Cambridge Education Guide Spring/Summer 24 Web

The Cambridge Education Guide highlights the region’s top schools, sixth form colleges and adult learning providers. In our spring/summer edition, we dive into a range of subjects including the post-pandemic attendance dilemma, embracing nature through outdoor learning, and encouraging linguistic diversity through second languages. Brought to you by Cambridge Edition magazine.

Your guide to the region’s best schools & sixth forms

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Spring/Summer 2024



Editorial Editor in chief Nicola Foley 01223 499459 Editor Phoebe Harper 01223 492249 Chief sub editor Matthew Winney Sub editor Minhaj Zia Junior sub editor Molly Constanti Contributors Charlotte Phillips, Tabitha Phillips Advertising Sales director Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457

e live and work in an area of contrast. Architecturally, Cambridge buildings range

For older children, primary and senior schools span a multitude of approaches, all of which are dedicated to helping the next generation continue their voyage of discovery. The goal is to do far more than pass on everything required to achieve great exam results (though, of course, they do that as well). More fundamentally, it’s about building independent thinkers and scholars capable of shaping our world and changing it for the better. Excellence in education is nothing new. But, at a time when great brains are going to be needed like never before if we’re to overcome the challenges we face, knowing our area’s educators are all on the case is something that should comfort parents – and reassure the rest of us with some much-needed hope.

from astoundingly old to amazingly new. You might prefer the stunning St Bene’t’s Church, dating back to the 11th century, or the award-winning new dining hall at Homerton College completed last year. What’s undeniable is that each, in its own way, is both awe-inspiring and beautiful. Those contrasts are just as evident – and equally impressive – when it comes to the education our schools and colleges offer. For the very youngest, there are warm, welcoming nurseries that provide just the right combination of support and encouragement. It makes dipping a (very small) toe into the sea of learning for the first time something to be excited about.

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Cambridge Education Guide Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High St, Sawston, Cambridgeshire CB22 3HJ. All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of the publishers. Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Cambridge Education Guide or Bright Publishing Ltd, which do not accept any liability for loss or damage. Every effort has been made to ensure all information is correct.

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14 Abbey College Cambridge Homerton Gardens, Cambridge CB2 8EB | 01223 578280

A leading independent sixth form college in the heart of the city, Abbey College caters to students aged between 13 and 21 with courses designed to help them on their path to entering the UK’s top universities.

18 Culford School Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP28 6TX | 01284 385308 | Set in 480 acres of beautiful parkland, Culford provides first-class boarding and day schooling for ages one to 18. With an emphasis on sport, Culford believes in educating the whole person, delivering a well-rounded individual with excellent academic results.

20 St Faith’s Trumpington Road, Cambridge CB2 8AG | 01223 352073

St Faith’s is an independent preparatory day school for boys and girls aged four to 13. The school prides itself on its dynamic community and welcoming personality, with a reputation for excellent academic standards across a huge breadth of subjects.

28 Felsted School Felsted, Essex CM6 3LL | 01371 822600 | Only 45 minutes south of Cambridge, Felsted School offers families contemporary boarding options with a choice of three, five or seven nights a week. Pupils can access a wide academic curriculum, balanced with a rich programme of co-curricular activities.

34 Gresham’s Cromer Road, Holt, Norfolk NR25 6EA | 01263 714500

Set among 220 acres in beautiful North Norfolk surroundings, Gresham’s provides a high-quality, fully rounded education for boys and girls from the age of two to 18.



36 St John’s College School 73 Grange Road, Cambridge CB3 9AB | 01223 353652 | St John’s is an independent co-educational day and boarding school, offering an exceptional experience to pupils aged four to 13. It won the national best prep school and best prep school head in the Tatler Schools Awards and has a Flexible Learning programme. 42 Kimbolton School Kimbolton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28 0EA | 01480 860505 An independent co-educational day and boarding school near Cambridge, Kimbolton is a busy and stimulating environment for pupils between the ages of four and 18. 44 King’s Ely The Old Palace, Palace Green, Ely CB7 4EW | 01353 660707 A day and boarding school, King’s Ely provides an outstanding education for children and young people aged between two and 18, with a broad and balanced curriculum.



54 The Leys The Fen Causeway, Cambridge CB2 7AD | 01223 508900 | The Leys is a co-educational independent day and boarding school for 11 to 18 year olds. The school creates an engaged and friendly community in which pastoral care is a priority. 56 Mander Portman Woodward 3-4 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE | 01223 350158 | MPW is a small, independent fifth and sixth form with a range of courses located in the heart of Cambridge, as well as popular Easter revision for children at other schools.

