What makes a good school?


Peter Roberts, Headmaster of The King’s School, Canterbury The most significant and long overdue change over the course of my career has been the toppling of the traditional divide between the self-contained institutional views that schools have tended to hold and the opinions and judgements of parents about their children’s experiences within those hallowed walls. […]


What about boarding schools?

What About Boarding

Barnaby Lenon, Headmaster of Harrow School, 1999–2011, and Chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) What is the Independent Schools Council? The Independent Schools Council (ISC) is a membership organisation that brings together and works on behalf of 1,300 independent fee-charging schools in the United Kingdom, which educate more than 500,000 children every year. We […]


Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools


Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) All English accredited independent boarding schools are inspected on a three-year cycle. The current cycle started in April 2016. If the boarding school is in membership of one of the five independent school associations (GSA, HMC, IAPS, ISA, Society of Heads) and thus accredited by its association, the inspection of boarding […]


Ofsted inspection of boarding schools

Adrian Underwood, Educational Consultant and formerly Lead Inspector Much of the material in the previous article Inspections of accredited independent boarding schools is relevant to Ofsted’s inspection of boarding schools and I would recommend reading this article as well. The material has not been repeated here as it is available on the previous pages. Ofsted […]


Turning minimum standards into excellence


– Andrew Lewin, Director of Training, Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) The official guidelines for boarding staff in England are in the Boarding Schools – National Minimum Standards (NMS) (revised April 2015). Standard 15.1 identifies the levels of staffing and supervision – in essence the care – that parents can expect: Any staff member or volunteer employed […]


School visits: questions and answers

School visits can take a variety of forms. They can involve meeting the Head or perhaps attending an open day. Whatever the format, the first meeting is crucial so if possible always try to visit a school on a normal day. If it goes well, follow it up with an open day visit. Further visits […]


League tables – just one measure of success

League Tables

Emma McKendrick, Headmistress of Downe House School One of the great joys and benefits of a boarding education is the fact that there is the time and the space to offer a rich array of opportunities which enable young people to grow and develop and explore the person they are. They develop passions and interests, […]


Faith in our schools


Faith in our schools Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus Faith schools have often been – and continue to be – controversial. People opposing faith schools express concerns about the possible indoctrination of developing minds whereas supporters point to the strong moral compass they provide in a world which provides so many temptations and […]


‘An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge’ – boarding in a Methodist school

Andrew Gordon-Brown, Headmaster of Truro School John Wesley, the father of Methodism, told the first Methodist teachers to always remember that ‘an ounce of love was worth a pound of knowledge’ and this remains the central value for all Methodist schools. We pride ourselves on the inclusive and unpretentious manner in which people are welcomed […]


The importance of good governance


Graham Able, Group Deputy Chairman, Alpha Plus Most parents do not research closely the composition of the governing board when they are considering a school for their child, but the role of the governors is critical to the success – or otherwise – of a school. In most independent schools, the governing board appoints the […]


How a boarding school uses agents


Elaine Purves, Head of Rossall School  Choosing the right school for your child is one of the biggest challenges any parent faces. This is where a good agent can be invaluable. Like a financial adviser, it’s their job to match a customer with a product that’s perfect for them – in this case finding a […]


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