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Girls’ schools: combining sport and academic success April 26, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Independent Education.
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Today is the deadline for apply for tickets to see events at the 2012 Olympics in London. At the time of writing, demand was soaring for the event, which has brought sport sharply into focus in the UK.

Sport in schools and getting more kids involved in sport has long been a priority for UK governments – although independent schools here have an excellent record in promoting and developing a love and aptitude for sport in their pupils.

Here, in this article that appeared in the recently published Which London School? & the South East 2011/12, Rachel Kerr of the Girls’ School Association explains why girls thrive at sports at single-sex schools.

Girls’ schools: combining sport and academic success

It is not just because single-sex schools dominate the top of the examination league tables that a girls’ school could be the right choice for your daughter. Most parents agree that it’s a good thing for their child to learn to enjoy exercise and, for many, the PE provision and sports opportunities an all-girls school offers are a key attraction. The teamwork, commitment, communication, discipline, respect and healthy attitude to taking part which our children learn from sport are all skills that stand them in good stead for the future, both personally and professionally.

Parents with daughters generally have more choice than those with sons as, in addition to coeducational schools, there are more all-girls schools in the UK than there are single sex boys’ schools. With so much choice, it’s important to be aware of what makes the benefits of sporting provision in girls’ schools subtly different from those of a coeducational school, and how your daughter might expect to gain from that difference.

In a society that is so image-conscious, sport creates the opportunity to develop a positive body image and a positive outlook on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In an all-girls school, that positive body image can develop all the more quickly without the added self consciousness which often comes from thinking that boys are looking at you, and without worrying about your appearance when you return to lessons slightly red-faced.

What’s more, in an all-girls school, girls get to do everything. As Chriz Poultney, head of PE at Manor House School says: “In an all-girl environment pupils can fully celebrate their individual and team achievements without being overshadowed by any male sporting prowess, prejudices or opinions. They are able to participate and blossom without embarrassment or a hidden agenda of worrying about what they look like whilst competing.”

This is a view echoed by St Albans High School for Girls, where head of PE, Michelle Bacon, adds “In girls’ schools, female sporting success is celebrated as being normal, expected and limitless.”

Girls’ schools are at the cutting edge of sports provision. Across London and the South East they offer a staggering choice of competitive games, facilities, avenues for excellence and innovative coaching. Girls represent their school, district, county, region and even their country in their chosen sport. At Wycombe Abbey, where there is a state-of-the-art sports centre and pool, pupils represent England at lacrosse. Jess Harper, a sixth form student at Putney High School, is not alone in achieving sporting prowess thanks to the inspiration and accommodation of her school. Jess has been selected for the British Swimming World Class Talent Programme, and is now part of a scheme designed to nurture talent for the 2012 Paralympics, having already achieved success at the National and International British Swimming Championships at the same time as getting top GCSE results. She says: “It’s definitely a challenge to combine my training with school work but having Putney’s support has made it much easier.”

Sport is a route to personal as well as physical development, with sports tours offering opportunities to explore the world and other cultures. At Croydon High School, for example, elite teams have toured countries such as South Africa, Malta and Barbados where they not only compete but also enjoy communicating through the common language of sport.

It’s not just in the traditionally ‘female’ sports that pupils in all-girls schools excel. In fact, one of the great benefits of an all-girls school is that there is no gender stereotyping. Girls are leaders, they excel as much in physics, engineering and design technology as they do in English, drama and art, and they are free to pursue and achieve in every sport their school offers. At St James Senior Girls’ School, for example, successful female athletes are celebrated role models and one of the visiting coaches is a female England rugby player.

Similarly, at Godolphin & Latymer, football, cricket and kickboxing thrive alongside netball, hockey and rounders. Of course not all girls aspire to be great athletes, but, as Lynne Crighton, headmistress at St Margaret’s School (Hertfordshire) says “they all need to be encouraged to participate and develop habits which will keep them healthy in later life. A good school will offer a range of sporting options and encourage everyone to be involved in something. This is what parents should be looking at, not just the reputation of the first team.” In a highly successful initiative at Queensgate School, 300 of the 450 girls take part in optional early morning sports clubs from 7am until breakfast is served and lessons begin.

Combining sport with academic success is something girls’ schools do particularly well. At South Hampstead High School they find that many of the girls who perform well in class are the same students who are in most of the sports teams. “They prove time and time again”, says their head of PE, “that they can manage their time, use their organisation skills and be disciplined and determined to succeed in all they do.”

Girls’ schools don’t just offer equal opportunity – they offer every opportunity, and sport is no exception. For further information about girls’ schools in London and the South East, see www.gsa.uk.com.

The schools featured in this article are only some of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) schools located in London and the South East. The GSA represents all the UK’s independent girls’ schools.

