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What does good pastoral care look like in 2024?

Wellington College sixth formers
Wellington College in Berkshire has long been considered a leading practitioner of pastoral care. So much so, the most recent Good Schools Guide review suggested it be renamed 'Wellbeington College'. Tom Wayman, Deputy Head Pastoral explains in this GUEST BLOG his school's culture and its approach to pastoral care. 
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COMMENTS  |  24 JANUARY 2024


The future of private school fees

Monopoly money - The future of private school fees 
Private school in 2024 is expensive but what will the fees look like in five years’ time, or in ten years...or even longer? If you’re hoping to educate your child privately for some or all of their school years, don’t you want to know what lies in store for your finances? We've crunched the numbers for you and ponder what might happen to fees over the coming years. 
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COMMENTS  |  23 JANUARY 2024


The London school that gives teenagers a lie-in

North Bridge House Canonbury
GUEST BLOG: North Bridge House Senior Canonbury has a novel approach for getting the best out of its pupils. In our final guest article of the year, executive headteacher, Brendan Pavey, explains why scientific research led to a later start to the school day in order to give teenagers a chance for more sleep and how it resulted in happier, fresher and more engaged pupils.

 

COMMENTS  |  14 DECEMBER 2023


School uniform – does it really matter?

Pupils at Christ's Hospital School
From the famous tailcoats of Eton College and straw hats of Harrow School to ubiquitous state primary sweatshirts and Sainsbury’s polo three-packs, school uniform is as much a part of the fabric of British life as a cup of tea or fish and chips. But in these times of hybrid working - where suits and ties are practically extinct in the workplace, and the footwear of choice leans more towards New Balance or Nike than Church’s or Loake - what’s the point of it?

 

COMMENTS  |  12 DECEMBER 2023


Children's books for Christmas 2023

Book recommendations for Christmas
From the youngest possible age, an enjoyment of books and reading is essential for the development of knowledge, language and cultural awareness. Quite apart from the thought-provoking and mind-expanding benefits of reading, it’s one of those things that all private schools are keen to see from their applicants. With that in mind, we asked our team of writers and education consultants to name some of their current favourite books for children.

 

COMMENTS  |  1 DECEMBER 2023


'Winning Scholarship to Harrow changed my life'

A state primary school in West London
GUEST BLOG: Around a third of all children at UK private schools receive some kind of help towards paying the school fees. But the number in receipt of a ‘golden ticket’ scholarship or bursary, the transformative awards covering all the costs, is small. Ostap Stefak is one of the lucky few and here, exclusively for The Good Schools Guide, he explains his journey from modest beginnings to Harvard University, all thanks to a life-changing opportunity at Harrow School. 
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COMMENTS  |  1 NOVEMBER 2023


Are private schools pricing you out?

A state primary school in West London
Another day, another newspaper article predicting extinction of the middle-class parent able to choose a private education for their children. The Daily Telegraph reported last month that ‘the best’ schools were now affordable only by the super-rich and that mere mortals – those doctors, accountants and solicitors that made up the typical private school parent cohort of yesteryear – had been ‘priced out’. 
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COMMENTS  |  6 SEPTEMBER 2023


Ofsted gradings: misleading and unhelpful

A state primary school in West London
Single word judgements used by Ofsted to grade schools are misleading and should be abolished in favour of more holistic information. Simplistic gradings such as ‘Good’ or ‘Requires Improvement’ are the antithesis of helpful to parents who are crying out for a genuinely useful service that supports decision making in relation to their child’s education.
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COMMENTS  |  12 JULY 2023


Mastering private school interviews

Handshake at a school interview
GUEST BLOG: The summer holidays are little more than half a term away and many parents already have one eye on the private school assessments taking place over autumn and winter. We asked Adam Goodbody, expert in interview preparation and mentoring at Oppidan Education, to divulge some of his valuable knowledge on the subject. 
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COMMENTS  |  18 MAY 2023


Combining state and private education in London

Grey Coat Hospital School, SW1
London is an expensive place to live and frequently families find themselves choosing to educate their children in both the state and private sectors in order to stretch funds. If you're a Londoner who would like to educate your children privately but baulk at the costs, read on. 
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COMMENTS  |  15 MAY 2023


Six essential questions to ask schools in 2023

Pupil asking question during class
Parents will always want to find out about a prospective school's academic standards, its quality of facilities and happiness of pupils, but what are the new concerns coming to the fore at the beginning of 2023? We identify the burning issues in education now and list our top six questions for parents to put to schools and teachers.
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COMMENTS  |  17 JANUARY 2023


Is private school still worth the money?

