Carfax Blog

We share perspectives, stories and ideas in education. Find our latest blog posts written by our educational experts.

12 Sep 2023 5 min read

Carfax Education Launches Homework Club at Dubai Tuition Centre

We are delighted to announce the launch of our homework club, now available in our Dubai tuition centre. The club will provide students with a comfortable space to complete their homework, with access to all the resources they need.



11 Sep 2023 3 min read

Carfax College warmly welcomes Mr. Iwan Lloyd as our new Principal

Carfax College is delighted to announce the appointment of Iwan Lloyd as the new Principal, effective September 2023. This marks an exciting chapter for the College, as it continues its commitment to providing quality education and fostering academic excellence, without borders.



5 Sep 2023

Everything you need to know about Homeschooling

Homeschooling has often been seen as an exception and a slightly quirky choice to make for educating your child. However, this perception is rapidly changing as families across the world embrace this style of education.



28 Aug 2023 5 min read

Transitioning from GCSE to A-Level

Transitioning from GCSEs to A-Level and IB can be quite a big jump for many students. Learning styles change as teachers start to prepare you for further education and you suddenly become more independent in your studies than before.



21 Aug 2023

It's not too late! You can still apply and study at a UK University this year

The official UCAS deadline to apply for a UK University course, commencing September 2023, was in January. But do not despair - If you haven't yet applied but want to study this year, there are a whole host of other entry routes available to you.



19 Aug 2023 5 min read

International student starting University in the UK? Top 10 things you need to do before you go.

I am sure that you are feeling a mixture of relief, excitement and anxiety at the moment; relief about your results and the fact that you have secured a place on a course at a University in the UK; excitement about the new adventure that lies ahead and a vague sense of anxiety about what you need to do before you go.



17 Aug 2023

A-Level Results 2023: Increase of Pupils Awarded Top Grades, and 79% Placed at First Choice University

This year, more than a quarter of A-levels (27.2%) have been awarded an A or A*, a record breaking result compared to any pre-pandemic year. However, the results also show a significant drop from last year (35.9%), amid the return to pre-pandemic era grading.



17 Aug 2023 5 min read

Children heading off to University - How will they cope and how will you cope?

It is the day long anticipated since you held that little bundle in your arms – the dream of them achieving their potential and taking up their place at the university of their (and your?) dreams….. If you think that your parenting days are now over, think again. Fiona Mckenzie from Carfax Education shares her experiences as her children fled the nest and then came home to roost again.



15 Aug 2023 5 min read

A Guide to UCAS Clearing

You have the next few days to explore Clearing and see what is out there. Last year over 50,000 students found university places through Clearing. Therefore, it is important to do your research now as things will move very quickly on the day.



14 Aug 2023 5 min read

A Level Results - What's Next?

This Thursday, thousands of pupils will receive their A-Level results. Of course, many will be feeling nervous, especially if you have applied for University and are eagerly awaiting an offer. Whilst many will be celebrating their results, others may feel a little disappointed and disheartened with the outcome. Carfax Education are here to guide you through both scenarios, and next steps.



9 Aug 2023 5 min read

How to Prepare for A Level Results

A Level results for most students, will be released on Thursday 17th August. Many people will wonder why there is so much press around this at the moment, and what the big deal is but for those students (and their families) who are waiting for these results, it is a hugely important day as it will confirm if they are going to the university of their dreams or if they are going to have to come up with a plan B. Things move fast on results day, so what is the best way to make sure you are ready to receive your results?



8 Aug 2023 5 min read

How to make the most of a Gap Year

For some students, taking a year out between school and university has always been part of their plan. They recognise that the experiences they can gain from exploring options outside of a formal studying environment can open their eyes to new perspectives and give them valuable experiences that will ultimately make them better and more focused students.



4 Aug 2023 5 min read

A Levels in a Year? How is this possible?

The traditional two year path to complete A Levels is well established and designed to give pupils the maximum amount of time to learn about each of their subject choices in depth and be prepared for getting good results at the end of this time frame. But what happens if you want to fast track that process and complete A Levels in one year?



3 Aug 2023 5 min read

Carfax Education announces new partnership with Juvenis Maxime in Vietnam.

As the global race for higher education in leading institutitions continues, Carfax Education is committed to helping partners and their students achieve the very best educational opportunities, wherever they are in the world.



1 Aug 2023 5 min read

Life Changing Travel - How to Broaden Your Horizons: Look... and Learn...

How many of us remember how to use algebra? How many of us remember learning it in school? It may seem inaccessible for us to aspire to add context to every new concept we learn, but realistically, without that context, they will probably not stay with us in the long term. In an age of increasing innovation and social awareness, parents are becoming more and more conscious of the need for context in their children’s education and there is a growing recognition of the value of experiential learning.



27 Jul 2023 5 min read

The Benefits of Summer School

Summer schools and camps offer a comprehensive program to equip students with the necessary tools for their future success by building upon their current interests and strengths through academic study, sports, music, and other extracurricular activities.



11 Jul 2023

Three Carfax Consultants recognised as Top Advisors in the prestigious 2023 Spear's 500 Index

Carfax Education's Senior Consultants, Fiona McKenzie, Dominick Ashe, and Sophie Oakes have been named top recommended education consultants in the 2023 Spear’s 500 Index, which ranks the best advisors for senior executives, wealth managers and family offices.



11 Jul 2023 5 min read

Family Relocation - The Challenges of Moving to a New Country

When families decide to relocate to another country, it can trigger an array of emotions and feelings. Despite feelings of excitement and anticipation for a brand new adventure, it can also be a really challenging experience – especially for children. Whilst the financial resources available may ease some aspects of the transition, there are social, cultural, and emotional impacts that can significantly shape the trajectory of a child’s life. In this article, I will be discussing the challenges that children may face when relocating, and how families can support and make the transition easier for their young ones.



10 Jul 2023 5 min read

Seven ways to develop your Personal Profile this Summer

Make the most of your Summer break to learn new skills, pursue your interests and gain valuable work experience. This year, Carfax Education have created a learning programme that will enrich your child's education, and give them an experience they won't forget.



6 Jul 2023 5 min read

Carfax Consultants Visit Dulwich College

Established in 1619, Dulwich College is an established independent boys’ school, situated in south London. With a distinguished tradition of inspired teaching and genuine scholarship, Dulwich pupils have gone onto the most prestigious Universities, across the world. In fact, the school has a long-standing reputation for producing fine actors, musicians, sportsmen and writers. Last week, Carfax Consultants had the opportunity to visit the school and catch up with the Head of Boarding, Ben Pelly.



4 Jul 2023 3 min read

Preparing for IB Results

IB results will be released today, so as the mixture of anticipation and anxiety mounts, we want to give IB students some guidance on how to prepare for this key moment. Here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for the day:



1 Jul 2023

Preparing to start university

Moving to university is a big step for a student and their parents! For students, the move to university is an exciting, fresh start which will bring friends, freedom, and fun. For parents, proud as you are of your child’s achievements, you are worried about how they will survive this exciting new challenge. Fiona, who has seen four of her children through University shares her top tips to help students feel prepared and parents feel reassured.



