innovatED - issue 1


innovatED - The Magazine of the Independent Schools Portal. All the latest education news, research, analysis, ideas and comment.

I s s u e 1 | A u t u m n T e r m 2 0 1 7

Embracing outdoor learning

Applying to & studying at Universities in the USA

Helping children deal with loss

Avoiding gender stereotypes in sport

Magazine of the Independent Schools



Live streaming: The dangers of self-broadcasting

Senior Leadership in Education:

Debunking the Gender Myths

The Learning Platform for Independent

& International Schools

Curriculum Bespoke






Parent Parental Portal in

100 Engagement languages

"Learning Ladders does everything right."

"It puts control of learning in the hands of

children, cuts teacher and SLT workload,

easily enables teaching to become bespoke,

and has the ability to manipulate almost

every aspect to fit your school"

Matthew Woodhead, Deputy Head,

Brighton College

Best Product to aid Teaching & Learning

2017, 2016, 2015

International BETT Awards shortlist

"The Curriculum and Assessment systems

are outstanding"

KHDA Inspection report



Why not take a moment to see it in action?

Just email

or call +44 20 3637 0500


it be a good idea if...

Wouldn't a line that many teachers will recognise as

the starting point of great teaching and

learning. It's statement of a willingness to do

something different, to plot a learning journey

that takes children in unexpected directions.

It's an expression of a desire to enthuse and to

inspire, to place enjoyment at the front and

centre of learning.

I've been fortunate in my teaching career that

I've learned from some exceptional teachers

who have been unafraid to take risks in order

to make learning transformative: Ian Maude,

now at Redhouse; Tina Lockerbie and Anna

Cundall at Teesside High; Gemma Zincke and

Arron Marshall at Fulneck - All teachers that

I've greatly admired and wished I had just a

fraction of their ability. One of the things that

they all have in common, though, is that they

frequently begin sentences with 'Wouldn't it

be a good idea if...'

This magazine has grown out of the

of the fabulous blog content that has been

created by passionate educators on the

Independent Schools Portal. The Portal, in

essence, if you are not aware of it, is a

collaborative platform for teachers and schools

to share these great ideas. In fact, both the

Portal and this magazine began life with the

sentence, 'Wouldn't it be a great idea if...'

Unusually for an education magazine, we

employ no journalists; we are a merry band of

parents and educators who still spend time at

the chalk-face, and who believe that great

learning begins with great ideas that need to be

shared. We want to bring together best practice

from colleagues in the maintained,

independent and international sectors. I hope

you enjoy this first edition of a new kind of

educational magazine and if you want to get

involved, get in touch.

David Winfield

innovatED editor & founder of the

Independent Schools Portal


innovatED magazine



David Winfield


Mike Abraham

Adele Bannister

Paul Brewer

Karen Burns

Peter Carpenter

Ann Marie Christian

Nicola Clifford

Andy Falconer

Rebecca Foster

Dave Harris

Phil Garner

Mike Hargreaves

Tom Packer

Matt Roper

Claire Stead


Karen Burns

+44 0800 978 8084



+44 0800 978 8137



Blogs can be submitted by educators for

publication on the Independent Schools

Portal and weekly newsletter at any


The print deadline for articles for the

January edition of innovatED is the 1st

December, but please get in touch as

soon as possible if you intend to submit

a piece.

All submissions should be emailed to


innovatED Magazine

45, Henry Grove


Leeds. LS28 7FD.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 3












Nicola Clifford

Ann Marie Christian

Andy Falconer

The Secret Parent

Dave Harris

Parents Tour

Mike Abraham

The Last Word



Outdoor Learning

6 evidence-based reasons why schools must

embrace outdoor learning. Mike Hargreaves.

Residential Visit: Farne Islands

Puffins, seals, rock-pools, castles, Vikings and

Northern Saints. An adventure of a lifetime.

16 Helping Children Deal With Loss

How to effectively support children when they

have experienced grief events. Nicola Clifford.


Meet The 'Teacherpreneur'

We meet former teachers who have become

entrepreneurs. Matt Koster-Marcon discusses his

journey and talks assessment and teacher workload.

23 Tired Of The 3D Printer Log-Jam?

Taking advantage of 3D Printer Hubs can reduce

the hassle and cost of creating designs.

24 Dear Ann Marie

Safeguarding expert, Ann Marie Christian, answers

questions from Designated Safeguarding Leads

26 AEGIS Explained

Chief Executive, Yasemin Wigglesworth explains

how AEGIS ensures international students are

properly safeguarded.

30 Creative Safeguarding Resources

Rebecca Foster celebrates the outstanding

contribution in this area of Christina Gabbitas.

32 Coded Conversations & The

Dangers Of Live Streaming

Social media acronyms explained, and the dangers

inherent in social-media broadcasting.



4 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

What Is The Head #Twittering On About?

Andy Falconer, Head of St. Olave's , York, offers advice

about how schools can get the most from Social Media.

University Challenged

David Winfield interrogates UK Government data

to test the arguments underpinning student finance.

40 Studying in the US

Studying at US Universities can be free. Phil Garner

explains the benefits for pupils and schools.

Breaking news, opinion & research

Stay up to date with the latest education

news, views, regulatory changes, research

and resources with the Independent

Schools Portal team

Free, term-time weekly newsletter:

42 A Balanced Approach To Parenting

Karen Burns explores the tough choices parents

must make when supporting their children.

44 Dealing With Difficult Parents



Positive School-Parent relationships are critical for

success. Tom Packer offers some expert advice.

Leadership: Debunking The Gender Myths

David Winfield synthesises the research and offers

practical guidance to school leaders.

Avoiding Gender Stereotypes In Sport

The Secret Parent is vexed by the sporting

segregation that often occurs from Year 3.










Genuine All-Through Learning: The Path To Knowledge

Revisiting our pedagogical approach to Junior and

Senior education is long overdue, argues Dave Harris.

The Parents Tour: Pownall Hall School

Karen Burns discovers a beautiful, thriving,

successful school in leafy Wilmslow, Cheshire.


Medium-size businesses have long punched above

their weight by embracing collaborative competition.

David Winfield argues that school could also benefit.

Purchasing Revolution

Matt Roper offers practical routes for schools to benefit

from Coopetition.

Getting To Know You: The Art Of Recruitment

Former Head and recruitment expert, Mike Abraham,

offers a few pearls of recruiting wisdom.

Slashing Supply Agency Fees

With supply agencies making almost £400m in profit

last year, Peter Carpenter believes it is time for action.

Independent Schools Portal

innovatED publisher, Independent Schools Portal, was

launched in February 2017 by 22 UK Independent

Schools. David Winfield explains why.

The Last Word...

Andy Falconer argues why he believes that the path to

perfection is actually the road to ruin.



Issue 1 | innovatED | | 5

World Education News

United Kingdom

Education continues to move up the

political agenda in the UK, in no small

part as a result of the high student

turnout in the summer General

Election. This led to an unexpected

'hung' parliament with no political

party commanding a majority of MPs

in the House of Commons. Already,

this is leading to a re-think of

University finance and student loans,

with a significant change in

Government policy expected this term.

You can read an in-depth analysis on

Page 36.

Elsewhere, the public-sector pay cap is

being lifted after a decade of wage

restraint and below inflation pay-rises.

This is likely to see a gradual uplifting

of UK teacher pay, although there is

potential for industrial unrest if the

Government doesn't move as quickly

as the teaching unions would like. The

new 'super union' - the National

Education Union, formed through the

merger of the Association of Teachers

and Lecturers and National Union of

Teachers, is already in a combative

mood over the issue.

Teacher workload also remains a

contentious priority area for the

Department for Education and Ofsted,

the schools inspectorate. There has

been increasing criticism of School

Leadership teams for not engaging

with the DfE initiative to improve

teacher work-life balance and

wellbeing, with a perceived reluctance

to roll-back the bureaucracy and

systems that have built up over the last

20 years (and which have formed the

basis of the inspection reports on

which schools have been judged).

Gender imbalance at the top of school

leadership teams is also an ongoing

development area for many schools

that has led to the pressure group

#WomensED continuing to grow in

strength. Only 36% of Senior School

Headteachers are female, despite

making up 62% of teachers. You can

read more about this on Page 48.

School funding - and the complex

formula that is used to ensure fairness

across all schools is set for continued

debate. The discussions are likely to be

complicated by the relentless

development of 'Free' schools, which

with delicious irony, have turned out

to be very expensive indeed.

The big pre-election fights that the

Department for Education were

expecting to win - the re-introduction

of academically selective Grammar

Schools and forcing Independent

Schools and Universities to buddy up

with maintained schools in order to

preserve their charitable (read: tax

saving) status have been quietly

shelved. Although some Grammar

Schools have been creatively

developing 'satellite campuses'.

United States

Secretary of State for Education, Betsy

Devos, is challenging schools to 'rethink

education'. After years of being

stuck in the middle of the PISA

rankings, Devos has savaged the

traditional didactic approach of US

schools and is demanding new ways of

teaching and learning that enthuse

learners. In particular she is calling for

a teacher-led approach that is

personalised and 'learnercentric'.

Dave Harris has written a

powerful article on this very subject on

Page 54.

The Google Chromebook revolution

shows no signs of slowing and now

accounts for 50% of US education

technology device sales. The reason is

price, simplicity, strong management

systems, and the development of

powerful browser-based educational


Much to the chagrin of education

publishers, the US Department of

Education continues to encourage

schools to transition to openly licensed

resources through it's #GoOpen

campaign. The idea is to empower

teachers, keep content up-to-date, and

of course, save money.

Middle East

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, ruler

of Dubai, has launched a free

electronic education programme for

up to 50 million pupils. One of the

highlights of the programme will see

the creation of 5,000 science videos

produced in Arabic and made available

to schools across the Middle East and

North Africa.

Israel continues to be criticised for

preventing the construction of, and for

destroying existing, schools in the

Palestinian West Bank that have been

paid for by the European Union. Israel

has cited a lack of correct permits for

the schools.

Turkey has announced a overhaul of

its education system, including 170

topics in the currently taught

curriculum. Likely to be removed until

University level is evolutionary

biology. Education Minister Ismet

Yilmaz said the new “value-based”

programme would simplify topics in

“harmonization with students’


Egypt raised the cost of attending

school by 14% this academic year,

prompting widespread discontent on

social media. In addition to school fees,

transportation and stationary prices

have also increased - in some cases by

as much as 50%.


The European Commission is

unhappy with the amount of

segregation in some European

countries, notably Greece, with

disabled, Roma, migrant and refugee

children in many cases being denied

access to mainstream schooling. The

problems have been highlighted by a

report by the Council of Europe

Commissioner for Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Germany has been praised

for the way that it has integrated the

children of over 1 million migrants

into it's education system.

Ukraine has just passed a law to ensure

that lessons are taught mainly in

Ukrainian.The law has outraged Russia,

Hungary and Poland who fear the law

will suppress the rights of minority


6 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

World Education News

French Education Minister Jean-

Michel Blanquer is considering

banning mobile phones from all

Primary and Secondary schools to

order to contain a rise in cyberbullying,

despite scepticism from

parents and educators.


President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana

announced that Secondary high-school

education will be free, following the

successful implementation of near

universal free education at Primary


More than 1.5 million West African

children are at risk of going to school

hungry, or being forced out of

eduction completely as a result of the

scaling back of the UN World Food

Programme which currently has a

$76m financial deficit.

Curro, the largest not-for-profit

independent school group in Africa,

with 127 schools in South Africa and

Namibia is spinning off it's tertiary

education arm on the Johannesburg

stock exchange in order to raise



Asian universities continue to climb

the Times Higher Education World

University Rankings, and could soon

challenge the elite institutions of

Europe and North America. There are

now 3 universities in the top 30, with

Singapore at 22, and China's Peking

and Tsinghua universities listed at 27

and 30 respectively.

illegal. Politicians seeking to improve

Indian education are drawing

inspiration from the Finnish model.

Despite high-performance in the PISA

rankings (sat by cherry-picked

students), debate is raging in China

about the high-stakes test culture,

embodied in the 'gaokao' exam, on

which University entrance is solely

based. Much of the discussion focusses

on whether the system develops the

skills necessary to thrive in the 21st

Century world economy. Wealthier

families are increasingly choosing

private international schools which

emphasise more freedom and

creativity for their children, but who

are barred from attending Chinese

universities as a consequence.

South America

Brazil's high-school reforms continue

apace and now require that at least 40%

of school hours be occupied by classes

chosen by students themselves. The

education Ministry is continuing to

work on the 'curriculum-base' which

will form the other 60%, but President

Michel Temer strongly believes that, 'if

children feel their education is

personalised, that helps them choose a

career'. Optional study programs

include drama and robotics.

There have been rising student

protests in Chile about the increasing

costs of university education which

has sent student debt soaring and

restricted access. The issue is

particularly sensitive given that a

number of private education

companies continue to make record

profits and charge sizable fee increases

against a back drop of closing and

merging public institutions.

Students are also on the march in

Paraguay, which has been criticised

internationally in the past for only

spending 3.5% of it's GDP on education.

The students are protesting about

inadequate facilities and poor teacher



GDP spending on Education is also a

hot political topic in Australia, with the

Government spending 3.9% compared

with the OECD average of 4.4%. Rising

class sizes and inequality of access are

seen as symptoms of the funding


Also causing concern is research by the

Australian Bureau of Statistics showing

that male teachers are becoming an

'increasingly endangered species' in

the Australian education system.

Projecting their data forward, the

Bureau raises fears that an 'extinction

event' may take place in primary

schools as early as 2067...

Educators in Japan are developing

protection plans for pupils in the event

of a nuclear missile attack. Schools

have begun conducting drills, with

leaders attempting to put together a

nationally co-ordinated approach.

Education is also very near the top of

the political agenda in India, with

considerable angst expressed that there

are no top-rated Indian universities in

the top 100, the dearth of well-trained

teachers, poor accountability in regard

to pupil progression and concerns

about corporal punishment being

widespread, despite it being officially

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 7

Outdoor Learning

6 Evidence Based Reasons Why

Schools Must Embrace Outdoor


by Mike Hargreaves, Learning and Development Consultant,

The importance of outdoor space

The outdoor spaces that you have at

your disposal, be it small areas of

tarmac or extensive grounds provide

enormous potential as a context and

environment for teaching and


The importance of this cannot be

underestimated when we are

considering learning of what

Andrew Hammond, author of

‘Teaching for Character’ has termed

the ‘hidden curriculum’. This being

the development in children of

character traits such as curiosity,

resilience, motivation, empathy,

independence, potential etc.

These traits, although hidden, are

vital and have a direct impact on

outcomes in not only the more

visible school curriculum, but

underpin success later in life such

as in marriage and friendships. In

our experience they are rarely

adequately addressed, nurtured,

actively developed and evidenced.

School Outdoor Learning's (SOuL)

ethos and approach to teaching and

learning is based on a number of

educational ‘presuppositions’ that

are met when teaching outdoors

and lend themselves ideally to

developing the above skills in


Robust empirical evidence over the

last decade supports these and

challenges the conventional view of

the learning environment, the role

of the teacher and learner. The

outdoor environment as a context

for learning provides the setting for

each of the following:

School Outdoor Learning

8 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

1. Movement boosts brain power.

Neuroscientist John Medina sites in

his book ‘Brain Rules’ ‘survival of

the fittest’ means just that! “All

Paleoanthropologists agree, we

moved…a lot!” The average being

around 20km per day for men and

half of that for women. The

implications are that our brains

developed whilst we were moving

and using our body plays a

significant role in fully activating

our learning potential. The seated

classroom, being a relatively recent

innovation, does not ideally support

our need to move while we think. In

fact we need to disenthrall ourselves

from the historic preconception that

a classroom in a school building is

the only place where learning can

happen an we must be still in order

to do it.

2. Human talent is diverse.

Educationalist Ken Robinson states

“the success of human communities

is based on a diversity of talent

rather than a singular definition of


Education must endeavor to connect

people with their talents by

providing a multitude of

circumstances to enable children to

find them. Referred to as the theory

of ‘multiple intelligences’ we need

to divert from the commonly held

notion that intelligence is a single,

general capacity that can be

measured through exams or IQ

tests. Over emphasis on this type of

intelligence will fail to capture the

unique talents, traits and

incalculable potential in our pupils.

3. Multi sensory learning is more


All of our five senses evolved to

work in unison and the more

elaborately we encode experiences

during their initial moments, the

stronger the memory of it will be.

This has huge implications for

teaching and learning which

educators have been aware of since

the earliest teaching guides

(Montessori 1912). Think of a time

when you were outside at school (if

ever), what we’re you learning about?

The chances are the sensory rich

environment with which you found

yourself in then have had a direct

impact of your ability to remember.

Our outdoor settings enable us to

engage with our head, heart and

hands simultaneously and holds

huge potential for learning and


4. Stressed brains don’t learn as well

as non-stressed brains.

82% of primary school leaders

reported an increase in mental

health issues in primary school

children around exam time

according to a 2017 study by The

Key, a national school support

service. The stress response makes

learning difficult, fact yet the simple

act of going outside has been shown

by a vast body of research to

significantly reduce stress levels in

children and adults. The recent ‘Dirt

is Good Campaign’ demonstrated

the average US child spends less

time outside than the average high

security prison inmate, around 75

minutes per day. Coupled with the

perception that playing outside is

too dangerous for children and the

explosion of indoor digital

entertainment points towards

massive public health implications.

Contrast this with the Finnish

school system that encourages 15

minutes of outside time for every

45 minutes of formal teaching and

tops the PISA global education

rankings rankings. Could there be a


5. Learning through experience has

powerful implications. We are

powerful and natural explorers, we

learn not by passive reaction to the

environment but by engaging with

it through active testing,

observation, hypothesis,

experiment and conclusion. Our

intrinsic motivation to learn and

explore is a far more powerful

motivator than extrinsic rewards or

sanctions and if we are able to work

with this instinct in young people

rather than against it then we can

enable tremendous potential. Any

carefully constructed lesson will

contain all of the elements listed

above, including opportunities to

reflect on what went wrong, how to

overcome it and learning about self

and others. Not only this but

learning can be undertaken

independently. The space provided

by participating in activities outside

expands our classroom size

exponential and provides vast

learning potential.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 9

Outdoor Learning

6. A growth mindset is an essential feature of good teaching

and learning.

Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University,

has clearly demonstrated the importance that a growth

mindset plays not only in success at school but life and work


We at SOuL see this body of evidence filtering down into

most schools we come into contact with now. Much of

education however is focused on fixed testing and

measurement and also implicitly values ‘getting things right’.

This can dis-incentivise a process of do, reflect, apply - and

learning through trial and error. That’s where lessons outside

can play a big role. The nature of a curriculum-based activity

outside often provides scope for doing by trial and error

giving real life and tangible examples of mindsets in action.

School Outdoor Learning are UK leaders in outdoor

learning & character education. We support schools in

delivering innovative and inspiring pedagogy using their

outdoor spaces through our consultancy, training,

resources, and creative learning installations.

