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The best in


How to choose the right school Understanding qualiďŹ cations A day in the life of a matron Scholarships and bursaries Schools and communities The cost of education Schools and music Schools and sport Nightmare parents


From the publishers of

DorsetLife The Dorset Magazine

B R YA N S T O N 13–18 co-ed boarding and day school

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The best in The best days of their lives… so far English culture is larded with references to schooling and education. From Tom Brown’s Schooldays to Grange Hill, from Malory Towers to Waterloo Road, from Stalky and Co to Press Gang, all of human life – in miniature people form at least – is there… in all its dramatic glory. When choosing where one’s child or children will go to school, however, drama is the very last thing one wishes for. Education has become, in some regards, a politician’s plaything; the nature and outcomes of all our children’s education has been, with the best of intentions, changed and changed again. So how exactly can one go about obtaining the very best education for one’s children, where is it to be had and what are the contributions which schools can make to children and wider society? Those issues, amongst others, are what this magazine seeks to explore.


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The best in



is published by The Dorset Magazine Ltd from 7 The Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4DY. Tel: 01929 551264 Publisher: Lisa Richards Editor: Joël Lacey

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Smaller class sizes, leading to greater personal interaction between teacher and pupil, is one of many priorities for parents

Choosing the right school for your child @X`eN`cjfecffbjXkk_\fgk`fej]fij\c\Zk`e^XjZ_ffc Whether in the state or private sectors, getting your child into the 'right' school can be an incredible headache for parents. In some ways, the advent of league tables and statistics (see Chris Ray's piece on qualifications on page 9) has made things more easily comparable, but is it helpful to be so reductionist as to examine only the results of a school? And if not, what other means of selecting a school should one use and when should one start thinking about it? Advice on many of these questions can be found on the internet, but the level of usefulness of the advice is variable. Items like: 'put your name down for oversubscribed pre-prep schools a year before your child is born' does raise certain questions, not the least of which is: 'Do you own a working time machine?' The less impossible, but nonetheless extraordinary, advice of: 'Avoid getting pregnant between July and November inclusiveâ&#x20AC;Ś' suggests that (at least in the minds of some internet advice givers), for some parents, the education of their not-yet-conceived child is the most important

issue in family planning. The reason given for this, incidentally, is that the younger children in each year group will be slightly less likely to go to university than the older ones. It is rather more helpful to think in terms of finding a school to suit one's child, rather than the other way around. The key factor to finding a school which will get the best out of your child is to find one at which your child will be happy. If there is one absolute rule in education, it is that an unhappy child will not make the most of his or her gifts. Having judged a school for suitability for all the other criteria that we will examine in this piece, it is always worth rechecking the school against this one critical factor. So what are the other criteria? The mantra of estate agents may be location, location, location â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and there is little doubt that when choosing schools from within the state sector, this has been the prime mover of property prices around well-regarded schools. For the independent sector, location is less of an issueâ&#x20AC;Ś at least in 5

Milli Pilkington/Horris Hill School Talboth Heath School

When choosing boarding schools, especially for youngsters, it is important to know that they will be happy and will enjoy their time away from home

For older boarders, having a room in which they can be comfortable, both when working and relaxing, is vital


have a deep-seated and demonstrable commitment to their faith. Whichever kind of school you are hoping that your son or daughter might attend, do please respect the nature of the entrance criteria of the school in question. Be aware that if the school is looking for regular attendance at an affiliated place of worship or – in the case of a school some distance from where you are currently living – a reccommendation from a local faith leader ahead of acceptance, you and your child will have to put in the hours over a number of years to be considered a member of the faithful. There are other questions for which the answers are rather less clear-cut. Probably primary amongst these is sex, or at least whether you want your child to be ‘exposed to’ members of the opposite sex, and to what degree, at what age and in which circumstances. There are many arguments – not always helpful – for and against single-sex education. Boiling these down to simple statements makes them easier to understand, but not necessarily easier to terms of whether one will be allowed in or not; a answer. While fathers of daughters may well hope two-hour commute each way to school and back that their daughter will go on to lead a chaste every day is still, though, far from ideal for either life in a nunnery, that option isn’t really open pupil or parent. any more, so whilst it is generally less distracting Whether you, yourself are agnostic, Anglican, in the classroom to have single-sex classes atheist, Buddhist, Catholic, Evangelical Christian, (although there is some evidence to suggest that Hindu, Jewish, Methodist, Muslim, Quaker, Sikh, boys benefit more from having mixed classes Wiccan or Zoroastrian, faith schools – and than single-sex ones), boys and girls will need to those with a faith background – often exert an interact at some point. There are essentially four extraordinary attraction to parents of all stripes of options: single-sex schools full-stop, completely religious belief. There is something comfortingly traditional to many parents of school-aged children, co-educational schools, single-sex to GCSE and then co-ed in sixth form and finally, single-sex for example, in a school based on religious values. classes, but in a mixed sex school. Knowing which Some of these schools are happy to welcome is best for your child is difficult to predict: will children of any (or no) faith. Others, however, will your child be ‘mature’ or ‘immature’, mentally or accept only those children (and parents) who physically compared with their age-group peers? Sadly, that is almost impossible to predict. Another option to take into account, when looking at independent education at least, is whether to choose for your child to board, or to attend as a day pupil. A more recent development within schools is, at least for those parents who live relatively close to their chosen school is the option of Flexiboarding – where a child will board a few days, and stay at home with the rest of their family on others. This can be especially helpful where both parents work, and also where there are separation issues with the child, as it combines a feeling of belonging both to a group within the school, and also an unaltered connection with the week-to-week family life. It’s certainly an option to consider for younger children. On a more education-based level, there is the nature of the qualifications which you want your child to achieve – whether this is in the form of the range of subjects available, or the qualifications themselves, the old adage, that the great thing about standards in education is that there are so many to choose from, applies. State schools will be required to adhere to the National

Millie Pilkinton/Leweston School

For some parents, a strong sense of tradition is a crucial factor when choosing a school

may be philosophical, or even political, on the part of the parents. It is always worth bearing in mind that when balancing issues like education although achievement (in terms of qualifications, mixing with children of all backgrounds, social confidence, and future life prospects) whenever one is dealing with human beings, there will always be as much artistry in the decisions as science and hardheaded business. Ultimately, all anyone wants is for their child to be happy and successful, balancing all the factors in order to achieve this is only ever going to be a best-guess affair, so choose as wisely as you can, but try not to feel guilty about any of the decisions that you take. All you can do is make the best choice from the available information. t Iain Wilson was born between the months of April and August and still went to university Canford School

Curriculum â&#x20AC;&#x201C; whatever that may or may not look like by the time your child comes to choose his or her options for GCSEs or A Levels (presupposing either of them still exists by the time your child comes to take them). Whether the EBac comes to pass, whether your chosen school prefers iGCSEs, International Baccalaureat or some other exotic form of qualification, is an issue well worth exploring before signing up. Which brings us in a way to the most fundamental decision facing parents: whether to choose to have their children educated at a local authority controlled state school, a free school, an academy, grant-maintained or wholly independent school â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or to choose a mix-and-match approach to the whole thing. A good deal of the thinking involved in resolving this conundrum may be based around harsh financial facts, although some of it

