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Census 2016 quotes

Quotes from schools on all areas of the 2016 ISC Census

Posted on: 29 Apr 2016

Categories: ISC Annual Census


Guy Sanderson, Headmaster of Eltham College, a boys' day school with co-educational 6th form in London: "We have seen a record number of applications at all entry points for September 2016 and for the first time ever are considering capping the number of applicants at 11+ in order to cope with demand. Parents increasingly understand the value of independent education to provide not only academic opportunity but also development of character. Independent schools provide more opportunities for developing crucial life skills; the breadth and stretch of the vibrant co-curricular programme on offer, from sport, music, art and drama to volunteering, trips and expeditions, enables students to build confidence and nurtures the development of great personalities. Parents are increasingly looking for a holistic education to develop well-rounded individuals."

Andrew Hampton, Headteacher of Thorpe Hall School, a co-educational day school in Southend, Essex: “The figures relating to the total number of schools and pupils in the independent sector are very encouraging and that has been felt on the ground too. Locally it is clear that the storm of the worst recession in living memory has passed us and the climate for parents to invest in high quality education for their children has returned. At Thorpe Hall we have continued to invest in our teachers and facilities by using our reserves and this strategy has proved successful in continuing to attract families to the school and keep fees competitive. We are poised to grow over the next decade in terms of the quality of our educational offer, and that is very pleasing.”

Jenny Dwyer, Headmistress of Sherborne Girls, a day and boarding girls' school in Dorset: "At Sherborne Girls we have a full student roll and our numbers are increasing year on year. Our commitment to ‘full’ boarding is key to this success. The extended time in the boarding week gives us the opportunity to take a creative and exciting approach to education. In addition to academic studies, girls have the time and opportunity to explore many different areas and develop and enhance passions and skills, whether it is elite swimming in the morning or an evening art workshop. There is also a busy and inspiring programme of activities every weekend. As well as having the time to balance a range of experiences alongside academic studies, full boarding fosters a strong community spirit. Girls feel a sense of belonging and develop lifelong friendships."

Jaideep Barot, Deputy Head (Academic) of Marlborough College, a co-educational day and boarding school in Wiltshire: "We regularly read predictions of doom and gloom for the independent sector - the reality is anything but. At Marlborough College, where we push on with plans for a new boarding house, demand continues to far outstrip supply. The truly holistic education which we provide is hugely prized, both domestically and internationally. The academic is central, of course, and well qualified teachers with deep, specialist subject knowledge add value to our pupils’ achievements at all levels. But beyond this, the level of care and individual focus we provide, nurturing talent and interest in all areas, is what really sets our schools apart. This ‘whole shebang’ is why so many parents choose to forego some of life’s luxuries to give their children an independent education. These census results show that there is little sign of this letting up – as confirmed by the huge number of prospective pupils and parents attending the College’s 2019 entry open event in April."


Sarah Welch, Principal of Gosfield School, a co-educational day and boarding school in Essex: "As with many smaller schools, Gosfield recognised during the recession that parents were struggling to pay full fees. We decided to make cuts across the board to ensure that all families benefited. The cuts saw on average a 40% reduction in prep school fees and we subsequently froze 2015-16 fees for Years 3-13. We continue to provide bursary support in addition. Since the initial fee cut overall numbers in the school have risen from 185 to 240. Parents recognise Gosfield as a school that is supportive and understands the financial commitment they are making. Importantly, our educational product has not been affected by the cuts. We have introduced tighter financial controls but have also been able to continue our programme of development."

Rob Jones, Headmaster of Rendcomb College, a co-educational day and boarding school in Cirencester, Gloucestershire: "From September, we have taken the decision to widen access to an independent sixth form education by reducing our day fee by 30%. This decision will increase the affordability of a quality, independent education ahead of university applications for new pupils, but will also reward the loyalty of current parents. Rendcomb College offers more than just A levels; we focus on building essential skills for life such as independence, leadership, problem solving and confidence through our extensive enrichment programme and outdoor education scheme. We have long been rewarding parent loyalty, particularly as pupils move up from our junior to senior school when often the difference in fees is largest. We are committed to providing a learning environment that offers inclusivity, accessibility and a broad-ranging education for our pupils."