To find out more, call us on 0844 2488 985 or email

The Outdoor Learning Conferences

Take Your Teaching & Learning Outdoors

Promotional Ticket Price: £75 (with code)

5th October 2017, The Grammar School at Leeds.

19th October, Hall Grove School, Bagshot, Surrey.

As a special offer celebrating the first issue of innovatED, we’re offering

£20 off per ticket if you use the voucher code INNOV2017.


The UK’s Only Outdoor Learning Events for Schools

10 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Issue 1 | p.???

Autumn 2017

Planning a residential field visit:

Northumberland & Farne Islands

By The Secret Teacher

An adventure to the Farne Islands offers some unparalleled and unforgettable learning opportunities and will create

memories that the children will treasure for the rest of their lives. Northumberland remains something of an 'undiscovered gem' -

quiet, breathtakingly beautiful and there is so much to see and do - including the opportunity to get up close to seals, puffins and

an enormous array of sea-birds in their natural environment. The learning opportunities are almost limitless: Science, Geography,

History and Religious Studies to name a few.

Our learning objectives for this visit were to embed and

bring to life the learning that had been taking place in the

classroom including:

The Northern Saints

Anglo-Saxon England and early cradles of Christianity

The Anglo-Scottish border wars

Food chains in inter-tidal zones

Coastal Erosion

The trip that we organised lasted for 4 nights and 5 days

and the cost to each pupil was £250.


We stayed at the Youth Hostel in Berwick upon Tweed,

which is about 10 miles (about 25 minutes) to the north of

Lindisfarne. There is lots to do in Berwick: it has several

parks, good amenities and the walk around the ramparts is


Berwick also has strong

links with LS Lowry (he

used to holiday there and

produced a number of

paintings of the town) and

there is a popular gallery

that is part of the hostel


The hostel cost just over

£29 per night per person

(inc. VAT) and this

The Farne Islands are located just off the stunning

Northumbria coastline, approximately 40 miles north of

Newcastle and 10 miles south of the England-Scotland border.

Map courtesy of Google.

included breakfast, a prepared packed lunch and an

evening meal each day. The food is perfect - pizza, pasta

and potato; carb heavy dishes that filled the children up

after days in the field! The YHA staff were very friendly,

and a top-tip is to book directly with the hostel; we often

achieve much better rates when we avoid the national

sales line.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 11

Residential Visits

Itinerary - Monday

Remember that Lindisfarne separated from the

mainland by a tidal causeway and that your full

itinerary will be crafted around the local tide times.

Arrived in Durham at 11:00 at the 'Sands' car park (free

parking for school minibuses)

Arrived at Durham Cathedral at 11:30. Early Lunch in

the Education Department

12:30 - 2:30 - Northern Saints Tour and Activity Box

Session (£3 per child)

Visit to toilets and shop and walk back to the bus in the

Sands car park.

Leave Durham at 3:30 for Berwick Youth Hostel

In character on the Durham Cathedral 'Northern Saints'

tour. This visit sets the scene before the visit to

Lindisfarne Priory

You may recognise this: scenes from Harry Potter

were filmed at Durham Cathedral!


Shower and dressed before breakfast at 8:15

Berwick stroll from 9:00 - 10:30 whilst we await the tide

going out at Lindisfarne. LS Lowry & the Anglo-Scottish

Border wars.

11:00 set off for Lindisfarne before arriving at the

causeway. Discussion of the phases of the moon and the

impact of gravity upon the tides; why the causeway exists

and why Lindisfarne was chosen as a place of sanctuary.

Children then walk across the causeway as pilgrims

12:15 Lunch at the English Heritage visitor centre

13:00 Talk and activities at Lindisfarne priory (Northern

Saints and Vikings). Schools need to pre-book this visit

with English Heritage, but it is free of charge. There are

also site risk assessments available.

2:30 - 5:00 Tour of the island. Mapwork, island life and

coastal erosion explored

5:30 - Leave the island and head back to the Youth Hostel

for the evening meal

Evening activities - Recap of the day and out to play at a

local park. Lights out around 10pm


Breakfast at 7:50.

Leave the hostel at 8:45 to Bamburgh castle at 9:30

10:00 - 11:00 A guided tour around Bamburgh Castle

before it opens to the public (£4 per child). Bamburgh

is the ancient capital of Northumbria and had a

pivotal role in the establishment of the monastery on

Holy Island. It also was part of the defensive chain of

castles against the Scots and played an important part

in the civil war - with a surprising history!

Some independent study, a trip to the gallery before

heading off down the coast to Seahouses for some fish

and chips at 12:30.

A little downtime in sea-houses before presenting

ourselves to the Billy Shiels Boatmen in the Harbour

at 1:45

2:00 - 4:30 trip around the Farne Islands, including

landing on the bird sanctuary on Inner Farne. £10 per

child. Your school will need to be a member of the

national trust (around £90 depending on the size of

your school) and you will need to obtain a landing

permit from the Island Warden.

Enjoy sea-birds up close (including Puffins), seals and

the occasional porpoise. Make sure that the children

have either wide-brimmed or baseball caps to protect

their heads as the Terns are very aggressive during the

breeding season.

4:45 Ice-creams in Seahouses for excited talk about

the boat trip before heading back to the Hostel for the

evening meal, recap of the day and Movie Night in

the Hostel conference room!

10:00 Lights out!

12 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

Lindisfarne Priory. We were blessed with beautiful conditions for the entire week, but this part of the world is stunning,

whatever the weather.

An Arctic Tern strafes the children as it protects it's chicks!

Glorious seals, seabirds and porpoises!


8:00 start - a little later... the children getting tired now! Dressed, breakfast and hand out packed lunches before heading

out to Etal castle and Flodden Field! Further work on the Anglo-Scottish wars. Etal castle is free of charge and the

audio tour is excellent, but your school party will need to be booked in with English Heritage in advance.

11:30 a trip on the Heatherslaw light railway from Etal to the neighbouring village of Ford (£3 per child). The trip is

about 4 miles. No educational benefit, it's just great fun! (Especially when the weather is good!)

12:00 - travel back to Lindisfarne causeway to watch the tide go out whilst we have lunch. More work on Gravity.

13:15 - 2:00 - Travel across the causeway and then a quick march across the sand dunes to Black Skerr rocks on the

Northern site of the island for some of the finest rock-pooling in the whole of England. You'll find a magnificent array

of creatures in pristine surroundings - perfect for teaching food chains in inter-tidal zones. We took some large plastic

containers to create aquariums on the beach of the creatures that we found, before returning them to their homes.

3:30 - 6:30 - Games on the beach. As always, it's completely deserted and absolutely idyllic!

6:45 - Head back to the YHA for a late dinner, packing for an early departure tomorrow, recap of the day.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 13

Residential Visits

Lindisfarne Castle

Heathersage Light Railway

Black Skerr, Lindisfarne. The finest

rockpooling in North East England!


Early start at 7am for breakfast and to get the minibus packed for the journey home.

9:00 Say goodbyes to the wonderful YHA staff who have taken such good care of us during the week and on to

Lindisfarne for the final time.

10:00 - 11:00 A talk by the National Trust and tour of the Castle before it opens to the public. Free of charge with

school membership of the trust, but the talk and early tour need to be pre-booked by phoning Lindisfarne Castle


11:00 - 12:00 Talk and tour of the Gertrude Jeykll gardens.

12:00 - 2:30 - some free time on the island (when the tide is in, there is no traffic on the island). A little shopping for

gifts, a spot of lunch before a final recap of the residential down by the harbour.

2:35 - the tide is now out and we head home, arriving 20 minutes behind schedule, but having kept parents informed

of our progress on Twitter!

14 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

You can find more

information about this,

and other trips, including:

Useful Web Links

Risk Assessments

Kit List

Teachers Guide

Profit & Loss Spreadsheet

Letter to parents

Parents Presentation








• Inspirational Seminars

• Latest Language Products

• Networking Opportunities

• Meet Recruiters

• Careers Advice

• 160 Exhibitors











A news article discusses current or recent news of either general

interest (i.e. daily newspapers) or of a specific topic (i.e. political or

trade news magazines, club newsletters, or technology news websites).

Flynn had been a pupil at Pownall Hall School and Monday September 16th 2013 had

started like any other with the school run. Unfortunately a head on collision on the

Alderley Edge bypass meant that we never made it to school that day.

Helping Children Deal With Loss

By Nicola Clifford, Grief Recovery Specialist at Pownall Hall School

16 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

It can be difficult to determine what When a grief event occurs people

the 'right' response is to a grief

react in very different ways, some

event, and in the case of children, it people begin an immediate review

may not be apparent that a grief of the relationship and recount

event has happened at all. Many every detail of events, seemingly

A news article discusses current or recent news of either general

people associate the word grief only over and over again, their

interest with (i.e. physical daily newspapers) death. or of There a specific is topic a (i.e. political or perspective swaying from side to

trade much news magazines, broader club definition newsletters, or that technology we news websites). side. A positive approach can be

teach and it is a definition that

encompasses all loss experiences:

“Grief is the conflicting feelings

caused by a change or an end in a

familiar pattern of behaviour”

For many children `pet loss` is likely

to be one of their first experiences

of grief, the loss however may have

occurred through divorcing

grandparents or a shift in domestic

arrangements, it can even be

challenging finances that incur the


Children may have seen

confronting scenes for example in

`death of a pet` they may have

found the body, if we are lucky

enough to identify a grief event has

occurred, a helpful response is to

ask, “What happened?”. For many

of us it is at this point we might lose

confidence in how to respond, the

good news is, it is most helpful to

listen. Active listening provides an

outlet and release for the emotional

pressure that can build up inside us,

it is a precious gift we provide if we

can listen without judgement

criticism or analysis

decided only to be followed

immediately by a crash of energy

and in an instant they plunge into a

sea of negativity. Other people

may consider in silent

contemplation what has transpired

and it may not be apparent that

`the grieving process` has begun

but amazingly all these reactions

are natural and normal.

Here is a list of the six myths or the

things you should avoid saying in a

sharing scenario:

Don`t feel bad

Replace the loss (e.g., get a new


Grieve alone

Be strong

Keep busy

Time heals all wounds

It can be very difficult in a busy

school day to give our full

attention to a child who chooses

'that moment' to talk about their

Grandma's funeral or how sad they

feel that their Mummy has had to

go and look after Grandpa,

developing an ethos of

understanding and recognising the

Autumn 2017

importance of these opportunities is


Firstly, we should not underestimate

how difficult it has been for a child to

pluck up the courage to speak out and

an unhelpful comment such as,

“Don`t worry she will be back soon”

or “Go and play it will take your mind

off it” can do more harm than good.

Secondly, active listening requires our

full attention, it cannot be achieved

whilst we carry on with our 'jobs'. Eye

contact and positive facial expressions

demonstrate to the child that they are

being heard and they have not only

done the right thing, but they were

right to trust you.

Some children may never initiate this

type of conversation, though we can

help things along by saying, “I'm

concerned about you … is everything

ok?” or “How are things with you

today?” and there will always be the

children who just cannot verbalise

feelings at all. There are many

reasons why children cannot verbalise

their feelings but that does not mean

their grief is invisible.

Short Term Energy Relieving

Behaviours (STERBS) may present

themselves instead. STERBS are

numerous and can range from

constant desk tidying and OCD type

behaviours to regression and acting

out. In any event it is not only the

children who may present but also

the parents!

For more information on how to be an 'active' listener, STERBS, and much more on supporting mental health in

the classroom, please get in touch via my Independent Schools Portal page

Nicola's personal journey

I realised that there was a need for more information and education about grief when my

son Flynn died in a head on collision on the way to Pownall Hall School. I spent the next

few months in a complete nightmare, the case had to go to crown court and the BBC

followed my story in a documentary film called `The Prosecutors'. The film highlighted

the pressures faced by families who find themselves being called as a witness and the

devastation that happens when tragedy occurs. Far from being a story about ' process' of

attending court, the finished film is an inspirational insight of an ordinary person in

extraordinary circumstances.

Ever searching for the positive I came to a realisation that not only did I feel completely ill

prepared to cope with the conflicting thoughts and feelings I had surrounding the death of

my son, but it had also brought up feelings about other losses as well. My father had died when I was a baby and I have no

memory of him, I suffered a huge career loss when my status as a TV presenter was taken from me and my divorce in 2007

changed the landscape of my life forever. I have learnt above all else that you cannot prevent what happens to you but you can

manage your response to it.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 17


Meet the


Matt Koster-Marcon

'Meet the Teacherpreneur’ is the first is a series of in-depth interviews with former

teachers who have become entrepreneurs in order to develop innovative solutions to

solve thorny educational problems. Experienced educator, Phil Garner, is the man

asking the questions of Matt Koster-Marcon, MD of Learning Ladders

18 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

- Matthew Woodhead, Deputy Headteacher, Brighton College Abu Dhabi

Assessment. It is at the heart of

everything that we do as teachers,

and yet the data that we generate is

too often seen as the endpoint of a

process, a barometer of success,

A failure, news article or something discusses current in-between.

or recent news of either

general Such interest summative (i.e. daily assessment newspapers) isor of a specific topic

(i.e. clearly political essential or trade news to evaluate magazines, club newsletters, or

teaching and learning that has

technology news websites).

taken place, of course, but this

should always be of secondary

importance to formatively

assessing the learning that is to

come. With this is mind, it was a

pleasure to interview Matt Koster-

Marcon, an educator who is

passionate about empowering

teachers, pupils and parents alike.

Autumn 2017

PG: Welcome, Matt. Your

assessment software, Learning

Ladders, continues to receive

plaudits from maintained,

independent and international

schools - in addition to be

nominated for a string of awards.

But before creating an approach to

assessment that would actually

enthuse teachers and inspire

children, what were you doing?

MK-M: Hello, Phil. I actually came

into teaching quite late after a

career running a marketing agency,

and initially my focus was on

parental engagement rather than

assessment. I taught at primary

schools in Tower Hamlets and

Camden, and quickly became

really interested in the challenges

of effectively integrating parents

into their child’s education. In

Camden in particular we had such

a huge range of backgrounds,

covering a wide area from

Primrose Hill to Kings Cross, with

severely disadvantaged children on

the child protection register side by

side with middle class children

with private tutors. But there

wasn’t a simple and effective way

for the school to support each and

every parent in a way that worked

for parents and the school, without

it being a huge resource drain for

the school.

So I left teaching to build a system

that would solve this problem, this

was initially ‘School Explained’,

which has now become now the

Learning Ladders parent portal. To

help pay for the development I did

all sort of strange jobs - I freelanced

as a writer (I co-wrote some of the

Maths KS1/KS2 Study Guides you

find in WHSmith!), road tested

SatNav systems, and ran CV

workshops - you do whatever it

takes when you’re trying to get

something off the ground!

This was all around the time of

Michael Gove, and the National

Curriculum being revised and

progress levels being rethought in


PG: It was something of a ‘perfect

storm’ in the maintained sector

wasn’t it? The new curriculum was

far more challenging in terms of

knowledge acquisition, it didn’t

have to be adopted straight away;

creating issues with end of year

assessment, and the established

method of tracking progression -

National Curriculum Levels - was

jettisoned without a replacement

being put in place.

MK-M: That’s right. Frankly it was


Learning Ladders does everything right. It puts control of learning in the hands of children, cuts teacher

and SLT workload, and has the ability to manipulate almost every aspect to fit your school

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 19


We’d developed a curriculum and I think this is because at the time

assessment framework to hang our many people were confusing

parental resources off, and when tracking for assessment.

we shared this with schools they Assessment often happened after

loved it. Then there was a moment school, didn’t involve the students,

A of news serendipity article discusses when current we or recent met news Sam of either general and didn’t improve learning. It was

interest Hunter, (i.e. daily from newspapers) Hiltingbury or of a specific School. topic (i.e. political teachers or spending hours entering

Sam presented her version of data into tracking systems

trade news magazines, club newsletters, or technology news websites).

‘Learning Ladders’ and it was

exactly what we’d been working on!

So we all got together and decided

to build the perfect formative

assessment system, but crucially

one led by good pedagogy and

research rather than data reporting,

and one that was pupil-led and

integrated parents (with no extra

effort for staff).

(anything with ‘Track’ or ‘Monitor’

in the name is a clue to avoid!) to

generate reports and graphs, but as

fancy as these looked they didn’t

actually improve learning!

We allowed schools to completely

personalise their formative

assessment for the first time, but

technology, but driven by best

practice and what actually works in

schools. Our system rebuilds itself

automatically to fit the needs of

each school. Teachers don’t have

to waste time setting up

technology, or with pointless data

entry tasks: It’s all automated. It’s a

collaboration between us and every

member school, we really do live

that philosophy. The joy is that it

truly is a system built from the

ground up – by teachers for

teachers. It’s a simple idea, but one

with complex systems

underpinning it.

PG: I frequently hear lots of really

good things about your ‘educator

first’ approach.

PG: And from this maelstrom,

Learning Ladders was born?

MK-M: Eventually yes!

The Learning Ladders system won

the Department for Education’s

“Assessment Innovation”

competition to find the best

solution to ‘Life after Levels’, with

judges praising the benefits for

both students and parents.

We love using Learning Ladders, it helps us with our

targets, challenges us and makes us feel more confident

- Rose, Year 2, The Heights Primary School

crucially to also make it pupil-led

by having in-class resources, and

we then supported parents via the

School Explained resources. For

the first time schools were in

control of their assessment, and

everything was in one place. So no

time-consuming workarounds and

multiple systems that didn’t speak

to each other.

PG: So how did you set about

tackling this challenge?

MK-M: We set out to digitise the

entire teaching and learning

process using the best available

20 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

MK-M: We build the technology

that teachers themselves would

build. I see us as facilitators,

prompting new ideas but not

preaching. Schools know their

needs best so it’s up to us to listen

and try to meet them, not expect

them to fit around us. What’s

unique about Learning Ladders is

that every school gets their own

bespoke version, and the student is

truly at the heart of everything.

Start with the curriculum, tailor it

to the needs of your students. Then

The Independent decide Schools how you’re Portal going can to assist assess

schools with the it, what’s development your policy? of

coopetition in a number of ways:

We make teachers lives easier by

giving them award-winning

curriculum content combined with

complete freedom to tailor the

system to suit their needs.

Independent and International

schools may follow a national

curriculum, but it will be an

enhanced version and they need a

system that’s as unique as they are.

They also need to support (rightly)

demanding parents in a completely

different way to state schools. We

allow them to do this via our

Parent Portal which shares what’s

happening in class but also links to

our huge bank of ‘how to help at

home’ articles that are available in

over 100 languages. So everyone’s

in the loop, working together, and

everything’s in one place, fully

integrated. It improves results, gets

everyone engaged, and saves hours

of time.

Autumn 2017

Without doubt the best and most useful training event I've

ever been on.

A news article discusses current or recent news of either general

- Neil Shaw, Westonbirt Prep School

interest (i.e. daily newspapers) or of a specific topic (i.e. political or

PG: So Learning Ladders is fully As we continue to grow, we are

trade news magazines, club newsletters, or technology news websites).


able to plough more back into the

classroom, where it matters most.

