British Education AutumnWinter Hong Kong edition

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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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Help find their

own superb

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A traditional heart.

A modern mind. Founded in 1867, we’ve always done things differently at Eastbourne College. We’re proud of our heritage, but always looking forward. Progressive and innovative. Empowering our pupils to question the answers and find their own path in life. Set in idyllic coastal surroundings, this is a place that truly makes a lasting impression.

Why Eastbourne College? • Holistic approach to learning, nurturing success in and out of the classroom

• Over 91% A*-C at GCSE and over 94% A*-C at A-Level

• We sit in the top 4% of schools nationally

for academic ‘value added’ which means on average our pupils achieve one grade above their predicted grade

• Diverse and exciting co-curriculum, offering everything from Art to Zumba

• Strong support network where pupils feel at home from day one

• Flexible, family-friendly for both boarders and day pupils and those that need a combination of the two

Learn more at Learn more at

Independently minded Since 1867

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Small classes and live lessons guided by expert teachers.

Preparing your child for the world’s top universities, and beyond.

Personalised learning that fits around your family’s schedule, wherever you are.

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Harrow School Online is a fully online A level school for young people aged 16 - 18. The first of its kind, bringing a world-leading sixth form education into your home. Imagine what your child could achieve.

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Libby Norman 



Nicola Owens 



A welcome from Battie Fung




Leah Day 


Craig Davies 

What's going on in the world of education




A new vision for Framlingham College


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


How schools are teaching young people about the value of community

Pawel Kuba 


Mike Roberts 


Rebecca Noonan 


Lucie Pearce 


Jerrie Koleci  DIR ECTOR S

Greg Hughes, Alexandra Hunter, James Fuschillo 




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

Sherif Shaltout

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New thinking says teens need a lie in




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Two subject specialists give us their elevator pitch and explain why Geography is so cool


Gabbitas experts answer your questions


All the best new reading matter


Meet the new Head of Wells Cathedral Junior School F RO NT COVE R


MERCHISTON CASTLE SCHOOL 294 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH13 0PU +44 (0)131 312 2200

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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 big decision for their families to make. However, as Battie Fung of Academic Asia says, once they find the

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” right school for them, the future can only be bright. We have 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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Developing Remarkable People Since 1541

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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.

Samantha Price Headmistress, Benenden School

After reading History of Art with European History at Edinburgh University, Samantha Price worked in marketing for Tate Britain. She moved on to teaching, becoming Head of Godolphin in 2010 and taking up her current post in 2014. In this issue, she talks about Benenden's work to develop the entrepreneurial spirit of its pupils and foster skills for careers and life.

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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We l c o m e




t is an incredibly challenging and difficult decision for a family in Hong Kong to send their precious son or daughter halfway around the world to a school in the UK. What do you think the priorities are? I would like to share a story which happened recently and rather poignantly illustrates what really does matter. I had a meeting with the parents of a young boy who had just joined a school in Year 9, to discuss plans for their younger daughter, whom they also wanted to send to the UK to study. The focus of our discussion, however, turned to their son, who had had to travel to the UK on his own because of COVID restrictions. They had

his school. The parents were, of course, delighted, but a little puzzled as to how their son had had such a change of heart. He went on to explain that during the latest assembly the Headmaster had asked a pupil to go up to the stage and tell everyone of three kind actions he had done that week. The young boy was very proud to tell his parents that he thought he had done really well as he had listed more than three kind actions. He said he had picked up a banana skin from the floor in the dining hall because he was worried that someone might slip on it, held the door open for his matron (she said he was a good boy), and comforted Cherie who was crying at lunch time because

“WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES WHEN SENDING YOUR PRECIOUS CHILD HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD TO SCHOOL IN THE UK?” been worried because it was his first time and they were not able to accompany him. At first the boy was homesick; the parents were very concerned and tried to do what they could to support him, but they were so far away. They were very grateful for all the help and support their son received from his housemaster, matrons, teachers and pupils in the school. Every week the school holds a morning assembly for all staff and pupils and it was following one of the assemblies that the boy told his parents that he now really liked

she misses her mum a lot. He said that his eyes were a bit wet too because he missed his family as well but he was very proud of his kind deeds. The parents were so amazed at their son’s story. They were really impressed with the school and the culture and very proud of themselves for choosing the right school for their son.

Battie Fung


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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. 13/10/2021 11:52


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.

NEW BUILD OPENING St Dunstan’s College in south London has officially opened its new Junior School, STEM Block and Sixth Form Centre. Guests of honour were Nobel Prize winner Sir Martin Evans and Chairman of Barclays, Nigel Higgins – both former pupils. The £25 million facilities will soon be joined by a new outdoor space, The Plaza, and a large theatre.