64 St Mary’s School Bateman Street, Cambridge CB2 1LY | 01223 224167

An independent day and boarding school for girls aged three to 18, St Mary’s School is located near the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and offers GCSEs and A-levels.

66 Stephen Perse Foundation Union Road, Cambridge CB2 1HF | 01223 454700 | The Stephen Perse Foundation is a group of independent schools providing excellent opportunities for students, achieving exceptional exam results through a flexible and rigorous academic curriculum, while nurturing personal development. 68 Stoke College Stoke by Clare, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 8JE | 01787 278141 A co-educational day and boarding school for students aged 11 to 18. With small class sizes and excellent pastoral care, every student is given the individual attention and inspiration to achieve their academic best.

72 Wymondham College Wymondham, Norfolk NR18 9SZ | 01953 609000

Situated within a scenic 83-acre site in rural Norfolk that’s shared with its Prep School, Wymondham College is the UK’s largest co-educational state boarding and day school. The school welcomes students aged between 11 and 18.



A landscape for learning Cambridge is flourishing – but how can we tilt the scales of an unequal society so that everyone reaps the benefits?

superlative education provides the essential building blocks for a child’s future during their most

to research, a massive 85% of parents want to be more involved with their school – and when they are, the benefits are striking. Research suggests that, if parents feel involved in the life of their child’s school, there’s a direct impact on pupils. Children behave better, are more confident and enthusiastic about school and achieve better results. This works best when families are thriving. Economically, at least, some of the top-line figures make reassuring reading. Some workers in our area do very well, making our city one of the top five in the country when it comes to average weekly earnings. And our area is poised for further growth as a centre for technological and bioscience innovation. Alongside that, there are ambitious plans to build new houses on a grand scale, to cater for the highly skilled workers who will be required to turn those growth plans into a reality. What’s increasingly apparent is that this success just isn’t spread evenly.

formative years. Getting it right, though, involves planning, imagination and, for many schools, having to work wonders with a restricted budget. But the results can be very impressive. From letting children experience the real-life challenges of outdoor learning to ensuring there’s a place for creativity in every area of the curriculum, moving outside the traditional heartland subjects like visual and performing arts and into maths, science and engineering. It helps that our area is blessed with some phenomenal schools and colleges. Most achieve outstanding or good ratings from school inspectors (and you can bet that those who aren’t quite there at the moment will be going all out to make significant improvements). Parents and carers here, as in the country as a whole, are keen to be part of their children’s education. According

“Research suggests that, if parents feel involved in the life of their child’s school, there’s a direct impact on pupils”





The reality is that our city continues to have surprisingly high levels of inequality. With food banks recording increased demand in 2023 for the UK as a whole, almost 20% of children across our city – just over 4,400 – were defined as being in poverty over a recent 12-month period. So tough questions will need to be answered. Notably, how to ensure that the fruits of economic success are spread

more evenly, not just adding to the bank balances of the wealthiest in our area, but ensuring everyone will benefit. Our schools will be doing their bit to help all pupils, regardless of economic circumstances, achieve their potential. They will continue to build links with future employers and ensure that pupils gain the best qualifications for them, whether vocational or traditionally

“Tough questions need to be answered. Notably, how to ensure the fruits of economic success are spread more evenly”



“Initiatives between independent and state schools involve teachers and pupils sharing skills” academic. If they opt for taking A-levels, schools will help them understand which so-called facilitating subjects, that feature critical thinking and problem solving, will give them the most options when it comes to university entrance. They will continue to forge links with other educators – numerous initiatives between independent and state schools involve teachers and pupils sharing their skills, ranging from teaching computer science to providing maths mentors. Each measure, on its own, is valuable. But when you combine all the ingredients that make our establishments successful – great academics, sport, arts and the commitment to help every child achieve the most they possibly can regardless of their start in life – education can become a truly transformative process.


Abbey College Cambridge

Homerton Gardens, Cambridge CB2 8EB

01223 578280

nergised by a love of learning and the pursuit of outstanding academic achievement for all. Abbey College Cambridge is a thriving school with over 450 students from 40+ nationalities, yet we are probably the least-known school in Cambridge! Tucked away at Homerton Gardens, in between Hills Road Sixth Form and Homerton College, we provide a first- class UK education in an international environment. We are known worldwide for academic excellence that stems from our students’ ambition and discipline, as well as high-quality teaching. At Abbey College, students make friends from all over the world, share unforgettable experiences and achieve amazing things.



