Education | ED03 | Summer 2016


A Wealden Times Magazine




Sponsored by

Kent | Sussex | Surrey

Tunbridge Wells

You are warmly invited to our

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Bede’s Preparatory School

Duke’s Drive, Eastbourne

East Sussex BN20 7XL



Age 6


Lower Sixth


You are warmly invited to our

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Saturday 17 September 2016

9.30am to noon (Entry at 13 and 16)

HMC – Day, weekly and full boarding

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Bede’s Senior School

Upper Dicker

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A charming farmhouse with detached oast

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Guide price £1,950,000 Guide price £1,295,000


Delightful Georgian style property

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A beautiful Grade II Listed country house

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Credit: Frewen College

7 Notice board

10 Smoothing the move from

nursery to reception

15 How boys and girls learn at

primary school age

18 Meet the heads

25 Developing a life-long love of books

28 Addressing the balance

33 Broadening horizons

39 Out-of-school education…

43 Out, about, scouting for fun

44 Opening up a whole, other world

50 In the frame

55 Keep calm – there will be

bumps along the way

59 Children’s nutrition

63 Creatures great – and in school

68 An age-old approach to getting

the career you want

72 Build your child’s inner strength

Logic wiLL get you from A to B

ImagInatIon wIll take you everywhere

Albert Einstein

GSA Girls’ Boarding and Day School 11-18

Please call to arrange 01483 810551

a private tour

Front cover: Saint Ronan’s School. Photographed by David Merewether.

Registered Charity No. 312038


PriorsfieldED03.indd 1 28/04/2016 12:55

An inspiration on the

educational landscape

Lancing College

Senior School & Sixth Form


Tel 01273 465805 West Sussex BN15 0RW

Registered Charity Number 1076483

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The Dyslexia Specialists - Since 1910



Welcome to the third stand-alone Education magazine,

published in conjunction with Wealden Times

and Surrey Homes magazines. We’re lucky here

in the South East to have a wide choice of great schools and

many options... though sometimes this can make choosing

schools seem even harder. We hope that this, the latest issue of

Education, will encourage and inspire you as well as reminding

you that there is so much more to learning than the classroom.

Contributors in this issue include: education expert Hilary

Wilce, who writes about the earliest years of your child’s

education and how to cope with the inevitable hurdles that all

children face; David Long, the journalist and author, on the

importance of out-of-school clubs; and John Graham-Hart on

the joy of reading and the importance and pleasure of learning

a foreign language. We also have Dr Marilyn Glenville’s top-ten

tips for food that will help your children concentrate, fill them

with energy and set them on the path to a life of healthy eating.

As well as looking at the academic side of learning,

we give equal space to extra-curricular activities such as

animal husbandry and school farms, pupils’ colourful and

imaginative artworks as part of our In the Frame feature

and pupils’ and former pupils’ successes in a variety of

fields, from the music industry, to polar exploration and

transatlantic rowing. What a talented bunch they are!

Wealden Times Team

Editor .................................................................................Jennifer Stuart-Smith

Press, Social Media & Editorial Assistant........................................Helen Barton

Design Team ...............................................................................Anthony Boxall

Rob Cursons

Phoebe Gilbert

Managing Director .........................................................................Julie Simpson

Commercial Director ................................................................ Colin Wilkinson

Sales Team ................................................................................Hayley Biddulph

Chris Clayton

Lisa Gordon-Hughes

Becky Smith

Lisa Smith

Distribution ......................................................................................Jude Brown

Emma Murphy




• •




A small Independent day and boarding

school for girls and boys aged 7-19

with Dyslexia and Dyspraxia

“We can’t believe the difference in our daughter in

just a few weeks. It’s been absolutely phenomenal,

we can’t thank your staff enough.”

Senior school parent


Saturday 11th June

To register, please telephone

Annabel Baker on: 01797 252494

or email:

Frewen College, Rye Road,

Northiam, East Sussex, TN31 6NL

Find us on

Daily minibus services available


FrewenCollegeED03.indd 1 12/05/2016 15:22

The only Round Square independent boarding and day school

for girls aged 11 to 18 in the UK. In the Kent countryside, near

A2/M2, A20/M20 & M25. Local daily transport available.

“There is more in you than you think.”

T: 01474 823371



Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Notice Board

The latest news from schools across Kent, Sussex and Surrey

Battle Abbey Prep School

grow seeds from space

Pupils at Battle Abbey Prep School are

preparing to become space biologists

and embark on a voyage of discovery

by growing seeds that have

been into space.

In September, 2kg of rocket

seeds were flown to the International

Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S

where they spent several months in

microgravity, under the watchful eye

of Tim Peake, before returning to

Earth in March 2016. The seeds have

been sent as part of Rocket Science,

an educational project launched

by the RHS Campaign for School

Gardening and the UK Space Agency.

Battle Abbey Prep received a packet

Satnav for schools

Head Teacher in your Pocket: The

Essential Guide to your Prep School

Journey by Merinda D’Aprano

Choosing a school and navigating

your way through the prep school years

can be a challenging and confusing

time. Society and the media often

of 100 seeds from space, which they will

grow alongside seeds that haven’t been

to space and measure the differences

over seven weeks. The pupils won’t

know which seed packet contains

which seeds until all results have been

collected by the RHS Campaign

for School Gardening and analysed

by professional biostatisticians.

The out-of-this-world,

nationwide science experiment

will enable the children to think

more about how we could preserve

human life on another planet in the

future, what astronauts need to survive

long-term missions in space and the

difficulties surrounding growing

fresh food in challenging climates.

Rachel Wilks, Battle Abbey Prep

School Science Teacher says: “We

are very excited to be taking part in

Rocket Science. This experiment is a

fantastic way of teaching our pupils

to think more scientifically and share

their findings with the other scientists.

We are particularly delighted to be

taking part in this nationwide project

during the time that Tim Peake is

representing the United Kingdom on

the International Space Station.”

place much emphasis on academic and

instant results and less attention to the

pastoral development of the whole child.

Merinda D’Aprano, Head of Notre

Dame Prep School, has over 25 years’

experience teaching in the independent

sector. Miss D’Aprano began writing

an educational blog a couple of years

ago in response to questions parents

asked throughout their child’s prep

school journey. The blog became a

book, and joining ranks with Elizabeth

O’Shea, a leading parenting expert, they

have written a comprehensive guide

to navigating the prep school years

both educationally and pastorally.

Head Teacher in your Pocket: The

Essential Guide to your Prep School

Journey by Merinda D’Aprano

is priced at £10.00 and available

from Amazon bookstore.

Mayfield’s very own

leading lady debuts in

new West End ballet

Lily O’Regan, a Year 9 pupil at

Mayfield School, saw off 600 dancers

aged between 9-16 to be cast as

the leading lady, Dearest, in the

adaptation of Little Lord Fauntleroy

at the Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre

in the West End of London.

Rehearsals for The London’s

Children’s Ballet production took

four and a half months and played

for four nights, receiving rave reviews.

The premiere, 21st April, was the

Queen’s birthday and the National

Anthem played before the show, with

a host of celebrities attending.

Lily also had the pleasure of dancing

on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch with

other members of the company.

She said: “London Children’s

Ballet is an indescribable experience

and one that I will treasure for the rest

of my life. Being on stage is the best

feeling and I loved playing Dearest.”

Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Dancing

in all its forms cannot be excluded from

the curriculum of all noble education”

and teachers from Mayfield School

in East Sussex would tend to agree.

Pupils at the all-girls school have

benefited from a dance curriculum

for many years, with plenty of

opportunity to dance inside and

outside the school day. The school

regularly sends dance troupes to local

festivals and competitions, and come

January, the girls spend hours each

week in the studio in the build-up to

the annual Mayfield Dance Show.


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Notice Board

The latest news from schools across Kent, Sussex and Surrey

Rochester pupils make a

difference to Barbados school

Pupils from a Rochester school were

recently able to help make a difference to

the lives of profoundly disabled children

and adults at an educational establishment

in Barbados. In the two terms leading

up to their Netball and Cricket tour to

Barbados, pupils from King’s Rochester

Preparatory School raised over £2000

to buy much needed resources for The

Challenor Creative Arts and Training

Centre, a charity which meets the special

educational needs of 80 children and adults

aged from 5 to 50. The 60 King’s pupils

who went on the tour gave eight cricket

bags loaded with toys, games, books,

stationery, stopwatches, sport equipment

and other resources during a visit to the

Centre which made a lasting impression

on every one of the visiting children.

King’s Preparatory School Deputy

Headmaster Paul Medhurst said: “We

were privileged to visit the Centre on our

sports tour to Barbados in 2013 and saw

the extraordinary work that the staff there

do. Sadly the 400-year-old house has not

been maintained, and major repairs are

needed. On the day we visited that year,

the school’s vital minibus finally died and

we were all moved by the lack of basic

teaching aids. As we had planned to return

to Barbados in 2016, we resolved to make

the Challenor Centre our school charity.

The children raised the money from weekly

chapel collections, cake sales, home clothes

days and other sponsored events. Visiting

the Centre again, meeting the students

and staff and witnessing the hard work

they all do was the highlight of our trip.

Animals bring learning to

life at Buckswood School…

The school roll has grown at

Buckswood School this month as the

students welcome a new collection

of animals to the country house

estate near Hastings. The school is

home to 220 boarders from around

the world and the animals bring a

homely touch to the school with the

students able to get involved with the

care of the animals – learning to be

responsible for more than themselves

and putting the needs of others first.

After the fire at the school over

the February half-term, work to repair

Mead moonwalkers

prepare for moonlit


Staff at The Mead School, Tunbridge

Wells are training hard for Moonwalk

London 2016 on 14th May.

The Mead School is an independent

co-educational day school for children

ages 3-11, situated close to the historic

Pantiles in central Tunbridge Wells.

The Mead Moonwalkers will

be pounding the moonlit streets

the Science labs is nearly complete

with seven new labs. The labs are

home to two rabbits, two snakes and a

bearded water dragon called Kermit!

The school stables are usually

home to seven school horses and the

successful jumping team. Sheep also

share the stable area and at the moment

the numbers have doubled with the

arrival of seven lambs. The lambs have

all been named after school characters

and the students are amazed to see

how quickly the lambs grow. Near the

stables, a family of ducks complete

with four ducklings have made the

reed bed water filtration ponds their

home, joining the three peacocks

who are looked after by Wisdom

the school dog – a golden Labrador

that students often take for walks

over the 40 acre Buckswood estate.

“The animals form part of

the ‘Buckswood family’,” says

Headteacher Mark Redsell, “and the

students love to take care of them

and learn more about some of the

more unusual species on site.”

of London for a whopping 26.5

miles through the night.

The team of 15, who are all

teaching and support staff at The

Mead, have been training hard for the

midnight marathon and are looking

forward to raising funds to support

the fight against breast cancer.

The Moonwalk London 2016 is

health charity Walk the Walk’s

flagship event, raising money to fund

research on breast cancer and to

help those living with the disease.

“The Moonwalk has been a great

experience from start to – hopefully!

– finish,” says Aveline Archer, Pre-

Reception Teacher. “We started

training at the end of February and

we’re now less than a month away

from the ‘big night’. We’re a very

close team here at The Mead, and it

has been such a joy working on this

together, for such a good cause.”


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Smoothing the

move from

nursery to


Starting ‘real’ school

is always a big step in

growing up. Luckily,

these days it’s almost

always an easy one,

says Hilary Wilce

Credit: Dulwich Prep

Thanks to improved

communications between

nursery and reception classes,

good preparation work by staff on both

sides, and progressive programmes of

tours and visits, most children have a

clear idea about what they are moving

on to and make the transition from

nursery to reception class smoothly

and easily. They’ve often met their

new teacher, spent time in their

new classroom and seen where they

will hang their coat and eat their

lunch long before the day arrives

when they actually start school.

In addition, children in state schools

continue within exactly the same

educational framework that regulated

their pre-school life. Independent

schools have more freedom to choose

their curriculum, but most teachers

and schools now agree broadly on what

makes a good education for the underfives,

so they are unlikely to spring any

big surprises on their youngest pupils.

In fact it can often be the parents

who are most traumatised! How is it

possible, they think, that the newborn

baby they held in their arms just a

minute ago, is now a fully fledged

schoolchild? Sometimes it can feel

far too much like a chilly harbinger of

all the separations that are to come.

Other problems can arise when

a child, although looking forward

to their new school, hates the

thought of leaving a much-loved

nursery and its familiar staff.

If that’s the case with your child,

help foster a happy leave-taking of

the pre-school years by encouraging

them to start making a memory book,

including photographs of friends

and staff who matter to them, and

always reassure them they will still be

able to see their old friends and visit

their old nursery if they want to.

At the same time, start talking early

about the new school that lies ahead.