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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“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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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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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 Absolutely 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



12/10/2021 22:29

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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 Absolutely 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



12/10/2021 22:36

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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. Absolutely 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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ABOVE Eastbourne College, East Sussex

Tomorrow's entrepreneurs Tom Lawson, Headmaster of Eastbourne College discusses two aspects of the school's approach to developing entrepreneurship in its pupils

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he enterprise paradox is an obvious one. Good schools have always imparted knowledge with the authority of their curriculum and teachers. So budding entrepreneurs have traditionally needed to break the shackles of top-down teaching by leaving school or dropping out of university to pursue their disruptive, maybe lucrative, original ideas. The best schools, of course, have worked hard to counter this with an openness to their pupils’ passions – a determination not to stifle imagination and daring. We know we have entrepreneurs among the pupils at Eastbourne College, not least because of the progress of our Young Enterprise team two years ago in winning local, area and regional titles. However, the lockdowns put all that enterprise on hold. Below are two ways in which the College is supporting pupils to develop skills they will need as entrepreneurs. I have chosen these examples as a deliberate contrast – one very structured and taught (so within the wheelhouse of schools’ traditional method) and one that is pupil-led, organic, and exciting for its unpredictability.


Each year we enjoy guiding a group of self-selected and very motivated pupils through the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment’s (CISI) Fundamentals of Financial Services Qualification. This is not a course for those who want to find the secret to a quick buck on the advice of someone on TikTok who opines on ‘crypto’ prospects while seated on the bonnet of a rented Ferrari. Those that thrive – and thrive they do – are those with an entrepreneurial spirit who appreciate

LEFT & RIGHT Eastbourne pupils enjoy the rewards and challenges of enterprise BELOW Eastbourne Head Tom Lawson

“Sir Tim Smit was so inspired by the engagement and commitment of our young people that he began to consider bringing Eden to Eastbourne” that finance is a vital (and inevitable) part of developing ideas and opportunities in any industry. They recognise that it is just part of what they need to know if they are to be a responsible and informed commercial citizen in the future. In that context, it is always reassuring to see the ready acceptance they have of the importance of integrity and ethics in protecting a systemically important industry. The training they receive is something which, perhaps, previous generations could have benefited from.


Way back in 2018, College pupils, and the maintained-school partners we support through the Eastbourne Schools Partnership, met to explore the idea that our town’s young people had to make Eastbourne a more vibrant place to be. The project kicked off with a creative consultation where young people shared their perceptions of the town, heard by professionals working across different sectors, to work together on creative solutions. Individual schools then focused on developing specific ideas, returned for an interim meeting and advice session and a final presentation

to local industry and Council leaders. This entrepreneurial initiative grabbed the attention of Eastbourne Borough Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and Lord and Lady Lucas. Sir Tim Smit from the Eden Project was so inspired that he began to consider bringing Eden to Eastbourne. A working party of young people from across the Partnership are now highly engaged with this vision to revitalise the town’s green arteries and will continue to act as advisers. As both these examples show, there is a tremendous range of methods to encourage enterprise and life skills in schools. All you need is a bit of disruptive thinking of your own and excellent, willing staff. Trust me, young people will rise to the challenge.

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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 | 63


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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.

FRASER NEWHAM Assistant Head Academic Merchiston Castle School AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 65


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Exam review? The Head of Wellington College asks if it's time to consider whether final exams are the best and fairest way to measure student attainment


ellington College introduced the IB Diploma as an alternative to A levels in 2008, but only in 2019 did we reach our goal of a 50/50 split in pupils studying the two curricula in Sixth Form. This parity is great news for students, who have a choice between two different but equally thriving academic routes. It also means we can reflect from direct experience on two different ways of assessing young people, a hot topic given media commentary on this year’s teacherassessed GCSE and A-level results. Those in favour of keeping the all-ornothing terminal examination, which characterises most A levels, argue persuasively that this is the only way to ensure equity across a system, providing an objective comparative measure across a national cohort. When examinations were cancelled for a second time in January, however, this high-stakes option was left exposed – particularly with the absence of a Plan B. Cue significant levels of stress and anxiety for young people as they waited two months before hearing details about how TAGs and baskets of evidence would work. Many critics of terminal assessments already cite mental health arguments

