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Tuesday 04-Oct-2016
【The Standard:Boarding Insider】Looking after students' health
"How seriously do boarding schools take the mental well-being of children?"
As a consultant, I have to reassure parents on a regular basis about the many layers of support present at boarding school, as well as small houses which provide a strong pastoral base.

For those who feel sad, homesick or suspect that they have deeper psychological problems, the first port of call does not always have to be a consultant adolescent psychiatrist. Housemasters, deputy housemasters, matrons and other domestic staff are all adept when it comes to lending an ear or offering advice. In faith schools, a chaplaincy team may also be able to provide pastoral support.

So, there do exist many layers of support but I believe that independent schools go to much greater lengths than employing people to help children deal with stress. Malvern College, for instance, will be holding a conference on September 27 to explore the issues that affect children's mental health whilst also proposing methods to raise children's confidence and ways to manage stress.

With the misuse of social media often touted as being the biggest cause of teenage mental health problems, these are testing times for youngsters. This conference, and many others, will highlight the key cause of mental health issues, the importance of developing emotional resilience and how schools can create a "mental health aware" culture.

Hong Kong students do not generally report incidents of intolerance and bullying at UK independent schools. However, online threats remain a menace to all children. In-house counseling services are much-needed, but responsibility lies with our children too, as they need to make careful decisions about their time online.

Statistics show that schools are doing all the right things. For instance, 94 percent now run sessions for parents on issues of pastoral concern, while 45 percent have increased their provision of in-house counselors over the past five years.

Importantly, 44 percent of schools have increased provision for one -to- one meetings with form tutors.

Photo: D'Overbroeck's College

Origianal article:

Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink.


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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)

#School Analysis
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