“Our year 9 curriculum provides the best platform for success in GCSE and A-levels”

In 2023, more than half of our students progressed to a Russell Group university. Our purpose-built campus provides the perfect studying environment. Lessons are taught in classrooms packed with modern technology. Students appreciate the small classes and a supportive environment, and are encouraged to ask questions and participate in discussions. Our diverse and international learning community provides students with a different view to many aspects of the world, allowing them to become global citizens prepared for a globalised work environment. However, we recognise that students need more than just lessons, offering an extracurricular programme with more than 50 weekly clubs and activities.

Wednesday afternoons are dedicated to enrichment, with a range of sessions divided into five categories: active; community; thinking; science and technology; music and creative arts. This doesn’t stop for the holidays. The college is open to all during the half-term and Easter holidays. Our dedicated staff arrange activities, trips and courses to upskill our students, and arrange study support during these times. Many of our boarders choose to stay in Cambridge. We know our students benefit greatly from the education they receive at Abbey

College and seek to welcome more students from the Cambridge area to our community. Launching year 9 is the perfect opportunity to do this. Our year 9 curriculum offers a range of traditional and highly valued subjects to provide the best platform for success in GCSE and A-levels. Students joining year 9 will become valued members of our community, benefitting from access to outstanding academic, extracurricular and pastoral systems, all while receiving career advice and being encouraged to build their skills from day one.



Education timeline Key decisions to be made at different stages of your child’s scholastic journey

Birth to preschool (rising four) Visit local nurseries and childcare providers. Register as soon as possible, particularly if you require full-time nursery provision at an early age. Visit local pre-preps and remember to check deadlines for registration. It is important to plan ahead – popular schools may have an official deadline but, if oversubscribed, they will offer places based on the date of registration. Age 4½–7 Talk to your child’s current school about their progress and ask for advice on future schools. Visit prep schools (usually from year 2) and note registration deadlines (they are normally in the autumn term of the preceding academic year). Check for details and dates of any assessments that may be required. Age 7–11 If your child attends a fee-paying school, use teachers as a sounding board for senior schools. Attend meetings covering potential future schools (normally taking place from year 4). Visit senior school open days (from year 4 or earlier) and check deadlines for 11+ registration, which are normally the November or December prior to entry. If you wish to apply for a scholarship, it is important to note any separate deadlines, together with 11+ entrance exam dates (these are normally held in January of year 6). Liaise with the school about preparation and flag any concerns you might have. Children that will be sitting the 11+ Common Entrance exam in year 6 will also need to be registered to do so (in October or December for examination in November or January, respectively).



Age 11–16 Register your child for 13+ Common Entrance/scholarship exams, sat in year 8 for year 9 entry. In year 9, pupils will choose GCSE options, taken in the summer of year 11 – subjects such as languages, art, drama and humanities (this will be in addition to core subjects such as English language and literature, maths and sciences). In year 10 and year 11, visit open events at sixth form schools and colleges to discuss courses, including apprenticeships (from age 16). Register for places. The deadline for registration and assessments/interviews is usually the autumn term of year 11.

Age 16–18 Start planning for life after school. Attend careers talks, visit universities, research UCAS requirements and deadlines: October of the preceding academic year for Oxbridge, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science; mid-January for most other degrees. Accept or defer a university place once A-level results are in (August), or apply for a place through clearing. If workplace- based training and qualifications are the goal, start considering which industry or occupation best matches interests and career ambitions, research schemes and employers.


Culford School

Culford School, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP28 6TX (40 minutes east of Cambridge)

01284 385308

here are few places quite like Culford. It is a school that places the individual at its heart, where teachers are committed to helping every child realise their potential and become the best they can be. You can see such dedication run throughout the school. Whether your child is one or 18 years of age, Culford provides a high-quality education and the dynamic support needed to open up opportunities for every pupil. These qualities combine into a highly personalised learning programme, helping each child achieve their aspirations. The Pre-Prep and Nursery, Prep and Senior Schools offer a superb through- school experience for children. Culford takes enormous pride in all the pupils,

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who frequently go on to excel in both their academic and sporting pursuits. Indeed, Culford School itself is just as unique as its staff and pupils. A blend of the historic and the modern, the school is set in 480 acres of beautiful Suffolk parkland, with an 18th-century mansion at its centre. It boasts modern academic and sporting facilities that are the envy of schools and academies across the UK. No matter a pupil’s interest or passion, Culford School provides the foundation for them to flourish. Pupils have secured places at the most respected universities in the world, competed at national and international golf championships and have been ranked among the top ten Open mornings Termly open mornings in September, March and May. Visit to find out more

junior tennis players in the UK. Culford School was also crowned National Golf Champion at the Independent Schools Golf Association Championship. And it’s no coincidence that Culford is currently ranked the top UK co-educational school for tennis by the Lawn Tennis Association. The school sees education as a transformational process, guiding pupils to academic success, giving them clear moral values and developing leadership qualities in readiness for the adult world. SUPPORTING BUSY FAMILIES At Culford School, an ‘extended day programme’ has been designed to help busy working parents by giving them extra flexibility. This allows pupils to come into school as early as 7.30am and leave as late as 6pm for Pre-Prep, 8pm for Prep and 8.30pm for Senior pupils. Culford also offers full, part and flexible boarding, which can be a great solution.