MK-M: Absolutely. The core

This is something we take very

Learning Ladders content is


wonderful, and the feedback we get Facilitating ongoing teacher CPD is

is exceptional, but every school can something that we’re very keen to

now create their own Ladders to fit expand: Extending our training

their needs. We’ve added content network to offer a variety of

for every subject, for instance

bespoke in-school sessions, Whole-

Arabic and Islamic Studies (in

school international training

Arabic) for our Middle East

and Assessment Review

schools, so there really isn’t

days, developing our Knowledge

anything we can’t help with. The Base and 'Help' functionality on

online system is a totally flexible every page Log-in, 'Facebook style'

platform that enables each school notifications for updates to

to customize their whole

Ambassador programme and

curriculum, and assessment,

Assessment Networks launched

tracking and data systems, and a across the country.

parent portal all around their

PG: So, what can a school expect

needs, with everything fully

when it begins its journey with

integrated in one place.

Learning Ladders?

MK-M: When a school begins their

assessment journey with us they

receive a set-up call with our

dedicated Account Management

team in order to introduce them to

the system and ensure the school

have the tools they need to bespoke

their curriculum and put in place a

There was a time when schools had

to endure one-size-fits-all

technology, compromising their

needs because of the limitations of

the system they were using. This

no longer has to be the case.

PG: Why did you decide to form as

a social enterprise?

through the process from the very first call to find out


the system to answering a quick question just yesterday


team at Learning Ladders have been fantastic. They’ve


all our questions and been there to train us every


of the way. This is a quality response service that I’ve not


MK-M: Our aim is that the

contribution we make to education

helps children achieve more than

they might imagine is possible.

Learning Ladders more highly.

- Theresa Hill, Deputy Headteacher, John Stainer School.

come across with other systems. I could not recommend

consistent assessment policy across

the school. Following on from this

the team contact each school every

three months to review how the

school are moving forward with

Learning Ladders and answer any

queries they may have. Schools

really appreciate this support, and

having been a class teacher myself I

know how important it is not just

to provide amazing software but to

back it up with great customer

service. Most of our new schools

now come from personal

recommendations, so it’s a

community of educators that’s

building organically.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 21


PG: What’s next for you and

Learning Ladders?

MK-M: Our mission remains

simply to solve the problems that

schools face.

Because Learning Ladders is a best

practice approach for formative

assessment, the schools we work

with are really ambitious and

innovative, and are right at the

forefront of best practice.

So I get to visit some amazing

schools all over the world, and

work with really inspiring people.

It’s a real privilege.

I’m also a relatively new dad, so

with my background the pressure’s

on me as a parent now!

PG: It’s been terrific speaking with

you Matt. A really inspirational

success story. I wish you the best of

luck for the future.

At the cutting edge of national developments

- Ofsted Report

MK-M: Thank you, Phil.

They (Pupils) showed genuine enthusiasm and interest in their learning. They confidently evaluated their

work and used 'Learning Ladders' within lessons to help focus their learning. Students were keen to meet

their individual targets.

- KHDA Inspection Report, June 2016, GEMS Royal Dubai School 'Outstanding'

You can find out more about Learning Ladders by emailing Matt directly


or by calling +44 20 3637 0500

You can also see Matt talk about Learning Ladders to a group of IAPS Deputy Headteachers on

the Independent Schools Portal at:

22 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

Tired of the 3D Printer log-jam?

Use a 3D printer hub

by Paul Brewer, Managing Director, Shropshire 3D Print

The importance of learning about

additive manufacturing processes

Industry is currently undergoing a 4th

revolution with the advent of cyberphysical

systems. Architects, Surgeons,

Dentists, Civil Engineers, Automotive

Engineers and Designers, Aerospace

engineers, Space Exploration,

Archaeologists all currently utilise 3D

printing or as it is also known, 'Additive

Manufacture' or 'Rapid

Prototyping'. Given the rapid expansion

and widespread utilisation, it is critical

that we give pupils the opportunity to

become 'industry 4.0 ready'.

We recommend all schools (from Key

Stage 2 upwards) invest in at least one

3D Printer so that students all have the

opportunity to understand the Additive

Manufacturing Process.

Barriers to effective use

Having recognised the importance of

embedding 3D Printers into the

curriculum (they're also great fun and

they really engage children and

parents), schools are also becoming

increasingly savvy when it comes to

getting the most from their

investment. We have worked hard with

the schools that we support to solve

problems such as:

Cost of acquisition. Supporting

schools to identify exactly the right

machine, and providing finance

options to support multiple

purchases to increase potential

output to cope with large numbers of


Cost of ownership. The latest 3D

printers use the new approaches to

minimise filament use.

Usage. We offer a myriad of ideas

and resources to help teachers

incorporate 3D Printing into lessons -

including full lesson plans

Printing log-jams...

One of the issues that school frequently

raise with us is the printing 'log-jams'

that can arise when large numbers of

pupils are manufacturing multiple


In response, we have begun working in

partnership with FreeLabster 3D

Printing Hub, and we now have the

ability to give your

school access to a

fleet of 3D printers.

Due to the sheer

size of the network

every school will

be given the power

to output every

students project,

without the

constraints of

ownership or

having only one or

even no device.

Each Teacher will

be given their own

account, and each

class can then

design their objects

in the knowledge

that they will get to

see the fruits of

their labour.

Our 3D printing gurus will give advice

and feedback, and the turnaround time

for printed designs is only 4 days.

All you need to do is subscribe to the

service and add £70 to your account

(including a £40 credit for your first


To find out more visit or

call us on +44 0843 8867707 for an

informal discussion.

Preparing Pupils for Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is a name for the current trend of

automation and data exchange in

manufacturing technologies. It includes

cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things,

cloud computing and cognitive computing.

Industry 4.0 creates what has been called a

"smart factory".

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 23

consultant, author and speaker, Ann Marie Christian



Ann Marie...

Your questions answered by safeguarding

Dear Ann Marie

A parent of a child in year 4 has just

rung the school complaining about her

son's emotional well-being. A boy in her

son's class told him about an explicit

film he watched recently with his older

brother. He told him when they were

playing in the playground. The parent

went on to describe in detail a

disturbing explicit scene that the child

recited from the film.

What shall I do?

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Prep School

Greater London

I am worried about these little boys.

The boy who’s been told about the

film and the boy who’s viewed the

film. My initial reaction is to consider

if it is the first film he’s seen? Or has he

viewed lots? Is he addicted to watching

them? Where is he accessing them and

how? Online? DVD films? At home? Is

there parental guidance filters on his

home WIFI access? Are his parents


We have to also question, is the boy

that’s watching the film vulnerable?

Has he been targeted (groomed) online

via webcam? Is someone forcing him

to watch the films? Has he been

subject to sexual abuse and

comfortable with these materials? Or,

Is he ‘just’ curious, but that’s still a


The fact, the boy has gone on to tell his

friend in such detail questions the

thought, is he so ‘desensitized’ about

watching explicit films that he thinks

this is ‘normal’ behaviour. Are the

explicit images of adults or children?

Was this information disclosed by the

child to his mother or was the

conversation with the parent focused

on the explicit film.

Is the child viewing the explicit images

exhibiting concerning inappropriate

behaviors at home or school(thoughts

that turn into an action)? A round

robin could be done in school focusing

on his behavior and learning. Is he a

risk to the other boys? Is a risk

assessment needed?

Obviously, the conversations would

have raised anxieties for the parent

calling and worrying about their child

and the impact this would have on

him. Also the reputation of the school.

Whose responsibility is it to inform the

parent of the child who has viewed the

explicit film? The school or parent

that’s calling the school? The school

have a duty of care to contact the

parent: two factors; the child was told

about the explicit films whilst on the

school site and it impacts on two

children attending their school.

Keeping Children Safe in Education,

DfE 2016, clearly states that it’s

everyone responsibility to safeguard

children including their well being.

What is the school doing to teach

children about online safety and the

principles in Annex C Online Safety in

Keeping Children Safe in Education,

September 2016.

The use of technology has become a

significant component of many

safeguarding issues. Child sexual

exploitation; radicalisation; sexual

predation: technology often provides the

platform that facilitates harm. An effective

approach to online safety empowers a

school or college to protect and educate the

whole school or college community in their

use of technology and establishes

mechanisms to identify, intervene in and

escalate any incident where appropriate.

The breadth of issues classified within

online safety is considerable, but can be

categorised into three areas of risk:

• content: being exposed to illegal,

inappropriate or harmful material;

• contact: being subjected to harmful online

interaction with other users; and

• conduct: personal online behaviour that

increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm.


The parent who contacted you will

need to be informed that you will be

taking the matter seriously and will be

talking to the other parent of the child

and be offering support to both

children. Her details will remain

24 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

confidential and will not be disclosed

to the parent.

The parents of the child viewing the

explicit film should be contacted and

invited to the school. The Designated

safeguarding Lead and Headteacher

should talk to the parents about the

concern. The name of the child he

spoke to and parent that contacted the

school should be kept anonymous.

A general discussion about modern

day challenges could be discussed

introducing the subject of children

viewing inappropriate materials

online. Explain it’s common with

children as often they’re curious and

research online. Be clear about the

original ‘disclosure’ from the child to

their parent. Give the parent

information about how to support

their child:

The school should think about

dedicating a part of the school website

to signpost parents on resources on

how to keep their children safe. It

could be included in the parent tab,

links to websites like NSPCC, Hope not

hate, Childnet, CEOP etc •

Ann Marie is a leading authority on

safeguarding children in schools. If

you would like to pose a question to

Ann Marie in the next issue of

innovatED, you can email your

questions to:

You can also visit Ann Marie's website


Ann Marie is also speaking at the

"Creative Resources Safeguarding

Conference" at the Royal Armouries in

Leeds on the 1st February 2018.

Other speakers include:

John Brown, Head of Development

& Impact, NSPCC

Anne Fine, OBE, Author and

Children's Laureate 2001-3

Dr. Ruth Allen, CEO, British

Association of Social Workers

Peter Garsden, President of

Association of Child Abuse Lawyers,

Head of Abuse, Simpson Millar

More details on the event, and how to

book can be found


Supporting Schools. Worldwide.

The Independent Schools Portal are the publishers of innovatED magazine. The Portal was

created by like-minded teachers who wanted to collaborate easily and securely, share best

practice and ideas. We now support schools across the world with:

• Secure Collaborative Spaces. Including integrated videoconferencing,

notice boards, file-storage & task management apps

• Weekly E-Newsletter. The latest education news, analysis and

updates • Digital & Print Design Services • Teaching & Learning

Resources • Promotional Opportunities

Visit the website to find out how we can help your school



Keeping children safe is the highest priority for any school and AEGIS plays a vital role in

safeguarding international students. David Winfield talks to Executive Officer,

Yasemin Wigglesworth, to find out how.

DW: What is AEGIS?

Executive in focus:

Yasemin Wigglesworth

Yasemin is a graduate of both

Manchester University and

Manchester Business School,

where she completed her studies

in 2000. She joined AEGIS in

2013, becoming Executive Officer

just over two years later. She is

closely involved in the day-to-day

running of AEGIS and is

passionate about child protection.

YW: AEGIS is the Association for

the Education and Guardianship

of International Students. The

Association was set up in 1994, by

a group of Heads of independent

Schools and Guardianship


DW: Why was the formation of

AEGIS seen as essential?

YW: AEGIS was formed in

response to the lack of regulations

around the care of international

students who are 18 years and

under, studying in the UK.

DW: Is lack of regulation still a


YW: Absolutely. However, AEGIS

has devised a rigorous inspection

framework which has evolved

over time, in accordance with

child care legislation. This

inspection framework is used to

inspect Guardianship

Organisations based in the UK.

26 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

“It is quite right that safeguarding is at the top of our agenda at Worksop College and Ranby House. Add to

that that students coming to us from abroad face additional challenges and vulnerabilities and it is natural

that we would want to make sure that they are in the safest hands when not at school. The best way of

ensuring this has been by means of AEGIS guardians. Where guardians are AEGIS accredited we always

know that there will be support for the child and support for the school, in short there will be an active and

meaningful partnership working in the best interests of the child.”

DW: What is

an Educational Guardian?

YW: An Educational Guardian is

appointed by the parents of an

international student and acts on

behalf of the parents, attending

meetings with School staff,

arranging airport transport and

homestay accommodation, and

generally helping the student adapt

to their new life. An Educational

Guardian will be available to both

students and parents 24 hours a

day in case of emergency.

- Gavin Horgan, Headmaster, Worksop College & Ranby House

Guardianship Organisations vary

greatly in size. Some companies

might comprise one person, acting

as the guardian for a specific area

of the UK. Larger Guardianship

companies operate a network of

local coordinators across the

country, acting as regional


DW: I see. So who inspects

guardianship organisations?

YW: AEGIS inspections are carried

out by independent ISI or

OFSTED-trained inspectors. If a

Guardianship Organisation meets

all the requirements it becomes a

fully accredited member of


Member Guardianship

Organisations are then reinspected

every 4 years and have to

submit an Annual Declaration

Form, so that their activities can be


DW: What happens during an

AEGIS inspection?

YW: A Guardianship Organisation

will be asked to prepare and submit

documentation based on the

inspection criteria. Stage One

involves scrutiny of the

Guardianship Organisation’s

documents and policies. For

example, the inspector would check

that safer recruitment procedures

have been carried out in the

recruitment of homestays which

include gas and electrical safety

certificates, references for the main

homestay carer, and enhanced

Disclosure and Barring checks on

all members of a homestay aged 16

years and over.

During Stage Two, the supporting

inspector will visit a number of the

Guardianship Organisation’s

partner Schools and homestays and

interview staff, students and

homestay members. In addition,

questionnaires will be sent to all

parents and those schools and

homestays not visited by the

supporting inspector. The lead

inspector will visit the

Guardianship Organisation’s head

office to assess how procedures are

put into practice. The final report

is ratified by the board of Trustees.

DW: Is it a legal requirement to

have an AEGIS accredited


YW: Currently there is no legal

requirement that an international

student, aged 18 or under, studying

in the UK has to have an AEGIS

accredited guardian. It is, however,

considered best practice by many


DW: So how many international

students below the age of 18 are

there in the UK?

YW: According to the 2017

Independent Schools Council

census, there are currently 27,281

international pupils, whose parents

live overseas, studying at ISC

schools in the UK. Mainland China

continues to be the largest source

country. Of those 27,281

international pupils, around 5000

are under the care of AEGIS

accredited Educational Guardians.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 27

- Ben Hughes, Director, Pippa’s Guardians

- Chris Michelmore, Director, Quest Guardians Ltd


DW: Who is looking after the

remaining 22,000 international

students that are not under AEGIS


A YW: news Often article discusses family, current friends, or business recent news of either

general contacts interest and (i.e. unaccredited

daily newspapers) or of a specific topic



political or




news magazines,

to be

club newsletters, or

guardians, or there may not be any

technology news websites).

guardianship arrangements in place

at all.

DW: How can Schools ensure they

are meeting their Tier 4 sponsor


YW: Schools wishing to recruit

pupils from outside the EEA

(excluding Switzerland) are

required to hold a Tier 4 sponsor

licence, issued by UK Visas and

Immigration (UKVI).

We appreciated, and still do, the ready support from central

The UKVI requirements for Tier 4

sponsors states that:

“Sponsors who recruit a child

under the age of 18 must ensure

suitable arrangements are in place

for them in the UK. This must

include arrangements for their: a)

travel; b) reception when they

arrive in the UK; and c) care while

in the UK.”

Many Schools therefore insist that

an international student has an

AEGIS accredited guardian, as a

condition of admission. Asking

parents to appoint an AEGIS

guardian provides peace of mind to

all parties.

as a friendly, well run and efficient organisation - with the care

of the child at the centre of what it stands for.

- Sarah Bacon, Director, Oxford Guardians

The level of trust in our services felt by parents has increased

The Independent Schools Portal can assist

schools with the development of

coopetition in a number of ways:

as a result of the accreditation.

- Irina Gay, Global Educational Guardians

office and their guidance has been helpful. AEGIS comes over

DW: I have, on occasion, heard

views expressed in Schools that

guardianship is expensive and

unnecessary. How do you respond

to these negative comments?

One of the benefits of Accreditation is that it allows the

inspector to share best practice information across the

industry therefore ensuring that AEGIS accredited

Guardianship Agencies are consistently working to an

YW: The need for a good

Guardianship Organisation is often

only brought home to Schools

when a crisis occurs.

exceptionally high level of service.

Common occurrences which have

required Guardianship

Organisations to step in include:

weather – snow causing airport

closures; illness – norovirus and

the closure of a boarding house

resulting in the students needing

homestay accommodation;

inspection process helped us revisit all our


policies and procedures, making changes and


as necessary, to make sure they were “fit for


appropriate and approachable.


28 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

Many schools and colleges still do not insist on students having a guardian, particularly if they are European,

and others do not understand the need for the guardian to be completely separate from, yet working with, the

school as a responsible parent would. The British Association of Independent Schools with International

A news article discusses current or recent news of either general

a networking group of 55 schools and colleges dedicated to defining and sharing best

is (BAISIS) Students

interest (i.e. daily newspapers) or of a specific topic (i.e. political or

practice in the field of academic and pastoral provision for international students in the UK. BAISIS believes

trade news magazines, club newsletters, or technology news websites).

that it is best practice for all international students 18 years and under to have a guardian, either a responsible

injuries – broken limbs during

sport requiring hospital visits and

the need to rest in homestay

accommodation; academic issues –

guardians regularly attend meetings

with school staff to manage poor

performance; suspensions - often

occurring at weekends, a guardian

would arrange a homestay and

support the student.

‘AEGIS has over 40 accredited

Guardianship Organisation and 80

DW: There can be little doubt that School members. AEGIS promotes

proactive, sensitive and

the welfare of international

comprehensive guardianship is a students and provides support and

necessity to underpin The the Independent safety advice Schools to Schools, Portal Guardianship

can assist

and wellbeing of pupils, schools and with to the development



and parents.

provide the platform coopetition to allow in a number of ways:

them to prosper socially,

academically and to maximise

their opportunities. Thank you,

Yasemin, for taking the time to

explain the issues

and the importance of the work of

AEGIS, and the benefits of

membership •

AEGIS membership shows that a

School believes in best practice in

the guardianship of international

students and demonstrates to

overseas parents a commitment to

their child’s safety. Please contact

Yasemin Wigglesworth for further

details via’

- Caroline Nixon, General Secretary, BAISIS

and reliable relative or family friend, or an AEGIS accredited guardian.

