Have you ever imagined what it must be like to be sent away to boarding school in a different country? Coping with being away from childhood friends. Separated from family. Perhaps speaking and learning in a new language? Really tough, without a doubt. Yet parents from all over the world consider a UK independent boarding school education to be the gold standard. Their children arrive in their thousands each year. Subsequently, international pupils reap the benefits of a broad and challenging academic and pastoral experience at their new schools. Making international school placements work is a big challenge.
Having enjoyed a career as a teacher, senior leader and Headmaster in boarding schools, I recognise the importance of the ‘matching process’ between families and schools. If a child is to succeed in their studies, they must feel happy, supported and valued as individuals. So, how do the parents manage this matching process – how do they choose the schools?
Finding the best way to approach international school placement
I consider how broad the necessary ‘assessment’ actually needs to be. When considering assessment, many parents will simply think of formal testing, interviews and academic matching. However, if an individual is to flourish at their chosen school, the assessment must be wide-ranging. It is not good enough to simply put a child in front of a tutor, to cram and to ensure that the ‘test’ can be passed. Sadly, that will not ensure the child is going to be happy upon arrival. Consideration and assessment of well-being, individual personality, strengths and weaknesses must be central. Time must be spent talking to the family, assessing their aspirations. Chatting to the child and gaining an understanding of what makes them tick is vital.
At The English Education, the needs of the child, their personality, their background and their academic potential are at the heart of our advice. This is coupled with up-to-date knowledge of schools. There is no one boarding school that meets the need of every international boarder.
Changing the approach to assessment
Suitability cannot be based on league-table rankings or raw academic scores. Therefore pupil assessment has to look much deeper. The English Education Guaranteed, launched at the end of July, assures placement at one of our member schools. Dependent upon the applicant passing through our initial assessment process. At the heart of this service is our focus upon each applicant’s individual needs, and on securing the right student for the right school. Our clients undertake our Learner Profile Assessment. This assessment incorporates a video interview and a six-point evaluation.
Our member schools, a selection of the very best British boarding schools for international students, are working alongside us because they know The English Education will put individual assessment at the heart of all we do when recommending that children apply to them – our schools are confident that, with our background in education, pastoral care and assessment of children, we will focus on the end goal of sending them pupils who will be happy, secure, challenged and fulfilled as international boarders.
About the author, Jimmy Beale
Jimmy Beale is the Founder of The English Education and has worked in the UK private education sector for twenty years. He gained his teaching qualification at Bristol University.
Jimmy worked in both single-sex and co-educational day and boarding schools. His last two roles were as Deputy Headmaster of a large co-educational senior school, and then as Headmaster of a leading co-educational prep school, Taunton Prep School, where he was a Founding Member of the PSB (Pre-Senior Baccalaureate) curriculum and an Independent Schools’ Inspectorate (ISI) Inspector.
Jimmy retired from his role as Headmaster in 2013 in order to pursue a career in business, now leading the education services arm of Constellation Group.
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