adult world with the knowledge and self-belief to fulfil their own potential and to become leaders in their chosen field.


Other pursuits include Model United Nations, solarpowered motorsport racing and even bee-keeping Wycombe Abbey

Head Mrs Jo Duncan MA, PGCE Location, High Wycombe,

Buckinghamshire About A world leader in girls’ boarding education and a place where academic excellence, empathy and integrity thrive. Ranked as the UK’s top boarding school (Sunday Times, Parent Power), Wycombe Abbey is a world-class establishment which strives to provide high academic achievement with a holistic and rewarding educational experience. Results are consistently impressive: 95% A*-B and 80% A*-A at A level and 97.5% A*-A at GCSE in 2018/19. Leavers go on to study subjects as diverse as Architecture, Aeronautics, Neuroscience and Linguistics at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities, while Medicine,

Law and Science/Engineering courses remain among the most popular. A diverse co-curricular programme aims to imbue in every girl the skills required to succeed, including creativity, emotional intelligence, teamwork and leadership. The girls enjoy outstanding facilities. There is a rich and varied programme of activities throughout the week, including music, drama, dance and outdoor education as well as an extensive range of other pursuits, such as Model United Nations, solar-powered motorsport racing and even bee-keeping. These opportunities help girls to develop the confidence and skills they will require to be successful and happy in the demanding and ever-expanding global workplace, preparing them to be successful leaders – of themselves and others.

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A spacious and beautiful environment to enrich the development of all pupils

Education provides an environment where students of all abilities flourish.

to help each individual child reach their potential and make a positive difference in the world.

Dulwich College (Singapore)

Marlborough College Malaysia About Marlborough College Malaysia is a fully coeducational, and independent British boarding and day international school in Iskandar Puteri, one of the best in Malaysia. The school is situated on a secure 90-acre estate on the southern tip of Malaysia 20km from the Singapore border. The campus provides a spacious and beautiful environment to enrich the development of our pupils. Marlborough College is a community where scholarship is cherished, creativity

Head Nick Magnus Location Singapore

About Dulwich College (Singapore)

Alice Smith School

Head Roger Schultz Location Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia About Alice Smith School was the first British international school in Malaysia and continues to be the only British international school in Kuala Lumpur which is ‘not for profit’. All resources are focused on our students’ success, wellbeing and happiness. With two stunning campuses, Primary and Secondary, providing world-class facilities and an abundance of green open spaces, we are passionate about the difference we make and proud of our excellent reputation in providing an outstanding and thriving all-round education based on the British curriculum for 3 to 18 year olds. The exceptional quality of teaching, the breadth of learning opportunities, the high levels of excellent student behaviour, the depth of staff professionalism and the outstanding levels of governance practice and community engagement all contribute to make our school a wonderful place to be and are the foundation for our success. Our academic results are also

consistently excellent, placing us among the best British international schools in the world with students gaining places at the world’s top universities.

Dover Court International School Head Richard Dyer Location Singapore About DCIS is one of the leading

is a leading international school with a British independent school ethos, drawing upon the proud 400year heritage, excellence, innovation and values of the founding school in London. Part of the Dulwich College International network of schools, Dulwich College (Singapore) has a global outlook and contemporary approach, reflecting the diversity of the students from 2 to 18 years. The state-of-the-art campus and rich academic, sports, performing arts and music curricula are designed

Head Mr Alan Stevens Location Johor, Malaysia

inclusive British international schools in South-East Asia. We offer a broad, balanced and differentiated programme operating within the framework of the English National Curriculum. We are passionate about how children learn and committed to ensuring that the aspirations and potential of every student are fostered and nurtured. DCIS is part of Nord Anglia Education and benefits from the opportunities in being part of a family of over 60 schools worldwide. We welcome students from 3 to 18 years old and our Sixth Form offers the IB Diploma Programme. We have a strong “English as an Additional Language” Programme and our Department of Supportive

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celebrated, diversity enhanced and conversation is paramount. In addition to promoting and achieving academic excellence, our mission is to encourage children to explore, through compassion, companionship and conversation; and from that exploration, to build confidence and communities for good. This will develop well-rounded balanced individuals who will maximise their own considerable potential and contribute to society in a positive way.

