May 2019 – Why parents from all over the world choose British education for their children? British summer camps options.

Friday May 17th, 2019

May blog

Welcome to our May newsletter.  In this issue, we’re looking at why so many parents from all over the world choose a British education for their children.  We’ll also look ahead to this year’s Summer Camps and explore the various options.
Why choose a British education?
Exactly what attracts people to a British education?  After all, British independent schools are among the most expensive in the world, with annual fees approaching or even exceeding £40,000.  The fact that so many people choose this route for their children suggests you get what you pay for!  But if you’re making this level of investment in your child’s future, it’s crucial to get it right.  Regency Education helps families get the very best from it by working with you and your child to find the perfect match.

British independent schools are considered across the world as offering stability, continuity and some of the very best all-round education.  They don’t just seek academic success for their students or give them great job prospects.  Although the majority of their alumni have indeed excelled academically and secured excellent careers.  And of course this is due in part to good quality teaching, a strong heritage and access to opportunities.  But it comes down to something altogether harder to measure.  It’s about instilling a confidence and self-discipline that empowers students to succeed.  They aren’t just trained to pass exams with high grades.  As well as the immense knowledge they will amass during their time in education, students at British independent schools learn the life skills and self-belief to excel.
Confidence and life skills
For many international families, a British independent school is a means of setting up their child to secure a place at a prestigious UK university.  And that’s not just about getting the grades they need.  It’s about supporting their child to form a worldview and work ethic that means they can excel at institutions like Oxbridge.

The recent boat race between crews from Oxford and Cambridge universities is a good case in point.  Those cosmopolitan crews comprised students of all ages and nationalities.  But what they all had in common was a shared goal plus immense self-discipline and self-belief.  If you had chance to watch the pre-race coverage, you might have seen one of the women rowers describing their gruelling schedule.  These people at the top of their game are balancing multiple training sessions every day with studying for, in most cases, Master’s degrees and PhDs.  This rower explained that they don’t succeed in their studiesdespite the hours and energy they devote to their rowing training, but because it gives them immense structure, focus, discipline and time-management skills.  UK independent schools begin to instil this all-round approach that inspires excellence from an early age.

The TV coverage of the boat race on the BBC captured this remarkable attitude to life and learning perfectly.  Not just through the interviews and close-up shots of the immense effort the rowers were putting in – but by showing viewers the heart rates of several team members during the race.

RowingTheir fitness levels mean they have unusually low resting heart rates – but under extreme duress they will increase to around 200bpm.  It was astonishing that the cox (the small-as-possible person who sits at the back of the boat and controls its direction) in each boat had a raised heart rate on a par with their rowing counterparts’ during the race!  An amazing insight into what the heart has to cope with under extreme stress and excitement!  But also an illustration of the commitment that every single member of the crew brings to the race, thanks in part to the work ethic and world view of their respective education establishment.

More than simply academic success

So UK independent schools – and the UK universities for which they prepare students – do place what can seem a surprising onus on sports and other extra-curricular activities.  From the example above, you can see why sport can help shape success – through time-management, discipline and self-belief.  Sport also fosters life skills like team work and self-sufficiency.  It also counteracts some of the challenges to our mental health that modern life brings.  It keeps us focused, fit and goal-oriented.  But sport isn’t for everyone.  British independent schools offer a range of extra-curricular activities run by experts and ranging from public speaking to music and drama.  And they expect students to participate actively in as many of these as possible.

This can come as a shock to international students who begin their UK education at traditional establishments after the age of 16.  Their mindset might be that they need to focus solely on their subjects to achieve the best possible grades.  It can be hard, by this age, not to see sport and other activities as a distraction if you’ve not grown up with that outlook.  At Regency Education, we usually recommend pupils begin their UK education aged 11 or 13.  This gives them the time and opportunity to adapt to the UK approach that favours academic rigour alongside sporting prowess, etc.  If students are coming to the UK for the first time to study for A levels, I’ll often advise they do so at a Sixth Form college with a more international feel than a traditional independent school.