Studying in the USA can be FREE

Record numbers of UK Students are now

studying in the United States

An increasing number of students are

choosing schools that provide guidance with

US University admissions & test preparation

Contact us to find out how we can support your school


T: 0800 612 8271



Creative Resources

Safeguarding Primary Children:

The Work of Christina Gabbitas

Here’s a question: how do we teach

young children about which secrets are

good and which secrets are bad, give

them the confidence to speak out about

things that are troubling them, but not

scare them? This is a question that has

been pondered by many professionals

involved with safeguarding and of

course parents. Too often children are

groomed in an attempt by the

perpetrator of the abuse to stop them

speaking out and award-winning

children’s author Christina Gabbitas

believes that we are still not bold

enough in talking about this topic with

children in an appropriate manner in

order to protect them. Christina’s

passion for improving things in this

area led to a year of research, which

showed that there were no books for

four to seven year olds that addressed

this issue in a manner appropriate to

their understanding.

Using public support from Kickstarter, a

crowdfunding platform for creative

projects, and her own money Christina

wrote and published Share Some

Secrets. Illustrator Ric Lumb provided

the carefully crafted pictures which

ensure the story is not at all graphic in

tackling this sensitive subject. Christina

worded the story to make it not only

appropriate for the age range, but to

allow those reading the book to the

child to use everyday language that they

themselves would also feel comfortable

with. It is written in rhyme too, making

it more engaging. The book received

immediate recognition making it to the

final of the 2016 People’s Book Prize in

the children’s category.

To ensure that the book reached as

wide an audience as possible and those

that needed it most, Christina forged

partnerships with both the NSPCC and

Barnardo’s. The NSPCC

endorsed the book and

placed it in their library,

sending out one

hundred copies through

their Schools Service. In

a corporate partnership

with Barnardo’s a special

edition was produced for

their 150th anniversary

and a portion of the

proceeds from the sale

of the book went to the

charity. Further

endorsements followed

from teachers, parents,

children and


consultants, such as Ann

Marie Christian.

Christina’s passion for getting the

message across to as many children as

possible hasn’t stopped since the initial

publication and partnerships. The book

has been translated into Spanish and is

awaiting publication, but this isn’t the

only ongoing development. In October

last year Christina met students

studying animation at Sheffield Hallam

University, who have worked with

Share Some Secrets, and a year after the

initial meeting the animation of Share

Some Secrets will be launched at the

university on 19 October. This

important resource will be freely

available online after its launch.

However Christina is not content to rest

in her mission to promote safeguarding

up the agenda. Through her company

Eliziam Events she will be hosting a

conference on 1 February next year at

the Royal Armouries, Leeds entitled

Creative Resources Safeguarding

Primary Children.

by Rebecca Thomas, RM Language Services

Christina with journalist, presenter and Childline

founder, Esther Rantzen

Christina also had the

privilege of being

invited to meet Dame

Esther Rantzen when

she visited The NSPCC’s

Leeds base as part of

Childline’s 30th

anniversary celebrations.

30 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

It is set to highlight the importance and

effectiveness of utilising resources that

are currently available in the field of

safeguarding. When conducting her

research before writing Share Some

Secrets, it became apparent to Christina

that there are more resources available

to help ‘pick up the pieces’, but not

enough preventative measures available

and in place. The conference aims to

help highlight, educate and inform

public sector organisations, charities

and private organisations, where

resources can be found. Whilst

Christina will talk about her book, she

has also assembled an excellent group

of speakers from a broad range of

professional backgrounds including

charities, legal, social work, the arts and

health, and more speakers and panelists

are being added to the event. Each will

seek to highlight the range of resources

and their effectiveness in trying to

prevent abuse of the youngest in our

society. David Niven, Chair of Bradford

and Tameside Safeguarding Children’s

Boards is advising Christina for this


Bookings are now open via the Eliziam

Events website with early

bird tickets available until 10th October.

There are no other events currently

focussing on resources and it is hoped

that a successful event will allow

Eliziam to bring it to other areas of the

country perhaps later in 2018.

With arrests and trials still happening in

high-profile child exploitation scandals

such as Rotherham, it is important that

we do not rest in the mission to ensure

that children, as well as parents, carers,

teachers and other professionals, have

the tools they need to prevent child

abuse happening or stop it early. We

have a long way to go to achieve this,

but each step is vital to improving

outcomes for all children and

preserving childhood as the special time

it should be. •

for further information visit: and

Edtech and E-safety

Protecting children: How familiar are you with online ‘coded’

conversation? Information for teachers and parents.

by Adele Bannister, Digital Marketing Executive, Smoothwall

Acronyms of today have fast evolved from the ever popular OMG, (Oh

my god) and LOL (Laughing out loud), with many people now

employing a raft of new abbreviations for their social media


It makes sense when you think about it, many social media platforms used in this day and

age are based on short and snappy communication, so why waste all our time typing out

full words when we can speed up our discussions and use abbreviations? Whilst many

choose to use this tactic everyday as a way to speed up communication with their friends

and family, there are those who choose to do so as a way of enticing victims into 'coded'

conversations, with not so innocent intent.

For example 'GNOC' (get naked on camera) and 'PAW' (parents are

watching) are typical abbreviations used by many groomers and their

victims when engaged in sexual and dangerous conversation. It's important

to understand what these new-age abbreviations actually stand for, so that

you can spot when a seemingly 'innocent' conversation isn't perhaps what it

appears to be and prevent any risks from escalating.

Below are some examples of today's new-age online abbreviations:

BRB - Be right back

WYRN - What’s your real name?

GTG - Got to go

AMA - Ask me anything

TTYS - Talk to you soon

LMK - Let me know

GNOC - Get naked on camera

WYCM - Will you call me?

PIR - Parent in room

99 - Parent gone

YOLO - You only live once

DM - Direct message

KPC - Keeping parents clueless

F2F - Face to face

WTTP - Want to trade pictures?

YIWGP - Yes I will go private

MLAS - My lips are sealed

PAW / 9 - Parents are watching

CU46 - See you for sex

TTYL - Talk to you later

TMI - Too much information

OMG - Oh my god

FOMO - Fear of missing out

ILY - I love you

FBO - Facebook official

LMIRL - Let’s meet in real life

OMW - On my way

TDTM - Talk dirty to me

WDUL - Where do you live?

ASL - Age/sex/location

32 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

For more information visit

Edtech and E-safety

Live streaming: The dangers

of self-broadcasting

By Claire Stead, Online Safety Expert at Smoothwall

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in popularity of people

broadcasting clips of their lives on social media.

We have seen a number of new

platforms and extensions created,

such as Periscope, Tencent,

SnapChat, Twitch and even

Facebook and Instagram’s own Live

channels. Where once people using

the apps were classed as the early

adopters, it is safe to say that live

streaming has now gone

mainstream, and appears to be

attracting a younger audience.

As educational professionals, and

those that are there to ensure young

people are staying safe online, we

should all be aware of the different

threats that the online world can

pose. Live streaming now plays a big

part in the ongoing battle to keep

young people safe online.

As live streaming is now more

widely accessible and consumed by

the public, it is also more likely that

tweens and teens will start to use it

too, especially if they already have

an app that supports it like Facebook

or Instagram for instance. By

incorporating live streaming into

their existing apps, it has made it

easier for these businesses to

compete and gain traction, since

they come with an existing loyal user


It’s important, therefore, for teachers

and staff to be aware of

such platforms and apps due to the

risks involved with live streaming.

So what are the risks?

With all social media, there comes risk.

Risk associated with privacy, data and

vulnerabilities. Where videos could

once be censored and taken down,

when acts unfold live over the internet,

it is often a lot less containable.

Most recently, there have been some

horrific and disturbing results, with

murder, rape and other horrific

violent crimes occurring in real-time

on live streaming channels. One of the

latest events occurred in the Czech

Republic where by a young woman

inadvertently live-streamed her own

death on Facebook when her friend

drove into the barrier on a high-speed


It is not only the threat of young

people being exposed to uncensored

and horrific content that live

streaming poses, but there are risks as

well to those who are shown on live

streaming videos that need to be

considered. For instance:

The issue of consent: When live

streaming, it is broadcast instantly

for all to see, so can quickly

involve those who do not want to

be included or haven’t given their


Accidentally releasing their

location: For instance, if a teen

live streams on their street,

everyone will know where they


Revealing intimate information:

Live streaming could lead to

young people revealing too much

personal information about

themselves. Even publishing live

video in their own bedrooms

could give away clues to their

identity or other personal


Not knowing who’s watching:

Live streaming services have

limited privacy controls, and so it

is hard to know who is watching

and prevent people accessing the


With all of this in mind, it is

important as educators to teach

young people about the dangers of

live streaming apps. It’s not just the

parents’ responsibility, but all those

who play a part in keeping young

people safe in an increasingly online

world. Have them think about why

are they using them – are they aware

that they could potentially come

across something scarring? Or if they

live stream themselves, are they

conscious of the information about

themselves that they are revealing to

the world? Ask them the question,

‘would you be happy to see an image

or video you share plastered all over

Piccadilly Circus?’ If the answer is

no, then they shouldn’t be sharing it

at all.

For more information visit

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 33

on about?!


@andyfalconer, Headmaster at St Olave's School, York


Technology & School Communication

What is the head

Why are you doing it?

This is the fundamental question a

school needs to ask before launching

into any new social media channel.

Reasons could include any of the

following: to feed the Head’s ego; to

keep up with the Joneses down the

road; it’s expected by younger techsavvy

parents; broadcasting

information; starting online

conversations and engaging with

people outside of the school; sharing

media from trips. The answer to the

question will help to clarify whether

a particular route is one the school

should go down.

What are you going to post?

You have to decide what sort of

information you are going to post

online. Is it going to be primarily for

sharing images from trips, or sports

results, or links to school website

news updates, or content produced

by pupils, or latest updates on away

matches returning late?

The list can be endless but unless you

are trying to be all things to all

people, a clear idea at the outset will

help you target the right audience.

You also then need to check to see

which of your posts are the most

popular and try and work out why.

Is anyone listening?

Spending hours and hours on

producing great content which you

then upload is ultimately fruitless if

no-one is listening. It’s important to

use the basic analytical tools that are

built into the programs so that you

have hard data upon which to make

decisions. If you’re trying to engage

with former pupils who have recently

left the school but your followers are

all grandparents of current pupils

then it’s important to know this so it

can inform the decision making

process. It takes time to build up a

tribe of followers but you also need

to know when to cut your losses and

move on to something else.

Who gets to post things on behalf of

the school?

This is where the arguments can start

as there are different approaches, all

with their own merits. You might

want to ensure that there is one

brand reflected throughout all the

social media channels and that in

order to achieve this very few people

will be allowed to post things. Or

you may empower lots of different

people to post online but with very

clear brand ‘rules’ and etiquette –

then all you have to do is ensure

consistency! You may embrace the

fact that each channel or user has

their own personality and that this is

conveyed in the way they produce

and post content. There is no right

or wrong way, but you do need to be

very clear what you’re doing. Some

schools will ensure that every

department Twitter profile looks

very similar, whilst others actively

encourage individuality and oneupmanship

between departments.

Safeguarding is incredibly important

and clear guidance to staff on the use

of mobile devices to take photos and

upload content is crucial.

Who has the time to do all this?

We’re all busy and posting online

isn’t something you want to do

quickly whilst running between

meetings, as that’s how embarrassing

mistakes are made. Some will say it’s

the marketing department’s job to do

it. Others will say it should be

enthusiastic tech-savvy teachers,

others will say let the pupils do it,

whilst in many smaller schools it

might be the Head.

34 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

It’s important that whoever does it is

given time and training to do it

properly, and commits to doing it

regularly – there’s little more offputting

than a Facebook page which

hasn’t been updated for two years,

with 20 likes and a profile photo of

the old school frontage! Will they just

be allowed to post content or will

they also be responsible for

responding to comments that others

post? Do different people have

responsibility for different channels

or do you use automated software to

post to multiple sites at one time?

Not engaging with social media as a

school is no longer an option, the

only question is which channels you

decide to use and to what extent.

There are plenty of companies and

courses that can help you navigate

this tricky online world, and an hour

spent on Google will quickly show

you which schools are doing it well

and which aren’t.

We are all educators and lifelong

learners in schools and we need to

model this to our pupils as we engage

positively with new online

technologies and media as they come

along •

Andy Falconer has been Master of St

Olave's School in York, part of the St

Peter’s School 3-18 foundation, for 12

years and was Chairman of IAPS in

2010/11. St Olave’s is a day and boarding

school with 350 pupils aged 8-13.

free CPD on Twitter


Following high-quality education

twitter accounts is a simple way to

access amazing - and free - CPD at

your convenience:

1. @DeputyMitchell Google Certified

Teacher & Deputy Headteacher in

Bolton. An IT guru who specialises in

helping pupils get engaged and

immersed in their learning.

Technology & School Communication

2. @Joga5 Primary Head Teacher.

Interested in children's writing,

Multimodality, Kidlit and is a

'blogging evangelist'.

3. @TheHeadsOffice Retired head

teacher, Julia Skinner, tweets about

all aspects of education & leadership.

4. @EvidenceInEdu World-class

training on assessment and research

for teachers. Evidence-based school

improvement from the Durham

CEM centre and Cambridge


5. @bravehead Retired headteacher,

Dave Harris, author of 'Brave

Heads','Are You Dropping The

Baton?' & 'Leadership Dialogues'.

Tweets that help to bring the fun and

wonder back into education!

Issue 1 | p.TBC


Student Finance


Many experts argue that tuition fees for English universities do not reflect teaching quality or

contact time, and that the current repayment methodology profoundly discriminates against middle

earning graduates. To verify these claims, it is appropriate to create some models to interrogate

the data that are currently available.

By David Winfield

Director, Independent Schools Portal

University tuition fees have become

a highly charged political topic in

recent times and one of the key

factors that propelled the Labour

party from existential crisis to

potential government in waiting

after the recent UK general election.

The Independent Schools Portal has

undertaken some detailed analysis

and modelling of the impact of

tuition fees on students and the

findings are very surprising, and

certainly go some way to explaining

the anger that has been felt in

Student Unions across England.

By the time a three year UK

undergraduate student has earned

that precious qualification that will

enormously boost his or her life

chances and earning power (the two

main equity arguments deployed to

justify tuition fees), they will have

racked up £46,245 in actual tuition

and maintenance loans and £5,773 in

accrued interest payments, placing

them in approximately £52,018 worth

of debt as they walk out of the door of

the university.

36 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

They may, of course, also need to

accrue additional commercial debt

as pay for their rent deposit and

advance, work wardrobe,

transportation and general living

A news expenses article discusses before current they or recent receive news their of either general

first salary. Going to university is a

interest (i.e. daily newspapers) or of a specific topic (i.e. political or

now a serious financial undertaking

trade news magazines, club newsletters, or technology news websites).

and the majority of students will

never be able to fully clear these

debts before they expire, though

they will pay back far more than

they originally borrowed in the first


Compounding the problem

The student loan itself is subject to

a standard annual compound

interest formula. Currently the

interest rate charged is the Retail

Prices Index (RPI) measure of

inflation (which includes mortgage

interest payments) +3%. So the

interest rate for the 2017/18

academic year is 6%, meaning that

the first year interest on the loan of

£52,018 will be £3,128. However,

the status of the loan and the way it

is calculated are problematic in

several ways.

Firstly, the government and

industry generally uses the

Consumer Prices Index (CPI)

measure of inflation (which

excludes mortgage interest rates)

when calculating annual salary

rises, and this is almost always

presents a lower headline inflation

figure. Using RPI ensures that

students will have to pay

considerably more back over the 30

year term of the loan.

Secondly, at the time of writing

(August 2017), the government can

borrow for a fixed 30 year term on

the gilts market at an interest rate

of 1.8%, which is 4.2% less than it

charges students. Aside from the

fact that the current inflation rate

means that the Government will

pay back less in real terms than it

borrowed in the first place, it is also

making a healthy cash surplus from

a section of society who can least

afford to bear the burden - young


The third major problem is that

unlike other commercial loans in

English University Tuition Fees: A Brief History

A question of equity

Advocates of the current tuition fee

system argue that many lower

earning students will never repay

their debts and this is a key

In May 1996 Gillian Sheppard (left), the Conservative

Education Secretary commissioned an enquiry by Sir

Ron Dearing, then Chancellor of the University of

Nottingham, into how to fund British universities over

the next 20 years.

In the subsequent report which was delivered to the new Labour

government in May 1997, Dearing strongly endorsed the principle of

undergraduates contributing to the cost of their education. Tuition fees

were introduced in the 1999/2000 academic year through the Teaching

and Higher Education Act 1998, which replaced maintenance grants with

loans and introduced capped tuition fees of £1,000 per year. These caps

have been gradually lifted and have now reached £9,250 for the

forthcoming academic year, and have on occasion prompted violent

protests from students.

the marketplace, the Government

can vary the terms at will. Not only

does the interest rate vary from

year to year depending on inflation,

but there is nothing to stop a future

government revisiting the payment

terms if they wish. A financial

advisor would be unlikely to

recommend taking out a loan

under these terms.

Finally, if a person is experiencing

extreme financial distress, they

have the option to seek relief by

declaring bankruptcy, expunging all

unsecured debt. Not so with student

loans; there is no escape, whatever

the consequences for the


safeguard that protects people.

The other equity argument that is

deployed in favour of the status

quo is that it is fair that if you

personally benefit from your

education, you should contribute to

the cost of providing it.

Indeed, it is true that until students

are earning £21,000, they do not

have to pay anything back

(although compound interest

ensures that the loan principal

continues to rise) and anything left

unpaid after 30 years is written off.

Autumn 2017

It is worth interrogating these

arguments in more detail, however.

Once a student is earning £21,000,

9% of their salary above this

amount is taken at source as loan

repayments. This earnings

threshold has not risen in line with

inflation and repayments are

increasingly paid by graduates on

relatively lower salaries.

In order for a graduate to pay of all

the interest in year 1 and begin

paying down the loan principal,

they would have to be earning

£55,678 per annum. With average

UK graduate starting salaries at

£23,000, the average salary of all

current UK graduates at £31,000,

and with average ‘peak’ graduate

salary (the highest amount the

average graduate will earn in a year)

currently at £42,000, most

graduates will never repay the loan

because of compound interest; all

of which actually makes a ‘student

loan’ a 30 year graduate income tax

of 9% on earnings above £21,000.

So, given that most graduates will

never repay their student loan (an

argument used to justify the

current system), how much will

they pay back in reality? Whilst it is

impossible to model every scenario,

particularly when it comes to

vagaries of salary progression, it is

possible to make judgements based

on average earnings data.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 37

Student Finance

Typical student loan repayment

amounts based on future projected

maximum earnings in current prices

Total Loan Repayments


A news article discusses current or recent news of either general


interest £70,000 (i.e. daily newspapers) or of a specific topic (i.e. political or trade

news £35,000 magazines, club newsletters, or technology news websites).





Graduate 'peak' earnings at

current values, future adjusted

for inflation at 3%

A graduate on average graduate

income will repay £81,044. A

reasonably high earning graduate

whose salary will ultimately rise to

£60,000 (future-adjusted for

inflation at 3%) will pay back an eyewatering

£139,902. However, a

‘high-flier’ whose earnings

ultimately rise to £100,000 will

actually pay back less - £117,852.

This is because they will likely be

paying more back in the early years

of the loan, so will be less affected

by compound interest. Compound

interest also means that women who

take time out to have children will

also have to repay more.

