Category : UK schools

Featured Boarding School: Gordonstoun


Gordonstoun 2018

Nestled deep in the Scottish countryside, the caring and supportive environment at Gordonstoun is  different to the strict, bootcamp image of former years. 

A key feature of the school is its excellent pastoral care, with staff who make every effort to support the students.  In addition to providing a strong academic programme, Gordonstoun makes provision for students with Autism and other differing needs.   Pupils whose first language is not English take GCSEs in their native language, as well as the traditional GCSE subjects.

The expeditions or “expeds” are a central feature of this boarding school’s life and groups of Year 12 students travel independently to the West coast of Scotland.  The Round Square Programme, founded at the school, gives students unparalleled opportunities to volunteer to work in one of Gordonstoun’s life-affirming projects.  These include caring for disabled children in a Romanian orphanage and helping villagers in Thailand to build much-needed water tanks.

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Gordonstoun’s 80 foot boat, complete with its own crew, enables pupils to sail for periods of up to five days, learning how to cook and to manage life at sea.  Few schools can offer this opportunity- and students told us that these sea voyages created bonding experiences with their fellow classmates

The headmaster, Titus Edge, feels that the skills students develop in self-reliance, teamwork and resilience help them to manage their academic work and to perform better in exams.  We left with the strong impression that Gordonstoun’s holistic approach gives students a resilience and an understanding of the wider world which equips them well for life beyond school.

For expert support with applications to boarding, international and UK schools in London and throughout the UK, please contact us 

 

Bi-lingual Secondary Schools in London: English and French


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Moving to London or already resident here?  Many London and international families are opting for one of the excellent bilingual schools in our capital.  This blog will focus on English/French bi-lingual schools in London.  Our thriving French community take advantage of these excellent schools.  However, many Brits and other nationalities, who wish their children to have the advantage of a bi-lingual education, are seeking places for their offspring.

Lycee Charles de Gaulle

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The Lycée is the original French school in London.  It is also the largest French school in the UK and has 3,000 pupils in the primary and secondary school. In the secondary school, children have the distinct advantage of selecting between the French and the British section to study for GCSEs and A-Levels. The British section ranks highly in the country for GCSE and A-Level results. The Lycée is a very academic school and one could argue that it is more focused on academic study and, in comparison to British schools, spends less time on music, art and sport.  A certain number of places are reserved for French nationals and competition for the other places is high.  Due to the Lycee being heavily over-subscribed for many years, several other French secondary schools have recently opened in London.

Collège Français Bilingue de Londres (CFBL)

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This school was previously a French primary school named L’Ile aux Enfants in Camden.  In September 2011, it reopened with new premises and a secondary department.   CFBL takes pupils from ages 5 to 15, so children will need to move to another schools to complete their IB, Bac or A levels- this will be less attractive to some families. Students at the school sit the French national schools certificate (Diplôme National du Brevet – DNB), International option at 15.   At the end of 3ème (age 15), pupils from CFBL move either to French lycée in London for three more years of education (mainly the Lycée International Winston Churchill, but also the Lycée Charles de Gaulle) or to a British school to continue their studies in the English education system.   The school give priority admission to diplomatic staff and expat employees of specific French companies and after that, children of international and UK families do find places.   Application takes place in February of the year of entry.

Lycee International de Londres Winston Churchilllycee international de londres

Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill was opened due to a shortage of French schools in London for francophone and international families living here.  The school has modern facilities including swimming pools and a sports hall in North London. In September 2017, this new school welcomed 900 students in the primary and secondary departments combined and there is currently an 8 to 1 staff student ratio which is unusually small.   Students are educated in a bilingual and international environment and follow the French education system with teaching and learning focused on the harmonious development of the child. In September 2018 the Lycée will launch a new English International Programme, starting from Year 7 for English speakers, the programme will culminate in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP) in Years 12 and 13.

Ecole Jeannine Manuel

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One of the key advantages of Ecole Jeannine Manuel is that children do not have to be fluent French or English speakers to gain a place. École Jeannine Manuel admits non French-speaking and non-English speaking students up to Year 7 and supports them to adapt to a bilingual curriculum.   For this reason, it attracts francophone as well as anglophone and international families. The school currently boasts 33 different nationalities, all of whom receive a quality French/English bilingual education from ages 3-18.

A young school which opened in September 2016, École Jeannine Manuel London is a branch of its sister school, École Jeannine Manuel Paris which is a top-ranked Paris secondary school. It benefits from the support and the excellent long-standing reputation of the Paris schools and all London staff train at the Paris school.  In September 2016, it welcomed 185 pupils and aims to grow to 1000 over the next few years.  It will offer a choice between the French Baccalaureate and the IB.

This is not a typical French school in that it combines the best of both French and international academic systems.  The school uses the French curriculum in Maths and French and takes the most positive aspects of other systems for the other subjects.  Children can learn Mandarin, Latin, and either German or Spanish.  Therefore, children will graduate with a minimum of three languages

Ecole Internationale Anglo Francaise

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A welcoming school in the heart of Marylebone, Ecole Internationale Anglo Francaise (EIFA) aims to ensure that students are fully bi-lingual in English and French.   Up until year 8, the school accepts children who have not yet mastered one of either French or English The Senior School welcomes students in Year 7 to 11 and will expand to Year 12 in 2018.

From Year 7 to Year 9, the curriculum is based on the French National Curriculum with subjects being taught equally in English and French. In Year 10 French nationals may opt for the French Diplôme National du Brevet and all students take courses in IGCSE subjects and IGCSE exams in year 11.

EIFA is a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and pursuing authorisation as an IB World School. Intending to offer the programme in English and French, it aims to be the first school in the UK to deliver this internationally recognised programme in both languages.

Unlike the typically very academic-focused French schools, EIFA puts emphasis artistic and cultural studies as well as offering extracurricular music, drama, visual arts and sport.   The teaching approach is sympathetic and child-centred.

For more information and support on gaining entrance to French and bilingual schools in London, please contact our English and French speaking staff on info@lumoseducation.com or call 020 76927448.

Featured London school: Francis Holland, Sloane Square


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One thing that girls’ schools can really excel in is understanding girls – what makes them tick, how they study best, what motivates them and more importantly, the huge challenges which they face in the modern world. Headmistress of Francis Holland, Mrs Lucy Elphinstone, is very aware of the issues surrounding girls in the 21st century:  she makes sure that all girls learn computer programming and emphasises the need for all girls to be adaptable and able to reinvent themselves.

Whilst not traditionally seen as an academic school, Francis Holland’s results are very good.  Modern languages are well-taught, as are Latin and History.  Science subjects are less popular amongst the girls.  Every pupil is encouraged  to take 5 AS Levels and to take 4 of these to A Level.   Almost all the leavers go to university, and the career advice is excellent.   The number of girls going to university in the US is increasing,  Many also take arts courses at St Martins, the London College of Fashion or the Royal Ballet School.

Drama, dance and music are taken very seriously here.  Drama teachers try to get all girls involved.  The ballet teacher, Valerie Hitchen is an institution.  She is well-loved and has established great links with the Royal Ballet School.  There are lots of choirs and most girls learn at least one instrument.  There is central school courtyard where some of the PE takes place, but mostly girls go to local parks for riding and other sports.

Pastorally, the school is excellent. The girls are happy here and it shows. We hear very few complaints from girls who attend the school.  The staff engage well with parents and they are encouraged to come to the school with any concerns they may have. The staff care about all the girls and encourage individual talents and aspirations. A very happy place indeed.