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When quantity meets quality Dr Chris Ray looks at the qualifications schools achieve and how

Canford School

best to interpret them

Michael Gove has been faced with a massive challenge: how do we improve standards in poorly performing state schools. Like Lord Adonis before him he has looked to the independent sector for both inspiration and assistance: ‘we want your DNA’ they have said. Of course, those in government have tended to focus upon academic results when considering the strengths of schools and they have imposed targets on state schools demanding minimum levels of achievement. Yet we all know that the very best schools are not just academically strong, they are also places where the ‘co-curricular’ life flourishes outside the classroom. Those pupils fully involved in the co-curriculum (in music, sport, drama, Duke of Edinburgh, or indeed any of the tremendous range of activities typically provided in our independent schools) are also likely to be fully engaged with their curriculum studies. However, the arena beyond the classroom is much harder to measure than examination results; and as a consequence those charged with the political oversight of the education of our children

have concentrated their attention on examination performance. And it is just a short step from this to league tables. I was fascinated to receive a letter earlier this year from a former pupil on the topic of which who mentioned the league tables published by the Government and reported by the BBC and others. He pointed out the lowly position occupied by his old school. He wondered whether or not the school might be descending into academic obscurity. But things are far from what they might seem! The Government's league tables are published in a form capable of many interpretations and the approach taken by its statisticians represents a masterclass in opacity. The BBC chose to produce a rank ordering based on the average 'points per candidate' achieved in each institution. Many newspapers did exactly the same. This approach significantly benefits those schools which enter candidates for five or more A Levels, typically including General Studies (which few universities here value). There is a good number of state-funded schools in the top 50 or

Results day is when the fruits of all the previous years’ efforts and labours can be seen


Sherborne Girls

so schools on this measure. This may be because many state institutions receive finance for their sixth forms in direct proportion to the number of subjects taken: the more subjects taken, the more money provided, and as a knock-on effect, the more points per candidate! A few independent schools enter many of their students for more than four A-level subjects and they too tend to rank highly in this reading of the data. However, when the rank order is based upon the average 'points per A-level entry' a quite different picture emerges. On the first reading (points per candidate) we, along with Eton and Haberdashers' Aske's in London, appear between 178th and 194th places. One of our local state-maintained grammar school ‘rivals’ here had managed to achieve 44th place. On the second reading (points per entry) our school, Eton and Haberdashers’, appear in the top 50, but our local rival drops to 343rd place! This points per entry approach rewards higher grades. And there are very few state-maintained schools indeed in the top 50 on this measure. To sum up: on the first approach, for example, BBBCC is likely to beat AAA; on the second the position is reversed and quality wins out over quantity. Many high-performing independent schools tend to enter pupils for fewer subjects aiming Talboth Heath School

Although a school may be measured by its pupils’ achievements, it is important to recognise the individual’s hard work

The image one wishes to see of one’s children’ efforts: all smiles and a bright future


to develop their independent thinking skills and encouraging them to read around subjects. And so they will tend not to do especially well in tables which focus upon quantity rather than quality. The Financial Times has from time to time published a table based on the tougher subjects, excluding those which are perceived by academics to be soft options. Again on such measures, independent schools tend to perform not just well when compared with their state-maintained rivals, but incredibly well. In short, if a school wishes to ‘play the system’ it can appear to perform – from the ‘objective point of view’ of a league table – tremendously well. Just put your pupils in for as many subjects as possible and – just to make sure – direct them towards ‘softer’ subjects. Never mind that as a result they will find it hard to gain places at leading universities. What matters is the banner across the front of the school or the message on the front page of the website telling the world that they are a top-performing school. Parents who wish to understand the true academic quality of a school must first appreciate that league tables can and do distort the truth; there are lies, damned lies and league tables! Of course, there are independent schools which play the system just as shamelessly as many in the state sector. But a little probing will reveal their conceits. Even though independent schools tend to dominate the higher reaches of those tables which rank quality above mere quantity, the DNA of the independent sector has much less to do with academic prowess than a state of mind: an openness to involvement in all that a school can offer and a genuine understanding that education should prepare children for life and not simply for examinations. But, critically, schools in the independent sector know that there is no single way in which to work their magic, no ‘one-size-fitsall’ educational garment which provides the answer. So, if Michael Gove or any other Secretary of State for Education wants to learn from the independent sector, then he needs to understand that its strength derives in part from its diversity, in part from its focus on the co-curricular life as well as within the classroom, and in part from its commitment to educate children for life beyond examinations. Above all he needs to remember that all children are different: they have different needs, that we must understand each child as an individual if we are to get the very best out of them, and that the very best schools do precisely this. t Dr Chris Ray is High Master at The Manchester Grammar School and Chairman of the HMC

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BUCKHOLME TOWERS SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE When you have recently achieved a 100% success rate at 12+ grammar school entry, expectations inevitably continue to be high, even when your school suffers a major fire and the premises are rendered unusable. I think the fact that we were fully operational within 48 hours of the fire was deemed well and truly beyond expectations. With half the school back on site in temporary classrooms and the other half well established in their classrooms in the Parkstone United Reformed Church, it is very much ‘business as usual’ for Buckholme staff and pupils. Now the dust has settled, we can start to look forward and to consider the future, and the prospect of brand new school premises is very exciting. While much of the main structure and façade will remain as it was (we don’t want to lose that lovely character and homely feel), there will be a number of opportunities for improvement and modernisation throughout. Apart from the practical elements, like being more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, we are working hard to ensure that we do not miss a single opportunity for improvement in the pupils’ facilities. For example, having a central library with a digital system

of classification, run by the pupils for the pupils has long been our aim; modern and dedicated Art and Science facilities have also been on the wish-list for many years. But, it is the area of IT which presents some of the greatest and most exciting opportunities. Tablet and Touch-Screen technology is here to stay. Many of our children are already familiar with this medium and it is vital that we embrace it in our classrooms. The age of the IT suite is behind us, as this technology, both PC/ Laptop and Tablet, should be permeating every area of the curriculum during every lesson of every day. Even in the music room, where traditionally Buckholme pupils have excelled without the influence of digital technology, there will be opportunities for them to explore composition and recording using the latest child-friendly software. We are confident that our school of the future will be hi-tech, secure, user friendly and altogether a first class environment for learning. Of course, some things will not change, like the expectation that every child will reach their full potential, and the school's motto, 'Happiness through Education, Education through Happiness', will be upheld.

