Information below is for reference only, as circumstances vary in different boarding schools.
How should we parents choose a school, out of so many options provided? What are the criteria?
We suggest parents considering the following six criteria before they make a decision:
Is it difficult to get in a boarding school?
It depends on the academic standard and the overall ranking in league tables. Generally entry requirement becomes more demanding as ranking gets higher.
Is entrance exam a must?
Some schools do require applicants to take entrance exams, while some do not. It’s usually not required when applying to Prep schools. However, there are usually entrance exams to assess a student’s academic ability, for entry to junior year, GCSE and sixth form.
Do boarders get a higher chance in getting into universities?
Yes! According to statistics, over 95% of boarders in the UK further their education at universities. You can find out more detail from: GCE A-Levels
How is the GCE A-levels curriculum like in the UK education system?
The Advanced Level General Certificate of Education (GCE A-levels) is equivalent to the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE) – both of which are completed in F.6 and F.7. To enter an UK university, a minimum of three passes are required. There is less restriction on subject choices when compared to HKALE, allowing students to do arts subjects alongside with science subjects. Most subjects consist of 4 modules and there are two to four examination intakes in the two years. Retakes of unsatisfactory modules are accepted, meaning that it’s not as stressful as HKALE and there is a high chance of achieving better grades!
What necessities will my children need to bring from Hong Kong when they study in a boarding school?
Students do not need to bring a lot of stuff as rooms will not be very spacious. They can bring photos to decorate their room and younger ones may like to bring a few toys with them. Gaming devices like PSP and NDS are not recommended, as these will limit the time in learning and socializing with other students.
Should students bring their own laptops?
It depends on arrangement in different schools. Generally it’s not recommended to bring too many valuables. Sixth formers may need computers more frequently, but facilities in computer rooms should be more than enough for academic purpose.
What do boarders do in weekends?
Athletic and other leisure activities such as tournaments, competitions and swimming gala are usually held in weekends. Boarders are also occasionally taken to cinemas, amusement parks and local museums by matrons and housemasters.
What if my children are homesick?
Boarding life is great fun and it is very rare that children get severely homesick. Parents can always talk to their children through internet calls (Skype) or email. A more likely situation is parents complaining their children for not ringing home, once students get used to the busy boarding life!
What is the best time to study in the UK?
Year 5 (9+) to Year 9 (13+) are the optimum entry points, the assessment for academic ability are far higher after that. When considering applications of lower year groups, schools tend to focus more on students’ musical and sports talent as well as performance in extra-curricular activities. In contrast, for applications of higher year groups, schools tend to put more focus on students’ academic achievements. Experience tells that students have more choices of schools and a higher chance of getting into more well-known boarding schools if they have started studying in the UK at a younger age.
How much pocket money shall I give my children at boarding school?
All meals are already included in boarding fees while outing cost, such as transportation and tickets, will usually be billed in the school bill and paid at the end of the term. Pocket money is usually for buying necessities such as shampoo and snacks. £20 to £30 per week will be fairly enough for most circumstances.
Do we need to get the uniforms before departure?
No, most of the boarding schools have school shops and you can always get the required items there. Sometimes there are second-handed uniforms and these are usually very reasonably priced.
What will students do in the guardian’s during holiday?
They can attend most family gatherings and social events in their guardian’s. They can also require to go to cinemas or shopping malls or whatever you wish, but parents will be charged.
Can we go to town or the nearest city during weekdays or weekends?
Boarders are NOT allowed to go to town or city during weekdays. They will need to ask their matron or housemaster for permission if they really need to. Usually seniors (F.4 or above) can go on their own but younger ones must be accompanied by seniors.
Is there pickup service from the airport to schools?
There is always someone trustworthy picking up your children at the airport. This someone could be his guardian or a member of staff from his school. Parents should be aware that if you want to arrange pickup service, you need to inform the school about the itinerary before departure.
Do boarders have their own washroom in their room?
Only a small number of boarding schools provide en-suite rooms. Bathrooms and washrooms are usually shared.
How many boarders will there be in a shared room?
Normally, there are 4-6 people living in a shared room. Juniors usually have more roommates and seniors usually have up to 2 roommates. Some school might provide single rooms for sixth-formers.
Additional Information of Boarding Schools