“I can’t help feeling that this would be an opportunity missed – that there are different ways of assessing young people without compromising standards”

these do not count for 100% of the final grade. In addition, there are Internal Assessments (IAs) – IB coursework – internally marked but externally moderated to ensure consistency of standards. Depending on the subject, the IA may account for 20-40% of the final grade. The Extended Essay (an independent and cross-disciplinary research project) is a compulsory part of the ‘Core’ of the IB ABOVE Diploma as is Theory Pupils at of Knowledge, which Wellington College is assessed not by examination but via an oral presentation and essay. Finally, the unique Creativity, Activity when proposing alternative models: is it and Service (CAS) element of the Diploma fair, they say, to give only one opportunity is recorded through student reflection, to students to prove what knowledge and with evidence required of different learning skills they have developed throughout outcomes. Final grades are therefore their course of study? Others argue that calculated through the aggregation of all exams are, by their very nature, stressful elements, many of which are completed and and this is a good thing – it teaches young assessed throughout the course, as well as people to deal with pressure. But even traditional end-of-course examinations. Simon Lebus, the interim chief regulator of As we recover from the challenges of Ofqual, commented, “Exams are a bit like a the past 18 months, I understand why snapshot… whereas teacher assessment… some teachers simply want to return to allows teachers to observe student the familiarity and certainty of the old way performance over a much longer period… of doing things. But I can’t from that point of view, we can help feeling that this would be feel satisfied that it’s likely to an opportunity missed, and give a much more accurate our experience has certainly and substantial reflection been that the IB Diploma of what their students are offers compelling evidence capable of achieving". that there are different ways As a contrast, the of assessing young people, structure of assessment in blending written and oral the IB Diploma is a blend work, and examinations of different elements and JAMES DAHL with continuous assessment, this is why many pupils are Master without compromising drawn to it. Yes, there are Wellington College standards or fairness. terminal examinations, but AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 67

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TEENAGE SLEEP The average teenager may be sleep deprived – research suggests we should stop treating lie-ins as sloth and start working with young people's body clocks R AC H E L W E B B


ast year Bedales announced it was giving its teenage pupils an extra hour in bed, if they chose, by starting school an hour later. If you didn't spot the story, which made the national press, you missed what could be part of a pretty radical rethink on adolescent sleepers. For, let's face it, teenagers snoring under the duvet have long been the butt of sit-com jokes and adult exasperation. While some parents

are sympathetic (perhaps remembering their own dreamy lie-ins), others have tended to the view that 'slugabeds' are a prime example of adolescent laziness and lamentable timekeeping. This criticism is misjudged and Bedales made its decision to test a new schoolday approach because it was following the science. There are some interesting findings to suggest what is going on when young people struggle to wake with the larks. Principal among these is that teenage Circadian rhythms – our biological schedule

of sleepiness and wakefulness – really are different. What Bedales found is that the rhythms shift progressively later during adolescent years. That means teens have a biological impulse to go to sleep later at night and also sleep later in the morning. Not only that, but it's the last phase of sleep that may be most important for memory consolidation. Young people forced out of bed too early will not have had an opportunity to transfer memories across to long-term storage – in other words, yesterday's school lessons may not sink in.

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Bedales is far from alone in honing in on teenagers' need for more and better sleep. Magdalen College School (MCS) in Oxford focused on this for its World Mental Health Day activities earlier this year, enlisting the help of Natalie Pennicotte-Collier, a sleep therapist who coaches clients ranging from Team GB athletes to business executives. "Increasingly, when pupils come to us to talk about mental health concerns, among our first questions is: how are they sleeping? It’s so easy to overlook. So rather than spending another day off timetable discussing study skills, we decided to get to the root of the problem and use World Mental Health Day as an opportunity to look at sleep and rest," says MCS Master Helen Pike. Meanwhile, Canford School has introduced a Sleep Education Programme. Joint Head of Wellbeing at the Dorset School Melissa Clinton commented in June that, "Sleep is a vital area of health that is often neglected. The Japanese government have said sleep problems/ insomnia is the most serious social refractory disease of the 21st century. Research shows increased evidence for

“The Japanese government have said sleep problems/insomnia is the most serious social refractory disease of the 21st century” a non-pharmacological approach, with a focus on addressing the behavioural and cognitive approach through education". Canford's programme is being delivered to day pupils and boarders by designated staff members and the school matron. It has received assistance from The Sleep Charity – including useful tools to assist with staff training. Canford sees education in the science (and practice) of sleep as an important way to help young people regulate their sleep and waking times, and thus improve their wellbeing, ability to concentrate and mood. They say it also helps young people to deal with emotional control and to maintain a better diet. A better mood and healthy diet will also impact physical fitness. In 2017, a long-term study carried out at a UK state school and led by researchers from Open University found that beginning the school day at 10am rather than 8.30am reduced illness rates for teenagers by over half. Students also got significantly better grades. All this information is fine, but not if

teenagers themselves don't buy into it. Helen Pike says that MCS had a mixed response at first. "There was an initial scepticism that something as simple as getting more sleep could have a tangible impact on their wellbeing, and on their performance. Most recognised that they are not routinely getting enough sleep though, with distraction from smartphones a common culprit." But by the end of the day, students had absorbed the science and MCS plans to repeat a dedicated day of focusing on this area – also expanding it to run parallel sessions for parents. Meanwhile, at Bedales the great sleep experiment of starting the day later has been continued into this school year – last year, with all its disruptions, was never going to be a thorough test. The new schedule gives some autonomy to students – recognising that some are naturally early risers – with compulsory activities starting a full hour later so that young people can either join optional school activities or have that extra hour of rest.