29 Jun 2023 5 min read

Making the best of Summer for your University Application

Summer allows students to relax, travel and enjoy time with family and friends, following months of study, learnings, and extracurricular activities. It's also a fantastic and valuable opportunity to prepare for your future academic goals. With University application deadlines only a few months away, it's important for prospective students to maximise this time out of the classroom, and build a competitive personal profile. In this article, we explore a variety of summer activities and programmes that are enriching and noteworthy - the kind that will make admission officers notice your application.



27 Jun 2023 5 min read

Guidance for UCAS University Clearing

If you’re going through the process of applying to University in the UK then you may be familiar with the term ‘Clearing’ – but what does it actually mean? This guide will give you everything you need to know about Clearing and how to use it!



26 Jun 2023 5 min read

The Benefits of Sixth Form Boarding School

Sixth form entry into a boarding school is becoming a popular choice for many pupils. Many families are keen to have their children studying locally for as long as possible, but they see transitioning to a boarding school at 16+ as a valuable stepping stone towards university.



20 Jun 2023 3 min read

Carfax Education Co-hosts University Application Workshop at Jebel Ali School

This week, Carfax Education visited Jebel Ali School to deliver a University Application Workshop to their Year 12 students.



15 Jun 2023

UK Student Visa Guide

A UK Student Visa is designed for those who want to study in the UK, studying a course for more than 6 months, at a licensed educational institute. Our education consultants have many years of experience in student immigration and visa applications, and are familiar with the related laws and regulations and currently registered with the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), so you’re in good hands! Continue reading to learn more about the Application process...



15 Jun 2023 3 min read

Carfax Education is Hiring!

Carfax Education is hiring! With the next academic year on the horizon, we are recruiting full time tutors to join our leading private tuition team.



1 Jun 2023 3 min read

Education and the Great Outdoors

Jonathan Hughes D'Aeth, Senior Advisor at Carfax Education, unravels the expansive nature of education and learning, that extends well beyond the confines of traditional classrooms.



30 May 2023

New English Language Programme, with Carfax Tutors Dubai

We are delighted to launch group classes, designed to improve the English language skills of non-native speakers.



23 May 2023

What is the role of an Education Consultant?

The education you choose for your child can be life-changing. So it’s no surprise that many parents, faced with such a significant, emotional decision, seek professional guidance and advice from independent experts.



16 May 2023 5 min read

Private Tutors in Dubai & Abu Dhabi

With expert tutors based in Dubai & Abu Dhabi, Carfax Tutors is one of the leading private tutoring organisations in the UAE, fully licenced by the KHDA. Uniquely, Carfax Education employs professional tutors from the world's leading Universities, to deliver quality lessons from expert academic mentors, and develop bespoke learning programmes, designed to unlock every pupil's potential. Find out more about our approach to professional tutoring.



9 May 2023 3 min read

HR Breakfast Briefing with Carfax Consultants

Last week, Carfax Education hosted an HR Breakfast Briefing in Dubai - an opportunity to collaborate with leading Human Resource and Talent Acquisition professionals, to discuss the current education landscape in the UAE.



1 May 2023 5 min read

Exam Preparation: Top Tips by Carfax Tutors

When you develop successful study techniques and preparation skills, your academic assessments and exams become less daunting, and this allows students to set themselves up for success. In this article, our experienced team of Carfax Tutors share some useful tips on exam preparation, and how to approach exams with confidence.



24 Apr 2023

Sixth Form – Do they stay or do they go?

For many expatriate families, one of the big dilemmas is whether their child should finish they education in their current country of residence, or move back to the UK for the final two years. Quite often, parents will consider a British boarding school for the 6th form and there are several sound reasons for this, as our Education Consultant, Fiona McKenzie explains.



17 Apr 2023 5 min read

Choosing the right Tutor for your Child

When parents think about the role of a tutor, they often assume that tutors are purely responsible for providing academic support, such as helping their children prepare for exams or supporting them through challenging topics. However, Carfax Education believes that tutors have the potential to be much more than that. They can become mentors, guides, and champions for their students, extending their role beyond academic assistance.



17 Apr 2023 5 min read

Featured in Robb Report: How parents are educating their children on yachts

In 2021, Mischa and Linda van der Vliet spent a year on their 80-foot sailing catamaran, Kokomo, with their three children. During that extended adventure exploring the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, the kids (then ages 9, 11 and 12) were homeschooled for 20 hours each week.



6 Apr 2023 3 min read

Carfax Education Partners with Teen Interns, Powered by I Love Mondays

We're thrilled to announce our new partnership with I Love Mondays, a leading education service provider that offers mentorship, career guidance, and internships for young adults and secondary school students.



4 Apr 2023 5 min read

Revealed: KHDA Announce Outstanding Schools in Dubai

Twenty Dubai schools were rated outstanding in the latest round of school inspections by the KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority). Furthermore, 77% of students attend private schools rated 'Good' or better, compared to 70% during the 2018/19 academic year. These results show more students benefitting from high quality teaching and learning in Dubai.



1 Apr 2023

Building Your Personal Profile

When it comes to making applications, whether to a new school, university, a new job or further study, one of the first things people want to know is ‘what have you done so far?’



21 Mar 2023 3 min read

GCSE & A-levels: What you need to know

Ofqual has made it clear that 2023 marks a transition back to pre-pandemic exam conditions, with results expected to reflect grades from 2019 more than those in 2022. In practical terms, this means that students sitting exams in 2023 will have statistically lower odds of getting A grades when compared to the 2022 cohort. Grade boundaries will be determined after senior examiners have reviewed the quality of the work and there is no set quota of how many students can achieve A grades.



16 Mar 2023 3 min read

Revision Success Guaranteed; Top Tips from Carfax Tutors

As exam season draws near, pupils are busy establishing their revision schedule. Many young people will be new to exams, and revision is a skill in itself that needs to be learnt.



14 Mar 2023 5 min read

Despite the drop in international student applications, elite universities in the UK remain highly sought after.

For many years, the top Universities in the UK have been the source of worldwide admiration. Every year, a considerable number of international students come to the UK to pursue higher education, with many aspiring to secure admission to renowned Universities like Oxford and Cambridge. In the QS World University Rankings 2023, Oxford and Cambridge ranked #2 and #4 respectively, while in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023, they secured #1 and #3 positions. It's worth noting that while the UK has several outstanding Universities, the academic eminence and long-established reputations of Oxford (founded 1096) and Cambridge (founded 1209) make them especially appealing to employers seeking their graduates. This has made studying at these prestigious institutions even more alluring to international students.



13 Mar 2023 3 min read

Oxbridge Preparation Programme with Carfax Consultants

Taking place on the 21st & 22nd March 2023, we are running a complimentary programme designed for aspiring Year 12 pupils who are considering applying to Oxford or Cambridge University.



7 Mar 2023

Carfax Consultants Present Official School Index Certificate to Mougins School, France

Last week, Carfax Consultants visited the prestigious Mougins School, an international school situated in Mougins, France. 



7 Mar 2023 5 min read

Carfax Education presents at the International School of Monaco

Last week, the International School of Monaco opened its doors to welcome and host our internationally renowned education consultants, Daniele (Dan) Labriola and Sophie Oakes.



2 Mar 2023 5 min read

Why is Literature Valuable in our Society?

