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A show next month seeks to expose discerning Indian families to the concept of a UK boarding school education, what that choice entails and the numerous benefits that such an experience can bring for a student.
The first ever British Boarding Schools Show in India will be held in New Delhi and Mumbai and will bring the registrars (directors of admissions) and heads from a selection of leading boarding schools from across the UK. Visiting families to the show can therefore discover firsthand what it means to board in the UK, and learn about the incredible opportunities that these schools can offer them quite apart from just a world class academic offering, says William Petty, director of Bonas MacFarlane Education, London. Bonas Macfarlane, a provider of private tuition and educational advice in the UK is organising the show. There will be special benefits for Indian students.
“An Indian student aiming for a leading UK university or US college place can do much to enhance their chances of successful applications merely by moving to a UK-based school. We would argue that they would be far better prepared by a UK boarding school for starters, but also they would be considered as Indian nationals applying from Britain and therefore in a hugely smaller pool of applicants than those applying directly from India,” says Petty.
Citing recent data, he says an Indian student applying to Cambridge from a UK independent school is 300 per cent more likely to succeed than they would be applying from an Indian school. So why are they eyeing Indian students? “Over the last two decades, the number of Indians boarding in the UK has fallen as more and more high-achieving schools were founded in India offering qualifications such as iGCSE, A-level and the IB programme. In the last five years though those numbers have began to rise once more,” Petty told.
“We feel that this is just the beginning of a renaissance for Indian students birding in the UK. We feel that there are a huge number of children and students in India who would gain so much from life at a British boarding school and we are extremely excited to be re-introducing the idea to Indian families,” he says. According to him, the average British boarding school will have an enormous array of academic subjects on offer, sometimes across multiple qualifications, a plethora of co-curricular activities, community projects, high level sports, music and creative arts.
Petty says there will be no such conditions like students opting for studies in the UK will have to stay there for further studies. “Student visas apply only to the institution where an Indian student is attending on a full time basis for the duration of the course of study. Once the studies have been completed the visa expires within a few months,” he says. He also dismisses as unfounded recent reports that some of the UK’s most in-demand private schools were willing to accept donations in return for coveted places.
“Many British boarding schools are charitable trusts and whilst their fees seem high they generate very little profit. Therefore the schools rely on donations and endowments to maintain bursaries and develop new facilities,” Petty says. “It is a model upon which the Ivy League colleges of America are built. Schools are very careful that all students are subjected to the same admissions process and assessment procedures and that for each student who is accepted they can prove that the child deserves the place on their own merits,” he adds.