Education matters

Education matters

Beechwood Sacred Heart School

How important is it for your school to ensure that the arts are well represented in the curriculum? What key benefits do these subjects give students in addition to the traditional academic ones?
The future reality for our schoolchildren today is that they are entering a rapidly changing jobs marketplace when they leave school, college or university. Low skilled jobs are being replaced; there is no worse a time to be someone with ordinary skills. But there is no better time for people with the right skills, quite different skills, where the knowledge and attributes needed are much more holistic.
Let us consider increasing automation, a threat to many. However, there may be more human-machine opportunities available with significant creativity – doing what computers can’t do. The arts can allow some children to express themselves better than in some traditional subjects. In arts or other creative lessons children could be asked to recite a monologue in four different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children practise thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.

At Beechwood Sacred Heart School, we offer a wide range of creative subjects.  These include Music, Drama and Theatre Studies, DT Textiles, DT Product Design, Fine Art, and Photography.  Students at A Level and now in Year 8 can develop their own personal research and presentation project, the EPQ. Recent examples have looked at the role of the muse in art, and the influence of the music of Oasis.
The arts do not just develop a child’s creativity — the skills they learn spill over into academic achievement. This is primarily about developing self-confidence, independent enquiry and organisation. Developing an Art or DT portfolio is an excellent example of this.

In such a busy world, where opportunities abound in sport, recreation, socialising and technology media, allowing children to spend time on arts-based projects and collaboration helps to develop fine motor skills and patience.  Simple things like playing an instrument, holding a paintbrush and sketching are an important element to developing a child’s fine motor skills.
There is something special about participating in the arts. Getting up on a stage and acting, performing, singing or showcasing their work gives children a chance to step outside their comfort zone. As they improve and see their own progress, their self-confidence will continue to grow.  The arts strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills. How do I express this feeling through my dance? How should I play this character? The arts can be challenging, but learning to master musical instruments, redrafting artwork, refining DT projects, rehearsing lines and performances encourage perseverance, focus and attention to detail.

12 Pembury Rd
Tunbridge Wells

laremont School

When it comes to saving the planet, Claremont School is open for business, as pupils launch the Claremont Eco Store…
Building on the brilliant year-round work of Claremont School’s Eco Warriors as they pursue Green Flag status, pupils from Year 7 and 8 decided to launch the Claremont Eco Store to sell environmentally friendly products directly to parents and friends. Believed to be one of the first of its kind in a school, the Eco Store has gone from strength to strength since it first opened its doors last November.

From humble beginnings and a modest stock list, chosen and marketed by the children themselves to include eco-friendly shampoo, body wash and refillable bottles, the Eco Warriors have been able to reinvest in their ‘business’ and expand their product range. Their new eco-lines include soap bars, washing up liquid, reusable straws and face pads, Eco Laundry Eggs ‘Ecoeggs’, bamboo toothbrushes ‘truthbrushes’, bamboo cotton buds, dental floss and top-selling toilet paper – ‘Bumboo’. Many national suppliers have recognised this as an incredible project and initiative for the children, to not only be running a ‘business’, but helping to reduce single use plastic and promote eco-friendly products to staff and parents. Offering their support, some have very generously allowed the children to order from them at wholesale prices with lower minimum orders to help get them started.
The children also took the Eco Store to the annual School Christmas Bazaar, where they were able to promote their cause and sell their wares to the wider local community.
With the help of charity the children decided that for every £10 in takings they would plant a tree. Ten trees were planted in Kenya on the Eco Store’s opening day, 17 the following week and 50 by the second week in January.

Headteacher Mr Bunker said: “It has been a pleasure working with this group of incredible students. The Eco Warriors are passionate about the environment, enthusiastic about their project and a joy to be around. It is a worrying time for our environment and the children are well informed of the challenges that we face. But this project has been more than a learning experience, it has empowered the children to take positive action – something they are extremely proud of. They know that in doing their bit, they are helping to better protect the earth for generations to come”.
If children ruled the world…!