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Left to right: Heather, Melanie and Maggie: matrons at Trent College

Someone to watch over me =flidXkifej[`jZljjk_\`iifc\j#k_\`inXi[jXe[dXb`e^ jZ_ffc]\\cc`b\_fd\ Trent College, has four matrons – Maggie

Trent College

Boys ‘can be very complex’

Douglas, Heather Shaw, Melanie Daniels and Sue Woollett, who variously live in full-time, are day matrons, look after boys or girls – but they all feel that the role is crucial in making boarders feel that the school is a home from home. They are the ‘surrogate mothers’ of a boarding school; the women to whom the boarders can turn if they are feeling homesick, when the emotional side of being a teenager is getting too much, or even if they just want a natter and gossip over a cup of tea. Matrons are an integral part of every boarding house; they work closely with the Housemaster or Housemistress and in-house tutors in order to create that ‘home away from home’ environment


where boarders can thrive socially, emotionally and academically. While each individual's day-to-day experiences may differ, the matrons all appreciate their own worth, as do the students. 'You think with teenagers you are doing something and it goes unnoticed,' explains Maggie, 'but then something happens and they realise you are there for them. It is just doing little things; it is like being a Mum to them.' Most matrons would agree that no two days are alike, but many start their day by checking through their emails and to-do lists, which could include anything from taking a student to a dental or physiotherapy appointment, making sure the house kitchen is stocked with bread, milk and other goodies, offering pre- and post-exam pep talks or even going to see performances – sporting, theatrical, musical or otherwise – in which their students are involved. Then there are the nonpastoral, but nonetheless vital, parts of the role: liaising with the laundry team, doing maintenance checks and checking medical sheets. But it only takes one unforeseen event and the day takes on an entirely different complexion. There are, says Heather, 'aspects that sometimes you cannot plan for. It is that diversity that makes the role so interesting. Every day is different. That is what is fabulous about it.' It is these moments of high unpredictability

Trent College

Someone to watch over me Left International students have even greater need of support

that put matrons on full ‘Mum’ alert. As a mother herself, Heather finds it 'really hard seeing boys sad and tearful. Hopefully, if you can provide some comfort, and try to make things better for them, then that will hopefully put it right.' Melanie agrees: 'The boys talk to me such a lot and you find out things which other members of staff wouldn’t. Boys come and chat when they break up with their girlfriends or need to talk to someone. I know afterwards they will be OK.' It is their inherently caring nature that permits matrons to make a real difference. Things as simple as baking homemade cakes, especially for ever-hungry, growing boys, never go unwelcomed; neither does a bit of emergency sewing or ironing. Different houses take different approaches to housekeeping, kitchen rotas are common, while room tidying checks vary from house to house. Some houses do regular checks while others take the attitude boarding is training for real life and no-one’s going to check your room at university. The differing approaches can depend on the boarders’ age or sex. Nothing makes more of a difference to a boarding house, however, than its sense of camaraderie and togetherness. Again the matrons play an absolutely priceless role in shaping an environment in which the students feel at home enough to spark friendly banter with one another, argue, make up and support each other, whatever the circumstances. 'I try to make birthdays special,' Heather cites as an example. 'I want all the boys to feel that their birthday is recognised and that we want to celebrate with them, especially at a time when not being with their family can hit home quite hard.’ The different groups react in different ways and matrons have to be flexible about the approach they adopt. 'When somebody has a hard time,' Sue explains, 'the girls really pull together and look after each other; no matter what their differences might be, they work really well together. I see my role as being about making sure that people are enjoying themselves [and each other] and that the girls are getting on well together.' Melanie contrasts the situation with a boys' house: 'The boys can be very complex: one minute they can be very emotional and the next they can

be quite physical. Inevitably there are personalities that do clash, and they will rub each other up the wrong way, but you manage those situations. The boys also,' she adds, 'have a lot of jokes with me and always make me laugh!' While domestic boarders have their own challenges, international students, often from as far afield as Russia, China, and Africa, have even greater need of someone to watch over them. Ensuring that their integration into boarding life is as seamless and as stress-free as possible is also where the atmosphere, which the matrons help to foster, comes into its own. Heather highlights how this concept of caring spread through her house: 'One of our older students was looking out for two of our new international boys who had been to the cash machine and pulled out a wedge of money. He was really concerned that their carrying £200 in cash would put them into a dangerous situation. I was really impressed with his maturity.' Maggie concurs: 'Our English girls always accept and look after the international girls. I love seeing them develop through the years, how they nurture, grow and look after one another.' A matron still has to be on her guard though, says Melanie: 'There are times, particularly at certain social events, when the international boys can be very unaware of what is happening. I have to pick up on that and make sure they are alright and included.' Being a mother to one child can be testing enough, but taking on the role for as many as up to 70 boarders at any one time would, to some people, seem complete madness, but the matrons would not have it any other way: 'I love hanging out with the girls, finding out all the gossip and keeping up to date with music,' admits Sue, and Maggie adds: 'I like being with the girls, they make me laugh, and it is also nice how the boys help me when I’m stuck on the computer. We are not superior to the boys or the girls, we are all equal.' t Trent College is a co-educational independent school in Long Eaton, Nottingham.

One of the joys of being a matron is ‘finding out all the gossip and keeping up to date with music’


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4EL 14


Millie Pilkington/Horris Hill School

Making independent education affordable

Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your next move? If you have a very bright child, you may be able to get a good deal of financial help with fees from many independent schools.

B\m`e=\Xife]\\Xjj`jkXeZ\k_ifl^_YlijXi`\jXe[jZ_fcXij_`gj Independent schools are often portrayed as being full of the privileged elite of our country and way beyond the means of most ordinary people. Yet, at the same time, more parents than ever would choose to educate their child at an independent school if they could afford it, according to a recent survey by Populus of 2057 adults commissioned by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) found that nearly six out of ten (57 per cent) of parents would send their child to an independent school if they could afford to. Given this, how might such an education become affordable for those wanting an independent school education for their son or daughter, but who cannot afford the fees involved? The vast majority of independent secondary schools and some independent preparatory schools offer bursaries to widen access to the education provided by their schools to those who cannot afford the full tuition fees. These range from small amounts to those on middle-incomes to full fee assistance for those who need the help the most. In this way, an independent education can become affordable to anyone in society, even if parents are not in work at all. Bursaries are forms of means-tested assistance

which in effect reduce the fees for the time that the child attends the school. The number of bursaries on offer will vary from school to school but virtually every independent school will provide information on their websites as to what is available. It is likely to be the case that the application process involves a full assessment of the financial and other circumstances of the family. Each school will only have limited funds available but the school should be able to tell you roughly how many bursaries they give out each year. The amount of funding you are eligible for will depend on your own finances but can be up to full school fees so there are many students who pay nothing at all to attend some of the best schools in the country. Schools will then have their own systems to determine between all those who might be eligible for a bursary place. Many will use the final rank order of academic placement in their entrance exams; others will have their own systems. Each successful candidate who has applied for and qualifies financially for a bursary will be offered a bursary place, in rank order, until the available 15

Millie Pilkington/Horris Hill School

Making independent education affordable

Sporting scholarships are just one way in which the cost of a child’s education can be mitigated

