What makes a good school?

Good School

Peter Roberts, Headmaster of The King’s School, Canterbury The most significant and long overdue change over the course of my career has been the toppling of the traditional divide between the self-contained institutional views that schools have tended to hold and the opinions and judgements of parents about their children’s experiences within those hallowed walls. […]


What about boarding schools?

About Boarding

Barnaby Lenon, Head Master of Harrow School, 1999–2011, and Chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) Boarding schools continue to be popular in the twenty-first century, offering exceptional education and extra-curricular activities with round-the-clock pastoral care. The 2017 ISC Census showed that 70,281 pupils board at ISC schools, making up 13.4% of total pupil numbers. A […]


A parents’ guide to surviving the school marketplace

St Lawrence College BSA

Antony Spencer, Principal of St Lawrence College Whenever the time comes to trade in the family car, my whole tribe embarks on the collective project. I start reading car magazines in the barber’s shop, scroll through endless car websites, and my wife – who has only a passing awareness of Jeremy Clarkson – starts taking […]


Inspections of boarding schools

Adrian Underwood, Educational Consultant and former Lead Inspector All English accredited independent boarding schools are inspected on a three-year cycle. This current cycle started in April 2016. If the boarding school is in membership of one of the five independent school associations (GSA, HMC, IAPS, ISA, Society of Heads) and, thus accredited by its association, […]


Caring about, not just caring for

– Andrew Lewin, Director of Training, Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) ‘The boarders receive outstanding levels of support from a wide range of staff within the school…’ ‘The pastoral care is exceptional…’ ‘Parents provided overwhelmingly positive feedback.’ ‘This outstanding boarding community is a result of the (staff) fulfilling their vision to provide a safe, structured, nurturing […]


Selecting a school

Selecting a school

A guide to the school application process  Carry out research into possible schools If possible, visit schools at least a year before the proposed entry date Complete application form Register with school Pay deposit/application fee during the year before entry (or earlier) Prepare for entrance examinations/tests/interviews Sit entrance/scholarship examinations at agreed location If possible visit […]


School visits: questions and answers


School visits can take many forms. They can involve meeting the Head or perhaps attending an open day. Whatever the format, the first meeting is crucial so if possible always try to visit a school on a normal day. If it goes well, follow it up with an open day visit. Further visits can then […]


League tables – just one measure of success

League Tables

Emma McKendrick, Headmistress of Downe House School One of the great joys and benefits of a boarding education is the fact that there is the time and the space to offer a rich array of opportunities which enable young people to grow and develop and explore the person they are. They develop passions and interests, […]


Faith in our schools

Faith in our Schools

Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus Faith schools have often been – and continue to be – controversial. People opposing faith schools express concerns about the possible indoctrination of developing minds whereas supporters point to the strong moral compass they provide in a world which provides so many temptations and distractions for young people. […]


The importance of good governors


Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus Many parents do not research closely the composition of the governing board when they are considering a school for their child. Yet the role of governors is critical to the success of a school In most independent schools, the governing board appoints the Head and will have a […]


‘An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge’ – boarding in a Methodist school

– Andrew Gordon-Brown, Headmaster of Truro School  John Wesley, the father of Methodism, told the first Methodist teachers always to remember that ‘an ounce of love was worth a pound of knowledge’ and this remains the central value for all Methodist schools. We pride ourselves on the inclusive and unpretentious manner in which people are […]


How a boarding school uses agents

Boarding Agents

Elaine Purves, Head of Rossall School  Choosing the right school for your child is one of the biggest challenges any parent faces. This is where a good agent can be invaluable. Like a financial adviser, it’s their job to match a customer with a product that’s perfect for them – in this case finding a […]


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