Twyford C of E School, Ealing
A reduction in the number of privately educated students studying at Oxbridge in recent years has led some parents to ask whether paying to go private, as the cost of living crisis looms large, is actually worth it. We explore the advantages of paying for private school and see how these schools stack up against their state counterparts.
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COMMENTS  |  8 SEPTEMBER 2022


GCSE results day 2022

City of London Freemen's School on GCSE results day 2022
As with A levels last week, 2022 is the year that the grade inflation from the two covid-impacted years starts to be brought under control. The Department for Education has decided that grade boundaries must return to those seen in pre-pandemic years by next year and so 2022 is a midway point between the generous 2021 grades and next years' grades which will be more like those from 2019. 
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COMMENTS  |  25 AUGUST 2022


Royals pick Lambrook School

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have chosen to educate their children at Lambrook School in Berkshire
It’s official! After months of speculation, The Cambridges are off to Lambrook. William and Kate have done their due diligence, visiting a handful of prep schools (each time sparking a fresh wave of gossip through the home counties) close to their new base in Windsor. What is it about Lambrook that’s won the family over? And how will the school prepare these junior royals for a lifetime of leadership and duty?
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COMMENTS  |  22 AUGUST 2022


A levels 2022 - what next?

Exam results day at Magdalen College School Oxford
When A level results are opened on Thursday this week, some young people will find that they have not received the grades required to study at their first-choice university. Grade inflation, stretched university resources and a higher number of deferred entries caused by the Covid 19 pandemic have conspired to reduce the options available to school leavers this year.  
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COMMENTS  |  16 AUGUST 2022


Our 6 insider tips for choosing a boarding school

Girls' boarding house at Mount Kelly in Devon
Despite a drop in international pupils due to the pandemic and world events, UK boarding is as strong as ever. Growth has been recorded across all age groups and while the number of younger boarders remains modest, senior schools have seen a surge in interest and a third of private school 6th formers now board. So, for those families feeling drawn to the dorm, here are six insider tips from our boarding school experts to help find the right school for your child. 
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COMMENTS  |  6 JULY 2022


What the SEND Green Paper means to you

SEND Green Paper from the UK government
We now have the government’s Green Paper consultation on Special Educational Needs and Disability provision, which has reviewed the burning questions and concerns of parents and practitioners about SEND provision, and yet again it boils down to the three Rs, delivering The Right Support, the Right Place, at the Right Time.
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COMMENTS  |  11 APRIL 2022


Ask our experts - mock exam disaster

Students sit mock exams
This month we hear from a parent whose child has not got the GCSE mock exam results they had hoped for. What do our education consultants suggest in the situation? Read on for our thoughts and advice.
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COMMENTS  |  10 FEBRUARY 2022


Children's books for Christmas

Recommended children's books
We’ve asked our team of education consultants and writers for their top recommendations of books to buy for children this Christmas. A gently mischievous streak in our team has been revealed by a number of these suggestions…perhaps we can blame the pandemic.
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COMMENTS  |  16 DECEMBER 2021


Ask our experts - Targeting a top school

Westminster School - targeting a top school
This month we help a family keen to set their son on the path to academic success from a very young age. There’s no magic formula; all children are different and a common sense approach is best. Read on for our thoughts and advice. 
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COMMENTS  |  15 DECEMBER 2021


 

What to ask at a school open day in 2021

In-person open days are back up and running (for now, at least) and head teachers are poised to take your questions, hoping that their school fits the bill for young Charlie or Charlotte. But will the usual ‘what are the lunches like?’ or ‘how much homework will they get?’ tick the right boxes in pandemic times? 
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COMMENTS  |  14 SEPTEMBER 2021


Don’t blame teachers for grade inflation

Controversy over decisions made by the Department for Education should not be allowed to undermine pupils’ GCSE and A level achievements. Last year saw a huge grade inflation of around 10-12 per cent in the wake of the pandemic and it is likely – in fact, inevitable - that this year many pupils will once again attain better grades than they would have received had they sat the traditional round of exams.
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COMMENTS  |  9 AUGUST 2021


Moving from HK to UK and need help finding a school?