Even after three months in the last school year student responses were positive, with 69% of Upper Sixth students reporting getting eight hours plus sleep, as opposed to just 17% prior to the change. Over 90% of students gave feedback saying that they had benefited from the change. One student – clearly a naturally later riser – noted with enthusiasm unusual in one of this age: 'Love it. I don't have to feel tired all day anymore. Best change ever made throughout my time at the school'.

SLEEP FACTS The NHS recommends 8-10 hours' sleep for the 14 to 17 age range • Regular sleep routines promote good sleep • Avoid napping in the day • Bedrooms should be dark, quiet, cool – ideally, tech free • Increased physical activity promotes better rest.

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ALICE MOLLISON James Allen's Girls' School, Assistant Head, Head of Teaching & Learning and Geography teacher. She studied at Edinburgh University and her favourite topic is glaciation. She was once snowed in while camping on Tien Shan glacier in Kazakhstan and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

We may have GPS, but the world still needs expert explorers, researchers, mappers, data gatherers and problem solvers. Two experts in the field give their elevator pitch – explaining why Geography is so cool and where studying it can take you

VICTORIA BURTON St Edmund's Canterbury, Head of Geography. She studied for her degree at Newcastle University and is most fond of Physical Geography. She becomes "disproportionately excited" about glaciers and has a soft spot for the late health professor and data visualisation developer Hans Rosling.

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GEOGRAPHY FAST FACTS What makes Geography so brilliant? AM: The physical and human world of today is constantly changing. It is crucial for current and future generations to understand these trends and flows so that purposeful actions and decisions can be made. Geography is the subject that helps make sense of all aspects of the world. VB: Geography is everything that has gone before and everything that is to come. It unlocks secrets and solves puzzles. It makes you ask and answer questions, find patterns, identify problems, work solutions. With every news item – from questions of immigration to climate change to Covid patterns – geographers are quietly sitting in the background of every decision that matters. Who gets the aid, where to build that stadium, how to find those survivors? It is in all times and all places. What made you choose it? AM: I loved having the opportunity to study a really broad subject, which incorporated fields such as geology, ecology and economics. And the trips are, of course, always fun! VB: I like a map.

FAMOUS GEOGRAPHY STUDENTS Michael Jordan, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Theresa May *HOT SPOTS FOR DEGREES St Andrews, London School of Economics, Glasgow, Durham, UCL WHERE GEOGRAPHERS HANG OUT Royal Geographical Society, founded 1830 and with headquarters in South Kensington. Find London, regional and online events at *Source: Guardian The best UK universities 2021. Note: Cambridge and Oxford ranked (1, 3) but with no student satisfaction ratings.

Transferable skills and knowledge acquired? AM: Geography helps you to develop excellent decision making and research skills, use statistics to make sense of data and use computers to collect, present and analyse information. You'll be studying global trade one day and the science of earthquakes the next. VB: Geographers are literate, numerate, computer skilled, team players, independent learners, researchers, analysts, scientists,

"Geographers are literate, numerate, computer skilled... and often look splendid in corduroy" problem solvers, creative thinkers and often look splendid in corduroy. What pathways does it open? AM: At A level, its breadth means it complements any subject combination. Contemporary research and themes regularly filter down from universities and become part of Geography at school, particularly in human geography. A huge range of doors will be opened with a Geography degree, from being a geoscientist designing a wind farm, to working in finance or law, to marketing. I worked in advertising before training to be a teacher. VB: Far more than you might imagine. Very few of us are teachers. Most become urban designers, political analysts, peace negotiators, MPs, (Prime Ministers!), economists, accountants, vulcanologists, software designers, vets, doctors, epidemiologists... 2 things students might not realise Geography covers AM: Themes such as human rights and diversity help young people to further their understanding of issues at a local and global scale. VB: Piracy and Mars landings – Geography is brilliant. . . AUTUMN / WINTER 2021 | A B S O LU T E LY E D U C AT I O N | 71


