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Theoria Design October 25, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Uncategorized.
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There are some exciting changes afoot here at John Catt… And we’re very pleased to announce our new in-house design team – Theoria Design. Whether you need a leaflet, brochure or complete rebranding, we will use our combined experience to create your unique product.

Recently we’ve worked with Globee, creating new maps for their beautifully crafted globes – ‘Madrid’ and ‘Cardiff’ will be available soon – as well as making links with East Anglian Air Ambulance, via their ‘Business on Board‘ scheme, designing their various brochures.

Have a look at the website for a comprehensive list of the services we provide, and of course, feel free to contact us with any questions or requests (we’re a friendly bunch). Remember, you can be as hands-on as you like, or we can manage the whole process so you don’t have to.

You can follow us on Twitter too; we’re new so would appreciate the attention! More news soon.

John Catt Educational at the IB Africa, Europe, Middle East Regional Conference 2011 October 25, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Conferences.
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Our MD Jonathan Evans is currently loading boxes, packing suitcases and searching high and low for his passport ahead of his visit to the IB Africa, Europe, Middle East Regional Conference 2011 in the Hague.

The Conference, which will also see is the launch of the new IB global center in the Hague, is a forum that will draw together the ideas and creativity of educators from a diverse range of countries and cultures from the region.

Conference delegates will be especially interested in our newly-published Taking the IB Diploma Programme Forward. It is the third book in the series, following Taking the PYP Forward and Taking the MYP Forward, and brings together expert opinions on the future of the programme, the longest-standing of its kind in the world.

Internationalizing Schools, edited by Steven Carber and published by John Catt Educational this summer, and the IB World Schools Yearbook 2011 will also be of interest.

If you are attending, do stop by our stand and say hello.

From Which School? 2012: How to deal with cyberbullies October 17, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Independent Education, New releases.
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Which School? 2012, our flagship annual guide to independent education in the UK, is currently at the printers. It features a new-look cover design (right), bringing this historic guide bang up-to-date. Let us know what you think.

Thanks to all those schools who opted to promote their facilities and values in this 87th edition, the most comprehensive edition that anyone in the John Catt offices can remember.

In addition to information about every independent school in the UK, Which School? 2012 also features an editorial section full of interesting and informative articles. One of which we have reproduced below, some advice on dealing with the growing problem of cyberbullying, by Donal Blaney, Senior Partner at specialist litigation solicitors, Griffin Law.


For most of us, bullying used to manifest itself physically or mentally. In the past bullies were content with stealing pocket money, punching those weaker than them, abusing others with hurtful taunts or ostracizing those they had determined to isolate. It was easy to determine who the bully was and for schools and victims’ parents to take matters in hand. Not so with today’s cyber-bullies.

Cyber-bullying at its simplest is the use of electronic means to intimidate or harm others.Usually this consists of the use (or rather misuse) of mobile phones, email and the internet. It is not restricted to schoolchildren. Indeed recent years have seen a marked increase in cyberbullying involving adults, particularly in the context of the breakdown of relationships and in the workplace.

Bullies mistakenly believe that such electronic media easily allow for anonymous victimization of others, or they think they will not be caught (and, if they are, that nothing will or can be done). Sometimes this is indeed the case. Just as skilled hackers are rarely caught, so it is with some cyber-bullies. The majority of times, however, bullies can be unmasked and be brought to justice.

Court orders have been obtained by sportsmen who are being impersonated on social networking sites, by politicians who are harassed invariably by their opponents or disgruntled constituents, by celebrities who are the victims of cyber-stalkers and, most gratifyingly, by parents whose children are being bullied by other children.

And what has astonished me is the way that many of the cyber-bullies whose identities have been unmasked are not other children at all – they are those other children’s parents who have chosen to engage in a proxy feud through their children!

How, then, should you deal with a potential cyber-bully who is causing your child’s life to be a misery?

