Advanced search

Overseas student in HK going to Year 9 Boardings in UK in Sep 2016

(32 Posts)
jannywsc Tue 14-Jul-15 13:55:32

My son is now 12 year old going to be 13 year old by Dec 2015. I find it difficult to choose a boarding school for him in uk. He is a happy and talkative person. He like piano and swimming. His english is fair but on the whole his academic at school is 24/135. I find an agent and she give me advice and she help me to try the following:

Abingdon School
Ruthin School
Brighton College
King's School, Canterbury
Oundle School

Please advise if the above school
1. which one do have all rounded education to my son
2. which would not be empty or almost empty at the boarding by weekend
3. which one have better maths & science teaching
4. which one have more space and extra curicular activities
5. which one also include english supporting

As I know that most school in England need to study French, Spainish or Latin, but my son never learn any other these. Will there be any help from the school?

Sorry for so many questions, but I really do not have any ideal about the school in England although I have explore their website already.

LIZS Tue 14-Jul-15 15:24:24

Not sure what you mean by academic score but Brîghton is very academically orientated. Kings Canterbury is a good all rounded school and has a full boarding ethos. Brighton has a lot of weekly boarders.

RandomFriend Tue 14-Jul-15 16:19:15

Congratulations on deciding to send your son to the UK for school. All of the schools you mention are good ones.

In my opinion as an overseas parent, your question "2" is one of the most important as a way to distinguish between the school. In this respect, I would go for Oundle or Kings Canterbury.

As your son doesn't have a language, he will do one from beginner level. It won't be French or Latin, but it could be Spanish. There may also be an option to do an additional IGCSE off-timetable in your language.

jannywsc Wed 15-Jul-15 03:33:22

Thank you for all your advice above. Actually my son done an Ukiset test already, but his verbal English score is not strong enough. Chaterhouse refuse to proceed his application, therefore I am afraid other school would have the same response. So I would like to know that which school would have support on English. Thank you so much.

LIZS Wed 15-Jul-15 07:41:10

I don't think it is an unusual problem but you would need to speak to each school or look on websites for their EAL provision. At dc school those who need it have timetabled sessions and take a qualification(IELTS?). However if his English is very weak he may not be able to access the curriculum sufficiently which would rather defeat the benefit of him studying here and could affect his morale. Could you work on this for the next few years and aim to apply for 6 th form?

PettsWoodParadise Wed 15-Jul-15 08:46:56

Not an excellent school but one that may suit someone with English as a foreign Language is Farringtons in Chislehurst, SE London. They are part day part boarding but I know they have students there from abroad including Forces families and families from China, a fair number of the latter in fact. At weekends the children get to use the lovely onsite facilities like the pool and school buses take them on trips. It isn't high in the league tables so often has spaces and isn't anything like the calibre of schools you have listed but if you can't get into the top ones this school may be an option for you. We have also sometimes provided a home to students from the school when they can't go home for long holidays so we've seen a few and they are all lovely students.

Ahwoo Wed 15-Jul-15 08:56:48

Hi there. I'm in a similar situation as you - DS (Dear Son) is looking at schools for Sept 2016.
Can I ask which agency you are using in HK? (pm if you prefer) I ask only because it seems a rather unusual mix of schools, scattered across the country.

I agree with most of what's been posted so far. Good advice from MN's as usual.
As for help with English from the school. As LIZS says above, most schools will provide EAL. Some may charge extra for the tuition, some don't - its best to get in contact with the schools you are interested in and check with them directly to make sure.

And I wouldn't worry too much about the English, most HK schools provide a decent foundation in English, more often than not, the child typically requires a little 'push' to really grasp its application. wink

vixsatis Wed 15-Jul-15 10:57:31

Hello! My son has done one year at King's Canterbury. It is 80% boarders and 20% day and the boarders are proper, full boarders. There is Saturday school and matches on Saturday, chapel on Sundays and the rest of the time they fill with prep, activities or just socialising. My boy enjoys the weekends so much that he does not use his quota of exeats. The school is full at weekends.