Be matter-of-fact, calm and positive

about this so that your child feels it’s a

normal step and something to be looked

forward to. Be sure to hide any anxieties

that you might have, and don’t ever

say anything – however jokingly – that

could make your child feel guilty about

going. Children are incredibly sensitive

to their parents’ moods, and quickly

pick up on feelings like sadness and

loss. Mopping your eyes with a tissue

while sniffing, “Whatever is Mummy

going to do without her little Pudsy-

Wudsy to keep her company?” will not

help your child voyage off to their new

school with a glad heart and resolute

step! On the other hand, don’t go too

hard the other way and big up school

as if it’s a technicolour combination of

Disney World and non-stop CBeebies.

If it isn’t, your child could feel that it’s

somehow their fault that they aren’t

enjoying it as they are supposed to.

On a practical level, make sure your

child’s skills are firmly in place. Can

they go to the toilet by themselves,

manage their clothes and wash their

hands? Can they put on their own

shoes and socks? Hang up their

coat? Eat with a knife and fork?

And when it comes to social

skills, do they understand when

to speak and when to listen when

having a conversation? Do they

feel comfortable around a range of

different adults? Can they share and

take turns easily? And do they help

to tidy up and put things away?

In fact, it’s always worth doublechecking

these things, especially if

you’ve had to spend time away at work

and haven’t been around to see how

things are going at home. I’ve heard

reception class teachers complain


Not too big

Not too small

Just right.

The perfect-size school for delivering a high quality education,

with a truly individual focus.

'An exceptionally friendly school where everyone is quickly made to feel

part of the community' The Good Schools Guide

'Staff in the Early Years Foundation Stage have high expectations

and are extremely knowledgeable about how young children learn'

Independent Schools Inspectorate, June 2015

'They work around my son, rather than my son being made to work around

the school' Parent

'Key factors supporting high achievement are the broad curriculum, excellent

teaching and the pupils’ outstanding attitudes towards their learning’

Independent Schools Inspectorate, June 2015




Hawkhurst, Cranbrook, Kent TN18 4PY 01580 753555

The Old School House


Care and Education for children from 3 months upwards

Is your child going to be 2, 3 or 4 before 31st August 2016, then they could attend here for 15 hours each week for free!

Free places for two year olds are subject to K.C.C. Terms and conditions – contact K.C.C or a Sure Start Centre to enquire about these.

Visit our website: or find us on Facebook (Based in Tenterden TN30 6SR)

The nursery follows the Montessori method of education for young children as well as incorporating,

respecting and using ideas from other important theorists.

Email: Tel: 01233 850 239

Fosse Wealdon Ad Mar15.v2 18/3/15 9:42 am Page 1

“Children are extremely wellprepared

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– Ofsted 2015

OldSchoolHouseMontessoriED03.indd 1 20/05/2016 10:08

Fosse Bank School

A small independent school in a stunning building set in beautiful grounds, Fosse Bank is for children aged

3-11 years who enjoy an extensive curriculum and the individual care that being in a small class allows.

The teaching day is 8:50 am - 3:50 pm and there is wraparound care from 7:30 am - 6 pm with a lively

extra-curricular programme. Breakfast and tea are provided.

Fosse Bank School, Mountains, Noble Tree Road, Hildenborough TN11 8ND Tel: 01732 834212



FosseBankSchool-ED02.indd 1 20/03/2015 12:36

100 Years of Education, 1000 Years of History

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

bitterly about children who demand that

their teacher hang up their coat for them,

or do up their shoes, because this is what

the au pair has always done at home.

I’ve heard, too, of pupils who have to be

taught how to eat with a knife and fork

because they have always eaten pizza on

their lap in front of the television, and of

little boys standing sodden and sobbing

in the toilet because they haven’t been

able to figure out how to undo their

new uniform trousers quickly enough.

Of course, the odd muddle and

mishap is a normal part of daily life

in reception classes, and absolutely

nothing to worry about, but the more

you can ensure your child is socially

and physically prepared for school, the

more they are free to enjoy making

new friends and learning new things.

To help this process along, make

sure any outings to buy uniform and

school supplies are light and enjoyable,

and encourage your child to take new

steps in independence, maybe by paying

for things in shops or deciding what

they would like in their lunch box.

Don’t be surprised if your child is

unusually quiet after starting school.

Think back to how it feels to start

a new job. We all get exhausted and

worn out by trying to absorb new

names, routines and challenges.

Your task now is to provide a long,

gentle wind-down to an early bedtime,

making sure there is no screen time

for an hour before bed. Instead go for

a warm bath, allow lots of time for a

story, and a bedroom that is dark and

well-ventilated to promote sound sleep.

In the morning, your child needs

plenty of time to enjoy a good, healthy

breakfast, get their things ready and

get to school promptly. Again, many

reception class teachers will tell you

that frazzled children who arrive late

to school after an early morning of

shouting, hassle and hurry take a long

time to settle down and be fully present

in the classroom. Try to develop a routine

that builds in more time than you need,

so that you aren’t thrown by morning

emergencies such as lost gloves or having

to scrape ice off the windscreen.

As a reception class parent, don’t

immediately bombard your child or

the school with too many questions,

or expect new friendships to form

overnight. Everyone needs time

to adjust and take stock. On the

other hand, if you feel that it is not

going as well as it should be, have a

quiet word with the teacher to see

what’s what. And do communicate

clearly about any special issues you

want the school to know about.

Get involved with your child’s

new school – everyone will benefit –

and start practising the art of asking

gentle, open questions, so your child

will feel comfortable talking to you

about life in the classroom. Not, ‘Did

you have a good day?’, but maybe

‘What’s the best thing that happened

to you today?’ This basic coaching

skill will be invaluable both now and

in all the school years still to come.

Hilary Wilce is an education writer,

writing tutor and life coach. Her books

Backbone: how to build the skills

your child needs to succeed and

The Six Secrets of School Success

are available on Amazon

Battle Abbey School 1912 - 2012

Battle Abbey Prep School has been

included in the Times Top 100

Independent Prep Schools for 2015.

The only Prep School which

makes this prestigious list in

East Sussex!

Battle Abbey Prep School - Times Top 100!


BattleAbbeySchoolED03.indd 1 29/04/2016 16:58







To arrange an individual tour of the school please call admissions 01903 874042 | visit

Windlesham House School, Washington, West Sussex, RH20 4AY

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

How boys and girls learn

at primary school age

by Catherine Walker, Head of Middle School, Marlborough House School, Hawkhurst

Neuroscience studies have

for years revealed subtle

differences in the rate at

which certain regions of the brain

develop in young boys and girls. These

genetic distinctions are often used to

explain why it is thought that language

and communication skills generally

develop later for boys than girls, and

why girls show earlier mastery and

higher competencies in vocabulary

and writing at primary school age.

In boys’ brains, a greater part of

the cerebral cortex is dedicated to

spatial and mechanical functioning so

although boys’ writing skills tend to

develop more slowly than girls’, they

are often ahead in more analytical

classroom challenges in Maths and

Science subjects for example. Boys

tend to like to build things, manipulate

objects, and can picture complex shapes

in their minds. This also explains

why younger boys are more drawn to

construction toys, complex building

puzzles and computer games than girls.

So genetics certainly plays its part in

how boys and girls learn but all children

of primary school age have particularly

curious minds so inevitably they are also

very open to and influenced by their

environments outside of school; namely

in the home, out in the community

and in how the media talks to them

and their peers. (For many of us, the

debate around gender-related toy aisles

still continues and many of you will no

doubt remember that in 1981, Lego was

marketed to all children, yet now girls

have their own pastel versions in prepackaged

‘friends’, ‘supermarket’ and

‘princess’-themed construction sets.)

Educationalists acknowledge that

gender difference born out of both

genetic and environmental influences

do have an impact on how children

learn but ‘biological’ gender differences

do not necessarily mean they are ‘hardwired’.

When it comes to actual capacity

and motivation for boys and girls to

learn – there is very little difference

between the sexes. In this respect,

schools are well-placed to implement

strategies for unlocking and nurturing

what motivates every child to learn


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

and succeed regardless of their gender.

Without doubt, younger boys seem to

have much shorter concentration spans

than girls in lessons, but where visual,

written and verbal direction are used

in conjunction with class participation

and interaction, teachers can create

multi-opportunities to learn and, in

doing so, give children a stimulating

learning environment where both boys

and girls of all ages can succeed.

Similarly, if an eight-year-old boy

still finds reading and writing more

of a challenge than a girl of a similar

age, where dyslexia might be queried,

a more appropriate plan of action

might be to firstly acknowledge that

his mind processes information in a

less conventional way and then use

adapted teaching techniques that

meet his specific learning needs.

But it is a two-way street –

parents also have a role to play in

inspiring and nurturing a love of

learning in their child. When parents

reinforce the teaching strategies

used at school in other areas of

home life, it is more likely that their

child will be motivated to reach his

or her potential and be noticeably

keen to get to school each day.

All children learn in different

ways, regardless of gender, but as

teachers the trick is to discover

where every boy and girl excels and

in partnership with parents, channel

that confidence into other, more

challenging areas of school life.

Marlborough House School,

Hawkhurst, Cranbrook, Kent

TN18 4PY 01580 753555

Co-educational, day & boarding school for 3-18 years in South East England

Strong academic results at 11+, GCSE and A Level

Small class sizes offering close individual attention

Vast range of sports and extra curricular activities

Outstanding modern and traditional facilities

Call for further information

and to book a visit

T: 01843 572931


College Road, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 7AE




StLawrenceCollegeED03.indd 1 28/04/2016 12:59






Saturday 8th October


Junior King’s School

Milner Court





To register interest or for more information

please contact:

+44 (0) 1227 714000

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Meet the Heads

Just as all schools are different, so too are their head teachers. Here we speak to three different ‘heads’ to find out

what makes them tick, how they ended up as a teacher and ask them a few other curious questions to boot...

Merinda D’Aprano

Head of the Prep School at

Notre Dame School in Cobham, Surrey

What was your favourite subject at school and why?

My favourite subject at school was Drama. I loved the

experience of being up on a stage. This joy of acting

has stayed with me throughout my life and inspired

me to push for the building of our own theatre at

Notre Dame School which is based on the Globe

Theatre in London. We are extremely fortunate to

have such a facility and every child from the Nursery

to the Sixth Form has the opportunity to perform, be

part of and enjoy fantastic and varied productions.

Did you always want to be a teacher? If not, what other

jobs did you consider? I briefly considered the priesthood

and, although I remain committed to my local church,

I decided that teaching was my true vocation and I have

enjoyed a varied and greatly enjoyable career so far.

What is your favourite day of the school calendar?

My favourite day is Feast Day when we celebrate the

canonisation of Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac, the foundress

of the school. She became a Saint on 15th May 1949

and today we celebrate with a Mass, music and a

special lunch in the grounds. We have been very lucky

in previous years that Saint Jeanne has blessed us with

gorgeous sunshine and this year was no exception.

Which school teacher, would you say had the greatest

effect on your early life? My favourite teacher was

Sister Cristina. She taught me in Year 6. My

enduring memories of her are the way she made

every child feel. It did not matter what she was

doing, she always made you feel like you were the

most important part of her day. She had a true

passion for teaching and nurturing young minds.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I love all

creative pursuits and in my spare time, I like to sing,

cook, paint, read and play my bodhran (an Irish frame

drum). I am part of a choir both at Notre Dame and

my church and I enjoy sharing this passion with others.

What is your favourite holiday destination? I would

choose the West Coast of Ireland as my favourite

holiday destination. It is absolutely beautiful.

What is your greatest achievement? I am extremely proud

of my achievements in teaching and the publication of

my book Head Teacher in Your Pocket was a real highlight

for me as well. My greatest achievement is a difficult

one, family is extremely important to me and I like to

think I am a brilliant auntie to my nephews and nieces.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself that your

pupils would be surprised to know! I think my

pupils would be surprised to know that I have

a lot of relationships with other schools in that

I am an Independent Schools Inspector.

Notre Dame School, Burwood House, Convent Lane, Cobham,

Surrey KT11 1HA. 01932 869990.


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Jill Milner,

Headmistress, Walthamstow Hall

What was your favourite subject at school and why?

My favourite subject at school, by far, was English. I’ve

always loved reading and have been fascinated by the power

of words, either in text or on the stage, to transport you to

another place and/or time. Being able to study literature

always seemed more like pleasure than work, and as I was

not a particularly diligent pupil, until I reached the Sixth

Form (where I learned better!), English had a strong appeal.

Did you always want to be a teacher? If not, what

other jobs did you consider? I didn’t always want to be

a teacher, although by my final year at Oxford I knew I

wanted to enter the profession to share my passion for

learning with others. At various points along the way I had

considered research, law and working in the civil service.

What is your favourite day in the school calendar?

The Inter House Performing Arts competition for

all the Senior girls, run by the Sixth Form House

Captains is always amazing. The atmosphere

and standards of teamwork, alongside the girls’

courage and creativity, always bowl me over.

Which school teacher, would you say had the greatest

effect on your early life? Without a doubt, Miss Scott,

my A level English teacher had a profound influence on

my future life. She expected a huge amount from us all

in terms of independent study and standard of work,

but also gave us permission to think for ourselves, and

shape our ideas in robust discussion in class. Lessons

were hard work, unpredictable and fascinating!