"Since I was a child, at the ripe age of 6, I welcomed literature with open arms.", shares Mehreen, English Tutor at Carfax Education. I remember squinting in the dark, reading books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlotte’s Web, well past my bedtime. Literature has always been my escape from reality, especially when it came to the notorious Harry Potter book series - I was obsessed.



1 Mar 2023 3 min read

Planning for Oxbridge Entry, The Importance Of Prepping Now!

Are you wondering when to start when planning for Oxbridge at entry-level? Lucy Holland, Oxbridge Co-ordinator for Carfax Education, explains the importance of starting the process today, as the route to an undergraduate career at Oxford or Cambridge University is by no means straightforward, yet if you start preparing early with expert advisers, you can stand a much greater chance of success of acceptance



28 Feb 2023

Carfax Education visiting Monaco

This week, our Senior Education consultants, Sophie Oakes & Daniele Labriola will be in Monaco this week, to meet with families and deliver talks to both parents & pupils at: 

Mougins British International School 
Thursday 2nd March

International School of Monaco 
Friday 3rd March

Sophie holds an established title as a Top Recommended Education Advisor in the world-renowned Spear's 500 guide, and has a long history of supporting international HNW families in their education journey.

Daniele is an accomplished education specialist with over a decade of consultancy and lecturing experience. His consultancy specialisation is focused on higher education, and is also well versed in US and various European educational systems at all levels.

We look forward to visiting Monaco and meeting all those attending our talks.



23 Feb 2023 5 min read

Carfax Education hosts University Programme at Jebel Ali School, Dubai

This week Fiona McKenzie, Head of Carfax Consultants, visited Jebel Ali School to host a presentation to Year 11 & Year 12 students on University applications.



20 Feb 2023 5 min read

Carfax Education Featured in The Telegraph

We are delighted to share a recent article by The Telegraph, featuring Carl Morris, Head of Carfax Tutors.



16 Feb 2023

School Fees and Financial Assistance

Boarding schools in the UK are renowned for providing an excellent education for students from all over the world, however, this highly valued education comes with significant financial investment. As families embark on exploring private schools it is important that they understand the fees and other expenses associated with an independent school education.



13 Feb 2023 5 min read

What is the value of History?

What is history? Quotable dates and famous names? Celebrity drama in the past tense?



13 Feb 2023 3 min read

Carfax Education partners with Swiss Learning at education conference "A Journey in the World of Excellence"

Last Tuesday, Carfax Consultants were delighted to collaborate with Swiss Learning at their recent event, titled "A Journey in the World of Excellence". Hosted by Mr. Omar Danial, Founder of the Swiss Scientific School in Dubai, this exclusive event was a celebration of Switzerland and the excellence of Swiss education.



9 Feb 2023 5 min read

Why is school so...

The phrase "why is school so..." has become a common search query for students, parents, and educators alike, as they seek to understand the reasons behind common student experiences and attitudes towards education. The top five auto-fill suggestions for this search query, including "boring," "stressful," "useless," "depressing," and "long," paint a picture of the challenges and frustrations that many students face in the classroom. Students all over the world are asking why school is so unengaging – and they want answers!



31 Jan 2023 5 min read

The Benefits of a Swiss Education

Who can resist fresh mountain air, luxurious chocolate and breathtaking views? Couple all of that with a first-class education system and multi-cultural environment, Switzerland is becoming a top boarding destination for many families around the world. Sophie Oakes, our Senior Education Consultant takes you through the benefits of a Swiss Education.



26 Jan 2023 3 min read

What is the Value of Maths?

You will always find takers for mathematics and its significance in life, right from your teachers all the way up to the government. However, students continue to dodge the subject, perennially questioning the usefulness of infinite equations. When you factor in the increased difficulty level, it all adds to being a wildly unpopular option among many students.



18 Jan 2023

Summer Schools: How to choose the best option for your child!

It’s never too early to begin thinking about Summer Schools (also known as Summer camp), but deciding which one is the best fit for your child, can be a challenge with so much choice out there. Carfax Consultants can be the guiding hand you may need in this situation advising on how to select a course and what will bring most benefit for your child.



9 Jan 2023

Download Our Personal Statement Guide

Download our essential guide to writing your personal statement, a crucial step in your University application.



1 Jan 2023 2 min read

The Value of Independent Learning for Academic Development

Independent learning is a common phrase, yet what it is and how to nurture it might not be so clearly defined. Put loosely: independent learning is when students set themselves goals to monitor and evaluate their academic development. Or, to put it another way, it is the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge throughout one’s lifetime.



27 Dec 2022

Year 12 - Now Is The Time To Start Thinking About University

It's never too early to begin thinking about university! If you are currently in Year 12, it is worth reflecting that by this time next year your university applications should have already been submitted. Furthermore, if you are applying to Oxford University or Cambridge University, or wish to study Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, the application deadline for 2024 entry is 15 October 2023 - only 9 months away! At this point, finishing school and starting university may seem a long way off, but the time will pass very quickly - so we advise you to use this time wisely and take advantage of the remainder of this academic year to do lots of research so you can make confident choices when the time comes.



26 Dec 2022

International School Parent Magazine: International Student Demand for the UK's Elite Universities

According to the UK’s University Central Admissions System (UCAS), for 10% of international students, the dream of studying abroad starts before their 11th birthday. In UCAS data released this year, international applications are predicted to rise by 46% to 208,500 by 2026, so the landscape will continue to be highly competitive.



13 Dec 2022 5 min read

How to encourage lifelong learning for your Child

It’s incredibly important for children to develop curiosity, confidence and problem solving skills throughout their school years - habits that encourage them to learn on a daily basis, and become lifelong learners. The rise of ‘grade hysteria’ puts pressure on parental expectations and on pupils to be at the top of the class, all to secure their academic future. This often leads to grades being prioritised over skills, and there can be a temptation to provide an overly supportive ‘hand holding’ culture which can ultimately lead to an over-dependency on tutors, and less focus on learning.



7 Dec 2022 3 min read

The Role of Private Tuition in Admission to Higher Education

For many parents, the desire to secure the best secondary education for their child is to successfully prepare them for the next chapter of their education journey, higher education.



4 Dec 2022 5 min read

Winter Break Activities in Dubai

Winter in the UAE is like a cool summer day in Europe. Fortunately, there’s no need to pile on layers or huddle indoors to keep warm. The temperatures are mild and pleasant with lots of sunshine and occasional rainfall- ideal to take the young ones out and burn some of that energy! The cooler weather means that families can comfortably enjoy the outdoors and children can participate in fun activities without having to worry about the sweltering summer heat of the Middle East.



22 Nov 2022 3 min read

The Oxbridge Interview: What To Expect

Any time now, applicants will be receiving an email from their chosen or allocated Oxbridge college, hopefully asking them to interview. To help you best prepare for the day itself, here are some tips from our Oxbridge Consultant, an Oxford University fellow herself.



21 Nov 2022 3 min read

See You At The British Boarding Schools Show in Dubai

This weekend, residents of Dubai and families based around the Middle East and UAE will be attending the 10th British Boarding Schools Show at the Sheraton Hotel on Saturday November 26th 2022. Carfax Education will be there in-person to guide our families through the event, and meet with relevant schools that best fit their child's needs, interests and abilities.



