Category: International schools

The path to sustainability for the Liberian Education Advancement Programme

“The Ministry of Education previously stated its intermediate-term goal to double the government’s education investment by 2020”

In 2016, Liberia – one of the poorest countries in the world – embarked upon the world’s most innovative public-private partnerships in education. Its government was determined to improve learning outcomes for children.

Now three years in, it’s time to revisit whether the dramatic learning gains for students in the Partnership Schools for Liberia’s (PSL) first year have been sustained. If so, it would be a strong indication that the Liberian Ministry of Education is on the right track with its reform program “Getting to Best.”

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Meet Murphey: The dog helping international students learn maths

“Research has shown that a school dog can impact positively on learning and behaviour”

My beautiful cockapoo, Murphy McGrath, comes to work with me once a week to help look after and settle the international students in Learning Support. 

As he is a ‘Learning Dog’, he takes three roles during the day: meet and greet the children as they arrive for their one to one support lessons for maths, provide dog-grooming as an extracurricular activity for the children which they love to help out with, and to sit with the school counsellor, Laura Denmead, as he is a good listener and will create a calming and positive environment, making it easier for the children to talk about their problems.

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Five Reasons Why Swedes are the World’s Best Non-Native English Speakers

“Swedes are eager to reach people outside of their country, and they benefit economically and linguistically from this”

As Sweden aims to internationalise its higher education sector and attract more foreign talent, one of its advantages is the country’s high English proficiency.

For the fourth time in the past eight years, Sweden ranks number one on the 2018 EF English Proficiency Index . The EF EPI is the largest global study of English skills based on test data from 1.3 million adults who took the EF Standard English Test  in 2017.

Since EF is a Swedish company, we asked 100 of our Swedish colleagues why they think Sweden has been so successful with English language education. Here’s what they told us:
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What the world has to learn from Singapore’s education system

“There is more than meets the eye in the detailed, strategic outlay of Singapore’s education system”

While governments across the globe engage in discussions about reforms in their respective state education policies, Singapore seems to have gone a step ahead to execute reform actions in its academic establishments.

Singapore evolved from a third world country to becoming one of the top-choices for expats. It has gone from strength to strength ever since its independence and has unsurpassed ratings for the quality of its schools.
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Why the Duke of Edinburgh Award is important for international students

“The DofE has progressed to become more than an outdoors leadership challenge… it now reflects a much more diverse and interconnected world”

In today’s highly competitive world, young people are under enormous pressure to succeed. However, success is rarely achieved without a helping hand or a positive, life-changing experience, writes Clare Lane, head of sport at Bellerbys College.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was set up in 1956 to help young people from all walks of life navigate the challenging path to adulthood; broadening their life skills and preparing them for their future work or studies.

While individual institutions around the world may offer similar programmes, as far as I’m aware there isn’t a program on a national level comparable to the DofE Award. Agents may not be aware of the benefits the program presents tor international students in particular, which is why we should be talking about it today.

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The challenges of providing high quality pastoral care in boarding schools

“The UK’s pastoral care of international students is widely regarded overseas as being one of the major strengths of the UK boarding school… however there are concerns that loopholes still do exist”

The UK’s boarding school system is world class, and attracts students from around the world, writes UK Education Guide director and co-founder, Pat Moores. But with concerns over the lack of agreed guardianship structures, could the reputation be under threat?

The UK’s pastoral care of international students is widely regarded overseas as being one of the major strengths of the UK boarding school system and one that schools and guardians work hard to maintain.

“UK schools are distinctive in the strength of their commitment to pastoral care – they care about this almost as much as they do about academic matters. We hear that it is this ‘holistic’ approach that is so appreciated by overseas families,” said Diana Stewart Brown, Head of Operations at Keystone Tutors Singapore.

However, there are concerns that certain loopholes still do exist and this then relies on the professionalism and conscientiousness of both schools and guardians to make sure, on a case by case basis, all the gaps are filled.

The legal position according to Matthew Burgess from solicitors Veale Wasbrough Vizard is that the school never loses the overall ‘duty of care’ in the case of full time boarding pupils and in the case of day students the ‘duty of care’ rests more heavily on the guardian as the child is effectively being privately fostered and, if under 16, the family the child is living with has to be registered with social services as a foster family.

“As there is no legally defined guardian role, the provision of non-accredited services is open to interpretation”

There is a recognition that getting pastoral support right, from the very moment a child arrives in the UK, can set the tone for a child’s future happiness. Excellent continuity of communication between admissions teams, houseparents, parents and guardians is critical from day one; “the most successful handover of information from admissions to boarding staff is always achieved through conversation as well as information on file,” said Gareth Collier, principal of Cardiff Sixth Form College.

Regarding ongoing care, there seems to be some consensus from schools where challenges still exist.

