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Saturday 09-Dec-2017
【信報】北望滄海遺珠Barnard Castle School
望下地圖,為人熟悉的英國傳統名校大都集中在倫敦附近,或倫敦以下的Surrey區,又或者是牛津以下的西南部。較少受到注目的英國北部,其實也是生產優秀學校的肥沃土壤,數大學有Durham、St. Andrews、Edinburgh 等著名學府,至於中學,實在也有很多滄海遺珠。
 
 
早前我出席英國私校校長大會HMC的一個會議,跟一些校長傾談下來,才瞭解到原來英國有七成學校都在南部,在北部的三成近年都要頗艱辛地經營,慘痛例子有憨豆先生Rowan Atkinson位於Crumbia的母校St Bees School都在2015年以執笠收場,自此北部剩下的好學校就更加買少見少。
 
 
不過在這種逆境之中,也有如Barnard Castle School般的學校走勢強勁,一年辦得比一年好。這間於1883年建校的日校及寄宿學校,現有七百多名四至十八歲男女生,當中有八成是英藉寄宿學生,全校宿生人數約為一百七十人。學校所處的Teesdale ,是全英享負盛名的天然美景區,環境風光如畫,有五十公頃的校園更加是古意盎然鳥語花香。此校獨特之處,是過往它是以運動成績標青見稱,乃英格蘭欖球最強的一間學校,也栽培了許多英國欖球名宿如Rob Andrew及Underwood兄弟。
 
 
然而近年學校也著力打造學術成績,為學生提升學業表現下了很多功夫。學校的努力得到了教育局的認同,在ISl報告點名表揚Barnard Castle School 往往能令其學生超越潛能。學校的努力絕對沒有白費,也可見於同學一張張亮眼的成績表:2017年過半學生在A Level取得A*-B的優異成績,畢業同學中更有不少入到Sheffield、Manchester、Liverpool, St. Andrews、Durham這些北部的顯赫名校,甚至有兩人入了劍橋,而取錄這些學生的學科有醫科、法律等,範疇相當廣泛。
 
 
大家要明白,英國北部人口不及南部多,學校生存困難是不爭的事實,學生收生要求亦不能太高,故要在公開試如A Level 或大學取錄上要與南部學校爭一日長短,到底有一定困難。
 
 
不過當中就有如Barnard Castle School能夠突圍而出,令人眼前一亮。香港同學仔如果在本地成績不算太頂尖,但想找一間可以幫助自己超越自己,同時中國人不多的學校,實在不妨「向北看」,Barnard Castle School的確值得推介。
 
 
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