18 Nov 2022 5 min read

Carfax Education Attends The Independent Schools Show in London

Last week, Carfax Education participated in the annual Independent Schools Show, held in Battersea Evolution London. The education event draws together 200+ of the UK’s top independent schools, all under one roof - a valuable and unique opportunity for parents and prospective pupils, without travelling hundreds of miles.



14 Nov 2022 3 min read

Carfax Education Presenting at GESS Dubai 2022

Join Carfax Education at the GESS Dubai Education Show, a 3 day educational event of learning, insights, and connections.



3 Nov 2022 5 min read

How to write the perfect personal statement in 10 steps

Writing the personal statement is a key part of making a University application to the UK. This is the only opportunity a student has to communicate who they are as a person, why they are so excited about studying a particular course, and what makes them a stand-out student – and all of this in 4,000 characters including spaces!



25 Oct 2022 3 min read

How to encourage a love of poetry in Children

Visionary power Attends upon the motions of the winds Embodied in the mystery of words ‘The Prelude’ by William Wordsworth



17 Oct 2022 3 min read

Oxbridge Interview Preparation Day

The Oxbridge Interview Preparation Day is back by popular demand. This year, the live event takes place on Saturday 29th October 2023, and will be delivered to attendees online by our leading team of Education consultants and Oxbridge alumni tutors.



5 Oct 2022 5 min read

Debunking the Oxbridge Myths

The keenly awaited 2023 Higher Education Good University Guide by The Times and The Sunday Times, was published last month and it was no surprise to find Oxford and Cambridge at the top of the list again. In the UK national guide, University of Oxford tops the league as number one University of the year, and Cambridge University ranked third overall, which leads in 21 of their subject rankings — more than any other university. As two of the most prestigious and highly sought after Universities, it is not surprising that they attract thousands of applications from all over the world each year, on average around 20,000 students apply to each of the two universities for just over 3,000 places on offer at each institution. But many perfectly capable and academically ambitious students are put off by the rumours of elitism and fear of not being good enough. So, we quizzed our Oxbridge consultant , Lucy Holland, to debunk the myths about applying to these two bastions of academia.



22 Sep 2022 5 min read

Spear's 500 Live: Finding the right 'academic fit' is key to securing your child's future

This month, we had the honour of presenting at the Spear's 500 Live event, hosted by Spear's - an award winning wealth management and luxury lifestyle magazine. Fiona McKenzie, Head of Education at Carfax Education delivered a keynote session on 'How to choose the right school for your child – and then secure a place’, to a distinguished audience of HNWs and their advisers at the Carlton Tower Jumeirah in Knightsbridge.



13 Sep 2022 5 min read

How to choose the right curriculum for your child

Featured in The International School Parent Magazine By Fiona McKenzie, Head of Education, Carfax Education



8 Sep 2022 2 min read

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 1926 - 2022

We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning sovereign.



6 Sep 2022 5 min read

Carfax Education launches 3rd annual global private schools index, in partnership with Spear’s Magazine

Carfax Education, the global education consultancy, today announced the launch of the third annual Spear’s Schools Index, the only official international ranking of top private schools. In partnership with Spear’s, the award-winning magazine for high-net-worth individuals, Carfax Education has released its third global index, which lists the 100 very best private schools around the world.



30 Aug 2022

Exam Retakes with Carfax Education

A level, AS level and GCSE retake programmes are available for all subjects and options with all the exam boards – AQA, Edexcel/Pearson, OCR, WJEC/Eduqas and CIE.



11 Aug 2022 5 min read

How to choose the right curriculum for your child

For most families in the UK, the National Curriculum of England and Wales, known universally as the British curriculum is the only choice on offer, however in the independent schools sector, schools can be more experimental and can offer a wider range of options either alongside the traditional GCSE and A Level paths.



8 Aug 2022 2 min read

Carfax College shortlisted in the Independent Schools of the Year Award

We are delighted to announce that Carfax College has been shortlisted for the Small Independent School of the Year Award.



12 Jul 2022

Preparing to start University

You’ve worked hard over the last two years, picked your subjects with your future career and aspirations in mind and now the time has finally come to start university! University is about so much more than just your course. It’s about your first step to independence and learning valuable life skills that will take you into adulthood. For some it’s the first time away from home and outside of a school environment and can be quite overwhelming. We’ve complied advice from our education experts and current university students to help you along the way...



5 Jul 2022

Results Day 2022

Tension is mounting as IB and A Level pupils await their results from the first set of exams to be taken physically in the last 3 years. Despite the accommodations made for this cohort of pupils to reflect the challenges they have faced during the pandemic, the return of high stakes exams means the return of the anxiety of ‘results day’, particularly if you are holding a conditional offer for a UK university. Our Carfax Guide on what to do on results day is here to allay those concerns and set out the possible outcomes from the results and how to deal with them.



30 Jun 2022

The Good Schools Guide

This year, we were reviewed by The Good Schools’ Guide - the UK’s number one school guide, helping parents in every aspect of choosing the best education for their children. Trusted by parents for 35 years, their guides include impartial and candid school and educational institute reviews as well as in-depth articles on education-related issues. Only a selection of tutor agencies are reviewed, and they follow a thorough process, including surveys and interviews. We are delighted to be featured, and to be received so positively by The Good Schools’ Guide. It truly is a wonderful achievement for everyone at Carfax Education.



28 Jun 2022

UKiset: What is it & how will it help me

Are you concerned about how your child compares to their British peers? Perhaps you are considering a move to the UK and need to make a direct comparison to the British education system and assess if your child will thrive in the UK? If so, then the UKiset assessment is a valuable tool for your child! UKiset is looking at a child’s academic ability and potential based on the UK curriculum and grade system. The results of the assessment give quantitative information about where your child fits on an international level, and if your child will thrive at a UK or international school.



27 Jun 2022

Oxford & Cambridge University Open Days

University open days offer a wonderful opportunity to explore facilities and lecture rooms, chat with potential future lecturers and meet current students. It will give you the chance to ask lots of questions, and vanish any doubts about the subject and social life at University. In this article, our Oxbridge consultant shares important information about the upcoming 2023 open days at the University of Oxford, and University of Cambridge.



26 Jun 2022

Preparing for Oxbridge Interviews

For students applying for Oxford, Cambridge, Medicine, Veterinary and Dentistry, the applications are now in and the waiting begins. It is a tense time waiting to see if the invitation for interview will pop up in the inbox. We asked our Oxbridge graduate tutors for their advice on what can students do to be as well prepared as possible whilst they anticipate that eagerly sought after invitation…..



23 Jun 2022

What is the true value of a Masters?

A Master’s can sometimes be seen simply as a way of prolonging university and putting off job hunting. However, this is not the case. There are plenty valuable reasons to study for a Master’s degree, not least the fact that it can increase your employment opportunities and as well as provide leverage for your salary expectations. In certain fields, it can also be vital to progress and advance in a specified role. Here we look at the top reasons you should think of applying for a Master’s.



23 Jun 2022

Oxford or Cambridge: Which one is right for you?