What do you like to do in your spare time? When I am not

in school, normally Walthamstow Hall, or at the Schools at

Somerhill and Holmewood House where I am privileged to be

a Governor, I like to spend time with my husband Rupert and

our three children. Fortunately they all share my enthusiasm

for the theatre! My eldest daughter got married this spring,

so I have spent a fair bit of 2016 helping with wedding

planning. After a fantastic wedding day in April, I can now

spend more time walking and going on adventures abroad.

What is your favourite holiday destination? My favourite

holiday destination is St Agnes in the Scilly Isles.

What is your greatest achievement? My greatest

personal achievement would be my family, but

professionally I am extremely proud of my fourteen years

at Walthamstow Hall. It is an utter joy to watch pupils

progress through the school, and beyond, and to share

in all that they achieve along the way. With over 650

girls there are achievements to celebrate every day.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself that

your pupils would be surprised to know!

I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad.

Walthamstow Hall, Holly Bush Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent

TN13 3UL. 01732 451334.


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Peter Goodyer

Headmaster, Bede’s School

What was your favourite subject at school and

why? Geography was thoroughly enjoyable, especially

physical geography. As I grew up in South Africa, the

opportunities for field work were numerous, with

extensive fold mountains not far from school. It was

wonderful to get out of the classroom and learn in the

environment, where the subject genuinely came to life.

Did you always want to be a teacher? If not,

what other jobs did you consider? Yes, it was

something I always wanted to do. My father was a

school chaplain and teacher; as such growing up in a

school community probably led me to teaching.

What is your favourite day in the school calendar?

It is difficult to pick out one day, the school calendar

is full with many different and valuable events which

makes each day special for its own reason. It is the

joy of being in teaching that each day brings with

it something different. That said, I really do like

the return to school after the holiday, welcoming

everyone back and seeing the school as one again.

Which school teacher, would you say had the greatest

effect on your early life? It would have to be my English

teacher, Miss Baws. She was a fearsome lady, who had a

passion for all things literary and she had a remarkable

ability to instil this into her pupils. I have little doubt that

my enjoyment of literature is down to her influence.

What do you like to do in your spare time? As a family we

like spending time in the outdoors, being from South Africa

this is important to me. We have a good time walking and

cycling. I enjoy taking my son swimming and always try

to squeeze in a round of golf during the school holidays.

I have a commitment to wildlife conservation and enjoy

getting involved in this both here and when I visit Africa.

What is your favourite holiday destination? I have a

real soft spot for the Masai Mara, I love the tranquillity

and the abundance of wildlife one encounters without

the feeling of being overcrowded by others is very

special. I also love the stark beauty of Death Valley

National Park, the physical features are incredible,

particularly the Artist’s Palette and the sailing stones.

What is your greatest achievement? This has

to be my conquering of Kilimanjaro, seeing

the sunrise from the summit was an incredible

experience and something I will never forget.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself that

your pupils would be surprised to know! I am an

avid cross-country skier, especially in Norway.

Bede’s School, Upper Dicker East Sussex, BN27 3QH.

01323 843252.




An incredibly friendly and high-achieving boarding & day

school in the leafy Surrey Hills for students aged 13-18.

For more information, or to arrange a visit, call

01483 273666 or Email


Kindergarten & Early Years

Treasured memories,



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Tel: 01580 200 448

Follow us on facebook @Bricklehurst

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01580 240642 / 07926 380434

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BricklehurstManorED03.indd 1 10/05/2016 MrNoahsNurserySchoolED03.indd 11:14

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Sackville School

An independent school for boys and girls 11-18





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With small classes and a welcoming environment

you can be confident that your child will quickly settle

into the Sackville family

Sackville is part of the

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Students usually join us in Year 7, 9 or 12,

however, we also consider applications for entry

at other times

Call now to find out more

T: 01732 838 888 W:

Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough, Kent TN11 9HN


SackvilleSchoolED03.indd 1 22/04/2016 14:42

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a life-long

love of books

Despite all the digital options available to children these days, it’s still

possible to instill a love of reading, says John Graham-Hart

Credit: Dulwich Prep

When I was a child, I loved

reading. It was escape,

entertainment, adventure

and a way of finding out things about

what really interested me that day. Its

only competition for my attention was

sport and Children’s Hour. However,

this, as my sons so sensitively point

out, was shortly after the expiration

of the last pterosaur and times

have changed, changed utterly.

For today’s child, digital media

meet all the above requirements and,

by and large, in a far more exciting and

accessible way. Today, a child doesn’t

merely read a story but can become part

of it, play the lead role and personally

affect twists and turns in the plot.

Where I read words and looked at

pictures of pyramids, they are able to

take virtual reality tours of their passages

and chambers. Never has reading had

so much and such serious competition.

However, the latest trends in book

sales for books in the UK tell a very

interesting and truly extraordinary story.

Yes, sales of books continue to decline

almost across the genre board – except,

that is, in one very significant area –

children’s books. Sales of both children’s

fiction and non-fiction are on the rise –

particularly the latter which is growing,

year on year, by a whopping 35 per cent.

The message is clear – the choice

of popular fiction and non-fiction

has never been greater. So, how do we

encourage children to take full advantage

of this new literary cornucopia? How

do we encourage them to read?

According to Kathryn Bender, Head

of Nursery and pre-prep at Saint Ronan’s

School near Hawkhurst, it’s a matter

of engagement. She stresses that an

experienced reader reading to children

will have them captivated and engrossed

in the story and this, in turn, will lead

to their wanting to read for themselves.

“Children love the pictures and

feel of books and the familiarity of

re-reading much-loved stories,” she

says. “My class once wrote to Roald

Dahl and he wrote back, ‘If when

you are young you read just one book

that is so funny and exciting that

you fall in love with it then there is

a good chance that this little love

affair with a single book will convince

you that reading is terrific fun.’”

Saint Ronan’s Deputy Head,

Matthew Brian, stresses that the

teaching of reading and phonics has

developed enormously since parents

were learning and it’s always worth

talking to teachers about the way in

which children learn at school. “What

is essential is to prioritise reading and

make it a daily event wherever possible,”

he says. “The reinforcement at home

will make everything come together

more quickly in the early days.

“Just as children want to take their

birthday present and play with their

parents – not be left by themselves with

only their imagination for company

– so with reading it needs to be a

shared experience. Laughing together,

being excited about what comes next

– these are bonding opportunities

not to be missed,” says Matthew.

Fiona Booth, Librarian at Dulwich

Prep, near Cranbrook, notes that if

there is one technological change that

she would highlight as being a very

positive influence on children’s reading,

it would be the ability to download

audiobooks. “All children can listen to

stories that challenge them beyond their

reading ability and listening can foster

a love of stories,” she says. “Audiobooks

are the next best thing to a parent who

is prepared endlessly to read aloud.”

She stresses that developing a

love of reading is vital. “According to

UNESCO, the biggest single indicator

of whether a child is going to thrive

at school and in work is whether or

not that child reads for pleasure,” she

says. “Reading fiction enables children

to imagine and identify with lives

and situations beyond the boundaries

of their own experience. It is both a

relaxing escape from a demanding world

and a means by which the growing

child can determine what sort of person

they are and want to be,” she says.


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Cathy Morrison, the Librarian at

Sackville School in Hildenborough

underlines this importance. “Reading

for pleasure and writing is fundamental

to educational success as well as key

to developing children’s imagination

and creativity,” she says but admits

that to many children used to

digital devices, books can seem oldfashioned

and dull and that it’s simply

not enough to point them at the

bookshelves and hope they’ll engage.

Accordingly, the school adopts

a range of different strategies from

author visits to book-jacket designing,

film-trailer making, encouragement

to enter creative writing competitions

and visits to literary festivals.

Reading can be a pleasure in itself.

It is also, despite all the competition,

the primary key to the exchange of

knowledge, ideas and experiences. But,

perhaps greatest of all, it develops a

child’s ability to express themselves

verbally or on the blank page – more

effectively than any number of

spelling tests or essay writing. A love

of reading is one of the greatest gifts

any school or parent can bestow.

Ten top tips to encourage your child to read

1 6

. Read to your child

. Give them a sense of achievement

Start at an early age with bedtime Respond with wild enthusiasm

stories and don’t be afraid to ham it to anything they read to you and

up with an extra dose of drama. lay on praise with a trowel.

Fill your child’s room with books Take them to your local library



Children who grow up with books

all around them learn to think of books

as friends and allies in their pursuit of

excitement, adventure and knowledge.


. And not only books

Video games, magazines,

comic books, board games,

iPads and Kindles all provide

opportunities for reading practice.


. Be a good reading role model

Have your own books and magazines

on display. Let them see you reading and

how much you enjoy it. Tell them what

you are reading and share it with them.


. Encourage your child to find

their own books

Reading should be fun. Don’t thrust

‘worthy’ tomes upon them just

because you think they should read

them. Let them choose material

that they will really enjoy.



Get them their ‘very own’

library card, show them how a

library works and encourage them

to choose their own books. Visit

the library on a regular basis.


. Talk about it

When your child is reading or

has read a book talk to them about it.

Discuss the characters and the story.


. Make time for reading

Our children seem to have

equally busy schedules as we do and

no matter how much they enjoy

reading, your child can only read if

you organize set times to do so.


. Lucky, lucky, lucky

Try to make them understand

how special and lucky they are to be

able to learn to read when millions of

children around the world want to learn

but don’t have anyone to teach them and

no books of any kind in their homes.


‘ Excellent ’

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HoeBridgeSchoolS17.indd 1 02/03/2016 09:53

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Addressing the balance

Despite huge advances in past decades, boys and girls are still making very different choices at A-level. Why is

this, and what can we do about it? We speak to Antonia Beary, Headmistress of Mayfield School in Sussex

Credit: St Bede’s School

Why do girls and boys tend to choose

such different A-levels? Choosing

A-Levels can be a challenge for any

student. Advice from teachers, parents

and friends is important, of course, but

the culture of the school they attend and

peer pressure can affect an individual’s

choice far more significantly, if less

obviously. In some places there is still

a clear gender divide – boys do Maths

and Science; girls do English and Art.

We see this myth perpetuated in the

media and sadly – but also inaccurately

– there is the perception that Arts

subjects are easier and that you have to

choose either Arts or Sciences – as if

you can only be talented in one area.

At Mayfield girls are encouraged to

be aspirational and choose subjects they

enjoy, not be confined by stereotypes

or other peoples’ choices. Girls know

they will be taught well: challenged and

encouraged to think for themselves.

Good teachers, who are passionate

about their subjects, are compelling

and their enthusiasm is contagious. In

today’s increasingly utilitarian society,

results are currency so it is important

to achieve the best possible grades, but

inspiring a love and understanding of

the subject and a desire to continue to

learn after school are of more value in

shaping an individual in the long term.

Yes, Mayfield has an outstanding Maths

and Science provision and consistently

achieves outstanding results, but we

also have outstanding humanities,

language, performing and creative arts

and sports provision. The important

thing is to create an environment

where girls feel able to choose the

right subject combinations for them,

not have to make conventional

choices. It is possible to be rigorous

and expect high standards, while still

being supportive and giving girls this

confidence. They need to be encouraged

to believe that with motivation and

application they can achieve anything

they put their mind to, although it

might be a challenge and there will

inevitably be setbacks to overcome.

I believe that teaching them in an

all-girls environment enables us to

do that more effectively. There are

not yet enough women in positions

of responsibility in public life or the

boardrooms of FTSE companies.

However, we are not educating young

women to complain about this state

of affairs, but rather to do something

to change it. Women being confident

and successful in areas previously

considered to be male bastions such

as engineering and industry can

only be a good step forward.

Do you think we need to address

this balance? Most certainly we do!

In other countries the disparity is not

so great; I believe that in Germany,

for example the number of male and

female engineers are fairly equal. In

the UK the vast majority of engineers

are men, so there is clearly something



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going awry somewhere in the UK.

Obviously there is no intrinsic reason

why women can’t do the job as well as

men, albeit that they are not the same

and bring a different perspectives and

skill sets. There are lots of capable

girls whose skills and talents are not

being directed effectively, who would

respond positively to the challenges

and rigour of STEM subjects, given

half the chance. The workforce could

benefit from their contribution; we

undoubtedly –and urgently- need

more female engineers. Similarly

there may be boys who feel they are

being pressured into STEM subjects

when their talents lie in other areas.

What can we do to encourage girls to

choose STEM subjects? Encouraging

girls to engage with STEM subjects

needs to begin earlier than A Level

choices- right back to Primary school.

We have a high take up of Maths and

Science at A level because we expect

all girls to study all three sciences from

day one up to at GCSE. Many are not

confident about their own abilities at

the end of Year 9 but when they do

well at GCSE [Last year 90% of girls

achieved A*/A in Physics, Chemistry

and Biology], they have the confidence

and ability to continue at A Level and

beyond. Furthermore, wherever possible,

we encourage girls to keep their options

open and balance their A level choices.

Most girls will study at least one science

or Maths at A level, and similarly those

girls focusing predominantly on Sciences

often study an arts subject as well.