Nick Bevington, Head of Town Close School, a co-educational day preparatory school in Norwich: "I would like to see more recognition of the amazing value for money offered by so many independent schools, which offer children an exceptional education that is well within the reach of many professional people. Fees at my school include meals, curriculum trips, educational materials and an individual iPad for older children. We do not select by ability but were featured in the Times parent power top 100 schools and were top rated in every area in our last inspection. Like so many schools, we award the equivalent of 11 full places in means-tested bursaries, collaborate with local state schools and make our facilities available for community use."

Guy Sanderson, Headmaster of Eltham College, a boys' day school with co-educational sixth form in London: "Press stories that focus solely on images of boarding school pupils in straw boaters or tail coats give many parents a misleading impression of how expensive or rarefied independent schools are. The pressure to keep fee increases as low as possible while widening the access through bursaries to support families who find full fees a struggle is an absolute commitment to maintain the character of many of our schools. At Eltham College we work hard to maintain this fine balance of investing in the facilities and in our excellent staff, all the while to ensure longevity and the best possible education for our students."


John Franklin, Head Master of Christ’s Hospital, a co-educational boarding school in West Sussex: "For over 460 years, Christ’s Hospital has been one of the leading charitable boarding schools in this country. By providing bright, but needy children with a first class education and opportunities that they would otherwise be denied, this 'school like no other' is, as it always has been, a highly effective agent for social mobility that turns out young men and women ready to make a positive contribution to society. Irrespective of their background, all pupils are provided with the unique Tudor uniform, full board, all teaching and learning materials and, for those on a 100% bursary, the cost of their transport to and from the school and their pocket money. Of the 880 pupils, 13% receive a full bursary, almost 40% pay less than a tenth of the full fees and three quarters are on some form of means-tested bursary. Charitable support on this scale comes at a cost and last year, Christ's Hospital provided more than £16 million in bursaries, but when 98% of our leavers in 2015 secured places at top universities, it does seem like money well spent."

David Goodhew, Head of Latymer Upper School, a co-educational day school in London: "The sector is responding to the challenge of affordability with a significant increase in the level of fee assistance and means-tested bursaries. Contrary to popular mythology, fee increases have been driven mainly by staff costs rather than a ‘facilities arms race’, but independent schools are using their own funds to widen access and remain open to poor families and those in the 'squeezed middle'. Why do we do this? We believe young people should be able to benefit from the education we offer, whatever their background; we do not wish to become 'exclusive islands of privilege'. At Latymer Upper 115 pupils are supported by bursaries, including 75 free places. Our aim is to double this support by 2024, so we will be able to be 'needs blind' for 25% of our pupils."

Kevin Fear, Head of Nottingham High School, a co-educational day school: "Bursaries open up my school to all those in the city who are academically able. Despite popular perception of independent schools as havens of elitism, the parents at my school are much more likely to be taxi drivers than hedge fund managers. We invest in a wide-ranging bursary programme because we believe that a superb education should be open to all irrespective of their ability to pay. In many senses, as a result, we are more diverse than many of the state-maintained schools in leafy suburbs because we draw our students from all areas of the city, including some of the most deprived parts. We believe passionately in our bursary programme and we are delighted that so many families in our city seek such support. Few of them would recognise such provision as ‘elitist’; it is just that they value education to give their children the best possible start in life."


Jim Hawkins, Head Master of Harrow School, a full boarding boys' school: "Harrovians engage purposefully and genuinely with our local community through Shaftesbury Enterprise, an initiative that places service at the heart of a Harrow education, founded in the spirit of the 19th-century reformer, philanthropist and Old Harrovian, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. Our 150 partnership activities involve over 10 local schools and include the teaching of classics, science, Spanish, government and politics, mathematics, music and PE, as well as a homework club, gardening projects, a coaching course, reading support, mentoring, revision classes and a summer school for year 12 state school students who are considering Oxbridge for university. We also offer access to many of our sports facilities, and several staff members are charity trustees and school governors. These projects are carefully orchestrated to meet local needs, but also serve an educational purpose: as in every successful partnership, everyone benefits."