The UK has long had a reputation for the quality of the education on offer at its top universities, but none more so than Oxford and Cambridge. “Oxbridge” has become a byword for academic prestige, the aspiration for elite students the world over.



16 Jun 2022

Bridge the Summer Gap with our 'Step Up' Learning Programme

This summer, Carfax Education are running a series of 'Step Up', and 'Master It' Programmes, to help children bridge the summer learning gap, gain new skills and ensure they are ready for the new school year or new education journey into higher education. The programmes are available on a 1-1 basis, to create a fully personalised two week schedule around your chosen subjects. Delivered by our leading team of tutors, you will have a fantastic opportunity to get a high quality, in-depth and focused understanding of your course. Keep reading to learn more about each programme.



14 Jun 2022

Top 10 UK Summer Camps - Hand Picked for 3 to 18 Year Olds

UK Summer camps have become an extremely popular activity for families over the last few years, where children and young adults discover new places, learn new skills and make life-long friends, outside of their immediate circle. It's a growing experience, and creates wonderful memories of their school holidays. At Carfax Education, we have a dedicated summer course specialist, with many years of experience. We've hand picked the top 10 summer camps around the UK, that are absolutely worth a visit - from sports camps and art schools, to academic and language programmes, there is something here for everyone aged between 3-18 years. What you may not know is that over the summer, children lose up to an astonishing 3 months worth of learning, and it can take up to 2 months for them to get back on track once at school.



10 Jun 2022

Meet the Head of Carfax Tutors, Carl Morris

Shortly after completing his qualification as a chartered accountant (ACA) in London, Carl decided he wanted to one day teach his University studies and make a change in his career. An Oxford graduate in Chemistry, Carl began private tutoring with families across London, and has since dedicated the last 10 years in Education across some of the world’s leading cities, which has led him into a successful and rewarding position as Principal at Carfax College and Head of Carfax Tutors. Carl has played an important role in growing the Carfax Education Group’s tuition division as well as Carfax College in the heart of Oxford, and instils the ethos of understanding each child as an individual, to deliver a personalized education experience matched to their interests and abilities. Carl possesses a rare gift for leadership, serving as a mentor for a younger generation - always understanding their needs, having their backs and leading by example. In the meantime, please take a few minutes to virtually meet our Head Principal, Carl Morris:



1 Jun 2022

Applying to a UK University: A Beginner's Guide to Getting Started

The UK has always been a popular destination for international university students. Despite travel restrictions and uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the number of international students choosing to study in the UK has continued to rise.



29 May 2022

The Benefits of Private Tuition & Education Assistance, during Relocation

At Carfax Education, we are only too aware of the challenges associated with relocating to a new area, especially for children; it can be a complex task, full of decision making and planning. However, if managed well, it offers a wealth of opportunities and opens children's eyes to new cultures and societies that can create a positive impact for the rest of their lives.



25 May 2022

Learning through Summer Fun

We are thrilled to be featured in Yalla Abu Dhabi this month. Clare Preston, our Head of Carfax Tutors UAE, reveals how a fun and relaxing summer can also be a time to introduce your children to education activities to set them up for the school year ahead.



22 May 2022

Guidance for UCAS Clearing, and What Does Clearing Mean?

If going through the process of applying to a University in the U.K, you may be familiar with the term clearing; but what does it mean? Clearing can be a pretty daunting experience. At Carfax Education Group, we have detailed out a guidance for UCAS clearing, that gives you everything you need to know about the term and how best to use it!



16 May 2022

On the Radio: Dubai Eye 103.8 - IB Results and UCAS Clearing

Many thanks to Dubai Eye 103.8 for inviting our Head of Education, Fiona Mckenzie, to talk about IB results and UCAS clearing; what to expect, university offers, and how the clearing system works.



5 May 2022

How to find the right school for my child?

How to find the right school for my child? A question many parents struggle with. Carfax Education experts discuss the challenges and how they are here to help. Choosing the right school for your child can be a complex and overwhelming decision for parents to ensure that children are happy and find an environment where they thrive academically and physically. Above all, you want to ensure in making the right decision, and this is when an education consultant can step in and support you in the process and provide expert, impartial guidance.



1 May 2022

UK University Admissions will become highly competitive by 2025, UCAS Chief Executive cautions

A record number of students are expecting to start Higher Education in a UK University or College this Autumn, and this number is only expected to increase Year on Year. The table below displayed the total number of applications received by UCAS in the past 3 years; 2021 applications received by 30th June show a 4% YOY increase (accounting 682,010 applications).



27 Apr 2022

Are you prepared for A Level Results

If you are eager to find out what happens on A-level results day, put your mind at ease with our top preparation tips:



14 Apr 2022

How to get the most out of your revision!

Revising for exams whether they are ‘mission critical ‘for entry to University or 6th form or whether they are internal school exams, can seem like a long and drawn out process. So how can you make your revision relevant, valuable and time efficient? We have talked to some of our tutors who help prepare students for exams and asked for their advice.



6 Apr 2022

Exam Techniques and How to Avoid Common Pitfalls - Guest Blog

I can honestly say that exam techniques changed my life by enabling me to go from being useless at passing exams to being brilliant at passing exams. This is one of the reasons that I am now a Director in the PwC Academy teaching others how to pass exams.



6 Apr 2022

The Benefits of One-to-One Online Tuition:

Parents and students turn to one-to-one online tuition for a multitude of reasons, but for some, until recently, it has been an unfamiliar concept. Will it work? Will my child be engaged? Are the tutors as good online? Here, Carfax Education shares some of the benefits based on their long experience of delivering online one-to-one tuition and highlights why online tuition can be a great option.



6 Apr 2022

Why International Families choose British Boarding Schools

Boarding school has always been seen as a peculiarly British phenomenon but it also holds a strong appeal for international families looking for a top quality education.



6 Apr 2022

Online Tuition:

Whilst there has always been a demand for private tuition, with the advent of new technologies, online tuition has made tuition accessible to a wider and more remote audience. The drivers behind why families seek tutoring are varied; some are unhappy with large class sizes; others want to consolidate their children’s learning with one to one teaching; some families are looking for some remedial support, whilst others are seeking extension opportunities. Tuition, however it is delivered, can have a multitude of advantages in supporting a child’s education journey. But what are the pros and cons to consider with online tuition?



6 Apr 2022

UK University Fee Status: Who is eligible?

We are delighted to welcome Kate Raison as our guest blogger this month. Kate is an expert on fee status for UK universities and we often use her services for our Carfax client families.



6 Apr 2022

Debunking the Oxbridge Myths by Carfax Education experts

Leading education experts - Carfax Education Group are debunking the Oxbridge Myths in ensure all students can choose the best possible university journey. With the keenly awaited Times Higher Education - Good University Guide was published this weekend, and no surprise to find Oxford and Cambridge University at the top of the list again! Oxford scooped the board with the University of the Year, whilst Cambridge topped the Centres of Excellence with a stunning thirty-two subjects areas rated the first in the UK.



6 Apr 2022

Home-Schooling benefits by leading experts Carfax Education

Home-schooling is often seen as an exception and a slightly quirky choice for educating your child. However, this perception is rapidly changing as families globally embrace this style of education, as there are many reasons why a family may consider educating their children at home. Here, we look at why families might choose to do this, examine some of the main benefits, look at some of the challenges involved and answer some of the questions we regularly get asked.



