Questions about entering an independent school in the UK:

1. What is the best time to send my children to study in the UK?

P.5 to S.3 are the best time to enroll. Schools have lower requirements on academic performance and interviews when assessing the admission applications of lower grade students. Therefore, the earlier you go to the UK for further studies, the higher your chances of getting into a good school.

Of course, parents should also consider their children’s wishes and personality. If children have low self-discipline, it may not be good to go abroad too early. We recommend that your child enter Year 9 in a UK school (i.e. S.3 in Hong Kong) at the age of 13. Year 9 is the main admission grade of UK schools, with a relatively large number of places, but parents should prepare for their children at least 18 months in advance.

2. When will UK senior schools start? How many semesters are there every year?

The main starting month of UK senior schools is September. There are 3 semesters each year: September to November (Autumn term), January to March (Spring term), and April to June (Summer term).

3. How is the vacation in UK senior schools?

The main long vacation arrangements in UK senior schools are similar to those in Hong Kong. They are Christmas vacation, Easter vacation and summer vacation. Parents can arrange for their children to return to Hong Kong.

Some schools will also have several short holidays between each semester – about 1-2 weeks of additional half-term holidays and individual 2-day weekend holidays (Exeats). If parents do not arrange for their children to return to Hong Kong, they can stay in the school to participate in activities, but not every boarding school will be open in Half-Term and Exeats. If the school is not open to boarding for students during the short vacation, the guardian must arrange for the children to stay in the host family.

4. How should parents choose UK schools for their children?

Parents can consider from the following aspects:

  1. School category: Boys / Girls / Co-ed school? Day / Boarding school?
  2. School area: Some schools are located in big cities, such as London and Manchester, with smaller school buildings, but the neighbouring facilities are better; some schools are located in small towns and rural areas, with larger school buildings and a quieter environment, but the facilities will be worse. Some parents will choose schools in southern England, which are warmer and easier for Hong Kong students to adapt.
  3. School performance: You can refer to the ranking of public examination results published by UK schools each year.
  4. International student ratio: Some schools have a low proportion of international students, and the environment is more suitable for students to train in English, but we must also pay attention to whether children can learn happily in a nearly British circle. Schools with a certain percentage of Chinese are also beneficial.
  5. Financial budget: It is necessary to calculate the cost of different items carefully. Among them, tuition and boarding fees account for the largest proportion. In addition, there are English courses, guardians, vacation accommodation, air tickets and other expenses.
  6. Subject selection: Do students have enough choice and flexibility in choosing subjects? For example, many Hong Kong students like to take subjects such as Design, Music and Psychology.
  7. Extracurricular activities: Can students choose some unique or interesting extracurricular activities? For example, hockey, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, small aircraft, etc.
  8. School facilities: Many independent schools in the UK are equipped with multiple facilities including: hockey pitch, rugby pitch, football field, swimming pool, fitness room, dance studio, music performing arts centre, art design studio, etc. Some schools have very luxurious facilities. Of course, the tuition fees of these schools will be more expensive, so parents can also measure whether there is such a need.
  9. Student character: Some school courses focus more on academics, while others focus more on creativity. Parents can choose according to students’ personality, interests and needs.

5. Do UK boarding schools need to take an entrance exam?

Most UK schools require students to take entrance exams (such as Ukiset or ISEB exams) when enrolling students at the secondary level to assess the level of students. English, Mathematics and Reasoning are common test subjects. The school will also arrange interviews for students to assess their English proficiency, adaptability and logical thinking.

6. Is there a high chance of going to university in UK boarding schools?

Yes, very high. More than 90% of boarding school students can successfully enter a university or higher education college.

7. What supplies do students need to prepare for boarding?

Students only need to bring general clothing and daily necessities, instead of bringing too many personal belongings. Students should participate in extracurricular activities, discover interest and meet friends, so we do not encourage students to bring game consoles. Other valuable items, such as laptop computers, should also be avoided.

8. Will there be an airport shuttle service after students arrive in the UK?

Most schools or guardian companies can provide airport shuttle services for students. Parents only need to notify them before departure and submit flight information for further arrangements. However, please note that some schools or guardian companies charge shuttle fees.

9. What are the rooms and facilities in a UK school dormitory?

The rooms in most schools are medium in size, not very large, and will accommodate 3-6 students. Younger students share a room with more students, while older students usually have at most 2 students in the same room. Most of the toilets and bathrooms in the dormitory are shared.

10. What if a student gets sick or injured in school?

There is a medical room in the school and nurses will be stationed to take care of students in need. When students are sick or injured, they should directly inform their teachers and guardians, and do not be afraid or worried. The school will do its best to take care of the students, and when necessary, they will be taken to the off-campus clinic for medical treatment.

11. What activities are there on weekends, Sundays or holidays?

If the student is in school, the school generally arranges sports and leisure activities for the student. The school will also arrange boarding students to go to the urban area to watch movies and buy daily necessities.

If the student’s vacation is arranged by the guardian, they can participate in the guardian’s daily family activities and gatherings to experience the life and culture of the locals. Students can also ask their guardians to take them to nearby theatres, shopping malls and other places for entertainment, but the expenses must be borne by the parents.

12. How much pocket money should parents prepare for their children?

If a student lives in a boarding school, three meals a day are included in the tuition, and other school expenses such as activity fees and transportation fees will also be included in the tuition bill. Therefore, parents don’t need to prepare too much pocket money for their children, as long as they are enough to buy daily necessities, about 30-40 pounds a week is enough.