John Claughton, Chief Master of King Edward's School, Birmingham, a boys' day school: "King Edward’s School, Birmingham has developed an outreach programme of remarkable scale and range. At the last count, the school works with 192 other schools, the vast majority of which are state junior schools. Activities cover all aspects of the curriculum. We run a Year 4 and 5 maths competition in which over 90 junior schools take part, provide regular training for junior school teachers in numeracy and literacy, and we worked with Ogden Trust to provide a day for junior school science teachers. All this not only raises aspirations in junior schools but makes the idea of coming to King Edward’s real. Our outreach fits in with provision of Assisted Places and the great breadth of our admissions; our 11+ candidates come from 300 different junior schools and nearly a third of our entry are now on an assisted place. We have raised £10m for that purpose from our alumni in the last decade so outreach and accessibility are really making a difference in this city."

Paul Smith, Headmaster of Hereford Cathedral School, a co-educational day school: "A key goal at Hereford Cathedral School is to develop a broad range of opportunities, not just for our own pupils but also for those from other local schools. We hope to enable each individual to find something that they can enjoy, be good at and develop over the years. We are lucky to have two doctorate physicists teachers, so when the Head of Physics asked to be allowed to relinquish management role to instead spend a day a week visiting state primary schools to provide staff training and science discovery lessons that do not demand expensive equipment, we readily agreed. Not surprisingly, as a Cathedral School, music plays a significant role in our partnerships. We lead all music courses in the county, the music department is open on Saturdays to the public, and we provide music lessons for pupils aged from 8 to 80 years. Every year the school organises major outreach concerts involving up to 24 schools from across the county."


Keith Budge, Headmaster of Bedales, co-educational day and boarding schools in Petersfield, Hampshire: "It is no secret that independent school pupils achieve excellent qualifications, although the breadth of education can be overlooked. Many employers value wide experience, which is also a key feature of a well-crafted UCAS statement. When jobs and university places are highly prized, the ability to couch one’s academic achievement in terms of wider interests, understandings and ambitions is worth its weight in gold. Independent schools have an advantage in the additional flexibility and choice they have over the curriculum – many schools including Bedales have introduced alternative courses and qualifications to provide more challenge for their students, and which encourage them to contextualise their academic work, involving inquiry and debate rather than the simple accumulation and transmission of information."

Nigel Lashbrook, Headmaster of Oakham School, a co-educational day and boarding school in Rutland: "Offering a real breadth of subjects ensures students can pursue their talents and interests while at school and later on at university, or in the world of work. I know, from talking with parents, that this breadth of curriculum choice is something they are really looking for, and value, in the independent sector. Firstly, we are able to offer an incredible breadth of choice in some subject areas – languages really stands out – where students can choose from French, German and Spanish - to Italian, Latin, Greek and Mandarin. Secondly, families like to have the option to study either the IB or A levels – regardless of which path they eventually choose."

Ceri Jones, Headmaster of Caterham School, a co-educational day and boarding school in Surrey: "Value added scores are parents’ secret weapon when assessing the real effectiveness of a school. Pupils of independent schools typically achieve well over half a grade more at GCSE than they are expected to – an indication not only of the high quality of teaching and learning but also of the level of academic ambition and challenge. At Caterham children gain almost three quarters of a grade more than they are expected to at the start of their time with us. Value Added helps to distinguish schools who simply cream off the brightest to gain the expected high results from those that actually nurture and stretch them in the right way – vital for children of every ability, including the naturally gifted. It is a tool that can be incredibly helpful for parents, whether they’re choosing state grammar versus independent or across independent schools."

Jenny Dwyer, Headmistress of Sherborne Girls, a day and boarding girls' school in Dorset: "We consistently raise the bar for our students by one or two grades over their baseline predicted results and are proud of our academic value-added, which from GCSE to A Level puts us in the top 5% in the country. However a 21st Century education is about so much more than just exam results. We place great emphasis on soft-skills value-added; the ability to communicate, think, reflect and take risks are just some of the essential skills our girls will need. This approach requires a broad and challenging curriculum that balances academic with sport, arts, adventure and leadership, exchanges, expeditions, community service, and personal development. We aim to send out into the world young women who are adaptable, intellectually enquiring, courageous and compassionate, with the confidence to be effective leaders and the skills and strategies to contribute positively to an ever changing and challenging world."