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Opening minds fulfilling hearts For Open Days... For individual visits year round... PREPARATORY - SENIOR - SIXTH FORM

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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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Question TIME The experts at Gabbitas Education have the answers



ANASTASIA HATVANY Senior Education Consultant and SEN Specialist

We're looking to place my daughter in a UK boarding school next September, but as we are living overseas we're not really sure how to manage the process of shortlisting and visiting schools. What would you advise? One of the first things you need to establish before you start looking at new schools is your daughter’s academic level. You want a school where your daughter will sit comfortably amongst her peers. Prospective boarding schools will also want to know what your daughter can offer



“Universities don't demand months of work experience under candidates’ belts, just enough to show an interest and an aptitude for veterinary”

to them – both in terms of academics and extracurricular. At boarding schools, children become totally immersed in their surroundings, and what they give, they get back tenfold. With this in mind, look at the school and see what they offer to the child: will your daughter be able to get involved with school life? As you’re abroad, I’d advise you to look at full-boarding options, as everyone tends to stay in during the weekends. Even if there is the occasional quiet weekend, Saturdays will still comprise of lessons in the morning and sports fixtures in the afternoon, and many schools are keen to keep weekends as busy and as purposeful as weekdays. Visits and open days are imperative. Do go on these if you are able to, as they are the best way to gauge a school’s atmosphere and ethos. You’ll also get to see how pupils interact with one another and engage with their teachers, and in turn see how the staff interact with parents. Many schools are now offering in-person tours, so try and go for an open day, and then afterwards schedule a private visit. Having said this, Zoom is still a very good way to view a school and there are plenty of excellent virtual open days. Look at reviews, listen to word of mouth, but most importantly have confidence in yourself as a parent – you will know in your gut if a school is right for your daughter.


Is it a good idea to move my daughter to a new school for sixth form? She's said that she might like 'a change of scene' at 16, but we're not sure how easy it will be to make the transition – both academically and socially. If you’re looking to move your daughter for sixth form, ideally you need to have started shortlisting schools by the end of year 10. Schools tend to close their registrations by the end of September, and by the very latest, the end of October, as many of their candidate assessments take place during October. Many children – whether they joined their current school at 11 or 13 – can find the change refreshing, but please bear in mind that this needs to be a very considered decision as she is at a critical age. The process will not only take up valuable time that she could use for GCSE revision, but she will also be leaving behind friends and a structure that she has been used to for at least three years. Remember, too, that competition is often tough for sixth form places, and some schools will have a limited number of spaces; rejection can be disheartening. Your daughter’s current teachers and pastoral staff know her academic ability and level of wellbeing, so be sure to consult them for their thoughts on the matter. Ask your daughter her reasons for a scene change; for example, is she looking


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SARAH OSHUNWILLIAMS Client Account Manager

My son has his heart set on going to veterinary school but knows he needs to prove aptitude as well as academic ability. What can he do to improve his chances? The methods of improving your chances of acceptance to veterinary school are very similar to those of getting into professions like medicine or law; work experience is essential. Besides academic ability, he will need to prove his enthusiasm for the field and should try volunteering or shadowing as many vets and animal practices as he can. Many


for a change in curriculum or is she looking for a better cultural fit? If you’re thinking of moving her from a day to a boarding school, this is often an excellent stepping stone for higher education. She’s likely to develop better organisational skills and grow in independence, all in the comfort of a school safety net – meaning moving to university won’t come as such a shock. Alternatively, she may be wanting to move closer to home with less school structure. Many children grow out of the school bubble before higher education, and flourish when working more independently. Overall, I would urge you to research what is out there and bring your daughter onboard the decisionmaking process. She will be able to give you a better idea of what she believes she is missing and this should help shape the final decision.


universities understand that sometimes it’s hard for certain candidates to gain experience, so they do not demand months of work under candidates’ belts, just enough to show an interest and an aptitude for veterinary. Work experience will also help your son to be sure that this is the field he’d like to pursue, as it can be a gruelling process preparing for this career. His time at university will be comprised of many exams, laboratory-based anatomy and a lot of contact hours, so it is imperative that he is prepared for the training. Research is equally important. There are currently only 10 veterinary schools in the UK, so make sure to research the benefits of each course. Additionally, prospective students can only apply to 4 of those 10, and as you’re aware, each school has very competitive entry procedures. Regarding how he might prove his academic ability, consider employing a tutor. Many agencies – like Gabbitas – have tutors who are experts in their chosen field and specialise in veterinary school applications. This will also help him prepare for any interviews he has, and to know what to expect from the course. A tutor can also be useful in helping him revise for his exams, to ensure that he meets his offer.