If you’d like to know more about why I think going to the British school at 16 is too late to maximise the benefits of the best UK education, why not get in touch?
Prestige, heritage and continuity

traditional British schoolA big attraction of UK independent schools is essentially the brand they have built up over time.  Independent schools are embedded in the British culture; trusted by universities and employers alike and staff turnover tends to be lower than in other countries.  International parents like the sense of reliability and dependability this emits.  They admire the safety, self-sufficiency and sheer space inherent in the large grounds in which many independent UK schools are set.  And they are attracted by the ‘all-inclusive’ approach to education: the academic rigour alongside the extra-curricular sports, music and other activities.  It’s an attractive package: a wide breadth of experience, life skills and knowledge imparted by top-class teachers in prestigious establishments with hundreds of years of educational heritage

To understand the full benefits of an education at a UK independent school – and gain an insight into each establishment’s idiosyncrasies –
book a consultation with us.  We can help you ensure your child gets the most from the very best the UK has to offer.
Sport and Exams – what comes first?
Recently conducted research by the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMS) showed that there is no negative effect on the exam results of children and teenagers who continue to play competitive sports in the run up to their exams.
GCSE and A-Level exams can be stressful and sometimes students give up playing sports in the period of revision to focus on their exams. The fact is – children who fit sport into their day, manage their time better.  They spend their revision time more effectively, thus achieving the same academic result as those that don’t do any sport, but with better overall health, fitness and organisation.  These findings fit with our observations on last month’s Boat Race: sport can actively assist academic success rather than hinder it. 
Summer camps and courses 2019
football camp UKWe work with a huge number of companies that offer residential and non-residential summer camps.  Each has a different focus and we’ve broken these down for you here.  Whether you want something for all the family; something more intensive and academic; sports specialism or career ideas – there’ll be a summer camp that will fit the needs of you and your family.  Do get in touch if you’d like more details.

Academic Courses
If you are planning to continue your child’s education in the UK, you want to start by giving your child some experience of a boarding school in a fun and safe place that will also kick-start your child’s academic studying in the UK.

academic summer coursesWe recommend a number of schools that will provide that experience, but there are a couple of schools that are clear leaders in that field.
That kind of summer school provides the perfect preparation for UK boarding schools with its summer programmes for young people aged 8 to 17.  Academic study is balanced by sports, excursions and other fun, educational activities.  Pupils learn in small classes of five to eight people and there’s one staff member for every three students.  You can choose specific courses based on age and level, such as the specialist academic preparation for GCSE / iGCSE or A Level / international baccalaureate.  Or you can opt for subject-specific courses to boost English, maths or science knowledge.  All their camps are situated in the picturesque town in Dorset, south west England, nestled amongst English countryside but within easy reach of major cities.

A family camp
One of our favourite schools for the whole family is situated in Shropshire. This school offers a range of summer programmes, including English with sport and culture and specialist subject courses.  But it’s perhaps best known for its unique parent and child residential programme that runs from early July.  Aimed at children aged 3 to 12 and their parent(s), the course offers a fun and educational insight into life in a UK boarding school. There’s no minimum level of English required and the camp offers activities for parents and their children to try together and separately, improving their English while having fun together in stunning north Shropshire.
Sport Camps
summer campsSeveral schools offer the next generation of sports stars the opportunity to be coached by players at the top of their game in football, tennis, hockey, golf and cricket.  Sport summer camps combine English lessons with top-quality coaching to improve pupils’ skills and confidence in their chosen sport and in the English language.  Budding footballers can be coached by top players from premier league clubs: Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion.  Ex-international hockey players motivate attendees and former England cricketer Lydia Greenway inspires girls to try and excel at the sport.  Set in a selection of stunning venues in the south of England, each with impressive sporting heritage, the camps offer a great experience for youngsters who want to excel in sport.
Special Subject Camps
A number of schools offer Young Professionals programmes, providing students with insights into future career paths into some most sought after professions: Medicine; Business and Finance; Engineering; Media and Communication; Performing Arts.  Designed for different age ranges – 13 to 16 and 16 to 18 – the programmes combine an academic introduction to vocational subjects with practical, professional skills.  The Young Professionals programmes are delivered at Cambridge, Oxford, and other locations, often in traditional boarding schools that boast state-of-the art facilities.

Another way to get a feel for British life and culture – and improve language skills – is to stay with a British family during the summer.  We have several families on our books who welcome international students into the heart of their family home for the summer holidays.

Helen’s family is one such family.  Helen, her husband (a TV producer) and 11-year-old son live in a beautiful, newly renovated four-bedroom house in a quiet road in Guildford, around 15 minutes’ walk from the town centre, close to Heathrow Airport and 30 minutes’ drive from London.   Helen is a qualified TESOL teacher; has 25 years’ experience of working with children and families and for the past 10 years has been the Head of Nursing in a large London Children’s Hospital.

Students stay in a light and comfortable room with a double bed; private en-suite bathroom; wireless internet access and plenty of clothes storage, joining the family for chats, meals, trips and activities.  Excursions to London and to the seaside; cycling and walking in the Surrey countryside and relaxing or playing in their large garden equipped with climbing frames, trampoline, football goal and tennis net.  Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about home-stays this summer.

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