North London Collegiate School (Singapore) Head Paul Friend Location Singapore About In the United Kingdom,

North London Collegiate School has an exemplary record of the highest academic achievements and a strong tradition and record of providing an ambitious education, a spirit of adventure and encouragement of individuality. The Sutton Trust has described NLCS (UK) as the most successful school in the UK in placing its students in highly selective universities. Over a third of students at NLCS (UK) are accepted into Oxford, Cambridge and Ivy League colleges each year. NLCS (UK) continues to be the most successful IB School in the UK for the last fourteen years, since first offering the IB Diploma, and among the highest performing IB Schools in the world. NLCS (Singapore) opened its doors to the founding cohort of

students in August 2020. The school is centrally located and offers a wide array of facilities to inspire and instil a love of learning. An emphasis on an ambitious education which encourages scholarship and a love of the subject, the importance placed on pastoral care such that no pupil is without support in their time at the School, and the strength of an education which truly allows the whole personality to grow are the basis of an NLCS education.

An ambitious education which encourages scholarship and a love of the subject

Tanglin Trust School Head Craig Considine Location Singapore; About Established in 1925, Tanglin

Trust School is the oldest British international school in South East Asia. Tanglin delivers the English National Curriculum with an international perspective to children from 3 to 18 years in Singapore. Tanglin is the only international school in Singapore to offer A Levels and the IB Diploma in Sixth Form, enabling every student to follow a programme that is tailored both to the subjects they are passionate about and to the style of learning that most suits them, ensuring they thrive and flourish. Students’ examination results consistently surpass Singapore and global averages, with around 95% of graduates typically receiving their first or second choice university, which are among the best in the world.

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School STORY Two students reflect on their UK boarding school experiences


Jolene, 18, is in the graduating Class of ’21 at Bromsgrove School and has recently completed the IB Diploma. She lives in Singapore. Why did you choose to board? I chose to board in England for the Sixth Form because I really wanted to become more independent. My two years in Bromsgrove School studying the IB were excellent. Not only did I become more independent, but I was also able to explore my own identity. I have made many friends from all over the world (particularly from Europe) which I would not have been able to if I had stayed in Singapore. What is the workload like? The IB is a very demanding curriculum. There were times where I thought the workload was overwhelming but I always felt comfortable letting my teachers know as I knew they would understand. Do you feel boarding school prepares you for university? Yes definitely! I have learned how to be independent by doing the basic things that I often take for granted back home. What advice do you have for new students starting to board? I would advise new students to be open to new things. Coming to a new school can be nerve-wrecking at first, but with an open minded attitude, the whole experience is very rewarding.

Life at Bromsgrove

Pupils at Harrow


Gavin (not his real name) is in the graduating Class of ’21 at Harrow School. He will read Law at Oxford after completing his National Service in the Singapore army. Why did you choose to board? I wanted a different experience from the one offered by the local Singaporean school I attended. I felt that while they were incredibly academic, they were often lacking in encouraging students to pursue sporting or cultural interests. What is the workload like? Workload is definitely manageable provided procrastination is not done in excess. On the few occasions I left all my work to do in a single night, I was forced to stay up very late. However, that was done through my own perverse volition so it is in no way the fault of the school.

Do you feel boarding school prepares you for university? You get very used to living and working independently. You are the only one responsible for your work and the onus is on you to decide how you want to split your time. While living with your parents is wonderful, you are somewhat deprived of the ability to make some of those decisions for yourself. What advice do you have for new students starting to board? As mentioned above, try your best to make it feel as much like home so it is not a completely foreign experience. At the same time though, paradoxically, it is also best to not get caught reminiscing all the time by getting involved in as many activities as possible. The idea is to have the comforts of home within reach when you want them but to grow to not need them by participating in school life.



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