With spring on the way at last, we proudly present the latest issue of The Week Independent Schools Guide. As always, we’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country to find the most inspiring stories about the world of education.
This time round we’ve been finding out about forest schools, vocational qualifications and the links between music and adolescent brain power.
We also take an in-depth look at schools’ determination to put kindness at the heart of everything they do, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. From kindness committees to “keep smiling” posters, the schools we spoke to are doing their utmost to increase kindness, empathy and tolerance. As Tom Rogerson, headmaster of Cottesmore School in West Sussex, told us: “Children love the thought of being kind and people being kind to them. It’s an inevitable consequence of talking about kindness that you get more kindness.”
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Our regular school debate focuses on university choices – in particular, the pros and cons of going to university in the UK or heading to the US. Two leading lights in education, Wellington College master James Dahl and Lady Eleanor Holles School deputy head David James, offer their wisdom and advice for sixth formers and parents.
We’re passionate about highlighting the joy of reading so we’ve asked heads, teachers and librarians to recommend biographies and memoirs for readers of all ages. Some of their suggestions feature household names but others put the spotlight on people who aren’t quite so well known, like Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three female mathematicians at NASA who overcame discrimination and segregation to play a vital role in the space race. My own pick would be the stunning Little People, Big Dreams picture books, which tell the life stories of everyone from Amelia Earhart to Marcus Rashford.
Continuing the literary theme, don’t miss our Back to School interview with Robin Stevens, the multi-talented author of the bestselling Murder Most Unladylike series (her stories have been described as “Agatha Christie for children”). She fondly remembers her days at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, her two inspirational English teachers and the school’s nooks and crannies that feature in her books.
“I’ve redrawn some things to fit the stories,” she says, “but it’s so similar that adults who have been there will be reading the books with their kids and will say, ‘this seems a lot like Cheltenham Ladies’ College’.”
Last, but not least, we’re delighted to reveal our exclusive annual guide to the best prep and junior schools in the UK.
Do let us know what you think – and we hope you enjoy the issue.
Emma Lee-Potter is the editor of The Week’s Independent Schools Guide.
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