Tag: UK Education Guide

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?

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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.

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‘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.

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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.”

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Learning from the US: new ways to evaluate & record skills and competencies

“Seeing online education as a ‘cheaper’ way to deliver higher education has long been debunked in the US”

 

Finding new ways to teach and accredit soft skills has never been more important, writes director and co-founder of UK Education Guide, Pat Moores. In this blog, she explores some of the lessons that educators can learn by observing the practices being adopted stateside.

At a recent presentation at the British Council’s International Education Conference, I was interested to note that none of the attendees at my session had ever heard of Western Governors University (WGU) or Competency-Based Education (CBE).

No big deal, of course, there are well over 5,000 US colleges, so not having heard of one is hardly a crime, but why does WGU matter and why does CBE matter too?

It is estimated 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet and 65% of children starting school will one day hold jobs that do not exist now. It is widely anticipated that many existing jobs will be replaced by robots/AI.

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Time for a rethink on English language competency levels for international students?

“[There is a] real concern that we seem to be making it too hard for international students to thrive”


As the year draws to a close, it is a good time to review the news that made the most impact.
Funnily enough, it’s not a Brexit story that has stuck in my mind, but the drip, drip of news stories about accusations of cheating, directed against international students in general and Chinese students in particular.

In January, for example, there was the notorious email from the University of Liverpool international advice and guidance team about exam conduct, which translated the word “cheating” into Chinese but no other foreign language, on the grounds that Chinese students were “usually unfamiliar with the word” in English. A student petition condemned the email as “racially discriminative”.

However, underlying these headline stories is a real concern that we seem to be making it too hard for international students to thrive when they come to the UK to study…

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What value do school rankings provide international families?

“Even some highly ranked schools are now questioning whether the benefits of appearing in rankings outweigh the negatives”

As anyone who works in international student and pupil recruitment knows, rankings are revered by many families who believe that they alone provide the ultimate ‘judge’ of whether a school is desirable or not. 

However, should this perception be challenged more than it is?

Major rankings are devised predominantly from public exam results and, of course, high grades are important. However, these grades are often achieved due to the highly selective admissions policies of many highly ranked schools.

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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.

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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.

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