- Boarding schools for girls and boys
- Physics: a philosophical view
- There will be no repetition
- Study, study and study again
It's no surprise that the old, respected, traditional private boarding schools in Great Britain are so famous all over the world. Children from all over the world dream of studying in historical campuses full of history for many centuries. Studying here is a constant sense of elitism, selectivity, a special atmosphere; In addition, it offers great opportunities for extra-curricular employment, electives and additional lessons, modern and innovative equipment.
Of course, the level of education here is unusually high - such schools usually serve as a standard, a flagship and a guide for other institutions. According to statistics, graduates of old private boarding houses (by the way, they are very few - about 7% of the total in all of Britain) account for almost half of the students Cambridge and Oxford, mastodons of higher education UK and the world.
It may seem that the choice is extremely simple: the older the school and the louder its name , The better it is and the more you need to strive for it. But everything is not so simple. Increasingly, parents who follow lists and ratings (and all final exams and tests fall into them) are surprised to note that among the first there are very young educational institutions. Today graduates of these young innovative schools are becoming successful students and professionals, they demonstrate high results even on such top-level directions as medicine and law. For an example, Cardiff Sixth Form College, founded about 10 years ago (which is equivalent to one instant for British boarding houses):
- 1st place in the country according to the results A-level (the title holds for three years already)
- 95% of graduates were awarded A-A * with highest scores
- According recent rankings, 23 graduates successfully entered Cambridge, 8 Oxford, 19 became students of LSE (London School of Economics), 15 continued their studies at Imperial College.
It would be logical to ask: how exactly do these "new British private schools and colleges" achieve such excellent results? What is their fundamental difference?
Boarding schools for girls and boys
Let's give an example of the famous, respected school Moreton Hall. It is located about 100 kilometers from London almost on the border of England and Wales (Shropshire), occupies more than 100 acres of land surrounded by spacious fields and green forests, and the years of construction of its main buildings Date back to the 16th century. It was the school that was founded in 1913 by the Lloyd-Williams family, very famous and influential in its district, and was originally intended only for girls. More than 60 years of successful growth and prosperity ended in a crisis, decline, and only the strength of the new director, the famous businessman Jonathan Forster, allowed her to spread her wings and regain fame, dignity.
As the basis of successful activity, the main business concept was taken - the spirit of competition, entrepreneurship, active competitive activity. Jonathan is sure that separate education does not create an artificial environment, but only shapes girls as more confident and independent individuals, helps them focus on learning and not be distracted by other factors. The data of recent studies confirm the correctness of his words: according to statistics, girls in boarding schools of separate education more often choose traditionally "male" specialties (for example, natural sciences, mathematics) and excel at them excellently. In addition, separate education does not mean complete isolation of children - girls and boys constantly interact with each other during leisure, entertainment, sports and sightseeing.
Two years ago, the school opened a major Innovation Science Center: its medical building with the latest equipment is the only one in the UK and has no analogues among other schools. Under the agreement with the neighboring Kil University, the university teachers conduct frequent lectures, seminars and meetings at the school. That's why about half of the students choose natural sciences as a direction for studying under the A-level program, many graduates enter universities and colleges for medical faculties.
10 years ago the block of technical and natural sciences (in Britain it is designated as STEM - Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Math) was far less powerful than it is today. Now, specialists from the Institute of Mechanical Engineering (engineering sciences) work at the school, profile communities and clubs (for example, in the Brunel Society you can learn how to collect an internal combustion engine, design a bridge or a building). The school seeks to fill the national shortage of women scientists and engineers: there are about 9% of them in the country. For example, in Sweden they are about 26%, and in Italy - 20%.
But not only the scientific possibilities are provided by the school schedule. Teachers of the Conservatory conduct musical lessons, there are optional faculties of horse riding and ballet, and teams for lacrosse and field hockey hold the British team championship.
According to the director, over 10 million pounds have been invested in the infrastructure of the school over the past 10 years: a spacious indoor swimming pool, sports centers and own theater, residences for students and guests (90% of girls live in full boarding schools).
The director of the high school, Sarah Hughes, also emphasizes the uniqueness of the Moreton Hall atmosphere. Here there are only 420 girls, all know by sight and by name, the goals and desires of each are known. Girls feel calm and confident, feel personal freedom, support in their endeavors. Students are given a fairly high level of freedom: for example, there are no completed blocks of disciplines for the A-level course - the girls form them independently from the presented directions, focusing on their desires, needs and interests.
The same applies to the course GCSE (there are both mandatory and optional subjects). You can combine humanitarian and exact sciences, natural science and ancient languages, political science and art - it helps to expand the personal capabilities of everyone, take responsibility for their actions, and form a broad outlook.
Each student must pass a course of public speaking and oratorical skills, working on the business project of the school Moreton Enterprises: it helps to try themselves in various roles, learn to correct their mistakes and draw correct conclusions. Moreton Enterprises is a real, real business with an annual turnover of 50,000 pounds. It appeared 30 years ago: in partnership with the local railway station, a ticket booking agency was opened, which in the 90s saved the local section of the railway from closure and desolation.
Today, Moreton Enterprises is several online services and 5 stores that are managed exclusively by high school students, work at Barclays Bank (local branch), a network store Ryman stationers, and in the near future it is planned to open your own coffee shop. Girls graduates in 15-7 years have a real, real, valuable experience of entrepreneurship, which helps them a lot in their future studies and careers.
Physics: a philosophical view
The next examples will be the Headington School - also for girls only. It was founded 100 years ago in Oxford and also has a focus on the exact, engineering, "male" specialties of the STEM course. In 2013, the school was the first among the women's boarding schools to participate (and won!)