Do children need to choose between

arts and STEM subjects? I worry that

children are expected to ‘specialise’ far

too early in their school careers, and

indeed that they are encouraged to

categorise themselves as either an ‘artist’

or a ‘scientist’ with different skills. I

don’t think that is helpful. We need

to be encouraging children to look for

links between subjects and how skills

complement each other. After all, to

be a good scientist, you need to be

creative and to write accurately and

concisely. Any good piece of writing, or

art, needs to be crafted and structured

with discipline. What we need to

ensure is that children are able to think

independently and to make mistakes

and learn from them, in a variety of

subjects. My concern is that while

STEM, or indeed STEAM, is crucially

important part of education, we exclude

emphasis on creative, artistic subjects

at our peril. Advances in science need

to have a cultural and moral context,

so if we deprive our children of these

less utilitarian, but vitally important

subjects we are compromising their

perspective and our future.

Above: Antonia Beary, headteacher at Mayfield

One School,

many journeys

Sutton Valence

Preparatory School

(Nursery to age 11)

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• Traditional values, small class sizes

• Proven exam success for independent and state entry

• Minibus routes across Kent

Please contact:

T: 01622 842117 | E:


SuttonValenceED03.indd 1 17/05/2016 12:09

Focused, capable AND

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Are your children

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Broadening Horizons

WT talks to local schools about how they encourage their pupils to look beyond traditional, academic

studies and towards a more creative career path by organising ‘creative weeks’ and encouraging

participation in school clubs and sports. We also meet some of the guest speakers and former pupils

brought into schools to inspire pupils to aim high and consider a life less ordinary....

Image 5166: Siobhan Fogarty, Head of Creative Arts at Sackville School, with Year 10 GCSE

Drama students after their performance of Ernest and the Pale Moon

Siobhan Fogarty,

Head of Creative Arts,

at Sackville School,

Hildenborough with specialisms

in Drama and Media Studies

Does your school give

equal weight to nonacademic


I am fortunate in that Sackville

appreciates the importance of

the creative arts in developing

confidence and wellbeing. All

students experience a wide range of

Visual Arts, Drama, Music and Film

making, both in time-tabled lessons

and through extracurricular activities.

My background as a professional

actor, scriptwriter and film maker

has been invaluable for developing

the creative arts within school. I

am also Director of The Curious

Theatre Company which is based in

Sackville’s ‘The Space’ studio theatre.

Are pupils encouraged to

follow a creative career?

We encourage our students to believe

that anything is possible in life

and if they wish to pursue a career

in the creative industries we give

them our full support. Our recent

careers fair had a number of alumni

attending as exhibitors representing

a broad range of occupations which

included architectural model making,

technical theatre, animation and

professional music practitioners.

How does the school help

to ‘broaden horizons’ ?

I firmly believe in exposing students

to a broad range of artistic influences.

We have an annual West End theatre

trip and also host workshops by

innovative performance companies.

Each year we hold an Arts Week which

embraces cross-curricular learning and

culminates with a school production

which this year will be an ecological

piece staged outside in the school

grounds; I am a great believer i n

utilising ‘found’ performance spaces.

What interesting careers have

pupils gone on to follow?

We were delighted when former

student, James Benmore, was

guest of honour at our Prize

Giving. James is the author of a

series of novels based on Charles

Dickens’ character ‘The Artful

Dodger’. His third book, Dodger

of the Revolution, will be published

by Quercus on 22 September.

Sackville School

Tonbridge Road

Hildenborough, Kent

TN11 9HN

01732 836447

Guest speaker – Junior King’s

Charlie Sinclair

Charlie was Head Boy at Junior King’s

in 2010 when he played rugby in the

JKS U11 National Champion school

rugby team at Twickenham. He was a

keen musician playing the trumpet and

singing in the school choir. During the

Remembrance Service he played the Last

Post and it was his musical experience

while at the Junior School that led

him to become a Music Scholar at The

King’s School. As he progressed through

the school he left his rugby playing

and trumpet behind to concentrate on

the guitar and composition, along with

singing a wide repertoire of musical

styles in a number of the school’s choirs.

He performed Sinatra’s You Make

Feel So Young with the BBC Big Band

while at the senior school and is now

studying rock guitar and composition

at The Royal Northern College of

Music. He has formed his own band,

Silvette, and he tours performing his

own music. He has recently completed

the score for a feature film Marriage,

and he is looking forward to a varied

future in the music business.

The Junior King’s School, Milner Court,

Sturry, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 0AY

01227 714000


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Edinburgh Award Scheme and the

School Cadet Force. On Saturday

mornings, pupils can choose from a

menu of activities including Creative

Writing, International Cuisine,

Open Art and Music & Dance.

university academics. Trips are a vital

aspect of our educational provision

and we offer far too many to list

in full. However, our pupils have

recently visited New York, Iceland,

Berlin and Spain to name but a few.

Ed O’Connor,

Deputy Head, St Edmund’s

School Canterbury

Does your school give

equal weight to nonacademic


We fully understand the importance

of challenging our pupils to develop

outside the classroom. To that end we

have a comprehensive extra-curricular

programme designed to develop

personal qualities, creativity and

leadership skills. Friday afternoons are

dedicated to our Skills and Services

programme which includes characterbuilding

opportunities including

Community Service, the Duke of

Are pupils encouraged to

follow a creative career?

St Edmund’s has a long and wellfounded

reputation in the creative

subjects. Music, Art and Design and

Drama are recognised strengths of the

school and offer fantastic opportunities

for expression and performance at a

high level. Many of our pupils go on to

leading drama schools, conservatoires

and art colleges. Developing individual

creativity is in our school DNA.

How does the school help to

broaden horizons?

We have a programme of lunchtime

visiting speakers called “The Curiosity

Shop” to which all pupils and parents

are invited. These are highly successful

events and we have had presentations

from a representative of Bletchley

Park on the Enigma Machine, from a

leading UK actress on careers in film

and theatre and from a number of

What interesting careers have

pupils gone on to follow?

New pupils to the school often ask to

be placed in Orlando Bloom’s House

as he is an old boy of the school!

Concert pianist Freddy Kempf visits us

regularly and has run masterclasses for

our pupils and we are proud of Darren

Henley OBE who is currently the Chief

Executive of the Arts Council. Those

who keep an eye on the news might

also have recently noted the name

of Sanjeev Gupta, the international

businessman involved in the Port

Talbot steel works takeover. Our pupils

go off into a huge range of careers,

equipped I hope with the assurance,

resilience and creativity developed as

part of a St Edmund’s education.

St Edmund’s School Canterbury,

St Thomas’ Hill, Canterbury, Kent

CT2 8HU, 01227 475600

Guest Speaker – Sutton

Valence School

David Hayman

Having left Sutton Valence School in

1995, where he was Head of School

and Head of CCF, David Hayman

studied veterinary medicine at the

University of Edinburgh, and then

worked as a clinical veterinary surgeon

with a broad range of domestic and

wild animals, gaining experience of

investigating and managing disease

in a number of critically endangered

and flagship species. These experiences

are what led him to gain his MSc

in Conservation Biology from the

Durrell Institute of Conservation and

Ecology at the University of Kent,

UK. Prior to his role as a Senior

Lecturer in Veterinary Public Health at

Massey, where he works now, he also

did a considerable amount of work

in the USA as a David Smith Fellow

at Colorado State University.

David Hayman was recently

featured at the Massey University of

New Zealand’s ‘Defining Excellence

Awards 2016’. Dr Hayman is

considered a rising star in the field of

infectious disease epidemiology and

ecology. He has attracted considerable

international attention for his work

on Ebola and other related diseases.

It is only four years since he

did his PhD at Queen’s College,

Cambridge, which included a threeyear

fellowship funded by The

Wellcome Trust. He studied bats

and their diseases in West Africa; this

work formed the foundation of a lot

of the work he does. He has already

had 40 peer-reviewed publications in

high-ranking journals, including one

on modelling bat viruses. This is of

enormous importance internationally,

given the role played by bats in

emerging infectious disease. “I use

multidisciplinary approaches to address

how infectious diseases are maintained

within their hosts and how the process

of emergence occurs,” he said. “At the

broadest level, my interests are public

health and conservation biology.”

Sutton Valence Preparatory School, Church

Road, Chart Sutton, Kent ME17 3RF.

01622 842117.


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Guest Speaker – Vinehall

Preparatory School

Tom Avery

Tom Avery is one of the world’s most

exciting polar explorers and a former

pupil at Vinehall. He became the

youngest Briton to reach the South Pole

on foot and was also leader of the fastest

team in history to reach the North Pole.

Last summer, Tom led a team which

broke the record of the fastest coastto-coast

crossing of Greenland by an

incredible eight days. Previously the

record time had been just under 18 days.

Tom’s 2005 Ultimate North

team made headlines around the

world for recreating Robert Peary

and Matthew Henson’s disputed

discovery of the North Pole in 1909,

and in the process entering the Guinness

Book of Records for “The Fastest

Surface Journey to the North Pole”.

Tom’s passion for adventure began

when he read about the exploits of

Captain Scott whilst a seven-year-old

pupil at Vinehall. He learnt to climb

in the Welsh and Scottish mountains,

first on rock, before moving on to

snow and ice. Tom subsequently went

on to organise and lead expeditions to

some of the world’s biggest mountains,

including the Alps, Tanzania’s volcanoes,

the Andes, New Zealand’s Southern

Alps, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco

and the Himalayas, climbing an array

of peaks, including several unclimbed

summits up to 20,000 feet in height.

In April 2005 Tom and his fivestrong

team enthralled the exploration

world by recreating Peary and Henson’s

expedition to the North Pole, travelling

with teams of Eskimo dogs and replica

wooden sledges. Tom’s aim was to

quash the doubt as to the validity of

Peary’s 37-day journey to the Pole.

After an epic dash across the world’s

most unforgiving environment , Tom’s

exhausted team made it to the Pole

with five hours to spare. More than a

decade later, they remain the fastest

team in history to reach the North Pole.

Tom’s most recent challenge saw

him breaking another World Record,

for the fastest coast-to-coast crossing

of Greenland in May last year. Using

kites and pulling two sledges each,

Tom and his three teammates beat the

previous record by more than a week,

completing the crossing in just nine

days, 19 hours with barely any sleep.

Tom returns to Vinehall this summer

as the guest of honour on the final day

of the term, when he will present the

prizes at the annual Prizegiving Day, as

well as speak about his adventures. The

pupils are really excited, and talking

about how he has already inspired them

to take up similar challenges when they

are older. This fits with the ethos of

the school, which encourages intrepid

learning and calculated risk-taking from

the earliest years in the Nursery and Pre-

Prep, right up to when the pupils depart

for senior schools at the end of Year 8.

Vinehall School, Robertsbridge, East

Sussex, TN32 5JL. 01580 880413.

Guest Speaker –

St Edmund’s School

Olly Clark

Olly Clark attended St Edmund’s

from 1996 until 2003, from Junior

School through to Sixth Form when

he was appointed School Captain.

During his school days, Olly

displayed a great strength of character

and worked hard, and went on to be a

high achiever. After St Edmund’s and

Loughborough University and via some

rally driving in Mongolia, Olly became

an Army officer, was commissioned into

the Royal Engineers and subsequently

completed the All Arms Commando

Course, serving in Operational tours in

Afghanistan with the Royal Marines.

Earlier this year, with his close

friend Dan Parsons, Olly participated

in Talisker Atlantic Challenge which

is dubbed the world’s toughest rowing

race. He rowed the 3000 miles across

the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera

in the Canary Islands to Antigua in

the Caribbean in an open boat to raise

money for ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity

and Prostate Cancer UK. Olly and Dan

won the pairs race in 42 days, 17 hours

and 59 minutes – a remarkable feat.

Olly said, “Having never been in

a rowing boat before this adventure

was certainly a baptism of fire at times.

The challenge and Ocean rowing

in itself, without doubt, drew on so

many of the skills and qualities that I

learnt during my time at St Edmund’s

and then became a foundation for

my military training. Courage,

Determination, Unselfishness and

Cheerfulness in the face of adversity

were all tested on a daily basis.”

St Edmund’s School Canterbury,

St Thomas’ Hill, Canterbury,

Kent, CT2 8HU. 01227 475600.


We're going on a

bear hunt!

Bring your teddy and a friend and come along

to Vinehall Nursery for a Teddy Bears’ Picnic

and a fun morning of exploring...

Friday 1st July 10am to 12pm

For further information please contact Tessa Richardson on

01580 883056 or at

Get ready for an adventure!

VinehallSchoolWT172.indd 1 09/05/2016 17:17


Open House




Louise Moelwyn-Hughes

Head of St Edmund’s

Saturday 11 June, 10am

For event programme and booking form visit

Matthew Jelley

Head of Junior School

Julia Exley

Head of Pre-Prep School


StEdmundsSchoolCanterburyED03.indd 1 13/05/2016 12:40

Blackland Farm

Outdoor Activity Centre



Bungee trampolining

Rock climbing


Crate challenge

Zip wire



...and many more!

