July 20, 2017

UK Boarding Schools

    With hundreds of independent boarding schools and colleges to choose from, you are certain to find one that suits your child’s needs. One of the most important decisions for parents and the children is the school choice and, if the children and parents’ decision is to enrol in a boarding school environment, making the right choice is even more important. In addition to their education, you will most likely find yourself worrying about your children’s day-to-day welfare and happiness to the school.

    Boarding schools and colleges have a great deal of experience in helping students improve their English language skills. The type of English language support provided for students will vary according to the school or college that they attend. It will also depend on their age and the academic programme they are enrolled in.

    Traditional UK boarding schools refer to English language teaching for international students as English as an Additional Language (EAL) or English as a Second Language (ESL). Most schools expect students to use only English while they are studying and although almost all boarding schools provide English language teaching for international pupils, this provision varies a great deal from school to school.

    Therefore, it is important to find out as much as possible regarding the nature of the school; what can the school or college provides and what are the costs that are involved, before making an application.

What other factors parents must consider in boarding schools and colleges in the UK?

For over 100 years, students have been coming to the UK to enjoy the benefits of a world-class boarding education because:

Quality of education and teaching
Leaving academic results to aside, the general quality of education in the independent sector adhere to a very high standard, as well as being assured by the Government of UK. Schools try to recruit the best-quality teachers and will employ the latest teaching techniques in small classes, ensuring personal attention when needed, something that is still comparatively rare outside this sector. The comparatively high academic achievements of many independent schools are the result of this.

Parents who are paying for their own children’s education expect to see high-quality facilities and modern teaching methods. The facilities in science, art, music, information and communication technology, and sports are therefore often state of the art; boarding schools are continually investing in new or improved boarding facilities. As well as offering the most up-to-date facilities, UK boarding schools are often located in some of the country’s most attractive and traditional buildings.

Because it does not have to follow the compulsory National Curriculum that state schools do in England (and the equivalents in the other three countries), the independent sector in the UK offers a wider range of qualifications and courses, although most work towards standard public examinations like GCSEs and A-levels, ensuring consistency and qualifications that are recognised. This allows flexibility in what is offered; for example some schools or colleges are able to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB), which is becoming ever more popular, as well as a wider range of subjects (often supported by good facilities). It should not be difficult to find a course appropriate for your child.

A ‘broad education’ is central to the independent sector ethos – children are encouraged to follow and develop their interests outside the classroom, be it music, or drama. Sports is taken particularly seriously at many schools, offering a wide range of activities backed up by excellent facilities. Financial support is even offered at some schools for talented sports students. The range of what children can do tend to be greater than in equivalent state sector schools.

Tradition and ethos
UK boarding schools always look to develop the whole person and not just a single aspect of them. However, as good as a boarding school’s academic results are, it will also be striving to create a rounded learning experience by encouraging self-expression, creativity and individuality in its students. Success in sport, arts and in other areas, such as debate, may be less tangible than examination results, but it is one of the ways in which a student’s independence, confidence and faith in himself or herself can be built up. 

This concentration on developing the whole person is part of the reason why students who have been to a UK boarding school are so prized by employers. 

Finally, at UK boarding schools there are always an emphasis placed on developing social skills. Living together in a multi-age, multicultural community requires that students be helped to develop qualities like kindness, tolerance and responsibility.

Students can experience a genuine multiculturalism within boarding schools. UK boarding schools are used to welcoming people from all over the world. Then, of course, there is the English language. English is the international language of business, of science and of the internet, and there is no better way to learn a language over the long term than to immerse oneself.

Personal development and future prospects
The classic aim of a UK boarding school education is to develop both the body and the mind. Indeed, all aspects of many independent schools are geared to this end. The end result in many cases is a fully rounded individual able to make their way in the world confidently, displaying independence and social responsibility. As well as personal development, an independent education gives children the opportunity to make lasting friendships with people from all over the world, which may be useful in the future. 

An independent school education will also tend to be an advantage when applying to universities, as pupils will have had gone through a rigorous broad education, with the ability to clearly demonstrate what strengths they have. Many UK boarding schools also have well-established links with the more prestigious universities in the UK, which have become regular destinations for their pupils.

For more information, please contact/visit your nearest JM Office today.

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