Choosing the right learning environment

Our featured schools and colleges offer excellent opportunities for all age groups.

Modern boarding is a unique experience, helping pupils grow in confidence and offering more choice than ever before. The stereotypical view of parents dropping children off at the school gates, not to see them again until the end of the year is, happily, one consigned very much to history.

Today’s boarding schools are set up to meet the needs of pupils and their parents. Schools work closely with both to make sure the child is happy, safe and realising their full potential. One thing we hear frequently from students, teachers and parents, is that boarding gives pupils a sense of independence and grow their confidence.

In today’s world, there aren’t many opportunities for children to live in an independent way, but still have the support and guidance they need – boarding gives them that chance. Boarding students have access to school staff and facilities once the teaching day is over, and they don’t have to travel to and from school, giving them more time to be with friends, finish up homework and enjoy co-curricular activities.

Many UK boarding schools now offer flexible boarding, perfectly suiting modern family life and giving more choice than ever before. Parents can be comfortable in the knowledge their children are being cared for and supported by boarding staff, surrounded by friends. For families where parents are travelling for work, boarding provides children with a stability and continuity they would otherwise struggle to receive. For international students, or children of parents who are themselves overseas, boarding provides a stable, pastorally strong home-away-from-home during term time.

On a more personal level, boarding children are given the opportunity – far more than their day student counterparts – to learn tolerance, acceptance and understanding. Boarding houses often have a mix of local UK students and international students – hailing from all areas of the globe. In no other situation would a child be given the chance to make such close ties with so many different people. Friendships made in boarding school often last for life and often span continents.

Modern boarding is about community, living with and supporting others, learning to work as a team, giving and taking, and being part of something much larger and important than you as an individual. While boarding may not be right for every student, for those it suits it is an opportunity to flourish socially and academically while exploring their own independence in a safe space.

Robin Fletcher, CEO, The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and BSA Group

S. Anselm’s Preparatory School, Bakewell, is delighted to be crowned Prep School of the Year at the Tatler Schools Awards Ceremony 2021.

The prestigious title was awarded after Tatler examined nominations for hundreds of UK prep schools, from a variety of sources, including public votes. From this, winners are handpicked from a carefully created shortlist, overseen by an expert panel of judges.

The award is in recognition of S. Anselm’s achievements as it goes from strength to strength as a leading preparatory school in the heart of Derbyshire. Committed to a blend of tradition and innovation, the school was applauded for its tireless approach to ensuring no child was left behind during lockdown; with live online lessons, one-to-one sessions and the delivery of a full syllabus throughout what was a challenging time for so many. Recent initiatives include a remodelled and expanded boarding house, a delightful redesigned Pre-Prep area and the introduction of an end-of-day daily reading session for all children to boost learning and mental wellbeing, as well as encouraging a life-long love of books.

Headteacher, Frank Thompson, said: “Clearly this is wonderful news for S. Anselm’s School and a much-deserved reward for the outstanding work of all members of staff and the school community. It is the expertise, strength and dedication of our team, working together so effectively with a shared vision, that has led to the school’s considerable success in recent times.”

S. Anselm’s offers a range of boarding options for pupils from Year 3 and is an independent preparatory school with a reputation for preparing pupils for some of the most prestigious senior schools in the UK.

It is a well-known fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption in the lives of many students across the globe. Though the 2020-21 academic year at John Leggott College ended on a high note, with student vaccinations and many accessing in-person teaching, there is still much to be desired.

Studies have shown that students in the UK are up to five months behind in their learning, be it primary school level or university standard, and that the pandemic has widened pre-existing opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting the most historically disadvantaged pupils the hardest. Students want to know how this impacts their futures; teachers want to know how to help them, and educationists want more clarity.

It’s clear, therefore, that we have a crisis in education affecting millions of students. How can this be addressed? Do we take on governmental notions of students repeating a year, of introducing summer schools and longer days and shorter holidays? Do we simply ignore it? What can we as a college do to help?

Targeted towards Bursary Students, John Leggott College has introduced a brand new scheme in which students will be given a free iPad or Chromebook to provide and enhance student access to internet-based study resources.

Caroline Ryder of Student Services explains: “80 iPads and 142 Chromebooks have been ordered and these will be available for Bursary Students to use for the Academic Year. We will be contacting all students on Bursary to ask which they would prefer and they will be allocated on a ‘first come first served’ basis.”

Bursary Students already receive support with subject equipment, trips and the college campus charge, but nothing on this kind of scale. With ‘online learning’ and modern technology playing a major part in our lives, Principal Leon Riley says: “The rationale for this came from our Covid reflections in that there is an increase to move more learning into an electronic world. What was apparent is that this exacerbates the disadvantage in that some students don’t have a device, some students don’t have internet access and some students don’t have an appropriate workspace.”

Leon makes an interesting point here: while we cannot solve the problem of, or determine where and how students study, schools and colleges can work to mitigate the first two issues he describes. It is true that the pandemic has highlighted the usefulness of technology in all aspects of our lives, from communicating with our families to doing schooling and work, and it is only fair that everyone should have a level playing field to access life and learning as we now know it.

