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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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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
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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