St Leonards On Sea
East Sussex

TN37 7PW

Hilden Oaks School

Who wants to hop, skip and jump into the 2020s?
First and foremost sport is about participation and enjoyment. The ethos at Hilden Oaks Prep is to ‘Inspire, Motivate, Guide, Recognise and Support’, and the focus is on personal development through physical activity.

Hilden Oaks provides a programme of sporting activities to give children the opportunities to discover and develop interests or talents, develop character, and equip them with the knowledge of how to keep physically and mentally healthy.
It is a well-publicised fact that children who are active in school sports are fitter, have healthier body weights and are more confident. It also makes a significant contribution to the ‘Spiritual, Moral, Cultural and Mental development’ (for which the school received a Gold Award in 2019).
Starting in Early Years, all the children have physical development lessons, which are led by specialist PE teachers and are based around locomotive, stability and manipulative skills, covering games, gymnastics and dance.

As they move through the school into Pre-Prep, the physical education lessons are delivered on a daily basis, and eventually in Prep, the skills they have previously learnt are transferred into athletics, cross-country running, netball, cricket, dance, football, rugby, gymnastics, tennis, swimming, and – in Year 6 – korfball. All pupils are given the opportunity to represent the school in matches both against other schools and inter-house, and some will even represent the school at district level.Hilden Oaks celebrates all levels of sporting success regularly in assembly, including ‘player of the match’, and they encourage their most able students to pursue sports outside school to maximise their potential. All the individual sports accolades feature on a Sports Star display board.Every year a Sports Scholarship is awarded to the most deserving pupil in Form 2, and they are very proud of the fact that several of their former pupils have been awarded sports scholarships to their senior schools. 

It is recognised, however, that not everyone shines at team sports, so a programme of extra-curricular sports clubs and coaching is offered which includes golf, fencing, badminton, judo, POP Lacrosse, tennis, and bike skills.

Mental health and wellbeing has become a focus for much discussion in recent years, and this is an area that Hilden Oaks Prep is physically addressing. The school not only has mindfulness as part of the curriculum, but also gives pupils opportunities to participate in a wide variety of team and individual sports, which can have a very positive impact on their overall health.
We have a duty to develop well balanced and responsible children who can hop, skip and jump into the 2020s! Exciting times lay ahead. Can you keep up the pace?

Parents looking for a new school are warmly invited to visit Hilden Oaks Prep for one of their forthcoming Open Mornings on Wednesday March 11 and Friday March 20 9-11am.
To book a visit, please call 01732 353941 or go to
Year 3 places are available from September 2020, but please ask about availability in other years.

Marlborough House School

How important is it for your school to ensure that the arts are well represented in the curriculum? What key benefits do these subjects give students in addition to the traditional academic ones?
At Marlborough House we believe it is important to nurture the creativity, passion and individuality of each child at the school. Appreciation of the Creative and Performing Arts enhances pupils’ understanding of the world around them, enables them to develop a wide range of skills and broadens their perspective on traditional academic subjects. This reflects our ethos: Enjoying Today. Educating for Tomorrow.

Art, Design Technology, Music and Drama are integral to the comprehensive education we offer at Marlborough House and give children the opportunity to express themselves and develop in a multitude of ways. We have a fantastic range of activities within the creative curriculum, from music groups and art clubs, through to large school drama productions and exhibitions.

We aim for excellence and as a result we have a strong record of pupils achieving art, DT, music, and drama scholarships. Last year we achieved a 70% success rate for senior school scholarships, with many of these representing individual achievement in the arts. Additionally, we recognise the importance of supporting artistic talent and offer Year 7 entry scholarships to Marlborough House in the Creative and Performing arts.

