About Victoria

Director at Guide to independent Schools Ltd

Manchester Grammar School – Holocaust Memorial Day

PUPILS at The Manchester Grammar School (MGS) were privileged to hear from three survivors of the Holocaust on Monday (14 January 2018).

Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day later this month, Ruth Lachs and her husband Werner, of Prestwich, and Itzik Alteman, from Whitefield, spoke to Year 9 pupils about how they survived the Holocaust, and the importance of educating future generations about those horrific events so they are never forgotten.

Itzik has only recently been able to tell his story of how he survived four concentration camps, so heart-breaking are his memories of what he endured.

In an emotional speech to the boys, Itzik told how he is the sole survivor of his family, having seen his mother, sister and brother – and later, his father – taken away to be killed, and to this day he does not know where their remains are or if there are any, or the dates they died.

He spoke about the brutal conditions inside the camps and how he was forced onto a death march – aged just 13-years-old – just two days before his concentration camp was liberated by the Russian army. Itzik survivedfreezing, snowy conditions,and Nazi guards who would shoot dead any Jews who could not keep up, and was justone of only a few hundred people out of the 6,000 who started the march who lived.

In an incredible act of bravery, Itzik, 90,also showed boys the infamous tattoo on his arm from the Birkenaucamp, and told the audience why he is now telling his story.

He said: “For a long time I could only talk to other survivors. It was too raw, and myself and the other survivors could only talk to each other. We as survivors formed an unbreakable bond, having survived the worst example of what human beings are capable of.

“But now, as I am getting older, I want younger generations to hear about the atrocities we went through,and to impress upon them the need to make sure it never happens again, and to fight prejudiceand hatred.”

Like Anne Frank, Ruth, 82,is known as one of the ‘hidden children of the Holocaust’ and, as a young child, spent the majority of the war in hiding and forced to disguise her identity, including being hidden away in the sandpit of an Amsterdam nursery.

Her husband Warner, now 92,was forced to flee Germany after the events of Kristallnachtin 1938, and it was not until the 1990s that he discovered he and his family were granted visas to leave Germany for Britain thanks to the heroic actions of M16 agent, Frank Foley. Foleyworked in the British Passport Office,and was so moved by the atrocities inflicted upon the Jews that he rubber-stamped thousands of visa requests and forged passports, enabling Jews to escape Germany.

Ruth’sstory is also an incredible tale of bravery and survival. She and her parents emigrated to Amsterdam after the traumatic events of Kristallnacht, but after the Germans invaded Holland, her father was forced to take drastic action, hiding her in the family attic.

As conditions for Jews worsened and became more perilous, her parents sent Ruth – then aged just six – to live with a Dutch couple who offered her sanctuary, where she had no choice but to change her identity to that of a non-Jewish orphan so the Nazis would not discover she was Jewish.

In 1943, when someone tipped-off the Nazis that the couple were harbouring Jewish children, she was taken to achildren’s centre where a nursery nurse kept her Jewish identity hidden, and during which time she had to hide in a sandpit when the SS called toround-up the children. Anon-Jewish student from the underground movement opposed to the Nazisthensmuggled her on a train to a Christian family in Limburg, where she took refuge.

When she was hospitalised with polio, the doctor who treated her also kept her Jewish identity a secret, and was once again rescued by the underground movement who took her to a home for mentally and physically handicapped children in Amsterdam,where the matron hid in the Jewish children in a separate ward.

After the war ended, her parents were traced through the Red Cross and they were reunited when Ruth was nine. She moved to Manchester in 1962 where she met Werner, and the couple have been married for more than 55 years.

Ruth’s son later attended The Manchester Grammar School.

She said: “I often think: ‘Where would I have been?’ without the bravery of those people in the face of terror. Thanks to all the people who helped me, I stand here today a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. My family are the legacy of all those – some of whom lost their lives –whose chose todo good when surrounded by evil.

“I speak about my experiences to impress upon young people the need to be good, not extreme or bad or violent.”

Dan Farr, a teacher at The Manchester Grammar School, said: “Our boys wereincredibly privileged to hear from Ruth, Werner and Itzik, and I want to pass on my sincere thanks to them for speaking so powerfully, and for reliving such a traumatic time in their lives.