Millie Pilkington/Leweston School

£280 million of bursaries are awarded by independent schools each year to set children on the best eductional path

bursary support funds are exhausted. Some schools will also offer support for uniform and similar costs. Some schools will publish scales of how much support is available at different income levels. If they do not, it is worth ringing the finance department of the school to outline your own means and to ask if they are prepared to give you an indicative figure. If this does not elicit any information then approach the school’s Head direct! The forms that schools ask you to fill out will vary, but generally are comprehensive in looking at your full financial picture and they are likely to ask for documentary evidence such as bank statements. Schools are likely to take into account the value of your home. Don’t be put off by the level of detail required. Schools have a duty to ensure that their charitable funds are used in the most appropriate way. The home visit done by some schools is again designed to ensure that help is being given to those that genuinely need it rather than to those with clever accountants! Once a bursary has been awarded schools remain committed to support your child throughout their time in the school. The sum given though may vary so that if your circumstances significantly improve the level of bursary will fall but if your circumstances worsen then the bursary will increase. Most schools ask for fresh financial


information annually to ensure that the bursary amount remains fair but if your income remains the same then the bursary too is likely to be consistent. Bursaries can be given to more than one child from the same family but they will need to individually meet whatever criteria are being used to decide how bursaries are awarded. There is often a great deal of competition for bursaries but this will vary from school to school. Bursaries are available at both day and boarding schools and will cover the higher costs of the boarding school fees. It is important to note that once pupils join the school on a bursary they will be treated in the same way as every other child. It is very unlikely that beyond the Head and the governors that many staff will be aware and at no stage would other pupils be made aware of those who are on bursaries. Such pupils become full members of the school and share the same experiences as their friends who may be paying fees. Many schools will also have funds which bursary holders can draw on to go on school trips and visits. Finally, there is some financial help open to all families irrespective of their own levels of wealth. These take the form of scholarships which can be given for academic, artistic, musical, sporting or other areas of talent. Scholarships are for a fixed sum per annum and are offered on the basis of merit in the particular area. They provide, in effect, a discount off the published fee. Be careful though! Some schools use these widely to discount fees, others are much more sparing. It is always worth considering what you end up paying as a large discount off a much larger fee is not always better than paying the full price of a much lower fee! Whilst in some schools there is real prestige associated with being a scholar in many they are given out very widely as in effect a discount off the inflated published price. Music scholarships are often given to allow reduced-price teaching of particular instruments. So, in conclusion, fee assistance is widely available to genuinely open up the finest independent schools to people of all classes, all income levels. Those of us who work in the independent sector, though, are always surprised that there are not more applicants for such places and it is definitely worth getting in touch with your local independent school to find out more about what they might have available. The majority of parents would like their children to attend such schools and bursaries make this possible for all in society. Independent schools provide more than £280 million annually in meanstested bursaries, an increase of 9.4% on last year, with over a quarter of all pupils receiving fee assistance from their school. t Kevin Fear is Head of Nottingham High School and Chair of HMC’s Communications Committee



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Badminton School, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. BS9 3BA



For girls and boys aged 2â&#x20AC;&#x201C;13 years. The Knoll House, Knoll Lane, Corfe Mullen, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 3RF t: 01202 694438 e: w:

We have one childhood. It has to be the best.


Schools and sport Millie Pilkington/Castle Court School


School sports foster teamwork and a strong sense of belonging

As the

Bournemouth Collegiate School

Sporting tours are a great way of further cementing teamwork

2012 Olympics move from a hugely enriching national event to a fond memory, and the euphoria of Super Saturday brings a smile on a damp spring day, there is an increasingly sharp spotlight on sport in schools. The somewhat intangible legacy of the games has many possible faces but clearly if schools can engage effectively in sport then the largest number of young people will be touched in the most effective way. Just how sport should be delivered in schools and how


well that is going is a very current and significant political issue with a heady mix of educational and sporting interests, each with overlapping but divergent aims. In some areas the issue is facilities, the sale of playing fields and under development. In others it is high quality coaching. More interesting than the how, which as ever will alter over time and according to fashion, is to consider exactly why we feel sport is so important in schools. So why is it so important for our young people to tramp the muddy fields on a games afternoon? First the obvious. As food is more plentiful and more processed at the same time as life becomes ever more sedentary (whose children 'play out' anymore or walk to school? - all for the best of reasons, keeping them safe) it is quite clear without recourse to any detailed surveys that young people on average are getting fatter and less fit. It is vital that if schools are about preparing people for life then part of that preparation is to make them fit for a high quality of life, with the energy for an active day and the sense of well being that comes with fitness. The link between feeling good and feeling fit is what drives many reluctant adults to the gym and it is no different for young people. And getting our children to feel good as they go through school is just as important an aim as getting them to know

Sherborne Prep

team bus, the after match refreshments, the walk to the sports field all develop close social links that last through life. These, based as they are on the very positive attitudes associated with school sport, make a difference later in life. From time to time there is discussion about what makes the difference in Independent Education. There are many answers but towards the top of the league would be that very many such schools have a very active approach to sport. That sport develops the attitudes and 'soft' skills discussed above. Link that to the fact that when I speak to Old Boys' of my school they invariably say those soft skills are what makes them successful (the qualifications they got are the passport to their future lives, not the roadmap) then it is clear that developing young people through sport can and does directly change whole lives. So there is no doubt sport can keep you physically fit and perhaps add years to your life. But it can also, by the attitudes and skills picked up through sport, add quality to those years by promoting a healthy mental approach to life and so produce well-rounded young people able to contribute to their society. t Philip Britton MBE, is Headmaster of Bolton School and a member of the HMC (Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference) Communications Committee. He is also Vice President (Education) of the Institute of Physics.

Different children will be able to find different sports which they enjoy and at which they can excel

Millie Pilkington/Horris Hill School

things. More importantly fitness is a habit and habits are more easily formed when young. The fitness bug is best caught at school. Sport also develops a range of other habits in a way that is fun, almost undetectable by those participating but immensely important for their futures. Self reflection is a key life habit, the ability to judge yourself fairly, not being down on yourself but not being unrealistic about what more could be done. So is the sporting attitude that the game matters absolutely when it is being played, but afterwards it was just a game. The post match analysis, further training plan, the relentless focus on improvement that is basic to sport develops this skill like few other activities. Perspective and context, about commitment but letting go of what cannot change are all essential attitudes to life. Then there is the sense of what it is to be in a team. Teams exist across all areas of working life and within society - working out what role you play, that whatever you do matters, that if there is an outstanding member of the team they still need you and if you are the outstanding athlete you still need the team are important skills for life, all learned in a practical context through sport. Teams need leadership and sport develops that leadership. Sport is also about individual targets, determination and commitment. The link between success and effort is ever more tenuous in a celebrity society. Too many young people, when asked about their careers, say they wish to become famous. Becoming infamous is easy but fame is hard won. The Olympics redressed that balance and so does sport in school day by day. Becoming excellent is hard work. The early morning training, the day by day routine, the diet, working round other commitments...all are difficult and in engaging with sport young people develop resilience that will be a key habit for life. Finally there are the social habits associated with sport. Whether individual or team sports, the

As well as all the side benefits, sportâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main benefit is getting and keeping pupils fit and healthy


“Recognising the uniqueness of every child” ISI inspection Girls and Boys ages 2-13 t: 01935 812097 e:


+ EXCE LLENCE “The quality of academic and other achievements is excellent. Pupils are very well educated...they aim high and achieve well.” INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS INSPECTORATE – OCTOBER 2012

OP EN MO R NING S A T U R D AY 1 1 M AY 2 0 1 3


Sherborne Prep

Planning for paying for education may not be child’s play, but there are some relatively simple steps one can take

