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Wednesday 08-May-2019
【立場新聞】選一個監護人

去英國讀寄宿學校,除了要挑選學校本身,還要挑選合適的監護人。

學校是主菜,監護人的選擇是配菜。許多家長以為進了好的學校,監護人可以馬馬虎虎;如同吃韓國菜,燒烤牛肉不錯,但那四小碟 Kimchi,也要及格。

監護人的職責在校門之外。一個良好的監護人,必須也是英國本地人,除了懂得照顧貴子弟,也了解香港小朋友離鄉別井的心理,以及剛投入英國教育主流時的文化差異。

一年有三個學期,子女要寄住監護人家中的時間很多。監護人也有子女,子女如何與你的孩子做朋友、一起下廚開飯;在那幾個周末,監護人帶着你的孩子和他家的子女一起去超級市場買菜,或開車去郊外野餐,這點點滴滴的英國家庭現實生活,也會大大豐潤了香港學生的英國生活。

英國的監護人家庭,有不同的文化背景。有的來自中產知識階層,有的是白手作業興家的工人,有的是農家,有的是自雇的小老闆。他們的共同點,當然是會說英文,但不一樣的細節更多:由講英文的口音、家居的裝備擺設、生活習慣、衣着,以至家中養的那隻狗是甚麼品種,細心的人,都看得出會對託管的子女有甚麼影響。

英國絕大多數人都很善良,能做監護人的也經過一番甄別。一個良好的監護家庭,會與香港學生有良性的互動,遷就他的英文程度,和他一起看電視劇、看新聞,討論英國社會問題。香港學生由監護人那裏學到的知識不見得少:不必怕尷尬,你可以問他年薪多少,交稅幾多,生活是寬裕還是手緊,對上一次假期是去西班牙還是去峇里島。

我有一個學生,監護人是一對中產夫婦。丈夫是一個失意的小說家,常常將稿件寄給出版社,但有時被出版社退回來。兩夫妻對這位香港同學很好,並無子女,但顯然覺得事業失意。

幾年後這位同學仔順利上了劍橋,還記得監護人,寄了一封信給他們,才知道這對夫婦後來離了婚。失意作家去了上海教英文,認識了另一個女人(當然),太太獨居,分到了房子和那隻狗。

雖然只有幾年,但一切恍如隔世,房東太太在電郵中說:你來我們家監護寄住的那幾年,是我最開心的日子。以後的都不要提了,將來你若結了婚,也會明白的。

每一個寄宿學校的香港學生,都有一個監護人,都有一個天涯夢遠的故事。過了幾十年,寄宿學校的一切都會回到夢中來:校長、老師、同學,還有那對監護人夫婦,他在你感冒發燒時,為你請假,通知你的香港家長,告訴你父母不必擔心,有我們照顧。

這些人,雖然都是人生路上的過客,卻像路途上一株翠綠的大樹,拂過一片樹蔭,最後,都會令長大了的你覺得感恩。

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Education Experts

With an entrepreneurial spirit spreading across online, print and broadcast media, Samuel is an award-winning educational consultant and celebrated columnist.

As a leader in the field of education, he was honoured with the British Council’s Study UK Alumni Award and his most prestigious achievement to date includes the founding of Hong Kong’s premier educational brands - Britannia StudyLink, Anglo Belgravia and Ascent Prep.

In addition to streamlining the UK independent school application process for Hong Kong families and spearheading the first official UKiset-accredited educational centre in Hong Kong, Samuel has led his company, Britannia, to becoming one of Asia’s leading brands with diverse clients and distinguished institutions ranging from Radley College to HSBC Bank and Hong Kong Telecom.

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Mabel Chan is the Principal Consultant of Britannia. Having studied in both the UK and the US, she is an expert in school matching for overseas education. She writes education columns for Sing Tao Daily and The Standard, and answers questions arising from parents and students patiently.

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MB Cheung, our senior consultant, has been writing education columns for major local newspapers for more than 25 years. With his experience and unique insights, he shares a variety of tips and advice on overseas education for the readers (and DSE students)

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Considering its reputation, Oundle School may not catch up to Eton, Wycombe Abbey and else top elite schools. However, Oundle’s academic performance is among the best in the United Kingdom. As a traditional top boarding school, Oundle pays huge attentions to student’s holistic development, by providing them diversified extra-curricular activities. In addition, Oundle still implements the House Dining System, which is rarely remaining among uk boarding schools. It is also one of the reasons why Hong Kong parents making a beeline for.
The ratio of teachers and students in Bromsgrove School is 1:8, which is lower than the average among uk boarding schools. In addition, according to my school visit experience, Bromsgrove has the best facilities, that it is undoubtedly one of the best three campuses in the UK. Besides, Bromsgrove spares no expense to provide students comfortable environment, it even invests on the nearby hotel and transfers it into dormitories. As a result, students can possess the “5-star enjoyment” on campus. To conclude, Bromsgrove is definitely a prospective and globalised uk boarding school.
Brighton College is Britain’s premier private school and one of the Hong Kong parents’ favourites. To understand a boarding school, despite of looking at its educational tenet, diversified extra-curricular activities and academics results, it is essential to observe the boldness of the principal. 10 years ago, after Mr. Richard Cairns taking up the duty of the Brighton College’s principal, the school ranking raises from the 150th to the top 20th. In addition to promoting educational reformation, Mr Cairns is such a good principal, that he still strives for maintaining students’ curiosity at the same time.
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