Selecting the best school for your child can be a daunting process for parents across the globe. With so many influential factors to consider, advice for parents is growing, helping them map out the best overseas route for their soon-to-be student.
Crowded by choice, it’s hard to know which academic institution offers the best educational experience. By following these tips from Sidcot School in Somerset, UK, parents may have a clearer picture.
Look for a school where staff members and student support services really care for your child
When you make the decision to send your child to study away from home, you need to be certain they will be cared for and ultimately, happy. If your child can’t be happy then they will not be able to perform academically.
Sidcot School Headmaster, Iain Kilpatrick explains “for a young person to have a successful time at school, it relies on them feeling in a place that they are recognized, valued, safe and secure”.
By finding a school with similar values to your own, parents are more likely to find the right educational experience for their child or children.
Safe and secure learning environments
Finding a safe school environment is essential and a priority for all parents. When opting for a boarding school, parents should look for a secure learning space and a happy, homely boarding house.
If you look at the location of Sidcot School, it sits on the edge of the village of Winscombe in Somerset and benefits from being set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Studying in the countryside provides countless advantages; from fresh air to awe-inspiring landscapes with boundless outdoor activity.
In this setting, students can enjoy both rural and city life with Bristol and Bath both close by. It’s a peaceful environment where they can concentrate on their studies while having access to major cities for educational opportunities and weekend activities.
Interconnectivity will also be crucial, so parents should look for a school that’s strategically located and easily accessible. Sidcot is well positioned with Bristol International Airport is just nine miles away and easy access by car or train to London. This makes it convenient for parents to visit and students to return home during holidays.
A school built from shared beliefs and progressive values
Parents should consider that their child will leave a school with more than just a set of exam results; the School’s ethos will also live with their child for the rest of their life.
Longstanding independent day and boarding schools like Sidcot will have formed a shared set of intrinsic beliefs, and it’s these beliefs that bind the school community together.
Parents that search for an academic atmosphere based on mutual respect will find it embedded in Sidcot’s core values.
Sidcot School was founded in 1699 and is administered on the Quaker principles of truth, integrity, respect, simplicity, equality and sustainability.
The upholding of these testimonies means the School values every member of the community equally, which results in gentle, courteous and friendly relationships between staff and pupils.
Sidcot also expects the highest standards of commitment, truthfulness and consideration for others. This working ambience is rigorous, but conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect in which each person can master how to learn with integrity.
A Diverse range of academic programmes
Parents should carefully consider the best course or courses to enroll their children in. Sidcot School offers a full range of academic options including GCSEs, a one year GCSE programme, A Levels, BTEC Sport and the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB).
If parents want a curriculum that supports the development of thinking skills, promotes the capacity to reflect upon and evaluate actions critically, emphasises intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth and instils international understanding, then the IB is ideal.
The IB Diploma is internationally recognised as a rigorous pre-university qualification, and universities in the UK and abroad accept that the programme goes beyond the academic disciplines, with considerable emphasis on community and charity work as well as a dissertation-style extended essay. A student at Sidcot this year achieved the world-class maximum score of 45 points, whilst also gaining an A grade at AS Level Art – quite an amazing result for a non-selective school.
Flexible boarding houses that become family homes
A great piece of advice for parents would be to review a schools ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) inspection report. With a high rating from this educational governing body, it’s safe to say that the school offers a promising start for your child’s education.
A modern boarding house will also provide dedicated school counsellors to offer personal guidance and a Housemaster/Housemistress to offer ongoing student support.
In addition, the accommodation must be clean and comfortable, with plenty of areas for students to relax and socialise, but most importantly, a boarding house should be a place where your child should feel as relaxed and happy as they would at home
For inspiration, take a look at this virtual reality tour of Sidcot School’s surroundings.