Planning to pay for education ?fndlZ_`jk_\Zfjkf]XZ_`c[j\[lZXk`fe#Xe[_fn[f\j fe\^fXYflkgi\gXi`e^]fik_Xk]lkli\]`eXeZ`XcZfdd`kd\ek6 8e[i\nN\ccjf]]\ijjfd\gf`ek\ij% How much? These are the words you do not want to hear coming out of your own mouth when examining the options for your child’s education. Perhaps, more than any other element of child rearing, the financial preparation one can make for paying for the expenses associated with a child’s education is the one element of childhood over which one can exert more than the usual control. The one piece of bad news is that, given that you have started to read this feature, there is every chance you already have a child and, in much the same way as saving for a pension is better started when young, some of the elements of the planning required for saving should perhaps already have been done. Whatever the state of preparedness of your finances at the moment, however, the nature of the saving that you are doing is still dependent on the nature of the education your child is likely to receive. As with practically everything in life adopting ‘plan for the worst, hope for the best’ as one’s motto for financial planning is as good a place to start. Taking a cold, hard look at what may be in store is a sobering process, but one worth engaging in, not least as it may expose the impracticality

of some of one’s hopes, when compared with the extent of one’s earnings and savings. Splitting up the prospective educational life of one’s child is a good place to start. The categories of pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary can be further divided into state and public – indicating the opportunities for spending money depending on whether one chooses to send one’s children to a private/public school, or one run by the local education authority. Having got this far, it is worth inserting the costs that one should be able to obtain from the kind of institution where one would wish one’s child to be educated… at today’s prices, while leaving contingencies for trips and equipment. Break down the costs for each year and determine how far in the future Year 0 – the year before that at which your calculation starts to indicate money will be spent – is to be found. Now it is time to have fun with maths: assuming a five per cent per annum increase in costs, you need to multiple 1.05 by itself the same number of times as there are years to Year 0. For example, if Year 0 is two years away (ie you will start to spend money three years after) so you need to multiply 1.05x1.05x1.05 to give, roughly, 1.16. This is the 21

Different schools will include some or other elements of their activities within fees, others may charge extra

Buckholme Towers School

Planning to pay for education

Canford School

number you need to multiply the year 1 costs by to give the real-terms cost of Year 1’s education – ie 16 per cent higher than today’s figure (assuming our five per cent per year increase in fees). Year 2 in our example is 1.16x1.05=1.22, so today’s available figures for Year 2’s costs need to be multiplied by that figure. Do this for each of the individual years in which you have identified that there will be expenditure and then take a break. You will not only have earned it, but you may well be feeling a little faint. Remember though, while – on the inflation assumptions made – university fees for a child currently in Year 1 will have doubled owing to effects of compounded inflation, compounding is not universally bad news. Interest on savings, and returns on some other investments – where returns like dividends are reinvested, will also have benefitted from compounding. Obviously, how much they have done so will depend on the level and the duration of the increases. Few things, sadly, are as predictably consistent over long periods as inflation. Why is compounding important? Well if you are basing your ‘education’ fund on an initial lump of capital, it will have consistently grown with time, until such point as you start nibbling away at it to pay for your child’s education costs. What, though, if you haven’t got a large lump to start with? Well, the first way is to start saving earlier. If Year 0 is not too far distant, though, that is clearly not possible. The other alternative, then, is to accept that the monthly contributions – either to a savings scheme – or in direct payment of the fees and costs themselves, will have to go up in line with the inflation rate of the costs. This may seem not to be a plan so much as a

As well as standard fees, remember to factor in items like new technology – in whatever form that may eventually be – into your saving plans


capitulation to the harsh realities of life – that the inevitable consequence of having children is that one will become progressively poorer – but it is nonetheless a signpost of the nature of that reduction in disposable income. Where you cannot mitigate the increasing cost of something, being aware of the scale of that reduction is nonetheless critically useful information when, say, thinking about a career shift, planning future holidays, buying a new car or thinking about doing work on one’s house. Those of us who took out endowment and withprofits policies, on the advice of our parents thirty years ago, the maturing of these policies – often with significantly lower returns than we had been led to expect, is also instructive in correcting the deeply held belief that investments or savings will always give us what we need, or indeed close to what they promised. Whilst the world’s equity markets may have returned to the levels they reached before the 2008/2009 financial crisis, that episode too is instructive: the moment you need to access the return and the principal of an investment, is really the only moment at which its value is important. It is always worth having savings or investments in different forms, just in case the nightmare scenario of the moment when one’s money is actually needed happens to coincide with a big dip in the market. It is also worth looking at help from other sources: mitigating the costs of an independent education with a full or part scholarship, or taking advantage of a bursary (see pages 15-16 for more information), are ways to make the money go a bit further. It is also worth discussing things with other members of the extended family. Having an indication as to the level of help and support that may be required (from having done one’s sums), makes it easier for others to help; it is also worth asking people to invest in their niece’s or nephew’s education – rather than buying an expensive bottle of port, when it comes to Christening or landmark birthday presents. And if some family members cutup rough about sacrificing their expensive grand gesture presents, point out that the better the educational start one’s children may have in life, the better able they will be to buy whatever they want for themselves later on. t Andrew Wells is working out whether to put the returns from his endowment policies into bonds, or into this year’s Christmas pudding

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Are you investing in your childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future?




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Music and schools <c`qXY\k_:X`ieZifjjcffbjXkk_\dXepXe[mXi`\[Y\e\]`kj f]c\Xie`e^dlj`Z Why should

Millie Pilkington/Horris Hill School

Learning a musical instrument need not be a chore, and can equip a child with a skill which can help them make friends for life

we learn music, and why should we try to get our children to practise? Time and time again, surveys indicate that people think that teaching music is a good thing. But why? What of those children – the majority, who do not have an exceptional talent or tremendous work ethic? Do they gain from learning an instrument, or from singing? ‘I was saved by music in year 6. Actually I was saved by Tchaikovsky 6,' says virtuoso trumpeter Paul Denegri. 'Mrs Brown, our class teacher, used to play us classical music. I had to sit at the front because I was so naughty. Then I heard the trumpets. I went home with the name of the piece on a scrap of paper, and I told my Dad I wanted to learn the trumpet. He hugged me. He was despairing that his son would ever aspire to anything. I started to learn, and to work, and then realised that I could use my brain for other things - for literature, and art….' Paul is now head of brass at Wells Cathedral School. We know that babies learn tunes before they learn words, that early exposure to music helps to foster calm in the womb and that it also helps with language development. Research from the Institute of Education demonstrated that, thanks to the national 'Sing Up!' campaign two years ago, there was


improvement in academic performance in primary schools where singing had been developed and supported; the improvement was greater yet when the singing development was led by other children (usually cathedral choristers). In particular there was learning improvement in schools where learning standards amongst boys had been a concern. So, even if it is all that you do, make sure that your children sing… and move… and learn rhythm. Investigate choristership; a huge number of people started musically as choristers. As well as obvious examples like Charlotte Church, there are people like Adrian Lester, who recently opened as Othello at the National Theatre, and was a chorister at St Chad’s Birmingham, and all because his school sent home a letter and his mother sent him in return. If you can, make sure that they learn an instrument as well, and make sure that their school experience at a primary level includes musical notation and some theory beyond singing. Take advantage of any group starter lessons that may be available. Think about percussion as well as woodwind, keyboard, strings and brass. Play different sounding instrumental CDs to your children and let them see which sounds they most enjoy… and show them pictures as well: Time and again I hear ‘It looked so beautiful...’, ‘I knew as soon as I saw it ....’, ‘I just wanted to make that sound ....’ One of the finalists in the brass section of 2012 BBC Young Musician of the Year, Lizzie Tocknell, used to take her new French horn to bed with her when she was very young. She just loved it a great deal. Why an instrument as well as singing? The voice is our very own portable instrument, and to develop it really well as a solo instrument requires great skill and expert tuition. In the wrong hands it can be damaged because it can’t be seen. Most singers play an instrument as well; an instrument – handled and learnt technically, provides dexterity, breathing and muscle-control of a high order. Throughout the turbulence of adolescence, music keeps us steady; it has the power to sustain and offers constant access, across different levels, to the beautiful and to the aspirational… and it doesn’t have to be calm. It can invigorate and upset as well. Music combines talent, discipline, development, rigour, performance, fluidity, generosity and grace. And those things come most through the learning of an instrument and its individual practice without resort to rapped knuckles or shouting and