And what do students think?
• “This is a brilliant initiative, and is definitely going to help with accessing homework and doing research for my EPQ.”
• “My classes are becoming increasingly technology-based, with teachers using Google Slides and Google Forms, and this is definitely going to help as I don’t always have a phone or internet access to use these.”
• “As a Bursary Student this means everything to me. Thank you to college for providing this opportunity.”

On a final note, Leon adds: “At JLC we want students to have the tools and skills to access digital learning, enabling them to fulfil their potential. A person’s progress shouldn’t be limited because of their circumstances.”

It seems this scheme embodies that and we, as a college, look forward to the positive impacts that new technologies will bring to learning and attainment.

Faith Singh, Journalism Internship student

We continue to hear regular news stories about the effects of social isolation on children’s mental health. Human beings are hard-wiredfor social interaction and it is in school that we learn to hone the soft skills needed for communal living and working.

If we are seeking a school that will truly promote our children’s wellbeing, academic results and a great co-curricular offer are only part of the story. We should also be looking for a profound sense of ‘community’, warmly valued and proudly described by pupils and staff alike. In these days of social distancing, class bubbles and stop/start Covid protocols, it has become more of a challenge for schools to develop the sense of community that usually arises so naturally.

Ask your children what happens to make a sense of community in their school and the answers will be wide-ranging, from assemblies to tutor outings, pre-season training and sporting fixtures, music and drama, debating, DofE, academic societies, social events, charity fundraising, environmental activities and more. Importantly, is your child actively encouraged to participate in such activities, experiencing the shared sense of purpose and fun for themselves? At Lincoln Minster School, these enriching experiences are built into the daily timetable: everyone takes part in building community.

A good school will also encourage its pupils to develop an awareness of their place within the wider community: volunteering encourages the sense of a shared higher purpose, helping children discover that they can make a difference in the world, achieving more within a group than they might have thought possible as an individual. Along the way, they develop the ability to plan and deliver a project as a team, learning to take account of everyone’s strengths and to work around weaknesses. This ‘hidden curriculum’ is vital preparation for life.

Maria Young, Head, Lincoln Minster School

Stamford Welland Academy has retained a ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted – a judgement that it has now consistently held since 2017.

“We are extremely pleased with these findings, which highlight our dedication to ensuring every child in our care is a successful learner, confident individual, and responsible and employable citizen. To have made such strong progress, particularly against the backdrop of Covid-19 over the last 18 months and against the new, more rigorous Ofsted framework, is testament to each and every one of our parents, staff, and students in school who have worked incredibly hard.

“Mrs Lloyd, Headteacher, would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support over the last few years – it really has been a fantastic team effort.”

If you would like to visit the school, please call the main reception on 01780 761000,

“Discover everything about Franklin Sixth Form College including our wide range of courses and our extensive enrichment programme. You will also have the opportunity to tour our amazing campus and see all of our facilities whilst meeting and chatting to our specialist staff and current Franklin students.”

Open Events dates and times:
• Saturday 15th January 2022 9.30am-12noon
• Saturday 5th March 2022 9.30am-12noon

Visit the website and find Franklin Sixth Form College on social media for more information about forthcoming Open Events. See you in 2022!

It is fitting that Sir Robert Pattinson Academy is named after a man synonymous with building for the future. The man was instrumental in creating some of the largest railway projects in the UK – and his legacy is well placed at the North Hykeham school.

The Academy – whose alumni include Paralympic gold medalist Sophie Wells – is renowned for enabling youngsters to reach their full potential. And creating a drive to succeed is embedded in the staff at the Academy too. In the last three years the school’s reputation has gone from strength to strength and now has almost two applications for every place at the academy – as well as a thriving independent sixth form.

Ofsted inspectors have recognised the school’s impressive performance. In their most recent report inspectors hailed the Academy as a “calm, happy and caring” school where “pupils flourish as a result of the good quality of education and the opportunities open to them.”

The school has a strong ethos that every student should value, enjoy, respect and be excited by learning and the world around them – giving them a unique opportunity to achieve and be successful.

It is not just the positive attitude that sets the school apart – the environment in which students learn is also improving every term with security high on the school’s agenda. A £400,000 project to install new fencing, new gates and 90 new

CCTV cameras was completed last year.

Sir Robert dedicated his life to public service, improving the nation and helping the local community thrive.

His dedication to making lives better is at the heart of the Sir Robert Pattinson Academy philosophy.

As Oakham School celebrates 20 years of offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma alongside A-levels, teachers and pupils explore how this global qualification offers the modern student an education for life.

Renowned for its popularity with international students, the IB encourages pupils to be critical, creative and reflective thinkers, but the qualification is no longer just a go-to choice for overseas pupils, as more UK students are starting to see its advantages.

Henry Price, Headmaster at Oakham School, said: “In providing a diverse cross-curricular education to our IB Diploma pupils over the past 20 years, we’ve witnessed how this qualification can help students to achieve a broader experience which allows them to excel in the future.”