Key facilities • Championship-standard indoor tennis centre • 25m indoor heated swimming pool • Football programme • Indoor golf studio, outdoor short game area and driving range • Brand-new DT, digital media and innovation centre • Drama theatre and music studio • Dance programme CAMBRIDGE CONNECTION There is a shuttle service that accommodates pupils who live in and around Cambridge, leaving from park & ride stations and delivering pupils to school within 40 minutes . To learn more about the school or organise a visit, go to the website, contact the admissions team on 01284 385308 or email


St Faith’s

t St Faith’s School, the values of kindness, community and excellence are at the heart of the education on offer. Located in a spacious nine-acre campus in the university city of Cambridge, St Faith’s is the largest prep school in the city, and part of The Leys and St Faith’s Foundation. Inspired by the words of John Wesley to ‘do all the good you can in all the ways you can’, headmaster Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn writes: “Of course it is challenging to sum up the values of any school in three words, but this year our whole school has invested time in doing just that. We all agreed on three words that summarise our values: kindness, community and excellence. “ Kindness : because thinking about others and considering their needs helps children feel happy at school and become their best selves. A

Community : because St Faith’s is a very special family, ranging from our youngest children in Foundation all the way through to former pupils, known as Old Fidelians, as well as parents and staff. Excellence : because we promote high expectations for everyone to fulfil their potential and we provide outstanding opportunities for discovery and the development of talents. “While our carefully chosen words communicate our values succinctly, we are by no means a one-size-fits-all school. The tailored approach to education we have developed is designed to enable all pupils to feel valued, supported and inspired. In understanding each pupil as an individual and maintaining small class sizes, we are able to provide personalised feedback and opportunities to every child. This tailored approach is important whether preparing pupils for senior school scholarships or providing individual learning support within our Discovery zone – all with the welcome assistance of school dog Ralph. “Our ambition is to help children gain the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in increasingly diverse futures. At St Faith’s, learning is underpinned by eight key Learning Habits, which grow and develop with the children as they move from Foundation through to year 8. Children are encouraged to make a positive contribution to society, and supported to undertake leadership roles within our community. Pupils enjoy charity fundraising, acting as ‘buddies’ for Pre Prep open morning Register for our Pre Prep open morning on Thursday 25 April at

Trumpington Road, Cambridge CB2 8AG

01223 352073



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younger pupils and making a difference by serving on committees such as the School Council or Eco Committee. As we seek to shape a sustainable and environmentally responsible future, our whole community is committed to retaining and building upon our eco-school status. “We recognise the vital importance of academic rigour and understand the benefits of mutual support. An innovative curriculum allows pupils to make choices about their learning, so they can develop confidence in their own decision-making and recognise their talents. Alongside core subjects of English, maths and science, pupils receive subject specialist teaching in areas such as coding, Spanish, Latin, engineering and humanities. Regular cross-curricular Academic Enrichment Days encourage pupils to explore the world around them, making links in knowledge and skills across subjects. Children also have the opportunity to explore computing and the use of iPads, and while we know that these skills are vital in a digital world, we also maintain our tradition of encouraging children to have neat and legible handwriting! “Wellbeing is an important priority for the whole of St Faith’s. Our tailored

approach helps each child understand and articulate their own needs, as we guide them towards balancing a wide range of activities. A dedicated pastoral care team oversees our tutorial and house system, and we engage with a range of approaches to help children navigate friendships, including the Girls on Board programme and participation in anti-bullying week. “We are privileged to enjoy excellent facilities – including plenty of outside space and dedicated age-appropriate play areas. The Hub is a specialised building for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) complete with an observatory, science laboratory and computing suites. The Hub is a place of real excitement, often showcasing pupil projects such as our Green Goblin racing cars or rocket builds. A range of other facilities, including art and drama studios, a well-stocked and popular library, music recital rooms, a multi-purpose sports hall

and sports pitches ensure that pupils can always find a place in the school that feels like home. Our extracurricular activities range from gymnastics to chess, and there are many opportunities for music, drama, creative arts and sporting pursuits, as well as school trips close to home and overseas. “I am often asked whether there are characteristics that define a child who will thrive at St Faith’s, but my answer is always the same. We are an inclusive community and value everyone equally, tailoring education to the individual. Many types of child flourish at St Faith’s. The diversity of our community, with families joining from various cultural backgrounds, is a key strength. By the time pupils leave at the age of 13, as well as gaining a valuable global perspective, we hope our youngest Old Fidelians will share one key characteristic: to uphold our values of kindness, community and excellence as they journey into the future.”