Essentially, if you earn more -

especially if you earn more in the

early years - then you will end up

paying back substantially less.

It is also worth noting how much the

government will have to repay for

borrowing £46,245 on behalf of the

student over the 30 years: £77,580.

Paying twice

Repayment of the student loan is

only half the story of course as

graduates also pay far more tax. The

chart opposite shows the amount of

income tax paid over 30 years by a

non-graduate on average earnings as

they go through their career, and

what would be paid by our 3

imaginary graduates. The results are


As a consequence of tuition fees,

they are in effect paying for it twice

An average graduate, in terms of

salary, will pay almost £150,000

more in taxation than an average

non-graduate in the first 30 years of

their respective careers.

As university participation rates are

now hovering around 50%, one half

of the population are effectively

being taxed at a much higher level

than the other half and this is shown

in the graph above. Not only do

graduates more than repay the cost

of their education through general

taxation, the effect of student loans

is to raise their effective tax rate by

an additional 9% on earnings over


Economists have long agreed that

arbitrary 'tax-cliffs' can act as

disincentives to career progression,

innovation and productivity, as do

higher tax rates in general.

It also clear that this de-facto

graduate tax contravenes many of

the principles expressed by the

House of Commons treasury


The tax is not equitable. There

are different tax rates between two

halves of the population. Also,

different graduates will pay

different amounts based on

arbitrary differences in income

and salary progression.

There is a lack of certainty

around this whole approach,

which can wildly affect the

amount of tax collected over 30


There is little transparency and

visibility around this tax.

Taxes should be as neutral as

possible; little research has been

done to establish the impact of

this tax on spending decisions,

productivity and economic


When you add the income tax to the

student loan repayments (National

insurance has not been included),

you begin to get a much truer

picture of how much graduates

actually do pay for their university


38 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

The are also further wider

It was also envisaged that tuition

considerations as to the equity of fees would begin to develop a

A news article discusses current or recent news of either general

student loans. Given the enormous 'market' for education and that a



(i.e. daily newspapers)

that young

or of


a specific


topic (i.e. political or

premium would be charged for the

trade in accessing news magazines, high-quality,

club newsletters, or technology news best websites). universities and courses. The

affordable accommodation and that reality has of course been different;

they will also have to pay

irrespective of whether you go to

significantly more into their

Oxbridge or one of the lessor lights,

pensions in order to achieve a whether you receive 30 hours

reasonable standard of living in contact time or 8, whether you are

retirement, it is possible - and fair - in a high-demand course or not,

to argue that student loans are not everyone pays the same.

only inequitable, but they are also

immoral, especially given that Judging by the runaway growth in

outside of private US universities university vice-chancellor salaries,

(which offer 'needs blind' places the introduction of tuition fees has

and scholarships) - English tuition certainly led to increased amounts

fees are now the highest anywhere of funding to universities, but many

in the western world.

countries recognise the inequity of

tuition fees. Denmark and Scotland

remain completely free, as does

Germany which recently

completely scrapped their fee

paying system. Worryingly, the

government are now also looking to

sell off the £100bn of student debt

(which has doubled in the last four

years), severing the link between

universities and public funding.

It is clear that Dearing achieved the

objective of ensuring that English

universities are well funded, but the

financial stress, uncertainty and

inequity faced by young

people are unsustainable and the

system needs radical reform at the

soonest opportunity •

A fantastic way to internationalise student CVs, access a more rounded university

Student Finance


in the USA

education and save tens of thousands of pounds. Phil Garner, founding headmaster of

Studying at an American

university can be totally free!

As typical student debt in the UK

has risen to in excess of £50,000

for a three year programme of

study, students and schools are

beginning to explore the

opportunities that available to them

at US universities.

Last year the number of

international students studying in

the USA topped one million with

12000 coming from the UK.

Labelled ‘the land of opportunity’

the USA does not disappoint

international students.

The opportunities to expand

cultural horizons, develop an

international perspective, broaden

the appeal of the curriculum vitae,

extend the range of postgraduate

options and increase employment

prospects make studying in the

USA a very smart choice for higher


Five of the top ten universities in

the world [2016-17 QS Rankings]

were US institutions:

1st - Massachusetts Institute of


2nd- Stanford University

3rd – Harvard University

5th – California Institute of


10th - University of Chicago.

A number of schools now offer

students advice and guidance about

how to secure a place at a university

in the USA, how to apply for

financial aid and how to go about

getting the necessary visa allowing a

student to study in the USA but

many do not. For those that don't,

exploring the opportunities in this

area can have significant benefits

for students and schools alike.

Newcastle School for Boys, explains.

40 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

A fantastic place to study

There are over 4,500 degree

awarding colleges in the USA and

many offer a wide range of financial

aid. Some students from the UK will

find that they qualify for full

funding and pay nothing at all for

their 4 year programme. 600+

universities offer $20,000 or more

to international students for each

year of their study and 250+

universities offer international

students a completely ‘FREE RIDE’.

American colleges offer a wide

variety of choices and there will be

more than one that has a

programme that suits just about any

international student. Some will be

large research institutions with over

30,000 students and others will be

small colleges with fewer than 1,000

students. The undergraduate degree

is usually an ‘elective programme’

with students requiring a number of

credits to be awarded a degree.

Harvard is just one of many US institutions that offer 'needs blind' access

arrangements: If a student is offered a place but doesn't have wealthy parents,

financial arrangements will be put in place so that the student can complete the

course without accruing a mountain of debt.

The number of credits required is in

the region of 40 and 10 of these will

be in a ‘major’ which allows the

student a degree of specialization,

indeed some students undertake a

‘double major’, which can be quite

demanding. The wide range of

courses offered ensure that, on

graduation, students have read

widely and studied a diverse

spectrum of subject matter. This is

of particular interest to 21st Century


The wide range of geographical

locations available and the

incredible range of study options

mean that careful choices must be

made prior to applying. The North

East of the USA can be very cold in

winter, Texas can be very hot in the

summer and the Pacific North West

very wet.

USA Study can help schools and

students determine whether an

undergraduate programme in the

USA is a viable option and can help

students secure great test

scores. secure funding opportunities

and help complete the supporting

statements that form a key part of

the admissions process.

We also work in a number of ways:

If you have one or two students in

your school who are interested in

exploring the option of studying in

the USA (and there always is a least

one in every school!), we have the

skills and expertise to manage the

whole process and we help over 100

students from state and

independent schools each year on

this basis.

Alternatively, if there are number of

young people interested in your

school, then we run can highquality

programmes in-school, and

we currently work this way with

schools such Ampleforth College.

Not only does this provide a

fantastic opportunity for the

student, but is also a real incentive

to join the school.

In order to assess the level of

interest, we attend careers fairs and

assemblies, as well as undertake

presentations to pupils, staff and


If your school is interested in finding

out more, please contact me on the

details below. We will also offer

a free diagnostic assessment for any

of your students that are interested

in the unbelievable opportunity that

is undergraduate study in the USA.

Phil Garner MEd; BEd; Chartered

College of Teaching



Telephone: 07714 700983

We demystify the processes for

students and schools whilst

providing clear guidance and


Issue 1 | innovatED | | 41

School - Parent Partnerships

Supporting our children: the challenge of

providing a balanced approach to parenting

by Karen Burns, Director, Independent Schools Portal

Balance, how to get it right. There

seemingly is no answer and everyone

has different thoughts on the matter.

I’m talking here about school vs. extra

curricular activities. Having a balanced

child, with opportunities to have down

time and have fun (psychologically so

important), but giving them the

opportunity to become a superstar if

they have the dedication and desire.

It’s a tough balancing act for parents,

and one that often comes with guilt. My

son is only 7, yet the range of after

school and weekend clubs he wants to

be involved in is broad and time

consuming. He loves sport, and wants

to play as much as he possibly can, he’s

still discovering himself and his

passions and so for now, it’s limited to

the hour slots of the clubs he goes to.

But what happens next, what if he

makes the team, or wants to play more

seriously? One one hand we’d be

delighted, we want to support and

encourage that growth and

commitment as far as we possibly can,

to help him achieve his dreams, his

aspirations and follow his heroes, be

they local or global. But realistically,

how far can he take it? Can our

children be the next Rory McIlroy,

Andy Murray, Laura Trott, Jessica

Ennis-Hill? Also, not to be overlooked is

the financial consideration these

activities can take. 2 or 3 classes a week

can really add up, and if it's more, as

things start to get more serious, it can

start to be a real commitment on a

family's part.

Long hours, late nights

42 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

We’d like to give him every opportunity

to try but what does that mean for

school? Speaking to many parents with

children who are succeeding in sport,

it’s long hours, late nights on a school

night, weekends, travel and so on. All of

these often lead to a tired child. Does a

child who is tired succeed at school, do

they get the most out of their learning,

do they give their all in class? Is this

more important? But a child who

doesn’t have enough stimulation and

release outside the classroom can get

bored and frustrated as well. How do we

as parents know when enough is

enough and to call time on too much

outside the classroom? But yet how do

we know what could have been if we let

them take everything to the max. It’s

easy to say that pure talent is

identifiable from an early age and if

they’re going to make it, it’ll be clear,

but much evidence suggests that it’s not

always the case and practice will

ultimately prevail. Malcolm Gladwell

has done extensive research around the

fact that 10,000 hours of “deliberate

practise” are needed to become worldclass

in any field. So let’s break that

down, 10,000 hours starting at the age

of 6. Given a relatively small window of

time after school, let’s say 2 hours, 5

days a week, plus say 3 hours each day

on a weekend. That’s 16 hours a week,

so 625 weeks so that’s 12 years. They’ll

be ready by the time they’re 18. That’s

every week, every year for 12 years, no

let up. Where do we fit that in, with

homework and the need for some very

important downtime, there aren’t

enough hours in the day! And do

we/they really want to be in the worldclass

field in today’s world with all of

the pressures on and off the “field”?

Post-training concentration

OK, this is an extreme example. Let’s

take it down a notch, how about just 2

nights a week of swimming training

plus 2 hours on a Saturday and Sunday.

10pm bedtimes on a school night for a 9

year old are pretty draining. But they

love it, they love the spirit of the team,

the (hopefully) success and the fitness.

Next day though, they’re finding it

harder to concentrate and their mind

wanders from the Geography lesson

and they miss something important,

and slowly their school work takes a

small dip and that continues to a bigger

one and all too soon their performance

is radically affected.

The perception of the increasing

importance of outstanding grades

Do grades really matter post university?

I was speaking to a friend this morning

and she wanted to have a career change

into midwifery after an arts based

career. She was told she'd need to resit

her GCSEs (1 year), after obtaining a

very respectable 10 GCSEs (A-C), do a 2

years higher education conversion

course and then 3 years midwifery

degree. She otherwise has 4 A-levels

and an arts degree. She said to me, just

think what I could have done if I hadn't

Autumn 2017

spread myself so thinly at school and

really focussed on one or two things

including studies. Are C's good enough

in today's world or do we have to

sacrifice something?

More and more people look for a career

change further down the line,

particularly after having children or

other significant life events. Is it

becoming more important than ever to

secure those outstanding GCSE results

to pave the path for choices you can’t

even know about yet?

Traditional Vs. Soft Skills

Also, with the way work is changing, are

soft skills and being able to learn to

learn and adapt more important than

demonstrating that we can retain

knowledge? Especially with now we

have Google. What is the best way

prepare our children for adulthood? Is it

a trade off between traditional vs. 21st

Century skills, or can we have both?

And can we throw sport or music or any

other committed extra-curricular

activities into the mix as well?

Personalised support

To me, there is no one size fits all

answer and the best thing to do is listen

to each individual child. No one knows

them quite like their parents, so

together with the help of their teachers,

who also know them very well, working

out the best path to success, and

determining what success for them

looks like, has to be the right place to

start? •

Wow! Summer has passed in a flash and

it’s time to go back to school, so much

to do and after having many weeks to

do it, it’s always left to the last minute in

a flurry of name tapes, school shoes

shopping and realising your child has

grown several inches and no longer fits

in any of their school clothes! But more

importantly than that your mind turns

to the year ahead.

As a teacher, the most important

relationships are those with the children

in your class, you have a year with them

and you want to get the very best out of

them and for them to thrive and be

happy in your care. But as a parent it’s

also pretty important for us to connect

with and build a relationship with you,

small things can make a big difference

to us!

So what can help with the home-school


It's worth remembering that parents are

often more nervous than the kids going

back in, “are they going to be happy,

will they keep/make friends, will they

do well, will they settle, will they bond

with their teacher, will they struggle

with the new pressures of the higher


Whether it’s that very first day in

reception, a move to Junior School,

Senior School, Sixth Form or just the

next step, there’s always a worry,

anxiety of sorts and something that

usually can be quelled pretty quickly

with the right support from the

teachers. We can be an anxious and

irrational lot from time to time, but we

can also make a great team with the

teachers and that as a parent is what I

strive for so that we can work together

to get the very best for our

children. There is never enough time in

the day for a class teacher to engage and

have a conversation with every parent,

every day, but for us to know the door

is open if we have a worry is a huge

thing. A teacher who is accessible

makes us feel more confident and

relaxed that we can approach them

should we have a concern. An e-mail or

the ability to approach them in class

should we need to is great. So, day 1, a

new teacher a new classroom, lots of

names to learn and lots of behaviours

and personalities to get used to and


Back to school... musings of

If going in after the first week, we see

that the teacher already has taken the

time to know the names of the class, it’s

a big help, it’s a sign that the teacher has

bonded with the class and things are

going well, parent anxiety falls and we

relax into our stride.

a Secret Parent

Helping homelife run smoothly.

Communication is key; many parents

are busy and clear information helps to

make sure the kids are sent in with the

right things on the right days and not a

frantic dash home for the right kit, or if

that’s not possible, rooting through the

lost property box for a pair of shorts

that fit! Writing in the homework book

or these days, app, and making sure the

children know what they need for the

next day also helps - I often get

reminded by my 6 year old what she

needs the next day! Getting the right

balance of communication is a real

must, too much it gets lost in the

plethora of information we receive

daily, too little and it’s a panic in the

small window before school to get

things sorted and we all arrive at school

in a fluster!

Balance. Parents need to see praise and

opportunities being seen to be spread

fairly around the class, it’s an obvious

thing but it’s really important to us.

Punctuality. Making sure the classroom

door is open on time, or even a couple

of minutes early if it’s feasible can really

go a long way for some parents. Often

they need to get to work in a rush and a

couple of “bonus minutes” can really

have a positive impact on their entire


We know that sometimes, we’re not

always the easiest “customers”, but

problems nipped in the bud never grow

and try not to let us stew on an issue

overnight if at all possible.

For many, a little light banter also goes

a long way, it helps us to let our guard

down and again build a relationship

with you.

Most of what I have written is second

nature to many and doesn’t need saying

but as one of those nervous parents

approaching a new year I thought it

would be a good time to reflect on what

makes a good start to the year from our

perspective and wish everybody a

fantastic, happy and successful

academic year ahead! •

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 43

School - Parent Partnerships

A news article discusses current or recent news of either general

interest (i.e. daily newspapers) or of a specific topic (i.e. political or

trade news magazines, club newsletters, or technology news websites).

Dealing with difficult parents

Parents – we can’t exist without them! Most encounters with parents are a delight; both pleasant and profitable.

In this article, I shall be looking at a small, vociferous, sometimes influential minority that can wreak havoc if left unchecked, although

let us not forget the vast majority of our loyal parents who are, after all, our bread and butter and by and large a joy to work with.

By Thomas Packer,

Having said this, many difficult

encounters can be avoided if a

school takes the approach that

managing difficult parents is not a

series of isolated one off events but

a process which if managed

former Headmaster

properly on a whole school basis

can reduce significantly he number

of complaints and problems.

Many of those who work in schools

will have encountered a difficult

situation with a parent at least


Whilst senior leaders might be able

to calm parents down, they

nevertheless find the experience

wearing and time consuming. Less

experienced teachers and

secretarial staff – often on the front

line – find it more difficult to deal

with some parents who can be very

intimidating or even aggressive.

Such encounters can escalate to a

situation where awkward

conversations are avoided, or there

is a complete breakdown in

communication. This has never

been more prevalent than in

Independent Schools, where

parents are driven partly by the

current concept of ‘consumer care’

embedded in educational culture

together with the quite natural

desire to see their children thrive,

repaying the enormous financial

sacrifice that they are making.

Concerns range from serious issues

such as academic results or

accusations of bullying to

seemingly more trivial such as

their child’s participation in

the school play or in a sports team.

44 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Why independent education?

It is important to understand what

parents, in general, expect from

their child’s school. Some will have

value without asking relevant

a genuine desire to give their child

A news article discusses current or recent news of either general questions and pausing for thought.

the best start in life, often at huge

interest (i.e. daily newspapers) or of a specific topic (i.e. political Then or we have issues raised which

personal sacrifice to themselves.

are about the parent’s own

trade news magazines, club newsletters, or technology news websites).

ambition / status.

They can be fiercely ambitious for

their child, expecting him or her to What often happens?

be better than the other children.

Only too often, when confronted

Others hope that their child will

with a potential parental

succeed at areas that they

confrontation this is what usually

themselves did not excel; almost


leading their own lives through

their children. Sadly, there’s a

Avoid the problem

minority who can be vocal, who see Deny the problem; hope it goes

independent (or ‘private’) education away

as a means of enhancing their social Change the subject

standing. They choose a school on React emotionally: Become

the basis of its perceived status.

aggressive, abusive, hysterical, or

They are choosing their child’s peer frightening

group, or even hoping to widen

Find someone to blame

their own circle through their

Make excuses

child’s friends.

Let someone else deal with it

Another difficulty we face in

independent education is that we

must provide value over and above

the state funded alternatives. These

are free. In a parent's mind, if they

pay £10,000 per year on fees they

expect to see something that is

£10,000 better than the local state

school. In reality of course, the

‘extra' funding is minimal unless

fees reach twice that figure.

Why parents become difficult

The reasons why parent become

difficult range around these factors:

They have a genuine concern

They want their child to be

better than others’

They have ambitions for


Other problems (eg mental

health, influence of alcohol or


From this list it is evident that some

are perceptions that the School can

help dispel and some are genuine

concerns. Some are simply

unreasonable. Of course the child

brings about a number of issues at

home (or even by text message).

However only some are genuine

and the rest manipulation. Today’s

parents are too willing to take

everything their children say at face

None of these is good enough!

Whether it be a genuine concern or

a simply outrageous demand,

parents deserve to be treated with

respect and the issues rarely

disappear on their own. In fact,

sidestepping the problem simply

fuels any dispute.

How to deal with difficult


The importance of the dialogue

between school and home cannot

be underestimated, and those

schools which have taken steps to

ensure that their relationship with

their parents is a good one, based

on mutual respect and concern for

the young people whose care they

share for at least five days each

week will have fewer flash-points

on the level of personal interaction

between parent and teacher.