Come and join us for

fun-filled activity days.

Why not have your

birthday party here too?

01342 810493

Blackland Farm

KentWildlifeTrustED03.indd 1 19/05/2016 BlacklandFarmWT138.indd 15:20

1 10/07/2013 17:31



Giant pool inflatable, flumes, bouncy

castle, sport parties and many more



5 - 12 YEARS




Put your little ones in our creche whilst

you gym, swim or do an exercise class




plus swimming lesson crash courses

during school holidays




Every Saturday and Sunday

during school holidays


01322 662188 |


01732 470700 |


01732 865665 |


SencioCommunityED03.indd 1 03/05/2016 17:18

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Out-of-school education…

Credit:The Scout Association

No school can teach children everything they need to

know. David Long, the author and journalist, outlines

the benefits of learning outside the classroom

If the key to making the most of

your child’s education is broadening

his or her experience, and keeping

as many options open as possible

for as long as possible, then out-ofschool

clubs and extra-curricular

activities have a vital role to play.

Timetabling pressures and the

requirements of exam-based learning

mean no school can teach everything

a child needs to know. Regardless

of the staff’s good intentions there

are simply not enough hours in the

day for everything to be squeezed

into the classroom, and that’s where

the growing range of after-school

activities begins to pay dividends.

The benefits are almost too many to

list. Primarily, of course, it is important

to find something your child enjoys.

But that is only the start. Actively

engaging with any such club should

be pleasurable but it can also work

wonders when it comes to boosting a

child’s sense of responsibility and of

self. At the same time it provides the

perfect opportunity to extend his or her

social network far beyond that offered

by any individual school. Meeting and

interacting with others of a similar

age is invaluable, but so too is the

chance to mingle with older and more

mature participants and with people

from different social backgrounds.

The acquisition of new skills,

clearly, is rarely a bad thing. This is as

true for hobby-based clubs as it is for

more traditional sports clubs, which

generally offer a much wider range than

most schools can – and often a much

higher standard of play. Such clubs

also give a child the time and space

needed to become really good, which

cannot be said of an hour or two each

week of timetabled physical activity.

Typically, schools have to pursue a

policy of one-size-fits-all in PE, and a

talented child’s progress can often be

impeded by the need to move at the

pace of the slowest or most reluctant.

It is little wonder then, that brighter,

more enthusiastic pupils and their

parents increasingly look beyond the

school to satisfy that natural, youthful

desire to try something different.

More parents than ever recognise that

organised, structured out-of-school

activities can be enormously important

to their child’s development. Youngsters

soon realise that the choice is better if

they look outside school. The mere fact

that this sort of thing takes place out of

school removes the sense of obligation

too, which can only be beneficial.

Participants can also learn novel

skills and improve them away from the

bullying and teasing which even in wellrun

schools can stifle a child’s faltering

first steps into a new area of interest.

Someone who hates team games such

as football or rugby can nevertheless

really shine when offered the chance

to try something less mainstream –

archery, perhaps, or roller hockey.

That such clubs are generally run by

volunteers brings with it another bonus.

Teachers frequently have to battle with

reluctant participants and all too often,

regrettably but wholly understandably,

their own passion can wilt when faced

with a class in which many of those

present feel press-ganged into doing

something they would sooner not do.

That school teachers are

‘professional’ while clubs are typically

run by amateurs is no guarantee of

quality. Someone giving up his or her

own time to share knowledge and

skills with a new generation is less

likely to be resentful of this – if only

because by definition he is free to step

back and give it all up if it becomes


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

a chore. As a result the atmosphere

is often far better in a club than in

a classroom, and – regardless of the

subject or activity – learning is never

more effective than when those taking

part are having a good time doing it.

Schools know this, universities too,

and of course employers certainly do.

The primary purpose may not be career

advancement but there is no harm in

acknowledging the role hobbies can

play in this. The days are long gone

when a hopeful applicant for a degree

course or a job could expect to get

away with the line ‘Interests: reading,

travel, cinema’ on a CV. We all know

that is code for loafing around watching

television and playing computer games.

In an increasingly competitive

world it is more important than ever

for applicants to present themselves

as rounded, engaged individuals with

a variety of interests. Simply waving

around a certificate full of A-stars will

get you nowhere when almost everybody

else has an equally impressive set of

exam grades – and they will have.

An unusual hobby can make an

applicant stand out from the crowd.

It is also something to talk about in

an interview, enabling teenagers to

demonstrate their articulacy by talking

enthusiastically about things they enjoy

and enjoy being good at. And let’s not

forget the matter of transferable skills.

Excelling at a team sport has long

been taken as an indication that a

person will be good with other people

– literally a team-player. Participants

in more individual sports, archery

again for example, show a healthy

competitive spirit, a commitment to

improve and an ability to identify a

target (pun intended) and to go for it.

Away from the sports field, other

hobbies can definitely enhance a child’s

performance in class. My own boys

have joined local digs organised by

Cambridge University’s archaeology

department. This has involved

commitment on their part, physical

effort and considerable patience – but

excitement too when, for example,

one of them unearthed fragments of

some very rare early medieval pottery.

That the experience boosted the

interest of both in their history studies is

beyond question. It required a degree of

academic rigour in the way that finds are

recorded, and I could see for myself how

much they enjoyed chatting with and

working alongside their fellow diggers,

a very mixed bunch of professional

archaeologists and volunteers of all ages.

In this case the suggestion to give

it a go was mine, but the enthusiasm

was all theirs. Don’t be afraid to

point your child in a new direction,

but let them decide how far to take

it – and then see where it leads.

David Long, a historian and writer, is the

author of non-fiction books for both adults

and children, most recently The Diary of a

Time Traveller which has been translated

into Spanish, Italian, and Korean.


Save The Last Dance For Me

Mon 4 – Sat 9 July

Curtis Stigers

Wed 20 July

Hairy Maclary and Friends

Thu 28 July


An Audience with Lesley Garrett

Wed 21 Sep

Ministry of Science

Sat 8 Oct

Book online at:

Box Office:

Follow us:

01892 530613/532072

The Mousetrap

Mon 7 – Sat 12 Nov


AssemblyHallTheatreED03.indd 1 29/04/2016 16:57





Monday 25 to Friday 29 July 2016

For young people aged 8 . 12 years

Pre-booking essential - call 01243 811459 or

email to book.

OpenAirMuseumED03.indd 1 19/05/2016 10:13

Bespoke design and build treehouses,

playhouses and elevated platforms

Relationship at

breaking point?

The breakdown of any relationship can be very

distressing. Whitehead Monckton family lawyers

can help you through this stressful and painful time.

We offer sensitive, constructive and cost effective legal

advice. All our lawyers are experienced members

of Resolution, committed to a non-confrontational

approach to resolving family problems.

An initial fixed cost meeting for just £100 (inc VAT)

with one of our lawyers can help you see your

way forward and understand your legal position

and options.

Our town centre offices in Canterbury, Maidstone

and Tenterden are conveniently located to so please

call to set up your initial discussion:

Emma Palmer on Canterbury 01227 643266

Dawn Harrison on Maidstone 01622 698051

Daniel Bennett on Tenterden 01580 767540

TEL: 01403 732452

Whitehead Monckton Limited (no. 08366029), registered in

England & Wales. Registered office 72 King Street, Maidstone, Kent,

ME14 1BL. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation

Authority under no. 608279.

WT 1/16


CheekyMonkeyWT169.indd 1 17/02/2016 WhiteheadMoncktonWT167.indd 15:21

1 01/12/2015 12:37


25 acres


9 hole golf course


is the

wow factor.

- Good Schools Guide

Outstanding achievement in a

supremely happy environment

Cranmore School

Independent Preparatory School

for girls and boys 2 ½ - 13

Lorenden Preparatory School

Painter’s Forstal, Faversham, Kent ME13 0EN

A co-educational school for 3—11 year olds.

For a prospectus please telephone 01795 590030 email:

Registered Charity Number: 1048805

We are delighted to

announce that Cranmore is

extending its provision for

girls by introducing full

co-education in stages.

West Horsley, Surrey KT24 6AT

01483 280340

LorendenPrepED03.indd 1 12/05/2016 15:38

CranmorePrepED03.indd 1 12/05/2016 12:20


The teachers at Bethany are great and the sports

facilities are amazing. Sport is very important to me – I

have been selected for the Kent Athletics squad and

Bethany supports me in that. I also really enjoy Drama

and love being involved in the School productions.

Libby Donegan, Year 10. Bethany pupil since 2014. Sport and Drama Scholar. ”

for life

At Bethany we inspire, encourage

and challenge our pupils to achieve more

than they ever thought possible.

Open Mornings:

Saturday 24th September and

Wednesday 5th October

Come and see what Bethany can do for your child.

Entrance Assessments for 2017:

Year 7 on Saturday 5th November


01580 211273 or

Goudhurst, Kent TN17 1LB


and bursaries


Co-educational day and boarding school for ages 11-18


BethanySchoolED03.indd 1 29/04/2016 16:47

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Pupils at Belmont Academy near Thurrock have formed a new Cub Scout pack, with the help of local Scouts manager Graham Monk, and a team of volunteers Credit:The Scout Association

Out, about, Scouting for fun

We talk to the Scout Association about the benefits of being involved in this historic organisation

In 2011, a survey of 2,500 people

revealed that 91 per cent of

volunteers and 88 per cent of youth

members stated that Scouting had

helped them develop key skills including

social, team-working and leadership

skills; and that six-out-of-ten employers

said, “Scouts showed respect for others,

which was important when working

with peers, customers and clients.”

Earlier last year, a report from the

UK think-tank Demos demonstrated

that non-formal education activities

like art and drama, volunteering

and social action, outdoor activities,

and debates are an important way of

delivering character education, and

are thus essential for young people in

developing key skills to succeed in life.

The research team, who conducted

fieldwork and surveyed about 4,000

people across the UK, outlined that

Scouting has a positive impact on young

people’s attitudes towards school and

that they have increased confidence

in their character traits compared to

those not in Scouting. For instance,

75 per cent of Scouts strongly agreed

that when a problem comes along they

enjoy finding a way to fix it, compared

to 42 per cent of non-Scouts; 49 per

cent of Scouts felt highly confident

talking in front of large groups of

people, compared to 28 per cent of

non-Scouts; and 25 per cent of young

people not in Scouting said that most of

the time they don’t want to go to school,

compared to only 13 per cent of Scouts.

The report acknowledges important

inequalities in term of access to nonformal

education activities, with people

eligible for free school meals being less

likely to report participating in those

in every context, whilst saying they

want more. In terms of activities within

school, only half or less think that they

are provided with enough opportunities

for outdoor activities (51 per cent),

volunteering and social action

(41 per cent) and uniformed activities

(21 per cent). This is even starker

for young people from state schools

compared to fee-paying schools: for

instance, 82 per cent of fee-paying

secondary school students felt their

establishment provides enough

opportunities for outdoors activities,

compared to only 49 per cent of

state secondary school students.

Nigel Taylor from the Scout

Association says: “In 2015 the

Department for Education launched

a £3.5 million Character grant fund

to support schools, colleges and third

sector organisations in the development

of character education programmes. In

addition to character education being

firmly placed on the Government’s

agenda, the project is in line with our

Scouting for All vision to promote

growth and inclusivity. We are delighted

to be working with the Department

for Education on a project that

recognises the valuable role of nonformal

learning and the expertise that

we hold in this area. There is strong

evidence that non-formal education

can help young people to build

character. However, equality of access

to non-formal learning opportunities

varies greatly, particularly within low

participation neighbourhoods. At The

Scout Association we wanted to offer

young people more access to these

opportunities whilst at school, allowing

a larger number of young people to

enjoy the benefits of Scouting.”

A spokesperson from the

Department for Education says: “The

Department for Education commends

the work of the Scout Association

which supports the development of

character and resilience in young

people. That is why we are funding

them to work in schools around the

country – such as Belmont Castle

Academy – so that even more young

people benefit from the work they do.”

Today about half a million

young people across the UK get

the opportunity to shape their

character, learn new skills and have

fun whilst making friends and

enjoying everyday adventures.

Credit: Dulwich Prep


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Opening up a whole, other world

John Graham-Hart on why learning a foreign language is not only relevant, but immensely rewarding too

Credit: FreeImages.Com/Alex Ling

“ Into the face of the young man

who sat on the terrace of the Hotel

Magnifique at Cannes there had

crept a look of furtive shame,” once

wrote P.G. Wodehouse, “the shifty

hangdog look which announces that an

Englishman is about to speak French.”

There’s no doubt about it, but we

are not a nation of linguists. Perhaps it’s

our natural reserve but more likely it is

the fact that through conquest, trade

and technology we have spread English

throughout the world and can now

make ourselves understood from Alaska

to Tonga, Greenland to New Guinea.

Around 90 per cent of all Europeans

learn it as their second language. Today,

1.5 billion people around the globe

Credit: FreeImages.Com/Marcus Jump

have a good command of English.