The education is very rounded. As well as a broad curriculum, there are many cross curricular classes and pieces of work. There seems to be a good balance between a focus on exam results and making sure that children receive a proper education, broad and deep enough to form a basis both for further study and interests later in life. Extra- curricular is good (music, drama, art, photography better than sport), the school is spacious and very beautiful and huge investment is currently being made in new facilities.

The teaching generally seems quite good. The school isn't really selective and they do well with a very mixed ability range. My son is very good at some subjects and quite bad at others and the setting is sufficiently flexible to accommodate this.

I would guess that about 15-20% of the children are from non English-speaking countries. The language provision is very flexible. A number have English support to start with. In the first year all children do two modern languages from German, Spanish, French and Mandarin. All of these except French are available to those with no prior knowledge. Most but not absolutely all do Latin and/or Greek.

For entry in September 2016 you will need to apply promptly. Have a look at the website: there are some little films about the school to watch

xing Wed 15-Jul-15 22:22:03

jannywsc, I live in Oxford and DS's prep school regularly sends boys to Abingdon School so I can contribute a bit. The school is mainly for day boys living around Oxford area. There are over 100 boarding boys and some are from HK, a few from China. The music is very strong and school orchestra is very good. The new science building is supported to be the best in the country once complete. It sends around 20 boys to Oxbridge every year recently.

jannywsc Thu 16-Jul-15 04:32:44

Thank you so much for all of you reply about. It really helpful. But right now only Abingdon & Brighton accept my son's application, the other three still no response. I am a little bit worry that he doesn't't have a school in UK by Sep 2016. If so, he have to wait till high school it is much more difficult to get one.
He is studying in band 1 boys school in Hong Kong. Would some mothers got experience which other school suitable for him? He like playing piano and swimming. His favourite subject are maths, science, music & art. Is that too late for applying Year 9 2016 now?

TheBlessedCheesemaker Thu 16-Jul-15 04:35:07

Kings and oundle are the two that will be full at weekends and both will give your DS a great education. Brighton very much on ascendant at the moment but not best for full boarding experience. Abingdon probably not best option for a foreign boarder and ?Ruthin? No idea. So I'd say oundle or kings should be top of the list.

Between the two? Well I imagine they'd be fairly equal in scoring pretty well on all of your criteria. I'd speak directly to the admissions officers (or get our agent to do so) about your DS's exact levels of English, and see what they say. Both schools will know far more about integrating kids than you will, so canvass their assessment of your DS's English levels . I know there are a fair few from HK at kings and am sure the same will be true of oundle.

Theres a poster on here (?kenlee?) from HK with a DD who boards in the UK - she might have a good view on English expectations and support.

TheBlessedCheesemaker Thu 16-Jul-15 04:38:30

It is

TheBlessedCheesemaker Thu 16-Jul-15 04:58:45

It is a little bit late to apply, but the schools may not have responded because they have only just broken up and the last few weeks will have been hugely busy with processing the common entrance papers, confirming places and an awful lot of admin around the starters for 2015. So I wouldn't worry about not hearing quirky if applications accepted. But you should tell your agent to telephone them and confirm - its what an agent should be doing anyway.

Your list of piano, swimming, maths, science, music, and art is going to be met in pretty much every good boarding school. So long as it is of a good academic standard it will cover all of these very well (maybe there are some schools that don't support swimming, but not at the level of the schools your agent is suggesting). So you need to focus on different criteria if you want a good list of recommendations of alternative schools.

For you, I'd say look for schools that have a proper 'full boarding' ethos (NOT weekly boarding with some full boarders) and with the best EAL support. These should be the key criteria, the rest comes secondary to that, because if your son is unable to transition into the English system and is lonely at weekends then it will be a miserable experience. In reality there are very few schools that do proper full boarding, so your list shouldn't be too big to start with, and your agent should have a list like that already to hand.

jannywsc Thu 16-Jul-15 06:58:38

The BlessedCheesemaker, thank you very much for your advice. It is really helpful. As you mentioned that ?kenlee? might have a good view on English expectation, how could I find him here?

happygardening Thu 16-Jul-15 07:00:40

St Edwards Oxford also meets all your criteria. A mixed intake academically but improving year on year a lots of happy well cared for children. I would have thought they'd still have vacancies for 2016.