Everyone has an experience of

school life, so, in that respect, all

our parents feel that they are

experts! For many, their own

experiences of school and of

teachers are not particularly good

ones: some find entering school

premises a daunting prospect, and

this unease can quickly escalate into

difficult or aggressive behaviour.

Most difficulties can be avoided if

the school has in place clear policies

and procedures that have been

communicated to parents in

advance and in a manner that is

easily understood. Knowing the

school’s position, and everyone in

the organisation applying

procedures consistently not only

reduce the number of difficult

encounters but also make them

easier to resolve, because there is

no doubt in anybody’s mind.

Therefore consistency and

communication are vital, as are

clear role definitions.

How many staff are familiar with

the school’s stance on some of the

common ‘flashpoint’ issues? For


setting and streaming



reporting and matters related to


support, mentoring and


the school’s powers outside the

school gates

And how clearly, how often and by

what means are these

communicated to parents?

Practical tips

Autumn 2017

A useful overarching tool when

dealing with parents is the ‘LEAP’


Listen - make it clear that you are


Empathise - show understanding

(but don’t agree).

Ask - ask relevant, open questions

to help the discussion.

Problem solve - reach a solution

that’s workable.

Taking each stage in turn, it’s vital

that whatever your private thoughts

you must not just listen carefully

but show that you are listening.

This is particularly crucial when a

parent is visibly angry or upset.

This is followed by demonstrating

that you understand their point of

view. On no account must you

actually agree.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 45

School - Parent Partnerships

What you are aiming to do is to

show empathy, with statements

such as “I see why you are upset…”

“I understand why you are

concerned…” These first two steps

do much to defuse an ugly situation

and also enable rapport and trust to


Then it’s time to get to the bottom

of things. Ask relevant questions to

clarify exactly what the complaint is

about and what evidence there is

and what evidence you might need

to gather. Questions such as

“when”, “where”, “who else was

present”, “what” and “how” are

useful in this respect. On no

account accept hearsay or

innuendo. In all cases clarify how

substantial the evidence really is.

The final stage is the conclusion. It

might be that an agreeable solution

is readily forthcoming, in which

case go for it! However, often you

need to gather further evidence,

which can be time consuming:

bullying for instance. So the

‘problem solving’ stage in this case

would be an agreement as to how

matters are going to develop,

including agreed intervals at which

you’ll update the parent on

progress to date. There is nothing

more infuriating than agreeing a

way forward for the problem to

apparently disappear simply

because it is taking longer than

expected. The parent will interpret

this as you not taking the matter

seriously or not bothering to take

any action.


There’s a lot more to dealing with

potential conflict and difficult

situations than we’ve covered here.

A whole or half day staff training

programme is an excellent way

forward. It will reduce the number

of stressful encounters and bolster

parental/school relationships

leading to greater parental

satisfaction, retention and

recruitment. It also offers a unique

opportunity for different staff to

work together – support, admin

and teaching. Such opportunities

are rare in schools; here’s your

chance to build a stronger, more

cohesive school community. Last

but by no means least it will help a

school focus on exactly what it

expects from parents, what parents

expect from the school and vitally

how this is communicated. The

author, Thomas Packer, has a

wealth of experience in resolving

conflict and awkward situations and

he can offer tailor made training

days or consultancy services to

individual schools or clusters. The

emphasis throughout is on

practical, useful strategies

illustrated with real life situations.

Difficult parents will always exist in

independent schools. But with

careful communication and delicate

handling in stances of awkward

conversations can be minimised.

Remember the LEAP principle and

never agree to something you

cannot or will not do, no matter

how strong the pressure. Equally

never “agree” to something on

behalf of a third party and always

make timescales realistic.

Gender & Leadership



by David Winfield, former Deputy Headmaster

All of the high-quality research into

the effects of increasing gender and

ethnic diversity at Senior Leadership

level indicates that it leads to

significantly higher performing

organisations. There are a myriad of

reasons for this: diversity of thought

means that opportunities and threats

are more quickly identified, there is

less tendency towards 'group think',

diverse organisations tend to be more

creative, innovative and happy. They

are more responsive to change and

provide higher-quality products and


And yet, according to UK

Government data, only 36%

of senior school headteachers are

female, despite the fact that women

account for 62% of all teachers.

Governing bodies are 81% male and in

higher-education, only 21% of vicechancellors

are female.

Aside from the organisational

benefits, pressure groups such as

#WomensED argue that it is

especially vital for education

institutions to have high-status female

role-models for young boys as well as

girls to help avoid future gender


So how did we get into this position as

a profession? What is happening now,

and what are the lessons for

Leadership Teams and

Governing Bodies?

Are talented female teachers simply

not applying for leadership roles? Or is

inherent sexism at play?

Wendy Baxter, now a headteacher at

Meadstead Primary Academy, has

been forthright about her experiences.

"Governors overtly believed that a man

would be a better because he would be

tougher and more respected by

students. I once found myself the only

woman in a shortlist of nine, and

believe I was there only because I was

already doing the role as interim head.

There were over 50 applicants, so I

don’t think the male-dominated

shortlist was down to chance."

I have also recently spoken to a female

Headteacher in the UK Independent

Sector about an instance where she

48 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

compared her interview feedback with a

fellow male interviewee who she knew

well. On one question, they had given

virtually identical responses. Her male

counterpart was praised from his

knowledgeable and authoritative answer.

She was marked down as being overconfident

and unnecessarily strident.

She's neither.

Domique Gobbi, Executive Principal and

Havelock Academy also offers anecdotal

evidence that all is not as it should be

when it comes to assessing suitability for

Senior Leadership.

"Female school leaders may encounter

difficulty in becoming a head because of

things that should be immaterial. Age and

appearance can become a focal point. I

have been dispirited that colleagues who

encourage and support young people also

openly judge female leaders on a

superficial level."

Aside from such anecdotal evidence, an

enormous amount of research has been

undertaken by organisations such as the

30% club, KPMG, McKinsey, Oxford

Brookes University, PwC and the Centre

for Diversity Research on the reasons for

gender imbalance at the top of

organisations, and what leadership teams

can do to tackle it effectively.

What follows are 10 gender myths that

this research debunks. I have drawn

heavily of the KPMG document, 'Cracking

the code', and the full list of references

appears at the end of this article.

Myth 1:




Women's career aspirations do not differ from those of men, and they

define what matters most to their success in exactly the same way:

having positive working relationships and doing something that is

interesting. Their ambition grows as their professional experience

does. Women's ambition therefore has a slow fuse and their decision

making takes account of more factors: This is sometimes interpreted

as a caveated commitment to career progression.


If you ask men and women at the outset of their careers whether they

aspire to become a Headteacher, you are likely to receive very

different answers. If you ask the same question of men and women

already in leadership roles, their responses are likely to be much more

aligned. Career discussions with men and women are also likely to feel

rather different because women’s careers have a different flight-path

to men’s. Schools need to apply an open mind and a gender intelligent

lens on the role of ambition when screening for potential in their

talent pools.


Do not assume that everyone will succeed in the same way or at the

same time. Listen for and challenge assumptions about what women

are really seeking in their careers. Encourage a discussion within your

leadership team on how to identify and encourage criteria for

women’s ambition.

Myth 2:




At senior levels there is no strong evidence that women give up on

their careers any more than men. Lack of promotion rather than

attrition is why females do not make it to Headship and beyond.



Myth 3:


Having a family can delay career

progression, but it is not significant in

preventing women from reaching the top.

There is no statistically significant

difference in the number of promotions

between women with and without

children. There is also strong evidence that

raising a family enhances organisational

skills, empathy and ambition.


Schools need to take a long view about the career paths for

their talented females. Sensible career management is of

immense value to women throughout the early stages of their

career. Challenging women in the middle stages of their career

to revisit their short and medium term aspirations in light of

personal growth as a result of having a family could add some

fresh perspectives on who should be in the talent pool.


Schools need to get much closer to the actual experience of their

potential female leaders, who appear to be missing out on promotion

opportunities relative to their male peers.


Prioritise spending time with your potential female leaders in an

informal setting in order to really understand any mismatch between

their aspirations and their experience. Encourage your leadership

team to discuss the career progression – both past and future – of their

direct reports.


If you are a senior woman leader, make time to talk to

talented young women and encourage them to lean in

and look beyond the immediate challenges of

combining parenthood with a career.

If you are a senior male leader, explore and compare

any generational differences in the attitudes and

expectations of your talented young men and young

women with your own assumptions.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 49

Gender & Leadership



Risk-alertness keeps women grounded in reality. Women are more honest about their skills and abilities when putting

themselves forward for unfamiliar challenges. A forensic approach to assessing personal risk and return is a more accurate

explanation than lack of confidence for women's career choices.

Myth 4:

As a leadership strength, men and women are told that they demonstrate confidence in equal measures. Yet, expectations

about women’s behaviour means their margin for error in projecting the right degree of confidence is very narrow.

Female leaders are twice as likely to be given feedback on how they need to develop their confidence than their male



Confidence is implicit in the concept of leadership. But schools need to be careful in their interpretation of behaviours

that imply confidence. Both men and women are seeking greater transparency around criteria for promotion and clear

career pathways to help them progress with confidence. The quality of the conversations that women have about their

readiness for a move will require careful interpretation, especially in the early stages of a woman’s career, if she is not to

be branded as lacking confidence.


Women leaders need to be precise when talking about their sources of professional credibility and personal comfort,

rather than talking about confidence in general terms. This will help to eliminate unhelpful explanations

about a range of behavioural differences between men and women. All leaders need to be mindful of an ‘over-confidence

effect’– shown to be more prevalent in men than women – whereby confidence in one’s own judgement is greater than

the objective accuracy of the same judgement.



Men and Women's leadership is experienced as broadly similar. The differences between men and women leaders are

subtle and complementary. However, men's marginal leadership strengths are rewarded disproportionately.

Myth 5:


Quantifying and qualifying the impact of leadership behaviour is difficult. Nevertheless, organisations need to look

beyond easily quantifiable metrics in order to ensure that women’s leadership contribution is not being underestimated.


'Inattentional blindness’ is a well researched phenomenon that arises when individuals are so tightly focused on

achievement of goals that they do not spot other things happening around them. What happens when you consider the

leadership impact of men and women on your team? How do you weigh up their contributions to ‘what’ and ‘how’ things

get done around here? How can you improve your own and others’ peripheral vision for cultural leadership?

Myth 6:



Women understand the link between professional networking and career success. At work, they choose formal

channels to build their profile and access support for their professional development. Men use informal contacts more

readily to sustain their progress.


Diversity networks are welcomed as opportunities to share experience but are not seen by women as being valuable in

progressing their careers until they are relatively senior. Evidence from cross-organisational mentoring schemes shows

how much value both parties derive from regular contact with individuals outside their normal day to day activity.

Building diversity of experience into sponsoring and mentoring relationships, e.g. across the organisation or between

organisations, appears to be where women derive most value.


Senior Leadership teams and Governing Bodies should look to open up their own network of contacts to help female

leaders to find relevant opportunities – even outside their existing school – that prepares them for a Senior Leadership

role. It is also worth considering creating opportunities that are within school hours.

50 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017



Senior women attract and work hard to recruit other women through a range of approaches. Men are as important as

women at inspiring women futher down the leadership ladder.

Myth 7:


Men are equally responsible for setting the ‘tone at the top’ and creating an inclusive culture that attracts female talent.

Schools that recognise the value of diversity can help to plug women into relationships that extend their experience

beyond their immediate organisational context. Organisations should encourage women to become sponsors in order to

build their own network of affiliates.


If you are not formally or informally sponsoring a talented woman, why not start now? It is relatively easy for an Senior

Leadership or Governing Body member to leverage their connections to help a woman in their school to gain leadership

experience that will improve her chances of promotion.

Myth 8:



High potential and other development programmes are indicative of a supportive culture that develops both men and

women. Such programmes are not instrumental in creating more diversity in Senior Leadership Teams.


Schools may need to revisit their approach to selection criteria for development programmes dependent on whether they

are intended to maintain or increase levels of gender diversity. At the same time, schools may also need to redirect their

investment into developing individuals rather than groups. In terms of enabling their career success, women value

individualised types of developmental activity, such as personal feedback, line management, coaching, mentoring and

sponsorship – significantly more than men.


Are you as rigorous about the return on investment of a high potential programme in your school as you would be about

any other investment? What longitudinal data would you need to track to establish a rounded measure of success? How

can you tease out the causality behind what happens to participants after a development programme from pre-existing

factors that led to them being nominated to participate in the first place?



Informal, individual arrangements that allow autonomy and agility are what women find helps them to most succeed.

High quality line management is essential in creating the right conditions for women to feel trusted.

Myth 9:


Schools need to be more sophisticated in tracking the impact of both formal flexible working arrangements and informal,

agile working on career progression. Organisations should not overlook the importance of investing in the development

of effective people management and team leadership skills if they want to create the best possible context for men and

women to succeed.


The type of manager that women value most is one who provides a light touch on task management and a high touch on

career management. Women also see the best women leaders being those who create a high support and a high challenge

culture. Line managers and leaders need to check their own assumptions about women’s commitment to their careers –

particularly before and after they take parental leave.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 51

Gender & Leadership



The personal case for gender diversity is a more powerful lever when advocating for change, especially when the case is

made by men. The business case for gender diversity is too abstract and generic to act as a motivational lever for change.

The business benefits are often not proven on a local level. Authentic storytelling that conveys individual leaders' personal

values behind the need for change taps into others' motivations more directly.

Myth 10:


Schools could certainly become more adept at presenting their own case for gender diverse leadership at various

organisational levels, creating the conditions for individuals to explore their own personal rationale for change on gender

diversity. This can overcome some of the scepticism shown towards what can be perceived as organisational ‘lip-service’

to the issue.


Tap into your story-telling skill-set and open up and talk freely about the relevance for you, your family, and your close

friends of creating gender intelligent organisations, where men and women can succeed on their own terms. This is likely

to resonate more powerfully for your audience and connect them directly with their own motivation to challenge the

status quo.

This article based upon the KPMG & 30% club document, ' Cracking the code'. Other material that has

been referenced:

Tomorrow’s Global Leaders: how to build a culture

that ensures women reach the top,Tomorrow’s

Company, 2014

Winning Hearts and Minds: How CEOs Talk

about Gender Parity, KPMG & King’s College,

London research paper, 2014

Forget about balance – you have to make choices,

Boris Groysberg & Robin Abrahams, HBR,

March 2014

Getting real: How high-achieving women can lead

authentically, Marian N. Ruderman & Sharon

Rogolsky, Centre for Creative Leadership

White paper,

How women decide, Cathy Benko & Bill Pelster,

HBR, September 2013

Simple Steps to Unlocking Potential,

Women’s Business Council: Government

Equalities Office, 2013

Maximising women’s contribution to

future economic growth, Women’s Business

Council: Government Equalities Office, 2013

The SHL Talent Report 2013: Big data

insight and analysis of the global

workforce, Eugene Burke & Ray Glennon,

SHL, 2013

Women and the vision thing, Herminia Ibarra &

Otilia Obodaru, HBR, January 2009

Autumn 2017

Avoiding gender

stereotypes in sport

A personal view by the Secret Parent

It's just not cricket...

I have just been away for the

weekend with ten 7 and 8 year olds

(I know, living the dream). These

are kids who, just over a year ago,

finished their pre prep school

virtually oblivious to gender. One

year at prep school and things look

very different, but why? Well one

major clue this weekend was when

we suggested rounders or cricket on

the beach. The boys have got the

cricket bug. The girls love rounders.

But will they play the opposite

sports? I mean they both involve

throwing, catching and hitting a ball

with a bat, right? Not in a million

years, because nobody wants to

play a sport that is for the other


Sacrificing gender equality?

This was illuminating to me and

explained how, after 3 years at pre

prep, playing happily together,

irrespective of gender, there is now

almost a total segregation, socially.

These kids are all fortunate enough

to go to a fantastic school and have

proper coaching in a wide variety of

sports. Girls and boys are separated

so boys get to be coached in rugby,

cricket and football. The girls play

rounders, hockey and netball. They

all swim and run but do so

separately. It is easy to think they

are given all the best opportunities.

That is certainly the intention of the

school. But is separating boys and

girls for all sports, so young, really

giving them the best opportunities?

Or is it sacrificing gender equality

and social wellbeing in a way that is

disproportionate to what they gain?

My view, unsurprisingly, given that I

am writing this article, is that it is.

Football is for everyone

One surprise at prep school has

been that the girls all of a sudden

started having petty issues with

each other and falling out (or, as the

boys put it ‘being girly’). This

invariably happens at playtime

which they largely spend chatting.

When I asked my daughter if this

happened with the boys, she looked

at me like I was mad and said, ‘of

course not because the boys are

playing football’. A year ago

football was for anyone who

wanted to run around. These days it

is just for boys. Of course the girls

could run around, but an

impromptu game of netball or

rounders needs equipment and

rules. Part of the reason the

beautiful game is just that, is

because it is so accessible. Rich and

poor, first world and third world,

anybody can play football because

all you need is a ball. Anybody, it

seems, except girls!

Competing together

Then there is the separation for

running and swimming. Part of that,

I suspect, is due to there now being

gender specific changing rooms

requiring gender specific teachers so

it is a logical basis for separation.

The boys very much have the

impression that it is because men

are stronger than women and boys

therefore are stronger than girls.

Except when they are 7 or 8 or 9 that

really need not be the case. If they

were allowed to learn, and compete,

together they would see that.

It is wonderful that these children

have the opportunity to start

learning the sports they will play

through school at such a young age.

They could also start learning, by

example, through playing together,

that boys and girls can be equally, if

differently, talented at sports and

that they can play games that are not

traditionally for their gender. If that

happened, then whatever is lost in a

little specialised coaching would

surely be more than compensated

for by giving them an early, and

clear, message that they need not,

and must not, define themselves, or

others, by gender and that, for a

little longer, at least, they can all just

see themselves as children.

If you would like to send us a secret

parent article about your experience of

independent schools, please e-mail us at

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 53

Independent Thinking

Genuine all-through learning: The

path to knowledge

by Dave Harris, Author and Education Consultant

How often do you walk through your

school observing the learning from

the youngest to the oldest? (If your

school has more than one Key Stage,

include them all; children’s

development is blind to such labels.)

Does the following description sound


As we walk into the infants’ room we

are struck by the sense of fun and

excitement. The walls drip with

colour and learning prompts. The

children are excited to be here and

the teacher seems completely happy

in the centre of learning. The children

are engaged on different activities and

are even helping each other improve

their work. There is clarity about the

roles of everyone in their group and

the children are demonstrably

enjoying the learning, often working

independently in different areas of

the room.

As you walk through the school,

advancing through the years, there is

a clear change. The children are

becoming less mobile, less excited and

more placid. The teacher is moving

from a ‘facilitator’ role to one of the

‘giver of knowledge’; the learning in

the room seems to all originate from

the adult. The walls are more

functional and, at the older end,

contain a few rather faded

commercial posters. The energy in

the room seems to reduce and the

pupils no longer seem to be as

engaged, often sitting in rows with

their eyes fixed on the front. The

pupils wait to be led through their

next bit of the curriculum.