6 Apr 2022

A Rural Education- Interview with Ali Kinge, Headmistress of Ardvreck School, Scotland

We recently met Mrs Ali Kinge, Headmistress of Ardvreck, a prep school set in the heart of Scotland. We loved what she had to say about the benefits of being educated in an idyllic rural area and her views on why it gives children the best start in life.



6 Apr 2022


A British boarding school education is valued throughout the world and the best schools set high entrance standards. Carfax College has many years’ experience in preparing pupils for these highly competitive examinations. Following months of intense preparation, long hours of practice and commendable dedication, not only did our school preparation pupils gain admission to some of Britain’s most prestigious schools, but there is no pupil left without an offer. Even better – 100% of pupils this year received offers from their top school choices!

Throughout their time at Carfax College, our school entrance candidates studied intensely, but have also enjoyed Oxford’s rich cultural and sports activities. Our pupils went to Blenheim Palace, punting, kayaking, to several plays and concerts, organized quiz luncheons, and made invaluable friendships. We want to congratulate all pupils and tutors for their hard work, and wish our extraordinary pupils the brightest future ahead.



6 Apr 2022

How to support your child's learning at home

Supporting your child’s learning will help shape their social, emotional and physical development, so they can thrive in school and beyond.



6 Apr 2022


During this weekend, Carfax staff from the Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices attended the Schools and Childcare Show Dubai. In partnership with Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the UAE’s governing body for Education, the Show was a wonderful way for parents to discuss the wide range of educational services Carfax provides from Carfax Private Tutors, Carfax Consultants, Carfax Guardians and Carfax College in Oxford, providing advice on selection, preparation and entrance to some the world’s finest schools and universities. Broadcasting live from the event on Dubai Eye radio station, Eleonora Suhoviy, Carfax’s Principal Consultant, pictured with Dominick Ashe, Senior Consultant, and Director of Carfax Abu Dhabi, Christopher Gyngell, spoke on choosing the appropriate school for your child.



6 Apr 2022

Best Education Podcasts 2021

If you’re looking to keep your children entertained over the summer – and looking for some holiday listening yourself – our education specialists have put together their top education podcasts for children, teens and parents!



6 Apr 2022

Why London's Top Tutoring Agency is Carfax Tutors

At The Carfax Education Group, we represent some of the most qualified and well-prepared tutors at our tutoring agency in London. And not to forget our other seven other locations around the world. Our Carfax Tutors division has a proven track record in assisting our pupils to achieve the utmost in their academic goals.



6 Apr 2022

Residential Tutoring London

Welcome to Carfax Tutors, we offer outstanding residential tutoring in London and throughout the world.



6 Apr 2022

Home Tuition London

Welcome to Carfax Tutors, we offer outstanding home tuition in London.



6 Apr 2022

Personal Tuition London

Welcome to Carfax Tutors, we offer outstanding personal tuition services in London.



6 Apr 2022

How to get into the creative sector

I graduated with a degree in a humanity related field and like many people with a humanities’ degree, not necessarily from Oxford or Cambridge, I initially began to panic. After having spent four years studying highly abstract notions and theoretical ideas and writing long essays, how would I apply these skills to the decidedly less abstract world of gaining meaningful employment? Luckily if you graduate from a good University in the Western world, especially Oxbridge, there are many routes you can explore which will allow you to get a job in the corporate world. Many friends with similar degrees in humanities were also wondering what they wanted to do and were exploring the much worn route of graduating from Oxbridge with a humanity’s degree and going into Law or corporate finance.

Initially I decided to pursue the well-worn route of researching law conversion courses and applying for jobs in corporate finance. The issue? I had little interest in the jobs I was applying for as they did not fit my overall career and life goals. After gentle persuasion from my family and with the ever present anxiety of unemployment an issue, I worked in the management consultancy and banking sector. I gained valuable experience in how these industries work and the sector they deal with. However deep down I knew my passions were for architectural drawing and design and working in the corporate sector would not fulfil either of these passions of mine.

I woke up one day during my time working in banking and decided I could no longer do a job that I was simply doing to make a salary. I spoke with my manager and she was very understanding that I wanted to pursue other career options. Rather than feeling hopeless, I realised I had finally made the decision to drive my own career path and finally pursue what it was I really wanted to do. Given my trials and tribulations with the corporate world and finally realising what it was I wanted to do, the following advice is intended as a rough outline of what I felt most beneficial when I decided to take the plunge into achieving my personal career goals:

Having spoken with many creative individuals who ended up feeling lost in their careers or after graduating I have the following advice for anyone (and I know there are many!) who feel the same way. Above all, do not become trapped in a job or career simply to make money. For the vast majority of people this will not satisfy your intellectual or creative aptitude and simply leave you feeling unhappy and unsatisfied. It is better to gain experience in a field or career you do want to enter which will eventually lead to a well-paid and more importantly, fulfilling job than slogging it out in a job that leaves you uninspired and unfulfilled.

Secondly, do not be afraid to take the plunge into a different job sector that initially means you have to take a cut in your salary or pay. Gaining experience in the creative sector and building up your portfolio – whether in terms of artwork or designs helps you to lay the foundation for entering into a notoriously competitive jobs market to enter.

An often unspoken truth about entering the creative professions is the sense of judgement if you do not choose to enter traditional career paths. This sense of judgement often comes from both family and friend circles and this prevents many people from pursuing their passions and talents because wanting to please your peers and family is also an important aspect of your life. Having the courage to quit your job is a bold step but can ultimately lead to greater career and personal satisfaction.

Finally, and possibly the most unpopular piece of advice I would give is that having a back-up plan is always a good idea. Creative industries such as fashion, design and architecture take many years to penetrate to be successful. It is important to remember that these industries are often not vocational career paths and being able to generate an income on the side can help you support your passions and career choices. Taking the time to learn a skill that can provide a sustainable career on the side is never a bad idea.

I am now working in marketing in a job I feel an immense sense of satisfaction with and I am able to use my creative personality to enhance my work. The portfolio I took the time to build up helped greatly in securing a job in the market I wanted to enter and I am also writing my own design book on the side. I no longer feel a sense of dread or helplessness in terms of career. It is important to override fears of dejection as these are often greatly overstated and prevent you from achieving your career goals. Marketing in particular is a very competitive industry and something that really shines through is your ability to overcome initial rejection and use your own initiative and creativity to prove yourself. Remember, it is often a long but rewarding road to career satisfaction in the creative industry!



6 Apr 2022

Skipping Blue Monday

It is easy to understand why the 18th January, and in particular 18th January 2021 could be positioned as the most depressing day of the year, ever. The weather is cold and damp, any escape from pandemic restrictions seem about as far off as lounging by a beach in a warm country(anyone remember that?).



6 Apr 2022

Review: Good Schools Guide

Carfax Education is delighted to announce that Carfax Tutors has been recognised as part of the Good Schools Guide.



6 Apr 2022

Preparing for the new School year

Preparing for the new school year after such challenging times is made easier thanks to Carfax College's practice of making tutoring personal.