Canford School

of a beginners’ recorder or violin group, or of a professional orchestra. Learning an instrument properly without forcing it (including the voice) enables one to listen dispassionately, thoughtfully, critically (in the word's best sense) and reflectively. And good musicians will always need good audiences. If you want your child to take grade exams, fine; they are not compulsory and they are not trophies. Grade 8 may just mean that you have made a diligent child – who wanted to please – work hard. That, of course, is a good thing in itself, but music is much more than an exam result: it is a brainand-emotion-training foundation for life. Our world needs resilient people who can work in a team – or indeed lead it. Instrumental tuition – and the opportunity to play in a group, any group, builds those qualities.

Once a child has learnt to play a musical instrument, the option of joining a group or orchestra can allow them to explore their talents yet further

t Elizabeth Cairncross is Head of Wells Cathedral School: one of the UK's five independent specialist music schools

Millie Pilkington/Leweston School

screaming; I ask my three children’s forgiveness here for not always practising what I am now preaching. More than any other activity music needs personal application and fosters an internalised, embedded understanding of the relationship between diligence, creativity and talent. It is a 'team sport', hence the fact that group lessons can be a very fruitful way to start. In games, children play with their age group peers - it has to be that way for safety. In music they play with people who are at the same level as they are, but who may be older or younger. They learn to submit themselves to the needs of the group for the sake of a higher purpose: getting to the end together and performing in a way that will delight the audience, whether its members have fine musical appreciation, or simply because they are one of the player's grandparents. You need grace and humour and will learn to ‘adjust around other people’ – as the Master of the Queen’s Musick memorably told an ensemble he was coaching in my hearing; the same is true

Singing is the simplest way into music


Day and boarding for girls aged 7 - 13 Co-ed Pre-prep for boys and girls aged 3 - 7

An environment which encourages confidence and self-belief. A place that equips our children with skills for 21st Century learning while maintaining traditional values and ethos of our founders. Where pupils gain excellent scholarship results to top public schools, and where music, sport and creative arts are a key part of each day

01258 452065

Independent Day School for Boys and Girls 2-13

Excellent Education Enriching Environment At Yarrells, we combine academic study with sport and the arts to achieve excellence in every childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s education. The school is set in beautiful grounds where pupils enjoy the benefits of woodland, gardens, playing fields, swimming pool and tennis courts. Children gain the advantage of a head start in the Early Years, culminating in a dynamic and successful study programme for pupils aged 11+ to 13. Pupils thrive at Yarrells and we are ambitious for every child.

01202 622229 26

Students help with a Christmas Tea Dance with a local retirement home

Schools and their communities C\fN`ebc\pcffbjXk_fnjZ_ffcjZXeXe[j_flc[`ek\^iXk\n`k_ k_\`icfZXcZfddle`k`\j Wherever your child goes to school, whether in a quiet rural setting, or in the bustle of a large town or city, it is vital that their school is embedded in the wider community around it, so that pupils develop a sense of belonging to, as well as responsibility for, the world around them. There are lots of ways in which good schools build links with the community around them. To my mind, the most effective is the creation of local school partnerships which bring together pupils, staff and parents from across the sectors. School partnerships run on good will as much as they do on funding. The returns on time and energy invested can be inspiring. Our city is blessed with excellent schools, both state and privately funded, all benefiting from the strong sense of community that characterises the city. The local Independent State School Partnership (ISSP) has been running since 2007. There are currently ten schools actively involved (three independent, five state maintained and two academies) and who jointly fund the scheme. Pupils can study Russian to GCSE level and Thinking Skills at AS level; there have been conferences on leadership, choral workshops and enterprise projects. Annette Aylett, who coordinates the ISSP programme, says that the strength of the partnership lies in providing exciting opportunities.

“Working together means that we can provide more for the young people and teachers of York than we possibly could if we all worked on our own. Parents look to us to provide high quality opportunities which are not available anywhere else on this scale”. Case Study: Free Latin GCSE open to all As part of the ISSP, my school has been offering a two-year Latin GCSE course, free of charge, to pupils from state schools across the city. The subject isn’t widely available to pupils in the state sector, so the course is a prime example of how partnership working can create, rather than simply propagate, real opportunities. The 17 pupils, from five state schools, started their Latin learning from scratch eighteen months ago, in Year 9, and are now building up to the GCSE exam this June. “This group of 15 year olds voluntarily comes to learn Latin after a full day at school for two hours, and complete the two hours plus of homework set each week with little complaint,” says Katherine Barker, who teaches the group. “They laugh in lessons and enjoy getting the answers right, delighting when they make connections with something they have learnt in a modern language or English or history. Two of the pupils who attend the same school insult each other in Latin when they see each other in the corridors. It doesn’t 27

Schools and their communities

Cross-pollination of classes from the state and independent sectors has advantages for both parties

Giving state school students access to independent schools’ facilities is one of the great benefits of joint projects


matter if they get an A* or C in the final exam; it is a huge achievement for them to say they had the drive and determination to stick with the course.” The main benefits for the pupils are academic. With such a small class size, the teacher is able to give immediate feedback and attention to individuals. Their involvement teaches them time management and autonomy over their work. “They want to do well in the GCSE not only for themselves, but also for their school and for their parents,” adds Miss Barker. “Friendly academic rivalry is not always present in their own schools. Some arrived with the mentality that they needed to hide their interest to seem ‘cool’, and I have seen those attitudes start to change.” St Peter’s pupils have great respect for those who are giving up their free time to learn Latin. “It is good for everyone involved to see these youngsters enjoying education for education’s sake”, says Miss Barker. Rowing has also provided an opportunity to interact with the local community. It is unusual for schools to have a boathouse and many children will never get the chance to try the sport. Our Director of Rowing, Dr Jamie MacLeod, an Olympian himself, seized on the GB rowing successes at the London 2012 Olympics, to help set up a rowing partnership with the local High School. “There is no doubt that there is a great depth of ability