1. Do not ignore the problem – the press has reported a worrying increase in the number of suicides and incidents of self-harm brought about by cyber-bullying that is often not even known about by the victims’ parents.

2. Do not respond – cyber-bullying is still bullying. Bullies are usually looking for a response from their victims. Often if their bullying is ignored, they lose interest. If a victim responds, particularly in kind, then he or she risks losing the moral (and legal) high ground.

3. Keep the evidence – keep a record of all instances of cyber-harassment. Do not delete text messages, emails, Facebook messages and the like. You will need them if the case ever comes to court. The more examples, the easier it will be to persuade a judge.

4. Hide but don’t run – there’s no point in making it unnecessarily easy for a cyberbully. As frustrating and inconvenient as it may be, changing your mobile number or leaving Facebook for a few weeks is a small price to pay while you determine how to proceed.

5. Check your insurance – do any of your domestic insurances provide cover for legal expenses, for example where personal injury has been suffered? Legal expenses cover is usually a very cheap add-on to buildings or contents policies and it is worth its weight in gold when a serious problem arises.

6. Involve the police – if the harassment is particularly virulent or ongoing, report the matter to the police. Sadly they are unlikely to take it as seriously as they ought to but the mere fact that the harassment has been reported to the police can often be helpful when a judge looks at your complaint.

7. Be realistic – nothing is certain when the courts are involved. Judges are only human. There is no guarantee that a tormentor will be unmasked each and every time. Some are better at hiding their tracks than others. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing something about it but there will be circumstances where the impossible cannot be achieved.

8. Be reasonable – judges are ready to come to the aid of victims who are suffering unendurable torment at the hands of cyber-bullies but only if you act reasonably in your dealings with the court and with your opponents. Seeking damages or costs running into tens of thousands of pounds won’t win you any friends.

9. Go for the jugular – equally, however, be prepared to pursue any bully if he ignores an injunction. The threat of jail, sequestration of assets and a fine usually concentrates their minds.

10. Keep perspective – as unsettling as cyber-bullying is, it rarely lasts more than a few awful weeks or months. In a loving home environment with restricted online access, even today’s children can learn that there is a life beyond cyberspace!

Which School? 2012 is our annual guide to independent education in the UK. Copies can be purchased via the John Catt Bookshop.

More news on the gap-year guidebook 2012 October 12, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Uncategorized.
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Oliver Mosse won our photo competition and made his way onto the front cover!

As we eagerly await the release of the latest edition of our gap-year guidebook, I thought I’d reveal a few pieces of the featured editorial.

Phil Murray, director of GapAdvice.org, writes the preface and muses, ‘(a) gap-year at any time of life is very special… It may not be for a year – it could be for a month… Even if your motive is just to travel, to see other cultures, to ‘get away’, you will return a more rounded person.’

Included as well, is the opinion of Prof Alastair Hudson from Queen Mary’s School of Law, who explains why universities do look at time away positively. ‘Students who have experienced the world of work or who have done something genuinely challenging return to their studies with a new outlook.’

Raleigh are a leading charity provider of expeditions and volunteer projects abroad, and they’ve used their entry to really stress the importance of extensive research. ‘There are lots of organisations that you can volunteer abroad with but you need to find the right one for you.’ (Having had a near-disaster during my gap-year, I can really vouch for such sentiments).

An increasingly-popular prospect is that of becoming an au pair or a nanny overseas. Childcare International specialise in such placements across Europe,Australia,New Zealand,Canada and theUnited States of America. ‘No matter where your host family lives’, assures the company, ‘you can feel comfortable that organisers will be on hand to help you settle in, provide orientation and introduce you to new international friends whilst assisting with all aspects of your stay.’ This level of support is essential, especially when in a position of responsibility.

And lastly (for now), our friends at the National Union of Students express the huge benefits  – ‘(a)t the risk of sounding like a cliché’ – of volunteering, reaffirming the process as ‘a rewarding and useful way to gain some real world experience.’