Which London School? & the South-East 2011/12 published April 21, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Independent Education, New releases.
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We have received back from the printers the latest edition of our Which London School & the South-East guide.

Thank you to all those schools who have taken the opportunity to promote yourselves within this 22nd edition of this guidebook to independent education in London and the home counties.

As we speak, the book is being distributed to our controlled list in the UK and abroad, including relocation agencies, educational consultants, British Forces’ libraries, main UK libraries, British Council offices and British Embassies. Copies are sold through leading bookshops and online through Amazon, Google Books as well as www.johncattbookshop.com

In addition to details of all independent schools in the region, and expanded descriptions from selected others, the book also contains an editorial section which parents and professionals will find useful for more information on the independent sector.

It includes an introduction by David Levin, chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference; Arthur Bray, chairman of the Independent Schools Association, telling parents that an independent education still provides good value for money; the Girls’ Schools association, writing about combining sport and academic success; and  Mumsnet, on coping with the school run.

The book is available to buy here.

Thanks ECIS: great conference April 18, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Conferences.
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Back in the office this morning after returning from Istanbul and the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) April conference. It was another well organised and inspiring event from the ECIS team: thank you from John Catt Educational.

Highlights included the three keynote speakers: Michael Thompson, who spoke on the importance of courageous leadership in schools; social entrepreneur Wendy Luhabe, on the values and principals needed to thrive in 21st Century life; and Kyung Hee Kim, who discussed her recent study, The Creativity Crisis.

It was great to also see in attendance so many contributors to John Catt Educational publications over recent years: Mary Hayden and Jeff Thompson, editors of the newly-released and much talked-about Taking the MYP Forward, along with contributors Wilf Stout and Dominic Currer; Adele Hodgson and David Willows, editors of Effective Marketing, Communications and Development, along with contributors Beatrice Caston, Marcia De Wolf, Mary Langford, John Moser; and of course many of those who have contributed stories to International School (is) magazine over the years.

Finally, thank you to all those who attended our celebration to recognise the remarkable 30 years of the International Schools Journal, our joint venture with ECIS and CIS.

Attached are some photos from the wonderful boat trip up the Bosphorus on Saturday evening, on our way to the gala dinner at the Adile Sultan Sarayi.

We look forward to the ECIS November conference in Lisbon.

John Catt at the ECIS Administrators’ Conference in Istanbul April 12, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Conferences, International education.
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Managing director Jonathan Evans and managing editor Alex Sharratt are heading off tomorrow (Wednesday) to the European Council of International Schools Administrators’ Conference in Istanbul.

It promises to be a fantastic conference, attracting some 400 heads of schools, their deputies, senior teachers, board trustees, business managers and advancement officers. The conference is an in-depth look at current educational issues, with a focus on Courageous Leadership.

There are also over 50 organisations making up the exhibition. John Catt Educational are amongst that number, promoting our catalogue of international publications, including the newly-released Taking the MYP Forward.

Do come and say hello if you are attending

The Work of the Bursar: A Jack (or Jill) of all Trades? April 12, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Independent Education, New releases.
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We have just sent off to our printers, Bell & Bain of Glasgow, the seventh and penultimate book in our highly-respected Leading Schools in the 21st Century series.

The Work of the Bursar: A Jack of all Trades? follows on from previous titles that focused on Heads; Senior Management Teams; Heads of Department; Newly Qualified Teachers; those involved in Pastoral Work and, most recently, those in Public Relations, Marketing and Development.

This book is co-sponsored by the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association (until 1983, the Public Schools’ Bursars’ Association), which was founded in 1932 at a meeting at Epsom College. It came into being to support the growing number of schools in which the Head had once controlled the financial as well as the educational management, but which had, over the previous few decades, created the post of bursar.

Here Nigel Richardson, editor of the book, explains a little more:

“The range and demands of the bursar’s job have grown out of all recognition. In larger schools there is now a team of people rather than one individual responding to them; in many, the person at the top of the pyramid is known by a different title. In some schools, a group of individuals in specialist support roles are collectively and individually answerable to the Head as chief executive.

“Wondering whether we could or should reflect these developments, we considered the title of this book carefully. Ultimately, however, having recently surveyed its members, ISBA’s view was that the term ‘Bursar’ is still the most widely used and widely understood. We hope that the term will be seen as generic both to the person(s) and to the roles described.

“We hope, too that the book’s sub-title Jack of all trades? causes no raised eyebrows. In terms of gender, yes: these days there are many Jills, as well as Jacks, occupying in the bursar’s chair. Furthermore if, when one hears the phrase, one often thinks of the words which tend immediately to follow it: ‘Master of none’, it is worth remembering the saying in fullest version: ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none; though oftentimes better than master of one’.