Caroline Jordan, Headmistress of Headington School, an all girls' day and boarding school in Oxford, and President of the Girls’ Schools Association: "It is important that parents have choice when it comes to educating their children and for many the best option will be a single-sex school. Parents are lucky to have a wide choice of schools, including excellent single-sex schools. Free from gender stereotyping, high proportions of girls choose to study traditionally ‘male’ STEM subjects – and gain excellent grades in them. On top of that parents can see for themselves how much confidence and self-esteem their children gain. I’m not surprised to see that not only are a quarter of all ISC schools predominantly single sex but another 15 per cent are using single-sex teaching for entire year groups in that crucial 7 to 11 age range. It says a great deal about how much those in our sector value the benefits of being able to teach all-boy or all-girl groups."

Bernard Trafford, Headmaster of Royal Grammar School, Newcastle, a co-educational day school: "It’s interesting to see that single-sex schools remain popular with parents, with a fifth of all independent schools retaining that status. I’m a committed, indeed a passionate co-educationist: but wouldn’t seek to impose that view on other schools, nor on parents. Parents are fortunate indeed: up and down the country they have a wide choice of styles, sizes and types of independent schools, all of which achieve very high standards of education both in terms of exam results and, just as important, when we consider the broader education, the development of character and an astonishingly rich range of extra-curricular activities: it’s a buyer’s market, indeed!"

Kevin Fear, Head of Nottingham High School, a co-educational day school: "As Head of a school that has become co-educational after 500 years as a boys’ school we believe that this has brought significant benefits. As an academic school we are keen to select from the widest possible pool and we made this move not out of economic necessity but because we believe that if education is anything it is preparation for life and in the modern world we believe that our role is to prepare our pupils to thrive in the diverse workplaces of tomorrow. However, we recognise that the independent sector thrives on its own diversity. Parents have to choose the environment which will best suit their own child and it is good for parents and students everywhere that there is plenty of choice of both co-educational and single-sex schools."

Samantha Price, Headmistress of Benenden School, a girls' boarding school in Cranbrook, Kent: "I have worked in girls’ schools, boys’ schools and co-educational schools and there are persuasive arguments for each. There is no right model of school, but there is a right school for your child. Parents and children should choose a school based on atmosphere, real values and whether it is a good fit, regardless of its gender policy. One of the benefits I have seen for girls in a single-sex environment is that they have the space to have a go at things, without worrying about how they may be seen by the opposite sex. They are not so image conscious and there is far less pressure to grow up too quickly. They can be themselves. We live in a society where the most senior positions continue to be male-dominated. Here, girls gain the experience and confidence that comes with holding positions of responsibility. They become used to seeing women as leaders, and carry this expectation into the workplace. This in turn is helping to evolve the culture within businesses."


Keith Budge, Headmaster of Bedales, pre-prep, prep and senior co-educational day and boarding schools in Petersfield, Hampshire: "Independent school day pupils spend around 40% more time than their state counterparts at school – significantly on extra-curricular activities. These opportunities allow the time and space for them to get to know each other and staff in rather different ways – the conversations you have whilst kneading bread together tend to be different from the more directed exchanges of formal lessons. Boarding extends such possibilities further still when, for example, older students take on some pastoral responsibilities for younger children. Boarders must learn to take good care of themselves and others, and it is not hard to see why they tend to leave us as confident, well-rounded and empathetic young adults."

Samantha Price, Headmistress of Benenden School, a girls' boarding school in Cranbrook, Kent: "At Benenden we believe in modern boarding, where school is a home from home and in which parents remain involved in their daughters’ education and know that together, school and home share in supporting their daughter to navigate the teenage years. Girls go home, on average, every three weeks and parents are always welcome on site. We believe in offering every girl A Complete Education – in which she achieves her academic potential but also grows as an individual. We want her to relish all that this 24/7 school life has to offer so that she leaves us as a confident, positive young woman truly prepared for her future. While girls at other schools are sitting on a bus travelling between school and home, Benenden girls are busy playing sport or taking part in the Model United Nations programme or devising their own theatre productions."