and enthusiasm within the partner school”, says Dr MacLeod, adding that he hopes to develop the scheme “so that all children have the opportunity of trying one of our top Olympic sports”. The pupils had access to dry training facilities and time out on the river with the school’s rowing coaches. Independent schools often benefit their local community by sharing their facilities. Whether it’s welcoming youth groups to train on an allweather pitch or running subsidised summer camps aimed at local children, most independent schools are keen to offer a good degree of free access to their facilities. Our new swimming pool is used by the local swimming baths and our school hall plays host to the work of a number of citybased youth charities, such as Lollipop and The Island Charity. A home-grown ‘Community Action’ volunteering programme gets more than 150 pupils involved in projects in the local community, whether it’s helping the Silver Surfers to navigate the Web; reading to primary school children; doing gardening work in local schools, or, most challenging of all, partnering the ladies and gents from the nearby retirement home at the Christmas Tea Dance! These activities put our children in touch with members of the local community, young and old, and they develop the skills to form positive and confident relationships with people from all walks of life. Partnerships between schools, and the communities in which they operate, are mutually beneficial. Pupils – whether in the state or independent sector – develop a sense of belonging to the wider community , and a genuine commitment to serving and caring for those around them. The youngsters make new friends, encounter new ideas and inspirations, and experience new environments. They are taken out of their comfort zones and, almost without exception, this brings the best out of them, often more than the pupils ever believed they could achieve. They develop an appetite for more contact with the world beyond the school, and a desire to give to the local community. Independent schools can – and should – further strengthen their relationship with the community around them by offering significant bursary schemes, enhancing social mobility, and enriching the school community too. The worst thing any school can be is inward-looking and self-absorbed. This will inevitably make its youngsters socially and morally myopic. In the end, parents and teachers across the country are all after the same thing: the goal of inspiring their children to aim high and to lead happy and rewarding lives, mindful and respectful of others. We want our children to have a strong sense of who they are and to value the community to which they belong. t Leo Winkley is Head Master of St Peter’s School, York, an HMC School


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MOTTOES & CRESTS Bryanston, founded in 1928, has the motto ‘et nova et vetera’ (‘both the new and the old’). It was chosen by the first headmaster, JG Jeffreys, to reflect his vision for a school which would draw upon the best of the new and the old approaches to teaching and learning. Today, Bryanston Clayesmore was founded in 1896 by Lex Devine, who chose the motto ‘Dieu Premier Donc Mes Frères’ (God first then my brothers) to reflect his intention that the school would be (as it remains) a family community. The coat of arms The Buckholme Towers shield remained unchanged from its foundation in 1939 until the introduction of new signage in 2010 presented an opportunity to give it a ‘facelift ’. The shield is a symbol of the tradition that underpins 30

continues to share much with older independent schools, including the pursuit of academic and extra-curricular excellence, but it is not bound by tradition. Bryanston is proud to be a forward-thinking and outward-looking school, and to continue to fulfil the founding vision.

was formally adopted in 1979 and was a gift from alumni. The school celebrates eighty years at its beautiful Iwerne Minster site this year, and the Clayesmore family is currently made up of almost 700 pupils aged from 3-18. the school’s ethos and of the high standards which pupils strive to achieve. The school motto, ‘Happiness through education, education through happiness’, clearly describes the school’s belief that children will only learn and achieve their full potential when they feel happy and secure.

The Canford coat of arms was approved by the College of Arms in September 1924. The symbol of an open book is appropriate for a seat of learning, and the wavy bands of blue and silver denote the River Stour, which runs through the grounds. The oak tree Leweston’s school motto, ‘Gaudere et Bene Facere’ – ‘Rejoice and Do Well’ – dates from the 17th century and applies to pupils and staffff alike. It suggests not

A little while ago, Warminster School’s Headmaster, Mr Priestley, asked students to come up with a motto which best describes the school. From over sixty entrants Mr Priestley and the School Governors selected

derives from the assumption – later disproved – that ‘Cheneford’ (the Domesday form of Canford) meant ‘Oak-treeford’. It remains, however, a suitable emblem for a school, with its associations of growth, strength and endurance. only that if something is worth doing, g it is worth doingg well, but also that it is worth doingg it in the right frame of mind, one which is positive, outgoingg and cheerful. a winner. The chosen entry came from Mabel Taylor, who suggested the motto, ‘Where tomorrow begins’. With a history dating back to 1707, Warminster has its feet firmly rooted in tradition, but its eyes to the future.

Have you ever wondered from where schools derive their mottoes, crests, devices and shields? We asked a selection of local schools to explain just whence and when their mottoes, crests, devices and shields originated, and to explain the imagery of what all these sometimes arcane words and symbols represent. Here is what eighteen of them told us… The original emblem of Perrott Hill was based on the Somerset winged dragon or wyvern, with the addition of a torch, the symbol of learning. At the end of the 1990s the rose garden, a historical feature of Perrott Hill, was added to create The origin of Badminton School’s motto, ‘Pro Omnibus Quisque Pro Deo Omnes’, is Latin and means ‘Each for all, and all for God’. Although there have been several ‘Dominus dat Sapientiam’ (The Lord gives wisdom) reflects Castle Court’s desire for its pupils to grow academically but also in character. The house where the school was founded in 1947 was called Castle Court,

today’s crest. Although there is no school motto, each of the school’s four houses has a Latin motto: Quantocks, victor omnium (conqueror of all); Brendons, superabimus (we will prevail); Mendips, nobis confide (count on us); Blackdowns, semper coniunctim (always together). variations on the logo since the school was founded in 1858, it has always been based around the oak tree and now incorporates two acorns to represent the school’s nursery – the Little Acorns. hence the castle on the crest. The fleur de lys represents a young plant, but can also illustrate the Holy Trinity, and symbolises perfection, light and life: ideal for a school which aims to give its pupils the best start to their educational and social lives.

Bournemouth Collegiate School’s simple mantra, ‘The best in everyone’, ensures that every BCS sportsman, academic, artist, musician, actor or dancer is offered a collision with as many opportunities as possible. The link between dolphins and the sea makes the

BCS logo very appropriate, given the school’s coastal location, but it goes much deeper than that. There are three characteristics of dolphins that stand out particularly: friendliness, playfulness and intelligence. That is how BCS like to think about their school, too.

The torch represents the ancient Greek ‘Lampadedromia’ or ‘torch race’; the race challenged the youth of Athens to run a relay through the city to the Acropolis, each team bearingg a lit torch. The legendary race of torchbearers, which embodies

the values of strength, endurance, teamwork and individual responsibility, gave rise to the Olympic y flame and in turn inspired the School motto – ‘Fair is the prize and the hope is great’ – and emblem. These values still underpin Sherborne Girls today.

The Sherborne Prep dragon originates g from the coat of arms of Edward VI, who founded Sherborne School. The Prep was first established in 1858 as a junior house to Sherborne School.

Today the Prep is flourishing and, while benefitting from its excellent links with Sherborne School and Sherborne Girls, also prepares children for many leading public schools. 31


The origins and meanings of local schoolsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; mottoes, their crests, devices and shields Kingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s School was founded in 1519, when the Fitzjames family granted property in and around Bruton for the purpose of founding a Free School. The Fitzjames family crest was a dolphin, so the new school

adopted this for its own. From 1550 the school was called the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Free Grammar School of King Edward the Sixthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and it was from this point that a crown was added, above the dolphin, to the crest. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Deo Juvanteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; means â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;By the Grace of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Knighton House girls are diďŹ&#x2020;inctive thanks to their unique uniform of red dungarees, depicted in the logo. Introduced in the 1950s as a practical solution for outdoor activities like climbing trees and cartwheeling, the dungarees are held in great

aďŹ&#x20AC;ection by all. The schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s founding ethics of scholarship, responsibility, respect and hard work in an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment are as strong today as when the school opened in 1950 and results in a forwardthinking school with traditional values.