Addressing the attendance dilemma While it may be a sensitive subject at present, we need to talk about our country’s post-pandemic attendance problem. Reasons for this issue are manifold, but the solutions require an empathetic approach

s adults, we might look back at our time at school with a blend of nostalgia and gratitude – or,

in some cases, relief that those days are firmly in the past. But even for those with mixed feelings about education, most of us would have accepted regular attendance at school as a non-negotiable. In the last few years, however, that’s started to change. Law-abiding families



who are otherwise sticklers for convention and wouldn’t infringe so much as the most minor of bylaws have started to keep their children off school en masse. And not for huge life events, either. Birthdays, sunny days, high days, Fridays and fun days are all, in some parents’ eyes, increasingly good reasons to give lessons a miss. School is seen less as the focal point of their children’s formative years and more an optional extra which has to prove its worth in a sea of rival attractions. Even some politicians are weighing in, telling parents that, just because they can snap up a bargain priced holiday in term time, doesn’t mean they should. During the pandemic, both children and parents got used to being at home. When lockdown ended, many families were in no hurry to abandon it. Adding “Law-abiding families have started to keep their kids off school en masse”



to that is the cost-of-living crisis pushing up the prices of fares and school uniform, adding to the problems faced by families already struggling to make ends meet. For schools and policymakers, it’s a worrying trend. While parents may feel that missing the odd day here or there doesn’t amount to a row of beans, it all adds up. According to figures from the Department for Education, one in five pupils was persistently absent from school in the autumn and spring terms of the last academic year. The law may state that children registered at a school must attend, but attendance at school is about far more than the law. For our education system to work, parents need to believe in its value. Lose that, and the unspoken contract which exists between school and home starts to feel increasingly shaky, as does the ability to enforce the law. So, how do schools win over parents who don’t see missing class as a big deal? There are plenty of sticks available. Local authorities can order mums, dads or carers to attend parenting classes, appoint a supervisor to find ways of getting kids into school, or fine them up to £2,500.





Are sanctions working? As nobody is currently checking, it’s impossible to say. But for families already in financial crisis, it’s hard to see how punishments could help. As so often, turning the situation around is about spending more money on the right things and ensuring that families know what’s out there. Inspection reports for our area’s schools often praise the superb levels of pastoral care, from well-resourced wellbeing centres to quiet spaces for pupils who need time to reflect. For children affected by emotionally based school avoidance or EBSA (formerly known as school refusal), it isn’t that they don’t want to go to school. Overwhelming feelings of anxiety experienced mean it’s simply impossible. Common sense suggests that forcing a school refuser back into class is only going

“Turning the situation around is about spending more money on the right things and ensuring that families know what’s out there”

to make things worse. A concerted push to increase resources is needed urgently, in order to shorten waiting lists of months – or even years – before children needing assessments or support have access to a healthcare professional. Schools in our area are increasingly turning to a range of initiatives, looking for a combination that will work for the specific child. Intervening early, involving the family and highlighting some of the child’s achievements – however small they

may be – could all be part of the process, as could interventions based on enjoyable activities (perhaps sports?) to help draw them back in. While there’s no quick fix when it comes to pupil attendance, a growing awareness of all the reasons children might be missing school (as so often, it’s complicated) is an important step in improving the situation. And it’s one our schools are addressing with compassion and commitment.


Felsted School

Felsted School, Felsted, Essex CM6 3LL 45 minutes south of Cambridge

01371 822605

Boarding School of the Year 2023 Felsted School has been named the top boarding school in the UK by TES ( Times Educational Supplement ). The school has been recognised by a panel of expert judges including school leaders and education researchers, not just on the basis of academic achievement, but on the innovation, imagination and effort that goes into developing children in ways that go beyond the league tables.

