Dr Simon Camby, Group Chief Education Director, gives valuable insight into the fundamental backbone of our Cognita holistic education.

What is an holistic education?



Throughout our Cognita global community we have been considering what makes a great school. We are a global system with schools in 16 countries. What does that mean? Massive diversity. This is what makes Cognita such a fascinating place to be part of. There is always something to learn, and often something that blows your mind!

Why holistic?


We intentionally chose the term holistic education. Education is closely commented on by many across the world. Many of these commentators take an ‘either/or’ stance. For example, citing the absolute need to focus on content knowledge rather than skills; or the need to focus on social and emotional learning rather than academic development. At Cognita, we firmly believe that we need to move away from ‘either/or’ to ‘and’.

We define holistic education as that which…


blends social, emotional, physical and cognitive learning. This leads to strong academic outcomes, agency, an adaptive mindset and positive attitudes to thrive in a rapidly evolving world. Effective holistic education is rooted in the concept of self-efficacy, a belief that ‘I can’.

Based on this we see the relationship between different types of learning. For example, we know that students need to feel positive about themselves in order to make strong and rounded academic progress. Sometimes people use the term ‘soft skills’ when talking about social and emotional learning. In fact, they are far from ‘soft’ – they often unlock many other types of learning. There are no trade- offs here, they are ultimately connected.



Within our global community, we work with schools in 16 countries, and 7 languages of instruction. For us, education is not complicated, it is complex. Diversity matters and there is no ‘one size fits all’. We know that success in each school is closely linked to deeply understanding the needs of the school community and ensuring that the promise to students and parents is lived and breathed.

The St Margaret’s Way


At St. Margaret’s we offer a broad range of subjects and specialist subject teaching, as you would usually find in a senior school. We set our curriculum and timetables, giving us scope to craft a wide education that evolves to meet both the needs of the cohort and also develops over time.


Most our parents choose St Margaret’s because of the ‘value-added’ educational programme offered and the boost to life skills this gives. ISC (Independent Schools Council) research suggests that choosing an independent school equates to an additional two years’ worth of education in the state sector.


Through our five main values, we focus on ‘people skills’ and on developing children’s ability to communicate effectively and show courtesy and respect.  Good manners and the ability to engage with adults and peers effectively are also developed.  All are skills needed to be successful in later life.


To find out more about the opportunities available at St. Margaret’s, contact us at admissions@stmargaretsprep.com