Long gone are the days where academic results were the sole focus of schooling children or interviewing prospective candidates.

The next generation of students must be well-equipped to thrive in a fast-paced, ever-expanding digital world. But how can we prepare our children for their next steps? And what skills do they need to set the foundations for a successful life?

We sit down with Headmaster of Hampstead-based St Anthony’s School for Boys Richard Berlie, who reveals all the answers and information parents need to secure the best education and future for their child.

Q: Besides academia, what do you consider to be the most important part of a student’s education?

A: Parents are becoming increasingly concerned with selecting an institution which offers their child an education that focusses on more than just academia.

Ham & High: St Anthony's provides a holistic education for its boys to best prepare them for the future.St Anthony's provides a holistic education for its boys to best prepare them for the future. (Image: St Anothonys' School for Boys)A child’s education goes far beyond grades and results – it's about building transferable skills and preparing them for life after school. At St Anthony’s Boys, we want our students to develop a moral compass of what is right and wrong, form strong relationships and learn to respect others.

As a Catholic school our teachings are derived from Gospel Christian values, which, despite 40 per cent of our families identifying as Catholic, are not exclusive to them. We integrate children from all backgrounds and religions to make up our student body.

Whilst we encourage lively discussion and the expression of diverse opinions, not every belief is valid. In the later years of their time at the school, we teach them to base their ideas upon evidence and fact, and the importance of academically sound arguments. We have moral debates, which have become increasingly complex with the growth of social media, which has widened access to information and ideas from across the world.

Ham & High: Richard Berlie, Headmaster at St Anthony's School for Boys.Richard Berlie, Headmaster at St Anthony's School for Boys. (Image: St Anthony's School for Boys)Our goal is for our students to embark on a life of richness and enjoyment, of which the foundation is family, friends and loved ones. We emphasise the value of this in our schooling, and encourage the children to pursue passion, happiness and fulfilment, which I believe to be the true markers of success.

Q: How important is it for children to develop their own voice?

A: It is without question one of the most vital skills a child will ever learn and will shape their progress and future long after their education is complete. These years are so important, so it is essential that we get it right, to help give them the best start in life.


Ham & High: We want our boys to be unique, curious and open-minded in finding their own path.We want our boys to be unique, curious and open-minded in finding their own path. (Image: St Anthony's School for Boys)We completely understand how difficult it can be to let go of your child as they grow older, but even from the age of eight years old, they are more than capable of speaking and thinking for themselves. This is why we have adopted the approach to guide and facilitate, not to instruct. We talk with the children, not down to them, which is crucially important for developing their confidence by allowing them to express themselves in a secure environment.

The school encourages them to develop the courage of conviction, where they can build the confidence to voice their own opinions and ideas, creating thought-provoking discussions in class.

Q: How can you prepare children for their future in a fast-paced, changing world?

A: They need to become versatile. There is nothing soft about our children – we want them to be resilient and take risks. Our staff encourage them to be courageous, determined, kind and actively considerate of others. In the world we live in, it’s imperative for our children to speak their own truth and believe in themselves.

Ham & High: St Anthony's is a Catholic school which uses Gospel Christian values to provide a moral, as well as an academic, educationSt Anthony's is a Catholic school which uses Gospel Christian values to provide a moral, as well as an academic, education (Image: St Anthony's School for Boys)

It’s a real skill to defend yourself in an articulate manner, and we want individuals to build on these abilities, which can be transferable into real-life experiences when they move onto their next steps, whatever they may be.

We know how natural it is to want to shelter and protect our children, but truly the best thing we can do for them is to allow them to experience disappointment, acknowledging when they may have been wrong or that things might not have gone their way. Standing up for themselves is another skill which we teach right from the beginning, so they become familiar with acting and thinking independently.

Q: What makes St Anthony’s a worthwhile investment for parents choosing a school?

A: At St Anthony’s, we don’t just raise interesting, educated individuals, we tease out their talents and unique abilities, helping them to cultivate their own personalities and creativity, so that they are just as impressive in person as on paper. We don’t base our schooling on solely traditional teaching methods like textbooks; whilst these make up a portion of what we do, we also turn to virtual means like websites, podcasts, art and music, along with outdoor exploration and frequent guest speakers.

Our goal is to challenge them in various ways through debate and insightful conversations about everything we do. Each boy within our community is different – we don’t forge a stereotypical prep school identity. We want them to be individualistic, curious and open-minded in finding their own path, not one that is set out for them.

To book a place for one of the school’s open mornings on 8th or 22nd November, visit stanthonysprep.org.uk/book-a-tour/.

To contact the school, call 020 7435 0316 or email shoffice@stanthonysprep.co.uk.