British boarding schools – education for all
A recent newsletter from Rossall School reminded us it could be worth highlighting the fact that British boarding schools are suitable for everyone. Of course we could be wrong, but there may be an idea that all schools are highly selective, with daunting entrance examinations ensuring only the most academic of pupils are accepted. We’d like to reassure families that this is far from true and we work with a good number of schools that pride themselves on their accessibility, as well as their record of supporting all children to achieve their full potential.
Starting with Rossall, Headmaster Jeremy Quartermain wrote in this newsletter, “I have never worked in an academically selective school and nor do I have any desire to do so. School education should be inclusive and accessible.” Rather than selective entrance tests, the school uses the baseline testing and data provided by Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM). Children sit adaptive baseline tests in Year 7 and Year 9 which provide ‘likely’ outcomes at GCSE. More importantly, the profile which CEM data provides for each student enables teaching to be personalised and sets the school’s ambition, which is to ensure that its students exceed those target grades. For Sixth Form, there are minimum GCSE grade requirements for some subjects, to ensure a student has the grounding and aptitude to take their studies to that next level.
Oswestry School, too, is non-selective, believing that the primary role of education is to develop the character, intellect, creativity and spirituality of pupils. Whilst academic performance is important, it represents just a part of the school’s Total Curriculum, in which extra-curricular activities play a key role. International students are asked to sit the school’s Mathematics and English tests but these are for assessment/setting purposes, rather than having a pass or fail mark. For Sixth Form, pupils are expected to achieve a minimum of five GCSEs (or equivalent), plus a grade 6 in subjects they wish to study at A Level.
Another example, Sidcot School merely has the expectation that the student will cope with mainstream curriculum. It also asks applicants to take assessments in Maths and English to provide an informal baseline, to help determine which teaching group a pupil will enter, and there are GCSE grade expectations for entry to the Sixth Form. The school has a number of aims; key here is the one which states its desire “to inspire young people to strive for excellence and a love of learning which goes beyond the formal curriculum; to develop independent searching minds, the confidence to inquire and challenge, encouraging them to realise their full academic potential.”
This is but a small handful to illustrate the point that a British boarding school education is not reserved for an academic elite. We work with a wide variety of schools, offering a broad choice of educational approach and qualifications. Let us help you find the right one for your child.