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Tuesday 29-Sep-2015
交通燈與稻草人-如何選擇英國學校?

家長為孩子選校時,大多先考慮學費和每班學生人數。有時候他們比較注意學校排名,或花不少精力翻查畢業生升讀牛津劍橋大學的情況。但孩子本身呢?他們會喜歡你為他們選的學校嗎?如果學校周邊皆是動物和農地,校園離最近的商場20公里,孩子會感到開心嗎?


選校時,家長應多走一步,除了排名榜和孩子升讀牛劍的美好畫面外,再想多一點。最重要的,是校園的地理位置和周邊配套能否配合孩子的個人性格、背景和年齡。           

 

家長可考慮孩子在家的習慣,再作出小心的計劃。如家長自行探訪有潛力的學校,可使煩惱的選校決定更見簡單。我經常鼓勵家長「先試後買」,送孩子赴外國前,不妨和孩子一起親自去當地學校宿舍留宿一晚,在校園內閒逛一下,感受真正的英國環境和氣氛,細味英國為你的子女能帶來甚麼。而位於倫敦市中心的學校和郊外的學校有著十分不同的活動和生活。
           

然而,兩者的分別在哪?
 

 

鎮與城市
 
當家長問我在大城市中生活和學習是甚麼一回事,我多數以自己修讀倫敦、牛津、劍橋學校的經驗,提供一個正反兩面平衡的答案,為家長刻畫一個更立體的畫面。
           

我曾就讀於諾福克郡的Gresham’s School ─ 一所徹頭徹尾的郊區學校,坦白說,有時候我甚至會偏愛Gresham’s 的綠油油生活。但是,我對倫敦一些學校的教學方針十分欣賞,亦親眼見識到香港學生如何在這首都之中紮根,成為真正的英國人。
           

Dulwich College 就是最佳例子。驟眼看見它座落於城市心臟地帶,不少家長即時聯想到繁擾的地下鐵路和馬路緊促著學生的綠色景觀和發展機會。但是,深入發掘Dulwich就知道這是個遠離塵囂的學校,更有著完整的運動配套設備。例如,Dulwich座擁12個欖球場和10個英式足球場。Dulwich的位置亦代表著就近的交通設備和伸手可及的倫敦中心。
           

學生選擇學校時,最重要的考慮因素是他們的背景和年齡。
           

當然,也不乏已習慣香港城市生活的16、17歲的香港學生,希望赴英體驗寄宿生活和城市的刺激。如果學生不會被大城市的五光十色所分心,Dulwich,Westminster和 Fettes (Edinburgh)都是不錯的選擇。但是,如果家長擔心孩子負荷太大、或是容易受到倫敦的美景影響,Cheltenham’s College則是大城市中的一個絕佳選擇。
           

經典的維多利亞式建築座落於Cheltenham’s Bath Road,街道有時候十分繁忙,但保証學校不是在完全郊外的綠州,或是較為平靜的郊區。
           

然而,附近就有令人嘆為觀止的城鎮中心Cotswolds.與Dulwich形成對比的自然是牛津北面 的d’Overbroeck’s College。學校位於繁榮多彩的大馬路上,對來說d’Overbroeck’s廣闊的空間則更見寶貴。學校難於校園內提供完整的球場和其他運動配套,學生需游走於牛津區使用設施。在市鎮的學校則大多較能於繁榮和寧靜中取得平衡。所有設施、店舖和餐廳聚再一起,郊區的美景、公園則在離校遠的地方。
           

Bedford School就是這類學校的典型例子。附近除了有Bedford Park外,周邊也是郊外景區和市鎮中心。當然,也有學校能夠做到城市化和郊外氣息兩者並兼。位處Brighton的Roedean School,除了有繁榮的城市在旁,亦座擁海邊灘岸美景,家長不妨留意。
 

Rural idyll
 
Haberdasher’s Monmouth School for Girls是英國頂級的女校之一。半郊區的環境和Wye Valley的驚艷景觀能保持學生心境舒適卻時刻受著啟發。這種學習情境的最大好處是學習對學生來說漸變自然,而非一種壓力。我在Gresham’s 的時候就是如此感覺。
           

學校位於繁榮的市鎮Holt,天然景色盡收眼底,Norfolk北面海岸線離學校只有數里,我時常過去放鬆自己,壓力一掃而空。人身處這種環境,學校變為學習的搖籃,而非學習工廠。一些學校,如Gresham’s和Haberdasher’s,年齡就是關鍵。十一歲時期望赴英讀書提升英語水平和融入英國文化,是不少香港的典型例子。他們將發現這類較少外地留學生的學校最能符合他們。
           

總而言之,家長必需考慮城市、郊區和半城市環境的利與弊。要平衡家長和學生的期望確有所挑戰。很多年輕人希望盡量靠近倫敦,而不少家長會為倫敦的安全情況擔心,亦會考慮真正的英國留學生活是否能於倫敦確切體驗。

 

資料來源:《英文虎報》

如要了解更多英國升學資訊,請致電31840152 聯絡Samuel (英識教育創辦人,升學顧問)。

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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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