Is it then any wonder that our

children turn to us, as mine have done

to me, and asked us why on earth,

with all the other demands on their

academic time, should they learn to

master a foreign language? Bluster as I

may, my boys know full well that I have

been travelling around the world all my

life, stumbled through more than 100

countries and that the only time I was

truly lost for intelligible words was on a

housing estate in the Gorbals. English,

a smattering of schoolboy French

and childhood Spanish have always

seemed to see me through elsewhere.

But, I can hear you say, it’s always

a pleasure to speak to someone in their

own language. True, but consider for a

moment that there are roughly 6,900

living languages in the world. Europe

alone has 234 languages spoken on

a daily basis. So, even if I spoke my

French and Spanish like a native of

somewhere other than Cranbrook,

I’d only be able to speak to a small

minority of my fellow-Europeans

in their mother tongues. And that’s

before I’d so much as set foot in the

Middle East, Africa and Asia.

So why on earth bother to have

our children learn a language? And if

we are bothering, how do we convince

them it’s worthwhile? One pretty

convincing argument is that it’s not

just about being able to order a crêpe

on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique

without causing an international

incident, it’s about enriching one’s own

life by more deeply understanding

and appreciating the lives of others.

“The ability to speak a foreign

language is academically challenging

as well as opening your eyes to new

cultures and countries,” says Shirley

Westwood, Head of Modern Languages

at Dulwich Prep near Cranbrook.

“At Dulwich we start learning French

from Reception and the emphasis

throughout the school is on speaking

and listening skills – and fun.

“We begin with stories and songs

for the younger children,” she says. “In

Year 6, there is a cultural trip to Paris

for three days. Year 7 enjoy a week in

a French château in Normandy over

the Easter holidays, which includes

activities such as canoeing and fencing.

All the instructors speak French

throughout. This total immersion

approach reaps great rewards – the

children don’t realise they are learning







badges and

even name tag into a keepsake bear

badges and even name tag

T. 01892 860307

into a keepsake bear

T. 01892 860307


Blazer Bear

Blazer Bear














with a

Blazer Bear

Keep your child’s




memories alive with a

Blazer Bear


for boys aged 7 & 8

5 th November 2016

Substantial scholarships are

awarded and choristers benefit

from an all-round excellent

education at St Edmund’s

School Canterbury.

The Master of Choristers,

David Flood, is always

pleased to meet and advise

parents and their sons.

For further details

please telephone

01227 865242


BlazerBearWT166.indd 1 11/11/2015 CanterburyCathedralChoirED03.indd 16:31

1 28/04/2016 12:51


To arrange a visit, please contact Clare Harrison: • 01732 762336

An independent day school for boys and girls aged 2-13



SevenoaksPreparatoryED03.indd 1 29/04/2016 16:15



We offer a limited number of places with up to

100% funding for academically able girls and boys aged 7+ and 11+.

Call 01932 839437 or email

Leading independent co-educational Roman Catholic day schools in

Surrey offering a values-led education for 3 to 18 year olds.

A Registered Educational Charity No.1017853

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

while they are having so much fun.

“A treasure hunt with French

clues and French supper was a recent

evening activity for the boarders.

The children ran a French café at a

recent open morning. Every year,

Théâtre sans Frontières run a workshop

for Upper School children who

join in with the performance.”

There is also a strong department

of language teachers, many for whom

French is their mother tongue. Children

in Years 7 & 8 can also learn Spanish.

In the past there have been trips to

Barcelona, as well as visits to London

to view Spanish art and culture.

Sophie Carnell, Head of Modern

Languages at Saint Ronan’s, near

Hawkhurst, also sees the value of

mastering a language as being well

beyond providing the ability to get

by on holiday. “Surely the focus of

communication is to open up both

speakers’ culture and language,”

she says. “Otherwise it’s merely

a closed-minded monologue.

“At Saint Ronan’s we want children

to be citizens of the world. They need

to understand that people in foreign

countries see things differently. By

examining the ‘other’ way, children can

more easily understand our own peculiar

ways of talking and behaving.” Says

Sophie, “Language is about so much

more than words - if it was just about

words then we probably could get by

with English and Google translate.

“To do this, however, would miss

the joy of transporting a class, for

35 precious minutes a day, to the

banks of the Loire or the harbour of

Marseille, children singing and playing,

acting out parts in a classroom just as

they would in the playground. The

learning is considerable and longlasting

and creates a love of a country

that they might never have visited.

“Languages are keys that unlock

new worlds, they empower and earn

respect,” she says. “Languages are so

much more than a means to business

success or enhanced employment

prospects, they are at the heart of

what real education should be and

they need to be celebrated as such.”

So English may now be the world

lingua franca and one may get by

on most continents but the heart of

the matter is that the ability to order

crêpes with confidence really is largely

irrelevant when it comes to the pros

and cons of learning a language. The

real reason to learn is that it unlocks

another world of which you otherwise

would remain ignorant. No one can

truly understand another culture

unless they understand something

of the language of that culture.

And in a world where understanding

is in woefully short supply, this cannot

but be an excellent thing.

Credit: FreeImages.Com/Johnny Maroun


Co-educational day school for children ages 3–11

A quality education at an affordable price

Open Day 2016:

Thursday 13 October

10am & 2.15pm

“The pupils are extremely well educated, in line with the school’s aims to encourage all to feel success.”

ISI Report 2014

To arrange a personal tour or to attend our Open Day please contact the Registrar:

Telephone: 01892 525837 Email:

16 Frant Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 5SN Website:


MeadSchoolED03.indd 1 19/04/2016 14:26

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

In the frame

Sit back and enjoy our round-up of the

latest and most inspiring artworks from

schools around Kent, Sussex and Surrey

By Marissa Onwuka from Junior King’s Year 6 ceramic cacti

from Dulwich Prep By Kim Brown from Rye Studio By Charlotte

Mitchell from Bede’s Senior School By Jake Vine from Bede’s Senior

School By Harry Wilson from Bede’s Senior School


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

By Daniel Martirossian from Bede’s Senior School By Marissa Onwuka from

Junior King’s By Maria Terenteva from Junior King’s By Moyo Reis from

Junior King’s By James Anderson from Dulwich Prep


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

By Alilna Wiltshire from Bede’s Senior School By Stanley Brown from

Dulwich Prep By James Anderson from Dulwich Prep By Poppy

Papzova from Junior King’s By Isobel Ithell from Rye Studio


Art For Your Future

McAllister Thomas exhibits contemporary works of art

by UK and International artists.

The gallery is dedicated to showing only original

pieces of art from exciting emerging and established


Start your collection today and ensure you buy quality

art works for your future.


117 High Street


Surrey GU7 1AQ

T: +44(0) 1483 860591



The painting featured above is by David Atkins, titled Spring Morning from St Antony’s Head, Cornwall - 90 x 120 cm - Oil on Canvas

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

By Daisy Hosmer-Wright from Rye Studio By Mickaela

Addison from Rye Studio By Jordan Seabrook from Rye

Studio By Mia Eccles-Jones from Rye Studio By Tiger

Hundah from Junior King’s

* Bede’s Senior School -

* Dulwich Prep -

* Junior King’s School-


Advertisement Feature



Steyning Grammar School has become the first,

and as far as we know the only, State Boarding

School in the country to have its boarding provision

judged as ‘Outstanding’ in all four areas under the new

Ofsted Inspection criteria introduced in April 2015.

Ofsted inspect outcomes for boarders, the experience and

progress of children and young people, quality of boarding care

and support and the impact and effectiveness of leaders and

managers. Steyning Grammar School has been identified as

outstanding in all the above categories. This is the highest grade

inspectors can give. Of particular note from the inspectors was

“The inclusive community they have is a model for the world

on how we can live in peace and harmony with each other.”

A delighted Headteacher, Mr Nick Wergan, said: “I am

extremely proud of our Boarding staff and students. For

the third time running we have been officially judged as

Outstanding with no recommendations for improvement.”

Miss Danielle Cook, the Director of Boarding, was particularly

pleased that inspectors recognised that: “The students are at

Steyning Grammar School

Day and Boarding school in West Sussex

the centre and core of everything the staff do which gives a very

strong message to the incredible and individual support the

students receive. Students make exceptional progress; they develop

personal and social skills so they can represent themselves and

the school to a very high standard. The excellent presentation

and behaviour of students are an exemplar for others.”

“Being a part of SGS Boarding is a once in a lifetime

experience! I’ve met so many great people from all over

the world which gives me an opportunity to go travelling

in the future. I have learnt so much about different

cultures and people’s ways of life, but at the same time

I have learnt to become more independent and give a

helping hand, especially to my younger ‘siblings’. My

time here has definitely been short lived and in a couple

of months when it is time to say goodbye, I know the

tears won’t hesitate to fall.” Vivienne Onamusi, Head Girl.

“Ofsted’s assessment of ‘outstanding’ in my

opinion is the manifestation of the personal

aspirations and dynamics of amazing individuals,

who travelled from all over the world to live under

the excellent personal care shown in Steyning’s

quality boarding.” Nathan Chesney, Head Boy.

Mr Robinson, parent writes: “We chose Steyning Grammar School

for our daughter on the basis of gut feel. We thought she would

be happy in a caring environment with a healthy atmosphere of

self confidence. Young people who are happy, supported and given

opportunity can achieve a lot and work out what makes them

tick. I feel we have made a fortunate choice; I want a daughter

with good values and resilience plus good results. Congratulations

on making me feel that we have found the right place.”

Boarding ‘OUTSTANDING’ in every category

Ofsted September 2015

Yr 9 & Yr 12 places available for September 2017













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Boarding is offered on a full and weekly basis for families who

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in a safe, rural environment. There is a real sense of family

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nationalities. A committed team of house-parents live in

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We are currently recruiting students for September 2016.

State boarding schools provide free tuition with modest

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boarding section of our website If you

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Credit: FreeImages.Com/Brian Strevens

Keep calm – there will

be bumps along the way

Sooner or later most children will meet with problems at school.

Education expert Hilary Wilce offers some reassurance

Your child looks a bit pale.

They’ve gone very quiet. They

don’t want to see their usual

friends, have lost their appetite,

and seem reluctant to go to school.

You can’t get much out of them,

but you can sense that something’s

wrong. What should you do?

First of all, don’t panic. Sooner or

later most children hit a problem in

school. After all, school is exactly like

the rest of life – there’s always change

afoot and some bumps along the way.

Running into difficulties is

completely normal, and can even

be helpful to a child’s growth and

development. Of course, they can

be horribly painful at the time, but

they can also bring great benefits

in their wake. Wrestling with

uncomfortable situations and finding

solutions is how we all learn to grow

the inner strength and confidence

we need to lead full, happy lives.

It’s also worth pointing out that a

child who never has a problem might

be very lucky, but also might be a

child who is working overtime to be

good, fit in, keep a low profile and

do exactly what their teachers and

parents expect. And, while such meek

compliance might work well in the

short term and even garner trophies

and prizes, it is not a great quality for

building a good career or developing

strong relationships in adult life.

In fact, most school problems are

small and temporary. They might

involve falling out with a friend, failing

to master long division, or hating this

year’s English teacher. Some problems,

of course, are bigger, and occasionally

they can turn into something that needs

major intervention. Learning difficulties,

entrenched bullying and teenage mental

health issues are all sadly on the rise

and need skilled help and support.

But be very careful not to jump

to conclusions about what a problem

consists of. You might decide that

your son no longer wants to go to

school because he is being bullied on

the school bus. He might not want to

take the bus because it makes him feel

sick when it goes round bends, but

he doesn’t want to admit it because

it’ll make him look like a wimp.

If you sense your child is running

into difficulties, watch, wait and learn.

Try and probe gently and sensitively

what you think might be wrong –

driving in the car together, with no eye

contact, is often a good time for this.


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Of course, if your child is very small,

it’s up to you to resolve the problem and

it makes sense to talk to their teacher as

soon as possible. It may also help to talk

to other parents, but be careful to avoid

confrontation. “Your child’s bullying

mine” will not get you very far. “Our

children seem to be having a problem.

I thought we ought to see what we can

do…” will be much more productive.

If your child is older, take more time.

Make it crystal clear to them that you’re

on their side, that you want them to be

happy and you will do anything that

might help make things better. Don’t

make light of their worries, but show

you understand how painful it must

be for them and how upset they are.

If it’s something to do with friends

or bullying, try and suggest how

they can stand up for themselves,

feel strong inside, resolve conflicts

and minimise social media pressures.

Give them space to make their own

decisions, but offer help when you

can, especially if it’s something specific

and practical. “Everyone’s teasing

me about these horrible glasses!”

Do your utmost to empower

your child to help themselves. That

way they’ll grow stronger and more

confident – and more able to avoid

future problems. But if the problem

persists, go and speak to your child’s

teacher or tutor. However be careful to

avoid outright blame. Collaboration

will always be better, if you can get it.

On the other hand, once a problem has

been aired and shared, stay on the case

to ensure the school does everything

in its power to defuse and resolve

the situation. With nasty, ingrained

bullying, for example, it’s very hard

for parents ever to go it alone.