In the national competition in robotics - and a year later the success was fixed. The head of the computer lab, Matt Howe, believes that the whole thing is a competent combination of theory and practice. Girls not only learn to work on a computer with programming languages, but also do applied work - they solder, work with wood and metal, revealing their talents in "atypical" areas. Program Director IB James Stevenson argues that it is important for a modern school to go level with universities, to comply with and take into account their requirements.
Today, new disciplines and courses are constantly appearing at the junction of several specializations, and schools should prepare students for the training of such a plan. For example, Headington School has a course "Physics + Engineering", "Practical Physics", EPQ (Extending Project Qualifications; project activity in several directions). Graduates of the school are taught the ability not so much to focus on the list of popular professions, how much to their tastes and priorities, they learn to pay attention to their talents and abilities and, in accordance with this, choose an educational institution, course and specialization.
The director of the already mentioned Cardiff Sixth Form College (Cardiff, Wales), Liam Hughes supports the aspiration of schools to give students a choice of specialty according to their interests and inclinations. Educational institutions constantly work with professionals of vocational guidance, invite professionals of various fields to creative meetings and seminars.
All this makes it possible for schoolchildren to assess the pros and cons of various professions, qualifications, and specialties. Employee Caterham School Kim Wells agrees with his colleague: you need to teach first of all what you like, and this is the path to success.
The main thing is a qualitative basic education, and qualification can be worked out already after receiving the diploma. In the vast majority of specialties (excluding medicine, exact sciences, architecture, engineering), your real skills, aspirations and ambitions are more important than the profile diploma.
But do not assume that the national and world labor market has absolutely no effect on educational systems. UKCES (the government commission on labor and employment) speaks of a surge in demand for the following specialists for the next 5 years:
- Medical workers and doctors
- Social workers
- Business managers
- School teachers.
Of course, the index of employment of graduates is one of the main, most important indicators when choosing a university. James Stevenson believes that the increase in tuition fees, strangely enough, has benefited both universities and students: it will not be possible to remain an "eternal student", relax and skip, constantly change educational areas, universities and faculties.
In addition, the cost of studying has become a kind of a vivid indicator for the demand for a specialty - and this has allowed higher education institutions to invest in the most promising and relevant areas, as well as in new developments and innovative scientific research.
There will be no repetition
It is quite natural that the changes that have occurred in universities will sooner and later come to schools. The long-planned school reform in Britain will soon begin, which will directly affect the A-level course, the most popular program for preparing for the university. The course will become more consistent, and the evaluation of the results will be more rigorous and rigid: if today you can retake the exam up to three times, then after the reform the students will have only one opportunity for successful surrender.
The scale of assessments will also change, which will increase compliance with university scores, and, as a result, will increase the flow of students to universities. On the one hand, the number of people with higher education increases the level of education of the entire nation, on the other - this will cause greater selectivity in relation to applicants and the creation of new criteria for strict selection. Universities will enroll only the best of the best.
At the same time, the system of admission to the main mass of universities will not change - only Oxford and Cambridge will continue to conduct additional introductory tests: A-level will still be a fairly confident and reliable indicator of the student's knowledge.
Cardiff Sixth Form College, whose director is currently serving Liam Hughes, was founded 10 years ago as a preparatory center for schoolchildren, relatively speaking - the center of tutoring. Gradually, foreign students (especially from Asian countries) appeared here who wanted to prepare for high quality education in British universities - and today this international educational institution is the best in the country according to the A-level results, and this indicator has been held for three years in a row.
It is the sixth form colleges that know best what is needed for successful admission to the chosen university and are able to prepare for the entry of foreign universities. The founder of the college, Yasmin Sarvar, was once herself a student from abroad, therefore she is personally acquainted with all difficulties, peculiarities and complexities. Foreign students, precisely because of their perseverance, purposefulness and diligence, overtake British schoolchildren and enter the best universities in the United Kingdom - like Yasmin, who graduated from Cambridge and had time to work in his admissions office. Her experience, she embodied in Oxbridge Preparation - one of the most relevant and effective preparatory programs for high school students.
Liam Hughes is sure that the A-level is not so narrow as it is commonly believed: it leaves a lot of opportunities for combining and combining subjects, giving students freedom of choice. It is sufficient to determine the main direction - natural, exact, social or human sciences - and choose items based on their choice. The course can be changed or supplemented in the second year of study. For example, after studying mathematics and natural sciences, you can apply to engineering, medical, and computer faculty.
Study, study and study again
Comprehensive, in-depth, intensive preparation of students for the university is a priority of the MPW day school (London, England). Here senior high school students of 16-18 years are accepted who want to make the most efficient use of their time. Lessons are conducted in small classes (8 people each), there is no mandatory form and excessively strict discipline, the entire learning process is very flexible and varied.
For the A-level course, the students are offered a choice of 14 directions, which is quite enough for qualitative preparation. Studying here will allow to save time as much as possible and quickly, without superfluous delays to be prepared for introductory tests of a various order. The school provides each student with a full description of the benefits, achievements and merits, key character traits and potential potential - letters of recommendation are highly appreciated by the admissions commissions.
This encourages students to receive additional advantages and earn personal achievements: for example, entrants of economic faculties seek to develop personal business projects, future doctors work as volunteers, etc. In addition, the MPW London school hosts a variety of open lectures, meetings and seminars with representatives of various professions, university educators and teachers.
The chosen strategy is paying off. According to statistics, most graduates of the school successfully enter the best universities in London, the UK and the world - for example:
- University College London UCL (4th in the country and 12 in the world according to the Times)
- London School of Economics LSE (5th place in the country and 23 in the world)
- King's College (7th place in the country and 27 in the world)
- Institute of Asian and African Studies of the University of London (a unique institution that has no analogues in the world).