Since extra-curricular activity plays an important part in UK schools, many people tend to think British schools attach too much importance on it and there will be no extension classes provided for pupils at school. But is this really true? Well, in fact some school in the UK would offer summer intensive courses for international students even before they arrive to start their school term, about which we are told by Anton Kok, far eastern consultant for King’s Bruton, in our interview.
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BE Education (BE): Could you please introduce your school? What makes the school different from any other schools in the UK?
Anton Kok (Anton): King’s Bruton was founded in 1519, so in 2019, we will be celebrating our 500th birthday. It is a very old school and was founded in the years gone by and the school has actually survived very much, so interactivity and thrives on its lovely surroundings in the south-west of England, which is not far from the nearest airport about an hour away from Bristol. Its 2 hours train ride from London.
BE: What are the percent of international and residential students respectively?
Anton: The ratio of King’s Bruton’s international students to our local students, we want to keep that as low as possible. Because we want to make sure that the international students have the chance and opportunity all the time to speak in English. So you will never be able to find an international student living in the same room with another fellow Chinese in this instance here. It will be living with other British students. As far as Chinese students concerned, we have 3-4 students on average in the year group totaling 60-70 students.
BE: What’s the philosophy of your school and what kind of skills and values do you promote?
Anton: As I said before, it’s only 345 students at large in King’s Bruton. We thrive on the class size that are very small, of an average about 10-12 and in certain case it’s less than 10. Therefore, you get the teacher and the student ratio very suitable to enable good sound teaching or one-to-one teaching. So you find it in the sense that we’ll be always offering a lot of rapport and pastoral rapport for students there. Having said that, King’s students thrive on the smaller size but also the quality as well. The size and the quality is important. Quality in terms of academic studies, in terms of sports, extracurricular activities, that means a success in the past many years. King’s Bruton has actually thrived and enjoyed three success of its students in academic world, entertaining good high results for GCSE and A Level.
BE: Could you share us some details about your courses and your extra-curricular activities?
Anton: The courses here are demanding, and therefore we require a good level of English language before you arrive. And at King’s, if a suitable candidate arrives at King’s, we will provide them the extension of the English courses. In doing so, we actually offer them a summer intensive courses in the June of their preceding September term. So they come in June of the preceding term and spend 4 weeks with us on an intensive English course.
It got its advantages here. One is because the fact that actually improve their level of English and also get to know the English teacher as well. And the second reason as well is the fact that they will get to know their teachers even before they actually arrive to start their school term in the following year.
BE: What should the students prepare to go through the application process for King’s Bruton, just for King’s Bruton?
Anton: I think you find that in many British schools again, the level of English need to be adequate enough. We do realize that obviously China is fast expanding and developing an English education. And the level of Chinese students over the last few years, in my years of experience in the education sectors in China, is that actually the English among local Chinese students are improving day by day and year by year. But at the end of the day, it needs to have an English level that be able to understand the teaching from the classroom, and be able to write as well, and listen at the same speed as the other students.
Therefore, apart from intensive courses before the start of the school year, King’s Bruton also offers intensive English as second language for the students during their school days. A lot of our teachers have got many many years of teaching experiences. And teaching these days is very different from days gone by. Very dictated. In other ways, being in the classroom, the teacher will teach on the board and the student listens. This is not any more the case in modern education. It requires the student to express themselves, to think and analyze and evaluate their work as well.
In doing so, they actually improve their daily work and in examinations. They will be giving lots of different exercises, mock examinations to try out. And obviously, eventually when they get to A Levels in the Sixth Form, they will be able to understand the teaching much more if they actually come earlier in the school year.
BE: So how do teachers help children to prepare their application for universities?
Anton: It’s very peculiar, because it’s got to be very exact and competitive work out there. Every student in the Sixth Form will have an individual private tutor. And this tutor will help the students, over the two years of the Sixth Form Education, to actually groom them, to develop them for application to universities.
We know that obviously in UCAS you need to have a good personal statement. And in order to write the personal statement, they will start teaching them how to write these personal statements from their very first day in the sixth form. They’ll teach them how to target themselves to what they want to do. They will advise them what universities they should be applying to. They communicate with their parents, because it’s important that the parents understand which universities they’re going to.
At the same time as well, they will monitor their results throughout their two years of Sixth Form Education, to make sure they get the targets and the grades they want. And when applying to the UCAS, they will ensure that the school goes through many levels of processes. They should be looking through the personal statement. And with the headmaster finally looking at the personal statement, it is to make sure that the eyes have been dotted, the teeth have been crossed and everything is in the right order before we push the button to send the application to the university.
BE: How do you define a promising Chinese applicant and what’s the most important qualification?
Anton: It depends on the entry level. Entry levels are in Year 9, 10 and 12. As I said before, the level of English needs to be adequate. And BE has given us quite a good entrance test for us to see and include the CAT scores. That allows us as interviewers to see and assess their level of English.
Having said that, I think if they have a continuing English education or English language tuitions or lessons in China, they will actually improve much more. At the same time, Chinese students have very high mathematic abilities, so you find that their mathematics are very high indeed, so they need to make sure that they get good math scores. And at the same time the subjects they’re doing need to be all at suitable standards before they arrive.
King's School Bruton
One of the best small-sized schools in the South West of England
Seeing its 500th celebrations
Founded in: 1519
Type of School: Co-educational
Nearest airport: 2 hour and 15 minutes’ drive from Heathrow Airport
Age range: 13-18
Number of pupils: 330
Teacher to student ratio: 1:14
Percentage of boarders: 70%
Percentage of international students: 20%
School website: www.kingsbruton.com
Curriculum and Destination Universities & Colleges
GCSE: Compulsory courses include English, Mathematics, French, Science; optional courses include Art, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Design & Technology, Drama & Theatre Studies, English as an Additional Language, Food Studies & Hospitality, Geography, History, German, Spanish, Italian, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Religious Studies, etc.
A Level (Sixth Form): Art, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Design & Technology, Drama & Theatre, Economics & Business Studies, English, English as an Additional Language, Food Studies & Hospitality, Geography, History, French, German, Spanish, Psychology, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Religious Studies.
Rugby, Hockey, Cricket, Tennis and Athletics. The main sports for girls are Hockey, Netball, Tennis and Athletics. Pupils can also participate in Badminton, Cross-Country, Basketball, Volleyball, Rounders, Football, Shooting, Equestrianism, Cycling, Yoga, Judo, Squash and Fives,
The design centre has provided a place that inspires imagination. Art courses include Photography, Music, Tailors, etc. The School’s Art Department prides itself for being one of the most consistently successful department at King’s.
Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, etc.
Three days a week for pupils to take part in sports games. 10% of pupils have represented the School in competitions. In terms of the tennis programme, the School has students playing in the National Finals of Girls’ and Mixed Doubles Tennis Championships. There’s been a diverse range of extra-curricular activities on offer to pupils, including excursion, tour, museum visiting, etc.
University of the West of England, University of Bristol, Plymouth University, Keele University, Queen Mary University of London, University of Nottingham, Oxford Brookes University, Royal Agricultural University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Surrey, Swansea University, University of Leicester
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