Sadly, the description above is all too

familiar. On one occasion after an

experience similar to this I asked the

Headteacher what she felt the core

purpose of her school was. She

replied without hesitation: “to

produce motivated, enthusiastic,

independent learners”. I gently

pointed out to her that this was what

the school was starting with and then

systematically removing from her


Why does this happen? Surely there

must be a reason why so many

schools are developing this journey?

Does the brain require this change as

pupils get older?

Of course the brain develops on the

journey from baby to adult, and

requires different approaches to

maximise learning as it does. However,

the changes are gradual (and certainly

don’t happen at a common age for all).

Even the brain of an adult responds

positively to the learning environment

traditionally supplied for an infant

(how many of us would say we learn

best when we are sitting in rows being

talked at?)

Do universities require this type of


Certainly not! The most common

moan from University departments is

that they wish schools would provide

them with more independent and

more motivated learners. The

number of hours of formal lectures

are dropping, being supplemented by

a bank of on-line learning resources,

all of which require the student’s

motivation and dedication.

Does the world of work require this


Again, no! Repeated reports from

employers talk about the need to

provide school leavers with skills such

as resilience, self-motivation,

ingenuity and independence. In an

increasingly complex world

businesses are having to reimagine

the way they work and therefore are

not looking for their employees to

work in the way they have always


54 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

If schools can produce young people

able to use the information at their

fingertips the world has a great future.

I have seen some wonderful leaders

who are transforming their schools

and the learning that happens within

them. If you want help on your

journey please let us know at

Independent Thinking – “Do things

no one does, or do things everyone

does in a way no one does!” •

About Dave Harris





Does the brain require this change as

pupils get older?

Toward the end of the 17th century in

England there was a period of great

unrest and unhappiness as citizens

had to adapt to new ways of living and

working. As the world shifted from an

agricultural model to an industrial

one people needed to change habits

and behaviours that had been passed

down from generation to generation.

The resultant instability and

unhappiness caused knock on effects

for over 50 years until a new ‘norm’

was achieved. We are now in the

middle of an equally dramatic shift

into a post-industrial society

(sometimes referred to as the

Information Society).

It is a natural human response to feel

concern about this change (even

without the advent of new global

threats). When we feel unsettled we

will want to hang onto old ways of

doing things, like clinging onto a tree

in a fast running river; we hope the

turbulence around us will settle and

allow us to continue our lives in the

old ways. This is understandable, but


It is very questionable if traditional

‘chalk and talk’ methods were ever the

best way of supporting genuine

learning, but there is little doubt they

are not what we need now.

What we need are young people

leaving school with a passion for

learning, with a realisation of the

immense possibilities that the world

holds for them.

Business Director of

Independent Thinking Ltd

Author of :

Are You Dropping the baton?

(from effective transition to

all through schooling)

Brave Heads (how to lead

your school without losing

your soul)

Leadership Dialogues with

Prof John West Burnham

Leadership Dialogues II

(Leadership in times of

change) published autumn


Teacher Training


For over twenty years Independent Thinking has been working across the UK and globally to

help schools help children and young people be brilliant. Established by educational innovator

and award-winning author Ian Gilbert, Independent Thinking does what its name suggests,

supporting all those in education who want to think for themselves. A unique organisation, we

tap into some of the UK’s leading practitioners to help them share expertise across all areas and

phases of education, whether through workshops for young people, whole-school training days

for staff, sessions with parents and governors, conferences for school leaders or through our

many award-winning books.

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 55

Parents Tour




"I’ve been hearing a lot in the last year or two about Pownall Hall School in Wilmslow. It’s an independent

primary school, for children aged 2 to 11. People refer to it in glowing terms on social media and in the coffee

shops of Wilmslow and the surrounding area. It seems to have parents and grandparents buzzing, so I thought

I’d pop down for a visit to see what all the fuss is about."

by Karen Burns, Director, Independent Schools Portal

I arrived on the morning that the school

discovered that it had just received the highest

possible rating from the Independent School

Inspectorate’s Educational Quality inspection.

Inspectors rated the school as “Excellent” for the

academic achievement of its pupils, as well as the

achievement of its pupils in other activities such as

sport, music, drama and art. Furthermore the

school was rated “Excellent” for how pupils

develop in character and confidence under the

tutelage of the teachers, and for the progress they

make while at the school. High praise indeed!

My timing was excellent. So how does the school

do it?

“We start with the children”, says David

Goulbourn, the school’s Headmaster for the last

three years. He is standing at the school gate,

greeting the children as they arrive in the morning.

He crouches down to shake hands with each one of

them, his eyes level with theirs. I can see that he

really believes what he says.

Issue 27 | 234

He continues; “We believe that every

child has a talent; academic, sporting,

artistic, empathetic, social.

It’s our job to find that talent, nurture it and

develop it.”

Some of the children show him their homework;

models, drawings, pages of maths, research pages

on an iPad. He praises each one in turn.

A Headmaster for eight years, David Goulbourn

also teaches history, is a schools inspector and a

qualified rugby and hockey coach. As we walk

down the path to the school he points out the

school’s new Astroturf hockey pitch. “We are so

lucky with facilities” he said. “Because we have the

facilities we can have specialist teachers for all of

our academic and co-curricular activities.” The

Astroturf is the latest addition to the roster of

facilities at the school; eight acres of playing fields,

a sports hall, an art studio, a computing suite, a

library, and its very own theatre in addition to all

that you would normally expect.

56 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

We walk towards the Hall itself, a beautiful Grade

II listed Georgian building, formerly the home of

Henry Boddington, the brewery magnate. I

wonder what he would have made of all the

children bustling through the building to their


“The curriculum is so important, for many

schools and at Pownall Hall School we try to give

as broad an education as possible, to equip

children for their future. You don’t do that by

lecturing them, we do that by encouraging their

creativity and problem solving abilities.”

The results are impressive. Children go on from

Pownall Hall School to a wide array of schools

such as the top academic schools in Manchester

and Cheshire, specialist music schools and

sporting academies. “It’s all about finding the

right senior school for the individual child”.

As I leave I’m impressed by a class of 6 year olds

learning Mandarin. Not something you see every day

in Cheshire! I guess that’s why the school’s motto is

“Everything is possible”.

Results, inspectors, curriculum, specialist

teachers, facilities. It’s no wonder that the school

is growing. Numbers are up 50% in the past three

years. Clearly more and more parents want this

education for their children. All the more

remarkable when you consider that most prep

schools in Cheshire are declining in numbers.

If you are interested in seeing for yourself what this

outstanding school can offer your child, you can call

or e mail anytime to arrange a tour. You do not need

to wait for a specified ‘open day’.

My tour guide is a cheery 11 year old. Articulate,

confident and well mannered. She clearly loves

the school, and tells me that how she will miss

the teachers when she goes on to senior school.

She takes me round the maze that is the inside of

the Hall. “It’s a bit like Hogwarts” she beams. I

see small classes of fifteen to twenty children

being taught by a staff of teachers and teaching


Contact or ring

01625 523141 to arrange a visit.

Pownall Hall School

Carrwood Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5DW

If you would like feature your school in innovatED magazine, please contact

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 57


58 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

it is vital to enable the independent



schools sector to flourish in the 21st Century

By David Winfield, former Deputy Head &

Founder of the Independent Schools Portal

In the face of increasing competition from the state sector,

rising costs and the increasingly limited scope for fee

increases, UK independent schools can draw inspiration

from private enterprise where the phenomenon of

‘coopetition’ is being increasingly used not only to defend

market share and profitability, but to grow it.

That independent schools

benefit from coopetition is

well understood, if not

formally articulated; they

have long sought to amplify

the influence they wield with

policy makers through their

respective member

associations and there are

well developed co-curricular

activities to extend pupils

through competitive sport

and arts events.

What is perhaps less

appreciated in the education

sector is that private

enterprise is developing new

models of competition, often

in incredibly cut-throat

markets, that contain strong

collaborative strands: This

allows all organisations who

are part of a collaborative

project to become stronger

both individually and


Issue 1 | innovatED | | 59


Coopetition: A long and

distinguished history

Most headteachers and governing

bodies instinctively know who

their competitors are within the

One of the most famous historical

examples of 'coopetition in action' independent sector, along with

A was news when article discusses Citibank current in or the recent United news of either general their strengths and weaknesses.

interest States (i.e. launched daily newspapers) the very or of a first specific topic (i.e. political They or will already also likely have

trade cashpoint news magazines, machines. club newsletters, When or technology news



links with them; the

Citibank’s rivals followed suit in opportunity for independent

subsequent years, they also

schools lies in deepening those

established a ‘network cluster

relationships and in understanding

group’ whereby debit cards from the imperative to do so.

any participating bank would work

in any cashpoint. The principle The market drivers for coopetition

behind this form of coopetition in education are clear: A stagnating

was that everyone’s cards would UK market for independent

become more valuable as a result. education, driven by the well

Citibank were invited to join the resourced and improving quality

network from the outset, but at first of state provision (especially in

refused to do so. This devalued London and the south), as well as

their cards and they lost market increasing academic selectivity in

share as a result… and so were the maintained sector and limited

eventually forced to join.

scope for fee increases.

Collaboration in this area has a

direct impact on teaching, learning

and pupil outcomes. It makes all

participating schools stronger by

improving the quality of their end


Collective purchasing power

could be used more widely to

drive down the cost of resources

from suppliers. For example,

instead of renting 6

photocopiers for your school,

how much would be saved on

those 6 if you were renting 60 or

600 as part of a collaborative

purchasing group? Schools

generally buy similar things, at

similar times and could stretch

budgets much further through

collaborative purchasing

processes - improving resource

availability for all.

Coopetition is simultaneous competition and co-operation between an organisation

and external players. Coopetition goes beyond competition and co-operation,

combining the advantages of both. It develops win-win scenarios in which an

organsiation strives to gain more, not necessarily by taking market share or profit

Key questions

Increasing amounts of research are

being undertaken into this area of

business economics, led by Paul

Hughes at Durham University and

Dr. Jinqui Cai at Loughborough

University, and they are developing

approaches that allow organisations

to consider whether and how their

competitors can also be

complementors. They have

identified 4 key questions that must

be understood before embarking

on a coopetition project:

Who are my competitors?

What are their strengths and


Can any of my competitors

become my complementors and


Can I establish beneficial

relationships with these


New educational marketplace

entrants in the form of Academy

chains, Grammar and Free schools

represent an existential threat for

some, and have the potential to

cause significant pain for many.

Deepening collaborative


So how can independent schools

deepen collaborative relationships

to quickly generate practical,

tangible benefits?

Sharing best teaching practice

and resources boosts

professional development

through improved knowledge,

shared experiences, widened

networks and by making

colleagues more efficient.

- Financial Times

Co-operation in professional

services is now common-place in

industry. For example, Wineries

from the same region often share

marketing costs and expertise

and hold trade shows to promote

the excellence of their area.

Many firms now also outsource

more mundane financial

administration tasks such as

payroll and income collection.

These are just two areas where

the independent sector could

take advantage of coopetition,

and there are many more.

from a contender, but by creating a bigger market in complementary areas.

60 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

Limited resources are often a

huge problem for small and

medium size businesses - which

is what most independent

In order to make coopetition work,

the Durham and Loughborough

research teams identified some key

schools are, of course.

A news article discusses current or recent news of either general

areas for organisations to consider:

Competing manufacturers will

interest often (i.e. daily share newspapers) production or of a specific capacity topic (i.e. political What or is the scope and

through sub-contracts and will boundaries of the coopetition?

trade news magazines, club newsletters, or technology news websites).

also base future individual

investment decisions in-part

based upon the collective

manufacturing requirements of

the group. This allows them to

gain market share by competing

with bigger companies, or grow

the overall market as a whole by

improving quality. Clusters of

schools could potentially derive

enormous benefit by applying

this approach to facilities and this

could over time significantly

deleverage many schools by

avoiding wasteful duplication of


Making coopetition work

Which employees will be


Do any confidentiality

agreements need to be signed?

Employees involved in

coordinating coopetition should

not also be involved in direct

competition as this leads to role


These points underscore the value

of the unique benefits of the

Independent Schools Portal, and

one of the reasons why 22 schools

strongly supported it's initial


Our technology provides a means

of direct communication and

collaboration between individual

schools, but more importantly, the

Portal leadership team and partners

have the ability to deliver impartial

coordination, project oversight and

centralised services for the

common good.


Independent Schools have secured

returns from elements of

coopetition over a long period of

time and understand it's value.

What the recent research, case

studies and the development of the

Independent Schools Portal have

highlighted is that schools could

derive significant additional

benefits by revisiting their

coopetition strategy as a

development area, with a view to

deepening and extending

relationships with competitor

schools for the benefit of all.

Coopetition: Practical steps for independent and international schools

1. Know your competitors and understand

their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Establish whether there is a willingness

within your school, and of your

competitors, to begin exploring the

opportunities afforded by coopetition.

This is a process that the Independent

Schools Portal and our partners can

support you with.

3. Establish the initial scope, timescales

and boundaries of coopetition, and set

clear success criteria. It is also important

to evaluate projects regularly and look for

new coopetition opportunities as trust


4. Assign employees to coopetition

projects, understanding that these

employees must not also be engaged in

competition, in order to avoid role


The Independent Schools Portal can assist

schools with the development of

coopetition in a number of ways:

We can co-ordinate, facilitate and

organise clusters of schools to get

coopetition off the ground

We provide cutting edge, collaborative


We have access to scale purchasing

networks which schools can take

advantage of immediately.

We are developing centralised functions

such as recruitment, marketing which

schools can access.

We work consultatively and utilise our

networks to support schools with

impartiality and discretion, in a wide

range of areas.

For an initial confidential discussion,

please contact one of the Portal team:

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 61

given, and the opportunity to make collaborative purchases with other schools to enhance this buying




Efficient purchasing at independent and international schools should be a smooth, frictionless process

for budget holders and bursars. The ability to benefit from the collective size of the sector should be a

power should also be a simple process. Matt Roper explains how all this is possible, and how schools can

We know that multi-national

companies enjoy the best value

thanks to their buying power

and attractiveness to the supply

chains in which they operate.

They can afford to recruit and

retain the highest calibre

procurement professionals and

they have access to the very best

technology which speeds up

supply chain transactions and

provides procurement teams

with more intelligent data with

which to make sourcing


Independent schools struggle to

achieve these efficiencies as their

buying power is much smaller and

their information systems are often

not fully integrated. This makes

them more vulnerable to aggressive

supplier tactics and less able to

make quick decisions in response to

increasingly changeable supply

markets. Add to this the current

economic and political uncertainty,

such as Brexit and currency

fluctuations, and the resulting

supply chain risks to schools are


Creating a level playing field

Buying Support Agency (BSA)

formed in 2002 in response to the

challenge of delivering scale

purchasing benefits to smaller


Our mission has been “to create

amazing value for clients and

society through the power of

supply chains."

BSA and the team at the

Independent Schools Portal are

determined to redress the balance

in favour of independent schools

and we have developed three

support services which can be

selected by school bursars either

separately or as a combined

package – BSA Buying Group,

collaborative procurement

outsourcing, and skills training. We

can even help schools to procure

more sustainably thanks to our

sister division,

The breadth of options available

makes BSA unique in the

marketplace and ideally

poostioned to allow schools

freedom and flexibility to make the

most of opportunities, in ways that

work for them.

Opportunity 1: Joining BSA

Buying Group

Joining BSA Buying Group gives

schools access to approximately 18

cost categories where we have

developed supplier frameworks and

leveraged significant buying power

thanks to our many hundreds (and

growing) of clients who benefit from

the Buying Group every month.

easily make significant savings

Average cost savings are 15-35% though

we have achieved up to 58% cost


All we need, once your school has

joined, is some recent copy invoices

and contract expiry details.

We’ll then go and seek out improved

suppliers with keener prices through

our tendering approach and bring

back transparent savings reports to

your school. There is no obligation to

trade with the suppliers we introduce

and as a bonus, all schools which come

to us via Independent Schools Portal

gain full access to BSA Buying Group

completely free of charge – a saving of

£1,068 plus VAT every year.

We charge the suppliers a small fee for

the privilege of their being on our

supplier frameworks, so we don’t seek

fees from your school.

However, BSA Buying Group is a short

to medium term benefit, as we don’t

monitor prices or supplier service over

time – that’s down to your school to

manage. But we will of course seek

feedback from your school to maintain

pressure on the suppliers to maintain

high levels of value over time.

62 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Autumn 2017

Opportunity 2: Collaborative

procurement outsource

We believe that the bigger

opportunity to make serious dents

in your operating costs is through

our collaborative procurement

outsource. Research tells us that

there remain a significant number

of independent schools who have

yet to collaborate with other

independent schools in their region

to benefit from shared intelligence,

resources and economies of scale.

We know that one major reason for

this is that individual school bursars

lack the time needed to do

collaborative procurement justice.

It does take considerable energy to

bring together all requirements

from several schools, analyse spend

and to develop multi-site tenders,

quite apart from monitoring

supplier performance across many


That’s where BSA can assist. We can

provide a highly experienced

procurement professional to

facilitate the cluster of schools, pool

together the scoping brief, the

tenders, the evaluation of bids, the

contracts and the post contract

performance monitoring. And the

great thing about this approach is

that each school in the cluster

benefits from this extra highly

experienced resource without

having to pay the full amount as

every school pays a small

contribution every month.

Opportunity 3: Best practice

procurement and negotiation


For those schools who wish to

improve the knowledge of their

bursars and their teams, we offer

in-house best practice procurement

and effective negotiation training.

Our training courses which we’ve

run successfully over the last 15

years can be delivered either

individually to one school or to a

cluster of schools. Because we

charge the same fee regardless of

the number of delegates, the cluster

approach will be more cost

effective for the participating


Sustainable purchasing with

An ‘eco buying’ option is also

available within BSA Buying Group

Schools love

It’s the primary online source of

genuinely eco-friendly school

suppliers and services, and

showcases the “Best of British”

manufacturers. If you want to

purchase competitively priced

recycling bins, outdoor playground

equipment & benches, non-toxic

cleaning supplies, eco stationery –

even 100% renewable energy and

100% green gas, we’re the one-stop

“eco” shop.

matt roper and bsa

Buying Support Agency (BSA) are delighted to be

supporting the Independent Schools Portal in

providing independent schools with procurement

support. Since our incorporation in 2002 we’ve

focused on helping our clients to drive out costs,

boost supply chain efficiencies, mitigated risks of

supply failure and tightening up governance around


With school budgets being tight, we

want to dispel the myth that going

green is a luxury. To reinforce this, we

offer 10% off all products for sale on

the website for schools who quote the

'ISP' code. And you don’t have to pay

by credit/debit card, we also offer 30-

day payment terms for schools so you

can email us a purchase order if you


For more information, visit:

Founder and CEO of Buying Support Agency Ltd, Matt Roper has spent

the last twenty years advising private, public and charity sector clients in

best practice procurement. Clients are typically small or medium in size

but have also included high profile larger clients such as PwC, Unilever,

Babcock Group, the Police, Councils, Higher and Further Educational

establishments, social housing, the National Audit Office, various Non-

Departmental Public Bodies and schools.