“Moving from a day to a boarding school is often an excellent stepping stone for higher education, helping students develop better organisational skills and grow in independence” AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 75


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United Kingdom School of the Decade THE SUNDAY TIMES

OPEN MORNINGS | SATURDAY 22 JANUARY | SATURDAY 23 APRIL BOOK YOUR PLACE +44 (0)1273 704200 | BRIGHTONCOLLEGE.ORG.UK BC British Education KH Ad 190x134 - BCO 6454.indd 1

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Learn  Create  Explore • Strong and caring school community • Outstanding academic results • Vibrant Music, Drama and Creative Arts • Sports for all: range of activities at all levels and links to Professional clubs • Day school with boarding at its heart. Flexi boarding and extended days available for busy families • Home away from Home Boarding community • City location with +100 acre rural site • Scholarships and Bursaries available

Find out more at An Independent Co-educational Boarding & Day School for pupils aged 9 months - 18 years

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LEFT & RIGHT Pupils at Lycée Churchill


PATHWAYS First choice for international families, Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill balances academic rigour with a caring culture


ith 100% success in all exams and graduates admitted to the most sought-after universities in the world, Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill offers a balance between academic rigour and innovation. Its guiding philosophy places the needs of each child at the heart of the educational experience, welcoming every student into a dynamic and caring international community. All the graduating class in 2021 passed with excellent marks. In IB Diploma, the average grade is 35.8/45 – well above the world average of 33.02/45 – and 88% of French Baccalaureat students passed with honours. This included over 40% with highest honours. The school has also been classified as Outstanding by Ofsted for secondary education and student wellbeing. Teaching in a single language can tie students to a national curriculum

and restrict their future options, but Lycée Churchill offers programmes that open global educational avenues. With a co-ed, non-selective and bilingual setting on a leafy two-hectare campus in North London, Lycée Churchill accommodates 850 students aged 3 to 18. The school offers two bilingual programmes, both aiming to develop every child into a forwardthinking, principled, and joyful world citizen. Language immersion begins at 3 years old. Classes are taught jointly by native speakers of French and English – like two parents in a multilingual household. This natural and organic approach to bilingualism is carried out by early-learning specialists in a nurturing and family-like environment. In the Primary years, instruction is half in English, half in French from Year 1/GSM to Year 6/CM2. Frenchspeaking and English-speaking teachers also coordinate with speciality teachers in subjects such as PE, language, and music. In Secondary, families choose between the French bilingual programme accredited by

the French department for education, leading to the Baccalauréat, or an international track taught in English and leading to the IB Diploma. The only constant is that education remains bilingual, steeped in the supportive atmosphere for which the Lycée is known. With students from 45 countries and teachers of 29 different nations, the Lycée offers a truly international environment where the diversity of families from around the world encourages dialogue. The modern teaching ethos combines traditional disciplines with initiative, exploration, critical thinking, teamwork, and personal development.

“The school teaches students aged three to 18 and offers two bilingual programmes” Lycée Churchill takes full advantage of the latest educational technologies, which are integrated into education and school life. This solid digital foundation proved to be a major asset during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the Lycée pivoted seamlessly to online learning. The Lycée now offers distance education programmes and virtual classes, a real boon for families moving between assignments or looking for quality education from a remote setting.

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From a classic odyssey retold and an exploration of trees, to mazes and labyrinths, myths and monsters of Ancient Greece and a comic tale of weird witches, here's our pick of great autumn reads



by L. Frank Baum Illustrated by MinaLima HARPER DE SIGN, £25


his landmark story (with even more iconic film) has been reimagined in a beautiful edition illustrated by design studio MinaLima – these are the creatives who built the graphic universe in Harry Potter films. The story remains as charming as ever, while the extraordinary artwork – with interactive elements including an unfolding and pop-up yellow brick road – are there to entice a new generation of readers. It's most definitely a collector's treasure, the eighth children's classic in this Harper Design series.


The Book of Labyrinths and Mazes by Silke Vry Illustrated by Finn Dean P RE STE L , £14 .99

This mind-expanding book is all about paths that get you lost or help you find yourself. Tracing the long history of labyrinths and mazes and covering some famous examples, it also looks at the symbolism associated with them. Author Silke Vry is an archaeologist and art historian, so the book is packed with fun facts and details (such as escape plans for any maze), while also challenging readers to think about why these puzzles of the landscape and our mind exist.