6 Apr 2022

Find the Fun in Learning this Winter Break

Winter break is around the corner, a much welcome break in the school year for both children and parents! You have a few school-free weeks, and your kids might be perfectly happy to turn into couch potatoes and spend countless hours on social media, playing video games or Netflix the holiday away. As for the younger ones, they’ll probably be packed with energy and ready to make the most of the break by playing games and spending time outdoors as much as possible. While having a few weeks off from the daily hustle and bustle of school and homework is well deserved, there are lots of fun ways to include learning during the break. These fun educational activities will keep your kids engaged throughout the winter break, without it seeming like a chore.



6 Apr 2022

Learning Gains after the Pandemic

It goes without saying, the past two years has presented us with more than our fair share of unforeseen challenges. Our children have been impacted the most significantly, due to the unavoidable disruptions the pandemic has inflicted upon their education.



5 Apr 2022 3 min read

Is Boarding right for my Child?

Many boarding schools are renowned for offering a top quality education, but the advantages of boarding can go way beyond academia.



5 Apr 2022 1 min read

World Teachers' Day, 5th October 2022

The 5th of October celebrates World Teachers' Day, which honours the hard work and dedication of educators across the world. Founded in 1994, this annual event is devoted to appreciating the vital role of teaching, and recognising that quality education remains the basis for a sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future.

It's also a day to address any issues pertaining to teachers, providing an opportunity to discuss, learn, share and improve the world of Education.

For more information on World Teachers' Day, click here



5 Apr 2022 2 min read

Transitioning from GCSE to A-Level

Transitioning from GCSEs to A-Level and IB can be quite a big jump for many students. Learning styles change as teachers start to prepare you for further education and you suddenly become more independent in your studies than before. So what does that jump look like? Keep reading to find out...



5 Apr 2022 3 min read

Year 12- Now is the time to start thinking about University

It's never too early to begin thinking about University!



5 Apr 2022 1 min read

Meet with leading education consultant, Sophie Oakes

Representing Carfax Education, our Senior Education Consultant, Sophie Oakes, is visiting Monaco on 3rd & 4th March to meet families and schools.



5 Apr 2022 2 min read

Let's Read! Today is #WorldBookDay

Educators across the world can all agree on one thing, and that is the importance of reading and its remarkable powers in learning and development. This year, we celebrate 25 years of #WorldBookDay on Thursday 3 March. To honour this wonderful day, we share our top reading tips and must read books.



5 Apr 2022 1 min read

Enter our World Book Day Competition for the chance to win a $50 / €45 / £40 Book Voucher

We are delighted to be supporting World Book Day this year, Thursday 3rd March 2022.

To celebrate this wonderful day, we are offering children the opportunity to enter a 'design your own bookmark' competition - A super fun activity with the chance to win a $50 / €45 / £40 Book Voucher.

To enter, simply draw a creative bookmark and submit your design to with World Book Day in the subject line.

The winner will be chosen at random after the closing date this Sunday, 6th March 2022.

We can't wait to see the entries!


World Book Day® is a charity sponsored by National Book Tokens.



5 Apr 2022 2 min read

The Spears Schools Index launches with Carfax Education

Carfax Education, the leading global education group, today announced the launch of the second annual Spears Schools Index, the only official international ranking of top private schools. In partnership with Spear’s, the award-winning magazine for high-net-worth individuals, Carfax Education has released its second global index, which lists the top 100 very best private schools around the globe.



5 Apr 2022 2 min read

Returning to boarding school in the UK

The guidance for boarding school pupils with the right to reside in the UK who live in or are travelling through a red list country has changed with effect from 4th March. For those who do not have the right to reside in the UK the former guidance applies and hotel quarantine will still apply.

Boarding pupils from these countries no longer have to quarantine in government hotels, they can now quarantine at their schools in specially designated areas. Each pupil will have to be collected from the airport by a designated member of school staff. They will then travel back to the school in isolation, where they will then be able to quarantine on the school premises. Pupils arriving from ‘red countries’ will have to isolate for the full 10 days and will not be eligible for the test and early release scheme.

Schools will need to provide a copy of a letter from the Department for Education confirming that boarding school students are covered by an exception and also a letter from the school authorising their return. This letter will detail the arrangements for returning to school including the name of the person who will be collecting the pupil at the airport. This is in addition to the passenger locator form which will need to be completed with the details of where they will be quarantining.

Before travelling all students must have a negative Covid test within 3 days of travelling. They will also have to pay to have tests on day 2 and day 8 of their quarantine. The test on day 2 is to check for any variants and on day 8 is to check that they are still covid free. This can be booked as a travel test package at a cost of £210.

Once they arrive at the airport pupils will make their way to the managed quarantine collection point in the arrival hall where the member of staff will be waiting to collect them.

The transport to school needs to comply with social distancing arrangements, eg on a coach three rows of seats between students and the driver, a sitting plan will be produced for test and trace purposes, masks must be worn at all times and sanitiser will be available. There will be no options for stopping en route back to the school.

All ‘red country’ arrivals will be allowed to quarantine together in a covid secure ‘household’. Meals and toiletries will be provided and members of staff looking after the pupils will be suitably protected with PPE and will do regular lateral flow tests and a weekly PCR test.

Pupils will be able to arrive back at school in time to quarantine before school opens or if they can only return just before term begins, they will be able to continue their online learning from the boarding premises.

Schools and families will need to be in regular communication to ensure that all arrangements are clearly in place to ensure the smooth start to the new term.



5 Apr 2022 3 min read

Extra Curricular Activities Making the best choices

Many schools pride themselves on the number of ECA’s they have on offer, I have visited schools where the choices are literally in the 100’s! Striking the balance between giving your child the opportunity to extend themselves in some way versus having some down time and enjoying their childhood is always a challenge. To help you and your child make good choices we look at the benefits of some of the different extra curricular activities on offer.



5 Apr 2022 3 min read

Single-Sex or Co-Educational Schools Top Tips To Consider.

The merits of single-sex schools or co-educational schools are continually up for debate. There is still a strong belief that single-sex schooling tends to be better for girls, whereas co-education provides a better learning environment for boys.



5 Apr 2022 3 min read

The Spear's Schools Index, in Partnership with Carfax Education

Carfax Education, the leading global education group, today announced the launch of the second annual Spear’s Schools Index, the only official international ranking of top private schools.



5 Apr 2022 4 min read

Student Profiling: What is it and how does it work?

There are always many decisions to make as part of a child’s education journey and our Carfax consultants are firm believers that to make clear and confident choices you need information. In order for us to be able to give our clients the best possible advice, we use a suite of online profiling tools which help us to ascertain a student’s interests, academic ability and motivations. Armed with this information making decisions about university choices, school placement options and careers planning all become much easier.



1 Apr 2022

Are exams fit for purpose?

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on all aspects of education and exams have borne the brunt. Uncertainty around assessment has meant that some education providers have started to give serious consideration to whether testing in the form we know it is fit for purpose at all.

It’s not the first time there’s been uncertainty around the point of exams. When GCSEs were first introduced back in 1988, students had the choice to stay at school until they were 16 or stay on for A-levels. Now they stay until they’re 18 anyway, many argue that GCSEs have needed a rethink for some time. The country’s skills crisis has further highlighted a need for something different.