So, whether you want a structured gap-year, or quite the opposite, the gap-year guide book is an essential tool, renowned for its useful, informative and unbiased advice. I have to say, I wish I’d consulted the guide before I went away; it’s even lightweight enough to carry around in your bulging backpack.

Anyone who would like to submit a sample of writing, detailing tales of their own gap-year, please do. Examples will be chosen to add to our website, and then considered also, for the 2013 edition. Much loved too, are your beautiful photographs. Feel free to send them in via email, or indeed, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

For release November 2012

Free download of the first issue of Academy magazine October 10, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Magazines, New releases.
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Academy, our new launch magazine, is now available to view online and download onto your PC via this link:


Feel free to distribute far and wide: it is a wonderful first issue full of useful information and inspiring stories.

More and more UK students investigate overseas study October 7, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Conferences, International education.
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The highest ever number of UK students are thought to be considering overseas study in a bid to escape the introduction of £9,000 annual tuition fees.

Last year, almost 9,000 British undergraduates and postgraduates studied in the US, but that number is expected to soar in 2012.

We recently attended an exhibition at King’s College School, Wimbledon, where over 100 delegates from UK independent schools listened to advisors offering guidance on helping their students apply for North American higher education courses.

The photo here shows our account manager Madeleine Anderson talking to Elizabeth Thomson, University Liaison at Fettes College.

As Andrew Halls, Head Master of KCS, Wimbledon, wrote in the autumn 2011 edition of Conference & Common Room:

“The very best UK universities are certainly the equal of the greatest American seats of learning and thus the best in the world. In all league tables, Cambridge and Oxford are at the very top along with Harvard and Yale. But anyone who has visited US universities, or researched them, or talked to their devoted and enthusiastic alumni, will know that what is remarkable about the USA is just how many astonishingly good universities there are.

“They are richly endowed, they have facilities that most of our universities can only dream of, and they pay their academics well. Not surprisingly they therefore have many outstanding teachers. Their libraries are cherished and well-funded and their sports, music and drama facilities are a painful reminder to us in the UK that in America, at least, the ‘whole man’ is catered for – and celebrated.

“Most important of all, of course, US universities are free to pursue the courses and the admissions policies that they believe in. The agonised discourse between our last two governments and our great universities – ranging from wheedling cajolement through subtle threat to the occasional declamatory outburst – is, in America, simply unimaginable.

“Few UK schools will go to the lengths that American schools do to appoint full time representatives to guide students and families through this complicated minefield, which differs significantly from our own more familiar UCAS system. However, the best British schools are well aware that their parents, particularly those who are American citizens, expect them to have staff who are fully conversant with the US application system.”

As an increasing number of students from the UK look to overseas for their higher education courses, there will be a growing sense of competition between those universities looking to show off their facilities and range of degrees.

Publications such as Conference & Common Room, International School (is) magazine and Academy magazine are common-sense places for overseas universities to showcase themselves to educators in leading schools in the UK and beyond.

Contact us if you would like more information about these leading magazines.

Magazine Launch for Academies & Free Schools. October 6, 2011

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Magazines, New releases.
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As previously announced, we are launching a new education magazine, Academy, to celebrate the exciting, fast-growing academy and free school sector.

The magazine is currently at the printers and we eagerly await its arrival on the week commencing October 17th.

Contributors include Headmasters and Headmistresses of institutions that are at various points in the conversion process, members of The Independent Schools Association, the Director of PR for Schools and even comment from a Year 7 pupil detailing her first few days at a newly established Free School.

A particular aim of the publication is to offer advice for schools in the early-stages of the procedure, with specific guidance from both a legal and an insurance standpoint.

As well as being published three times a year, the magazine will also be available online.

Anyone interested in writing for the next issue, can contact Alex Sharratt, our  managing editor, for more information. Alternatively, any organisations interested in marketing themselves to this vibrant sector please get in touch with Madeline Anderson either via email or by telephone 01394 389855.

We look forward to hearing your feedback!