“Bursars truly are practitioners of many parts.”

Summer issue of Prep School: ready for the printers! April 8, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Magazines.
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The summer issue of Prep School magazine is getting its final bit of spit and polish before we send off to the printers on Monday. Editor Michele Kitto has put together another fine magazine, full of inspiring examples of great teaching in UK prep and junior schools.

Amongst other things, the issue includes advice on Uncovering good ideas; an encouragement for schools to Go the extra mile; a Don’t drop citizenship from the curriculum cry; and a reminder regarding colour blindness – Why colour really does matter.

If you are a member of staff at a prep school – be it Head, SMT, teacher, or teaching assistant – and have a story to share with the rest of the community, feel free to get in touch with Michele via editor@prepschoolmag.co.uk. Subscription details regarding the magazine can be found here.

the gap-year guidebook photo competition April 7, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in the gap-year guidebook.
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The gap-year guidebook 2011 photo competition has now closed. Thank you to all those who entered. As last year, we have received some fantastic entries and picking a winning photograph (which will be published in the 2012 edition of the guidebook) is going to be a difficult task.

Below is a sample of some of the recent entries we have been sent – which should be more than enough to have you dreaming of mystical countries far, far away…

Andrew Pillsbury

Christopher Griffiths

Hannah Matthews

Ibrahim Mella

Jenny Taylor

Jody Daunton

Lisa Matuzelis

The winner of the competition will be announced shortly, when our design, production and editorial teams have had a chance to look through all of the entries.

Thanks again,

Alex

Celebrating 30 years of the International School Journal! April 5, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in International education, New releases.
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The much-loved International Schools Journal is 30 years old this edition!  Published twice a year, in November and April, in conjunction with the European Council of International Schools (ECIS), the ISJ is a unique source of articles concerning virtually every aspect of international education.

Dr Mike Maybury, Executive Secretary/Director ECIS/CIS 1989-2004, explains a brief history of this fantastic publication:

Edna Murphy deserves enormous credit for persuading the ECIS Board of Directors that there was a niche for a publication comprising articles dealing with international education. Initially there was considerable reluctance, mainly on the grounds of cost, and for several years until 1989, the publication was funded in part by the proceeds of an annual begging letter from the chair of the Board’s Publications Committee urging member schools to make a voluntary donation. That so many schools contributed for so many years was a tribute to the value and quality of the ISJ.

In the years since 1991, when publication costs were first wholly included in the annual budget, the ISJ has gone from strength to strength mainly under the expert and caring guidance of Edna, Charles Gellar and Caroline Ellwood as editors, with unstinting support from the publishers, John Catt Educational Limited, represented by managing editor Derek Bingham, and the members of the advisory board, particularly Dr Roger Peel and Dr George Walker as Directors General of the IB and Professor Jeff Thompson of the University of Bath, and many staff members from ECIS member schools.

Meanwhile, looks forward to the future:

30 years old! What a wealth of development, human endeavour, enterprise, success (and sometimes failure) that period covers in the history of international education.

In a letter to his brother, Vincent Van Gogh commented on reaching the age of 30 that it was ‘the beginning of a period of some stability’ as he was ‘still young and full of energy’ but he added it is also the start of ‘another period of sowing time, and the harvest is not yet here’.

So as ISJ achieves its 30th birthday, we could also feel a certain ‘stability’ and certainly as the international education movement grows in strength and importance we hope to reflect the energy and excitement of its progress. Moving into the next decade we will, with the continued help and interest of practitioners across the world, carry on a tradition of recording progress, engaging with the controversial, alerting to future change and grappling with philosophic questions. And it is important here to acknowledge the debt of thanks we owe to all those contributors across the years who have helped to make this journal of interest. Please do carry on sending in your thoughts, research and observations, for a new ‘period of sewing time’.

‘The harvest is not yet here!’

 

Edna Murphy deserves enormous credit for persuading the ECIS Board of

Directors that there was a niche for a publication comprising articles dealing

with international education. Initially there was considerable reluctance, mainly

on the grounds of cost, and for several years until 1989, the publication was

funded in part by the proceeds of an annual begging letter from the chair of the

Board’s Publications Committee urging member schools to make a voluntary

donation. That so many schools contributed for so many years was a tribute to

the value and quality of the ISJ.

In the years since 1991, when publication costs were first wholly included in

the annual budget, the ISJ has gone from strength to strength mainly under the

expert and caring guidance of Edna, Charles Gellar and Caroline Ellwood as

editors, with unstinting support from the publishers, John Catt Educational

Limited, represented by managing editor Derek Bingham, and the members of

the advisory board, particularly Dr Roger Peel and Dr George Walker as

Directors General of the IB and Professor Jeff Thompson of the University of

Bath, and many staff members from ECIS member schools.