“This anniversary showcases how Oakham has always been at the forefront of academic development and we’re proud to be recognised as one of the leading IB Diploma Programme schools in the world.”

The IB Diploma sees pupils take on six subjects including English and a second Modern Foreign Language, Maths, Science, a humanities subject and either art or an additional academic subject.

Henry added: “One of the reasons many pupils choose the IB Diploma is due to its breadth of subjects and opportunities, giving students a balanced education across many fields.”

Whilst A-levels remain a qualification chosen by many UK pupils, the IB has risen in popularity over the years, with more than 170,000 pupils across the world now studying the IB Diploma.

Oakham School Form 7 pupil Annie chose the IB Diploma and hopes to read Medicine at university when she leaves school. She said: “The IB allows me to develop skills like organisation and stamina, which are vital as an aspiring doctor. I’m enjoying subjects that ensure I keep an open mind about not only what I want to do in the future, but also the world around me.”

The diverse curriculum includes key aspects such as problem-solving, meaning that students have left school with key attributes for future success including collaboration, perseverance, and decision making.

As well as offering the IB Diploma, the school recently gained accreditation as an IB MYP World School, ensuring that its youngest pupils, aged 11-13, develop critical, creative and reflective thinking across different subject areas in preparation for GCSEs and beyond.

Prospective parents are encouraged to join a 2022 Open Event to discover what makes Oakham School so special.

Riseholme College, based near Lincoln, has expanded both its facilities and the courses on offer to ensure that students have access to the best specialist, technical education.

Known for its experience in land-based subjects, Riseholme offers those studying Agriculture, Engineering, Animal Management and Equine access to a raft of new facilities, including:
• A brand-new Centre for Agri-Food Technology (part of the Lincolnshire Institute of Technology collaboration), with a range of robotics and precision technology equipment
• Agri-Tech Health and Nutrition Centre
• Expanded Animal Management Unit which is home to a wide range of species
• A recently refurbished Equine Centre with indoor and outdoor arenas and a rider performance suite.

Did you know that there’s more to Riseholme than just land-based subjects? A Sports and Health Centre with gym and 3G pitch, dedicated laboratories and professional kitchens mean that the College now offers courses in Applied Science, Professional Cookery, Sport, a T Level in Childcare and much more.

Students studying at college (16+) and degree (18+) level work with experienced lecturers to develop their theoretical knowledge and practical skills through hands-on learning, ensuring that they are ready for work or a higher level of study.

Discover what Riseholme has to offer by visiting and registering for the next Open Event on 26th January.

St Hugh’s School Woodhall Spa are passionate about providing the widest range of opportunities for every child.

“Underpinning what we do is the care and support needed for every pupil to thrive throughout their education and wherever their aspirations take them. As part of their learning journey, we prioritise wellbeing, happiness and exciting learning.

“With Nursery provision from age 2 right through to Year 8, we are privileged to be able to shape the young lives of so many children. From day one, even our very youngest children benefit from specialist teaching in French, Music and PE, as well as Swimming in our heated indoor pool.

“Our unique learning philosophy places personal characteristics right at the forefront of everything we do and ensures our academic provision is tailor made for our children.

“The ability of our Year 8 pupils to work independently can be directly traced from the excitement of our ‘Independent Iguanas’ in Reception – the foundations laid in Early Years are the foundations for the education that is offered throughout the school and this culminates in their Independent Project Qualification. This is a fascinating opportunity to explore and research a topic about which they are passionate and introduces the skills they will take with them into their next school.

“Our children talk routinely about being curious, about teamwork and being reflective. These attributes stand them in brilliant stead for their future and we are dedicated to developing the whole self.

“With so much more to offer, we firmly believe the best way to get a feel for our School and Nursery is to come and visit us.”

To book a visit, please email:, telephone: 01526 352169 or visit

Grantham College is delighted to announce the launch of an exciting range of free online digital training courses for local employers and those looking to gain new skills for employment. The short online digital courses being offered at Grantham College are available to join up to February 2022.

Dr Steven Peacock, Vice Principal – HE and Institute of Technology notes: “These free online digital skills courses are designed for and by employers, to offer short sharp retraining, to fill skills gaps and vacancies in local firms. The post-Covid employment landscape relies ever more heavily on training in digital skills, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer the solution, free of charge, through easily accessible online learning. Just as importantly, the courses are there for people who want to build their skills up, to get the jobs they really want.”

The courses are:
• Level 4 Introduction to Cyber Security
• Level 4 Introduction to Cloud Computing
• Level 3 Digital Marketing
• Level 3 IT Networking and Infrastructure

The new online courses are ideal for local businesses and enterprises looking to increase their digital capabilities, those looking for new employment, and those who want to know more about digital defence techniques and IT training.

The courses in Cyber Security and Cloud Computing are linked to the opening of Grantham College’s new cutting-edge Institute of Technology, with state-of-the-art learning spaces and specialist equipment for Engineering and Computing.

If you require more details or wish to apply, please contact

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