The Yarrells School crest, inspired by the estateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Georgian hiďŹ&#x2020;ory, was designed in honour of William Yarrell, after whom the Poole school was named. Yarrell was an early 19thcentury naturaliďŹ&#x2020; whose books catalogued British birds and fish. The green woodpecker,

or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;YaďŹ&#x201E;eâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, is on the crest, and the call of this striking bird rings out over Yarrellsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; treetops, cheerfully symbolising the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passion for its natural environment. Yarrells, set in beautiful surroundings, offers educational inspiration within an enriching environment.

The motto of education to    Talbot Heath, girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. At Talbot 

   â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Honour before Heath academic honoursâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, reďŹ&#x201A;ects the excellence goes importance placed hand in hand on the development with principles. of the character and Pupils leave values at the school. the school as Founded in 1886 as knowledgeable a Church of England and considerate school by pioneer Mary young women ready Broad, the school has to make a positive stayed true to its vision of contribution offering â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;first-class liberal to society.

Founded in 1903, Dumpton School takes its name from Dumpton House, near Broadstairs. World War 2 saw the school evacuated to Dorset, where it still resides in quiet, rural surroundings. The 25-acre campus is centred on a 19thcentury farmhouse, while

extensive playing fields, allotments and woodland walks complement the modern sports facilities, including a full size all-weather pitch, and classroom areas. The school motto, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;You can because you think you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, lies at the cornerstone of teaching at Dumpton.

Ballard Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s motto is â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;In novitate sensusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;&#x201C; In the renewing of the mind. Ballardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s origins go back to 1895, but the motto dates from a hundred years later, when the modern Ballard School was formed. Chosen for its relevance to


academic excellence, creativity, hard work and spirituality, it is a simple message to remind staďŹ&#x20AC;, governors and friends of its ethos to provide its pupils aged between 1 and 16, an excellent all-round education in a nurturing but challenging environment.


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,QGHSHQGHQW'D\6FKRRO IRU*LUOVDQG%R\VDJHGĂ´WR\HDUV For further information, please call 01202 883818 or visit our website at Assistance with fees available Dumpton School, Deans Grove House,Wimborne, Dorset BH21 7AF Dumpton School. RegLVWHUHGLQ(QJODQGDQG:DOHV1R5HJLVWHUHG2IĂ&#x20AC;FH'HDQV*URYH+RXVH:LPERUQH'RUVHW%+$)5HJLVWHUHG&KDULW\1o. 306222


Tales from the staffroom 8]k\iXk\XZ_`e^ZXi\\ijgXee`e^Yfk_jkXk\Xe[`e[\g\e[\ek jZ_ffcj#Di=`j_i\m\XcjXcc People often ask what the differences are between teaching in the private and state sectors. It's difficult to explain, as they are many and varied with nuance layered upon nuance, but it mainly comes down to better coffee in the staff room, pupils saying thank you at the end of lessons and, crucially, more wine and fewer bells at the parents' evenings at independent schools. Parents do, however, expect more of the staff at independent schools; they are paying for their child's education (as indeed does any state school parent, but at independent schools, they are ‘paying you…’) and they just know that little Johnny is an A-grade student, so it's clearly the teacher's problem if Johnny is getting

a C. It can be hard to explain that their Johnny is just lazy and refuses to put in the work and, in the unlikely event of his reaching university, he will fare worse than a state-school educated boy with similar grades because he still won't work hard, but now there won't be a bevy of teachers behind him pushing him to learn. Mostly, though, parents’ evenings are a rather pleasant way to pass the time with people who are committed to their child growing in confidence and putting in the work – especially those parents for whom fees form a sizeable chunk of their income. Organisationally – and perhaps counterintuitively, there will be many fewer administrative staff in independent schools, there is therefore, significantly less administration to do. Meetings tend to be shorter and child-centric, with less form filling, check-mark checking, statistic massaging and rear-end covering. There are, though, proportionally more teachers, so class sizes are the key difference. From a teacher's perspective, one works more hours, but with less stress (or at least a different kind of stress), than in state schools;


there is much more one-to-one teacher/pupil time, and much less time spent in meetings. There is a caveat to this, though, in that you are much more likely to spend time as a minibus driver. There are other differences: at an independent school, you're more likely to be educating the offspring of pop-stars who, like their parents, range from the grounded to the prima donna. In parts of the state sector, the teachers may wish for bodyguards, in more affluent parts of the independent sector, the children have bodyguards…, and a PA, and a nanny, and a chauffeur. Probably the greatest difference between the state and independent sectors, though, is in the field of ‘risk assessment’. In the independent sector, there is much more of a focus on staff and individual students taking responsibility for their own actions. So children will be told that if they get a conker on the knuckles it will hurt, but not issued with boxing gloves. Contrary to received wisdom, one area where the state and private sectors are quite similar is in terms of trips, particularly skiing trips. On these excursions it is not the teachers who are in charge, rather it is the ski instructors at the resort (and their friends in the medical insurance sector). This means that, in the event of a student getting injured by falling from, or being hit by, a chairlift, or contriving to hit – at full speed – the only wooden post in a 200-metre-wide nursery slope, then, by the time the resort employees have managed to wrap the offending post in hi-viz padding (and taken pictures of it so wrapped for their insurance company), the teacher will only just have had time (while breaking a personal best) to get down the mountain on a black run before the ski instructor-ordered, and enormously expensive, precautionary med-evac helicopter takes off. Other issues that span the independent/state divide are the mystical ability some teachers possess, and others lack, to impose silence on a room by their mere arrival… in the independent sector, however, it is certainly helped by the reciprocal respect between teacher and pupil… and the relative ease with which independent schools can be rid of troublemakers. By and large, though, whilst children are full of surprises, which is the main reason why we all go into teaching and stay there, they are largely pleasant ones.

Open Mornings Wed 22nd May & Sat 22nd June 9.30am to 12.00 noon

n e e l c l e x n e c e o t e t y e x n r i u s o j o e t l One a sing

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Ballard School can offer your child â&#x20AC;&#x201C; everyone is welcome at our open mornings and there is no need to register in advance.

Ballard School, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hampshire BH25 5SU

Call 01425 626900 for an information pack

Ballard School Ltd is a fee paying school and exists for the education of children. Registered Charity No. 307328


100% OPEN 100% PASS RATE (at 12+ 2012/13)


Buckholme Towers School and Nursery Independent Preparatory Day School and Nursery for Girls and Boys Aged 3-12 Years 18 Commercial Road, Lower Parkstone, Poole, Dorset BH14 0JW Tel: 01202 742871

Profile for Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine Ltd

The Best in Education 2013  

From the makers of Dorset Life, The Best in Education looks at everything parents need to know to choose a school and much, much more.

The Best in Education 2013  

From the makers of Dorset Life, The Best in Education looks at everything parents need to know to choose a school and much, much more.