Category: Boarding schools

Can the recruitment of pupils for UK boarding schools ever be 100% online?

“Marketing budgets, once heavily weighted to foreign travel for recruitment purposes, are now shifting to google ads, Instagram and Facebook”

Covid-19 has heralded a shift to an online world which has implications for every aspect of boarding school operations, writes Pat Moores, director and co-founder of UK Education Guide. Clearly, the most obvious impact has been on teaching, shifting almost overnight to Microsoft teams and other online learning platforms.

However, the impact is also being felt in pupil recruitment. The days when agents and schools met in large conference spaces to talk to each other and make agent agreements has also shifted online.

So how far can algorithms and automated online applications processes ever replace traditional Agents, school admissions teams and a school tour?

Read More

Helping boarding schools stand out in a Covid-19 world

“An increased and continued focus on IT seems a good place to start.”

It’s a very competitive world boarding schools are facing – the market was already competitive pre-Covid-19 – and the reality is some schools won’t survive and won’t re-open in September 2020, writes Pat Moores, director and co-founder of UK Education Guide.

So how can schools enhance their offer to make sure they do thrive in this new world?

Read More

How international schools can soothe back-to-school panic

“It is important that schools show a willingness to hear the worries and fears of parents.”

Many teachers might soon be asked to put away their computers and webcams and return to reality at the front of the classroom, writes Katie Harwood of Haut-Lac International Bilingual School in Switzerland. Naturally, this restoration of normality might not be so simple as it seems on the surface, and students and staff alike will likely feel a little daunted by it. Many might even have to return from their home countries, having sought comfort from familiarity during the pandemic. However, there are a few simple things schools can do to make their teachers and students feel more comfortable about the situation.

Read More

Boarding school and state school collaboration in the UK

“Private and state schools cater to different markets…so, if it is handled sensitively, long term relationships can be successful”

 

The UK boarding school sector, home to approximately 29,000 international pupils requiring a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK  is criticised in some quarters for the perceived lack of ‘sharing’ of resources & expertise with pupils attending state-run schools in the UK.

This builds domestic political pressure on the sector as only 7% of children in the UK attend private/boarding schools. But what is the reality?

One scheme worthy of note is the Boarding School Partnerships (BSP) programme that advises local authorities on how, when and where to place vulnerable young people in boarding schools. Some pupils are already in the care system, having been removed from their families, whilst others may be close to the edge of care.

According to Colin Morrison, founding Chair of the Department for Education’s three-year-old boarding School Partnerships (BSP), there are approximately 750 young people currently being supported in state and independent boarding schools by specialist charities and an additional 1,500 by local authorities.

Read More

‘Honesty’ the key component for successful boarding school placements

“Trying to shoehorn a child into an unsuitable environment can be disastrous for both the child, family and the school itself”

When considering an overseas boarding school education, there are so many factors for parents to consider, writes Pat Moores of UK Education Guide. Meanwhile, schools and agents bombard families with information that may or may not be relevant to them.

We asked guardians and schools if they were only allowed to provide just one piece of advice to parents to help them make the best decision for their children, what would it be?

Interestingly, the answers received almost all followed a similar theme and we highlight three responses below:

Julia Evans, Director at Cambridge Guardian Angels, argues that the most important thing is to ask parents and agents to be honest about the information they provide schools & guardians.

Read More

Coronavirus: separated families need greater focus

“Families are bearing the brunt of this disruption on both a psychological and practical level, and more must be done to meet their needs”

As the Coronavirus crisis widens geographically, the immediate focus for the boarding school sector is to provide up to date health advice to help keep schools virus-free. However, as Pat Moores of UK Education Guide writes, alongside this issue there is a massive human story. 

As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, young people are being separated from their families unexpectedly, uncertain when the situation will improve and concerned about their own welfare and the welfare of their families.

We have heard of one Chinese pupil who has donated £750 of her own money to help Wuhan residents, as many of her friends live in the Hubei region and she is very worried about them.

So what about enhanced pastoral care provision during this crisis?

As Caroline Nixon, General Secretary of the British Association of Independent Schools with International Students (BAISIS) says, “anything a school can do to reassure the child and to put into place arrangements that support them emotionally as well as physically is welcome; the most obvious being keeping the school open so that children without good guardians have somewhere familiar to stay.”

Read More

How ‘Safety’ is moving up the agenda for international students & their families

“The pressure is on UK schools to make their schools as attractive as possible when it comes to projecting a ‘safe’ image”

Maryland lawmakers have approved a bill that will allow Johns Hopkins University to form its own, private police force to enforce the law on campus. Meanwhile, in the UK, over the past three years, universities have paid more than £2 million to 17 police forces in exchange for support.

Spending is rapidly increasing and the University of Northampton now has six fulltime police officers seconded to the University for 3 years, at a cost of £775,000. Safety is increasingly front of mind when students are deciding about overseas study locations. In IDP’s annual survey of almost 3,000 students in the five main overseas study destinations (US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) Canada leads the way in terms of ‘safety’ versus its international rivals, with the UK ranking 4th out of five.

Also, students from China are now reported to be as concerned by the safety of the destination country in which they intend to study as they are the relative academic position of their institution, according to the latest report from the Beijing Overseas Study Service Association.

Read More

How different will a UK Boarding school be in 10 years time?

“Classrooms will certainly look different with mobile chatbots offering support to individual students and more personalised learning plans”

With the technological advances in the last 10 years, it is a challenge to predict future changes in another 10 years.  However, there is so much scope for existing tech to be developed further, it is a fair guess that many of the ideas outlined below will make a tangible impact on the UK Boarding school sector.

Chatbots are already an established part of academic and admissions support teams at some UK and U.S. Universities. At Georgia Tech one online support worker ‘Jill Watson’ helped students on Professor Ashok Goel’s Knowledge-Based Artificial intelligence class, for a whole year, without students knowing she was a chatbot.

Read More

What do international parents really want from UK boarding schools?

“”School rankings still matter, but ‘safety’ has also started to be mentioned more often”

It is so often assumed that international parents are only focused on one thing when it comes to selecting a boarding school for their child-rankings. So, if a school or college has outstanding A level results, then that school will go to the top of the list of possible schools parents and their children are considering.

However, things seem to be changing…

Read More

What is an appropriate level of English for International Boarding school pupils?

“How young people are integrated into Boarding school life is arguably as important as their IELTS score”

A recent study by University of York highlighted that while the threshold for English competency for degree study in the UK is IELTS 5.5 this is not necessarily the level that would allow a student to thrive in UK Higher Education.

It found that international students with an average IELTS of between 6.5 and 7.5 had an average English vocabulary just under half the size of that of the home students and their difficulties with reading and writing were far greater than those reported on the same tests for home students with dyslexia.
Read More