Jo Heywood, Head of Heathfield School, a boarding and day girls' school in Ascot, Surrey: "I am delighted to see the national picture for boarding backs up our own experience. We believe the market has entered calmer waters after the last recession. Boarding for girls is a modern 21st century choice for many parents and I think it is increasingly being viewed as one in an era when many parents are both out working long hours and balancing that with their children’s needs. Boarding means their child has access on-site to the best opportunities in and out of the classroom. Boarding schools like Heathfield are able to nurture the individual academically and pastorally while keeping an overall eye on each child’s well-being which, of course, is paramount to their academic success and success in other areas. Sporting and extra-curricular opportunities at boarding schools in the UK are phenomenal as are the chances to develop a child’s musical and dramatic talents. Boarding schools also help to develop children’s social and communication skills and confidence and invariably they will leave school having made lifelong friends."


Mike Piercy, Headmaster of The New Beacon, a day and boarding boys' prep school in Sevenoaks, Kent: "Prep school education continues to thrive in an economic climate which still lacks confidence. At The New Beacon class sizes for our 400 boys range from 7 to 19, with an overall pupil-teacher ratio of 9:1. This knowledge of and attention to the individual brings out the best in pupils, educating ‘the whole child’, adding social, emotional value thus enhancing academic and all-round performance. As a single-sex school we are able to tailor teaching to boys’ learning style, and give them what we know they need: targets, boundaries, frequent assessment, multi-sensory challenge, movement, little room for manoeuvre! We have seen increased interest in entry from the maintained sector at Year 3, parents often giving the reason that their sons need an approach which both challenges and encourages. A distinctive feature of boys’ prep schools is that many stay to the end of Year 8. A 13-year-old boy is very different to his 11-year-old counterpart: more mature, confident, able to ask for help, with more sophisticated, secure learning habits.

Kevin Doble, Headmaster of Shrewsbury House School, a day preparatory school for boys in Surbiton, London: "Three critical factors have ensured our increasing popularity. The first is that we are one of the few remaining proper traditional boys’ prep schools in our area, where nearly every boy will move into his secondary school in Year 9. Allowing for those last two prep years, whilst not reducing the chance of entry into the country’s best schools, resonates with parents. Secondly, our unparalleled teacher-pupil ratio allows for unparalleled, pupil-centred, value-added tuition across the board. Thirdly, parents are more than ever aware of the proven educational and social benefits implicit in a good independent school education, especially in one of the fastest-paced metropolises in the world. Anxiety, paranoia and misinformation might have permeated the London educational landscape, but the best independent schools can confront the parents’ worries and present exceptional access and opportunities, and an antidote to their fears."

Peter Hopkinson, Head of The Portsmouth Grammar Junior School, a co-educational day school: "As an independent junior school we enjoy having complete freedom in shaping our pupils’ educational experience. We match our pupils’ needs to what we offer them, taking into account the strengths and interests of our teaching staff, our facilities and the benefits of our location. Our pupils achieve excellent value-added results which gives us the confidence to focus on what is really going to excite them in their learning. We recently removed the need for an entrance exam into the senior school and replaced this with a process of continuous assessment. Our pupils now enjoy studying topics in much more depth within the new ‘connected curriculum’ we have developed, rather than spending time preparing for an examination. The results have been exceptional, as highlighted in the very positive feedback we received in our ISI Inspection report."


Rhiannon Wilkinson, Head of Wycombe Abbey, a day and boarding girls' school in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire: "There is no doubt in my mind that British education, particularly as it is represented by the independent schools’ sector, is enormously attractive to many parents throughout the world. Our emphasis on doing the best for each individual child has great appeal. We work very hard to bring out each pupil’s qualities, recognising that every child is going to be different and that every child wherever she or he comes from has much to contribute to a school community. This approach lies at the heart of Wycombe Abbey’s educational philosophy, as it does in ISC schools. It explains the continuing strength of independent schools in the UK, and it fuels the desire for British-style education abroad. It is a cliché to say that we live in an inter-connected world, but that world increases the importance of fostering everyone’s individual strengths."