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Editor's pick

by Jess Kidd CANONGATE , £6.99

A deliciously comical story, Everyday Magic is the debut children's book from award-winning writer Jess Kidd, and it opens with a belly laugh. Who, after all, can resist Alfie Blackstack, the orphaned hero whose zookeeper mother died in a tragic dare involving dancing in a lion's cage wrapped in pork sausages? When his ornithologist father meets a similarly avoidable fate, Alfie is shipped off to Little Snoddington to live with his aunts, who just happen to be witches. He finds a friend and ally in fearless Calypso Fagan from the travelling circus. When Calypso's sister Nova disappears, the race is on to rescue her and also stop the next witch war.





by David Melling

by Eva Ibbotson Illustrations by Katie Hickey

NOSY CROW, £9.99

This picture book, written and illustrated by David Melling is all about a cute puppy who loves just about any messy and mucky dog activity going but hates everything about life in his new coat. With fun drawings supported by clear and simple text, it introduces young readers to lots of new words. All ends well as Ruffles – with the encouragement of his puppy pal Ruby – learns to love the coat that keeps him warm and dry. This is the first in a series that introduces an irresistible character, richly drawn.




A FIELD GUIDE TO LEAFLINGS by Owen Churcher & Niamh Sharkey TEMPLAR, £12 .99

This collaboration between design tutor Owen Churcher and former Children's Laureate of Ireland Niamh Sharkey is a wonderful non-fiction find that packs in a lot of nature information as well as introducing us to the magical leaflings. Each leafling has a distinct character and role – Hiroki prepares the branches for blossom while Flann minds the web of roots that connect the copse or forest. This is an absorbing and brilliantly designed book to spark imagination and curiosity about the wonderful (and global) world of trees.

elebrating the 20th anniversary of Austrianborn British novelist Eva Ibbotson's bestselling book, this lavish new hardback edition contains glorious colour illustrations by Katie Hickey. The original book won multiple prizes and commendations at the time of publication and so this is well worth revisiting or gifting. The plot remains evergreen, as orphan Maia journeys up the Amazon in search of distant relatives who will be loving and fun to be around. They aren't, but a mysterious boy she meets takes her on a journey into a beautiful new world.

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F GOOD RESULTS Investment in knowledge pays the best interest

or many parents, a good education is the best way to provide a solid foundation for their children’s future. Access to local good schools is therefore a key factor when deciding where to live. Some families consider paying a ‘school premium’, ie buying a house in catchment to an ‘outstanding’ school, as an investment in their future – not only from an educational perspective, but also as a long-term financial investment. Properties near good schools tend to hold their value in a challenging market and often sell faster if the market stalls, simply because there will always be parents willing to pay the premium for their children. The Royal County of Berkshire in South East England, home to the Royal residence of Windsor Castle, and its neighbouring county of Buckinghamshire, are both renowned for the quality of educational opportunities on offer for children of all ages. Both counties operate a selective 11+ system, with many of their grammar schools ranking highly among the best performing in England including Herschel, Langley and Upton Court Grammar. Seven leading universities are within easy travelling distance – Oxford, Reading, Brunel, Royal Holloway, plus London’s King’s College, University College and Imperial College. Berkeley has four prestigious developments located at the heart of this region, which boasts an unrivalled reputation for the quality of its schools: Horlicks Quarter in Slough, Abbey Barn Park in High Wycombe, Woodhurst Park near Bracknell and Sunningdale Park in Sunningdale. Choosing to purchase a home here opens up a world of first-class educational opportunities for your family. Horlicks Quarter in Slough is being created on the iconic world-renowned

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LEFT Abbey Barn Park, Buckinghamshire BELOW Horlicks Quarter, Berkshire

“Properties near good schools tend to hold their value in a challenging market” Horlicks Factory site. Located in the heart of the town centre, just 22 miles from Central London, Slough offers professionals an effortless 15-minute commute by train into the capital. This flagship development features a range of new and refurbished apartments and townhouses set among landscaped gardens, with a central square at Clocktower Place, nursery and a proposed café forming the heart of the new community. An extensive collection of on-site amenities will include a residents’ games room, concierge facility, gym, cinema room and rooftop garden. Horlicks Quarter boasts a plethora of exceptional schools on its doorstep: Hershchel Grammar School; The Westgate School and Eden Girls School, all featured in this year’s SNOBE top ten best secondary schools in Berkshire with outstanding Ofsted ratings. Furthermore, just a few minutes’ drive or a train journey away are some of the UK’s most prestigious schools, including Eton College, Wellington College, Heathfield School and St George’s Ascot. Sunningdale Park, located in the exclusive Sunningdale neighbourhood, presents a unique opportunity to purchase a property on an impressive Berkshire country estate. Spanning 79 acres of historic land with 47 acres of undulating, mature country parkland, this unique collection of properties is situated under eight miles from Windsor and 10 miles west of Heathrow. This stunning new collection of homes boast the idyllic setting to raise a family combining the heritage and prestige of living on a country estate, with the convenience and practicalities of living in a brand-new, low maintenance home, with beautiful parkland walks and lakes on the doorstep.