Time for change

A report called The Future of Education, co-authored by Tory MPs Flick Drummond and Cherilyn Mackrory, advocates replacing GCSEs with academic, technical exams and apprenticeships at 18 and suggests the adoption of a similar system to the Baccalaureate at 18 “but our own British version”.

Others agree that Covid-19 has provided just the opportunity we’ve been waiting for for a complete reform. The TES reported that England’s major exam boards were asked if they could move GCSE and A-level exams online this summer, with sources suggesting that the Department for Education was more receptive to overhauling the idea of pen-and-paper GCSEs and A-levels.

Greg Brooks, emeritus professor of education at the University of Sheffield, told the Guardian last year he was in favour of no centralised assessment until the age of 18 and “a common curriculum for all children until they begin to know what sort of educational and work career would suit them”.

“I have been in favour of GCSE reform for a long time,” says David Ashton, deputy head, academic, at Framlingham College, a boarding and day school for boys and girls aged three to 18 in Sussex.

“Remote learning at GCSE has been a powerful reminder that pupils can be autonomous learners and less reliant on teachers than involved by traditional approaches to learning.”

Ashton also believes that remote learning has also shown us the advantages of continuous assessment, which is meaningfully embedded in day-to-day learning. This, he says, “is a more accurate assessment of a pupil’s learning as opposed to a series of terminal examinations which test stamina and memory, as much as anything.”

One report advocates replacing GCSEs with academic, technical exams and apprenticeships at 18

Guide Education founder Leon Hady is resolute: “Exams are no longer fit for purpose,” he says, adamantly, “They were always about short-term retrieval rather than skills.”

Hady believes skills have changed and exams no longer reflect this. “They were a system which did for many years work for colleges or universities. Asking for answers on a piece of paper allowed them to scale. However, now with technology applicability, teamwork and communal skills are far better than being able to remember something short term.”

Another clear problem with exams is that teaching can inevitably become too exam-focused, says Carl Morris, principal of Oxford independent school Carfax College. “There are plenty of arguments both for and against exams, but what’s clear is that they’re not the only metric by which to measure academic ability.”

Morris believes the prescriptive nature of exams lends itself to reciting and regurgitating learned information rather than developing other key skills such as curiosity and independent learning and research.

What the introduction of a teacher-assessed grading system has shown us is that we are not ready for the alternative

“However,” he says, “what the introduction of a teacher-assessed grading system has shown us is that we are not yet ready for the alternative.

“Many schools put together robust systems in order to compile portfolios of evidence for their students and yet many students still suffered. Exam boards tried to resolve the issues of inflating grades and teacher bias by implementing an algorithm but that didn’t work either, and ultimately had to be dropped.”

However, until there’s an alternative, says Morris, “I believe that exams are currently the best assessment tool we currently have and do work for the majority of students. While there will never be a one-size-fits-all solution that will benefit every student, perhaps teacher-assessed grades could be integrated as an alternative for students who struggle with exams, to replace access arrangements such as extra time or using a laptop.”

Some say paper-based exams are now impractical

So, what is the alternative?

It’s clear that old-school, content-laden, rigid instruments don’t have the flexibility necessary to manage the uncertainties in today’s fast-paced digital world, says Robert Harrison, education strategy director at ACS International Schools.

“Paper-based, syllabus-driven exams stand out as impractical and increasingly irrelevant. The stress they add for students and teachers when they’re given – not to mention when they’re not – compromises confidence in the system and creates unhealthy pressures on wellbeing.”

Instead, Harrison suggests, schools need to adopt a more holistic approach. ACS International Schools offers the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) at two of its schools in the group.

Paper-based, syllabus-driven exams stand out as impractical and increasingly irrelevant

In the MYP, courses that are less amenable to assessment by examination use externally moderated or examined coursework. On-screen examinations offer multiple ways for students to show what they’ve learned across a range of assessment formats.

MYP eAssessment focuses on the application and transfer of conceptual understanding across unfamiliar contexts, “the gold standard of education”.

Harrison adds: “Web-based examinations make secure, non-school-based administration possible and the digital literacies that teachers develop as they prepare their students for assessment are a key washback effect.

“There are still good arguments for rigorous assessment before students leave school. There’s nothing wrong with ‘teaching to the test,’ so long as it’s the right test.”

Could online exams be commonplace in the future?

Another way

“Our world is in crisis and it needs the problem solvers, creative thinkers, innovators, collaborators and those with the courage to think outside of the box,” says Johanna Urquhart, principal at Lomond School in Scotland.

“Within examination models that are based on learning key words, memorising passages and following an exam ‘formula’, pupils are not rewarded for creative, critical or original thinking.”

Pupils in England choose which areas to specialise in from a young age and typically only study three A-levels in the last two years of school.

Although the curriculum stays broader for longer in Scotland, pupils sit external exams every year for the last three years of their school career, so the focus becomes more on the assessment rather than the learning. Urquhart believes this means “less focus on some of the valuable skills that are so important”.

A combination of different curriculum models is what is required to ensure that the skills and strengths of each young person are supported

Any teacher knows that no two pupils are the same, “therefore a combination of different curriculum models is what is required to ensure that the skills and strengths of each young person are supported rather than undermined – whether traditionally academic or not”, says Urquhart.

Lomond School have recently been given authorisation to deliver two IB programmes in addition to an HNC in Business, alongside its existing SQA provision. This makes it the first school in the world to offer this combination of curriculum choice, offering the flexibility and choice Urquhart, and many of her peers, believe is essential.

The IB career-related programme with an HNC in Business will be unique to Scotland and comprises a mix of academic courses from the IB Diploma Programme alongside a career-related study and work placements.

“We now feel that we have a curriculum for everyone,” says Urquhart, “that will prepare our pupils with the skills, qualities and world-renowned qualifications needed for the future.”

However they are (or aren’t) restructured, ultimately, what’s most important, says Morris, “is that we do not hold exams up as the ultimate purpose of education, and the only framework from which to teach, but rather a tool to measure progress.



15 Mar 2022

Keeping the brain ticking over in the summer break

The long summer holidays are nearly here – children are already counting how many ‘sleeps’ left until the end of term. Whilst the summer break is a great opportunity for quality family time, it is also an ideal time to explore hobbies and interests that get squeezed out in the frenetic pace of term time life. And whilst 8 weeks away from the classroom might sound appealing to some children, both parents and educationalists know that taking your eye off the academic ball for this length of time can be detrimental to a child’s learning. So, the question is how can you keep your children’s brains and minds ticking over so they are not losing ground over the break and will be able to slot back into the academic groove more easily in September?



15 Sep 2021

Oxbridge interviews- how to prepare:

The Oxbridge interviews are well underway. Many applicants will have received their interview date, and it will now be a tense time, as they prepare for the big day. What can they do to prepare? We asked our Oxbridge graduate tutors for their advice.



1 Sep 2020 3 min read

Carfax Education launches 2020 global private schools index in partnership with Spear’s Magazine

Carfax Education, the leading global education group, announced the launch of the first international ranking of top private schools, the Spear's Schools Index. In partnership with Spear’s, the award-winning magazine for high-net-worth individuals, Carfax Education has released the first global index, which lists the 100 very best private schools around the globe.



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