Features for parents at Orchard House School

The latest features on a range of topics – from parenting to curriculum, politics to fresh thinking – all aimed to help parents at Orchard House School.

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The journey ahead

Deciding how to tackle the educational issues of our time requires some reflection. Simon Larter-Evans of St Paul's Cathedral School looks at how the past decade has shaped the educational issues ahead.

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Oxbridge blues?

The landscape of Oxbridge admissions is changing but what does this mean for pupils applying to colleges from independent schools? James Dahl of Wellington College looks at the background.

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Rethinking education

Our education system is skewed too much towards assessment. John Attwater of King's Ely outlines how it could shift to place a far greater emphasis on equipping pupils with the right skills for the future.

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Singing the praises

Knowing when to praise, and how much, is a delicate art explains Dominic Floyd of Mount Kelly. The motivating power of praise cannot be underestimated but it needs to be appropriate and proportional.

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The problem of worry

Families glancing at the news find much to potentially worry about, especially during the current pandemic. Julie Robinson explores how parents can help children tackle their worries through greater perspective.

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Learning about our brains

An understanding of how our brains function reveals the need to approach learning in the right way. James Barnes of the PSB explains why strong 'executive function skills' can make all the difference.

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The love of languages

Too often, learning a language is seen in a utilitarian way rather than enjoying it for the experience. James Priory argues this traditional view on language learning puts value above cultural experience.

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Hitting the ground running

Transitions test us and the challenge of starting at a new school should never be underestimated. Tim Hands offers some advice on how to get secondary schooling off to the best possible start.

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Don't overlook the library

Children have vivid imaginations and there is nothing like reading and becoming aware of other people, worlds and circumstances. Vivienne Durham explains why the school library should be at the heart of every good school.

Parenting

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Spoilt for choice?

Children have extraordinary opportunities available to them at prep school but how can they keep their feet on the ground and not take these for granted? Alastair Speers of Sandroyd offers some advice.

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Embrace something new

There is a growing tendency for children to specialise too early. Bill Sawyer of Yarm Prep argues that children should regularly embrace something new in order to ensure they maintain breadth.

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Parenting for resilience

We are all tested by bullying at some stage in our lives. Julie Robinson of ISC offers some suggestions, and appropriate strategies, to help your child cope if encountering bullying at school.

Curriculum

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Engineering the future

Engineering has never been regarded as a subject applicable for prep school age children but, as Nigel Helliwell, Headmaster of St Faith's in Cambridge explains, the benefits for pupils are enormous.

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The importance of creativity

For too long, creative subjects have been viewed as 'soft' options. Victoria Rose and Alun Pickford of Dauntsey's explain why there needs to be much greater understanding and investment in creativity.

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The importance of play

James Priory investigates the role of play and how it offers the chance to be spontaneous, to express oneself, to solve problems, to see the world and oneself differently.

Politics

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Creating opportunity for all

Social mobility has stagnated for far too long, says James Turner of the Sutton Trust. It’s time for the Government to enable independent schools to be within reach of bright pupils from all backgrounds.

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Going back to our roots

It's time to move away from past notions of 'development', argues Dr Felicia Kirk of St Mary's Calne. Schools must reflect the original ethos of 'public schools' and broaden access through charitable giving.

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One small step

There has no doubt been a seismic shift in environmental awareness recently. Matthew Smith argues that for independent schools to really lead on environmental awareness, parents will need to play their part.

Thinking

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Sustainable futures

Sustainability is very much a way of life for today's children. Kay Goldsworthy of St Ives explores the wide range of changes both schools and parents can make to develop a more sustainable outlook.

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Roll out that magic carpet

Teacher recruitment is an area which few parents will have spent much time thinking about yet it is hugely important. Tim Hands reflects on the best ways of appointing staff and what this means for parents and pupils.

freshthinking

Announcing our Fresh Thinking podcast

Join Attain’s Editor as he talks to leading Heads, as well as other special guests, about the issues affecting schools and parents today. Our 'Fresh Thinking' podcast is all the best aspects of Attain but in a convenient audio format.

How Attain helps parents

Attain is a unique publisher, highly respected by Heads and schools alike. Just like the sector, we are independent and trusted to offer impartial advice and promote informed debate. We aim to help parents by providing useful, engaging content to support them through all aspects of independent education.

We work with schools and select interesting, relevant content, usually written by Heads or other experts in their fields. We do not accept advertorial or promotional content – and schools cannot buy article space with Attain. We do not accept commercial advertising as we believe parents do not want to be bombarded with adverts for luxury goods or lifestyle products.

Instead, we offer interesting, unusual and informative content which lives up to our values – fresh thinking about independent education.