“The biggest loophole is the approach that we have to school holidays. Houseparents are often the key pastoral lead in most schools but when the holidays come, and these hard working staff take a well-deserved break, [and] there is little school back up to provide often essential information to parents, students and guardians,” adds Gareth Collier.

“Strong partnerships between schools and guardians are essential to providing excellent care to each young person studying in the UK”

During holiday and exeat weekends when schools close, the role of the guardian therefore becomes even more critical. However, as Caroline Nixon, general secretary of BAISIS, pointed out: “currently neither EU nor non-EU students of any age legally have to have a guardian, although BAISIS believes it is best practice for those under 18”.

Additionally, ensuring high quality guardianship provision is a significant challenge as there is no legal framework as to what services a guardian must provide and their role also depends on the pastoral provision of each individual school.

“The guardian role can cover everything from arranging dental appointments, registering with a doctor to dealing with a child who is potentially about to be excluded from school,” said Julia Evans, Director of Cambridge Guardian Angels.

For this reason, BAISIS has recently created a template for an agreement between individual BAISIS schools and their students’ guardians which outlines the school’s expectations of a guardian’s responsibilities.

AEGIS, The Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students, has also gone a long way to adding structure to the guardianship role. AEGIS accredits UK guardianship organisations through a rigorous inspection process and Yasemin Wigglesworth, executive officer at AEGIS, said: “more schools are now insisting that an international student has an AEGIS accredited guardian or close family member in the UK as a condition of admission.”

Currently there are approximately 27,000 International students in the UK aged 18 and under with parents living abroad, but only around 5,000 are in the care of AEGIS registered guardians. This is not to suggest that the care provided by non-AEGIS members is sub-standard but, as there is no legally defined guardian role, the provision of non-accredited services is open to interpretation by each provider and many of these students will not have a guardian at all.

As acknowledged, high quality pastoral care is something that sets UK education providers ahead of international competitors but, in the absence of legal frameworks, strong partnerships between schools and guardians are essential to both maintaining this competitive advantage and providing excellent care to each young person studying in the UK.

Emerging markets turn a keen eye to international schools

“With such huge demand from expat and local parents alike, it’s unlikely we’ll see this growth decrease any time soon”

Carolyn Savage, Head of International Education at Winter’s International School Finder, weighs in on why it is that so many parents in emerging economies are keen to send their children to an international school.

The international schools sector has been growing rapidly in recent years, and with increased globalisation this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Successful British schools are opening more sister campuses overseas to fulfil the surging demand for English education. This demand has been particularly intense in territories such as China and Saudi Arabia, where local parents are becoming increasingly keen to join the expatriate community and benefit from the advantages an international school education can offer.
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As Head of International Education at Winter’s International School Finder, Carolyn is passionate about education and has spent 15 years working with children from all around the world. She is a third culture kid, whose understanding of the changing face of international education runs deep and she’s keen to help parents find the right schools for their children.

No end in sight for the UK’s Indian slump

“Unless there is a significant shift in UK visa policy or a re-introduction of Post Study Work, it is hard to see how the UK can recover its share of Indian students”

Aaron Porter, director of insights at Hotcourses, delves into the data…

Prime Minister Theresa May finished her first major international visit to India last week, and higher education was high on the agenda for the bilateral talks. Accompanied by Universities Minister Jo Johnson and a number of UK vice chancellors, attempts will surely have been made to arrest the slump in demand from Indian students looking at UK universities. Indian Premier Narandra Modi certainly raised the importance of ensuring the UK was both open and welcoming for Indian students.
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Ensuring the health and emotional wellbeing of international students

Mary Memarzia, Director of Student Services at Bellerbys Cambridge, reflects on how institutions can help to care for their international students’ mental health.

A recent report by YouGov states that one in four students in Britain suffer from mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. A major source of stress is their studies, with 71% of those surveyed saying that their university workload is their most pressing concern. 39% are worried about finding a job after university and 35% are concerned about their families.
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International schools needn’t panic over the oil & gas slump

“There’s no need to panic; there is a plethora of up-and-coming industries within these territories that is drawing in new expat professionals and filling the gaps”

Carolyn Savage, Head of International Education at Winter’s International School Finder, reassures international schools in the wake of the global oil & gas slump that is being felt in the education sector.

The recent slowdown of the oil & gas industry had an inevitable ripple effect on pupil enrolment at international schools. The International School Consultancy (ISC) predicted a drop of around 1-2% in enrolments in The Middle East this term, as well as lower enrolment rates in Asia-Pacific.

Some schools have seen little or no slowdown in the number of parents registering an interest, while others have experienced a larger reduction in enrolment, because they cater more specifically for families involved in the oil and gas industry.
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As Head of International Education at Winter’s International School Finder, Carolyn is passionate about education and has spent 15 years working with children from all around the world. She is a third culture kid, whose understanding of the changing face of international education runs deep and she’s keen to help parents find the right schools for their children.