As a former boarding school teacher, Headmaster and school inspector, my advice is often sought by those who wish to send their own children to the UK. International families share common goals for their children - they seek to create the finest, life-changing opportunities for their sons and daughters when sending them to some of the best schools in the world. I am often asked about school fees, with many families believing that the most expensive schools, and those with the most well-known names, must be right for their children. How wrong they often are.
– There is no correlation between the quality of education and the level of fees. The vast majority of full boarding schools have similar fee structures. Some of the most expensive schools deliberately market themselves at wealthy international markets, but that doesn’t mean they always offer the best education. They might well educate boys and girls in the plushest of environments, with accommodation that many five-star hotels would be proud of, but is the price fully reflected by the quality of teaching and learning?
- Children learn and grow in confidence when placed in the right school. Every child has different motivators and all will make individual progress at a different pace – they are not really bothered by their surroundings. They only really want to feel valued as individuals, to have good friends, to be busy and to be taught by adults who motivate and support them. They wish to be part of a caring and decent community. It is our responsibility as adults and parents to find the right school for the right child.
Third and final observation
– Choosing a school is not like choosing a hotel for your holiday, or buying a new car. It is a nuanced process and your child has to be at the heart of any decision you make. Your choice of school will have a huge impact upon your son or daughter, so make your choice wisely. Involve experts, give yourself time and, above all, go with your gut feeling – can you see your child living, thriving and excelling in a particular boarding school. Don’t be tempted by the gloss of marketing material – go much deeper and ensure that you discover how the school will add genuine value and take your child further than they might travel at another school. Whilst that might not be an easy thing to do, don’t be tempted to take an easy route by simply choosing the school with the biggest name, or the biggest price ticket….