“We must never forget what happened during the Holocaust, and we must never let it happen again, so it is so important for younger generations to hear first-hand the experiences of survivors like Ruth, Werner and Itzik, so that not only are their stories never forgotten, but to inspire future generations to prevent it from happening again.”



The Mount School York Judged Excellent in ISI Inspection

The Mount School York has been rated excellent the highest grade attainable, by a team of Inspectors from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) – the equivalent of OFSTED for the Independent sector.

The School was inspected by the ISI over a three-day period in early November for both regulatory compliance as well as educational quality.  Published this week, the educational quality report focuses on two main areas: the quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements and the quality of pupils’ personal development. The School was awarded ‘Excellent’ in both categories. The findings from the report reinforce The Mount’s reputation as one of the leading all-girls schools in Yorkshire.

The quality of the pupils’ personal development was judged to be excellent.  The report quoted that; “Pupils self-esteem is high and pupils show excellent self-understanding. Pupils display excellent social skills and awareness of others. They support and encourage each other, creating particularly open and friendly relationships. Pupils’ spiritual understanding is a key strength.

The Inspectors recognised that pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent, with attainment above national age-related expectations. “Pupils show strong knowledge and understanding across subjects, particularly in the Sixth Form. Communication skills are a particular strength of pupils and are evident across many subjects and ages. High expectations in teaching mean that pupils strive for and achieve high standards in their learning.”

Adrienne Richmond, The Mount School Principal comments, “We are delighted with the report, to be graded ‘excellent’ for both areas of the educational quality is extremely pleasing. It is a very proud moment for everyone involved to receive such an excellent report and endorsement of the School.”

“I am very happy that the Inspectors remarked on the confidence and high self-esteem of pupils. Our all-girl focus provides a culture where girls are encouraged to believe in themselves and that nothing is beyond their reach.  This in turn leads to happy, confident girls and enables us as a school to get the best possible outcomes for all of our pupils.

“The happiness and development of our pupils is at the heart of all we do at the School. The Inspectors noted the excellent care and mutually respectful relationships between staff and pupils, and the value placed by staff on pupils’ interests and happiness. The report is a testament to the hard work that staff and pupils at The Mount give every day in School.”

The Inspection report also commented on the strong ethos and culture of the School based on their Quaker values.  The report states; “The ethos of tolerance and care for others is found throughout the school. Pupils identify an atmosphere of inclusivity and of excellent behaviour based on mutual respect which exists in the school”

The School met all regulatory requirements within the compliance section including the national minimum standards for boarding, and relevant requirements of the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The full ISI report can be viewed at www.mountschoolyork.co.uk

King’s Ely student called up for Lambs Rugby Squad

KING’S Ely Sixth Form student and promising rugby star Thomas Stiff has been selected for the Lambs Under 18 Midlands Squad.

Tom Stiff PressTom, 17, represented both the Lambs and King’s Ely by playing for the Midlands Lambs against the North Lambs at Worksop College on January 6th.

Tom, who lives with his family near Bury St Edmunds, has been at King’s Ely since joining King’s Ely Junior in Year 3. He was a standout performer for the school’s 1st XV this year so his call-up is richly deserved.

Tom said: “I started playing Rugby at King’s Ely in Year 3 and for the Under 9’s team at Bury St Edmunds RFU. I love the fact that Rugby is a team sport and how every time you go out on the field you look to play your best for yourself and yourteam mates. This year has by far been my best year for Rugby and I put that down to Mr Thompson’s coaching over anything else. I felt honoured to play for the Midlands Lambs and was quite surprised to be selected.”

Director of Sport at King’s Ely, Jim Thompson, said: “I am delighted that Tom has been selected for the Midlands Lambs Squad. Tom fully deserves to gain these representative honours on the back of some outstanding performances for the school 1st XV team this season. He has been a joy to coach over the last few years and is tobe congratulated on his selection.”

King’s Ely has a proud reputation of students being selected for renowned rugby teams, with a number of boys in recent years being projected into the limelight and grabbing the attention of several national coaches and scouts.

Founded in 2006, the Lambs exists to create openings for boys to showcase their rugby skills at a representative level.

Farlington Nativity

The children from Reception, Prep 1 and Prep 2 performed the musical Nativity ‘Hey Ewe!’ this year to a packed audience of friends and family in the Trina Mawer Hall. They were joined by some of the older children from Little Barn Owls Nursery, who played adorable sheep.
The play featured all the  traditional characters – Mary and Joseph, Kings, shepherds and narrators – along with a very curious sheep, who followed the Kings to Bethlehem. The children sang with great enthusiasm and spoke their lines beautifully. It put everyone firmly in the festive spirit.