Artistic skills are exceptionally well developed, as the high standard of artwork produced in lessons and on display around the school clearly demonstrates

ISI report
Art encourages an awareness of the world around us, both natural and man-made. This is achieved through the study and appreciation of the work of different cultures, artists, designers and of the natural world itself. Our wonderful grounds offer plenty of scope for inspiring young artists.
Design Technology brings a strong ethos to try and nurture creativity and innovation through the whole design process and within each child we strive to develop an ability to evaluate their own work and also the designs of others.

Drama is for everybody and we like to challenge ourselves to unlock every child’s “inner thespian”. To do this, we provide opportunities for children to develop their performing skills in class assemblies and drama presentations throughout the year.

Music plays an integral part in school life and the emphasis is very much on having fun whilst learning. Every child is encouraged to develop their enjoyment and appreciation of a variety of musical genres, through performing, composing and listening. 
Many pupils take part in the choir and learn musical instruments; each year a considerable number of pupils achieve distinction and merit awards in instrumental music examinations
ISI report
01580 753555
High Street
TN18 4PY

Tonbridge School

Preparing students for future success…
Tonbridge School’s talented Upper Sixth students are starting to look forward to the next phase of their education at many of Britain’s leading universities. A total of 18 Tonbridge pupils have recently been offered places to study at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Subjects they will be reading include Architecture, Economics, Engineering, English Language and Literature, Maths, Maths and Computer Science, Modern Languages, Natural Sciences, Oriental Studies, PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and Physics, which means that many of the school’s departments have played a key part in this success.
The total is made up of nine offers from the University of Cambridge and nine offers from Oxford. With competition from national and international candidates stronger than ever, it is a great achievement that Tonbridge students have received 162 Oxbridge offers since 2015.

Each year Tonbridge leavers also take up places at other elite universities, such as Imperial College, the London School of Economics, University College London, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Durham, Bath, Bristol, Manchester, York, Warwick, Leeds and Exeter.The large majority of the Upper Sixth achieve their first-choice destination. Last year, for instance, Tonbridge leavers had 100 per cent success rates with applications to Warwick, Manchester and York universities, and success rates of over 90 per cent for Exeter, Bristol, Nottingham, Bath and Birmingham.

As in previous years, some students will be securing places on world-leading degree courses in less traditional subjects, which will give them a head start in their chosen careers. These sought-after courses for 2020 include Real Estate, Aerospace Engineering, Earth Sciences, Sports Management, Marine Biology and Marine Zoology.

The school’s Headmaster, James Priory, said: “Securing a place at a leading university, in a highly competitive field, is a fine achievement, requiring hard work and dedication.
“I look forward to following our students’ progress at university and in their subsequent careers, and I am extremely grateful for the contribution they continue to make to the intellectual, pastoral and co-curricular life of the school.”

A proportion of Tonbridge leavers also choose to study abroad and progress to leading universities around the world, particularly in the USA.
Recent destinations have included Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Rice University, the United States Air Force Academy, the University of Toronto and Hong Kong University.

Tonbridge School

High Street
Tonbridge TN9 1JP
01732 365555

Hurstpierpoint College

Nick Creed, Assistant Head of Co-curricular at Hurst College explains why the term co-curricular should replace extra-curricular
Co-curricular activities are key to the all-round education of every individual student and should run alongside the academic curriculum as part of the weekly timetable – hence the reason why we use the term co-curricular rather than extra-curricular. Great value should be placed on what goes on outside of the classroom as much as what goes on inside, as skills that are learnt through these activities can be transferred to the classroom.