Learning problems are rather

different. If you feel your child is

struggling, don’t hesitate to talk to the

school about it and about what can be

done. It may be a temporary glitch that

can be resolved with some extra teaching

or tutoring, or it may be the first signs of

a learning difficulty that needs specialist

support. If the problem persists, and the

school is not taking effective action, roll

up your sleeves and insist that they do.

Bigger problems will always need

your full-on involvement. Whatever the

issue, listen to your instincts and don’t

brush your worries under the carpet. If

you think your daughter looks too thin,

don’t tell yourself ‘it’s only because she

does so much sport’ and decide that

everything is fine. Watch, listen and

sensitively probe for more information.

Whatever the problem, though,

try and remain as calm and logical

as possible. More than anything

else, your child needs your loving

(but not suffocating) attention and

support. Gather as much information

as you can. Ask the school for help,

advice and action, and be quietly

and determinedly persistent if

you feel you are not getting it.

Arm yourself with professional

guidance – there are many excellent

websites which offer advice to parents

on issues like bullying, truanting,

drugs and self-harm – and ask yourself

honestly whether there is anything going

on at home that could be contributing

to the problem. If you’ve been piling on

the pressure for good exam results, you

might need to back off. If everyone in

the house is over-worked and overstressed

then that might be something to

think about as well. As a last resort, you

might want to consider whether a move

to another school could be helpful.

But extreme situations are rare,

and schools are getting much more

sophisticated and sympathetic in

dealing with them. Meanwhile,

most other school problems are like

passing showers, disappearing just

as quickly as they appear. And, in all

probability, the only person who has

lost any sleep over them is you!

Hilary Wilce is an education writer,

writing tutor and life coach. Her books

Backbone: developing the character

your child needs to succeed and

The Six Secrets of School Success

are available on Amazon.

Credit: Frewen College



Junior School

Open Morning

Thursday 13th October

10.00am - 12noon

Full Day Care from

3 months to 5 years

Open 51 weeks a year

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Cranbrook Opening June 2015

Rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted

Adjacent to Tonbridge Train Station


Full daycare • 3 months to 5 years • Open 51 weeks per year

Newly For opened more information July 2015 on Child places and Staff vacancies contact:

Email: Mobile: 07462 641 341 or Telephone 01580 713 033 or Telephone 01732 365 188

Dan Goldsmith Photography

“Pupils receive a high quality education”

“Achievement in extra-curricular

activities is excellent”

Independent Schools Inspectorate

“A caring and nurturing school”

The Good Schools Guide

Walthamstow Hall Junior School

Bradbourne Park Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 3LD


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It’s all about

the best years

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We hold 6 open events each year, please visit website for details

Extensive private coach routes all over Surrey and SW London

Notre Dame School, Cobham 01932 869990

A Foundation of the Company of Mary Our Lady

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Children’s nutrition – eating to

improve concentration and energy

The well-known nutritionist, Dr Marilyn Glenville, shares her ten simple tips for providing

your children with optimum nutrition for learning, concentrating and staying healthy...

Unfortunately, the mass of clever

marketing of children’s food has led to

a rise in many children eating a diet

high in sugar and fat, high in refined

carbohydrates and low in fibre and

valuable nutrients to help them grow and

learn at school. We are also seeing a rise

in children who are overweight (not just

due to diet but also inactivity). Because

some of the foods aimed at children

are energy rich and nutrient poor, they

provide a ‘quick’ fix. This gives rise to

wild blood sugar fluctuations which

in turn leads to concentration and

memory lapses, behavioural problems

and weight gain. To maintain healthy

blood sugar levels it is key to eat little

and often, avoid refined carbohydrates

(white bread, rice and pasta) and eat

protein with each meal and snack.

1Never miss breakfast. Breakfast

is ‘breaking the fast’ so vital for

energy in the morning to get

going. Missing breakfast leads

to poor energy, forgetfulness

and poor concentration.


Always use wholegrains – oats,

wholemeal bread, brown

rice. These are converted

into sugar more slowly

than the white varieties.

3 Never let them go longer than

2-3 hours without food – give

them wholesome snacks for

school and something when

they get home from school or

give them an early dinner/tea.


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4Combine protein with every meal –

eggs on wholemeal toast for breakfast

rather than cornflakes/rice cereal.

Wholemeal sarnie with fish or peanut

butter or egg and salad. This keeps

blood sugar stable and helps with

concentration, memory and IQ! Try

to add ground almonds or seeds into

porridge which is really good if they

are fussy as they can be hidden easily.


Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables

to make dinner time fun and to

ensure a good variety of nutrients.


AVOID low calorie/sugar free squashes

because they contain artificial sweeteners.

They actually encourage the need

for more sweet food as the artificial

sweeteners taste much sweeter than

natural maple syrup and ho ney.


AVOID pure fruit juice – always

dilute. Pure juice stimulates a sharp

blood sugar rise which drops as quickly

leaving the child hungry, light headed

and struggling to focus at school.


Try to incorporate nuts and seeds

(if they can tolerate) which contain

healthy brain fats and protein and

essential minerals like zinc which

is needed for immune system and

wound healing. Our brain is 70%

fat hence the need for a lot of good

fats. A supplement can be useful

like the NHP Omega 3 Support if

fussy eaters are not keen on fish.



sugary foods to the

minimum because the less they

have the less they want!

10 fruit yogurts are loaded with

Opt for natural yogurt rather

than fruit yogurts. Even organic

sugar. If the natural yogurt is too

bland, add berries or pure fruit

jam to make your own.

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK’s leading

nutritionist, specialising in women’s health. She

is an inspiring public speaker – easy to listen to

and very practical in her approach. Dr Glenville

is the former President of the Food and Health

Forum at The Royal Society of Medicine

and the award-winning author of twelve

internationally bestselling books including,

‘Fat around the Middle’, ‘Natural Solutions

to the Menopause’ and ‘The Natural Health

Bible for Women’

She runs a number of clinics in Harley Street

London, Tunbridge Wells and Ireland.



S e v e n o a k s K e n t



preparing pupils for their senior schools at 11+ & 13+

Senior School

Open Morning

Saturday 24th September

10.00am - 12.15pm

Every Amesbury pupil is an individual and so

is every Amesbury teacher. Our cause,

our responsibility, is to provide the

spark of curiosity in each individual

child and a culture in which

it can burn brightly.



February, May, October

“Parents in search of an education which will

deliver confident children who see their

futures in terms of unlimited options

rather than curtailed ambitions ....

would be well advised to pay a visit”

(Good Schools’ Guide)

To find out more and to arrange a visit contact

Liz Wright at


Hazel Grove, Hindhead, Surrey, GU26 6BL

01428 604322

“Thriving girls’ day school in Sevenoaks.

Produces quietly confident young women with

a ‘can do’ attitude and an adventurous spirit.

The strong academic results are a

‘happy by-product’ of all this.”

The Good Schools Guide

Book your Open Morning place at

Walthamstow Hall Senior School

Holly Bush Lane, Sevenoaks, TN13 3UL


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Bright as a button

Continual assessment ensures that pupils stay on track and

achieve the stretching targets set for them. Our small class

sizes allow them to cotton on quickly to what is expected.

Places available for Year 3 entry in 2018

For details of school Open Mornings contact Nick Tappin on

01883 733841 or visit

Hazelwood School, Wolfs Hill, Oxted RH8 0QU

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Creatures great – and in school

School farms are a great way for children to learn about farming and animal husbandry

as well as offering the perfect place to de-stress and unwind outside the classroom. We visit

three local school farms and meet some of their furry and feathered residents

Lancing College

How long have you had a school

farm? The farm at Lancing College was

established in 1983 (33 years ago) as an

off-shoot of the Science Department.

It ran then, pretty much as it does

today, as an extra-curricular activity

for our pupils, rooted in conservation

and open to all-comers. The most

significant difference in recent years

is its integration with the academic

side of life at the College, providing

opportunities to take subjects such

as Biology, Geography and Business

Studies out of the classroom, offering a

cross-curricular educational experience.

What animals do you have? Our main

stock are pigs and sheep - producing

rare breed pork and lamb from a

flock of over a hundred South and

Hampshire Downs, Jacob, Suffolk

and Shetland sheep. This is supplied

to the school kitchens and is also

marketed locally and within the school

community. We also have poultry,

including geese and turkeys, and

donkeys, alpacas, goats and a small

animal unit with rabbits and ferrets.

What benefit does it bring to

pupils? The farm is an ideal place

for those wanting to study veterinary

science or zoology at university. It

also gives pupils the opportunity to

participate in something completely

different, away from the school

curriculum. The College hosts visits

from other schools, takes part in

Open Farm Sunday and offers work

placements to agricultural colleges.

Which animal do the children like

the most? Our pigs are always very

popular, especially the breeding sows.

Lancing College, Lancing, West Sussex

BN15 0RW. 01273 452213.


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Kent College

How long have you had a school

farm? The School Farm has been

in existence since 1953 so is an

established and important part of the


What animals do you have? The

Farm has Sussex, Aberdeen Angus

cattle as well as a Friesian suckler herd.

Then there are the sheep and pigs: a

flock of 45 pure bred Texel and crossbred

ewes and our free range sows and

a boar. The children adore the piglets.

We are home to various poultry,

from Buff and Black Orpington

chickens, to friendly little bantams

and different breeds of ducks. Smaller

animals and pets include rabbits and

guinea pigs. The equine centrre is

home to five ponies and one horse

and we offer riding lessons at all

levels. We are soon hoping to add

five alpacas to our menagerie.

What benefit does it bring to pupils?

Pupils have the opportunity to see

all facets of the life cycle of several

species of animal to complement what

is learnt in the classroom. There is

the chance to be involved in animal

management and care activities

which may prove invaluable in future

careers. Almost as importantly, the

farm environment provides a place

where often the pressures of the

academic day can be put to one side.

Which animal do the children like

the most? It varies, but the guinea

pigs are always a good starter.

Kent College Canterbury,

Whitstable Rd, Canterbury CT2 9DT.

01227 762436.


Kent College is a

Great Place to Learn

• Idyllic surroundings

• An adventurous curriculum

• The adventure starts at 3

Call Today 01227 762 436

Find out more at


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01342 832407







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Achievement and confidence for all

Greenacre School is a successful school that challenges, develops and

nurtures each individual girl to be the very best she can be. Our uniquely

supportive atmosphere and small class sizes enable us to work closely with

every girl so that they all have the opportunity to develop and grow with

confidence. Please contact Admissions to arrange a visit to the school.

Greenacre School, Sutton Lane, Banstead, Surrey SM7 3RA 01737 363601

Sacred Heart School and Nursery

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Excellent in all areas:

ISI Inspection

Independent Catholic

primary school and nursery.

Welcomes boys and girls

from ages 3 to 11.

T 01892 783414 E Wadhurst, East Sussex, TN5 6DQ


SacredHeartSchoolED03.indd 1 20/05/2016 09:46

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Hadlow College

How long has Hadlow

had a school farm?

Hadlow began running the Princess

Christian Farm site over seven years

ago, in partnership with Kent County

Council, who own the land.

What animals or crops do you have?

Our farm animals include pigs and

piglets, sheep and lambs and calves.

There are also over 1,000 hens, whose

eggs are collected and graded. There

is also a small Animal Management

Unit, which has rabbits, guinea pigs,

ferrets, hamsters, rats, snakes and lizards.

We also have Rodney the goat and

two Shetland ponies, Josie and Daisy.

Within the glasshouses and polytunnels,

the horticulture department grows

plants, herbs and vegetables for sale

in the Hadlow Farm Shop, alongside

planters and hanging baskets

What benefit does it bring to the pupils?

The farm comprises 115 acres of

pasture and woodland and provides a

unique opportunity for individuals with

learning difficulties and/or disabilities

to develop employability skills within

a land-based setting. It aims to assist

people in developing social skills,

self-esteem, personal responsibility,

confidence, independence and the

ability to work as a team.

We are able to offer a variety of

different learning opportunities

which could include working

towards gaining nationally recognised

qualifications – for example, Land

Based NVQs – and supporting

students to reach their personal

goals and aspirations. Students are

proud of working here and really

enjoy showing the farm off to

visitors – it’s a great way for them to

engage with the local community.

Which animals do the

students like the most?

Lambs are a definite favourite, but

it really varies. Some students really

enjoy mucking out and looking

after the pigs, while others love the

chickens and collecting their eggs.

Hadlow College, Hadlow,

Tonbridge, Kent TN11 0AL

01732 850551.


Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

An age-old approach to

getting the career you want


Apprenticeship schemes are no longer seen as a second choice, or inferior to a university education, and are a

fantastic alternative option, says the employment expert Angela Middleton

What are the principles behind apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships in England date back to the Middle

Ages and the principles behind them remain the same

today, that is, the tradition of the master craftsman

passing down their skills to a young unskilled junior. It is

important to note that apprenticeships have never been

seen as a quick fix and they should have longevity.

