Beleaguered tables an own goal for government? - 30 January 2015
If you had the chance to ask Nicky Morgan about the purpose of the government’s league tables for schools, it is likely she would say that she wanted to make schools accountable, highlight weak areas and help parents make informed choices. Laudable aims indeed that all schools would support, so why are they falling so short of the mark? Asks Caroline Jordan, Head of Headington School.
Golf for All - 21 July 2014
As professional golfer Rory McIlroy snatched a remarkable victory at the 2014 Open Championship this weekend, Rick Valentine gives us the tee off on Loretto School’s Golf Academy whose alumni he hopes may one day take the same trophy…
A Level Reforms - 7 May 2014
As schools head into AS exam season, Barnaby Lenon explains the changes that are taking place to AS and A-levels…
Some inspiration for Gove - 29 April 2014
As pupils build an ice cream seller’s bike, an Observatory and restore a Gypsy caravan Keith Budge explains why he has introduced an alternative curriculum to GCSEs…
Why the Census matters - 24 April 2014
Today is Census Day, when the ISC’s Annual Census is released making headline news across the nation’s press. This year, it is even more special as it is the fortieth anniversary of the first Census.
No school is an island - 9 April 2014
A report published by the ISC shows that independent schools support a £9.5 billion gross value added contribution to Britain’s GDP- larger than the City of Liverpool or the BBC.
What do independent schools contribute to the British economy? - 2 April 2014
We know from decades of opinion polling that a majority of parents aspire to an independent education for their children, recognising the strengths and values they offer. We know that many would agree with Niall Ferguson, who recently described independent schools as "the best institutions in the British Isles today".
Mindfulness Conference for schools - 24 February 2014
The Mindfulness Conference for schools is a cross association conference directed by Dr Anthony Seldon, which takes place at Loughborough University on Wednesday 12 March 2014. The conference will demonstrate the value and methodologies of mindfulness to principals, heads and those in senior leadership. All proceeds will be going to the charity MIND.
Living The Dream - 12 February 2014
Mark Vernon is the Head of Ski Racing and Skiing at Reed’s School in Surrey. He inspires his pupils to be part of the School’s impressive Powder Byrne Ski Academy.
When I grow up I want to be... - 28 January 2014
A hundred years ago, as a woman your career options were fairly limited, with the vast majority of women having little choice other than to become a professional housewife and mother. Yes, there were a few ground-breaking women scientists even then, but the Marie Curies and Dorothy Hodgkins were very much in the minority. Fast forward to the 21st century, and things look very different – or do they?
Surviving entrance exams - 17 December 2013
Like many independent schools, spring is the time when we set our entrance examinations and children across the country are assessed to see if they qualify for the school of their dreams. It is tough time for parents and their children. Having seen it from both sides, as an aunt and as a Headmistress, I can attest that it’s also a testing time for schools because in seeking to determine a child’s ability and her potential, we are also required to make a judgement on how happy, successful and inspired she will be as part of our particular model of teaching and learning.
Are you an ostrich? - 10 December 2013
Dick Moore touched a nerve with the audience at the recent ISC SEN conference when he talked about the suicide of his own son. Now he works with the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust to help schools identify and work with mental health in adolescents…
New Words, New Worlds - 5 December 2013
For the last ten years, every pupil at St Faith’s School in Cambridge has learned Spanish from the age of four. In September 2013 the school took an ambitious step towards integrating the language into the academic curriculum. The school’s Head of Languages and Enrichment, Heather Martin, reflects on the theory and practice of the first few months.
E-Safety and Parenting – the challenges for day and boarding pupils - 21 November 2013
It is the fear of every parent that they will be unable to protect their children as they grow up, and the constantly changing nature of technology is high on their list of concerns. The speed with which trends in technology are taking place means many adults find themselves in a worrying position. More often than not, they know far less than their children about the activities taking place online, let alone how to help them if and when things go wrong.
St Christopher - A truly independent school - 16 October 2013
When the School was founded in 1915 the Daily Herald reported that the School was based ‘not on the sameness of children, their conformity to type, but on their differences. ’This concept of treating children as individuals was revolutionary at the time and continues to be one of the distinctive characteristics of a St. Chris education.
Wilshaw is Mr Grace on a bad day; the berater-in-chief of schools - 14 October 2013
On the surface, no one should be very surprised by Sir Michael Wilshaw's intemperate outburst yesterday. A man who likes to create controversy, speaking at HMC's annual conference; a man who modestly likens himself to Clint Eastwood and Lord Kitchener (strange role-models); berater-in-chief of England's schools, echoing his political master; young Mr Grace on a bad day: "You're all not doing very well".
It’s no joking matter….Confessions of a procrastinating Headmaster as he approaches Speech Day - 2 July 2013
As we approach the end of term [really?] most of us heads in the country are probably turning our attention to our end of year school review, whatever it may be called Prize Giving, Founder’s Day or Commemoration. The serious content of this review is the easy part, particularly if you delegate some of the material to your Heads of School. In fact, I have just received overnight, two outstanding first drafts from my Head Girl, Millie and my Head Boy, Merlin. Millie accompanied her draft speech with a cheeky email. “And how is your speech coming along headmaster?”. “Superbly”, I replied. “It’s almost finished”. Well headmasters are permitted little white lies, occasionally. In fact, with less than 5 days to go to the big day, I have yet to put pen to paper or finger to lap top. And the reasons? Having mastered the art of procrastination over many years, the part I have always found challenging is that opening paragraph, particularly if you want to grab the attention of your audience…..and especially if you want to be funny. I shared such a confession with Mark Eagers, the distinguished Headmaster of Box Hill School, on the golf course at a conference earlier this year and we both decided that it would be a jolly good idea if we could provide a service for other Heads who suffered from a similar affliction.
Guilty Admissions - 19 June 2013
Every so often, we hear of - and challenge - examples of discrimination against our sector. This week, not only did we reverse an egregious example of discrimination, but we also set a precedent which will be significant for many schools and their pupils across the sector.
Keeping Children Safe - 18 June 2013
Today, we submitted our consultation response on the government’s proposals to slim down safeguarding guidance to schools. Thanks to all those who took the time to call or write in with their comments.
Of Committees and Commissions - 12 June 2013
Charitable status is back in the news again, almost. Last week saw the publication of yet another report about the Charities Act 2006, this time from the Select Committee which oversees the work of the Charity Commission.
School Leadership: Three Leaders, One Team - 8 November 2012
Amongst the proliferation of research and debate about many areas of educational leadership: distributed leadership; building a successful Senior Leadership Team; talent development and other themes, there is much to demonstrate that leading a school is a collaborative process involving a variety of roles. However, there is as yet relatively little written about the triumvirate at the heart of a school’s senior leadership: the Head, the Bursar and the Chair of Governors.
It is time to give schoolchildren what they want - 6 November 2012
‘What they want’, according to Jonathan Taylor, Headmaster of Bootham School, is inspired teaching by inspirational teachers. With the help of a public-private partnership which is already bearing fruit in York, here Jonathan explains the wider meaning behind this partnership and its potential for further development in line with children’s needs and aspirations. Is this partnership a model for the future?
Academy Challenged - 2 November 2012
Barely a week passes without an ideologically-driven assault on independent schools. The ideologues tend to fall into two categories. There are those who find the very existence of schools outside the state sector repugnant to their worldview. Their aim is the abolition of independent schools (and they are creatively opportunistic in finding ways to advance their cause). Arguments about the fundamental right of parents to choose an education system for their child, or the wilful perverseness of vandalising a sector which is the envy of the world, fall on deaf ears.