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【The Standard】Launch of world’s first online UK boarding school

Boarding 101


With the unsettling global reports that we are all hearing and the challenges that are facing independent schools due to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, the news can feel depressing at the moment.

However, there is at least one uplifting news story: the world's first online UK boarding school has now been launched.

Harrow School Online will begin teaching in September and marks the start of a new era for independent education.

This exceptional online education program will give students the benefits of studying at one of the best independent schools in the world, all from the safety and convenience of their homes in Hong Kong, or indeed anywhere across Asia.

Many readers may already be familiar with Harrow School. This is because apart from the original school in England, which has a very strong reputation and has been around for more than 400 years, it also has several international schools in Asia: Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Harrow School has educated an impressive seven British prime ministers over its long history, with the most famous possibly being Winston Churchill.

Well-known actor Benedict Cumberbatch is also an Old Harrovian – as the school's former pupils are known.

However, Harrow isn't just about its noted alumni and its iconic straw boaters.

This is a school that doesn't just rely on its long-established traditions but is constantly looking to the future, as this foray into online education shows.

Working with Pearson, a company that leads the way in online learning programs and resources, Harrow is doing something quite amazing here.

The school has even been endorsed by celebrated columnist, broadcaster, and writer Chip Tsao, who said: "This is a brilliant new idea – proper English boarding school education online."

The timing of this new education option for Asian students could not be better, with the Covid-19 outbreak acting as a catalyst for interest in online learning. Families are all looking for the best way to educate their children without the major disruptions caused by the coronavirus right now.

They are also thinking about the future and hoping to avoid any of the ongoing disruptions it may cause to international travel as the world adapts to the virus.

The online term will begin with a sixth form curriculum for boys and girls aged 16 to 18.

The subjects on offer to start with are maths, further maths, physics, chemistry, and economics.

Apart from the live lessons, there are assemblies, house meetings, teacher office hours, and one-on-one sessions with success coaches.

Students graduate with A-level qualifications that are recognized in the UK and internationally by top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Harvard in the United States.

At the cost of only 15,000 (HK$143,344) per year, this will be an excellent choice for Asian students.

While it cannot completely replace traditional learning, since it lacks the element of interacting with classmates and offers fewer extracurricular activities, it certainly helps older students focus on their studying, especially for those preparing to sit A-levels.

As the Hong Kong representative for Harrow School Online, Britannia Studylink is now helping students to enroll for September and explaining to families how exactly this kind of education will work.

My team and I are really excited to be involved in this new chapter in the history of British education.