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Inside Scoop 2019

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  • Hampshire
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A current parent perspective on the UK's top schools

Pupils from St Mary’s

Pupils from St Mary’s Calne Ian Davenport with SpringBoard pupils COST to be more open and accessible. Middle-class people more and more tend to be highlighting what they don’t like about 5,000 TO PLACE ONE PUPIL PER YEAR independent schools, which is the perceived elitism, which a lot of them actually aren’t. Royal SpringBoard has definitely benefited from that.” The charity covers the length and breadth of the country with major partnership centres in London, Nottingham, Leicester, Liverpool and Chester, as well as doing a lot of work in coastal towns due to a high level of deprivation. These centres, alongside schools and local governments and other charities, help Royal SpringBoard identify who would benefit most from a boarding school environment and the transformational effect of its work. Every boarding school the charity partners with, has to go through a painstaking accreditation process. “They’ve got to be compliant, got to be safe and have a vibrant boarding environment; the head has to really get it and not just pay lip service to the concept; they have to commit to regular training, to regularly engaging. The schools, without exception, are fantastic; I’m an unapologetic advocate.” For the most part, fees are fully funded by the schools, with Royal SpringBoard making contributions where necessary. Matching school to child is key to Royal SpringBoard’s success, and Davenport plays an integral part in this, drawing on his experience as a headmaster, housemaster and governor. There are no shortcuts, he says: “We get to know the child well, we interview them personally, we give them an academic assessment (not pass or fail) just to find the right level. We get a report from their schools, from their parents. We make sure we never recommend a school where they won’t academically thrive.” Given the ongoing backlash against private schools, one of the attractions of Royal SpringBoard, Davenport notes, “is that we are about boarding, so there’s no distinction between independent and state. There are living saints in all of these schools and it’s fantastic that we can collectively build a coherent theme.” Finding such a theme, to prove their benefit to the public and maintain their charitable status, is something that independent schools have been struggling with. They are, Davenport says, “slightly defensive about this, and right to be so as there are an enormous amount of interactions between independent schools and the local community, most “…the children go back to their local communities and act as ambassadors. That’s what it’s all about. The most powerful way to influence change is if you see somebody you know influencing change.” Shining example, Yuriel Kpalobi

INSIDE SCOOP Simon Barber. Head of Ludgrove School with pupils Marlborough students Accredited SpringBoard Schools often through state schools. They undoubtedly need to work at building closer links with public policy issues, children on free school meals and Looked After Children. But also really drive forward the extraordinarily interesting things from a resource perspective and how can they be translated to the wider sector: the work they are doing on AI robotics; how can we make that a broader social engagement - that hinterland.” One of the many challenges facing boarding schools, believes Davenport, is “to show how they’re relevant in ten years’ time. There are all sorts of economic forces that are acting against that at the moment, teachers’ pensions and other difficulties. Fees are extremely high and whichever way you look at it, that can’t go on.” On the upside, there are many more international students today , which Davenport thinks is fantastic. “If everybody can leave school with a friend who lives overseas, that’s clearly got to be an important life enhancement.” And life enhancement is what Davenport is all about: “I won’t ever claim that Royal SpringBoard is changing the world but we are among a number of forces that are manifestly leaving the world a little bit better than it was, with the independent sector really wanting to make a difference.” Ackworth School Ashford School Badminton School Bedales Schools Bede’s Prep and Senior School Bloxham School ★ Bradfield College Bromsgrove School Canford School ★ Cheltenham Ladies’ College Chorister School, Durham Christ’s Hospital City of London Freemen’s School Cranleigh School Dulwich College ★ Durham School Eastbourne College Epsom College Eton College ★ Farleigh School Fettes College Foremarke Hall Framlingham College Giggleswick School Glenalmond College ★ Gordon’s School Harrow School Headington School Holyport College King Edward’s School Witley Lancing College Lord Wandsworth College ★ Ludgrove School ★ Marlborough College Merchiston, Edinburgh Millfield School ★ School Notices Member Schools Mill Hill School Monkton Combe Prep & Senior School Oakham School Old Swinford Hospital School Oundle School Pocklington School Radley College Reed’s School ★ Rendcomb College Repton School Rookwood School Royal Alexandra & Albert School Royal Hospital School Rugby School Sevenoaks School Shebbear College ★ Sherborne Girls’ School ★ St Edwards School ★ St Mary’s Calne St Mary’s Cambridge St Peter’s School, York St Swithun’s St Teresa’s, Effingham Stonyhurst College Taunton School The Wellington Academy Tonbridge School ★ Tring Park School Uppingham School ★ Wellesley House School Wellington College Whitgift School ★ Windlesham House School Woodhouse Grove School Wycombe Abbey Wymondham College How to donate: for every £1 you give, SpringBoard receives £6 worth of support and donations can be made as a one-off payment or monthly contribution at royalspringboard.org.uk/support-us-donate 2019 ★ schoolnotices.co.uk 39

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