If you are one of the estimated 200,000 people the Foreign Office has estimated will move from Hong Kong to the UK with a BNO visa following recent political changes, making the decision to repatriate may seem to be the hardest one of many. However, if you have school-aged children, the most challenging decisions are likely to centre around education and schools. 
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COMMENTS  |  28 JUNE 2021


Is your family eligible for a private school bursary?

More children than ever are receiving financial help to enable them to pay private school fees according to latest data from the Independent Schools Council, the body that represents most UK fee-paying schools. But who is eligible and how much can you get? 
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COMMENTS  |  16 JUNE 2021


What price an education?

GUEST BLOG: Whether you’re already paying for your child’s education or wondering if you can afford it, you’ll know that it often involves cost cutting elsewhere, and almost always careful planning and budgeting. But these sacrifices can provide children with enviable opportunities and experiences (and who needs a foreign holiday or a new car anyway?). We asked David Quintrell, of wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin, to guest blog for us and answer often-asked questions about financial planning and managing school fees 
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COMMENTS  |  14 JUNE 2021


Londoners on the move

GUEST BLOG: As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many organisations have adapted to make working from home more manageable for staff. This has led to people asking whether leaving London might represent a better deal for their family. 
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COMMENTS  |  25 MARCH 2021


Ask our experts - January 2021 - School fees and lockdown

This month our expert consultants give answers to a range of questions from parents on the subject of paying school fees while schools are shut during the coronavirus lockdown.
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COMMENTS  |  26 JANUARY 2021


School fees in the latest lockdown: what now?

Everyone is affected by the current situation whether or not we, or those close to us, have contracted Covid-19. There will be few whose income has not been negatively impacted by the pandemic and many will continue to suffer a severe drop in financial resources with the uncertainty ahead. Independent schools are in the same position. Many are extremely worried about the consequences of parents being forced to withdraw their children and increasing uncertainty regarding recruitment for September 2021 and beyond.
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COMMENTS  |  25 JANUARY 2021


Schools offer fees help during pandemic

Sydenham High School pupils
If your livelihood has been impacted by the recent Covid crisis and you’re wondering how you’re going to meet the payments for your children’s school fees now, there may be more help available than you think. Many schools are offering help to families with pandemic-hit finances features and we have some thoughts on how to open discussions with school regarding financial support.
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COMMENTS  |  10 DECEMBER 2020


Children's books this Christmas: our consultants' top picks

Girl reading under blanket
Landfill-bound plastic toys have never been less fashionable. To keep not only the recipient but also their parents happy, we say a book is the way to go for gifting this year. No nasty packaging, no batteries required, and they can open it time and time again.
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COMMENTS  |  10 DECEMBER 2020


Ask our experts - December 2020

State primary school
This month our expert consultants help a family navigate their precocious child’s educational journey and discuss how to mix and match both state and private education.
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COMMENTS  |  10 DECEMBER 2020


T levels: what do I need to know?

Pupils on construction site
GUEST BLOG: T levels. What are they and might they suit your child? The government hopes that this new qualification will boost technical skills and productivity in England. Our guest blog from Sue Lovelock, Director of Professional and Technical Education at the Department for Education, lifts the lid on this newcomer to sixth form timetables.
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COMMENTS  |  30 OCTOBER 2020


Back to school in the 'new normal'

School uniform plus mask and santiser | The Good Schools Guide
With just a few short days or weeks until our children return to school, parents, carers and schools are busy preparing for what is arguably the biggest step back towards normality since schools closed their doors on the 20th of March 2020. Schools have issued their Covid-19 pandemic protocols; new shoes, blazers and pencil cases have been purchased and our children and young people can’t wait to get back to school again. Or can they? 
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COMMENTS  |  24 AUGUST 2020


Ask our experts - August 2020

Relocating your family requires serious thought and assessing schooling options deserves careful consideration. Here our education consultant gives some key pointers to a family looking to leave Hong Kong and return to the UK.

