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Tuesday 20-Jun-2017
【The Standard:Boarding Insider】Wonder in North Devon
Located to the west of Exmoor National Park in North Devon, England, West Buckland School's roots go as far back as 1858 when it was founded as the Devon County School.

As the school is set in stunning countryside just outside of Barnstaple, students learn in a safe rural environment just a short drive away from the Atlantic coast.

At the heart of West Buckland are its grand 19th-century buildings, which have been complemented over the past decade or so by outstanding new complexes, such as the Jonathan Edwards Sports Centre and the award- winning 150 building, a complex housing modern art, design and technology workshops, a theater and a quadrangle.

Hong Kong families should be drawn to West Buckland's demographic profile; only around 15 percent of students are from abroad so opportunities abound for students to develop their English and immerse themselves into a British school environment. The school is keen to offer weekly and flexi-boarding packages to mostly British pupils from September, so this should further enhance international students' contact with local pupils.

Central to life at West Buckland are outdoor learning and the Adventure Society. The school has been involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and Ten Tors, an annual hiking expedition across Dartmoor, for more than 40 years. It also organizes the Exmoor Run.

What we see here is that young people have immediate access to wild and natural environments so they learn to appreciate and care for their natural surroundings, as well as challenge and develop themselves both physically and mentally.

In terms of academics, West Buckland has kept things traditional, choosing to follow GCSE and A-level programs. For 10 consecutive years, well over two-thirds of all A-level exams taken have been passed at either A*, A or B grades, while a steady 50 percent of students have taken up places at universities in the Russell Group in each of the past three years.

Overall, West Buckland's stunning surroundings, opportunities for adventure and outdoor learning and close-knit boarding community make it an intriguing option.

Picture: West Buckland School

Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink. lucyqna

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Education Experts

Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.


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.


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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