From nursery through to sixth form, there is an exceptional choice of primary, prep and secondary schools and colleges in close proximity to Sunningdale Park, ready to nurture young and enquiring minds. A number of these are Outstanding Ofsted rated, including Sunningdale Pre-School and Charters Secondary School, with Eton College and Wellington College just a short drive away. Woodhurst Park in Warfield is set in a beautiful country park location with acres of landscaped open space, nature walks, play areas and a village green and pond. Now a thriving and established community, it is superbly located to benefit from the amenities and attractions of Warfield, Bracknell, Windsor and Ascot. Exceptional local primary schools include Warfield C of E, Winkfield St Marys and Whitegrove.

In Buckinghamshire, Abbey Barn Park in High Wycombe is a new community offering contemporary homes set in tranquil countryside, enjoying an elevated position with stunning views across the valley. The homes are located amongst acres of green open spaces and ancient woodlands, all within easy reach of High Wycombe town centre and station. Excellent local schools include Wycombe Abbey and Crown House School - the best performing private prep school in Buckinghamhires last year, (18th overall in the UK). Outstanding secondary schools include John Hampden Grammar school and Royal Grammar School, both a short drive from the development. AUTUMN • WINTER 2021 | B R I T I S H E D U C AT I O N | 81


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seconds with

Jody Wells The new Head of Wells Cathedral School Junior School discusses his background and educational philosophy

What is your background? It was a gap year in North Devon that first ignited my passion for teaching. Though sponsored by the Army’s Logistic Corp through university, it was a wonderful QTS year at Wells Cathedral Junior School that cemented my decision to enter the profession. As a former boarder at Stamford School, it was a natural and easy progression into a boarding role at Wells. From here, I moved to All Hallows School in Somerset and then to a Deputy Headship, followed by Headship, at Forres Sandle Manor School in Hampshire. What excites you most about your role? First and foremost, I cannot wait to reacquaint myself with the school that is so dear to my heart. There has always been a fantastic sense of community and family at Wells Cathedral Junior School and the broader school as a whole. I am thrilled to be heading back into the classroom, and have the odd chance to coach sport again. Wells is a unique school. Working with the children to help them succeed and find happiness is nothing but a privilege. What is your academic philosophy? Education should not only equip children with a curiosity for the world around them, but also instil a love of learning that is matched by a balance of high ambition and integrity. Alongside academic development, I believe in the development of transferable skills such as communication, collaboration, leadership, initiative and tenacity. Can you tell us about one pivotal moment in your career? It was chatting to a parent over a cup of tea at parents evening early on in my career. Her son, a reasonable U10 sportsman but abject day dreamer, had not made the A team and I was asked why. My response, along the lines of 'If he worked a bit harder maybe he would get into the team', was met with 'Maybe if you put him in the team, he would work a bit harder'. This stopped me in my tracks. I just hadn’t ever thought about it like that before. He got his chance

A B OV E Jody Wells

and ended his school career as captain of a county championship-winning hockey team and an A-team player in all sports. What is Wells Cathedral School’s approach and what sets it apart? Wells aims to provide its children with an environment in which they feel secure and comfortable to be curious, to explore and to dream. Our aim is to

“Great schools are all about the people. A school should be a happy place where children feel valued, respected and cared for”

support children to discover their passions and talents, and ultimately themselves. What sets Wells Cathedral School apart is more than its position as a traditional educational establishment, it is a feeling, a sense of wonder created by a combination of the beautiful location, the breadth of opportunity and the sense of community. What makes a great student? A sense of curiosity, a hunger to learn and a willingness to burn one’s fingers in the pursuit of this all play their part, but above all of this, being respectful, honest and kind. What makes a great school? Great schools are all about the people. A school should be a happy place where children feel valued, respected and cared for. It should be an environment where children are taught by those with passion for their subject and a desire to instil a similar love in their charges. An environment where they are challenged, but in a way that excites them and that encourages them to value those challenges, and the mistakes along the way.

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Achievement in all its forms is alive and kicking in every part of their school day. - Tatler Schools Guide 2021

Registered Charity No. 312038

They mean what they say about encouraging talent! - Good Schools Guide

PRIOR’S FIELD - THE PLACE TO ACHIEVE! 11+, 13+ and 16+ entry, Situated in rural Surrey since 1902 Contact to book your place at our virtual Open Event and discover why Prior’s Field is the place to achieve. +44 (0) 1483 810551

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08/10/2021 13:13