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British boarding school: instructions for children under 13
Instructions for admission to a British boarding school from the founder of the company "Paradise" Natalia Strein.
“Hello dear friends! Quite often I am asked the question: "How to enter an English school?" I am afraid that this question is very voluminous due to the fact that the British education system is incredibly complex and, I dare say, confusing. Nevertheless, I will try to tell you how to act for parents whose children have not yet turned 13 years old.
The smallest proportion of schools in the UK are independent, or private, meaning these schools do not have a beneficiary and are not governed by a board of directors. Private schools are divided into preparatory and senior schools. You can enter high school when your child turns 13. However, there is a small percentage of schools that are ready to consider candidates from the age of 11. I always recommend that parents only send their children to high school when they turn 13, as they will be much more comfortable in prep school, or “prep schools” until that return.
WHAT ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE UNDER 10 YEARS OLD?
If your child is not yet 10 years old, then, as they say, "all the cards are in your hands." The fact is that every year the child has less and less opportunities, but at the age of 8-10 there is a lot of room for maneuver. For example, if your son has not yet turned 10.5 years old, you may well register him in the most famous school in the world - Eton College. Of course, it is not a fact that he will pass three tests and an interview, but, nevertheless, there is a possibility of being admitted to these tests. If the child is over 10.5 years old, then, unfortunately, absolutely no one has the opportunity to register. As the English say, "try with your next child."
WHEN AND HOW TO APPLY TO FAMOUS BOARDING SCHOOLS?
If you still did not manage to enroll your child in Eton College on time, you need not worry. Especially if you have a girl. Apart from this college, there are a number of absolutely magnificent old schools, founded several centuries ago, from which representatives of the British and foreign elite also come. Among them are the schools Wellington, Charterhouse, Westminster, Winchester, Uppingham, Haileybury, Malvern and many others. In order to enroll in them, you must submit an application four years in advance. Of course, places in schools can be in three years, or two, or even a year, but it all depends on your luck. However, in order to be completely sure of the availability of space, it is better to sign up in advance.
If your child is now 9-10 years old, then it's time to apply to schools. This means that you need to fill out a questionnaire, send the child's marks for the last two years to the school, and also write a description in which you explain to the admissions committee why they should accept your child. Then, after paying a £ 150-250 registration fee, you will wait for the school to notify you of the upcoming admissions tests and the interview that will take place if the tests are successful.
WHAT SCHOOL TO APPLY AT THE MOMENT OF BIRTH OF A CHILD?
It's fair to say that there are schools you can be late to if you didn't register at the time of the birth of your child. As the British say, "The £ 100 you spent calling the school from the maternity ward is a good investment, especially when it comes to Radley College." Radley School is a nursery for the aristocracy and is arguably one of the best places in the UK to network. If I had the ambitions of Kate Middleton's mom, then I would enroll my son there. Maybe I'll try it with my grandson. This is a boys' school and well worth taking note of.
WHERE TO START THE SCHOOL SELECTION PROCESS?
First, of course, you need to decide which schools are right for you. This must be done exclusively with the help of a professional consultant. Make sure that this company has been in this field for at least 10 years, and that the consultant has personally seen all these schools and understands which school your child will be comfortable in, based on aspects such as learning pace, atmosphere, resources, number of students, etc. composition of teachers. First of all, it is the mental comfort that is meant, since the British believe that a child can achieve one hundred percent realization of his potential only if he is happy at school. His academic success depends on this to the greatest extent.
So, you have decided on the school where you will apply. As a rule, this is not one school, but two or three. Some clients sometimes apply to seven schools. You, or your consultant, sent applications there, paid the registration fee, and now you are calmly waiting for an invitation to the entrance examinations. Perhaps until this moment you will be studying with tutors, who, of course, must be native English speakers. It is advisable that they themselves be graduates of well-known schools in order to prepare your child for the entrance tests.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR HIGHER SCHOOL, OR A FEW WORDS ABOUT PREPARATORY SCHOOL
The best way to prepare for admission to high school boarding schools, where education begins at age 13, is, of course, preparatory school, or "prep schools" as they are called here. These schools were first founded in the 17th century and have been successfully operating since then. Today they are very "warm" kindergartens, where children have a real childhood. These schools have their own forests and meadows, sports grounds, a theater, and a fine arts studio. In general, this is a miniature high school, but due to the fact that the children here are small, from 8 to 13 years old, and their number does not exceed 200-400 people, the school staff is selected accordingly. These are people who love children very much: they love to tinker with them, love to hug them, and treat them with sympathy. Such schools are a concentration of love and care, and therefore you don't even have to worry that the child will feel bad here. On the contrary, here he will find a full-fledged childhood, because the school presents limitless opportunities for the development of talents. Children are constantly doing something very interesting, and not bury themselves in their gadgets. The resources of British schools are practically unlimited, and due to the breadth of the opportunities presented, they are still coveted by the world elite to this day.
So, if your child at the age of 10, which is a fairly popular age for parents from the post-Soviet space, enrolled in a British boarding school, you should understand that this will be a small preparatory school, where all efforts will be thrown to ensure that this child can, as you should, prepare and enroll in a well-known boarding school.
WHY 10 YEARS OLD IS THE BEST AGE?
The fact is that already at the age of 11, in particular in the fall, literally a couple of months after the start of the school year, the children begin to travel to the desired senior boarding schools to take preliminary entrance tests. If a child enters school at the age of 11, then his English will not be fluent, and even more so, his academic and written language will suffer. No matter how hard he tries, he will lag behind his classmates, which will not put him in the most advantageous position.
If a child enters school at the age of 10, he will certainly make up for the material, and his language will become almost fluent by the end of the school year. Thus, having studied the entire program, he will be ready for those tests that must be passed at the age of 11. We must be aware that if we send a child to school at the age of 11, he, of course, also has a chance to go to a very good school, but this school will be, say, not from the major league, for example, Eton, Wellington, Harrow, Charterhouse, The King's School Canterbury, but still equally respected.
ENTRY AT 12 YEARS OLD
12 years is a very difficult age. The fact is that if a child enters preparatory school at the age of 12, this will already be the final grade. At this time, children take final exams, which are called "Common Entrance". These are eight exams for which children have been preparing for several years. Thus, most of the graduation year will be devoted to "revision", repetition of the material covered. In English schools, it often happens that throughout the entire graduating class, children intensively repeat what they went through the previous years.
Admission to schools of this kind is usually painless: you don't need a special level of English. At the age of 10, it is possible to enroll in some schools with very little or no knowledge of the language. You only need grades from the current school, and you will also need to impress the school principal with the child's hobbies, good-natured character and willingness to be involved in all school activities. And this applies to most preparatory schools - not only those that are attached to high schools and are located on their territory. In general, if the director discerns the potential in your child, and these people are usually trained to do this, then, one might say, "it's in the bag"! Good luck and health!"
Expert assistance in selecting the right schools for your child in the UK, Switzerland, which have been our main specialization since 1996.
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Full support in the admission procedure: preparation for an interview, visits to selected schools accompanied by a Paradise employee.
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