The range of co-curricular activities should provide many opportunities for students to try new ventures, confront risks and learn from experience – all crucial aspects in developing skills for life. The aim of a co-curricular programme is to equip students with the skills and experience to make a success of their lives beyond school. Respect, responsibility, resilience and reflection are learnt through such a programme, and students also learn how to communicate with each other as part of a team and in leading a team. The various activities also help them to become accurate decision-makers – another important asset for later life. Benefits from the more physical activities help to improve students’ health, wellbeing and fitness levels in order to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Students should be encouraged to engage in as much of a co-curricular programme as possible, with highly qualified staff to deliver the activities in order to bring out the best in each student, in this way many discover talents they didn’t realise they had. For example, first team rugby players at Hurst have also taken lead roles in our dance showcase and musicals. By the time students leave Hurst, the majority will have performed in a sports team, on a dance floor, on the stage, as well as having marched with the CCF and been involved with recycling or another environmental activity.

At Hurst, sport and games are compulsory throughout the week and our service afternoon is compulsory for students in Years 10 and 11, whilst the majority of our Sixth Formers continue to be involved with the service programme, Dance and drama are compulsory for Year 9 students and have protected slots as part of the weekly timetable. Music activities such as the choir, orchestra and jazz band have protected slots during the afternoon timetable.

Through co-curricular activities students will not only gain certain skills and develop a range of qualities but they are often introduced to a pastime or hobby which they can enjoy throughout their lives.

College Lane

Sit smart

How often were we nagged with the words ‘Sit up straight’ by our parents or schoolteachers?
Well funnily enough, they were right – and for this generation of children it’s even more applicable. Overloaded school bags, hunched over desks, crouched over computer games and iPads, mobiles clenched between head and neck and the natural ‘stoop’ which comes with self-conscious teenagers all contribute to some rather uncomfortable research.

A study by BackCare (The National Back Pain Association) surveyed 900 secondary school pupils across the UK. Results revealed that a substantial two thirds of pupils had experienced back pain, while one in four suffered from back pain regularly or every day. Neck and shoulder pain were also common problems related to posture.

The survey showed that pupils sat for an average of nine hours per day – whether in a classroom, eating meals, travelling, doing homework, enjoying free time – that equates to the average child spending 15,000 hours sitting on chairs during their school life. Back problems can affect school attendance, concentration, participation in sport and even handwriting. Research shows that this figure is on the increase and that adolescent back pain can persist into adulthood.

To try and lessen the strain on developing spines, it is vital for all schoolchildren to be sitting in ergonomically designed chairs, both at school and while studying at home.
SitSmart, the posture seating specialist based in Tunbridge Wells, offers a range of stools and chairs for children and teenagers, ideal for the home office or bedroom, which will teach young bodies to sit in an ergonomically correct way and so protect their backs for the future.

Some schools in Kent are already ahead of the game. SitSmart has kitted out classrooms and break out areas at both the the Weald of Kent grammar school and Tonbridge School, as well as the Slade Primary School in Tonbridge.

“Health and safety are major factors in most workplaces, but often children are overlooked when it comes to ergonomic seating,” commented SitSmart Sales Director Matt Hutchinson. “Most schoolchildren sit on a basic chair, many of which have been in use for years. It stands to reason that if they have good posture and support they will be less tired, more able to concentrate and their developing bones will learn to grow correctly.

“We can supply competitively priced, moulded chairs and stools for schools and ergonomic kneeling chairs and saddle stools for home use to ensure the back is being held in the right position. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to make sure our children are sitting comfortably!”
SitSmart also supplies a range of ergonomic accessories to help prevent problems such as Repetitive Strain Injury including laptop stands, specially adapted mice, wrist rests and various posture cushions – all enabling your children’s workstation to work for them.

It’s good to note that BackCare is putting pressure on the government for better ergonomic furniture and locker provision in schools, as well as health & safety guidance (like adults in the workplace), more physical activity in the school day and some back care education included in the curriculum.

For further information, please contact the sales department on 01892 510202 or email
Alternatively check out our website

Rose Hill School

Headteacher Emma Neville on the key benefits arts subjects give students in addition to the traditional academic ones…
As a former art teacher, I understand better than many the benefit of the arts as part of a broad curriculum. Our focus in not solely on academic results but how each of our pupils is different and how we can draw out their talents and best support them on their learning journey.
We recognise that academic excellence alone is insufficient for personal and professional success in the modern world. The abilities to think creatively and critically; problem solve and use initiative; mediate and negotiate; be resilient and empathetic are just a few of a range of key skills which are now given equal importance to academic achievement. So, in September we will launch our new curriculum which will allow us to help all of our pupils shine.