Guy Ralphs, Bursar of Malvern College, a co-educational day and boarding school in Worcestershire: "We at Malvern College understand how crucial it is to produce not just accomplished, confident young people but citizens of the world. The British independent school system is globally renowned and we are at the forefront of exporting our unique brand and “educational DNA” overseas. Malvern College now has campuses in China, at Qingdao and Chengdu, and in Egypt, mainly for the indigenous population and most recently in Hong Kong, largely for the expatriate community. Our headmaster and staff enjoy close links with these schools and monitor the education they deliver. We are hugely proud that so many parents within these communities recognise and value not just Malvern’s academic strengths but also our rich, broad-based curriculum, our ethos and our focus on the individual. For us, success is not only about stellar exam results but about bringing out the special qualities and talents of each student."


Rhiannon Wilkinson, Head of Wycombe Abbey, a day and boarding girls' school in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire: "First and foremost, independent schools recognise the value of their teachers. We have high expectations of them certainly. Parents pay handsomely for their services and it is right that our teachers should work very hard on their pupils’ behalf. In return, they are treated as professionals. They are encouraged to spend their time helping and inspiring their classes, not filling in forms or producing unrealistically detailed plans. WB Yeats is often said to have observed that education is about 'the lighting of a fire, not the filling of a pail'. Although the words seem not to be his, the sentiment, wherever it originated, hits the spot. Yes, we want our teachers to gain the best results they can for their pupils, but most of all, we want them to develop a love of learning for its own sake."

Katherine Haynes, Head of the John Lyon School, a boys' day school in Harrow, North West London: "Free of the constraints of the national curriculum, independent schools allow teachers to be the teachers they want to be. We enable a perfect learning environment by offering small class sizes, longer contact time and excellent resources. Teachers enjoy the ethos of independent schools; whereby extra-curricular involvement is valued alongside academic progress. Unfettered by external constraints, ours is an environment where outstanding subject knowledge and enthusiasm is cherished. Our teachers are mentored closely and are given the opportunity to train and to lead and take part in educational research projects. Most departing staff gaining promotion when moving on to other schools. All staff are empowered to shape the school, contributing to whole-school planning though their departments. Those wanting to experiment with new teaching practices are given the opportunity to run and take part in educational research projects. This is an environment where innovative thinking is encouraged."


Sue Hincks, Headmistress of Bolton School Girls’ Division, a girls' day school, part of Bolton School: "The majority of pupils leaving Bolton School aspire to attend university and we are well equipped to prepare our students. Our students benefit from tailored support thanks to a dedicated careers department and a solid pastoral structure which means those who write the UCAS reference know a pupil’s strengths and ambitions well. Key to a successful application is a student’s A Level profile. Independent school pupils are more likely to be awarded A* or A grades and it is clear three As will allow a wider choice of course and institution than three Bs. Independent schools also promote extracurricular and enrichment activities which help in demonstrating interests and aptitudes: often it is these very activities, which in Bolton include a law society, a medics’ society and frequent extramural lectures, which help a student know which course is most appropriate.

James Priory, Headmaster of The Portsmouth Grammar School, a co-educational day school: "We have seen a marked increase in demand for places in the 6th form at Portsmouth Grammar School, so much so that we recently opened a new building. There seems to be a growing recognition amongst pupils and parents that these are critical years in which to develop the independent study skills and subject knowledge needed to gain access to the best courses and universities. In my experience, it is the young people themselves who are the drivers of that decision making. And you can understand why: the average number of university offers received per pupil continues to grow and is well above the national average, even though the universities our pupils are applying to are some of the most competitive. We provide outstanding pastoral care and career guidance, and the benefit of a choice between studying A level and the IB diploma.

