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Thursday 11-May-2017
【南華早報教育網:升學專家分析】英國升學名校為先?

英國升學這門事業,在香港發展了超過三十年。一直以來行業的競爭者都樂此不疲地制造一種「人人要入名校」的風氣。對啊,想入名校,何罪之有?問題就是單單一個「名」字,原來埋末了成百上千的好學校。

對於英國教育稍有認識,甚至完全無考慮過英國升學的,都總會有聽過Eton College、Harrow School、Wycombe Abbey、Cheltenham Ladies College等名字。有的是傳媒渲染、有的是家長之間口耳相傳。最多數的,是名人效應-威廉王子、哈利皇子和前英國首相卡梅倫都是Eton校友;凱蒂王妃出身於Marlborough;邱吉爾和林作,都是Harrow畢業生;還有十優港姐麥明詩,畢業於Wellington College。還有數之不盡的名人畢業生,將「名校」一詞推崇到前所未有的「神枱」位置。總之入不到這些名校,去英國讀書,讀哪間也罷。

中國人有句古老說話叫做禾稈冚珍珠,也應用於英國教育界。現在的家長們,礙於information cost太高、做school visit成本不菲、又或是太受朋輩言語影響,通常會選擇鋪在禾稈草上的珍珠,而懶得dig deep翻開禾稈草。然而,禾稈草下,原來有更具價值的寶藏等你發掘。

舉幾個簡單例子。Sedbergh School是英國少有的Full boarding學校,而且保有House dining的傳統,能讓同學感受最正宗的寄宿體驗;Cardiff Sixth Form College針對成績的教學方針為人咎病,亦是英國學校的眾矢之的,然而卻有來自世界各地的學生支持者,希望透過CSFC考入心儀大學;Royal Hospital School華麗的校舍、對著海洋的優美環境散發著無可抵擋的魅力,水上活動更能讓學生的思緒在大海中浮沉。還未講Rugby School、Gresham’s School、Ruthin、King’s College等的「珍珠」。

而每間學校,都各有獨特長處,都適合不同的學生去報讀,有如每顆珍珠都散發獨有光芒,造就多少耀眼動人的故事。學生不是工廠造出來一式一樣的機器,不是每個同學入Harrow讀Eton都會成功。所以,我相信沒有最好的學校,只有最合適的學校和最好的教育體驗。這也是英識教育一直以來最重要的宗旨。

最佳的例子,莫過於與我同校畢業的Gresham’s 欖球雙子Tom and Ben Youngs兄弟。猶記得當年在學時候,他們在Gresham’s 迷上打欖球,和他們同場較勁過的我,不得不對他們的魁梧身型和欖球技術為之讚嘆,並相信二人未來在球壇必有一番作為。

然而,香港家長的想法不盡相同。香港家長們較注重的是同學的前途、出路,並想為孩子們作出一個風險最低,回報最高的投資。他們自然會傾向讓孩子讀法律、醫科、會計等「穩陣」科。

我想說的是,Tom和Ben的例子只是「冰山一角」,我身邊有更多朋友追隨著自己喜歡的科目,並成為了設計師、Google的程式員、甚至長駐非洲成為當地導遊,眼界比起大眾的「搵錢工」更遠大更闊。外國不少研究 ( 例如World Economic Forum ) 亦指出,今天在學的莘莘學子之中,有65%在未來將會任職現在從未出現過的全新職業。所以,「變幻原是永恆」的道理沒有說錯。今天的學生正有著無人知曉的潛力,去發掘未來的可能性。正因如此,作為成年人的我們,何必要默守成規要求孩子走一條古老而無挑戰性的路呢?

作為升學顧問及英國教育的支持者,我最高興的並非有多少學生能考入名校,而是有多少個能夠在畢業後繼續追尋自己的夢想。雖然英識教育開辦只有短短四年時間,我們培育出的學生未有多少個大學畢業,但這種對自己理念的堅持,相信是作為教育人的基本條件吧!

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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.

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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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#School Analysis
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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