SMOOTHING THE TRANSITION – Preparing overseas pupils for a British education by Minerva Tuition
By admin • June 22, 2020
How Minerva Tuition and their partners such as AEGIS can ease the transition.
Minerva Tuition is a Hong Kong-based provider of quality tuition and schools advice for families looking to send their children into the British independent education system.
Minerva Tuition has successfully prepared pupils for admission to many of the UK’s leading independent schools – including Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Westminster, Wycombe Abbey and Sevenoaks. Once admission has been secured, Minerva can provide further assistance – working in partnership with both schools and entities such as AEGIS – to ensure that pupils are able to cope with the UK curriculum upon arrival at their new school. This assistance extends to ensuring that pupils are also prepared emotionally to make this transition.
In this article Minerva Tuition will detail some of the challenges that can arise when making the transition to the UK, and also set out the help that is available to both pupils and parents in dealing with these challenges.
Moving from one school to another is daunting at the best of times but the prospect of starting as a boarder in a school in a different country thousands of miles away from your family and your usual way of life can be truly challenging. Helping to overcome these challenges is where the experience of Minerva Tuition and that of our partners like AEGIS comes into play.
Successfully transitioning from education in one country to another may bring life-long benefits but in this process pupils often require individual help along their educational and emotional journeys. To put matters into context, in the UK most domestic pupils enter “Prep” – short for Preparatory Schools – at age nine, if not before, with the intention that these schools will use the next few years to introduce them to the expectations of their chosen Secondary School.
From an academic perspective there are all sorts of things to consider, says Charles Johnson of Minerva Tuition,
“We help pupils adapt to the different teaching styles that pupils might experience in the UK – a less didactic and more collaborative approach than they might have experienced before. We also help bridge the gaps in some curriculum areas.”
Minerva Tuition has a highly experienced team of tutors, across the full range of subjects, who have worked in British Independent Schools for many years. They have in-depth knowledge of examination syllabi. They understand the style of teaching in British independent schools and can help pupils adapt to the needs of the UK curriculum and classroom. Sessions in the separate Sciences and English Literature are popular areas for pupils about to make the transition. Our tutors have the knowledge and experience to respond to specific requests.
Valerie Weston, the founder of Minerva tuition says,
“We currently have a number of pupils taking lessons to prepare them for arriving in the UK for their first taste of boarding school in September 2020. The curriculum of their local school is often very different from the education they will encounter in a British School. Our tutors help to ease this transition process.”
But it is not just about the academics. For overseas pupils there are often also considerable cultural adjustments to be made.
To give an example: one of our English Literature tutors was guiding a Singapore-based pupil through a poem on a past paper for entry into one of the UK’s most prestigious schools. The poem’s major imagery comprised foxes and pheasants – both of which are fairly rare in downtown Singapore!
Ensuring that pupils are well placed to settle socially in their new school is also important. Parents in Singapore and Hong Kong are aware that they are a long way away from their sons and daughters. Unsurprisingly, they are often anxious that their children will settle easily. Key concerns are typically about the ease with which their children will make new friends, adapt to boarding, deal with possible homesickness and cope with unfamiliar surroundings. And of course, the British winter climate can be testing!
Ensuring that a child feels well-settled is even more important in these times of global uncertainty and 2020 has presented challenges for many families. Against this background, naturally parents will continue to feel anxious and part of Minerva’s role is to provide ongoing reassurance where we can. We keep in close contact with many of the schools with whom we have worked in the past, and are thus able to regularly update parents where this is helpful. All parties are working hard towards resumption of normality as soon as is practicable – with the safety and welfare of pupils being the most important consideration.
Thus Minerva Tuition and AEGIS accredited guardianship organisations work to provide such holistic advice, allaying parental and pupil concerns alike and ensuring that pupils and their parents are well-placed to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Valerie Weston, whose son was educated at a UK boarding school while she and her family were in the Far East also adds,
“A key factor in the transition process is also that of guardians. We always advise parents to appoint a professional guardian. Guardianship companies understand the unique demands that are involved when changing schools from abroad to the UK boarding school system and are an essential source of pastoral support.
We also strongly advise parents to ensure any guardian is a member of AEGIS. AEGIS ensures that all guardianship providers who are accredited by them meet the highest standard of care and professionalism. Parents know that having a guardian they can trust and rely on is crucial. This makes them feel more comfortable about the whole process.”
There is no doubt that a UK boarding school experience presents challenges but also wonderful opportunities. To take the words of one Minerva client,
“Stretch out of your comfort zone and embrace the opportunities given to you. Life is what you make of it.”