 

COMMENTS  |  21 AUGUST 2020


UCAS to blame for A level unfairness

UCAS is unsung villain of A levels fiasco, says Ralph Lucas, editor-in-chief of The Good Schools Guide. UCAS know that disadvantaged children are particularly over-predicted – but have not, as far as I know, mounted a large-scale investigation into the reasons for this underperformance – which might have led to ways of reducing it. The government could have, and should have, kicked UCAS into action. They know in what schools for what subjects for what kind of child over-prediction (and indeed under-prediction) happens, and how much, and in what circumstances.
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COMMENTS  |  AUGUST 2020


Coronavirus: A level & GCSE results

As Covid-19 rumbles on, this week’s spotlight falls on students who should have taken either GCSEs or A levels earlier in the summer. The class of 2020 will go down in history as the cohort either (depending on how you look at it ) from whom the opportunity to prove themselves on exam day was snatched – or alternatively who side stepped onerous exams and got the chance to learn to cook, perfect their golf swing / gaming technique and spend the post lockdown part of summer care-free, hanging out with their friends. 
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COMMENTS  |  AUGUST 2020


What’s the scoop on the covid summer holidays?

We’re all grappling with the prospect of six or more weeks of school holiday. Most of us can forget about sandy beaches and reclining by the pool. Instead, as we approach the indistinct point when term ends and holiday begins, the forecast is for more of the same.
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COMMENTS  |  JULY 2020


Ask our experts - July 2020

My daughter read avidly from the age of 4 and had finished all the Harry Potter books by the time she was 9. My son is now 9 and I can't get him to read anything other than football magazines. He resists all my attempts to start him on proper books. What can I do?
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COMMENTS  |  JULY 2020


Ask our experts - May 2020

Child working at home | The Good Schools Guide
In this edition we have words of advice for a parent who stuck their head above the parapets to admit that home schooling has been a positive experience for their child. We imagine that there might be quite a few parents out there who have noticed their children coming on in leaps and bounds as a result of being out of the classroom environment. Might keeping their child at home when schools eventually return be the best choice for the child and family?  
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COMMENTS  |  MAY 2020


Special Times for Special Needs

Girl looking over the top of a book | The Good Schools Guide
Over seven weeks into lockdown, even the most saintly of parents with wholly straightforward children are likely to be feeling the strain of home schooling whilst juggling jobs, housework and (constant) meal provision for the hungry troops. For families with children who have special educational needs, the pressures of a break in the usual routine may be palpable. The Good Schools Guide SEN editor looks at ways to ease the strain and where to go for help if you need further support
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COMMENTS  |  MAY 2020


Covid-19: Is this what your school is missing

To say that schools are so much more than buildings with classrooms, staff and pupils is an obvious understatement. They are far greater than a sum of their parts; above all, they are communities, each with their own unique DNA and characteristics. Can such communities be uprooted from their bricks and mortar to eke out an existence on digital platforms? Not easily, that’s for sure..
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COMMENTS  |  MAY 2020


Ask our experts - April 2020

Covid-19 and empty exam halls | The Good Schools Guide
In this issue we tackle challenges for parents of younger children including juggling roles of full-time mother or father and part-time teacher and choosing between state and independent primaries. For those of you with pupils in secondary education, we look at how to ask for a discount on fees for year 11 pupils and what to do if your child is unlikely to get the grades to enter sixth form. We also share some ideas for at how to keep up the social skills of children with ASD while they’re at home.
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COMMENTS  |  APRIL 2020


Coronavirus and school fees: your legal questions answered

Scales of Justice | The Good Schools Guide
GUEST BLOG: For many, household income has fallen through the floor during the coronavirus crisis. The need for bean-counting and a keen eye on getting value for money has left parents peering at their latest school fees invoice in disbelief. Contracts were signed and commitments undertaken but now you’re stuck at home, unsatisfied with the school’s remote offering or at great risk of plunging your family into debt.
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COMMENTS  |  APRIL 2020


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    The Good Schools Guide is the UK’s number one school guide, helping parents in every aspect of choosing the best education for their children. Trusted by parents for 35 years, our guides include impartial and candid school reviews as well as in-depth articles on education-related issues. Our reviews are available in print, online to subscribers or through The Good Schools Guide’s expert consultants. Uniquely, each school is selected on merit alone. No one can buy their way into The Good Schools Guide’s good books. And from famous names to local treasures, our writers visit every single school, interview the head,…

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  • Ask our experts - July 2020

    My daughter read avidly from the age of 4 and had finished all the Harry Potter books by the time she was 9. My son is now 9 and I can't get him to read anything other than football magazines. He resists all my attempts to start him on proper books. What can I do?


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