Scoop – Spring 2020

I write a newsletter each term, and thought it would be a good idea to include them on my blog too. Here is my latest,

Swanky new online tutoring video

With online tutoring becoming ever more popular (and a lifeline to many of our families who are trapped by the coronavirus) we thought it was time we swanked up our video showing the online experience in all its glory. We commissioned an old prep school friend, fresh from a documentary with Greta Thurnberg, to produce the goods and are really happy with how it’s come out. Check it out here.

Keystone University Scholarship Programme 

We are offering 12 fully-funded scholarships on our Top University preparation programme. However, we are finding it quite hard to get the opportunity in front of the right candidates. If you know of any deserving students, or places we can find them (heads of Sixth Form / pupil premium / academic enrichment in the state sector) perhaps you could forward them this link and/or put them in touch?


We had some great successes this year but certainly felt, as was widely reported (e.g. Telegraph) that there was an unprecedented leap in difficulty for independent school candidates. As one of our most experienced Oxbridge tutors put it, “My overall feeling is that it has become significantly tougher for averagely able students from private school backgrounds to get offers, which is only to be expected given the sharp rise in offers being made to state school students.” Would be interested if others felt the same.

Tutor News

Our English tutor James Mumford recently had this excellent piece – ‘What would you sacrifice for integrity?’ – published in Unherd.

In a new regular section of this Scoop, I thought it would be fun to highlight tutors who have passed through our halls and gone on to achieve distinction elsewhere. So, first hat-tip to Alexander Starritt, a popular generalist tutor of ours some years ago, who has followed up his well-received debut novel The Beast with a new novel, out in May, about a letter written by a German WWII combatant to his British grandson. It is called We Germans.

Other educational dispatches

  • For those who find UK admissions intense… the US remains in a completely different league. David Shaw (of hedge fund D E Shaw & Co fame) donated to Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Brown to ensure access for his already very able children to a decent university education. Amazing story here.
  • Greg Ashram reviews ‘The Knowledge Gap’, making a succinct and well-reasoned plea for the teaching of knowledge.
  • Michael Merrick – where is the awe and mystery in education? Good piece on the ‘NeoTraddie Revolution’ in education that can be ‘rationalistic, technocratic, and above all, cold.’
  • Our friends at Oxford Summer Courses have created a new STEM course for 13-15 year olds at Imperial. It combines “Stanford University design thinking, the interdisciplinary approach of the MIT Media Lab, and Oxford University’s renowned educational traditions”(!). More here.
  • Our friends Dragons have launched an online Mandarin-learning classroom called DragonsConnect. More here.
  • The WHO has added ‘gaming disorder’ to its international classification of diseases – is it time that the industry was more regulated? – asks the FT
  • Palmer Luckey, the splendidly-named teenager who created the VR headset Occulus Rift and sold it to Facebook for $3billion was…homeschooled. More here.

And finally… try out Harriet’s Simon Drew-inspired Guess the Independent School picture quiz here.

Keystone – Social Media

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Published by willorrewing

I run Keystone Tutors, and a summer nature + creativity camp called The Imaginarium.

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