Ahwoo Thu 16-Jul-15 07:07:28


I can understand your anxiety but you shouldn't be so worried - there will be a school for your son. At the moment your agent is working their list of popular choices (at least thats what it looks like to me). And as TheBlessedCheesemaker points out most of the schools are currently busy working out how many they've accepted, how many are really likely to join, hence how many vacanies they are needing to fill later in the year.

I pm'd you a list of websites I found useful in my research.
Also I mentioned the name of the agent I am currently using in HK - they are organising interviews in HK this September, you may wish to have a chat with them if you like (thats your call)

(And no I DON'T work for them - just trying to help)

Ahwoo Thu 16-Jul-15 07:09:58


Also, for UKiSET, you mentioned that DS did not get a high score on his English.
I wondering can he retake the test? (my DS hasn't been asked to take UKiSET yet).

Ahwoo Thu 16-Jul-15 07:11:37


try here:

Jeelba Thu 16-Jul-15 09:58:08

Haileybury? Good numbers there at the weekends. Plenty of pupils from abroad. Gresham's? - though it does have a decent weekend programme, a larger proportion of pupils will be day or weekly boarders. A state boarding school with a long (and successful) tradition of educating students from HK is Wymondham College.

Woodhead Thu 16-Jul-15 14:16:58

Does the school have to be in the south of England?

St. Leonard's in Scotland has extra english support for international students. (and offers international Bac)

happygardening Fri 17-Jul-15 06:40:59

OP my DS enters his final year of full boarding in September he's been full boarding since year 2, most on here consider me fairly knowledgable about boarding, we have many friends with DC's who board so this is my advise, we've learnt through experience and also from listening to the experiences of other parents.
If you want full boarding which you clearly do, you should try and find a school that is a full boarding school or one where at least 80% full board and the rest are day pupils, no flexi/weekly boarding. The reason for this is that if you don't then come the weekend the vast majority will go home leaving mainly overseas pupils in school. Some may say this is fine but I personally don't agree neither would the many full boarding children we know. It's not about activities organised by the school on a Sunday etc it's about the atmosphere, a proper full boarding school is just a different animal from a boarding school where the vast majority are day pupils or which has weekly/flexi boarders as well as full boarders. When I listen to my friends with children who are full boarding or at least are meant to be full boarding in schools which offer weekly/flexi often their main complaint is that they thought they were sending there DC to a full boarding school but quickly discovered it wasn't and how annoyed they are.
So if I was in your position looking at those suggested above consider Kings Canterbury, Oundle and St Edwards first and only look at any of the others if you fail to secure a place at any of these.
I believe Rugby is also full boarding as is Uppingham. There are a few other but proper full boarding schools are very much in the minority.
You also need to be aware that many claim to be full boarding schools but aren't so you actually need to find out if they also do weekly flexi boarding. Remember apart from a handful of very big names Eton Winchester etc most are struggling to fill their boarding vacancies so will tell you anything to get your money.

Pepperpot69 Fri 17-Jul-15 07:47:03

From your selection there I would recommend you only look at Kings or Oundle. Both have a good mix of foreign students, prob more from HK at Oundle (its a bit bigger) both schools will have airport links and I know that Oundle has English support for foreign students and a lot of connections with HK.
Science & engineering are particularly strong at Oundle with the new Sci-Tec Building.
All the top schools will have good swimming / sports facilities also.
Both Oundle & Kings are within easy reach of London if this is important to you.

jannywsc Mon 20-Jul-15 05:55:12

Thank you so much on advising for choosing school, but I found that there are so many school only have IB & GCSE or A-Level & GCSE Would there be any school do have three of them, which means the school do have IB, GCSE & A-Level.

LIZS Mon 20-Jul-15 06:31:23

Yes there are some but most focus on one or other. IB in UK isn't consistent and is not necessarily an indicator of academic rigour in itself. However your DC would have to choose either IB or a levels in 6th form anyway. A level courses will have been revised by then.

happygardening Mon 20-Jul-15 07:30:00

Marlborough (which is a full boarding school with a handful of day pupils but I suspect you're too late for) and St Edwards offer both the IB and A levels. Most independent schools do IGCSE's.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now