Curriculum 2020 will enable us to assess pupils learning in many different ways, drawing out individual pupils’ strengths, which do not always come to the fore during a written test.
Teachers will give pupils the opportunities to identify their talents, and track their own progress through personal learning portfolios.
Project work and immersive learning activities will encourage the development of leadership, collaborative learning skills, presentation and research skills. Outdoor learning activities will be commonplace, and pupils will develop a greater understanding of their place in the world and all they can do to make a positive global impact. These skills are especially important to pupils in Years 7 & 8 as they leave us and move on to senior schools and then on to university. While achievement in mathematics and English remains integral, increasing value is given to developing pupils’ performance in a range of life skills, such as inter-personal and thinking skills.

At Rose Hill School we place particular value on the importance of our final two years, and we have a fee structure that enables more children to experience this opportunity before moving on to their senior schools. From September 2020, our fees will be £7,995 per year. In addition, we offer awards to pupils who show promise in various subjects such as Sports, Drama, Art and Music. For children offered a major award, the fee for the year will be £3,998.

All subjects in Years 7 & 8, including the arts, are led with specialist teaching staff, and our class sizes are lower than those of a senior school, which means we offer an individual learning journey.
This can be important for all children regardless of ability. We make sure no child ‘gets lost in a crowd’. Additionally, for a less self-assured child, remaining in our small and nurturing environment for longer will help to build their confidence.

To discuss what Rose Hill School can offer your child, or to visit the school’s Open Mornings on March 20 and May 1, please contact Admissions Secretary Ann Green via or 01892 525591

Kent College

How important is it for your school to ensure that the arts are well represented in the curriculum? What key benefits do these subjects give students in addition to the traditional academic ones?
As a musician, you would expect me, as Head, to be a strong advocate for ensuring the arts take a central role in the curriculum. I could be criticised for giving more weight to my subject specialism than is deserved, or needed. However, I would argue that with the impact of technology, the pace and scale of change in society at the moment feels like something quite new.

The way forward is not entirely clear, and if young people are to have the skills and confidence to make positive decisions about their own lives and the kind of world they want to see, then they are going to need to think and respond in wholly new and innovative ways. They need to think creatively, and the recent Durham Commission report on creativity in education made it clear that the arts make an invaluable contribution to the development of creativity in young people.

The Government’s recent reforms, in particular the introduction of the EBacc (the performance measure showing the proportion of children in a secondary school who achieve a Grade 4 or more in the core academic subjects of English, maths, science, history or geography and a language) has possibly reduced the status of subjects such as music, art, dance and drama.

Creativity is the driver of economic growth and innovation. We can only guarantee success if we ensure that young people are given the opportunity to develop these skills. Of course, creativity can be taught through other mediums in school, but it is the creative subjects which provide the foundations for developing the conditions to nurture creativity. Participation in the arts encourages discipline, practice and rigour, as well as opportunities for students to problem-solve, experiment, take risks and make mistakes, and provides the space for self-directed learning. I know for certain that this set of skills has stood me in good stead in my role as Head. I make no apologies for placing the arts firmly at the heart of our curriculum, and the whole school community greatly values all that there is on offer from the creative and performing arts. Everyone, including staff, is encouraged to participate – and they do!

With an education that has a firm grounding in creativity, we can be sure that this generation of young people will thrive throughout adulthood, enjoy and achieve in their lives and be able to shape a better future for generations to come.
Julie Lodrick

To find out more, please visit Kent College.
The Open House runs on Mondays 9.15-10.30am and Fridays 2-3.15pm

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