world-class education in East Anglia. Cambridge families choose Felsted School for their children, not just for the excellent academic results, but also the huge choice of sports and arts, as well as adventurous and community activities part and parcel of every school day. The beautiful Felsted campus, featuring more than 90 acres of playing fields, pitches and landscaped grounds for exploring, is just a 45-minute bus ride from Cambridge. It’s the setting for an education that encourages individual pupils’ characters to flourish, with skills, talent and passions that will last well into adult life to be discovered, developed and nurtured. BROAD AND EXCITING The academic curriculum is broad and exciting. At the top of Felsted Prep School, 11- to 13-year-old boys and girls have their own domain, where their learning is focused on honing the independent study skills they will need in order to make the most of their education going

forward. Once in the senior school, boys and girls aged 13 to 18 have a huge choice of subjects at GCSE and A-level, as well as the popular option of the International Baccalaureate. Younger children, aged four to 11, have a whale of a time in small classes at the lower phases of Felsted Prep, carefully devised lessons laying solid foundations in maths and literacy, and introducing the wonders of science, languages, the arts and sport.

modern and engaging, taking place in the inspiring surroundings of historic school buildings, or the brand-new Marshall Centre for Learning, a state-of-the-art hub for independent study as well as collaboration. The very able are stretched and challenged to achieve new academic heights, while those who need it are given extra reinforcement. CREATIVITY AND SPORT IN THE SPOTLIGHT One of the sportiest schools in the country, Felsted teams and individual sportsmen and women are often seen lifting national trophies. That said, sport really is for all, with team games at all levels. Every


Right across the school, pupils at Felsted are given the support needed to make the most of their learning. Teaching is



pupil has the opportunity to represent the school in competition. Rugby, cricket, hockey, netball, tennis, football, swimming and athletics are all on the table. There are plenty of options when it comes to keeping active and healthy – including yoga, horse riding and dance. The school has its own professional- standard music school, theatre and performing arts studio. These buzz constantly with the sound of young performing artists developing their talents. A link with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London brings world-class instrumental teachers to Felsted, and the calendar is bursting with concerts and productions. Art, too, is impressive: high-quality artwork is showcased within the school and often included in public exhibitions. LEADERSHIP AND TEAMWORKING Pupils at Felsted are encouraged to develop attributes that will see them make a difference to the world in the future, so there are many opportunities to challenge themselves physically and emotionally, and to practise both leadership and

teamworking. The Combined Cadet Force, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme and Model United Nations are very popular, and there are countless other chances throughout the school for individuals to take on positions of responsibility and act as role models. Felsted is an international community, bringing together pupils and staff from across the UK and around the world. Working and living side-by-side gives a unique insight into a range of cultures, views and values, encouraging young people to develop true understanding and respect for others. INTERNATIONALISM AND UNDERSTANDING BOARDING BENEFITS While a fifth of senior and sixth form pupils at Felsted are day pupils, the rest choose to board in one of the school’s eight comfortable, modern boarding houses. These are a home from home, offering accommodation in either shared rooms or single bedrooms (depending on ages), quiet places to study and communal areas for fun group activities. Houseparents care for the boarders 24/7, and there is a real family atmosphere. WELLBEING Wellbeing of pupils at Felsted is top priority. Each member of the school community is known, valued and supported by a network of experienced teaching and non-teaching staff, totally dedicated to their care. The school has a Wellbeing Centre, and an established programme of activities and initiatives for promoting good mental health. There



is also a fully equipped medical centre on campus, staffed by qualified healthcare professionals, available to pupils and staff day or night. VISIT FELSTED! The best way to find out about Felsted is to visit and chat to pupils, as well as Felsted Head, Chris Townsend, and Head of Felsted Prep, Miranda Norris. For more info and to book an open morning, visit or call the friendly admissions team on 01371 822605. Alternatively, you can email at

A-levels & IB diploma

Ages four to 18


Day & boarding



Embracing the great outdoors

Leaving the classroom behind and immersing in the natural world is key to a child’s development. But could we do it more – and sooner?

e hear it all the time: with every new generation of children, the consensus is that they need to be spending more time outside, running around and getting acquainted with nature. But how close to nature can they get when they’re spending the majority of their school day indoors? Outdoor learning isn’t brand new – forest schools are thought to have been introduced in the UK around the 1990s, with the Forest School Association created in 2012 and going on to provide formal qualifications. As of today, many schools in our area incorporate outdoor learning into the scheduled timetable, while forest schools capitalise on their natural settings as the basis for their curriculum. Research has shown that outdoor lessons have a positive impact on physical and mental health and overall wellbeing. As it stands, the national curriculum refers to outdoor learning just ten times within the science syllabuses for key stages 1 and 2, with plants, changing seasons and living things and their habitats all taught outside. Merging outdoor and conventional learning can improve the development of children’s cognitive, emotional and physical skills. Students being taught in outdoor settings are encouraged to approach their learning

