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Tuesday 01-Mar-2016
【The Standard】More college toppers to consider

TO CONTINUE THIS three-part series on unique British independent schools, I cover two schools that deserve their place among the elite:


1. Cardiff Sixth Form College

This college has been dominating the independent schools league tables since 2010. Last year, it topped the A-level league tables for the third straight year.


The remarkable thing about Cardiff is that it only has a little over 10 years of history behind it, initially being a private tutorial center with charitable status.


Cardiff Sixth Form College does not shy away from its main attributes or, possibly, shortcomings when compared with other traditional British boarding schools. So what are its alluring features?


Honesty is one. The school does have an overwhelming majority of international students and it does not pretend otherwise. We also see this genuineness shine through when it comes to facilities and extracurricular provision, both of which are very good but not in the same league as those at other top- performing schools. Cardiff's appeal is understandable because families and potential students appreciate transparency and openness.


The college's reputation as an academic powerhouse owes much to its dedication to excellence and provision of academic support.


Students also receive expert guidance throughout each stage of the UCAS process. In 2015, 20 students gained offers from Oxbridge colleges.


2. Ruthin School

Around 20 years ago, Ruthin was languishing in the lower depths of the league tables and was taking on more students than it could handle.


A great deal has changed since then - especially with the appointment of Toby Belfield as principal and bursar.


Ruthin is now an extremely well-run and ambitious boarding and day school with around 300 pupils, many of whom are international.


Belfield has a proactive approach to international recruitment. He personally visits families of overseas students before they enroll, ensuring that Ruthin is focused on enrolling capable and forward-thinking students who can really contribute to the school.


He also pays attention to the geographical variety in each year group to ensure that cultural diversity is always present.


There are similarities between the Ruthin and Concord College models - but Ruthin is still unique because of the way it has overhauled its operations to become a model that other schools can only admire and aspire to.


Samuel Chan is a director at Britannia StudyLink


Original Article:

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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.


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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