New International Scholars are appointed – King’s Ely

International Scholars 2018 Press

KING’S Ely is proud to haveappointedthreenewInternational Scholars this year.

 The talented trio, Ilaria Dimina, Joe Lau and William Wu, were officially installed at Ely Cathedral, just as the school’s King’s and Queen’s Scholars are.

 International Scholars have been recognised at King’s Ely for the last 10 years. For international pupils studying theone-year IGCSE programme (just 24 teaching weeks)at King’s Ely, they are selectedbased on the results of their top seven IGCSE results taken the previous May to June. It is indeed possible for a student on the one-year IGCSE programme to achieve full King’s or Queen’s Scholar status should their top eight results (not including their mother tongue) be on a par with two-year GCSE students. This last occurred in 2015 when James Chiang was gowned a full King’s Scholar.

 Academic Director of King’s Ely International, Matthew Norbury, said: “King’s Ely remains immensely proud of the achievements of its one-year IGSCE students and is delighted to be able to recognise the best of each cohort in such a prestigious and public tradition.”

 King’s Ely offersa range of flexible courses for students of different ages and levels of English proficiency. All international students live and work alongside British students wherever possible and always receive English support in small, mixed-nationality groups.

 This year’s IGCSE results were among the highest in the course’s 18-year history at King’s Ely, with 26 per cent of results being A* or Grade 9 to 8, 53 per cent being A* to A or Grade 9 to 7, 78 per cent being A* to B or Grade 9 to 6,and97 per cent being A* to C or Grade 9.

Farlington – TOP 100 SCHOOL

Farlington is delighted to be in the Sunday Times Parent Power Top 100 Prep Schools again this year! Two places up on last year, based on our SATs results.

It is further proof that Farlington is a great place to learn! Teachers are there to help pupils become confident, independent, highly-motivated and happy learners. Prep School life focuses on individuals, whether that is academically, pastorally or in the wide range of co-curricular activities on offer. It is great to see these efforts recognised in this prestigious listing against more highly selective schools.IMG_9181

LVS Ascot Reception Class Begin School WithNew Diploma And Dining Hall

Ten new pupils began their school adventure at LVS Ascot on Wednesday 5thSeptember, forming the Reception class at theInfant & Junior Schoolaccompanied by their proud parents. As well as experiencing school for the first time,they will also be taking part in a brand new initiative introduced by the independent all-ability school – the LVS Ascot Junior School Diploma– and have already enjoyed the school’s impressive £820,000 dining hall refurbishment that was unveiled last week.

Each section of the diploma is linked to a pair of the LVS values and skills: curiosity and creativity, resilience and risk-taking, empathy and reflection, initiative and independence and collaboration and self-confidence. The unique course will fully embed the values and skills into pupils’ way of life from Reception class right up to Year 6 so they can build character qualities and develop key life skills, with diplomas presented at the end of their final year before moving up to LVS Ascot senior school.

Criteria will include items such as learning to play an instrument, contributing to school council meetings and cooking a meal for their families. Head of LVS Ascot Infant and Junior School Rachael Cox said:“Our aim is to deliver a unique and vibrant education that inspires young people to exceed their expectations. The Junior School Diploma will reinforce that and help develop our pupils”.

The new pupils have already joined their older peers from the Senior School and Sixth Form in enjoying the superb new facilities available to them at lunchtimesafter a major£820,000 refurbishment of the dining hall. The improvements made over the summer have created a much better user experience, transforming a standard school canteen into a high-end restaurant quality space. With meals provided by Sodexo included in the fees at the independent school, and a focus on healthy nutritious eating, the dining hall is an important area of the school and has had a complete makeover. A 20% increase in size has been created to comfortably accommodate the 850 pupils, along with new furniture and booth seating, and an increase in natural lighting due to the insertion of skylights and slimlinealuminium windows.

