We were the marketing partner again this year at Tatler Schools Live, and boy was it an interesting one. I was poised with a pen and pad, listening to all of these great headmasters and mistresses from some of the best schools in the UK, from Simon Henderson, Headmaster of Eton college and John Floyd, Headmaster of Bruern Abbey school to Lucy Elphinstone, Headmistress of Francis Holland School and Anita Griggs, Principle of Falkner House.

It was a day filled with much enlightenment to the UK education system, and I jotted down a few of the points that came from some of these heads. I hope these inspire you as much as they did me!

  • Don’t try and frame your child’s success.
  • Liberate your children and don’t talk about achievement all the time.
  • If your child is “happy”, that’s a great indication of their progress.
  • Don’t pressure your children about your perfect childhood and the school you attended.
  • Boys and girls are different; for girls “interest” is everything. Boys need role models, leadership, exercise and humour.
  • All children will benefit from talking about their emotions.
  • Girls need to speak out and not be labelled. They must be themselves!
  • The ethos of a school is what’s important. Whether it’s a girl’s school, boy’s school or mixed – it’s not important. It’s whether it is a good school with a good ethos.
  • Values are important.
  • Children should be loved and valued for who they are.
  • Their potential should be encouraged.
  • Forgiveness and compassion should be taught – old fashioned but vital qualities.
  • Staff in a school must also feel valued so that they can be the best they can.
  • Happy and inspired teachers create happy and inspired children.
  • Education should be tailored to children’s needs.
  • The two little words “good girl” are a curse!
  • Encourage girls to take risks, laugh at themselves and banter more like boys. They should learn how to blag it a bit more like boys do. They must be brave and believe in themselves.
  • Boys and girls do learn differently, but the important thing is to find the “right fit” school.
  • Mental health is incredibly important in schools. Awareness should thread through every school and mental health should be taught from the top.
  • When it comes to mental health, boys access the support much more if a male is running the service, and the same goes for girls when a female is speaking. (This is from a study from Place2be)
  • Girls and boys are from different planets.
  • Social media is having a monstrous effect on both boys and girls. Social media is making them vulnerable, anxious and pressurised, and in many cases children are turning to self-harm and eating disorders.
  • Don’t forget, we influence our children by our own example when it comes to social media, amongst other things.
  • (Nursery). Don’t overload your child’s schedule at nursery. There should be no need for tutoring in the early years.
  • Our children our watching us on our iPhones from an early age, and it’s having a knock on effect on their language skills. Language starts at home, and this is a skill that has started to struggle.
  • Play dates are encouraged but not every day.
  • When you’re thinking about further education, arrange to meet your child’s teacher about your child and where they should go for further education. Your child is probably a very different person at school, and their teacher is with them all day.
  • Liberate your child by teaching them key skills, such as how to manage their own time.
  • Make sure you look at the community of a school.
  • Look at the school that puts energy into the right staff to inspire your children.
  • There must be fun in a child’s day.
  • Keep your child young for as long as possible. Childhood is precious.
  • Teach your child good manners.
  • Childhood is tough; you don’t just have your own life now, but also a virtual one.
  • Communication is key.
  • If there’s a problem, look at it and find the solution.
  • There is a cross over between academic worries and pastoral issues.
  • If things don’t work out, don’t worry! There are always other options.
  • The grass is rarely greener on the other side.
  • Take your time when it comes to education. Don’t move too quickly.
  • Successful children are normally the ones without pressures from home.
  • (11+ and 13+ process) Go and see 3 to 5 schools and narrow it down before showing them to your children. Try and have a good idea of where you would like your child to go by year 5.
  • If you really want the place, let that be known! Schools want to know if you’re serious about the position.
  • Let your child be themselves at interviews. Don’t coach them, they can see through it!

About The Author

Leo Bamford

I am the mother of three young children and whilst I'm not professing to be an expert on motherhood or babies, everyday is part of the learning-curve and this blog will share what has worked for me in the stages I've hit so far.

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