Features and opinion for independent school parents

Latest Features

reforming-gcse

Reforming GCSE

5 min read Much has changed since the 1980s when GCSEs were first introduced. Despite various reforms, some Heads feel it's time for more radical change. Attain's Editor talked to Sarah Fletcher, High Mistress of St Paul's Girls' School and Stephen Jones, Warden of St Edward's School in Oxford.

testing-times

Testing times

5 min read The real abilities of pupils can be overlooked due to the standardised hoops they need to jump through to gain entry to senior school. Simon Larter-Evans of St Paul's Cathedral School takes a deliberately provocative look at Cognitive Ability Tests.

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Parenting

taking-the-anxiety-out-of-uncertainty

Taking the anxiety out of uncertainty

5 min read There is little at present about which we can be certain – except more uncertainty – and this has a big effect on anxiety. Attain's Editor talked to Mark English, Vice Master at University College School and Emma Goldsmith, Head of Winchester House.

a-sense-of-sameness

A sense of sameness

5 min read Monotony is a common feeling during lockdown. What effect is this having on parents and pupils – and how can we improve this? Attain's Editor talked to Emma Hattersley, Head of Godolphin School and Gareth Jones, Head of St Andrew's Prep Eastbourne.

keeping-cheerful

Keeping cheerful

5 min read Home schooling is not easy. Attain's Editor, Matthew Smith, talked to two prep school Heads – Tim Smith of Hampton Pre-Prep & Prep and Andy Falconer of St Peter's 8-13 – to get their advice on how to keep cheerful and stay motivated.

choosing-schools-in-a-virtual-world

Choosing schools in a virtual world

7 min read Open Days are a key part of the admissions process for independent schools but the pandemic makes this impossible. Olivera Raraty of Malvern St James Girls’ School explores how the virtual admissions process has adapted in the pandemic.

making-more-time

Making more time

5 min read Modern family life means that quality time together can often end-up squeezed. Samantha Sawyer of Staines Preparatory School argues the ‘new normal’ is the right time to look again and try to make more time for family.

lessons-in-perseverance

Lessons in perseverance

Perseverance is a critical life skill which is best learnt outside of the classroom suggests Charles Fillingham of Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park. And, ironically, these self-taught lessons can sometimes be some of the most valuable of all.

Curriculum

reforming-gcse

Reforming GCSE

5 min read Much has changed since the 1980s when GCSEs were first introduced. Despite various reforms, some Heads feel it's time for more radical change. Attain's Editor talked to Sarah Fletcher, High Mistress of St Paul's Girls' School and Stephen Jones, Warden of St Edward's School in Oxford.

putting-the-arts-into-stem

Putting the Arts into STEM

5 min read Schools are embracing the concept of STEAM – putting the arts into science, technology, engineering and maths. Attain's Editor, Matthew Smith, talked to Fionnuala Kennedy and Claire Boyd of Wimbledon High School GDST to find out more.

exam-uncertainty

Exam uncertainty

5 min read Nobody could have predicted the impact the pandemic would have on exams. Attain's Editor, Matthew Smith, talked to two senior school Heads – Emma Taylor of Dean Close and James Dahl of Wellington College – to understand their hopes and concerns.

moving-the-classroom-outside

Moving the classroom outside

5 min read It's time to rethink our classroom environments, argues Matthew Bryan of Longacre. The skills identified for the future – problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management and coordinating with others – are best developed outdoors.

learning-about-our-brains

Learning about our brains

An understanding of how our brains function reveals the need to approach learning in the right way. James Barnes of the PSB explains why strong 'executive function skills' can make all the difference.

dont-overlook-the-library

Don't overlook the library

Children have vivid imaginations and there is nothing like reading and becoming aware of other people, worlds and circumstances. Vivienne Durham explains why the school library should be at the heart of every good school.

Politics

oxbridge-blues

Oxbridge blues?

The landscape of Oxbridge admissions is changing but what does this mean for pupils applying to colleges from independent schools? James Dahl of Wellington College looks at the background.

onesmallstep

One small step

There has no doubt been a seismic shift in environmental awareness recently. Matthew Smith argues that for independent schools to really lead on environmental awareness, parents will need to play their part.

goingbacktoourroots_web

Going back to our roots

It's time to move away from past notions of 'development', argues Dr Felicia Kirk of St Mary's Calne. Schools must reflect the original ethos of 'public schools' and broaden access through charitable giving.

thevalueofpartnerships

The value of partnerships

Independent schools are doing increasing amounts to support the state sector but, as Christopher King explains, it is often pupils who are the biggest beneficiaries of partnerships, rather than schools.

thevalueofmoney

The value of money

Society is becoming ever more polarised and parents can find themselves criticised for choosing a private school for their child. Matthew Smith looks at why independent education is seen as buying 'privilege'.

creatingopportunityforall_web

Creating opportunity for all

Social mobility has stagnated for far too long, says James Turner of the Sutton Trust. It’s time for the Government to enable independent schools to be within reach of bright pupils from all backgrounds.

Ideas

testing-times

Testing times

5 min read The real abilities of pupils can be overlooked due to the standardised hoops they need to jump through to gain entry to senior school. Simon Larter-Evans of St Paul's Cathedral School takes a deliberately provocative look at Cognitive Ability Tests.

returning-in-a-new-spirit

Returning in a new spirit

5 min read The return to school will be harder for children than after the last lockdown, foresees Colin Baty, Head of Bedales Prep, Dunhurst. But it is also the time to take a fresh approach to how children learn.

reassuring-values-from-the-past

Reassuring values from the past

5 min read The new normal is bringing myriad challenges for schools and pupils – especially those at boarding schools. Tim Hands of Winchester College explores what our future educational provision might learn from the past.

rethinking-the-school-gate

Rethinking the school gate

The drastic changes needed for socially-distanced pick up and drop off has had unintended positive consequences, explains Susan McLean of Kitebrook Preparatory School. Is it time to rethink the school gate permanently?

rethinking-education

Rethinking education

Our education system is skewed too much towards assessment. John Attwater of King's Ely outlines how it could shift to place a far greater emphasis on equipping pupils with the right skills for the future.

the-journey-ahead

The journey ahead

Deciding how to tackle the educational issues of our time requires some reflection. Simon Larter-Evans of St Paul's Cathedral School looks at how the past decade has shaped the educational issues ahead.