The new dining hall has suspended acoustic ceiling panels to help with sound deadening and improve conversation, and a servery that includes a theatre cooking suite for demonstrational cooking. LVS Ascot Principal Christine Cunniffe said:“We are continually looking to improve our facilities to provide the best learning environment so our students can maximise their achievements. Last September we opened a new sixth form centre and last week’s unveiling of the new dining hall drew equally high praise from students. The outstanding facilities on offer to students here really do provide superb support to help them excel and develop”.

See work of creative young King’s Ely artists

TALENTED Art and Design students at King’s Ely are exhibiting their work across the border in Suffolkthis autumn.

Members of the public are invited to attend the exhibition, which is being held at the Apex Gallery in Bury St Edmunds until Sunday, October 7th.

A broad range of Fashion and Textiles, Fine Art and Photography will be on display, including examples of exam and coursework. The exhibition has been organised to celebrate the high quality work produced by students throughout the year groups at King’s Ely Senior.

The Art Department at King’s Ely is a thriving, inspiring environment where all students are encouraged to engage fully with the state-of-the-art facilities available. The Department specialises in Fashion and Textiles, Fine Art, Sculpture and Photography, and students realise ambitious outcomes, regularly achieving some of the highest exam marks in the country.In July, King’s Ely also won the Art and Craft Award at the prestigious Education Business Awards.

The exhibition at the Apex Gallery will be open every day from 10am-4pm and admission is free. For more information, please visit: www.theapex.co.uk.

Abingdon School opens new Sixth Form Centre

Sixth formers at the start of the new term at Abingdon School were very appreciative of the impressive new Sixth Form Centre that opened its doors for the first time this September. The Sixth Form Centre occupies the ground floor of a new three-story building, Beech Court, that also houses a new library and art space.

Abingdon student, Howard Hawkes said, ‘It’s a perfect place to work or just be with friends. I’ve never really had a similar place before at school so it’s really welcome.’
Talking about the new facilities, the Headmaster Michael Windsor said, “Beech Court has transformed what we can offer our Sixth Form. The careers office, UCAS team and sixth form staff and students are all on the same floor with easy access to the library, café, sports centre, science block and art and drama facilities.
“The new centre is designed to mark the transition from Middle School to the Sixth Form where students have more independence, take on more responsibility for their own learning and enjoy a relationship with the school and staff that more closely resembles university education.”
Beech Court took 18 months to complete and is the latest in a phase of building development that began with the opening of a new Science Centre in 2015.
Budding artists have welcomed the huge expansion of the School’s art space with a new kiln room, dark room, ceramics studio, sixth form studio, exhibition space and purpose-built art rooms.
The new library is quite a contrast to the School’s previous library which was housed in the original Victorian school room. The bright, open plan space has areas for reading for pleasure, quiet group work and silent study.
Michael Windsor continues, “I believe Beech Court and the additional refurbishment will have a palpable effect on the quality of learning, and I know our students will appreciate and enjoy these new spaces.”


DSC_0060The return to school brought great news for 27 of the Year 10s,who achievedoutstanding results in their Extended Projectswhich they completed before the summer break. Tengirls earntan A*, 15an A and two achievedB grades.

The Extended Project Qualification(EPQ)Level 1 allows the girls to choose an area of study which is of particular interest to them, and gain a qualification in recognition of the research they do in this area. They must work independently on their project, spending time planning and researching, before then presenting their work to an audience of teachers and peers.

The scope for the EPQ is endless: this year’s project titles ranged from Who was the most influential fashion designer of the 20th century and are they still today?to Should parents be prosecuted for letting children use social media under the age of 13?Some girls used their passion for sport as a starting point, for example How do athletes overcome significant setbacks?,while others took inspiration from their love of music: Do different types of music affect studying?. The girls’ reasons for undertaking such a challenging qualification were equally diverse. Charlotte commented: ‘I thought doing an EPQ would stretch my learning and also improve my organisational skills in preparation for my GCSEs and the future’, while Lucy added: ‘I wanted to face my fear of public speaking’.

Mrs Alexandra Neil, Head,is delighted for the girls, saying: ‘It was wonderfulto welcome the girls back this morning. I am thrilled their voluntary hard work has been rewarded with theseexcellent results. I had thoroughly enjoyed the presentations on such interesting and wide-ranging subjects and I was extremely impressed with the standard of the work produced. The girls are now a step ahead with the development ofkey life skills, including time management and organisation, and the lessons learnt by undertaking anEPQ will see them throughtheir GCSEsandA levels touniversityand beyond.’