Matt has been a guest speaker at several Procurement conferences and

delivered purchasing training courses to business owner/managers,

including at the High Growth Business Centre at Cranfield University

School of Management.

With a personal passion for all things ‘eco’, Matt also runs a Sustainable

Schools Programme, introducing the theme of sustainability at school

assemblies and workshops. He wants the next generation of consumers to

challenge supply chains into becoming more sustainable and ethical.

He can be contacted by emailing

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 63


Getting to know you: The real art of recruitment

by Michael Abraham, MD, Heads4Heads

Of course, now that I have written that

title, I can’t get the music out of my

head! The King and I is one of those

great Rodgers & Hammerstein

musicals. However, I digress.

I have worked in leadership

recruitment for the past six and a half

years. My first job was as a

Recruitment Director with the TES,

and boy was I thrown in at the deep

end! I had previously been a Prep

School Head for 25 years and, within

days of starting with the TES, I was

running recruitment processes for an

international school, several state

primary schools and an independent

secondary school. What was I doing?

Under the watchful eyes of Duncan

Verry, Aaron Ashton and Michael

Watson, I was patiently and generously

taught the art of leadership

recruitment. Theirs was a wholly

consultative approach which entailed

getting to know the client school, the

Governing Body and their

vision for the future, the outgoing

Head, the current staff, Uncle Tom

Cobbly and all! I spent my days in the

various schools sniffing around like

Miss Marple, trying to get a sense of

any unique challenges or

opportunities. My daily mantra was

that every school was different, with

its own challenges, and it was my job

to make a speedy assessment and run

with it!

In 2013, I joined the recruitment team

at RSAcademics. In those days, they

were a small team and so I got to work

with a very diverse range of schools.

You could find yourself one day

working for a large group such as

United Learning or Cognita, and the

next day it may be a small

independent stand-alone school. It

was, and is, fascinating work.

Whichever client I am working for, I

find that initial visit to the school is of

critical importance. Whilst being

shown around, I listen carefully, ask a

million questions and try to uncover

the key elements of the school and

the Headship. I put together a mental

image of the type of candidate that

the school needs, but then it’s very

interesting to see how differently the

Governors see the role – often quite

differently to my vision. Of course,

the person has to show leadership

abilities, enjoy the position in the

limelight, and they must have terrific

inter-personal skills. Some schools,

however, also want educational

visionaries who will transform the

school’s curricular offering; others

seek a more dynamic business

approach in which the spotlight is on

the creation of a more sizeable

surplus; some seek a highly

commercial person who will develop

the brand and widen the offering; for

others, links to the wider local

community are seen to be vital.

64 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

And then of course there is the very

nature of the school, boarding or day,

co-ed or single sex, and the location,

all of which will all help to define the

unique challenge of that school.

And what you learn, and what is so

amazing, is that every school is

unique. The greater the time that you

spend in a school, the more you come

to realise just how different that

school is to every other one. The

characteristics of the school are

developed by a sense of history and

tradition, by the style of leadership

and the management team and, of

course, by the spirit of the pupils.

So, this former Headmaster gradually

evolved into a headhunter. My role,

however, is more than simple

headhunting or executive search. I

stick like glue to the Governors, help

them to select their short lists, design

the interview process, decide on the

key priorities of the role, write down

interview questions and tasks. I have

done this before – they usually

haven’t – so I have a lot of experience

to share.

To date, I have been involved with 78

leadership recruitment processes. As

you can imagine, I have met in the

course of my job many wonderful

people, and also many annoying,

difficult and stressed people. I know of

very many extremely able candidates

who are seriously looking to move

schools. When I start to form a picture

of the next head I need to recruit, ten

names will quickly spring into my

mind, people I know who may be

interested and may just, with a bit of

luck and a following wind, interest the

Governors. Yes my little black book is

full of diverse candidates and each one

would bring excellence to a particular

school. It’s just a matter of finding the

right school!

It is surprising how often one of my

ten ‘first thoughts’ makes it to the final

shortlist. And you would be surprised

how often my own preferred candidate

is appointed by the Governors. It

doesn’t happen like that every time,

but you would be amazed how often it


So after almost 7 years in leadership

recruitment, I am now in the fortunate

position of having a brain full of

potential candidates. I travel far and

wide to meet new people whom I may

add to the list, spending the summer

holidays travelling from coffee shop to

motorway services, and back to coffee

shop, meeting school leaders who are

looking for the next exciting challenge.

So, for me, recruitment, effective

executive search, is all about ‘Getting

to know you, getting to know all about

you’. I am a middle man, a bit of a

matchmaker, an enabler and a

magician. Put the right candidate in

the same room as the right Governors

– bingo! •

If you would like to get in

touch with Mike, he can

be contacted at

Autumn 2017

Teacher Training

Learning outside the classroom engages learners, enhances social skills,

improves behaviour and makes learning more enjoyable, FACT.

Whatever your experience, SOuL can support you and your staff to develop the

SKILLS, CONFIDENCE and MINDSET to take your learners outside. Inspirational

sessions filled with lots of practical tools and ideas for teaching and learning.

Curriculum based learning outside the classroom • Growth mindset teaching and

learning • Teamwork, leadership and communication • Maps, journeying and

orienteering • Teaching for character

Contact us now on 0844 2488 985 to book inspirational training at your school


Cutting supply agency fees

Progressive schools are able to cut supply teacher

agency fees by 90%. What's their secret?

by Peter Carpenter, MD, TeacherIn

According the to DfE, schools are on

average being charged a 31%

commission by recruitment agencies

when engaging their supply teachers.

Couple this with the £800+ million

being spent every year on supply

through agencies and it starts painting

a picture of why it is one of the key

factors draining school budgets.

It is clear that the combination of a

challenging economic climate and a

developing recruitment crisis presents

serious financial challenges and

uncertainty for schools. More than

ever, they are now beginning to

question why they have always seen

the use of expensive recruitment

agencies as an accepted cost.

Of course, agencies don't just place a

strain on school budgets: Research has

shown that schools experience a

myriad of roadblocks and unnecessary

difficulties by outsourcing to agencies.

There is now a solution where schools


Freedom to choose the right supply

teachers for their schools

The ability to be able to create direct

relationships with their supply


Reassurance to know that all

teachers have had the right

safeguarding checks and have been


Transparency to know that the rate

being paid is all going to the teacher

and not an agency

are no daily commissions or finders fees,


we can engage teachers for longer term


without the concern of paying huge


I estimate our schools will save


this year.


Stephanie Bass, Business Manager,


66 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

Bridge Multi-Academy Trust

Autumn 2017

So what are progressive schools doing

about this?

They are taking a proactive approach

to stop the leeching of supply budgets

by using simple technology to remove

the middleman. This shift is seeing

them save their school budgets 90% on

recruitment fees, whilst giving them

total control over the quality of supply

teachers selected for their schools, all

from the convenience of their phone.

How is this so?

Much like the decline of the travel

agent, technology has replaced

traditional distribution channels,

radically reducing costs and

improving choice and control. It is the

era of automation and the fall of the

middleman – and this innovation has

finally arrived to the education sector.

The TeacherIn app is driving this

change in education. Over 1,100

schools and 40,000 supply teachers

already use it every day and so rather

than having to wait for agencies to

scan their databases and find supply

teachers (who may or may not be

entirely relevant for the current

position), schools can manage the

process themselves in a matter of


The technology provides schools

direct access to a bank of pre-vetted,

local supply teachers, all of whom

have been safeguard checked and

interviewed, in the same way the

traditional agencies do.

In just a few clicks, schools can

automatically send out job requests

from the app to their chosen teachers

and receive confirmation of a booking

in seconds. All of this (including

automated reporting) can be done on

the go, reducing the impact of the

process on a school’s busy schedule

and without the need for costly


The benefits for schools are huge for a

number of reasons. Allowing schools

to have choice and total control over

the quality of teacher has a direct

impact on student outcomes, and can

help set their school apart from

others. There's also a huge impact on

full time staff recruitment costs as

TeacherIn doesn't charge a penny to

transition a supply teacher to full time.

This can save a school tens of

thousands of pounds a year, on top of

the large savings already seen by

cutting out daily agency fees for


Proven model a beacon of light in a

dark time

The landscape has been looking bleak

for a while, with countless news

reports continuously publishing

shocking figures on school spend, the

recruitment crisis and teacher

shortages, and schools often

have found themselves in a

very difficult position.

It was perhaps inevitable that

innovative new solutions

would be developed to tackle

these challenges and to place

schools firmly back in

control of their supply

teacher recruitment.

Fortunately, school leaders

are now presented with a list

of new companies in this

space to choose from and

selecting the correct supplier

paramount; they need to be

secure that they are buying

robust technology from a

trusted and knowledgeable

expert who understands their


TeacherIn is a proven model

and market leader in

Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

The Company launched in the UK in

September 2016 and won the highly

coveted BETT Innovator of the Year

Award. With a growing number of

schools and thousands of registered

supply teachers in the UK, why not

explore how you can take back control

of your supply arrangements, save

money and ensure that your supply

teachers are paid fairly?

Try TeacherIn for free to see the

benefits it will bring to your school - •

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 67

Independent Schools Portal

What is the

Independent Schools Portal?

by David Winfield, Founder.

The Independent Schools Portal was developed in order to

solve the difficulties faced by education professionals who

wanted to securely collaborate with each other across

different schools, authorities, associations, countries and time


It was launched on February 1st 2016 to 22 schools in the

North West England and North Wales that wanted to work

more closely together in different areas. It has grown rapidly

ever since; the Portal now supports professionals in over

1,000 schools and 10,000 teachers around the world.

But what does the portal actually do?

At it's simplest, the portal is an online collaborative space. We

set up private, secure 'rooms' on behalf of teams working

together and deliver a raft of tools to enable educators to

work together efficiently. Tools can include, but are not

limited to, shared document storage, private videoconferencing,

instant messaging, notice-boards, shared

calendars, task-management applications and so on. The

power of the rooms and tools is that they are technology and

systems neutral: Tablet or PC, Windows, Mac or Google - it

doesn't matter. This means that collaboration can take place

across different organisations without technology getting in

the way. Delivering a training programme or event? Coordinating

groups of Headteachers or Subject Specialists?

Finance manager and bursars synchronising their purchasing

Screenshot of the free Video CPD Page

to drive down prices? PE teachers co-ordinating a

programme of sporting events? The Portal has you covered.

Since the initial launch, we have continued to develop the

Portal so that there is full, free access to CPD materials and

regulatory guidance and an evolving high-quality curriculum

bank. The collaboration rooms can now be fully branded, and

if there's a particular app or tool that you and your team wish

to use, we will beaver away to make sure that it's available to

you in your digital room.

Alongside the software development, we are also responding

to school demand for high-quality services such as print and

design support, recruitment, purchasing guidance. There is

now a weekly newsletter that contains the latest education

news, research, opinion pieces, resources and guidance and

advice. The newsletter is also a way of giving teachers and

schools free access to a worldwide audience of educators. We

now organise meetings on behalf of Subject Specialists and

Senior Leaders, booking speakers, and arranging sponsorship

so that there are no hosting costs to the schools. And of

course, there is now innovatED magazine.

Universe infographic in the Junior Learning Zone

68 | Issue 1 | innovatED |

The Independent Schools Portal exists purely to support

schools and teachers. If you would like to find out more, just

visit Or, even better,

drop me a line:

Last Word

The Last Word

The Pursuit of Perfection... Don't Do it!

Have you ever read one of the Little

Miss or Mr Men books? If so, you will

recognise Little Miss Perfect and Mr


I have another question for you –

would you rather be perfect, or

accepted for who you are? If you chose

perfection over acceptance, what

would ‘perfect’ look like for you? I’m

sure we all have our own definition of


Whilst many people describe

themselves as perfectionists,

perfectionism isn’t actually a positive

trait. Perfectionism is striving for

flawlessness and setting excessively

high standards, accompanied by overly

critical self-evaluations, and worrying

too much about what other people

think of you.

Perfectionism drives people to attempt

to achieve an unattainable ideal, and

when perfectionists don’t reach their

goals, the consequences are negative.

Ironically, the pursuit of success

actually keeps the perfectionist focused

on failure, completely undermining

what we understand as success.

If the Learning Habits we have at St

Olave’s School of Collaboration,

Curiosity, Empathy and Flexibility of

mind, Initiative, Originality,

Persistence and Risk Taking, are

characteristic of what enables us to

thrive, then perfectionism does exactly

the opposite, it rigidifies our habits and

our behaviour.

Let me be clear, I am not referring to

high achievers. High achievers excel at

some things, but they don’t believe

that they need to be the best at

everything. High achievers value

constructive criticism because this

offers them the opportunity for

growth and self-improvement.

They work hard with commitment and

resilience, reflecting on their

disappointments with honesty. Failures

are merely temporary setbacks which

they might overcome with greater

effort. We know that the most

successful of lives have had their share

of setbacks, disappointments and


Michael J Fox, the actor, said “I am

careful not to confuse excellence with

perfection. Excellence I can reach for;

perfection is God’s business”.

In contrast, perfectionists consider

themselves unacceptable unless they

reach impossibly high self-imposed

standards. They are not resilient

because even mild setbacks are seen as

catastrophes. Chris Coleman, the

Welsh football manager told his

players before their European

championship quarter final success,

“Not to be afraid to fail. I’ve failed

more times than I can count, but it’s

the failures that lead to success”

Acceptance or perfection? Which

would you prefer?

The push for perfection is

undermining exactly what our young

people need to succeed and be happy.

We want to launch our pupils into

young adulthood, poised to be

successful, not perfect. They need

Friendship, Trust, Wisdom,

Compassion, Endurance, Humility and

Hope. They need to be curious about a

world we don’t even know about yet,

equipped with the creativity and

innovation for solutions and strategies

for that not yet imagined.

We know from the work of Carol

Dweck that our children can’t stay

perfect; life changes and rewards

taking risks, setting challenges, seizing

opportunities and sticking with them,

and mindsets are at the heart of this.

Some mindsets make us afraid to try

and end up keeping us trapped in

perfectionism. For someone with a

fixed mindset, effort may sound like

‘imperfection’ or ‘inadequacy’, because

perfection requires them to look and

feel accomplished all the time, at all

costs. However, with a growth mindset,

effort is what activates ability, and

setbacks are a natural part of learning

because they have the courage to take

on challenge.

Acceptance or perfection? Which

would you prefer?

In our culture we move relentlessly

toward greater emphasis on

achievement, but as educators we resist

this and ask our children what they

have learned and not what their grade

is; we do this because otherwise we

measure their lives only in terms of

achievement and lose perspective on

what it may mean to live well. This

tendency for achievement ruptures

any sense of meaning or balance in our

lives and we lose the capacity for

wonder and awe.

Imagine looking at a rainbowand

complaining that the width of one

colour was narrower than another?

Ridiculous, and yet that is exactly what

we do when we judge ourselves for our


by Andy Falconer, Headmaster at St Olave's School, York

Issue 1 | innovatED | | 69

Autumn 2017

Effortless superiority and perfection is

prevalent, but the people I most

admire are usually those who have

worked harder than everyone else, for

something they value, rather than

those who have been effortlessly

propelled somewhere.

The potentially devastating

consequences of perfectionism on

mental health certainly need to be

recognised. We must work to prevent

perfectionism developing during

childhood. Even mild cases of

perfectionism can interfere with a

child’s quality of life, affecting

personal relationships, education and

of course health.

Magazines and advertising have long

been criticized for upholding

dangerously unrealistic standards of

success and beauty, but at least it’s

acknowledged that they are idealized.

The models are just that: models;

made-up, retouched, and photoshopped.

Today, however, the impossible

standards are set much closer to home,

not by celebrities and models but by

classmates and friends.

With social media, our children can

curate their lives; the resulting feeds

reading like highlights, showing only

the best and most enviable moments,

while concealing efforts, struggles, and

the merely ordinary aspects of day-today

life. We compare other people’s

polished, edited final-cut movies to

our own behind the scenes, unedited,

fly-on-the-wall documentaries. And

there’s evidence that those images are

causing distress for many of our


On Instagram or Facebook, everyone

looks like they’re having the best day

ever, all the time. You upload your

photograph, add a filter, and you can

remove all your imperfections. These

picture-perfect images can be

especially difficult for our young

people to grapple with because they’re

often very conscious of measuring up

to their peers. It’s a tender and critical

stage in life — a time for forming an

understanding of who they are.

Part of the way we develop a strong

sense of self and identity is by being

appreciated, accepted and authentic.

This way we are seen for who we are,

and valued for who we are, including

our flaws. Curating photographs is

making our children dissatisfied with

their bodies, as well as pushing a

message that they are modifiable.

Acceptance or perfection? Which

would you prefer?

We must help our children to be

comfortable with imperfection because

we are not going to protect them from

failure; we are not going to make

everything easy; we are not going to

praise them for coming top or being

the best. We want them to feel

accepted for being imperfect; for

trying their best; for risk taking; for

persisting when it would be easier to

give up; for being independently

minded and vulnerable.

We must show our children that they

will be accepted not for being perfect

but for being imperfect. Authenticity

and courage are what we strive for.

Effort and difficulty are how we learn.

Working hard for something we value

is how we commit to the learning zone.

We are not perfect because we are a

work in progress; striving, failing and

bouncing back, applying our effort

into the journey of becoming

ourselves. Perfection is unachievable,

unimaginable and undesirable.

I’m only human – what about you?

Would you rather be perfect or

accepted for who you are? •

You can read more of Andy's blogs at and follow

him on Twitter @andyfalconer

innovatED annual subscriptions

Education analysis, opinion and ideas. Written by educators, for educators.

Personal subscription - £15.00

5 additional staffroom copies each term - £59.00

10 additional staffroom copies each term - £99.00

Make sure you have enough copies and

Digital only subscriptions also available on iOS, Android, Magzter and

avoid fisticuffs in the staffroom!

on the website


pupil per

- Bridge Multi-Academy Trust

it's an app, not an agency



Browse and shortlist

fully vetted teachers

per annum






per booking

There are no daily

commissions or finders fees,

meaning we can engage

teachers for longer term

supply without the concern of

paying huge amounts. I

estimate our schools will save

thousands this year using


Choose to subscribe

Choose to pay as you

for unlimited bookings

go per booking

Stephanie Bass, Business Manager







up via the app


try before

finders fees

gives you total control

you buy


Thursday 15th March 2018 at

Holborn Bars, EC1N 2NQ

This day-long Conference will include talks

relevant to staff of Schools/Colleges,

Guardianship Organisations, and Educational

Consultancies dealing with international


Speakers include:

Ollie Carlisle

Deputy Director for PBS Operations

at UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)

Julie Robinson

General Secretary, Independent

Schools Council

Dr Helen Wright

International Education Advisor,

Coach and Non-Executive Director

For further information please contact

Elaine via

More magazines by this user