hands-on, with many outdoor lessons taking a student-led and collaborative format compared with conventional lessons held in indoor classrooms. Now more than ever, we see schools in our area treating education and nature as complementary forces. For some classes, the playground and school field are no longer reserved for break time, lunch and the odd PE lesson – green spaces are now places where breakthroughs in maths, literacy and science happen, too, with some schools even introducing eco-classrooms and nature reserves. After all, Cambridgeshire is one of the greenest places in the UK, and it’s about time we take advantage of the natural learning tools our area has to offer. Outdoor and indoor lessons have similar targets but take different routes to meet them – whiteboards are substituted for “For some classes, the playground and school field are no longer just reserved for break time, lunch and PE lessons”





a grassy floor, with students encouraged to construct shapes using sticks and twigs for maths, and go on wild minibeast hunts for science. So, why isn’t every school incorporating the outdoors into their lessons? The reality is that many schools will face barriers that could make introducing outdoor learning difficult. For some, space and facilities are key factors; many simply don’t have access to sprawling fields and gardens, let alone custom-built reserves. Thankfully, outdoor learning doesn’t have to demand onsite woodlands and acres of trees.

Any open space, such as a playground, offers its own set of values; insect hotels can be built on concrete, fallen logs require little to no space in order to be analysed, and wildflowers can be grown on even the smallest strips of grass. Classes can even construct indoor planters and bring the outside into the classroom, allowing children to form meaningful connections with nature without the need for large – and often costly – outdoor facilities. Naturally, a new teaching environment brings fresh challenges for teachers and

“So, why isn’t every school incorporating the outdoors into their lessons? The reality is that many schools will face barriers that make it more difficult”



children: outdoor classrooms are subject to weather conditions, while hygiene and safety concerns could potentially put off parents and teachers alike. Not only this, but creating engaging and suitable lessons for a brand-new, unfamiliar environment could be stressful and potentially time- consuming for teachers. The question is: do the pros outweigh the cons? Children taught in forest schools are encouraged to take charge of their own learning, and can be faced with difficult situations or even failure. But this will teach resilience and problem-solving skills, as well as how to weigh up risks. There’s no doubt that indoor play carries its own set of benefits, providing a safe and controlled environment during the earlier, most formative years of a child’s life. There’s nothing inherently wrong with indoor classrooms, but the truth is, the earlier we can introduce children to nature as part of their daily routine, the more likely they are to learn to relish it later in life. Schools in our area are proving that education doesn’t have to be synonymous with classroom learning. Lessons learned in the great outdoors can have a huge impact, too.



ounded in 1555, Gresham’s is an authentic boarding and day

science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education. This dedicated STEAM centre disrupts an established narrative that young people must choose between science and the arts at an early stage. By teaching them side by side, pupils see how the knowledge gained from one discipline can be transferred to another. Both creativity and original thinking have long been cornerstones of a Gresham’s education – and the Dyson Building sees this continue today. MUSIC Music is at the heart of Gresham’s. The school works hard to instil a love of music

school providing a rounded education to boys and girls aged two to 18. The school has excellent facilities spanning a 200-acre site, set just four miles from the breathtaking North Norfolk coast. Gresham’s provides a broad and enriching education, enabling pupils to discover their own talents and develop into confident, well-rounded individuals. THE DYSON BUILDING The Dyson Building opened at Gresham’s in September 2021. Sir James Dyson, a former pupil, enabled the new centre for

Cromer Road, Holt, Norfolk NR25 6EA

01263 714614



Open days Prep School open morning: Friday 3 May Senior School and Sixth Form open morning: Saturday 4 May

in pupils, providing a wide range of solo and ensemble performance opportunities at all levels. As an All-Steinway School, the facilities across the department and performance spaces are world-class. The outstanding 140-seat Recital Hall hosts various concerts, recitals and informal performances throughout the year. This offers opportunities for musicians of all abilities to share their talent with school audiences and wider communities. SPORT Sport has always been integral at Gresham’s. Believing in educating the ‘whole person’ – mind, spirit and body –

the school cultivates healthy, committed team players who value the importance of collaboration and leadership. Gresham’s encourages students to become involved in any of the sports offered, and has an enviable reputation in hockey, rugby, cricket, netball and shooting. Teams compete at school, local, national and international level. REMARKABLE ALUMNI The school has a tradition of producing outstanding achievers in all walks of life – architects, diplomats, engineers, musicians, sportspeople and more. Old Greshamians have been inspiring others

for generations, such as East Anglian composer Sir Benjamin Britten, poet WH Auden, biophysicist Sir Alan Hodgkin and sportsman Richard Leman. More recently, Old Greshamians making their mark and creating headlines include international rugby players Tom and Ben Youngs, and Oscar-winning actor Olivia Colman. A PERFECT LOCATION North Norfolk is a beautiful place to live and learn. The school sits just outside the popular Georgian market town of Holt, amongst an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Academic, art, music, drama and sport scholarships are all available.