The apprentice should continue to move from one level

to the next as they progress with their training and develop

their experience and skill-sets. Traditional apprenticeships

used to be 5-7 years, and this remains the same with the

current categories of 2-7 years. During this time, it is

possible for a young, unskilled apprentice to become the

equivalent of a graduate by the end of an apprenticeship.

The potential to learn is central to an apprenticeship,

as is the ability for an apprentice to develop, taking strides

in their personal and career progression. For young people

who have little-to-no work experience, an apprenticeship

means that the apprentice will gradually build on their

skills, in the form of stepping stones, until one day they

too are accomplished within their chosen field.

Offering apprenticeships is a fantastic means of

building a business and ensuring that innovative, fresh

ideas are put back into a company culture that may be

antiquated. In turn, the apprentice benefits due to the

apprenticeship giving them the ability to start from the

beginning and build a career, in the direction they choose.

What kind of young people are attracted to apprenticeships?

In the early days, we found that most candidates tended to have

a non-academic background and opted for an apprenticeship

because of this. This has changed quite dramatically in recent

years and increasing numbers of apprentices who work

with us are more than capable of completing A levels and a

degree but choose an apprenticeship as their first option.

Although, historically, there has been the assumption

that an apprenticeship is a second option, we are finding

that the balance is getting better. Personally, I’m looking

forward to the day where this is equal, and apprenticeships

are positioned as viable and ambitious first options.

Are there apprenticeships across many professions?

The variety and extensive range of apprenticeships is

something that people often find surprising. Traditional

apprenticeships were often ‘skilled craft’ roles such as carpentry,

but today they span a variety of sectors, with examples of

health and social care, marketing, maritime occupations,

graphic design and production to name just a few.

Who benefits from an apprenticeship? (i.e. employee and

employer?) When an apprenticeship works properly, both

the employer and the employee benefit equally. From the

perspective of the apprentice, they are rewarded with the

experience that they need in order to embark on their

career. The employability skills and training that are gained


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both contribute to career development. I firmly believe that

there is little point in doing the same thing every day for a

year, as you won’t have the opportunity to take the next step

and an apprenticeship is often very varied, which is fantastic.

When an employer commits to an apprentice and takes

the time to work with the training provider to work out a

bespoke training plan, the benefits are tremendous. Due

to the rate with which an apprentice learns, and because

of the nature of their entry level employment, we’ve seen

huge differences in candidates in a matter of weeks.

From a financial perspective, apprenticeships are

cost-effective for employers due to the initial low wage.

Although this has received criticism from those who are

perhaps uninformed as to the nature of apprenticeships,

if you consider that those young people studying for

A-levels do not get paid, this serves to explain the lowertiered

wages for younger, ill-experienced apprentices.

Both parties can benefit hugely from apprenticeships, and

our extensive business roster certainly enforces this. We have

loyal businesses who continue to take apprentices from us

year in year out, and have witnessed countless success stories.

Angela Middleton, is CEO and founder of award-winning

recruitment and training provider MiddletonMurray.

Established in 2002, MiddletonMurray has now grown into a

group of companies with branches in Central London.

Case Study: Wealden Times

Phoebe Gilbert:

Design Assistant

What were you doing before

your apprenticeship?

I was a student at Cornwallis Academy

and had just finished two A-levels and

one AS. I was just about to begin my

third year of sixth form when I decided,

the night before the school year began,

that sixth form wasn’t for me any more.

What led you to look for

an apprenticeship?

The reason I started to look for an

apprenticeship was because I realised that

I was ready for a full-time job, to become

independent and make that next grownup

step in my life. I then decided that

an apprenticeship was the perfect way to

learn more and get an income at the same

time as I have always known university

was not the path I wanted to take.

How did you find out about the

Wealden Times apprenticeship?

I started my research and found the

website GOV.UK and that is when

I stumbled upon the apprenticeship

at Wealden Times. It seemed perfect

for me, so I applied straight away,

eager to hear back promptly. I then

went to a few interviews and got

offered the job. The rest is history.

What have you learnt and experienced?

In the last year and half at Wealden

Times I have probably learnt more than I

thought my brain capable of! Jokes aside,

to sum it up I have learnt a huge amount.

My colleagues (Anthony & Rob) have

been very patient and taught me an

immense number of skills and shared lots

of their knowledge. The job has helped

me thrive and discover my full potential.

In all honesty, choosing to do an

apprenticeship was the best thing I could

have done because I absolutely love my

job and could not thank the team more.

Megan Longworth:

e-Commerce Assistant

Where I was?

After studying Beauty Therapy for two

years at Mid Kent College I came to

realise that this was not an industry

I wanted to pursue a career in. I was

working in retail at the time and,

although I was improving my customer

service skills, I knew I wanted to

start learning something different.

Was it a good idea?

Yes, I would recommend doing an

apprenticeship to anyone. It is the

perfect way to start off your career,

especially when you are unsure of

what route you would like to follow.

It is also the perfect way to earn and

learn on the job, gaining a variety of

skills that may help you in the future.

How I found out?

An opportunity arose to become an

e-Commerce assistant within a local

publishing and events company. I was

fortunate enough to find out about

the apprenticeship through a friend

who had also just started one. After

leaving my job in retail and leaving

college I was unsure what it was I

wanted to do. I had never heard of

an e-Commerce assistant before, so

I thought this would be the perfect

time to gain more experience.

What have I learnt?

During my apprenticeship I had the

chance to learn all aspects of an

e-Commerce platform while

working within an office environment,

teamwork, customer service, time

management and organisation are just a

few of the skills I have learnt to perfect,

which I believe have helped me to fulfil

my potential and secure a full-time job.





Foundation Diploma


A Level


Case Study: Training apprentices

at Thermofisher Scientific

Brian Cursons: Toolmaker/Precision Engineer

For how many years have you worked alongside

apprentices? I have trained three apprentices and

worked alongside them for around 25 years.

Do apprenticeships work? I did an apprenticeship

myself, which was five years with a college, on a dayrelease

basis, with four days hands-on involvement

in the tool room with a qualified tool-maker. It was

invaluable experience as I not only learnt the trade but

also how to interact with others on a professional level.

What do apprentices in your company go on to do?

Our apprentices have the choice to either stay

with the company or take their new skill set and

qualifications to another company and explore

different avenues within the industry.

Is it satisfying helping young people to develop a career?

I found it really satisfying training these guys and opening

up opportunities for them. One of my apprentices emigrated

to Australia and now owns his own tool-making company.

It was my input with him that set him on his way, which

gives me a sense of pride in a job well done. Apprenticeships

teach you practical hands-on skills which you can draw on

in all aspects of life, not just academic qualifications gained

in the sheltered protected environment of a college campus.


Art History




Creative Media

Fashion and Clothing

Performing Arts: Dance, Drama, Music

Production Arts

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

Theatrical Hair and Makeup

English Language and Literature








i n A L L a r e a s

Open Evening:

19th October 2016 5-8pm




For the Creative Industries


Industry specific work

placementsand internships

Arts Awards

Visit Local and National galleries

Participate and perform at

Theatres, Operas and Concerts

Organise and style Fashion

shows and photo shoots

Experience cultural trips to

France, Denmark,

Amsterdam, Florence

and New York

Collaborate and host

Gigs, Pop up Shops

and Festivals

Graduate Private View &

Fashion Show:

24th June 2016, 6-9.30pm

The Grove, Rye

East Sussex TN31 7NQ

01797 228434


RyeStudioSchoolED03.indd 1 05/05/2016 09:53

Sponsored by

Tunbridge Wells

Build Your Child’s Inner Strength

Today’s children have been born into a world of competitive schooling and pervasive social media

and are feeling the pressure like no children have ever felt it before, says Hilary Wilce

Top public schools have recently

announced they are taking

measures to counteract the

rising tide of depression, self-harm

and eating disorders they see among

pupils and that these include parenting

classes and family counselling to tackle

the problem of ‘pushy parents’.

But, while some parents do pile

on unreasonable pressure, others

are the most wonderful source of

strength and inspiration for their

children. What do these parents do?

In my book I identify the six

fundamental character strengths that will

help any child live a strong, happy and

healthy life and look at the key actions

that parents can take to build these.


A good backbone can only grow out

of love, calm and security. This loving

security is priceless in the earliest years,

and vital all through childhood. Let

your child feel and know that you love

them, that you see them for who they

are, and are interested in their life. Let

them know that your love is consistent

and dependable – not dependent on

how they look, achieve or behave –– and

that the limits and boundaries you set

for them are set out of love in order to

keep them safe and help them to grow.

Make sure they feel secure in this love

even when you are physically absent, or

are a parent living in a different home.

And help them see how this love can

ripple outwards towards pets, siblings,

family and friends. Help them learn to

love the world they live in by teaching

them to take pleasure in others, develop

compassion for people less fortunate,

enjoy the arts and creativity, and grow

a sense of wonder and delight in the

natural world. And help them learn how

to be always grateful for what they have.


Keep a clear sense of where you are going

as a parent and be honest to yourself

about your actions and intentions.

When you strap your toddler into the

buggy to walk round the corner, is it

for their safety or your convenience? Is

how you are speaking to them going

to make them feel loved and respected,

and help them grow up balanced and

strong? Hold in mind the long-term

goal – a firm, flexible backbone ––

and think about the messages you are

conveying with all your words, deeds

and gestures. Be mindful of how a good

character is built of good habits, and help

your child develop a good disposition

of mind through games, goals,

projections, planning and evaluation.

As they grow, teach them techniques

to help them run their own minds.


Promote play –– it is the main way

children grow physical, emotional and

mental skills. Encourage playing in every

way possible –– online, with puzzles

and board games, through make-believe,

singing, rhyming, running, laughing,

playing sports, word games, acting,

dancing, being bored, playing family

games and exploring. Provide different

spaces to play in, and opportunities to

play alone and with others. Encourage

playing and exploring outside at every

opportunity. Make sure there is always

time for play by limiting screen time

and structured activities. Hold firmly

in mind that trips to the shops, or

out for pizza or a hamburger, are not

play for your child, and that they offer

none of the advantages of active play.

Neither are long car journeys, watching

movies, or visiting adult friends. Play

is active, participatory, and fun.


Keep a balance. Be an authoritative

parent, who knows how to provide both

love and boundaries. Be thoughtful

and wise, but accept you don’t know

all the answers. Expect high standards,

but keep the pressure off so your child

can grow and learn without fear. Help

your child make friends, and also be

happy in their own company. Balance

courage with kindness, resilience with

honesty. Remember that being a parent

throws up dilemmas on a daily basis,

and aiming for a grounded balance

will always help keep things on track.

And that’s it. Helping your child to

grow a strong and flexible backbone will

always be a long, slow, hidden journey,

but I can absolutely promise you that by

holding the goal in mind and navigating

steadily towards it you are certain to

get there in the end. And the prize will

be truly priceless. You will have helped

grow a wonderful human being, able to

achieve their greatest potential, enjoy

fulfilling relationships and simply be

happy to be alive. And no achievement

will ever be greater than that.

Backbone: How to Build the Character

Your Child Needs To Succeed by Hilary

Wilce is available as a Kindle edition

on for £2.99



Lower Sixth


The quality of boarding

provision and care is excellent.

ISI Inspection Report, May 2015

Flexible boarding options

You Boarding are warmly at invited St Andrew’s to our Prep will empower your child To register in a safe, please happy contact: and

fun, family environment. Come and see the smiles and

hear the laughter.

“The quality of boarding provision T 01323 and 843252 care

St Andrew’s Prep is a co-educational prep school or for online boys at and girls

is excellent.” ISI Inspection Report. May 2015

from nine months to 13 years.

Senior School Open Morning

Saturday 17 September 2016

9.30am to noon (Entry at 13 and 16)

Bede’s Senior School

HMC – Day, weekly and full boarding

Call us on 01323 733203 or email or email

Upper Dicker

Boys and girls 13 to 18

East Sussex BN27 3QH

Saint Ronan’s School

Hawkhurst, Kent • Founded 1883 •

Boys & Girls from 3-13 • Day & Boarding • 249 acres

Over 70 scholarships won in three years



a How well the Early Years Provision meets the needs of the children who attend

b The contribution of the Early Years Provision to the chidrens’ wellbeing



c The leadership & management of the Early Years Provision EXCELLENT

d The overall standards of the Early Years Provision



a The quality of pupils’ achievements & learning

b The contribution of the curricular and extra-curricular provision



c The contribution of teaching EXCELLENT


a The spritual, moral, social and cultural development of the pupils

b The contribution of the arrangements for pastoral care



c The contribution of the arrangements for welfare, health & safety EXCELLENT

d The quality of boarding



a The quality of governance


b The quality of leadership & management, including links with parents, carers & guardians EXCELLENT

“This prep is a lively, eccentric place:

pupils breed pigs... Brilliant! There is a

rigorous side too”

“If Enid Blyton was still around, Saint

Ronan’s would be exactly the sort of

school she would be writing about.”

Tatler Schools Guide 2016 The Good Schools Guide 2015

Discover the magic! Email

or call 01580 752271 to book an appointment.

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