Katherine Haynes, Head of the John Lyon School, a boys' day school in Harrow: "With an average 6th form class size of just 10 we are able to tailor careers guidance to each pupil. Small class sizes and dedicated higher education teams trained in guidance on personal statements and reference writing ensure we can set high goals, encourage aspiration and manage expectation. We start the focus on life after school early on, with careers evenings and specialist STEM careers events offered to all from Year 9. We have a university fair which sees UK and international institutions offer advice to both our students and also local state schools. Six in every seven applications our students submit results in an offer being made. Competition to get into the best universities is fierce and we not only implicitly understand the application process but also have the time and resources to work with every pupil."

Mark Beard, Head of UCS Hampstead, a boys' day school with coeducational 6th form in London: "97% of our students secure places to university, of which 87% are Russell Group institutions. We have also recently experienced a growth of interest in multi-disciplinary courses both in the UK and increasingly overseas, resulting in a number of scholarships to prestigious institutions like NYU, Stanford, Penn, Boston and Chicago. Closer to home, Bristol, Nottingham, Scottish universities and London colleges continue to attract pupils. We also support applications to drama, art and music colleges, competitive courses such as medicine and law, and aptitude tests and interviews for Oxbridge. In learning about how much our students have gone on to enjoy and succeed in their onward journeys, perhaps the most successful outcome we achieve is in placing each individual on the right course at the right institution for them."

Kathy Crewe-Read, Head of Wolverhampton Grammar School, a co-educational day school: "It’s clear that independent schools like Wolverhampton Grammar School must be offering more than just access to a great education when students choose us for 6th form. We have found that our real strength lies in the specialist HE and careers advice that we offer, when applications to universities are at an all-time high, our students really benefit from the one-to-one guidance and support that they receive every step of the way. A good education alone doesn’t secure you a place at a good university, an approach to education that teaches a diverse range of disciplines and life skills which equip students to play an active part in society is what makes you stand out from the crowd. From day one, students educated in the independent sector are nurtured in how to develop those skills. An education that transforms lives as well as minds is what schools like Wolverhampton Grammar School are all about."


Philip Britton, Headmaster of Bolton School Boys' Division, a boys' day school, part of Bolton School: "Long gone are the days when it might have been thought SEND was not important in independent schools and the public image was that this was not part of what we do. The quality and quantity of SEND provision at Bolton School has increased considerably in recent years, both in terms of specialist staff and also in terms of the awareness of all colleagues; testing and diagnosis is better, support is better and equipping boys for life at University is better. In those years the size and ability profile of the school has been relatively static - what has changed is seeing how best to realise the potential of able SEND pupils by providing them with what they need to support their studies."

Jaideep Barot, Deputy Head (Academic) of Marlborough College, a co-educational day and boarding school in Wiltshire: "Marlborough College provides excellent learning support and wider pastoral care for pupils with SEND. This starts with detailed communication with parents and prep schools as soon as offers for entry to the College have been made, followed by screening of all pupils a few days after their arrival for learning issues that might need following up. Conversations between learning support, housemasters, pastoral tutors and academic teachers ensure that all reasonable adjustments are made to teaching, learning and other activities, and communication between the pupil, parents and the College remains central. Teachers and tutors who suspect potential SEND issues make referrals for assessment at any time, helping us to ensure correct provisions are in place in day-to-day College life, and that access arrangements, as appropriate, are provided for the internal and public examinations that our pupils take. In this way, we ensure that pupils meet their full potential, regardless of any SEND they may have."


John Claughton, Chief Master of King Edward's School, Birmingham, a boys' day school: "Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe and it has a community in which 60% of the population is of overseas origin. In the same way, King Edward’s School, Birmingham now has a school population that is also over 60% overseas in origin: that figure has grown from 50% in the last decade and it will continue to grow: our younger years have an even greater ethnic range than our older year-groups. So, 30% of the boys are of Indian origin, 20% are from Pakistan and Bangladesh, 10% from a wide range of other countries, China, Korea, Africa. 130 boys out of 850 do not speak English at home as their first language. And these are all day boys. This mixture and the high level of integration between boys from so many different backgrounds makes life very interesting and exciting. It is very important that King Edward’s is one of the few schools in this city that can create integration between communities that run the risk of becoming isolated. If the school can bring a rich education and success to boys from such different backgrounds it will be of material significance for the city of Birmingham."


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The ISC Press Office posts blogs on behalf of ISC schools and Associations.