St John’s College School

t St John’s, we believe in a childhood filled with affection, in which children know that they are valued, learn to trust themselves and each other, find and express their voices and discover the differences they can make for themselves and others. Not only this, but they can learn to think for themselves, to question, collaborate, be independent, own and take charge of their learning and their lives. A CARING COMMUNITY A St John’s education is about the whole child. At its core is our focus on pastoral care and wellbeing, starting with our Emotions for Learning programme which is at the very foundation of what we do and how we are as a school. We believe that education at its best is a profound act of care. If we care, then we will notice. If we notice, then we will act on a child’s

behalf. If we act for each child, then each of our children will become their best selves. To be known, noticed, valued and cared for – fundamental things for all of us – these are the essentials of a good childhood, and they are at the heart of the St John’s way. NURTURING INDEPENDENCE & CREATIVITY Our children become independent learners and creative thinkers prepared to question, with their curiosity very much alive. They get the best from themselves and achieve very highly within and beyond the classroom. We aim for our children to develop a real generosity of spirit, to know and care about getting the best from others and doing well when they are with us and when they are long beyond our walls. We focus on creativity throughout the school, both in the way we teach and the way children learn. We prefer to enable children to develop the skills needed to succeed in the future rather than concentrate purely on gaining knowledge, gathering facts and passing exams – although these have their place in any educational environment. This approach creates the right environment for our pupils to find their true voices and realise their potential, secure in the knowledge that they are cared for and supported by the community around them, equipped with a full set of skills to problem-solve, collaborate and adapt. Our youngest children are full of questions, rich with curiosity. We work to preserve and strengthen their questioning and thinking skills. From the earliest age we give them the essential

73 Grange Road, Cambridge CB3 9AB

01223 353652



Open days Our next open mornings will be held on 14 March and 9 May 2024 . To attend, contact our registrar Mrs Maria Mosher on 01223 353652 or tools, knowledge and understanding, but aim to give them more. Our Flexible Learning programme features child-led independent learning, play-based learning in the Pre-Prep, creative and critical thinking, executive functions, digitally enhanced learning, philosophy, compassion and loving kindness – plus outdoor learning, which benefits from the addition of a landscaped forest garden. An Enrichment programme has been implemented with the school’s nine- to 13-year-olds, exploring the development of sustainability projects as well as cross- curricular work and giving space to My Mind (incorporating mindfulness, study skills, tai chi, PSHEE and philosophy as a foundation for critical thinking skills, self-

management of learning and management of self). The aim is to foster a child’s ability to possess their own learning, engage their innate curiosity and creativity, and encourage them to connect with their feelings about themselves and the world. ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE From this strong foundation – despite being non-selective at our main 4+ intake – our pupils go on to achieve at the highest levels. This is confirmed by the results of our previous ISI Inspection Report, where the quality of pupils’ academic achievements and personal development were graded as ‘Excellent’. Our exam results are outstanding and, on average, nearly half of our leavers end up gaining

scholarships to the strongest schools each academic year. FIND OUT MORE Visit our school and get to know us during a normal day on an open morning or individually arranged tour. It is important to us that you should have an opportunity to see the school in action, tour each of the school’s sites (usually with the children) and experience its atmosphere, as well as meet us to discuss the school’s educational approach and ask any questions. To find out more and arrange your visit, or book a place on one of our open mornings on 14 March and 9 May, please contact the registrar Mrs Maria Mosher (01223 353652 or



Schools at a loss for words Modern language uptake has been dwindling for years. But why is this, and what can our educational establishments do to articulate the value of looking beyond our mother tongue?

ou often hear people talking about how foreign languages are taught in the UK, complaining

encouraging – cultural and linguistic diversity is one of the many things that makes our area wonderful. Yet, it’s not reflected in the numbers of students motivated to learn foreign languages. Research shows that students learning a foreign language perform better than those who aren’t. It can boost performance in other academic subjects as well as improving their cognitive skills. The question is: why aren’t students learning second languages? The truth is that the standard of modern language teaching isn’t the same across all schools, with some having access to fewer learning resources than others. Reports suggest that children still have a passion for

that despite learning French for years, they can’t hold a conversation as an adult. Recently, there has been a vast decline in secondary school pupils from year 9 upwards continuing to study languages. Once they were dropped from the core curriculum in 2004, the numbers taking German and French GCSE plummeted by over half from 1996 to 2021. Cambridgeshire is not a county of monoglots, by any means. Actually, our inhabitants speak a total of 88 different primary languages between them. This is a statistic we should be celebrating and


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